What I Read and Watched in October

twin-peaks

BOOKS:

COMICS / GRAPHIC:

TV:

PODCASTS:

  • Pop Culture Happy Hour
  • TED Radio Hour

Thoughts & reflections:

  • October just flew by! Yet somehow I got some reading in. Not much watching though, with the exception of Twin Peaks, which was an excellent show for the spooky season. I had a feeling I might love this show, and I wasn’t wrong. So strange. So surreal. So absurd. My only regret is that I started watching it too close to Halloween, so I didn’t have enough time put together a Log Lady costume. Oh well, there’s always next year!
  • It seems I accidentally wound up with a theme of depressing books this month. Sometimes the most thought-provoking literature is also the most heart-wrenching, but damn Pride of Baghdad has to be one of the most alarmingly sad books I’ve read. Leave it to Brian Vaughan, master of feels.
  • The sound. The fury. The sound of me throwing a book against a wall in a fury.

Ideas for next month:

  • I still have a backlog of books. Carrying on.
  • More poetry, please. I’m having difficulty finding volumes that are robust yet digestible. Not giant compendiums, but not thin little books either. Hm.
  • My library and its local consortia have an alarming lack of gender studies books and I’m debating what I’m going to do about it, if anything. No Judith Butler in a consortia of 30+ libraries? Really?

What I Read and Watched in September

middlesex

BOOKS:

COMICS / GRAPHIC:

MOVIES:

TV:

PODCASTS:

  • Pop Culture Happy Hour
  • TED Radio Hour

Thoughts & reflections:

  • Quality trumps quantity this month. I’m way below my goal on all accounts. But not only were Middlesex and Please Kill Me heavyweights page-wise (nearly 1,000 pages total), they were also intensely awesome. So, two new favorites in one month? When has that ever happened before?
  • Same goes for the movie-watching — or lack thereof. The one movie I did see — Kubo, great film — I saw at the local movie theater, to which I’d never been before. In fact, I think this is actually only the second movie I’ve seen in theaters this entire year. The theater was independent, with a retro vibe but comfy seats. But I still miss AMC. No bother. The movie-going experience makes up for my lack of movie consumption, I’d say.
  • Plus, how would I have time to watch movies with all this Breaking Bad-watching? Yes, I’m aware I’m eight years behind. This show premiered when I graduated high school — high school. But I finally hit the threshold where I couldn’t function like a semi-normal social being without having seen it. So many references are made to this show. Everyone’s seen it, it seems. With good reason — it’s a a great show. I’m getting a little exhausted with the hour-long episodes though. And 5 seasons is intimidating. I’ll probably slow it down and chip away at the remaining episodes as needed
  • This “thoughts and reflections” section is turning into an excuses section.
  • Did I binge-watch Transparent season 3 faster than I care  to admit? You bet I did. No regrets. Okay, maybe a little regret, because now I have to wait indefinitely for the next season!
  • I finally did it. Signed up for my own Netflix account like an independent non-mooching woman. It’s been helpful for watching Breaking Bad. But otherwise, I’m not sure if I’ll keep it past the 30-day free trial yet.
  • I also finally printed out the complete National Film Registry, and checked off what I’ve already seen. I began watching some of the very earliest films too, but they are so brief (and most available for free from the Library of Congress), I don’t bother listing them here. Dream of a Rarebit Fiend was particularly amusing! Such special effects for 1906! I’m looking forward to working my way through the list, though I likely won’t go in a strict order.

Ideas for next month:

  • I never list music in these media logs, because I haven’t been able to wrap my head around what I’d include. Also, I have bizarre music-listening habits. But I’ve started to give it some more thought, especially as I recently set up a “Kendra’s Top 100” playlist on Spotify. It houses my favorite songs, in no particular order. It got me thinking, “When did I start listening to some of these songs? And how and why are they my favorites?” Hmm.
  • I have a backlog of borrowed books I’m looking forward to reading.
  • This election season has opened to my eyes to just how little national and world news I consume. Without cable, I have the luxury of avoiding the nauseating onslaught of political ads. But I just feel so disconnected from all that’s going on. My college media studies left me very disillusioned with the state of news and journalism, and since then, I’ve just sort of tuned out to all the corporatized sensationalism. While I’m not about to watch hours of CNN or Fox, I’d like to tune back in somehow, mindfully and objectively. I just want to learn about what’s happening in the world, without someone telling me what I should think or how I should feel about it. That shouldn’t be nearly as difficult as it is. But it really is.

