Links and Notes - March 26th 2021

7 days of daily posts

Yesterday marked 7 consecutive days of publishing my links and notes. This is the first time that I've done something unbroken for 7 days on this blog. The best streak I had prior to this was in 2018. This is a really big deal for me. Why?

In November 2020, I wrote a post about the power of being prolific. And towards the end of that post, I stated this embarrassingly unkept goal:

writing on this blog regularly (daily if possible) is the first thing I'm choosing to focus on in being prolific.

Ha! From that day it was nothing but crickets.

For whatever reason I decided on March 19th that I wanted to start. I know why I was holding myself back. I wanted to change the blog! The format wasn't working for me. I needed to make it more appealing. I'd start writing once I had a page dedicated to maintaining a streak counter. It would have my current list of media I'm consuming. Then, and only then, I'd start writing on the blog again.

Then I read that blog post again. The one about being prolific. And I couldn't help think to myself, what an idiot I am. The entire point of that reflection was to show how people started out in relatively mediocre ways but improved only by being prolific, not perfect. And here I was doing the exact opposite.

So I'm here trying to live up to that. I know the quality of my writing isn't where I'd want it to be. I'd prefer more story telling. But that will come. For now, the focus is on the habit. 7 days done. I'm focusing on the next 7 now.

The Dota animated series is out! And it's...

Okkkk? Two episodes in and I can't pretend I'm all that hyped about it. To set the record straight, the animation studio has done an absolutely wild job. Frame by frame animation continues to evolve and 3D components can now blend in without feeling out of place. The character animation is top notch. The battle scenes are stunning! The opening episode's first battle scene alone is worth a few re-watches.

But the story? This feels like Avatar: Legend of Korra all over again. A huge step up in animation quality that feels let down by a plot that feels like someone yelled "boss moved the deadline up to today, hand in whatever you've got already!" It's not to say that the story is bad. Also, I'm only 2 episodes in so it can still recover. But the pacing is messy. And the story starts overly complex with a huge mumbo jumbo "in the beginning" style montage that creates a primordial smelting pot of characters and motivations.

Honestly, I love the Dota 2 lore, and even I need to go back and re-watch the "prologue" scenes of the 1st episode to catch what I missed.

That said, it's not broken. It's not an wholesale let down. Whatever they've got, is interesting enough to make me want to watch what's next. Just not enough to get wowed.

Hence the review: okkk?

6/10 so far

On creating children's stories

On Wednesday night I was driving out with my wife and child to grab some items from the sports store. This on its own is uninteresting. However, I have a routine with my son, where I read a story or two to him before turning over and putting him to sleep. Since we had to drive out in the night, that routine would have to take a backseat.

Children have an asymmetric approach to commitments. While their own commitments are bargained with on a daily basis, the commitments to them are treated practically as a constitution.

While I exaggerate, and note that my son does not make such hard demands, he really did want a story that night. So we agreed that he'd give me a couple of prompts and I'd make up a story as I drove.

The prompts my son set for me? Dinosaurs. And explorer birds. And the Dinosaurs are trying to capture the birds.

So I began my yarning and weaving of a tale of dinosaurs who mistrusted a group of birds whose sole purpose in life was to explore and discover the mysteries of the world around them. And it actually worked out! I'm not going to lie, I was pretty darn chuffed about that. I have most of the story in my head, and now I need to set it down.

I should make it clear at this point: This is not a new practice for me. As soon as my son was capable of understanding complete sentences and stories, I started making up stories for him when we went on drives. The only reason to be concerned here was that I could feel just how out of practice this muscle of imagining stories on the fly was. This of course connects back to being prolific and what not.

I want to write childrens' stories someday. I want to make worlds as rich and whimsical as Enid Blyton did[1]. I have a whole heap of stories that I've already made up. And to keep adding to them, I have to accept that the ability to create stories is a muscle that cannot afford to wither. So I guess I'm about to add to the list of things that I create regularly.

This blog doesn't have a comment box. But I'd love to hear any thoughts y'all might have. Send them to [email protected]

Previous links and notes (March 25th)

Next links and notes (March 27th)

  1. Enid Blyton was the author of my childhood. Many hours were spent reading her various stories and series. That said, I acknowledge that this does not absolve some problematic stuff she wrote in the past. So when I say like Enid Blyton, I only mean the qualities of varied and whimsical worlds. ↩︎

Posted on March 26 2021 by Adnan Issadeen