Tuesday 28 November 2023

Italy trip photos

My recent trip to Italy was done to research as many medieval (and older) sites as I could hit. I saw a number of baptistries, cathedrals, churches, museums, and old cities. It was amazing.

I've made an album with some of the more interesting photos from my trip to Italy. If you want information on the photos, check out the album at Flickr

Italy Research Trip

Sunday 19 November 2023

The Escapist video team starts Second Wind

I'm not sure what my audience here is interested in, so I'm basically posting the kinds of things that interest me. I've been watching the video game youtube channel The Escapist for years. I remember when Yahtzee Croshaw and Jim Sterling did poetry jams. The last few years the channel grew and added a lot of new shows and personnel. One of my favourite shows there is the D&D campaign Adventure is Nigh (season 1).

A few weeks ago, The Escapist's parent company fired the editor-in-chief, and the entire video team quit in protest. They've created a new company: Second Wind. So far their youtube channel's uploaded a few videos either wholesale from The Escapist (if the creator was an independent) or a modified version (if the creator was a full employee, whose IP videos belong to The Escapist). 

So, Yahtzee's Zero Punctuation, a sarcastic video game review show, has been reborn as Fully Ramblomatic. It's a fun show so long as you're ok with adult content and swearing. I also enjoy Design Delve (if you're interested in what makes video games work behind the scenes), and Cold Take (if you like to consider the philosophical side of games). I'm hoping they start a new D&D campaign too.

The Second Wind crew's great and it's really impressive how quickly they've bounced back with this channel and content. I'm looking forward to see what new shows they come up with and watching them for years to come.

Tuesday 14 November 2023

I'm back from Vacation

I spent a month in Italy on a research trip, taking photos of lots of churches, baptistries, hill towns and more. Jetlag's been hard to kick, so it's taking me longer to get back up to speed than I'd like.

Last year I promised to post some photos of France and apparently I forgot to do so. One reason is that I had a lot of blurry shots and got a photo sharpening ai program. Fixing those photos took up a lot of time. But I will try to get some photos of both France and Italy up on my blog on the sooner side. I got an account on flickr so I can share photos here more easily (I hope).

I didn't get any reading done on the trip. The stress of going from place to place, plus the amount of time it took for me to back-up my photos every night in case something went wrong/was lost/stolen meant I didn't have much free time. I saw a lot of great stuff and took a LOT of photos.

I have another research trip I'm planning for so I'm not sure how much fiction I'll be reading in the next few months. Probably not much. I have a long list of history and religion books I want to get through as well as general city research for each place on my itinerary. I prepare detailed floor plans for churches, with diagrams or layouts of the more interesting sculptural programs (generally on portals and the west facade). All of this takes a lot of time.

So while I'm hoping to keep up posting here, it may be bi-weekly for the next few months. I'll have to see.

Thursday 2 November 2023

Books Received in October 2023

I'm back from vacation and have requested 2 books that come out next year for review. Many thanks to the publishers who approved my requests.

Mislaid in Parts Half-Known by Seanan McGuire - The next book in the Wayward Children series. It takes place after Lost in the Moment and Found, so isn't a good starting point if you've not read the other books.

Antsy is the latest student to pass through the doors at Eleanor West's School for Wayward Children.

When the school’s (literally irresistible) mean girl realizes that Antsy's talent for finding absolutely anything may extend to doors, Antsy is forced to flee in the company of a small group of friends, looking for a way back to the Shop Where the Lost Things Go to be sure that Vineta and Hudson are keeping their promise.

Along the way, they will travel from a world which hides painful memories that cut as sharply as its beauty, to a land that time wasn’t yet old enough to forget—and more than one student's life will change forever.

Mislaid in Parts Half-Known is a story that reminds us that getting what you want doesn't always mean finding what you need.

Strange Religion by Nijay K. Gupta - I've been looking for a book that explains how ancient Romans practiced their religion and how that differed from early Christian practice. I'm hoping this is that book.

The first Christians were weird. Just how weird is often lost on today's believers.

Within Roman society, the earliest Christians stood out for the oddness of their beliefs and practices. They believed unusual things, worshiped God in strange ways, and lived a unique lifestyle. They practiced a whole new way of thinking about and doing religion that would have been seen as bizarre and dangerous when compared to Roman religion and most other religions of the ancient world.

Award-winning author, blogger, speaker, and New Testament teacher Nijay Gupta traces the emerging Christian faith in its Roman context in this accessible and engaging book. Christianity would have been seen as radical in the Roman world, but some found this new religion attractive and compelling. The first Christians dared to be different, pushed the boundaries of what was acceptable, transformed how people thought about religion, and started a movement that grew like wildfire.

Brought to life with numerous images, this book shows how the example of the earliest Christians can offer today's believers encouragement and hope.