Best Episode of Television This Year: “The Sign of Three.” This seems so long ago to me now that I actually had to look up to see if it happened this year. And it did. This episode, you guys. This. Episode. I have my issues with how S3 ended (more on that later), but I cannot deny that TSoT gets more and more and more brilliant the more you watch it. It is an impeccable episode, top to bottom, the best, I think, that “Sherlock” has ever had. It is actually, to me, one of the top five episodes of television I’ve ever seen. I don’t think it has a single sour note, not a single bit I find dull or cringeworthy or pointless. It is laugh-out-loud hilarious in places, and heartbreaking beyond belief in other places. And it is such a perfect *Sherlock* episode. TSoT is an episode all about how Sherlock might be an obnoxious arsehole but he’s such an emotionally vulnerable one that you can’t even deal with him. And neither can John. The awkward disconnect between them by the end of the episode makes you squirm in your seat with frustrated sorrow for them. They go from hand-on-knee intimacy to a very sweet hug to Sherlock walking off alone, bundling himself into his coat of armor. I’m very glad “Sherlock” won its Emmys this year, but I will never understand why it didn’t win them for this magnificent masterpiece of an episode. Maybe HLV was showier? Maybe TSoT’s impact really came from having to be a fan of the show all along? I don’t know. All I know is I feel like you’d be hard-pressed to find a better-crafted episode of anything anywhere, a more moving or affecting emotional arc than the one Sherlock reveals in these 90 minutes, and basically, for me, this is where the “Sherlock” season ended, on this incomparable high. Because, well, more on HLV later.
-Remus spilling sugar everywhere and justifying it to Sirius by saying it’s good luck
-Sirius getting ridiculously excited about holidays, but has to convince Remus to put up the Christmas lights the day after Halloween, “because I really want to put these up, but you’re taller and I can’t reach”. They end up leaving the lights up year-round.
-Sirius getting mad at Remus for never getting his hair out of the drain
-Remus dancing around to the Beatles and knocking into everything. Sirius thinks it’s cute and has to kiss Moony’s bruises better.
-James gets frantic about them because he hasn’t heard from them in a week.. He goes to their flat to find them cuddled up in a majestic pillow fort watching Audrey Hepburn movies and drinking overly-sugary tea.
-Remus loses another job and it’s the full moon soon and just everything is awful. Sirius steals all of Remus’ sweaters and wears them all at once to cheer him up. It works.
-Sirius’ birthday comes. Regulus always sent him a card before, but this year he doesn’t. Moony brings him strawberry ice cream and flowers. They kiss at the park in the crisp autumn air.
-Remus’ hair curls almost to his shoulders and when he has to get something done he pulls it back in a short, bouncy ponytail. Sirius thinks it’s ridiculously hot.
-Lily and James inviting them over for dinner and them eating vegetarian food in their backyard. They drink out of mason jars, and when it gets dark, they enchant candles to hover above them (much like in the Great Hall). Peter used to come over all the time, but more and more he says he’s too busy.
-Remus combing jasmine oil into Sirius’s hair.
-Remus and Sirius staying up at night while the other is on a mission, worrying silently, hugging the pillow to their bodies as a pathetic replacement for the other.
-Remus doodling dragons on the kitchen table while Sirius cooks french toast in his underwear, both bearing the dark marks of their love over their bodies.
-Remus, bearing the stress of full moons and his missions, snaps at Sirius for breaking a plate.
