Sunday, January 13, 2013

34/24 < 50/50 :-(

A retrospective

In 2012 I fell short of my 50/50 goal by 16 books and 26 movies; not terribly impressive. Numbers like that yield no medal, no ribbon, no fat corporate sponsorships, but merely a small mention in the local newspaper, and then only because I paid for it.

In the face of abject failure, the best question we can ask is, “Who can I blame?” These days the answer to that is, “just about anybody.” But the second best question, and the one we’ll be addressing here is, “What did we learn from this?”

We--and I’m using the royal “we”, as there is only one of us--learned that we aren’t really big on movies. Socially speaking, this is akin to not liking pizza, or not being on Facebook, or worse, not “liking” pizza on Facebook. But there it is, a stark truth--I tend not to like movies.

Not entirely a revelation, as movies have long not been my favorite pastime, but until I was challenged with watching many, many films did I realize that I avoid doing so. The “time spent/enjoyment found” ratio rarely pays off.

So what were these awful movies I watched?

Of the total twenty-four films, half were children’s movies that I viewed with my kids. I did like the majority of these--none were actually awful--but a big part of that is simply the pleasure of spending time with my children, laughing and curling up on the sofa. I’m not terribly critical of children’s movies; I understand when I’m not part of the target audience.

Of the remaining half, I rated four movies good, five okay, and three bad. Of the three “bad” movies, “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” earned special distinction as a film that should be prescribed only by doctors as a powerful emetic.

Thus, two-thirds of the time I spent watching “big person” movies, I wasn’t really enjoying myself. Part way through the year I realized I would never, ever, ever, hit 50 movies. I reached a point where I simply wasn’t willing. Goal or not, I decided to spend my time otherwise.

What of the books, then? Of the thirty-four read, I enjoyed thirty-two, with the remaining two being “okay.” None were “bad.” Several of the books I absolutely loved. Many taught me things I didn’t know and some changed my perspective. A much better return on time invested.

What, then, for 50/50 in 2013?

Book-wise, the plan going forward is to continue following the bloodlines of two mystery authors who are writing series I enjoy, but likely not pick up any additional mysteries. Instead I’m going to expand the variety this year based on recommendations I’m collecting from various sources: friends, twitter, magazines, and the like. I’ll probably more actively scout books from other 50/50 participants as well. Expect a few more “youth” titles also; I may pad my total with shorter books that my younger kids are reading, though I’ll try to keep it below a certain level of shamelessness.

I am, then, trying to hit 50 books in 2013.

And the movies? I feel a bit guilty about this, and question whether I should officially sign up for the 50/50 challenge this year. It developed in 2012, and it remains today: an unwillingness to spend the time required to watch 50 movies.

That said, I’m signing up with the intent to improve, using a two-fold approach:
--I need to discern better what movies I tend to like, so I don’t feel like I’m wasting time.
--I should watch movies in smaller portions, rather than attempt to watch each film in one sitting, as large blocks of time are hard to find.

Forward, then. Wish me luck.

I'm tracking my 50/50 progress on Pinterest. Have any book or movie recommendations? Please let me know!