Nathanial Garrod

Re-discovering parts of the 90s that I sorta missed…

RWhen I was a kid in the late 90s, we had these neighbors who were fun, clever and eccentric – I remember them going from being incredibly distant to some of our closest friends. We would spend hours and hours visiting them – they had a weekly Dungeons and Dragons night with their friends. My mother and I would visit and she would watch (but never play) while I was sent to the back with the other kids, and we variantly watched Nickelodeon or the Disney Channel. This family was my only exposure to the world of television. At one point, they upgraded to a DVD player and new TV, gifting us their old TV and VHS player.

I remember sitting on the floor in the living room on other, non-D&D nights, and watching the two-VHS Titanic across multiple nights, I remember re-runs of Babylon 5 and being bored because every character felt like a talking head, I remember visiting after seeing the theatrical release of Minority Report and chatting with them about it.

It seems that the last few months have been a rediscovery of things that intrigued me about my neighbors – the things I was curious about, but too young to understand or engage in.

After years of low-key looking for an RPG group, last February some friends from the church we attended started a Star Wars: Force & Destiny gaming group. It was a lot of fun (I was a grey Jedi librarian who had a nearly impenetrable wolf-skin jacket) — but they ended up moving out of state.

I keep getting ads for dice on my internets — so I ordered these four sets of dice for $10 (with shipping). Posted them on my Instagram story the other day and was surprised by how many people commented to say that they

Over the summer, a friend mentioned wanting to play D&D. This led to character creation (for characters we mostly ended up not using) and getting a group going. Since the group started, I have bought four books (all at sale/discount price — all-in-all, I’ve probably spent about $60 on books), six sets of dice, and a 3D printer file I had printed. My investment to this game is maybe $100 at best (about $30 on all the dice in total, 3D printed figure was less than $5). The time I have spent playing has been probably just under 20 hours.

It is a fun exercise in creativity, in thoughtfulness and in story-telling. Since I started playing, I see it popping up more and more in pop culture and the Instagram feeds of friends I never expected to see it in, which has left me wondering – did I spend all this time low-key looking for a group when I could have spoken my intentions more loudly and found something faster?

On another front, after 10 years of watching a few episodes from the first season of Babylon 5, giving up, then trying again a few years later, I have finally made it through to the third season and I have no intention of stopping anytime soon at this point. While it has a slow, episodic-feeling start that seems to lead nowhere and be tacky, frustrating bottle-episode mysteries, the pace picks up fairly quickly near the end of the second season. Now I have mostly abandoned the essential episode guide I have been following to watch just about every episode.

As I finish the fourth season, I find myself more and more curious about the making of this show. To that end, I have found a few articles online – though I may end up finding a book at the library soon.

No, really, I’m more into the interpersonal drama and unusual settings, but the space fights are super engaging in this show. You can tell that, maybe obviously, from this picture of characters heads.

The talking heads I once remember are now decreased in volume and the exciting space fights with that 90s electric guitar aesthetic are plentiful.

I imagine I will have more detailed thoughts on this show in the next few weeks – I gave up on a book I was planning to review because Babylon 5 has caught my attention for the moment. Also, the eARC was formatted in a way that made it tough to follow (though I have it on hold at the library, so hopefully I see a copy soon – I am pretty excited about it).

Have you played D&D before? What did you like about it?

There’s a bit of contention about 90s sci-fi shows — what’s your favorite?

Let me know in the comments below! I love to chat with folks in the comments!

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