2019 consumption recap: film/whatever

First a quick few lists of (most of) what I saw in 2019.

2018 movies I saw in theaters in 2019
On the Basis of Sex
Aquaman
If Beale Street Could Talk
The Favourite

2019 movies I saw in theaters in 2019
Captain Marvel (twice)
Avengers: Endgame (twice)
Late Night
Spider-Man: Far from Home
The Farewell
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Blinded by the Light (twice)
Downton Abbey
Knives Out
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

A sorry showing to say the least. I will have to do better in 2020.

I also took the morning off from work to see The African Queen in a theater, my second-favorite film of all time. And I saw three concert films in theaters: Rush’s Cinema Strangiato, Metallica’s S&M2, and Slayer’s The Relentless Killogy. All quite good but Rush especially.

Movies I saw via streaming or on DVD in 2019
The Last Detail (1973)
First Reformed (2018)
Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018)
Hearts Beat Loud (2018)
Mid-90s (2018)
Teen Titans Go! To the Movies (2018)
Twilight (2008)
Noelle (2020)

This is not counting movies I re-watched, which would include multiple viewings of Hell or High Water, The Muppet Movie, The Princess Bride, All the President’s Men, and The Greatest Showman.

I no longer have the attention span to truly binge-watch a TV series, but I did take my time through Silicon Valley seasons 3 and 4, Downton Abbey season 1 and some of season 2, Æon Flux the second series. I re-watched Silicon Valley seasons 1 and 2 and Forever season 1.

…and dang it. I just learned that Forever was canceled. So annoying. The first season was freaking brilliant. I’m pissed. And I also discovered that Atlanta will air seasons 3 and 4 in 2021. Also annoying, but at least it’s coming back.

In retrospect, I guess the best film I saw in 2018 (not counting The African Queen, because that’s cheating) was If Beale Street Could Talk, but my favorite is probably either Downton Abbey or Spider-Man: Far from Home.

I thought Silicon Valley lost some focus in seasons 3 and 4, but it was still hilarious, and I imagine without T.J. Miller it should be a lot more focused for seasons 5 and 6, which I plan to watch this year. It really couldn’t stand up against Downton Abbey, though, which is wonderful.

There is a movie in this list I think I will always think of when I remember 2019. I won’t say what it was, but it’s the movie I invited Crush Girl to see with me, that evening I was friendzoned. I went to see it anyway, by myself, and it was rather good, and someone in it is likely to be nominated for an Oscar. I really thought she was signalling me for takeoff, but I was shot down in flames. I’m still recovering in case you can’t tell, and while the movie is good enough to be remembered for much better things, it will remind me for a while of the beginning of a few months of pretty dark stuff.

As depressive episodes go, this wasn’t nearly as dark or crippling as others I’ve gone through, but it was pretty long, and it comes back every so often. I suspect that Crush Girl shooting me down in the year of my being XXXXX years old is part of it — it’s excellent fodder (I use present tense because it’s still present) for who-am-I-and-what-am-I-doing-with-myself ruminations and reflections.

I suspect this will be my journaling theme for MMXX, which is a nice segue into resolutions, which I’ll post in a day or two.

Zones of proximal development

Crazy busy at work these last two weeks. Like, can you get this done today kind of busy. In the plus column: the days are moving quickly. In the minus column: January, my favorite month, has flown without me and I never really got to enjoy it as I usually do.

Also in the minus column: either the busy-ness is causing me to sleep poorly or it’s coinciding with my sleeping poorly. Either way I’m physically, emotionally, tenuously hanging on.

I’ve decided, perhaps arbitrarily and perhaps out of survival’s necessity, that the movie with Crush Girl was by far most likely just a friend thing. I will take it. I would so much rather have her as a movie-going just-a-friend than not, even if it breaks my heart from time to time. A rock feels no pain, and an island never cries.

This lyric is probably not applicable or relevant, but it seemed like a good place for it.

One of my friends is moving to the East Coast and it’s a little bit of a bummer, even though I suspect we’re both better off not living so close to one another. I liked having a buddy who shares my birthday, even if we never celebrated it together. She’s a twin, so while I have never shared my birthday with anyone, she’s shared hers with someone her entire life. Not a big deal at all.

