What’s making me happy this week Sept 1

A look at what’s making me happy this week, and how you can enjoy them, too. You’ll find an archive of my “happy picks” here.

Paper minis for RPGs

Tabletop gaming is my hobby. I’ve been getting together with the same group of people to drink beer and play games twice per week for years. It’s tremendously fun and a fantastic way to socialize, unwind, think and have a great time.

I really enjoy role-playing games like D&D, Fiasco and so many more. I was thrilled when I found Printable Heroes and Stuart Robertson on Patreon. They’re both making gorgeous, printable paper minis for games like Dungeons and Dragons, Pathfinder or any other game that uses fantasy minis. Their work is beautiful and I’m very happy to back them.

Plastic and metal minis can be expensive and time-consuming to paint. While I enjoy those more substantial figures very much, there’s something utterly charming about these paper characters.

Here’s a pro tip. Paper is kind of flimsy, so follow these steps for more rugged paper minis:

  1. Cut the image out of paper and use some rubber cement to glue it to a piece of black poster board.
  2. Cut the figure out of the poster board as best you can.
  3. Use a black Sharpie to go over the edges of the cut pasteboard to hide any white.
  4. Use an X-Acto knife to insert the mini’s base into some black foam core board.

Presto! Instant hero (or monster) ready for adventuring.

LeVar Burton Reads

If you haven’t subscribed to this podcast, let me know. I’ll drive to your house, pick up your phone and do it for you.

Every week, LeVar Burton reads a piece of short fiction complete with sound effects and beautiful story-telling skill. Each week I think, “He can’t possibly top last week’s tale,” and then that’s exactly what he does.

The most recent story (as of this writing) is “The Paper Menagerie” by Ken Liu. It’s beautiful and absolutely devastating. If you aren’t crying at the end, you weren’t paying attention.

LeVar brings his acting talent and obvious love of fiction to the show and the result is a podcast you really ought to hear. Goodness, I love it.

La Voz by Delinquent Habits

This should make you want to dance instantly. Pure hip-hop, infectious bass and drums, plus horns! I’ve been listening to this nonstop for a week.

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Daily Tip: Create a station in Apple’s Podcasts app

Apple released version 1.2 of Podcasts for iPhone and iPad with several big changes, including custom station creation. I like this feature a whole lot, as it lets you group podcasts however you like and moves between new episodes across shows automatically. I’ve already made several, including science, drama, fun and tech. Here’s how to create a custom station in Podcasts for iPhone and iPad version 1.2.

  1. Subscribe to some podcasts. Enter the store and pick a few that you like.
  2. Tap My Stations and then New Stations.
  3. Enter a name for your new station. A list of your subscribed podcasts appears.
  4. Tap those you’d like to add to your station. When you’re finished, tap Done.

That’s it. While on the My Stations screen, tap Edit to re-order your stations. You can delete a station (but not the podcasts it contains) by swiping across its title.




This post is part is one of 31 tech tips I published in March, 2013You’ll find the rest here.

The Home Work podcast series on Freelancing

Aaron Mahnke of Wet Frog Studios and I produce Home Work, a podcast for home workers. It’s on the 70 Decibels podcast network, and we’re pretty proud of it. Recently we wrapped up a series of episodes on freelancing. Here’s an archive of all of those episodes.

  • Episode 042 – Finding Clients. When things get busy, it’s important to change how we work in order to stay on top of everything. Dave and Aaron discuss how they adapt to crazy schedules and busy weeks.
  • Episode 043 – Educating Clients. In episode two in our series on freelancing, Aaron and Dave discuss clients even further, including how and why to educate them to your process.
  • Episode 044 – Rate Of Pay. This time, it’s setting your price. A big topic and the guys share some nice insights and tips.
  • Episode 045 – Project Management. This week our series on freelancing heads into the realm of project management, and with Dave out sick, professional copywriter and all-around star home-worker Jason Rehmus fills in. We talk about setting up projects, managing expectations, contracts and testimonials. It’s awesome.
  • Episode 046 – Contracts. This week Dave and Aaron discuss contracts. They talk about why you need one and identify the features that every contract should have.
  • Episode 047 – Invoicing. This week our series on freelancing continues as Dave and Aaron discuss invoicing, both tools and practices. Plus, they debut the brand-new listener mail theme! HUGE thanks to listener Kyle Evans who created it for us.
  • Episode 048 – Record Keeping and Overhead. This week our series on freelancing continues as Dave and Aaron discuss record keeping and overhead. No Downton Abbey this week.

Podcasts for 2013

The Atlantic’s Robert Wright has listed several podcast for readers to try in 2013. He lists two “high-brow” shows, including In Our Time with Melvyn Bragg and Partially Examined Life, which features a compelling gimmick (if I may use the term):

“This podcast faces some self-imposed obstacles: (1) It features four, sometimes five, people, and since the regulars are all American males without distinctive regional accents, it’s not immediately easy to tell them apart, so their personalities take a while to crystallize. (2) It’s about philosophy! And I mean real philosophy. Most of the regulars did graduate work in philosophy and were headed for academia before they ‘thought better of it,’ as their web site puts it. So their idea of a good time is an in-depth, sometimes even technical, discussion of Wittgenstein or Quine.”

That’s high-brow, all right. I’m going to check it out.

Wright also recommends two Buddhist podcasts, including Buddhist Geeks. That’s a good one, though I feel the hosts are prone to rambling.

I have a few recommendations of my own: