Sunday, August 21, 2011

Mega-List Update: Reading, Watching & Push Ups

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Library Loot recently had lots of Mega-List goodness in it!

Mega-List Update

Been a busy past 2 weeks and I’m made some progress on several of the Mega-List items. Been lax-ing on word collection as I’m still finessing my general idea collection system(s), but I have been following my nose when I find new words and trying to always be clear and use the correct words for things. But let’s look at what I did do, as opposed to what I didn’t.

28. See a film in each one of the 24 theatres at AMC Yonge & Dundas 24
I saw The Help in #3, which brings me to 3/24 theatres with no repeats (yet!). #3 is a mid-sized theatre and I've seen many films in that one especially Cinefranco in 2010 and several showings of The Wild Hunt. I don't know why I remember that.

33. Interview 20 directors / 34. Interview 20 actors
This was so exciting, not long after my original posting of the Mega-List I got and email asking if I would be interested in interviewing director André Øvredal & actor Glenn Tosterud on their film Trollhunter, a Norwegian documentary-style monster movie. I said HELL YA! Well, I said something a little more professional, but when I got the email I did a big happy dance and said "HELL YA!" It was great to chat with the guys, and I'm impressed I managed to pull off a long-distance, recorded call to the UK with 2 awesome guys about their films. I even did my best to speak a little Norwegian, I hope that went over well. You can read or listen to the interview, and I highly recommend checking out the film (see more info over at the film review). I interviewed them together so I guess that makes it feel like this counts as 1 interview. Woot!

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109. Watch Fringe Season 2 & 3
I’m well into Season 2 of Fringe and although it’s not as arc-y or as tight as Season 1 I'm still really enjoying it. Love the characters BIG TIME. I can't wait to dive into more and every day I'm think to myself "Do I have time to watch some Fringe?" I've done some predictions and ramblings of the show over at Hexed: Sisterhood of the Supernatural, but I am working really hard to avoid any spoilers. I should finish Season 2 sometime with week and than have to wait until September for Season 3, which is coming my way thanks to my Mom who got it for me for my birthday this summer.

113. Watch Stargate SG-1
I’ve been continuing to work though Season 1 & 2 con-currently. It's still not really grabbing me, although I do know the characters better and there was one mid-season 2 episode that was really entertaining. I’ll stick with it.

125. Rewatch all TV I own on DVD – Supernatural
Still working through Season 4, watching Ep 19 Jump the Shark at this very moment and should be one to Season 5 sometime this week. Trick will be getting Season 6 in before the new season starts in late September.

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127. Read all the novels of Stephen King
Actually have a complete – I read Carrie. Man, that's a messed up book. Very dark, very heartbreaking and a unique storytelling style that I enjoyed. And I see why the lots of the books are in order but not noted as a series, because there was a small character whose name I recognized from a totally different work by Stephen King which makes me happy with my decision to read these in chronological order. I’m planning on reading about 54 of his books, mostly novels, some non-fiction and maybe some collections. I’ll do a separate list of the titles at some point but right now I’m counting is as One Down, Lots to Go!

I'm made some progress on...

57. Write think pieces, or let them go
I've been working on several think pieces, although I haven't posted any yet I've worked through and written out some ideas & outlines which is a step up from just longingly thinking about it. Also had a great moment where I experienced, saw, felt and re-created telling something powerful through a story, which although I always 'got' conceptually I didn't really 'feel' before. It felt like a should, that that's the way it 'should' work, and people say you 'should' do it - but no, it's true. Telling through story isn't a should, it's just plain WORKS.

62. Create a habit of always proofreading posts & newsletters before sending them out
I haven't totally stuck to this but I have been more reliable & conscientious about it.

78. Create/use an idea capturing system that works for me
Ugh, not having this in place is driving me bananas. I started using a tickler again (Getting Things Done system), but that's more of the day-to-day and I haven't been keeping up to date. It's more for like 'write an article about this' or 'look into the relationship between this and this' or 'is the trend of X still going strong, or is it time to move on'. I don't know where to put these ideas in a way where I can get them later. Paper is to hard to find the idea, and I like stuff on the computer but I don't like having to transfer it there when I get home. Maybe there is an android app that I can sync on my computer... Hmm.

87. Do 100 push ups in a row
As a starting point I did a cold-try of where I'm at which was 13 a few days ago. Today I managed 15. My personal best ever was 50 and my best regular number was 30. 13 is my regular not-working-out-for-a-while number, so it makes sense that I started there.

Late Addition
I'm also adding to the To Watch list is Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles: Season 1 & 2 as I own them but have never seen it and somehow I missed them when I saw writing the original list. Their spine looks like Supernatural, I suppose. It's going to be #137 but I'm putting it with the TV stuff.

Lots of learning, reading, watching and saying HELL YA, which works for me. I hope there are more opportunities to say HELL YA to very soon.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Mega-List Update: New Words, Stargate & Lists of Lists

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Ah, Update #1 for the Mega-List. Sometimes I get nervous about the first time updating or writing about things. I'm a stickler for tradition and I can get more wrapped up in formatting feeling that the way I start will be the way I will continue... forever. I like continuity, but sometimes I can take it too far. Let's hope that isn't the case here.

