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    • dcby

      (Sorry, reposting because yet again my comment was cut in half!)
      For Parks and Rec I would go with “The Fight”, partially because it’s the episode that got me hooked. It’s perfect because it throws the entire cast together for a good chunk of the episode, and we get to enjoy the hilarity of both extreme intoxication and the most brutal hangover of all time. The consecutive talking heads in the bar following Donna’s rat poison line is probably one of the greatest scenes in PArks and Rec. For The Office, there are a few episodes in season 2 that work but Conflict Resolution would probably be my pick - it’s not too awkward/cringe inducing, and having several characters in conflict with each other really shows off the different personalities as well as what is a pretty consistent source of comedy in the series.

    • dcby

      I used to suffer from really bad lower back pain that would radiate into my ribs, particularly when I worked retail and service jobs where I had to stand up for several hours at a time without really walking around much. Its kind of a cliche answer but yoga really did change my life! Strengthening my core and improving the flexibility in my spine made a massive difference. Nowadays if I don’t practice regularly I can feel the different immensely, not just in my back but also in my hips and legs. It is worth mentioning that when I first started out I messed up my back really badly, so it’s definitely worth it to start off in a beginners class with an experienced teacher to avoid hurting yourself even more.

    • dcby

      Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay. It’s an essay collection so there’s certainly a value in reading each essay separately, but I found that it was like reading a long letter from a friend - you can definitely sit down and read it in a dedicated afternoon. Also, Animal Farm by George Orwell. It’s only ~100 pages, and it’s not a particularly challenging read. Unlike a lot of people, I didn’t read it in high school - I picked it up after university so by that time the allegory was probably a lot more obvious than if I had read it while learning about the Russian Revolution or something. But I still really like it. I definitely read a good chunk of the Harry Potter series in under 24 hours, but that has more to do with the fact that I was obsessed and not that it’s necessarily practical to read 600 pages in a sitting.

    • dcby

      So first - I’d like to preface this by saying that sharing these types of stories about someone you know personally can definitely blow up in your face. I had a family member who passed away under somewhat unusual circumstances and I had a coworker several years later recounting the death of a former classmate of his. Halfway through the story I realized that it was about aforementioned family member, and when I told the coworker so he was mortified. Anyway. I suppose this is not really a particularly strange death, but my great uncle did a genealogy project and discovered that one of our ancestors was a labourer on an estate in England a few hundred years ago, and one day he was digging out a clay pit and a chunk flew out, hit him in the head, and killed him. Plus side is that they named the pit after him. Legacy!

    • dcby

      Well, half my response disappeared..
      -Luke Cage/Jessica Jones - not together as of the defenders but their reunion was literally the only thing about that series I enjoyed. Luke’s sweetness toward the surly and skittish Jessica gives me life, and I hope they plan on pairing them together in the future.
      -Hop/Joyce - again, not together, but I think they have good chemistry and seem like an inevitability. I liked Bob (#justiceforbob) but he was a total cheese romance-wise. Their pairing made sense because surely Joyce was after something safe post-season 1 madness. I think Hop falls somewhere between her ex-husband and Bob, aka Just Right.
      And for the sake of repping my other favourite underrated series… Harper/Monty from the 100. I’ve loved their relationship since it’s inception, and their bonding over their mutual experiences with being tortured in season 2 has always been a poignant plot point for me, so Monty convincing Harper to keep fighting is all the more perfect. I also really love seeing an Asian male character playing part of one of a very few viable couples on the show right now. (On that note, very surprised to see how many Bellarke shippers there still are - I think they’re soulmates, but not in a romantic way.)

    • dcby

      I had a friendship end recently because I realized I cared more about it than she did. To be fair, she is a lovely person, but while I considered her one a few close friends she had many close friends, a great career, and plenty of obligations. It’s hard to face that someone you love has stopped caring about you, but after she continually chose avoidance rather than being honest about repeatedly blowing me off, I realized I had run out of space to put things aside. We didn’t really have a formal “breaking up”, just mutually stopped contacting one another. I will say that it’s fairly liberating to say a friendship is over when you’ve exhausted yourself trying to keep it alive.