I think we’re better off because we are either getting along famously or we’re not getting along at all. It’s maybe the most tempestuous friendship I’ve ever had, and I am just not equipped for it. Because I dislike confrontation, I deal with these weird periods of taking up arms by simply withdrawing. It’s depressing. It would make being friends with her completely not worth it if it weren’t so good when we are getting along.

I’m sad to see her go, and she’s sad to be leaving. I really don’t think she’s going to be better off all the way over there, but one does what one must. Still, a long-distance friendship may work best for us. Here’s hoping.

Too tired for the Friday 5. I’ll get to it this weekend.

We all need some measure of unwarranted grace

I’m still writing my other year-end reflection and my resolutions post, but I’ll get those up later this week.

Man, I don’t know how to write this but I’m going to try I guess.

Crush Girl and I went somewhere together by ourselves. She mentioned a movie she was hoping to see, and I mentioned that I was going to see it too, probably later, after a few other things on my list.

She messaged me later the same day, asking if I wanted to join her and a couple of her friends to see it. Holy moly. Two things went through my brain on endless repeat at a hundred miles per hour: Oh my gosh what is this and what does it mean? and oh geez I can’t afford a movie this week my budget is super tight until payday!

So bad was my cash situation that I was going to have to take my coin jar to a Coinstar (note to self: use that rhyme in a rap someday) just to cover the movie. Crush Girl asked me how much movies cost nowadays (she commented last fall on how expensive they are) and I said this one was going to be $10 at theater A (it was cheap movie night there) and $6 at theater B (it was cheaper movie night there), but $6 only if she signed up for the free club thing.

She tried to convince her friends to change plans and go to theater B, but they were set on theater A, I guess, so they were going there. She asked me if I wanted to go to theater B. I said sure, but I was equally happy to see it at theater A. I was lying of course, lying through my lying teeth.

Lying through my lying messaging fingers, actually, but the point is I very purposely gave her a chance not to be stuck alone with me and she didn’t take it.

I met her at theater B. I’d been sending Jocelyn the play-by-play as these events unfolded, so while I normally might have been a mess, I was pretty calm by the time I was in line at the box office. I wasn’t going to worry about oh my gosh what is this and what does it mean, and I had enough cash to handle $6 (I’m telling you; things were this tight), so I was just going to go along with it and be nice.

I can be nice, contrary to popular opinion.

She asked me if I had a seating preference, which of course I do, but people were already there, so I said, “I do, but someone’s there, so let’s sit wherever you want to sit.” She chose a typical seat, near the middle, not too far back. I slid in next to her and dropped the armrest on my left. She dropped the armrest on her right, and neither of us dropped the armrest in the middle.

This may not sound like a big deal, but the only person I haven’t dropped the middle armrest for is R. I usually don’t even sit next to Penny or Grace if we’re in a movie together.

I have to say I was a leeeeeettle uncomfy being able only to put my left arm on an armrest, so I sat mostly with my arms crossed throughout the film. This may have seemed a little standoffish, but given the circumstances and the friendzoning, I wasn’t taking chances on being misread.

I just realized that sitting with my arms crossed was in fact taking a chance on being misread, but given the many ways I might have been misread, it’s better to err on safety’s side.

Anyway.

She’s not a movie talker (thank you Jesus) but she did lean over and whisper a couple of questions during the film, which I was happy to answer (incorrectly, it turns out), and those are my two favorite moments of 2020. Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. You’ve been a great audience; it was a great year. Bring on 2021.

We chatted after the movie for a few minutes and I walked her to her car, which we discovered was parked a few stalls away from mine and as she drove off, I got Jocelyn caught up via Google hangouts. Jocelyn is super super super super super super super busy with super important stuff (like, life-or-death stuff) so I knew she wasn’t going to get back to me. I just needed to type to someone oh my gosh what is this and what does it mean?

Couldn’t just get into my car and drive home after that. I paced the parking garage a few times and watched a few airplanes fly out of HNL.

