Friday, January 29, 2021

January 2021 Doings!

Hey'a, all! It's the first Doings! of 2021, and we're off to a good start! Like last month, we're a little early, but I want to leave more Fridays open for February is Fantasy Month posts. (It's really nice to have a clear direction or theme for my posts for a month, and I want to take full advantage of it.) Also, there's only a few days left in the month, so . . . yeah. We'll be good.


  • So, I am still behind on the TMS sequel. That's less surprising in hindsight than you'd think; I am often not a good judge of how long things will take and how much time a particular unit actually is. So I may have been a bit overambitious in judging how much I could actually get done.
  • (The fact that my weekends consistently ended up busier than I expected them to also didn't help, for the the record. I had other projects that took more time than I anticipated.)
  • Nonetheless, I did write some. A fair bit, even. I'm currently somewhere around 66K words spread over 31 chapters, and I think I should only have a few more chapters to go. We'll be finishing close to the wire, but we will finish on time. Even if I have to call off a couple D&D sessions to get it done.
  • Speaking of D&D, that's going . . . reasonably well. Writing that project is also running behind, but my player tend to move slowly enough that it's not a huge issue. I should have enough material for the next few sessions, and if all else fails . . . well, I recently managed to run a whole session mostly by improv (like, about 10-15% of it was stuff I'd actually prepared), so I feel like I'll be ok even if I don't do as much prep as I'd like.


  • This was simultaneously a very light and very heavy reading month, in more senses than one. It was light in that I only read four and two halves books this month. It was heavy in that one of those half books was . . . this.

Image of Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson

  • I started Rhythm of War on January 4, the day before I started work. I'd prepped a little by rereading Edgedancer (on New Year's Eve/New Year's Day, because that seemed appropriate) and by reading Dawnshard (which was a pretty excellent novel aside from the fact that I don't enjoy Lopen as a POV character in large doses). Those were novellas or short novels, and I finished them in a matter of a day. Rhythm of War, on the other hand, I still haven't finished, mostly because . . . work. Also, I've found out that reading it before bed often makes it harder to sleep rather than easier (because I am terrified for these characters; I know there's another six books, but that's not helping), so sometimes I read other things.
  • Like these:

  • Furiously Happy is another blogger biography, this one by Jenny Lawson (also known as The Bloggess). Much like Allie Brosh's biographies that I read last year, I have somewhat mixed feelings about this one. I liked it better on the whole than Brosh's books, but . . . sometimes, Lawson's sense of humor is more inappropriate than I really appreciate. Let's put it that way. (Also, while there are aspects of her philosophy on life that I can appreciate, there are other aspects that I very much don't agree with.) I still enjoyed reading it, and I think it was helpful to read, in a sense. But I don't expect I'll reread it.
  • We Never Talk About My Brother is an anthology by Peter S. Beagle, the author of The Last Unicorn (which I haven't read but am going to. Y'know. As soon as I finish Rhythm of War.) I picked it up for the first story, "Uncle Chaim and Aunt Rifke and the Angel," though I can't remember exactly why I was so intent on reading that story. It's been interesting. Not my favorite anthology I've ever read, but also not the worst.


  • I haven't really watched much this month, due to the fact that I've been, y'know, kinda busy. I'm pretty sure I only watched two movies this whole month. One, The Lemon Drop Kid, was in the first week of January, at the tail end of the Christmas movie season. I definitely hope to watch that one again next Christmas; it's basically what you'd get if someone crossed The Music Man and The Sting and then made it Christmas. So, naturally, I approve wholeheartedly.
  • The other movie I watched was You've Got Mail. A friend of mine really likes it (hi, Emma!), and since I watched Shop Around the Corner in December, I wanted to see the remake. It was a good movie, and I can tell why people enjoy it, though it wasn't a new favorite by any means. I mean, I would watch it again, but I wouldn't request it.
  • Other than that . . . I'm on Episode 4_ of Critical Role, slowly but surely plugging away. I'm basically done with the Avantika arc, at least, so I'm happy about that. And the last few episodes were really good. Even #45, which was looooong and had a guest player, which I . . . usually don't enjoy that much? And I was very uncertain about this new person at the start of the episode. But it wound up being pretty awesome.
  • (Also, I accidentally saw spoilers for Episode 122, and spent almost 24 hours in a mild panic over what had happened to my favorite character and what kind of bad life choices he had made. And then I caved to said panic and looked up spoilers. I don't actually feel bad about it because I came into the fandom already knowing a lot of spoilers, and I still maintain that knowing these moments and events are coming and then getting to actually discover the real context adds to the experience. But yeah. That happened.)


