Subterranean fey and paranoia

On Sundays I’ve normally been posting some illustrations that can be used in tabletop roleplayng games like Dungeons & Dragons. Last week I asked what kind of fey creatures folks would like me to draw, and subterranean fey were chosen. So here are a couple of subterranean fey.

A korred:

A meenlock:

While I was drawing these, I was most interested by the meenlock. I hadn’t taken a lot of interest in them before, but I had a bit of a read about them in the original Fiend Folio and the more recent Volo’s Guide to Monsters. Meenlocks have an ability to promote paranoia in other creatures, by overwhelming them with fearful messages, to the point where they are actually transformed into meenlocks themselves.

This description reminded me of an experience I had on Facebook earlier in the year. I made a fake alt right profile for myself and joined some alt right groups. I started adding people I found in those groups as friends on this fake account. I found that my newsfeed was pretty quickly filled with vary fearful content (a lot of which seemed like fake news) and it was pretty easy to get sucked in and overwhelmed by the fearful messages. (I’m pretty sure I could have a similar experience if I made a fake extreme left account.) That experience called me to question the impact that my Facebook use was having on my mindset and curb my use.

Twitter D&D needs planning too

A while ago I started a kind of collaborative D&D adventure on Twitter. Initially I was saying that it was really easy to run. I was saying that because there’s just a little bit happening each day I don’t need to be doing much planning.

However, what I’ve found after a while is that over time it does need more planning. As time went on and the whole thing started to loose it’s immediate novelty, it started to become harder to stay motivated, and as soon as things got busy (with intense periods of study and work) it dropped off. (I probably should have seen that there was a busy time coming up and planned for a break.)

I wondered how much easier it would be if I actually did some planning for the adventure. On Sunday I wrote up a short plan for where I thought the adventure could go during the week, using some of Sly Flourish’s suggestions from The Lazy Dungeon Master. I wrote just a few notes on where the adventurers were starting off this session, three directions they might head in, what three important non-player characters were up to, and what I expected would happen next. Having this clear but basic plan made it much easier for me to post something form the adventure almost every day this week. This weekend I’ll update it so that I’ve got some clear possibilities for next week.

Containing Facebook

I logged off Facebook on my phone yesterday. I’ve done this a number of times when I’ve realised I needed a break. Today it was the judegemental ranting of someone I agreed with that told me I’d had enough.

I’ll keep Facebook on my tablet because i find it less distracting on there. I find its easier to use with intent on my tablet.

How do you keep healthy boundaries around your use of social media?

#Foodstagram and sharing our food

A little while ago I wrote a bit about how we may use social media to curate an identity. In that post I was mostly talking about my use of Facebook. I recently started using Instagram again. Like Facebook, I think using Instagram carries the temptation to seek attention, but one of the things I wonder about Instagram is whether it can also help us to pay attention.

I wonder about what we’re doing when we post pictures of our food online? The cynical part of my mind thinks that we’re seeking to show off how good our cooking or choice in restaurants is (curating an identity as a connoisseur) and I think there would be truth in that.

But I also wonder about whether our desire to share pictures of our food is related to our tendency to eat alone? Even in my household, where we have someone cooking dinner for the whole household each weeknight, I’m still often eating on my own at breakfast or lunch time. Could it be that we have an inbuilt need to share our food?

Another thing I was wondering about is whether looking at our food through the lens of a smartphone is an opportunity to pay attention to what we are eating and how we are caring for ourselves. For breakfast this morning I had some toast with butter, Vegemite and tomatoes. (Is that bogan, or is it ironic bogan hipster?) It’s a pretty simple meal, but I took a photo because I was eating some fruit. I often don’t bother to eat fruit, even though when I do I find that I really enjoy it. Taking a photo was an opportunity to take note of something that was good for me and made me feel cared for.