As for the pesky New Year's Resolutions mumbo jumbo, every year I sentence myself to the same things: Read more, write more, run more. Then I throw in some vague shit just to make it interesting, like "Do an intensive study of something new every month!"
Anyway, here's what I've been making, watching and reading.
Hoppin' John: I think I tried making this on New Year's Day a few years ago, but I don't remember a lick of it. Anyway, this was good except that I touched ham while making it. Have you ever studied a refrigerator of ham at your local grocery store? If you think about it too hard it can really get gross.
Anyway, this was good.
Girls: The Complete First Season While it's been the year of Lena Dunham, my only access to her has been her super-weird and great indie flick "Tiny Furniture." This HBO series is four 20-somethings in NYC, presumably a much more accurate presentation of this time and place and, holy Hannah (literally) is it great. It's filled with exactly the kind of funny situations and dialogues that a few clever 20-something women could really go riff-crazy writing. (I'm thinking specifically of a scene where Dunham's character Hannah freaks out about the stuff what comes out the side of the condom).
Verdict: I can get on board with Lena Dunham. But I'm not above giggling when she has a snit over her book proposal appearing on Gawker.
Switched at Birth: Volume One I started watching this ABC Family series about two girls (one arty and upper class, the other deaf, athletic and from ABC Family's version of a rough area) who are switched in the hospital and go on to live with their non-birth parents for 16 years as sort of an investigative project and then I became obsessed with the show and watched all 30 episodes of the first season.
I think this is actually a really good, really well-done show (despite Lea Thompson) that really gives a voice to life as a deaf person. It includes ASL and subtitles. And the plot is gooey and delicious like lots of plots on ABC Family.
Parenthood: This started out as a way to get through workouts on the treadmill 42 minutes at a time and ended up being something I stopped watching at the YMCA and started watching on my couch. The show's pull was just. too. powerful. I'm still not sure why I watched every season, or what the particular draw is, or if I'll just watch anything. (Which I suspect).
Portlandia: Season 2: Here is how I feel about "Portlandia": My initial response is that I love it. It's hilarious. But really I only like about 25-50 percent of it and the rest of it, while still clever, is just bores right into your brain in a really annoying way. This is also a problem because you have to watch every episode back-to-back and you can't step away from it.
TIME OUT FOR A RANDOM PHOTO
2 Days in New York Hm. I really liked this. It's by the actor from "Before Sunrise" and "After Sunset" and it's this weird little Woody Allen-esque movie about a single weekend when a woman's family comes to visit her in NYC from France. The second weirdest thing is that I really liked Chris Rock, who stars as her longtime boyfriend. Although, 100 years ago I used to be really into Chris Rock.
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation: We watched this instead of "Gremlin's" for Christmas this year.
The Dark Knight Rises: And this is how we spent New Year's Eve. I kept drawing parallels to Star Wars; Chuck kept drawing parallels to Rocky 4.
Can't Buy Me Love: I love when you can watch a movie and know that when you saw it the first time, your biggest problem was that your mom wouldn't let you own a pair of Jelly Shoes.
That's Not a Feeling by Dan Josefson: A suicidal teen is tricked into residency at a behavioral school in a mansion in the middle of nowhere where students are taught an entirely new psychology and language. It's kind of funny, but not funny enough.
Full review here.
How the Light Gets In by MJ Hyland: A 16-year-old girl becomes a foreign exchange student in Chicago to try to escape her terrible life in Australia. Except she can't stop doing things that upset the balance in the suburban house where she is placed.
This was a great intro to a writer I will now always be watching for new stuff. Full review here.
As I Lay Dyingby William Faulkner: You probably read this in high school. I didn't. But it was worth the wait. So great.
Full review will be here.
Carry Me Downby MJ Hyland: This is the better known book by MJ Hyland and it is a real piece of work. There is something off with the main character, a very tall young boy who lives to get his knack for lie detection in the Guinness Book. Meanwhile, some really strange shit he barely understands is going on between his parents.
Such confusing times. Full review will be here.
Never Mind: Book One of the Patrick Melrose Novelsby Edward St. Aubyn: This story of a day in the life of some upper class English people who are super awful is like my favorite thing I've read in forevs. Mind. Blown.
Full review will be here.
*I'm still having headaches. Now it's being called a tension headache, and it does fit that descriptor, too. I had a massage recently and it seemed so close to being cured if only the massager had slightly more powerful thumbs. They are still constant, but they have lessened in intensity. Having these headaches makes me want to sit around and watch TV. Sitting around and watching TV makes it hurt worse. There's the rub.