November’s loved things

Reading Time: 8 minutes

Starting a series where I can document pieces of media that transform me, even for a bit.

This year, I made a decision to log the music I’ve been listening to per month. Nothing too intentional: just dumping the music that I would listen to, on repeat. I feel like someone who is very much shaped by the things I love — aren’t we all?

I want to start doing the same for the things I consume, in turn, hopefully making me more cognizant of why I love them and why I am drawn. If there’s something that has meant something to you, I would love to hear what it is, too.

Nicole Kidman / Anne Hathaway – Hana Vu

Very much digging soft, groovy songs — especially when their music videos are recorded with dreamy California visuals reminiscent of what I wished my high school film projects looked like. Hana Vu is 19 (I am also 19) and has built this cohesive, wispy sound, toured across America, and titled an album the exact way I’d imagine a nineteen-year-old would name something. There’s themes about identity and displacement that I can’t stop thinking about. There’s screaming that kicks in right where I want it to

The band’s Audiotree Live session is also wonderful. I’m in love with both their live and recorded versions, and am looking forward to more lives just because they’re cleanly different.

Hereditary (2018)

Hereditary – FILMGRAB [ • ]

I was swamped in this weird headspace of uncertainty and quiet during the two-week stretch around halloween — just forcing myself to go out, experience things, but also not really absorbing anything. It was paralyzing and I don’t remember truly thinking. One night, I settled in alone with a bottle of vodka and just watched Hereditary the whole way through (as much as I could) for the first time; I’m the type of person who can only stomach horror when I’m in a very specific type of mood. (I can’t even read the SCP Wiki, something I love and used to contribute to a lot, unless I’m feeling that sort of energy.)

That night, I feel like I got a deeper understanding of why we sometimes must be sickening to live. Ari Aster’s brutal, ritualism that did not decimate for the sake of it but to tell of something deeper; the last 20 minutes of the film pieced like a writer wrapping everything up so rhythmically – almost throwing away every other piece of the narrative for such a sequence; me, remembering a nightmare I used to have when younger about being very aware of losing control over your own mind. I took in Toni Collette’s performance, how we consume death, and how sometimes all we want is to just give up and fall victim to things. Maybe it’s just me being a teenager drawn to Alex Wolff and forgiving Aster for some of its rushed parts, or maybe it’s the fascination with the theories about his Luciferianism. But I saw something about the absorption of our minds here. And god, if I ever make a film, I want it to kick off with something as mad, indulgent, and grotesquely raw as this.

Funner: One of my costumes this year was Alex Wolff’s King Paimon, and 8 people asked me if I broke my nose for real!

The Shrouded Isle by Kitfox Games

After seeing this on my feed, I instantly got it because of the gorgeous illustrations and point-and-click gameplay about ritual and sacrifice. Unfortunately, I’m easily amused by games that hide their core mechanics, and dilute all the UI with abstract language.

The Shrouded isle is a human sacrifice cult simulator where you play as a high priest and have to balance peace between different factions. It’s beautiful, has a DLC that I haven’t tried yet, but is crafted with such care in its sound and illustrations (and after watching Hereditary over and over, had music that complemented that too very well). The horror here isn’t in jump scares; it’s in the brooding illustrations where you know what is to come yet still haunts you, and it’s in the uncertainty of each click and in choice. There’s nothing truly eldritch except in the unknowing. There’s no path to walk that is right.

A selection of Car Seat Headrest songs

Because since the beginning of this year (with heartbreak, and all that), everyone who knows me knows that I have been listening to this band nonstop. But each month, deeper, differently.

No Passion — it might be something in the rawness of Will Toledo singing “in my wildest sexual dreams I dream that I’m watching porn, but there’s too much sunlight shining on my laptop monitor so I can’t see anything with any amount of clarity” that others will take me as misconstruing shitty, stream-of-consciousness lyrics as something far more poignant, but I am in love. This song tucks the bible, pornography, and routine in a compact 2:50 where all I could think of was getting through–or how I didn’t want to try at that any longer. Many people who are supposed to love me have told me that I am emotionless; and I constantly think it’s funny how some of the most withdrawn people in actuality can be behind some of the most evocative things. It’s as if we’re only capable of producing feelings, but never reciprocating or actually responding. This song made me think about that a lot, or, that I’m going in this direction most likely.

Culture as a necessity for how I feel with all the Fridays and Sundays in house shows with no one from Yale around me, streaming our broken college radio site and talking to no one but listening always, and how my last attempt at relation and understanding is exactly with this; pieces of things that I can talk to people a bit more about. It’s not working so well.

