Micia delle Ombre – Catarina Anna Orgoglio

Lost: Ω

  • Power: Not Entirely of this World: she stands apart from this world
  • Weakness: Magic of other realms can always reach her
  • Quirk: can always interact with intangible items—and them with her

Known: d6

  • Gifted student of math and engineering: she would be a master engineer, if she weren’t 13 and unapprenticed

Dynamic: d6

  • Expert swordswoman: deadly with all forms of swords and daggers
  • Talented dancer: she could be a professional dancer

Static: d10

  • Power Stunt: Phasing: by concentrating, she can pull a little further from the world, becoming intangible so that she can pass through anything or let anything pass through her
  • Flaw: young: at only 13, she doesn’t have any authority and is often not taken seriously by adults

Passion: d8

  • Power stunt: Draco: her otherworldly nature has given her an unbreakable telepathic bond with a small dragonette the size of a dog


Catarina is a young woman living in Roma, the daughter of successful tradesmen. She showed an aptitude for her father’s engineering, but also a mastery of her body that let her quickly learn to dance and fight as well as many who have spent decades honing their skills. She had always been a bit of a distant child, seeming out of touch with the world around her despite her physical gifts and brilliant mind, and as she grew she discovered that it was more than a personality quirk: she is partly of another realm, and can “phase” out of touch with the regular world, enabling her to pass through objects. This otherworldliness also let her befriend a small dragon who is now her boon companion. 


Catarina is a not-quite-playable character. To be played as a Guest character, she should have 1 more Known trait, and her Static Flaw (or Power Stunt) wouldn’t come into play.

As a Main character, she would need 2 Known, 1 Dynamic, and 2 Passion traits added. Perhaps her brilliance gives her other aptitudes? Does her otherworldly nature connect her to any particular realm? Maybe she has a connection to the fae or to other mythic creatures besides Draco? A 13-year-old young woman with her talents and background is likely to have some strong passions about how the world does or ought to work—there’s nothing in her Traits about why she is a hero—or is she a villain? A more-experienced version of Catarina might have learned to use her phasing ability selectively, or to affect objects or other people.

Reviews are supposed to be helpful

So I’m watching a short little comparison/review video to find out more about a new-to-me Linux distro. And they’re comparing it to a distro I’m familiar with, so that’s helpful.
But the caliber of the reviewing is leaving something to be desired.


Distro A has a very Windows 10-esque interface, with a solid-black bottom bar that has an application menu (in text/list form) with a search box on it, and icons for apps (not sure if those are running, pinned, or both) running along the bottom on the left, and notifications and widgets on the bottom to the right, at least one of which can launch a panel that slides in from the right with more details. Window chrome is a little bit more macOS-like, with categories on the left rather than a tree, but fairly plain and traditional these days.
Solus Budgie default desktop with application menu visible Solus Budgie default desktop with file browser visible
So, it basically looks like Windows 10 without the Metro touches, Windows 7, or Windows Vista with less transparency.
The reviewer describes it as a “very modern interface”.
Distro B has a more iPad-esque interface, with a translucent top bar for notifications and widgets (on the right), a HUD for searching, a translucent panel on the left that serves as an application dock, and when you open up the application launcher you get a grid of large icons overlaid on the middle of the screen. File browser windows make me think a little bit of macOS: some categories pinned on the left side, a few view/control buttons on the top, but also a file path style display of location.
ubuntu default desktop ubuntu application picker ubuntu search heads-up-display with results ubuntu file browser
The reviewer describes it as a “very modern interface”.

What is “Modern”?

Beyond having a graphical desktop and some panels/menubars arrayed around it, some of which are always visible and some of which can be shown only when needed, there’s very little in common between these two. What even does “modern” mean, in this context? I would’ve thought something more iOS- or Android-esque (Distro B) would be more “modern” in the context of GUI design than something that is basically just a modest evolution of the 2001 Mac GUI (Windows 10, and therefore Distro A).
Unless we’re going with the formal art movement definition and they don’t mean “modern” but “Modern”, in which case Windows 8 is arguably the most Modern GUI with any real market awareness, what with the vast slabs of bright solid colors, flatness, and lack of skeuomorphic elements or even visual cues. And neither of these distros really look anything like that.


