A fellow named Peter Keating is doing a story for ESPN Magazine on, more or less, "life after sabermetrics" -- what happens to folks who get laid off by professional baseball clubs? He's raising the question of whether pro teams really understand how to get the most benefit from folks like myself. The article's about three former Red Sox consultants: Mike Gimbel, Voros McCracken, and (largely, it seems) me. I've talked to Peter for hours on the phone, and had the pleasure of not only meeting him in NYC (he lives in Jersey) but taking him to his first Mission of Burma show (my 267th). He's a great guy; our conversations have taken long detours as he volunteered the opinion that Buffy the Vampire Slayer's "Once More With Feeling" is the greatest thing in the history of television (I concur) and quizzed me on my favorite Star Trek: TOS episodes -- because, of course, he needed to know. Last Tuesday a three-person photo crew spent the afternoon here with two SUVs full of gear and shot 342 photos of me, which may match my previous lifetime total. I hope at least one or two came out well.
I'm guessing the article will appear in April, and it should provide an interesting counterpoint to pages 160-2 of Francona: the Red Sox Years, which talks about my role with the club (and gets the typical amount of facts wrong, but not in any kind of damaging or insulting way).
In the meantime, after a six-month hiatus I've finally resumed working on "the book," which is to say A Nature of Consciousness, which is to say the scientific paper "A Testable Theory of Phenomenal Consciousness and Causal Free Will" from which it will be adapted. I couldn't be more pleased with how the work is going, or more terrified that it will make me more famous than I care to be. Which, I'm learning, may not be a high bar: after being the relentless center of attention for the photo crew for four hours, I told the photographer that I may be sending future requests for photos in his direction.
And in the other meantime, I added 38 movies to the list of 2011 movies I wanted to see, to bring the total to 166; I've got twenty left to see, and when I'm done I'll do a massive data analysis in an attempt to build a model predicting my own rating from Netflix's guess and a slew of other numbers. (In case anyone questions the sanity of so thorough an approach, my current Top 10 includes two movies that I had initially decided not to bother with, and the very last batch added to the queue has already produced a Top 35 film.) I hope to get the full 2011 rundown online in late March of early April, together with whatever I can glean about the relationships among critical and audience tastes after crunching all those numbers.
And that's why none of the following has been written yet:
- A review of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey for TheOneRing.net, and the promised 4th part of my series for them
- An essay for film buffs on the nature and meaning of Slipstream as a genre (one of 2012's best films, Holy Motors, is quintessential slipstream, but no one in the film world knows that concept)
- A solution of a major psychopharmacological riddle: the mode of action of the super-stimulant Provigil (modafinil)
- The final attention theory post
- Most importantly, a series of posts entitled This is Your Brain at the Movies, including the results of a survey I constructed where three of my proposed fundamental personality traits can be shown to explain about 50% of how much someone likes Cloud Atlas. Bits and pieces of this have been scattered all over the Web in the form of comments to reviews written long ago.
Top 10: Cloud Atlas, The Dark Knight Rises, Lincoln, Moonrise Kingdom, Seven Psychopaths, Zero Dark Thirty, Holy Motors, Amour, The Master, Silver Linings Playbook. HM: The Avengers, End of Watch, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Monsieur Lazhar, The Turin Horse, Barbara, The Cabin in the Woods.
(Significant films not yet seen: Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, Cosmopolis, Magic Mike, Killer Joe, Searching for Sugar Man, Wuthering Heights, Killing Them Softly, How to Survive a Plague, Compliance, Kahaani, Headhunters, Sound of Noise.)