What I Read and Watched in August

stranger-things

BOOKS:

COMICS / GRAPHIC:

MOVIES:

TV:

PODCASTS:

  • Pop Culture Happy Hour
  • TED Radio Hour

Thoughts & reflections:

  • Summer 2016 will be known as my summer of blueberry shandy and Stranger Things. Really, I love this show so much! It’s awesome to be able to be part of a TV phenomenon as it’s happening. To be able to discuss it with people, and to know what people are talking about when referencing the show. It sounds silly, but I’m just now realizing the true social value of being a TV-watcher. I just wish there were more series that were short and digestible like Stranger Things. Most require hours of time (*cough* GoT *cough*), and for not as much entertainment. I ought to look for more shows with a good time/enjoyment ratio.
  • I tried out two new comics series this month — The Unwritten and East of West. East of West is definitely not my thing, so scratch that. I could see myself getting into The Unwritten, but still, I’m not so thrilled about it. *sigh* Spoiled! I’m so damn spoiled!
  • Magical, magical, this month was. Harry Potter. The Secret Garden. Stranger Things (wait, I mentioned that already). Lumberjanes. I was in the mood for magic, apparently, and magic was had.
  • I was not, however, in the mood for movies. Again. I only watched High Fidelity off a recommendation and, I admit, it was good!
  • TED Radio Hour is filling my Invisibilia void. I really enjoy these! Even more than (dare I say) TED Talks, because each episode will connect multiple talks over a single theme.

Ideas for next month:

  • Transparent Season 3! Yasss.
  • Philosophy? I have this feeling that philosophy is my next frontier.
  • Feminism, again. I have a lot of catching up to do on that front, too.
  • I feel as though I ought to maybe read more plays? I struggled a bit with the format of this latest Harry Potter book, but it has inspired me to read more scripts.
  • Something spooky, perhaps?

What I Read and Watched in July

one-hundred-years-of-solitude-by-gabriel-garcia-marquez

July, July, it just flew by!

BOOKS:

COMICS / GRAPHIC:

MOVIES:

TV:

PODCASTS:

  • Invisibilia
  • Pop Culture Happy Hour

Thoughts & reflections:

  • Yes, I’m aware I’m 2 books short my monthly quota. No, I don’t feel bad about it. I had a good, busy month. And One Hundred Years of Solitude (OHYoS?) was an undertaking. I had to re-read some parts. I’m still processing it.
  • Oh, Invisibilia. “In this episode, we’ll be talking about whatever it is that is most relevant in Kendra’s life right now.” Yup. Every episode is eerily relevant and intensely fascinating. How do they do it? I’ve also gotten hooked on Pop Culture Happy Hour, because it makes me feel up-to-date with TV and movies even though I’m really not. I apparently love NPR broadcasting so much that it’s spilled over into my TV-watching. This American Life, the TV series, is almost a decade old now, but the subjects and stories are still fascinating. Gives me lots of think about, which just makes my head happy.
  • Sagaaaaaaa!! Finally! Well worth the long library hold waiting list. When it came in, it was like Christmas. The librarian must’ve sensed my joy. I devoured it, and now I’m back playing the waiting game.
  • Hah. Movies. Hah.

Ideas for next month:

  • I need to get back on a regular reading routine. Summer days and good weather have me all thrown off! I just want to move and frolic. But I also want to read all the things. So.
  • I’ll be testing out a couple more comics series this month until I get hooked on something. Or maybe I won’t. Gosh I still miss Y: The Last Man. That just set my standards so high, I may never recover.
  • After OHYoS, I feel like I need to read some fluffy fiction. Or something straightforward. Some simple, tidy stories perhaps?
  • Stranger Things!! 

