here's looking at you, 2018

Manila, 31 December—Happy New Year, friends! If you had a word for 2018, what would it be? Well, 2018 hasn't exactly been easy, but I don't hate it so much, I guess? After all, I made a lot of things happen this year, at least 52 weekly editions of this newsletter included, and I think on the whole, I'm pretty happy about how this effort turned out. 

This year has been... a surprise, mostly. I think the most surprising thing of all was that people actually read Mnemonics, which came out earlier this year—undoubtedly the most batshit thing I've managed to pull off in the last 12 months. Thank you for supporting it :)

In the spirit of year-enders, I also compiled my other favorite things that we did this year:

  • Black Books. This year, my girlfriend also launched her own side hustle called The Black Books, which is a line of specialized planners. It has been such a joy to pitch ideas for this project, and I'm just happy that finally, my random finance and accounting knowledge carried over from business school now have some use. 

  • Dad's Yearbook. Throughout the year, I have been helping my dad put together his entry for their Navy class yearbook. It's been decades in the making, considering they are class 1977. As for me, it has provided me with an opportunity to get to know my Dad better. He isn't really the talkative type, and when we do talk it's mostly functional, most times, but when we talk yearbook, we get to talk about his days as a student, and how hard it was to get through military training. It's been a joy to help write. I wrote about it here.

  • Pride. I joined the Pride March in Marikina this year after skipping it for the last few years. It was also the first time I joined Pride with my brother (albeit we came with different people). It's one of the biggest on record, and I'm extremely honored to have been a part of it. My notes on the Pride parade here.

  • Sagada. I was in Sagada for work early this year, and it involved a rather lengthy if picturesque hike with co-workers. Despite the difficulty, it was one of my most cherished experiences this year. I always say I'm not built for the outdoors, but man actually being outdoors is actually kind of refreshing. I'm glad for every opportunity. I wrote about that here.

  • Year 1 with C. Oh, this was certainly my most favorite. 2018 has also been a revival of sorts. For most of 2017, life has been pretty much gray. 2018 was the year the color started coming back, and they came back with C, who has been the most terrific partner, in both work and play. I love her, I love making things with her, and I love the person I am when I'm with her; most of all, I love the way we laugh at each other's invented tunes and corny jokes (or ako lang ata yun, haha) and I sincerely hope that I have been good for her in 2018, too :) I'd apologize for the cheese assault, but it's been a while, okay? I'm ready to write this way again more often. Please don't ban me from your inboxes haha.

Anyway, considering I wrote a lot this year, I figured I'd share some of my favorite pieces:

Last-minute binges

Bird Box. Sandra Bullock is a survivor in a world plagued by a mysterious unseen monster. The movie starts 5 years into the terror, and right as she decides to ferry two five-year-olds down a loooong river ride to safety. Have I mentioned everybody had to be blindfolded to survive? Everybody had to be blindfolded to survive. You don't see the monsters, which leaves the viewer free to imagine how terrible they must be to drive all those people mad and suicidal. Sandra is spectacular in this one—of course, the woman you'd bet on to drive a rickety boat down the rapids blindfolded would be the same woman on Speed 2. Or the woman who survived outer space alone. Or Miss Congeniality. 

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch. Did you ever have those Choose Your Own Adventure books in the 90s? I preferred them over Sweet Valley. My sister and I grew up on Choose Your Own Adventure books and R.L. Stine, and Bandersnatch is CYOA brought to life in TV format. We enjoyed playing along, and listing down our decisions as we did. Sugar puffs or Frosties? Also, choose Netflix. You're welcome.

A Simple Favor. Oh man, what took us so long to watch this? I regret not going to the movie house to watch Blake Lively in all her larger-than-life glory. Her suits in this are absolutely to die for, and Anna Kendrick is also a delight to watch, as far as mom vloggers are concerned. The twist is... well, when it happens, you go, The fuck why did I not think of that? But personally, I didn't see it coming. It's like Gone Girl, but with a dubiously flirtatious potentially bisexual lead who is as hot as Blake Lively. 

Crisis on Earth-X. Super late to this epic crossover party, but wow. These episodes are pretty much my introduction to Arrow, The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow, and I'm a little in love with the whole Alex Danvers/Sara Lance thing, expectedly. Also: Wentworth Miller, oh my, so fabulous. 

What did you love this year?

I'd like to read it, see it, visit it, play it, watch it, or listen to it. Come yell about your 2018 favorites :) 

A Final Note

This is Letter #52 for the 2018 edition of Letters from The Last Girl. It's also the last issue—for this year, at least, and on the Mailchimp platform. It has been a great year for experimenting.  

For next year, I am fully moving this newsletter to the Substack, because of its relatively simpler interface + automatic archives. Don't worry, I am automatically migrating existing subscribers as of Dec. 31.

See you in 2019! :)