FINALLY

I have been so, so down on the Marvel Cinematic Universe lately, but there are still a couple of projects coming that I’m genuinely excited about: specifically, the Disney+ series for Moon Knight, She-Hulk, and, of course, Ms. Marvel. Kamala Khan is one of my favorite comic book characters– there are two of her on my desk– and while they appear to have made some substantial changes to her powers and her origin for what mostly seem like reasonable reasons, the core of the character seems to be there. That “I’m a superhero!” dorky running away moment at the end there? That’s Kamala Khan. I don’t mind the look, at least, of the crystalline new power set, although I do hope they find some way to make her powers intrinsic to her and not something that’s triggered by those bracelets she puts on in one shot. I don’t have a problem with making her not an Inhuman, since the Inhumans are dumb not part of the MCU yet anyway, but I don’t want her powers to be part of her costume. Make ’em sparkly, whatever; she’s gonna be tricky for TV budgets anyway. Just make them her powers and make her her and I’m on board.

(I can– and have— bitch for hours about how the movies have fucked up Superman and Batman. I really don’t have any of those moments yet for Marvel characters. Once they got Tony Stark and Captain America perfect, I knew the characters were going to be in good hands, and I’ve not seen reason to back off on that initial assessment.)

Just … please, please, please, can we get through this series without the word “multiverse”?

Nerd project!

Yesterday, I had too many dice.

Today, I have too many dice and they are displayed on my wall in what is technically two nail polish racks, but who’s counting? Not me.

There is room for more, which is good, because I still have about seven or eight sets of dice that need to be displayed.

It is difficult to put into words just how happy this stupid little project has made me. My office is so much nerdier now.

New hotness, again

Pictured above: my original, loyal Das Keyboard, which provided me with seven years of service before something underneath the left half of the keyboard cracked while I was trying to fish a piece of debris out of it. Underneath: its replacement, which arrived today and is effectively the 2022 model of the same keyboard, except specific for my Mac and also featuring Cherry MX Brown switches instead of the Blues that were in the original keyboard. While I am a big fan of clicky keyboards, and Blue switches are the clickiest keys currently on the market, the fact that my wife and I are still frequently in the office together when one or both of us is in a meeting means that my preferred kind of keyboard is actually kinda rude compared to the standards of way back when I purchased it.

(Discovers, accidentally, that the crescent moon button in the upper right actually puts the computer to sleep. Whoops?)

Anyway, the media stuff has been moved to the top right there, away from the function keys, and I think I actually prefer the volume wheel, and the top layer of the keyboard is actually aluminum instead of plastic, and the riser that lifts the keyboard up to a proper angle is magnetic and has a ruler molded into it for some reason, but other than that, it’s still a keyboard! I’ve only typed the words you’re seeing on the screen right now with it, so it’s not like I’ve put the thing through its paces, but it’s not like it takes a lot of breaking in to decide if you like a keyboard. Mechanical keyboards are still the way to go for me, and I hate wireless keyboards– this one also has a USB 3 hub built into it, so that’s an improvement too, but it means the wire is required– but the key travel and bounce are both pretty damn good and the sound, while not as loud, is still pretty pleasing, and I don’t feel like I’m making a lot of errors while I’m typing, so everything’s doing what my fingers expect them to be doing. I just took a couple of typing tests and they came out at 85 and 91 wpm, which is a trifle slower than I’m used to, but it’ll do.


It is possible that I have made my last student loan payment. Not guaranteed yet, mind you, but possible. My loans have officially been consolidated, meaning that the current worst case scenario is that my payments are eventually around $330 a month instead of the $545 I’ve been paying since 2005. Since the government has my loans now, I’m automatically part of the suspension of payments program that’s been going on for the duration of the pandemic, so I won’t have to make that first payment at the new amount until May.

However, my application to have my loans forgiven through PSLF has already been submitted, too, and that’s supposed to take no more than 90 days for the full review, and once that review happens they’ll find that I’ve made well more than the 100 required qualifying payments. Loan payments start back up on May 22 (assuming that the program isn’t extended again) and that’s more than 90 days away. So while on paper I still owe a shitton of money, I’ll be saving those payments for the next couple of months (and putting them toward my car, which I expect to have paid off very soon) and the loans may very well be officially gone before I actually hit the day where I’d have to start paying the reduced amount.

This … is a real big deal. Real, real big.


Juuuuust in case you’re somehow not aware of it yet, I’ve got this little streaming the video games thing going over on YouTube, and I just started this cool little game called Dandara: Trials of Fear, so if you haven’t checked the channel out you have an exclusive chance to click on this link and then go be my 115th subscriber. C’mon, you know you want to. Even if you don’t really use YouTube all that often. Hell, especially if you don’t use YouTube all that often, because then it doesn’t even throw annoying videos you don’t want into the feed you’re not looking at. Go check it out.