I kind of knew how they felt.

2019 Consumption recap: written word

This year, the number of books I read is greater than the number of movies I saw, I’m pretty sure. It’s possibly the first time this has happened since the year I wrote my master’s thesis, although it’s possible the year before getting hired where I work now at least came close. That was a lean year.

Prioritizing sleep and exercise will do this to you, I guess. Especially sleep. Because I dislike crowds, I favor late movies, or matinees on weekdays. The late movies were tougher to attend while being conscious of my sleep hours, and honestly I’ve missed my cinema time.

The other big reason for my film decline is just what it is for most of us: too much media competing for my attention. Shortly after the 2016 election, I resubscribed to the Washington Post, largely out of a sense of responsibility. Most of my daily reading is a balance of the WaPo and Google News, with the Post usually as my breakfast reading.

Of non-fiction, the best thing I read is A History of Heavy Metal by Andrew O’Neil. I still need to go through my notes, which include bands I need to check out and some history I’d like more info on.

For novels, I may remember 2019 as the year of the re-read. I went back to favorites I haven’t read since high school, such as Louise Fitzhugh’s Harriet the Spy, and books I read for my thesis but didn’t have time to soak up as I’d have liked, such as Patricia MacLachlan’s Sarah, Plain and Tall, Lynne Rae Perkins’s Criss Cross, and Linda Sue Park’s A Single Shard.

Also in the old favorites revisted category: Danny Dunn and the Anti-Gravity Paint and Danny Dunn and the Swamp Monster by Jay Williams and Raymond Abrashkin. The fifteen books in this series were among my favorites in fifth and sixth grade, and when I saw that some had been converted to ebook format, I had to see if they are as good as I remember. They’re not, but they’re still quite good. I expect to buy a few more in the series this year.

Of course, what took up most of my time (mid-January to mid-spring, I think) was my first re-read of the Harry Potter books, and my first read of its final installment, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I don’t understand people who dismiss the series as mere children’s literature, although I don’t understand the dismissal of anything as mere children’s literature. It’s a beautiful story, and while J.K. Rowling is not especially skilled with the language, she’s a heck of a storyteller. I think I’m going to re-read the last book this year.

I’d like to make 2020 the year I finish a bunch of books I started but never completed. I’d like also to read something from the English major canon I never got to, perhaps something Russian or Victorian English.

2019: Non-consumption recap

morning swim before work, new year’s eve 2019

Here’s to the new year.
May she be a damn sight better than the last,
and may we all be home before she’s through.
(Col. Sherman T. Potter in M*A*S*H)

Crush Girl’s Christmas gift to me was a gift card from my second-favorite boba spot, plus a small boba charm/keyring. And a Ghirardelli peppermint bark square, which may not have been part of the actual gift but Crush Girl knows I have a weakness for them despite my not being much of a chocolate guy.

Pretty good friendzone gift, right? Thoughtful but not too personal. Well done. Mine to her was a set of color pencils, with the colors named after references to her favorite TV show. Also thoughtful but not too personal, and sliiiightly less friendzoney than a gift card. I think I did pretty well too.

I think I’ll remember 2019 as the year of Crush Girl, and while that’s not the cheeriest possible milemarker for 365.25 days, there are certainly less cheery options, as there have been in years past. Except for Crush Girl the only thing really distinguishing this year from others was my company’s physical move from the university campus to an office building near Ala Moana, kind of a boring thing to mark a year by, but certainly influential in a lot of ways. Where a person physically goes to work is as big a deal as for whom one goes to work. We just usually tie the two together, so they seem like the same thing but here’s one case where they’re not.

I’m encouraged by my adding some healthy things to my daily life. I got the wheels in September 2018, but we had such a wet winter that I didn’t habitualize the morning beach stops until around March. I can’t say there’s been a noticeable, visual difference in my health, but I’m doing things in the water (and for longer) I haven’t done since I was in my twenties.

