Tag Archives: The December Project

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.