Saturday, February 16, 2019

Content With Content: Media Consumed in January

He Whoo Watches and Waits
Today marks the first of a new monthly add to my blog where I intend to let readers know what I've shaving into my eyes, ears, and brain. What I've read, watched, and listened to (just the new acquisitions; the full list of music would be absurd.) and maybe a little about what struck me in the experiences. I'm always interested in what other writers and creative folks are putting into their heads, and I thought a few paragraphs on what I've been absorbing might be interesting to anyone who has enjoyed one of my books or is considering reading one.

But first, some math:
There are 168 hours in a week

I sleep between 6-8 hours a day, so let's say I average 7 and so the 49 hours leaves up with 119 hours.

I am fortunate enough to have a job where I work M-F 8-5 with about 45 minutes of commuting each way. That's 10.5 hours total a day, or 52.5 a week. I often travel in the job, which could ramp this figure up to 60 or 70 hours or more, and in certain situations I have to give up weekend or holiday time, but I also have a fair amount of vacation time so let's stick with the 52.5. We're down to 66.5 hours.

I write at least 30 hours a week. 10 hours on Saturday and Sunday, and 2-ish each M-F. Blogging counts but other social media doesn't. 36.5 hours remain.

Since the start of the year, I've been hitting the home gym & with showers that's about 12 hours a week. 24.5 hours to go.

I try to read an hour a day at least. Sometimes I do more, so I'll say 10 hours a week.

14.5 left for the rest of life--laundry, shopping, the DMV, a date with my long-suffering wife. There's some variance; if I'm researching something for a book that goes into "writing"--my terms, my definitions. Here I remember the advice Jack Ketchum once gave to a writing class I was in: "Sometimes staring at the wall is writing!". Most of my allotted thirty, though, is actually pen to paper or fingers to keys.

I mention the reality not to evoke sympathy--I have a great life and I love what I do, if anything I would escalated the hours spent on most of the segments above--but to indicate many things in life like health, a measure of artistic success, a measure of financial security, do not come easy, and they come with a price tag of time and often money as well. I've lived an extremely privileged life, in many senses of the term, I also work my ass off to make up for my many shortcomings in the "talent" department. For writers, I don't know if the time writing and reading is optional, it certainly isn't for me.

I'll start with What I Watched, then, because it's the easiest for me. I love television and movies but as you can see from the above I've not a ton of time left over to go deep into the stacks of Blu-rays I have lying around waiting to be watched.

1. I Still See You--including all of the deleted scenes, the commentary with Scott Speer and Bella Thorne, and all of the stellar bonus features, especially the ones starring me.

Guess what you're getting for your birthday?

2. L.A. Confidential--Set me on my path to read all of Ellroy this year

3. Monuments Men

All three were watched with Kim (Date night! What a prince I am!)because to keep the schedule I outlined above, sometimes you have to multitask.

1. Vice Squad Unreleased--Vice Squad
2. Saturnalia of the Accused--Argyle Goolsby (from Blitzkid)
3. The Mighty Rhythm Tribe--Buddy Miles
4. Land of Plenty--Bill MacKay and Ryley Walker

The four above were from eMusic; I've been a member for twelve years. At one time they had very weird and odd labels along with the back catalogues of just about everyone, but they have scaled back so their offerings are  a shadow of their once mighty warehouse of sounds. I might not make it to year thirteen.

5. A Decade of Dance Live--The Untouchables. Their album Wild Child was a turntable mainstay of my high school years and I was thrilled to learn this live set rom 1989 existed. From Discogs cuz it is out of print..
6. Catholic Boy--The Jim Carroll Band. Discogs again because also OOP. I have a dubbed cassette but no means to play it and just had the synaptic urge to listen--forgot how truly great it is.

Note this is a very short list compared to 2018, where I was listening to an average of 8 new albums a week in my capacity as a reviewer for the good folks at Metal Express Radio; I've a great deal more control over my listening now.

1. Dream Makers--6 Fantasy Artists (art book with some text)
2. The Hidden Lives of Owls--Leigh Calvez
3. Ireland--in the Travelers Tales series
4. Like Brothers--The Duplass Brothers
5. Dr. Haggard's Disease--Patrick McGrath, one of my favorite authors who any fan of horror or weird fiction needs to check out. I'd read this one before.
6. The Electric State--Simon Stalenhag An illustrated coffee table science fiction novella, I enjoyed this one immensely and have added Stalenhag's other work (he does the gorgeous paintings as well) to my list.
7. Astounding--Alec Nevala-Lee A history/Bio of John W. Campbell, Robert Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard and Isaac Asimov
8. Three Days To Never--Tim Powers. Might be my favorite Powers novel, which is interesting considering the breadth of his work.
9. Children of the Thunder--not my favorite Brunner, but I enjoyed it all the same. As much a horror story as science fiction
10. The Shores of Space--Richard Matheson. Genius book. If you want to write short stories, genre or not, you need to read Matheson.
11. The Atrocity Exhibition--J.G. Ballard. I love Ballard and this one alternately warped my mind and made me feel pretty dumb at times, but definitely was one I thought about for days after finishing it. This was the nice illustrated one with Ballard's annotations, put out by RE/SEARCH
12. Cheap Hotels--Daisanne Maclane Photos and text about cheap hotels around the world. Loved it.
Imay have stayed at this one

13. The Art of Bryan Talbot--Bryan Talbot, intro Neil Gaiman. Art and some text
14. Women--Frank Cho. All art
15. Zombie Spaceship Wasteland--Patton Oswalt. Humorous memoir mixed with comedic writings. Loved it' there were times reading it where I felt Patton and I may have lived parallel lives, especially in the chapter regarding his experiences working at a small movie theater. Speaking of theater, he's great on the new Mystery Science Theater 3000

Fifteen seems like a lot, but many of these were art with little text and all but the Brunner, Powers and Astounding are probably under three hundred pages. I think The Atrocity Exhibition took me the longest to get through but was one of the ones I thought about the most.

Thanks for taking the time to root through the junkheap of my mind looking for treasures. If you would like to pay the reader/writer bond forward, please consider taking one of my books home with you by clicking HERE and buying all you can afford. Such generous purchases will ensure I can keep reading and writing in February and the months to follow. Thank you!
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