Friday, January 31, 2020

January 2020: First DOINGS of the DECADE!

Hey'a, everyone! It is the last day of January and a Friday, and that means it's time for the first Doings post of the decade! WOOT WOOT. I have no idea why I'm making such a big deal about this, but it's something different, so we're going with it. Anyway. January's been one of those months where it feels like it's actually two or three months stuck into one, so that's been interesting. We'll see how much I remember to recap.

Writing!

  • So, as far as writing quantity goes, I'm doing great. My goal was 300 words or 30 minutes of writing per day, five days a week, and though the start of the month was a little rough, I had some really good days and I currently have a really nice streak going. My total for the month so far is 24,214 words, not counting whatever I write today.
  • The majority of that has been on D&D stuff, both because that has a closer deadline (I need to have a new session every Friday) and because D&D is currently easier to write than my novel. Around the beginning of the month, I planned out all the episodes for the semester, so I just have to expand my summaries into actual playable session outlines.
  • I've gotten some done on Blood in the Earth/Soil, but not as much as I'd like. Again, D&D is higher priority and easier, and all the bits of my novel that I'm really excited about seem very far away. I mean, yes, they'd be closer if I worked on the bits that I'm writing now, but . . . yeah. I did manage to finish one notebook and start a second, though, which is exciting!
  • (D&D is going great, though. We've had two sessions so far this month — we had to call off one because of someone's birthday — and everyone seems to be having a good time. And I'm putting Plans in motion, and everyone just hit level 5 and it's all very exciting for me.)

Reading!

  • I really haven't read a lot in January — I've been knitting, and I haven't had many gaps between classes and such in which to sneak a few chapters.
  • I finished King of Scars literally the day before Christmas break ended, and I have kind of mixed feelings about it. In all fairness, I really should have realized that, no duh, reading Nina's POV would be a constant reminder of that one bit at the end of Crooked Kingdom that I really disliked. Somehow, Zoya ended up being the best POV character in the story, which is impressive given how much I disliked her in the original trilogy.
  • Two of my other main reads were retellings: Shadowkeeper (Hades and Persephone crossed with Castor and Polux) and A Curse So Dark and Lonely (Beauty and the Beast). Shadowkeeper was a great concept with an execution that was ok but could have been better (though it's still worth the 99 cents that it currently costs as an ebook). A Curse So Dark and Lonely has been on my TBR list for a while and is definitely one of the better Beauty and the Beast retellings I've read. The characters were great, and, wonder of wonders, people actually tried to communicate with each other after they argued instead of being huffy and stubborn. WILL WONDERS NEVER CEASE. Also, it's excellently twisty.
  • I'm finishing up the month by rereading the Illuminae Files, which I intended to do over Christmas break but didn't have time to read. I thought I'd just hold off on them until my next break, but then I ended up with a spare hour Monday afternoon during which I was too tired to do anything productive, and I was right next door to the library, so I figured I'd see if they had the first book . . . and they did, so I reread it in three days, and it was just as good as I remembered it. I think the reread was made better not just by the fact that I could pick up hints and clues and such but also by the fact that I took the AI class last spring and watched 2001: A Space Odyssey as a part of that, so I was reading the bits about AIDAN kind of in light of what I'd gotten then. I'm currently partway through Gemina, which is also as excellent as I remembered. (Actually better, since I'm attached to Nik this time around.)
  • I'm also keeping one of my reading goals and reading outside the speculative fiction genre! Currently, I'm reading How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems, which is the most recent book by Randall Munroe (aka the guy behind XKCD and What If?). It is, as you might expect, excellent and hilarious and highly enjoyable. Absolutely would recommend.

Watching!

  • I really didn't watch a whole lot this month. I saw about two-fifths of The Scarlet Pimpernel (the one with Ian McKellen in it) and thought it wasn't bad, though I didn't get to the part that I actually wanted to see (aka the part that's the book proper and not the flashback material put in chronological position). It was long and late and I wasn't feeling well, though, so I didn't finish.
  • The roommate and I have also started watching (rewatching in her case) season two of Avatar: The Last Airbender. We've gotten through the first 2 episodes, which includes the "Cave of the Two Lovers" episode. That . . . was a thing. Also, Sokka in that episode is basically me during a lot of D&D.

Life!

