Week in review (Dec 14, 2014)


  • I actually bought 1989 like three weeks ago, but I forgot to include it in a Week in Review post at that time. Whatever. It takes me a while to figure out how I feel about songs/albums anyway. At this point — after many, many listens — I can safely say that 1989 is pretty good and a lot of fun. I really admire Taylor’s artistic instincts, and her desire to push herself into new, unfamiliar territory. (That said, I think Red was the sweet spot for her, both lyrically and musically. I’d love to see her return to that style/sound someday.) The only 1989 songs that I don’t really care for are “How You Get the Girl” and “Wonderland.” My absolute favorite is “You Are In Love.” Taylor wrote it about the relationship between Jack Antonoff and Lena Dunham (who are her friends), and it’s just so stripped down and genuine — and reminds me of my relationship with Andy — that it hits me right in the feels every time.
  • I’m really into PT Serif right now. Yes, I am a font nerd. I’m also a pen nerd, and fonts are the computer equivalent of pens. I still remember doing my homework in high school with a rainbow of Pentel RSVP pens (.5 mm). There’s just something about a good writing instrument that makes you want to write more, and good fonts are the same way.

Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle, #3)

  • At long last, I got to read BLUE LILY, LILY BLUE, the third book in Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven Cycle series. Stiefvater’s writing is so magical — and not just because she writes fantasy. She has an amazing way with characters and setting and mood. The second book (THE DREAM THIEVES) is still my favorite in the series so far, but this one was great. I won’t say too much about it, for fear of spoilers, but I will say that I was moved to tears by the courtroom scene. More than anything, these books are about the bonds of friendship — one of my favorite themes.
  • Last but not least, I’ve been spending a lot of time researching Taiwan. I’m going back next year for the first time in over a decade, and I’m a mess of emotions about it. That’s probably a whole post on its own. For now I’ll just give a shoutout to two tools that I’m using to improve my (toddler-level) Mandarin:
    • Chinese Skill, an app modeled on Duolingo (which was started at Carnegie Mellon!)
    • “Love Myself or You,” a cute little Taiwanese drama about two chefs and a lot of misunderstandings (which I am watching via Drama Fever)



  1. “That said, I think Red was the sweet spot for her, both lyrically and musically. I’d love to see her return to that style/sound someday.”

    It’s really struck me how everybody (well, a lot of people) have take this album as “She’s making pop records now, now and forever, abandoning country music for all time, blah blah blah.”

    She’s an artist. She made a pop album. Nobody knows what her next album will be like, probably including her.

    Obviously, it can be whatever she feels like making at the time. :-)

    1. Kristan says:

      So true! Since her arrival on the scene about a decade ago, Taylor has shown a commitment to evolving her sound and staying relevant — while also standing out and staying true to herself. It’s a tough balance to strike, but I can’t imagine she won’t continue to do that (or at least try!) throughout her career.

  2. Ooh that’s a nice font. The google sample text made me laugh too (Grumpy wizards make toxic brew for the evil Queen and Jack) So much better than the Quick brown fox! LOL

    1. Kristan says:

      Lol yeah, I like Google’s sample sentence too! Btw, they have SO many nice fonts that you can use online for free (like Roboto, which I use here on my site).

  3. Alice says:

    I’ve always had mixed feelings about Taylor Swift, but I have definitely come around to her, especially with Red, which I enjoyed. But I’m LOVING 1989, probably because I’ve always been more of a pop-fan than anything else, and 1989 is very much that (and it’s produced by Max Martin, the pop song writing king – like all my favorite Backstreet Boys songs? He wrote them). I’m not really into Wonderland either, but I’m strangely addicted to How You Get the Girl – probably because it is the sugariest pop sound there is, lol.

    Anyway, I loved chatting with you about BL,LB and hope to do so again in the future. ;) Good luck with Taiwan research! It’ll be so much fun.

    1. Kristan says:

      Hm, I would have thought you’d be totally down with Swifty! But yeah, if you’re more into pop than country, then she’s definitely been swinging your way. :)

      Loved chatting BLLB with you too!

  4. yogadog says:

    My dog Oscar is from Taiwan. I’m sure he’d be happy to answer any questions that you have.

    1. Kristan says:

      LOL I had forgotten about that! Maybe I need to take Oscar with me to act as my guide… ;P

  5. Shari says:

    I LOVED those RSVP pens! I always had such fun taking notes, because I too would use a rainbow of colored pens. My AP American History teacher in high school would always walk around the room as he taught, and he once stopped in the middle of class to say something to the effect of “Shari? That pen is neon green! How can you even read it?” :) All this to say … fellow pen and font fanatics, unite! Ha!

    1. Kristan says:

      LOL that does not surprise me in the least. I bet Teen Me and Teen You would have gotten along really well.

  6. linda says:

    Ooh, Taiwan! Can’t wait to find out more about your plans for the trip. And of course FINALLY MEET UP!! :D

    1. Kristan says:

      Yes! There is a draft sitting in my Gmail, waiting to go to you. Just need to buy plane tickets first… :P

  7. Shari says:

    I agree!! :)

  8. Jonathan says:

    I have to learn Chinese too, so thanks for the tips on the apps!

    1. Kristan says:

      You do? How unexpected! May I ask what for?

  9. Jonathan says:

    My girlfriend! I want to be able to talk to her in her native language.

    1. Kristan says:

      Oh neat! Good luck!

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