Here are a few of my favorite things from this week.
Raised by TV. A very funny podcast where Lauren Lapkus and Jon Gabrus talk about television they watched as kids. It’s like being in a conversation with my favorite friends, which is fantastic, though it’s hard when you’re trying to surreptitiously listen to a podcast at work, and Lauren Lapkus saying “One time the computer turned on by itself at school and I thought it was a leprechaun” makes you choke-laugh.
Axolotls. I already knew about this animal, but I processed a children’s book on these little Mexican salamander things this week and I was reminded how adorable they are.
My writing group. I was just mentioning offhand a problem I was having with a story, and they managed to convince me to keep trying, and got me excited to start working on it again. Proof that it’s always, always good to get a group of writers in your corner.
The Good Stuff, a Youtube channel sponsored by PBS that I occasionally watch, is doing a series of episodes on the future of food. Right now they have two videos, one on making meat from plants and one on eating bugs (both are far less gross than they sound). They’re really interesting, and now I want to try a Beast Burger.
Did you know there’s a whole population of feral cats that live in Disneyland in California? I did. Did you know that there’s a Cats of Disneyland twitter feed that someone updates regularly? I didn’t. But now I do. Now I do.
If I choose to nap in the middle of a sidewalk, that land should be closed to the public in order to let me sleep in peace.
The Stuff Mom Never Told You podcast had an episode on borderline personality disorder. They’ve done a few on different mental disorders, like OCD, and I always find them fascinating. These things are so poorly portrayed, education on them is not good, so it’s nice to listen to something talking about them intelligently and sensitively, and it reminds me not to default to “insane” or “crazy” when talking about how a person is acting, and to not blame someone for being ill since they probably can’t help that behavior. I also enjoy learning about how the human brain works.
There’s some cool stuff I’ve found. What do you think? And what have you found around the Internet and the world at large?
Am I talking about Steven Universe too much? I don’t think so (obviously), though you probably do. At Comicon last month they showed an extended version of the new opening. It’s got more solos by the Gems, and shows little Steven growing up, as well as a shadowy figure… (YELLOW DIAMOND?!?) Is it part of an upcoming episode? Just something wonderful the Rebecca Sugar team made? I don’t know. I DO know that I love all the screaming fans in the background.
Through talking about food in her book, Rainbow Rowell reminded everyone on Twitter that Carry On, the fanfiction of the made up HP-esque Simon Snow fantasy series written by her fictional character in Fangirl, is coming out in a few weeks. I got really excited and now it’s on hold for me.
So, okay. THERE ARE CHERRY SCONES. And CHEESE SANDWICHES. And some sexually charged sharing of SHEPHERD’S PIE. #CarryOn
You might know I’m planning a Disney World trip this fall, so I’m excited that the Epcot Food and Wine Festival menu has been released. I’m done planning park days and dining reservations, so now I have something else to obsess over while I wait to plan Fast Passes!
Steven Universe had another Steven Bomb (five days of episodes) this week. Ugh, you guys, this show is so good, I can’t even. This is my face the whole time:
A recent Stuff Mom Never Told You episode focused on Judy Blume and her books. It got me wanting to read her books again, so while I wait for my name to come up on the list for her new adult book In the Unlikely Event I’m reading some of her kids books. Some I’ve read before (Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret) others I don’t think I ever got to (The Pain and the Great One). Maybe I’ll have some posts about them soon.
I saw on, of all things, a People magazine article that Disney will be coming out with a new Disney Princess, Elena. This will be Disney’s first Latina princess, which I think is a good step towards diversifying their lineup. It’s a TV show, not a movie, and it will be on Disney Junior, so I probably won’t watch it personally, but it’s nice knowing this will exist. (Maybe now Epcot’s Mexico can have a character meet up other than Donald in a Sombrero.)
Literary agent Janet Reid wrote a nice post about what to do about unresponsive agents. Basically, if you’re waiting on someone who’s holding your manuscript, a polite email to check on it from time to time isn’t out of line, and that you shouldn’t feel beholden to someone just because you’ve been talking to them. I have not had someone who I’ve felt like is holding my book baby hostage, but it does make me feel better about double checking the status with people who have shown interest.
And just to make sure that everything on this list is completely unrelated, this week we found an Indian restaurant nearby, and despite the fact that they sat us directly next to the door on the windiest winter night ever, it was excellent and delicious, and pretty quick. There’s still a pile of items I’d like to have tried there, but I had just enough restraint to not go too (too too) crazy with my ordering. We’ll be back, just hopefully not anywhere near the door. (Now we just need an Ethiopian restaurant to roll in…)
AsapSCIENCE is a fun science YouTube channel I follow, and this week they had a great video on meditation, if it works, and does it change your brain. (Yes to both.) Basically, meditation can make you more empathetic and less stressed out. I want to watch the video again, and also actually try to meditate.
I’ve been linking to Kate Beaton a lot on here lately, haven’t I? Well, let’s do it again! The latest series of comics she published on her website is about Tom Longboat, a Canadian Olympic marathon runner and World War I soldier. Having recently started running and being interested in reading about it I thought this was great, plus Beaton gave me another book I want to read.
