And Now, The Liebster

Liebster Award Logo and RulesI mentioned this the other day, but I got nominated for a Liebster Award – and given that I have an unexpectedly free Sunday afternoon and it’s raining out there, I suppose this is as good a time as any to do something about it!

The Liebster is one of those congenial collegiate mega-like indicators used as a good excuse to highlight people who you think could use a little more attention, and its rules seem to fluctuate generally from time to time. As this seems to be more down to personal preference than the dictates of the Elders Of The Internet, it appeals to the more anarchic elements of my personality – but I’ll aim to satisfy most of the goals on the list.

To be honest, I feel a bit of a newbie, because it’s the first time I’d ever heard of the Liebster (although a quick wander across the search engines of choice soon educated me on the many, many, takes on this award.

In any case, thank you to swtswtsue for the nomination. I’ve been following her blog a relatively short time – but that’s mostly because she’s only been writing for a while. Go have a look and enjoy a very genuine person’s thoughts.

So, the way this works is that there are eleven questions she’s asked – once I’ve answered them, I’ll pick out some people who I enjoy reading and who probably won’t mind the extra attention and post some questions for them too. Who’s ready for a Q&A session?

Q: What is your absolute, without-a-doubt favourite movie of all-time (and what is it about this movie that makes it your favourite?) Yeah, I know.  That was sneaky  ;)

A: Oh, starting with the tough ones. It depends on my mood. For the longest time it was the film Aliens, which had a near perfect mix of action, horror, suspense, and dark humour that hit my teenage self between the eyes like a hammer. I still have a soft spot for that film, even if these days I’m more likely to reach for The Nightmare Before Christmas or Guardians of the Galaxy.

Q: How long have you been blogging?

A: I started back around 2001 on a simple journalling site that I honestly can’t remember the name of. At the time, I was recently diagnosed with depression and was battling with self harm, and made the mistake of both writing openly and letting people at work know about it. Yes, I know: when I’m ill, I’m the dumbest smart guy in the room. After that, I shifted to Livejournal which allowed me to set multiple permission levels and be a little more careful with who was reading it. I took a few years break, because Reasons, and then started this blog at the tail end of 2010 when I started writing professionally. Wow, time really has flown…

Q: What kind of impact has blogging had on your life?

A: It’s been both a useful tool and a pain in the arse, frankly. It’s been a great way to blow off steam, to rant and rave, and to be more introspective too. The enclosed echo chamber can be dangerous though for certain moods, which is why I try to vary what I write about, and to use this site for other things such as the gaming and writing. I’ve used my blogs to talk openly about my journey through depression and Bipolar wobbles, as well as my diabetes and weird and wonderful emotional life, and having it as an outlet has helped spread the load away from family, friends and professional counsellor. It must be working, as my ex-wife described me recently to Lady M as the sanest lunatic she knows.

Q: So far, what has been your greatest triumph in life?

A: My daughter, The Charleesi, who has grown to become a talented and formidable young lady. A slightly less fluffy answer has been my recovery from self harm and the rebuilding of my life from the lowest ebb possible.

Q: What is your dream job (and why)?  I know, I know.  I did it again.  ;)

A: Being a well-known published novelist; a dream I’ve had since being knee-high to Jimminy Cricket. The paid writing I currently do is a really big step in the right direction. To be honest, my current combination of writer and library work is pretty sweet, despite the pay.

Q: Favorite band?  (I know I’d have trouble with this one so I’ll allow you 3, haha.)

A: Queen, Foo Fighters, Professor Elemental

Q: How would you describe your personality?

A: Quietly laconic

Q: What is your favorite thing (personality trait, talent, physical feature, etc.) about yourself?  Yep, you guessed it – and why?

A: This is a very hard question because I struggle to acknowledge anything positive about myself a lot of the time. My deadpan sarcasm, writing and drawing all generate the odd moments of accomplishment when people say nice things. In general, I’m rather pleased that people tend to listen when I talk, and that I take responsibility for what I say and do.

Q: How do you feel about medication (mental illness-wise)?

A: Oh gods, it depends on the mental illness and the severity of what you’re dealing with. For depression in particular it’s a bloody useful band aid until you can get to the real healing that comes with talking remedies. By and large, work with your doctors and therapists, and if they give you medication, bloody take it. At the same time, educate yourself on its intended and side effects so you can work in partnership with the health professionals.

Q: What’s your favorite personality trait in others (what draws you to certain people?)

A: Humour, definitely humour, followed by geekiness, and a filthy mind in no particular order.

Did you enjoy answering these questions?  I sure hope so!

A: Took me a while, yeah, pleasant enough.

And now, eleven random facts about me:

  • I draw and doodle on pretty much every blank and not so blank piece of paper that comes to rest in front of me.
  • I am usually a lot less confident than I appear.
  • For the first six or seven years of my life, I was 80% deaf.
  • I really like the taste of butterscotch.
  • I judge people by how they treat books.
  • I prefer to cook my own meals because I’m a fussy eater.
  • I’m normally nocturnal, but force myself to keep largely to my partners’ active hours to maximise time with them.
  • My favourite colour is purple.
  • I still flinch at unexpected physical contact, but I’m a lot better at hiding it these days.
  • I get bored very easily.
  • One of the few things that anger me is someone not owning their issues or mistakes.

