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Book Review—Of Dice and Men by David M. Ewalt

Of Dice and Men: The Story of Dungeons & Dragons and the People Who Play It came to me in the bookdrop at the library, and I was interested enough to take it home to read. I have played a few games of D&D, but I don’t have a regular campaign. I knew a bit of the history and was interested in learning more.

I really enjoyed how this book details the origins of D&D (as closely as it can from someone who wasn’t there at the time) while interspersing details about the writer’s campaigns. I came for the history of the creation of complex gameplay, its rise and fall and rise again, and different types of related games. This history is told with so much heart and backed up by the sort of research a trained researcher is good at. There’s a bit of bias at times, but everyone has people they root for and their own favorite version of RPGs, so I can’t blame the writer for that. It came across as more factual than I was expecting while still paying homage to those involved in D&D’s origins. How amazing it would have been to have been part of one of those early games with the DM hidden behind filing cabinet drawers and the newness of the adventure ahead.

I was not expecting the book to be so personal, but I loved that it was. The author juxtaposes parts of his campaigns both in exposition and actual narrative with what’s happening in the history. This both serves as an example while also entertaining. I enjoy playing D&D, but I think I like watching D&D and other RPGs even more. Being part of the action is great, but it’s also a great responsibility. I love watching people collaborate to create a story all their own. So I did like many of the adventures the author shares with us, from wargaming to LARPing to his weekly D&D campaign. His passion for D&D easily jumped from the pages. As a nerd as well, I appreciated all the references, from Monty Python to Doctor Who to Star Trek: TNG. Finding what’s in a nerd’s heart, what really makes a fanboy or fangirl happy, is one of my favorite things. This book is 100% that.

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Book Review—Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View by various authors

This collection is like many short story collections out there in that some of the stories were fantastic to me and some of the stories were just meh. The difference is, of course, these are all Star Wars stories. So I loved the vast majority of them. The premise of this book was to look at Star Wars: A New Hope from a new perspective (or, rather, 40 new perspectives). 40 different writers chose different secondary or tertiary characters and told bits of the story. The collection moves in order based on the events of the film, though there is some overlap.

Quite a few authors chose Cantina stories, which makes sense as there are a vast number of characters from which to choose. I was ready to move on to another scene after the third, however. There were also a large number of stories focusing on the big battle at the end against the Death Star, which also makes sense because there are so many players, but they were all told with so much heart I was too busy crying to be bored. Fake-Wedge making real Wedge out to be a hero especially touched my heart.

There were also some super creative points of view I had not considered. There was a story told by the creature in the trash compactor, another by a Tusken raider, and even one by a mouse droid. So creative! I liked the way events were witnessed by characters who weren’t even in the movie, including Qui-Gon, Yoda, and Lando. Yoda wrapped up in Qui-Gon’s cloak to sleep is my new favorite headcanon.

My favorite story comes as no surprise: Claudia Grey’s “Master and Apprentice.” Reading it during the pandemic, while we were on stay-at-home orders really made this quote jump out at me: “Anyone can fight, given a weapon and an enemy. Anyone can use a lightsaber, given due training or even good luck. But to stand and wait—to have so much patience and fortitude—that, Obi-Wan, is a greater achievement than you can know. Few could have accomplished it.” -Qui-Gon

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Made it Monday: Eeyore’s Home

I made one of these little jars containing Eeyore and his house for a Winnie-the-Pooh themed swap. I decided I liked it so much I made myself one.

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Top Ten: Fandom Office Items

Being let go from my job allowed me to bring home the fannish items I had been keeping in my office. They are now merged back into my overall collection. Here’s a list of ten of those items. Welcome home, little ones! I missed you!

10 Fandom Items From My Office

1. Hawkeye FUNKO POP- My favorite Avenger was a wonderful present from a friend. I have an older series Hawkeye POP, and I didn’t want him to face an identity crisis seeing his Endgame Part 2 self, so I took him to work to guard my computer.

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12 Days of Fandom Ornaments: #11

My Christmas tree is a mix of ornaments from my childhood and ones from later on in my life. Many of them are related to my favorite fandoms, naturally. I thought I would showcase one every other day in December in a 12 Days of Fandom Ornaments series.

Day 11: Hedwig

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Letter for you? Here’s a lovely owl who reminds me of Hedwig from Harry Potter, of course!

12 Days of Fandom Ornaments: #7

My Christmas tree is a mix of ornaments from my childhood and ones from later on in my life. Many of them are related to my favorite fandoms, naturally. I thought I would showcase one every other day in December in a 12 Days of Fandom Ornaments series.

Day 7: Expecto Patronum!

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I got this as a present when my family went hunting for ornaments because this silver stag reminds me of Harry’s Patronus.

12 Days of Fandom Ornaments: #6

My Christmas tree is a mix of ornaments from my childhood and ones from later on in my life. Many of them are related to my favorite fandoms, naturally. I thought I would showcase one every other day in December in a 12 Days of Fandom Ornaments series.

Day 6: Tangled Eeyore

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Eeyore had some trouble rigging up the lights. Oh Eeyore.

12 Days of Fandom Ornaments: #3

My Christmas tree is a mix of ornaments from my childhood and ones from later on in my life. Many of them are related to my favorite fandoms, naturally. I thought I would showcase one every other day in December in a 12 Days of Fandom Ornaments series.

Day 3: Snowman!Harry

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This is one of several handmade Harry Potter ornaments I bought from Justin Finch Fletchley a few years back at a Yule Ball in Washington, D.C. (and I realize that if you don’t know anything about WRock, that sentence must be confusing, but it’s the truth). All the ornaments feature fun Harry Potter-related drawings; this one is a snowman decorated to look like Harry… or perhaps Harry has been magically transformed into a snowman?

Top Ten: Fandom Creations at Brickfair (part 2)

Last week I posted part 1 of fandom-related things at at my local LEGO convention, Brickfair VA. Click on the photos for larger versions.

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Top Ten: Fandom Creations at Brickfair (part 1)

I have more than enough to do two lists… possibly even three 🙂 Here are some of the fandom-related LEGO creations that caught my eye this year at my local LEGO convention, Brickfair VA. Clickity-click the photos for larger versions.

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