I mentioned reading in my last post. It’s something I’m trying to do more of, just reading paper items again. I’m trying to spend less time reading political and science articles from Facebook, and read more books and magazine articles. Mostly this is game related reading, whether the Numenera starter, the rest of Titansgrave, or other short items. Just something different to be doing than focusing on the computer or mobile device.
I’ve been pretty artistically stagnant for a few years now. Since sometime after I started at the photo studio. My dry spell might have started just after joining Facebook, but I think it was earlier than that. I just don’t remember. But I feel like I’m maybe starting to shake that stagnation.
Part of that has been in relation to Mom’s ramp. I failed to realize the creativity that went into that. It seems I didn’t put up an image of that when we built in (and I realize I might not have been doing this blog them), so here is one now:
This is the completed ramp we made in April of 2013. The problem is the step, here closest to the camera. The step has started to break down as it was designed poorly. The riser is in front of the step, rather than under it as it should be. So, on the outside, it needs to be rebuilt. The step is also too shallow, and so feels very steep.
So, over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been designing a new step. I want something that will support more weight and be less deep, so we can step on it more comfortably. With the weather getting better, as soon as my tax refund comes in, I’ll start picking up the lumber to make the new step.
I’ve also been trying to work out how to deal with the space issues in my bedroom. I’ve got two ideas immediately: a new base and headboard for my bed with a set of shelves built in; or a loft bed, moving my computer under my bed and getting rid of my current desk for another book shelf.
The loft bed would create a lot more space in my room. My current desk is about 7′ by 3′, being a nice drafting table I got from a former co-worker at Firstworld when he moved back to Texas. It’s a great desk, but it takes up too much room and has become too much of a garbage collector. Reducing the clutter would be a welcome thing. And I could replace the old desk with more bookshelves.
However, at my height, the bed would have to be pretty tall. I need to measure myself in my office chair to see just how tall, but I’m guessing about 60″. That would put the top of the bed over 6′ high (unless I got without a box spring), leaving me with little room to sleep in and turn over in, considering I have an 8′ ceiling.
So, it seems to me that my original plan, an expanded headboard, is the better plan. It’s also something I’m more comfortable I could build myself and not have collapse on me the first time I turn over. It’s the assembly I have yet to work out. I have a basic design, with a box base for the bed, with maybe drawers in the base, or maybe a lift top and general storage under the mattress. I haven’t priced out the cost of the drawer mechanics, but I have an idea of the cost of the pneumatic lifts for the general storage, so I kind of know the price to beat.
These design challenges are entertaining and challenging to me. I may continue to work on the loft bed design I have in mind, as one of my Thursday night players is interested in doing the same thing (although she may just go out and buy what she wants). But all three giving me something to work my imagination on that’s new and different.
I’m also in the process of redesigning an old Superhero RPG character. The Mighty Mini figure I mentioned last time. I picked up a couple of others on eBay, and something about them sparked me to re-examine this old character. His name was Agent Omega originally, and his real name was Richard Knyte. He was built for Champions, but I’m not going to recreate him in game terms, as I don’t have a Superhero RPG I’m really interested in right now. Agent Omega was a superagent who eventually helped take out the Hydra like organization he’d been part of as part of his origin. He then took up the name Vindicator, but ultimately I couldn’t find much of a direction for the character, and I ended up retiring him by having him fall into a dimensional rift.
I thought about a new identity for him as Shadowwalker, a dimensional traveller, but even that is kind of weak in my mind, especially as Shadowwalker was a streetname I used for my Virtual Adept in a Mage the Ascension game. So, I’m trying to figure out what direction I take with the character in resurrecting him. One of the ideas I had for him was him carrying a spear made of shadow, but I’m really reconsidering that. I had redesigned him based off another toy I’d encounter. That was a version of Nightwing (Dick Grayson as an adult) that had a golden torso. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m just not happy with any of that, and I want to redesign him, as a challenge to myself.
It’s late and, as often ends my musings, I have to get to work tomorrow. I want to state that I feel like I’ve stalled out on the rule writing for the Adventurers! rewrite. I keep looking at my notes and thinking I don’t know what to do next. I have spotty ideas for the StarSea and Reincarnated games, but nothing worth commenting on. That’s why I want to tinker with the woodworking designs. Try to get into something completely different and maybe that will shake loose my mind and get me to creating other things.
But it’s time to go. Later.
Because reasons, it’s taken me all week to write this post. I’ll explain later.
