So yeah, let's lead with the weather. It is hot, getting hotter, and staying hot. There are people living in warmer climes that will scoff at my declaration that this weather is hot. Well, pshaw right back to you, mister. I live in a climate that regularly gets into the -30s Celsius. In fact, it was only six months ago when I posted a link of the weather at -30°C. Sure, it can get hotter where you live, but I doubt you must deal with 60 or even 70°C swings in temperature in six months. Part of the deal of living somewhere that can get super cold is that you do not also have to deal with temperatures that are super warm. Or at least that was my understanding.
The week was a bit underwhelming due to the heat. I did a bit of cycling, did a fair bit of reading, tried a couple new beers, and worked on a new game I am going to run for some friends. Things were a bit scattered though, and so not a lot was finished unfortunately.
Time to dig into the update for this week.
It was March 12, 2020. I got together with a small group of strangers to see if we could form a group to play D&D. This was one day after the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic due to COVID-19. We were not sure how things were going to work out, but we said we would keep in touch.
Since then, four of us have become friends. I run one game and two of the other players run games that I play in. It has been a great experience and is something that helped focus my creative energy. I have written thousands of words for the games and have used that skill to craft a short story that is ready for a submission window to open. My improvisational skills have improved immensely, and I have a much better ability now to adjust in the moment when things do not go as planned. That is not limited to gaming though - it applies equally to my work.
As the saying goes, all good things come to an end, and the games are no exception, but luckily every new beginning is some other beginning's end.
My game wrapped up this week, one game I play in will likely finish next week, and the other has stalled mid-story. As COVID hopefully lessens in impact and we regain the ability to meet in person, I suspect many people will drop their "COVID hobbies". I will likely not have the ability to play games two nights a week in the future like I have been able to since March 2020, but I am confident that I will continue to play on a regular basis. So confident in fact, that I recently committed to running a group through the official adventure, Tomb of Annihilation.
I am not going to describe the adventure or the work I am doing to prepare in the Show Notes section. Instead, I have created a Gaming section where I will post my thoughts and preparation notes, and likely some writing based on what happened in the game. As of the time of posting this update, Gaming is empty. The first post will address the logistics of how I have setup the game with Foundry VTT and Discord. After that, I will get into the plans for the characters and what I plan on bringing in for house rules and supplements. I am looking forward to the year-long commitment to working through Tomb with my friends and I am looking forward to writing about it as we go. I hope you will find it interesting as well.
A good friend of mine started logging his rides to see how far he could go during COVID. That inspired me to ride more and do the same in the form of my cross-Canada virtual tour. My rides started getting longer, which in turn inspired that same friend to increase the length of his rides. He is now on course to hit 1000 km this month, which is truly remarkable. I am not sure I will go that far, but I am definitely going to increase my distance for July with a target of 650 km.
We can safely say that my performance in the saddle last week is not consistent with a 750 km month. Even so, I was able to finish another segment on the virtual tour, and have now virtually passed Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. The Wikipedia page for Moose Jaw lists a number of fun facts: people from Moose Jaw are called Moose Javians; I already knew that Moose Jaw was home to the Snowbirds, but I did not know that was due to the military base being a NATO training ground. The page was missing a reference to Al Capone using Moose Jaw as a base for northern operations, but apparently that is an urban legend.
Here is the updated progress chart.
With the heat of this week, I focused on beer-as-heat-antidote instead of focusing on trying new beers. That allowed me to stock the fridge with Alley Kat Scona Gold, which is a great Kölsch.
Before the weather went crazy, I did try a few new beers. First up as Beer #772 was another Alley Kat. Their Hot Tropic Pineapple Kviek (pronouned Quake) was a pleasant surprise. I have been down on real juicy beers lately but this one had a lot of nice flavor without it being just a big glass of juice. This is a Back Alley Brew, which means it is a limited production run so it will not be around for long. (3.5 / 5)
The second beer was from Banded Peak, a brewery out of Calgary that is consistently good. Beer #773 was their Summit Seeker IPA and was another really good beer from them. I really liked how the barley added some great color and flavor which made it more than just another IPA. Nice stuff. (3.75 / 5)
Last up and coming in as Beer #774 was the Midnight Prairie Alberta Lager from GP Brewing. I thought GP closed down a few years ago, so I thought the single I picked up last week was something that had been sitting around for months. However, the branding makes it look like an off-label brew so maybe it was something they brewed for someone else. Regardless, I picked up a single can and tried it out on a hot day. One of the comments on Untappd sums this beer up quite nicely: "can get an 8 pack for about 12$". (2.5 / 5) On a positive note, if GP did close down, they are back in operations with more adventurous beer this time. Their website has an update from May 2021 that highlights a Blueberry Porter and a Cranberry Blood Orange. Sadly, there is no actual style listed for the Cranberry Blood Orange and the image for the Blueberry Porter is definitely not a Porter. My guess it that GP is trying to come back but they have a lot of work to do if they want to be a successful brewery. There is too much competition in Alberta for a brewery that puts out product that is mediocre at best.