Summer Travel Plans?

Unfortunately, I don’t have any money to travel this year, well, not much travel at least.

Here’s the deal. Years ago ,Thomas and I went to Louisiana. We didn’t really have a plan, we were just tired of being in Texas, so we got on Interstate 10 and when East. It was a nice drive we ate at Popeyes in Orange. Our local Popeye’s had been tasting sort of off for while by then. I think that they hadn’t been cleaning the fryers correctly or something.

So this Popeye’s looked pretty new, so we stopped there and the chicken tasted really good. It didn’t have that rancid oil taste. By the way, in the years since then, our Popeye’s has gotten their act together and it’s much better.

We stopped at a Welcome Center in Louisiana that was on a bayou or something and had beautiful plants, Spanish moss, and bugs. Lots of bugs. We were just amazed at the quantity and quality of the bugs available at that rest stop.

We got back in the car and drove until we got almost to Lake Charles Louisiana. At this point we saw a sign for some kind of nature preserve so we exited from Interstate 10 and made a right turn we just kinda drove south trying to see this nature preserve. There was a big ditch, or creek, or canal or something by the side of the road. We saw lots and lots of alligators and the stupid things clearly didn’t want to photograph them because every time the car stopped they sank. I got lots of lovely pictures of the ditch, creek, canal, etc. We never did see the nature preserve but we got to the ferry. We were out for an adventure, so we took across the, I guess it’s probably a bayou. The road that we got on on the other side took us back Interstate 10 and we drove home.

I had no idea where we were. I mean we were in Louisiana, clearly, but we weren’t that far into the state. Alex and I are planning to take a day trip at some point to find it. These days we have Google maps and things. We might even be able to find the preserve because it looks like there is a nature preserve down by Cameron Louisiana which also has a ferry. My guess is that that’s probably where we were, but my memory of the ferry is there being something like a small town on the eastern side of the ferry. In my memory it looked kind of like the town from the Popeye movie with Robin Williams and Shelley Duvall. Of course, that was 30 (!) years ago, so I’m probably misremembering. .

Oh also when I first came up with this idea, I researched ferries in Louisiana and that seems to be the only one that actually fits. It’s not impossible that this is not the fairy and the fairy I went on the very wrong has been replaced by bridge also it’s been 30 years (!).

Actually it’s no less than 30 I became friends with Ray in 1994 and we told him about the trip we came back, so it had to been 1994 or later. So there’s that.

Of course, there is a another wrinkle to this, which is the cost of gas. My car gets some pretty good mileage for the age of the car. I tend to run about 25 miles the gallon on the highway. So, since gas is supposed to get more expensive as the summer wears on, I’m going to estimate how many miles it’s going to take and budget six dollars for every 20 miles to make sure we have extra. Additionally, we may end up with car trouble, so I probably should budget extra. Or, alternatively, we could rent a car, which would cost more upfront in car cost but save us may save as little gas and may not end up with a stranded in Louisiana with a car that doesn’t drive.

I wish my mechanic hadn’t closed. I am looking for new mechanic — reasonably priced, does good work also Alex is looking for one for me because my car is making is kind of strange noise when I turn. The noise goes away once the car warms up. Alex is actually going to get one of his friends who can identify car sounds to listen to my car turn.

Maybe I should look into how much it would cost to rent a car for the day.

Gratuitous Amazon Link time! Today we have Heist Society, the first, well, Heist Society book by Ally Carter. The Heist Society series is about a bunch of teen art thieves. Our heroine, Kat Bishop, comes from a family, both biological and found, of professional thieves. And Kat has her own found family of thieves who help her as she uses her skill set to right wrongs.

I Used to Travel . . .

I said these words to a patient today. He is going to a major city on a different continent.

I really do miss traveling, but once Alex grew up, I wasn’t getting enough in income tax refunds to pay up front for travel, and I’d rather not travel than put it on a damn credit card.

I’d started saving up $5 here, $5 there. Back in the olden days, they recommended saving up for large purchases by putting a little money in envelopes earmarked for that purpose. I was doing the same thing, but in little savings accounts.

Then the ends of the lives of Phobos and Deimos ended up being very expensive, and cleaned out all of those little envelopes.

Then we had an expensive house repair, which took out a bunch of money from one of my investment accounts (out of four — I hide money from myself so that I won’t ever run out completely), and so I prioritized saving back the money I took out of those accounts.