    • dcby

      I’m a huge fan of Topshop denim for a truly comfortable stretch fit that doesn’t make you feel like you’re stuffed in. Both the Jamie and Leigh fits are awesome, I always go for a cropped length in black for the Audrey Hepburn effect.
      HOWEVER, my current favourite is definitely a pair of Karolinas from denim brand Grlfrnd. They are on the pricier side but I snagged a pair on sale and i love them. I like the look of vintage denim but haven’t really found a pair that works for me yet, and for me these are a perfect modern-vintage mash-up (heavy denim, higher rise but not rib crushing, relaxed-skinny fit, no unflattering poofy-ness in the bum or up front). They took a while to break in but they’re probably the only higher-end denim I’ve bought that I really think was worth the $$.

    • dcby

      I prefer the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice to the bbc miniseries. The film was well-received but amongst Austenites it seems to be looked down on and it seems that “real fans” must prefer the miniseries. I’ve read the novel half a dozen times… I see the merit of the series but I hated how polished it was (the Longbourn sets/characters in particular were delightfully grimey in the 2005 film, which seemed appropriate given their comparably poorer financial situation and the relatively wild Bennet sisters), and some of the casting i just could not get behind. I absolutely adore the cast of the 2005 film, and the soundtrack, costumes, sets, and cinematography are all spectacular. Obviously some of the scenes in the film are done in a much more dramatic fashion than Austen wrote (eg the second proposal), but it definitely makes for better drama on screen.

    • dcby

      Officially my answer is “anywhere!” Because I looove solo travel. But the country I probably had the most fun traveling alone was in El Salvador, which might surprise people because of its reputation for seeing a lot of violence. However, as a tourist this was not something I witnessed. There are way fewer tourists than in Guatemala or Costa Rica or Nicaragua, and fewer options for lodging (save for in El Tunco) but this just means that you will have lots of company at your hostel or lodge - I met a ton of people. I was there for two weeks and spent a total of $600USD after flights on hostels, busses, food, and activities. Its only a smidge poor on the beach front - El tunco is a very popular beach town but the beaches are very rocky or have black sand (super hot!!) and when I was there the water was only enjoyable for experienced surfer. But it is a fun town besides that. The beaches on the eastern end of the country around El Cuco are a lot nicer - golden beaches, gentler waves, but not very many options for accommodations. Besides that, the people were great, lots of options for other types of ecotourism, your money can really stretch depending where you’re from, and although accommodations are limited what is there is very good.

    • dcby

      Not a novel nor a children’s book, but I think the memoir Son of the Revolution by Liang Heng and Judith Shapiro was the first book that really made me cry as a kid. The whole book is devastating (it’s an account of Heng growing up during Mao’s revolution from childhood to a young adult) but the part that really killed me is when Heng and Shapiro visit the ramshackle home of Heng’s father and (I believe) step-mother, and Heng notes how they have covered the walls in newspaper in an effort to hide their poverty:  “It was touching to see how Father and Zhu Zhi-dao had covered the cracked walls of their room from ceiling to floor with copies of the Hunan Daily. They hadn’t wanted the foreigner to see their poverty, but somehow their pitiful effort to spruce things up seemed to emphasize it even more. I wept inside to see once again the wretched conditions in which it seemed Father was destined to end his days. “The room looks beautiful,” I told Father gently, kneeling beside him and taking him by the hand, but he didn’t seem to have heard me, for he was weeping with happiness.
      (…)
      “”When I think that someday you’ll go to America… you’ll learn a lot of things you cannot learn here… Everyone has forgotten your old father, but I know you won’t forget me…” He was sobbing now, and I rushed to embrace his knees. The bones were sharp beneath the thick rough cloth, and the left leg trembled. “I’ll come back, Father. And I’ll write often, every week if you like,” I said. But even as I spoke I felt I was lying. Every time I said farewell to my father it seemed as if it was for the last time.” Needless to say, it was one of the first times as a kid that I thought about my parents growing old and fragile, and it *destroyed* me!

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