The New Testament and Bird Box

One of my goals for 2018 had been to read through the entire Bible, a goal I did not complete. However, this morning I finished my NT read through with the book of Revelation.

It was interesting timing because yesterday I watched Bird Box, a recent Netflix movie set in an apocalypse. The main idea is that there is some sort of evil demon monster that causes people to commit suicide if they see it. Quite graphic, disturbing, and the characters spend much of the movie blindfolded.

So as I was reading about the end of time in the Bible I was making these connections between plagues, Satan run amok, angelic hosts and the woe to those humans unfortunate enough to live through the terrible end of Earth as we know it. Mildly amusing and entirely unexpected.

This reminds me that our current experiences in life, with art, and other factors can influence the lens with which we approach other arts, in this case my Bible reading. I’ll revisit this goal again in 2019 and should meet it this time.

Reflections on Foundation by Asimov

This past summer I started reading many of the works by Isaac Asimov for the first time. He has three major series and I read the first two this summer. They were quite good, and his final series was originally a trilogy. It is actually expanded to seven books and I finished the first one last week.

Foundation is the third book chronologically, in the series, but was the first one written. I decided to read the books in the order written rather than in the internal narrative chronology. I’m happy with this decision and Foundation was not what I expected.

The unique thing about Foundation is that the story takes place over a very long period of time. Chapters or books in the series may continue directly after the previous chapter or they may skip ahead in time by decades or centuries.

This was disorienting at first, but I see now that this is the whole point of the story. To relate the story of the rise and fall of an entire civilization that spans a galaxy, much time must be covered in the narrative.

An interesting side effect of this is that main characters in one chapter may become heroes of old, generations removed, in the next chapter and with new characters!

I’ve already started book two and am half way through it. I plan to zip through these remaining books quickly so that I can focus on my reading goals come 2019. My starting place is the works of Shakespeare alongside the King James Bible (1611) and the Book of Common Prayer (1662) to give me a foundation in modern English works.

Role Playing Games

One year ago I pretty much gave up a major past time, which was playing video games. The only games I really play any more are card games and board games with my family, and role playing games.

My role playing game of choice is Dungeons & Dragons, and I have a few places where I play it currently. I mostly serve as a game master when I play, and have spent most of the past year and a half playing the new fifth edition (5e) of D&D.

My brother mentioned recently that he now mostly plays a newer gaming system called Shadow of the Demon Lord. It’s a horror fantasy style game. What is really interesting to me is watching how the creator, Robert Schwalb, DMs his own game.

Essentially, Schwalb puts the story elements first, and seldom gets hung up on game mechanics. He also has an rather interesting dark humor approach to his games. I’m going to try to emulate the speed of his story telling in my future games.

More on this as I modify my 5e D&D games, and especially if I try out this new system.

The True Cost

I was reading a men’s blog yesterday and it mentioned a film on Netflix called The True Cost. Well, I was intrigued and started watching it, but will have to finish it later. So far it has been good. Reminds me of shows like Supersize Me, and some other food related movies. However this one is from the angle of the fashion industry and global supply of clothes. What was mind blowing is that Monsanto features prominently in the film, not due to genetically modified seeds for food, but GMO cotton for making clothes! Definitely recommend watching this one if you haven’t heard of it or seen it yet.