Category Archives: Personal Note

TDP – Week 2 Report

HALFWAY POINT.

And how am I doing? Not great. I did some major twitching earlier this week. Last night I had a sudden impulse to rewatch Dr. Horrible so strong that I was halfway to the computer before I remembered I wasn’t allowed to. And I was SAD.

I don’t know that this week was any harder (or easier) than last week. Certainly I did fewer things just to fill the time that would otherwise have been spent watching TV. I did more not-seeing-plays things that involved going places and being out of the house, though, so that’s maybe good. On the other hand, a lot of that was running errands and Christmas shopping, which are not my favorite things.

But I have:

– Started reading Speaker for the Dead

– Reorganized my entire iTunes library

– Updated software for my phone, my iTunes, and my computer

– Sort of watched part of A White Christmas without sound (I was at a party. It was on in the background.)

– Tried to learn how to fold an origami dragon (it is SO DIFFICULT)

The good news is, since I’ve made it this far I will probably make it the rest of the way. The bad news is, I have a three day weekend ahead of me and not quite enough things to do to fill all that time.

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TDP – Week 1 Report

I MADE IT AN ENTIRE WEEK WITHOUT TELEVISION, GUYS. And I’m only suffering a little.

It has not been a fun week. This is not an easy thing I’ve decided to do. But, I’m doing it. I’m also hoping that this will get easier as the month goes on. I was really close to breaking the other day. I didn’t, though. Still no TV. What have I done instead? One (and a half) books, four plays, two albums, including:

1. Ender’s Game. I read it for the first time this week. And, like every other book I have ever finally read after years of people telling me I ought to, I feel dumb for not having read it before now. Although I don’t know that I would have appreciated it as fully when I was younger. Plus, now I can get all excited about the movie!

2. Pippin. This accounts for one of the plays AND one of the albums. It is my new favorite musical. The production I saw was amazing. My life is better as a result and I’m now completely obsessed.

3. The Heist. I’ve spent more time than I should probably admit listening to this album over the past week. I think I’m mutating into a Seattle hipster. But it is REALLY good.

4. The Amber Spyglass. This is the half book. I’m listening to the Philip-Pullman-with-full-cast audiobook, which is absolutely amazing. Audiobooks are, I think, going to be my great compromise for The December Project. Because while I can do much of the multi-tasking I do when I watch TV – dishes, cooking, painting my fingernails – my brain has to engage a little bit more. Plus, words! Lots of awesome literary words to help improve my brain.

We’re on to week two now. Hopefully it will be a little easier. Although I don’t have four plays to go see. So the weekend nights might ultimately be tougher.

The December Project

A year of hiatus… Several months of procrastinating… Another month of real thought and deliberation… And…

I’m baaaaaaaaaaaaack. Well, almost. Consider this the pre-re-launch. I’m taking the month to get my brain back in the blogging groove. So it’s less a grand return than a gradual re-entry. And conveniently timed to begin after many midseason finales and end before most midseason returns. AND, just to make things more complicated, I’ve decided I can’t just simply resume where I left off. I have to make it a thing.

So, I present to you what is possibly the most unorthodox approach to TV blogging possible: I quit TV for the month of December. Really.

And I did it as a strategic part of my return to TV blogging.

Let me explain the rationale behind this. It begins with a reiteration of the rationale behind the title of this blog. In so many words: TV melts your brain. Whether this is scientifically proven and true or not is irrelevant. I believe it is, at least to a certain extent. But I have always decided that because I treat television more like brain fodder than background noise, it is less true for me personally. I have always believed that what I watch and why I watch it and how I think about it lend me a certain amount of resistance to the more brain-cell-mushing aspects of the medium. Thus the blog. Except that I stopped writing the blog.

I stopped writing the blog because I simply ran out of time. Other things were going on. Things in the real world. And I didn’t just stop blogging, I stopped watching regularly too. Even shows like Glee and Castle, shows I’ve watched faithfully on a weekly basis (more or less) since the very beginning have been relegated to marathon-style catch-ups every month or two. There are a lot of factors involved, directly or not, with this shift in the way I consume television. They range from changes in Hulu’s (my main viewing resource) legal contracts with the major networks to my own work schedule. The fact is, I do not watch television the way I used to. I can not. And that’s fine. Except that I want to write the blog. And the blog is about the television.

The result is a dilemma: How do I write the blog, which was so closely tied to timely, weekly viewing, without doing said timely, weekly viewing?

The answer is a change in the way I do the blog.

I’ve spent much of the past month thinking about the work that I have done on Melted Brain, about the strengths and the weaknesses. I’ve hounded reader-friends for input. And I’ve forced myself to face the very simple but very terrifying question: What do you WANT it to be? The short answer: A new approach.