A writing friend posted a list of Books to Make You More Interesting. I’ve only skimmed it, but there are some cool books on there that I’d like to read, like Bad Feminist and Nabokov’s Speak, Memory, and even some that I’ve read and talked about, like Persepolis and Fun Home. Which I guess makes me already interesting? But I could be more interesting.
What do you think? Did you find anything awesome this week?
The latest story arc on Octopus Pie ended this week. It’s been a pretty emotional one, which I truly need to go back and reread, but I can’t get over how good Meredith Gran at conveying complex emotions with her drawings, and sometimes a little bit of dialogue. The last page of the arc is particularly wonderful, showing, I think, pretty well how someone can get better and worse as they struggle to get over something.
And another comic: I read this one last week on Boumeries, but I still think about how very true to my own personal life it is.
I was also very excited about this past week’s batch of cartoons on Cartoon Network. Of the three that I actively watch — Adventure Time, Steven Universe, and Regular Show — they all had interesting growths in character and plot. We got to see Princess Bubblegum try and teach herself to chill out on Adventure time, which grows from a personal revelation in another recent episode, and Regular Show tied off a story arc that took a close look at how complicated relationships can be, especially for a kid’s show.
Steven Universe got me very excited, though. I’ve pointed out how much I love this show before, but a big event at the end of the episode shows how the plot is deepening, making the deceptively simple show more fantastically complicated than it already is.
When I find an artist that I enjoy, I like to see if they have a Twitter account, then follow them, adding them to different lists so that I may better stalk them. A big reason I like to follow comic artists, aside from learning when new books they have are coming out, is to see random pieces of art they post online.
Faith Erin Hicks put up a bit of Sleepy Hollow fanart that was the final straw to get me to watch the show.
I love seeing what Natasha Allegri (creator of Bee and Puppycat) plops on her twitter, with her weird delightful humor and random sketches of her cat.
Most recent, Kate Beaton from Hark! A Vagrant! put up several quick comics about this holiday season with her family, and though they’re messier than what she puts on her website (which is still a wonderful kind of messy) they remind me why I love her: raw rough art and humor that comes out of things happening rather than punchlines or awkward situations. She makes me think (in a perfectly flattering way, I assure you) that if I stopped being dumb and picked up my sketch pad again I could make my own random comics about my life and they wouldn’t be so completely horrible (probably a little horrible, but not completely).
Thank you, comic artists, for putting all your wonderful stuff on Twitter. I appreciate it so much.
I think I might go reread my Hark! A Vagrant! collection again.
Thanks to NaNoWriMo, weddings, and now a fantastic cold, I’ve been a little bit slacking on the blog post front. But, hey, here’s some stuff I’ve been looking at lately!
The Mary Sue had an interview withAdventure Time head of story Kent Osborne and voice of Flame Princess (King?) Jessica DiCicco. I’ve always wondered about the plotting of that show, how much they think out ahead of time etc…. turns out, it’s not too much. Even with big character reveals like the Ice King being Simon, that came from the actual boarding session, when they were finishing up the story for that specific episode. It’s kind of amazing to know that some richly complex story stuff can come from figuring it out as you go.
One of my favorite fantasy series that I read in adolescence was The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede. Well, Wrede finally wrote a craft book, and now that I’m in the mood for such things I snapped it up in the library. I’m only a very little way through the book, and right now it’s not quite one of my favorite craft books. But, one thing I really like is that she points out that all writers work in vastly different ways, so what might be good and helpful advice for one writer (always make a detailed plotline first!) could be utterly paralyzing for a writer that’s not suited to that kind of work. So, as she says, take every bit of writing must-does “with a boulder of salt.” Hmm. Maybe I am loving this craft book.
Finally: have you all been watching Over the Garden Wall on Cartoon Network? The amazing cute-creepy-weird animated mini series by Adventure Time writer Patrick McHale? No? Oh my goodness, why not? Watch it, please. It’s so good. Not only does it look and sound beautiful, but it just refueled a love for dark fairy tale-like stories.
So friends, what’s sparking your imagination this week?
Austin Kleon, author of my two new favorite books on creating, wrote a list/manifesto about reading on his blog. I love the whole list, but some I really appreciate are: “I will not finish books I don’t like.”; “I will copy down favorite passages in my own hand, to know what writing the words feels like.”; “I will make liberal use of the phrase “It wasn’t for me.”” He also talks about using a pencil, and massacring a book, an act I’m still trying to come to terms with myself.
I’ve mentioned it before and I’ll keep mentioning it until weeks after I’m home again, but we’re going to Disney World in a few days. There are plenty of things I’m excited about, but one thing I’ve never done, but keep hearing about as I read more Disney blogs and “must do” lists, is the Animation Academy, where an animator leads you through how to draw a Disney character. How did I now know about this? Why was I never told before? Anyway, I’m doing this, maybe more than once depending on how our final days in the parks go.
I figured out how to get library ebooks on my Nook Glowlight! So basically I’m going to use the heck out of this thing. I love it much more than I ever thought I would.