  • In case anyone was curious: the homemade artisan bread that I was working on when I posted my last Doings post was delicious. The loaves fused oddly, which wasn't great, but they tasted amazing. Definitely going to make those again once I'm home.
  • But there will not be any baking for a while because, guess what, I'm back at Cedarville.
  • For my last semester.
  • Please insert the appropriate nervous screaming noises here. (If you've lived in the same dorm as me for any length of time, you probably have a pretty accurate idea of what that sounds like.)
  • Anyway, yes. It's my last semester. I'm enjoying most of my classes, and even the two classes that I'm not crazy for, I like the people there and I'm glad to be taking one last class with them, if nothing else.
  • But I'm basically in two web design classes (Web Design II and my independent study) and it's a lot, but I'm really enjoying it. Coding and scripting and such are weirdly satisfying in a way that graphic design and writing aren't, and I can't really explain why, but yeah. It's great. I like it. There's about a 30% chance that I'm going to find a way to work these skills into my PWID professional project (read; basically a pre-capstone project), though it kind of depends on what my professor and I decide.
  • I'm also back in a class where the amount I talk during discussions actually affects my grade, and it's surprisingly hard to adjust after a full semester (possibly a full year?) with no classes like that.
  • Outside of classwork: my roommate got Sentinels of the Multiverse (aka one of my favorite strategy games ever) for Christmas, so we've been playing that a fair bit whenever we both have a decent chunk of spare time. I've gotten to test out different heroes, which is fun. My favorites are definitely Fanatic (basically a paladin with wings; she smites evil a bunch and occasionally heals people) and Chrono-Ranger (time-traveling cowboy and bounty hunter whose effectiveness is directly proportional to how many bounties he has out at any given time). I've also determined that how much I enjoy playing a character is determined as much by aesthetic as it is by mechanics.
  • My online D&D group is also still going strong. We had some MAJOR REVELATIONS dropped on us, not last session but the session before that, and some of us are still processing that, but we have a very clear objective in front of us right now, which is nice! And it does not involve negotiating with dragons other than the one in the party! Which my character is very happy about!
  • Also this month was CU Lead, which is a leadership conference that all org officers are required to go to. It was not a fabulous day — it rained, some of the vital conference information was only available in an app that I couldn't download, and there were a lot of people. But it was a lot more helpful than last year's conference, with more practical advice and less theory and devotional-type stuff, so that's good.
  • Additional not-terrible thing: CU Lead was the Saturday before MLK Day, and for the first time ever, we got MLK Day off from classes. So we had that day to make up all the homework and social stuff we didn't have time for on Friday, at least. And the chem club had a game night that evening, which was fun. (Oddly, the chem club game night was more fun than the Inklings game night this past week, even though I knew fewer people by far. I think it has to do with the personality dynamics of the people in the club.) And my roommate and I went to the Mexican restaurant down in the town for lunch, which was completely and utterly delicious.

February Plans

  • I have two basically-final projects that I plan to start this month (my Honors colloquium project and my aforementioned professional project) and it's so weird to think about that. Plus, of course, I have the usual projects and reading and such.
  • Writing-wise, I plan to keep going with roughly the same goal as I had this past month, but I'm upping the amount a little to 500 words or 30 minutes of writing, 5 days a week. I could probably go even higher if I wanted to, but I don't want to overdo anything, especially since I don't know how much time class projects will take up.
  • That writing, by the way, will hopefully include at least one, maybe two, Valentine's Day short stories (because it sounds like fun and I currently don't get to write any romantic scenes in my WIP). Watch for more about that on my Facebook page sometime today or tomorrow.
  • February also means Blind Date with a Book at the Cedarville University library, which I am super psyched for! I'm curious how they're going to handle it this year, but I'm sure it'll be great. I'm going to read so many books this month, haha.
  • Outside of that, D&D and orgs and such will probably proceed as per the usual. I do have a couple D&D and other tabletop RPG one-shots that I'm either running or participating in, which I'm excited for. (The one-shot I'm running is set in Eberron, which means I get to be steampunky and I get to mess around with an artificer NPC, so that'll be super fun.)
  • And, yeah. That's pretty much it. But I think it should be plenty to keep me busy.
How was your January? Have you been able to keep any of your resolutions or goals from the start of the New Year? What plans do you have for February? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade) 

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