Sober to Death (Mirror to Mirror) screaming “lovely, lovely” in the face of things you want to destroy is something that speaks to me. I am obsessed at the question of whether the person I will end up with for the rest of my life will be much like myself in delusion and in breakdown. Or, if anyone that has the chance to do that with me will end up as fragile as I am — me destroying their body or selfhood as they do I. I’m relearning the fact that we love everyone in a unique way and that no love will be the same, and that love is allowed to be destructive.
This song will stick with me as a college song. When I’m done sleeping in Twin XL beds, having nightmares and panic attacks and sharing empty space with people and have no room to think about love for the future — I’ll be looking back at this. I’m scared to move beyond where I am now, and scared about the type of love I have to give.

Moonlight (2016)

Image result for moonlight film screencap

It took me a long time to feel actual intimacy after my first heartbreak. (Or, I don’t think I have felt it–yet.)

My first watch of Moonlight was a few weeks ago and I very strongly know that I need to take it in again, but I haven’t had the heart to do so. “You’re the only one” reminded me again of what people must go through to be who they are, and how that conceals so much of ourselves. I ran back to my bed, laptop the only light in the fucking freezing cold, and sobbed long for the first time in a long time. I can talk about the magnificence of the movie, how A24 is doing well at being flawless, how each act is unrelentless and moving and will stand the test of time, but all I can tell you is that I saw everything I have known about love in this film so vividly; I saw queerness in this new lens and running around broken buildings in provinces. But I can only see, not truly know.

The Strategist by Jasmine Dreame Wagner

Half the time in my two Fall 2019 Computer Science classes, all I read is poetry. I’m not going to stay sane if I lose out on this part of me, I frequently tell others–along with my decision to double major in computer science and art; which probably shouldn’t mean that I lose out on lectures about k-d trees and piecing them together because I am busy building beautiful structures and narratives in my head, but this is what I do. In particular, Wagner’s piece published on Hyperallergic is something that has been on my mind in a bit. A lot of my poetry in my first creative writing class followed the structure here, but could not achieve the meaning she has. I want to drop god, royalty, and all those things easily and madly.


My design skills are still constrained by the shiny new font that I have fallen in love with recently, and lately that’s Canela. I used it quite a bit in a website I made for the Yale Politic that was just released in the evening I’m writing of this.


In love with soft J-rock lately, close runner-up is Mass of the Fermenting Dregs. Tight and reminiscent of Talking Heads but more beachy and laidback, I walk down Hillhouse Avenue (apparently called as “the most beautiful street in America” by Charles Dickens, which is disgusting) with this while being pelted with dying yellow leaves, balconies I’ve walked past hundreds of times but will never peak over. These songs in particular make me feel so much more empty and wishing for the other life I could have had. Other songs that come to mind when I walk past these spaces: Communist Daughter by Neutral Milk Hotel, Rabbit by waveform* (local!)

Product to Product Podcast

Ever since discovering what product management was (read: this semester), I’ve found so much enjoyment in listening to product podcasts, this being one of my favorites. There’s so much intentionality and craft in the things we use that I had never even regarded — neither in the weight of how I already weigh and consider these things, or in my usage of them. Product to Product is a listen I lean to a bit more frequently because of how empathetic it is. I visibly drone at some pieces that so clearly favor machinations or optimization over people; but the host and guests here never veer into that territory. They’re not afraid to disagree, be raw about more sensitive subjects and from the few dozen episodes I’ve listened to, speak up when necessary.

Just something that I digest better and immediately pick up in 2x speed strolls to class, but also, I feel like there are nuggets and tidbits that are deeper in me now. Undoubtedly do I think a lot more about what I say, and how I say things, too.

Thomas Bayrle Film

Stumbled from the recent additions of UbuWeb, I’ve been thinking a lot about this “documentation”. Mixing biology of the ephemeral is something I tend to veer away from, but this process that is rhythmic, natural, beautiful, and moving in that where it should not is entrancing. Maybe it’s because I recently had to do a film only out of stop motion, but planes of people walking, dispersing, dancing around and captured on things that should not hold them is just so entrancing. I’m not familiar with the technique used here but I do see the depth of it. Another is his Superstar piece that reminds me of beginner “I want the computer to interact with my face” baby tutorials. For its time, the commentary on mass media and zoom that makes a very “out there” comment is fascinating.

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