Well, a mix of old and new approach. I’m keeping the elements that are (more or less) unique to Melted Brain – Oh THAT Guy, Hindsight, et cetera. I’m keeping Big Screen Brain. I’m dropping the weekly schedule. I will be changing the visual format. I will be trying some new post categories (along the lines of Showdown and those mentioned above). And, my primary focus, I will be refining my writing to clear it of some of the flaws I allowed to spiral out of control toward the end there. Which brings me back to my month-long hiatus in watching television.

The purpose of The December Project is two-fold: revive my blog, refine my thinking. Now, let’s be frank. It’s been a long-ass time since I’ve written a blog post, and I can feel it in my brain. Writing is a skill, and I am out of practice. This very post has involved at least three start-and-stops. Words don’t flow directly from my brain to my fingers and off to the Internet as easily as I remember. So I am giving myself a month to readjust. To use an obvious but effective metaphor, The December Project gets me back in the pool without taking a dive. I’m using the stairs in the shallow end and giving myself time to adjust to the temperature. But not because I’m a wimp (I am in real, cold pools, but not here). Because I want to do well, and I know I can’t just yet. So, I’m limiting my exposure to new material, essentially forcing myself to do solidly thinking on what I already have to work with.  Emphasis on the thought- and writing-process. Emphasis on practice before I jump all the way back in. This month on Melted Brain, the focus is not the television, but the blog itself.

So, HOW do I maintain a television blog for a month without watching any television? I submit to you the following conditions and goals for The December Project:

1. Condition: No TV episodes. Not new, not old, not on the internet, not on DVD. Zero. For the rest of the month. (In the spirit of full disclosure, I will say that I have watched ONE episode this month, two days ago: the first season finale of The Good Wife because I just couldn’t help myself. BUT, I will not watch the last two episodes of Smallville until January – more on that later.)

2. Condition: No YouTube. Because once you get on that mind-numbing train of hopping from video to video, it never stops. And also the temptation to blur the lines into web series episodes.

3. Condition: Movies, but not by myself. The intent here is to remove myself from the lonely, passive, half-dazed way that I have been watching television the past few months. A way that invites brain-melting outright. Watching movies with people leads to dialogue, which leads to thinking, which is good for blogging. (In the spirit of full-disclosure: I can do a month without TV, but I can’t do Christmas without watching A White Christmas at least once. That’s just how it is, and I’d rather allow myself than forbid and subsequently fail.)

4. Goal: Weekly updates on the progress of The December Project. What I’ve watched, if anything. Struggles I may or may not have without TV to occupy my time. Books I have read – that’s a thing I’m doing, reading books. I started my life as a bookworm, so I’m going back to my roots. Also, books are better for the word-skills, which badly need work.

5. Goal: Two other posts per week. Just to get myself back into the habit of regularly blogging.

6. Goal: Renovate. It is a new age for Melted Brain. It’s time for a new visual format. This is likely to be a trial-and-error process, so I’m giving myself the month.

And that’s it! That’s the plan. That’s The December Project. Bring the blog back to life. And do it without watching TV. Piece of cake.

Or, it’ll be a complete disaster. I guess we’ll see.

Good Things

I just had a really great moment.

Yesterday sometime, USA Network tweeted a quote and challenged their followers to name the character who spoke it. I had no idea. I had a brief suspicion it sounded like it belonged to Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) of Suits, but no actual knowledge. Tonight, I’m catching up on some back episodes of Suits and right there in the middle of the episode was that quote. It took a moment for the realization to sink in, but once it did I found myself smiling hugely. There was absolutely no way I had been exposed to that quote before seeing it tonight. So, the fact that I could even think of attributing it to the correct character without anything but the text? I find that pretty incredible. And I think it speaks to the writing of the series. “Good writing” in television is something I struggle to define at times, but I think I’ve found one of the key elements: characters with strong, recognizable voice. My impression of Suits has just crossed the line from “enjoyable” to “excellent.”

You should be watching this show.

New Year, New Shows

I’m at least few hours early in most timezones, but Happy 2011!

Instead of New Year’s resolutions, which I don’t make and certainly wouldn’t keep if I did, I’ve made a somewhat prioritized list of new/old series I’m going to attempt to at least introduce myself to over the coming year. God knows how many of these I’ll actually get to, given that I don’t have a particularly great amount of spare time and new shows are popping up all over the place. BUT. These are shows that I am really interested in seeing, so hopefully I’ll make some headway in the coming months.

NEW SHOWS
(As in, new to me…some of these are actually rather dated.)

1. Sherlock

People keep insisting that I need to see this. And given my adoration of anything Sherlock Holmes related, they are correct.

2. Terriers

Somehow I still haven’t seen any of this even though I have been dying to. Catching up in time for new episodes (which, hopefully, there will be) is a priority.

3. The Walking Dead

Another show that is actually new and that I just haven’t quite found the time to start watching yet. But I will. Because, well, zombies!

