Jackbauer_3December 4th finally arrived and with it Season 6 of "24" on DVD. 

This juices my fitness routine a bit.  I pass my treadmill time while watching DVDs, preferably suspenseful TV shows, and it was "24" that first got me into the habit when we got the treadmill.  Since then I have run/walked/ellipticaled my way through all of "24", all of "Alias," the only-four seasons of "NYPD Blue" that are on DVD, alas, and I’ve tried lots of other shows (hate "Lost," hate "Six Feet Under," for example).  I’m now working my through "MI-5" (British spy show, highly recommended), "CSI," "Heroes," and my husband and I are crazy about "Battlestar Galactica."

Lots of good shows and probably an endless supply awaits.  But Jack holds a special place in my heart, maybe because it was through Jack that I originally discovered my treadmill + TV-on-DVD habit.  It was Jack who jolted me out of a seasonal+failed IVF depression that dark January when we bought the treadmill. When I hear that Law-and-Order-esque "beep-chunk" sound that they use to close each segment (cranked up to REALLY LOUD so I can hear the dialog over the whirring treadmill) (boy, does my husband hate that sound) I feel like help is on the way.

Why not?  I can’t even stop my own embryos from dying but Jack can save the WHOLE WORLD.  And while I allow myself this fantasy, I’m actually on the treadmill doing something good for myself instead of face down, eating, shopping, or wasting time reading blogs all day. 

Not your blog, of course; yours is crucial.

The_wheel_of_time__fan_art__by_soli It’s not just Jack who completes my life – I’m also happy to reunite with Rand al-Thor, one of the many heroes of "The Wheel of Time," an absolutely gigantic fantasy series by Robert Jordan. 

I didn’t really know what "fantasy" meant as a, uh, literary genre; I thought it might be something sex-ish and steered clear.  Until, duh, I figured out that "Lord of the Rings" is fantasy, and then thought I’d give "Wheel of Time" a chance.  I’m enjoying it a lot. Think "Lord of the Rings," but with tons more backstory, more politics, scarier monsters, and a lot more women who kick ass.  Now that I’m way into it it’s too late for me to be concerned that this is a genre that inspires people to dress up like the characters, have conventions, and hang around on "fansites" online all day where they find their soulmates. 

I’m basically OK with all that.

Anyway, this guy, Rand al-Thor, is the fulfillment of prophecy, a tragic figure here rendered (beautifully though with strangely big hands) by an artist named "Solitarium" at www.deviantart.com

I’ve been without Rand and the rest of the story for almost three weeks due to the inexplicable lack of any copies of Book 4 of the series at my local library.  While I waited for: them to process my request for a transfer of their only copy from a distant branch, the holidays to pass, and for them to then lose my request and any memory of it, I was jolted into the present time. 

I missed the powerful female wizards who can heal at a touch (which I could have used), indestructible grim warriors who have "bonded" themselves to protect one woman for life (I think I have one of those actually) and a never-ending quest saga epic type of experience. In "Wheel of Time"-land, we travel through time and a mythic land populated with monsters and some evil humans but free of traffic, backordered Christmas items, SUVs, presidential debates and fertility clinics. 

Ahh.  I finally bought the book and can resume my fantasy life.  I don’t know how I got through my ectopic pregnancy without it. 

Although the Vicodin helped.

The similarities between Jack and Rand are pretty clear, even setting aside the heart-stopping numerological quirk that both have first names of four letters. (gasp! what are the chances?)  Aside from their ability to vanquish any foe except their own inner demons, I am pretty happy that they will be around for quite some time; I think there will be at least two more seasons of "24" coming (and yes, I have heard that they are jumping the shark in this season a bit, but just let me decide that for myself) and many hundreds of pages of WOT (as the scary online fans would say) left too.

Even though my real world of late doesn’t suck nearly as much as it did, I’m very glad to have my special imaginary friends back.