Monday, August 18, 2014

Because Holodecks Don't Exist: Running On Empty

Ok so last week was--it was depressing. And I've been having a hard time.

Robin Williams died and I wrote a post about it and things pretty much went downhill from there. What's going on? Well, I didn't get to do my Shakespeare Camp this year. This would've been its 10th year. Maybe I'll write more about that later. But the loss of it has been awful. I've been having problems with my current novel. Family stuff. Etc etc. Oh, and my arm/shoulder is still messed up. Not being able to lift has really affected my happiness level and, after several weeks of all this compounded with last week's issues, I kind of ran out of steam.

So, what do I do when I my endorphin tank is empty? When I get so deep in a hole that I kind of don't even want to come out?

#1- Kiki's Delivery Service
My Kiki DVD is about ten years old and covered in scratches that read like a map of my various depressive episodes. I plan on writing a whole, probably over-long post about why I'm obsessed with this 1989 Miyazaki classic so I won't go into it too much here. Just know that, for me, there's nothing better thank settling in with Kiki when I'm feeling really, really down.

#2- LOTR: The Two Towers
I finished this book last week and started Return of the King and now I'm about 30% in. These books have been amazing therapy for me. I find myself actually trying to slow down now because I want the experience to last longer. Last week though, I was storming through The Two Towers and it gave me two specific gifts:
This scene: 
And this one: 
 I cried like you wouldn't even believe in the first and the second had me buying potatoes just so I'd have an excuse to go around the house constantly repeating the words, "What's taters, Precious!?"

#3- Pride and Prejudice, 2005
I know there's a lot of heated debate in the Austen Movie Fandoms about which adaptation is better--even which Darcy is better. But my first P&P was Joe Wright's. This is the movie that made me want to read the novel and, when I finally did, I loved it. I get why hardcore 1995 fans aren't into this adaptation but I don't watch the film so I can see a faithful adaptation--if I want the full force of Austen's searing prose and complicated social nuances, I'll just re-read the novel--I watch this one for long takes of the sunrise filtered through fog, rolling over hills, for the gorgeous piano soundtrack, for the way Wright managed to modernize and channel the subtleties of P&P's complicated romantic/non-romantic relationships into wordless or nearly wordless modes of communication, and the way Austen's English countryside is basically a main character. This film may gloss over a lot of what makes P&P sizzle but, in the end, what it gets right, is the emotional heart. Basically, I watch this one because it's a fantastic, beautiful film and it totally calms me down when I'm freaking out. 

Other things I've been doing? 
I made these posters for my friend Kristin's High School English classroom: 

I was also reminded that I have some pretty fantastic friendships stretched out across the internets. My friend, Ben, sent me this crazy super-cut of poor Mr. Wof getting shut down over and over and over: 


Oh, Worf, don't feel bad. When you get back to your quarters, just pop Kiki's Delivery Service into the DVD player (because Disney still won't have released them on instant play) and make some hot cocoa (or prune juice) and Nutella toast and enjoy the evening as your endorphin tank gets a much needed fill-up. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Mork to the Bridge: Remembering Robin Williams

Back around 1978, there was a lot going on over on the Paramount lot. One show was being resurrected after a near ten year hiatus. And, across the lot, a new show was just starting up. In the end, both shows and their stars, became legends. They were Star Trek and Mork and Mindy. One afternoon, a young Robin Williams rode his bicycle over to the Star Trek: The Motion Picture sound-stage and explained that he was a huge Star Trek fan and that he would really love to see the set. They let him on. And there, on that day, Williams walked around on the bridge of his beloved Enterprise. An enterprise he'd thought might never come back. Walter Koenig said, "his wide-eyed admiration not withstanding, his squeaky-voiced reaction to all the buttons and panels is, "Hmmmm, microwave!"