The original plan for this blog was to earn enough money from it to fund future travel and maybe even to get to the point where I could write off my travel as business expenses. I mean, that’s kind of the dream come true, isn’t it?

Even since I’ve been thinking of making this a book blog, I haven’t even gotten to the place where I can write off book purchases with the income from this blog. Or *a* book purchase.

I’m going to keep posting here, because maybe someday I’ll have enough traffic to attract some advertisers. Or maybe just getting in the habit of writing will get me to the point where I can sell some writing (travel? book reviews? fiction? all of the above?)

Or maybe it’ll just be nice on a psychological level to put these messages in a bottle for someone to find someday.

For today’s Gratuitous Amazon Link, we have Thirty Names of Night, by Zeyn Joukhadar. Thirty Names of Night is about searching. Our nameless protagonist, a Syrian trans boy, is searching for peace, searching for answers to what happened to an artist named Laila Z, and searching for his own identity.

The City & the City, by China Miéville

I loved this book.

I mean, I really loved it. Like, sometimes a strong ending can raise my impression of an otherwise lackluster book. But a little way in, I told a bookworm coworker, “I think I really am going to like this book.”

A while later, I told a bookworm friend, “This is turning out to be really good. You should check it out.”

Then, when the plot thickened, I told my coworker again, “Yes. This is great.”

And once I finished it, I told someone, “It’s a pity you aren’t a reader; you’re really missing out.”

So I think it’s safe to say that it was great all the way through.

It’s going to be a challenge to give a summary without spoiling too much, so maybe I’ll just talk about what I expected versus what we got?

Actually, first I’ll talk about the inspiration. Miéville’s mother was terminally ill, so she asked him to write a book for her. Most of his books are “speculative fiction,” an umbrella term that covers fantasy, science fiction, and some horror. This was not his mother’s interest, though. She preferred mystery and police procedurals.

And so, The City & The City (Germane Amazon Link!) was born. It is a tale about two cities occupying the same place geographically. I was expecting some kind of interdimensional shenanigans, but instead, they literally are geographically in the same place.

In our world, we have two towns, Baarle-Hertog, Belgium; and Baarle-Nassau, Netherlands*. These two towns are intertwined with one another in such a way that there’s a story (which I have yet to verify) that when they resurveyed the town, they discovered that the front door of a house, and thus the whole house, was in the wrong country. It would have been a bureaucratic mess to redo everything (I know the house would need a whole new address, because the street it was on has different names in each country, and I believe that the residents would even need to have changed their nationalities), so they just moved the front door to a different part of the house, where it would stay in the same country.

So. Think that, but larger. Much larger. Then to make things even weirder, the residents of and visitors to the two cities are not allowed to interact with the other city. They have to “unsee” the other city entirely. The only way to interact with the other city involves crossing the official border, at which point they can only interact with the city that they’re in after the crossing.

In the city of Besźel, Inspector Tyador Borlú is called to the location of a dead body. It turns out that the body was Mehalia Geary, a Ph.D student in the other city, Ul Qoma. Borlú has to investigate this murder without ever acknowledging the presence of the other city. He eventually has to go to Ul Qoma to assist in their investigation of the murder and that’s where an interesting book becomes really fascinating.

:chef’s kiss:

*Back in the days when I thought that Alex and I were going to be able to fly into Amsterdam, travel Germany in a big circle, then go back in through Belgium and back to Amsterdam, the Baarles (?) were on my list of things to visit. And maybe I will be able to do it someday.

My Travel Memories: Union Station, Indianapolis, Indiana, 1991

Thomas and I would be coming up on our 30th wedding anniversary in November. We got married soon after our college graduations and I had gotten my first full-time job, as a file clerk at a law firm in January 1991, so by November, I’d earned six months of vacation time.

Thomas didn’t get his first job until September of 1991, so he didn’t have any vacation time coming. As a result, we took a four-day mini-honeymoon. My boss paid for two nights at the Drake Hotel in Chicago and then we went to Indianapolis for Monday and Tuesday and were back at work on Wednesday.

The first night we were in Indianapolis, we went downtown and found Union Station.

I love train station architecture. My first favorite was the Van Buren Street Station in Chicago, which I could tell had been lovely at one point, but was pretty run-down in the 1990s. I was also very taken by Chicago’s Union Station when I took a train to Milwaukee in the late 1980s.

