Work Experience Minion


Another week, another new challenge. This time it’s a work experience minion joining us for the first time at the library. As with most people who apply for these things he came to us thinking that library work is quiet and studious. Yes, I laughed a little too. By the time I’d finished the health and safety induction (can’t be too careful with those Shoggoths in the basement) and told him the fire evacuation drill (“you’re in a building full of flammable materials. Basically, run.”), he was looking a little haunted.

To be fair, he’s been a good worker and is picking things up pretty easily. There are limits to what I can ask him to do (apparently challenging customers who won’t pay fines to a duel is a no-no), but he’s been quick and effective at finding lost books and filling shelf check requests, and has cut out about 200 paper figures. If we don’t use them all for the Summer Read, there should be enough to animate a South Park style extravaganza.

The only downside to having this minion around is that I do need to direct his work from start of the day to the end, and it’s exhausting. If this evening’s D&D session was less than sparkling. I’m blaming it on the minion.

Weird Weekend

Oh, talk about an odd few days, and that’s just with the news of all the horrors and joys around the globe. I’ve been feeling quite overwhelmed with the images of violence these last few days, and as I was working most of Saturday, and then had Charleesi come to stay, having an extra body around the flat has been a good change of pace. It has reminded me to focus on those around me rather than getting caught in the wash of breathless and sometimes ghoulish reporting.

Keep Calm and Use the Konami Code

The other thing that bemused me was the lack of reaction to my Love Wins post, and more specifically to how it turned into an unplanned coming out. I didn’t mention it specifically to look for a reaction, but with the wide range of people I’m blessed with knowing, I was surprised that there was no comment of any sort, except from Lady M – to whom none of it is a revelation – and privately from a good friend wanting to clarify something else in the article. I’m obviously more transparent than I realise, and most people just nodded and said something along the lines of “yes, yes, we know, get on with it.”

On the other hand, perhaps it’s down to people just skim reading and the words getting sidelined with the comments I was making. Alternatively everyone was just distracted by events in the news, and the Pride celebrations. I’ve no idea, so I guess I’m just projecting now.

I did find myself feeling like another shoe was going to drop any moment, and the mix of emotions made it more difficult to focus than it otherwise might have. Still, an evening of Once Upon A Time on Netflix, and quiet banter raised my spirits.

A quiet Saturday night then led to a good Sunday. The highlight, as ever, was the D&D session, which was hilarious and bawdy in equal amounts; this was certainly a day where I’m glad my daughter isn’t the shrinking violet some seem to see her as. We’ve finished off with a barbecue, a walk, and a good session of Charleesi and I playing Halo CE in co-op mode, which seems a good way to prepare for a fresh week.

I’ve no idea what the week will bring, apart from a work experience person that I will be setting to help me make display elements for the Summer Read. Let’s see how we go.

More Wartorn Maps Uploaded

After a long slow day in the library, I’m relaxing with Once Upon A Time on Netflix, and more maps uploading from the Wartorn campaign. Hopefully the website content controls will behave while I carry on. I’m currently putting up ambush and battle locations, as well as the Dawn Petal, the airship that served as both battlefield and temporary home during the search for Lucan.

Love Wins

Keep Calm and Use the Konami Code

I am friends with people who are genuinely distressed about today’s marriage equality ruling in the States, and that’s led to a series of conversations with other people through the tail end of this afternoon that I have no doubt will continue.

The people who disagree have largely fallen into two categories. Those who recognise that their discomfort comes from their personal “squick” response to same sex or gender pairings (yes, I know the fluid continuum is a lot more gloriously complicated, but I’m simplifying and reflecting the views I’ve heard today),  and those who hold sincere religious beliefs about the institution of marriage and what they see as sinful relationships. I’m not going to go through the arguments in detail, partly because it won’t change anyone’s point of view, and partly because I vehemently disagree with anyone trying to insist that anyone is worth less, or should be denied basic human rights.

Slightly tongue in cheek, I expect the number of jokes about wedded domesticity to get larger and more prevalent once the (if you’ll pardon me) honeymoon period is over and people remain people. This means that they will fall in love, out of love, argue, make up, get frustrated by their partners dropping towels on the floor, or not cleaning the sink after shaving, and as for that little noise they make when falling asleep that used to sound so cute?

Well yes, people are people, no matter their gender, biology or orientation. Some are saints, some are sinners, some are heroes and some are jerks. There’s a lot of joy and a lot of hurt on both sides, and I’m lucky enough to have friends who, even as they’ve started to say something against it, have caught themselves and remembered that marriage equality is not something I’ve ever been willing to debate – because from where I’m standing, there’s nothing to debate. So, we’ve acknowledged there’s a difference and that in this instance we’ll talk about something else. Even there, Love wins, rather than being overtaken by hate and fear.

People being people, there are those on the equality side of the decision who have been less tolerant of differences of opinion, and to whom I’ve defended the right of my other friends to be upset and uncomfortable. It’s been an odd day in that respect.

It is my opinion that today has been a great step forward for the world, especially coming so soon after Ireland’s national referendum. Being both bi and poly, I’ve never been a huge fan of anyone trying to legislate anyone’s sexuality (hmm, guess I just came out, hi folks) or, in general, what consenting adults enjoy as long as its not harming anyone else. There’s enormous symbolism in the Land of the Free finally recognising the right of any adult to fall in love and get married if they choose to do so, and I’ll be watching the fallout in political terms with interest, both internally and internationally.

