Your Kung Fu’s alright eh? Right mate, carpark!

So, for those of you keeping track of my terrible game ideas, well, I’ve had another one. Prompted in part by an old idea (Wanting to set a Feng Shui game in Australia), reading the blog Ninja’s all the Way Down* and a recent viewing of Hercules Returns (Which none of the cast and crew at the post film Q&A had seen in 25 years), I present you thus:

AUSTRALIAN NINJA: ENTER THE YOBBO.

A 1 session 5 player game that uses the Feng Shui system.

With nothing more than that I’ve already had 4 people I know go “Yep, will play.” I’m not sure what that says about my reputation in local gaming circles, but whatever it is I’m happy about it. Maybe even a little proud.

For those wanting more info, I don’t have any. Well, outside of one character’s equipment list will have ‘Hotted up Ford’ and ‘Complete works of AC/DC’ and I want to stage the final fight on the Harbour Bridge. I’m tempted to add a cliffhanger where a fleet of Kiwi accented pirates sail into Sydney Harbour for no readily apparent reason other than it amused me, but I seem to be on a pointlessly obscure cliffhanger kick at the moment (For example, the cliffhanger/epilogue to my last convention game used Iron Maiden lyrics as flavour text).

Plot? What? I did have an idea of going full Godfrey Ho – take a regular Australian film’s plotline, add ninja’s, and then redub the whole mess. I don’t remember much of Moulin Rogue and I never saw Australia, but I’m fairly certain both could be improved by random ninja attacks, much in the same way there’s no film that couldn’t be improved by having Bill and Ted appear halfway through.**

So yes, that’s another game for the list. I’ll chuck it on the pile and now that it’s out in the public eye and try to get back to the stuff I should be writing first. For example,  I just submitted an idea for Pheno and whilst it’s not been accepted yet, more work on it is a good thing.

Be seeing you…

*Don’t trust me? Read their review of Ninja Terminator.
** There’s films that don’t need to be improved, but that still could be.

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Black Panther. (Spoiler free)

So, Black Panther. Bloody fantastic. I’m keen to see it again, not just so I won’t be badly needing to pee during the second half, and to try to pick up on some of the dialogue I missed. (I’m a suburban white guy from the North Shore of Sydney – there were words here and there I didn’t catch) I can understand how that’s been as lauded as it is, how it’s inspired so many people. The fact they made an origin story that also wasn’t one was even more impressive. As said previously, I’m a white kid who’s never been oppressed in his life* so my laughter at a white character being addressed as ‘coloniser’ also contained more than a little bit of awkwardness, like a good round of Cards Against Humanity.

I’m keeping things vague to avoid spoilers, so here’s what I can say. Wakanda is bloody gorgeous and the costuming and design teams deserve all the awards they can get. I remain incredibly happy this wasn’t the film they screwed up (Because sooner or later one’s going to be terrible, and not on an Iron Man 2 or Thor: The Dark World scale). I believe a sequel has been all but confirmed already, and I’m already waiting impatiently for it. It’s tricky – I want to see more of this group of heroes, but post Infinity War I’d like to see others get the limelight.

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And I want that sleeveless outer robe in my wardrobe, please.

The fight choreo camera work wasn’t to my tastes, bit too much juggly cam in places, but not too much – like they accidentally added a pinch of Michael Bay to the recipe. Don’t get me wrong, it fits with the story they and each character has their own style, but it’s occasionally tricky to work out what’s going on. Still, many points to the stunt team and fight arrangers – the last 20 years have seen some amazing advances in those fields. It wasn’t till Fellowship of the Ring that I saw fight work where each culture felt different to each other, but I’ll stop now otherwise I’ll just keep talking about swords till the cows come home.

