Not much has really been happening since the holidays. Today, four of my dad's friends visited for dinner, including a Smith alumna. ^^ She asked a ton of questions about what it's like to attend Smith now. Apparently, when this particular alumna was a student at Smith, the residential houses had "house mothers", 10:00 p.m. weekday curfews, and weekend curfews at midnight (she attended Smith about 50 years ago). Almost every party that I've heard/read about at college starts at 10:00! @_@ I still have to get a summer job, too. Starting next week, I'll be working for a few days a week as an assistant at my dad's bridge classes (he works teaching bridge, the card game, at bridge clubs and country clubs), for something to do on weekdays (while accruing funds to support my hobbies ;) ). This basically means handing out whichever papers the students need, as well as four pre-arranged card decks per table (pre-arranged to suit the lesson of the day), and filling in as a player if one of the tables needs it (since bridge is normally played with four people, but the total amount of people who arrive at each class isn't always divisible by four).
It is also that wonderful time of the year when anime/manga/yuri fans everywhere are chiming in with their opinions as to what the best anime/manga/yuri of the year is. Even though I haven't come close to seeing enough anime or reading enough manga that premiered this year to form an authoritative opinion, from what I've watched, I would choose Mouryou no Hako as both the best anime series and best yuri anime (or rather, anime containing yuri). Sigh, -_- it looks like I'm the only person who voted for it on the "Best 2008 Yuri Anime" poll on the Shoujoai.com Shoujo-Ai discussion forum. (With Candy Boy winning by a landslide.)
As for yuri manga, each new chapter of Shizuru Hayashiya's Strawberry Shake Sweet leaves me in a quivering pile of fan girl goo, easily maintaining its #1 spot. However... I know that it ends after 2 volumes!!! ;_; (The last chapter has already been published...) Nevertheless, Strawberry Shake Sweet already looks to be getting serious competition from Takashi Ikeda's fabulous rom-com, Sasamekikoto, which has already had 3 volumes published and doesn't look like it's stopping anytime soon. XD (Darn you Yuri Hime, with your quarterly release schedule! ;_;) And I'm saying this after only having read 3 chapters (since that's all that's been scanlated, and I've heard promising things about the crack-tastic later chapters). So I'm definitely looking forward to more wonderful Sasamekikoto. ^_^ After Strawberry Shake Sweet and Sasamekikoto, my fave is a tie between Girl Friends by Milk Morinaga and Octave by Haru Akiyama. Morinaga already won me over with her Yuri Hime works, and Girl Friends is no less charming. (Granted, it's more serious than Morinaga's previous works, but it totally works for me.) Octave has a more mature, josei feel, but I like it more than Yamaji Ebine's works, actually (which I'm sorry to say, since I know that Ebine's manga titles are the darlings of josei yuri fans... they are extremely good, though, but nowadays I'm really favoring yuri manga that last beyond one volume- ideally multiple volumes). It's really a little hard to articulate why I like Octave so much (maybe because it also features a college-age protagonist who's figuring out wants she really wants to do with her life?). After Octave and Girl Friends, my next two favorites are Hanjuku Joshi by Akiko Morishima and Chatting at the Amber Teahouse by Miyabi Fujieda. Hanjuku Joshi showcases yuri veteran Akiko Morishima's signature blend of believable yet quirky drama and humor with her pretty character designs (I like the distinctive style of eyes Morishima uses, along with the slightly rounded look of her character designs), while debunking various "girl's school" tropes. Plus, I especially like the character Mari. I just really like her smarmy confidence and blunt self-honesty, along with the fact that characters like her seem to be rare in yuri (at least as protagonists). And Chatting at the Amber Teahouse is deliciously sweet (Fujieda is the master of undiluted sweetness XD), with some of the loveliest one-liners and one of the most memorable metaphors I've read in romance manga (the teapot and cozy metaphor; it's worth reading this manga just for that! ^^ I wonder if anybody who's read the manga has tried to use it in real life. Because I could just see that. XD). Finally, next I'm enjoying Takewakamaru's Creo the Crimson Crisis. It's not terribly deep, but it's a fun fantasy that makes me giggle at each chapter. ^^ That has to count for something.