HBO in April

There was a time when I was watching a lot of shows on HBO (Oz, The Sopranos, Sex and the City, Six Feet Under), but since then it’s felt like there’s always one or two shows I’ve been interested in (most notably The Wire, but also ones like Carnivale, In Treatment, and Flight of the Conchords), but never much more than that. This April, though? I’m thinking it might finally be the return of there being three shows on HBO that I’m watching simultaneously. Phew!

The obvious one is, of course, Game of Thrones Season 2. I’ve been a fan of the book series since the very beginning (no, you may not have my original hardcover of the first volume), and it’s been a rare pitch-perfect adaptation in the shift from book to screen.

Game of Thrones Season 2 Trailer

There are two other shows that debut a little later in April, though. Veep is starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus as the Vice President of the United States who’s quickly learning her job is not all it’s cracked up to be. I adore Louis-Dreyfus; ever since the positively weak show Day by Day (where she was the bitchy next door neighbor) I’ve realized that she’s someone who is funny even when the show gives her little to work with, and in a show where she’s given good scripts she’s dynamite.

Veep Season 1 Trailer

The other is Girls, from the creator/star of the indy film Tiny Furniture. I’ll admit I have not seen Tiny Furniture, and I only heard of Girls because of Michael Penn providing the score for the show. But you know what? I like this trailer. I like the voice it’s using. I think it’s got potential. I’m in.

Girls Season 1 Trailer

I probably shouldn’t get my hopes up, but after 2011 being a rather uninspired year for films, I’m down with the idea that 2012 can deliver some good quality television. Don’t prove me wrong, HBO.

Welcome Back, Locus

It is not a secret that I am a huge science-fiction/fantasy geek, or that I love books. So for those who are into that particular niche as well, they might not be surprised to know that I also used to read and love the magazine Locus.

If you’ve never heard of Locus, it’s probably because you are not a science-fiction or fantasy geek. It’s a publication that mixed a lot of book reviews with interviews, event coverage, and a quarterly listing of upcoming books. I used to be enraptured by that last feature; back before Amazon and such, it was the best way to find out what books by your favorite author were scheduled. I liked the other parts of Locus, too; I learned about a lot of new books and authors through Locus, and after years of reading about events and seeing the photos, it was a minor “whoa!” moment to have my own picture appear in a gallery from the 1999 Nebula Awards.

I’d started reading Locus in the early ’90s, but after about a decade I let my subscription lapse. It was an expensive subscription for me at the time, I had a lot less free time, and I’d set aside “for the time being” writing fiction. (Something which has slowly started to inch forward again, but that’s a story for another day, since there’s not much to show for it right now.) And I will freely admit that as someone who as A Lot Of Stuff, I’ve been a big fan of having less clutter come in if it’s something that I’m not going to read promptly.

Imagine my pleasant surprise today to discover that Weightless Books is now offering electronic editions of Locus now, along with subscriptions. I just went and bought the first issue, and had it instantly sent to the Kindle app on my iPad. And so far? It feels like finding an old friend and discovering that aside from some slightly grayer (or perhaps less) hair, they’re exactly the same. We’ll see once I’ve read some more of the issue if the rest of it still holds up, but for now, I’m delighted. (Although I fear that this is just going to get me to buy more books that I will not get around to reading. At least now they just take up disk space instead of bookshelves.)

Technology, sometimes, is pretty darn fantastic. Welcome back, Locus.

Five Things That Make Me Happy (part 12)

Cleaning and Reorganizing My Office
I know, this sounds distinctly non-fun. But I’ve had a lot of clutter in my office over the past six months, and last week I stayed for an hour or so after officially checking out for the day, and got rid of a lot of the stuff that needed to be pitched. I also finally hung two pieces of art; Stan Sakai’s painting for the A Fall of Stardust portfolio (which used to belong to my friend Jeff), and a Charles Vess painting from Rose. I’m still not done with the office—it’ll take one or two more sessions to get everything done—but it’s a big enough change already that I find myself surprised by how much nicer everything already feels.

Bar Scrawl: A Cartoon Guide to New York’s Drinking Establishments
I don’t live in New York. And I don’t drink very often. But I adore these comics of Bill Roundy’s, in which he reviews New York bars for The Brooklyn Paper, then posts them online a week later. Seriously, these are tremendously fun. He’s got a strong sense of how in just a few panels to make a bar come to life. I want to go to all of these bars, and considering the first two points in this paragraph, that’s impressive.

Less Than Six Weeks From Race Day
My running group somehow talked me into signing up for the Rock ‘N Roll USA Marathon (replacing the National Marathon here in DC), which is on March 17th. We just had our 20-mile training run on Saturday, and while the run itself did not make me terribly happy in parts (it was a rough final five miles), I am happy to know that the race is almost here. Then I can focus on some triathlons I’m signed up for, and get my poor neglected bike out of storage. The race being done will equal a big road marker for switching gears in terms of exercise, and that makes me excited.

I still remember when my older sister introduced me and my other sister to Whammy!, the fourth album by the B-52’s. Songs like “Butterbean” and “Song for a Future Generation” were particular favorites (especially since we never got the “Butterbean” lyrics quite right, singing, “Pick em, scratch em, put on the steam…” In retrospect, no, you do not scratch butterbeans in order to eat them…), but we loved the whole album. Years later I bought it on CD, but due to a legal dispute with Yoko Ono, one of the tracks (“Don’t Worry”) wasn’t included. Now that Charlie has a record player, I ended up taking a little trip to eBay for my own copy of Whammy!. And holding that big ol’ record sleeve, it makes me feel ten years old all over again.

60 Degree Days in February
All right, this is probably a harbinger of the planet’s inevitable fiery heat death. And they appear to be gone for now. But when it’s 60 degrees in February in Washington DC? Well, it was awfully nice to actually wear running shorts when outside and running in the middle of the winter.

(Yikes, it’s been almost two years since the last one of these posts. I promise I’ve been happy since then.)