The Zoo, Reductions, & Current Readings

My wife and I went to the Indianapolis Zoo today. We got a membership. We both like to go and just watch the animals. Her favorites are the walruses. My favorites are the giraffes. And we’re both fond of the cheetahs, especially when they’re up and around. The larger animals in particular have such grace, a relaxed confidence of movement. They’re beautiful and soothing to watch. Also, the zoo has lots of cool birds, so that’s nice for me.

The zoo’s in walking distance, so I expect (and hope) that we’ll be getting quite a few more visits in with this membership than the average. Then again, what is the average? Maybe 3 or 4 times a year, if you have kids? I suspect that the people who most frequent the zoo also tend to live further away from it, out in the suburbs. Disposable income and younglings who want to go, but maybe not the time or desire to make more than a few trips in a year.

I have some pictures I want to share, but this post will have some other announcements; check out my following post (if you haven’t already) to see the pictures. To begin with, I enjoy posting new entries roughly twice a week, and I think Sunday and Thursday work as well as any other days. But I’ve spent a lot of time playing and writing about Arena, and it’s fun until it isn’t, and it sometimes feels like a chore. I end up skipping Thursdays, the usual Arena days, out of avoidance or because I haven’t had enough time to play (or both), and then sometimes I write a silly sort-of-apologetic post (but why? I’m basically writing for myself and grateful for anyone who gets any sort of enjoyment out of these posts), and sometimes I don’t post at all. It’s not a great model of balance and sustainability. At the same time, I do enjoy playing Arena in small amounts, and I do enjoy writing about my experiences with the game. I think I’ll just cut back to intermittent Arena posts–maybe roughly monthly, more flexible and less frequent to reflect my schedule. This will give me more time to pursue my other projects (work, life, writing, etc.), and I won’t feel so guilty or pressured to write or play a game more than I really want. This is basically just a formal adoption of an informal policy, but I still felt the need to say it, so there. Now, I should still have posts every Sunday and Thursday, but the number of posts about Arena will be far fewer.

In other news, I’m currently reading three books. They are Hoosiers: A New History of Indiana, by James H. Madison; Star Wars: Kenobi, by John Jackson Miller; and Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View, the new short story anthology. I’m enjoying each of the three rather a lot, but I picked up From a Certain Point of View yesterday and have been spending most of my free time since then reading it (okay, I guess it depends on how I define “free time”–most of my day today was free time, and the zoo was great fun, but it was still a “commitment” of sorts in which reading wouldn’t really have been appropriate). It is really great. There are a couple of weaker stories, but most of them are at least good, and there’s something worthwhile or entertaining about all of them to recommend the anthology as a whole (at least so far, and as I’m more than halfway through I doubt I’ll change my mind). There are a few that I’ve absolutely loved, and the best part is that most of those now-beloved stories aren’t the ones that I went in most eager to read. So I look forward to talking more about this book when I get done.

I’ve been listening to some things, too. Three I’d like to point out. First, have you heard of First Person Scholar? It’s a student-run initiative, a sort of free online journal/academic space, that focuses on video game studies. If you have an interest in video game studies–or just video games–you should check them out. In addition to the new writing they publish, they also maintain a podcast, with new content coming up there about monthly (hence the listening component I referred to at the start). I especially like that they often discuss diverse perspectives and focus more on narratology over ludology, so it’s often more reflective of my personal interests.

Next up, I just started listening to Revisionist History on recommendation. Only one episode in, but it was fascinating. I suspect this is probably a pretty decently well-known podcast? And one episode in isn’t enough to judge much. But I like it, and I’d encourage you to check it out if you’re looking for something to listen to.

Lastly, I really like to learn about local and regional history, so discovering the Indiana Historical Bureau’s Talking Hoosier History podcast has been a real treat. It’s well-researched and has covered a variety of topics at just eight episodes in. It also sounds kind of…amateur, and the host sounds a little dorky and a little awkward, but those things can be endearing if you’ll let them, and the team does a really good job of picking interesting stories. If you were to listen to just one, I’d recommend Episode 3, about abolitionist George Washington Julian, or Episode 6, about the Indiana State Fair; the former highlights how they can drill down on an interesting local historical figure, and the latter does a good job of presenting quirky historical elements about an event or tradition. Just…don’t start with the most recent episode, about ghost stories, because it’s sooooo cheesy.

I also have a couple longer-term projects of my own that have been on the back-burner, but I am going to try to reduce the amount of time I burn on gaming (not that it’s normally a huge amount of time right now) to focus on them. One is maybe a little more appropriate to share here than the other, but I’m going to remain vague about them both for now until I’m a little further along. I’ll share what I want when I want, if at all!

Okay, that’s all. Next post: zoo pictures.

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