It’s not all doom and gloom.

Really, as much of a miserable sod as I can be, it’s not all bad.

I’m the only one in my house not working from home (This is both good and bad mind you), the Iron Maidens and Mac Sabbath have rescheduled concerts, my fencing group has been posting online training videos (And Guy Windsor dropped the price on his solo training course down to $20 US) and most of my RPG groups have gone online. My brain doctor is an essential service, though I’m not sure if I’ll be there in person or over the phone. Tracey and I are enjoying The Witcher, and I would very much like Geralt’s banquet outfit from Episode 4, please? I’ve said it before, and will say again – we don’t need more licensed merchandise, we need licensed tailors outside cinemas. Speaking of my wife, I managed to surprise her last night, though it’s more my choice of music that did it. I grant you, smooth jazz and poetry usually isn’t my jam, but when you add Iggy Pop to the mix, well, you have my attention. It’s nice to know that after almost 14 years I can still surprise her.

I’m planning to run one of my old con games over Discord and had the people I’d contacted responding yes in seconds, so that’s something. If things go well (and I’m honestly not sure how I’ll do), I may run some more in future, so watch this space. Oh, and in-case you feel the need to respond to me in future, replying to an offer with “DIVE!” will certainly be counted as a yes. Clarification of that response is not required.

Also, I got my fencing mask painted. There was a lot of time spent on trying to decide what to have painted on it, but there could be only one person fit to guard my face, so to speak. The gentleman in question is a little older than I am, and has worn many faces over the decades, reinventing himself on a regular basis. I had it narrowed down between a few of his classic looks or a more recent incarnation, but in the end, sand won the day. Sand? Well, not that sand.

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The sand comment had you thinking Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker right?

What can I say, other than I’m a slave to the power of death? I adore Iron Maiden beyond all measure, as long term readers will know, and while I was tempted to get Darth Vader’s helmet or the Radio Birdman logo, I had to go with the esteemed Mr Edward T Head. The photo looks lovely, but this thing is flat out gorgeous in person. Many thanks to Morbid Curiosity Fencing Masks for their stellar (and speedy) work!

In other news, my birthday’s on Sunday, and while there’ll be no celebration (I’m not stupid and violating social distancing) I still plan to enjoy the day. Somehow. Maybe I’ll sleep in. How am I coping with the proximity to the big Four Oh? I’m curating a playlist on Spotify, with the plan being to post it on the day. I am not ashamed of this, though looking at the tracks I’ve chosen there’s some miserable stuff there. Some of it’s about aging, other songs have stuck with me over the years. I’m not sure what this means, but at least I’ve not started a podcast. I do plan on buying another sword to celebrate though. There is no such thing as too many swords. No. Such. Thing.

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And no, this is not what I wear when when I fence.

The brain hasn’t been great of late. It’s odd, as I’m the one in the house who’s going outside and yet I think I’m the one who actually wants to isolate. the temptation to get my hair chopped to Keanu Reeves in John Wick 3 length has surfaced again as well. I had the vague idea of when all this is over booking a hotel room for a few days, taking my laptop and some books and just hiding, emerging only to eat and phone loved ones. My introvert batteries need some serious charging. Yes, I spent most of last Saturday asleep, but I put that down to the sleeping pill I took Friday night than a spike in my depression. Sure, I think I’ve had that as well, but fuck, who isn’t dealing with that right now? I’m planning to try a half dose of the sleeping pill the next time and see what happens. For science!

I leave you with a recent discovery of mine. As covers go, that’s pretty damn fantastic, and extra points for the showmanship.

Be seeing you…

Cancelled.

Rough week. I am feeling rather ill-equipped to face today. Dropped a sleeping pill last night, and while it didn’t hit me as hard as last time, I’m still in something of a haze.

In the space of roughly a week, the following events have been cancelled or postponed:
Download Festival
The Iron Maidens
Blackpowder and Bloodlines
Iron Maiden
My 40th birthday celebrations
Tuesday sword for the rest of term, possibly longer.

How am I dealing with this? About as well as could be expected.

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I can’t complain about it, given the current situation they made the right call. Public safety’s an important thing, especially when beaches and bars still seem to be full of people and virus cases still seem to be ramping up here. But I’d be lying if I wasn’t cut up about them, as I’d been looking forward to them for quite a while. While bemoaning the state of things to my wife Friday night, she asked me an irritatingly armour piercing question, as she does. I’m not remembering it exactly, but hopefully I’ve got the theme correct: “Is your regular life so miserable that you need these things to look forward to?”

