Expectations, revelations and… air piracy?

What’s been going on of late? Let me fill you in.

Unsurprisingly, Niece did not take to Babylon 5. According to her, the 1st ep was dull and while there were a couple of bits she liked in Parliament of Dreams, by her face she’d checked out halfway through. A friend on Twitter suggested I try In The Beginning, but that’s both A: full of spoilers and B: I’m not sure she’d manage that right now. With some fairly heavy pancake based bribery I might be able to get another episode or two past her (I’m hoping that will be Signs and Portents), but it won’t be for a while.

To make it worse, I arrived home late on the Friday night, having made my first accidental trip to Woy Woy in about 20 years and walked in on her steadfastly refusing to watch Muppet Treasure Island, as in her words ‘puppets aren’t funny.’ Look, she’s 12, and admitting you’re wrong at that age isn’t easy. She’d convinced herself that she wouldn’t enjoy B5 and she didn’t. But not liking the Muppets? It’s like being a heavy metal fan and not liking Maiden. Or, to put it another way, INCONCEIVABLE!

Going back to B5, watching the early eps again reminded me of the vast amounts of world building in the show, and also of how much I want a cape like G’Kar’s. There’s parts of that show’s wardrobe I’ve long wanted – I’m still tempted to put a tax return into getting the lapels taken off a jacket to look like Sheridan’s S5 wardrobe or a replica of Marcus’s Ranger outfit. Again with the swashbuckling. Cape wise, I’ve wanted one for a long, long time, something like this or maybe one of these. I’ve put them off, by dint of not being in stock, not in Australia or not having events to wear them at. Thanks Covid 19! A friend suggested buying one as a belated birthday present and having just made some extra cash from selling an old Warhammer 40K book, I may well take the plunge. I do enjoy swashing my buckle, if you know what I mean…

Rapier will hopefully be starting again soon on Tuesday nights and while the plan for Saturday class has changed, I’m still hoping to make it back there as well. Before the break, the plan for term 4 in Saturday class was sword and shield followed by sword and buckler and I’m a bit sad to miss that. Maybe next year.

Switching topics, for nostalgia’s sake I fired up Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge on the Xbox last night for a couple of hours and gods, I love that game. I’d also finally realized that the voice of the main character is Timothy ‘Lassie from Psych‘ Omundson. I loved the clicky game from the early 2000’s (I still have a bunch of planes for it) and the PC game which I own but don’t have a system that can run. GOG.com, hurry up please? It reminded me of how much I dig the world, both the more slightly more grounded clicky and PC versions and the batshit nuts mecha zeppelins with lightning guns of the Xbox game.

It also reminded me of how much I’d love to play in the universe in RPG terms and while there was a board game version, there’s not been an official RPG. Savage Worlds seems a natural fit, which has the added benefit of me not having to learn a new system. Possibly Spirit of the Century or Atomic Robo, or do I go all out and write a convention freeform? I do enjoy dressing up for that sort of thing… There’s no shortage of anti-heroes and out and out villains, swashbuckling, zeppelins and pulp whackiness. As that feeling started to wave over me, filled with promise and ideas I smacked myself upside the head and reminded myself that I already have a game to write, one that has a deadline. There’s been progress on that, but also a lot of fiddling and research. I’m getting closer to when my head starts to work and the words really start to flow, thankfully.

Still, there’s been a revelation, that should not be a surprise to those who know me.
Ideas, I have them. Out the waazoo. Constantly. My brain and Google Drive is stuffed with ideas and part written concepts.
The drive to actually have them completed? That’s not so much there.
And that’s been the way, for as long as I can remember. Other people harassing me to get stuff done sometimes works, but can lead to resentment. Deadlines help, in some cases. But generally panic. there’s times when things will click and start to work, but it’s the matter of trying to get stuff down on the page that can be a struggle.

The second not a revelation is thus: I can love a setting to bits, but there’s no point in running something in it unless I have an idea for what to do within it. My short lived Conan LARP fell over cause I’m very possessive over the setting, as we’ve previously discussed. I need an idea for it, otherwise it’s just me going “I love this thing, why don’t you love it as much as I do” but without demonstrating why it’s actually fun. That’s been a failing of mine for a long time and while I’m sure I’ll fall victim to it again, at least if I recognize it I can try to guard against it.

More to follow. Be seeing you…

*smouldering glance across a crowded room*

So, Pride and Prejudice is done, I have watched all 6 episodes.

