Posted by: Mark | August 13, 2018

Resolution Update 32

Rough week but not too bad. The doctor on Thursday may make this week much worse.

1.   Run 730 miles: 5.7 miles on the elliptical, 5.6 on the treadmill for 220.5 miles for the year.

2.  5,000 push ups and 8,000 leg lifts: 616 push ups and 350 leg lifts. I struggled through both this week, my first successful leg lifts since March.

3.  Lose 26 pounds: Serious weight loss for a week, but overall a gain of 3.5 pounds for the year.

4.  Send out 100 resumes: three.

5. Send out 50 manuscripts: 36.

6. Write 60,000 words and five new stories: 23,247 words and six new stories.

7. Visit five new libraries: four–the Wyoming, Price Hill and Clifton branches of the Cincinnati Library, and the Alexandria branch of Campbell County.

8. Read ten new H.P. Lovecraft stories: Complete

“Celephais,”
“The Other Gods,”
“The Moon-Bog,”
”The Street,”
”The Doom That Came to Sarnath,”
“Polaris,”
“The Alchemist,”
“The Music of Erich Zann,”
“Dreams in the Witch House,” and
“The White Ship.”

9.  Read 12 works: Complete.

Finished James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as A Young Man,
Shakespeare’s long poetry,
Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine,
Virgil’s Aeneid,
Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God,
Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart,
Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire, and
Plautus’s Comedy of Asses, The Haunted House, Curculio, The Pot of Gold, and The Captives

10. 301 blog posts: this is 180.

11. Read Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery and Other Stories. Complete.

12. Read Camus’ The Stranger. Complete.

13. Read James Joyce’s Dubiners. Complete.

14. Read H.P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness. Complete.

15. Read C.S Lewis’s Out of the Silent Planet: Complete.

16. Read The Shadow over Innsmouth, The Dunwich Horror, and The Colour out of Space. Complete.

17. Read The Canterbury Tales. Complete.

18. Read Robert Chamber’s The King in Yellow, H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Haunter in the Dark,” “The Whisperer of the Darkness,” and “The Shadow Out of Time.” Complete.

19. Read Moliere’s The Misanthrope and The Would-Be Gentleman. Complete.

20. Read the Gormenghast trilogy: finished the first two novels and into the third.

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Posted by: Mark | August 10, 2018

Completion List: Ghosted

When I first started with completionist business, it was a lot harder. I had to stay up until 2:00 a.m. to watch an episode of Star Trek or The Twilight Zone that I’d never seen before. Many times I stayed up only for a different episode to air. Then came programmable VCRs and later Blockbuster started renting episodes of a few shows on VHS. When DVDs came around, I thought it couldn’t get better.

Then last week I watched every episode of Ghosted partially because I was too lazy to look for a different show. Ghosted had its strong points but I wouldn’t have put the effort into watching all 16 of its episodes as I did with The Twilight Zone’s 156.

Ghosted was basically a parody of The X-Files or Kolchak: two mismatched partners investigating paranormal activity.

Adam Scott and Craig Robinson starred as the involuntary investigators. The show pretty much hinged on their acting and timing. The writing was so uneven most actors would have thrown in the towel but the two of them were still giving their all through the final episode. They deserved better.

In the first few episodes, they went to paranormal crime scenes. Besides their boss, an attractive co-worker, and a wacky doctor, the other people they worked with were of no importance. The monsters they encountered were low-budget, like pre-80s Doctor Who. Fox was clearly not providing enough cash.

Midway through the series, someone from The Office took over and everything changed. The main characters rarely left the office, their co-workers suddenly became more instrumental to the series, their boss was replaced by a skeptic named Merv, and the attractive co-worker was abruptly shipped from Adam to Craig.

Vampire cats and monsters were replaced by conspiracies and time travel. It wasn’t a huge drop in quality, just a disarmingly different type of show.

The penultimate episode had the team leave the office to investigate a time traveling airplane. Adam and Craig were fired at the end and it seemed as if a U.S. official was set up as the main villain.

In the final episode, everything changed again. The firing was ignored, the old boss was back in charge without explanation, aliens were the main focus, and the attractive co-worker didn’t like either of them.

The new narrative was that aliens were invading the Earth across multiple dimensions. Scenes from various other Earths were depicted with stock disaster footage.