Today we lost Robin Williams and my Facebook feed exploded with tributes, memories, clips, pictures, and articles about this amazing performer. Looking at these heartfelt, personal memories of an artist, poured all over everyone's public space, it occurs to me that Robin Williams' work spanned several generations. In fact, you can just about tell which generation a person belongs in by which Robin Williams they chose to pay homage to. In your 40s? Mork & Mindy, Comic Relief, Good Morning Vietnam. In your 30s? Awakenings, The Fisher King, Hook, Aladdin. In your 20s? AI, Good Will Hunting, Patch Adams. And I'm leaving out about fifty other amazing movies.

I'm thirty. Here's my Robin Williams experience.

#1- Aladdin
When I was a kid, after my parents divorced and I was living alone with my mom, we were pretty poor. My mom worked. She was always working at least one job but we still had trouble keeping afloat. Treading water--that's what it was. Anyway, I was poor but I kind of enjoyed it. I knew I didn't have the same stuff the other kids did but I had a lot fewer restrictions. My mom didn't care if I got dirty playing, if I stayed up late, if I was walking to the library by myself and checking out the same copy of A Wrinkle in Time over and over. I had freedom. Then Disney's Aladdin came out. About six months after it came out, it was playing at the teensy Dollar Theater in my town and I finally got to see it. Then, one day when my mom had to run errands, I said, "How about you drop me off at the theater? I'll watch Aladdin." And she did.  It was amazing. So amazing that I begged to do it every time she was going out of the house until the end of summer. And she let me. She gave me a dollar for the movie and sometimes a dollar for coke or candy and I just paid my way inside, picked my usual seat (there weren't more than 5 or 10 people at the matinee) and sat there while the film rolled.

I was Aladdin and I was Jasmine and I was Genie. I was the street rat. I was the girl who craved adventure. I was the one trying to make everybody laugh, trying to hide my own fear, trying not to show how captive I felt in spite of my apparent freedom. I laughed with Genie. I cried with Genie. I learned every single song in Aladdin without ever owning the film. It's because of Genie that this very morning, before I heard about Robin, I burst into "Prince Ali" as I was packing my gym bag.

#2- Mrs. Doubtfire
I had a little something here about me and my dad but now it's gone. Just know that I really appreciated this movie when I was a kid.

#3- Jumanji
Holy shit, a board game makes crazy jungle business happen in small town America? Sign me the hell up for that. I remember watching this in every single sixth grade classroom that I happened to attend. (If you're wondering--it was four) I never stopped loving it.

#4-What Dreams May Come
The first time I really, really struggled with depression the year was 1997. I get that I was a kid (pre-teen? do people still use that word?) but kids get depressed too, man. I was sensitive and extremely introspective and my circumstances did not lend themselves to the healthiest of mental states. In 1998, this movie came out and I saw so much of myself in it. I remember wishing I knew what kind of poison Annie ate. I remember being afraid to find out what happened if I went through with it. I wanted to hide in my art, in my writing, in my books, in my TV shows and movies. I bought What Dreams May Come on VHS and watched it no less than twenty times, always wondering if I'd ever find anyone who'd be willing to walk through Hell to find me.

I'm a lot better now. Do I still have days where I want to just stay in bed? Where I want to sleep until it doesn't ache anymore? Where I wish I could turn the whole world off? Where I feel like I'm crying even when there aren't any tears?
But it happens a lot less than it used to. I learned to channel a lot of my frustration and anxiety into my workouts and my art and writing instead of hiding from it. I learned what kinds of things trigger my issues and try to avoid those things. I found people who love me without reservation and I held onto them like treasures.

I have to confess, I only saw this movie once and I remember almost nothing about it except that Robin Williams was in it. I remember a lot about that night though. It was my first date with my husband, Scott. We'd been friends and flirts before but we'd never actually put it to the test. Our Robots date was basically our proof of concept. Could this really work? We knew, on that night, that we would get married. And Robin Williams was there.

#6- My Friend, John
If you're sitting there, thinking to yourself, "My friend, John? I don't think I've seen that one." It's because it's not a movie. I'm talking about my real-life, actual human friend, John. I met my friend, John about ten years ago (really? wow!) and we were cast together in a play. Immediately, we had a connection. And, before long, John became my best friend. We hung out all the time and he even had a hand in getting Scott and I together. Here's the thing about John--he's amazing. He's an actor and a comedian. He's a geek of legendary epic-ness. He's a radio personality. He's a safety officer. He's even Santa Claus. He's a hundred things for a million people and--no, actually, he's one thing for a million people--an instant smile. John makes everyone smile. Instantly.

