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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: september 2018

September is when I really start to become a person again (Spring and Summer are for normies. You heard me!!) and it’s been nice to watch the weather changing and decorating for the ~Falloween~ season and just generally enjoying the maybe fifteen days of truly pleasant weather I’ll get to experience until the next fifteen which occur sometime in May. Anyway! Becoming a person again generally means I become more able to watch things and enjoy them! Which is great!

I LOVED Castle Rock! I didn’t really expect to and really just went into the first episode curious (like most things) because I’d seen someone mention it on Twitter and ended up feeling really hooked in a non-manipulative way. (Nothing makes me quit shit faster than a cliffhanger!) I just wanted to know more about the characters and see that Castle Rock mythos exploited and man, did I end up enjoying it. Bill Skarsgård is… a babe. A brutal, giant-eyeballed, beautiful babe. André Holland is really good and nuanced and I have loved Melanie Lynskey since But I’m a Cheerleader and I was so excited to see lots of other people I’ve loved pop up as well. The cinematography is really beautiful and the placemaking is exceptional, making every location feel really alive and unique. Also, Sissy Spacek is fucking amazing. Really very interested in seeing where this one goes next.



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Dolly Parton & Sia’s new recording of Dolly’s “Here I Am” which they recorded for the Dumplin’ soundtrack (a book I loved and a movie I cannot wait to watch!) and which is absolutely so beautiful and tender and lovely that I can barely believe it.



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I feel like a lot of people went into Sierra Burgess Is a Loser thinking it was going to be like, super fun? Or similar to To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and all I keep thinking is that none of those people were fat enough or weird enough in high school. A lot of this reflected my high school experience (and in ways I wasn’t expecting which was kind of interesting) even though I was way, way fatter than Sierra Burgess. She’s preemptively cruel in ways that I recognized and leans into her weirdness in a way that felt really true. But I also think people who didn’t think it was fun are wrong! Her friendship and exchanges with Daniel are fantastic and some of the brutal awkwardness let itself veer hard into the comedy of the moment which is always a great relief. It felt like an 80s movie with technology in a lot of great ways. And! It had my favorite trope of teachers calling out their asshole students in ways that both other students and teachers would probably kill to have happen in real life. Frankly, if you weren’t fat and bullied in high school, I don’t know that I’m particularly interested in your opinion of it anyway. Also, people forgive male characters for way worse deeds, so maybe let’s examine what’s going on there while we’re at it?


And three to look forward to…


      

totally top three: august 2018

August was okay! We did a lot of driving and watched some live music and saw Lake Michigan! It smelled bad and made me homesick for the Pacific Ocean!

Crystal opened Netflix and put on Adventures in Public School one night while I was being difficult about picking something to watch (This is not unusual. I am a difficult person and apparently no longer have an appetite for like, any TV or movies at all. It sucks.) and I was EXTREMELY skeptical as it started, but I’ve been in love with Judy Greer since I was like 13 and saw her in Jawbreaker so I got interested and then Daniel Doheny is so freaking charming that I was hooked. This has a pretty weird premise and I liked the space that gave the story to do some weird stuff with characters and their behavior. (There’s a text conversation at one point that I laughed at so hard I had to pause.) It was just very fun and sweet and charming. And it also has a very cute ending!



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I’ve been struggling with attention and interest lately, not really wanting to watch or read anything, and it’s making me vaguely miserable, mostly because watching and reading shit have always been my favorite things in the entire world and feeling like I just cannot do them feels like being stripped of a big chunk of my life. To fill the spaces where I don’t want to just sit with my thoughts (Which is… never. I never want to just sit with my thoughts. There are too many of them and most of them are very stupid.) I’ve been putting on something soothing (Usually a YouTube video of someone cleaning their house because being alive in 2018 is honestly dumb.) and then I play Disney Emoji Blitz. I’m not a game person really (I am not competitive and don’t really have the fortitude to fake it.) but the easy rhythm of flicking cute little Disney character emojis into groups over and over again is mindless and some days, just about the only thing I can handle. 2018, man.