Some of my friends are aware of my dumb luck. It mostly involves me getting rewarded for insignificant things in my life, and is of limited assistance in more significant life issues. I’m sure there’s a more scientific, reasonable explanation, but I’ll be damned if I can figure it out. I experienced one of these “dumb luck” moments last weekend.
The weekend before, while at Target with the kids, I noticed the package pictured below.
What caught my eye was the red figure to the left of the silhouette, Red Robin. Red Robin is the third Robin, Tim Drake, when he went out on his own while Batman was believed dead. I really liked the Red Robin costume, especially the version just before the Flashpoint event. It’s a very strong, sleek design with good color and tone balance, especially after they dumped the peplums on the tunic. From the looks of the package, it looked like the version of the character I like. These are sold as blind packs, so you can’t just buy the one you want.
Looking at them, I thought “I can afford to get a couple of these and maybe I’ll get lucky and get the Red Robin, the one I really want.” I purchased two and took them home. No dice. I got two of the same Batman figures, and I gave one of them to one of the kids.
Last weekend, I figured I could afford to buy a couple more packs and try again. I got to the Target, and found the endcap, but all the packages were gone. I poked around for a few minutes, and found one last package. I decided I’d take the chance and pick it up, along with a couple of other items I wanted. I figured if I didn’t get what I wanted, I could get one on eBay.
As soon as I got to the car, I opened the package, and my dumb luck held out. The only package left had in it the figure I had wanted from the beginning.
I’m thinking of doing some touch up on the figure, as I can easily see some flaws, like the gaps in the yellow bandoliers on the chest, and the slop on the chin guard. I’m a little nervous about doing that and screwing it up. I might get the professional mini painter I know to touch it up.
In the end, I truly cannot understand how this sort of stuff works out for me, but other things in life, like job hunting and the lottery don’t. I just don’t get it.
Last week was been hell on my sleep, and it’s all been related to my mother. She’s backslid quite a bit in the three or four weeks since the physical therapist stopped coming out. The therapist had been coming since before Mom’s trip to the rehab home in November, and the therapist released Mom in mid-January. Now, again Mom has to struggle to get to the bathroom and bedroom at night. Tuesday night, the night before a work day for me, she collapsed in the bathroom. By the time my sister and I picked her up off the floor, it was nearly 1AM, and I needed to get up at 6AM for a day of driving. My anger at her loss of ability (partly at myself and my sister for letting her off the hook on her exercises and just getting up and practicing), as well has her surrender to her fear of falling (which is part of why she collapsed), had me full of adrenaline, as did the physical effort of picking her up. That meant I couldn’t get my mind to shut down in time to get enough sleep to be safe on the roads. I had to call in sick.
Thursday night ended up with the same sort of issue. I tried to tell her she needed to get going earlier so I could get to bed for work the next morning. I don’t know if she didn’t clearly hear me (since her hearing was destroyed by antibiotics) and she just nodded and said she understood when she really didn’t, or if she forgot what I had said, but she kept delaying, and again it was nearly 1AM by the time I got to bed. And again, I obsessed over trying to get sleep to the point I failed, and then I obsessed over calling in a second time in a row in the week. I tried to settle my mind with Tylenol PM, a white noise app, and eventually reading. I ended up pulling an all-nighter, reading a book nearly cover to cover.
Tonight, as I write this, it’s 20 after 11PM, and she’s been in bed for about an hour. I’ll be able to get to bed on time and get to work tomorrow. Huzzah.
I’m trying to read more fun stuff and spend less on the Internet reading political stuff or other distractions like games on my tablet. I think that’s part of getting back to being creative again. I know it is, so you can stop laughing now.
The book I read Thursday morning as I tried to put myself to sleep is a reprint of one of the first graphic novels, called Blackmark by artist Gil Kane. Mr. Kane had an outline for his story, but knowing he wasn’t really an author, had a comic writer and editor named Archie Goodwin supply the actual text, while Kane himself supplied art.
The story is about a slave gladiator for whom the story is titled. The story itself is a post-apocalyptic tale of revenge and violence in a retrograde medieval world haunted by psychic mutants and warring nobles. It’s a bit stereotypical to the modern reader, but in 1971, it was groundbreaking for those who could get a copy. Mine is a 30th anniversary reprint put out about 15 years ago, and I quite enjoyed reading it again, even if it is a bit dated.
I also started re-reading Robin’s Laws of Gamemastering. Written by gaming guru Robin Laws, he explores ideas about gaming that were revolutionary in roleplaying games in 2002 (date of publication). Those ideas are now old hat, being the core ideas of many indie games. I’m enjoying the refresher course, and I’m thinking about my own play style and GMing style, as well as my own reasons for creating my own game, hopefully focusing my rule building, rather attacking things scatter-shot.
