Category Archives: Various and Sundry

Real Princesses Roll for Initiative

If your 2019 has been bereft of geeky, geeky mashups thus far, have we got the video for you! Behold: nearly all the Disney princesses playing D&D (with Belle as DM, which just makes sense).

In case you not only like it, but love it, they apparently have a crowdfunding campaign going through February.

This Year, Resolve to Make Art

I thought I had already posted this article by Sean Kane from 2016, but evidently I hadn’t. So go ahead and read up on seven darn good scientifically-backed reasons why you should make art even if you’re not “any good” at it.

A perfect example of simply making art is Inktober, an annual event to do an ink drawing every day during October. I did this with my son –and moms and dads reading this, that’s reason enough to give it a go. Because while I tried things with shading and perspective that were hit or miss, he developed recurring story elements in the scenes he drew throughout the month that was a delight to witness (and on a parental note, it was a good transition to bedtime).

So go ahead, get your art on, whatever way you want to. You don’t need to share it with anyone. Science has your back.

I, for one, don’t welcome our net ‘bot overlords…

Though from reading Max Read’s piece in New York magazine, it’s kind of moot whether I welcome them or not: a huge portion of the Internet is fake.

I mean, it’s not that it’s a huge surprise that the Internet is full of automation to simulate traffic for ad revenue purposes, engage people for some Machiavellian monetization motives, or otherwise amplify some ill-conceived echo chambers…

But it’s depressing to have it validated to such a hefty degree.

Perhaps you, like me, remember those days pre-Netscape Navigator, exploring the Internet universe via Gopher and the like. The possibilities seemed as vast as Pangea, which is an accurate extrapolation of how long ago it was in Internet terms.

Will we survive an inversion when ‘bots outnumber us all? I don’t know. I just know that, Even now, spam bots are getting ready to comment on this post.

All that Glitters is not Gold

The stuff of dreams and nightmares (photo from Chris Maggio for The New York Times)

You’re just going to have to trust me on this one: go read Caity Weaver’s in-depth exploration on the history of glitter. You’ll get caught up in it much like glitter grabs ahold of you and never lets go.

After a 21-year Pause, More Art Enters Public Domain

2019 will bring many things, both planned and unplanned… but one of the planned events is one I had forgotten until people started circulating an article from the Smithsonian magazine by Glenn Fleishman: a mass of copyrights is expiring putting books, poems, music, films, and other art into the public domain.

This is very exciting, and not just because Jabberwocky Audio Theater will happily adapt 1920s sci-fi and adventure material as it did from H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds, long in public domain. No, this means a lot of works which haven’t been distributed and shared widely can and will be, allowing countless people the opportunity to experience the art anew. As the one article says, it’ll be like a yearly time capsule.

In addition, NPR did a brief piece about the coming mass expiration and Lifehacker has a list of some of the more prominent works that will be in the public domain. I suppose “expiration” has a bit too negative connotation, so let’s call it an artistic explosion.

Now I have another reason to be excited for January 1st every year.

The Bookstore is Dead. Long Live the Bookstore!

One of the biggest issues plaguing independent entrepreneurial creators (authors, artists, filmmakers, etc.) would be how to find an audience — and even if that nut is well and truly cracked: how do you maintain or even grow it?

That’s a topic for many another post, but amid forums and social media I follow where people discuss the topic, there’s the inevitable discussion of what Faustian bargain should be made with Amazon, the everything store that wants to be your alpha and omega. I was reminded of that when I came across this Axios article from October musing about the slide of Barnes & Noble.

It’s all the more interesting because independent bookstores have apparently made a resurgence, as per articles found on NPR, CBS, and a huge compilation of articles on the American Booksellers Association page (an interested party to be sure, but still…).

Wish List for Santa, Updated

Here at the home stretch, I figured it was a good time to feature Brian Gordon and his gift of validation to parents everywhere, Fowl Language.

Don’t forget the bonus panel! And if you enjoy his work, consider supporting him and his ducklings via Patreon.

Welcome Yule!
(and I hope you all get some sleep)

Caroling with the Bard, kinda

Who doesn’t like caroling? And who doesn’t William Shakespeare?

Well, quite a few people in both camps, actually… but let them stew in their camps like Achilles in his tent.

If you, like me, think that those are two great tastes that go great together, Mya Gosling, the creator of Good Tickle Brain, gets you.

More importantly, she has devised Shakespearean Christmas Carols not once, nor twice,  but thrice, and, um tetralogically?

Really, it’s like all the Comedy of Errors where all the errors are songs and — okay, it’s not like that.

So, it’s more like all the history plays, which when you watch them in sequence and — okay, it’s not like that, either.

Look, it’s a bunch of takes on Shakespeare plays or characters which you can sing about with tunes may already know because, y’know, Christmas carols. If you don’t find yourself singing along to at least one involuntarily, you’re just not feeling the season. (or not into Christmas carols or Shakespeare as noted above).

And if you’re really into singing them, consider supporting Gosling, who like many web comic artists, is using Patreon.

If you’ll excuse me, I’m off to contemplate more rhymes with ‘Crispin.’

The True Meaning of XKCDmas

Last year, I went with videos. In this year’s run-up to everyone’s favorite solstice, I figured I’d go with comics.

So let’s kick off the week with one of my favorite online comics, XKCD, where he explores the reason for the season, XKCD-style.

Shall We Play a Game?

While not a secret, I don’t post too much about being a board gamer here, but one of the things I’m most looking forward to during this season of spending time with family and friends is playing a few board games — including some that have not “hit the table” in a while.

I also generally get a game we can play as a family each Christmas (the previous ones, Feuerdrachen and Drachenturm, have been big hits with the kindern). This year, we’ll take a departure from Haba for an adventure game I think the kids will dig.

If you’re toying with the idea of picking up a game or two from your friendly local game store, Ars Technica has what I believe is now their annual board game guide. There’s some solid picks throughout.