Highlights from Talks Machina (Episode 105)

Again, covering for @eponymous-rose​ while she continues her international vacation! Sorry for missing last week–things got crazy! Tonight’s guests: Darin de Paul, Taliesin sporting a lovely scarlet mohawk, and Travis. Brian starts a story that ends with him forging several signatures, and off we go.

  • The new campaign guide comes out soon! Taliesin is now worried about messing up the history of a character he invented.
  • Darin loves D&D as a long-form improv exercise and is happy he was able to get moments with each of the cast members.
  • Right after college, Darin was an apprentice at the Burt Reynolds Theater in Florida (a year-long program for theater students). One of his co-apprentices was Matt’s mom, and Matt’s grandmother was the director’s assistant. Matt’s father was part of the writing room. During the run of Darin’s last show (Fiddler), a clarinet player said they were going to play D&D and invited Darin. Matt’s mother was also in the group; they were all new to the game, so they rolled on a table for names and played four sessions. Last year, Darin was hired by Blizzard to do various voices, which is where he and Matt became friends. Later, Matt realized his mom had a picture of herself with Darin de Paul, and discussion of that picture led to the conversation of their D&D game. It’s been 37 years since Sprigg’s original campaign.
  • Matt was worried about fitting Sprigg in until Darin mentioned he was a hermit. The hobgoblin TPK was canon! Sprigg, a chaotic evil illusionist thief, was the only one to survive; the last moment of that campaign had him fleeing on a cart with wolves chasing him, abandoning the rest of the party to their deaths. Travis and Taliesin ask if he really was chaotic evil; “Why do you think he was so interested in redemption, dear boy?”
  • The first episode Darin saw was the Trials of the Take episode when the carpet was destroyed. He’s wanted to be on the show ever since.
  • Symmetra’s voice actor, Anjali Bhimani, also plays D&D. My heart skips a few beats.
  • Vex and Percy eloped over the year break. Laura and Taliesin kept it secret out of pique at first (Taliesin doesn’t remember why they were piqued). He’s not surprised the others are annoyed.
  • Grog was extremely impressed by Sarenrae and hasn’t thought much about Kord giving him any boons.
  • Darin has been a fan of the show and watching for some time. Taliesin says he is the most prepared guest they’ve ever had.
  • Very few people were present at Vex & Percy’s wedding. They did not intend to ever bring it up on their own.
  • The plane of books is the worst possible plane for Grog. Only the plane of shopping would be worse.
  • As soon as Darin walked into the studio last Thursday, Travis immediately asked him if he was a god. Travis still thinks he might be.
  • Percy would rather have a thousand years with Vex than a thousand years with Ioun’s library.
  • Travis wants a “positive, upbeat resolution to all the drama that is a-hanging in the air.” Me too. Travis does not read the Player’s Handbook to help keep Grog dumb, so he never knows what’s going on.
  • Travis loves how prepared Darin was. He offered the Deck because he thought Darin was looking for something specific after Sprigg deflected the weaker offerings.
  • Darin loved the emotion in the room during the plane shift and the strong moment with Marisha in particular. He also likes the movie Gargoyles.
  • The hardest thing about playing Sprigg after so long was finding him again. Brian gets very sentimental about the long journey that brought Sprigg back to life, including Darin becoming friends and colleagues with Matt so many years later.
  • Darin will be back on the next episode and is visibly excited about it.
  • Darin used to read tons of D&D books (mentions Drizzt by name) and used to paint minis as a hobby. He still has some of the figures and wants to donate them to the show.
  • Darin’s wife was part of Taliesin’s parents’ circle, so he’s known her for a long time. Taliesin and Darin exchange memories of meeting Roddy McDowall, and Darin says part of Sprigg’s concept of memories being the most important came from a conversation he had with Roddy while Roddy was dying of cancer.
  • Percy’s current distrusting attitude towards the gods came directly from his interaction with the Raven Queen. However, he didn’t know there was a god of knowledge and has been “chewing on it a lot, and what it means to have faith in knowledge.” He sees the library as a testament to faith in humanity and the good works of life and how important memory is and is blown away by it. “Books have always been about finding meaning and this whole library thing has changed him.” Taliesin expected Percy to be much more resistant to Ioun and was surprised at how quickly the books sold him.
  • Darin felt as the scenes progressed that his role was to “illuminate” CR as to where they were and what they could be. Taliesin and Percy both wondered if he was Scanlan from the future. Darin had the choice of being Scanlan’s dad, but declined.
  • Percy picked Vesper because her namesake was the last person he’d talked to in real life.
  • The only place Travis can think of worse for Grog is if the books were replaced with clothing & a For Sale sign. “Grog has a beatnik poet inside him waiting to get out.”
  • Darin’s advice to Keyleth was total improv. He almost cried when she touched his hand. He loves funny characters that can become sad and/or touching.
  • Marisha has no idea how to get Keyleth out of her emotional nosedive. Watching Marisha break character from Keyleth at the end of an episode is one of Taliesin’s favorite things because they’re such different people.
  • Percy would seek out the lifebooks for all his family & ancestry because he’s fascinated with legacy, and Whitestone is full of ghost stories. He had lots of stories he’d planned to give as part of the gnomes’ tour, and tells one about a woman forced into a marriage who slowly poisoned her husband over a number of years.
  • Sprigg feels he is what Scanlan might become. He did not expect to survive the episode.
  • If they were really in Ioun’s halls, Travis would love to see the books of his family and of JFK. Darin would like to see his father’s book. Darin also likes wearing suits, which is why he wears suits. He only wears t-shirts at the gym. (At one point Darin’s family also owned 20 horses???). He wishes his parents could see him now because they were so supportive when he was growing up.

