S08E03 – Party

Previously on Zhymballa While exploring the caves below the abandoned monastery, the heroes rescue Gighur and seven other prisoners. While looking for an exit, the group meets a goblin who offers them a way out in exchange of the heroes killing as many undead as they can. The heroes accept, but the monastery is so packed with skeletons and zombies and they barely make it out alive. The province of Ridgeport.

S08E02 – The Abandoned Monastery

Previously on Zhymballa Minnesota, a well-fed female dwarf, has hired the heroes to rescue her brother Gighur Shatterheat from a group of goblins. The heroes get their way into the goblin’s lair through a crate of full of corpses. After killing the goblins unloading the cargo, the heroes find the entrance to the crypts and explore it in full. A presence in the walls Til warns the group of a presence in the walls which then goes away.

S08E01 – Rescuing Gighur

Setup Minnesota, a well-fed female dwarf, has hired a group of adventurers to rescue her brother Gighur Shatterheat from a clan of goblins that recently set up shop in the abandoned monastery near the lake. The group consists of Dawn, a male wood elf ranger; Salazar Astorio, a male human paladin; and Til Grassthorn, a male halfling rogue. The group has split to gather intel and secure a way into the goblin’s lair.

Thirty days after my first Vipassana meditation course

In the last 40 days I have spent 160 hours meditating and it’s been the best investment I’ve done in years. Here is why. Earlier this year I came across an interview with Yuval Harari in which he talked about Vipassana, a meditation technique that he has been practicing for 17 years. I found it interesting that a lay person would spend two hours per day and a full month per year meditating, so I looked for more information and this is what I found: you learn the technique by attending a ten day course where all you do is meditate for ten hours a day.

Heidiland: love of nature, vineyards and brown grasshoppers

- Travel
A few days ago we went to Maienfeld to hike near the area that Johanna Spyri used as a setting for her 1881 novel, Heidi. Since I moved to Switzerland I been reminded of Heidi weekly because at work there is a weekly social event whose start gets announced with a broadcast of Heidi’s theme to the whole office. So when I saw that there was a hiking area named after her I talked to Loes and she agreed to go.

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

- Books
What if a Lunar colony rebelled against Earth? The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein (1966) is really a book about revolutions, colonialism and alternative family structures. There is some science fiction like the setting and the fact that one of the characters is an AI but they feel secondary to the main topics. **WARNING: Spoilers ahead** The plot centers around a human Lunar colony that decides to rebel against Earth because it’s exploiting all of its resources.

Trogen to Appenzell (Alpenpanorama trail)

- Travel
On Sunday we escaped the intense rain that was falling over most of Switzerland. This time we tried a new national route, stage 2 of Alpenpanorama Trail, as it passes through the smallest canton of Switzerland, Appenzell. The name means “cell (state) of the abbot (of St. Gallen)” and religion had indeed a strong influence in its history: the canton is divided into two parts, the Protestant one and the Catholic one, and the capital.

What to say when you talk to yourself

- Books
What to say when you talk to yourself is the most effective book on personal growth that I’ve read in the last year. The premise of the book is that our behavior, feelings, attitudes and beliefs are all a direct product of our mental programming. And our mind’s programs get recorded not based on whether they are true or false but simply by how many times and with how much attention we listen or “experience” the programming which, most of the time, happens as we talk to ourselves in our heads.

Spotlight (2015)

A group of investigative journalists at the Boston Globe uncovers a decades long cover-up of Catholic priests abusing children. Sadly the movie is based on a true story. The Spotlight team. Why did the abuses happen? According to a couple of studies, one of them by a psychotherapist who treated these priests for 20 years, the main causes were insufficient candidate screening and insufficient training to prepare for the challenges of celibacy.

Ancilliary Justice

- Books
What if an entity whose consciousness spans thousands of bodies suddenly gets restricted to a single body? And what if we lived in a world with only one gender? Ancilliary Justice by Ann Leckie is a sci-fi story about spaceships, AIs, colonization and the moral struggle between doing what you know is right and face death or follow unjust orders. The story felt more like sitting on the Assembly of Ancient Greece than an adventure because of so much philosophical dialogue but I found the exercise of imagining myself owning multiple bodies very interesting.