I've been working on several of the items on My Mega-List. From the active act of gathering new words to watching, plus also having some other opportunities begin to manifest (I can hear Anakin yelling "It's working, it's working!!" in my head). Exciting times. Let's take a look at some of the progression so far.

28. See a film in each one of the 24 theatres at AMC Yonge & Dundas 24
I haven't decided if I'm going to include the theatres I've already seen films in (I've seen a lot in #6 "IMAX-ish", #7 ETX, #3 - oddly seen lots in that one). Have to see how that one goes. If starting new, it's 2/24. So far since the Mega-List began I've seen:

  • 1 film in theatre #9: Attack the Block, it's a mid-sized theatre and if memory serves it has 5 1/2 rows plus stadium seating
  • 1 film in theatre #1: The Future, it's a small-sized, 2 1/2 front rows plus stadium seating
Seeing the sign rotate between saying "Now Seating..." and "The Future..." was one of my highlights of the week.

95. Track new words heard, where I heard them & their definition
There has been a lot of new words come my way, most of which are from reading The Three Musketeers (part of the Book to Film Club), but also from listening to podcasts and researching. I find following my nose ends up getting me to find more words, so much so that often I skip over actually learning what some mean or even start thinking about the possible meaning of something and loose the context of where it came from. Will be interesting to see if that becomes less fragmented over time. Here's a look at some of the new ones I've found:

  • baldric: a belt hung from one shoulder and across the chest to the opposite side of the body, used to suport a sword, horn, etc - from The Three Musketeers
  • irascibility: quickness of temper; irrritability - from The Three Musketeers
  • raillery: good-humoured ridicule; joking; teasing / a bantering remark - from The Three Musketeers
  • henceforth: from this time on, from now on - from The Three Musketeers
  • irrefragable: impossible to refrute - from Word of the day: Miriam Webster
  • schadenfreude: enjoyment obtained from the troubles of others - from the TV Eh? Podcast
  • tetrology: a compound work that is made up of four (numerical prefix tetra-) distinct works, just as a trilogy is made up of three works. - from Researching Shakepeare Plays, of which there are 2 Histories tetrologies
  • nonce word: a word used to meet the need and is not expected to reoccur - from tetrology definition
  • palance: combination of 'parlaying' (talking) and dancing, so if you are talking & dancing you are palancing - from Metro Morning Podcast - in discussion to prep for Carnival (Caribana) edition
  • deliverance: the act of setting free or the state of being set free; a rescue; release / a formal opinion or judgment - heard many times before but when it was used to describe Star Trek: Voyager S5 Ep Bliss, I knew I didn't actually know what it meant.
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113. Watch Stargate SG1

Stargate SG1 is my biggest whole of current science fiction TV (that was available on Canadian TV). How could I not have watched a 10 year long, Canadian co-pro science fiction series? After researching into it I realized a few things. First, I really didn't like the film on which it was based; it was way to ye-haw American guns a-blazing for me. Second, I didn't have cable at the time and spent most of my time at the club (see above) when it started, so I wasn't watching much TV. Considering I'm a completist who likes to start things from the beginning, it takes an active effort to go back to the beginning - which is what I'm doing now.

I've this goal, and I'm concurrently watching Season One on DVD from the library & Season Two in re-runs on Space. It's not ideal but I've already missed the boat on it being at the beginning and I think I'll be aligned on seasons in a couple weeks. I watched one episode at my Mom's place and she thankfully explained the setting a little bit, and I'm extremely thankful she told me it was funny. I wouldn't have picked up on this, and it's one of the best things about the show - especially Richard Dean Anderson, he totally cracks me up. I'm not totally digging the military structure thing (although it's pretty light) and the historical themes don't hold a lot of interest to me, like ever. I do like the characters which usually is what keeps me with any show, regardless of genre. I especially like the dry humour between Richard Dean Anderson's character and Teal'c (I always like the dry humour characters from Spock to Data, Tuvok to Castiel). I'm not totally in love with it yet, but I'm going to keep at it.

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125. Rewatch all TV I own on DVD - Supernatural
This one is much easier for me and to be honest I was already in process before I put the Mega-List up, but I figured better to include and be completist than not. I was in Season 3 when I started and now am in Season 4. For the past few years I've always tried to watch all of Supernatural from the beginning in preparation for the next season. I was a late convert to Supernatural, starting to watch when it debuted in 2005 but stopped watching after finding it too brutal and not the best gender-balanced of shows. But I gave it another chance in 2009 when it was in syndication on Dusk (previously called Scream) as I knew my sister Suzie loved it, and I came to love it as well. It's rare to see such a strong sibling relationship as shown here with the Winchester brothers, plus the supernatural aspect is freaking awesome and it has a great combination of story of the week plus long arc. I talk about the show regularly on Hexed: Sisterhood of the Supernatural Podcast which I co-host with my sister Suzie, and look forward to every new episode that comes out.

