Top Five Bucket List Items

As inspired by Major Spoilers Top 5 Podcast: Top Five Bucket List Items episode.

I suppose everyone has something they’d like to do or accomplish before they leave this world. Inspired by a recent Top 5 episode from the Major Spoilers website. Some of these may seem a bit off the wall, or down right fantastical, but if you listen to the podcast, you’ll know there was no specifications. It’s just things you’d like to do before you die. So, I now present to you, Dear Readers, my own

Top Five Bucket List Items

#5 – Be financially secure

I’m not greedy. Money is nice, but I don’t require an over abundance of it. However, before I die, I’d like to know that I was well off enough financially to ensure my family didn’t have to worry about anything once I was gone.

 

#4 – Travel for 3 months

This is perhaps the most selfish item on this list. But, like all the others, it requires large amounts of money. I’d like to have 2 months all to myself to just travel. If I wanted to stay in the States or travel overseas, that’d be my call. Just journey alone across this world and see things I’d never likely get to see in an average lifetime. And I’d want to go alone so I could just quietly observe, walk around, enjoy and ponder the meaning of things. Not have to worry about keeping anyone else entertained. Just me and the world and whatever it might offer.

 

#3 – Be a popular writer / creator of entertainment

Write an epic fantasy/sci-fi novel that is so popular, it’s optioned for television series, merchandise and follow-up tales of adventure. I would’ t want to be lumped with the likes of Dickens or Shakespeare or even Mark Twain. Throw me out there with the regular guys who just like to write and let my brilliance do the work.

 

#2 - One awesome family vacation

I’d love to treat my wife and sons to a vacation where money was no object. We could just go and enjoy ourselves without a care in the world. Give them memories of a destination and time with each other that would last a lifetime. Something they’d have to tell everyone about through out their lives. “There was this one time my dad …” or “I remember when my husband …”

 

#1 – See  my children grow. Know my family is happy

Of course, for me the number one item on my boring bucket list is my family. My sons. I’d love nothing more, before I die, than to see them grow up into young men. Graduate, have families of their own and maybe present me with a grandchild or two. I’d like to see my children raised up to be happy, healthy, and loved.

The Dark Tower Series and My Reading Habits

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I began reading Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series last year. I may have mentioned this in another blog post, but I did search for one and came up empty handed. So I deliver this news to you now, along with my purpose for doing so. King’s The Dark Tower saga … epic saga … consists of seven books in the main arc of the story and an eighth book released after the saga was completed, published between the years 1982 and 2012. It pretty much incorporates all of King’s classic works into part of a larger universe, with characters being interchangeable and events in one world (say, our world) being reflected in Mid-World, where dear Roland and Company venture toward the looming Tower.

I had put off reading The Dark Tower series for years because, to be perfectly honest, I hate picking up a series that isn’t complete. When I start something, I’d prefer it be a complete work that I’ll be able to read through without having to wait a year or more in between. You always run the risk of forgetting something important in that time, and I’m one of those people who rarely go back and reread something. Needless to say, I also lump in the fact that I’m currently 4 books in to George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series and am angrily awaiting Patrick Rothfuss’s third book in the Kingkiller chronicles. (Darn you, Rothfuss, where’s the friggin’ book!). I’m far enough behind in Martin’s saga that I should be safe, but as for that other one …

So many years ago, I picked up The Gunslinger and breezed through it. I put it down and picked up The Drawing of the Three. I got about four or five chapters in and put it away, shaking my head. Looking back, I believe I was too young to fully understand what I was reading. That’d never happened to me with a King book before because all through my teenage years I reach his work like a starving maniac. Short story collections were my favorites. But when it came to The Dark Tower, I don’t think I was ready for that kind of fantasy/science fiction/horror/etc form just yet.

Fast forward to last year, I … shall we say, found … the complete ebook collection of The Dark Tower. I threw it on my phone and began reading again. This time I feel I was ready. The Gunslinger once again flew through my brain. As soon as I processed it, I loaded up The Drawing of the Three. It took me a little longer because I started to become bored in certain spots. The narration of the tale seemed to snag on something along the way in certain places and I found myself wanting to hurry through it and be finished. I didn’t skip anything, though, I read the book in it’s entirety.

Then came The Wastelands, book three of the series. I read all the way through the first part, and then I was done. My time was consumed by other things and I just couldn’t force myself to pick the book back up. It was purely a mental thing. I’d lost interested and nothing can make me pick back up a book once that’s happened. I went nearly an entire year without reading another thing.

Last week, I plugged up an old Kindle HD my wife had abandoned for a newer model and loaded The Wastelands onto it. I’m breezing through it again. Still not as fast as I’d like, but I’m easing my way through, making sure the burnout is over with before going the final mile. I’m enjoying it again.

I can’t say why I go through these spells, but they don’t always last the same length of time. At one point, I went years without picking up a book. That was probably in my mid-to-late 20′s. Then the whole ebook revolution hit us and I was back on the book band wagon again. I believe that if ebooks hadn’t came along, I’d still be avoiding the firmness of paperbacks like the plague. If I had to pinpoint one thing that I could blame for my loss of interest, I’d say it was the storage space required. I’m not one that likes to get rid of my books, but I’m also not one that has endless space to store them. It had come to a point that was a no-win scenario. To this day, I believe that is why I eventually lost my interest. I’d rather not read at all than have to choose what to keep and what to get rid of.