4. Dexter

I watched the first two episodes of Dexter way back when this whole Melted Brain thing started. But I didn’t get any further, even though it seems like Dexter would be my kind of show. Due to prodding by people and my realization that trying to start Dexter and Six Feet Under in the same weekend might have been a terrible plan, I am going to try again.

5. Twin Peaks

Yes Laura. I need to watch this show and I promise I am going to.

6. True Blood

I don’t actually have a huge amount of interest in True Blood, but I am going to watch it because I am hardly in a position to write an extended treatise on contemporary vampire fiction if I don’t. And I really want to write that.

7. The Closer

Now that this show is entering its final season, I guess it is as good a time as any to start watching. I love Kyra Sedgwick and, after enjoying all the promos so much, my watching and enjoying seems only inevitable.

8. Moonlighting

I reference this show all the time. So I should probably back that up by actually knowing what I’m talking about.

9. Deadwood

Timothy Olyphant. Ian McShane. Brad Dourif. Paula Malcolmson. Late 1880s. Outlaws. Why haven’t I seen this yet?

10. Star Trek: The Next Generation

Watching this series will probably be an on-going effort, and it is not much of a priority. But I know I have seen a few episodes that I have really loved, so there must be more. And, well, it’s Star Trek. That’s pretty much reason enough.

11. Damages

I do not like legal shows as a general rule. But there are a couple exceptions, and I’m guessing the phenomenal acting this series is reputed for will make this one of those exceptions.

12. Jericho

This is just one of those low-priority, minimal-investment sci-fi series from the past decade that I feel like I should watch, just to be able to say I have.

CATCH-UP SHOWS
(As in, shows I say that I watch but that I am actually reeeeeally far behind on.)

1. Chuck

I WILL CATCH UP ON CHUCK. IT WILL HAPPEN. GODDAMMIT!

2. Fringe

I watched the pilot of this show when it aired, but for some reason I have never kept up with it. And now I am so far behind it is depressing. But everything I hear says that the show has only gotten more and more awesome, so it is time to make an effort to get with it.

3. Justified

…I actually only watched the pilot and half of the next episode. So yeah. Should probably rectify that, stat.

4. The Vampire Diaries

See: my reasons for starting True Blood. Also, I want to see if all the plotlines I was expecting after S1 are actually coming to be. (I’m pretty sure they are.)

5. Lie to Me

I’ve been told that, after a rather lackluster first season and a half, this show has gotten quite good. I want to see if that’s true.

6. Supernatural

Catching up on this show is actually not a huge priority. I have seen S1, S2, and most of S3. Most likely I will wait until the series ends and consecutive reruns start on TNT.

…wow. That is a lot more shows than I thought it was. I guess we’ll see how this all goes. My brain may actually melt. Yikes.

This Week 9/27 to 10/2

WOW, last week.

I had no idea there were that many interweb-active Castle fans. For those who haven’t heard, last week’s Melted Brain review was a HUGE SUCCESS on Twitter. By “HUGE SUCCESS” I mean it has a Topsy.com page with twelve – count ’em, twelve! – tweets. Keep in mind exactly how ridiculously small-scale and amateur my effort here is and you should be AMAZED. I certainly am. Thanks, Castle fans!

Anyway.

No promises on what I’ll actually get done this week (because clearly those promises aren’t worth a whole lot). But you can probably count on seeing reviews for Castle and Glee and another installment of “Oh THAT Guy.”

MONDAY:
8pm – Chuck on NBC
8pm – House on FOX
9pm – The Event on NBC
9pm – Lone Star on FOX
10pm – Chase on FOX
10pm – Castle on ABC

Also, FX is airing 27 Dresses AGAIN. Seriously. They play that movie ALL THE TIME.

TUESDAY:
8pm – No Ordinary Family on ABC (series pilot!)
8pm – NCIS on CBS
8pm – Glee on FOX
9pm – NCIS: Los Angeles on CBS
9pm – Raising Hope on FOX
9:30pm – Running Wilde on FOX
10pm – Detroit 1-8-7 on ABC

WEDNESDAY:
8pm – Undercovers on NBC
10pm – The Whole Truth on ABC
10pm – The Defenders on CBS
10pm – Terriers on FX

Fyi, this week’s episode of Terriers is entitled “Fustercluck.” Keepin’ it classy, FX.

THURSDAY:
8pm – My Generation on ABC
8pm – Bones on FOX
8pm – The Vampire Diaries on the CW
8:30pm – Shit My Dad Says on CBS
9pm – Fringe on FOX
9pm – Nikita on the CW
9pm – Project Runway on Lifetime

FRIDAY:
8pm – Human Target on FOX (season premiere!)
9pm – The Good Guys on FOX
9pm – CSI: NY on CBS
10pm – Blue Bloods on CBS
10pm – Outlaw on NBC
10pm – Haven on SyFy

HUMAN TARGET! SO EXCITED!

