Hunkering Down For A Holiday Blizzard

There’s a storm coming. It probably won’t hit with the severity they’re predicting two days ahead of it’s arrival [it didn’t], but it’s probably still going to be freezing cold and awful for the whole thing [it was] even if it never quite reaches the monstrous blizzard severity they’re saying is possible. I mean, that’s the thing about living where I do. We tend to catch the edge of every storm that swings down from Canada toward the rest of the Midwest and upper East Coast, but we rarely get hit by the worst of it. As someone who grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, getting frequently struck by heavy storms and intense weather of all kinds, I kind of miss it. Sure, my perspective now would be very different, since I actually need to go places, do things, and ostensibly keep my home accessible to the world, but I wouldn’t mind a day or two of being snowed in just to enjoy the cozy feeling of not needing to be anywhere while the snow falls.

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The Ground Itself Is My Favorite Worldbuilding Game

I’ve been playing Everest Pipkin’s The Ground Itself with one of my D&D groups lately, as we work on building out the world I created while writing about worldbuilding for Tabletop Roleplaying Games. It has been a lot of fun to create this location with my friends, all of us co-authoring the world’s elements as we build off each other’s ideas, take ideas in directions the others wouldn’t have considered, and generally have a more fun time than we expected we would. The open-ended prompts based on the deck, the somewhat chaotic nature of drawing things from a deck (our first time period burned through half the deck before we got to jump in time), and the always energizing exchange as we flowed between casual, light roleplaying in a handful of scenes to discussing what one of us meant when someone established symbotic relationships with plant creatures. All of this has been a delight to share with my friends as we work on fleshing out a world to experience with characters we already care so much about.

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Happy Holidays! Also, Links for Holiday Escapism!

Today is the day before Christmas, which is, I suppose, the winter holiday I’m observing this year. At least from a taking-time-off perspective. Personally, I celebrate Candlenights since it doesn’t have any emotional baggage like all the other holidays I’ve celebrated in the past, and the openly-embracing-the-made-up-ness of it appeals to me as someone attempting to create my own traditions. I’d probably celebrate any of the other winter holidays, but a lot of those are tied to specific traditions, religions, or religious traditions, and I’m not a part of any of those. I grew up catholic and white so my entire culture/heritage as far as the winter is concerned is Christmas (Jesus) and Christmas (Capitalism), neither of which appeal to me. All of which is to say there will be no post beyond this today and I’ll be taking three whole days off in the next week as I rest, prepare for the coming year, and probably try to figure out if I actually want to make Christmas cookies or if I just want to eat Christmas cookies that someone else made. My next post will be up on Thursday the 29th.

If you’re looking for an escape and aren’t familiar with my work, check out Infrared Isolation or any of my poetry for my more recent work. Otherwise I’ve got almost 900 posts of stuff on this ol’ blog for you. If you want some good, funny videos, I recommend Drawfee (This One is my favorite, but it’s a little PG-13+). If you want audio-only, I recommender either the Partizan or Sangfielle seasons of Friends at the Table (Sangfielle is horror-ish, but quick to start, while Partizan has a pre-season bit that is kinda important and also fun to listen to). If you want something to read, I suggest Vattu which should keep you plenty busy for a day or two.

If that’s not enough… well… I don’t know what to tell you. Friends at the Table and Drawfee should, in their entirety, take you about a year to get through unless you listen to an average of about 5 hours of audio programming per day like I do. In which case, combined, they’ll take you about a year. Regardless, I hope you get through your holidays and enjoy yourself at least a little bit.

Spending Christmas In Valheim

The time has come for my yearly return to Valheim. There’s a new major patch, I’ve got some amount of time off coming up that is pretty much unclaimed due to the world shutting down for a holiday I don’t celebrate, and I have a huge backlog of podcasts since I spent the last three or four months doing a re-listen of the entire Sci-Fi side of Friends At The Table in preparation for the upcoming new season. Now, all I need to do is figure out how to get my friend who hosts the world to leave his computer on so I can play while he’s busy with family. Then I’ll be set to build the new base we’ve been discussing and maybe go on a bunch of hunts to finally have enough feathers so I’m not constantly rationing all of my arrows. He’s the tank and I’m the DPS, so I have been running out super quickly now that we’re in areas that take some real work to deal with all kinds of more-mobile enemies (the plains are full of smaller enemies that really just love to change their movement direction the instant I loose my arrows).

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The Best Game I’ve Played This Month is Lil Gator Game

Recently, I purchased and played through the entirety of a game in a single day. I stayed up very late to do it, but I managed to one hundred percent Lil Gator Game in an extended evening. I’ve been following the development of the game on Twitter for a while now, ever since I saw a retweet and was instantly charmed by the blocky but detailed aesthetics and the clear homage to The Legend of Zelda that the main gameplay revolves around. Over the months since then, I’ve watched as more and more detail has come out via small videos and trailers for Steam and then, on the 14th, I bought it immediately. While I’m normally leery of any kind of hype train, I can definitely say that this game delivered on every promise it made.

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Reflections on Next Year

As the year draws to a close, I find myself thinking about the future more and more. 2023 is going to be a busy and exciting year for me, at least intermittently. Two dear friends are getting married and I will be a part of that, which involves at least one big trip and then a wedding, all of which will happen within the first six months of the year. Shortly after that, I’ll be moving since I can’t stay where I’m living any longer due to the rapid rise of rent and my personal distaste for how aware I am of everything my neighbors do. From there, my year is unknowable. After all, I’m also looking for a new job and hope to be doing something I can do entirely from a home office, since I’d like to move around a little bit. Try living elsewhere for a time. See what that’s like since I’ve lived in the same major area my entire life (northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin). Meet some new people. Go on an adventure or two.

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An Angry Rant About Algorithmically Generated Images and Media

Every time I see someone posting photos of themselves that they’re run through the latest in algorithmic art theft and image editing, I find myself screaming in my head “did these people learn NOTHING from the stupid facebook quizzes of the 2010s???” History is cyclical and it is frustrating to watch so many people I know repeatedly make the same mistakes about their digital footprints. It is difficult to fault them, at times, since the entire internet aparatus these days is set up to scrape as much of your personal information as it can, but given that all they have to do is read a EULA or keep up with all the art theft, copyright infringement, and actual damage to the artistic professions that these media-generating algorithms are doing these days, I find myself losing respect rather than feeling a desire to educate.

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