Heat Blah

I took yesterday off to use up some of my accrued time and Lady M worked from home so the general heat has settled across the flat like a blanket. Having Lady T visit for cold coffees and first refusal on some XBox games for her family before I trade them in was a delight, if only because it was a good excuse to jump in the car and fire up the air conditioning.

Today I woke with definite plans for my Saturday, but here I am in a mood dip because its been so unrelentingly hot that its sapped all will to move and now my brain is berating me for losing a day.

Lady M has of course reminded me that a day of doing nothing is not really a problem. I did sit and finish Powerwasher Simulator so I suppose there’s that.

I’d dig a hole to crawl into, but that involves effort, and my executive dysfunction has set in for the night

Nominations

I’m in the process of drafting a statement in support of a nomination I’m making for a staff awards event. My main problem is concisely reducing the statement to only 500 words. This is not a lot when considering the range of criteria asked for and the range of things that has promoted me to make the nomination.

If this is the worst problem I have to deal with this week, I shall count myself lucky.

Even if the award isn’t given, the nomination will be a public sign of support for incredible work, so either way there’s a positive outcome. And yes I’m being deliberately vague at the moment as I’d like it to be a surprise.

Celebrating the positive achievements going on in the face of all the challenges is important, and is something I love being able to do.

What I’m Reading Today

Somehow I’ve got a lot sorted this week despite being on leave on the Monday. I’ll put it down to some selective delegation, some plate spinning, and asking awkward questions of the right people.

I’ve made myself start working through the TBR pile as there are several books that were gifts in there. The one I’m currently reading is Game Wizards: a history of the early days of Dungeons and Dragons and the fractious relationship between Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson. Its absolutely fascinating and at the same time a good one for putting down and picking up

Well worth picking up either if you’re interested in the early history of roleplay games or want an account of the early days of a business and the wrangles that overtook it. The writing style is engaging and clean, and I’m greatly enjoying it

DDC on the road

Sunday’s game saw the group on the road in a freshly-bought cart, using dinosaurs as mounts. After an extended journey in the lap of luxury, the minor aches and problems of living rough called for some creative thinking.

First and foremost among that was provisioning, but that was mostly solved with some creative use of the “Create Food and Water” spell, seasoned magically with the aid of a wonderous pouch that magically generates spices and seasonings.

It did lead to the coining of the phrase “holy tofu” to describe the divinely supplied foodstuffs…

Then the practicalities of setting watches meant some opportunities arose both for pranks and some world building.

Late night travellers included one of the steam-driven constructs hauling a merchant caravan owned by goblins, and a cheery wave saw them pass by the camp with no problems. That said, the first evening they were still within settled farmlands rather than the wilds. Travelling further took them past an old battlefield, and into true wilderness.

That’s when the gnoll raiders sprang their trap, and we ended on that cliffhanger.

Datavore

I came up with a new word to describe how Lady M interacts with the world: datavore. If there’s information, she has to have it – from reading the labels of parcels in the foyer, and peering over shoulders at social media or messages, she just can’t help herself.

Show her a message, and without thinking she scrolls up to see what came before. When challenged she says she’s looking for context, or “just in case it’s important”

As someone who has already filtered and positioned a piece of information for consumption, or who has put the start of the relevant information or story front and centre, it therefore never fails to make me clench my teeth.

It isn’t a worry that anything compromising may be seen, it’s what my brain identifies as disregarding the effort made to consciously present information – like someone wanting to see the unpublished cards in your PowerPoint presentation while you’re in the middle of starting your presentation.

I know she can’t help it, and that her entire being is dedicated to gathering information at all times like a sponge – but I may have to start keeping an old copy of Private Eye rolled up and to hand to lovingly boop her on the nose next time it appears at my shoulder…

Either that or arrange to have something truly strange on my screen the next time she looks

And She’s Back

Lady M is back in the country, having lightly terrorised her European counterparts, traumatised random gawkers who tried ogling her, and bemused fellow travellers by snoring through takeoff on the way home.

Apparently.

Lady M always looks nonplussed when people say that she is scary. I’ve never seen it myself, but I’ve had enough people confess that they’re lightly terrified of her to presume it’s some combination of the North East accent and her tenacious attitude.

Lady M in full sail is a masterclass in watching someone go from point A to point C without being concerned that point B makes it not a straight line journey. It might be a zigzag for most people, but not Lady M. Nine time out of ten, reality shuffles a bit to accommodate this, and the times it doesn’t is where I step in.

In the words of Nanny Ogg shes’ “an old softie really”

Any similarity between Lady M and Greebo is purely coincidental.

Brain Fog and Taking A Break

I’ve been reminded that I do a great job of looking after and supporting my staff and really should look after myself as well. The conversation then veered across into reminding me that I should actually be using my leave. So I’ve taken the subtle hint and will be taking a few days.