And now I guess my thoughts must turn to Infinity War. To prepare myself for the scale of the thing, to enter in the almost certain knowledge that characters I’ve been watching for almost a decade may well perish. To hope the CG on Thanos has improved from the trailer. To once again hear Alan Silvestri’s Avengers theme and feel the effect it has on me, that being wanting to stand on a mountaintop posing like I’m in a Frank Frazetta painting. Seriously, listen to this – the pertinent part starts about 2:25 in, but the whole thing is worth listening to for the buildup. How does that crescendo not stir the blood, to make your hands itch for an absurdly over sized weapon and your body almost involuntarily pose like you’re on the cover of a Manowar album?

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OTHER BANDS PLAY. MANOWAR KILL.

But look, no matter how much I may speculate, try to guess plot details and look forward to the film, my brain keeps coming back to one thing, and one thing alone.

Chris Evans with a beard. Daaaaammmmnnnn.

I’d always thought he was a bit too pretty for my tastes (The only permanent residents in my man crush list are Liam Neeson** and Nathan Fillion), but I guess I’ve a new addition. I might be starting to understand what my wife felt at that first image of Chris Hemsworth, shirt all damp, arms straining to lift Mjolnir. Ahem. I think I’ve said enough for the time being.

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Just keep running towards me, it’s OK…

Be seeing you…

*Not being allowed to see Masters of the Universe at age 7 doesn’t count. Besides, the films far, far funnier watching as an adult.
**The bit in Rob Roy when he comes out of the lake and wraps his kilt around his waist just in time, I don’t care what side your bread’s buttered on – WOOF.

 

Far over the Misty Mountains cold…

Far over, the Misty Mountains cold,
To dungeons deep, and caverns old.
We must away, ere break of day,
To find the pale, enchanted gold.

So, given recent faffing about concerning possible new LARP characters, a decision has been made: I’m going Dwarven. I have the beard, a (LARP safe) hammer and find Elves irritating, so how could I not? This leaves a lot of things to work out and/or find  – the name I’m leaving for a while, as I’ve always had trouble with them. For the moment I’m looking at costume and background. Costume wise, I want a lot. This involves digging through reference material and Google Images, which is, as you can imagine, an ardous task*. I have issues with the Hobbit films, but the art direction and costume work is fantastic. Well, mostly – I was never sold on Bifur having an axe stuck in his forehead or Nori’s hairdo**. Their cultural work is gorgeous – there’s a clear difference between each of the races, rather than simply throwing a costume on an actor and telling them to do an accent.

The basic costume concept is pinched from The Hobbit films, mostly Thorin. I love that fur trimmed open robe thing (Stuffed if I know what the actual term for it is) and the general look of his outfit, but I don’t want to copy the thing directly. Lose the armour, drop the fur from the outer robe (Seriously, what is the thing called?) and add a hood for starters. I’ve got jewellery I’m looking at and I’ve almost decided what adornments my beard will have (No, I’m still not letting you put plastic Christmas baubles in it). Also, there needs to be summer and winter weight versions, or adaptability thereof, switching out an outer robe etc. I’m wanting layers, outer robe thing, tunic, belt, maybe a baldric. Oh, the paralysis of options…

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That sleeveless robe thing – what the hell is it called?

As for weaponry, I’ve the hammer and that’ll be it till I can get enough XP to buy shield use. Won’t be the first time I’ve hampered myself combat wise for story purposes, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. I’d experiment further with two-weapon fighting, but I’m even more rubbish at that. The Hybrid Dwarven sword that Epic Armoury makes is very pretty though… Armour (at first) will be thanks to magic, which means I don’t have to wear the stuff, which is pleasing in the Australian summer. I do want a few things to bulk out the outfit though -bracers and greaves, with maybe extra padding underneath there (Under the rules of the system you have to take an ability to make armour count, otherwise it’s just decoration). Heavy leather most likely – Darkblade make a decent looking and relatively affordable set of gauntlets. It can’t be soon enough, given the amount of smacks to the hands I take.

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See, told you it was pretty didn’t I?

