Personal Update and Thoughts on A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas

Though I’ve been maintaining my at-least-once-a-month posting schedule, I have fallen behind in a few areas.  Worry not, however—more Pizza Quest updates will be coming soon.

I haven’t been getting out too much, lately, which has been pretty good for my thesis research.  I have been also bashing my head at working on a draft for a journal article that is due in a month.  A month seems like a long time, but this is turning out to be a long article and I can only hope that I have enough actual results to finish it off by then.

I have also been applying and interviewing for jobs, and have recently accepted an offer!  (I do not wish to go into any greater detail until I actually start, as I am pessimistic enough to believe it is not impossible that something could still go wrong.)  Among the many benefits this that this job offers—interesting experience, pay bills, etc.—I am perhaps most looking forward to having a bit of spending money so I can make a triumphant return to Timemasters and catch up on my comics.

Anyway, since my last post, I’ve only seen one movie, though several more should be coming in the next few weeks.

A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas

When I saw trailers for the first Harold & Kumar movie many years ago, I was of the mind that it was not really my sort of thing. Thankfully, during the first year of my PhD I wanted to procrastinate more than I wanted to avoid the movie, and so I finally saw—and quite enjoyed—Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle.  The subsequent Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay was a little bit of a letdown, but I think the latest one is an excellent synthesis of the best parts of its predecessors.

It recaptures the zany, ridiculous spirit of the first and combines it with the higher production values of the second, all wrapped in a surprisingly touching—and lewd, vulgar, and hilarious—Christmas story.  That’s right, they haven’t just made a Harold & Kumar movie set at Christmas—it’s a bona fide Christmas movie.  Hell, they even filmed with 3D cameras rather than using that bullshit conversion process used by so many of the summer “blockbusters”, and I’m happy to say I did not get a headache or feel nauseous at all.

John Cho and Kal Penn reprised their titular roles with ease, and thankfully the vast supporting cast of familiar faces was still there.  Especially excellent was Neil Patrick Harris, but really, this should not be surprising to fans of NPH.  The new characters introduced in this story were okay, but they certainly provided fodder for an amusing B-story.

I don’t think I really need to go in to the plot in this review.  If you liked previous Harold & Kumar movies—either of them—then you’ll enjoy this one.  If you haven’t seen any, you’ll possibly be horrified by this one, but if you’re interested you should start with White Castle, anyway.  I left quite happy with the movie and thought it was well worth my money.  (Okay, so I used a free pass and thus paid only for the 3Dness, but still.  Well worth it even at full price.)  I may need a repeat viewing next year to confirm, but this could have the makings of another traditional Christmas movie for me.

Plans for 2011

A new year has begun, and while I have seen may people forswear making any resolutions this time around, that didn’t work out so well for me last year (when I forgot), so here I am again.  However, rather than call these resolutions, perhaps “plans” might be a better appellation, as some of them are specific goals to meet, while others are behaviours that need modification.

The first plan is, perhaps, unsurprising.

Plan 1: Finish the !^@% PhD

I’m in year 7, now, which is frankly ridiculous.  I turned down a lucrative job last year in order to finish up, I have a bit of debt that needs paying off, and on my next birthday I’m going to need an extra bit to represent my age in binary.  It is time for me to move on with my life.  If I want to spend more years in school in the future, it needs to be for another degree, not this one.

Pursuant to Plan 1, we come to…

Plan 2: Stop Wasting Time on the Internet

Yes, I’m aware of the irony of complaining that I waste time on the Internet in a blog post, but I don’t consider blogging a waste of time—I’m still producing something, you see.  The time wasting comes from all the online consumption: playing awful Facebook “games”, reading blogs that I’m not interested in, obsessively checking to see if sites I am interested in have updated, and so on.

I’m going to start by enhancing my LeechBlock filters to block all of my time-wasting sites during my working hours, and if I find a new time-wasting site, I’ll add it to the block list ASAP.  I will allow myself to blog or tweet (now that I’m on Twitter) during blocked hours, as that is productive (after a fashion), but that’s it.

This plan may lead to a flurry of blog posts and tweets in lieu of me doing my actual research, but I’ll feel better about that than just wasting time on Facebook every day.

This plan ties closely in with…

Plan 3: Stop Wasting Time In General

Most of my general time-wasting comes from watching reruns of shows I’ve already seen or broadcasts of movies I own on DVD.  I also snack when doing this.  This is a complete waste of time, and not really good for my health.  I’m good with watching new episodes of shows that I enjoy, but other than that, I need to keep the TV off so that I don’t spend to much time sitting around like a lump.

This brings us to…

Plan 4: Get Healthy

My life is generally sedentary.  I work at the computer all the time.  And then I use it to waste time recreationally.  Then I take a break from relaxing to watch TV and have a snack.  This does not a healthy lifestyle make.

The first thing I need to do on this front is break my obsessive-compulsive snacking habit.  Once I fall into a pattern of behaviour, I repeat it automatically, and that is what has happened over the last few years: I snack as a distraction from my work, far more than I ever did during undergrad or high school.  I need to break that habit.

Then, I need to get some more exercise, and eat healthier in general.  I’m getting older and sooner than I’d like my body won’t be able to rebound from everything I put it through.  So I need to go to a gym, or take up Taekwon-Do again, perhaps.  I’ll have to sort that out soon—the extra energy will allow me to work better on my research.

Plan 5: Read More

I will grant that recreational reading is a distraction from my research, but I would very much prefer to train myself so that when I want to take a break, my first instinct is to reach for a book and not to turn on the TV.  Besides, if I read more, I’ll have something to blog about, and that counts as productivity.

Which brings us to…

Plan 6: Write More

This is a fairly broad plan, but is meant to cover blog posts, tweets, research papers, my doctoral thesis, and works of fiction.  I feel my life has been too passive for the last few years, and I want to start producing something again.  A large chunk of that productivity will be toward the software I’m developing for my research, but the written word is the other thing I have the wherewithal to produce, so I’ll do my damnedest to produce more of it.

Expect updates on these plans throughout the years, and please hassle me if I seem to be letting them slide.

Happy New Year to all who read this, and best of luck in the coming year!