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Friday Five 4

There’s a meme going around on social media that asks you to list the five shows that you would have someone watch to get a good sense of you and your taste. Yesterday, a coworker asked me to identify my favorite fandom. These tasks were harder than you might think.

I love TV. I don’t get to watch it very often, and I certainly don’t keep up with shows very well, as I do not have cable and forget to keep up with streaming. But I love TV the same way I love all storytelling. I think the stories we choose to tell and the ones we pay attention to do say a lot about us.

So here is my attempt at answering the 5-show question.

  1. Ally McBealAlly McBeal was on the air when I was in grad school. It resonated with me on several levels. Ally’s struggle with feminism and trying to hone who she was as a woman in the world sort of mirrors what I was sifting through at the time, and that was what drew me to the show. What got me hooked, though, was its portrayal of loneliness and what that looks like on different people. As someone who has felt alone/lonely for large portions of my life, I often feel misunderstood when writers try to address the issue. They almost always get it wrong (or, at least, wrong for me). Ally McBeal was right on the money. Also, John Cage is my favorite TV character of all time, so there’s that.
  2. The Newsroom – I knew an Aaron Sorkin show had to make the list. I like every show of his I’ve watched. I admire the way he writes. I love The West Wing and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. But I love The Newsroom the most. It speaks to the importance of integrity and being great at whatever you choose to do. Where it really wins with me, though, is the rampant idealism, often expressed through the Don Quixote theme that runs through it.
  3. FireflyFirefly is my fiesty side. I grew up watching…no, that’s inaccurate…being subjected to westerns. Traditional westerns are hard for me, because I didn’t always see the “good guy” as someone who was all that good. A lot of them were jerks, frankly. Even when the characters on Firefly are jerks, though, there is usually a reason behind it that is consistent with a code of honor that I can get on board with.  And in this world, people who are different aren’t necessarily wrong. In fact, people who are different seem perfectly capable of operating a ship in the middle of nowhere just fine. Firefly is what I wish all westerns were.
  4. Elementary – I love all things Sherlock Holmes. Love the books, love (almost) every interpretation that’s been filmed. Elementary stands out, though. I particularly like this version of Sherlock and Mycroft. I also love that Watson is female in this series. I like gender bending original stories, and this show does it well.
  5. Pushing Daisies – A theme you may have noticed in this list is an absolute adoration of whimsy. Pushing Daisies is my favorite whimsical show. The writing is perfect. The characters are amazing, and the acting is fantastic. It’s a tragedy that it only lasted two seasons.

I’ve watched Gilmore Girls so often I can quote it, but it’s often just background noise. So that doesn’t really scream “reflect me and my taste” to me. Smallville is the only fandom I kept up with for any length of time while it was happening, and I am definitely a sucker for superhero shows (Flash. Arrow. Supergirl [omg Cat Grant!].). But there were seasons where the fandom critiques and fanfiction were all that got me through it. The five shows listed do a great job of reflecting my general taste.

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wire

“The reason we still are engaged with the show today is because it really expressed the most important role of art, which is the form where we reflect on what our values are, decide what they are and then act on them.” – Wendell Pierce, as quoted in All the Pieces Matter: The Inside Story of The Wire by Jonathan Abrams.

Die hard fans of The Wire will love this book. People who have never heard of the show might want to watch after reading it (although why anyone would read if if they hadn’t seen it is a mystery. And maybe they shouldn’t read too far, because spoilers). Then there are those of us who fall in the middle.

This book is a slow read. Abrams basically conducted a lot of interviews and then transcribed them, cleaned up the verbal fillers a little (which I appreciate), and pasted them into a manuscript. That’s the majority of the book. As a writer, I find this lazy. As a fan of the show and many of the actors on it, I found it interesting to hear their take on the show in their own words.

In a way, this format is a nod to The Wire itself. The show gives us a view of the cracks in society from a variety of angles and perspectives. The book gives us what the show meant (and still means) to the people involved in it who came from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives.

The saving grace of the book was that it showed how The Wire did what art is supposed to do: to challenge, to provoke, to activate. I knew the show’s writing was good, but I didn’t know how intricate the research process had been or how involved in the city the cast, crew, and production became while filming it. Abrams’s interviews give the reader a behind-the-scenes look that was intimate and unique, and I’m not sure that a more narrative style of writing would have pulled that off.