Actually, no. My first favorite was Union Station Cincinnati, which I’ve written about before. Not that it matters. Back to Indianapolis.

Wikimedia says that this image is in the public domain. I don’t know when it was taken, but it’s before the streets of Indianapolis were paved. If this is not in the public domain, please let me know and I’ll replace it with a more modern photo that has been released into the public domain by the photographer.

Thomas and I went downtown and walked around a bit. We found the Soldiers and Sailors Monument and, eventually, Union Station. At the time, Union Station had a bunch of little mom-and-pop shops and I’ve always enjoyed what we referred to in our family as “malling,” which is kind of like window-shopping but in a mall. Usually, malling involves the purchase of an item, frequently food, in order to pay for the visit.

So, we malled for a bit and purchased an assortment of Jelly Belly jellybeans (possibly germane Amazon link?), including, if I recall correctly, jalapeño and buttered popcorn. They did, in fact, taste just like jalapeño and buttered popcorn, which was really disconcerting, since the texture was just . . . wrong.

There is a possibility that somewhere in my collection of belongings, I still have the Union Station t-shirt I bought that day.

My Gratuitous Amazon Links are going to stray from the Avatar the Last Airbender books after this one, because the “omnibus editions,” which have the whole story, for the next two storylines aren’t out yet. I didn’t realize that the book for Shadow and Stone wasn’t coming out until October 5 until I’d put the post together, so there’s a post on photography coming out on October 5.

For today, though, we have Suki, Alone, which is a standalone story about Suki’s time in the Boiling Rock prison. There are two more standalone stories out now, which will come up as Gratuitous Amazon Links once I’ve been able to read them.

This Is the Dawning of the Age of Public Domain

My mom and I went on a road trip with my dad in . . . 1990? 1991? One of the places we went was the home town of one of Thomas’s friends from college and I gave her a call while we were in town.

Actually it had to have been 1990. She and Thomas graduated in 1991 and she and her college boyfriend moved out of the country right after graduation (spoiler: two of their friends — another couple — moved with them and her boyfriend and the girlfriend of the other couple ended up falling in love and the friend came home). Since she was out of the country in the summer of 1991, it must have been 1990.

We didn’t really do much that was new that year. I think I’ve covered Greenfield Village before, so there’s that.

Then, in November 1991, Thomas and I got married. We went to Indianapolis for our 1st honeymoon. He’d only gotten his job in September and so he didn’t have any vacation time. As a result, we took a long weekend. Our bigger honeymoon was in 1992, when we went to Florida.

We didn’t take any pictures that I can find of the 1990 road trip and all of my/our photos of any trips we took between 1991 and 2001 are all in Thomas’s possession. As a result, any pictures I include here for those years will be gleaned from Wikimedia Commons and US government websites for pictures to fill in the blanks.

Now that I’m thinking about it, I’m not sure how much travel we did during those years. We went back and forth between here and Chicago quite a lot and we went to Eau Claire Wisconsin for a wedding and visited the Minnesota State Fair while we were up there.

Oh! We went to Seattle for Thomas to interview for Microsoft and took our first trip to California.

Wow. I’ll have to rack my brain on this one.

For today’s Gratuitous Amazon Link, I’ll be doing the next Avatar: The Last Airbender comic. This time we have The Rift, by by Gene Luen Yang, Gurihiru, and Michael Heisler. Now I was scared to read this one at first. I was a fan of Smallville for the first few seasons and “The Rift” was what we called the time when Lex and Clark’s friendship would end. As a result, my initial reaction to the title was that the Gaang was going to break up. They don’t. They may come to a parting of the ways, but it hasn’t happened yet.

My Travel Memories 1989 (and again in 1992): St. Augustine, Florida

I think we went to St. Augustine when I was really, really young, too, but don’t remember that trip, so we’ll just ignore it for now.

This first trip is germane to my post because when I was in . . . fifth grade . . . ? My texbook said that St. Augustine was the oldest continually occupied permanent European settlement in what is now the United States and I seemed to remember having been there.

Of course, it is more complicated than that, as it turns out, but that was shocking enough for our little 10-year-old brains. I mean, the Pilgrims! They’d been here longer than anyone!

