Mothballed

30 April 2012

This is the first blog post I’ve written in over two months.  And, for a while at least, it’s going to be the last.

I’ve enjoyed writing here, and I like to think I’ve sent a few things from here out into the world that were worth reading.  I don’t consider it for a moment to have been a waste of my time, and I’ve appreciated most of the feedback I’ve received.  But since I began this blog — way back in December of 2008 — my life has changed dramatically, largely in ways that I wouldn’t wish on Anders Breivik.  And it’s affected my ability to write, and to write consistently.

So after much prayer and thought, I’m going to do what I probably should’ve done a long time ago.  As of this writing, “Ray Anselmo, Professional Outsider” is going into mothballs.*

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Fading out on the 2012 Oscars

25 February 2012

So it’s usually about this time of year that I wrap up a series of blog entries predicting (well, attempting to) the winners of the Academy Awards.  Last year, it ended up as three or four entries, probably about 10,000 words, complete with historical markers and rules of thumb for how each category tends to go.  I’ve had fun doing it, had some success as well (last year I picked 18 of the 24 winners correctly), and I hope people have had fun reading it.

This year … it’ll just be this one article.  A month or so ago, I was all revved up for doing a big showstopper franchise of columns, but it ended up as just this little indie production.

Now, I’ll grant that part of the reason was the depression I’ve been pushing through the last couple of months (see my previous post).  But another part of the reason was that it’s been a pretty blah movie awards season.  And much of the reason for that was that 2011 was a pretty blah year for movies — especially the type of movies that tend to win Oscars.

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On depression and grace

23 February 2012

Another week and a half, another absence from the blog.  No matter how often this happens, I never seem to get used to it.

I know I should be more consistent with this.  For one, I have plenty of things to say.  For another, people seem to like them (or at least read them).  And I know the best way to “build traffic” to a blog is to post something, anything, every day.  So I know these long absences are working against my best interests.

And yet they still occur.  The reason they still occur, while simple to state, is not so simply remedied.  Basically, I find it hard to write when I’m depressed.

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The latest on Sean – the struggle continues …

12 February 2012

First (and last, and middle), thank you to everyone who has been praying for my son Sean for the last 2½ years in his battle against Leigh’s disease, and praying for us as we battle alongside him.  It’s been a long, hard, tiring struggle, and will continue to be one for … well, as long as it takes, I guess.  But we know that we wouldn’t have gotten this far without the help of God – or of our circle/cloud/polygon of friends who have stood by us in all this.

It’s been about four months since I last wrote, so I suspect you’re probably wondering what changes have taken place over that time.  And the answer is … well, not a heck of a lot, actually.

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So hard to get started in 2012

6 February 2012

It’s only taken me five weeks to write my planned New Year’s Eve post.  Impressive, huh?

In all seriousness, I didn’t plan a month-plus layoff from this blog — it’s just kind of happened.  Every time I went to write something, there would be a distraction, or something else would come up, or I couldn’t get the words together, or I’d be too depressed, or … well, you get the idea.  Writing is not easy for that exact reason: it’s too easy to be taken off-track by almost anything that comes along.  It takes a discipline that I haven’t been exercising, or at least not exercising enough.

And then there’s the depression thing.  I’m thankful that (these days at least) I don’t get depressed seriously enough that I just quit functioning, or require medication to get moving again.  But something about the calendar turning over to 2012 really sent me into a funk.  Mostly, I suspect it was thinking back and realizing that I was barely recovered from the events of 2009 — Sean’s illness, my mom’s death, my continuing unemployment, my wife’s job difficulties, etc.  It’s a lot to move on from (especially when most of them have still-ongoing repercussions), but now I’m finally able to start working on the on-moving.  (Thus, the Churchill quote.  Seemed to fit.)

And so it goes, as Linda Ellerbee used to say. But at least, thank Heaven, it goes!

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An outsider’s look at the 2012 election – December 2011

30 December 2011

I was originally going to write this post yesterday, following up on my previous look at the upcoming elections from August.  But I decided I’d better do a little extra studying of the present-day situation before writing — and boy, am I glad I did!

I use the words “present-day situation” for a reason.  See, most of my thoughts lately regarding the coming election haven’t been about Obama, Romney, Gingrich and Bachmann — they’ve been about Lincoln, Roosevelt, Kennedy and Nixon.  I’ve been reading a lot on previous presidential elections — Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals (about Abraham Lincoln and his Cabinet), Donald Ritchie’s Electing FDR: The New Deal Campaign of 1932, Theodore White’s The Making of the President series (I’ve finished 1960 and 1964, am still working through 1968, and read 1972 years ago but plan to re-read), Michael Lewis’ Losers (about the 1996 Republican candidates) and of course Heilemann and Halperin’s controversial Game Change.  These books and others, while not perfect, are helping give me some perspective on what’s going on out there, and have led to some interesting insights that I’ll deal with down the road in this space.

But let’s leave the past be for the moment and look to the present — the 2012 GOP contest — as the January 3 Iowa caucus quickly approaches …

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What time is it? It’s movie awards time!

28 December 2011

It’s December 28, 2011.  The next Academy Awards will be held on February 26, 2012.  Which means … we are already well into the awards season!

Now you may be thinking, “whaaaa?  It’s two months away — whaddaya mean, we’re already into it?”  Well, what I mean is, we’re already into it.  Because the Oscars are only the culmination of a three-month-long orgy of the film industry and ancillary businesses patting each other on the back for another year of consistent profits and slightly less consistent artistry.  Plenty of awards have already been given, and numerous groups will be giving out more of them all the way up to the big Academy shindig 60 nights from now.  Heck, the screeners (special DVD copies of film) have been going out for weeks already, and sites like The Wrap and Gold Derby are currently festooned with enough “For Your Consideration” ads to choke Louis B. Mayer (and maybe even Oscar Mayer, no relation).

To date, trophies (real or metaphorical) have been handed out by the National Board of Review (the traditional first-awarders), the New York Film Critics Circle (this year’s first-awarders, as they bumped their announcement up to swipe some glory from the NBR), the International Press Association, and the film critics societies in Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Detroit, Florida, Indiana (!), Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Francisco, San Diego, the Southeast, Toronto, Utah (!!!) and Washington, D.C.  And there are plenty more to come as other critics’ group throw in their two cents, culminating in the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Golden Globe awards on January 15.  After that, the reviewers give way to the Hollywood (and elsewhere) guilds and a few independent groups, who’ll be passing out shiny baubles up to the eve of the Oscars themselves.

But already, a few trends have begun to emerge in the voting of the various groups, which give some indication as to who the Academy will nominate, and perhaps even who will win come 2/26/12 …

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