in recent years

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totally top five: holiday romcoms

Crystal and I have spent like, the last three holiday seasons, watching a whole bunch of those made-for-tv(ish) holiday romantic comedy/dramedy movies available on various streaming services because the holidays are a time for ignoring your problems and watching laughably bad movies made on shoestring budgets, so here are five of my favorites!





The Spirit of Christmas mostly gets points because it has, by far, the best looking male lead in a sea of mediocre white guys. Also, he’s a ghost and kind of rude and stand-offish in a way that’s both infuriating and kind of hot. Jen Lilley is also enjoyable, even if her character is a little too tv Christmas movie trope-y for my extremely refined tastes. Their chemistry is good and the movement from antagonistic to romantic is extremely enjoyable. Also, this is the only movie on this list that I paid actual money to watch and I didn’t even feel ripped off!

A Snow Globe Christmas is great because they took Alicia Witt and let her be kind of caustic and then paired her with a cheerful, patient (and handsome!) Donald Faison and then actually let them kind of play and push at each other instead of just making them walk a standard romcom line. This one is kind of a weird ride though, let me tell you. And it’s one of the first that had an ending I couldn’t exactly predict!

Naughty & Nice or Christmas Mix (How much do I love that so many of these movies have multiple names? SO MUCH.) is one we put off watching for a long time because we’d been avoiding all the Haylie Duff movies (I have an aversion.) but had to finally give in because we were running out of other options. She is actually very charming here and Tilky Jones is probably the second handsomest mediocre white dude I’ve seen in these movies. Also, he used to be in a boy band. This one’s got good chemistry which helps tolerating the unnecessary complications of the third act easier. Also Marsha Brady’s a badass, mountain-y mom in this, which was a delightful surprise.

Married by Christmas or The Engagement Clause is our most recent watch and possibly my very favorite? Jes Macallan is great; pretty and pretty normal and super funny, especially while playing drunk, and Coby Ryan McLaughlin is handsome and extremely charming even while being a dick. This one was mildly frustrating because the lead is blamed for things she shouldn’t be, but it makes up for it by actually featuring a gay character (!! I still absolutely cannot believe Hallmark isn’t churning out at least one gay/lesbian version of these movies every year. Honestly. What a waste.) and also being intentionally funnier and missing the typical unnecessarily complicated third act! Also, shout out to the world’s ugliest wedding dress.

A Holiday Engagement has an okay-ish dude the the very charming Bonnie Somerville who is way better served by this script than she ever was on Friends and Jordan Bridges is pretty good-looking. (I know where my priorities are, thank you.) I loooooooooooove a good fake relationship story and this one is very dumb and very cute. The real winner in this though is the kooky family element and all of the Christmas-y fun that develops from it. Also, Shelley Long is a DELIGHT.


Honorable Mentions

How Sarah Got Her Wings | Window Wonderland | Christmas Crush or Holiday High School Reunion


If you need even more recommendations for holiday viewing this season, I also have a Totally Top 5: Christmas Movies edition. 🎄🎅🏿

jolly jingles: 2k17

christmas ornament background with jolly jingles 2k17 in chalky script

track listing

listen at spotify

2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013



I apologize for not having a free listening option anymore/yet. Let me know if you have any ideas!

it's okay to step back

I saw an extremely good tweet the other day that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about because I really needed to see it and thought that maybe you might need to see it too.

twitter user lrsphm says that it's ok to go offline bc we arent made to process human suffering on this scale

We are living in a technological future that pretty much no one could have predicted. The speed and scope with which we are presented with information is almost unfathomable for us even though we are alive right now, living through it. We hear about natural disasters and acts of violence and terrorism near-instantly. We see human suffering constantly, in real-time. There is information coming at you all the time, from every angle, in absolutely every space you inhabit, virtually or physically (When’s the last time you were in a waiting room without a TV tuned to some kind of news?) and it is emotionally and mentally exhausting.

And you should step away from it when you can, when you need to.

It’s a privilege to be able to disengage from the news and you shouldn’t do it, like, permanently, but if you can stop the constant stream of information for a little while, you probably should.

Whatever that disconnection looks like for you is FINE. Maybe you like nature, maybe you like mindless comedies from the 80s, maybe you want to read a YA novel while you curl up in bed, maybe you want to listen to Enya and take a bath, maybe you want to take a nap. Whatever lets you feel a little bit detached from the information stream is going to help you feel less overwhelmed.

You deserve to feel a little less bad. You deserve to feel a tiny bit of peace. You deserve to chill out for five minutes. You deserve more than that, but again, I’m trying to be realistic here. Don’t let yourself feel guilty for disconnecting. Also, don’t let yourself disconnect forever. Life’s a balancing act and you deserve to find the closest thing to balance that you can.

Take care of yourself! You’re wonderful. 💖

intrusive religiosity

For about a year in the late 2000s, I became intensely devoted to crossing myself whenever I passed a cross.


 
This started with a steeple cross that was visible to me from the freeway on the drive home from my college. I often sat in a little clutch of traffic near it and it was lit at night, so I noticed it frequently, hovering over the wall that separated the speeding 210 from the neighborhood beyond.
 
I’m not religious. I’ve been to church less than a dozen times in my entire life. I’m unbaptized, un-saved, uncircumsised. I’ve been to Catholic mass once and I spent the entire thing staring at how super naked Jesus seemed on the cross, hanging morbidly above the Filipino priest’s head. I’m religiously curious, so I know a lot about rites and rituals. Plus I’m a writer and I like characters of faith, so I’ve done a lot of research over the years. I’m an atheist though. No waffling here: I don’t believe in god and I have no interest in church.
 
