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Reading List – January 2017

One of the things I said I wanted to do this year was spend more time reading, by setting aside time in my day specifically for that.  To that end, I’m also keeping track of the books I’m reading, so I can see how many I get through by the end of the year.   Off to a start that feels glacially slow to me, but is at least on track towards the notion of reading around 50 books by the end of the year.

Winters TaleThis is a reread — in fact, it’s an annual re-read.  I first encountered this wonderful novel my freshman year of college, and I have revisited it at least once a year since then.  One of the things I love about this book is how rich and layered it is, and how even after 30+ trips through it, I still discover new details, or make connections between things that I’d never noticed before.  This is the book I buy copies of whenever I see them in used bookstores, and then hand them freely to anyone I like who says they’ve never read it.

  • World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, by Blizzard Entertainment

    World of Warcraft Chronicle Volume 1This is a lovely book containing what amounts to the pre-history and mythology of the Warcraft video games.  It has lots of wonderful art and a tremendous amount of detailed lore that explores the complex cosmology of this universe.  A second volume is expected to be released later this year, and I’m looking forward to adding it to my collection.

 

A Life in PartsThis is a breezy, engaging memoir by Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston, telling the story of his childhood and acting career.  We saw him speak as part of the Seattle Arts and Lectures series late last year, when the book came out, but I am only just now getting around to reading it.  He’s an interesting guy, and this was a fun, brisk read.

 

Things No One Will Tell Fat GirlsSubtitled “A Handbook for Unapologetic Living”, this is a great discourse on body positivity and fat acceptance.  Jes Baker, who runs the website themilitantbaker.com, has written an engaging handbook for people struggling with self-image.  My friend Traci Haley recommended this book highly, and now that I’ve read it, I can second it.

 

With everything going on in January, between two conventions, a fairly annoying bout of illness, and family obligations, I didn’t get as much as I wanted done.  (I also spent a fair bit of time doing other things, so I’m still working out the right balance.

Dusting Out The Cobwebs

*walks in, blows the dust off the cover of this journal, and looks sheeishly apologetic*

It’s been far too long since I kept this journal.  There’s a lot of reasons for that, but most of them are boring, so I’m going to skip past them to the more interesting promise of actually starting again.

With the new year already well in full swing, there’s a lot of things I want to apply myself towards in 2017.  In no particular order;

  • Reading

    In recent years, I haven’t been reading as much as I did in the past.   Or rather, I haven’t been reading books, and particular fiction.  Part of that was that for a long time, a large part of our library was still in storage in Georgia, but we got that fixed back in May.  Mostly, it’s just a matter of allocating my time so that sitting with a book rather than staring at a screen is what I’m doing.  So this year, I’m going to take myself up on one of those book challenges where I record the books I read and try to read at least 50 in the calendar year.   If I can get myself back in the habit, I should easily exceed that number.  (I once had to have my mother come with me to the public library to confirm that, yes, I had in fact read the entire stack of books I’d checked out just a few days earlier.)

  • Creating

    I want to spend more time making art in various forms.  I want to write more songs.  I want to improve my guitar skills, and finally learn to play the bass guitar I bought.  I want to write more essays and fiction and film reviews.  And, importantly, I want to start podcasting again.  All of my previous podcasting projects went onto hiatus, and I’ve really been missing that outlet.  I have some ideas bubbling up, and in the meantime, I’m always available to guest if anyone needs someone to come on and run their mouth. 🙂

  • Blogging

    One of the reasons I haven’t been blogging more is because a lot of the things that used to make up a blog post have turned into Facebook fodder.  And I’m probably not going to stop writing on Facebook, but I want to make an effort to keep this forum engaged too, because the way I approach writing on this journal is substantially different to the way I approach writing on Facebook.  And I’ve found it very useful at times to go back and re-read the things I write here, because they keep me in touch with where I was at the time.

So this is, by way of being the first real post in quite some time, a rededication of this blog.  I will, as is my custom, continue to crosspost things from here onto other platforms (FB, Twitter, Tumblr, Dreamwidth), in order to make it easier for people to find what I’m writing wherever it is you happen to be hanging out these days.

Cluttergathering

I’ve been meaning to start back up with some general blogging, but because I majored in Procrastination (with a doulbe minor in Blowing Things Off and Well Nevermind), I haven’t been.

Towards the notion of getting started again — along with making sure my website Songbook is up to date — I’m going to start posting things here that have previously been posted in other places (primarily Facebook) over the last little while.  So you may see things you saw earlier, or things you never saw but which are long divorced from their original context.  Just a heads up.  Hope it’s not annoying and stuff. 🙂

Tadpoolery Episode 39: Game of Spones

There’s a new episode of Tadpoolery!  In this episode, Rob and Bryan discuss

  • Sports, briefly
  • Tadpool as community / online friendships
  • Nerdtacular is coming!
  • Weird news: carjackers foiled by manual transmission.
  • Steam sale controversy.
  • Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.
  • Game of Thrones season finale ( spoilers! )
  • NepoTuneism:  “Winter is Coming” by Sunnie Larson and friends.

As always, you can subscribe to Tadpoolery on iTunes or download/listen at our webpage.

Enjoy, and thanks for listening!