-Sirius flipps out at Remus for never helping with cooking, but hovering around the kitchen
-Both of them going to cry after an argument
-Sirius leaving tiny love notes to Remus on scraps of paper and putting them all around the house
-Remus writing poetry on the wall in purple marker
-Both of them storming off after arguments, Remus to the roof and Sirius to the fire escape
-Fights and kisses growing gradually stormier, their relationship growing darker along with the war
-Remus screaming at Sirius for going on a last minute mission
-Sirius worrying that Remus has been the inside man- they haven’t cuddled in weeks
-Peter making offhand comments to set them against each other
-Remus and Sirius having their largest fight yet
-Remus kicks Sirius out of the flat, so he can “think about this relationship”
-Sirius kissing Remus’ tear streaked face, even though he’s crying too
-Finally, everything is alright again
-And then Remus wakes up one night without Sirius’ warmth beside him
Thing Everyone Else Already Knew Was Awesome That I Just Caught Up with This Year: “Inception.” YOU GUYS. I saw this movie years ago, okay? Not when it came out in the theaters, but shortly after it was released on DVD. AND IT WAS JUST ALRIGHT. IT LIT NO FIRES IN MY LIFE. WHY DID YOU ALL NOT TELL ME THAT THERE WAS THIS FANDOM OUT THERE MAKING IT BETTER? I still don’t think the movie is all that great. I mean, it’s good, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve watched it several times now and I remain heartily tired of the plodding Cobb plotline. BUT. When you watch that movie and ignore Cobb and decide that it is The Epic Love Story of Arthur and Eames, the movie becomes brilliant. It’s actually alarming how very well it works that way. Every part of the plot becomes more interesting if you’re reading it through a shipper lens. Eames actually becomes the hero of Inception, being the character who actually achieves inception, instead of Cobb, the character whose subconscious sabotages inception and causes massive chaos while Eames is like, “Whatever, get out of my way and let me work here.” And Arthur, who is supposed to be Cobb’s sidekick, theoretically, falls into position as the person who makes Eames better, pushing him onward (and vice versa). Arthur and Eames take that movie and run away with it, once you’re actually watching for it. Is it any wonder that so many Inception fics have them embarking on a professional dreamsharing partnership once the movie ends? Who wouldn’t want to work with them? If you watched “Inception” and were meh about it, I share your view. You should watch it again and just admire Joseph Gordon-Levitt running around in all those ridiculously gorgeous clothes he wears in this movie. That second-level dream suit. And the way the waistcoat gets bunched up and the shirt starts to be untucked during the fight. My God. Eames would’ve killed to see that.
Second Best Moment on Television This Year: The Office/Hobbit skit on “Saturday Night Live.” When they announced that Martin Freeman was going to host SNL, I was like, “PLEASE LET THERE BE AN OFFICE SKIT.” AND THEN THERE WAS. AND IT WAS AWESOME.
all of my 2014 graphics in one place, as requested by anon!! (thank you!)
i realize the point of year-end (or in my case two-fucking-months-after-year-end-pull-your-SHIT-toGETHER) round ups is to take a step back and make note of one’s improvements and/or habits, but mostly im just delighted by 2014-me’s problem-solving approach of “I’LL SMUSH THEM INTO A LIQUID”
thank you everyone for sticking with sallydonovan™ brand Visual Metaphors™
British Actor with the Most Amazing Hair This Year: 2015
Ben Whishaw. In a year when one of my other British boyfriends just kept saying sad things about his beautiful hair, Ben Whishaw was never afraid to let his hair grow ever more cotton-candy-ish atop his head. Own it, Ben; you wear it well.
“Cabin Pressure” aired a fourth series this year that should have made every other sitcom in existence go and hide behind a couch in embarrassment that they belong to the same genre. I started listening to “Cabin Pressure” because of Benedict Cumberbatch, yes, but who knew it was going to grow into genuinely one of the best shows ever. It’s a sitcom, yes, and it’s very funny in a recognizable sitcom way (there’s an episode where one of the characters has to climb into a tree to get cell phone reception and then gets stung by bees living in the tree, which, frankly, almost sounds like the plot to an episode of a Disney show), but it’s also funny in a more complex, subtler way that is a reward for having paid attention and stuck with it and taken the characters into your heart. Yes, it’s funny when Martin Crieff climbs the tree and gets stung by bees, but it’s funnier in the context of the overall episode, of Douglas trying to teach Arthur about teasing, of poor Martin trying to cling to his dignity. I still think the funniest line of that episode is when Carolyn tells Martin she’s taking the cost out of his pay and Martin retorts, “I’d like to see you do *that.*” And that’s a line that’s only funny when you know—because you’ve been listening to the show all along—that Martin makes nothing. Just like “Timbuktu” is rewarding as the conclusion of a trilogy. Just like “Vaduz”’s “green truck!” gag is funny because you know the yellow car gag that came before. But what really makes this show the best of the year for me isn’t just that it’s funny, but that it has such heart. More heart than American sitcoms these days almost ever let themselves have (or American dramas, really, for that matter). These characters love each other. They don’t say it; they show it, which is so much better. They band together to help Martin in “Wokingham;” they have real conversations about each other’s hopes and dreams and wants in “Xinzhou.” And all in the middle of still being hilarious. The best episodes of “Cabin Pressure” are almost the episodes where nothing happens and they just sit around and talk to each other, and that’s the sign of good characters to me. And speaking of those characters: the development arc over the course of the entire series is astonishingly good. Martin’s speech in “Yverdon-les-Bains” is one of the best speeches ever written, a lovely recognition by the character of exactly how far he’s come; countering it with Douglas’s “supreme commander” speech—exactly echoing the *very first episode* of the show—is so pretty that you could weep. “Cabin Pressure” ended on the cliffhanger of the year, and I still have no idea how I want it to resolve itself. All I can say is: Well done, John Finnemore. Seriously, seriously well done.
