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totally top three: march 2019


I L-O-V-E-D The Umbrella Academy! It was really fun and engaging and a little dumb, which is generally what I’m looking for in all my media about people with superpowers. I like the characters a lot, even when I don’t — looking at you, Luther — and I thought it looked really good, bright and lively with really fun set and costume design. I liked that it never hit a point where I felt like it was taking itself too seriously, which is really important for me with most things I watch and read, but especially stuff with an inherently goofy premise. It hit some really nice emotional moments, gave me a bunch of characters to care about, and left me looking forward to the possibility of a second season!


These Daily Ritual Jersey Tanks are the most comfortable, well-cut tank tops I’ve ever worn. The fabric is soft and lightweight with a really nice drape, but they’re not sheer at all. They’ve got a little bit of an asymmetrical hem, so they cover a little more butt, but the overall length is also great. They don’t have huge gaping armpit holes — my enemy! — and the neckline is a nice depth. I don’t know that I’ve ever been this enthusiastic about tank tops, but ever since Old Navy discontinued my old faves, I have been looking for something even half as good and these blow those out of the water. FINALLY.


I really liked the third season of One Day at a Time! As a show, it really fills a hole in my heart made by 90s sitcoms that wanted me to learn and feel things and I like that I get to have that experience again, but with some issues that would have never made the cut in my youth. I love these characters very much and I like that the stories are tightly contained and solved relatively simply, but never without a pretty satisfying emotional payoff. Even the cheesy sitcom dialogue works in the show’s favor because the acting shines against the constraints of the words and helps diffuse some of the preachier bits. I’m sad it won’t be coming back, but it’ll be fun to have three solid seasons to rewatch when I’m feeling bad about the world, which is basically always.


And five to look forward to…

the twilight zone   the damned things, high crimes   s.j. goslee, how not to ask a boy to prom   khalid, free spirit   hellboy

some stuff i read: march 2019

Here are a few things I read this month that weren’t a waste of time!

Elizabeth O-Connell-Thompson, “Do No Harm” & “xx”

Cass Marshall, “Everyone hates my big stupid horse in Red Dead Online”

Alex Pareene, “Nihilist in Chief”

Mia Mercado’s newsletter Cake for Breakfast is always a delight in my inbox.

Ryan Mach, “Getting arrested for nunchuck possession was the best thing that ever happened to me”

Sarah Gailey, “STET”

Caity Weaver, “My 14-Hour Search for the End of TGI Friday’s Endless Appetizers”

eat my taint

Yesterday as I was driving home from work, I saw a car with “EAT MY TAINT” written in the dust of its back window and could not stop thinking about it. All the way down the street to my house and into the garage. All the way through putting the car in park and closing the garage door. All the way through getting out of my garage and through the backyard and into the house. All last night and into today.

Because, like, “EAT MY DICK” is one thing, a very clear direction of aggression.

But “EAT MY TAINT” is so… vulnerable. There’s no way to be the recipient of that act that isn’t exposed and defenseless. You can only direct “EAT MY TAINT” at someone you trust, someone you’re willing to be open and unguarded with.

That’s not graffiti, that’s a fucking proposal.

totally top three: february 2019


I really, really L-O-V-E-D The Haunting of Hill House and though I know it’s like, deeply uncool now to admit that spoilers matter to you, but I am so glad that I managed to go in with really only my knowledge of 1999’s The Haunting (a mostly terrible, but extremely gay movie I saw in theaters) because waiting for each new moment was really satisfying and stressful and made the tension the show was building extra delightful. I was amazed at how quickly I was really invested in the characters and also how much I liked things that I am normally bored by in media (mostly those constraintless timelines and try-hard dialogue). It’s yet another series I am left hoping will stand as-is and another where I won’t seek out anyone’s opinions about it because they’ll mostly be boring, which is a sign that I really liked the show. If the thought of an adult man in front of a cake makes me weep, well. That’s how I like it.


I didn’t listen to a lot of new music in February (instead inexplicably deciding to relive my childhood by revisiting the Beatles’ catalog? The White Album still rules tbh.) but I did manage to listen to Two Feet’s 20 Something Fuck which I think is extremely solid, if short. The algorithm served me “I Feel Like I’m Drowning” way back (I posted it as a ~jam to my Instagram story in June, I think) and I’m glad that the whole album has a similar sound and energy. This is very much summer music for me and I need that right now because BOY AM I SICK OF WINTER. I’m very into the aforementioned “I Feel Like I’m Drowning” but also love “Hurt People” and “You Say” and “Back of My Mind”.


Crystal and I finally watched Baby Driver after a like two hour fight with my dad’s DirecTV login because we are truly millennials but thankfully it was extremely worth it. I really loved the characters and the acting (Fuck Kevin Spacey, obviously.) and the CAR CHASES! Set in daylight! The sign of a good car movie is how bad I want to drive fast afterward and I have to say the people of North Dakota are lucky that I am old and scared of winter driving or I would have immediately been out there raising hell. The music was great even though it’s clear that Edgar Wright thinks his taste in music is ~extremely cool~ and I loved the sound mixing (even though the whining they put in when Baby had his headphones out was TORTURE because of my intermittent tinnitus) and ASL. Also I accidentally came out of it extremely attracted to Ansel Elgort which is mildly upsetting.


