1. what a month
July brought me out of LA and back to northern California, so here I am again and it’s looking like I’ll be here for a while. The days are still blurring together. I’ve been trying to take things day by day in terms of taking care of myself and taking care of the things I want to do, and it’s going – OK? I think? The bad things are still there but there’s also lots of good things, so I think it averages out to OK. The summer classes I’m taking have just started, and I hope to god those provide some positive structure to my days and cool things to think about instead of sending me to an early grave because of this terrifyingly fast 6-week schedule.
2. things i very much enjoyed
Into the Spider-Verse: Jesus, I am late to this one. Glad I got here eventually though lol. This movie got so much hype and it was all so0o0oo deserved. I have literally nothing to say other than incoherent praise/ I did recognize John Mulaney’s voice almost immediately! And that’s sort of exciting? Perhaps concerning? Both? Both. Anyway, the art of this movie makes me want to gouge out my eyeballs so I never see anything else ever again. The story of this movie makes me want to come up with ridiculous hyperboles like that to illustrate my feelings. Gah. I used to be super into superhero movies, maybe 8-10 years ago (fuck, I’m really aging), in the early days of Marvel hatching their master plan to take over the universe. I kind of lost interest for a bit, but Into the Spider-Verse is everything good about superhero movies.
Set It Up: A criminally underrated Netflix rom-com! Two winning leads try to set up their bosses! Hijinks and feelings ensue! Lucy Liu wears so many great dresses! What is not to like. I found Glen Powell and Zoey Deutch really charming. (Glen Powell in particular got super hot to me as the movie progressed. Enough that I’m overlooking his name being ‘Glen Powell’, you know what I mean?) Anyway, I’ll always adore New York City as a setting for rom-coms, and I think the over dick around is a valuable addition to our vocabulary.
Bride & Prejudice: My brother read Pride & Prejudice, so we watched the Keira Knightley movie and this Bollywood adaptation as well. I remember watching this for the first time when I was, like, 8 but I didn’t remember anything else other than good musical numbers. And it was! Such good musical numbers! I also thought all the characterizations and adaptations of the source material were well done, but I’m far from an Austen scholar so take that judgment with a side of salt.
3. things i did not so much enjoy
Trying to figure housing out: Renting is not pleasant. So many roommates, so much disappointment. So many potential subletters, so much uncertainty about if anyone is actually committed. Blergh.
100-degree days: Summer is here in Northern California and 100-degree days are here and it’s the wooooooorst. It’s always the worst and each year I’m still somehow surprised and aghast. It means everyone’s pretty much confined to staying indoors from like 10:30AM-9PM because it’s so fucking hot out.
People forgetting about Covid: Anyone who knows me in real life (if you’re one of these people, what the fuck man, how did you get here, why are you still here) knows that the past couple months of my Instagram have just been me screaming about my frustration on this. My general social circle, meaning friends to acquaintances to friends of friends, are people who believe in science and vaccinations and are fairly left-leaning and posting about Black lives matter. I mean, I’m in college, I’m young, I live in California, I’m pretty vocal about my political beliefs, so that makes sense. SO you would think that all those people would do the social distancing, mask wearing thing! I would think they would do that! To listen to public health advice and the data showing what can slow the spread! But nay. People are out here having dinner parties, actual parties, beach vacations, mimosa brunches, mask-less hangouts. And then people are out here posting about how much they care about marginalized communities! I want to shake everyone and ask how they can preach about helping marginalized communities but not be willing to have a little self-awareness about themselves and their actions. Especially because we’re in LA/California, places with huuuuuge rates.
4. reading list
It’s time to take stock. Four months means that there are behaviors that you’ve adopted that have begun to calcify into new, long-term habits. Some of these habits probably feel good or liberating in some way: I love not doing my hair or makeup, I truly do. I’m not opposed to the way in which my partner and I just never really adopted Daylight Savings Time, and currently eat at 9 pm — when, at least in Montana, we still have another solid hour of daylight. I’m enjoying making new recipes every week, becoming more adept at new cooking techniques, getting better at preserving and not wasting food.
But some behaviors feel like short-term coping mechanisms that just keep extending themselves. Drinking habits, eating habits, exercise habits, spending habits, working habits, relationship habits, sleeping habits, phone habits, care-giving habits. I don’t think anyone should be hard on themselves about any of these habits adopted in the name of survival during societal and personal crisis. I also don’t think a pandemic is a time for, like, feeling pressure to “work on yourself” — unless that feels right. (Basically, I think whatever anyone is doing to get through that isn’t hurting others is pretty okay, even if it’s not what you, personally, are doing, and that’s a posture we should try and adopt as much as possible).
With that said: there are probably some behaviors or patterns that you’ve fallen into that make you feel shitty and/or actively make your situation harder. You don’t like them but inertia is a bitch and you’re too exhausted to deal with them. Bt now’s the time to see those things clearly — and figure out if it’s possible to change them before they just become the established backdrop of your life.Something from Anne Helen Peterson’s newsletter which was thought-provoking to me in thinking about what habits I have and whether they’re helping me
I’ve realized I write with an absolute death grip, so been trying to train myself to stop that! It’s slow going lol, but I read some things that were helpful in conceptualizing what a life of leisurely calm pen-holding would be like:
I think it’ll surprise exactly 0 people who have known me for longer than a week that I find inordinate joy in finding out what people’s handwriting looks like. So I was over the moon when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez posted this page of her notebook! I love her G’s and Y’s and M’s, oh my god. I love knowing that she uses a dot grid notebook. It’s a given that I loved the speech, but it felt really special to know the planning that went into it, the bits that were crossed out or inserted in with arrows as she decided how to use her voice.
Caity Weaver, Styles writer for the NYT, annotated a week’s worth of internet searches. (Exactly the kind of thing I Love To See, as someone who wants to know the exact contents of everyone’s bathroom cabinets.)
A Tweet thread from Rachel Syme on Taylor Swift’s song ‘the last great american dynasty’
Nothing Is Off the Table at Dinner With the Cast of Queer Eye by E. Alex Jung for Vulture
The Importance Of Black Doctors on NPR’s Short Wave podcast
5. camera roll
And that’s July! It is the first week of August and I’ve already stress cried twice, so uh, I’ll be back next week to talk about that I suppose. I leave you with a different sign off than usual –