Here's the other thing about John. He struggles with depression. I don't know how much or how bad it is these days. I don't know what his triggers are or how he channels his pain. The truth is, John and I, in spite of being intense BFF, eventually drifted apart a little bit. We're still friends on Facebook. We still message each other from time to time. We still hangout whenever Scott and I go back to our home town. When I do my camp he always comes to the show and stops by to see me. But the days of sitting in an all-night diner eating ham sandwiches and arguing about Star Trek are pleasant memories.

But, my friend, John always reminded me of Robin Williams. The huge personality. The passion for laughs. The darkness behind the smile. Today, when I saw the news about Williams' loss, my thoughts immediately ran to John. Was he ok? Had he heard? And then I saw all the tributes. All the pictures. All the stories. I thought, I know it might not have helped, I know sometimes the darkness wins. But, I hope Robin knew how loved he was. I hope he knew the difference he made. And, John, I hope you know too. I hope you know how much I appreciate you. How much--every kid who visits you at Christmas time, ever audience member in your plays, every radio listener, every classroom you visit, every person you've told to "Stay Safe,"--every one you've ever made smile appreciates you.

I've never had a friend like you.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Because Holodecks Don't Exist: Past Tense

On Friday morning I was standing in the shower thinking about this post. I'd meant to get in there and think about a problem I needed to solve in the Awesome Jones sequel but, instead, the only thing running through my mind was how I haven't really watched anything new or exciting because all I've been doing is working. Then, Friday continued to go by and I eventually fixed my Awesome Jones issues, and I watched The Dodgers game and then, somehow, it was 1AM and I was still awake and I wound up watching an infomercial for the Ed Sullivan DVD Collection from Time Life.

Friends, let me tell you, I didn't even know infomercials still existed. When I was a kid and always up way later than I probably ought to have been, I saw a lot of these things. Me and Time Life were BFF even though I never bought a single thing from them. I knew the first 10 seconds of all of the following songs thanks to this very infomercial:

Anyway, much to my surprise/horror/delight Time Life infomercials are still alive and well and they're still pedaling overpriced physical media to the insomniac masses. The Ed Sullivan infomercial had clearly been produced in the 90's and, at the time, I can only assume they were trying to pawn off gigantic VHS box-sets but now it's all DVDs and, for the low, low price of 5 easy payments of 19.99, when you call this 800-number, they could be yours. I really, truly considered calling the number to test whether anyone at Time Life was actually there to take my call or if the infomercial was, as I suspected, being beamed to me (via a wormhole or something) directly from the past.

It really seems like I'm disparaging this poor Ed Sullivan infomercial but I'm really not. I flipped it to the channel because all it said was "Ed Sullivan" and I'm way into old TV. I caught it just coming on and Scott and I ended up watching their entire 30-minute spiel. We couldn't look away. Not because of the fantastic presentation skills of Sun Vista/Time Life but because of how truly amazing the performers on Ed Sullivan were.

Back then, there weren't 900 channels. There were three. At the show's height, on Sunday night you had a choice between Ed Sullivan and who-even-knows-what because no one in their right mind was going to miss what happened The Ed Sullivan Show. So, here's the thing, in order to make it onto the Ed Sullivan show you had to be amazing. Everyone wanted to be on this thing. You had to be the very best to get there.

The performers you still hear about, all these years later, the performers who really set the bar for American popular culture, were walking onto the Ed Sullivan stage at their peak and letting the whole world know that they were something special. And, even now, their performances are completely, perfectly captivating.