What I Read and Watched In June

invisibilia_personality

BOOKS:

COMICS / GRAPHIC:

MOVIES:

PODCASTS:

  • Invisibilia (S2: E1-2)*
  • Pop Culture Happy Hour (E 6/24)
  • Hidden Brain (E36)

Thoughts & reflections:

  • Yikes. One book short of my quota. June was a busy summer month, but it was a good month, so I’m not disappointed. I only have so many hours in a day, yo.
  • I finally invested in a streaming device, so now I can use my TV like a normal person. Yay! But you can see how that’s affected my movie/TV watching — pretty much not at all yet. Hah. But! The first movie I watched on it, just to test it, somehow ended up being one of the best movies I’ve ever seen?! Ghost World is exactly my kind of movie. I love when that happens. Random whims that turn into favorites.
  • Bah. This just hasn’t been a good comics-reading year. There hasn’t been any complete series that I’ve been excited to read one after another, so I’ve just been picking up random graphic novels and trade paperbacks and nothing is really striking me. Ah well.
  • My “authors from towns I live/lived in” theme turned out to also be a “postwar angsty young men” theme. Such good reading, my god. Oh, Rabbit and Sal. I loathe you but I love you because you’re both so familiar to me, uncomfortably so.
  • Podcasts! Invisibilia is back for season 2 and oh I love it so, so much! The subjects covered in this season are eerily relevant to my life lately. The “Personality Myth” episode, in particular, was incredibly eye-opening (mind-opening?). I love the series so much, it’s inspired me to test out some other NPR podcasts. Pop Culture Happy Hour I particularly enjoyed, and it actually led me to watch Suited, an HBO short documentary that I also enjoyed.
  • This month demonstrates that I don’t have to meet any particular quota to have a good media month.

Ideas for next month:

  • This is going to sound crazy, but I got this jigsaw puzzle of random book covers, and it features so many of my favorite books, even obscure ones, that it’s eerie. There are some books on it that I haven’t read (or even heard of), and I figure they might be ones I’ll enjoy, too? Let a random jigsaw puzzle determine my next book selections? Sure, why not!
  • I would like to watch some more movies, now that I have a reliable method of streaming them. But… it’s summer and I want to be outside. Hm.
  • Feminism.

What I Read and Watched in May

paper girls

BOOKS:

COMICS / GRAPHIC:

MOVIES:

TV: 

Thoughts & reflections:

  • So, movies weren’t my thing this month. I’ve decided that I can’t (nor should I) force myself to watch movies if I’m not in the mood and have other priorities. Something about spring and the sunshine just doesn’t make movie-watching appealing. My interest will likely peak again during some other months or seasons.
  • Ahh, such good comics this month! Paper Girls exceeded my already high expectations for awesomeness. And WicDiv of course was stellar, gorgeous, and well worth the one-month hold I had on it at the library. Black Hole, though? I’m still not sure how I felt about it, other than confused and grossed out. Yeesh.
  • How is Transparent the most amazing show? It just is. And how am I supposed to wait until winter for Season 3 now? *heaving sigh*
  • Beach reading is best reading. Except I’ve been reminded that when reading in public, your choice in books becomes free game for people comment on. You want to chat about Salinger? Or feminism? That’s cool. Good way to meet new friends (and possible enemies, though thankfully that has yet to happen).
  • I need to read more poetry.

Ideas for next month:

  • More poetry.
  • I’m investing in a simple streaming device for my TV to make it, like, an actual, functional TV (without cable, but still). I’ll see how the convenience affects my movie and TV-watching, if at all.
  • Massachusetts authors. Kerouac (Lowell, where I used to dwell) and Updike (Ipswich, where I dwell now).

What I Read and Watched in April

IMAG2238

Happy 1 year anniversary to my monthly media log!

BOOKS:

COMICS / GRAPHIC:

MOVIES:

TV: 

Thoughts & reflections:

  • At last, I’ve been able to experience the joys and woes of binge-watching a show. I’d thought I was incapable, but I guess I’ve just never watched a series as amazing as Transparent. This show is perfect in general and perfect for me. I blew through the first season faster than I care to admit (hey, it’s only 10 30-min episodes). And thus, my whole monthly movie-watching goal is shot. Worth it. Now I have to decide whether or not to devour the second season right away. How do people watch TV this way? It’s taxing.
  • As you can see, I attempted a movie theme of musicals this month… until Transparent happened. I still got in 3, and these are long films. I chose ones I’d never seen before, but probably ought to for cultural awareness and such (“I Feel Pretty” is from West Side Story? See, I didn’t know this). I usually think of myself as not being a fan of musicals, but I’m not sure why. I enjoyed them.
  • I did some reading on writing this month. The illustrations in The Elements of Style Illustrated made me laugh! Otherwise, my reading selections don’t appear to have a connecting theme. The theme is the lack of theme.
  • Of course I managed to accidentally find a comic that combines two of my favorite things — poetry and crabs. Dear Creature is adorable!

