I’ve noticed that the older I get, the more I start taking pleasure in small, easily missed moments. So many of the best experiences of my life are fleeting to me, like I failed to capture them properly because I wasn’t paying enough attention at the time. There’s a Vonnegut quote I really love that goes “…I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘if this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.” It gets easier to recognize those individual moments as they’re happening, but it’s almost impossible to know if you’re living in your own personal golden age. No one is nostalgic for now.
Moments like sitting by the big bright windows upstairs at Dudley’s Bookshop Cafe with a novel and watching the snow come down. Walking through Drake Park while listening to music and seeing my breath steam up the air. And, especially this week, stretching out under a comforter, in full Goblin Mode with my cat, binging my way through too many different shows, hoping to just vegetate my way through the holidays and not look up until things are warm again. With all that said, here are a few things I’ve been obsessed with over the last few weeks that made me remark on the niceness of the moment.
In Pod We Trust
Every late December I write a Best of the Year list and since there are so many things I’m trying to catch up on, I haven’t had much time for the ol’ podcasts, but one that I’m making time for is “This is Dating,” a cringy but fascinating ‘cast that records people on a blind date while you tune in. There’s something about hearing real dates happening in real time that feels voyeuristic but also completely of the moment after all the time we’ve spent on Zoom over the last few years.
I used to be so obsessive when it came to shows that I would keep going on everything I started, even if I ceased to care anymore. How many terrible seasons of “Nip/Tuck” did I watch just so I could see how it ended? Or fighting through the last few seasons of “Dexter” just to be completely flabbergasted by the worst series finale in the history of television. Now there are too many things to watch, so I really only have the time to give shows three episodes to find their rhythm and voice. If it takes more than that, I won’t ever know unless someone I trust tells me it gets better.
A few shows have passed the three-episode test recently and I genuinely hope we get more of them in future seasons. First is “Wednesday” on Netflix (following the continuing adventures of Wednesday Addams as she solves mysteries at school). The series starts off slow, but with God of Goth Tim Burton directing four of the episodes, it eventually finds the heart of the affectless char-acter (due to a wonderful performance by Jenna Ortega) and becomes a lovely meditation on the beauty being an outsider.
If you’re like me and were completely obsessed with the German sci-fi mind-f*ck series “Dark” on Netflix, you’ve probably been unreasonably excited for that creative team’s new show: “1899.” Well, now it’s out and, not only did it pass the three-episode test, but I watched all eight episodes of the first season twice, hoping to catch everything I missed. If you like period pieces, puzzle box mysteries and enigmatic characters with secrets, “1899” is your new obsession. Just make sure to watch the series subtitled instead of dubbed.
Author William Gibson is the father of the cyberpunk genre of sci-fi and actually coined the term cyberspace. He’s an actual futurist who has predicted more current technology trends (back in the 1970s) than Elon Musk could hope to do on his least-worst day. One of Gibson’s novels has finally been turned into a series (with sweet, sweet Amazon money behind it) “The Peripheral” is another one that’s very easy to binge with tons of huge ideas and a powerhouse central perfor-mance by Chloe Grace Moretz. Imagine "Ready Player One" without the nostalgia or pop culture references.