According to Billboard, a white woman ran reggae in 2015. As a part of its year-end round-ups Tuesday, Billboard declared 28-year-old British soul singer-songwriter Joss Stone its reggae artist of the year, over Bob Marley, Jah Cure and all the other Jamaican artists of the world. Why her? One number.
I will join my fellow bloggers in the annual year-end round up of reviews and reflections. 2012 was a hard year, but a good one. I like to see it as the groundwork for all the good things to come in 2013. For me, it was the start of something new and the foundation for a new career and a happier work experience. I found something I love to do in a place with people I enjoyed being with.
I started 2012 with misgivings about the advertising industry and a hesitance toward returning to the food industry, even though that was the environment I was craving. All I can remember about the beginning of that year was a sense of apprehension. Do I really want to go back into the late night shifts, smelling of food, no weekends off, must work all holidays routine of a food career?
I suppose, in some ways I made it work for me. That has been one of my life-long goals; to make your circumstances work for you, not you working for your circumstances. I decided to treat it as a business, where I set the hours and I get the results I had envisioned. I picked up a private chef gig with the greatest little family I could have hoped for. Aside from their insistence on a semi-vegetarian diet, it was a heaven to work for them. The pay is great, I had freedom to cook anything I wanted (so long as I don’t feed them red meat of any kind), and all weekends and holidays were always off (and most paid for). Unfortunately, I live in Los Angeles, and even with all those perks, there just wasn’t enough money to meet my expenses. I needed another job. And quite frankly, more experience in the kitchen.
And I got one. At a restaurant. Back to the grind. For the first six months I worked all morning shifts, three days a week, Friday/Sat/Sun. I had a lot of fun, I learned a hell of a lot, and I was cooking on the line. But after the newness wore off, it got really tiring serving food to an empty room of 10-12 hungover brunchers. I wanted more.
I switched restaurants only to discover that just because the atmosphere is more upscale, the food is not necessarily better and the work environment is a whole lot worse for those extra bucks. A brief stint there sent me running and screaming back to my old restaurant.
Six more months later, my work load seems light on paper but was tearing at me in all directions mentally. I was cooking for my client from 3-7 and was at the restaurant 7-11. I had weekends off and was lucky enough to get most of the major holidays off too. But what was I learning?
I had pretty much maxed out on my client’s end, there’s only so many family friendly vegetarian meals you can make before they start driving you crazy. And my line cook job at the restaurant started to feel like I was just heating up a few things and assembling them together rather than actually cooking. I realized then that I needed a change. In a way, the whole year has been a lead up to what, I think, will be an incredible 2013. The stones of the foundation of have been set and there’s only one way to go from there, up.
There are a few goals on the verge of being achieved that make 2013 a good year already.
I’m about to move in with my boyfriend of 1.5 years. This will help tremendously in consolidating my things, and my sense of home.
I’m going to be working in one the top kitchens in LA and helping with a restaurant opening starting this month. This will consolidate my focus and help me grow as a chef.
I will be making more money which means I’ll actually start saving for my trip to Europe. I’ve got 7 months to save up, better get on it!
There will be more travel this year. With all the work I’ll be doing, small trips and getaways will be more important than weekends and holidays off.
2012 was the year of growth and 2013 will be the year of opportunity. There’s only bright things ahead!
