Random Things

I didn’t want to go to long without writing something, as the purpose of this blog is more to just get me writing on a daily basis than anything else.  So I thought I’d just write about a few things I like. Kind of like a mix of mini-reviews and random thoughts.

A couple of friends got me into Podcasts. For a while I only listened to ones talking about Magic: The Gathering and D&D, I moved on to ones about Elder Scrolls and such, but what really got me started on them and hooked was Limetown.  It was an interesting and creepy docu-drama about a town where everyone vanished suddenly and without warning, and the people investigating it.  This led to more, similar podcasts. The Black Tapes, Tanis, Rabbits, LoreSerial, and most recently, S-Town.

These podcasts have been great for my daily commute.  Alabama Gandalf listens to them while he walks. I enjoy the dramatic ones, the ones that follow a story. I tend to stray towards the creepy and curious, though I’ve listened to a few on witchcraft, a couple on writing, some on D&D. I highly recommend all the ones I linked above. They are fantastic. And please, comment on this post and tell me what you think of them if you listen (or have listened).

I haven’t been reading too much lately, but I did recently get back into reading more.  Some of my favorites are Harry Potter, Wheel of Time, Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms, the Obsidian Trilogy, and recently I just finished reading the Twisted Tales books, a series of books re-imagining Disney movies. I highly recommend the Aladdin one, it is by far the best, but the Beauty and the Beast one, which I just finished, was good too.

My favorite, and the series that set me down the path of my love for Fantasy however, is an out of print series that starts with the book Dark Horse by Mary H. Herbert.

Today I just started reading The Butterfly Garden after hearing about it from one of the YouTube artists I follow. I’m only a few pages in, but I can already tell I will enjoy it. The writing style is very enjoyable, it filters through my mind in a very smooth way that is hard to describe and rare to find.

Some others I enjoy are almost all of Brandon Sanderson‘s books, and a guilty pleasure of mine is the Twilight series. Others I’ve read and liked are Dreamhouse Kings, and Fabelhaven. And while Sci-fi isn’t my thing, I’ve also read and enjoyed the Star Wars Bane Trilogy.

I could go on forever listing the books that I have read and enjoyed, but the above are the most notable in my beloved books.  After the Butterfly Garden I intend to read the Malazan Book of the Fallen series.

I have become quite obsessed with YouTube. I have a few channels that I follow and check daily to see if they have posted anything. Most of the ones I follow are art related.  Draw with Jazza and Danica Sills being my two favorites. I also watch Unbox Therapy and Cinema Sins and Kaptainkristian.  The rest change based on my interests. I follow a few Tiny House vlogs, as well as some other artists channels, and a couple of Transgender related channels. As my interests in things wane, my subscriptions change. Gone are all the Elder Scrolls Online channels and the Magic: the Gathering channels I used to watch.

So far I’ve talked a lot about the stuff I like to consume, but not much about the stuff I like to create. These are the passions that I really want to nurture and grow.

My passion for writing actually comes from a passion for World Building. For creating cities, towns, societies, for creating histories and religions, pantheons and legends. It is my biggest dream to create my own epic fantasy novel series, and an accompanying RPG system set in the world.

I have, as of yet, not begun such. Part of it is, as my therapist believes, a fear of failure, of not being good enough. I have ideas, and when I read more ideas will flow. But these ideas are all tainted, because I know they are inspired by already existing things. For example, in the Wheel of Time there is a people called the Aiel. These are as close to “elves” as the series gets, as they are tall, lithe humans who are dexterous and agile and wear clothes that allow them to blend expertly into their surroundings. The only difference is those surroundings are dessert. Jordan mixed certain aspects of agile forest elves with dessert nomads and shamanism and created the Aiel.

Now, to me this seems like an amazing and inventive idea, but no doubt to Jordan it seemed like a mix of things he liked from various places. He, and others, might see the influences in his creation, even if I don’t.  So my worries and fears may be unfounded. If I were to create a race of beings that mixed aspects of Dragonlance’s mountain dwarves with the Obsidian Tilogy’s elves, and a dash of ancient Egyptian, perhaps I would come up with a race and society that to some seem extremely unique, but to me seem like stolen un-creative and unoriginal ideas.

