Jake Conrad

Jake Conrad
Blog dedicated to my writing and whatever else I want: movies, games, books, electronics, music, ... anything Jake. The interior of my mind is a mixture of grindhouse, steampunk, Lovecraft, and 80's pop. Be very afraid.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I need a movie Intervention Now!!!

So on a whim I decided to see how many Netflix movies I rented over the last 52 months.  The answer? 749! This made me try to figure out how many movies I have watched over the last few years.  I had to add the 10 movies I have borrowed from the library every  2 weeks for the last 2 years, the 40 movies I have watched Netflix's streaming services since it began and the fact that I have averaged a movie a week in the theater over the last 2 years.  This is a 52 month average of 29 movies a month, or a movie a day.  It may seem that I sound proud of this, but it is more like I am impressed the way you might be impressed watching that little Chinese dude eat 57 hotdogs by dipping them in water.  It is a little sickening... I don't even dare add up the hours.  I'm sure I could have build a pyramid or saved the whales by now had I applied the hours to a more worthy cause, but, whatever.  Anyway, I have made a vow to myself to read more.  About 3 years ago I got interested in Graphic Novels (comic books) and systematically read the highest rated series I was interested in.  When I walk into a book store or library, I have read most of the graphic novels on the shelf.  I have read every Stephen King book, every John Sanford, every Clive Barker (except Imajica), every Neil Gaiman, every Grisham (except the Bleachers), every Crighton, every Peter Mayle, and many others.

Recently, I found a Time Magazine article that listed the 100 best modern novels.  I went through and took out the ones I really couldn't read like Pride and Prejudice and checked off the ones I have already read.  I now have a goal to pick at this list over the next 5 years.  I feel this is a worthy cause and hope to be successful.  I picked up Dicken's Bleak House and Joseph Conrad's Nostromo to start.  I know I won't stop watching movies cold turkey... I will keep my 2 at a time Netflix.  I also have to get a guilty pleasure book every few weeks from the library or I may lose my mind (gots to have my Stephen King now and then.)  Wish me luck in this venture.  If you would like to participate with me, let me know.  I'm not organized enough for a book club, but I would be glad to start a separate blog to discuss the books as we go.

Here is my starting list.  I plan on adding or subtracting as I get deeper into it:

21984 by George Orwellx
3To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Leex
4The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salingerx
5The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkienx
6The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgeraldx
7Animal Farm by George Orwellx
8The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeckx
9Lord of the Flies by William Goldingx
10Brave New World by Aldous Huxleyx
11Great Expectations by Charles Dickensx
12The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twainx
13Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegutx
14The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkienx
15The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewisx
16Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradburyx
17One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Keseyx
18Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeckx
19Frankenstein by Mary Shelleyx
20Ender's Game by Orson Scott Cardx
21Life of Pi by Yann Martelx
22On the Road by Jack Kerouacx
23The Stand by Stephen Kingx
24Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conradx
25Dracula by Bram Stokerx
26The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingwayx
27The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolverx
28For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingwayx
29Siddharta by Hermann Hessex
30Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegutx
31The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brownx
32A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
33 A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
34 A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
35 A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
36 A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
37 A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
38 Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner
39 Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
40 Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
41 As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
42 Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
43 Atonement by Ian McEwan
44 Beloved by Toni Morrison
45 Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
46 Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
47 Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
48 David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
49 Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
50 Dune by Frank Herbert
51 East of Eden by John Steinbeck
52 Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
53 Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
54 His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman
55 I, Claudius by Robert Graves
56 Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
57 Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
58 Light in August by William Faulkner
59 Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
60 Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
62 Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
63 Middlemarch by George Eliot
64 Moby Dick by Herman Melville
65 Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham
66 One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
67 Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov
68 Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust
69 Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
70 The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
71 The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
72 The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
73 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
74 The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
75 The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
76 The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
77 The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky
78 The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
79 The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
80 The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
81 The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
82 The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
83 The Stranger by Albert Camus
84 The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
85 The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
86 The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
87 The Trial by Franz Kafka
88 The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
89 To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
90 Ulysses by James Joyce
91 War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
92 Watership Down by Richard Adams
93 Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Got to go read!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

TV - The Black Hole of Death

I don't understand Television any more.  I don't exactly know when my love of the tube changed, but at some point in the 90's, I quit watching mainstream TV.  If I turn on the television anymore, it is only to watch a random Simpson's episode, a cooking show, or a DIY home improvement show.  From what I can tell here are my reasons:

1) I have less time than in the past and so whatever I choose to do can only last an hour or two.
2) We got rid of our TiVo and I'm too lazy to program our DVR or actually plan my life around a show.
3) We seem to be busy every night of the school/work week.
4) The bedtime circus (as I affectionately refer to the act of putting 3 boys to bed) falls right during prime time.
5) Without a TiVo I don't want to invest myself in a series like Lost when I know I will miss at least one episode.
6) I don't understand why I would forfeit watching a movie with normally a higher caliber of acting, special effects and writing to see something that is just interrupted by commercials.
7) Reality TV that I hate more than Hitler has diffused it's way into every channel.
8) I would rather read than watch TV.
9) I feel that watching a movie adds something to my mind, while watching TV subtracts.
10) I am a snob since I bought an HD TV, HD DVD player, and Blu Ray player and only want to watch something clear that sounds beautiful in surround sound.
11) I can control what I and my kids see in a movie by using the web site "kidsinmind.com" but I have no control over what images pop up during commercials or the tv shows themselves.
12) I have an elitest belief that TV is for dumb people and it makes me feel superior. (just threw that one in to see if you were listening.)
13) The purpose of making a movie is for people to spend money on watching the movie and buying the Blu ray where the purpose of TV is to get people to buy other products.
14) A note to all you video game haters... You wag your fingers and call video games destructive and a waste of time, yet have no problem watching reality tv where people marry midgets for money or eat spiders.  You watch CSI Miami which is about as gory as it gets.  You watch Desperate Housewives and get your jollies.  So unless you have burned your tv, thrown away your romance novels, and stopped buying the SI Swimsuit Issue to ogle the painted on bikinis, then you can't cast stones at me playing a little Rockband.  It may be a waste of time, but not any more than watching 3 football games in a row.