in Blog, Weekly Updates

Weekly Update, 4/30/2018 to 5/6/2018

Brief Update

I’ve been doing a lot of reading and listening to podcasts this week, and less time with the writing. This is the week where I discovered that true crime podcasts are a Thing, and immediately started listening to some.

What do I have to say about the books I finished this week? Vellitt Boe ended on a somewhat dissatisfying note, I thought. The Lovecraft pastiche is strong, and the dreamy tone of HPL’s Dreamlands stories really comes through, but as a result the narrative feels kinda distant. Thus I was never as invested in Vellitt and her challenges as I might have. I left feeling like I wasn’t sure if this was supposed to be a thoughtful psychological journey or an adventure story, and like it wasn’t quite either. Either way, it is beautifully written.

The Defiant Heir was a big winner for me. I was dragged through this one at breakneck speed by my love of Amalia (the main character), my investment in her courtship with our new friend Kathe, and the continual upping of the stakes. At the end I wanted to give Amalia a hug; she had to make some really tough choices. I love seeing how she’s changing and growing, while still being true to the person we met at the beginning of The Tethered Mage.

We also had the first session of the new D&D 5E game this week, it went very well; we worked together and killed some goblins, like ya do at level 2 in Faerun. As I wrote on FB, I’m liking 5E quite a lot; it feels like an improvement over 3.5. This led all my friends to opine, because of course I have the sorts of wonderful friends who have very definite opinions on D&D πŸ˜‰

Finally, I signed up this week to run the Metrowest Corporate 5K, the race I did last year. This year I’m fundraising for the sponsor, the United Way of Tri-County, which — among many great programs — supports a free mental health hotline called Call2Talk. If you feel inclined to donate to the benefit of the community in Middlesex, Norfolk, and Worcester counties, I’d be very grateful.

Links

How to be polite, by Paul Ford on Medium. Nothing in here is super groundbreaking, but it is a great example of how continual application of small social niceties can have a unexpectedly strong effect.

Accomplishments

Writing
– Wrote 272 words on the new Lioness beginning

Reading
– Read The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe, by Kij Johnson
– Read “Makeisha in Time”, by Rachael K. Jones
– Read The Defiant Heir, by Melissa Caruso
– Read β€œFrom Their Paws We Shall Inherit,” by Gary Kloster (Clarkesworld Year Six)

Other Media
– Listened to Larpcast #107, “Fifth Gate Wrap Part 3”
– Listened to Writing Excuses, 11.41 and 13.7
– Listened to the Art of Charm #701
– Listened to By the Book, “Bonus Episode: Ask Us More of Anything!” This episode turned me on to the following podcast…
– Listened to Real Crime Profile, episodes “Profiling Dirty John,” “More with Dirty John Creator Christopher Goffard”, “Coercive Control in Dirty John”, “Male Sexual Victimization with Sword and Scale’s Mike Boudet”, which then led me to…
– Listened to Sword and Scale, episodes 99, 111-113
– Had the first session of the new D&D 5E game

Larp
– Wrote PEL for Mad3 spring 1 event

Social
– Went to see EB’s play in Meriden, CT

Health
– Had a therapy appointment
– Had a massage
– Took a ~30 minute walk
– Did boffer sparring with Matt
– Did Zombies Run Season 2 Episode 16 (2.19mi in 38:11 … not a great day for me πŸ™ )
– Did Zombies Run S2 E17 (2.32mi in 35:19)
– Did a ZR supply run (1.82mi in 29:00)
– Signed up for the Metrowest Corp 5K

Rejection Log

– 11 day form from Apex for “Mirrors”

  1. Yup, still need to clear my chore list and Just Read, The Defiant Heir waits patiently on my desk!

    I’m curious, how are you finding D&D5E as far as online play? If I remember correctly, you were talking about playing via Roll20 or one of those? I don’t think I’ve heard any of my friends talk about any of those platforms, so I’d be interested as to your thoughts!

    • I wrote about roll20 a bit on FB; apologies if you missed it there! But basically, I like it. It makes the math portion of D&D so much easier — I just click on a skill on my character sheet and it makes a roll, taking into account all relevant modifiers. Definitely makes it less like playing Dungeons & Arithmetic, which (regardless of my 5G mathlete) is not my favorite game. And that frees me up to do things like RP and grouse at our barbarian for playing the lute.

      That said, it’s not an intuitive interface AT ALL, and if my DM hadn’t spent a couple of hours walking me through it while making my character, I’d probably still be confused. And I’m generally pretty good at picking up new tech! But now it’s becoming old hat, so that’s fine.

      I really don’t like that you have to launch a game to see your character sheet, though. That’s kind of inconvenient. I know some folks have recommend using DND Beyond for storing character sheets, instead. (Which I guess is 5E only?)

      Also apparently the voice and video functionality that’s included in roll20 aren’t great? I didn’t really try it, because our DM set up a Discord for us to use instead. But that’s what she said.

      Also, thanks for your donation! πŸ™‚

      • So far, I’m a fan of D&D Beyond’s interface, though I’ll admit I’d be more of a fan if there was a way to tell it that you own a book, so that you could get the online copy of the same book for free/cheap — I guess this is a problem all over the place with Wizards’ stuff though. And yeah, it’s 5E only.

        I’m glad to hear that Roll20 streamlines the math at least, especially since “oh yeah, I forgot I had +2 to that last attack because of the bard’s song, I totally do hit!” is a problem I tend to trip over a fair amount — in my current tabletop, one of the players has made notecards on stands that he hands out for bonuses like that (which helps!), but just having that automated would make things so much easier.

        Also, you’re welcome! πŸ™‚

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