Honestly, I don’t know?

There’s been times when yeah, the thought of an upcoming show or event has helped me to get out of bed. I’m rarely as happy as I am at a concert, so that seems natural to me. Being in a crowd full of people normally isn’t my thing, but there’s something wonderful about a Maiden crowd. I bloody love that band, to a degree my skill with words can’t properly convey, and being amidst a crowd all there to share our in our love of them, well, I feel at home. There’s a lot of love in that crowd, more than at other metals shows I’ve been to. But I’m digressing, as tends to happen when Maiden get mentioned. Back to the point, it’s not the only time I feel that way, but it’s one of the big ones. On a regular basis that’s probably not healthy, but that’s another thing to discuss with my brain doctors.

Getting back to the question, maybe? It certainly feels that way some days. My therapist has said having things to look forward to is good, but it’s possible I’m using that as a distraction to mask other issues. Wouldn’t be the first time and I’m sure it won’t be the last. Maybe I need the distraction more at the moment? My heads above water, but not by much or so it seems. I need stuff to look forward to, or the day to day grind becomes oppressive. My regular games are still on, and they’re great for my health, but they aren’t always enough.

Will ponder this. Be seeing you.

The clash of swords and the *ow* my back hurts…

Things are rough.

A virus that’s not the beer of the same name is running rampant, leaving deaths and incompetent governments in it’s wake. All manner of festivals and gatherings have been cancelled, from music, to arts and writers. Toilet paper appears to be the thing that’ll flip the switch to full Mad Max. The Prime Minister seems to care more for football than governing and Red Dead Redemption 2, aka Yee Haa Skyrim, can only provide so much distraction.

Now’s the time to act with caution, but not fear. Remember to be kind to those less fortunate. Thank bus drivers and retail workers. Vent your abuse at late trains at the bosses of the network, not the poor souls who man the stations. Support local stores, and I don’t just mean your FLGS. (Though please do shop there, as my work may supply them.) Chuck artists you’s work you enjoy a few bucks on their patreons, or buy that little thing you like. Tweet at them to say thank you and tell them how much you love their work. Above all, follow the example of two of the finest humans I’ve known, and “Be excellent to each other.” Cause that’s how we’re gonna get through this.

And when election day rolls around, remember how you feel right now. Remember how the inaction, greed and arrogance of some may have harmed those you love, and please, vote accordingly. Think of how you feel now, filled with fear and concern, unable to trust those meant to be running the country, and vote for hope. For a long time I’ve voted against people (It’s always tough to choose between One Nation and Fred Nile for who to put last), but next election I want to vote for something, instead of against it. Maintain the rage, but keep a reason for it. Be constructive, not destructive. Make Joe Strummer proud.

And above all, be kind. There’s a Kurt Vonnegut quote that comes to mind, actually the only work of his I know. (Thanks Andrew P Street!)  It’s quite simple, and it was on my list of things to read at Godson #2’s naming ceremony. “Hello babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. On the outside, babies, you’ve got a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies-“God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.”

It’s not all been doom and gloom. I got to play briefly with a montante (A Spanish greatsword) last week at sword, and while drawing it from the bag my fellow student was carrying it in, the blade rasped against the plastic buckles and made a shlang noise.  I was very, very happy to hear that. It was awesome. As for the rapier class that I’m actually there for, it’s still buckets of fun, though less so for my back. Still, you have to start somewhere. I do miss the Saturday crew though – I’m hoping I’ll get the chance to go back there next term.

The brain has been it’s usual up and down self, and possible work changes are up in the air, thanks to the virus. That’s also had me delay my birthday celebrations, but I’m not entirely unhappy about that. 40’s just another number right? Someday’s the dread of that number is some all encompassing Lovecraftian thing, other days I can sweep it under the rug. I don’t remember what I did at 18 or 21, at 30 I was focused on my upcoming wedding, and now, I don’t know.

I have some more goals to add to the list as well!
Train more at rapier, and get good enough that I feel worthy of buying protective gear and weapons of my own.
Not break down when the Irons (Both Maiden and Maidens) have to cancel owing to corona fears. It hasn’t happened yet, but I’m bracing myself.
Get one of my D&D groups to use my character’s name, and not just refer to him as ‘pirate’. Yes, he’s a pirate, but he has a name damn it. If I have to kill one of them, it will be done. “What’s that, you need a healing potion? You’ve one Death Save left? Say my name.”

