Tuesday, November 6, 2007

No new tv shows? Read a book!

So the Writers Guild has gone on strike and television networks are scrambling to fill the void with what I'll call "classic episodes of a recent vintage," a.k.a. repeats. I'm all for writers getting fair pay for their work in an age where it can be accessed via several forms of media. But what to do in the meantime? Tuning in to BBC America comes to mind. Sure, you have to interpret the unintelligible accents of people speaking (mostly) the same language as us, and the shows are at least two years old, but there's a lot of great entertainment coming out of the U.K. BBC America's new "disclaimer" at the start of every show cracks me up (thanks for the Boston shout-out!). We can use close captioning! Of course!

Another suggestion: read a book. Read several. I have a pile of books designated for "fun reading" I haven't been able to get to since I started grad school this fall. The "hard/boring/perplexing reading" comes first. If anyone out there can wrap their head around Tristram Shandy please drop me a line!

In no particular order, here's a sampling of some of the books I'm dying to read. Perhaps you should be dying to read them too:

The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry
A murder mystery set in Salem, MA in the 1990s--before Salem's "renaissance." When the matriarch of a family of fortune tellers disappears, her niece and an ex-NY cop must find out what happened.

Stardust by Neil Gaiman
Fairies really exist. Human boy falls in love with fairy. Movie is made before I can read book but I don't have chance to see it.

The Strange Case of Hellish Nell by Nina Shandler
Bizarre true story of a fortune teller in WWII Britain who accurately predicted the British Navy's movements so often she was arrested as a spy, but tried as a witch under Britain's Witchcraft Act of 1745.

Since there's an otherwordly theme going on here, I'll round out the list with the master of other worlds:

Making Money by Terry Pratchett
The newest in his Discworld series sees the return of Moist Von Lipwig. The city of Ankh-Morpork's benevolent dictator puts Moist in charge of the new Ankh-Morpork mint. And you just don't say no to the benevolent dictator!

Finally, some of my random weirdness for your pleasure/amusement or annoyance. Possibly all of the above:

1) I dressed as a Hogwarts student for Halloween. At work. Technically I was Ginny Weasley because I'm a redhead, but as I was sitting outside on a bench during a break a schoolbus full of elementary school kids stopped at the traffic light. They all called out "Hi hermione!" It made my day.

2) Cops on Segways make me giggle. I'm sorry, they just do. It's all I can do to keep a straight face when I walk past one downtown, but when Salem's finest Personal Mobil Transport brigade showed up on TV I lost it! Every year on Halloween, thousands of people pack the downtown area to celebrate. Everyone comes in costume, and it's a blast. NECN, the local New England news channel aired a piece the morning after Halloween that they had filmed the night before. As the reporter was wrapping up his report, not one, but two Segway cops zoomed past behind him, right on cue, one after the other! It was awesome(ly funny)!