Book List Busy-ness (127, 128, 132, 130 & 131)
I've spent a lot of time looking through Wikipedia this week. I don't think I quite realized how many books I ended up putting to read on my list, but hopefully will end up being one of those tasks that if you look at it logically it seems insurmountable, but if you just go for it you can make it happen. That's what I'm going with at least! So far I've made lists* of:

127. Read all the novels of Stephen King (50+ books)
I'm likely going to include some non-fiction here, and haven't yet decided if I'm going to re-read any already read novels. I decided to read them in order as much as I can as a whole whack of them are listed in sequence, although not a series. The library has his first novel, Carrie, which makes it easy to jump in and start there.

128. Read & see performance/film of all the plays of William Shakespeare (38 plays + 2 Lost Plays, x 2 - reading & watching)
Oh my I had no idea there were so many! I was very excited to put this list together, looking at all the titles I recognized, and the film adaptations I've already enjoyed and loved. One of the reasons I put this on my list is because of how referential Shakespeare can be, plus the impact and general knowledge of the stories are in the world. I was shocked that there were 9 I had never heard of before (Troilus and Cressida? Cymbeline? Timon of Athens?) plus never hearing of the 2 Lost Plays, or even that some were problem plays. Devising an reading order is the biggest challenge.

I'm currently think mostly-chronological starting with The Gentlemen of Verona and flipping back and forth between comedies, tragedies & histories but ploughing through each of the two histories tetrologies (new word!) without a break, although I'm going to enlist the help of my sister Jamie on the reading order, as she's has a wealth of knowledge in the world of theatre. After reading I'm hoping to watch a film adaptation or see the play live, and I'm sure it's not shock that I'll break the pattern for new film adaptations. I might skip re-reading The Tempest as I just read it in December 2010. I've also found other people are doing this and writing about it like on the Or What You Will blog, so sounds like I'll be able to see & share what the experience is like from different perspectives.

132. Read all the Giller Prize Winners (17 books)
One of the easier lists to compile as this award has only been around since 1994, and for reference "is a literary award given to a Canadian author of a novel or short story collection published in English (including translation) the previous year, after an annual juried competition between publishers who submit entries". The idea here was to read more Canadian fiction, and since I haven't read any of these already I think that's a good goal! I have heard of many of the titles and am familiar with almost all of the authors, so I'm really forward to diving into this one. I may decide to do this one chronologically, but I don't really think it's necessary.

130. Read all the Nebula winning novels & 131. Read all the Hugo winning novels (85 titles as of August 2011)
Hahahaha I had no idea how huge a list this would be and how complicated making the list(s) would get. Complications like:
  • Several of the novels that grace both lists, which often but not always have winning years.
  • Several titles are in series for which they are not the first novel, and the first novel isn't a winner on either list (so, I have to read that too - yes?)
  • Ties for winners happen on occasion, increasing the total.
  • Numerous titles are in part of non-series that are set in the same world/universe(s), where a clear reading order or even whether or not you have to read everything isn't clear enough to distinguish (without potential spoilers). I may have to enlist some science fiction aficionados for help there.
  • I'm slightly concerned about the availability of the titles, but I'm sure I'll come up with a plan, solution or alternative to that.
  • Even though this already feels like a mammoth task I want to add on nominees to the awards as they come out (5 Hugo noms are out), I'm going to resist committing to them although I have requested a few from the library.
But, on the plus side:
  • I've already read 7 titles, which seems a little measly but it drops it under instead of over 80 books to read
  • I'll likely re-read most of those seven as some are my favourite books ever (like Ender's Game), although I likely won't re-read Hyperion or Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire as I read them in 2010.
  • I picked up several of the titles over the years, so those are close at hand.
  • It's an easy choice to read them chronologically as several series have numerous titles that are winners and since the Hugo's first noted winner is in 1953 (Nebula's in 1965), and the library has their first winner The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester so it will be the first.
  • I had a bit of an 'oops-ah-ha' moment while researching when I remembered I like to read fantasy and watch science fiction when I came up with this item, and as there is very little fantasy I'm not quite sure how this will turn out but that's all part of the fun.
* When you put all those together its 192 books & plays, and I have 1 more book reading task on the list that I've not yet tackled: #129 - Find a comprehensive list of Canadian Lit Books & read them. I'm going to be a busy reader. When I get some pictures of the books and decide reading order, or at least formatting, I'll post the actual list of titles.

I had tons of fun researching the tasks and coming up with more lists of the lists this week and it was wild to see already one of the things I wanted started to manifest itself. It's clear I'll be busy watching, reading and thinking which makes me happy already.

And on a last note I've revising the wording of the original list for #113, #130 & #131 to reflect the correct usage and more commonly used terms of Stargate SG-1, Hugo Award for Best Novel and Nebula Award for Best Novel.

Although Planet Shannon will be the home base of the Mega-List, I'm all be talking about it elsewhere so feel free to chat with me on Twitter, my film site Movie Moxie and on Good Reads

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And I'm still in the midst of unpacking. Believe it or not, this is an 'after' picture.