And, of course, well, no. The Mayflower immigrants have indeed been here a very long time for Europeans, but Jamestown has been there longer than . Also, San Juan, Puerto Rico is older than St. Augustine.

I know there’s an organization for descendants of the Mayflower immigrants. Are there organizations for the descendants of the first settlers of Jamestown and St. Augustine? If there aren’t, there should be.

And, well, yeah. There are. Jamestown descendants have the Jamestowne Society and St. Augustine descendants have, or maybe had, since their website doesn’t look to have been updated since 2014, the Los Floridianos Society.

Hey, look! A picture I took in Saint Augustine! I know I took this picture because those are my parents, so I must have been holding the camera. These are the city gates, which were build of coquina (more on that in the text of the post) were built in 1808 and don’t look this large in other photos.

Welp. I guess some history is in order now. The first recorded visit to Florida by a European was by Juan Ponce de León in 1513. The Spanish had been in the Caribbean for years at that point, so another Spaniard may have made it there before then, but if so, there’s no recorded history of the visit.

When I was growing up, we were told that Ponce de León was looking for the Fountain of Youth, but he probably wasn’t. There’s a whole chain of events there that I really don’t want to go into here. Maybe I’ll dig into it someday and write about it. I am trying to come up with lots of content this month, after all.

Fast forward 52 years. The King of Spain ordered Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, who was based in the Indies, to establish a settlement on the mainland and destroy Fort Caroline, a French settlement near what is now Jacksonville, Florida. They sighted the coast of Florida on August 28, which is the Feast of St. Augustine, hence the name.

There were skirmishes and things and people died. War is not really my historical . . . jam? This mess was, by the way, all about religion. The French settlement was Protestant and to be Spanish at the time was to be Roman Catholic. Eventually, it looks like all of the men of Fort Caroline except a few with useful skills and those who claimed to still be Roman Catholic, were all killed and all that was left were French women and children, and the Spanish settlement of St. Augustine.

There’s nothing left of the original settlement, which was really disappointing to me when I discovered this in 1989. The fort that’s there, the Castillo de San Marcos, is the oldest masonry fort in the United States, but it dates from 1672, over 100 years after St. Augustine was founded.

The Castillo is made from coquina, which is a really cool kind of limestone where you can still see the shells that make up the stone. Unfortunately, I don’t have any closeup pictures of the coquina (I wonder if Thomas and I took any, not that it would matter, since he has those pictures).

The rest of the buildings in St. Augustine date from then or later, but this historic district is a really pretty little area and was actually kind of how I imagined San Antonio would look. Turns out the La Villita section of San Antonio is kind of similar in feel, but San Antonio in general is kind of suburban feeling.

I need to go back to St. Augustine one of these days if only to take some pictures of my own. Alex will inherit both his dad’s and my pictures someday and I’d like for my descendants to have that record of history.

For today’s Gratuitous Amazon Link, we’re continuing the Avatar: the Last Airbender kick with the first of the comic book sequels, The Promise, by Bryan Konietzko, Michael Dante DiMartino , Gene Luen Yang, and Gurihiru. The war is finally over and now the Gaang have to begin the process of picking up the pieces. Zuko is terrified of turning out like his father and strongarms Aang into promising to kill him if he turns evil. Then Zuko heads out to start to get the Fire Nation out of the Earth Kingdom, a project that turns out to be harder than it originally looked.

Dream Journal (4/30/21)

I actually had two different dreams, both of travel, at different times and of different locations.

Overnight I dreamed that I was in Houston at some hotel, possibly for a science fiction convention of some sort. I had friends who were already there and were showing me around.

I’d been told that the top floor of the hotel was only for celebrities and so when they took me up in the elevator and showed me the view from up there, it never occurred to me that that was the top floor.

I enjoyed the view, and Alex (who was apparently with me) and I found an empty room and sat down for a minute, admiring how airy and spacious the room was. We walked down the hall and found a sort of banquet/conference room that was also very airy and had kind of golden-brown trim.

We bumped into a member of housekeeping who was shocked to see us there because we weren’t celebrities. You see, we were actually on the top floor.

So we went back downstairs and found our actual room, which it turned out we were sharing with two strangers. The celebrity rooms were airy and spacious. The rest of the rooms weren’t anything like that.

