Five Good Things for 12/8/2015

Five things I encountered today that were interesting, educational, beautiful, edifying or that I otherwise found to be…well, good. None of these are promotions and I do not receive any benefit from sharing them. I just like them.

It’s time for the annual end-of-year onset anxiety, complete with a constant nervous feeling, too much work to do, and even more disrupted sleep than usual. I’m going to try to keep up at least with a daily links post, but I don’t know how much else I will get done until the New Year. Then everything will be shiny and new and different and I’ll sleep like a baby and find keeping up with work and writing a total breeze… right? Oh well, till then, enjoy some awesomeness from the internet.

giphy (2)1) Rare Exports might be my new favorite Christmas movie. I don’t want to say too much and spoil anything, but it’s a Finnish horror movie about the horrors experienced in a small town when the real Santa Claus is unearthed from his tomb. Hilarious, scary, and just plan weird if you haven’t experienced it, you need to.

56197-Oh-I-Cant-Believe-My-Eyes2) PBS has a video of a live from Lincoln Center performance of some of Danny Elfman’s most memorable music scores, including some from the Nightmare Before Christmas, featuring Elfman singing. It’s a great retrospective on a long, iconic career, and so much fun to hear Jack Skellington come to life.

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Five Good Things for 12/4/2015

Five things I encountered today that were interesting, educational, beautiful, edifying or that I otherwise found to be…well, good. None of these are promotions and I do not receive any benefit from sharing them. I just like them.

Friday again! I hope everyone has some awesome weekend plans. Mine include more holiday markets than you can shake a stick at. I’m most looking forward to the annual Christkindlmarkt and watching the parade of St. Nicholas while sipping on some European-style hot chocolate. In the meantime, here are some other items to brighten the end of your week.

download (7)1) Without a doubt, Octavia Butler’s sci-fi masterpiece, the Xenogenesis Trilogy, is the best work of speculative fiction I’ve read in years. Butler is truly one of the greatest writers of the last century, and this work is the pinnacle of her talents, creating a moving picture of the end of Earth while exploring issues of what it means to be human, sexuality, race, gender, and so much more. Beautiful and haunting I’ve never read anything quite like it.

JJ02c2) The Mary Sue has a thoughtful discussion of the Kilgrave fandom (from Marvel’s Jessica Jones) which I was very impressed by. The comment section is worth a read too.  I would add to all that sometimes grown, healthy adults with no history of trauma find themselves really turned on by something kind of terrible, while fully aware that it is terrible and with no intention of pursuing it in the real world. That’s what fantasy is for and that’s why fandom should be safe space where we don’t concern troll other over their fantasy lives.

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Five Good Things – Thursday Longreads Edition

Five things I encountered today that were interesting, educational, beautiful, edifying or that I otherwise found to be…well, good. None of these are promotions and I do not receive any benefit from sharing them. I just like them.

Today instead of the usual assortment of randomness, I have a collection of longer articles I found interesting. Hope you all enjoy!

download (3)1) The Washington Post has a great article and interview with George Lucas about Star Wars, past and present, and how he views his role in the franchise. A little sad, to be honest, but really interesting stuff.

download (4)2) Buzzfeed has an anonymous account from a Mormon who is also a lesbian about her experience growing up queer in the church and why she is staying in the church, and staying out, for as long as she can despite their draconian policies regarding same sex couples. It’s a very moving read.

download (5)3) As I was listening to a friend help her son with his spelling homework yesterday, I was once again struck by what a weird, messy language English is. Aeon magazine helps unravel why this is.

download (6)4) The Atlantic has a great run down of where our gene-editing technology is, and what we might do with it in the future. There’s a ton of potential for its use, both good and bad – as any sci-fi fan knows well enough.

d739b8b7035) The journal Nature offers some ideas for what to do about the fact that there are way more PhD students than there are suitable jobs for them. Unfortunately using a giant donut to lure them off a cliff and reduce their numbers isn’t one of them.

Five Good Things for 12/2/2015

Five things I encountered today that were interesting, educational, beautiful, edifying or that I otherwise found to be…well, good. None of these are promotions and I do not receive any benefit from sharing them. I just like them.

download1) I love sushi, but I am definitely used to more Americanized versions both in type and how it is served. There’s a lot of etiquette surrounding the correct way to eat sushi in Japan. Thankfully, Mental Floss has an infographic to help.