Thoughts follow:
Every time Julia Sawalha was on screen, I kept hoping they’d sneak in Dexter Fletcher somewhere in the background.
I kinda want a spin off of Mr Bennett giving no fucks for any stupidity, in the same way I want one for Foggy and Stick from Daredevil.
Colin Firth has a damn good line in brooding. There were points where I wondering if he was being paid by brood rather than by line. He’s not exactly my type, but I can certainly understand why he’d inspire such a dedicated following.
I am very much looking forward to viewing Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, if only to see the fight between Elizabeth and Lady Catherine my wife let slip happens near the end. Lordy, the verbal smack the lady in that scene delivered deserved to be met with a glove slap and words of challenge.
My wife continues to be amused at how much I was heckling the screen at various points. Ordinarily I’m one of those “You talk during a show, you can die alone” kind of people, but I couldn’t help myself getting caught up in it. It also helps that I’m fairly certain my wife can recite it from memory, so I wasn’t interrupting things. And now, my soon to be brother in law (Who hasn’t seen it yet) has no excuse!

In other news, I have my first brain doctor appointment in a couple of months on Wednesday, and by Crom, I’ll have some stuff to talk about. Some good, some bad and some ugly. You know, the usual. The brain has been up and down, but I’m trying to keep it together. I was amused to find that my wife is the only one of the 4 of us in the house that isn’t going to the same psychologist’s practice. I’m in agreement with a housemate that she should go for a few sessions, if only to go “Augh, those fuckers I live with!”*

Operation: Indoctrinate Niece Further into Geekdom (I should have had something that makes an acronym really) is progressing well.
ME: Do you know the price for your next visit?
HER: *sighs* Babylon 5…
I’ve told her it’s OK if she doesn’t like it. It’s not that OK, but it’s OK. I also may have joked last time we saw her that when next we meet it’ll be the dawn of the third age of mankind…  The stories of her D&D campaign continue to be inspiring, notably in her enthusiasm and love for the game, and I’m told her dice collection is growing at great speed. I’m very, very proud.

The plan, as much as I have one, is to show her the first episode (Midnight on the Firing Line) then skip straight to The Parliament of Dreams. Because, while they have their moments, Soul Hunter and Born to the Purple aren’t exactly blockbusters and can be skipped for the moment. If things go well, we can easily go back to them. As for Infection, it’s less bad than I remember, but still not exactly great. Parliament, on the other hand, is where we first meet Lennier and Na’Toth, and it gives up this wonderful moment:

I’ve had that song stuck in my head the better part of the last few weeks, so if I can spread it further I’ll be amused.  Plus, there’s also this just as wonderful moment:

I’m not expecting her to like it, but I can hope, right? I’m also hoping to find time to introduce her properly to the Muppets, likely with Treasure Island. It’s that or show her highlight clips on YouTube, from Miss Piggy’s Karate chops to Waldorf and Statler heckling. Gods, I adore those two.

That’s enough for tonight. I shall return soon, where if you’re unlucky, I’ll tell you about the characters I’m playing in my current RPG sessions

Be seeing you…

*Whether she means the humans or possums she shares a house with is still unclear.

*sigh*

My phone’s battery is draining faster than normal, there’s a small crack in the screen in one corner and it needs a new case. That’s also how I feel at the moment. Tired, easily drained and battered. I dented my head on the flap of a cardboard box this afternoon, something I’d been paranoid about doing for basically all my time at my current workplace. Less about denting my head, but more about taking out an eye. For context, the dent is above my right eyebrow so close, but no cybernetic eye required. On that note, it’s 2020 – where are my easily available cybernetics? R TALSORIAN GAMES, YOU LIED TO ME!

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Stupid bag of flesh I cart around. There’s been random aches, almost as if every day a different part of me has chosen to go wrong. Not to break, but irritate. The flesh is weak. Not to mention what I think is a massive mouth ulcer somewhere near the back of my top jaw. I can’t find a specific spot to numb it, which likely means the cure involves either less stress or a lot of Vegemite toast. Things haven’t been great brain wise the last few days on top of that, and I’m just aching for the week to be over.

There’s been bright spots mind you. Hearing that Godson, Aged 2 and a Half saw Keanu Reeves on the telly and went “Uncle Gavin?” was delightful. I don’t see the resemblance, but I’m flattered all the same. Secondly, my anniversary gift for my wife arrived late last week, and I’m still floored by the result. All praise to Leigh of Pen and Inkcap (Who also took the photo below) for her gorgeous work! I’m already contemplating commissioning further work from her, both involving Londo Mollari dialogue*. Surprise, surprise I know.