Background wise, he’s a blacksmith, but has the skill to forge magic items. So, wizard abiities, but not the boom spell throwing kind. As for why he’s come to the game area, I’m uncertain, but looking towards wanting to improve his skills, maybe to craft something for the Dragon Throne. It’s not much, but it’s a start. Item creation costs XP so it’ll be a while, but it’s nice to have goals to look forward to. Also, I’ve only got the one weapon proficiency, so it’ll be a few games before can use a shield. I’ve the feeling I’m going to lose more fights than I win, but I’m used to that. The stats I have are wavering between fighter and wizard being the main focus, but wizard seems to be winning. I can’t promise I won’t use a Scots accent (Or what I do that passes for one), but that casts a long shadow over Dwarven kind. (I remember doing a Scots accent when I first played a Dwarf back in high school, way back in the mid 90’s – I blame Games Workshop.) There’s other little things I’ve been comtemplating – fighting style, reactions to other races and even walking. May not sound like much, but a Dwarf’s going to walk differently to an Elf. Heavy boots and a rolling tread.

Which leads us to why he’s come to the game site. I’d like a better excuse than ‘I have a roaving foot’ – the old ‘highborn wanting to marry lowborn’ or vice versa cliche isn’t bad, nor is the ‘exiled for political reasons’ one. I like the idea of being a staunch traditionalist, hectoring any other Dwarves in game to be more Dwarfy. A bit more fussy, more than the steroetypical short Viking/Glasweigan. Enough there to identify as a Dwarf, but more depth than the bottom of a glass, unlike a lot of my previous characters..

Enough for now. More to follow.

*Also, going through YouTube looking for power metal covers of Over the Misty Mountains Cold.
**There’s moments I’m not sure what’s in the water at Weta Workshop. Somethings they do beautifully (Hobbiton), and other things go down like a cup of cold sick (I’m pretty sure that Legolas got more screen time and dialogue than at least three of the Dwarves).

Two more ticks on the list

I love live music. True, there’s a joy to a recording, but for me nothing can beat being there. Being amidst the sweat, split beer (and occasionally blood) is an experience like no other. There’s a joy to it I can’t quite explain- it’s one of those “If you aren’t there you won’t get it” sort of things. Or maybe it’s that I take music as serioously as a heart attack. Anyhow, I got to tick off two entries on the musical bucket list I have last night.

1: Getting to see the Celibate Rifles perform Ocean Shore live. Utterly hypnotic.
2: Holding my wife as the Sunnyboys played Alone With You. There were quite a few tears, mostly mine. I’d spent years thinking I’d never get to see them live, as when they originally split I wasn’t yet in school. Last night they were less a band, more a group of people who genuninely love these songs and were ecstatic to play them infront of an audience. And for those who left after the first encore, you missed The Seeker. The house lights aren’t up, you don’t leave.

Left with a t-shirt and the Rifles latest live album – it seemed rude not to, given one of their guitarists was working at the merch desk.  🙂 Hell of a night.

A Questing we shall go! Soonish!

Overkill by Motorhead is a damn near perfect song. It took me a long time to appreciate it (As a teen my main issue was that it wasn’t Stone Dead Forever), but as I’ve been heavily into their back catalogue owing to the recent death of former guitarist ‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke, some critical reappraisal has been due. Philthy’s warp speed double bass drumming, Lemmy’s bass as rhythm guitar and Eddie leaning back into the outro solo, his body almost held up in the air by what’s pouring out of the speakers, it’s enough to bring a tear to the eye.

Anyhow, getting back to LARP related stuff. I’d been toying with the idea of going to Swordcraft Quest (A week long LARP in Victoria) for some time, and having a little extra cash in the pocket from recent convention work, I thought I’d investigate further. A week of gaming, of meeting new people, talking with them in a (possibly) terrible accent, trying to kill them and being killed in return sounds fantastic. Also, camping. Well, there’s a downside to everything. 🙂 Transports tricky though, being in regional Victoria and good incentive for me to get my license. Again. Do I carpool there and train back, or vice versa? Taking the train home does give me the advantage of time to myself, well time with headphones. I’m not a massive fan of crowds, and generally need time to sit in a cave by myself (So to speak), following large events.

