After writing my last post, I watched two movies on Netflix — Shallow Ground and King Of Kong.
(Please forgive me up front — I am almost certainly going to mis-type Shallow Ground as Shallow Grave at some point. If you haven’t see it, Shallow Grave is a fine psychological thriller. Highly recommended. But here I am talking about Shallow Ground!)
The Netflix blurb on Shallow Ground had me thinking it would be a pretty standard serial killer crime drama, but boy was I ever wrong! Within the first half hour I was trying to decide which of the following things was afoot: time travel, hallucinations, and/or magic. None of those, as it turns out. More like “unexplained supernatural happening.” Anyway, the movie had a decent and fairly original premise, but it didn’t do a good job of running with it. It wasn’t predictable, so that part was good. It was just a bit ham-fisted and heavy handed with some of the ominous music, and it spent way too much time showing the same things over and over (blood running up or down various objects). It also kind of spelled things out for you a bit too much. Long after I had figured out what was going on, the movie was still trying to explain it, just in case someone had slept through the first half of the movie. One thing I *did* like is that the movie never attempted to explain *why* the supernatural stuff was happening in the first place. I never like it when a movie tries to do some hand-waving or pseudo-science to explain everything and present the audience with a neat, complete package. Too often it feels unrealistically tacked on, just to stave off viewer questions. Personally, I like having questions after a movie is over. That’s why I’m glad, for example, that Inception ended the way that it did. Or The Sopranos.
Also, one pretty unrealistic (to me) point. Let’s say you’re a police officer, at a police station, with an unarmed citizen sitting at a table, not doing anything threatening. Suddenly you psychically become aware that this person has committed terrible crimes in the past. Let’s assume that you are actually convinced of this — you don’t have any doubts about it, you are completely convinced this is true. What do you do:
- Begin an investigation of the crimes you saw in your vision, so you can get justice served
- Preemptively arrest the dude, hoping that you’ll be able to collect enough evidence to justify your actions.
- Immediately, without warning, and with another police officer watching nearby, empty your revolver into him as he sits with his back to you.
If you chose option 3, then maybe I’m wrong about it being unrealistic.
ANYWAY, it got 3 stars. The originality was balanced by the negative points described above.
King Of Kong was good. It’s a documentary about competitive classic video game players, primarily focused on two men vying for the world Donkey Kong record. Yes, another entry in the “documentaries about people who are obsessed with obscure or nontraditional things” genre. I do not say that with hatred in my heart — I usually enjoy these. But every one has to devote some amount of time convincing the audience that, yes, there are actually people who take this stuff that seriously. I think at this point, people should no longer be surprised by that sort of thing. If you can think of it, someone is probably obsessed with it.
Anyway, the movie definitely paints one of the guys as underhanded and manipulative (although it falls short of calling him a cheater outright), so you’re meant to cheer for the other guy (a sensitive, forthright, honest family man). Without doing further research outside of the documentary, it’s hard to know how accurate of those characterizations are. You definitely find yourself rooting for the supposed “good guy”, which is made all the easier by the ridiculous mullet that the other guy sports, to say nothing of his American flag necktie.
One thing this documentary taught me was that I’ve obviously not spent very much time playing Donkey Kong, or I was very bad at it. I didn’t recognize any of the levels after the very first screen. I am 90% sure I’ve gotten past the first screen, but if so, I have no memory of it. From watching some of the stuff you have to face in the game, I can see why the world records for this game last for such a long time. Apart from the fact that not many people are working on breaking them, I mean. This game is really hard once you get past the beginning!
Anyway, it was an amusing documentary, probably more so if you have fondness for video games. Four stars.
After watching the movies and reading a bit (currently reading Blaze by Stephen King), I decided to sleep. While drifting off I contemplated my lack of motivation and excessive sleep. I decided that one problem was that I’d wake up every day with no plan in place, just figuring that I’d do whatever I wanted to do that day. The problem has been that this results in me not wanting to do anything. I’ll wake up at 1pm or 2pm or 3pm, feed the cats, drink a smoothie, have a cup of coffee, and then think about what to do. Maybe I should reply to the OKCupid messages which are piling up… No, that requires me to read through their profiles, decide if the person is a realistic potential partner, make an effort to be funny but also serious enough that my message has some substance, be sure to also ask questions about them to give them something to which to reply, etc… Makes me tired thinking about it. Okay then, maybe I should write a blog entry. But what can I write about? I’ve done nothing of interest, and again, there’s the need to at least be funny, and perhaps say something of substance. So…no. Okay, what about the softball web page programming project? Well, for that I first need to decide what language I’ll be using, and what format the data files will be in, or will I be using MySQL instead, and what exactly do I want this program to do — is it going to generate static HTML files, or will I try to implement a dynamic web page of some kind? Again, I’m overwhelmed by the possibilities and the work involved. Fine then — maybe I should finally get around to fixing the doors in front of the washer and dryer. But I’m not sure exactly how to do that. I’d need to examine them to see if I can figure out how they’re supposed to be attached to their tracks. And do I need to buy parts at Home Depot to fix them? How will I know? This seems like a lot of work too. And so on, until thinking about stuff makes me feel tired, and I think a nap is a good idea. And there’d be some associated feelings of depression/hopelessness, since I can recognize this pattern in my life.
So when drifting off to sleep, I decided that I need to not just recognize this pattern. I’m seeing my therapist on Wednesday, so I thought that I could talk to her about it. And I probably will. But as is often the case, just imagining how I’d tell her about it made me imagine her potential responses. And the bottom line is that it is up to me to make an effort to get out of this pattern. Sure, recognizing it and understanding it are good, but where do I go next? I resolved to set some goals for myself for today. This took the “thinking about what to do” out of the equation — I didn’t get to think about it, because I’d already decided what needed to be done. Today was a modest goal — go through my backlog of OKCupid messages. I’ve done that. So the proof of concept seems sound. And just making myself do that has given me a bit of energy, hence this blog post. I’m going to make a real effort to document more things in the blog here, particularly things that are bothering me (like my pattern of idleness). I want to force myself to confront these things, so that the ball is totally in my court to address them. Sure, it sucks that, for whatever reason (biochemistry?), I have a great life but still suffer from depression-related issues. But wallowing in self-pity is a dead end road.
Oh, music is also key. If I can make myself listen to music, it will usually change my mood for the better. Trouble is, when I’m in a low energy state, listening to such music isn’t always appealing. Once again, I need to override my inertia and just make myself do it. That seems to be the key with me in general — making decisions and sticking to them, even if I have no desire to do so at the time.
Time for softball. We’ve got a double-header. Should be cold, but fun!