What EWE and Editor Have Learned From Blogging

Hello, mortals!  Well, are we in for a treat today.  You see, my fellow spell-slinger, The Well-Red Mage posted a query to our blogging community, wanting to know the answer to the following:

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Me?  You want to ask me, the living embodiment of snark and cynicism what I’ve learned since I started communicating with you feeble humans?  Oh, now you’re…in for…what’s that sound?  Music?

………

Hello, friends – Editor here.  I thought that the Well-Red Mage’s question deserved some thoughtfulness and introspection, and well…I think we all know that those aren’t the first things that EWE goes to when a query is posed to him.  So, I decided that I would be a better fit to respond for the both of us.  Don’t worry – he’ll be ok.  See, he doesn’t know it, but all I have to do is put on something relatively sad and/or sappy (in this case, “After All” by Cher and Peter Cetera) and he goes completely catatonic.  It’s like rolling a shark over onto it’s back – and since I’ve compiled an entire Spotify playlist of them, he’ll be locked up for hours.  Don’t tell him though – typically he has no memory of it once he snaps out of it, and his denial is rather amusing.

EWE and Editor After All

So…what have we learned since our first blog post?  My goodness – it’s been a little less than a year, but it almost seems like forever.  As those of you who have been following this little literary lark for a while know, this blog began as a coping mechanism.  A short time before, our world had come crashing down at the hands of the person we trusted most.  The resulting depression was very, VERY deep – and but for the intervention of our eternal bestie, Malevolent Moogle, as well as some unexpected kindness from some fantastic folks at IGN, it might have been permanent.  But they brought us back from the edge of that abyss, and then the question became what to do in order to begin to heal the wounds and be able to connect with people again.  Having always enjoyed writing, the decision to try blogging seemed somewhat obvious.

As anyone that looks back at those first few entries can attest to, EWE was firmly in control of our little endeavor – I was only able to prevent him from making any truly horrific mistakes.  And that was a direct reflection of the place we were in – hurt, angry, and alone.  But then something completely unexpected happened, and it leads into what I’ve learned.  As trite as it may sound, I learned that I wasn’t alone.  I was welcomed into the blogging community by so many other amazing, talented writers.  I developed friendships with fantastic people from all over the world, whom I’ve never seen, but who have been there to listen to me and share in my journey back from the place I was in.  And slowly, but surely, they helped to draw the scattered pieces of me back together so that EWE and myself could start to reassemble them.

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This is actually an incredibly accurate depiction of EWE and Editor – which can’t possibly be healthy.

Along the way, as I found myself again, this blog found its voice as well.  In the beginning, I honestly didn’t know what this would be – other than a place for EWE to vent and melt down without resorting to screaming at stuffed animals like a COMPLETE lunatic.  But as my friendships with so many talented people in the games and entertainment community grew, I found a niche in offering my thoughts on all sorts of offerings in my hobbies of choice.  As someone who has often sought escape from my world into those of others, I’ve always loved books, movies, comics, manga, anime – anything that I could get lost in, with characters I could grow attached to.  And then there was my day job as an attorney – one of the few things that I can claim without feeling arrogant to be fairly good at.  There are my posts about cooking, which grew from something I only liked doing when I could do it for someone else into something I get to share with all of you.  And so, while it may seem like a fairly eclectic hodgepodge of subject matter, it is me.  In sharing all of these things with others, I found that I was opening up more to all of you than I had to almost anyone else, ever.  And while EWE would likely kill me for telling you all this – I’ve been grateful for the acceptance I’ve found in doing so.

Have there been setbacks?  Of course there have.  I’ve been called pathetic some whom I hold very dear; I’ve been mocked by some that don’t see why I even bother with this blog as an outlet.  But instead of letting those define me, I have instead focused on the support I have continued to have from my friends and loved ones, both in my daily life and in the wider Internet community.  It’s a process, and one that I keep working at each and every day.  So in a way, what I’ve learned since first starting my blog is something that I’m still continuing to learn each day.  As Tolkien put it:

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And so, I’ll keep following the road, wherever it leads.  And I’ll continue to be grateful for each of you that is beside me along the way.

Now, it would appear that EWE appears to coming out of his daze, which is my queue to quietly step aside.  Thanks to you all for indulging in a little introspection with me!  And remember – don’t tell EWE about our little trick.  First, it’s unlikely to keep working if he were to catch on.  And also, there’s a decent chance he’d be so humiliated that he’d burn the entire globe to a cinder. – Editor

EWE and Editor After After All

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Did Trump admit to felony obstruction of justice on NBC?

