Elizabeth: New TV Show Squee!

Okay, The Good Place is in season two so it’s not technically a new show, but I just started watching, so it’s new to me.  My TV viewing is generally limited to political news and sports these days (when I’m not writing, of course), but when The Good Place was recommended to me recently, I gave it a try.

An excellent decision.

The show starts out when Eleanor Shellstrop (played by Kristen Bell) finds herself in the afterlife.  Though not surprised to be dead, she is a little surprised to find out that she’s ended up in the Good Place since she’s pretty sure she wasn’t a very good person in life.   It’s not long before she realizes that there’s been some kind of bureaucratic mistake, but since she has no interest in spending the hereafter being eternally tortured in the Bad Place, she does her best to hide in plain sight from the Good Place’s architect Michael (played by Ted Danson) as well as the other obviously-in-the-right-place residents. Continue reading

Michaeline: The Lure of the Shiny, the Featherbed of Familiarity


A backless, cushioned writing desk

There are many ways to combine the cozy familiar with the shiny new. Some ways work better for most readers than others. But there’s always going to be someone who says, “Oh! THIS is what I was looking for!” (Wikimedia Commons)

I was catching up on some podcasts and the fun folks at SF Squeecast were talking about shiny vs. familiar. It got me to thinking. Some readers say they like the shiny – the new concepts and the things they’ve never thought about before, while others think that one of the great points of reading in genre is that you get more of the same – if you read space operas, you know you are going to get adventure and space ships and if you read Harlequins, you know you are going to get happy endings after some obstacles.

The problem is that most “shiny” people want new things, but not too new and weird, thank you. And “cozy” people can get bored if something is too familiar.

The shiny/cozy problem shows up in all the arts, and two of this year’s Christmas songs illustrate the spectrum. Continue reading