I received a copy of All the Pieces Matter from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

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I am totally into the weather we’re having. It’s cool and fall-ish. So I’m going to ignore that it’s supposed to get to 91 degrees outside tomorrow. Not even going to mention it. I don’t know where you heard that.

This month, I was quite the joiner. I participated in Write 31 Days, of course. I was challenged to post seven days of black and white photos with no comment, but my comment is just that I loved doing that. The two above were my favorites. I also participated in Million Mile Month, although I definitely did not meet my goal.

Running is hard. And walking is slow.

Writing:

My 31 Days project was about running (specifically, how to do it and not get maimed or dead). It was fun (the writing part – not so much the running part). I love the momentum it gives me to post more regularly. To keep that spirit going, I am going to start reviving old posts from my livejournal days. I hope that you will enjoy these little nuggets of nostalgia.

For November, I’m participating in NaNoWriMo, although I’m being cheaty about it and working on a current project. I’m not allowed to start any other writing projects until I finish at least one of my current ones. I’m putting my foot down. So November will be focused on (and hopefully getting close to finishing) Fishbowl.

Reading:

My favorite book I read this month – maybe this year – was Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. I love the characterization and the way it drove the story. I also re-read Christopher Moore’s Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood PalThe library had the leather-bound version, and that was fun. Our book club from church had a lively discussion about the book.

I’m currently working through some Brene Brown (I’m on Braving the Wilderness) and reliving my childhood with The Boxcar Children. What are you reading?

Miscellaneous:

Work is in its slowest season, so I took a week off from work this month. I visited my parents and tried to rest. Yesterday was the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing the 95 Theses to the door, and our church celebrated by participating in a Hymn Fest with three other choirs on Sunday. It was awesome. I enjoyed that a lot.

And last but not least – I know I’m late to the party on this but I am addicted to Burt Bees lipstick. My lips have been super dry lately, and this not only helps alleviate some of that but also makes me look fancy.

What are you into this month? Comment below or join us at Leigh Kramer’s link-up page.

 

 

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This is Diane. She was a birthday gift from the parents. 

March is the best month. It’s a month full of days off (because Spring Break) and usually not terrible weather. Also, I get to celebrate my birthday, so there’s lots of cake and wine.

And this year, there were new boots:

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I love them. I also love that they were on clearance. Double happy.

So that was what I spent most of my month doing. Celebrating the birth of me.

I also read a couple of books. I loved Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson, and Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton. I had high expectations for both, and I am pleased that they met them.

I’m rewatching Parks and Rec, and I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it (yet today), but I love Adam Scott. He’s adorable and hilarious. I love reliving all my favorite moments.

One of my coworkers Jessica (*waves*) gave me a flashcard of the Despicable Me chicken, and I hold it up in staff meetings every time someone tells a bad joke. This, of course, prompted the creation of several other flashcards that I can use to express myself even if I haven’t had enough coffee to verbalize my thoughts. They heavily feature Grant Gustin and Michael Rosenbaum and various other superhero/villain-related folk. I’m not even sorry.

What was your March like?

I’m linking up with Leigh Kramer. Hop over and read what others are into!

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Friday Five2

Title reference – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Well, I did it. I turned 42, which really does feel like an answer to something. Getting through this year has felt like an accomplishment. I wonder if this is how every year from now on will be – more aches, less patience with the world and its ridiculous ways, more unlearning and relearning. It’s not so bad, I guess.

Last year at this time, I was freaking out over my blood pressure being high for the first time ever. This year, I am happy to report that it is back to normal (but my heart rate still runs high…because anxiety…working on it) and that my food and activity choices have had a lot to do with that. I have a number of pounds lost, which will make my doctor happy, but I’m happier about other things.

Today’s list is made of stories with which my 42-year-old self identifies.

  1. Addie Zierman’s Of Lent and Emptiness – On fasting/not fasting and Whole30, which I still refuse to try but if I were to try it, posts like this would be what would change my mind. Also, I weirdly miss fasting for Lent.
  2. Shawn Smucker’s On Seeing a Neighbor Hit Their Child, What Maile Did Right, and What I Would Do Differently – I’m mentioned Green Dot training fleetingly, but it is not fleeting in my mind. Scenarios like this go through my head all the time with questions of what would I do, whom would I call, how would I respond.
  3. Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls – Our church is starting the second annual collection of books for our Book Bag Project. We give three or four books to graduates of a local preschool to encourage their love of reading. More and more, I am convinced that writers (and artists and musicians and etc.) have incredible power to unlock story and innovation and progress, and I want to be a part of that.
  4. Cat principles. This is basically a to-do list. Also…I remain resolute in my coffee consumption (just…shhh…).
  5. Sometimes, Ray Palmer is my spirit animal. Also, I love Legends of Tomorrow. And Flash. And even Arrow. And especially Supergirl (i.e., Cat Grant)And will always rewatch Smallville and will always, ALWAYS be angry at Season 4. Fandom squee for life.

