Categories
Books People

All the races of Middle Earth

I enjoyed this introduction to the various races of Middle Earth:

I’m very tempted to try figure out which of Tolkein’s books delve into the history of Middle Earth, before the events of The Hobbit, and Lord of the Rings.

Well, I know there are earlier books. I have a little research to work out where to start.

Categories
Music

Rock nostalgia

I’ve been listening to albums that I had on very heavy rotation about 20 years ago, this week. I’m not sure what this rock nostalgia indicates for me, although I still like many of these albums.

The first band I revisited was Pearl Jam. I was really into them during my university years, and went back to two albums in particular, Ten and Vitalogy.

Then, this morning, I went back to Guns N’ Roses’ Use Your Illusion II that I first listened to because one of the tracks was used in Terminator 2.

I haven’t listened to this music in decades (literally). I’m a little surprised that I still enjoy most of it, especially after my 80s Pop revival.

Categories
Film Music

The Greatest Showman

Our daughter has been asking to watch The Greatest Showman for a few weeks. We watched the movie over the weekend, and it was wonderful.

I don’t know where she encountered the movie, but she’s been listening to various Spotify playlists featuring music from the movie that’s based on part of P T Barnum‘s life.

We watched the movie over the weekend, and it’s a spectacular movie. It reminds me of Moulin Rouge, in a way (another movie to introduce our daughter).

The music is terrific, and this is one of the few movies our daughter actually watched without distracting herself with her phone (mostly).

If you haven’t seen the movie, it’s well worth watching. You can also find the soundtrack on Spotify. Here’s the opening song:


Photo by Becky Phan on Unsplash

Categories
Events and Life People Podcasts

Enjoying Sam and Liam talking about stuff

I noticed a new(ish) video podcast, AWNP Unplugged, with Critical Role’s Sam Riegel, and Liam O’Brien. It’s terrific, I’m enjoying it.

They’re basically just connecting, and chatting about the pandemic, the importance of being connected to each other, and more.

I’m sitting on one of our couches, blogging random stuff, and enjoying the conversation. I really enjoy these two people (and their friends) in Critical Role (we’re on Campaign One, episode 33, and going strong).

This is a very different, more personal context, and I like them even more as people dealing with this situation. Like the rest of us.

Categories
Books Games

Tempted by an older Monster Manual edition

I popped on to the Book Depository site to check out the availability of the D&D Monster Manual, and spotted a 12 year old edition:

I don’t think I ever used that older edition, it’s not available, but I still felt a little tempted! 

Even though I prefer digital formats when it comes to most of the things I do, I like the idea of playing Dungeons and Dragons on paper.

It feels like the sort of game that could be better with physical books, paper character sheets, physical dice … that sort of thing.

Of course not everyone has the opportunity to play in person these days, and I do like many of the digital tools we have. Still, doing it all on paper appeals to me.

Categories
Applications Games

Playing Dungeons and Dragons with Discord

I really enjoyed this Sly Flourish video about how to play Dungeons and Dragons with Discord:

I play DnD with my wife and daughter at home, so I don’t have an immediate need for this. At the same time, there are loads of people who find themselves playing remotely, so this is a compelling option.

Other tools

Even though we play in person, I’ve been using a number of digital tools to help manage our games.

DnD Beyond

I’ve been using DnD Beyond quite a bit lately. I’m trying out the paid, Master Tier subscription to manage our campaign. The subscription enables me to create encounters based on the characters’ levels (that translates into somewhat more accurate difficulty estimates).

I also like that I can share the digital books that I’ve purchased.

The Combat Tracker is terrific, and helps managing initiative, and monster damage a lot easier. This works hand-in-hand with the Encounter Builder. I’ve realised that creating encounters from within the campaign manager/page allows me to create campaign-specific encounters.

The DnD Beyond character sheets are also terrific. I only use the online version for my character, and my wife has switched over to that version for the most part, too.

The new digital dice are really nice too. I’m looking forward to trying those out too (although I think I prefer physical dice on the whole).

Notion

Notion has been really useful for my campaign notes, and tracking the party’s progress through a campaign. I add maps, tables to track overall encounters, XP awards, and even individual encounters (there’s some overlap here with the DnD Beyond Combat Tracker).

Adventure notes in Notion

Options like inline tables, internal links, and other Notion blocks are proving to be really helpful, although I’d like to build page templates that I can start a new adventure with.

There are a number of terrific digital tools available to us. They add to in-person games too, and can really enhance online game play if you can’t meet up to play your games.


Image credit: Jack B on Unsplash

Categories
Events and Life Mindsets Music

Comforting familiarity

Jamie Rubin wrote about waning motivation, and comforting familiarity yesterday –

Maybe it is familiarity during a time of uncertainty that I find comforting. The unknowns pull the levers of anxiety. Because of this, I have to limit myself to thinking about today and not worrying too much about what may happen tomorrow. When I start to think about tomorrow, or the next week, I find that my motivation is sapped just a little bit more.

No Motivation | Jamie Todd Rubin

We do find familiarity comforting. I’ve had a 80s playlist on Spotify on heavy rotation lately, and I realised earlier that it’s probably because this is my comforting familiarity.

Whatever works, and helps make each day a little lighter, and more productive, right?

At the same time, we’re in a challenging time. The pandemic challenges our ideas about how we live, how we relate to each other, and what “normal” is.

Perhaps this is also about tempering this unnerving change with familiarity to help us adapt better?

Categories
Mindsets Sports

New running goal as COVID-19 restrictions ease

I paused my Garmin Coach 5K running plan when we were restricted to short distances from home due to COVID-19 restrictions. Now that our restrictions for sport have largely been lifted, I wanted to continue with the running plan. It turns out that you can’t pause a Garmin training plan this long, so I needed to start again.

I initially started the same 5K plan again, and then thought: “Why not just do a 10K plan? I’m already running 5K distances in my workouts.” So I did that, and set a new running goal.

I’m starting my 10K plan today with a goal of running my 10K “race” at the end of July.


I just watched “The Sky Project” about endurance runner Magda Boulet while I waited for my breakfast to settle.

This has become a mini-tradition before my weekend runs, and it’s a little extra inspiration before I start my new plan.