Ideas for next month:

  • So it’s been a full year since I started logging my media consumption in this format. Is it time to change things up? I think maybe. How? I’m not sure yet, but I’m in the mood for something new.
  • I have too many comics on hold at the library, they’re going to revoke my card. Someday when I’m rolling in riches, I’ll buy enough trade paperbacks to swim in, but for now, I have to be patient! Ugh.
  • More nonfiction will be happening.
  • Binge-watching Transparent season 2 and then crying that it’s not coming back until later this year will also very likely be happening.

What I Read and Watched in March

Flowers for Algernon

Success. I exceeded my media quota this month, and I have one new book to add to my favorites shelf. Killin’ it.

BOOKS:

COMICS / GRAPHIC:

MOVIES:

Thoughts & reflections:

  • Damn I read some good books this month. Got a couple more core classics under my belt with Anne of Green Gables and Slaughterhouse-Five (I had read neither before, hard to believe). And Flowers for Algernon just blew me away! I love when I approach a book that I know almost nothing about with little to no expectations, and it just suites my tastes perfectly.
  • Two unintentional March movie themes: black-and-white surrealist cinema and Ryan Reynolds. I don’t care for either, so why did  this happen? Because I’m a masochist. Nah, I just misjudged. Usually I love Lynch and Aronofsky films, but Eraserhead and Pi these were not for me. The sounds got on my nerves so much — oh! — but that’s probably the point. Although Pi has the coolest opening intro, one of my favorites. And I loved Drive up until things got crazy violent. All of a sudden it went from atmospheric neo-noir with a cool soundtrack to heads blowing off. I had been warned this going to happen, and even still, it was just too much for me. Deadpool was violent but hilarious and ridiculous and fun, and come on, who doesn’t love Deadpool?
  • No TV worth mentioning this month, again. I even have a backlog of cartoons to catch up on, but just haven’t. Other pursuits have taken priority, I suppose.

Ideas for next month:

  • Back to nonfiction. There are things I want to learn about!
  • I’d like to have some sort of theme for my 5 April movies, like core films in a specific genre (that’s not black-and-white surrealism) or on a particular topic. Hm. I’ll think on this!
  • I’ll be testing out the library’s inter-library loan because I’m a pain and can’t just accept what’s granted to me on the shelves. Moar books MOAR BOOKS…

5 Things I Learned in February

T-Rex in a Snuggie

TMIL (This month I learned)! You thought I forgot about this, didn’t you? What with March already being a almost half-over? A-ha, nope! The draft’s just been sitting idle for, oh, a week?

1. Toggl for Time Management

I know this puts me at risk for sounding anal-retentive* but I like tracking how I spend my time. I’ve practiced time tracking on-and-off since high school, scribbling down near-illegible notes about hours and activities (7- 7:30 – blogged TMIL). For me, it’s less about productivity and more about being mindful of what I’m doing — the former just happens to follow the latter (sometimes).

This month, I started using Toggl, and it’s totally changed how I monitor my time. I now work a job that requires me to report hours spent on different projects, and my manual method became too tedious. Toggl is the next best thing, if not better. It’s so easy and always handy on mobile or desktop (plus, it syncs). I’ve even started using it to track time spent on my creative and personal pursuits outside of work. The problem with a lot of other so-called “productivity tools” is that they focus too much on time planning. Scheduling, to-do lists, deadlines, blah blah. Toggl is purely about tracking, which better suits my style, whims, and fancies.

*Related TMIL: Not everyone knows what “anal-retentive” means, and so it’s probably best not to casually use the phrase in a professional setting. Oops!

2. How to remember dreams (better)

This month (or, last month?) I remembered my dreams eight nights in a row. That’s a new record, I think. And okay, maybe this title is misleading because I’m not exactly sure how or why this happened, but there are a few contributing factors. For one, I was going to bed a half hour earlier. Secondly, I was feeling a bit sick, fighting off a cold (hence the going to bed earlier). Third, I recorded my dreams every morning, making it a habit. So some delicate combination of those factors made for a good formula. Guess what broke the streak? Going to bed and waking up at an unusual time (I’m bad at the whole “sleep schedule” thing, surprising for someone who gets excited about time tracking apps).