The benefits of morning swims and long evening walks to my mental health cannot be measured (nor even really confirmed, especially given my Crush Girl depression around the middle of summer, and lingering effects deep into the fall), but when I go without for a week or so at a time, I feel the difference. And the difference isn’t mere self-loathing brought about by malaise. I wouldn’t call it an endorphin addiction (if only!). I might call it something related to the multi-sensory stimuli I get from both activities.

After two years of adjustments to my medication and sleep routines, I seem finally to have gotten my BP into acceptable ranges, and fiiiiiiiinally I’m regularly getting good sleep with the stupid Darth Vader mask clinging to my face. The two major factors were 10 mg of melatonin before bed and a black sleeping mask. I must be a sight but since I’m still single, I’m not going to worry about the sexiness and feel good about the REM sleep.

My living space continues to be a disaster. I suppose that will have to be my 2020 focus, somehow adding that enormous project while maintaining personal health gains. I have to be honest and say I don’t know if it’s doable.

Personal writing slowed way down but didn’t come to a screeching halt, thanks largely to NaNoWriMo and its step-sibling forms in April and July. I wrote some interesting short-shorts and the beginnings of what may be a fleshable novel. My writing partner’s new freelance gig certainly helps there too.

I’ve had a few service-related projects in mind for some years, and now that I have wheels and a steady job again, I’ve felt the need to put at least one of them in motion. That’s going to be a January initiative for sure, although I’m wary (again) of losing the gains my positive lifestyle adjustments have brung about. I never was Superman, but I’m less so today than I ever was. And now I’ve learned to accept it. I’m beginning to think this is one of those step-out-in-faith things.

I’m writing this in a boba cafe, not any of my usual haunts but one at Ala Moana. After a swim, I had breakfast at Subway (of course), then took a short walk and sat down here to write. I’m off from work until 1 p.m. and at first I had no plan for the extra time, but taking a moment to write this was a good move.

Tonight it’s all about chilling at home, and hopefully doing part two of this recap.

Friday 5: Accidents will happen

From here.

  1. What was the last thing you spilled?
    A Super Big Gulp I walked from the 7-Eleven to my desk (it’s a block away). My budget was extremely tight and I didn’t have a lot of room for the $2 drink but I’d worked hard that day and really wanted it. I missed the desktop, slamming the cup into the edge of my desk, which broke a hole in the plastic cup (!) and spilled Diet Pepsi mostly on the carpet. I was heartbroken.
  2. What was the last thing you broke?
    I break things all the time but I think it’s miraculously been a while. Ohhhhh. You know what? I don’t know how I did this because I’m careful about these things, but I snapped the snap-cap on my liquid dishwashing detergent shortly after I opened a new bottle. I hate that. Now I have to set the cap down somewhere while I do dishes. Thank goodness that bottle’s almost empty and I can start fresh with a new one.
  3. What was the last thing you dented?
    My phone case. But of course that’s what a phone case is for.
  4. What was the last thing you tore?
    I was gift-wrapping a weird-shaped item and when I tried to manipulate the paper around a tough spot, I ripped the paper. At first I was annoyed because it was really nice paper and I didn’t have a lot of it, but I made it work. You totally couldn’t tell while the gift was wrapped that there was a tear in it.
  5. What was the last thing you stumbled over?
    A case of water in the middle of my laundry room. I’ve been stepping over it (it’s part of my hurricane readiness kit) for a year, with varying degrees of success.

Friday 5: It’s around here somewhere

From here.

  1. What was your most recent unexpected expense?
    Legally changing my name so that my birth certificate matches all the other documention I’ve assembled over the span of my life. Ugh. Stupid gold star ID thing. By the time this is over, I’ll have spent $300 dollars or so.
  2. What was your most recent pleasant surprise?
    Crush Girl gave me a Christmas gift. No, I don’t know what it is yet because I’m one of those wait-until-Christmas guys. I seriously didn’t expect this to happen. It gives me hope for our friendship.
  3. What can’t you find?
    I can’t find my Santa hat, even though I pretty much know where it is. It’s put a little bit of a dent in my Christmas spirit.
  4. What are you hiding from?
    i’ve been fleeing the reality of my thinning hair for several years. 2020 is the year I decide at least to attempt some kind of proactive maneuvering.
  5. Who is a mystery?
    We have tandem parking at the office — one person parked in front of another in one very long space. Most of the time it works fine. I requested a parking buddy I knew I’d never mind getting up for. And I don’t. But we’ve been having some problems communicating, and I’ve been discouraged by my inability to be a good partner. I wouldn’t say my partner is a mystery, but figuring out how to click has been a serious puzzle.