Screenshot_2020-06-25 Pen and Inkcap ( pen_and_inkcap) • Instagram photos and videos

Mind you, that also brought about the horrific discovery that Niece, Age 12 hasn’t seen the Muppets and THIS WILL NOT STAND, SO LONG AS THERE IS BREATH IN MY BODY. Alas I didn’t get time to show her Muppet Bohemian Rhapsody but soon. I also continue take great delight in the stories of her D&D campaign, even if they do occasionally make me feel inadequate as a GM. She’s running 5-6 players, everyone with 2 characters and doing stuff like writing epic songs for slain PC’s. Geez kiddo, leave some awesome for the rest of us OK?

I’m also hatching plans with my wife to introduce her to Babylon 5. I think the introduction will be tricky (We don’t get much time with her, the show’s from the mid 90’s and likely very slow for a modern 12 year old), but I think she’ll dig the epic scope of things. What I want for most, even more than her liking the show, is the chance to see it afresh through her eyes. To see her reactions to events, without expectations or spoilers. What does she think of Londo and G’Kar? How will she react to the first sight of a Shadow vessel? Will she squee mightily at Sheridan and Delenn’s romance? I DON’T KNOW. But I really hope I get the chance to find out. If I see her this weekend I’ll try to sound her out about it.

Sleep soon, hopefully. My next brain doctor appointment is in a couple of weeks, and by Crom will I have some things to talk about. It’s good to talk. With what she’s taught me I’m working through my junk better, or at least not being hammered into the ground for quite as long, but I always look forward for the chance to talk with her. Therapy is good, and I recommend it to all, even if you think you don’t need it.

I want Covid to be over, to see other people in person, and at the same time to be alone. I’m reminded of a gag I saw about how quarantine must be great for introverts and how it’s not, cause there’s all these people in my house and they won’t leave. I love my wife dearly, adore my housemates, but I miss having the house to myself. Not for too long, as that does other things to my head, but I miss it.

Be seeing you…

PS: No, we aren’t any further in Pride and Prejudice. Just in case you were wondering.

* I’m torn between “This is like being nibbled to death, by cats!” or “But in purple, I’m stunning!

Triggers, and how to deal with them?

“Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit upon his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.”
HL Mencken

As quotes go, that’s one that’s stuck with me for a long time*. Sounds kinda badass doesn’t it? It’s been back in the head the last couple of days. I get that based on that I don’t sound too well, but I’m doing better than my last update. The brain is more high than low, even with today’s “Oh hey, that event you were going to pre-Covid would have started today” reminder. As useful a tool as Facebook can be, sometimes I really want to punch it.

I’m also prepping a playlist for my house’s Christmas party, which is to be apocalypse themed. Yes, it’s bold to assume we’ll be able to host one, and not in the greatest of taste, but we were preparing for it pre-Covid and we’re going through with it! My theming, at the time of writing, is pick your own apocalypse. Was it Biblical, did the robots rise up or kaiju emerge from beneath the waves? Have the Daleks invaded, was the bomb dropped, or were the Stars just Right?  It’s far from complete, and needs more Ragnarok for one thing, but it’s been keeping my brain occupied and that’s been welcome.

Anyhow, I’ve been musing and yes, there is a point to this. I have a few triggers. Make that a lot of triggers. Most of these are inconsequential, such as things reminding me of a song, or a TV show. The board game Operation reminds me of Tripod’s The Hot Dog Man**, while the Phantom of the Opera takes me back to a Wharf Revue skit. Normal stuff, at least relatively normal. But as we’ve seen with recent posts, some of those triggers are more potent than others. The things that will take me from a good day to a miserable one in seconds. The things that shatter my self esteem or leave me near burning with rage.

How I deal with them has been an evolving process. I have a long history of trying to ignore them, or distracting myself with something else unhelpful and thus feeling worse later. If crushing my resentments so deep down they become a tiny diamond was a sport I’d be Olympic level. This had me musing about my snapping point. What could it take for me to break? What’ll be my one bad day, the event that’ll make me go full Howard Beale or William Foster? Do I even have one? Probably not, let’s be honest. I’m not a confrontational man by nature, far more comfortable out of the limelight. I’ve a long list of “20 minutes after” lines, things I wish I’d said stacked away in the back of my brain, from missed opportunities, good jokes, or in one case, possibly crossing swords in the parking lot***.