  • So, the big news at the moment is, of course, that I started a new job on January 5. That's obviously been keeping me quite busy as I figure out how to balance work, writing, family, fun, and rest. It's . . . more challenging than I expected it to be. I'm sure I'll get the rhythm of it before too long, but for now . . . Well, we're still figuring it out.
  • I am enjoying the job itself fairly well. It's interesting work, but not too difficult. There's been nothing in my work thus far that I didn't have a reference point for, so the real difficulty is in learning the people and the environment and adapting what I know to the current situation. That and getting used to spending almost an hour and a half in the car every day . . . there are much worse commutes out there, and it's a good opportunity to unwind with some good music, but it's still a very different situation from my last internship.
  • (I also ended up getting beset by technological issues pretty much as soon as the person training me left, which was . . . not ideal, since almost all of those issues effectively, in some fashion, prevented me from doing my actual job. And they were almost all linked, all but one, because the fix for the first caused the second, and the fix for the second caused the third, and in the end I spent all of Thursday and more time than I'd have liked on Tuesday and Wednesday either on the phone or in chat with tech support or else just sitting at my desk and watching as the tech support guy tried to remotely figure out what the heck was wrong with my computer/account/whatever. We are all very appreciative of tech support guy (aka Daniel), who is doing his best and is very nice about how frustrating it probably was to try to fix all the mess. Especially the bits that he called "extremely mysterious.")
  • On a happier note, I did finally finish the freelance design project that had been taking up a lot of my time in November and December. I'm happier with how the second half of the project turned out than the first, but in general I'm glad to be done. I had some ideas at one point about doing freelancing on the side in addition to working and writing, but I don't think that's going to happen.
  • Outside of work, life's been quiet. One of my D&D campaigns seems to be going on pause for a while because the DM is busy with other life stuff. But the other is progressing in some very exciting directions, and everyone's been getting some really great roleplay opportunities. So that's great.
  • One exciting thing that did happen this month: in keeping with my "year of finally," I have at last checked off two recipes from my "want-to-try" list! One is naan-type flatbread — it's not actually naan; that has yogurt in it; but it's similar. We used this recipe from King Arthur Baking, and it turned out very well. Then, the next weekend, I decided that I wanted a break from sourdough and instead made bagels! They had a noticeably different crust texture than store-bought bagels do, but I think they turned out well, and they were surprisingly easy to make. In many respects, it was really just a matter of making a thick roll dough, poking a hole in the dough-ball, and then boiling them before I baked them.
  • I think I also landed on a decent minimum-effort sourdough recipe that'll work for weekday nights. While I was very happy with the recipe I came up with back in November or December, it required me to babysit the bread dough for four hours, which isn't really feasible when I'm at work all day and like to get to bed at a reasonable time of night. The new, quicker version is less soft and fluffy than the four-hour version, but it's not as dense as the original recipe, and it has a good flavor. So I'm calling that a win.

February Plans

  • Obviously, the main non-work plan for February is to finish the TMS sequel as soon as possible. I'd like to get it written and then give it a thorough initial edit before I send it to Kendra. We may have to settle for a less-thorough-than-I'd-like edit, but that's fine. Whatever edits I have to do will be much less extensive than what I did for Mechanical Heart, and the TMS sequel is still shorter than Mechanical Heart was (and will be shorter still, since a lot of edits will be cutting words), so, yeah. We'll manage.
  • Aside from that, I need to finish writing, or at least finish outlining, the current D&D arc. I have all the things that need to happen in my head, but not on paper (real or digital). So that might be a good problem to fix sooner rather than later.
  • I would also like to finish Rhythm of War and then read books that are not RoW. It's a great book, don't get me wrong, but I'm realizing why other people are intimidated by these books and long books in general. (Also, I don't want to get behind on my goal to finish my LOTR reread/reread and read the WoT books.)
  • I don't have any big plans on the baking front, but we'll see what happens. I'm sure I'll make something delicious.
  • Finally, in the blogging sphere, we have February is Fantasy Month and Valentine's Day, so we should have some fun posts coming up. I'm excited.

How was your January? Any exciting plans for February? What are your opinions on going into a fandom knowing spoilers? Have you ever made bagels (or would you want to)? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!


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