3. zelda fitzgerald died in a fire

Maybe that’s too specific, but it’s something that I did not know previously, and now I do. I actually learned a lot about Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald (or Scotty Fitz, as I like to call him) this month. Not only did I read Superzelda: The Graphic Life of Zelda Fitzgerald, but F. Scott’s writing routine was featured in Process: The Writing Lives of Great Authors.

4. What to do when you can’t get cash for THE laundromat

You kick something. Except no, kicking things is not productive. This should really say: “This month I learned, the hard way, to always keep some emergency cash somewhere, in the unlikely event that I have a load of laundry in my car, it’s dark and pouring rain, and my only method of getting cash for laundromat quarters isn’t available.” It’s fine. It worked out.

5. Library COLLECTION DEVELOPMENT services

Hey, I never said my TMIL’s can’t relate to my day job. The awesome thing about copywriting is that you get to dive deep into a topic you knew maybe knew next-to-nothing about. Like library services, for example. I’m not a librarian (though I’ve been assumed to be one on more than one occasion — must be the glasses?). But I love books. I love libraries. And now, thanks to a copywriting project I’m on, I get to learn all about tools and solutions that make librarians’ jobs easier. Which means I’ve had to give myself a crash course in what exactly librarians do — from book selection to collection management.

P.S. I have no idea what to put for a featured image on this post, so I just put a t-rex in a Snuggie. ¿Por qué? ¡Por qué no!

What I Read and Watched in February 2016

fargo-primary

Woah, I’m really shaking up the blog titles here. “Media log” sounds too blaaaasé, I say. That rhymes. Hey.

BOOKS:

COMICS / GRAPHIC:

MOVIES:

Thoughts & reflections:

  • My goal is to read 8+ books (including comics) and 5+ movies each month, so I’ll log approximately 100 books and 60 movies  in 2016. But I’ll admit that I needed that extra leap day this month to finish my eighth book and watch my fifth movie. To be fair, none of these 8 are what I consider “quick reads.”
  • What an odd assortment of literature. Sort of surreal when you put them all together. I guess the unifying theme was… quirky? What do Sherlock Holmes, Jenny Lawson, Eleanor Douglas, Zelda Fitzgerald, and zombies all have in common? Quirk. (Are zombies quirky? I just looked up the definition of quirky, and I’d certainly describe zombies as “characterized by unexpected traits.” I mean, who expects a dead person to want to eat you?).
  • Zelda Fitzgerald died in a FIRE? Why did I not know this? After such a crazy life, what a way to go.
  • So if you remember from my very first media log (and you better), I have this weird internal conflict where I feel as though I should love Coen brothers films but for some reason don’t. Well here I go again, trying to watch another one. I can’t let this go. But I’ll be damned, I loved Fargo! You betcha. I’m now convinced that this has more to do with some psychological trickery involving my expectations. Like, I went into Fargo thinking, “I don’t like Coen brothers films, so I probably won’t like this, but I’ll give it a shot,” whereas with the others I went in thinking, “Coen brothers films are masterpieces, so if I don’t love this, there’s something wrong with me” (I’m kidding… a little). See how it goes? I should just have low expectations about everything in life, just so I can be pleasantly surprised. I’m kidding again… a little.
  • I also really enjoyed The Graduate. But I did not enjoy American Graffiti. Like I say with Coen brothers films (well, now usually), I can appreciate it without loving it. Just not my thing.
  • Where’s the TV this month? I’m deliberately omitting episodes I watch as sort of one-offs or only half-watch socially. I’m even considering maybe not having a TV section anymore, unless I get into a series, which is so rare, except with cartoons.
  • No podcasts again this month, either. It’s a symptom of my changing lifestyle and routine. There are so many good series out there though, I wonder when/how/if I can fold them back in, without having to commute in a car 1.5 hours a day as I used to. I don’t miss driving.

Ideas for next month:

  • Books written in journal-type entries. Hyep, already got my theme.
  • Um, that’s all I got. March on.