Write drunk; edit sober

My writing partner got a freelance gig writing listicles for a momblog. I think she’ll be great before too long. That she’s writing at all is a bit of a surprise to me, but I’m happy to see that mommyhood hasn’t driven it entirely out of her.

This helps me out because it means the resumption of our meetings. We used to meet weekly but I think this year, the year of her becoming a mom, we met twice or maybe three times. If you’ve ever been in a workshop-style writing class, you know there’s pressure to produce, and having a good writing partner with whom you meet regularly works similarly.

The thing I’ve been working on for a million years is back in hibernation. I will get back to it but I need to learn a few things first, such as plot development. This was the focus of my NaNoWriMo project last month, and it turns out I might have a decent idea, one that could be a real novel.

So it’s what I’m working on right now. I’m sparing my writing partner the entire manuscript as it came out of my fingers in November, and sending her instead selected edits of the work in its presumed order. Once we get through the skeleton together, from crown to tarsals, if I still feel this way, I’ll go in and put some flesh on the bones.

I have to say I’m encouraged by the work so far. It doesn’t suck. My main character needs better definition — I made decisions about him on the fly, and of course they weren’t always consistent. He’s a lousy student in the first semester of his senior year but pretty diligent in the second. That’s pretty much how I was in my senior year but I didn’t take time to develop it well — had to keep my story moving!

What surprised me is how a certain theme emerged as I wrote, a theme about how people make up after major fallings-out. I didn’t plan it, but the main character falls out with three important sub-characters: his best platonic girl friend, his father, and a girl he sorta dates.

It’s the kind of thing I’ve been striving for in my other long projects, a book not about the major story arc but about some truth. The first Harry Potter book, for instance, is a book about a boy who discovers he’s a wizard with a mortal enemy. But one could say it’s really a book about alienation and redemption, or about the power of friendship.

That “what it’s really about” has been evasive in my other work, and I can’t figure out why. I’ve been trying to get there with every stalled novel (and there have been many). This one kind of happened organically — I didn’t even realize it was emerging until I got to the point in November where I knew I had to tie up loose ends. That end needed tying, and so did that one, and hey look, they kind of go with this other thing that happened early in the story.

Because here’s the thing. I don’t hug books, but I know book-lovers who do. They don’t hug them all; they hug the special ones. When eventually someone I don’t know reads my book, I want it to be a book the book-huggers hug. Those Wayside School books by Louis Sachar are excellent, and super super popular. But dammit, I want to write Holes.

I’ve been audacious enough to say I want to write a Newbery winner. I do. And it’s a stupid thing to say, of course. But I say it to remind myself that publication isn’t the goal. That book-hug is the goal.

I asked my writing partner to be straight after she read the first few chapters. Is this the beginning of a book someone might read? Does it read like someone who knows how to write? A stupid question — I know I can write. I just, I just know my own voice so well now that I can’t tell if it sounds like a writer or if it just sounds like me. Maybe that’s actually what a writer should feel like, utterly unimpressed with his own voice.

Anyway she said yes. If I wasn’t so vulnerable in the moment I would have said, “Yeah, but what do you know? You’re just a momblogger.” Instead I just took it, and I’m hanging on to it for 2020.

This week I’m going to prepare the next set of chapters for her to look at. We meet in the second week of the new year. I did a fast skim, and yikes. It’s not nearly as good as the stuff she’s already seen. The middle two weeks of the month were a struggle as I tried to figure out what the heck I was telling, and if I decide to flesh this story out they are going to be the biggest challenge, I think.

Following my arrow

Just had a really long day. Scribbling for a few minutes just to decompress. I won’t get into it here but if we’re FB friends you can read it there. If we aren’t, you should add me.

