by T.J. Tranchell
Despite the recent end of Halloween, I’m not ready for Christmas. I am, however, ready to tell you about a few of my favorite things that we haven’t had a chance to talk about.
You should watch: “The Twilight Zone.” Groundbreaking when it first aired in the late 1950s through the early ’60s, Rod Serling’s anthology series is the best thing to ever be on TV. Socially evocative at the time, Serling’s messages are just as poignant today. Often sentimental, frequently exposing the paranoia and hypocrisy of America, the series stands as the pinnacle of television. Without it? No “X-Files,” “Stranger Things,” “Orphan Black,” “The Blacklist,” and a bunch of other shows we love today.
You should hear: Joy Division. Totally depressing-yet-liberating proto-punk band from Manchester, England. Vocalist and lyricist Ian Curtis committed suicide before the band could embark on a United States tour in 1980. The music is simple yet profound, and there is a good chance the words will make you cry. Without Joy Division, we might not have had The Cure or Nirvana, and soundtracks such as “Donnie Darko” would be weaker.
You should read: Tom Piccirilli. The writer of about 50 books including novels, short stories, poetry and nonfiction, Piccirilli produced some of the best horror and mystery stories you could ever read during his 25 years of publishing. Sadly, he died of complications from brain cancer in 2015. Check out “The Night Class,” “A Choir of Ill Children” and his “Cold” series of crime thrillers.
You should eat: a doughnut burger. Trust me on this. It’s the worst—and by that I mean the best — kind of fair food you can imagine. You could make your own, I guess. You need a fresh, warm, glazed doughnut, a hamburger patty, grilled onions, and a slice of Swiss cheese. I’m usually all for lettuce and tomatoes along with American or cheddar cheese on my burgers, but here, I’d skip the rest of the salad. Don’t lie to yourself about possibly being healthy. So go ahead and add bacon.
You should go to: Six Flags Magic Mountain. You’re never going to win the Super Bowl, so why plan that big Disney trip? Go where the real fun is. At Magic Mountain, it’s all about the rollercoasters. Fast, tall, heart-pounding and thrilling, this is the place to be if you are going to Southern California. Goliath has a 255-foot drop and is the only ride I’ve ever been on that I’ve said I never need to ride again. The best? X2, which is full of twists, drops and flips while twisting you all 360 degrees possible.
You should: Enjoy the things you love. If you like something, don’t let someone else tell you it’s not worth your time. Invest in happiness. Go to that concert or the comic book convention. Go to midnight movies you have to stand in line for. Buy books on the first day they come out and stay up all night reading.
Tranchell is a freelance journalist and author in Moscow. You can follow him on Twitter @TJ_Tranchell or visit his author’s website at www.tjtranchell.com.