Honor! Justice! After Dark, After Dark, After Dark!

  • If the challenge for Ioun involves any physical activity, Grog will fight Percy for it.
  • Bucket lists: Travis wants to swim with a great white shark. (Darin’s biggest fear is great white sharks.) Taliesin wants to travel to India. Darin wants to learn to tap dance, and casually drops that he used to dance with Cirque du Soleil.
  • Darin’s favorite color is black. His favorite season is winter.
  • There’s a video somewhere of Darin de Paul and Steve Blum pretending to be zombies and running towards the camera.
  • Travis and Darin do Reinhardt “impressions” by talking in high-pitched baby voices. Taliesin does a pretty decent actual impression! Darin likes that there’s heroes for every playstyle.
  • Darin hasn’t told Matt’s parents he brought back Sprigg. He also used to have a crush on Matt’s mom.
  • If Darin could pick any character from VM to play, he would play Scanlan. Brian teases the entire world by saying he would play “the character Pike’s in love with.”
  • Darin’s twitter flooded after last Thursday and he wishes he could respond to all of the kind messages.
  • Darin once shared floss with Gilbert Gottfried as part of an old bit.
  • Darin feels his whole history has led to this moment last Thursday where he had the chance to create a story with people he loved.
  • Laura read the Game of Thrones books as they came out, well before the show started. Brian just found the copy of the first book she lent him in 2010, which he still hasn’t read.
  • If Sprigg could fight any D&D monster, it would be a hobgoblin.

Sixteen Nobuyoshi Araki Photobooks from 2016

Click the titles below for brief reviews of sixteen Araki books & features published in twenty-sixteen.

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1.  写狂老人日記 命日  Photo-Mad Old Man Diary: Meinichi 


2.  写真ノ説明 (光文社新書) Explaining Photography 

3.  淫冬 KaoRi    Imtou KaoRi


4.  センチメンタルな旅 Sentimental Journey


5.  トンボー・トウキョー  Tombeau Tokyo

6.  去年の写真  Last Year’s Photographs

7.  淫冬 Imtou:   Kimbaku Ecstasy &  Flowers & Jamorinski

8.  Araki Nobuyoshi 


9.  写狂老人A 76齢  /  Photo-Mad Old Man A 76th Birthday


10.  アサヒカメラ 2016年 06 月号 / Asahi Camera Magazine June 2016


11. アラマメ  Aramame

12.  淫秋  Imshu


13.  Araki for Supreme


14. 東京は、秋  /  Tokyo, In Autumn

15. SWITCH Vol.35 No.1 荒木経惟「東京物語」 /  Nobuyoshi Araki  LAST BY LEICA

16. Hi-nikki (Non-diary Diary)

Aries: “In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” ― Albert Camus

Taurus“Snow falling soundlessly in the middle of the night will always fill my heart with sweet clarity”― Novala Takemoto

Gemini: “I leaned out one last time and caught a snowflake on my tongue. They tasted so good, so pure and so divine, like nothing I had ever tasted from the sky.”  ― Shannon A. Thompson 

Cancer: “Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.”
― Edith Sitwell

Leo“The days are getting colder, have a warm heart.”  ― Unknown 

Virgo: “What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” ― John Steinbeck

Libra“Advice is like snow. The softer it falls, the longer it dwells upon and the deeper in sinks into the mind.”  ― Samuel Taylor Coleridge 

Scorpio: “Winter, a lingering season, is a time to gather golden moments, embark upon a sentimental journey, and enjoy every idle hour.” ― John Boswell

Sagittarius: “People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer when they’re happy.”  Anton Chekhov 

Capricorn“Love is like the winter, it can be beautiful and peaceful, but also cruel and cold.”  ― Unknown 

Aquarius “I realize there’s something incredibly honest about trees in winter, how they’re experts at letting things go.”― Jeffrey McDaniel

Pisces: “Kindness is like snow - it beautifies everything it covers.” ― Kahlil Gibran

Reading list for the summer:

Some of you have written asking for recommendations for things to read over the summer. I just read things that I’m in the mood to read, but these are some of the books I’d like to read this summer.

