Psych In

At the start of every new year, I try to psych myself up to do something big. It's Winter, television usually takes a break for a few weeks, and I don't have any band gigs to occupy my weekends until March. In 2008 I bought a car. In 2009 I saw Metallica live for the first time. It was at a time when my father had been transferred from the hospital to a nursing home and was recovering nicely from the shoulder infection that ruined the start of his 2009. I'd see the band play again in the Fall, and 2009 was also the year I hit Atlantic City for the first time. Not every year brings such big firsts, and often my ambitions are smaller, ranging from catching up on some novels to catching up on some television series. I've slacked off in the reading department these past few years, but I have caught up on entire series ranging from Stargate SG-1 to Stargate: Atlantis to Eureka. Okay, I realize that isn't so much of a range as a bunch of science fiction shows I'd be watching anyway if they aired on broadcast television, but some were feats in and of themselves. I think I caught up on 10 seasons of SG-1 in a matter of months one year.

So, as 2010 unfolds, I'm still not sure what my big thing will be this year. I've learned that I can only plan so much, and things like concerts and casinos came from unforeseen suggestions from friends and me going against my natural instinct and being agreeable to try new things. Every now and then I consider having this nickel-sized mole on my back removed. Were my mom not superstitious about the date the surgery had been scheduled for, I might have been rid of the thing 20 years ago. But, she canceled, and I've done my best to stay out of the sun without my shirt on. Of course, there are plenty of other reasons to keep my top on. Every now and then I think about the thing and consider having it removed. It hasn't really bothered me in a while and hasn't shown any changes that should be cause for concern, but it would put my mind at ease. On the other hand, my dad has one on his leg that's very similar to mine, and his never turned into a melanoma. Realistically, it's probably one of the things I could take care of before I get too busy, and I think it's something that could be done in a day so I wouldn't miss a lot of work.

The other big thing that probably couldn't realistically be accomplished in three months is buying a house. But I have started “looking” again, by which I mean I've looked online and noted that prices are lower than the last time I checked. I still have a hard time crunching the numbers, and even using all of my liquid savings I'd end up with a mortgage that would eat more than half of my monthly pay. I also realize what a time sink a home would be, with repairs, painting, cleaning, furnishing, and more. Before I could even enjoy it and turn it into this swinging bachelor pad, I'd have to put my life on hold for a year to get it in shape. But, that's reality, and I have to consider it as a practical investment and not party central. That is my dream, though. What I may end up doing instead is start to explore the stock market. My mom's cousin gave me some good advice, and pointed me in the direction of some great investments as well as resources to do my own research. It's no surprise that the mutual fund that has only lost money for me since I tried a Roth IRA a few years ago only has a rating of 1 star. I might be (past) time I rolled that into something with 5 stars.

So, there's a lot bouncing around my brain, all the usual things that do in the beginning of January. I'm still running 6 miles a day and maintaining my weight, so that's not as big a concern as it was last year. My BMI is 28.2, which puts me in the overweight category, but below obese. Last year at this time it would have been 33.1, so if I keep doing what I'm doing and stay the course, I can probably get it even lower. BMI is also a rough guide and doesn't factor in things like muscle weight. And I do have some muscular calves, at least according to an exotic dancer from a story I can probably never tell.

My first weekend in the new year, aside from braving the cold to take photos for as long as I could bear it, was pretty uneventful. My mind is firing thoughts left and right, but I haven't translated many into actions yet. In my idle time, I decided to finally take Rey's advice and check out Psych. I was never really opposed to the idea, but I have a lot of shows on my plate at any given time and wasn't ready to add a new one. I had only seen one episode on his recommendation, which featured Urkel and Kenan Thompson as former members of a Boys II Men style quartet along with series regular Dulé Hill. It was a fun episode that included a remix of the show's bouncy theme song. I liked it, but didn't find the time to watch any other episodes.

I gave the first episode a try during some of my idle time this weekend, which led to the second, and long story slightly less long, I'm now about 8 episodes in. I've never seen James Roday in anything before, but his physical comedy manages to channel just enough Ace Ventura without being as over-the-top or obnoxious as Jim Carrey was in that role. Roday plays Shawn Spencer, your basic child-of-the-'80s slacker with potential who never quite grew up, despite the stern guidance of his police officer father played by Corbin Bernsen. Each episode starts with a flashback showing how Spencer's father was tough on him and trained him to hone his observational skills and natural photographic memory. I had an inkling of the show's premise from commercials, that this guy was pretending to be a psychic, but didn't know the full conceit that he actually figures things out through real observation and detection and makes the police think he's a psychic. He drags his childhood friend Gus, Dulé Hill's character, in on the charade and after helping the police solve a case, he rents office space and starts a business which share's the show's title.

The banter between the two leads is great, and their pop culture references and conversations sound a lot like the conversations I have with my own friends, which was always Rey's main selling point in trying to get me to watch the show. Initially, the references are sparse, but with each episode there are more and more debates over who starred in what movie or television show, and I just finished an episode that took place mostly at a comic book convention and included George Takei as himself. Could I be more of the target audience? The show has a bit of a formula, but it's kind of a refreshing throwback to the days of Knight Rider when you could tune in to any episode out of sequence, and quickly know who each character was and what was going on. I'm sure there are more arcs as the series progresses, but I don't mind the standalone nature of the episodes.

It does seem absurd that anyone would believe Spencer, and he has a constant rivalry with Lassiter, the one cop who's vocal in his doubts. I have a feeling the police chief knows he's faking, but allows him to put on his act because he actually spots things the cops miss and solves cases. His methods get results, and the way I would eventually end the series would be for people to find out the truth and have Shawn openly use his natural abilities to solve cases. In the meantime, it's fun to watch him go into fake spasms or take on personas, sometimes just to annoy Gus or Lassiter. Gus, a pharmaceutical salesman by day, is not without skills of his own and makes a great sidekick/straight man. Hill can kill with just an expression, whether tilting his head or bugging out his eyes. It's a classic comedy formula but it works.

So, there's a lot of things to psych myself up for this year, including some of the things I've mentioned. I might not have control over everything, or get to any of it, but I think I have control over watching this show and can probably get through it. There's definitely something fun about watching a series this way, not having to wait a whole week or more when I get to the end of an episode. Usually, each episode makes me want to watch another one. I've also found myself noticing small details around me as the main character does, though it hasn't gotten to the point that my vision zooms in and light flashes around objects, which is the effect the show uses for emphasis. Emulating or imagining emulating such aspects of a show is usually a sign that I like it. It may also be a sign that I watch too much television, but I don't see that improving any time soon. No, I'm afraid it just got worse, and I don't need a psychic to tell me what I'll be blogging about next January....


Blogger Lorna said...

I liked Psych too, but it disappeared from the Canadian lineup, or it ran opposite something I was more devoted to. I wonder if I can pick it up online?

Hmmm, I said that just as though I had time and inclination for more TV.

1/05/2010 3:28 AM  
Blogger Wendy said...

I heart Psych.

Still surprised that my dead blog is still in your blogroll considering all that has happened.

1/05/2010 8:18 AM  
Blogger MCF said...

Yeah, I've been crazy lazy about editing my template and updating that. There are quite a few blogs on there that have either changed URLs or stopped updating completely, and at least one blogger who passed away(although her mother has kept it going as a tribute). These days, I mostly use Blogger's "Following" feature to see updates on my dashboard. I can count on one hand those who still post daily.

Times change. :/

1/05/2010 10:19 PM  

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