SATURDAY:
11:30pm – Saturday Night Live (Bryan Cranston and Kanye West) on NBC

Enjoy your week!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY (and two weeks)

Guys, it has been a year and thirteen days and Melted Brain is STILL ALIVE.

And to make things even better, this week’s return is resulting in RECORD HIGHS for number of daily views. By a significant portion. And the best part is, that isn’t because of Glee! (It’s because of my Castle season premiere review. Wacky, huh?)

Anyway, to celebrate, I thought I’d share a little reminder of what a) is partially responsible for prompting the creation of this blog and b) what is entirely responsible for the name of this blog.

I present…the Hulu commercials:

Thanks to anyone and everyone who has ever visited Melted Brain, intentionally or not. You make my ego swell!

<3

Fun Facts About WordPress

Alright, so this has less to do with the subject of my blog than it does about the blog itself, but I think it is entertaining enough that I ought to share.

Among the features WordPress offers to its bloggers is the opportunity to see what search terms caused readers to reach a blog. This is how I know, for instance, that Glee-related posts are most popular not only because the most people click on the links I leave on Facebook and SideReel, but because “glee” is probably the most used TV-related search term for the past year.* It is also how I know that the surge in popularity for one of my personal favorite posts to date, “Hindsight: Life” is connected to a similar surge in Life-related search terms – one of the most common of those is actually “hindsight life,” which makes me feel kind of special (even though I know it probably isn’t really people  searching for my post/blog specifically).

Anyway.

The reason I am sharing this information with all of you is because today (and it is not even 8am my time) we have two new additions to my list of my favorite search terms that have led people to Melted Brain. A list I would like to share with you now.

In no particular order:

  1. “why did jim longworth get shot in the ass” (today)
  2. “ryan/esposito slash” (today)
  3. “bsg octagonal paper”
  4. “shakira tights not pants”

There have been many even more hilarious ones over the past year. Most of which are now lost to the ether (read: WordPress’ records don’t go back that far and/or I just can’t find them). I think one of the better ones involved Thomas Jefferson. BUT NOW I KNOW that I need to keep an active list. And so here is the beginning of it.

I love the internet.

* Not a researched proven fact. But I’ll bet you twenty bucks.

I PROMISE I’M NOT DEAD

As has been duly noted, it has been a good two weeks since I posted. (The good news? I thought it had been three, so I feel slightly less horrible now.) ANYWAY, for those who are curious, the reason for this is my life in the real world has become such a shitstorm of OMGSTRESSDOTHINGS that I have had neither the time nor the energy to even watch TV, nevermind think about it.

…let’s all just sit here and contemplate the irony of TV-watching being an energy-and-thought-necessitating activity for me for a moment…

Long story short, I apologize profusely to those of you (any of you?) who do actually check this on a regular (read: not prompted by Facebook) basis. I don’t know that I’ll get any better at things over the next two weeks because they are likely to be just as crazy. HOWEVER, I can definitely guarantee that there will be at least one post each for the next two weeks. 1) Glee finale response (tonight!) and 2) Father’s Day Special (because I have been planning this for a like a month and think it is unreasonably awesome).

For now, though, here’s a schedule for the rest of the week:

Tonight:
8pm – Pretty Little Liars (series pilot!) on ABC Family
9pm – Glee (season finale!) on FOX
10pm – Justified (season finale!) on FX

For some reason, I am actually really curious about Pretty Little Liars. Weird stuff. And on that note, I really ought to watch all of Justified that has happened since the pilot.

WEDNESDAY:
8pm – So You Think You Can Dance on FOX
10pm – Happy Town on ABC

THURSDAY:
8:30pm – 100 Questions on ABC
9:00pm – So You Think You Can Dance (finalists announced) on FOX
9:00pm – Burn Notice on USA
10pm – Royal Pains on USA

I didn’t say this, but 100 Questions does actually have some potential to be hilarious.

FRIDAY:

…FOX BOUGHT AND IS AIRING PAST LIFE? FOX. FOX. WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS TO ME?!

Yeah.

Anyway.

Responses to the Chuck finale (which I haven’t yet watched), the Bones finale (which I have), and…something else may or may not be on the way. For now, not dying and Glee finale post are my priorities.

Enjoy your week.

And your summer, if you’re actually getting one where you are right now (read: not Seattle…or Australia, probs).

Um WOW

For those of you who don’t get here via Facebook, some exciting news:

Yesterday broke the record for per day views of Melted Brain. By +29. Incidentally, that is also almost three times the per day count has been since January.

In other words, THIS. IS. AWESOME. (And Glee is just insanely popular.)

This is not really a post about anything. It’s just a Thank You! to everyone who visited yesterday (and especially those who will be coming back ever). It was an EXCELLENT day for me.