If you’ve never worked where payday is every other week, as opposed to twice a month, I suggest quitting your job and finding someone who’ll pay you this way. My first school paid this way, as did the engineering firm. The non-profit used to pay me twice a month but a couple of years ago switched to every other week, at the urging of employees. And yes, I’ve worked for a Japanese-owned company so I know what it’s like to be paid weekly! That could be sweet too but I don’t see it happening.

It means 26 paychecks per year instead of 24. People who work in places like this call those extra two the extra paychecks, and they can be glorious. See, most monthly deductions for stuff like insurance or parking are split in two, since you usually have two paychecks a month. Twice a year, you get a third paycheck in a month, and these paychecks don’t have the deductions. So not only is it a third paycheck in a month, but it’s often a larger paycheck.

I don’t have that many deductions, but I have more now than I ever did. I’m paying for parking (we get free parking after our fifth year; I’m just completing my third) and I loaded up on supplemental health insurance last year, in anticipation of turning fifty. I was sure I was going to get a colon cancer diagnosis, which I did not.

My check was not quite two hundred bucks larger, but holy moly what a difference it felt like. I’ve been super bummed about my pay lately. I knew when I switched careers I’d be starting over, but I kinda thought that in three years I’d have proven more value than they were expecting. My employer doesn’t see it this way.

The not-quite-$200 take-home pay bump this pay period isn’t quite half the increase I want, need, and deserve, and it felt soooooo good. I almost forgot how unappreciated I feel. Until this long (pricey) day, I almost felt like a grown-up making a grown-up living.

On the other hand, it’s Christmas. Getting most of my shopping taken care of during the weekend felt great, but now it’s going to be a pretty lean couple of weeks! Still feels good, though. Better to be scraping bottom because I spent money on gifts than scraping bottom because of the usual reasons.

Is it weird that I left teaching and became poorer?


I put Crush Girl on my Christmas list. I hope it’s not weird. I didn’t even get her something practical; I wanted to get her a book but I know her stack is pretty high right now. Plus I gave her a book for her birthday and I have a feeling she didn’t care for it.

So I got her something that’s probably just going to take up space but is a cute gift. I saw it while flipping through IG. Those ads are pretty useful. I’ve now purchased two things IG targeted at me, both of them gifts. And there’s one more thing I bookmarked to get myself for my birthday next month.

I didn’t see the Kacey Musgraves Christmas TV special, but I picked up the CD and it’s pretty cute. Yes, I still get CDs. Not nearly as many as I used to (thanks, employer!) but I don’t want the medium to die.

I feel fine about the long day I had, but it’s created me more work, which means at least two more long days in addition. Not really looking forward to that but not complaining either. I don’t know about jolly, but ’tis the season to be positive, and I remain so.

Oh, I finished NaNoWriMo just past 50K words. Yay. I’m drained! So I’ll save discussion about that for later.

Even at My Worst, I’m Best with You

I can’t tell you why the title of this entry is relevant, but the song is playing on the speakers in this establishment, and the song is an especially good soundtrack to part of what I’m writing here.

I don’t know if I have it in me to do the Friday 5 this late Sunday evening. I’ll type a few thoughts and see.

My part in the stressful project at work isn’t as finished as I thought. I’m not sure when my part will be done — it seems when I think they’re happy with my draft, they come at me with “can we do this?” And it doesn’t bother me much but the communication this past week was weird. Like people are saying, “Why did you do this?” And I’m saying “You know why I did this. If you wanted to reverse it you totally could have, or just told me you wanted it reversed and I’d have been happy to do it.”

I understand my role, and I embrace it. I’ve embraced it for going on three years, and usually it’s not a problem. Tell me what you want, and I’ll write it. If I disagree, I may say something about why, but I’ll almost always defer unless the point of contention is about grammar or some other mechanical aspect of the language, which I consider myself better informed about than almost everyone I work with.

People I work with appreciate and respect my expertise. I don’t know much about most things, but I know what good writing is, and I know how to produce it. On this project, though, I think people aren’t being clear about what they want and don’t want. So I assume the drafts are fine until I’m told that I need to change certain things and I need to change them now.

