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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, 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

totally top three: january 2019


Jon Walker, Impending Bloom – This is an EP from a former bassist of Panic! at the Disco and it is nothing like what I expected considering the majority of his previous discography. It’s almost like… a really great, heavy 90s album? And since I have been extremely into reliving some of my 90s loves so far this year, it’s really hit right in my wheelhouse. Also, he used a fan’s joking lyric suggestion in “Like an Animal” and it actually made me laugh out loud on first listen. “Write a New Story” and “Like an Animal” are definitely my favorites, here, but it’s a solid listen all the way through.


The Littlest Man Band, Better Book Ends – How an album released in 2004 ended up as one of my favorite things in the first month of 2019 is a question for The Algorithm, but I’m glad regardless because this little lounge-y ska number is great and turned out to be well worth a full start-to-finish listen beyond the couple songs that kept showing up in my Spotify-generated playlists. “Always Sayin’” and “Stayed Away Too Long” and “Sunshine” and “Better Man” are all great, but the album as a whole is worth a listen. It’s like, I don’t know, grown-up ska? A little more introspective, a little prettier.


Roswell, New Mexico – I didn’t watch the first Roswell when it was airing because with the exception of Friends and Jeopardy, I didn’t actually watch TV regularly until like, 2006. But it was filmed in my hometown and they used my grandma’s driveway as a craft service spot and we ate a lot of free food, so I feel bonded to it, but also Crystal loved it, which meant that one of our first friend dates was driving her around and showing her filming locations and stuff that had been leftover (The Crashdown sign stayed up for YEARS after the show was cancelled and I think the UFO center storefront was still there when we moved in 2012…) but all of that is beside the point because this new adaptation is great. The story is compelling, the acting is really solid (and pretty), everything looks really good, and it’s a story about adults! On the CW! Where the dialogue sounds human! And charming! And it’s actually shot well and nice to look at! Also, it’s nice to be excited for more.


And three to look forward to…

the umbrella academy   miss bala   velvet buzzsaw

totally top three: december 2018

December was… Well. It certainly was a month that took place! And now it’s over. And the whole year too!

I love-love-loved Dumplin’ so much. I think it did the book justice even with the trims needed to make it movie-sized and I loved every single one of the cast. I spent most of the movie yelling about how much I love Millie (I LOVE MILLIE!!) and about how I was definitely a Willowdean at that age and how I wish so much I had been more of a Millie. I love all the parents in this and the secondary and tertiary characters. I love the placemaking and the goofy pageantry. And mostly I love that this is a sweet, funny, charming movie about fat girls who doesn’t lose weight and gets a happy ending! Freakin’ great.



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In this year’s fit of nostalgia (last year’s was music based!) Crystal and I started re-watching Stargate: Atlantis and have been having a wonderful time reliving the early days of our friendship bonding. It’s fun to be infuriated at the same dumb plots and bad guys and to laugh at the dweeby (and dated!) jokes and also to revel in all the friendship and found family. Also, I have been shocked to find that the computer graphics hold up strangely well? So weird!



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Early this month, Crystal inexplicably decided that she needed to rectify the Four Weddings and a Funeral hole in my pop culture blanket and you know what? I enjoyed it a lot! It was funny and charming and weirdly like watching something extremely strange because of both the time it was made and how extremely British it is. The eulogy scene is absolutely heartbreaking and I can’t believe I’ve read the poem without ever having seen it. Stunning.


And three to look forward to…


      

totally top three: november 2018

I know that there have been a million memes and jokes about how 2018 has had zero connection to the space-time continuum, but WHOO-BOY, that shit’s no joke. There was an Olympics this year. AN OLYMPICS. How even? And now it’s December? What am I supposed to do with this?