This is one of those reviewers who is “scoring” the things they’re comparing. So for each category, they decide which one “wins”. On the GUI front, the reviewer, after going on about how great both GUIs are, and acknowledging that UI has a significant subjective component, declares Distro A the winner. It’s not really supported by what they said, but neither is it contradicted. But I guess someone has to win, right?
Then we get to stability. They talk about how Distro A is pretty new but seems to be stable enough (with no substantiation for the claim). They then gush for several minutes straight about how amazingly stable Distro B is, and how it’s the distro that people use when they want a server that absolutely must not fail ever, and how Distro B has recently extended long-term support from 5 years to 10, and how the reviewer has used Distro B for years for critical production work and never had a problem.
They declare this a tie, awarding a point to each distro.

Mind you, I’m watching this for the info they’re summing up, not their personal opinion. I know that I can’t get a full overview of a Linux distro in a <10-min video. And I might not weigh all the categories that the reviewer chose equally. So I know that the score part doesn’t really matter.
But, yeesh! If you’re going to allow ties, apply them consistently. And maybe you should check to see if the scores you give and the evidence you provide match up, at least superficially.

The Bishop of Arezzo

Lost: Ω

  • Power:  “fighting with all the energy with which he so mightily endows me.”: Can absorb and store all types of energy.
  • Weakness: …but not energies from beyond the mortal sphere. 
  • Quirk: his eyes glow when he is charged

Passion: d6

  • Power Stunt: “like a hammer that breaketh the rock”: can release stored energy in powerful concussive blasts.
  • We are All Children of God: Tries to help everyone find their best divine self.

Dynamic: d8

  • Power Stunt: “The Lord is my Strength and my Shield”: can use stored energy to supercharge his body with supernatural strength and durability.

Static: d10

  • Power Stunt: Cannot be harmed by energy attacks.

Known: d6

  • Respected instructor of the Medici Academy: poet, theologian, and orator.
  • Knows the inner workings of the Church.

The Bishop of Arezzo grew up hearing the stories of the nobility and divine purpose of the Church, and joined as soon as he could. Eventually, he was sponsored by the Medici and appointed the parish priest of San Giovanni in Florence. Later he became a canon of Pisa Cathedral and then the bishop of Arezzo. But then he was caught up in a conspiracy of political intrigue and assassinations—sanctioned by the Pope! Realizing that not everyone in the Church lives up to its ideals, the bishop used his extensive knowledge of the workings of the world to take on a new mantle as The Bishop, his mission to bring the noblest elements of the Church out into the world to do good. He won’t directly attack the Church because he still recognizes its divine authority, but he now knows that even Church members are fallible, and strives to help them live up to their best selves.

This is the first of a series of character sketches for Four Colors al Fresco. The goal is to give you a better feel for the world of Italia and show you what sorts of heroes and villains live there. Some will be complete characters, ready to play, but most will be incomplete. I want to give you inspiration for the many ways you can make a character that works in a pseudo-Renaissance Italy. You can take these characters and use them, adding any missing Traits to flesh them out. Or you can steal bits of them for your own characters. Or maybe one of them will inspire you to make your own character.

The Bishop of Arezzo is fully statted as a Guest character; if you want to play him as a Main character, he would need several more Traits.

Unreview: Star Trek: the Motion Picture

I rewatched Star Trek: the Motion Picture over the weekend. First time in decades. I still think it’s much better than its reputation, but this isn’t a proper review. Instead, a few observations:

I had forgotten about the shuttle flyby when boarding: Due to the position of the space station and the maintenance docks, they’re coming from behind the Enterprise. They take a wide arc out and around the docks to the front of the ship. They then fly into the docks, past the entire ship to the rear, presumably where the shuttle bay is. But they don’t actually head for the shuttle bay, instead swooping past and heading back towards the front of the ship, finally docking at the base of the neck. So they basically do two complete flybys of the entire ship for no reason…when they’re on a super tight schedule where every minute counts.

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Discovering New Music: Yello

I love discovering new music. Sometimes that music isn’t so much “new” as it is “new to me”.

If you’re in a certain age range, you know the group Yello, but you probably don’t realize it.

You’ve maybe never seen the video, but I’m betting you know the song. I encourage you to watch the video. It’s a delightful slice of the early MTV world where, as Todd in the Shadows put it, every music video was an experimental short film [apologies if I inadvertently paraphrased].

(By the way, you might want to check out Todd in the Shadows’ whole “One Hit Wonderland” series. Most of them are fun and interesting.)

But here’s the cool thing:


and this

and this

and this

and this

are all from the same band, with the same personnel.

They also have even more experimental stuff, both more ambient and more noise/techno in sound, and more pop-ish/melodic stuff in a couple different styles, but I couldn’t find shareable recordings.

So if you like some or all of the above, you might want to check out a bit more of their music.