 Ok, I realize I just plastered five YouTube videos on this blog post but I don't even care. These performances are objectively fantastic. They hold up so well and I can only imagine being a kid in the 50s or 60s and having my brain exploded by a bunch of freaking muppets (Jim, uhh...Newsom's Puppets) or watching a scene about young, ill-fated passion in the inner city at a time when everything on TV was so censored and clean you couldn't even say the word "pregnant." I can only imagine what it would've been like to see performers like Ella and Sammy Davis Jr. and The Supremes just owning the biggest stage in the world in an era when Jim Crow laws still divided the American South. And don't even get me started on Barbara. Freaking Barbara. 

Alright, so I have spent way longer writing about this infomercial than I did actually watching it. The point is this: In so many ways, we're lucky. We have about nine-thousand channels now, and the internet, and we're connected globally in a way we've never been before. And that is fantastic. But, it's also an over-saturation of stuff. It's static. I spent at least fifteen minutes today staring at a buzzfeed gif dump of cats jumping off things. Don't get me wrong, I love watching cats jump off things. I just think Time Life had something going on when they tried to sell DVDs to me and you and everyone else who watching one of our nine-thousand channels at 1AM. 

Like Star Trek, these performances still hold up. You can still hit play on YouTube and be thrilled/amazed/awed by Elvis/The Beatles/The Jackson 5 just like you can still be thrilled/amazed/awed by City on the Edge of Forever/A Taste of Armageddon/The Corbomite Maneuver. This stuff is still effective. It's still powerful. Like the actual Time Life infomercial, this stuff reaches out from our country's past and cuts through the static. If I did have a Holodeck, I'd be using it (Tom Paris-style) to re-live these legendary performances.

Oh, and if you made it to the end of this crazy person rant about the Ed Sullivan show, here is my gift to you. Think of it as, like, a Certificate of Completion (it can be yours for only 9 payments of 19.99):

One Year Ago Today: I was helping break a Star Trek World Record in Vegas

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Going Deep/To Sleep

Ok, so it's freaking Wednesday and I'm just now getting around to writing last week's Holodeck Post because we all know I got super waylaid by a bunch of foolishness on Sunday.

But here's the thing, I'm working on the sequel to Awesome Jones and I'm in this kind of mode where I just can't really do much of anything else. You shouldn't feel too jealous though, blogreaders. I actually neglected an entire year of everything non-Trek for you. (See All of 2013)

Anyway, when I'm writing, I have a tendency to not do anything but write. I don't mess around on Facebook. I don't respond to emails, phone calls, or--for the most part--actual, human conversation. It's like I just put everything I have into my work and I can't be bothered to cook or buy groceries or shower or any of that real life stuff.

I just do this:
A (not at all) rare glimpse of an AshleyRose in her natural habitat
But, here's the thing, I can only do it for so long. I have a policy where I take at least an hour and a half (preferably two hours) off before bed. Last night, I was reminded of why. I worked until 12:30 (I got 2400 words so it sort of seems worth it) then stretched out on the couch and zoned out while I watched the last twenty minutes of Murder She Wrote before hitting the sack. I was feeling all gross and congested yesterday so I took a Nyquil before bed and, in spite of my low tolerance to the blue stuff and my exhaustion, I still woke up every few hours in a cold sweat, with my heart thumping, thinking I had some incredible, unsolvable problem in the Awesome Jones sequel. It was awful. Of course, I got up this morning and realized said problem didn't exist and I was pissed at my nighttime self for not realizing that.

So that's why I have the policy. Tonight, I made myself wrap it up at 10:00 and I'll spend my next two hours finishing the Dodger's Game and probably re-watching the DVR'd episodes of Going Deep which brings me to the actual Holodeck part of this post.

Here's some of what I've been watching/reading lately:

1- Going Deep With David Rees
On NatGeo, Monday Nights (Also Hulu)
This half-hour gem is all about the regular, everyday activities we take for granted (flipping coins, tying shoes, making ice cubes, even opening doors) and how we can look at them on a deeper, sometimes ridiculous level. You know I'm ALL ABOUT enthusiasm and David Rees' is contagious. People are saying it's the best science show since Cosmos and I completely agree. This show is all about curiosity, enthusiasm for the small stuff, and the science that makes all that small stuff happen. I can't recommend it highly enough.


