Apparently I can only write in list form these days, so here’s another one! While there are countless other candidates, here are ten movies woven deeply into my DNA (not to mention my marriage), any of which I’ll watch at the drop of a hat:
That said, there are a few daily shows that I’ve found good enough to become a standard part of my weekday routine…
Post Reports: A relatively new afternoon counterpart to The Daily that’s getting better and better
Business Wars Daily: Quick little five-minute episodes, often about rivalries, companies or trends that are completely new to me
Retropod: Another series with super-short episodes focused on little-known stories or moments in history
About a year ago, I wrote a piece about turning down the volume on social media to help reduce anger and anxiety. As an updated companion, here are some other strategies I’ve found effective to help (at least try to) hold anxiety of any form at bay. Note that this doesn’t cover equally valid additional solutions like therapy, medication and prayer.
iOS Screen Time: Setting certain apps to “go dark” in the evenings (or on weekends) works well. You’re still able to access them in a pinch, but the simple act of throwing up an extra hurdle works surprisingly well.
Email Snoozing: Using a client like Spark (or even Outlook on iOS) to shuttle emails out of your face until you’re ready to deal with them gives you back an important element of control. I couldn’t function at work with snoozing.
ASMR: This stuff is so weird, but it really, really works for me (in my case, it’s audio vs. video). Putting a track on during a big anxiety spike will calm me down within minutes. I’ve always told my wife that I find it incredibly soothing to watch an expert bring real, focused attention to their work, and now I understand why.
Kindle (E Ink): Long-form reading without any distractions is fantastic, and I’m not going to carry a bulky printed book around like an animal.
Unfollowing: I tend to rage-deactivate Facebook (and have considered the same with Instagram as well) fairly often, but my current strategy is to just accept that a large segment of people are (be it due to pride or disinterest) unwilling to seek out information outside of their cultural/political/religious bubbles, and aren’t going to change until everything comes to a head. Until that point, I unfollow (while still remaining friends) like it’s going out of style. As an added bonus, this helps me avoid the endless sea of MLM pitches.
Documentaries: I find comfort in perspective. Whether it’s historical pieces that spotlight other bleak times in our past that we’ve made it through, or dark true crime stories that make you appreciate everything we take for granted, good stories are a powerful tonic.
Some things I’ve enjoyed lately, in no particular order, and not necessarily only recent stuff:
They Shall Not Grow Old (Movie): Absolutely amazing to see this footage come to life
The Mystery of The Exploding Teeth (Book): Still reading this, but it’s tremendously entertaining
Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes (TV): I had no idea what a media event this was at the time
Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend (Podcast): Unsurprisingly great
Corporate (TV): My wife can’t get past some of the acting, but I’m enjoying the spiral into ever-deeper darkness
Bag Man (Podcast): I had no idea how deep things went with Spiro Agnew
Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (TV? Movie? Game?): Interesting experiment, and my version ended in tragedy, as I’d expect from good ol’ Black Mirror
Vice (Movie): Pretty entertaining (and horrifying), but also felt uneven
Outside the Bubble: On the Road with Alexandra Pelosi (TV): Enjoyed each of the various segments, despite weeping for America
Monster: The Zodiac Killer (Podcast): As with the Bundy documentary, I learned all sorts of crazy details
God Knows Where I Am (Movie): What a sad, sad story
True Detective (TV): Only one episode in on this new season, but I’m along for the ride
Retropod (Podcast): Super short, fascinating segments that I’ve added to my morning rotation
Fahrenheit 11/9 (Movie): Infuriating, obvs
Three Wives, One Husband (TV): I’m never one to turn down a polygamy doc
Halloween (Movie): Pretty good, though don’t tell my mother-in-law I supported a Jamie Lee project
The Innocent Man (TV): Another very interesting, very sad tale
Bird Box (Movie): It was fine, and I was able to resist driving while blindfolded