100 Things #41: Supernatural.

With this set of ten we switch subjects again, and dive a little bit into my favorite television things. Yes, people still watch it, and yes, there are a few things worth watching—but looking at me here you’ll get a weird impression, as I’ll go from people getting their limbs ripped clean from their bodies to…foodporn.

With that in mind, let’s talk Supernatural!


 

I remember when this show got started. I was in high school and I was still annoyed at the fact that Charmed was soon to be not a thing—hey, they went from ‘well researched(ish) witchcraft with a snarky but dramatic flair for demon slaying and how the rules of Wicca work’ to ‘OK let’s just throw this in here and see how the fans react’ which usually means they’re trying to wind it down. (It got better before it went bai-bai, luckily…but it left a void.) I figured “Hey, witchcraft with boys and hey he’s kinda cute let’s watch.”

Well, I could not have been wronger.

But in the good way.

Supernatural is horror done right—you’re allowed to see just enough to know that things are going to get really, really bad in about three…two…one…with a healthy dose of incredibly bizarre, almost surreal, humor. I don’t remember another leading duo with snark like that working so well—and didn’t run into it again until introduced to the Sherlock universe(s).

There’s those that think that things ended quite well at the end of season six (I think that was the one), and don’t much watch after that. I used to be one of them, but then I actually stopped to watch again after a long hiatus and found out how they kept things going. …Apparently you can’t fix the impending doom of the world without something going horrendously—and sometimes hilariously—awry.

…also, the male leads are hot.

The series has no shortage of meta, from the episode where the Winchester brothers discover that there’s slash of them, to the one where, to be helpful, they’re thrown into a parallel universe in which they are a pair of actors…playing characters named Sam and Dean Winchester…on a show called Supernatural…

Yeah. It gets WEIRD. But awesome.

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100 Things #40: Dean Koontz’s Ticktock.

Dean Koontz is known as a horror and suspense writer. My father recommended his work when he saw how quickly I took to Stephen King’s work.

This book…ran a little differently.

With our (most definitely not) fearless hero being an average mystery writer, things start to get really strange when he runs into a weird but beautiful woman. And his not to mention the…CREEPY voodoo doll that’s been following him around, bringing disaster in its wake.

…and it only gets WEIRDER.

And the weirder it gets, the funnier it gets. By the time we know what’s going on, even the disasters are a laugh riot, because by that time we giggle in gleeful anticipation at just how it’s going to get worse. If you think YOUR luck’s bad, this guy will make you feel better.

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100 Things #39: The Writings of Rumi.

Rumi is a name that you may have heard before. I can’t say much without basically rhapsodizing about him, so I’ll keep it simple. Rumi’s writings are important to Sufism—the religion with the whirling dervishes—and have a different sort of feel to them than books like the Bible and the Torah.

Rumi’s poems have a certain intimacy and immediacy about them, a man who has fallen so hopelessly in love with his god that his devotion borders on the obsessive. It’s a completely different sort of faith, driven not by the need to prove that his god exists, but the need to feel his god through every fiber of his being. Rumi’s writing is spiritual without being overtly religious, and just about anyone can pick up something within his words.

It really is a work of beauty, and if you’re in the least bit spiritually inclined, you should totally look into his work.

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100 Things #38: The Book of Enoch.

The history of the Bible is an interesting thing. A collection of stories culled from both the original Torah and writings created later, it is a repository of general scripture that a multitude of branches of Christianity take as sacred. (Some literally, but that’s not the point here.

Certain stories did not make it into the full text, known as the Canon. These are collectively called Apocrypha. Some texts are apocryphal because a) they may have incited heresy (Gospel of Judas), b) were generally disliked by specific people in charge (Song of Solomon, which—let’s face it, is basically the first written erotica), or c) they were just plain weird (Gospel of Thomas anyone?)

The Book of Enoch—or if we’re being really careful about technicalities, 2 Enoch (read as “second Enoch”) is the story of Enoch—the second Enoch if we’re being neurotic still. (I wonder if this was intentional. If not, it’s just weird.) Enoch, an ancestor of Noah, was evidently going about his business when sudden an archangel is like “HEY! LISTEN!” and drags him into something strange. Under the angel’s tutelage he learns the secrets of creation—including the ones that the Watchers, fallen angels, taught humanity against the supreme god’s will.

Stumbling over this fact, one of the Watchers petitions Enoch to act as a go between, trying to be let back into the heavens. It’s back and forth, as Enoch learns more about what is going on and what he has to do. He is forced to be the conduit through which the divine decree—permanent exile—is delivered.

It isn’t an easy message to deliver. In fact it’s such a difficult message to both deliver and take that neither Enoch nor the Archangels take it particularly well—there is a spat between Raphael and Michael, wanting to rush in and beg an alternative decision—ANY alternative but exile.

So yeah, fallen angels beg for mercy, don’t get it, Archangels concur and want to stop it. Not a message that the church would want out there. TO THE APOCRYPHA IT GOES.

There are a few good translations out there. The Book of Enoch is considered an important part of Ethiopian Christianity, though not generally accepted as canon. I recommend it—it is an interesting read, especially for comparative religious study or for metaphysics/mythology buffs.

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100 Things #37: Chuck Wendig’s books on writing.

OK, give me one more and then I’ll be done fangirling, OK?

Though the lists and advice is pretty much all available on his blog, I have one problem with whitespace—don’t get me wrong, his layout’s classy and understated, it’s just…well, white space hurts my eyes. I picked light bulbs with a warm, redder light because the blinding white walls of my apartment—which I am not allowed to paint—gives me blinding headaches.

There’s something about having some of that snarky, profane wisdom handy at all times. There are lots of places where I got stuck, and actually caught myself asking, “WWCD?” What Would Chuck Do? With all of his work on the subject available at my back pocket, I can find the proper brain-grease to unstick the gears.

It’s not all writing advice, though—there’s life advice, there’s essays on various things, like life in general, and also blisteringly funny satire.

I’d recommend it to any creative types. It translates to every medium.

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100 Things #36: Irregular Creatures by Chuck Wendig

This is the second post where I gush about Chuck Wendig’s work—what can I say, I’m a fan. Irregular Creatures is a collection of his short stories, varying in tone from delightfully dark to friendly family fun—as someone first introduced to him via the blog, the latter was more jarring.

Without spoiling any of the contents, the man has an astounding creative mind. While I got used to him as an advice-tossing profanity-spouting guru, it was bumping into his narratives here that sold me on the man’s mad skills. This was one of the first books I got a sample on and was verily cheesed off when I hit the end of the sample. I honestly took a detour off my route to find someplace with wi-fi to buy the whole book.

At some point, I’m gonna have to review it on Goodreads, after I reread it again and it’s fresh in my head.

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100 Things #35: Sherlock(s).

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is a staple of classic reading. However, I will admit that until a year and a half ago, I hadn’t read a single Sherlock Holmes story. And this at the time where the BBC reboot was getting big, and I had a friend prodding me to watch.

Luckily, I had two things: A brand-new Nook Simple Reader, and the URL of Project Gutenberg. Basically all the classics are available, and so I pounced on it, reading as much of the canon as I could (though admittedly out of sequence).

I went in without expectations, but the ‘classics’ were well known (by my folks, who colored my expectations) as stuffy old things.

So when the first thing that happened was the science of antemortem bruise formation, I cracked up laughing. The series as a whole has a strange, sardonic wit to it. I dove headfirst into the thrillers then, enjoying the thing without the preconceived expectations of before.

If someone’s trying to sell you on any of the reboots, I’d totally read the originals first. …then again, I’m a purist.

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