Maybe by getting older and having kids, time has become more valuable. I didn’t think much of it as a kid, hence the often yelled “We’re Waiting On You!” phrase that I heard growing up.

But as I was sifting through some well kept day planner pages from 2001 and 2002 I realized something. For two years I worked an average of 60 hours a week. Seeing that and realizing how little that got me in my career, and how much time I didn’t get with my family, I just shake my head in disgust.

How could I have been such an idiot? Not that I don’t mind working extra hours, but when you have an additional 900+ hours of work (above the regular work hours) in just one year alone … sheesh.

What could I have done with those 900 hours? Write more songs? Be a better dad? Be a better husband? What good did it do me to plug in 14 hour days on a regular basis? To add more injury to myself, I didn’t use up all my vacation time for that time … haven’t used my vacation time appropriately for years. As a result, I feel tired most of the time. My kids aren’t as close to me as I’d like and my marriage isn’t as strong as it should be. Neither is my walk with God.

I’m grateful that I took the time to record those hours. I quickly forget how long I’ve been pushing myself so hard and how worthless it all is. No rewards all around.

Looking at this, the question is – how do I change? What can I do to make the future better? Hours have already been cut back at work thanks to a change in position. I have to admit that I was upset at first, but it’s nice to be working a normal 40-45 hour week. I have to admit that I’ve contemplated a major uproot and taking my family to Italy or Spain where I hear of 30 hour work weeks, mid-day siestas and higher family values. Well – no Spain for us, at least not for now. But I need to make the time with my family precious. Not precious as in it’s so rare, but precious as in it’s so common they feel my absence when I’m not there.

Popcorn Archive

One way that I enjoy passing the time is through a good movie. It’s particularly keen when a remake is made because it allows us to see a notable difference in cinema styles, director concepts, plot design and character development.

Take “The Fly” for instance. The original movie with Vincent Price had a dark sepia-like quality to it. By sepia-like quality I’m referring to the dark, rich dripping feel that the characters (most notably from Vincent) brought. It may not have been film-noir, but it felt similar. It also had distinctive rights and wrongs put in situations where grey decisions had to be made and the overall plot was focused on the question of where the soul lies. At what point, when a man is part beast, does the soul no longer exist? It also had some underpinning ideas on mercy killing, love, death and the macabre. Grey.

The more recent remake with Jeff Goldblum also had a dark quality to it, but it was more in the lighting and effects. Some camera angles also presented the overbearing nature of beastly instinct over the meek and gentle scientist. It was a much more classic and less sophisticated “Frankenstein” story. Science goes out of control and trying to act like God comes at a mortal price. In my opinion it was more gore than plot, though still fun in its own right.

Well – it turns out that our friends over at archive.org have been accumulating some very good full-length feature films over the years. Although neither version of “The Fly” is available in public domain, there are still some fantastic gems and some notable clods are available for our enjoyment. It only costs the resources to download and burn to DVD.

Note for techno-phobes: Some of these titles you’ll recognize on the WalMart discount $2 DVD shelf. That $2 gets you $0.20 in packaging and DVD and saves you the hassle of downloading and burning it yourself.

There are over 1300 to choose from. Obviously, there’s no way to go through all of them in any reasonable amount of time, so I suggest you browse through and search for topics, genres and actors you like and try those first.