I kind of know where the celebrity rooms on the top floor came from. I’ve stayed in the Reliant/Medical Center/NRG Crowne Plaza Hotel, which used to be the AstroWorld Hotel, and which once had the most expensive hotel room in the . . . world? I think?

The room is still there, but no one stays in it any more. I considered seeing if I could use this blog as a way to get up there and see it, but I chickened out. I’m bound to go back to Houston some day. Maybe I’ll have more courage then.

I got up and had breakfast, but was still sleepy, so I went back and took a nap for another couple of hours. During this nap, I had the second dream, this one set in Philadelphia.

Now, I kind of know where this came from. I was a combination of President Biden having gone to Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Amtrak, the cypress trees along Harwood Street outside of the Dallas Museum of Art, and my own disappointment that Alex decided not to go into the Boy Scouts*.

In this dream, I was somehow involved with a Boy Scout troop (though they were wearing blue Cub Scout uniforms) in Philadelphia that for some reason was having trouble finding somewhere to meet.

We went to the central library, which looked nothing like the real central library, of course, which was surrounded by trees, and I suggested that the troop could plant more trees around the building, staggered with the trees that were already there, and we could use that as our meeting place. I don’t know if we decided to do it or not.

For our Gratuitous Amazon Link, today’s book is The Authenticity Project, by Clare Pooley. Monica, who owns a coffee shop, finds a composition book left behind by an artist, Julian. In this book, which he left behind intentionally, Julian challenges the people who find it to write their truths in it and leave it for others to find. She does so, and the people who find it, then find each other, and honesty and drama, and maybe a few happy-ever-afters result. I think this was one of my BookBub purchases that I enjoyed most of all. I may even read it again at some point.

*I’ve always told him that it’s not what you know, it’s who you know, and that getting into some level of the upper echelons of the Boy Scouts would let him know a lot of people who could help him, even if he didn’t get all the way to Eagle Scout, even being a Life Scout would’ve been a help.**

** I would’ve loved to have been a Boy Scout. I certainly was unhappy with my Cadet Girl Scout troop’s desire to go to Six Flags with all of our money instead of having outings that were useful. Of course, if I’d’ve been (a) aware that the Girl Scout Gold Medal exists, and (b) able to see the future and known that the senior troop that my cadet troop fed into did the service projects and skill learning (I seem to recall that they learned how to sail at one point), I might’ve put up with cadets for another year so that I could get into that senior troop. But I digress.

Augh! I Need to Go Somewhere!

I have a three-day weekend coming up, and Deimos has a vet appointment on Friday afternoon, but that still gives me two days to go . . . somewhere.

Maybe I’ll go state parking again. Choke Canyon State Park supposedly has 9,999 reservation slots. I highly doubt that, but I’m very curious. Maybe I’ll go out there. It’s not like they’ll run out of reservation slots.

Or maybe I’ll just do what I’ve done most weekends and hide in my house.

In Gratuitous Amazon Link news, we’ve finally hit 2020. I know this because today’s link is the first book in Jenny Lawson’s Fantastic Strangelings book club, Follow Me to Ground, by Sue Rainsford. This was a creepy one, but obviously one I’d recommend, based on the fact that I’m including it as a Gratuitous Amazon Link. Neither Ada nor her father are human. They were constructed from twigs and branches and placed in the Ground, a patch of dirt with healing properties. Ada’s father is training her to use the Ground to heal, plans that suffer a major setback (to say the least) when Ada falls in love with one of the local humans, whom she and her father refer to as “Cures,” because almost all of their contact with them is when the humans come to them to be cured of an illness or injury. Apparently this book is magical realism, but I saw it more as something post-apocalyptic. To each their own, you know?

My Travel Memories: 1988, an Introduction

My whole life, I wanted to see New York City. I wanted to visit Central Park and Grand Central Station, and go to the tops of the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty. My folks had gone to the 1964 World’s Fair in Queens and my mom had hated New York City. Every time we went to the northeast and I suggested New York City, she rejected it out of hand.

Now for some personal history. In the early 1970s, my mom became friends with another lady who had three kids — boys Tyler and Thomas and a girl, let’s call her Sue. Sue was just a baby and Tyler and Thomas were a few years younger than I was, but Tyler had a very high vocabulary and was extremely talkative, so he and I became friends. Friendly? Well, we’re friends now, so let’s just go with friends.

