February 2015

When I fell out of the habit of regularly blogging late last year, and then decided (kind of) to fall back into it, I wasn’t planning on that being only a once-a-month thing. And yet, maybe that’s what this blog is now: a recap, or re-evaluation, of the month. Twitter (and very occasionally, rarely) Facebook for my day-to-day life, and this for the “hey, that sure was a month” look back.

I honestly don’t know.

But okay, using last month’s post as a model, here’s that recap.

In February, I read just one book, Authority by Jeff VanderMeer. I’m most of the way through Acceptance, the third and final book in his “Southern Reach” trilogy. It’s been a weird ride, and although relatively short, the books have been taking me a little longer to get through than I’d expected.

In February, I saw only four movies. Two of these were this year’s biggest Oscar contenders, Boyhood and Birdman. I found both of them terrific…and both of them disappointing. They were kind of weird movies to attach so much Oscar-night passion around. Boyhood is technically more of a marvel, since there really hasn’t been another film made in this way before. But it’s equally more and less than this gimmick. The way that it was filmed sometimes revealing subtle story beats, unexpected moments, but it also often very little time for character development.

Not that Birdman fares terrifically well in this regard either. It’s a phenomenally well acted movie, and the direction is a great showcase for that acting. But I think it would be a mistake to think the film has anything to actually say about acting. It looks great, and everyone in is good, but it felt really hollow at its center.

Then again, the movie I saw between the two of those was Soylent Green, which was profoundly disappointing. (Spoiler warning: it may very well be people.) Yep, I spent my Valentine’s Day watching a crummy, badly dated Charlton Heston sci-fi movie. On the other hand, Edward G. Robinson — in his 101st and final film — is actually really good in it, so it wasn’t a total wash.

At least the last movie I saw in February was Big Hero 6, which is just a pure delight through and through.

In February, I read thirty-two short stories. I’m keeping to my one-a-day plan, only with the occasional panicked realization that a day is almost over and I haven’t read one yet. It’s been really good, and I’ve encountered some great fiction because of it. Here are some favorites:

In February, my parents were away for a few weeks, and I was house and dog-sitting for all that time. So I didn’t end up doing a lot of after-work activity.

I did finish my online writing course with Cat Rambo, getting a lot of really great and useful feedback on my second of two workshopped stories. (The feedback on the first story was good, too, but I’m a lot closer to revising and finishing the second.) We’re going to continue the group beyond the class, starting tomorrow, so we’ll see how that goes. I have a couple of flash pieces out for consideration right now, three pieces that are expected to appear sometime this year, and overall the writing is going okay. Maybe not gangbusters, but better than in years past.

In February, I went to another KGB Fantastic Fiction reading — there’s even photographic proof this time. I felt like I probably should, given that one of the readers, Mike Allen, recently accepted one of my stories for Mythic Delirium. (I was also a big fan of the other reader, Ben Loory’s, story collection.) So I had to do some schedule-maneuvering to make it happen, but it was definitely worth going.

In February, I went on campus twice, like I have to do three times each semester for work. I haven’t figured out which local school I’ll hit up next, but maybe I’ll wait until at least some of the snow has melted.

In February, I was in a car accident. It was minor, all things considered, and we both just lost side mirrors, but it wasn’t exactly fun. Because it was a collision, and the insurance had to be involved, it took a little longer to get the car fixed than it might have otherwise. But everything seems to have worked out. And while I also unexpectedly had to have a flat tire replaced on the car yesterday afternoon, that’s hopefully the most I’ll need to have fixed on it for a while.

In February, I again listened to some music:

And I think that was pretty much February.