The venue the next events at though, Kryal Castle, means there’s both public transport access and dorm room accomodation. Win! Frustration at trying to find more info on the format of the event followed, not helped by their website. I suspect much trawling through Facebook will ensue, or some polite badgering and buying drinks in thanks for friends of mine who’ve gone in previous years. What ensued was my typical mighty enthusiasm followed swiftly by a budget based freakout. What calmed me (Aside from my wife), was the realisation that they run another Quest later in the year, around the school holidays in September. Thankfully, this shouldn’t clash with the Phenomenon convention, which a friend has challenged me to run The Savage Worlds of Flash Gordon at, to which my response was something alone the lines of *twirls mustache* ‘Pathetic Earthlings, who can save you now?’

The September event also gives me more time to plan kit, grow my beard ever mightier, decide what warband to fight with (Or generate a small one of our own, as a housemate is also keen to come play) and prepare. Also time for me to relax, not freak out at the possibilities, and to find out what’s there apart from combat. My wife isn’t a fan of LARP combat (Or as I put it ‘words are her weapons’), while I enjoy a good scrap. Finding an event that indulges both of us, well, that’s the hope.

Now, with the convention further away, I have some cash in my pocket that’s burning hotter than Mustafar. What do I do with it? Armour? Shield? A swooshy cloakBaggy trousers? Whatever I buy, I want to make sure I’m going to use it, and that means actually deciding what character/s I want to take, not coming up with eleventy million terrible ideas, something I’ve long been fantastic at. There is one thing I’m set on though: beard rings*. But which ones? The Mjolnir and Jormangandr ones appeal the most, given my beard is mighty and may well bring about Ragnarok. 🙂 I’m also keen to get a couple of skulls to put in braids in my hair, but that’s more a legacy from my love of Warhammer 40,000.

There’s another more sensible option though – in place of spending large amounts of cash on postage, follow my wife to Spotlight and buy patterns and fabric so she can make it. Saves on postage and I get another chance to brag. “Who made this? My wife did.” A friend has also offered to make me a swooshy purple cloak. I know awesome people.

At the moment though, the main idea is green. Yep, Orcs. That might be owing to seeing this recently, which would (hopefully) help negate the number of crotch shots I take in combat. Yes, I know I should be faster and/or wear a box, but these things still happen. I also need to get my boots resoled, which I’m betting won’t be cheap. Prosthetics and makeup will be involved, but I’ve got time to practise. I’m tempted to go full barbarian in leather and fur, but that orc swashbuckler idea I’ve had kicking around is tempting as well. That would fit more with my less than mighty physique as well. *ponders* Too many ideas and not enough games!

* To those of you who suggest putting plastic baubles in my beard every Christmas, I have a word for you: NO. My beard is not for things bright and cheerful, but shall be adorned only by silver, bronze and the blood of my enemies!**

** Or as my wife knows it, the remnants of my breakfast Milo.

Momentum, or lack of it.

So, after some months I managed to recently return to my local LARP, Clans of Elgardt,  and things went… eh. Nothing to do with the admins (Who had plot going to get my PC back in to things), the game continues to be fun, but more the feeling that thanks to the break any momentum I had with my character has gone up in smoke. Sure, there’s the part that he didn’t have much motivation to begin with, short of coin and violence (In common with a lot of player characters), but in a world where virtually everyone is some flavour of dodgy (From thief to necromancer and in between), is there a point to trying to be more evil? Honestly, it’s like being in the black metal scene somedays. That’s probably a bit too harsh, but in a setting seemingly awash with evil, playing someone good seems more interesting, more of a challenge. I like that idea of that.

