Some New Favorite Things

It’s been a while since I’ve done a post about things I’m just actually enjoying. I think the last time I did this is on a blog that hasn’t been in existence in years. I figured I may as well do one again while I’m in the mood for it. This isn’t just things to buy, not by a long shot. Some of these are independent ventures that look for donations or subscriptions where they can get them, but they aren’t necessarily a requirement. Some are items I’ve kinda fallen for, some are books, others different types of media from music to films. It’s just gonna be a grab bag assortment of the stuff I’m loving now.

 

WELCOME TO NIGHTVALE

This podcast has really landed in a special place for me. It starts out as a rather strange radio… I guess you could call it a drama, but it becomes so much more as the show progresses. New characters appear and leave, sprawling story lines turn out to tie back to the first few episodes than you could’ve expected. The lead character, Cecil, we know surprisingly little about. We only know a few completely useless facts about his appearance. No mention of ethnicity, or much else. The character becomes a canvas that you paint on, and there’s an amazing amount of Cecils out there, all painted by the experiences and reads of the people listening. The beautiful thing about it, is that pretty much every one is right, too. There’s not a terribly wrong way to imagine him. Diversity is huge, too. You have everything from Cecil’s boyfriend, Carlos the Scientist; from the (current) mayor Pamela Winchell to Tamika Flynn, all come from different backgrounds, all from different ethnicity, all reacting in different ways only they could.

The best aspect of this show however is the fact that the writing is utterly brilliant. The smart stories make this more than a horror comedy. This is a satire of so many multiple aspects of the world as it is today. Total governmental control that is found in conspiracy theories, total corporate control as found in reality more and more often (this is done with the currently ongoing story about the takeover of Night Vale by StrexCorp), not being willing to look outside a small and ever shrinking world view. And amazingly, the show makes you feel for these characters, even if you only ever hear them through Cecil. You fall for Carlos, you wish StrexCorp would keep it’s hands off the city of Night Vale, you hate Steve Carlsberg… STEVE CARLSBERG. And amazingly, even some of the horrific creatures turn out surprisingly more human than you’d expect. I’ve gravitated towards the story of The Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives In Your Home. She won’t confirm a history for herself, but one story she told made me feel for her. She said it wasn’t her, but there’s no way that it wasn’t her origin, or at least one of the most likely origins she could remember. That these characters are so rich is a feat that I have to pay respect to. The writers, Joseph Fink and Jeffery Cranor do amazing work that needs to be heard to be believed.

Just to hit home just how much I love this show, I try to stay up and listen to it as soon as the latest episode posts on the first and the fifteenth of each month.  Check it out on iTunes or their RSS feed on their site to listen in. It’s incredibly worth your time.

 

 

The Chris Gethard Show

Just a warning right off the bat, most everything in the show is NSFW. Language for the most part, but I couldn’t make a list like this and not include something that makes me laugh every single time I watch. This show is a live show that runs on Manhattan public access every Wednesday night. It streams online at the same time, which is where its main following comes from. This may be the zanniest and most off the wall show I think I’ve ever seen, and it works.

Now, for a crash course. Chris Gethard started this as a show at UCB in New York years ago, and then at one point decided to move it to public access and the internet in 2011. The show is filled with characters that tend to be off the wall and rarely have anything to do with their personality. Example: The Human Fish is a fish man that was raised by fish in the ocean. He came up to the land to learn about the ways of humans. Though there is the fact that (originally), he only responds in this vs. that responses. He’ll then tell which option was the “correct option”. If you look at the character just as I typed it, it wouldn’t be funny, but add in the music then watching how they all play off each other just makes it fantastic. New characters pop up all the time (two weeks ago we had a new character appear out of the crowd that no one expected), and the show just gets crazier every time they’re on. It’s absolutely worth it.

For those that haven’t watched the video yet, it’s from Episode 120: The wedding of His Personal Barrista and The Guy That Likes Cream But Not Too Much Cream. Yes, those are both real characters, just like almost everyone you see in the main shot there. It’s fantastically zany and deserves at least one watch.

 

Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

I’ve been reading this book for the last week and it’s been fantastic. It’s part of my binge of Space Opera titles that I’ve been digging into outside of my A Song Of Ice and Fire readthrough. This is the story of… wait, I’m not going to spoil this. This is space opera at it’s best, which a real focus on the technology that is ever present in the sub-genre. It also touches on religion and militarism in really fantastic ways.

Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson, art by Adrian Alphona

This is the story of the Marvel Universe’s new Ms. Marvel. That title was dropped when Carol Danvers dropped the name to take up the mantle of Captain Marvel a few years back. Kamala Kahn is a teenager in New Jersey and is dealing with what she thinks would make her happier than her life she’s dealing with currently. When the changes start to occur in her that bring her powers, she deals with whether she really wanted another identity than her own. Marvel’s first Muslim super hero, Kamala’s someone that many people, including myself, got excited about when it was announced. When I finally picked up the first issue, I realized that they wrote something utterly fantastic. I can’t wait to see what the rest of her origin story turns out like.

If you want to read, head out to your local friendly comic shop. It’s a worthy read.

 

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Ok, it’s quite late as I’m finishing this, so I think I’m going to cut it off for now. I wouldn’t be shocked if I’d be able to write more here soon. I’ve got a lot of things I’m loving at the moment, and I want to keep sharing if I can.

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