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We watched To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before almost as soon as people started talking about it on Twitter because we love romantic comedies! And because we want to support stories that center POC! And because the couple of gifs I saw seemed super cute! And the whole thing! Was! So! Cute! Lots of characters who are very likable and gentle and funny and like, good human beings! And funny dialogue and charming flirtations and very good chemistry and just a nice, well-rounded, well-paced romance! I had read one of Jenny Han’s other book series (The Summer I Turned Pretty) and had disliked it so much that I felt very hesitant about this, but whether it’s just a series I would like or if the translation to screen made it better, it was super fun and charming and I’m so glad we watched! And I can’t wait for the sequel where Lara Jean and Peter’s respective dad and mom get married and they reunite at the wedding after a rough (Only because of a misunderstanding!) break-up. Thanks, Netlfix!


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totally top three: march 2018

Reggie & the Full Effect, 41 – James Dewees is a super talented, super nice dude who makes so much music sometimes it’s hard to keep up with him. Reggie & the Full Effect is my favorite of his efforts and the albums just keep getting better. If you’ve never listened to one, you’re in for kind of a trip: he moves through a variety of genres and styles and it’s just really fun and eclectic. Tracks to Check: “Broke Down” & “Heartbreak” & “You’ve Got Secrets”

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Hanes Ecosmart fleece hoodies – If you’re in the market for a good, non-heavyweight hoodie for this dreary spring most of the US is having, I can’t recommend this one enough. They’re just nice, well-made, affordable solid color pullover hoodies that come in a nice selection of colors, hold up to washing, and are just really way more comfortable than most hoodies I’ve ever owned. (Bonus: If you’re already on Amazon buying a hoodie, you should also buy one of these kind of weird hoodie tunics which are the softest damn things on earth and come in a HUGE size range. I bought all three colors and can’t stop wearing them.)

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Everything Sucks gave me an entire Saturday of nostalgia and music I love and friendship and smart, goofy teenagers being queer and dramatic and funny and creative and loyal and fun. Crystal is the same graduating class as the freshmen on the show and I was just three years behind so it was especially surreal watching, like, my contemporaries and knowing that I would shortly be in high school, being quietly queer and slowly making a group of friends I loved with the same kind of dweeby ferocity and it’s just really refreshing to watch a story about a fairly diverse group of teenagers where everyone mostly has an okay time!


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totally top three: february 2018

It is extremely hard to not love an album that starts with an homage to/sample of Baz Lurman’s Romeo + Juliet soundtrack and thankfully the rest of Dead!’s The Golden Age of Not Even Trying doesn’t disappoint. This is a hell of an album with some great guitar work and really… unexpected? vocals. Also! A great album for people who are missing My Chemical Romance. Tracks to Check: “Enough Enough Enough” & “Off White Paint” & “Any Port”

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Crystal and I sat on the couch on the first Saturday of February and watched all 10 episodes of Big Mouth and laughed hysterically and also kept going, “Hmmm kids maybe shouldn’t watch this, but man, kids should really watch this.” It’s funny and gross and really, aggressively true to some of the idiotically stupid feelings you have to experience at that age. Super fun and funny.

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Not to be dramatic, but I’m pretty sure Don Broco is my new favorite band? Technology is GOOD. Really, really end-to-end excellent. There is a sort of sonic magic happening that I don’t have the musical knowledge to articulate, but it’s… incredibly special and somehow reminiscent of a lot of things I’ve loved before (They remind me a lot of CKY: my favorite band from late 2003-2007) and also not exactly like anything I’ve ever heard before. It fucking rules. Also, I wouldn’t have found them without Rock Sound’s very delightful Guess the Band YouTube series. Tracks to Check: “T-Shirt Song” & “Come Out to LA” & “Blood in the Water”


And one three to look forward to…