The Pile

bookpileI’ve long since accepted that I’ll never consume all the media in the world, but lately I’ve become skeptical that I’ll be able to consume all the media on my desk.

I’ve got a healthy penchant for wanting to read things, which I indulge through impulse buying. This means that for a good time now I’ve had a backlog of books I’ve been meaning to get around to. If I had a pile of them on my desk, that would be one thing. But no, what I have are four piles, with what must be at least ten thousand pages between them. Possibly many more. And with my current schedule of work, workouts, and socializing I’m lucky if I can get through fifty pages a day.

Yet if those physical books were all I was dealing with, I would still consider my page debt somewhat within reason. However if you look at my phone notes you’ll find another list of books I intend to purchase once I’ve gotten through the ones looming over me as I type this. Plus, as was clearly necessary to get into this situation in the first place, I have a habit of picking up whatever strikes my fancy. So while I finished Blood Meridian on the way back from San Francisco, I also bought the considerably longer The Golem and the Jinni when I stopped by Booksmith (a crazy cool little shop on Haight street where you can still find signed copies of The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Go purchase them. I might have done so myself, but I already have seven. As in, seven signed copies. Yes I am that bad, even though five are for other people). Like an irresponsible student loan, my page debt only grows deeper.

AH, but then we must consider that I’m no mere bibliophile. My media appetite is all consuming, so if you’ll explore my computer’s hard drive and some of my shelf you’ll find several hundred issues of comic books I intend to read. These go by faster, but I’ve managed to pick up so many that we’re still looking at many, many hours to get through it all. And naturally, there are comics I also wish to get around to and who am I kidding before I sat down to type this I got an Amazon shipment containing Alan Moore’s Promethea and Grant Morrison’s Flex Mentallo. Wonderful.

But wait, of course there’s more. Television, you see, is a great love of mine. I’m currently making my way through Freaks and Geeks by my lonesome, while group watching Hannibal and introducing friends to Veronica Mars. Plus there’s the so-far-fairly-shit final season of Dexter, and when all this is done, wouldn’t you know it, there’s a note on my phone titled “Necessary TV shows I haven’t seen”, containing the names of eight series or—and I’ve just done the math on this one—roughly 380 episodes, give or take a day or two of my life.

I also watch movies.

I’m aware this isn’t really something to complain about, and in fact I should be celebrating. I love this stuff. I’m going to have a great time experiencing all of these stories, and won’t regret a bit of it.

But wow, there’s a lot out there. And being anything close to well-versed in the culture I thrive on is no small commitment. Between this, a summer job, and my dependency on hanging out with friends, I’m sad to say my own writing has fallen catastrophically by the wayside these past few weeks. I know it’s something I’ll be correcting (huzzah to a comfortable fall schedule made up of creative writing classes), but for now I’m just tallying up all I have to get through and asking myself: Why the hell am I even taking the time to blog about it?


EDIT: I actually wrote this whole thing and somehow forgot about video games. *sigh*, yeah, those too. The Last of Us, Borderlands 2, Deadly Premonition, Hotline Miami, Thomas was Alone, and The Walking Dead: 400 Days. Let’s just call that around a hundred additional hours? I don’t know, I’m trying to do all of the side missions in BL2 and it’s taking a (very fun) eternity. Haven’t played it in months, though.


Casts, Columns, and Catch-Up

Well hey there blog and the people who read it. Been a while, mostly because my need to discuss media has been channeled elsewhere for the past few weeks. This semester I’m working as a columnist for The Daily Trojan, with an article running every Friday in a series called “Fandomination.” Here’s a piece on Whedon, for instance. There are five or six others, so far. It’s fairly basic, informational stuff so that people who aren’t already indoctrinated with devotion to the things I love can learn a little and, hopefully, check it all out for themselves.

More exciting, though, is something new I’ve started with a few friends—The Post Credits Podcast. We talk about newly released movies, though we’ll branch out whenever we have something else we’d like to discuss. It’s been really fun so far, and I think it’s genuinely enjoyable to listen to if you’re open to this sort of thing. I’ve spent a lot of time listening to podcasts like this, and there’s no question that I’ve wanted to try my own hand at doing one for quite a while. It’s very fortunate that I have like-minded friends to do it with, and so far I’m pretty happy with the content. Hopefully a lot more to come. If you’re at all interested, check it out! Even better—rate, review, and subscribe to us on iTunes. Oh, and any emails sent to will get discussed on the show.