Prose (Fiction, mostly)

How To Be Both, Ali Smith (currently reading)
The Waves, Virginia Woolf (currently reading)
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, Arundhati Roy
Invisible Cities, Italo Calvino
In the Skin of a Lion, Michael Ondaatje
In Other Words, Jhumpa Lahiri
Cat’s Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut
Fugitive Pieces, Anne Michaels
The Awakening and Other Stories, Kate Chopin


Louder Than Hearts, Zeina Hashem Beck (currently reading)
Citizen, Camille Rankin
alchemies of distance, Caroline Sinavaiana-Gabbard
Incarnadine, Mary Szybist
This Far Back Everything Shimmers, Vicki Husband
Extracting the Stone of Madness, Alejandra Pizarnik
A History of Colour: New and Selected Poems, Stanley Moss


Woman and Nature, The Roaring Inside Her, Susan Griffin
Danube: A Sentimental Journey from the Source to the Black Sea, Claudio Magris
Mythologies, Roland Barthes
Mussoorie and Landour: Days of Wine and Roses, Ruskin Bond
Blue Nights, Joan Didion

Worried - Request

Requested by anon:  can you do one where Sherlock comes home from a long case which he finally solved but is beaten up and and bruised and he doesn’t understand why is reader is so worried because Sherlock + human emotions = ?

Summary: Everything from above, I suppose.

Pairing: Sherlock x reader.

Word count: 2,222

Warnings: Bloody, bruised Sherlock?

A/N: Fluffy Sherlock, I hope I got this correctly, my Sherlockness is sleeping today.


221B was only quiet when neither Sherlock nor John were around. No shooting, or shouting, no stomping across the room, no violin playing, no rants, no nothing… Just pure silence. And even when (Y/N) enjoyed said silence, she was worried. They were out on a case – a very dangerous one – and they had been out for a long while without even calling like they used to.

She tapped her fingers anxiously over the fabric of Sherlock’s chair with one hand while the other was holding a cup of tea Mrs. Hudson had prepared for her. It was now cold and she hadn’t even tried it, although it looked like it because she was trembling, causing a few spills over her jeans.

(Y/N) heard steps. Not Sherlock’s, not John’s and definitely not Mrs. Hudson’s. Limping steps. Yes, it was a limp, maybe a police officer or a client. (Y/N) set the cup of tea aside and got up from the seat. She walked confidently to the door to open it up.

She was like the secretary. She would receive the clients, attend the calls and help Sherlock during his research. Since Watson got married, Sherlock had needed someone else to help him through the process of investigation while John couldn’t, and even so, she wasn’t allowed to go on cases.

Sherlock wouldn’t admit it, but he really liked her. She was clever, efficient and she wasn’t an idiot like everyone else. She didn’t interrupt him while being on his mind palace; she didn’t get scared of the many body parts spread around the apartment and she made brilliant observations when required, if not, she would stay quiet and do her job.

It wasn’t a surprise either that she didn’t take him for an arsehole. She knew his “condition” and she was fine with it. In fact, she was almost a bit too fine. She cared for him, and she was always there; kind of like Watson, except she wasn’t a married person but rather a single one who just so happened to enjoy Sherlock’s company.

She didn’t worry to cover the tea stains from her jeans – perhaps she hadn’t even noticed them – and so she opened the door with her client smile. A bloody Sherlock appeared in front of her.

His hair was covered in blood and sweat, as well as his face and his clothes. His eyes were tired, and he was breathing through his mouth. (Y/N) noticed a few bruises over one of his cheekbones, under the eye, on his hands and she was certain there would be a lot more under his clothes.

“Thank God you’re here, I forgot my keys.” He breathed out. He was tired, and his voice sounded as raspy as if someone had tried to asphyxiate him.

“What happened to you?” She inquired in shock.

“I caught the murderer… I told them it was the grandfather but nobody believed me.” He replied nonchalantly and tried to step inside. However, he was too injured and ended up falling over (Y/N).

Thankfully, he didn’t let all of his weight on her and she was a tad bit strong so she managed to help him inside.

“A grandfather did this to you?” (Y/N) asked as she led him to his seat.

“Oh no, it was the grandmother. She’s a real ninja.” And so he flopped on his seat, “You were sitting here.”

“Is it because it’s warm or because of the tea cup at the side table?” She asked, turning her back on him to look for the first aid kit.

“That and the tea stain on your jeans.” He chuckled. (Y/N) returned with the metal box on her hands, kneeling in front of him. She set the box on the floor by her side and opened it. “You look worried.”

“Of course I’m worried.” She hissed, “You and John leave for hours, no calls, no texts… A murderer on the lose…”

“My phone’s battery died. Why were you worried?” (Y/N) gave him a dumbfounded look.

“I just told you.” Sherlock tilted his head and couldn’t help but to complain. Everything hurt him. (Y/N) sighed and proceeded to clean up his wounds as much as she could. “You’re going to have to shower.”

“I’m afraid you’re right.” Sherlock groaned and tried to get up in vain.

(Y/N) kicked the kit away so that Sherlock could walk freely and helped him up. She guided him to the bathroom and turned on the shower for him. She had to help him to take off his shirt as well, which allowed her to have a look on the multiple bruises over his ribs.

“No broken bones, though.” Sherlock commented, he obviously noticed her staring, “Grandma isn’t as good as she used to be.”

“And yet she beat you.” (Y/N) mumbled.

“But I got them in jail,” Sherlock added cockily, “guess we know who the winner is.”

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