So, the mind turns to new character ideas. As usual, I’m awash in terrible ideas, some of which I shall detail below.
1: Halfling political agitator. (I blame one of my housemates)
2: Noble idiot. Flashily dressed, fancy weapons. While ordinarily my politics lean towards eat the rich*,  I like to think I play well intentioned upper class idiot very well. And I could wear a very swooshy cloak!**
3: Dwarven craftsmen. Well, my beard continues to get more Dwarven daily and while there’s a lot of boom spells being thrown around, I haven’t seen much crafting of items. Find a gap in the market and fill it.
4: Cleric. It’s been years since I’ve played one, though none of the setting’s gods really called out to me.
5: Lawman. More Sam Vimes than Joe Dredd (Adding a dash of Gene Hunt might be a bit too much). I’d like to be able to talk to other PC’s, and not them have just yell “It’s the fuzz!” and run. I’m sure that’ll happen at some point, but I like the idea of the contrast with the rest of the setting. Slightly amused at the idea of giving him a name something like Thorvald Thorvaldson, in gentle homage (If you could call it that) to one of the NSW Police’s finest. That’s the most recent one that’s buzzing through my head, with variations on it (Should he be an Orc or a Human? Or go half and half? Either way, he won’t be an Elf.***) still undecided.

Now, the fact that I bought a new warhammer over the weekend at CanCon (And am looking at armour and a shield) leans more towards the Dwarf or the Lawman, but I’m sure I’ll have a pile more ideas in the next few days.  Mostly I want to make sure that I’ve got a character with personality and who fits with the setting, something I’ve a long history of not doing. I’m easily distracted by a shiny new idea, bit of kit, or weapon, what with my recent interest in learning to use a spear mostly prompted by a re-read of The Illiad.  I’m hoping for a more fleshed out persona, something that’s going to be fun to continue to play for more than one session, unlike a past faction idea called The Butchers, where we fought with cleavers and machetes and carried a bag filled with steak and sausages to try to sell to people, like a pack of hyper violent CMOT Dibblers. Someday I’ll use that idea, but as a one-off.

More to follow soon.

*I consider myself a Marxist and proud of it. Groucho, that is.
** Some LARP for the drama. I LARP for the costume.
*** I didn’t use to hate Elves, then I saw the Hobbit films. Smug pointy eared self important gits, taking valuable screen time that the Sons of Durin richly deserved. Plus, that bit with Legolas running up falling masonry was complete shit.

A long overdue thank you.

This is both a shout out to, and thank you to, my Star Wars players. I’ve been running fortnightly, for quite a while now – it’s long surpassed my previous campaign attempts, most of which ended at session 1 when I got writer’s block. And how has it been going? Not well. But a New Hope has arisen…

What started with unbridled enthusiasm and ferocious nostalgia on my part – resulting in us using the old WEG D6 system, had dwindled. After a while the limitations of that system, compared to more modern ones, were laid bare, and we switched over to SAGA Edition, which met with much approval from my players. So, things stumbled on, and there was many a session which left me all but holding my head in my hands. So, I did the thing I should have thought have doing 6 months beforehand – I asked them for feedback. I wanted to make things better. I wanted it to be fun, for both my players and I. It hadn’t been and if swallowing my pride and asking for help got the job done, well it was long past time to do so.

I got feedback, well written, fair feedback. I’d be lying if I said it was easy to read, or fun, but I read it. And tried to apply it, to make change.  We’ve had 3 sessions since then, and it’s been fun. Geunine fun, hopefully as much for them as for me. Sure, there’s been the usual “They did/said WHAT?” moments, but I know my players – that’ll happen. Hell, I encourage that stuff. I mean they tend to solve problems by simply hijacking a vehicle and driving it at full speed (Normally laden with something explosive) at the problem, but I’d expect nothing less from player characters.

So, to my players, thank you for suffering through. I’m sorry I didn’t ask sooner, but I’m glad I finally did. I hope you’re enjoying things. And for any GM’s out there who may panic at what’s happening, just relax, and talk to your players. All hope is not lost. Now, if only I could stop the discussions about how many nipples the Mon Cal has…

So. The Last Jedi.

NOTE: I’ve tried to keep it as spoiler free as possible, but you’ve been warned.