I may even get some popcorn.

More Wartorn Updates and Misbehaving Interfaces

I’ve just accidentally posted one of the Wartorn maps as a blog entry rather than as a page – a problem I’ve had before when using the WordPress website. I’ve just corrected the problem and got all the links properly sorted but it’s deeply irritating and is something that’s only started since Worpress started introducing “easier” ways to post that are actually dumbed down rather than easier.

Mutter, mutter, grrr and argh…

However – it doesn’t take away that I’ve got a few more maps up in the Notable Locations page. After a long day chasing deadlines, it’s a nice change of pace to do something relaxing, even if it’s despite the best efforts of my own website…

Sewer Valves

Sewer Valve junction layoutThe depths below the city of Sharn contain many twisting tunnels and complex mechanisms to regulate the flows of water and sewage from the heights to the depths of the city. The path to find the lost Dorasharn forge and the mysterious first schema had led them to this location, where a hidden door led to forgotten paths.

Unfortunately, the group had been less than discrete in its enquiries at the Rat Market, and Shifters aligned with the Lord of Blades set an ambush at this sewer valve junction. A messy fight, dodging sewage flows and struggles to keep their balance began.

Back to Notable Locations

Double Date Film Night

There’s some film about dinosaurs getting all uppity about being Disney-fied or something doing the rounds. It’s been out a couple of weekends, seems to be a bit popular? Yeah, Lady M and I hadn’t seen it due to budget; and the pulchritudinous Lady P, being a bit keen on said creatures, has seen it a few times.

“We should go see that” she texted the other day, and so with payday having finally arrived, we’ve merrily trooped off, booked a prime set of seats and just finished watching Jurassic World. Yeah… Now I see why that’s had the biggest opening weekend ever and seems likely to carry on trampling over everything else in its path.

The great success, for me, is how the special effects and CGI weren’t obviously driving the scenes, but were there to enhance the scenes and progress the story. The dinosaur body languages were similar to creatures we’ve all seen in natural history programmes (or in the wild if we’re lucky), and that just helped ground the fantasy enough to allow the wilder flights of fancy.

Nods to classic scenes and dialogue from the earlier films came thick and fast, but didn’t seem to overwhelm the film in simple fan service. It’s a film of wonder, black humour, wry winks and at least one wrinkle I didn’t see until a good couple of seconds before it happened.

So yes, a lovely evening in good company, and we all ended up with velociraptors on our drink cups – not so much birds of a feather that flock together, as a pack with big toothy grins. I think film night will start happening more regularly.

Accelerating Week

It looks like Summer is having another go at breaking through the traditional British cloud cover – I’ve just had a lovely hour or so drinking coffee and window shopping with the lovely Lady P (who is looking much healthier than the last time I saw her), and now am in a gently breezy conservatory with the Charleesi. At some point this evening I’ll even have a chance to catch up with Lady M, who seems to have taken up a career of administering swift justice to errant major telecommunications companies.

Work continues to be… challenging… with people absent through sickness or annual leave, and I can’t wait to actually go on holiday in August and have some time off. For now, the library and the writing have got a firm grip on my spare time. As a result, my life threatens to be something approaching what most people would call ‘normal’. I must do something about this.

Games-wise, I’m mostly flitting between Witcher3, Forza Horizons2, Massive Chalice and Sunless Sea. Each of them is proving a good distraction in each of their varying ways. Witcher3 is just beautiful, with strong writing and intelligent narrative. Forza Horizons2 is a good game for picking up for a half hour here and there – whether to blow off steam driving a virtual supercar, or rallying against other drivers. Massive Chalice’s turn-based strategy is similarly good when time is limited, or if I’m doing something that might interrupt at any moment, like cooking. Sunless Sea remains a gothic enigma, and is sitting on my PC desktop like a Curious Raven Advisor.

I’ve plenty to read at the moment – though precious little time beyond lunch breaks or the tail end of the evening as I wind down. I’ve been given an Advance Reader Copy of “If Pigs Could Fly” by Jonny Nexus, so I’m being drawn into the world of the West Kensington Paranormal Detective Agency at the moment. I’ll do a proper review when I’m done, in plenty of time for it’s publication in October, but so far: yes, I’m rather enjoying it.

Now, if we could just get Charleesi to agree what times and days she wants to be where for the weekend and beyond, we’ll be all good. Ah, the joys of a footloose daughter who has just finished her GCSEs…

A little of that…


In the wake of E3, the Beta invites and codes for all sorts of things have been pouring in. The most recent has been for the multiplayer part of Gears of War, which is being remastered for the XBox One.

My impressions so far is that it’s very pretty in a brutally industrial way, but it has reminded me just how bad I am at Gears of War. There’s something about the controls that feel counter-intuitive for me. There’s a bulky rolling clumsiness that throws me off balance and I seem to spend an awful amount of time exploding in bloody chunks, or on the wrong end of a chainsaw. I’m sure its great fun for my opponents and deeply irritating for my team mates.

Visually it is crisp, and runs smoothly. Matchmaking is quick and didn’t leave us hanging (take notes Halo, I’m still watching you after that MCC débâcle), so who knows, from this limited set of maps and game styles it appears to be a good update.

Will I buy it when it comes out? Maybe, but then I never even finished the story for the first one in co-op play. It may just be that it isn’t my cup of tea.