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April update: Birthdays and Baking

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It’s the end of another month, and with April on it’s way out, I’m wondering when spring will finally get here. We had a few nice days, and I was able to pull my bike out a couple times, but the weather has been dreary and cold, and it even snowed on my birthday this year!
My birthday was a few days ago, and that always leaves me feeling contemplative, and sometimes a little depressed. But I did get an outpouring of love, both on social media and in real life, so I’m counting my blessings.
I finally wrote enough Everyday Drabbles stories to constitute an ebook release, and as soon as I come up with a cover I’m happy with, I’ll make the usual announcements. The difficult irony in a release like this one is that it’s big enough that I want to put it out, but I can’t imagine it will do well enough to justify the cost of a professionally sourced cover. Oh, well.
As it was both my and my husband’s birthday, I got to flex my muscles and bake a pair of chocolate cakes, both of which I felt were mixed successes. For mine, I pulled out a recipe from my childhood, my great aunt Eileen’s Texas Sheet Cake. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a sheet pan, so it was a bit tall and thick, but still delicious. I also baked a pie for Easter and got to spend some quality time with my own niece, so all in all, it’s been a good month.
In May, when it will hopefully be warm enough for long bike rides, I’m hoping to try and do the Sky Ride, finally break out the grill for the year, and make some progress getting our yard into shape. See you next month!
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Hugh Likes Comics: Ascender

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Ascender #1
Written by Jeff Lemire
Art by Dustin Nguyen
Lettered by Steve Wands
Published by image

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The Skinny: In a galaxy ruled by a despotic witch, a young girl dreams of freedom.

Even though I’ve never read Descender, the long-running science fiction series to which this book serves as a sequel, I’m still intrigued by the premise. In a galaxy where technology is outlawed, the universe is under the control of a powerful witch. Raised in isolation by her father, a girl
Most of the first issue of Lemire and Nguyen’s Ascender is table-setting. As someone coming in fresh, I was captivated by the world building, with hints of a growing rebellion and a compelling space fantasy premise. We spend most of the episode with the authoritarian Mother and her cronies and henchmen as she plots to keep her iron grip on the universe in the face of a mysterious opposition. The mystery here is strong enough to make up for the lack of movement in the plot, and we get a good look at how bad life is under this regime.
Nguyen’s art is the real star of the show, though. Everything is done in a beautiful watercolor style. it’s more intimate and graceful than your average story about space magic, and it lends something unique and resonant to the book. It contrasts the brutality of the regime by painting it in soft blues and grays. Each page has something surprising and gorgeous in the midst of horror.
Much like Star Wars, Ascender #1 starts at the lowest point of an ongoing story, but invites the audience in on a new adventure to save the galaxy from the forces of darkness. I’m 100% on board. You can find it in floppies at your local comics shop, or digitally from Comixology.
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Fiction: Home Prophecy Test

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After she finished peeing, she pulled her skirt back up and washed her hands. She stared as the liquid reacted to the reagent in the bottom of the little clay vessel.
It didn’t take long. There was a pop, and a spray of blue sparks. The rune burned into the bottom was unmistakable, and identical to the two tests beside it.
When her husband came home, she sat him down at the table.
“I went to the alchemist this morning.”
“Then we’re…” he said, unable to finish. She nodded and patted her belly.
“He’s going to be the Chosen One.”

This story originally appeared in Everyday Drabbles, a daily free fiction project on Wattpad. Visit the link for more free stories. And if you enjoy my writing, support my work by buying me a coffee!
Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Podcast: NP36: Whose Dog Is That?

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NP36

Welcome to Nostalgia Pilots! This week, Jason, Jurd, Hugh and Spence consider Gundam Wing episode 36: Sanc Kingdom’s Collapse.

Click HERE to listen online!

This episode: Heero just wants you to leave him alone, Duo is bad at subterfuge, and Trowa isn’t paid to wear a mask on his whole face.
Plus, Quatre gets a present, and Relena just made a whole bunch of people Stateless. For Peace.

Promo: The Melting Potcast
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Fiction: The Pits

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“Do you ever thing about pit traps?” He asked. I looked around and sighed.
“Not usually, no.”
“I think about them a lot. I just feel they were, like, overrepesneted?” He said.
“Really?”
“Like, you’d see them on cartoons or whatever, but never in real life. I was trained to prepare myself for the wrong things!”
“I think pits serve as a metaphor for the unexpected. They’re reminder to be present and aware in our daily lives.”
“Thanks, I never thought of that.”
“Glad to be of help,” I said. “Now, would you please throw down a rope or something?”

This story originally appeared in Everyday Drabbles, a daily free fiction project on Wattpad. Visit the link for more free stories. And if you enjoy my writing, support my work by buying me a coffee!
Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Hugh Likes Comics: Fairlady

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Fairlady #1
Written by Brian Schirmer
Drawn by Claudia Balboni
Colored by Marissa Louise
Lettered by David Bowman
Published by Image Comics

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The Skinny: A post-war pulp genre mashup that goes off like a well executed heist spell.

In the Harshlands, a war has come to an end. With the standing army disbanded, many soldiers became private investigators called ‘Freemen.’ Jenner Faulds works as the Feld’s one and only Fairlady, taking the cases nobody else will. When she is hired to find a missing woman,
Fairlady #1 is the first issue in a new series that combines pulp genres in compelling and inventive ways. Schimer leans in to pulp fantasy and detective tropes by teasing hints of a conflict as equally devastating as the two World Wars, and giving us hard-boiled character in fantasy clothing. He’s also unafraid to embrace earlier pulp traditions of telling short stories. The first issue is one complete case, and this seems to be the format going forward. In an industry that has embraced the trade collection so fully, it’s a nice change of pace.
Schimer’s writing has a nice mix of stock pulp noir and fantasy tropes at work, and he does a good job telling a compact noir tale that leaves a good impression in the space it has. The story feels complete, but I’m still left wanting to know more about Jenner and the other characters.
Claudia Balboni’s art is outstanding. In particular, her inventive architecture brings something unique to the book right up front. From a city built in the remains of a half-buried giant golem to a village of shell-like spiraling seaside buildings, the designs are unique and evocative. Marissa Louise’s colors are a bit brighter than I’d expect for this kind of story, but they provide a good contrast.
Fairlady #1 is an intriguing introduction to a new series. You can pick it up in print at your local comics shop, or digitally through Comixology.

Fiction: Security Awareness

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“My password is very secure,” she bragged. “I use two-factor authentication.”
“Ha,” He said. “That’s nothing. I use a personally encrypted password manager. I can’t be hacked.”
I smiled. “Amateurs. My password is inscribed in blood on a parchment hidden in a duck egg inside of a rabbit in a locked chest buried beneath a haunted oak at the center of a fog-shrouded labyrinth on a desolate island in the North Sea.” They all looked duly impressed.
My phone buzzed, and my face fell as I checked the alert.
We noticed a new login to your account, Koschei!

This story originally appeared in Everyday Drabbles, a daily free fiction project on Wattpad. Visit the link for more free stories. And if you enjoyed this story, why not support my work by buying me a coffee?
Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

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