A review of an actual book

I’m a hundred percent certain I’ve talked about this before: my wife and I both love to read. I read a lot faster than she does, but we have fairly similar tastes in reading material for the most part, so she only very rarely actually buys books. Generally once she finishes something she’ll ask me what I’ve read recently that she’ll want to read, or just go looking through the bookshelves that are slowly taking over our entire house until something strikes her fancy, and then she’ll read that.

There is a critical difference between the two of us here, because while we are both readers, I am also a book collector and my wife very much is not. She has very gently suggested to me a couple of times that we might possibly have too many books. I do not recognize that as a legitimate state of existence. “Too many books” is, for me, quite simply not a thing.

Which brings me to a little dilemma I’m having with James Islington’s The Shadow of What Was Lost.

I don’t like the story. I am not enjoying reading this book. The reasons aren’t especially interesting and fall into my Don’t Shit on Books Unnecessarily policy; I’m just not enjoying it very much, 200 or so pages into its 700 or so page length, with two more volumes already concluding the trilogy that are available but I haven’t bought.

The problem is the actual book— not the story, not the part you’re supposed to, like, look at, but the actual physical object itself that you hold in your hands– is amazing, at least in the paperback edition. The pages and especially the cover just feel great, and the book is exactly the right size, and it even smells good, and I know from seeing them in bookstores that the entire trilogy looks great on a shelf. So much so, as a matter of fact, that I’m considering going ahead and ordering the rest of the series just so that I can touch them and so that they can be on my bookshelves together, effectively as art pieces and not as things that convey a story. I mean, would I ever read them? Will I even finish this one, or will I DNF it and move on to something I’ll enjoy reading more? Or will I just keep reading it so I can hold it for longer, because it’s so pleasant to have in the hand?

This is … not a thing my wife understands. As marital incompatibilities go, I’ll take it, believe me, but if I end up ordering the next couple of books I might have to find a way to put them somewhere she won’t find them. Not quite sure how that’s gonna work, but we’ll see what I can come up with.

On creativity, and taking showers

I’ll get to the image in a minute, don’t worry.

Also, this one’s going to be kind of stream-of-consciousness, sorry about that.

I just took a shower– yes, it’s 3:00 in the afternoon, it’s also Saturday, shut up– and while I was in the shower I was, as one does, putting together a blueprint in my head for the dedicated library that I will eventually have in the house that we don’t have yet. I am not joking when I say I have been thinking about this room for most of my life, and until I live in a house with this room, built to my specifications, I am immortal, because I plan to die in my library with my feet up and a book in my hand and simply am going to refuse to go any other way.

This isn’t about the room, specifically, but it’s what led me down the path: thick, plush burgundy carpet. Two expensive leather chairs, the type with hand-driven nailhead accents (this, roughly, but I’m picturing a slightly lighter leather) and two matching ottomans, each with a reading lamp on a chairside end table, facing a fireplace at an angle. Behind the chairs, an executive desk. Bookshelves lining the walls up to an angled ceiling with exposed beams and skylights. Behind the desk, the shelves would come into the room at 90 degree angles to the walls, too– as many nooks as the room could hold.

And above that fireplace, the piece of artwork I have pictured above. That’s a style of artwork called bunka, which is basically painting with needle and thread. While it’s done with a pattern, the entire thing was done by hand– and this one specifically was made by my grandmother. She made enough of them that she had seven children and most of her grandkids have at least one piece by her in their homes; we have two, this one (technically my uncle’s, who gave it to me for safekeeping at one point when he was moving a lot, but he’s never getting it back) and another of Scamp from Lady and the Tramp that hung in both my room and my son’s room when we were very young.

My grandmother was crafty as hell, and we all have tons of stuff that she made, ranging from those bunka pictures to ceramics to intricate Christmas ornaments made with beads and fishing line. I don’t know if she ever drew or painted with, like, actual paint— I suspect not, because if she did surely we’d have some examples around– but she must have always been making things with whatever the hell spare time she managed to find while raising seven kids.

And thinking about all of that got me wondering what my grandmother would have done if she’d had access to a 3D printer. And … man, that’s a rabbit hole. I have often lamented my lack of ability to Make Things, which honestly is probably more of a reflection of my unwillingness to spend the time learning how to Make Things, but more and more lately I’m pushing the TikTok algorithm toward showing me people who are doing art of some kind or another, whether it’s painting or sculpture or 3d art or carpenters or resin art or miniature painting or Gunpla or god those people who make like entire D&D castles and taverns and scenery sets out of styrofoam and shit, they’re amazing, or digital artwork or oh my God the cosplayers and there was a bookmaking account that I really love that went dormant on me and I really miss it. I actually bought a bunch of bookmaking supplies and managed to make a little notebook for my son, which to my great gratification he still uses and carries around with him a lot, but I’ve not yet started a second one.

Grandma just, y’know, went out and made stuff, while her grandson sits around and wonders what he could make “if he had time,” when he’s spending 20 hours a day fucking around on his phone and not raising seven kids.

I should maybe follow her example.