Just Keep Swimming

'What Am I Doing with My Life?': Introducing Christopher's Weekly Media Diary


I have been wanting and even hyping a weekly media diary for a little while now. I had convinced myself to scrap the idea, especially since the self-centred aspect of listing what I've watched then felt more jarring with the site having a regular contributing writer in Scott Martin. But if my hope is to have at least one new thing on here every single day, then I convinced myself that a media diary every Sunday is an easier weekend thing to post when my family is expecting more of my time.

So, what is the media diary? 

Simple.

It will be a list of all the movies and shows I've watched, all the podcasts or music I've listened to, all the articles and books that I've read, and all the games be it board or card or video that I've played. Simply put, a collection of all the media that I've engaged with during the week.

There are two main reasons that I love the idea of the media diary as a weekly feature on here. 

The first is that I often get overwhelmed with guilt when I don't review something that I've watched. It drives me nuts. I am a reviewer, and so, I always feel obligated to analyze what I watched or took part in. The simple fact is I am one person who currently has two cute little distractions roaming about, and I have actual writing work that is not site related that I need to focus on every day. This all means that I likely can't do full--length reviews for everything.

The weekly diary will allow me to put up links to my full reviews, and I can leave quick thoughts on everything else that I didn't have time to do full reviews. It allows me to recommend and champion way more things, and so it gives you way more entertainment that you can check out. This is the most valuable part of a format like this.

The other major reason is that a weekly media diary is a little window into knowing me a bit better. A major goal of this site is for it to be something that feels personal and intimate. I want you to connect with us as writers and people. I feel a major part of the site's value is having that more personal twist. This allows you to get a better idea of who I am by seeing my viewing and listening habits and figuring out what connects with me. It then also gives you more context for understanding my reviews. If you see that I tend to really dig fantasy, then it gives you a better idea of why I may give three stars to a fantasy adventure that every other critic pans. 

Criticism is personal. It is one person's journey and experience with a piece of art. I do think critics have great value, but a reader must understand it is all subjective. This diary will give you a better idea of what forms my opinions and tastes as a critic.

Ok. I sort of want to kick this off this week, but I did not keep track of what media I engaged with this week. As well, with the kids causing daily chaos, I just did not really watch or read too much. But in order to get this rolling, I will list a few things that I know I saw, read, played and listened, so you get an idea of the format.

Next week, should be far more in-depth as I plan to take notes of everything during the week, so it will be much more thorough.

But here is the media that I know was a part of my week.

What I Watched:

Hawkeye Ep. 5 & 6: Yes, I am behind on this one. I really enjoyed the series even if it was not as daring and fresh as the other live-action Marvel series. I would put this one under Wandavision and Loki for sure, but that says more about the strength of those series and how they connect to my own tastes rather a criticism of this one. I really love the chemistry and dynamic between Jeremy Renner and Hailee Steinfeld, and this one seemed to be better than some of the movies at balancing the humour with the more emotional and dramatic moments. Steinfeld is such a mega-star, and has such an intoxicating screen presence, and anything she does is charming, but she really proved she has the chops to do action too. I am excited about the idea that it seems the torch of Hawkeye has now been passed over to her.

Queenpins (2021): I had intended to write a full review of this comedy that is very loosely based on the true events of a million-dollar coupon scam. At this point, stuff to write about keeps piling up, so this may be my only shot at sharing my thoughts. I gave it two stars despite the fact that Kristen Bell is eternally charming and I've loved her in everything she has done. She also has a fun chemistry with Kirby Howell-Baptiste and you believe them as best friends. I also think Paul Walter Hauser has a few funny moments as the completely fictional loss prevention officer tracking them down. It doesn't bother me that every character here is complete fiction despite claiming it was based on a true story, but I do care that it does almost nothing to connect us with these characters or explore what could be an interesting premise. It just ends up being a generic and safe by-the-numbers type buddy comedy that is slightly elevated by its appealing cast.

The Tender Bar (2020): I had intended to write a full review, but again, may not get around to it. We do full reviews and discussion of this picture on the upcoming episode of The Movie Breakdown. But spoiler, this was not a good start to the 2022 movie season.

Mother/Android (2022): Say it with me, I wanted to do a full review, but I may just allow our review of the upcoming The Movie Breakdown be it. I love Chloe Grace Moretz, but this movie, not so much.

