Maura Henn – Internet Enthusiast

Maura has been a lot of things in a small amount of time. A wedding and event photographer. A self portrait artist. A farmer’s market manager and free lance writer. She’s learned a little bit about butchering, a lot about baking and a fair amount concerning the making of candlesticks. You can read her sporadic writings at Equal Parts: Magic and Mischief. These are her good things.

Good things to read.

Your friend’s books shelves. If you are lucky maybe they will lend you an interesting title. Friends can be the best librarians.

The acknowledgements inside album covers and novels. These tributes give insight into inspiration, and you may be surprised at what you find.

Geek Love by Katherine Dunn. A book about what it is to be stranger in a family of strange people.

Good things to watch.

Women’s Roller Derby! Do you know if you have a local roller derby league in your town? If you do, you should go watch a game (or a bout as us Derby enthusiasts call them). If you don’t have a league, maybe you should start one! Either way, Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby has a little bit of everything: athleticism, entertainment, and grassroots appeal any community can support. As a former Roller Derby Player, I can attest to the determination and commitment it takes to be part of a league, requiring cooperation and volunteer work, not just from the players, but their family and friends too. If you are not interested in playing or volunteering, the best way you can support your team is paying for a ticket and cheering for the people who make the games happen( not just the players, but the referees, and officials too!). Most teams are non-profit and give a part of their game’s proceeds to charities, and if none of that matters to you, just know derby is a fast paced, full contact sport. Expect for there to be loud cheering sections in the crowd!

Buffy, the Vampire Slayer the series. I came late to the Buffy-Verse, as this show aired while I was in high school, I didn’t pay it any attention. Several years later, on the behest of my my boyfriend, I started watching while I was in college. When I finally began to watch with interest, I realized all my pre-conceived ideas about who Buffy was were all wrong. She was an odd girl with with strange friends. This was something to which I could relate. When you take away the vampires and demons and the super-human strength, Buffy Summers is just a young person trying to figure out who she is and what she is supposed to do with her life. As I was often referred to as that “weird girl” in much of my youth (and probably even now) how could I not relate?

Internet Cat Videos.  I declare my love for these here, unapologetically. It is likely that if you own a cat and you share a video of your feline friend on my twitter or facebook feed, I will watch it. Cat videos make me smile, they are my comedy relief. Cat videos got me through more than one final’s week in college. And I know I am not the only one. In 2012 The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, MN held their first Internet Cat Video Film Festival. The festival is now touring and will return to Minneapolis in August 2014.

Good things to use.

Your Local Food Co-op. They often start as buying clubs and with the right ingredients become grocery stores that support local farmers and families, offering local and organic food, community meeting space and educational opportunities. Co-op’s are member owned which means as a member you have a voice in how the co-op evolves over time, but in every co-op I have ever been in you do not need to be a member to shop. Food Co-op’s are just good.

Equal Exchange Fair Trade Coffee and Chocolate. Equal Exchange takes the cooperative model and uses it to provide fairly priced coffee and chocolate to consumers while returning a fair wage to the farmers who grew the coffee and cacao beans. Their coffee is delicious and their chocolate is often wrapped with a photograph and bio of one of the farmers.

The Public Library. Whatever your preferred form of entertainment (reading, movie watching, listening to music, community involvement) the library has something to share with you. I moved to a new city a couple of years ago, and the library has helped me feel more at home. My current public library has a huge Fantasy and Science Fiction section (yes, a whole section, it isn’t all mixed in with the other fiction!). I have met with knitting groups, gone to book signings, and even attended roller derby meetings at libraries; they are a huge resource in so many ways. Owning a book collection is great. Supporting authors by purchasing their books is also important, but when you can, use your library so they are continue to be here for people who might not have the ability to pay for the words you read, or maybe even the words you write.

Connect with Maura on Twitter, @TigerinVaseline.

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