Tshirt Things

I spent some time this weekend putting a couple of reworked designs on the Amazon site, and starting to work through translation settings for non-English versions.

As there’s over six hundred clothing variants across a number of languages that are in turn spread over the nearly eighty designs I’ve current got up, I’m doing them in small batches. Some of the more niche D&D related ones will probably end up getting rotated out in time but for now they’re good for practice so they’ll stay up.

The two newest designs are called Ignition and Hungry Love and I hope its not just me who likes them. They are available on both UK and US sites at present, under the Ludd Clothing brand, and I’ll work on French, German, Italian, and Japanese versions soon.

The Yearly Round-Up

I’m somewhat torn between “good grief, that was a long year” and “wait a minute, it was just March!” as I settle down to write this. The blog has continued to grow – as of the time of writing there are 7,943 views from 4,075 unique visitors, 874 likes were recorded and 7 comments. By far the biggest draw is the main page for the new blog entries, while the rest of the traffic is split between old gaming writeups, a click-baity item I once wrote about almost but not quite having a polyamory tattoo, and a short story called Identity Crisis that I wrote back in 2017.

I’m not aiming to make a financial empire out of the site – there’s links to merchandise, true, but even that’s just artistic odds and ends and nerdy support for my friends and family – so while I’m sure there are bots and even SEO experts champing at the bit to offer me advice on how to grow and monetise the blog there isn’t any interest in doing so. The statistical figures are of passing interest in a “huh, that’s cool” way rather than a driver of activity. If they were, I’d probably not enjoy writing the blog so much.

That’s not to say that it doesn’t sometimes feel like a job or a chore, but I see it as good practice to keep in the habit of writing, even if it isn’t the rolling production of fiction that in my mind’s eye I would prefer to be doing. The real world, alas, distracts me far too often with maintaining the household, working the day job, and looking out for my loved ones – but on reflection that’s a good thing. It means I’m present for people, am keeping relatively active, and am looking after myself. That last one still feels a bit of a radical concept.

A lot has happened this year – including three months of boy s and the cub moving in while they relocated more locally – but there was also a promotion, a more active engagement with LGBTQ+ issues at work, and marching in Surrey’s Pride Parade with colleagues and clients. I’ve built a team of managers who are passionate about outreach and engagement with local communities. I even sold a few tshirts and started an erratically scheduled podcast. Editing of short stories and sharing those with a wider circle of people for feedback has occurred.

And I’ve started to feel less guilty about not managing to achieve absolutely everything all at once, let alone the illusion of productivity born of being busy all the time. Hopefully that will help me manage my health better as the doctors continue to prod, poke, scan, and probe. Fingers crossed, and all that.

That’ll do for the year in review I think. If you want more details, the blog is literally here to dive into – I’m going to make a cuppa and have a light lunch now. See you soon.

Podcasting Thoughts

I’m getting used to the process of quickly recording snippets of podcast that are based off these posts, and despite saying to myself that I would only do a couple of recordings a week, I’ve ended up doing at least one a day. For the most part I’m seeing it as an accessibility sidebar – another way of burbling away into the void. If people come along for the ride then all the better but I’m not monetising it and its purely being done for the fun of it. If for some reason, this all tickles fancies enough that people start crowding to hear and read things so that it gets to a point where I need to start investing in bandwidth, well then I’ll consider looking at some sort of premium chargeable content. For now though it seems somewhat ridiculous to think people are going to consider paying for my two or three minutes of rambling.

Looking at the statistics after a week, I appear to have seven unique listeners. Well, I guess it goes without saying that you’re unique because you’re people – and if I’ve just uncovered a cloning operation then all hail our genetically engineered overlords (that’s the right phrase isn’t it?) Considering I’ve put no thought or planning into any of this I’m frankly surprised I’ve got even that many. Apparently three of you are sticking around long enough to register as repeat offenders – sorry, I mean listeners – as my ‘audience’.

Well. Hello. Isn’t this cosy? Apparently most of you are listening either on Spotify or on Apple devices and its good to see you out there.

I’m thinking of reading some of my short story materials from the site as extra or alternative content – if only to give you a respite from the trivialities of my blog. If I do, I’ll likely set those up as a Season Two and continue the blogging-based updates as Season One. Who knows, maybe it’ll spark some periodic content as a season – winter tales to shiver to or something.

Oh, one other bit of site-related news: we’ve this week achieved our highest ever yearly reader figures. That’s a quiet point of pointless pride – thank you to all the regular readers – of whom there are apparently about 650 or so, but I haven’t dug that far into the stats on WordPress.