As I’ve said, I’m not a violent man. I’ve had people jokingly bet about the body count when/if I snap, but the older I get the less funny I find that. There’s been times in the last few years when I’ve come closer to giving in to the impulse and lashing out, mostly verbally. Thankfully, things have gotten in the way, sometimes fear or politeness, or just having nothing to say at the time. There’s plenty of internet flame wars I’ve been tempted to join, but the realization that nothing I add to this will help generally holds me back, no matter how eloquent or impassioned my words may be. Whether it’s joining in on a torches and pitchforks mob, or sticking my nose into a heated discussion, I know that staying out, not inflaming things, is the smarter thing to do. But damn, there’s times when I want to roll in, keyboard blazing and vent my rage upon the irritant with righteous fury. Usually I swallow that and go clean the kitchen. Other times it’s gardening, or murdering racists in Red Dead Redemption 2. I’m sure there’s healthier coping mechanisms, but these work for me.

Whatever the task, I find I need that sense of accomplishment to distract myself, to turn to the closest person nearby and say “I did a thing, please notice this!” I told that to my therapist and she responded that her husband does the same thing. It’s always nice to know you aren’t the only one who does something. I’m debating whether or not to move up my next appointment, but for the moment I’m hanging on. I’ll certainly have something to talk about, that’s for certain.

As always, thank you for continuing to read these. It means a hell of a lot to know I’m not just screaming into the void. I didn’t start these to help people, but if just one person knows they aren’t alone, it’s been worth it. Take care of yourselves, and each other. It’s gonna get worse before it gets better, so please, look out for others. Kindness is punk as fuck.

Be seeing you.

* Don’t judge me. The line “I struggle to understand people who say they’d kill for a religion, but then I remember if Optimus Prime asked me to kill someone they’re a dead man” has been stuck in there for longer.
** “OPERATION? GET FUCKED!
*** The line I wanted to use was “I’d prefer to settle this peacefully and without any bitterness but if you have an alternative method you prefer, such as crossing swords in the parking lot, then I accept the challenge.” I’d still like to use the line someday.

What goes up…

I should have known. Things go well, I talk about it, and the universe corrects that course. I’d been doing well of late, though I’ve probably slept more in the last few days than I should have. There was some not great news, combined with seeing some relics from high school/my early 20’s and well…

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That period of my life, I don’t know why it has such a hold over me. It was over 20 years ago, another fact that scares me, but no matter how much I try to put those feelings aside, to tell myself that I’m a better person, that I’ve evolved since then, at the slightest provocation all those feelings race back in with a speed not thought possible. All that angst, fear and rage, it has done a number on me today. I can’t sleep, so here I am. I’m sure what was rattling around in my head was better than what I’m about to write, but here goes anyway.

The past is a hell of a thing. It’s not that I want things to have changed, I can’t pick a sliding doors moment. There’s things that I would have liked to have noticed, or done differently, but who doesn’t have those? I’m trying to admit some of them to myself, but having them, let alone at the strength they seem to be, doesn’t feel right. I wouldn’t be where I am today without those mistakes. Hell, I might not be here at all. That’s mostly hyperbole, given my abject cowardice and fear of what effect it would have on those I leave behind, but the point stands. Why does this plague me so much? I’m sure most of what rolls around my head has long been forgotten by others, so why the hell am I stuck with this?

Looking back I’ve always been depressed, or some shade of it. Finally getting treatment and finding brain doctors I like is one of the best decisions I’ve made, and I strongly urge everyone to give it a shot. No matter how sane and adjusted you think you are, I believe you could benefit from some therapy. Just talking with a neutral third party who only wants to help is wonderful. I have it easy compared to plenty, I’m the first to admit, but today hasn’t been a good one brain wise. Admitting that was terrifying at first, but gets easier the more I do. Don’t be afraid to talk – I’m willing to listen if you need someone to talk to.

I’m a different person from those days of long ago, but underneath that terrified scrawny kid still lurks. I don’t think I peaked in high school, and I’ve long wanted a reunion so I can respond “Get fucked” to the RSVP, but the scars are there.  Showing my wife my Year 12 yearbook picture* with the career listed as ‘undecided**’ and having her say “You’re still undecided.” I know it was meant well, but still hurt. There were things I’d forgotten about (I had a piece about Nirvana in one of them – it was the mid 90’s after all), but that feeling of “Is this all I am” hit me far harder than I would have liked. The strength of that emotion scares me some days.

it could be worse. The guy in my year we thought would be running the Liberal Party by now has had several stints in rehab for alcoholism. I’d be lying if I said I liked him back then, but I hope he’s doing better. The universe can be cruel. A friend once asked a group of us “Did you all hate high school?” and got a resounding “YES”. I’m sure there’s people out there who did enjoy it, but I sure don’t know them.