And five to look forward to…

now apocalypse   the weight of the stars   greta   queenie   captain marvel

to the stars

I love space.

I have always known that I would never go to space.

I was an uncoordinated, fat kid who didn’t trust the military (Of course there are civilian astronauts. Lots of them! Neil Armstrong even, technically!) and I knew I would never have the discipline for it.

But I have always wanted to be part of the space program.

More than any other dream I’ve ever had — publishing a book! writing a movie! — I wanted to help explore space. It was my second dream job — edged out by paleontologist because, dinosaurs are amazing obviously — and the first I knew, almost as soon as I dreamed it, that I could never do.

Space is incredible. Vast and beautiful and endless. Every single thing we learn about space teaches us something important, but also opens us up to even more knowledge, to an even more expansive universe than we previously imagined, to an infinity so broad it’ll break you if you think about it too hard.

And I wanted to be part of it more than almost anything I have ever wanted.

And I knew I never, ever could.

Math and I have always been enemies. My lowest grades were always math. I had to repeat high school algebra. I preemptively took the ACT, well before I took the SAT, because I’d heard that the math was easier and I was T-E-R-R-I-F-I-E-D that my SAT score wouldn’t hit the minimum to avoid college placement tests. (It didn’t.) I didn’t want to struggle through at least 3 quarters of remedial math before also struggling through college algebra. (My ACT did.) I had to take a no-credit in my college algebra class because I couldn’t hack it. I ended up taking a logic class to satisfy my one single math requirement. I don’t think my final grade was very good. I excelled in sciences until they required math — here’s looking at you, high school chemistry — and I knew, deep down in the dark cave-like places where disappointment lives, that it would never get better. I would never make it through anything harder.

I took physics in college anyway, probably through a fluke of class requirements, availability, and timing, and it was torture. I understood the concepts, the ideas, the big stuff, the theoretical. I understood it and I liked it. I cared about it. Physics is… as close as humans get to magic. But the math bewildered and confused me. I tried. I read. I studied. I have never been a good studier, but GOD, did I try. I tried. And I just… couldn’t.

After putting in my second lackluster test performance, my very smart, very kind professor — a woman who worked for NASA and JPL and took students to the Marshall Space Flight Center and the Kennedy Space Center every year — asked me to stay behind after class.

I think I’d gotten a D and I was unhappily resigned. I wouldn’t call myself an overachiever, but with the exception of math, school had always been easy for me. Not just easy, but natural. It has always felt like learning was what I was supposed to be doing, the only thing I’ve ever been particularly good at.

This woman looked at me with this awful kindness, the kind that strips you down when you’re not expecting it, and she said, “You just. You can’t do this math, can you?”

And my breath caught in my throat because I’d had teachers who sympathized with my struggles before, ones who tried their best to help, but no one had ever, ever looked at me like they actually got it — that I was trying my absolute fucking hardest and I just could not do it.

And I just nodded.

She smiled at me, soft, and she told me she would do everything she could to give me partial credit so I could pass. And she did. And I did.

I took an astronomy class with her later, a class I anticipated and dreaded in almost equal measure, because I still loved space and because I wanted to learn about it, and she smiled and nodded at me when I took my seat at the front and some of the dread faded because I knew she still got it and I knew she had my back.

I cried after that class a lot. Because I love space. And learning so much about it — it was a surprisingly in-depth class for even an upper division entry-level — was moving, but also devastating because I knew this would be the end of organized space education for me. There was nowhere else for me to go.

She told me once, about midway through, as we went over a test after class that she had never had a student who so clearly and easily grasped and engaged with conceptual information, but who couldn’t do the math. It was the kindest, most flattering knife I’ve ever had through my heart.

I’ve always told people that, if the opportunity arose, even if I knew it was a one-way ticket to certain death, I would go into space. This is true every single day. This has never, even for like, one minute in my entire life been not true. To reach into the rich dark and see the limitless sea of our existence, to leave the bounds of earth, I would give my life. In a heartbeat. In a nanosecond. In a Planck second.

I won’t set foot on an airplane, but any space vessel will do.

The privatization of space exploration pains me. The increasing incuriosity of the American public and their unwillingness to fund NASA and further exploration of our universe is nauseating to me. We are so small in the scheme of everything and we have so much to learn. We are a species built from survival instincts and yet our curiosity compels us to do so much more, to learn so much, to seek out the edges of our universe and understand them.

Math may have defeated my dreams of exploiting that curiosity to its fullest. It may have even crushed my dreams, but it can’t stop me from learning. There is always more to know. And if Opportunity could outlive her mission by 14 years to teach us as much about Mars as she possibly could, we can be curious enough to learn something from her and curious enough to care about what comes next.

The static from your television is 1% residual radiation from the Big Bang. You and I and everyone we love, we are made of star stuff. We are the universe, walking and talking and seeking. Stay curious. Don’t stop learning.