I laughed.
I cried.
Grins that split my face wide open, and sorrow that shook me to my core.
There were moments that made my heart skip, and threatened to drown it in despair.
Well paced, and yet seeming 20 minutes too long. Though I’m not sure if that’s me or my bladder talking.
An endless string of peril, worthy of Flash Gordon, where there’s barely time to  breathe before danger rears it’s ugly head again.
More questions asked, and precious few answered. Speculation, confirmation and deliberation.
It’s trying to escape the shadow of Empire, and doesn’t quite manage it, but still stands on it’s own.
New characters appear and vanish, with barely a beat skipped.
I don’t know how to feel about it. There wasn’t the elation of New Hope, or the “What the fuck have I just seen?”of Attack of the Clones. I badly want to take Niece, Age 9 and Godson, Age 8, but I’m also dreading the questions I get.

I’m not sure. I’ll need to see it again, maybe more than once to properly state how I feel. Rest assured, when my wife and I get to see it together, I’ll still be as excited.

Malcolm. *sigh*

So, when asked about the late, great, Malcolm Young this week, our (current) Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was unable to name a single AC/DC song. I, like a lot of the Australian part of the internet, got very angry and mocking about this. Given a few days to think about it, I’ve calmed down somewhat, but felt like writing something to properly enunciate my feelings on the matter.

It could be said to be some vestige of my working class eat the rich nature showing through, but it felt… insulting. It’s probably just a PM more into Mahler than Motorhead, or him simply being badly briefed by an advisor, but it feels more, like something resembling disrespect. You claim to represent Australia, but yet can’t name a song from one of our biggest exports? A near institution in this country, a story of working class migrant kids made good (Potentially not popular in the current climate). They’ve been around for more than 40 years, and while you could say they’ve been making the same album every few years, it’s a good one. 🙂


I’m Marxist and proud – Groucho that is!

For all his man of the people, leather jacket on Q&A, ‘Look I ride trains like regular mortals’ image, I can’t imagine Turnbull breaking out the air guitar to the opening of Riff Raff, or getting romantic to the Barry White eat your heart out groove of Let Me Put My Love Into You and that’s possibly a good thing. I think far too much gets put into the ‘I want a PM I can have a beer with’ school of thought and that’s not what I want in a PM. I’m happy with that in a local minister (I’d be happy with anyone with a less punchable face than my current state representative – JUST LOOK AT HIM), but I want a PM who’s studied, calm in a crisis and is busy trying to get Australia to a better place rather than getting shit-faced with Stevo down at the local. Also, a less terrible immigration policy would be fucking lovely. Can you hear me Peter Dutton you heartless cunt?

Ahem. Back to Acca Dacca. First hearing that band was a watershed moment in my life – I was listening to music by that stage and had developed a taste for guitars (I maintain a great love of the opening riff of Dire Straits Money for Nothing, something for which I feel exactly zero shame), but this was something else. I can still remember the feeling of excitement at hearing them play that first song- Who Made Who to be exact, at that riff and the wonders it evoked. I had no conception that music like this even existed. It stirred something in my tiny and barely formed mind, much like my first sight of Robin Wright in The Princess Bride around the same time, that said “This thing, you like this. You’re too young to fully understand why, and that’s OK, but you won’t forget this.” And I haven’t.

You see, rock and roll means something to me. As in, it’s one of the things that get’s me up in the morning, something that courses through my veins like wildfire and reminds me that I’m alive. If not for it, I may well not be here. I know I certainly wouldn’t be the person I am if not for it. Asking am I into rock and roll is like asking is the Pope Catholic? The answer to both is ‘Yes’, but it doesn’t quite get across the seriousness of the devotion. Some find inner peace in the smile of a child, the beauty of a mountain landscape, or a wonderful piece of wordplay. Me? I find what comes closest to inner peace when Dave Murray, Adrian Smith and Janick Gers are plugged into a wall of Marshall stacks.