Crystal and I have been watching — and rewatching — The Great British Baking Show because it is deeply soothing while still being fun. It’s engaging without being mentally taxing and I find the majority of the bakers incredibly charming AND easy to cheer for regardless of who progresses as the competition does. This newest season was particularly enjoyable with 11 competitors I liked immediately and one I learned to tolerate pretty quickly. (Look! I just did NOT care for Karen’s smug attitude from the jump! Humility is a VIRTUE.) I was also so satisfied with the winner, even if that pita challenge stunt was stupid enough to seem like it was pulled from an American cooking competition show.



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My scalp is STILL driving me crazy after more than a year of giving up dry shampoos almost entirely — I think I’ve used styling products maybe… three times? In more than a year? — and I finally got angry enough that I tossed all the half-used shampoos and conditioners and bought the Amino Acid Shampoo and Conditioner from Kiehl’s, which I’d seen recommended frequently for dry scalp and fine hair. I can’t say it’s life-changing necessarily — if I ever find an actual life-changing hair care routine, you will DEFINITELY hear about it — but it smells nice and gently cleanses my hair and scalp without making either one feel stripped and the conditioner keeps my hair from getting staticky but also doesn’t make it flat and greasy. Also, you need a TINY bit of each to get it done, so the price doesn’t seem as daunting. And U KNO WUT, I’ll take it!



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Jeffrey Burton & Don Clark’s All Is Merry and Bright is a really beautifully illustrated kids book for the holiday season. The pages are almost overwhelmingly full and super fun to look at and though what little writing there is could be stronger, it’s genuinely just NOT the point of the book anyway. We have this one out on our coffee table as part of our holiday decor and even just glancing at the cover makes me happy. So lovely.


And three to look forward to…


      

totally top three: october 2018

October has been a MONTH, man. Since the end of it is going to be a mess, I started this on the 10th and am now finishing it on November 2nd. 2018 is really blasting by, isn’t it? I’m exhausted.

Crystal and I saw Fall Out Boy live twice this month and the shows were honestly spectacular. We saw them together in November 2007 and then for a variety of reasons (none having anything to do with Fall Out Boy, to be honest, just L I F E) hadn’t seen them again and it was really weird and interesting and exciting to see what ten years can do for a band. We had so much fun it was kind of unbelievable and I came out loving a couple songs that I was sort of meh about previously. (You cannot watch Patrick Stump jam out while doing “American Beauty/American Psycho” and not come out obsessed with it.) I love live music so much, it’s hard to articulate. It was so important to me for so many years and I took my access to it so extremely for granted. These last few months of shows have been massively revitalizing to me and I hope we can do it again soon.



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I hate brushing my teeth! This is literally a thing I have struggled with my entire life. As an adult, I am lucky to 1. know that it’s partially a sensory issue, and 2. have a very good dentist & hygienist who help me take care of my teeth, but also, I just want to be better about it! Generally, if I can get myself started, I can brush fine, but it can be hard to make myself do it twice every single day. (I read that the optimal number is actually three times in two days, but dentists say twice a day because it’s easier and humans are big dumb forgetful animals.) I figured the best thing I could do to improve on it (after YEARS of trying to make myself a twice every day person) was to make sure I was always brushing for two minutes every time I brush. I have a Sonicare which I like a lot AND has a timer, but also can’t handle using every time I brush my teeth (GOD WHO KNEW YOU COULD HAVE SO MANY PROBLEMS WITH SUCH A SIMPLE LIFE FUNCTION) so I bought myself a timer in hopes that it would inspire me to brush for the full two minutes! And when I found one that looks like a rocket, I knew it was meant to be. And you know what? Two minutes is a LONG time. But staring at a lil rocket helps.



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Grady Hendrix’s My Best Friend’s Exorcism was such a good, fun, creepy read with a really wonderful core of friendship and love. It reminded me of my favorite kind of campy 80s horror movies and also my favorite stories about loyalty. It has a great cast of characters, makes good use of pop culture (without being annoying or feeling phony), and an ending that made me tear up. And definitely a great read for spooky season!


And three to look forward to…