Let me open by saying I’m praying for peace in Ukraine and very much praying that things don’t escalate. This situation is good for no one. War is acid on stability and relationships among and between people within the conflicting countries. Donate to relief charities if you are blessed enough to be in such a position.
A century ago, the nickname for its third decade was the “Roaring 20’s”. After the first two years of this century’s third decade, I was wanting to it to ultimately become the “Boring 20’s”. Sadly, between the pandemic, ludicrous political divisions in the US, and now a land war in eastern Europe, I’ve landed on a non-rhyming, but at least alliterative, moniker: The “Trying 20’s”.
I was initially going to go with something more negative and flippant, but I think “trying” in two senses of the word aptly apply. This decade has both called us to endeavor to be better and to endure through its adversity. The Trying 20’s are here, and we all must move through them as best we can.
Players of the Game Works in Progress
I’m starting a new section mostly to ensure that I keep up the momentum and productivity with my latest novel, the Game War. I’m up to page 105, right around 30,000 words. Last time I was at page 56 with 15,500 words. So I’ve added a reasonable chunk to this WIP. Not awesome output, but not bad either. As I’ve said in the past, I write carefully, not quickly.
Chronophage by Tim Seeley and Ilias Kyriazis
I ordered this Humanoids graphic novel from my local comic shop without knowing a whole lot about it, save that I like lots of Tim Seeley’s other comic series, especially The Revival. This was such an outstanding surprise. It centers on a single mom named Chloe who meets an intriguing stranger named Heath, and they quickly click. It’s then revealed that Heath is consuming parts of the past from Chole and the people around her, editing her personal history, seemingly for the better. It’s a horror book, so there’s plenty of graphic scenes, well illustrated by Ilias Kyriazis. A fantastic story that has a lot to say about how threads of our pasts overlap and some bigger questions about how all moments might exist at once. Pick it up on Comixology or in print!
Valiant Hearts: The Great War on Steam or Switch
In light of the events in Ukraine, I’m calling out an older game that I played a few years back. I bought Valiant Hearts on a Steam sale, but then never got around to it until my cousin (Hey, Nick!) recommended that I fire it up. It focuses on a cast of characters on both sides of the Great War (WWI) from the beginning while it was mobile and its eventual descent into trench warfare. It has puzzles to solve and you team up with a likable dog to help with them. It also tricks you into learning about the Great War through the game’s events and factoids that pop up. It does a great job of showing the tragedy of that conflict and all others like it.
We even managed to get the Christmas decorations down. Granted, it was a just two days ago. But we got ’em put away, by thunder. Now, it is on to the, uh, cat days of winter? That stretch of time where my part of the world usual gets a least one or two polar vortices of insanely cold air. The year also usually starts to take shape with the various irons in my various fires.
My way of keeping all that proverbial metal hot involves a whole lot of to-do notes to myself. In the case of the latest work in progress, The Game War, I just write a sticky note with the page number goal that I intend to reach by the beginning of the next week. I’m sure I’ll falter during some weeks. But so far, I’m doing pretty decent for my usual output. I’m up to page 56 with about 15,500 words. I’m sure others have more copious output, but these incremental weekly goals help me to keep my head in the game.
What kind of techniques do you use to keep on task? Or if procrastinating is your thing, what’s your favorite way of wasting time? Mine is watching educational Youtube videos or playing indie video games. All things in moderation, right? Right?
Players of the Game Character Spotlight: Quar Iniv
Quar Iniv is one of the primary antagonists of the first couple of Players of the Game novels. He is a Human-looking Demon with perpetually bleeding eye sockets, though he possesses enhanced vision that allows him to see 360 degrees all around him. He is cruel, greedy, and quite willing to antagonize his wife, Nirva Iniv. That is dire mistake. He makes even worse ones when it comes to Avril Enzali and Ashe Stelfire.
Immune: A Journey Into the Mysterious System That Keeps You Alive By Philipp Dettmer
This book is thoroughly interesting. It goes in detail, but not too much detail, on the inner workings of the immune system from the innate system (first responders), the complement systems (a bunch of bio chemicals that get activated like a security system), and the adaptive system (the parts that either studies the infection and puts together a tailored immune response with antibodies, or gets a massive assist from a vaccine doing all of the hard work first). Most everyone has heard of the spleen, but how about the thymus? It’s the organ in your chest that makes T cells, among many other things, and slowly withers as you age, which is why elderly folks are more prone to disease. This book really illustrates the unbelievable complexity of how a bunch of mindless immune system cells act quite smart in concert. I didn’t even touch on how stuff can go wrong with parasites, cancers, bacteria, and viruses. Highly recommended.
Spider-Man: No Way Home
My wife and I braved the theater a few weeks back to catch the new Spidey flick after the crowds had thinned a bit. I won’t spoil anything on this, but this had everything I hoped to see, and few surprises too. It’s the best Spidey movie so far, even better than Into the Spider Verse. Totally catch it in the theater if that’s right for you. And for the record: Dr. Strange was right.