My son had been watching Mystery Science Theater 3000 earlier and the show spoofed, Commander Cody, used stock footage in virtually the same way. (This is, no joke, a step down from Ed Wood’s use of stock footage.)

If Ghosted had shown a picture of Merv among the parallel worlds, it would have explained away the difference in the show’s formats in a quick, cheap method. But they didn’t. The changes were never explained or even acknowledged.

All in all, I liked some of the jokes but Ghosted seemed like a work in progress, not a finished product. I hope both Adam Scott and Craig Robinson get better roles in the future.

Posted by: Mark | August 9, 2018

Gormenghast

After 807 pages, I have finished Mervyn Peake’s Titus Groan and Gormenghast. I have the last book, Titus Alone, to go. I don’t know where the story is going because the villain was killed off. I’ve never read anything like this.

Posted by: Mark | August 8, 2018

Bright Side

The doctor took his sweet time yesterday but at least I lost 8.5 since my last weigh in. That’s still up 9.2 pounds for the year.

Posted by: Mark | August 7, 2018

Over Half Hour

I have lost my will to live.

Fish, Si!
Bad tv, No!

Posted by: Mark | August 7, 2018

Missing Fish

Now it’s The Waltons.

How many years have I been here?

Posted by: Mark | August 7, 2018

No Fish

Waiting at the doctor’s office again. There’s no fish tank but the television is blaring Matlock.

Maybe I’m not waiting longer but it feels that way.

Posted by: Mark | August 6, 2018

Eccentricities

A good quote from Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast:  (One of the closest to normal characters is fascinated by a killer’s behavior. Another is not.)

“Not so Flay. An eccentric himself he despised and abhorred any form of eccentricity in others and what he was now witnessing had the effect of all but blinding him with a kind of bourgeois rage.”

I’ve noticed this rage in people who I thought should have been sympathetic. To be honest, I’ve felt it myself at times.

Posted by: Mark | August 6, 2018

Resolution Update 31

Better week than last.

1.   Run 730 miles: 10.0 miles on the elliptical, 5.5 on the treadmill for 209.2 miles for the year.

2.  5,000 push ups and 8,000 leg lifts: 580 push ups and 325 leg lifts.

3.  Lose 26 pounds: Gained even more. The doctor rescheduled my visit. I’ll find out tomorrow.

4.  Send out 100 resumes: three.

5. Send out 50 manuscripts: 36.

6. Write 60,000 words and five new stories: 23,038 words and six new stories.

7. Visit five new libraries: four–the Wyoming, Price Hill and Clifton branches of the Cincinnati Library, and the Alexandria branch of Campbell County.

8. Read ten new H.P. Lovecraft stories: Complete

“Celephais,”
“The Other Gods,”
“The Moon-Bog,”
”The Street,”
”The Doom That Came to Sarnath,”
“Polaris,”
“The Alchemist,”
“The Music of Erich Zann,”
“Dreams in the Witch House,” and
“The White Ship.”

9.  Read 12 works: Complete.

Finished James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as A Young Man,
Shakespeare’s long poetry,
Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine,
Virgil’s Aeneid,
Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God,
Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart,
Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire, and
Plautus’s Comedy of Asses, The Haunted House, Curculio, The Pot of Gold, and The Captives

10. 301 blog posts: this is 168.

11. Read Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery and Other Stories. Complete.

12. Read Camus’ The Stranger. Complete.

13. Read James Joyce’s Dubiners. Complete.

14. Read H.P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness. Complete.

15. Read C.S Lewis’s Out of the Silent Planet: Complete.

16. Read The Shadow over Innsmouth, The Dunwich Horror, and The Colour out of Space. Complete.

17. Read The Canterbury Tales. Complete.

18. Read Robert Chamber’s The King in Yellow, H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Haunter in the Dark,” “The Whisperer of the Darkness,” and “The Shadow Out of Time.” Complete.

19. Read Moliere’s The Misanthrope and The Would-Be Gentleman. Complete.

20. Read the Gormenghast trilogy: finished the first novel and almost finished with the second.

Posted by: Mark | August 3, 2018

Mayfly

I have a tough time identifying insects but I’m pretty sure this is a mayfly of some sort. Unlike advanced insects like beetles, mayflies have only three stages: egg, nymph, and adult.

Adult mayflies only live for a matter of hours. What the heck was it wasting its time on the window?

Maybe it could ask the same of me.

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