I will never achieve this greatest of my passions if I don’t start somewhere though…

My resources here is the World Building sub-reddit, D&D campaigns, and the books I read.

This, though a passion, will always be a hobby. Yes I enjoy doing it, and yes I have some talent therein. But I have little to no desire to be famous for it, or make a living at it. Perhaps someday my novels will all have cover art done by me, or if not the cover than maybe images at the start of each chapter.

I do wish to improve, and I will continue to practice my art. I want to be good enough to maybe occasionally go to an art convention and sell a piece or two just for fun. To do commissions for people online or my D&D group. Or perhaps just as gifts for family and friends.  But also to allow me to draw aspects of the world I build, to create scenes and ideas for costumes and races.

The tools of this trade are sketch books, such the standard black sketchbook from Walmart where I do my test sketches and practice, and either my Mixed Media sketchbook (also from Walmart) because I wish to start practicing with watercolor, and my Bristol sketchbook which is idea for using Copic Markers.  I also use Procreate app on my iPad for digital artwork and am having a lot of fun with that.

Tiny Houses!
My current passion/obsession is tiny houses. I am on google and pinterest and youtube for hours at a time looking at pictures and sketching designs for my tiny house. The daydreams that were once about me as a super hero or a werewolf are now about me building and living in my tiny house. They range from dreams about having a luxurious tiny house bedecked with all the best new gadgets such as being able to turn on/off lights and lock the door with my cell phone, to being little more than a covered wagon out west where I need to trudge to the river to get my water. (I’ll end up going with a happy medium).

Dungeons & Dragons
This has been a passion for as long as I can remember.  I’ve gone years without playing in the past, but now have been playing at least monthly if not weekly for almost 3 years now.  I love creating characters, which ties in to my World Building, and am currently trying my hand at DMing.

I am currently DMing the Out of the Abyss campaign but wish to do my own home brew when it is done. Which I need to get working on if I want it to be ready in time. This also ties in with my art because I wish to do custom character sheets. I also wish to become a better DM. There are also some craft ideas I want to try out, like custom dice boxes, dice rolling towers and DM screens I want to build.

Lastly related to D&D is my current obsession with the D&D Beyond beta testing.  I am very eager to see how this new application turns out and if it becomes everything that I hope it can be. I have a long wishlist of things I want. I may even write an entire blog just on D&D Beyond and how I want to use it and the features I want to see!

TV Shows/Video Games:
I wondered if you would notice that I hadn’t touched on TV shows.  I originally had them up with my consumer stuff, after podcasts and books. I do still watch some TV, and I have so many shows I have loved over the years.  I’ve moved away from the little bit of gaming I’ve done.  Over two weeks ago now I started a challenge, I unhooked my computer to see if I could survive without it. It was only supposed to be a week, but the week came and went and I haven’t hooked it back up, nor have I been tempted to.

I have still been debating what to do with it. I did pre-order the Morrowind expansion and I intend to play it when it comes out, since I already bought it, it would be a waste not to. So I will get my computer up and running for that. Once I’ve had my fill of it though, I’m not sure what I’ll do with my desktop.  I am debating bringing it to work and using it there. It would be far better than my current one, and be able to handle the video editing and design software I may need to start using in my new job responsibilities.

As for TV shows, I do still watch a few. Supernatural, Agents of Shield, Once Upon a Time, the Walking Dead, Game of Thrones. But I am thinking, that as these shows end, I won’t start picking up new shows. Unless I hear about something from friends or on Facebook about some amazing show blowing everyone’s minds, I’ll probably just start slowly phasing TV out of my life.  Watching the occasional show or movie as I am drawn to them, but not actively seeking them out.

I want to focus more on my creative passions.

There are a few other things I enjoy and want to get back into as I lose weight and these activities become easier. Archery is one I could do even now, as it just requires standing and drawing back a bow. I also want to get a kayak and start kayaking and fishing on a regular basis, maybe with my dad or both of my parents. I also want to get back into horseback riding, and eventually even get my own horse.

As my future plans develop, and it looks like (provided I keep my job for the next decade or so) I’ll be debt free in about 10 years. I’ll be able to afford things like my own horse, my own land. I’ll have the time and the money to do things, and I don’t want to waste it watching TV. 🙂


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