2- LOTR: The Two Towers
by J.R.R. Tolkien (obviously) 
Ok, people, I cannot tell you how much I just want to stop all life and do nothing but read these books and then start them over and read them again. I am OBSESSED. I keep referring to Scott as Strider and Bunny as Bunwise Gamgee and I can't stop sending my friend Kate these Merry/Pippin outfits I find on Pinterest with ridiculous messages like, "let's do this every day forever!" :
From Fictional Fashionistas
Seriously, I can count all the books I could/would/do re-read on one hand: Slaughter House 5, The Princess Bride, Bleak House, The Hero and the Crown, and now LOTR

3- Ancient Impossible
Airs on H2 and Hulu (and I don't even know what night this happens because I have a bunch of them backed up on my DVR.)
 I am a sucker for TV documentary style shows about how people did stuff a million years ago. I've watched Buckaroo Banzai talk about how the Maya put Cinnabar all over their tombs like at least seventy times. Anyway, this is that kind of show. A lot of historians talk a lot about how people did stuff in the olden days and I love going to sleep to this kind of show. I mean, if you're going to spend an hour talking about water clocks I don't even need to know anything else. I am IN.
Bonus Points for featuring my longtime Lady Historian Crush: Bettany Hughes
 So there you have it. That's what I've been filling the final two hours of my nights with. And now I'm off to do it again. I've made my tea, I've given Bunny the all-clear, and now it's time to watch some guys talk about Ctesibius and how pneumatics work until I fall into the kind of sleep where I don't wake up every couple of hours worried I'll never finish the Awesome Jones sequel.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Wrapped Up In A Game Of Fizzbin

I'd planned to write another Because Holodecks Don't Exist Yet post this today but I ended up getting kind of distracted. Here's what I did instead.

1- Made breakfast.
I couldn't bring myself to make bacon AND eggs so I just made bacon. And toast. I can do toast.

2- Worked on the Awesome Jones sequel.
I wrote 1034 words. Which is about 1000 fewer words than I'd like to have written. Whatever, it's still happening a lot faster than seven years--which is how long the first one took me.

3- It rained.
Seriously. Guys, it hasn't rained where I live (just picture every desert planet in every desert-episode of Star Trek) in like three months. I grew up in South East Appalachia aka the USA's temperate rain forest. I went outside for the entire duration of this meager sprinkling.
3- Worked on an art commission.
This was like three hours of my time because I had to completely re-draw a bunch of stuff I'd already tried to color and finalize.

4- Watched the Dodgers lose the series against the Cubs.

5- I colored my hair.
Yeah. This is something I do and have done since I was about 9 years old.

6- I painted my nails.
This is something I pretty much only do when I color my hair. So like...about four times a year. And then I just let the polish wear off because I'm somehow even lazier with remover than with the polish itself.

7- I wrote this post while watching TV.
I watched Going Deep with David Rees which is (really) awesome. And an old episode of Rick and Morty. And this show about condiments.

8- I'm closing my computer and making tea.
Technically this item hasn't happened yet. But it will! It's in the future!
Also in the future is that Holodeck post so keep your eye out.

One Year Ago Today: Passing The Torch

If you're interested in the epic game of fizzbin referenced in the title of this post, see the TOS episode, A Piece of the Action wherein Kirk, Spock, and McCoy take on a bunch of space mobsters on the Paramount backlot. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Parallax: Bleak House & Game of Thrones

Well, I guess I'm finally getting around to this biz. I've been meaning to write this one for like three months and for some reason, a Wednesday night (when my arm is still being all goofy and I have to stop working on the art I was doing) is the time.

Because I'm me and I read and watch as much stuff as I do, I often end up drawing parallels between things that don't seem at first to go together. I've thought that I ought to write about this stuff but I tend to not get around to it so... this is me getting around to it.

Bleak House is a novel by Charles Dickens published in installments between 1852 and 1853. This novel was highly recommended to me by my lit major friend, Kristin, and I was like, "I've never read any Dickens before. Why not just start with this super complicated novel about an over-complicated court system that doesn't exist anymore?"
Thrilling, right? I mean, I don't even need to write this post. 

