Games etc

Games continue to be an essential stress relief mechanism for me, as well as being the more traditional amusement and distraction. For the most part recently I seem to have been largely enjoying old favourites rather than trying anything as a new release.

In part that’s down to the sheer expense of new AAA titles, but there’s also a bit that is just enjoying the familiarity of old favourites like Skyrim, Overwatch, and Halo5. 

For Skyrim (I’m playing the XBox One Remaster), it’s knowing that I can casually drop in, do a bit, and then pause at any point to cook/serve up food, or respond to Lady M’s deliberations over restaurant reservations for the upcoming Disney trip.

The other titles are more twitch-based online play. I enjoy different elements of each, with Halo Warzone games being a very different experience to playing Mercy in Overwatch as a favourite. 

The latter feels somehow more strategic even though it’s on smaller maps with a more cartoon kinetic energy, while Halo even at its scrappiest still has an epic feel and scope.

They all keep me happy in various ways. I suspect no one who knows me will be even remotely surprised by that sentiment.

The backward compatibility rolling programme is also encouraging me to go back and finish games I never got round to putting effort into first time around – and with so many appearing as download options recently I have the added incentive of not having to swap out discs to dip into them. This evening, on a whim, I’ve left the first Injustice game and Deus Ex installing quietly, and I’m quietly looking forward to rediscovering them.

Now if I wasn’t so brain-dead from work at the moment.

Thanks Brain

It’s Oh-gods-o’clock, and my brain won’t shut up, because why would it when all you want is to sleep? I could get up and write in the journal that I’m currently drafting new material in, but I imagine I’ll then be too tired, and so will slink back to bed.

Instead my thoughts are churning through memories of loves and lovers – those who are, were, and never were; those who might be, could be, and never would be. It’s a fruitless exercise that I’m sure my subconscious has picked out purely to annoy me.

There’s nothing coherent or even salacious in these ruminations. There’s memories of how things have ended. There’s thoughts of who and what I miss. There’s regrets and should-haves, and what-ifs. There’s also a very runny nose, exasperation, and fragments of phrases of this blog post that have been clamouring to be written down for a good three or four hours now.

So fine: I’m letting the words out, pinning them to this virtual page. Let them sit here like the residue of a boiled-over saucepan and make no sense, except to anyone who has had a similar sleepless night at any point in their life; or possibly to anyone who might read themselves into it.

Thanks brain, it’s not like I was doing anything anyway.

Hey, This Thing Still Works

Ah, yeah mea culpa, life’s been doing that thing it does, and run rings round me while I try to re-establish my footing. Between my brain being all over the place, a renewed momentum on writing the novel, work stress, and experimenting with other forms of social media expression I’ve not been blogging much.

You may have noticed.

I’ve been a bit sidetracked on a daily basis with the “My Day” function in Facebook Messenger, which allows me to broadcast photos in a pseudo-snapchat style to people who know me there, and write the occasional bit of nonsense on them. There’s a certain deadpan curiosity to seeing who looks at each picture as it sits there for 24 hours before evaporating into the relative ether.

It’s not particularly productive, or earthshattering, but it seems to tap that part of my brain that craves the validation of knowing something I’ve put up has been seen. It has been an interesting experience to observe and assess.

As for the novel, I’m trying to get down the key dialogue and elements of the next scenes so that I have all the final bones in place. I’m not giving myself a daily target, just that I write something so that each day gets me closer to finishing the elusive complete first draft at last.

I’m resisting doing any substantive editing until I’ve done that, following the lessons learned in Nanowrimo, and my own experience in getting too caught up in revising earlier chapters. This is the hard slog bit of writing, and I will get there.

So yeah, I’m still alive, more functional as a human than I’ve been in a while, and keeping going. Whimsicality and thoughtfulness shall continue here – I haven’t forgotten the site, merely let myself let go a bit while I get on with things.

Fiction Fragment: Wake-up Call

The dreaded novel is back in production – the following is a sneaky blick-breaker/first draft that has already been combined with something else to be a bit different in the typed up main draft. Confused? Just roll with it.