I’m going to end this here and publish, or I will never finish. I don’t want to keep delaying, so I won’t.
I really don’t have a wide variety of things to talk about this time, but I have something I want to go into at length. Largely, I’ve been focused on politics for the past couple of weeks, as things go crazy. As I’ve said before, I’m a liberal, and this is not a political blog, so if you want to know more about my thoughts on current events, you’ll have to go by my Facebook and friend me, as I screen who can see what I post there.
D&D for Kids did not restart last weekend, as one of the parents forgot his kids had performances that weekend. I’m finally feeling healthier, but I still have a little bit of a cough. I’m still a little stuffy, too, so I’m still wondering why I get sick so often any more.
A couple of weeks ago, I finished the Moorcock portion of the Planet Stories book with his Sojan Shieldbearer character and started the other portion of the book. While his command of the language and writing style were well developed at age 17, the plots were mediocre and sometimes mishandled. For example, in one story, he introduced a group of villains who defeated the hero and were subsequently escaped from, who thereafter disappear from the story, except in the epilogue, in which he kills them. It was very anticlimactic. I’m assuming some editor taught him to not do that in the future. It would have been nice to see the villains reappear down the line.
I’m not particularly enthusiastic about the other story in the book. The writing is much more mature, but I’m just not feeling the story. The author is obviously following the Sword-and-Planet formula, and the obviousness is a little annoying. In fact, the beginning of the story was extremely close to Robert E. Howard’s Almuric in details. I plan on completing the novel, but it’s not a priority.
My “at length” subject is my living space. I’m not going to complain about the balance of power in the household again, if that’s a concern. That’s something I have to find a way to deal with on my own, and not tonight’s subject, except tangentially.
Even if it hadn’t been suggested to me that my things weren’t desired in outside my room, there’s virtually nowhere to put things. This house is extremely poorly laid out. When we moved in just before my sister was born, it was fine for our family. My brother and I could both live in the room I now occupy because as kids. We had only small belongings, toys that could fit into a small space. My sister was a newborn and had nothing, and my parents weren’t the collectors of things that the family is now. The cramped rooms weren’t so cramped. As we aged and moved out, our lives expanded, as did our collections of “stuff.” And I’m probably the worst.
A few nights ago, I had laid down to go to bed, and then remembered I wanted to put some lotion on my hands. I’ve had some spots of whatever skin crud is on my right hand break out again. As I remembered I wanted some healing formula hand lotion, I got up and scuffed my foot against one of the piles of books next to my bed.
Now, you must understand that there are a couple of piles of books in my room. All my bookshelves are full, and I still have more books than that. I’m regularly buying more books. I can say without hesitation that I am a bibliophile. The books at the base of this particular pile stand upright, but were aligned in such a way to allow the books to fall over out into the room. When I scuffed my foot against them, they tipped out into the room, dropping everything piled on top of them out along my bed. That as going to make it difficult to get back into bed, or in and out in the middle of the night if I didn’t pick up the mess.
I tried to restack this pile of books three times before I realized I needed to change the direction of the books at the base of the stack so they would not move. And I had to work the next morning. On the upside, I was okay and got enough sleep after getting the stack of books stabilized. But it took a few attempt to get things right.
In my ideal home, I’d have a separate office with even more bookcases than I presently have. I can’t have more than I do now because of the poor arrangement of the room. The north wall of my room has the entry door, while the south wall has the bathroom door, a built in cupboard and drawers, and a closet door. The east wall has a large window and the west wall is the only wall with no obstructions. This means I have no ventilation, either, but that’s neither here nor there where my storage space is concerned.
I’ve thought of things I would have done when building the room if I had done it (smaller bathroom, bringing the north wall even with the corner of the garage it was added to, etc.), and things I’d like to do now (a shelf all the way around the room at the level of the tops of the doors, a headboard and sideboard for my bed that includes shelves, etc.), but to what end? How long will I live here? It might be the rest of my life, but it might be much less. We’ve talked about moving when Mom passes (likely won’t happen before then), I’ve bounced around the idea of moving if/when I can get a better job, and other ideas float by every once in awhile. Why put in so much effort and so many resources for what might be a temporary situation? These last thoughts only now come into my mind, and seems like analysis paralysis, and it could be. But that’s what life is when your future is so uncertain.
That’s pretty much it for this go ’round. I have other things I need to get to tonight.
