Welcome to Hyperfixate! This is the last newsletter for this year. Leverage series will resume in January. Sign up here.
Since everyone is doing their lists, I want to do one too! I love lists. I’m a Virgo. Making lists is second nature to me, stereotypically so. The thing with end-of-year lists for me, personally, is that I always feel like I haven’t consumed, created, or reflected enough to be making them. That’s a thing I’m trying to kick in the new year: not feeling like I’ve done enough. I’m going to see how far the almost sacrilegious act of not worrying will take me.
I also wanted to thank you—whether you’ve signed up or if you’ve clicked a link I tweeted out—for reading this newsletter. It’s been quite the journey. Thank you for indulging me.
Now, let there be lists!
End-of-Year Reading Round-Up
I’ve written about some of these before, so I’ll keep it brief. I’ve also read some really great books and plays over the last couple of months since the Mid-Year and Third Quarter round-up. In no particular order:
Outlawed by Anna North
I wrote about this earlier this year, one of this newsletter’s first pieces. I love Westerns and I love it when the gworls are involved in the Westerns. Reminds me of The Quick and the Dead (1995) and Bad Girls (1994).
Intimacies by Katie Kitamura
I was #influenced. Hunter Harris recommended Intimacies on Hung Up and I think my friend Avi posted about it on Instagram. It’s a really great read. What I love most about it is the main character’s inner tumult and thought process. It’s like looking inside your own head if you were someone else? Am I making sense? There should be more books about interpreters.
Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe
The most harrowing book I read this year. Can be paired with Hulu’s Dopesick. I learned that Jeffrey Wright asked Madeliene Sackler why she never disclosed her family’s fortune in pharmaceuticals in context with the film they worked on about mass incarceration. She’s friends with Boyd Holbrook. Former Purdue employees, as Radden Keefe said, compared the Sacklers to “the characters in HBO’s Succession.” The breadth and depth this book covers is just astounding and impressive. And so, so, harrowing.
The Perfume Burned His Eyes by Michael Imperioli
Definitely one of my all-time favourites this year. I love Imperioli’s voice and how vivid everything feels. The book follows 17-year-old Matthew’s coming-of-age moving from Queens to Manhattan with his mother. Matthew stumbles into and is forced to handle so many odd situations. Some dangerous, some creepy, and you’re right there with him. I love it when characters in books correct themselves on their own recollection. It’s raw and so much fun at the same time.
The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson
Nelson is one of three writers this year whose work reminded me that there is no one way to write. And nothing is more comforting than that. A gorgeous and deeply moving meditation on love, gender, academia, and parenting. I never new memoirs—or memoir-adjacent writing—could sound like this.
Ugly Feelings by Sianne Ngai
I have become quite fascinated by affect theory and Ngai’s writing has created a framework for the aesthetics of negative emotions under capitalism. I love this book. Reading about jealousy is helping me deal with it and a myriad of other emotions, especially how to communicate them in my work.
The Rural Diaries by Hilarie Burton Morgan
Burton Morgan is my favourite One Tree Hill cast member and my favourite Walking Dead guest star after Merritt Wever. Her memoir is heart-warming and grounding. There is nothing else I want to do more than to live on a farm and raise livestock. Maybe I should hang up this writing thing now and make the pivot while I still can? I loved Burton Morgan’s life chronicles because she epitomizes this find your bliss that doesn’t feel glib or condescending. Nothing but the best from my Peyton Sawyer.
Play It As It Lays by Joan Didion
I’ve yet to scour the entirety of the late great Ms. Didion’s oeuvre but this book is one I’ve been meaning to read for a really long time. She creates this different kind of thrill. Early in the book one of the main characters speeds down a freeway. That’s how the whole book makes me feel. Like I’m speeding down a freeway.
Black Swans by Eve Babitz
Another I’ve been meaning to read for years now. I remember reading a bit from Jealousy a long time ago and never got around to reading the rest of the stories from Black Swans. I cried like a baby finishing Free Tibet, as expected. Good God. What a woman.
Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates
Once again Andrew Dominik is taking on a behemoth of a book. Blonde was immersive in the best way. Blonde was one of those books that intimidated me, not just because of its scale, but because of how deep it goes, how it explores—hypothetically—the inner workings of a real person’s life. It also intimidated me because Joyce Carol Oates is really fucking good at what she does. “Sinking into unconsciousness” as she puts it. I’d love to really sink.
Eclipsed by Danai Gurira
I’ve always wanted to go see Eclipsed so reading it was quite the treat! You know I love Danai, what with my proclivity for comic book adaptations. She really shines as a playwright, her voice is so distinct and she can make every character’s voice both individual and complimentary to one another. We love to see it!
The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
I read one self-help book a year. I get like that sometimes. In 2019, it was The Unexpected Joy of Being Single and last year’s was Maybe You Should Talk to Someone. I read The Artist’s Way on recommendation from a friend and from a distant memory I remember of an old roommate. I’ll be re-reading this one for a while. Helped me out of a rut, and it still is. Check it out if you feel inclined to.
