This Week! Steven Universe (the Movie), Pokemon Showdowns, Moon Photos, and more…

Today the school is really empty because a lot of people are at the Climate Strike (which is really exciting). My brain is not fully online this afternoon, though I’m not 100% sure why. I was saying to Xander earlier I’m still adjusting to a 5-day-a-week talking to humans schedule after a very introverted summer (true, v relevant). I’m sure there’s other stuff, but that’s at the top of the list.

Stuff that’s happening now: James is writing a blog post that’s just fun facts about Ash. Ash is volunteering the facts he thinks will freak James out the most. Interesting data: Ash owns 15 porcelain clown dolls and his favorite is named Cheeky. Cheeky smells very musty, apparently.

Stuff that happened today: The first edition of The Agile Learner was published by Hugo and Iphy. It is very funny and good and includes a profile of Ryan’s cat and Interesting Data (instead of Fun Facts) and also an exposé about Luca’s lunch. Big stuff.

I went to close park with Xander, Savannah, Sterl and Sebastian and we played shark tag. I tripped over my own feet while trying to be sneaky and Xander laughed at me.

Speaking of Xander, he beat me many times at Pokemon showdown this afternoon and I am feeling very salty about it. I used to be a very sore loser and I’ve gotten a lot more graceful about it over time, but still, it doesn’t feel good to have all your best Pokemon get one-shotted, especially when you’re about to use Crunch, the best ever move.

Lots of singing today, because I’ve had all the songs from the Steven Universe Movie (a v v excellent movie) stuck in my head all week. We’ve been singing the hits all day –

Other Friends

Happily Ever After

No Matter What

Independent Together

Drift Away

Okay as I’m making this list I want to add all the songs from the movie so… I recommend watching it. I really love Steven Universe and I really love musicals and to watch my two loves combined into this one glorious package is magical.

An interaction from the beginning of blogging time:
James: Every odd number has an “e” in it
Me: Cool. Doesn’t every number have an “e” in it?
James: Uhh no.
Me: Really?
James: Two.
Me: >.<

Some things from earlier this week: I went to the Met and looked at photos of the moon with Olive, Mason, and Hugo, which was delightful. We walked through Central Park to get there and it was an absolutely beautiful September day, just really joyful all around. Shark tag has returned as Close Park tag of choice. Chemistry started up again this week, as did Anatomy and Physiology (Meet the Gastrointestinal System!). Several Pokemon walks were taken. And lots happened in DnD on Tuesday (I still have to write the recap) including the party’s first fight! Also, many other things happened not noted here or elsewhere (if a kid learns something and no one records it, how will they ever learn math???? a joke, a joke…)

It’s been a Friday! Stay tuned for DnD updates, etc.


Dungeons & Dragons 2019!

This week, we officially started our Dungeons and Dragons campaign and I’m the DM! I am very, very excited about this game not only because it gives me an excuse to talk in funny voices but because I’ve never DMed before. The DM, or DungeonMaster, is in charge of worldbuilding – creating not only the landscapes that players encounter but the people, monsters, and adventures they discover therein. I’ve created a new tag on this blog to document what I can of this first adventure. The following is the intro to the world that I gave all our players as we sat down this past Tuesday to begin our first session…

Welcome to Susstra. This is a watery world, full of salt flats and marshes and evergreen islands dotting clear channels of fast-moving rivers and wide, deep slow sections where cities huddle, monopolizing a bridge or a ferry-crossing. This is a world of rapids and waterfalls, of canals and flood plains. The known continent – this one that we’re all inhabiting – is divided into many lands.

The creatures who inhabit these lands are as different as the waters that divide them. Some – like the halflings of the Shire – keep to themselves. Some – like the humanoids that populate the lowland salt flats – live in mixed communities where humans, half-orcs, dragonborn, teiflings, and all manner of elves live side by side. Lots of countryside is wild, and unclaimed; lots of it is also claimed by various kings, barons, councils, and collections of magic-wielders. Most clusters of people form townships; cities are rare and tend to be clustered around major ports. Generally, whatever local government runs the surrounding countryside with whatever magic, muscle, and manipulation they can manage; travelers generally stick to waterways, which are considered more neutral that highways on land (which tend to be dangerous, swarming with vicious highwaymen).

There are lots of gods in this world and demigods and semigods – lots of beings with power in this part of the universe. Here the streams of knowledge of how to manipulate energy, like the streams and rivers of the continent, are abundant and fractal. Magic is abundant. Wield enough of it, and you can call yourself whatever you want.

But also, be careful who you claim to be descended from, because the gods are present and can be prickly about how you talk about them. People worship freely to a pantheon of water deities like the many waterways of this land: fluid, branching, forever changing, sometimes nourishing, sometimes terrible. Parent gods are highly localized, often the anthropomorphization of rivers, lakes, harbors, waterfalls and other places of water that supports life. Clustered around them are their godly offspring and plentiful mortal children – both walk among mortal creatures. They called upon to bestow favors and, depending on how powerful they are, some can actually grant them. Not everyone cares, but the existence of the grandparents of all deities, the parents of all waters – Ocean, River, and Rain – is hotly debated among scholars, priests, and others interested in the divine.

This city, the city, Siilvan, is no mere sad feudal holding, it’s the greatest metropolis in this hemisphere. For as far as a boat can take you on this watery continent, all the way from ocean to unbroken ocean, this is where people – human, elf, dragonborn, teifling, halfing, dwarf, orc, and every bastardization thereof – came to live and die in hope and squalor. The city is tense and sprawling, crowded and squat, huddled on an archipelago of rocky islands, at the delta of three major rivers, where they flow together into one great channel and out to the open sea.

Some islands are for the rich, who rule the city by proxy through the governers, much spoken of but rarely visited, glimpsed only across the waters. Most islands are filled with the poor, and are filled with short buildings clustered chaotically around open-air marketplaces. The islands are linked by bridge and ferry; the waters between them are fast-moving and swirling with hard-to-predict currents which keep the poor from swimming over to and overwhelming the strongholds of the rich.

Everyone knows the governers are corrupt but most people feel neutral or resigned to them; this system has been in place for generations, becoming more and more corrupt but by slow degrees. Having the governers favor makes your life easier but they prefer to make life hard. You are here tonight because you’ve heard a rumor: someone here is a representative of the governers (or just one of them? a coalition? you’ve all heard different rumors) who is looking to assemble a multiracial team to do a big job, one that could earn you a spot on one of the nicer islands, a cushy life, gold for days, influence over the city, and the life you’ve only imagined. Only one job and then, your wildest dreams fulfilled. Seems almost too good to be true…