A bit of a break from some of the normal fun fare – remember the “Esq.” part of the name, too. This is a tremendous post regarding a substantive criminal act by a sitting president. Once I have had time to do some research of my own, I will share my personal thoughts on the issue, but in the meantime – you should read this, kiddos.

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We are in unprecedented territory, but one can make an argument that in tonight’s NBC interview, Trump just confessed to the high crime of obstruction of justice in violation of 18 U.S.C. Sections 1503 and 1505.

You can find the text of the interview with Lester Holt here.  This is Trump’s key admission: “And in fact when I decided to just do it [fire Comey,] I said to myself, I said, ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story, it’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should’ve won.’”  

This is a direct admission that he fired Comey because he wanted to end the Russian investigation. Of course, it is possible for a Trump defender to play semantics, but Trump is making the causal link here himself: When I decided to fire Comey, I was focused on stopping…

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Dungeons & Dragons and MORE Dungeons & Dragons

Salutations, creatures!  I’ve missed you, too – so much so that I’ve found myself slaughtering villages out of irritability rather than solely for funsies, like I normally do.  But now here we are, together again, and just in time to discuss one of my favorite all-time subjects – Dungeons & Dragons.  Now, what brings this on, you may ask?  Well, answering that leads us to the first recommendation I have for you this week!

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A while back, I was in the bookstore and saw this sitting there and realized I had never before explored the Dragonlance campaign setting of D&D.  Also, I have a tendency to read several books at a time, and I wasn’t reading any fantasy novels at that moment.  And since this was the first book in the campaign setting, I couldn’t help but jump headfirst into YET ANOTHER fictional universe that will end up costing me lots of time and money to fully explore.  But…should I even bother?

So, the story behind the Dragonlance setting is that Weis and Hickman decided that classic Dungeons & Dragons was somewhat lacking in the dragon part of the equation, and so they decided to remedy that.  Now, this series was originally published beginning in 1984, and it wasn’t exactly the most original of works.  Tanis Half-Elven, a (gasp!) half-elf jack-of-all-trades, his surly dwarven warrior ally Flint, stoic and honorable knight Sturm, and twin brothers Caramon (a kind, gigantic, and simple-minded warrior) and Raistlin (a laughably evil mage) are a classic adventuring party who find themselves drawn into a quest to protect barbarian princess Goldmoon and her love, Riverwind, after the pair discover a mysterious crystal staff and subsequently rediscover the clerical magic of the lost gods of Krynn.

This is all about managing your expectations.  If you’re looking for the next coming of Tolkien, well, keep looking.  But even though this world and it’s characters feel like they were taken from ye olde grab bagge of fantasy tropes, just because they are tropey doesn’t mean they aren’t well-crafted and developed.  As the first book in a trilogy, Autumn Twilight does a fantastic job of resolving it’s own internal plot while still introducing plenty of elements to set up the larger conflict.  All-in-all, if you’re a fan of classic fantasy settings and stories, Dragons of Autumn Twilight is a fun, breezy read.  Recommended!

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All the reading about D&D had me hankering for some classic D&D video gaming, and it doesn’t get more classic than Baldur’s Gate!  I originally played it way back in the day, but the great folks at Beamdog decided that it was time to update this classic masterpiece for modern gaming systems.  And what a fantastic job they did with that – maintaining the classic elements of the game while retouching the visuals and adding some quality of life improvements that the original release lacked.  Hence we have Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition.

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Ah, the sweet Infinity Engine.

Now, for you younger people out there, Baldur’s Gate was designed off of the classic Advanced D&D 2nd Edition rules, which are very different from the modern rules many of you may be used to.  While the mechanics are all handled by the engine behind the scenes, it still results in a much higher early-game difficulty level than any modern equivalent.  Expect to spend lots of time in combat watching everyone swing and miss everyone else.  But that isn’t to say that all of the archaic elements of the game are left untouched – the previous journal in the game was next to useless in keeping track of quests, but the new journal function is much better.  But that isn’t the biggest news – Beamdog, in addition to releasing Enhanced Editions of Baldur’s Gate and it’s sequel, it also developed and released an entirely new expansion – Siege of Dragonspear.  Intended to bridge the gap between Baldur’s Gate and Baldur’s Gate II, I can’t wait to finish running my half-elf cleric/mage through the first game so I can see what this new adventure has to offer.

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These are clearly absolute classics, but that isn’t to say they are perfect.  Inventory management is still pretty awful even with the efforts Beamdog took to improve it.  You will still be loading saved games after your party is decimated by gibberlings.  You’ll still probably swear several times that you’ve rolled a useless character and start over.  But in the end, you’ll love it, because they just don’t make games like this anymore.

Until next time, kiddos, remember – as great as D&D is, sometimes you roll a 1…just like the entire United States did in the last election. – EWE