Tadpoolery: And we’re back…

In January of 2011, Scott Johnson and Brian Ibbott launched a podcast called “The Morning Stream“, a culmination of Scott’s long-time desire to do a morning-drive style radio program that reflected his particularly geeky sensibilities.  Like other shows he produced, TMS was live-streamed as it was recorded, and an active chat room interacted with the hosts.  Some of us started hanging out in that chatroom even when nothing was being broadcast, and a community began to coalesce.  The community was nicknamed “The Tadpool”, riffing off of the name of Scott’s studio, Frogpants Studios, and soon after that, a Facebook community was created to foster a less real-time (and more enduring) interaction between fans.

As time went on, we realised that a lot of very cool people were hanging out in this community, and a small group of us decided to start a show focused on the community, in order to better get to know people.  It was called “Tadpoolery”, and was hosted by Bryan Provost, Nick Nizzi, and myself, along with a rotating guest from the Tadpool that we would chat with about whatever sorts of things that person was primarily interested in.  Due to the random nature of our guests backgrounds, the episodes could cover a wide variety of of topics, and frequently would range so far afield that our tagline became “The tangent is the topic.”

The original incarnation of Tadpoolery ran for 36 episodes.  Towards the end of that run, we started to feel like the lack of structure was actually becoming a liability, and decided to take a brief hiatus to retool the show and get a better handle on what we wanted to do with it.  For a variety of reasons, we didn’t return from that hiatus as planned.

Two years later…

Bryan and I actually started talking about rebooting the show last year, just after Nerdtacular.  We wanted to keep the same vibe the original show had — it’s very much a product of the Tadpool — while giving it room to expand and evolve into something of wider and more general interest.  Around the end of last year, we did a test show, which went well but had some technical difficulties.  Once those were finally resolved and scheduling was worked out, we’ve now officially relaunched Tadpoolery and released our first new episodes.

Episode 37 is the test episode we recorded last year.  The topics include:

  • Breaking Bad
  • Dragon Age Heroes (android)
  • World of Warcraft
  • Kingdom of Amalur IP sale
  • Fallout 4 hoax
  • Stealth games
  • Weird news: recreational marijuana dispensery names
  • Weird news: The Slutcracker (Burlesque parody of the Nutcracker)
  • Music: Marian Call, “Sketchbook”, Postmodern Jukebox

Episode 38 was recorded last week, where we discussed:

  • Travel and Tadmeets (Tadpool Meetups)
  • Nerdtacular is coming!
  • Tattoos
  • You Can’t Watch Everything (Josh Williams)
  • Nerd Rage
  • Star Wars and Star Wars
  • Iconic Vs. Definitive Portrayals
  • Summer of 1994 (Brian Duff)
  • I love the 2000s
  • NepoTuneism: Tom Smith, “307 Ale”
  • Steam Summer Sale (Rocksmith, Skyrim)
  • Catching Up ON Old Content (video games and TV, especially)

So as you can see, the tangent is still the topic. 🙂  You can subscribe to Tadpoolery on ITunes, or get episodes directly from our webpage.  New episodes will be released on Friday.

It’s good to finally have my show back on the air.  I’ve really missed making it, and I hope you enjoy listening to it.

Seattle Pride Parade 2014

Since we live just around the corner from the end point of the Seattle Pride Parade route, we sauntered over just a few minutes before it got there and were able to get a great spot to see everything go by.  I took an enormous number of photos, which Larissa then culled through them to remove all the really horrible shots, near-identical duplicates, and out of focus pictures.  There’s still over 600 in the set.

Many of these photos are NSFW, so use your own discretion.

Gallery of Seattle Pride Parade 2014 photos

This is how the world ends. Not with a bang, but with a pile of receipts…

Just a random excerpt of a conversation between me and a friend of a friend, on Facebook

Doug Williams Although I do agree Styrofoam is evil. Cardboard packaging is my nemesis.

Rob Wynne Doug: Really? “Cardboard Packaging” is my Malvina Reynolds cover band! #kickingitoldschool

Doug Williams With 3 kids the amount of cardboard packaging that comes through my house is ridiculous. Let’s just say they could probably name where forests used to be after my children.

Rob Wynne 

“What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
There is shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.

Anyway, you got an XBox One for Christmas
And that new game you wanted but barely played
So I hope you’re happy.”

From “The First Drafts of TS Elliot (unpublished)”

Beautiful day

Beautiful day
Beautiful day

(Kinnear Park)

Tiny Beautiful Things

Every so often, a book comes to my attention that perhaps wouldn’t have normally. I’ll read a review, or hear it recommended, and think “Hey, that sounds interesting”, and I’ll make a note to myself to pick it up if I see it, or sometimes i’ll just grab it off the Amazon Kindle store where it will sit, waiting for me to find a moment to crack it open.

I don’t, at this point, remember who recommended the book “Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar” by Cheryl Strayed. It’s been sitting in my Kindle Library for some time. But a couple of days ago I randomly opened it and began to read. Today I finished it.

I don’t recall the last book that so often made me laugh out loud, so often moved me to tears, so often stopped me dead in my tracks with a perfectly phrased insight or so often made me just stop, walk away from the book because I needed time to think and digest.and reflect on what I had just read.

I’ve read collections of advice columns before, from Dan Savage and Miss Manners and others. This is very likely the first collection of advice columns I will read again and again, because as much as I took from it, there’s more to take and find and connect with.

If you’re a human being who is currently in the process of living a life, I recommend this book.

Three things I’ve got going for me: Quark, strangeness and charm

Three things I've got going for me: Quark, strangeness and charm
Three things I’ve got going for me: Quark, strangeness and charm

(Pacific Science Center)

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