- Watching: After figuring out I was getting overstimulated from watching television while writing, I've started turning off the boob tube. I'm watching less television than I have in a long time, but still manage to keep up with a few programs. Adam and I have been watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and Grimm since they started, and are still current on both. They're fun, (mostly) well-written and light. We also keep up with Boardwalk Empire and are looking forward to the springtime return of Game of Thrones.
- Listening to: I have no music on my phone thanks to Spotify. About a year ago, my five-year-old iPod went belly up and I haven't been able to spring for a new one yet. Since I mainly used it in the car, it hasn't been worth the money to replace. Over the past few months, I've been jamming out to The Strokes, Foals, Young The Giant, Leagues -- all bands that are played regularly at Octane. My coworkers' tastes in music may differ from my own, but they're pretty darn good.
- Planning: One of my goals for this month is to build my blog's visibility and to build a client base for my writing. I have a tentative plan in place of how to achieve both, but it'll take an investment of a good deal of time.
- Looking forward to: Thanksgiving. I'm taking some time off to rest and relax and spend time with Adam while he's off work and out of class. It'll be nice to be able to just hang out and not have to worry about so many things.
- Reading: Cocktail books. Lots of cocktail books.
- Making me happy: My new running shoes are still making me happy and helping to motivate my runs, leading to increased seratonin levels and chemically-induced good feelings. I dig it.
It feels a little silly to condense my current activities into a list while I'm surrounded by other lists that I've made. Somewhere in my red notebook, there's even a list of lists that I need to make or check off. Compulsive list making aside, what follows is a partial list of what I've been up to recently.
Watching: I don't have cable, and up until two months ago, didn't even have rabbit ears for the TV. Most of my television is streamed from Netflix or network websites. Currently, I'm stalled out in the most recent season of "Supernatural" after getting overwhelmed with the volume of commercials on Hulu. Aside from the occasional episode of "No Reservations" or "The Daily Show," I pretty much tune out everything to play on Pinterest.
Listening to: NPR has long dominated my driving time, and still fills most of my commute. Musically, I've been a little stuck on Young The Giant's eponymous album and The Strokes' "Is This It." An odd combo to be sure, but these two bands remind me of a couple of my favorite people.
Reading: I keep picking up "I Am Not A Serial Killer" by Dan Wells, but I just haven't found the time to sit down with it. Wells' debut novel is narrated by John Cleaver, a 15-year-old boy who is obsessed with serial killers. The deceptively simple prose underscores the tension between the boy's understanding of life and the events happening around him. That said, I'm only about 40 pages in. I keep getting distracted by new and exciting blogs I've discovered through Blog Like Crazy.
Planning: I already have a few pages' worth of resolutions for 2013 scribbled in my notebook. Writing more for fun and freelance is at the top of each. Money-wise, I've outlined a budget using the free LearnVest app and website. In my opinion, it's a more user-friendly service than Mint.
Thinking about: After Blog Like Crazy ends, I'd really like to drill down into social media, writing and combinations of the two.
Making me happy: Blog Like Crazy has been a rare opportunity for me to connect with other writers who both inspire me and demonstrate that I have no valid excuses for neglecting my writing. The feedback that I've gotten so far has been incredibly encouraging. I'm hopeful that I'll be able to continue with the same energy and purpose when I'm not writing from prompts.
Title comes from the Cat Game scene in "Super Troopers."
After 30 minutes of conversation, most people learn that I love writing, science, food, beer and music. Give me a little bit more time, and I’ll spill—I listen to a lot of trashy pop music. With an hour to kill in my car every weekday, most of the time is dedicated to filling my NPR fix, but some of it gets eaten by the local Top 40 stations.
In my defense, I work with high schoolers part time. I have recommended new pop songs (most notably Girl Talk, which is great for workouts!) for cheerleaders’ routines and breakups. For others, talking music involves Mutemath, Young the Giant, Jason Isbell and Imagine Dragons. It balances out, right?
Pop music also gave me a way to connect with my peers in high school and college. After many years saturated with Bach, Beethoven and the best bands you’ve never heard of, pop music was my way in. It was easy. Before I knew it, it was the soundtrack for my workouts and drive time.
The lyrics and rhythm of Top 40 music also lend themselves to memes and Star Wars parodies. They also inspired my favorite blog, Snacks and Shit, which I discovered during my John Wesley and the People Called Methodists class a few years back. Suffice it to say that reading through the posts during a lecture on the persecution of Methodists is not the best idea I’ve ever had. Enjoy with discretion.
When it comes down to it, the music is a break. In those moments, I get to shut down the part of my brain that moves at 290 m/s from the other bits that actually function rationally. Though I love NPR, I yell myself hoarse pretty regularly on national political matters. Pop music lets me escape to a world where it’s “complicated,” but after three minutes, something new cycles through.
These little breaks give me the mental space I need to do (all of) my jobs. It allows me to crawl out of my head and connect with people I wouldn’t before. It may be a deeply guilty pleasure, but it’s mine. All mine.
Title from an Architecture in Helsinki song.