Moonfall trailer: I may also go more in-depth with this in the future, but my appeal to this trailer speaks more to the change in mainstream movies than any belief this will be close to good. If I saw this trailer in the 1990s, its story of the moon attacking the Earth would feel like the thousand other science fiction disaster movies that came out every summer back then. During the current IP obsessed era where everything must be a reboot or based on a comic book or something that at one point was a beloved movie or show, this really feels like something fresh and original. Disaster movies are not my thing, but I just love the fact that this movie being original means that half the runtime won't be bogged down by fan service or screaming 'hey look! it is that thing you loved as kid.' It can actually tell a story. This normally would not be a movie that I am hyped about but welcome to the modern era.

Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings: The good news this football season is there has been more Bear games on my cable package than any other year that I can recall. The bad news is I got to watch them lose and often blow a lead most of those times.

Latte ASMR: For those not aware, ASMR stands for autonomous sensory meridian response, and is about certain actions like whispering or certain sounds or forms of touching that cause a warm tingling sensation starting at the scalp moving to the neck then down the upper spine. My dad is the one that made me aware of this practice, and you may be surprised to find out YouTube is full of channels devoted to it and many have over a million subscribers, so it is a popular thing among some circles. Latte is my favourite of the bunch, and after a very stressful week, I watched a few videos to help calm myself down and relax at night.

What I Read:

1440 Daily Digest: This is a daily newsletter that comes in my inbox every weekday morning that summarizes all the major news of the past day along with links to credible news sources. It is a great way to keep up with the news in a few minutes each day, but also gives you access to long form articles that can be checked out when time is available. I highly recommend it.

Hollywood Reporter: I often use this site for research and it is also where I read tributes to recently past stars in Sidney Poitier, Betty White and Peter Bogdanovich. I would like to write more thorough tributes to them, but if I don't get to them, we did tributes to all three on the upcoming The Movie Breakdown. Man, this has been a real hype job for that episode.

Karen's Witch: Baby-Sitter's Little Sister Graphic Novel: I've been reading this to Danika during bedtime. The main character reminds me a lot of my precocious and mischievous daughter, and is probably a reason she enjoys the book. She also is a huge fan of the Ivy & Bean book series, which I highly recommend as books that younger kids will love but parents will enjoy how well it captures the voice and behaviour of adventurous young kids.

Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception: This the novel I've been reading Everett during bedtime. I love the imagination and sense of adventure. It is also cool seeing how this series depicts fantasy creatures like trolls, elves and goblins very differently than something like Harry Potter. The book series is much better than the movie may make you think.

What I Listened To: 

F This Movie: Our Favorite Movies of 2021: F This Movie is one of my favourite movie podcasts and one I try to listen to every week -- usually while doing dishes, cooking or folding laundry. The host is Patrick Bromley and he has a variety of co-hosts he brings in, but they are all non-pretentious and explore genre movies with the same insight and respect as prestige pictures. They have a great sense of humour but it doesn't stop them from being thoughtful in their movie exploration. This was their big episode where Patrick, Adam Riske and JB ranked their top ten movies. It was interesting listening to how different their movie picks were from The Movie Breakdown.

Samara Ginsberg: This was courtesy of my wife and kids falling into the diversion of YouTube. They were practicing their cellos and this somehow led them to this YouTube channel. It is incredible what she performs and creates with her cello. As Samara composes and plays every part of the songs of popular movies, TV shows and video games from the last 40 years. The songs are perfect versions of the iconic music played on her cello, and you really should check her out. She has done everything from Super Mario Bros to ET to Thundercats to Sonic levels to Airwolf to He-man and the Masters of the Universe.

Encanto Soundtrack: Danika likes taking control of my computer, but to be honest, the songs are super catchy and some of my favourite that have come out of Disney animation in the last decade or more.

What I Played:

Magic: The Gathering: Everett got the starter pack at Christmas, and has been wanting to play with me ever since. We finally played this week and he soundly defeated me. It was pretty fun, and I look forward to the rematch.

As stated, I kept no records this week. I have a lot of holes in this diary. I plan to keep actual notes this week, so I can have a more accurate and thorough list of the media I interacted with this coming week.

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