2018 in Film

Last year, I started strong thinking I was going to watch a ton of movies, my best year yet! It was even a resolution of mine, because I was armed with MoviePass and the opportunity to watch movies as a contributor for Punch Drunk Critics.

But then… well… I stumbled pretty hard. When my mental health took a hit, I definitely didn’t go see any movies, especially when MoviePass became harder and harder to use. My PDC reviews dropped off in the summer. (Sorry Travis!)

A couple of things I noticed with this year’s movies:

  • It was a big year for superhero movies for me and I didn’t even see all of them.
  • No early screenings this year! I just didn’t have the mental bandwidth to wait in line and spend the time this past year, and I was less incentivized once I started paying for movie subscription services.
  • Despite the long stretch of time I was in China this year, I didn’t get to go to the movies while I was there,

Without further ado, here are all the 2018 theatrical releases I watched last year:

2018 in movies
Collage of movie posters for movies watched in 2018

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2018 in Books

As I’ve done the past few years, I participated in Goodreads’s annual reading challenge. Having exceeded last year’s goal and finishing at 19, I set my 2018 book goal at 20 books.

I wound up reading almost 30, coming in just short at 29 books.

A few quick reflections on my reading challenge this year:

  • I felt a lot faster finishing books this year, in large part because I was not reading the A Song of Fire and Ice series this year, having finished that last year. It took me weeks to finish each of those books with the scant amount of reading time I had, so the quantity of books I read last year took a toll because I read several 1,000+ page books.
    • The longest book I read last year was 1,177 pages, whereas the longest book I read this year was 818 pages.
  • That being said, I sped through my first five books and then really felt my decrease in velocity when I hit that 818-pager.
    • It typically takes me a few days to about 3 weeks to finish a book, given that I read almost exclusively on my commute to and from work. It took me almost 3 months to finish this year’s behemoth.
  • I enjoyed reading a lot more mindfully this year. There were days when I would steal away for a quick walk outside to clear my head during the workday, or take lunch by myself on a nearby bench, with my Kindle in tow to get some sunshine and reading done.
  • I much preferred the mindful reading to what I find myself doing often, which is walking to and from the subway while reading. This is, admittedly, not a very safe practice.
    • But! While doing this in DC one day, I walked past a friend who was doing the exact same thing! She was the one who looked up from her book to recognize me, but I felt so validated seeing her with her open Kindle in hand, too.
  • With the end of the Blogging for Books program, I didn’t feel as much of the obligation getting through books I didn’t enjoy but was reading for review this year.

Here are the books I finished reading in 2018:

Collage of book covers
The covers of the 29 books I read in 2018

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Looking Back on 2018

Happy 2019 everyone!

Erm… it’s been an awful long time since my last blog post, and an awful lot has happened since then. To be honest, I kept thinking about explaining my absence and settling back into the regular posting schedule, but every time I did, I felt super anxious about both the explanation and the regular posting. It was a lot easier to not think about the blog.

But I’ve missed blogging a lot, and I could not let myself not post my annual year-in-review posts, which are the highlight of my blogging year every year. I’ve been reflecting on my calendar years basically since I started blogging in 2001, and I wasn’t going to let my rough year ruin my streak!

So let’s just start fresh and run through a list of what I did this year.
(Note: Photos, videos, and reference links will be added at a later date, so stay tuned to social media to see when this post will be ~complete~ in that respect. A lot of polishing is needed here, but I will be doing it.)Read More »

A Chinese New Year

Happy Chinese New Year! 新年快乐! 恭喜发财! 万事如意! 狗年吉祥! I hope the Year of the Dog brings you happiness and prosperity.

I have been very off my resolutions as a result of those health issues I had been dealing with earlier this month, so the Lunar New Year is another shot at a fresh slate to get my life back on track. Valentine’s Day was also Lent, but I don’t know what bad habit I really need to completely abstain from this year. I may try to add something instead of eliminating something, maybe meditation, but we shall see! I’ll be mostly focusing on my resolutions from earlier in the year. For example, I still haven’t purchased stamps for all that snail mail I said I would start sending. BUT I have started collecting mailing addresses and sending eCards in the meantime?

Anyhow, this is very delayed but here’s a 1SecondEveryday compilation from when I celebrated the new year most recently in Hong Kong 🇭🇰

I had so much fun in Hong Kong and it feels so familiar even though I only visited once before, 15 years ago. It’s a city like no other and one of my favorites, despite the frustrations of seeing Chinese and English everywhere but being unable to communicate with Cantonese-speaking-only folks. The city is super vibrant and has an incredible energy that I absolutely love. The food scene is so good that I only remembered to get an eating video right before we left, as the rest of the time I was too busy cramming the food in my mouth.

I hope you are having a great 2018 so far, for those observing, I hope Lent is going well, and I hope the Year of the Dog brings nothing but good things to you!

