Galen Dara – Illustrator

Galen Dara likes to sit in a dark corner listening to the voices in her head.  She has a love affair with the absurd & twisted, and an affinity for monsters, mystics, & dead things. Also, she likes extremely ripe apricots. She has illustrated for Edge Publishing, Lightspeed, Fireside Magazine, Apex, Scapezine, Tales to Terrify, Dagan Books, and the LovecraftZine. Recent book covers include War Stories, Glitter & Mayhem, Oz Re-imagined, and the Geek Love anthology – these are her good things.

Good things to read.

Saga, written by Brian K. Vaughn, art by Fiona Stapels. The storytelling is brain blowingly poignant and the art is sublime. Marko and Alana are fugitive lovers from two sides of a bloody galactic civil war, on the run from assassins, the whole thing is narrated by their newborn baby girl. Wow. A profoundly amazing family story. (Oh, but not family friendly. This is a very “adult content” comic, in fact Comixology banned issue #12 from it’s stores. After an uproar and some diplomacy that issue is back up now.) You can get Vol 1 and 2 in trade paperback, but if you have a chance, go put the monthly singles on a pull list at your local comic store. It’s worth it just for Brian’s letter column at the end.

Last American Man by Elizabeth Gilbert. I picked this one up at the library a few years ago, not knowing anything about the author or what it was about, simply because the title intrigued me. (“What, there are no men left in America??!”) What followed was a fascinating look into the life of Eustace Conway who walked away from suburbia when he was 17 to become a modern day mountain man. It totally captivated me.

Anything by Octavia Butler. I first stumbled across her work in an Isaac Asimov collection of Hugo Winning short stories: Speech Sounds (1984) and BloodChild (1985) remain some of the most memorable pieces in that collection. Parable of the Sower, Wild Seed and Fledgling are some of my favorite of her novels, but her collection of short stories (Bloodchild and other stories) just gives such a powerful glimpse into her favorite themes spread across a variety of settings and characters, I love it!

Good things to watch.

Weeds. Is it too disturbing that my new motto is “What Would Nancy Do?” Seriously, suburban housewife slash marijuana dealer Nancy Botwin is not an optimal role model and sometimes I hate her, deeply, but I am head over heals in love with this entire darkly funny series. (Created by Jenji Kohan who also created Orange is the New Black. Jenji, I love you!)

X-Files. Oh Scully, you make my heart flutter with every long suffering eye roll. And I never get tired of hearing you ask “Mulder, what’s going on here?” as the conspiracy unfolds in high dramatic fashion. I really thought I had seen all of the X-files, (I would come home with stacks of VHS copies from the video store on a regular basis.) But no, thanks to Netflix I am discovering huge gaps in my collection and I am fixing that with enthusiasm. (omg. All the guest stars I never quite grasped before! Seth Green! Tony Shalhoub! Jack Black! Shia LaBeouf! Kaylee Frye!! etc.)

Stuff You Should Know. Well I mostly listen to the podcasts, but they do have a TV show on the science channel (and a YouTube channel) so I’m counting it. Josh and Chuck you are seriously awesome. I also enjoy Stuff To Blow Your Mind, and will eventually dive into Stuff They Don’t Want You To Know (I think it will go well with my X-Files fanaticism). But really, saving the best for last, Tracy V. Wilson and Holly Frey have all my love for their research on Stuff You Missed In History Class episodes.

Good things to use.

A door frame pull-up bar installed inside your residence. I’ve had them on the porch or garage and still use them, but when it’s installed actually inside my living space (like in my bedroom door) I use it much more. Every time I walk by it is an invitation to get my feet off the ground for a moment or so. (For variation in getting one’s feet off the ground I’ll eventually install a hanging board above the kitchen door. Meanwhile I’m making good use of some Metolius rings a friend gave me. (Thanks Gerry!))

Walking shoes. Nothing fancy, just something you can comfortably walk around the block in. I love walking, NEED to walk, I do it several times a day whenever time (and climate) allows. It keeps me sane, helps me decompress, gives my mind a chance to unwind.

Sketchbook and pen. Never be caught without one. The Canson basic black sketchbook, 5.5 x 8.5 inches is an old standby for me. Moleskines are awesome but I tend to fight with the thick creaminess of the classic moleskin pages: the pocket sized graph paper version is my favorite as far as moleskins go. For pens, while I frequently use just any old black-inked ball point pen, it’s the .005 sized microns just make my heart flutter.

Connect with her on Twitter, @galendara.

David Postic – unraveling the mysteries of life, 500 words at a time

These are David Postic’s good things.

Good things to read.

Deep River by Shusaku Endo. It is an extraordinary book about the search for religion/meaning, told through the perspectives of several different people. A short read but overall one of the more compelling books I have read of late.

Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi. I’ve read this one 4 or 5 times before, but each time it offers me new insight and advice for my life. This time I am reading it for a discussion group I moderate at my university. In my mind, everyone who wants to make something of themselves should read this book.

One Billion Hungry by Gordon Conway. Every once in a while I like to take a step outside my normal area of expertise and read about something totally different. This time that “something” is the crisis of extreme hunger in the world. Although I have to constantly research ideas Conway presents, it has been illuminating to read about the subject and has stirred within me a passion to do something (and the knowledge than I can, in fact, make a difference).

Good things to watch.

Sir Ken Robinson’s TED Talk “Do Schools Kill Creativity?” I got a chance to meet Sir Ken last fall and he spoke to me (in reference to my struggle with figuring out what to do with my life) about the importance of finding something I am passionate about, something he elaborates on in his book “The Element” (which is another good book to read). His famous TED Talk ignited within me a passion for education, and I owe to him (in large part) my style of speech construction.

Zeitgeist 2012: Year in Review. Every year I always think it is useful to take a moment and consider the accomplishments, shortcomings, and growth of the previous year. Of course, it always helps when that review is put to some inspirational music.

Lincoln. I love history, especially presidential history. I also love movies. All of that put together, and Lincoln is one of my favorite movies ever. Everything about it is perfect.

Good things to use.

Golf clubs. I try to golf as often as I can. I find it very soothing and, in many way, relative to life. (Something I learned from “The Nine Lessons” by Kevin Milne)

Frying pan. I cook mostly every day. Not only is in a nice time to stop and think, but I’ve found that food always tastes better when you have to work for it.

A pen. Over the past year, writing has become one of the great joys of my life. Sometimes I don’t know how I’m feeling until I put pen to paper and spill my thoughts out. More than anything it’s therapeutic, and I recommend it daily to everyone.