Geez. I wouldn’t really mind that either, but be a little nicer about it, you know? And don’t make it sound like the draft is where it is now because of me. If I’m waiting for you to tell me what you want, and you don’t tell me what you want until seconds before you need it, don’t act like I’m the reason nothing’s been done yet.

Arrrrrrrgh.

This project has been making me lose sleep, and it’s not the work itself. I haven’t been nervous or stressed a single moment about the work, which involves some very high stakes. This team I’m part of always produces excellent work. High stakes don’t change any of that. I want our project to succeed, but I’m not afraid of its failure. That’s how you do good work.

It’s the communication that’s been driving me insane.

I’m working myself up just typing this, so I’m going to back off a bit.

This is going to sound a little weird, but I’d kind of like to piss Crush Girl off. Not about anything important, but maybe some minor way that sets her off. I haven’t seen her mad (although I’ve certainly made her mad; I just wasn’t around to see it!), and I suspect she’s beautiful when she’s angry.

I can think of two friends who got really beautiful when they were mad. One is Janice, with whom I spent a lot of time before she married my former college roomie Sterling. I was on the receiving end of at least four very angry scoldings and I have to tell you, that fury made a beautiful woman beautiful. A few times I saw her unleash it at others, and how great it was when I wasn’t the target. I could get a closer look, for one thing.

The other is R, whom I’ve seen angry more than anyone I’m not related to, and only a very few times was I the person she was angry with. Hers was a little different — she went right up to the line between anger and psycho. Once, when she was mad at her mom, I am quite sure I saw her go a step or two over the line, and that was pretty scary. I didn’t have anyone to compare it to until Helena Bonham Carter’s performance as Bellatrix LeStrange. Yeah, it was that kind of psycho-beautiful.

I’ve only noticed in the past couple of months (that is, in the time since she friendzoned me) that Crush Girl has a really musical way of speaking, especially when she’s either going a little gaga over a doggie or a baby, or when she’s listening sympathetically to someone else’s sad story.

I’m actually trying to learn a thing or two from her on that last thing. She makes all these really sympathetic sounds that I’m not sure would work coming from me, but the vocalizations are so sympathetic that I think they help all by themselves. When I hear someone telling her about their bad day or whatever, and she makes these (I’m not even going to try and spell them) sounds of caring, I feel like little daggers are going right into my heart.

I still don’t know her very well, especially not outside the one context in which we interact, but when I see the way she listens to people, I think she’s someone I could love. That’s never enough, I know, so don’t remind me. It’s a good sign, though. There’s a really good person in there.

R had a very musical way of speaking, which over many years of being her friend I picked up a little of, which I’m sure doesn’t help my already semi-effeminate speaking mannerisms, which have led many people to ask if I’m gay, which I’m not. Or from California, which I also am not.

Crush Girl’s musical inflections are different. Like she’s singing along with a completely different orchestra. Like she’s got a story to tell, and if you just wait a moment, she’s going to sing it to you. I’m picturing Amy Adams in Enchanted, although it’s not quite like that. I need time to think about it, because I’m pretty sure I can think of an actor she reminds me of.

this is a crappy picture of the movie on my tablet, but there are NO good still images on the web for this film! but dang: isn’t she pretty?

Speaking of Enchanted, I saw the new Anna Kendrick movie, Noelle, which is streaming on the new Disney +. It’s not great, but Anna is great in it, so I’ll probably see it a few times a week between now and the new year. It reminded me of a cross between Elf and Arthur Christmas. It’s going to remind everybody of Elf.

A coworker also saw it, and she said it reminded her of Elf and Enchanted, and I can see that too.

It has moments of cleverness and genuine, sincere kindness. It has moments of stupid, too, like when Noelle is required to address the North Pole denizens about what Christmas means to her. Ugh. Ugh. Bleah. Vomit.

But you know, I teared up twice and actually shed tears once. Anna really sells the kindness.

Now that things aren’t going to happen with Crush Girl, I should probably give Anna another chance. Although really, if she goes another ten years without calling me, I might stop waiting around.