And now: the nominations:
Well, actually, no – at least not yet. I’m composing this on a tablet, and have been for a few days, so I’ll finish this in the morning with an edit and proper links to go with a further set of questions.

See you soon

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Grrr and Arggh Day

The library continues to be a source of wonder. For the most part, it’s the customers who make or break any given day, although the ongoing staffing chaos is definitely colouring my perceptions too. I’ve spent most of the day dealing with whirling chaotic bundles of energy, and also being part of conversations laying bare a dysfunctional and demoralised organisation. It’s all rather draining.

On top of that, both Lady M and Lady P are out of sorts and/or under the weather, and it’s precisely the wrong end of the month so we didn’t even have spare money for our usual trip to the Plough.

All in all then, pretty much every hope or anticipation I had for the evening, that got me through a long day, has been dashed at the last minute. As a result, I’m rather glad I’ve had enough of today. As the great book says: F**k It!

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Slow Down Sunday

Yesterday was pretty brutal, between having only two people working with me at the library, and a non-stop flow of hyperactive children and their harried parents. By the end of it, I was tempted to get a broom to shove people out the doors, but we managed to get closed more or less on time.

In the meantime, Lady M and the Charleesi had headed up to London to visit the pop up Magnum store in Covent Garden. Their journey home was somewhat fraught however, and a last minute request for a pick-up from Osterley was met with my less than fulsome enthusiasm. One listen to my voice had them decide to get the bus, and shortly after to invite me to dinner at the nearest restaurant in the Premier Inn down the road.

Thyme is… well it’s perfectly adequate, does nice starters and steaks, and has no pretensions to be anything its not – so for a good wind down and refuel, it’s perfect. It was lovely to just switch off after a long day, drink wine, chat, and eat food I haven’t had to cook. We reeled home and collapsed – and have had a nice slow start to today.

We had planned to have the Sunday game today, but again it’s not happened, with multiple cancellation messages all arriving about nine in the morning – so instead we’re all just hanging around, catching up on Masterchef episodes and texting back and forth with friends and family. I’m going to do some prep for tomorrow’s game, upload some more odds and ends here, and maybe even do some writing…

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Drowned Rat Mode: Engage


Keep Calm and Use the Konami Code

So who ordered a whole month’s rain and forgot to space it out over more than one day? I knew I was going to have a busy day, but didn’t anticipate that I’d be spending most of it doing a reasonable impression of a water fowl.

In theory it’s been a day off, but I was up with the larks – or at least Lady M – to get down to the GP for a blood pressure test. Then it was a grind of renewing prescriptions (how is it I can fill a rucksack with my 3 month meds supply?), refuelling the car, and then heading out to get a birthday present for the ex-Lady M.

Now that part was easy, although the expression on the shopkeeper’s face was carefully neutral when I engaged him to ask for advice. The real difficulty was finding a suitable birthday card. I imagine it isn’t something that many people have contemplated, but look at the messages and humour and imagery available on your next pass through a card shop or aisle in the local supermarket.

I was looking for something tasteful but not twee, and a message inside that was either a blank, or generic, rather than a protestation of eternal fluffy gooeyness, or a straight up insult, or accusation of alcoholism. Jokes about old age aren’t my thing either, so that eliminated a whole host of options. As I looked at each option I had a voice in my head going “nope, nope, way inappropriate, nope, hmmm nope”. You get the idea.

Basically there seems to be a default assumption that cards are bought by family members, ardent suitors, or work colleagues with a suspect sense of humour. There’s not really anything for the “We used to think the world of each other, then it went wrong, and now after a few years hard work and tears we can be friendly again but never forget” crowd.

At least, with Charleesi having finished school, I was able to pick her up early for the weekend. It was just as well, because we both made the observation that the heavier the rainfall, the more other drivers’ IQ seems to drop. It was raining very, very hard. Did I mention that?

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New Stuff

Pay no attention to the banging and crashing… just shifting a few things around, rejigging the Fiction Section and adding a new bit for old stuff I’ve found around the place that amused me…

Beats going out in all this rain…

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Award Time

I recently got nominated for a Liebster Award, which is sort of a pay it forward award doing the rounds. I’ll do a proper response to it, probably later today/tomorrow, but just wanted to thank swtswtsue of My Bipolar Adventures for her nomination now, while I still have my brains plugged in.

I did shuffle the idea back and forward about whether to take part, but then realised that it’s a good way to promote some of the excellent blogs I’ve stumbled across and an excuse to witter about myself a bit more, but in a more structured way.

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Last Week’s Session


I’ve found myself chuckling slightly while writing last week’s Roll20 session up this evening. I’d forgotten how much fun it was, and how much laughter and panic managed to manifest in such a short period of time. It’s things like that which just make the whole experience so appealing.

I’ve said it many times: I’ve always loved the social element of tabletop gaming, and Roll20 does a good job of enabling much of the same experience. It’s not perfect, and more than one player has wistfully called for our all getting round a physical table, but still, it’s a damn good substitute for gathering a geographically diverse bunch of geeks together on a regular basis.

So, those of you keeping up with our group’s misadventures, it’s all online in the Week Fourteen write-up. For the rest of you: it’s been a long and busy day, but it’s been nicely rounded off by Lady P giving us a sneak peek at what she’s wearing to an old schoolmate’s wedding tomorrow. Very pretty. The dress is rather lovely too.

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