It’s been a few weeks. With two holidays on Sunday in a row, I had other things I’d rather do. And last week? I just kept putting it off, and about Wednesday this last week, I decided to give up. However, I did write an outline, which I don’t feel any real need to change and will follow for tonight.
I really didn’t do a lot towards losing weight until late in the year. In the summer, I started walking for Pokemon Go!, but I didn’t stick with it. It was pretty boring to walk by myself, but we continued going out after Thursday Night D&D (now Fantasy Age Titansgrave) until just a few weeks ago. Rain and cold and illness has killed our motivation, as well as the general decline of the game.
On the other hand, I’ve started cutting back on what I eat. I’m breaking myself of buying large sodas on breaks, and ordering ala carte more often. I doubt I’ve lost an ounce, but I’m feeling a little better when I eat less. It may not be much, but it’s something. And maybe as it warms up, I’ll get out walking again. I’ll have to find some kind of partner or something to motivate me better than Pokemon.
I had a couple of various issues with the holidays. Family ignored me as I tried to talk to them, in one case literally walking away in the middle of a conversation. I got only one gift I consider in any way memorable, one of the Engine Publishing books. New Years was okay, but I ended up feeling ignored by the kids a couple of days later. This weekend was much better, but both incidents left me feeling a little like no one would miss me if I were to not be there. After missing a weekend last week, the kids were much better, but the birth family hasn’t had reason to change. But more on that in a minute.
After having been sick just after Thanksgiving, I got sick again just after New Years. It really wiped me out that week. Wednesday after, I went to work and I ended up taking the rest of the week off and camping out at home last week. I’m still coughing tonight, but nowhere near as bad as I was.
I’m tired of being sick so often. Not sure what’s happened to me over the past few years. I used to never get sick. But that was through college and the few years following. But since starting with the rental company, it’s been far more frequent. Although, when we were kids, we’d get bronchitis a lot, and I had walking pneumonia when I was 24, so I keep wondering if something back then has reared its ugly head again now. I just wish it would go away.
The feelings of being taken for granted compounded feelings I’ve been having for a while: I need to change my living arrangement. I’m not happy here, for a multitude of reasons. Mostly, it’s the environment in the household. I’m frustrated with how things get done (or don’t), and the balance of power in the household.
Unfortunately, I’m not in a financial state to change things. I have, however, considered just pulling up stakes and leaving Fresno regardless. I haven’t been able to find a better job here. My skills are out of date, and the expense to update them is creeping beyond me, and my credit rating is probably insufficient to get me aid.
I actually started researching moving out of Fresno, but I’m finding the same problems no matter where I look: I don’t have up-to-date job skills for anything that pays worth a damn. So moving is pointless, it seems. No one wants to train anyone: You’re expected to walk into even entry-level jobs with prior experience. It’s very frustrating, and I’m wondering how I’m going to make it into my “golden years.”
We’ve gotten to the end of Chapter 5 in the book. Now, to frame things properly, the first two of the ten chapters is worldbook and rules for the setting, and the rest is the campaign itself. So, we’re through 3/8ths of the story. I took the week off last week because of being sick, but week picked up this week. Everybody’s having fun, and we’re actually roleplaying, which we weren’t doing during D&D. I’m quite happy with the game as it stands.
GRAmel has completed their Kickstarter for the new version of the game, and it’s now available on DriveThruRPG for backers, but not for the general public. My rewrite has stalled out. Of course, I mentioned that last time, and so really, I’m just saying the stall has continued. D&D for Kids starts again next week (because of me still recovering, cooking for our home game last night, and a MTG pre-release weekend at CSGS this weekend), so that is a distraction for me, as well as Titansgrave and the home situation. Again, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to focus more at some point soon, but I have no idea when that will be.
That’s pretty much all I have for this entry. This is life right now.
So, I had wanted to do a post last week, but I let myself get distracted, and other things headed South for a minute, and I ended up delaying. So, this week, I have plenty to go on about.
The cold wasn’t a cold, but rather a severe allergic reaction. It never really moved down into my chest, although my tickle came back, and at the game this week I started coughing while trying to finish my Mountain Dew, and ended up coughing it up all over the tables and the floor at the store. Basically, I was over it in a week, which is better than my colds ever are.
Last Monday, I was going to write up the post I’d put off Sunday night, and then ended up distracted again by Mom developing another UTI and spending a day either waiting to switch out with my sister at the hospital, or either being at the hospital. Fortunately, Mom came home that day, with a new prescription. She’s doing better now, although the therapist pissed her off a time or two, which was actually good for Mom as she powered through exercises she said she couldn’t do.
