And how did I do on my goal-oriented vacation? Well, I’d say it was the most productive and successful vacation I’ve ever had. I didn’t do a lot of relaxing or goofing around (though I did play some World of Warcraft, no surprise), but I return to work feeling refreshed, fulfilled, and invigorated. It’s true that I didn’t complete everything on my list, but I did finish a hell of a lot. Perhaps most surprising is the fact that I didn’t do any writing at all, neither for this weblog nor for the Woodstock Writers Guild. It was difficult to restrain myself, but I’m glad I did.
I’m back now, though, and I’ve got lots to say. Let’s break it up into chunks:
Academy Award Nominations
Of the five Best Picture nominees, Kris and I have already seen Brokeback Mountain, Capote, and Crash. We need to see Good Night, and Good Luck and Munich. There were no real surprises in the nominations. What is surprising is that there’s some talk that Crash is the biggest competition for Brokeback Mountain (though most everyone thinks the latter is a shoe-in). It has to be said: Crash may be mainstream, it may be heavy-handed, it may be filled with stock characters in trite situations, but it’s a superb film. (In fact, we’ve got it coming from Netflix so that we can see it for a second time. Also of interest: on IMDB’s top-films list, Crash is the highest-rated of the five nominees.)
It occurred to me the other day that as I get older I have less interest in the Best Picture category and more interest in the Documentary Feature category. We’ve watched some fantastic documentaries over the past few years: The Fog of War, Fahrenheit 9/11, Spellbound, Capturing the Friedmans, etc. This year, two of my favorite films are documentaries: Mad Hot Ballroom and the stunning Murderball. (We just watched Murderball last weekend; it’s easily my favorite film of the year in any category.) I’m not sure how the pedestrian March of the Penguins got nominated over Mad Hot Ballroom (other than Penguins is the second-highest grossing documentary ever). We’ve got another nominee — Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room — on the way from Netflix, too.
Eastside Athletic Club
I signed up for a year at the gym.
Given my past record, this is a foolish choice. I’ve done this several times before, but only twice have I ever made real use of my membership. (The last time was in 1997-1998.)
What’s going to make this time different than all those other times? I can’t say that it will be different, of course, but I must say that things feel good: the gym is five minutes from our house; it’s directly off the highway on my drive home from work; the clientele is fitness-oriented instead of social-oriented; the facilities are fantastic, and include five (six?) racquetball courts, a full-length pool, an enormous cardio room, and all sorts of separate fitness rooms (women-only, free weights, spin room, yoga room, etc.).
During the past week I met my goal by attending the gym every single day. In fact, I exceeded my own expectations. I got on the rowing machine the very first day (I consider the rowing machine a pain-in-the-ass but a necessary workout for me), I learned how to use the elliptical machines (it took me about ten minutes to realize I wasn’t supposed to squat and go for an even motion), and I spent an hour yesterday afternoon alone on a racquetball court becoming reacquainted with the way the ball moves. (The only downside so far has been my meeting with the personal trainer. During our interview, he was completely disinterested and distracted, more focused on making googly eyes at the P.Y.T.s than on helping me.)
As I mentioned earlier, I didn’t meet all of my goals, but I came close. Actually, I never expected to get everything done; my lists were just too ambitious. Still, most of the important stuff has been completed and I’m back on the Getting Things Done system so the other stuff should be finished before long. In fact, I intend to spend most of the weekend focusing on those uncompleted objectives.
At long last I’ve managed to post some eBay auctions. (Or will have when they start to “go live” at four o’clock this afternoon. Check here to see what I have to offer. It’s all geeky stuff.) It’s been five years since I sold anything on eBay, and the process seemed daunting. It was daunting, but I was impressed how easy things were after I scheduled the first auction. (And I love that you can schedule auctions in advance. It costs a dime per auction, but it’s worth it.) eBay remembers your settings for shipping, etc. so that you don’t have to re-enter the information over and over and over again. I’ve scheduled fourteen ten-day auctions, and I’ll be surprised if they don’t combine to fetch me $500. (Cosmic Encounter alone should sell for upward of $150.)
Anyhow: I had a fantastic vacation. I feel great. I look forward to resuming my daily entries about the minutiae of my daily life.