I woke from a dream of confusion and pursuit into a tangle of bedsheets and the hollowed eyes of a dead girl. I wish I could say it was the most horrifying thing I’d experienced this week. With everything that was going on my nerves were not as calm and sanguine as I might have hoped.

My scream was embarrassingly shrill. Autumn flinched back and disappeared just as Kay barrelled into the room. She glared at the spot our guest had just been standing in, as if daring her to reappear.

“I’m okay; just startled, that’s all.”

“Keep away!” Kay hissed to the empty air. I couldn’t help chuckling, which earned me a glare of my own.

“I think she was just curious Kay. I wasn’t having the most restful sleep; you know how I thrash about.” Kay pulled a face but came over for a kiss anyway.

” Well it’s time you were up anyway. Everyone’s here and coffee’s brewing. Better put some clothes on so you don’t frighten anyone else before breakfast.” She rubbed noses with me in lieu of another kiss, and straightened back up. 

I could hear sounds from the other room now I was more alert, but I was still glad of the warning. The prospect of walking into a room full of relative strangers in only my skivvies and no warning was enough to start my stomach churning.

There you have it – my dirty little secret: I’m not a morning person, and especially not in company. I’d rather square off against the flayer of pixies than face people before I’m dressed and caffeinated.

Ten minutes later, I felt up to rejoining the human race. Well, a number of its representatives in the next room anyway. Kay had grabbed some of my bulkier and more shapeless clothing from the wardrobe and left them out, so I pulled them on and tugged everything back more or less where it was supposed to be. Then I inspected myself in the mirror.

I looked pale. The bags under my eyes had seen better days and had obviously called for reinforcements. I ruffled my own hair a bit to try and tease some form and shape to it, but resigned myself to it being beyond help for now. I just hoped everyone else was having a bad hair morning too.

Celebration Time

Even in the middle of crapness, people keep insisting on having parties and celebrations of significant life events. It’s almost as if the universe doesn’t give two figs and insists on proceeding on its way. How depressing must that be for people trying to ruin things for everyone else…

So, two nice things in my microcosm today: Lady M and I were able to go out to the local Harris+Hoole so that she could have her old favourite breakfast: eggs benedict. Her diet while healing her ulcer has prevented her from having most of the ingredients of the dish, so the look of joy at the prospect lit the room.

Secondly, it was a friend’s 40th birthday today, so I went to fly the flag and we had a lovely barbecue under bright cloudless skies. I met some great new people, and reconnected with old friends, and basically had an afternoon of chatter and nonsense. Great fun.

Just thought, after an extended period of grimness, that celebrating fun was a good thing.

Things In Common

I think one of the more difficult things to deal with sometimes, especially in this age of social media, is seeing evidence that life continues. Being poly has brought me amazing highs and lows and everything in between. It’s taught me things about myself, and introduced me to amazing people; it’s also reinforced that people are people, and we’re all as vulnerable and daft and sometimes dumb as each other in more or less equal measures.

Social media is just as double edged, especially when you see people you used to be close with posting pictures of the people now in their lives. On the one hand there’s happiness that they’re happy, but then there’s that little twinge. I think everyone gets that, no matter the genders or relationship models in question – further underlining the commonality that links us in Pride Month and in the face of those intent in driving violent wedges between communities.

Short Story: Harping On

Out of the frying pan, and into the fire: a well-loved and abused phrase that often stands for “Oops”, and is usually trotted out by those looking forward to indulging in some schadenfreude on behalf of friends, family, or someone they’ve just seen in the media.

I don’t think I’ve ever known someone use it in real-time while things are actually going horribly and yet oh-so-predictably wrong. Like me, they tend to go with short, sharp, expletives to relieve the stress of the moment.

I certainly didn’t use it when the harpy came barrelling down off the roof while I dragged the stupified Mr Feeny away from the pub garden table and it’s foul contents. I was too busy making us both zigzag towards safety to dodge filthy razor-sharp claws. I think I remember thinking: “Dungeons and Dragons totally lied about these things.”