February is over and according to some, we’ve entered the greatest month of the year. To celebrate, let’s reminisce about all the hashtag content I experienced in Febs:
I’m tickled pink over this stuff.
The Americans (S5)
When I first started watching The Americans, I was still in college, and though I’ve since graduated, I have yet to complete my education in Russian espionage. Despite my lackadaisical viewership, I genuinely love The Americans – and I cherish Erik Adams’ A.V. Club reviews of the drama just as much. I can’t decide if the penultimate season is my favorite, but it is definitely a contender. Kerri Russell and Matthew Rhys are undeniably electric on-screen. I know the show is long over, but I want Russell to win every possible award for her portrayal of Elizabeth. I don’t think this is too much to ask.
John Wick (2014)
I don’t know why it took me five years to watch John Wick. After all, who doesn’t enjoy watching Keanu Reeves doing things? In this instance, he’s driving fast, having mumble-offs with Willem Dafoe, and killing bad dudes with athletic finesse and untempered aggression. I loved it.
Wok of Love
In the Wok of Love synopsis, viewers are urged to tune in and “learn about the passion and love that can be found in the hectic working environment of a kitchen.” It’s perfect. I realize that with every new drama I watch, I say ‘this is my favorite drama,’ but WoL is just so good! The comedy is on point and I fell in love with every character, especially the suspenders and sunglasses-wearing loan shark. Very on brand.
After I finished WoL, I was made to watch this art and I think you should too, for scientific purposes. Because February is all about love, I indulged in a few listens of this Valentine’s inspired playlist. Sara Bareilles released not one but two music videos in anticipation for her upcoming album. ‘Fire’ features the beautiful sounds I’ve come to expect from the artist while also delivering something altogether different. I fell hard for Superfruit’s cover of this 80s classic:
On Being with Krista Tippett
I think we’re such Pavlovian creatures, and we thrive on constant positive reinforcement. We live in an era where the tangibles of that have become very readily available. You can see things like Facebook likes and retweets. And it is so tempting and so easy because they’re concrete. They’re concrete substitutes for things that are inherently nebulous. It’s so easy to hang your sanity and your sense of worth on them. I have certainly suffered from that earlier on when these metrics first became available. They’re right there, and I think it takes a real discipline just to not hang the stability of your soul on them.Maria Popova
It’s no secret that I love podcasts, and I usually gravitate to the comedy genre. Early on in February, I came across Krista Tippett’s “On Being” podcast, and it quickly became a favorite of mine. Krista is a warm yet sharp interviewer and her guests often bring new and interesting ideas into focus. Here are a few episodes I enjoyed most:
- Daniel Kahneman — Why We Contradict Ourselves and Confound Each Other
- Claudia Rankine — How Can I Say This So We Can Stay in This Car Together?
- Maria Popova — Cartographer of Meaning in a Digital Age
Stuff I Read
A page-turning (er, scrolling) look at book covers that do it for the ‘gram. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson, for those who revel in the essential mess that is life. I dipped my toes into fantastic realms with Naomi Novik’s Uprooted and an indulgent re-reread of A Series of Unfortunate Events. “A passing glance at this peculiar genealogy reveals how deeply these women’s faces and voices are integrated into technology, even as their names and thoughts and lives are so often ignored.” The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison and a color story on Navy Blue that describes the former as Morrison’s meditation on beauty and pain. I cringed and laughed my way through the painfully realistic portrayal of teen female friendships in Not the Girls You’re Looking For by Aminah Mae Safi.
Listening to Popova’s “On Being” interview made me curious for more, so I’ve joined the Brain Pickings newsletter list. It’s quite dense for a newsletter, but every issue I’ve read has been worth the time-suck. Here’s a small glimpse at what she delivers each week: on art and technology, Popova writes, “Murdoch counts among the ‘multifarious enemies of art’ not only the deliberate assaults of political agendas and ideologies, but the half-conscious lacerations of our technology — that prosthetic extension of human intention, the unforeseen consequences and byproducts of which invariably eclipse its original intended uses.”
PS. I’m halfway to my goal to read 52 books this year. You can follow along on Goodreads.
Like Pop Rocks without the pop.
John Wick: Chapter Two
It’s not that I didn’t like John Wick: Chapter Two. It’s just that I enjoyed John Wick much, much more. Though it was cool to see him fight off multiple offenders with a f’n pencil.
Meet Cute: Some People Are Destined to Meet by various authors
The TL;DR review: Dead family members is a *very big thing* for the authors of Meet Cute. I found this anthology just okay, although some stories were very sweet, Nicola Yoon’s “The Department of Dead Love” and Nina LaCour’s “Print Shop” were two standouts and the others sort of faded into each other.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (S2)
If you’re familiar with ASP & co.’s fast-talking, coffee drinking mother/daughter duo in Gilmore Girls, it should come as no surprise that I sought out her latest venture. I celebrated the success of Maisel‘s debut and cheered when it was met with all the awards. However, in season two, Midge’s stand-up and many parts of her personality became unfathomably tedious. I began to look forward to the respite of whatever hijinks Tony Shalhoub’s Abe or even the unlikable Joel was getting into. It was a treat to witness a broody Zachary Levi surrounded by the pastel perfection of the Catskills; but when the best part of a sophomore season is the introduction of a new character in an entirely new environment, something is not quite right.
Pop of the Month
I’m not saying a footwear corporation made me cry, but I’m also not not saying that.