I’ve been neglecting this blog a bit, which I don’t mean to do, because I enjoy keeping it. I’d like to say I’ve been neglecting it because I’m focusing on more ambitious writing projects, but that’s not the case. I’ve been thinking about more ambitious writing projects, but that’s as far as I usually seem to get. I’m torn between thinking I need to be more of a goal-setter, or just accept my essential laziness as part of who I am. I tend to combine the type A feeling that I should be getting something done with the type B resistance to actually doing anything ambitious as long as I’m reasonably content. Or maybe that’s unfair to type B’s. But basically it’s not that like I (usually) have anybody telling me I should be more ambitious, so I’m inflicting stress on myself. I suspect the real solution is to commit to fewer things, which I can realistically accomplish and actually want to do. And then stop whining about it.

Speaking of setting achievable goals, I had an epiphany a few years ago when I was working as an adjunct professor at 3 different campuses and paying exorbitant rent to live in an ‘apartment’ in some guy’s basement: if you plan to spend a weekend working and actually spend it watching the first round of the NCAA basketball tournament, that is failure. But if you plan your schedule weeks in advance with the goal of watching the entire first round of the tournament with no distractions, and you actually manage to do this, it’s an accomplishment. So I did do this, that year, and I’m still kind of convinced that I was rewarded by one of the obscure schools where I was teaching going to the Final Four. George Mason wasn’t even supposed to be in that tournament. A lot of people arrived on campus the Monday after we made the Sweet Sixteen, aware for the first time that the school had a basketball team. It was a good time.

Anyway, I planned this year around doing basically the same thing, taking Thursday and Friday off work. But I don’t really have an obscure school to pull for, so I went into this weekend thinking I would actually get things done (with basketball on in the background). And, ehh, you know how that goes. Though it’s not really basketball’s fault. I’ve accomplished some reading (including Strangers in Paradise for the Fantastic Fangirls (Comic) Book Club — there’s still time if you want to read along! –and a week’s worth of comics. Whatever else I was going to accomplish reading-wise got sucked into the vortex of Twilight. It’s NPR’s fault for suggesting this, and I can’t believe I’m still only 60% done with it (according to Kindle). I’m not sorry I’m doing it (I’ve been able to have some fun commenting via Twitter), not because the book is good but because secondhand commentary hadn’t really helped me appreciate the precise ways in which it’s bad. I just can’t help feeling like something that insubstantial should be, well, shorter. And I was vowing I would only try the first book, but have been besieged by people telling me that it gets so much better (“and by so much better I mean so much worse”) afterwards. Plus, both of the extant movies are somehow on my Netflix queue. Mostly, I have to say, because I’m intrigued by the casting. Peter Facinelli plays the vampire dad? Peter Facinelli of Can’t Hardly Wait and a bunch of cancelled shows, Peter Facinelli the top poor man’s Tom Cruise who isn’t James Marsden. (I don’t know if I’m glad or sorry they didn’t actually cast James Marsden, who I’m an unironic fan of, insofar as such a thing is possible).

Speaking of Netflix queues, I finished watching the second season of HBO’s Rome, which means I need to find a new show to watch obsessively I can share my thoughts. I definitely thought season 2 was weaker than season 1, which I know was partly because they ended up having to cram 3 seasons worth of plot into 1 when they found out it wasn’t being renewed. But I also feel like the lack of something as clear as Caesar’s impending death (which gave season 1 a lot of its drive) to focus on brought out the aspects of the show that don’t necessarily hang together. It never seems entirely certain if it wants to be a story about ordinary people swept up by the forces of history, or a soap opera about the lives of the rich and powerful. (One thing it’s certainly not is an analysis of history in any meaningful way; at best I can read it as a rejection of grand narratives, an approach I generally approve of, but it doesn’t really hypothesize anything in their place beyond history-as-soap-opera). It doesn’t help me personally that I kind of prefer the rich-and-powerful-soap opera to the ordinary-people story — though at its best, as in the finales for each season, the show lets the two bounce off each other in interesting ways. Ultimately, though, I’m not sure there’s a lot going on here beyond ‘Big Sexy History,’ and it ends up as a guilty pleasure that’s not as good as the sum of its parts. Still, those parts include James Purefoy in silk robes and eyeliner, the gloriously fascinating and ever-evolving mother-daughter relationship of Atia and Octavia, Ray Stevenson being Ray Stevenson, and Brutus and Cassius being totally married — all of which are things I approve of.

Finally, in the catalog of things that have been keeping me busy, there’s the outside world. I’ve spent some really awesome times with friends old and new, as well as family. And right now the sun is shining outside (I’ll say this for Virginia: when spring decides to come, it doesn’t mess around, and I should go spend some time in it. Possibly, you know, reading more Twilight. Before the basketball games get interesting.