Nicole Feldringer is a writer and atmospheric scientist living in Los Angeles. Her short fiction is forthcoming from the Sword & Laser Anthology, out in May 2014. These are her good things.
Good things to read.
Twenty-First Century Science Fiction edited by David G. Hartwell and Patrick Nielsen Hayden. A big beautiful anthology featuring stories from science fiction writers who came to prominence in the current century. The handful of stories I’ve read so far (by authors such as Vandana Singh, Paolo Bacigalupi, and M. Rickert) have all been exceptional.
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. It would have to take something pretty special to get me excited about a young adult vampire book, but Holly Black manages it. The story moves from a high-school party massacre to a walled-off vampire ghetto called Coldtown, as the main character tries to save her annoying ex-boyfriend from infection. This book reminded me of how much I enjoyed Robin McKinley’s Sunshine.
Gentleman Bastard series. Book 1, The Lies of Locke Lamora, is about an elaborate con game in a fantasy setting with shades of Renaissance Venice. Books 2 and 3 are out as well. With laugh-out-loud banter, outrageous situations, and great characters, this series by Scott Lynch makes you feel smart without having to work too hard at it.
Good things to watch.
Misfits. A BBC series about five delinquents sentenced to community service who get superpowers during a freak electrical storm. Between picking up trash and dealing with a series of probation officers, they must uncover the mystery of their powers, and who else was affected. One thing I love about this show is how each power gained is unique to that character–and is their own worst-case scenario. The shy awkward kid who is always ignored? Power of invisibility. I’m in season 2 now and just getting into the deepening of the show’s mythology.
Bob’s Burgers. Specifically, Tina Belcher. When I first attempted Bob’s Burgers, I have to admit I wasn’t sold on it, for all that I’m a huge fan of creator Loren Bouchard (of Home Movies) as well as actor H. Jon Benjamin (of Archer and Home Movies). To be honest, I think I was distracted by the pink bunny ears. In any case, fellow writer Kelly Lagor re-introduced me to Tina’s obsession with butts and erotic friend fiction, and I was hooked. Even when Tina is being a little … weird, the show celebrates that weirdness. She’s shy but never at a loss for one-liners (delivered in her characteristic monotone)–except for when she’s overloaded and just groans. She’s wonderful. “Bad Tina” the eighth episode in Season 2 is a great place to start.
Ip Man (2008). Martial arts biopic following the life of kung fu grandmaster Ip Man, who later taught Bruce Lee, during the Japanese invasion of China during World War II. One of the things I love about this film is that it combines WWII history with plenty of martial arts duels, and many of the fight scenes are between practitioners of different styles, including wing chun versus karate, which is great fun to watch. Though, I study wing chun so I may be a bit biased.
Good things to use.
The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. From the creator of the popular and eponymous blog, home cook Deb Perelman creates non fussy, tested recipes out of her tiny New York City kitchen. Her cookbook is a real winner, and every recipe I’ve tried has gone into our regular cooking rotation. Favorites include Eggplant and Three Cheese Calzone and Mustard Milanese with an Arugula Fennel Salad, among many others. Everyone I gift this book to gushes over how wonderful it is.
Strava App. Tracks and analyzes runs and bicycle rides. My favorite part is checking out the elevation profile post ride (whoa, that was a giant hill), and planning outings based on routes that other users have entered. The app also gives awards for personal bests, and there’s a social media component if you’re the competitive sort–but you can turn that off in the settings.
Farm box. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) offers a way to buy food directly from local farmers. Memberships come in a bunch of varieties, and it’s stupendous to have fresh fruits and veggies dropped off on your doorstep. Plus, it encourages creativity in the kitchen as you figure out what the heck to do with all that fennel.
Connect with Nicole on Twitter, @NicoFeld.