Time for sleep now. Here’s hoping I make it through the night. undisturbed by the possums in the roof. Be seeing you.

Can’t sleep, so writing.

It’s another night of ‘Oh Gods, I can’t sleep’, or in the words of Lemmy, ‘I should be tired, but all I am is wired’ so here goes.

The brain is a bit wonky. The heat has subsided somewhat, mercifully. Having a tooth pulled on Saturday wasn’t fun, though the dentist staff were bloody lovely, both when I charged in looking like a drowned rat and apologizing profusely for accidentally pulling at my beard. The recovery hasn’t been too bad, thankfully, though the mouth ulcer on the same side of my mouth as the removed tooth was remarkably ill-timed. Also, my wife has let me nap a lot, which is lovely. She’s the best.

Phenomenon submissions have opened, and I hope to have mine done this week, for my Babylon 5 freeform. It’s more than a bit nerve wracking, because I think it’s a solid idea for a game, and I really don’t want to screw it up. I love the B5 universe and while I’m wary of what players could do to it, I really want to see what happens. It’s a problem I have when running games for settings I love, in that I have a vision of that setting and don’t like it when it’s fucked with, so we’ll see what happens there. The game’s set in a time of the show basically untouched by canon, which should help. I’m quietly confident, but it’s pretty different from the last two games I’ve submitted, so I’m not treating it as a lock.

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In Valen’s Name…

Alas, and with much sadness, Good Society was cancelled owing to low ticket sales. I’m more than a bit sad about that one, as I was really looking forward to getting my Firth on. Or, as my wife put it, “It’s a romance game based around manners, that’s exactly your jam.” Politeness is one of my things, to say the least. I joke when queried that ‘You’ve not met my mother, you don’t know the level of polite to which I was raised’, and it’s frequently hilarious when friends meet her and discover just how intensely I mean that. She’s a saint.

 

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If only there had been a pool at the venue…

The prep for Blackpowder and Bloodlines continues, and it’s mostly been flailing. The old standbys of ‘Hey, here’s other character ideas’ and ‘Look at all those beautiful costumes, can you possibly match that standard?’ crawled into my head late last night and refused to leave. It’s not that I haven’t found kit that fits the character idea, it’s just been a spate of overthinking whether it matches the costume brief and of it either being horribly expensive or cheap as shit. (Wish, I’m looking in your direction… And while we’re talking, could you please stop recommending me sex toys?)

There was a few minutes early this morning I was tempted to go ‘Oh hang it all, I’ll just play a musketeer and be young and stupid’, or any of the myriad other ideas I’ve had for the game. I at least know what nation I’m from, so that helps narrow things down a bit. It’s much the same problem I have when game writing, especially a month or two out from the convention, when I get enough ideas for the next 3 conventions. I’m pretty sure that’s where the Ewok game came from though, so sometimes good comes from it.

Sure, I’ve a pile of leather scraps I’ve been tempted to try and turn into a half cape (They were originally purchased for an Orcish war skirt) and that’s an option. My wife’s holding a craft day this weekend, so I could certainly look into it. I should be able to drape it over the back quiver I have and not have it affect my shooting, I hope. In other options, the signet ring I was after is now out of stock in my size and while I’ve found either a vest or jerkin that I think will work, my over thinking and budget concerns has me doubting things. Or do I go for a short sleeve gambeson instead? Stupid brain. Also, said brain continues to insist that the my character idea is dumb and mostly pinched from Aragorn. Stupid anxiety. And I still can’t find a shirt or tunic I like that doesn’t have giant billowy sleeves. Harrumph.

For those who came in late, the character idea is thus: A noble scion who’s next in line for the family fortune, but who’s siblings are getting somewhat aggressive about getting the cash. To the point of sending assassins. Therefore, he’s journeyed to the New World, under the pretext of trophy hunting, slightly incognito (Hence the fancy signet ring that’ll easily identify him to any would-be assassins – what’s the use of a secret if it doesn’t leak?) till things cool down. I’ve a reason to be there, something to do, and something that’ll cause complications. I think that’s a good start.

I should probably start putting all the possible kit for the game in one place (I know I still own the pants I was going to wear, having previously worn them at my wedding), but I should check they still fit properly. Quitting sugar has taken a surprising amount of weight from my waistline, and according to my wife I’m still shrinking.