The last two Thursday nights have consisted of Titansgrave character creation, as well as the first half of the first chapter. One of the players came up with a great concept that I really liked that aligned perfectly with one of the mysteries of the setting, the City-State of Karros. I had to fake some creation rules to do it (as she wanted to do a robot, and there’s no rules for robot PCs), but we managed to get something workable.
Once play started, we all fell into the roles and setting pretty well. Except for the youngest of us, who’s about 15. I think he’s a little self-conscious, but by the end of the session, he started relaxing. And the best part of the play was the robot delivering a kurt, dull speech, after the others rambled on, and her roll to impact the in-game audience was the best in the party, which had the audience rolling, and me as well.
Sadly, the rewrite of Adventurers! has fallen by the wayside over the past couple of months. The past couple of months have been very distracting, with Mom’s in-and-out of the hospital and rehab, along with work and Titansgrave and all the other miscellaneous things I have to distract me. (Westworld is joining the choir.) However, I’m thinking I’ll be back to that before long. Titansgrave is kinda low prep, as I’m just running the game by the book, so my mind will free itself eventually and I’ll get back to that game development. Then I can get back to developing the Reincarnated world, and then back to the StarSea.
That’s all I’ve got for this post. I hope to be back before the end of the year. Thanks for reading. Later.
I can’t tell you how glad I am to have finally reached the end of this year’s NaBloPoMo. I’ve complained plenty about the difficulties I had writing this month.
Today through us another twist that almost completely derailed my day, and definitely derailed my sister’s, as Mom has been sent again for a transfusion. It’s now 10:17 and Kathy has been at the hospital for about 5 hours. As far as I know, Mom is still waiting to get through triage, as Kathy’s phone battery was dying at last report. Kathy has been with her all night because Mom’s nearly deaf and can’t hear when her name has been called. It’s a big clusterfuck, and we get tired of dealing with the hospital’s delays.
Otherwise, this was a yard work day for me. We have a neighborhood cleanup coming up, and there was stuff I needed to get out. I found my gloves had been eaten by rats, mice or squirrels (they were on tool handles), so I had to find others. I’ve also been trying to clean up a few other things, but I’m afraid I’m not making a lot of progress. Between being easily distractible and the masses of links I bookmark and save through different means, deleting things cans be very slow, as many times the link names are vague, if not outright unintelligible.
I read mountains of data. Gaming, politics, odds and ends of pop culture, whether comic books or sci-fi, all of this and more catches my eye. Like I said, I’m easily distractible. (Like right now. I just forgot about completing this for about an hour.) And I really don’t have the time to read everything I want to, so I save links, through Facebook, Pocket.com and the mobile app they make, and just saving links to my hard drive (I have no idea how many megabytes of links I have on my hard drive). And I’m trying to cut back and not use those tools as much. I fail. A lot.
I need to get ready for bed now.
I slept horribly last night, but as I’m still awake, I apparently got enough sleep. I went to bed, did some reading, tried to sleep and had some really anxious thoughts run through my head, and then tried to do some more reading. I finally got to sleep around 2AM, but I was up to go to the bathroom a lot more than usual, and had some weird dreams. Even still, once my alarm clock went off, I was awake and that was that.
Beyond that, I again have nothing new to report. No work, just chores, and tomorrow will be more of the same. I probably should have opted out of NaBloPoMo this year, but I had no way of knowing how much I’d end up distracted from posting.
And with that, I’m done for tonight.
Another kinda nothing day. Worked only 5 hours. Came home and helped out a little with the lawn Christmas decorations. Visited Mom. Watched Supergirl (with it’s weak connection to the rest of the crossover). Now.
Thirty-four words is all I can come up with right now. I’m grasping for more, and there’s really nothing more I want to write about. I feel like I have major writer’s block, but really, I just haven’t been doing anything gaming related, which is the focus of the blog.
That’s all. I refuse to keep fighting this today.
I’ve really nothing to write about tonight.
I dug a little deeper into the Moorcock book, and it reads like it was written by a 15-year-old (which it was). I was in bed in the wee hours, slept until late in the morning when the Christmas decorating woke me up indirectly. I went shopping, came home, took care of a few chores, and spent the evening dinking around with my laptop. Not really productive today.
I have to say, I feel with all the tumult of this year, I’ll be glad when this month (and year) are over. I just haven’t been particularly focused on this project. The deaths and illnesses have been a cause of that distraction, as has the prospect of running a game in a couple of weeks. The election only added to the confusion. It just seems my mind has been under assault by reality all month.
So, that’s it for tonight. I work tomorrow, and I have laundry to finish, so I’m done.