Wednesday, March 21, 2018

DUCKY, Dungeons and Dragons & Daria Skrybchenko

Weekly Update 2018-12: This week was a hard one. Between getting a nail in my bike tire, dealing with some tiring clients, and spending the weekend working an estate sale, I'm spent in every sense. 

Bright, dynamic music by DUCKY, a healthy dose of Dungeons & Dragons and the illustration of Daria Skrybchenko got me through. 

A post shared by AWFUL BABY (@awful_baby) on

Above image by Awful Baby, an illustrator I found via a mural I saw in Portland last summer.

Music: DUCKY
Moving my SoundCloud music to Spotify was literally the best decision I ever made. Not only is everything nice, neat and saved for if/when SoundCloud goes under and/or denies me free access, I now have a place to revisit all the songs I originally fell in love with. There are definitely a few overlooked ones, especially the music of Los Angeles-based producer DUCKY.

DUCKY classifies herself as the first lady of brostep. Her music is that of clouded visions of dancefloors at 2AM and ranges from soft and intimate to full-on hardcore in a moment. I think the emotion behind her music is what draws me to it, even for synthesized sounds coming out of a computer, it seems truly genuine.

Favourite tracks include Hey, Winter Song and You Don't Really Know.

I have been looking for ways to get back into podcasts to accompany my more frequent bike rides as the weather warms up. Someone must have heard me because my acquaintance Nadia Halim has just launched a podcast called Opposite of Lonely that is basically exactly what I am looking for. I haven't listened to the first episode yet (will do this week) but it sounds very promising: interviews with Dylan Reid (co-founder of Spacing Magazine) and Wendy Banks (librarian at Toronto Public Library), and a general tone of how to connect socially in a big city.

After another hour of work, I finally have a somewhat-complete SoundCloud playlist on Spotify. I realized that greyed out songs are available in Spotify but not in my country, so that's out. And adding songs from one's own library doesn't give me the expected results either - they don't save to the Spotify Music Cloud. So that's pretty much that. 288 songs in the playlist with another 151 unavailable on SoundCloud. All that's left is to find track listings from the big list of DJ mixes, import those into the playlist, and it's done.

My father's estate sale this weekend ran pretty smoothly. This is the first time I have been available to help for both days of the weekend (plus the extra day the previous week) so I got to experience everything: keeping people from stealing items, answering questions, upselling, packing, cashier, lugging items to people's cars, taking deposits on larger items to be picked up after the sale, and a mailbox Bunz trade between Saturday and Sunday to the sale house itself (dental floss for iced tea - which came in handy). I was so happy to see all these items get saved from landfill and find a new home with someone who will cherish them. As I have said since forever, it is a great thing that our possessions can be used and loved long after we die. Our memories can live on in that way. Personally, I got a cool set of ombre lowball glasses and a button-down collared shirt.

I really like the way my dad labels items. I took home the "Yes! Wow!" glasses.

The sign goes up in the window to tell people they've found the right place.

But they don't really need the signs - this picture was taken at 7:15am on Saturday - many of our customers beat us to the sale (so they could get in first at 8:00am).

I had committed to a Dungeons and Dragons campaign at work a couple weeks ago but regarding the emotional drain on my life lately from multiple sources, when the day rolled around yesterday I was feeling like skipping it. In the end, I forced myself to attend, and I'm really glad I did. I managed to scrape together a pretty cool backstory and feel like this particular group of people will be really fun to play a campaign with. One of us is getting on a little in years, which is to say that he's been playing D&D since it came out. On top of that, it's always been a challenge to get some of our meeker coworkers to participate in social events, but this one seems to have brought some of us out of our shells which is great to see.

This being my third campaign (third time's the charm), I am a wood elf ranger, aged 248 (similar to my age in human years). I grew up in the woods with my family, having a pretty normal childhood. I don't remember much of my elven family, except that they were a tribe of marauders who all perished tragically during a raid gone wrong. I was the only one left of my whole tribe, and didn't know my way home at such a young age. As I wandered through the woods, a dragon found me and took me back to its cave. It didn't eat me (obviously) presumably because it wanted me to grow a bit to make a better meal. In the meantime, I was set free when a wandering group of adventurers vanquished the dragon. I was afraid of them as well so I ran away without giving them thanks.

I still didn't know much about fending for myself so a pack of wolves took pity on me and took me in. They raised me and taught me everything I know about the woods. Now, I protect the forest creatures from harm by slaying beasts with my bow and arrows. I have 20 dexterity (which is the highest you can have) and 6 charisma (very, very low) so I have trouble relating to others and prefer to keep to myself.

We've got a merry band of six players (most of us new to the game and world) so our dungeon master (the game operator) suggested that we try a tactic for new players - try to make up a backstory of how our characters might know each other. We are:

  • Taleisin Quingeiros, a wood elf ranger (me)
  • Callon, a high elf knight (Danielle)
  • Scheherazade Skarsgard, a dragonborn soldier (Nadia)
  • Vishrala, a dark elf bard of sailor origin (Esme)
  • Luxitor, a human sorceror (Lars)
  • Tiethan, a half-human warlock (Robert)
  • and Corey, the DM!

I have a meeting with my mentor at my synagogue on Sunday, so I'd like to sort through my notes and research and decide how to move forward. I think I'll have time for this on Saturday morning before I go to see Infinity Mirrors at the AGO! How exciting.

I'd also like to listen to the first podcast episode of Opposite of Lonely, probably on the way to synagogue since it's so far. And after that, I'll be heading back to my parents house to help them prepare for their very own sale - a garage sale in the early summer to get rid of a bunch of their stuff.

Random Thought:
I've been noticing that meal prep services are all the rage lately, cheaper than a restaurant meal but more expensive than buying ingredients yourself at the supermarket since they're delivered to your door and pre-measured. I suppose the true profit in it is that these services buy the ingredients in bulk (perhaps from the Toronto Food Terminal?) and reap the savings as they charge you for the small portion you need.

I watched a video about a woman who hosts “salad parties” once a month in her home - everyone brings five mason jars and some amount of money - and she preps all the ingredients ahead to allow them to fill their jars and reap the benefits of purchasing ingredients in bulk. There's something we can learn from that process. So here's my idea:

As part of a home economics/cooking/life skills class, elementary schools could build their own meal prep services. Teachers would help the students to create/source the recipes, have the ingredients delivered in bulk (or even grow some of them themselves in a school garden), and the students could individually package and box the meal prep to bring home to their parents. The learning continues at home when they cook together, and a meal is made. Since this is already a lucrative business, schools could undercut the cost of a normal service while still fundraising the excess profit for better school supplies. Seems like a win-win-win situation to me. Patent pending.

Inspiration: Daria Skrybchenko
Illustration is often a mirror into the soul of the artist. This seems especially true of Daria Skrybchenko, a Ukrainian editorial illustrator specializing in advertising and game art. Before I show you her work, I'd like to point out that in her bio, she states that she enjoys “chasing cute fluffs on streets and documenting their secret urban life.” So now you know that.

Find more of Skrybchenko's work on her website.

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