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totally top three: october 2020


I watched five entire movies this weekend — yay — all of which I had seen before — boo — but that I did watch and finish while mostly not staring at another device — YAY — and it felt unbelievable to actually do it. Attention span, friend, is that you? (Please hear this in a Kate Bush “Wuthering Heights” falsetto, thanks.)

Highly recommend revisiting The Rocky Horror Picture Show if you haven’t in a while. It’s still so, so fun and still makes me feel like I’ve got a whole community of weirdos and queers where I belong, even when I can’t be with them in physical spaces due to the plague and also living in a nightmare place. I only got to see it once “live,” but it was the 30th anniversary show at the Hollywood Bowl and it’s hard to beat Par-tici-pating with 8,000 other nerds, you know?

I got a new favorite hoodie in October, the Smalltown Famous hoodie from Ohio In My Mind. Marty’s a lovely person and the stuff they make is great and charming and makes me feel like I belong to the community of the Greater Midwest even when my Local Midwest is waving Trump flags and giving me constant low-grade anxiety. New stuff drops all the time and it’s making up my entire wardrobe right now. I even ordered a back-up of this specific hoodie and one in a different colorway just to be safesies.

I also finished a book recently! Devin Kelly’s Blood on Blood which is a poetry based on a Springsteen album I’ve never heard — I love the Entity, but the music’s not really my thing — and I loved it very much, especially each of the versions of “The Story of How You & Your Brother Grew Up.” Me, liking poetry! 2020 surprising me yet again.


      

It’s November. Tomorrow is election day. Please vote for Joe Biden, even if it hurts. Any other option will hurt us all worse. I’m sorry we haven’t done more. Please donate to mutual aid funds if you’re able. Wear a mask, wash your hands, stay safe. I love you.

totally top three: september 2020


Okay, this is where I have to be like, uhhhhh I didn’t actually consume jack shit in September? I watched the NHL Playoffs (and am so proud of my lil underdog Dallas Stars for going all the way to game six of the Stanley Cup Final! My boys! ;_; My babies! ;_;) and I spent a lot of time on Twitter screaming about nonsense, but I did not watch or read a single thing because apparently six-ish months is where I hit the maxcap on my ability to continue blasting-ass through this year without finally feeling it.

I’ve kept up with the news. I’ve done my best to help however I can and continue to try to maintain perspective on how lucky I have been through all of this comparatively. My job has never been in danger, the people I love have been well, I’ve been safe and largely comfortable. I have been lucky. (Hey! Isn’t that a whole other fucked-up issue?! Sure is!)

But even knowing that, at some point you have to crack, right? I’m emotionally exhausted. I’m isolated and I’m fucking sad. I am a person that thrives on random human interaction. I love small talk! I live to make a cashier laugh! I try to bring kindness and goofiness around with me wherever I go! And I feed off that energy. And I haven’t had any since March.

I am a husk of the person I was at the beginning of 2020 and it is basically impossible to sit down and do any of the things I love when I feel like this. So I don’t have anything to share with you right now and I worry that I won’t next month either and that really stresses me out! I worry that I’ll never be able to just sit and enjoy something again because my brain has been fundamentally broken by the experience of this year. I hope you don’t feel the same. I worry you do. I hope we both find a way through.

In the meantime, I’m thinking about you. I’m sending good energy your way. Please donate to mutual aid funds if you’re able. I love you and I hope I’ll see you soon.

Here’s some pictures of Bruno with his last dumb haircut of the year to maybe make you smile. He’s technically always in my Totally Top Three of like, everything. 💜

   

ETA: I scheduled this post this morning and then this afternoon this post crossed my dash and really relieved some of my anxiety about this experience. Maybe it will do the same for you.

totally top three: august 2020

It’s September! 2020! Already! Jesus! Hi! This is your reminder to please donate to mutual aid funds if you’re able! Wash your hands! Wear a mask! Stay safe! Stay sane! I love you! A lot!


I’ve been on a country kick lately — unfortunately I am now truly midwestern, rip the cool version of me — that started because I listened to Bonnie Raitt’s entire discography and then the Old 97s — one of the only contemporary country artists I listened to when I was still cool — dropped an album in my lap! And it’s great. This is really classic country storytelling and it feels very alt-Texas. I’m partial to “This House Got Ghosts,” “I Like You Better,” “Belmont Hotel,” “Our Year,” “Bottle Rocket Baby,” and “Why Don’t We Ever Say We’re Sorry,” which, you know, is most of the album, so they must be doing something right.