But this cross, it haunted me. I could feel the pull of compulsion each time I passed it, the little tug at me, like there was something my body, my hindbrain NEEDED to do, but I wasn’t getting the message. It probably took a month of this drive, two or three times a week, for me to figure out what it was. My right arm wanted to make the sign of the cross.
 
This is 1. hysterical because with all that lack of religious upbringing, I had no idea how to accurately make the sign of the cross, and 2. disturbing, because it was a compulsion with an intensity I had not yet experienced. I’ve had intensely intrusive thoughts my entire life (flashes of sudden injury, the desire to drive into oncoming traffic, having to back up from a rail because I wanted to jump – all the regulars!) but this was not that. And it wasn’t like the compulsive need to touch and smell things that I inherited from my mother. (Thanks, Mom!) It wasn’t going all the way back to my apartment or dorm door to make sure I locked it. Twice. I knew there were consequences if I left my front door unlocked. I didn’t have any identifiable fear or consequence of NOT crossing myself, I just realized that I had to do it and I had to do it real, real bad.
 
So I did.
 
It became a thing. I drove by this steeple, I crossed myself. Probably incorrectly, but it got the job done. I felt compelled first in my upper arm, then my elbow, then my fingers as I neared the cross. I’d cross myself and I’d feel the minor flood of elation at having satisfied the compulsion. I only crossed myself when I was traveling on the westbound side of the freeway because, I don’t know, these things just happen and the universe in which I live has all kinds of rules I just obey because that’s how it is. I also always did it with my fore and middle fingers extended, which had no reasoning either. It just felt right.
 
It was weird, but it wasn’t dangerous and it was only once a day, twice a week!
 
But then it started happening when I was eastbound as well.
 
And then it started happening any time I passed a large cross. Then any time I passed a church. Then any cross. Then cemeteries.
 
I was living in a Los Angeles suburb and commuting into the Inland Empire. I spent a lot of time in the car and I saw a lot of crosses and churches and cemeteries.
 
I knew it had become a problem when I had to come up with a way to cross myself SECRETLY.

I had started crossing myself so frequently (There are more than 40 churches just in the town of 40,000 where I lived.) that doing it with other people had become unavoidable.

I have been an outspoken atheist since I was thirteen years old, I couldn’t let my friends and family think I had suddenly become weirdly and confusingly Catholic. Also, I still – despite having access to the entire internet at my fingertips – had no idea if I was crossing myself correctly and being seen doing it incorrectly would have been HUMILIATING, obviously. I think I didn’t look it up because the compulsion didn’t want me to. My crossing was organic and it wanted to stay that way.
 
I had learned in like, the third grade, that crossing your fingers for luck came from persecuted Christians giving each other the what’s up, so I tried that. I didn’t like it. First of all, it’s not really an action, it’s an adjustment. Second of all, it didn’t satisfy my elbow or my shoulder. My fingers were okay-ish with the deal, but the rest of my right arm was Not Having It.
 
So I started drawing a cross on my thigh. It allowed for the motion of my entire arm, it seemed semi-holy, and it was pretty easy to do inconspicuously. And I did it A Lot.

The best way to end this story would be to tell you that someone busted me and I had an embarrassing breakdown about how I was an adult woman who couldn’t control my own weird, compulsive, faux-religiosity. Or maybe that the compulsion started to make me feel too out of control and so I forced myself to break it. But, sadly, this story just ends the way most idiot problems I have do: it just went away on its own.

nuclear anecdote

i was trying to shorten this anecdote into a manageable thread for twitter but i couldn’t, so now it’s here. YOU’RE WELCOME.

so there are missiles in north dakota – this is p common knowledge, there’s even an abandoned site called the north dakota pyramid that was literally operational for like three days that you can visit – about 150 of them, minutemen i guess, and they’re just… scattered around this big relatively empty state. fine.

well, there’s a silo p near the highway from williston (where i live) to minot (where target lives) that crystal and i have passed prooooobs about 100 times in the five years we’ve lived here. we talk about it maybe 1 out of every 4/5 times we pass it, mostly bc one of our coworkers had a flat tire near there once and a military vehicle appeared out of nowhere, changed her tire, and escorted her until she was well on her way again, which is, obviously, both kind of understandable and creepy as fuck.

ANYWAY, we drove by last week on our way to get our fog light fixed from when crystal hit a raccoon the last time we drove back home on that highway and i noticed that there were a couple of military vehicles at the silo-ish area and i didn’t think anything about it because there is occasionally one or two there, doing whatever they do to ensure that a freakin’ MISSILE SILO is functioning optimally, i assume.

but then on the way home, i looked again because when i’ve seen vehicles there before, they’re usually only there on one half of the trip, but this time they were still there. like a lot of them. like a half dozen military vehicles at the underground MISSILE SILO next to the highway. and i took mental note of it, but went on with our drive because i have the memory of a goldfish and the tiny attention span of the millennial that old people write op-eds about.

it took me a couple days, but like, there were military vehicles at the side-of-the-highway underground missile silo in middle-of-nowhere bumfuck north dakota because our piece of shit president is a FUCKING WAR MONGER and if he decides to launch NUCLEAR WEAPONS there is a very good chance they’re going to be launched from a missile silo very near me.

it’s one thing to know there are 150 nuclear weapons in the ground near enough to your home. it’s another thing to suddenly realize they might actually be launched, used against other living people across the world.

i am, to say the least, unsettled.

also, just for funzies, minot air force base that is in charge of those nuclear missiles AND bombers that drop the more traditional weapons of mass destruction is one of the worst maintained with the worst morale in the country! drug abuse! domestic violence! missile scandals!

living in a country at the whim of a violent man-baby is just the best!