Oh god if you’re reading this I wrote this when I was like 17 and please stop reading now gah you’ve been warned

As I type these words, 2014 is 7 minutes old. This is normally the part where we all think back fondly on the last year, and toast to a better one ahead. Here’s a few thoughts on my year, and also some random thoughts about things that have been bugging me lately:

2013 was a fantastic year for me. My job (which is programming websites) has given me more hours, become more fulfilling, more challenging, and enabled me to buy a totally sweet car (!!). I’m learning more new things than ever, and I’m more eager than ever to see what tomorrow holds. And that’s an amazing feeling. I tend to see things in a negative light, or expect the worst possible outcome from a situation; but looking back on this past year, I have nothing to complain about.

Well, almost nothing.

If there was one disappointment in 2013, it was me. I wasn’t as gracious, generous, or encouraging as I wish I had been. I haven’t studied the bible or thought about how I could help lead others back to God… well, at all if I’m honest with myself. I’ve let my faith stall, and my whole demeanor has stalled because of it. As well as God has treated me this year, I’ve made it all about me. I’ve squandered 2013. And I’ve made a massive windfall, both literally and figuratively.

In 2014, I’m going to be making some back payments. I’m going to make sure I see the good in people and what they bring to the table. I’m going to think first before I criticize. But what I’m most concerned about is empathy. I need to put myself in other people’s shoes and think about what they’ve been through and what their needs and wants are before I just say whatever comes to mind.

And I’m going to be more financially charitable. I’m going to tithe, and I’m going to give generously on top of that to whoever needs it.

For myself, I’m going to put whatever I have left after I’m doing giving to others into learning new things. I’m going to make an OSX productivity app and release it this year. It’s probably going to suck, but the really awesome thing about software is that you can take out the suck slowly over time. If I wrote a novel or made a game that way, It’d be dead before it hit the ground; with software, you can only build momentum!

This may be the most positive I’ve felt in a long, long time. How am I going to hang on to this feeling before the Mondays of 2014 start kicking in? I’m not. This feeling is going to fade; what I have to do is make sure that before it does, I’ve put procedures in place to keep me focused on my goals. So I’m going to schedule times, on my calendar, in advance, to work on myself. Thursday, from 3-5, I’m building my app. Tuesday morning, I’m going to write a blog post. And I’m going to look at the interactions I’ve had over the course of a day and decide if I handled them with grace or selfishness.

But am I really going to follow through on this? Well, this I know: with that attitude, I’m certain to fail.

Also, I recently watched Pacific Rim, Pan's Labyrinth, and Hellboy

All three of these movies written and directed by Guillermo del Toro. They are all very different movies, but they also have some very important threads in common.

All three movies have interpersonal drama beats and [insert movie’s thing] beats. All three have solid emotional cores dressed in strange settings. And all three feel like tributes to what came before, yet are also their own thing to be copied and studied.

Pan’s Labyrinth feels like a tribute to Tim Burton and C.S. Lewis and probably some other, better weird films I’m too uncultured to have seen.

Hellboy is a tribute to a dozen disparate pieces of art, from Lovecraft to comic books to noir detective serials.

And Pacific Rim is of course a tribute to godzilla and king kong and countless other wanton destruction movies, but with absolutely no misgivings about being a modern movie. It even feels like it gives Battleship a nod or two (a movie which, to preserve my hipster cred, I stopped watching when I realized the missiles the aliens were shooting were the pegs from the board game).

I like Hellboy best of all three. Like all these movies, it knows what it’s trying to be and goes whole-hog; but more so than the other two, every inch of this hog is deliciously entertaining, or creepy, or mysterious, or bombastic, or funny, or sweetly touching; and often a few at once.

I had wanted to be a little bit critical of Pacific Rim going into this; but I really can’t fault it. It really is a perfect Action Movie in Two Thousand Thirteen That Is Also A Tribute To Classic Disaster Movies. It turns out I just prefer Anti-Hero Who Fights Occult Monsters And Awkwardly Dates Girls With Super Powers movies even more.