One year ago I was almost two stone lighter in weight, I was doing my A level exams, I’d just started a new job which I loved, I had been with my boyfriend for 7 months and I was eating healthily and spending most of my free time exercising. My skin was clear, my hair was long and i couldn’t wait for a summer with my friends and boyfriend.
But i wasn’t really happy; i was only two stone lighter because i wasn’t eating properly; finding out that my mum had cancer and being stressed about my exams let me slip back into old eating habits, and i liked feeling hungry because it was similar to how empty i was feeling. My job caused loads of arguments with my parents who thought i should be focussing on school, where i’d taken on too high of a work load anyway and was just ignoring how much pressure i felt. i was going to the gym and running 24/7 because my weight was something i could focus on away from studies; goals i could achieve without using a textbook. i felt seriously insecure about the relationship with my boyfriend; i would lie or just hide things he did from my friends because part of me knew i should break up with him; that it wasn’t normal for your boyfriend to say he wished your boobs were bigger or that he was late meeting you because he preferred spending time with his friends.
Eleven months ago when my fears were confirmed and i found out that my boyfriend had been cheating on me (after ignoring multiple incidents before) I finally broke up with him, but my self esteem was so low that only now do i realise that he was still manipulating me; that saying ‘my friends have always wondered why i’m with you, they couldn’t believe i really liked you’ and ‘jesus christ we weren’t fucking married’, 'hey I’m a teenager’ to justify his behaviour were pathetic and embarrassing on his part. i spent days crying, lost even more weight and couldn’t deal with my feelings without a bottle of vodka in my hand. i thought no one would ever love me, that i’d done something terribly wrong to deserve it, and spent nearly every waking moment at work unless participating in an elaborate performance of 'i’m having loads of fun without you’: a dramatic piece i whack out any time i’m forced to see the twat that broke my tiny heart.
One hour ago i was reflecting on how much has changed and how far i have come. I still base far too much of my self worth on the way the opposite sex treat me and how much my thighs touch when I stand with my knees together and look at them in the mirror. my eyes still fill up with tears when I read the messages he sent me when I found out what he’d done and I feel a pang of resentment when I see photos of my petruding ribs.
But i have come such a long way. I eat when I want to, what I want to, and I take more rest days than non rest days. I got into my first choice uni, I passed my driving test, and I saved thousands of pounds to go travelling. I haven’t been in any more relationships but i’ve learned a lot about myself. I’ve made lots of brand new friends, become closer friends with people I hardly knew this time last year, like fuck; i ended up travelling round australia for 2 weeks with a girl who last year I just thought was funny at work. I still hate asking people for directions or help in shops but I can pretty much talk to anyone if I force myself. I can tell much better now when people are having a negative impact on my life, and i keep them at arm’s length. Hey, nobody’s perfect, but i fully understand the saying “don’t set yourself on fire to keep someone else warm”. I am my priority. Of course my friends and family are a big part of my life, but, as i learned the hard way; i am the constant who is there in the worst times. It’s not that people don’t care, they just have their own problems too.
In the last three months i have visited 7 countries. I have seen places I’ve only ever imagined, I’ve met so many people I otherwise never would have. I’ve realised how truly massive the world is, and how problems, even ones which make you want to spend 3 days in bed crying every 20 minutes (we’ve all been there) are actually very tiny. If one person lets you down at least you’ve got 7 billion spare. I’m more independent than I ever imagined possible.
There are a million tiny problems with my life, but no big ones. If the last year of my life had been a movie then the credits could now roll. I am, finally, at peace.
I’m starting a beautiful new tradition right now as I make this post: always reusing this terribly photoshopped graphic for end-of-the-year fic round ups. Okay? Cool.
HEY IT’S THE END OF THE YEAR(ish)! 2015 was really awful and intense and so much happened but it was really good for the whole writing thing and for friendship and I have all of you to thank for that. Anyway, here’s Wonderwall what I wrote in the year of our lord 2015:
WOW. I can’t believe that was all 2015? This year was like a thousand years in one. I feel like I am missing some stuff here because I am terrible at tagging but that is ok. I tried my best. Thank you guys SO MUCH for being so generous and supportive and enthusiastic and wonderful. I am really happy to be here with you all, screaming into the soft forgiving void together.