All posts by secondtruth

ARGs are Bad

I wrote this whole essay out as a rant on Discord. But it’s a rant among the category of rants I rant a lot, so after some discussion, I decided also I would post this as an essay. It’s a little unstructured, and stream-of-consciousness, because it’s a rant, but I made a little bit of effort to clean up my thoughts.

So, anyway: A bold statement.

ARGs suck.

Why do (most) ARGs suck?

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How to Watch Darkwing Duck in 2020

Everyone has been stuck at home for a month or more, so it’s a good time to indulge in streaming video services of all kinds. And it’s a good time for all of us to relive our childhoods, whatever they may be. Disney+ has been my big indulgence this  month, and one of my favorite childhood shows ever is Disney’s Darkwing Duck.

Maybe you’re like me, and you grew up with Darkwing Duck on the Disney Afternoon, and would like to revisit it. Or, maybe you’ve met Darkwing in the new rebooted DuckTales series and would like to go back to the original and see what the deal is. Maybe you’re just bored and looking for something neat to watch. 

Watching a cartoon seems simple enough. It’s a cartoon! Here’s the problem: the episodes that are listed on Disney+ are in a really weird order, and you probably don’t want to watch them in that order.

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Cosplay Advice for Nervous Beginners

I used to create elaborate Halloween costumes as a high schooler, but I didn’t learn to properly “cosplay” until I was over 30. That seems weird perhaps, but I think I was born a little too early to properly get into the “cosplay” scene, and it also took me a little time to carve out the time and money to make it happen. I’ve always been an extrovert that didn’t mind standing out from the crowd, and that’s helped me a lot in getting into this hobby. But I know there are people who are more introverted who still would like to try but aren’t sure how.

I’ve been doing cosplay at cons now for around 4 years. At MAGFest I did a Mai Shiranui cosplay that seemed to be pretty well-received! Based on how much I’ve learned over the last few years I’m just going to share some beginner’s tips that I’ve learned from 4 years of screwing up. I hope this will help you on your quest!

Here’s nine pieces of advice… and then, four things I’m still learning and would love advice about!

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On Leaving Microsoft

I left my role at Microsoft quietly in October this year.

At the time I thought I was going to write a longer post about it then and there, but then an entire month went by, and I didn’t do that! In fact, I didn’t write much of anything for a while.

Part of me wishes I could say that I left the job for some ethical reason, because there are people out there right now with some valid ethical concerns about MS business practices. I support those people. But that’s not really the reason the job stopped being right for me.

In general, I am really proud to have worked at Microsoft. I enjoyed most of my time there. I loved the people I met there with whom I collaborated and still consider many friends. I’d consider going back to Microsoft in fact, after taking some time and if I was welcome, but the role itself would have to be right.

About a year-and-change ago I made the post that my title had changed from Evangelist to Engineer and with that came some changes to the job. At first those changes happened slowly. I was sanguine about it because the job had always changed. Basically every July there was a re-org, big or small, and with that came some updates to my responsibilities. For a time, the Evangelist job was the exact right job for me. But after a while it started to shift from a job with a regional focus, to a job that involved a lot of additional travel. This was also great at first, but the amount of time I spent on airplanes made my health suffer a bit, which is something I’m still rebounding from.

Still, I stuck with the role a bit more. Gradually, all the things I liked about the job, or that I excelled at, were no longer part of the job. I went from focusing on the success of students and startups (areas for which I have passion) to focusing on the success of other large corporations. The role had some games and VR component, which are areas in which I have expertise, but I had to keep fighting to get work like that and less and less of it was crossing my lap. At first, as per my post, I was working on Games and AI, and then slowly I was not really working on those things. Finally, there came a point where I was actively discouraged from taking any more speaking engagements at conferences.

I was looking to shift to a role internally that would align to my passions and be more suitable. But all the roles that were coming across my line of sight were other B2B roles in areas where I would have to learn from the ground up. I think the people that started as Evangelists, but had a background in what I’d call traditional enterprise development, had a smooth transition to the engineering role. But I’m a largely self-taught developer with a heavy focus on game design, 3D modeling, and UX. There was no place here for me that really felt right.

Many people asked “what’s next?” and the honest answer is that I needed this time to recover from a little burnout and find my creative passions again. I am very grateful to my spouse for giving me the time and space!

It’s hard for me to say what I could’ve done differently, or what other opportunities I had, that might have kept me at Microsoft longer or found me a better position there. Rather than dwell on the past I would like to be pleased with what I accomplished and move toward the future.

I am actively interviewing and I am officially on the market! I also have a lot of fun small creative projects in the works that I am going to be releasing in small doses as the year ends. If you would like to work with a creative person who loves video games, loves accessible design, who has spoken internationally and been published in some thoughtful books… please check out my Linked-In or reach out to me directly on Twitter.


I’ll be Dante

As I mentioned recently this is a pretty quiet blog lately. Often I try to write here with a relentlessly positive, comedic, or detached academic tone. This is going to be one of those rare times I write something vulnerable and personal instead. Partially, I’m hoping that nobody reads it except the people who really care, but sometimes I need to collect my feelings on things.

This is kind of about Devil May Cry.

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Very Quiet Blog

Hi blog, you’ve probably noticed I haven’t posted much here in almost a year. Well, I’m still engineering at Microsoft, but this blog is going to be quiet for a while because I’m focusing a lot of energy on my Twitch content instead! Please follow me there or on Twitter if you want to hear from me! I still post as well at from time to time.  I’m not dead, it’s just a quiet blog! Thank you!

Job Update

Some quick news on the job front –

I have moved to a new team at Microsoft! I am starting a role as a Software Engineer in the Tech-Aligned Americas team. I am going to be focusing on Conversational AI, as well as Mixed Reality and Games/Gamification opportunities as they arise. I am really excited to begin this new journey at Microsoft!

I’m also going on vacation for a couple of weeks, but later I will be around on my Twitch: I’ve started doing some game development streams which I will continue in August, time and schedule permitting. We are on a short break from Dungeons & Dragons while we remodel our “studio” for the show.

See you soon!

Post Mortem – Running The Tomb of Annihilation

This is a post mortem about my experience running the 5th edition D&D module Tomb of Annihilation.

If you’re a player who may experience this as a campaign, don’t read this post, since it will contain spoilers for the module.

If you are a DM who is considering running the module, you might find this post useful. If you have no interest in running or playing the module, you might still find it interesting, though not entirely comprehensible. If you’re one of my players, this is safe to read as this doesn’t contain any spoilers for anything you haven’t seen yet. It may also shed some light on things that might have been confusing during play. If you’ve already played or ran the module, this is (probably) also safe to read, and I’m interested in hearing your thoughts about how you did things differently or whether you think my critiques are off base or not.

First, some background: I ran the ToA with an advance copy provided by Wizards of the Coast. I had a slight head start on some players in running and prepping this, though it was officially released a few months after our campaign started live streaming it. My players are mixed: some very experienced, some only somewhat experienced. A couple have been playing D&D for a very long time. I have one player who playing in his first campaign, and another who is playing 5e for the first time but has previously played 3.5.

Fifth Edition has proven to be a great D&D edition for me and my group. Let me preface that by saying I was quite fond of 4th ed and did not like 3.5 very much. That puts me in a minority. A minority of very smart people with excellent taste, mind you, but a minority nonetheless, so when you read this, you might want to keep my tastes in mind.

Spoilers below the jump.

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