Hello, 42. Happy to meet you.

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Friday Five2

This month has been a gift so far. I have had sufficient free time (which is no small thing for an introvert), I’m out of my writing slump and back into a good rhythm, and I have been taking advantage of all my birthday deals and coupons.

Also, it’s like the Internet knows it’s my birthmonth. Here are my five favorite things on the Internet this week:

1. A story about Denton PD’s unique relationship with the city’s homeless

2. Wildfires have destroyed a large portion of the Panhandle, and ranchers across the state are driving hay bales to feed livestock, so much so that there has been a temporary hold on doing so. And while I am not generally a fan of Abbott’s, I appreciate that he was quick to cut through red tape to make this process go smoothly. Friends have set up GoFundMe pages, and officers have stopped trucks carrying hay that direction to help pay for the gas needed to get there (Texas is big, y’all.).

3. Great article in Teen Vogue about Green Dot active bystander training and its effectiveness in reducing incidents of interpersonal violence.

4. I spend a lot of time thinking about first lines in my own books and stories. I might start a blog series with titles taken from some of my favorite first lines.

5. And finally, Beauty and the Beast comes out this week, and I’m excited, but I’m not sure it’s possible for me to enjoy it more than I enjoyed the James Corden’s crosswalk version. This is my favorite thing on the intrawebs this week.

What has made you happy this week?

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feb-wii-final

Books, coffee, and wine. Yep, sounds about right. Books pictured: Furiously Happy and A Man Called Ove. 

February is one of my favorite months, because I get to celebrate some of my favorite people. Officially, I mean. I can celebrate them any time, really. But they were born in February.

Michelle and I hung out one weekend for Galentines. There were movies (Both Pitch Perfects and Antman), wine, and junk food. And then my sister’s birthday was this last weekend. We went to see La La Land (meh – see below) after trying to see it for a couple of months.

In related news, February is also when I watch more movies than usual.

La La Land was what I expected. It was cute, and there was singing/dancing, which I enjoy. I also like the 10,000 nods to old films. But also – the savior of jazz, should ever such a person actually be needed in the world (i.e., such a person is not. Jazz is fine. It is both respectful of its roots and excited about its future. It is wild and vibrant and often experimental – *cough*aswereitsroots*cough* – and it doesn’t need saving) is probably not going to look like Ryan Gosling, adorable as he may be. If the roots of jazz are really what his character wanted to go back to, it might have been helpful for said character to remember that jazz was born of struggle, so maybe white, straight male is not the most appropriate face of that.

I have watched less TV this month, but what I have watched is still superhero-y and This is Us. I can’t get enough of that show. I love seeing a depiction of what it’s like to live with anxiety. I love the cast and that they play with the fans. I love their sorry/not sorry video, although what they really need to apologize to me for is Jack Pearson. TV has been waiting decades for Jack Pearson, and frankly – so have I. Except…he’s fictional. So basically I’m never getting married because this show has raised my already lofty standards, and a Jack Pearson sort of guy, if such a person does even exist, is probably already married or dead. Either way, he’s unavailable, so I’m going to be alone forever. Thanks, This is Us.

I didn’t finish a lot of books in February, but I read excerpts of quite a few. I currently am reading eight different books. James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room and bell hooks’s Killing Rage are on my nightstand, and I recommend both. I always love Jenny Lawson’s work, and her Furiously Happy is no exception.

You may have noticed I have not been into blogging this month, which is funny, since I’m talking about blogging at my mastermind writers group tomorrow. I also haven’t been writing a lot. I blame the ridiculous springtime weather we’ve been having. It always inspires me to withdraw (because allergies and because spring is hard for me). This is where the discipline of writing comes in handy, because I scheduled two writing nights this week, and they were more productive than the rest of the month put together. It was a good reminder that I don’t have to wait for inspiration to do the work of writing.

I’m linking up with Leigh Kramer. Hop over and read some other posts, and share with us what you’re into this month!

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