Beyond that, everything’s been going well. Breaking Bad was excellent. Fall TV is back in force. Movies are starting to live up to my expectations after a largely disappointing summer season. I’m making my way through a giant stack of literature that I’m sure I’ll write about in depth here as I progress. Just finished season three of Buffy last night, and I’ll have thoughts on that posted soon.

So that’s what’s new with me.

My Last Month in Media

Well I haven’t posted in what feels like forever, and that’s just embarrassing. I wish I could say it’s because I’ve had nothing to talk about, but no, there was plenty of media that I could have been analyzing over the past few weeks. So to make up for that, here’s a summary of everything I’ve been reading/watching/playing/thinking about over the past month or so.

I actually watched Homeland at the same time that I went through The Walking Dead, and I’m almost guilty that I gave that show it’s own post because, while more popular, it’s nowhere near as good. Homeland isn’t perfect, but it’s deeply compelling stuff that doesn’t get quite the recognition it deserves because it just barely misses the top tier of quality TV—certainly nothing to be ashamed of considering what else is on air now. Eight years ago, Homeland would be all anyone talked about.

I really should have done some sort of reaction piece to Dark Knight Rises, which is the single most disappointing viewing experience I’ve ever had. The film wasn’t terrible; it just had so many unbelievable elements that I never thought Nolan would let slip through the cracks. I expect more from a structural genius like him. My full review here. It was thankfully a lot more fun on a second viewing, but still way too stupid. BONUS FACT: I do the worst Bane impression ever.

Beasts of the Southern Wild was enjoyable, if only because the main girl is the cutest child ever to appear in a movie.

On the opposite end of the indy wholesomeness spectrum, Killer Joe is one of the best films of the year, and one of the most disturbing things I’ve ever seen. After the insanity of the last fifteen minutes, I’ll never be able to look at Matthew McConaughey or fried chicken the same way again.

I’ve been very slowly reading Chronicles of the Black Company, and I appreciate what it’s trying to do (a pitch black war story with no good guys in a fantasy setting) but it just hasn’t grabbed me. Not sure if I’ll read more after finishing the first installment.

The Pillowman by Martin McDonagh will get its own post at some point. It’s too relevant to everything I believe not to—likely I’ll revisit it around the release of McDonagh’s next film, Seven Psychopaths, which looks phenomenal.

I’ve been told plenty of times over the last couple of years that I really shouldn’t have missed out on Red Dead Redemption, Rockstar’s Old West take on their celebrated sandbox video games, so I finally got the chance to play that, and it more than lived up to the hype with a great world, characters, story, and gameplay that all came together to set a standard for western games that likely won’t be improved upon for a long time. Haven’t played the Undead Nightmare expansion yet, but I’m obviously looking forward to it.

Breaking Bad is taking over my life. Recapping it every week here and have more or less arrived at the point where a third of my conversations are about how freaking good it is. Only two more episodes this year, so let’s hope they’re brilliant enough to hold us over till the latter half of the season.

And of course there’s been plenty of entertainment news, but the one thing that really made me stand up and cheer was the confirmation that Joss Whedon has signed on to write and direct Avengers 2, while overseeing the entire Phase 2 of Marvel’s cinematic universe. It’s going to be a fine few years at the movies.

Once upon a time…

…Someone tried to explain something. And just like that, storytelling was born. Myth and religion were close to follow, forever solidifying things people make up out of their heads as part of the human experience. Then there was agriculture and so forth, expansion, migration, blah blah blah, civilization, war, art and all that good stuff, philosophy, science, genocide, nations, industrialization, and then things progressed very quickly leaving us more or less where we are now: Globalized, plugged in, strung out, and no less in love with those stories than we were when walking upright was still pretty novel.

That must make them pretty important. I certainly care about them, at least, so I’m doing that which countless others have done before and many more will do after: I’m Starting a Blog. So help me.

The subject will be that which I most enjoy discussing, and genuinely think I have a worthwhile perspective in regards to: Story. Narrative. Fiction. Whatever you call it, wherever it is, however I happen to be experiencing, creating, or thinking about it, that’s what I’ll discuss here. So yes, a lot of this will be geeking out about things that I have a nerdy interest in. I’m more than a little aware that I’m not the first person to discuss such things on the internet. I’m starting this blog anyway, though, because I care so very much about our culture and the stories we tell. They’ve mattered to me my whole life, and will matter until the day I die. I love it all, and consider our stories hugely important to who we are as a people. I hope very much that my devotion shines through and makes this little offshoot of a site into something special. We’ll see what happens.

Who knows? Maybe this will be one of those beginnings that people look back on. Maybe it’s the start of something.