I’m gonna sign off and try and sleep again. Before you think it’s all angst and horror, there’s some genuinely good news to report: I’m seeing Alice Cooper Saturday night, Faith No More are touring soon and there’s a new Testament album incoming, though I still need to get a ticket to Download. But looming above all things, is an event I’m looking forward to almost as much as my anniversary – it’s under 3 months till Iron Maiden! *air guitar solo*

More to come. Be seeing you.

New Year, same old brain goblins

So, it’s 2020. I’d say Happy New Year, but I think more in terms of congrats at surviving another year. Cheerful I know. To quote one of the wisest beings I know, G’Kar of Narn, “You do not make history. You can only hope to survive it.”

Also, been a while. That happens as well. Why am I quiet? Lack of something important to say I guess. When massive chunks of my internet feed are doom and gloom, I don’t much feel like adding to it. What, another person agreeing our government is shit or posting their anger about something horrible? Yes, my anger still burns bright, have no fear of that, but that’s something else I should probably work on. I’m more exhausted by the constant string of horror that I’m latching on to the little things that bring joy, like classic Danger Mouse being on Netflix. The turgid miasma of existence (To steal a Celibate Rifles album title) will still be there when it ends, but it’s vital (at least for me) to focus on something else, even if only for a time. Too much gloom doesn’t end well for me – you need some light to balance out the dark. I’m aware that everyone’s perspective on what that counts as is different though. My wife recently asked was I OK, as she was concerned about the doom and gloom I’d been listening to while doing dishes. it was the Ramones It’s Alive, an album that brings no end of joy to me and is about as perfect as live albums get*.

I’m feeling pretty good, despite the usual festive season malaise. There’s some excellent shows I’m looking forward to this year, as well as a pair of interstate LARPS (Blackpowder and Bloodlines and the Brisbane run of Good Society) I’m planning to attend. I’ll be in the pit for Iron Maiden, Skindred’s coming up in Feb and Download looks pretty ace, though I’m still hoping for a Sydney show from The Hu. It’s our 10th wedding anniversary this year, and we’re going back to where we honeymooned**. All stuff to feel good about. Sure the back half of the year, when most of these are over, will be tricky to deal with, but I’ll burn that bridge when I get there. Oh, and the elephant in the room. In a few short months I’m turning 40. I suppose it’s a big event and I’m sure there will be some freaking out, but at this moment it’s another birthday.

40 also means tattoo deadline. I told myself a few years back that I wouldn’t get one before that age, to make sure I’d properly thought about it. The current winner is still the word ‘Polarity’, but reversed. Screaming mad Doctor Who fan, guilty as charged m’lud. Where on me I’d get it, that’s another matter. I’m thinking somewhere I can hide it. My wife joked a while back hadn’t I already had a mid life crisis?, and my response was ‘No, that was just a crisis.’ I’ve heard of worse coping mechanisms, the flashy sports car down the street comes to mind first. Sure, there could be a reason as to why you’d own a flash car I’ve only seen them drive at high speed around the block once, but I can’t think of it. They aren’t all bad though, as they have a lovely cat.

Do I have resolutions? I’ve never made them before, but there’s a few
Do more swords. I’d like to say ‘find a chosen weapon/system and stick with it’, but that’d be night impossible. As much as the lightsaber longsword is my weapon of choice, other weapons are just so much fun. Seriously, how can you only want to study one? Sure, there’s weapons I’m less interested in, but I’d still love to see how they work.
Broadsword was a revelation (not having done any single handed weapon so far), dagger was great fun and quarterstaff made me want to transfer that knowledge to a LARP spear. Also I want to get the face of my fencing mask painted as Eddie, most likely Powerslave era.

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Write the Minbari game for Pheno. It’s very outside my usual MO games wise, but i think it’s time again. Also, Pheno went so damn well last year. I got some lovely feedback and the reactions to this years idea has me enthused.
Feel better about myself. Tough one I know. Doing better brain wise is an ongoing process. Some days you’re the windshield, some days you’re the bug, as the song goes.
Try and arrest the shrinking in my waistline perhaps, if only to stop my wife’s complaints about it. Bit more cardio couldn’t hurt either.
Game more and potentially give GM’ing another shot. It could be the brain, but I’ve been feeling as if I miss it of late and while my last few non convention games haven’t gone as planned, I’m starting to feel like it’s time to try to get back on the horse. I had some work done on a Torchwood Sydney game last year and I’m all but certain interested parties are still keen.

That’s it for the moment. Hopefully more soon. Be seeing you…

*All killer, no filler. Also, very little talking to the audience.
**No, I’m not telling you where. I like to make my stalkers work.

Be seeing you…