WORKING: The last week has involved a whole bunch of my “day” job, working in medical education. I’ve gotten to have pancreatitis, a herniated disk, and an abusive relationship with my pregnant teenage girlfriend. Not all at the same time. Probably the most rewarding part of the week was this weekend, working with first year medical students at Johns Hopkins on discussing difficult topics and paying attention to patient language. I also heard about a presentation one of my supervisors is going to give regarding implicit bias, which is exciting and important.

On the Vengeful Ghost side, I’ve been formatting “Pay to Win” for publication (the cover’s up now and page 1 goes up tomorrow!) and drafting Project NYC. I also got a pretty detailed outline on Project Makalu, which is very exciting. Next for that is a page-by-page breakdown, and then I’ll be ready to start the actual script.

PLAYING: Commuting and work has been my big focus this week, and I’m bummed I missed a session of my good friend’s “Necessary Evil” Savage Worlds campaign. It’s a sandboxy supervillains game, set in Star City after a brutal alien invasion has killed all superheroes–but left the villains around. I play a sort-of Black Ant knockoff made up of a cloud of nanites. I call him “Two Bit.”

did get a whole game of Civilization VI in over the weekend, though, and that was a good time. Pedro II’s Brazil may have been small, but we fought off Spain and Germany to eventually overwhelm the entire world with our exported culture. Now I’ve started a run through as Gorgo of the Spartans–we’ll see how that goes.

CONSUMING: Now that I’ve finished Red Mars, my next goal book is Legacy of Ashes: A History of the CIA by Tim Weiner. I talked about it a bit a month or two ago in the newsletter, but I fell off the train. Now I’m back at it, and it’s just as terrifying as it was then. It’s got me thinking about a fundamental problem of historical reporting on intelligence operations, and I’m trying to read Legacy in its light. Namely, successes are rarely declassified. Of course, we hear about spectacular wartime successes like Operation Mincemeat, but other, subtler and longer-lasting intelligence successes must remain secret. If revealed, they challenge their own successes and threaten the potential of future operations. It makes me wonder if Legacy‘s grim picture of CIA incompetence might be the result of a bit of selection bias…

And a dear friend and I watched the first episode of ClevermanIt’s still too early for me to judge the series as a whole, but I’ll be watching Episode 2. Something I found interesting about the pilot: it was comfortable setting its protagonists up to be pretty unlikeable. A pair of half-brothers seem to be the heroes, but one of them is a human trafficker directly responsible for the death of a child, and the other is a populist politician comfortable with causing his brother serious injury. It’ll be interesting to see how they’re presented going forward.

You’ll notice I didn’t mention the election. Let’s keep it that way, at least until this evening. What have you been up to the last week?