Weekend Roundup

Not a bad weekend, all told, even with another of the mood dips threatening to derail me since Thursday morning. The mini barbecue experiment on Friday proved I could still cook without either incinerating the food, or risking food poisoning, which largely set the tone for what followed.

The weather here at Maidment Towers on Saturday was gloomy, to say the least, so Lady M studied most of the day while I started the download of the Gears of War Beta and all the Witcher DLC and spent a good couple of hours reimmersing myself in the Witcher’s gothic fantasy world. Then we headed out to see Lady G and her partner for an evening of food, wine, and chatter. Lady M got delightfully tipsy, while I stayed sober as designated driver, and a great evening was had by all – especially by those who enjoyed linguistic and grammatical banter in several languages simultaneously.

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Keep Calm and Use the Konami Code

As I speak no German and limited French, I remained a bit of a lemon on the sidelines for portions of those, so threw hand grenades and skewering comments to bring people back into the room without being overly rude or obnoxious. We eventually crashed home in the early hours and decided to cancel the Sunday game so as not to clash with Father’s Day.

Now, we rarely if ever celebrated this growing up in the vicarage. The important day was Mothering Sunday, while Father’s Day seemed a card company confection. As a result I’m always taken by surprise by it and by how many people do observe it. I got wished a happy father’s day in the coffee shop, and was given a mixture of joke and nice presents by the Charleesi and was hardly tongue-tied at all.

Another quiet afternoon, more Witcher and study, and another play with the barbecue later (minted lamb kebabs, corn on the cob, baked potato, coleslaw, and a salad with honey and mustard dressing for those keeping score), and we’ve settled to rest for the new week. Between that and renewed communications with Lady P, (who is having a horrendous time, and we’re feeling a bit on the sidelines, a bit helpless) its ended the week on quite a higher note than it started.

Let’s see what Monday brings.

Pirates of the Thunder Sea

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The Roll20 Logo

The new phase of our Monday group started today, steering their newly acquired ship back home and basically stumbling into as many pirate cliches as I could whip up. We’re playing this game a lot more seat of the pants, so finding the tone is a bit hit and miss. Nevertheless, I’ve managed to fit undead fish-men attacking the ship while moored near a beach in, and have a brace of anecdotes to relay during the proper write-up.

I also seem to have let myself get talked into helping moderate a live stream for someone on an ongoing basis, so need to work my logistics out for that this week. Should be fun.

Work was one of those long slogs, complete with a camera crew shooting a piece for ITV News in the library while I continued to teach people basic computer skills. It feels like its been a long day, but my mood is actually noticeably lighter today. This is probably from actually having some nice customers in, and the continued presence of the Charleesi (even if she’s taken to actively snarling when we sing “Everything Is Awesome!” at her.)

In other geekery news, I’m downloading Neverwinter on the XBox One – well, it’s free and I’ve fond memories of the original games, so we’ll see how it plays when it goes live.

Another long day tomorrow, but a later start, so I can’t complain. Word of the day? “Supportive”

Awesome Gamers

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Today went quickly, largely through being busy, and has ended in laughter which is never a bad thing. It’s always been a great joy how the people who play these games participate so wholeheartedly in the collaborative elements and tonight has been no exception. I’d bashed together a couple of potential road trip encounters to keep people interested while we transitioned in to the planned new phase of the game, but I think something rather awesome just happened.

As they were travelling by sea, I thought I’d throw in a swashbuckling pirate attack to spice things up. It was very much going to be a casual combat encounter, but as the rope swinging and cutlass-waving started, the players decided they wanted to capture the pirate ship.

So they did.

I’ve got a lot of quick rewriting and world-building to do, because I think we just diverted the whole campaign into a Dungeons & Dragons version of Pirates of the Caribbean crossed with Assassins Creed: Black Flag. They’ve even got a macguffin that powers that be would like to get their hands on, so let’s see where this goes…

The laughter and sheer joy on the faces of the people playing this evening has done me a power of good, even with the head cold that has detonated in my sinuses this evening. This bodes well for the rest of the week.