Game of Thrones is a series of novels by George R.R. Martin. I mean, if you're reading this blog and you don't know about Game of Thrones, you're probably doing something wrong. Anyway, I tried, when the show first started, to watch. I just... I just couldn't. Earlier this spring, I tried again. Still, I just couldn't. Then, this spring, I read a case for GOT via some Pin on Pinterest and decided to try the books. I was immediately hooked. I stopped reading after A Storm of Swords because the books were literally keeping me up at night and, I don't know if you know this about me, but I'm basically addicted to sleep. I NEED it.

Ok, these books are basically the same thing. Here's why:

1. They're Bleak.
I mean, it's right in the title of one of these things. Both of these guys are full of muck and grit and grime and hopelessness. I mean, here's a quote:
Fog everywhere. Fog up the river, where it flows among green aits and meadows; fog down the river, where it rolls defiled among the tiers of shipping and the waterside pollutions of a great (and dirty) city...Chance people on the bridges peeping over the parapets into a nether sky of fog, with fog all round them, as if they were up in a balloon, and hanging in the misty clouds.
Gas looming through the fog in divers places in the streets, much as the sun may, from the spongey fields, be seen to loom by husbandman and ploughboy.

Wisps of pale fog drifted through the night, long white fingers off the river. Men and horses plundered through the predawn chill; saddles were being cinched, wagons loaded, fires extinguished. The trumpets blew again: hurry hurry hurry. 

2. They're Hopeful.
In spite of all the apparent nihilism and general awfulness present in the respective worlds of these novels, characters never give up and continue to fight for their cause, their family, their friends, their life, their land...whatever. They fight.

3. Shades of Gray.
Both of these books are way into the messy stuff that happens when people get together with other people (ie- society) and everyone has their own incentives and goals and whatever. Most of the people in these narratives are just plodding along in life and aren't aware of how their actions affect the world around them.

4. This Jerk.
I defy you to tell me which adaptation this image is from.
So the UK has like eleven actors and they just breed them to get new ones. Charles Dance is one of those proud few and he portrays a totally-not-a-shade-of-gray bad guy in both narratives. Tulkinghorn and Tywin Lannister. These dudes are not to be messed with. Except until they are. And then it's awesome.

5. Multiple POVs
Ok, so this is the thing that actually made me want to write this post. Both novels are vast and far-reaching and told in varying points of view. In Bleak House and Game of Thrones the plot threads are at first scattered and apparently unrelated. As the novels progress, those threads are braided together but still told from these disparate viewpoints. This isn't anything new but in both books, there are a lot of these plot threads. Like... a whole lot. It's like the fishbone braid of narrative structure.

See what I did there?

In Bleak House you get Esther and in Game of Thrones you get Arya. These young women collide with several other characters and those collisions are often recorded through the POV of said characters while Esther/Arya are none the wiser about that character's thoughts/feels. Get it? I love this mode of storytelling.

6-A Big, Juicy, Hidden, Romantic Secret
Both of these stories focus on the lives and deeds of characters who are all basically reacting to a thing that happened a while back. In most cases, knowledge of this event (especially full knowledge) can be claimed by only a couple of characters and they mostly die off pretty early. That means that basically, a while back, a few people got busy who weren't supposed to and now the bazillion characters spread out all over England/Westeros are paying the price. (Sometimes the iron price. Ha!)

I guess there are more things I could talk about but probably it would just devolve into how I have a weirdo crush on Sgt. George and how the passage about Joe absolutely crushes me every single time I read it and what I would do if I were Mother of Dragons--it's smoting, mostly.
This guy. I just can't even...
So, I'll stop things here. Wrap it up nice and tight and stretch out on the couch with an ice pack and a cup of tea and Elrond.

PS- I called this thing "Parallax" because I wanted something catchy that had to do with Star Trek. If you're interested in what a parallax actually is you can go watch animated gifs on Wikipedia.