Musics power to inspire, shatter and move continues to amaze me – if you can listen to the Sunnyboys Alone With You and not have your heart break every time, well you’re stronger than I am. If I only give one thing to any children of mine, I’d want it to be a love of music. I like to think I could deal with a sporty child, one who looked upon my love of Doctor Who with scorn and who didn’t know when to reverse the polarity*, but if they didn’t appreciate the beauty of a well timed power chord at air raid siren volume, well, you know the old joke about spending your kids inheritances…

Malcolm Young – 1953 – 2017. Rock in Peace.

* WHENEVER YOU DAMN WELL CAN.

Am I OK? Part Deux

So, a bit over a year ago I wrote a piece for RUOK? Day, talking about what had been going on with me. My wife recently mentioned she’d be curious about a follow up, so here I am. How am I doing since then? Better. Not great, but a lot better than I was. Let’s begin…

GRAFFITI
Not brilliant, but thanks for asking graffiti near work!

I’m working and happy about that. As jobs go it ain’t glamorous, but there’s been some benefits (that aren’t money):
An increased knowledge of fine art (From looking for jigsaw puzzles of them).
Fitness. I know, try not to be so shocked. I’m doing 20,000 plus steps most days and while Zedtown still leaves me ragged I’m feeling a lot better about myself – numerous people have commented I’ve lost weight.
Something in my arms called, I believe, muscle. It’s new. I kinda like it. My wife’s still adjusting – she put her arm through mine a few months back and recoiled in horror, all but screaming “What the fuck is that? That’s actual muscle, where the hell did that come from?” I’m not trying to overtalk it, the Rock has nothing to fear, but given I’ve had twig like arms  practically all of my 37 years, anything is an improvement.
I’ve been there almost a year, and they seem to want to hang on to me. It’s probably a measure of my nervousness that compliments from them still feel weird, much in the same way that people playing my games without knowing the content is still fucking terrifying. I’m glad to be working though.


As true at 37 as it was at 18.

On the whole, my brain’s a lot brighter. I’m out and about a lot more, though my schedule is still nothing compared to my wifes. I’ve been running a regular Star Wars campaign, and despite a litany of missteps on my part, my players still seem to be enjoying things. My GM’ing style is best described as ‘incredibly easily distracted’ and that frequently shows. Still, the moment in a recent session when they thought Darth Vader was in the same room was wonderful. The tabletop I ran at Sydcon a few weeks ago was well received (It felt great to bust out the terrible French accent again) and the LARP I run (Set in the world of the Conan the Barbarian stories) has a small but dedicated audience. I’m even treading the boards again, of my own free will.

But it isn’t always bright, and I’m sure it’s that way for everyone. There’s days when I can recognise it and take steps to help it, by, for example, skipping past Iron Maiden’s ‘Tears of a Clown’ and listening to The Bugle instead. Some days all is great and I feel I can conquer the world, others where the vast wonders of the universe are a bleak formless mass. The Black Dog still howls and reading the news is increasingly horrifying. There’s days I kick myself for not starting the post apocalypse LARP I’d been writing pre American election, but it felt not so much too close to home, but already hiding in the cupboard ready to leap out and attack when I least expect it, much like certain childhood nightmares involving snails. I hate snails*.


If I have to deal with a Black Dog I’d rather it be this one.

My relationship with my wife has also improved – I’m not always easy to deal with, and I’m still completely shithouse at actually following through on my ideas/self improvement, but that’s the struggle. Well no, it shouldn’t be a struggle, but my knack for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory continues. There’s frequent temptations to drop back into old habits (I’m a recovering Games Workshop addict and Necromunda is returning soon), but so far the old demons are mostly at bay. But feeling like I’m contributing to bills, and being able to buy Metal Hammer magazine on a regular basis again has brightened my world like the pyro at a Maiden gig. It’s not that I don’t think doing household stuff isn’t contributing (Far from it), but being able to look at something and go “Yes, I can actually buy that” cheers my mood immensely. I believe it’s called pride.