Anyway – I have, at least, made it to the weekend after what has been a bit of an odd one as weeks go – and I even have a semblance of humour intact. So that’s happened, which is nice.

Podcasting? Me?

Whatever is he up to now? Well, mostly prompted by a series of persistent options in my WordPress dashboard I decided to experiment with turning blog entries here into podcasts. I’ve seen Lady M do similar with her TWITT project and enjoy the process, so while I was having a quiet lunchtime break I started clicking buttons. WordPress seem partnered with Anchor to provide this set of functions, so after mere seconds I was presented with a big long list of blog entry text and the option to automatically convert these to audio with a choice of pre-generated voices.

I’ve worked in tech and with tech for long enough to remember the sheer tedium and pain of trying to get automated systems to pronounce seemingly innocuous words in any semblance of how they should be, so I hesitated before pressing the buttons and opted to record one myself. In this instance the blog entry immediately preceding this one about having an night on my own.

So, other than ego, why have I opted to do this? Well believe it or not I have an ulterior motive and its to do with making my writing more accessible and easy to read. I’ve long been a subscriber to the practice of reading what I write out loud anyway as a simple way to see if I’ve punctuated my sentences. I have a tendency to ramble. You may have noticed. At its best, the written word should ebb and flow like a river with differing sentence lengths and cadences. Reading aloud helps remind me to breathe.

So, you get to hear me try not to faint while reading out my longer sentences, and hopefully that will translate into better reading experiences for people – whether for fiction, or simply work emails. And yes, I will be recording this too.

The link for the podcast by the way is https://anchor.fm/tim-maidment7 – and I’m in the process of signing up the rss feed with a variety of providers.

So far you can listen on Apple at https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/timmaidment-com/id1597578500 and on Spotify at https://open.spotify.com/show/3WC9JGf1P6V8xnsOUon87l

More Markets

I’m pretty sure I mentioned a while back that I’d been notified that Amazon were about to start widening my access to various markets with a program of translation into various languages in an automated process.

Well, that process is now underway, and my Ludd Clothing items are now available in not only the UK and US versions of Amazon but also the French, German, and Japanese markets as well. Looking at my visitor statistics I can see regular visitors from each of those areas, so if you’re interested please take a look and I’ll endeavour to put direct links up for each of the .de .fr .jp and .com versions in addition to the .co.uk version above.

So, that’s a thing that’s happening.

A little Change

In my post a few days ago about my Equalities Journey, I talked about the amazing trans man in my life and I realised that for some if you it may not be immediately obvious who I’m talking for about. Given that I’m polyamorous it may even have seemed a possibility that it was announcing someone new.

I was in fact talking about myr s, who has been socially transitioning over the last year. During this time, by his request, I’ve been using gender-neutral terms on the blog to talk about him and this was in part because there were people to whom he had not felt able to talk to about things.

This changed last week, and so while asking if he minded my referring to him in the Equalities blog posts at work and here, we also talked about evolving his title here as well. With his being my sub, we felt that the usual Sir or Lord that I tend to use would not feel right and he wanted to keep the lack of capitalisation as well.

So as of today, may I introduce you to boy s, and what a relief it is to be catching up here with how we talk to him in the real world.

As a cosplayer, there may be a temptation at some point to do a dad-bod Kratos just so I can shout “boy!” across a crowded hall…

Updates

I’ve been inspired by the earlier posts to start writing up and updating the key events page for the DDC and I think I’m basically just working backwards at this point. Still, there’s two pages done, gathering the collective dreams and the Broken Grove. The accompanying maps for those sections have been included to help visualise them.

Both maps were made by yours truly using www.inkarnate.com and I’ve also put them up in the maps section for free download.

It’s a nice way to wind down after work…

Ups and Downs

Yesterday I didn’t feel well, today I do. I’m going to put that down to a combination of the second vaccination jab and a broken night’s sleep. The original plan for today was to have a quiet day off, but training on the admin of our incoming replacement library system was energetically waved at me, so I’ve been doing that instead.

That said, now it’s completed, it’s a lovely sunny day out there so I’m going to take it easy, update some of the website (I’ve added some new maps on the Roleplay Games page), and watch the various Pride flags flip over the railing on my balcony.

Maps

I said I’d get started, and so I did. In the Games and Gaming section, reachable from the menu at the top of the page, there are now links to maps suitable for use in virtual tabletops. Most are pretty bare to allow for variety in setting further props and furniture tokens, and are accompanied by notes for intended or past use.

The links to various past and present games are also there for delving into for ideas and narratives.