Was reading A.S. Hamrah's latest column at n+1 in the bakery this morning. I always enjoy his columns even when they are movies I will never see, but also his columns always make me want to watch movies, specific movies, movies in general. It helps a lot that he covers a lot of movies without falling into endless plot rehashing, and that he tends to draw together a wide array of references, so, while you may not get them all, there are always enough that are familiar. I wanted to watch more movies this year (a vague New Year's resolution), and I haven't done as well with that as I would like, despite the riches that is the new Criterion Channel. A lot of the time it is that movie watching time is in the evening when Lianne and I are both there and I find it hard to find movies that I want to watch that I think she will want to watch, and I just never push the point of just saying "I want to want this, if you don't that's ok, you can do something else".
Finished up Jaime Hernandez's latest collection Tonta, hot on the heels of Is This How You See Me?, this latest collection is much lighter. It collects the first bunch of stories with a variety of mostly new characters that branch off a bit from his Maggie and Hopey stories. I was suprised in reading them to see the stories dated from 2012-2013, which feels like so long ago in years, but not so long in respect to how recent they feel in Jaime's work. I can't say I am as moved by this one as the previous, he can't rely on the decades of history with this story and I think it makes the stakes of the characters actions and emotions and relations feel much lower. I did notice in reading this, a trend one sees in a lot of his work where major events often happen "off screen" so to speak. In this particular book, an attack on and then death of Tonta's stepfather and then a trial of her mother for potential involvement, are both not shown. All we learn is from what characters tell us before and after the events. I feel like that is a common occurrence in a variety of other Jaime stories, though I am currently hard pressed to think of a ton of examples... Didn't Speedy die off screen? And there was Maggie's marriage... and Hopey's too. Ray's attack by Maggie's brother feels like a counter example, a rare case where this major event is shown in the "real time" of the stories, rather than afterwards or in flashbacks.
Lianne saw it last week, and I finally did yesterday, a groundhog on our porch eating parts of the bushes/weeds growing just beyond the railing. I've kind of known there was one around based on the trails in the grass that research says indicate tunnels beneath, but it's only in the past week or two that we've actually seen one.
More thoughts on a site for these writings that I should tag sections rather than whole posts, so the page or archives can have toggles for people who only want to view certain topics. localStorage could be used to save their choices. That might require broader categories than I would use normally for tags, or else some kind of hierarchical tag system (like "comics:manga" "rpgs:d&d" etc).
███ ran his sort of weekly summer evening D&D game last with me and a bunch of his colleagues. I'm still getting used to playing with a bunch of people I don't really know, and the mix of new players and guys who run games themselves can be interesting. I think there is a certain dynamic where the newer guys are ceding to the guys they know are experienced. I've been trying to not be too forward, but I'm also feeling like when the experienced guys are there, I'm not getting very far in having a voice.
In last night's game we got a hold of a letter about a meeting between a sage we tracked last session and some knight. We've stumbled onto a multi-part artifact type quest with 9 magic tomes that have 9 magic item keys that together can apparently teach you how to raise a dracolich. As we start to gather them, we are also questioning the wisdom of such, since that also seems to be the goal of anyone who might want to put the item to evil use (make a dracolich). Maybe us gathering all the keys is a bad idea and we should focus on destroying the items. We did try a bit of that without success. We probably need a better magical destruction solution, assuming
███ would let us find one.
Anyway, the sage we had tracked had been possessed by some... undead guy... who is apparently trying to get all the tomes/keys. But we ended up getting the key he had and even then opening the tome it went with (I was against that idea, but we voted and I lost). The letter we found indicated this sage was going to take the stuff he got to meet with this "Knight of the 9th Order". We decided to make the meeting instead, travelled to another town, and met the contact in a seedy bar. He took us all along to where the knight and her cohorts were camped out.
When we got nearby, our ranger scouted out the location. I charmed our contact. I wanted to pay him to go back. That way he wouldn't announce us and probably cause trouble since there were 6 PC weirdos rather than 1 human sage guy. But the other player was like we should talk to them. I should have made my point better (that one of us could talk and the rest could hide). Of course the knights seemed pretty sketchy, wanting to free some imprisoned blue dragon (who sounded crazy dangerous), and then, when we didn't want to go along with that, demanded we hand over the key we had (the one they knew we had). We stopped for the night as it seemed like we were about to get in a fight and it was late.