She asked me a couple of months ago what I wanted out of my life and career, was there anything I cared about enough to do, to work for.  What do I want? It’s a dangerous question I grant you, but in that context didn’t so much invoke a cold sweat as a full blown Lovecraftian lurking nightmare. That’s one of the most terrifying questions I’ve been asked, and it’s power to unnerve hasn’t lessened over the decades since I was first asked it. Because I don’t know. Never have. I’ve generally been content to shamble along, stumbling into things as they come – that’s how I got into TV all those years ago. Should I have a plan by now? Fuck, I’m almost 38, so it sure seems like I should. I’ve a long and inglorious history of abandoning things that took effort (I’m not proud), so what would make me actually work?  Should I keep shambling along? What would make me put that effort in? Fuck, can I?


I miss Vir. RIP Stephen Furst.

It’s alway been easy to retreat back into myself. There’s the struggle of being someone who loves physical touch in a family that doesn’t hug, but had no fucking idea how to get it. Making friends took work, and what did I have to offer to others? It took a lot of work in my late 20’s to deal with that (Thanks hon!), and it’s still something I have issues with. It’s again with the terror of thinking inwardly, because when I do I don’t tend to like myself much. I mean, I don’t think I’m a monster, but I looking in the mirror ain’t fun sometimes, not just on the rare occasion my beard get’s trimmed.  There’s days I’m tempted to seriously trim both my hair and beard, but I’m not sure what sort of sign that is – an overdue evolution or a cry for help? Whatever it is, it’ll need to be done in stages as A: my marriage is beard dependent and B: virtually no-one I’m in contact with (Bar family) has seen me with short hair and heads may well explode.


It was this or the bit from Scanners. You know the one I mean…

I haven’t seen the shrink in quite a while, as he wasn’t working for me. I should try to find one that works, as there’s frequently things I’d like to say to people, but am unsure as to how. Commmunication with my wife is improving, that’s what started this after all, but there’s still things I’m nervous about telling her, no matter how much she reassures me that she wants to know what I think. It’s almost as if I want a social media network that doesn’t know anyone I do, so I can vent about people I know, but they don’t. Actually, that strikes me as hellishly unhealthy. Besides, if I can’t let that petty shit go, what hope is there for me?

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The Eternal Struggle.

Anger’s still something I have trouble dealing with. Not in a *tiny issue* “I’ll fucking cut you!” kind of way, but the way that bottles up everything inside and refuses to admit what’s wrong untl it explodes. Anger, while it’s a fine motivating force, can be dangerous. I’m far from a violent man, but over the years I’ve had more than one person joke about taking bets on the body count when I snap, a joke I find a lot less funny now than I did at 16. At a team building event shortly before I left a previous job I regret not saying I wanted to be less angry, because my default response to finding an upreplaced loo roll shouldn’t be to want to find the lazy shit who never replaced it and introduce them to the pointy end of a sword. I’m glad I’m not there anymore. I still have the urge to flip the bird at the building whever I go past.

I still wonder just why I hang on to that stuff – there’s stuff I can remember like it was yesterday in my head, but I’m likely the only person who does. I almost can’t help but carry grudges – thick fetid hatreds, loathings so intense they could power small nations. There’s people I went to high school with who’s graves I hope to piss on and I’m pretty damn sure that’s not healthy. Even more so, given I can’t remember what most of them look like. Sure, not letting go of ancient grudges is a proud family tradition, but some of those traditions should be broken. It’s another reason why I’m so proud I don’t drink, but that’s more of an issue with the predominant culture in this stupid hellpit of a country than anything else.

I’m not sure if I should have posted this. I’ve not slept well the last few days, and that tends to cloud my mood. I’ve been writing and rewriting this for almost a month, deliberating whether to post it. I think posting it’s the better move. So, what’s my situation? Still up and down, but the ups are a lot higher and the downs aren’t as down, which is cause for celebration. Thanks for reading. I’m not sure there was a point to this, but either way I’m glad to get it out there. And remember, if things are rough, then talk to someone. Please. Don’t be afraid to talk.

Be seeing you…

* No really, I loathe them beyond all measure. Them and slugs. The boggle eyed slimy freaks have terrified me since I was a kid and the mere thought of eating them makes me want to heave. We all have our fears.