Looking Back on 2017

How is January already halfway through? I’m running behind on my year-end/new year blog posts, but let’s have a look at what 2017 looked like for me:

Fun fact: I began and ended 2017 in China!

  • Dyed my hair red – for real this time

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    January 1 from the glass bridge at Zhangjiajie
  • Walked across the tallest and longest glass-bottomed bridge in the world in Zhangjiajie
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  • Flew alone on an international flight for the first time
    • Which included my first ever visit – via layover – to the Middle East
  • Signed up for ClassPass
  • Attended my first-ever Washington Capitals game (and my first NHL game in well over a decade, if not my first NHL game ever)
  • Dined at a DC Michelin star restaurant for the first time – Rose’s Luxury
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  • Sent off our panda cub Bao Bao before she goes to China
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  • Presented to a class of new hires who are me from one year ago
  • Slept with a zillion wires for my first sleep study
  • Visited San Francisco to see friends and support Ben presenting at a conference while:
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  • Asked Danny Boyle about how his movies are interpreted by audiences at home and abroad
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  • Sipped on drinks out of a lucky cat cup at a cherry blossom + Super Mario-themed pop-up bar
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  • Watched The Little Mermaid ballet on my own
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  • Met Representative Maxine Waters at the US Botanic Garden
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  • Experienced the repetitive patterns of profound genius at Infinite Kusama, the Yayoi Kusama exhibit at the Hirshhorn
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  • Attended my first-ever Washington Wizards game (and my first NBA game ever)
  • Saw Chicago! at the Kennedy Center, starring Brandy (!!!)
  • Tried acro-yoga and a bit of aerial yoga
  • Danced the Charleston and put aside my aversion to flapper style for a Gatsby party
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  • Met Tim Gunn before hearing him speak about disco fashion at the Library of Congress
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  • Toured downtown DC while learning about the assassination of President Lincoln through an awesome immersive walking tour with the Ford’s Theatre18278381_10212917470155173_999720346742464472_o
  • Danced and sweated at 7AM on the Kennedy Center terrace
  • Down-dogged at cat yoga
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  • Learned loads at RevolutionConf during my first visit to Virginia Beach
  • Tasted samples prepared by 3 of the top Asian cuisine chefs in DC
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  • Asked Edgar Wright about the hidden details of his work
  • (Finally) Cosplayed at AwesomeCon, my first ever convention
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  • Attended the opening day preview of Ai Wei Wei’s new exhibit at the Hirshhorn19437142_2165047673721933_5763673148604022784_n
  • Showered my friend Gretchen with love and gifts for her soon-to-arrive baby
    Taylor, Jen, Gretchen, and her mom!
  • Danced at 7AM beneath the new National Building Museum’s summer installation, Hiv19764978_1700346696937905_1001085391261925376_n
    • Namaste’d beneath The Hive, too
  • Visited my brother while he was interning in Delaware
  • Cooked 9 Blue Apron mealsDSC03074
  • Slept through another sleep study, through the night and the day
  • Floated down the river during my first river-tubing trip
  • Witnessed the Great American Solar Eclipse in person with my family
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  • Returned to my home city of New York for Labor DayIMG_20170904_232418_746.jpg
  • Revisited Paris with Ben
    • Visited the LouvreEmpty Louvre hall
    • Visited VersaillesDSC04659
  • Pondered color and interactivity at Artechouse22351661_1442356609218754_1138615913436676096_n
  • Laughed watching Whoopi Goldberg do standup at the Kennedy Center
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  • Felt so many feelings watching Death of a Salesman at Ford’s Theatre
  • Cheered on knights at the Maryland Renaissance Festival
  • Nearly won a Disney trivia night with a 2nd place finish
  • Experienced my first omakase dinner at Sushi Hachi
  • Wore a week of Sailor Senshi-themed blazer-centric outfitsScreen Shot 2017-10-30 at 9.40.07 PM
  • Channeled Rey for Halloween as part of a Star Wars group at work20171031_115957
  • Saw Christopher Nolan speak at the Library of Congress
  • Partied at the National Air and Space Museum’s Found in Space
  • Visited New Orleans for the first time!
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    • Delivered a lightning talk about karaoke because it’s me
    • Received a chipped tooth courtesy of a drunk coworker (seriously)
  • Walked with locals at my first ever WalkWithLocals instameet
  • Watched another Washington Capitals game
  • Traveled to Buffalo for a business trip
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    • Saw Chad Michael Murray standing about 3 feet in front of me in the hotel lobby
  • Celebrated my birthday with hot pot and karaoke and friends
  • Flew to China to celebrate the holidays with my family
  • Rang in the new year with about a million people in the streets of Hong Kong

    December 31 from Victoria Peak

For better or worse, it has been a really eventful year. I feel super motivated to go into 2018 and achieve so many things. Stay tuned for my resolutions post to see what specific things I hope to achieve and how I plan to achieve them!

Previous years: 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013