51mxLFfUYXL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_2) I just finished reading Margaret Atwood’s latest novel, The Heart Goes Last and I highly recommend it. Set after a financial crisis that has sent much of America into a second Great Depression, it focuses on a married couple who volunteer for a social experiment they are told will both help improve conditions in the country and provide them with a good life. The Heart Goes Last explores themes of love, corruption, free will, and surveillance that are very relevant to our current times. I still love her MaddAddam Trilogy the best, but this might be a close second.

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Five Good Things for 12/01/2015

Five things I encountered today that were interesting, educational, beautiful, edifying or that I otherwise found to be…well, good. None of these are promotions and I do not receive any benefit from sharing them. I just like them.

I am in denial about it being the first of December. Partially because I’m still in denial about it being 2015, much less nearly 2016. But there’s no denying the holiday season is in full swing now. May your December be merry and bright… or at least a booze and sugar-fueled approximation thereof.

1) SyFy has posted the first episode of their upcoming science ficton series set in actual space, for free online. The Expanse is set in the future, when the Asteroid Belt has been colonized and an investigation into the mysterious disappearance of a young heiress sets off a series of events that will “change humanity”. I have not watched this yet, but it’s great they’ve posted it for free, the trailer looks good and it’s nice to see a hard sci-fi show making a debut on the once-eponymous channel. Let me know what you think!

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Five Good Things for 11/30/2015

Five things I encountered today that were interesting, educational, beautiful, edifying or that I otherwise found to be…well, good. None of these are promotions and I do not receive any benefit from sharing them. I just like them.

Oh, the cruelty of the Monday after a four day weekend! Although I shouldn’t complain, as many people (particularly those in retail) did not get a four day weekend or even a weekend at all. And mine was delightful and relaxing, although that does make coming back to work all the more jarring. If you’re feeling the same, here are some pleasant diversions to ease you back into the routine.

1 & 2) This weekend I was introduced to two amazing webcomics I just have to share, both by trans artists/writers. The first, The Satrians, is about a family of telepathic aliens who adopts a human child. Humans aren’t telepathic, so in their world the child is disabled. Super cute and using all gender-neutral pronouns (Satrians have no concept of gender) it’s both entertaining and a real interesting perspective on gender and disability. Star Trip is an adventure comic about a girl traveling the galaxy with a shapeshifting companion, which is gender and race inclusive as well as just plain fun.

MV5BMTg2NjI2MTMzNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTcwODIwNjE@._V1._CR80,50,1280,1800_SY317_CR5,0,214,317_AL_3) Jemaine Clement (of Flight of the Conchords and What We Do in the Shadows fame) has a new movie, available on Netflix, called People, Places, Things. I watched it last week and really enjoyed it. It’s a small indie romantic comedy about love, family, and divorce, with a very sweet heart. Funny and cute, but not saccharine, it’s a great pick if you’re in the mood for something lighter but not devoid of meaning.

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Honesty is Next to Thankfulness

anigif_enhanced-buzz-14562-1385488927-8.gifMy best friend goes to Thanksgiving dinner at her in-laws’ each year, and this year they decided that dinner conversation needed to be more even more awkward than normal. So they sent out discussion topics ahead of time that everyone would “get” to share with the group. My best friend has an acerbic wit behind an angel’s face, so she passed them on to me, along with the answer she would like to give her in-laws. These included such gems as “How is your life different than it was last year?” (“I have a lot less sex”) and “Tell us about a vacation you went on this year.” (“We’re just trying to make rent but I can’t wait to hear about your six week trip to Spain”).

Bless her heart, she’ll make up something suitable to tell them on the actual day. I’m not sure I’d have the patience. I can just about deal with the inevitable “What are you thankful for this year?” question that has to be recited. Just about.

Brooklyn99Insider-Rosa-Beatriz-Trainwreck Thanks 1.gifBut really, it’s not like you can actually be honest with that one either. You have to be thankful for the right things. Acceptable subjects of gratitude include family, significant other, friends, health, basic necessities, and a job. Full stop. Try mentioning at dinner that you’re thankful for your vibrator and see how quickly conversation grinds to a halt.

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