But I suppose I’ve staggered around this subject enough for tonight. So, in closing, I’d like to thank Mr. King for his epic tomes and I hope to one day finish The Dark Tower Saga and honor Mr. King’s legacy. Oh, and as for that part where I said I don’t like to reread books? There is a small lie in there. The books I have bothered to reread in my lifetime are The Stand: Complete and Uncut and The Bachman Books. These are also two books that I have the hardcover editions of right now in my closet. I bought The Stand the same year the mini series came out. The Bachman Books I’d purchased and read during my teenage years, but sold the book during the time I’d lost interest. Just a year ago I found it on eBay and bought that sucker up. I’m proud to own both of these, and I think that may just make me a book nerd.

I’m okay with that.

37 Days ’til Christmas, You’re Welcome!

That’s right. Thirty-seven! Can you believe it? Not only is the holiday knocking on our front door, but this year is almost over as well! 2015 is peeking around the corner, over by the garage while Christmas is trying to push its way into our front door. Well, maybe that’s a bit of a scary image, actually. Kind of like a home invasion depending on how you look at it. Either way, it’s closing in on us fast, and I’m not complaining.

We put up our Christmas tree tonight, officially making our house Holiday 2014 Ready. It is officially The Holidays in our household and I’m sitting here typing this in the glow of the beautiful multi-colored lights of the tree. But as I said, the year is almost up, which brings me to the real topic of this post: how are those New Years Resolutions/Goals working for you? Have you been a busy bee and stuck to what you set out to do this year? Did you fall off the wagon a few times? Or did you do what I did: fall off the wagon, tumble down a very steep hill, hit rock bottom and bounce a few times before going over a waterfall and crashing onto the edge of a cliff that chipped away under your weight and then plummeted several thousand feet to land in front of an on-coming train unable to move out of its way while constantly looking over your shoulder to make sure none of those resolutions were trying to sneak up behind you? 

Well, some of that may have been a bit exaggerated, but not by much.

I came close to achieving success at one point this year with at least one goal. Weight loss. Believe it or not (because I did blog about my attempts in boring detail) I had started to lose weight about mid-way through this year. I was exercising, eating better, had eliminated nearly 95% of my soda intake, was drinking the crap out of water and enjoying myself. Then I got sick and stayed that way for a good month. Went to the doctor numerous times and finally, but the time I got it cleared up, I’d begun that downward spiral. A course correction was attempted, but by then our 2nd child was born and I was basically just lying to myself and trying to make it believable enough to not feel guilty. But you all probably know this. I’m a repeat offender.

You’re probably also tired of hearing me talk about it.

But.

Here’s the thing.

I know I can be a better person.

I can be a healthier person.

I can achieve anything I set my mind to.

I just have to try.

TRY.

I stumbled across a meme on the internet that basically said, “Why half-ass two things when you can take your time and whole-ass one thing?” The point of the question, I reckoned, was to ask why you would split your time into two directions knowing the results will be of shoddy quality when you can focus all your attention on one thing and make it successful. At least that’s what I’m shooting for in the meaning, anyways. Close enough.

Where was I going with this?

Oh yes. What I have been thinking about this weekend is this: Why am I trying to “fix” myself in so many different areas? Yes, I need to repair those parts – weight, over all health, finances, relationships, career paths – but I’m splitting them all up into separate tasks and overloading myself. The old, not enough time in a day problem when thrown in with what’s actually happening around me. Perhaps what I need is to be more realistic about this whole thing. I don’t need to repair each of those things individually – they aren’t individual parts to be repaired. They’re one whole part of a whole (yet broken) man. I know I have problems and I try to spread them out and fix them one at a time when in reality, they all require one focused force to be put to work in patching the cracks.

Does that make any sense? I hope so because it’s a cohesive thought in my head, hopefully that transfers to this blog post. Or maybe I’m just grasping for straws. Either way, I began the year unmotivated. I hit the middle mark full of energy and hope. At some point, I lost my steam and fell from the graces of success in my efforts. Now, bringing up the rear of the year, I hope to at least find my footing again.

Here’s to you, Dear Readers. Thanks for your support. Thanks for reading this blog when you have time. And thanks for putting up with me for what is almost an entire year once again.

And now, I’ll leave you with a glimpse of our tree from tonight. :)

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A Movie Weekend

I was actually able to sit down and watch a few movies this weekend! No small accomplishment, mind you.

Mercy – Mercy is a movie currently available on Netflix. It stars Chandler Riggs (Carl from The Walking Dead), Dylan McDermott and Francis O’Conner. The film is based on a short story by horror master Stephen King called “Gramma,” but that does’t mean it’s as good. As with any low budget independent production, Mercy has its issues. The acting actually isn’t that bad, but stretching the story out into movie length run time is a bit of a problem. I honestly wouldn’t recommend this one, as I have it a two star rating on Netflix, and was being generous at that.

After Earth – Yes, that After Earth. Will Smith and his son, Jaden Smith star in this film, directed by the now infamous M. Night Shyamalan. If you’re like me, you’ve heard nothing but horrible things about this poor movie. I’ll be honest with you. It wasn’t that bad. It kind of struck me as a bit of an artsy film in how it was shot and acted out. The story is a strong coming of age tale and has a nice center piece about a father and son’s relationship. As usual, don’t mind the critics, check it out and judge for yourself. I enjoyed it.

The Wolverine – Finally got to see this one. Takes place after X-Men: The Last Stand, you know, the one that Days of Future Past had to work hard to retcon. Good movie, typical Hugh Jackman as Wolverine storyline. Not much else to say. X-Men and Marvel movies in general are top notch these days, so you can’t go wrong with this one.