Critical Role Rolls Right Into My Geeky Heart

Hello fellow geeks!

Have you heard about Critical Role? It’s a Geek and Sundry show where a bunch of voice actors play D&D (Dungeons and Dragons, for those dice novices out there). If you’re at all interested in roleplaying games, or great acting, or amazing storytelling, or geeky subplots, or creatures of the dark, or anything at all, really, you should watch it.

Now I’m the first person to tell you that the first episode is kind-of slow. I had a rough time getting through it, but I was also late to the game, joining the party about three months after it had started and after it had built a pretty substantial fanbase. The audio on that first episode is crazy. The storytelling is a bit odd. And the characters seem way outta left field. But give it a chance. When you get to episode two and beyond, once they fix the audio and spruce the place up a bit, it’s an amazing show. See, at Critical Role’s core, it’s just a bunch of friends hanging out and playing a D&D campaign. They crack jokes. Laugh. Eat pizza or chicken or donuts. Compliment each other on their acting. And that’s how Critical Role started out, an at-home game between friends. Now, it’s a show with thousands of viewers (aptly called Critters) who dominate Twitter when it goes live on Thursday night on Twitch. It’s a show that spawns gorgeous fanart and risky fanfiction. One that brings people together, in person and online. One that transcends continents, even.

How can a D&D campaign get so popular? Well, a few different facets make this particular gem. The storytelling by Matthew Mercer, the dungeon master of the campaign, is amazing. He brings such life to the game, with his plot twists and turns, his many NPCs (non-playable characters) where each one has a different voice, and his ability to allow the other players do epic (and often humorous) stunts with a simple, “you can certainly try.” He’s the mastermind of the group, and a driving force of why so many Critters out there want to be DMs. Because of his storytelling, they’ve had a range of quests, from epic battles facing beholders to simple bar hopping adventures. His merry band of adventurers have faced death, been forced to make tough choices, and yes, even fallen in love under in his story spell. There’s action, adventure, romance, drama, and humor all rolled into one. His words paint a picture so clear, any writer would be jealous. (I certainly am, but I’m inspired, too!)

But he’s certainly not the only reason why Critters love the show. The other voice actors—the half-elf twins Vax and Vex played by Liam O’Brien and Laura Bailey, the human gunslinger Percy played by Taliesin Jaffe, the druid Keyleth played by Marisha Ray, the barbarian Grog played by Travis Willingham, and the gnome Scanlan played by Sam Riegel—form the band of adventurers called Vox Machina. They’re at the core of what makes this show so great. Their easy banter during the quiet moments make even shopping for potions memorable, and they play their characters so well sometimes I forget that Marisha’s name isn’t Keyleth. Sometimes, like in a particularly harrowing moment in Episode 44, I forget that Vax and Vex aren’t actually “real” but because of Liam and Laura’s portrayals, the characters feel real to me. And to everyone else who watches the show. Their conversations span everything, like professing love in an awkward manner nearly everyone can relate to and apologizing for setting a death trap off to how a certain someone can keep smiling when everything seems to go to hell. They’re as relatable as a druid, half-elf, barbarian, gnome, and human can be. They’re obvious concern for one another makes the show worth watching, their interactions and character dynamic keeps the show moving forward, and honestly, the way each character balances the rest out is fascinating to watch.

They sometimes have guest actors join in the fray, too! Here I’ll add in Ashley Johnson, who plays Pike, as a constant reoccurring character. (So much so, she should probably be considered part of Vox Machina but because of Ashley’s current work schedule, she can’t be around as much as she’d probably like.) There’s also been Will Friedle and Mary Elizabeth Mcglynn. It’s always fun to see someone else join the campaign, react to the characters, and be completely awed my Matt’s words. (Other than the thousands of Critters watching.)

Okay. I’ve gushed about this show enough. But really, there’s never enough. Critical Role celebrated its one-year anniversary on Twitch in April, just had it’s its 60th episode as a highly successful liveshow and will be doing another one at GenCon, and (hopefully) still has many years to come. It’s made D&D cool to the mainstream audience. Made geeks and nerds who like spending time imagining themselves as wizards and fighting dragons feel accepted. Spawned many, many other D&D campaigns. Clearly it’s rolled right into my heart and thousands of others. Will it roll right into yours?

If there are any fellow critters out there, leave me a comment about who your favorite character is and why! To all the newbies I’ve successfully turned on to the show, let’s chat when you’re a few episodes in!

I hope you have a lovely Friday!
Warm regards,
Kellie

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Job Hunting Is Hard, Guys!

Hello everyone!

It’s time for another life update. I’m in a weird bubble at the moment. I graduated last month with my MS in Book Publishing. I was super psyched about it—obviously—and I’m quite proud that I accomplished that goal—again obviously—but now I’m in a bit of a pickle. Two and a half-ish years after I quit my full-time job at MLFA in Eagle River and four and a half-ish years since I last looked for a full-time job, I’m back trying to find another one.

And guess what I forgot in my years away from the hunt?

Job hunting is hard, guys!

I did it a bit before I graduated—and landed an interview!—but then stopped for my family vacation, so I started over two weeks ago. I’ve since applied to numerous jobs, emailed a bunch of companies that didn’t have “Jobs” listed anywhere on their website to see if they have openings, and got rejected from more places that I want to mention.

Trying to find jobs that match my skills, spending all this time crafting cover letters, and redoing my resume to match the companies’ needs takes forever. And then there’s the waiting…the waiting is agony. Of course I don’t wait for the companies to get back to apply to another position—simultaneous applications all over the place!—but still, the waiting for companies to get back is crazy. I know that companies have different timetables than applicants do. I know they have a bunch of stuff on their end and other tasks might take priority. I get it, really, and I try not to be sitting on pins and needles for each application, but that’s hard not to do.

So I was pleasantly surprised that after applying to a job (with HANK AND JOHN GREEN! *falls over*) over the weekend, they had a little note saying they’d get back to the applicants by July 15 and if we hadn’t heard anything, assume we didn’t get past this first bit. This is so thoughtful it just made me want to work for them even more and if I’m ever in the position to be hiring someone, I hope to be able to do the same. I’m super excited about this particular job though, so I hope to land a second interview with them! Until then, I’m going to keep applying to ALL THE JOBS (that seem appropriate and interesting, which is a whole different thing smashing around in my brain) and keeping my fingers crossed that I land something sometime soon.

TL;DR – Job hunting is hard, but I’m excited about the possibility of working with Hank and John Green.

Do you have any sage advice about looking for a full-time job? Leave a comment!

I hope you’re having a lovely day!
Warm regards,
Kellie

 

LifeHack: What To Do When You’re Missing Home

Hello everyone!

Sorry it’s been so quiet these past two weeks. I’ve been busy job hunting (which will be a whole different post going up tomorrow so look for that!) and haven’t been writing much, to be honest.

I’ve been missing my home and my family back in Alaska pretty hard this week, and I didn’t really know what to do to make myself feel better. I was looking through some family photos from our various vacations and it helped a little, so I decided to celebrate them on here! Enjoy some random family photos from 2014 and 2015!

 

(In case you’re wondering, we went to Japan, the BVI’s, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Cannon Beach, and Alaska.)

Do I still miss my family and my home? Well, yeah. But seeing how much fun we’re having and knowing how much fun we’ll have the next time we’re all together again makes me happy, too.

TL;DR LifeHack: If you’re missing something or someone or someplace…look at pictures if you have them and remember the good times. It helps. Trust me!

Hope you’re having a lovely Saturday evening!
Warm regards,
Kellie