parks and recreation

Cat Rambo – Author

Cat Rambo lives, writes, and teaches by the shores of an eagle-haunted lake in the Pacific Northwest. Her 200+ fiction publications include stories in Asimov’s, Clarkesworld Magazine, and Tor.com. Her short story, “Five Ways to Fall in Love on Planet Porcelain,” from her story collection Near + Far (Hydra House Books), was a 2012 Nebula nominee. Her editorship of Fantasy Magazine earned her a World Fantasy Award nomination in 2012.  These are her good things.

Good things to read.

Malory’s Morte d’Arthur.  Beyond the joy of the prose, anyone remotely interested in working with Arthurian fantasy should know this book. I’m not saying it’s the only one – there’s plenty of others further down the line, like Marion Zimmer Bradley’s excellent Mists of Avalon — but here’s the stories in a form that’s shaped all the rest.

The dictionary.  I will confess I am a dictionary dipper. I like to find new words as well as shades of meaning I’ve never known about before.

Poetry.  Because there’s never enough of it in our lives. Good poetry, poetry that, as Dickinson says, takes the top of your head off, makes you see the world in new, wild, weird ways.

Good things to watch.

I am enamored lately of the new SF show Almost Human. The writing is terrific, the visual effects splendid, nuanced and well conceived, and the actors are adorable.

I recently saw the movie Future Folk. The premise is that a conqueror from another planet comes to Earth and is amazed to find something no other creatures have produced: music. What does he do but become a folk singer, of course?

I remain a steadfast fan of the show Parks and Recreation. Though it’s partially for the resonances with my own Midwestern upbringing, it’s mainly for Amy Poehler.

Good things to use.

Dictation software.  I was getting carpal tunnel and switched to Dragon Dictate. It’s not only helped my wrists, it’s made me more productive.

A standing desk: I love mine. It’s a cheap IKEA desk adapted to this form.

Recently I starting subscribing to Tonx coffee. It has made me a coffee snob. That’s my referral link if you want to try it, but I will confess I got turned onto it by Chuck Wendig, who has an extended blog post about coffee snobbery that is worth the read.

Connect with Cat on Twitter, @CatRambo.

Brian Williams – television reporter

This is Brian Williams and these are his good things.

What are some good things you’ve read?

Isaac’s Storm.  “I think it may be the perfect short work of nonfiction. Wherever you’re reading it, the air suddenly turns humid and dank and charged. I’ve given it more than any other book as a gift.”

The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid.  A book Williams’ wife gave him and one that might help his biggest fear.  “My biggest fear in life is being on a plane with nothing to read. I look at these people who take the free magazine out of the seat back pocket and I shake my head and I say what did you not know about your day today that you weren’t going to need reading material? I get shaky when I think about the prospect of a plane flight without a book. There is always a book with me.”

“I think What It Takes by Richard Ben Cramer is one of the great books on contemporary politics. It followed a campaign a few cycles back. You have to read it in his tongue, in his vernacular as he imitates Gephardt and Dole and it’s a brilliant, Wolfian piece of writing about nonfiction.”

What are some good things you’ve watched?

The Godfather parts 1, and 2 but documentaries are also big in the Williams house.

Community, 30 Rock, and Parks and Recreation are “some of the best comedies in the business.”

He did see Pygmalion with Claire Danes on Broadway.

What are some good things you use?

For the travel Williams uses Ambien “by the bushel” and reads on the plane with his iPod “blasting”.

Williams’ fast food suggestion is Arby’s. “Two Beef and Cheddar, apple turnover, large Coke, that will fix your wagon.”

Levi’s Jeans.