Bit of a low day

Really not sure what to make of today: I bought a mattress topper for our bed and it’s transformed our bed back into something we can sleep on, rather than a treacherous no mans land looking for revenge for all the use its had. I slept in late this morning as a result, but as I wasn’t due to work until the early afternoon, that really wasn’t as bad as it sounds.

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Unfortunately though, my mood has been deflated all day, despite the various efforts of Ladies M and P at various points in the day. Perhaps the truly awful stench of a customer who soiled his pants and carried on using our public computer terminals for over six hours was part of it; or maybe the ongoing uncertainties of proposed restructures at the library helped. A little of both maybe, prompting my brain to tick over into that headspace that replays every bad or unfortunate decision with hypercritical venom as my own personal chorus of disapproval.

I have at least managed to make others laugh. It seems a good deflection and compensation tactic to try and lift others to make up for my own lows. In response to being called ‘a sweetie’ by Lady P, I replied: “brightly coloured packaging and bad for your health?”, and when asked by Lady M why I’d done something so stupid as to marry her, my comeback was: ” well it’s part of this history I have doing things that seemed a bright idea at the time only to see them turn into bloody awesome decisions!”

I’m not doing great, but I’ll never give up, even with the black dog chewing my ankle a while.

Articles and Powercuts

It’s been a bit of a mixed day, at least for those around me. My day has gone rather well, with articles flying off the presses and some pleasant chats with various people through the day.

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Keep Calm and Use the Konami Code

Others seem not to have been so lucky. My local supermarket seemed to be plunged into darkness when I wandered over to get some bread. Apparently they lost everything except emergency power midmorning, so the freezer aisles were barricaded off, and the various cold cabinets were under close scrutiny as I picked up my groceries. About half the lights were still going, as well as the tills and self service units but everywhere else seemed paralysed.

The coffee shop wasn’t faring much better, what with being on the same electrical board. The manager had sent most of the staff home and was offering cold drinks and cake to any lost souls that ventured in. I stopped in for a chinwag and then beat a hasty retreat in case shadow demons emerged from the kitchen to drag me away.

I must have got into the zone with the writing after that as the next time I consciously checked the time it was gone five pm. Lady M returned home, muttering under her breath about various work related things in her usual stream of consciousness decompression monologue, and then in quick succession we each received phonecalls from friends in need of safe venting.

What’s left of the evening has gone in a blur of paella, wine and comedy shows – a surefire way to dispel worries. Everyone else seems to have had an odd or stressful day, but I haven’t so at least I’ve been able to be a point of stability for other people. It feels good to be able to do that for other people, rather than relying on it from them.

Ready For A Break

I have to be up in the morning. We’re off on holiday to Disney and as far as I can tell, everything is sorted and ready to go.

Our bags are packed, a friend has agreed to check in on the flat and water the plants (currently a crop of lettuces, peppers and tomato plants), our paperwork is sorted, and everything is paid for.

So why am I feeling despondent? I think it’s a combination of my usual trying to make sure everything is covered, and ‘knowing’ that something will go wrong. I’ve found myself surprisingly affected by the news of Robin Williams’ death too, which comes partly from his presence everywhere in my childhood and teenage mindscape of pop culture references and partly through recognition of the same struggles with depression and suicidal ideation over the years.

So there seems to be a morass of signals and confusions warping around in my head like radioactive slurry tonight. Perhaps there’s no better time to be off to Florida and the fantasia of Disney then.

It kind of feels like a kill or cure approach as I write this, but once we’re there I’m sure I’ll be swept along in holiday-mode, just like I was on Honeymoon back in November last year. The household has been ringing to cries of “Mickey!” all day, so I dare not be the sourpuss to spoil things, if nothing else.

So, I’m going to try settling my head now and get some sleep ahead of the drive to the airport. Here’s hoping this mood will have lifted in the morning