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totally top five 2018: watching

After talking about my favorite stuff all year, it’s finally time to round it all up, so here we go!

In no particular order!


Big Mouth made me laugh more than probably anything I’ve watched in a long time. I think it’s so good at being gross and funny and relatable and I stand by the assertion that like, okay, maybe kids shouldn’t watch it, but kids should definitely watch it. I can’t imagine how much less messed up I would be if I’d had something like this as a youth. But also, it’s just funny. And the voice acting is great. And I really love the stylized characters and especially the hormone monsters! Both seasons are great and it manages to never really feel mean, despite it being about the absolutely cruelest age.


One Day at a Time wins the award for show that made me feel the best about being alive in 2018. These are wonderful, realistic, relatable, gentle characters who grow and learn and change, who are brave and funny and well-developed. It’s a show about a contemporary family that doesn’t feel too real, but also never feels phony. I love these characters so so much and I am so glad it’s coming back for another season.


Hereditary got a lot of hype around its release and it made me nervous to watch because that usually just leads to disappointment, but this time it didn’t! This was a great watch with lots of rich details and brutal, but not excessive gore (I spent most of my life as a big horror movie person, so your mileage may vary there.) and a genuinely compelling narrative at its center. Everyone in this is VERY good, but Toni Collette is BEYOND good. SO much of the movie is carried on her acting that it’s kind of hard to believe that it works all the way to the credits. This is definitely a horror movie, but I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s a scary movie. There are a couple of great jump scares, but it’s really a dark story about family that still manages to pay off as horror. It’s also WEIRD AS HELL, which is something I wish we all got more of in movies.


I LOVE The Good Place so so so so so so much. It’s the only show we keep up with (Until Brooklyn Nine-Nine starts up tomorrow!) and it’s just so good and so funny and fun and charming and GOOD. Characters who grow and change and learn and develop as the world around them is constantly shifting and throwing away everything they think they know or understand. I like every character, even the bad guys, and I can’t get over Manny Jacinto’s absolutely sculpted from marble beautiful face delivering some of the fucking funniest lines I’ve ever heard on tv. He is somehow the clown and the straight man? It’s magic. The whole show is magic, really, and I am so glad I got into it this year!


I watched Castle Rock on a complete whim and ended up loving it sooooooo much. Gorgeous cinematography, like a million actors that I love, Sissy Spacek!, Bill Skarsgård’s brutal, beautiful face and his impossibly skillful and subtle emoting, André Holland’s pitch-perfect brilliance, and a wonderful, weird, fun intertwining story with unexpected twists that pan out in unexpected and continually interesting ways. I cannot wait to see more of this universe, especially with the word that they’re planning a more anthological series which will cross back with characters we already know.


Honorable Mentions

      


Previously

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glasses raised, we all say cheers

The new year can be a hard time for people, a lot of people, myself included. There’s pressure to renew and to change and to feel suddenly refreshed, to be a blank slate because the new year has come. But even more so it’s because we live in a world steeped in diet culture, in fatphobia, in orthorexia and impossible beauty standards and so there is immense pressure to make this the year you finally become the person you are told you should be. It’s exhausting and it’s stupid and you shouldn’t do it to yourself.

You were great last year and you’re going to be great in the next.

And if there ARE things that you want to change about your life, don’t let the pressure of the new year shape your goals.

Years are arbitrary! Months are made up! Time is fake!

Change or adjust or do things on whatever time feels right to you.

I have fallen prey to the new year a lot in my life, sometimes the new month, often even just the new week. It’s always a chance for a ~FRESH START~, right? Always a new chance to erase your mistakes and start over. But in 2018 I tried to remember that each mistake makes me better and my history is too valuable to be erased. I have woken up today; I couldn’t have without yesterday. I’ll keep trying to remember that.

Regardless, I think resolutions are ultimately mostly okay, if we can divorce them from the social standards and pressures and really think about them in terms of our own ~growth.

In 2019 I’d like to read more (30 books!) and write more (every day!) and watch and listen to new things. I’d like to keep journaling and use my planner more efficiently and reach out to friends more often than I do.

But most of all, I am going to try to focus on my ~word for the year, like I did in 2018.

2018’s word was unclench, which I tried to interpret in all the ways I could: physically and mentally and socially. To calm down and relax and release. It went alright. I definitely got better at noticing how physically tense I was and eventually getting better at releasing that tension. I got pretty okay at letting go of petty grievances and I made a valiant if minuscule effort toward unleashing myself on other people when the opportunity arose. Mild successes that I will gladly celebrate.

2019’s word is fortify.

While journaling and trying to listen to myself in 2018, I realized that I have felt desperately diminished in recent years, as though my personality has faded and shriveled, starved out because we live such an isolated life here. So this year I’d like to fortify myself, to shake out the husk of my once bombastic personality and try to figure out what that person looks like here and now when I stop unintentionally reining her in.

I want to fortify my mental health with journaling and meditation and the organization tools that keep me calm. I want to fortify my relationships by reaching out more often, regardless of the response, and getting back in to sending cards and letters. And I want fortify my cultural knowledge with new media, books and tv and movies and music.

I want to strengthen and secure and encourage myself and the world around me. Including you!

I hope 2019 is kind to you. I hope you feel love and joy that makes the pains and losses worth it. I hope you find peace and comfort. I hope you always know safety. I hope you grow in ways that you like. I hope that you’re able to summon the perfect, biting “Fuck you” when faced with someone or something that deserves it. I hope you share a memorable meal with someone you like. I hope you have a really fun nostalgia spiral about something you loved with all your heart when you were young. I hope you smile more than you cry. I hope you laugh so hard your body aches. I hope you remember that you are worthy of life and love and comfort and pleasure even when the world or the mean voice in your head is telling you otherwise. I hope to see you ring in 2020, whole and happy. I love you; I like you; I believe in you. 💜

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…


      

jolly jingles 2018

christmas ornament background with jolly jingles 2018 in handwritten script

track listing

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