Thomas didn’t speak much during those years. That didn’t come until the mid 80s when I graduated from high school. My mom told me that Tyler and Thomas’s families watched Doctor Who, as I also did, and so Thomas and I had a long conversation on the subject. I wondered why he’d been so quiet all those years, because I found him very pleasant to talk to.

A few years later, Tyler and Thomas graduated from high school and my mom and I went to their high school graduation party. Thomas was even more charming than he’d been a few years earlier and I found him very attractive.

I started going out with Tyler and Thomas and some of their friends occasionally, but I didn’t know if Thomas found me as attractive as I found him.

A few months later, a friend wanted me to meet her new boyfriend (who is now her husband), and knowing that the friend tends to get wrapped up in her boyfriends, I knew I’d need someone to keep me company and so I decided that this might be my chance to find out if Thomas found me attractive. I called him up and asked if my friend and I could work it out to meet for dinner or something, would he like to go with me? He said he would.

We never met up with my friend, but Thomas and I started spending more time together, and in February of 1988, we started dating. When my folks were planning our 1988 trip, my mom said that since I was grown up and would be going out on my own someday, I could pick the destination, I chose New York City.

My mom had a friend who’d just come back from Philadelphia, where they’d had a wonderful time. My dad had also recently found out that his father had trained for the Navy on the USS Constellation, which was built in 1854 (my paternal grandfather was born a long, long time ago). The Constellation was then, and is now, in Baltimore.

And that’s how we ended up going on a trip to New York City, Philadelphia, and Baltimore in 1988. And, yes, that Thomas is my Thomas, my ex-husband. We got married in 1991. More on that whenever I get to 1991.

Gratuitous Amazon Link time. The folks at one of the places I hang out on line had a ongoing thing about a comic book heroine called Squirrel Girl. It had been a long time since I read comic books, but when I decided to get back into them, Squirrel Girl was one of the ones I tried. And I loved them. So today I bring you the first compilation volume of the series, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Vol. 1: Squirrel Power, by Ryan North, Steve Ditko, Will Murray, and Erica Henderson.

About To Hither and Yon

November 28, 2020 2 of 8

At the beginning of November I said that I wanted to write one perfect introductory blog post that I could pay Facebook to promote and see if I could grow my audience.

This is that post. Or the first draft of it, at any rate.

My “name” is Olivia (not my real name, but I hate my real name, so why not take a pseudonym, right?). Olivia actually in some way relates to my real name, but . . . anyway.

The original plan for this blog was to blog about travel. Places I’d been, places I wanted to go, places I was when I wrote specific posts. I’d post my favorite pictures from each location and then monetize it with a goal of making my hobby of travel self-perpetuating. Travel -> post -> cash check -> do more travel.

It has never quite gotten to that point. At first, I didn’t want this blog to look like a *total* cash grab, so I held off on attempting to monetize it. Then, I began posting Amazon Associates links (if I can’t find a book germane to the topic, I refer to it as a “Gratuitous Amazon Link”). By the time I felt comfortable enough to think about putting ads on the pages, Google had canceled my ads account from lack of activity.

So now I just have the Amazon Links, which are not exactly making the dough roll in.

Since I haven’t been able to use this to do the travel I needed to make content for the blog, my focus has broadened. First, I added book blogging, which seemed to be a good fit with the attempted monetization through Amazon. Then I began talking about a project I’m starting where I will be working my way through my cookbooks. That is still book related, but also cooking-related, so there’s that.

And, occasionally, I post about my life and what’s going on in it. I spent November doing what’s called National Novel Writing Month, where you attempt to write 50,000 words in 30 days. I’ve done better this year than in any year before, but I’m not likely to actually reach 50,000. In order to hit that point, I’ve started talking about medical topics and also Internet content creators that I enjoy (kind of like book blogging, but with YouTube). I don’t know if those will stick around after November.

So, since I’ve talked about the Gratuitous Amazon Link in the text above, here’s one so you can see how it works. I guess that since this is not in the regular continuity of the blog, I will go outside the continuity of my Gratuitous Amazon Links for ideas. What book have I given the highest rating to on my Goodreads page and that I absolutely love? Hm. Let’s go with No Normal, by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona, the first compilation of the adventures of Kamala Khan as Ms. Marvel. I’ve loved comics since 1974 and this series is especially wonderful.