Vengeance is Mine, All Others Pay Cash by Eka Kurniawan
I read the English translation, I’ve yet to get my hands on the Indonesian version. I adored this book. I have yet to see the film because I missed it in theatres thanks to a certain Box Office menace taking over the cinemas. I will get around to seeing it. Going to make that my mission. I love the balance between compassion and cruelty the story takes. It’s a love story and the most refreshing love story I’ve encountered in a while.
I have A Bright Ray of Darkness by Ethan Hawke coming in the mail today. I’m very excited. I think I have a thing for books written by actors I like?
I don’t usually have a reading goal, but I make it a point every year to read a book or two that is longer than the longest book I read the year before. Last year, I read Antkind by Charlie Kaufman which was 759 pages. This year, that was Blonde and Empire of Pain, averaging about 900 pages between them. To be fair, I didn’t realize they were going to be that long when I picked them up. (I got the e-books).
Intimacies and The Perfume Burned His Eyes are probably my favourite favourites. I’ve been trying to force myself to read more things written in the first person to get over my adolescent, post-Young Adult genre disdain for the first person point of view. So far, it’s working.
The Hyperfixate List
This is perhaps the list I have been most afraid to make. You know how parents allegedly don’t have favourite children? This is what that feels like. How am I to choose between all the weirdo tenants and events that have lived in my brain rent-free? What criteria grants them the top spot if my fixations change faster than the weather under climate change? What will this all mean for Oscar Isaac? Let’s find out, shall we?
In particular order as of December 29th, 2021, The Hyperfixate List:
This needs no explanation. I think he wins it all this year. Congrats to Jon Bernthal for an accolade I made up just now. He sits in the top spot of actors I think about a lot. I have seen The Punisher in its entirety twice this year and I’ve seen everything he’s been in this year. I am a huge fan of the way he tucks his sweatpants into his socks. I love that he has cannabis-themed socks. It’s bad for me, y’all.
Leverage has been my favourite rewatch. I watched Jack Reacher: Never Go Back because I found out Aldis Hodge was in it for a bit. He was also in this great pilot that Amazon decided to drop called The After and I think about it all the time. Did you know Aldis Hodge designs his own watches? Surely I’ve mentioned this before. Ideal man.
David Fincher’s Lack of Interest in Making Mindhunter 3
This is just me cyberbullying. It’s like asking Rihanna for an album.
I saw Steve for my birthday at virtual TIFF this year :)
In the immortal words of Justin Bieber: “where are you now that I need you?”
Taylor Swift and her silly little vault
Why does she have to do things like this?
Oscar Isaac and Pedro Pascal (they have to share)
I’m not giving them any more attention than I already have. The damage has been done.
The Cast of HBOMax’s Gossip Girl
Does Zion Moreno know I am free on Thursday to hang out when I’m free on Thursday when I’m free to hang out?
This was unexpected. I famously love The Killing of a Sacred Deer but I can’t believe a Marvel movie made me, you know, that Barrypilled. Great kid. Brilliant actor.
Norman Reedus in Blade II and somehow, Selena Gomez
There’s a scene in Blade II where Norman’s character Scud is watching The Power Puff Girls on a tiny TV in a garage. It’s spiritually who I am. And as for Selena? I loved Only Murders and I adore her kitchen.
There are many that have been left out, which says a lot about how many things I tend to obsess over in such a short period of time. Honourable mentions: Sarah Snook and her resemblance to angelmamii5, Nicholas Braun at the same Knicks game as Andrew Lincoln, Willem Dafoe, Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Tony Soprano’s love for Steely Dan. I think about a lot of things all the time!
Reflecting and All That Junk
This year has been really weird. I feel like I’ve been out of my own body for so long that looking back on the year as a whole feels really disconcerting. I don’t think I’ve accomplished anything major this year, but I’m still alive which is an accomplishment in itself.
Trying to make myself feel better, here are some things I’ve done this year:
I started this newsletter! And write for it every week (almost)!
I competed in Piñata’s EuroIsioñ Song Contest with my track In Your Area representing the nation of Sexy Asian Singles.
I made the Semi-Finals for the Funny Women Stage Awards! Which was wild! And I’m very grateful!
I did Rumah Khai Crying Party in March when we were all still doing Zoom everything. Melded my love for playing cover songs, doing-stand up, and being around other Asian people.
There’s a radio play I co-starred in that’s coming out next year. It was written by the lovely Lou Beckett. Baby’s first voice acting gig! I hope to do more. And in-person acting stuff too.
I signed my very first NDA. I can talk about it now because the project is out, but I have no idea whether or not it’s going to come out at all.
My debut for Widget: A Digital Nomad’s Guide To Living In A Barbie Dreamhouse
My debut for Film Cred: Battle of the Bands! ‘Bratz: Rock Angelz’
We are two seasons into Franchi$ed. I am so proud of us.
ADTLM is surviving. She’s hanging in there.
This newsletter has been and continues to be an attempt at exploring thoughts and ideas. There’s nothing specific here thematically or categorically. It’s usually just frames of reference that are specific to me and what I tweet about. It’s been fun! I hope to be able to dig into something deeper. I hope I could use all this nearly useless trivia I have about One Direction. We’ll see what happens.
If you’ve liked anything I’ve read or made this year and you want to buy me a coffee or something I’ve set up a ko-fi!
Thanks again for sticking around. I hope you have a lovely 2022 ahead.
All the love,