Well, after I’ve sorted the next few days out, because dropping everything at a moment’s notice helps nobody.

I was going to write something about the joy of dancing and connection, but my brain fog is rolling in, so I’ll save those musings for when I can make them properly. An early-ish night calls.

Migraine Day

I’ve not been capable of much today as I woke with a migraine, brought on by a combination of closed sinuses and general post-anxiety exhaustion (at a guess). So, that’s been fun.

At least I dont tend to get sick with it – I usually have light sensitivity, cold sweats, searing pain in the brain, stabbing pains in the eyes, and a fixation of some form of words or tune running on repeat very intrusively. This time around it was the opening piano loop to the Spice Girls/Slipknot mashup “If You Wanna Breathe My Sulfur

You’re welcome for the link, by the way.

Fortunately it hasn’t lasted more than six hours or so and I’ve been catnapping the rest of the day and hydrating quietly. Back to work in the morning.

Plotting

We didn’t have a Sunday game due to a combination of people being unwell, exhausted, or attending the Geek Retreat anniversary – and my own brain fog didn’t help. I’ve made it a priority this week to give myself some time to let my head reassemble itself a bit.

Still, it is also giving me some more time to plot more aspects of the story – or at least the various jigsaw pieces that can be encountered along the way. I have now sort of got an idea of how the story arc is likely to end – or rather an idea of the important choices and dilemmas along the way. How that will all end up being strung together will largely depend on which way the players jump but that is one of the joys of this style of game.

For the next section at least there’s some road travelling and some thematic pieces of world setting and building I want to do. The homeland that Thorin’s backstory is set in saw fierce border wars during the Last War, with territory changing hands many times between the three neighbouring nations. Thorin’s Folk Hero background was born in these lands, and the scars and remnants of battlefields will be looming large. There will be visible remnants of his heroism, and reminders of his failures – and I think as a journey it will prompt a lot of roleplay between the players as we put some meat on the bones that have so far been only lightly addressed.

Thorin left these lands in search of a new start, and reinvented himself almost by accident – now its time to see where he came from.

Alternatively, expect a lot of dick jokes, because that’s positively Shakespearean too.

Oh, That Happened

I had a chunk of memory fall out of the sky this afternoon and smack me in the back of the neck – which was already feeling stressed with my brain being in a weird space as it was. The chunk of memory was of being in hospital when I was first diagnosed with diabetes – or rather it was from a swathe of time early in the weekend that I just have not been able to reliably recall or reconstruct since all the excitement hit. This may be a bit graphic for medical type stuff, so if that upsets you please miss the next paragraph as it makes me squirm thinking about it. The chunk of memory seems to have been dislodged by reading an article today about a DJ who ended up in hospital with necrotising fasciitis.

I remember the fever and flu-like symptoms and my legs ballooning and turning red – I vaguely remember friends rallying round late night while waiting for an emergency appointment in the morning – I think? I don’t remember much beyond snatches of conversation, a blink of an eye and talking with a GP, then being sent straight to A&E. I do remember having at least one set of drips in – and my parents were there, and my being very concerned that something was even more wrong than the doctors knew. I remember that my legs were bound and wrapped in bandages, and yet as soon as I put my foot on the ground I was leaving wet dark yellow viscous residues on the floor in the shape of my feet – and I’m pretty sure the only reason I wasn’t shrieking was whatever painkillers were already in me. There was a sweet smell of rot – and I remember grabbing my dad as he was the nearest and saying – “All I can smell is rot, and I’m pretty sure its me.” And that’s the last I remember – at least until I opened my eyes with two surgeons standing over me and telling me they’d got my kidneys and liver working again, and did I know I had diabetes.

Sixteen years later, I still have very visibly dark scarring on my legs. I don’t know the details of what they had to do, but apparently they did it on the ward because there wasn’t any time left. We only really found out about what particular bug had decided to complicate the number of things that had all decided to go wrong at once by reading the charts and asking pointed questions. Apparently its the type of bacteria that lives for years in the body waiting for an opportunity to wreak havoc and could have been with me since my many bouts of tonsillitis as a child. No one knows, and frankly its not worth tracing back to find out.

My brain being what it is, I can feel and smell it all over again – even as a memory – as well as echoes of the pain, though that could just be the aches of being fifty years old joining in to spread the love. As I look down at my legs, it makes me ever more grateful both for the extra years I’ve had because of the swift actions of doctors, but also for the ongoing care of the NHS – even if it does sometimes feel like gentle bullying for my own good to keep me on the straight and narrow.

My brain has obviously decided that I can cope with this memory now – and perhaps its a timely reminder to not take anything for granted. I’m pretty sure my loved ones will say there’s little chance of my doing that – and that alone is something I’m grateful for.