One of my personal projects this year has been to try to get into poetry because I’ve never read beyond what I absolutely had to when I was in college/grad school and that seems unfair to a whole bunch of writers! It has been… a largely fruitless endeavor because my brain just isn’t designed for it honestly, but I ordered Kimmy Walters’ new collection The Faraway [review!] and ended up loving a bunch of the poems in it, including “zeitgeist wants me in its mouth” and ten others I took pictures of to reread at whim.


Tomasz Jedrowski’s Swimming in the Dark [review!] was lovely and achy and richly written. It was really nice to drop into a time and place I haven’t encountered often before and see it rendered in a complex and interesting way whiles spending time with a narrator that I cared deeply about.


And three to look forward to…

unpregnant   rituals of mine, hype nostalgia   the boys in the band

totally top three: july 2020

It’s August! 2020! Holy fucking shit! Hi! This is your reminder to please donate to mutual aid funds if you’re able! Wash your hands! Wear a mask! Stay safe! Stay sane! I love you! A lot!


The only thing I had the energy to watch this month is a Fox TV show about baseball that was canceled in 2016. Well, I also watched a lot of hockey when it came back and a couple of baseball games, but stuff with an emotional arc? Plot? Don’t know ’em, couldn’t handle them if I did. Anyway, we did watch most of Pitch and genuinely loved it and the only reason we haven’t finished it is because we’re trying to ~savor what we have. I can’t believe this wasn’t a huge hit, every moment of it is pretty great and everyone is beautiful and also baseball? What’s not to like?


My two most listened playlists in July were Aspen Aspen‘s Black Country Matters and Jeremy Andrew Hunter (aka Ska Tune Network)’s LGBTQ SKA BANDS because they both rip and have introduced me to a bunch of artists I wouldn’t have probably otherwise found. One of the best things about Spotify aside from The Algorithm is that if I have an errant thought about a playlist I want to hear, there is already one waiting for me. These two are some of the best I’ve heard this year. (Yes, ska is good, actually. Shut it.)


The Old Guard was really fun! I liked all the characters and the universe it built and I thought the action was all pretty fun and the setup for a sequel was solid. I’d definitely watch another two hours of Charlize Theron and KiKi Layne kicking absolute ass with an occasional detour where two incredibly beautiful men say deeply loving and romantic things to each other if it was available to me.


And three to look forward to…

syed m. masood, more than just a pretty face   kiesza, crave   open 24 hours

totally top three: june 2020

It’s July! 2020! Holy shit! Hi! Please donate to mutual aid funds if you’re able! Wash your hands! Wear a mask! Stay safe! Stay sane! I love you!


I held off on watching The Half of It for a bit because I’d seen a thread on Twitter from writer-director Alice Wu talking about how it was based vaguely on a friendship from her youth and how it had ultimately ended badly and I was just not prepared for the chance that the movie might end similarly — I’m a big proponent of writing from your own history, but I also don’t know why anyone wouldn’t write themselves a better ending. What’s the point of fiction otherwise? — but I was wildly pleased to see that was exactly what she’d done and it was such a joy to watch. I laughed a lot, I cried a little, I felt immense satisfaction. Ellie, Paul, and Aster are all great and I loved Ellie’s dad very much too.

Based on what I saw in my Spotify friend activity bar, pretty much the only thing anyone was listening to was Run the Jewels’ new one and that was pretty much my MO for June too. Every song on this one is great, but I’m particular to “out of sight,” “holy calamafuck,” “walking in the snow,” “JU$T,” “never look back,” and “the ground below,” which, to be fair, is uh, most of the album. Run the Jewels always hit me really well musically — for reasons I don’t know enough about music to articulate, but I think it’s a combination of bass lines and tempo? maybe? — but this feels as lyrically pertinent as ever.

My review of Avon Gale’s Breakaway covers pretty much everything I loved about it, but as I was reading through my Kindle highlights right now, I ended up laughing and being wildly charmed all over again. Lane is one of the most fun narrators I’ve spent time with in a long while and I’m so glad I tried to reset my horrible attention span with this one. There’s not a single character I don’t like! The dialogue and sex are fun! There’s emotionally satisfying resolutions of parental relationships! People like each other! Professional athletes are chill about having a queer teammate! This was a great time and I’m excited to read more from Gale.


And three to look forward to…

dream wife, so when you gonna   jennifer honeybourne, the do-over   fontaines d.c., a hero's death