I’m going to try to sleep again. Hopefully putting this down will calm the brain. Please don’t be too concerned. I’m not at risk of doing something stupid, just not sleeping much.  I’m still planning on self isolating when all this is over, but I’m looking forward to coming back from it.

Take care of each other. Times are rough and the brain is a fragile thing. Be kind.

Be seeing you…

* No, you don’t get to see it.
**Only cause they wouldn’t let me choose Jedi Knight.

No news, actually some news.

Augh.

Not much has happened since last entry. Picked up some new scars (A few minor scalds from hot bacon fat while cooking my wife breakfast), turned 40 (As did Iron Maiden’s first album!), had a wonderful little backyard birthday party with just my household, and felt loved and cared for. Work has been nothing less than flat out, as given that we supply jigsaw puzzles among other things, we think we’re an essential industry. Thanks ScoMo. *sigh*

Things… aren’t good brain wise. I spent a lot of the long weekend asleep, or trying to sleep, and while there’s an element of recovering from the working week, it ain’t all that. It’s not that I feel bleaker than normal, more running on fumes. An early morning not quite anxiety attack today didn’t help either. Well, less attack and more I was an idiot and took a quick look at the news after peeing. Someday I’ll stop myself from doing that, but not today. I’m also kicking myself slightly for not getting up and writing down what was in my head at the time, as I’m all but certain it was more gripping than this. At least it felt that way, but the line between crushing boredom and high drama is very thin around 4:15am.

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How am I coping with conditions at the moment? I don’t know. I’m the only one in my house going outside on a regular basis, so little has changed for me. Sure, I’m trying to avoid people, not make trips I don’t need to and wash my hands more, I’m not ignoring things.  Sure, the trains have been great, the term ‘Reverse Olympics’ comes to mind (Kids, ask your parents), but that’s not exactly something I should be cheering about. As for at home, I’m as introverted as my wife is extroverted, so I’m OK seeking less attention and would be happy for a lock down (Well, for a short time), while she’s climbing up the walls with the limited contact with people she’s having. Alas, the other 3 of us in the house aren’t enough. We’re doing what we can in the meantime, and hopefully cabin fever can be kept at bay.

I’m kinda looking forward to booking a hotel room when this is done and having sometime to myself. At least, I like the idea of that. As with many of my ideas, I’m not sure if I should actually go through with it, but I’m certainly thinking about it. I should use it to write my Pheno freeform, but that’s suffering writers block. It’s time to break out the B5 20th Anniversary Blu-rays and soak them in, that should help kick start something. Assuming I don’t start crying when I realize just how many of the cast have died. Or maybe I’ll just wear a cloak when I take the bins out. It’s been too long since we’ve reminded the street we’re nerds, and that should change. In other rubbish news, the very friendly cat up the street’s humans are leaving soon and I’m really going to miss her.

There are bright spots though. Whilst the attempt to run one of my old games didn’t work, one of my players volunteered to run the scenario  from the back of the new Alien RPG. Good fun was had, and I spent a lot of it desperately trying not to metagame. And yes, I would up dead. Switching universes, a friend of mine was looking for lines to practice her calligraphy on, and I decided to ask for an excerpt from possibly my favorite Babylon 5 exchange. It turned out better than I could have hoped for. It’s a piece I turn to frequently for solace in times such as these. The artist in question can be found here, and I cannot recommend her work highly enough.

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And I can’t end without talking about another part of my childhood passing, with the death of Tim Brooke-Taylor. The Goodies was a massively important part of my childhood, and helped shape, I like to think, a good part of my sense of humour. The out-poring of love for him I saw was heartwarming, as owing to the repeats in the 80’s there’s a massive chunk of my generation that you only have to hint at a giant kitten or a black pudding to reduce them to floods of laughter and wonderful memories. Heck, that episode killed a man from laughter. Getting to see them live was a highlight and I’m gutted I didn’t get a chance to tell him how much his work meant to me.

I know I’m of the age where the icons of my childhood are set to pass (I know I’m going to be inconsolable for at least a week when Tom Baker goes), and they’ve been doing so on a regular basis for the last 20 years or so, but knowing that Coronavirus took him, and not natural causes hurts that bit more. I’ve been very lucky that this is the first time that corona has affected me in any way, and I’m still hoping that it will remain so. My heart goes out to all affected, and I hope that things will improve swiftly. I don’t know what the future holds, but it’s my hope that the spirit of kindness that’s been blossoming continues on. Hopelessly idealistic I know, but some days I can’t help myself.

Be seeing you…

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.

zorg

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.

Council
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.