It took a pandemic to make me realize how much I love Christmas

I didn’t realize how accustomed my daughter was to the Christmas tradition until she asked me why I hadn’t put up a Christmas tree yet.

It was already two weeks into December. They had a tree up at her mother’s place since Thanksgiving, she told me. My house was much darker, less festive in comparison.

“I’m not putting up a tree this year,” I said, and it was the first time I was saying it aloud. It was a quiet choice I was committing to this season. Like how I didn’t dress up for Halloween, or didn’t bother with a turkey on Thanksgiving.

My daughter gasped like I had stolen the gifts, the lights, and all the decorations in Whoville.

I didn’t plan on being a Grinch this Christmas. It just suited my mood— and my mood for the last stretch of 2020 (as I imagine it was for everyone else) was to get through the rest of the year and start over.

Because I needed a do-over. Badly. Continue reading

The Detectives of David Fincher

In another life, David Fincher would make an excellent detective. It’s no coincidence that the protagonists in his films often brandish the fedora and trench-coat (some literally, others spiritually) or are prone to endless brooding as they piece together a complicated world. But it’s not the fact that they investigate that’s so compelling, it’s that they obsess. For a director himself who will shoot 100 takes of a scene, or refine the junk in a character’s apartment to an exact science, or pore over every line and molecule of the script; this storyteller-character pairing is as self-reflexive as it is madly engrossing.

This, of course, depends on how you like your heroes. Some like ‘em squeaky clean in every moral facet i.e. won’t take a nickel off the street, or aren’t above arresting every rule-breaking offender out there including jaywalkers. I like my detectives the way Fincher does, weathered and broken and a little fucked up. Continue reading

The Social Network’s Unforgettable Opening Scene

“Did you know there are more people with genius IQs living in China than there are people of any kind living in the United States?”

The first line of David Fincher’s The Social Network starts at the 16 second mark, just as the Columbia Pictures logo rolls, and just as we slowly fade into the middle of Mark Zuckerberg and Erica Albright’s whirlwind date. (Whirlwind as in the speed at which they talk, NOT that they’re “in love.”) Where are we? In a bar. When are we? Boston 2003, at the intersection of Harvard and – as far as the tech-wunderkind Zuckerberg is concerned – the rest of the world. Continue reading

Current Generation Consoles, Ranked

The dawn of the next generation of console gaming is here! Both the Xbox Series X and the PS5 are launching this week, though, from the looks of it on social media, it seems EVERYBODY has already gotten theirs except me. 😭

2020, frankly, has been a total downer of a year. Which is why I’m celebrating every minute of this next-gen rollout. I’m currently debating which console I’m treating myself to first— not just a matter of preference, but also getting a read on where my friends list is flocking.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Just before we herald in the new gaming era, I’m taking one last look back on the current generation. Seeing as the next-gen launch slate is a little bare, I know this isn’t exactly the end for the Xbox One or PS4 just yet. But for the rest of us eager to make that sweet upgrade, we’ve certainly begun phasing ’em out. As a final salute, here is my ranking of the current generation consoles. Continue reading