Julia Rios is a writer, editor, and podcaster. She likes comfortable feet and funny names. Her fiction writing has appeared in Daily Science Fiction, her non-fiction in Apex Magazine and Stone Telling. These are her good things.
Good things to read.
Hark a Vagrant by Kate Beaton is a collection of hilarious comics that offer smart literary, social, and political analysis of classics and historical events. And did I mention the hilarity index? Because it is very high.
Pen Pal by Francesca Forrest is a novel told through letters written by an 11-year-old girl in Louisiana, and a political activist imprisoned above a lake of lava. It’s a riveting read that manages to be sweet as well as adventurous and thought-provoking.
A Trifle Dead by Livia Day is a fast-paced and fun mystery set in Hobart, Tasmania. Tabitha Darling runs a cafe with delicious pastries and colorful clientele, and I loved following her right into the center of a murder investigation. Warning: this book is very likely to make you want to a) eat a lot of sweets, and b) visit Tasmania.
Good things to watch.
The Bletchley Circle is a three part miniseries from the BBC about four code crackers from Bletchley Park (where Alan Turing and a lot of super smart women worked on breaking Nazi codes during World War II) who get back together in the early fifties in order to catch a serial killer. It’s part period costume drama, part Criminal Minds style profiling and investigating, and part super cool nerdy women supporting each other. It is super creepy and suspenseful, though, so if you are prone to nightmares like me, you might want to have a fluffy chaser at the ready.
Teen Beach Movie is a very fluffy chaser! This is a ridiculous romp that sends up 60s beach movies with a self-aware meta component, and a little dash of modern teen musicals like Glee. The plot involves a pair of teen surfers from now going back in time into a teen beach movie from the 60s called Wetside Story, which is a beach parody of Westside Story, but with a supervillain who brings the rival gangs together to fight him and his weather-changing machine. If this sounds a bit confusing and weird, please know that it is probably weirder than you think, and also that it knows exactly how weird it is.
Sleepy Hollow combines creepy and suspenseful with weird and ridiculous. No nonsense Detective Abbie Mills has to work with Ichabod Crane, who is a BAMF revolutionary war hero resurrected via magic in order to fight off the headless horseman and other signs of the apocalypse as laid out in George Washington’s own personal bible. This is only the start of the wackiness on this show. Suspend all disbelief before you turn it on and enjoy the ride.
Good things to use.
Smartwool socks are wonderful in fall through spring. They breathe well and dry quickly while keeping your feet cozy in chilly to downright cold weather. They also come in a variety of fun colors and patterns.
Dropbox stores files for just you or shared with others across devices and in the cloud. Transferring e-books onto my smartphone used to feel like pulling teeth, but once I started using Dropbox, the transfers happened instantly. It’s also brilliant for backing up documents, and sharing work files and family photos.
Babyzoink is a name generator that comes up with unusual names. This is great if you need to name a fantasy character (or maybe even an actual baby?), and it’s also wonderful for passing a few minutes (or hours) either alone or with family and friends. One of the quirks of the generator is that it will occasionally come up with hilarious names (Fuzzbucketa and Buttmonky are two of my recent favorites). In our household, it is not uncommon to hear someone spontaneously saying things like, “These are my children, Muffinsy and Andycups.” Once, we managed to spend a 7 hour car ride generating names with some relatives. Babyzoink is magical
Connect with Julia Rios on Twitter, @omgJulia.