Shakespeare in Star Trek: The Tempest and the Shrew

Sunday, July 27, 2014

I Need Some Elrond Healing

Well, my arm is apparently worse than I'd originally thought. In case you're just tuning in, I jacked it up about ten days ago and then underestimated how bad it was and lifted too hard and made it worse. Anyway, now I'm icing it several times a day which involves a fancy ice pack and an elaborate shoulder wrap thing that I can't even put on by myself.

 Yeah, it's not cool. A few days ago I figured out that jamming a pillow into my armpit seemed to keep my arm from getting into stupid positions when I'm knocked out so things are looking up. 

Anyway, I figured it's time for a new Holodeck post so here's some of what I've been reading/watching this week: 

1- Legend of Korra: Season 3
I've been on board with Avatar since 2006 and, I have to say, I think Korra is, in many ways, even better than its predecessor. Because its protagonists are more mature (like 17 instead of 11) you can have more mature plot lines and places for those characters to go emotionally and, really, Korra is a fantastic character. She's strong and powerful, she's a loyal friend and she's dedicated to her role as the Avatar. But, she's also young and still learning; she's insecure and, at times, kind of whiny. Basically, she's human. And, here's the thing, Korra isn't even the best part of Korra. This show is full of great stuff. The portrayal of friendship/romance/montorship etc. is fantastic. And, while there are goodies and baddies, this show works a lot in shades of gray and the fact that, in real life, there are no easy answers. Oh yeah. And the action. The action is BRILLIANT. The fight choreography in this show is gorgeous. 

2- Daredevil
Volumes 1 and 2 by Mark Waid
So here's what happened. I recently read all of Matt Fraction's run on Iron Fist, and then all the Iron Fist that came after his run and then I ran out. I went to my husband (who's basically an expert on wise-cracking superheroes) and said, "I need a new superhero comic that's the same kind of clever but not too self-serious." He handed me this: 
So I read all of it. In like an afternoon. And then I went back and whined about how I was out and he handed me this:
 And I read all of it. In an afternoon. And I'm way into it. For one thing, the art is gorgeous. It's fun. It's clever. It's fast. It pops. It's great for the end-of-the-day wind down. I mean, after I've spent 10+ hours working on the Awesome Jones sequel, I need a little fun in my day.

3- The Fellowship Of The Ring
by J.R.R. Tolkien (obviously)
When I was about four or five, my godmother happened to have the 1977 Hobbit cartoon lying around and popped it in when I was probably being rowdy. I think I fell asleep when they first started walking/singing.
When I was in seventh grade, my science teacher was reading The Hobbit during class. Not to us or anything. We were watching Spice World. (Can you tell I went to some real Grade A schools?) Anyway, I went over and asked him what it was because the cover was pretty cool and he handed it to me and was like, "This book will change your life." I got a few pages in before the period was over and it was all dwarves and songs and breakfasts and I just... I just couldn't.
When I was in high school, the first LOTR movie came out and I was way into it. I went to my school library and checked out the only copy of the book they had, which btw, was the 3-book-in-1-huge-as-hell collection and, again, I just could not make this happen. I don't know why. At the time I was  more into Kurt Vonnegut, Douglas Adams, and Spider Robinson. That's the only way I can explain it.
Alright, so it took me like twenty something years but I finally picked up this book again (thanks to the near-constant prodding from my friend, Kate) and I am loving it. Like, I'm 100% in love with this book. Mr. Frodo and I go everywhere together. I carry my kindle with me from room to room just in case I have time to check in with Mr. Frodo. When I'm at the gym, I'm walking with Mr. Frodo. When I'm falling asleep at night, it's next to Mr. Frodo Aragorn Elrond. (Have I mentioned my weirdo crush on Hugo Weaving?)
Oh yeah... that's the stuff.
Obviously, because I live in this culture and I'm a geek and I've seen all the movies, I know how this biz ends but that's ok. Most of the books I read are super old and I know how it all turns out.

Ok, it's getting late here. Time for me to shove a pillow in my armpit and see what's up in Rivendell.
Yeah. Probably this... Zzzzz...