Category: Diary

These are entries that just give some account of my day to day life or emotional state.

Setting Your Own Goals

I’m job searching right now, working on finding some work leading up to the new year. It sucks, trust me. Today – when I wrote this, not when this goes up – I did a bunch of things.

  • I did a preliminary rulebook for Sector 86
  • I contacted a number of businesses about job opportunities (five)
  • I cleaned up the house
  • I brought in the laundry
  • I wrote three articles for the blog (which is why this is so far ahead!)
  • I developd a schedule for posting MTG stuff to my blog
  • I had lunch
  • I walked the dog
  • I gave the dog his worming tablet
  • I made a slow-cooked dinner for Fox
  • I updated my blog’s opening presentation, which is like, a resume element
  • I set up a twitter for a new podcast that’s coming
  • Tried to do more work on my PhD submission

And despite all that, I’m sitting here, at six pm, fizzing quietly, and wondering to myself… have I done enough today?

I’m not feeling great these days. I’m riddled with anxiety and I’m stressed and I’m feeling unproductive. But when I sit down and write out a list of things I did today, it always is that I ‘waste’ a lot of time doing things.

It’s hard.

You have to get into the habit of determining what your goals are. You have to be able to set yourself limits and say today I’m done with this.

Roads Unbent

I grew up – okay, let me start that again.

I lived, from the age of four to the age of fourteen, in a suburb of New South Wales called Engadine. Engadine is where I learned how money works, how to read, what a library was, how to talk to a doctor, about family restaurants and VHS tapes and watched the Beta cases slowly disappear off the shelves. It’s the place I walked with my mother as she went to a business to pick up an actual physical paycheque and hand it into an actual physical bank. It’s the place I tried a paper route.

To say I ‘grew up’ there is a misnomer, though. Because in Engadine, I was in an environment that deliberately sought to stifle what I learned of the world, watching a small number of years left in the world tick down. But Engadine is still a big part of my life, and time to time, we pass through it on the way to Sydney, from where I live now.

Engadine has a KFC and a McDonalds on the highway, meaning that on a long con drive out of Sydney, it’s a place to refuel and restock, and also, crucially, a place where you’re not going to get caught up in a brutal Sydney snarl of traffic if you stop for a while and sit down.

Dad used to say Engadine had a lot of flat ground – it was just all vertical. The terrain of Engadine is all hills, homes perching on uneven backyards, with the biggest flat areas being the football pitch, the mall, and the public pools, which sat across from the school I went to. We would cross the road and do sport on the big field, or in the public facilities to play hockey.

I really do love the public works part of Engadine, in hindsight. There were so many things that were available to me that I didn’t know, or didn’t appreciate. There was a walkway to the Train Station that went under the road, so as a child, I could safely make my way to the station without having to go up a huge number of stairs or some other way cross six lanes of highway.

When we revisit Engadine, though, the thing that blows my mind is how little it changes. Storefronts have changed – different businesses have come and gone and I’m sure nobody there remembers me, nobody remembers what I did or who I was, some nondescript little church kid with a bowl haircut reading Pratchett novels in the foyer. But the shape of Engadine is the same.

I think a lot of this is because of the roads. Engadine’s roads are all… pretty much the same? The big Woolworths is probably a Coles now, the NeoLife offices aren’t there any more (because the bastard who ran them is dead), but the businesses and the people have to follow the shape of the roads, the roads that are laid out on the land as best they can be.

I remember when I lived there I was genuinely confused as to how there were any other places in the world. How would you get there? The first time dad drove us out onto the highway and I saw that that little road I thought went nowhere in fact went everywhere, it blew my tiny mind.

But Engadine is still Engadine. It is older and it is different and it is dressed differently, but it is still a place named for the people who we took it from, wearing on its roads the scars of a culture that should never forget what we did.


This blog post and subject was suggested, as above, by @Garlicbug on Twitter. If you’d like to suggest stuff you’d like to see me write about, please, do contact me!

Belies

I’m fascinated by lies.

I’m fascinated by the lies we tell ourselves, and I’m fascinated by the lies we tell one another. I’m fascinated by the stories we tell one another which we know aren’t true, but we admit that up front and what we say is a shared lie. I’m fascinated by the lies we tell ourselves in huge swathes that only some of us believe. I’m fascinated by lies with data and lies without data. And I’m even more fascinated by the tools and systems we have that enable us to affirm truth in this billowing spectrum of nonsense and fluff.

I don’t hold it against the liars. I’m one of them. I lie to myself (I can handle this, that won’t be so bad, I don’t care that she thinks that about me). I lie to you (I am certain that the Tiberan empire does not exist) and I even lie to my mother (I’m fine!)!

Rough Days Happen

Yesterday was rough.

Yesterday, we did Day 1 of 2 at LFG. At that event, I did some win-and-plays of my games; I spoke to a lot of people; I crewed a booth, I worked hard, and then, at the end of it all, we checked our newly made sales sheet and found we’d sold… one unit.

It was a real demoraliser – I’d spoken throughout the day with people about funding and advancing my projects and getting into the next step of game development and becoming a professional or a consultant. Overwhelmingly, money and the future were on my mind. It was as if at times the sign of my coming doom that, yeah, one sale.

All day.

It hurt. I came home in a funk and had a hard time sleeping.

Then, today, we got up, we went in, we rolled with it, and we sold a lot more. We made up for it, and we came out ahead and we made contacts and hopefully, we’ll be able to move on. We made table costs, we made a little more, and we came out of it with tools and opportunities and, I hope, fans.

I understand it’s a little embarassing or shameful to talk about your sales or your successes or your failures. I’m not sure why; it seems that that works best to ensure nobody has a good idea of if they’re doing well or not. More than that though I think it’s important I share with you, if you’re reading this, that I have bad days. Sometimes I’m up to two anxious.

Sometimes, I feel, it’s very important to share a simple truth: There are rough days. And even they don’t get less rough because the next day is Good Enough.

Avoiding A

The a key on my keyboard is a little bit hinkey right now. It depresses fine for a few minutes or so, then it starts to sit, sunk down and lower in its space. What this means, what this does, is small. It’s almost imperceptable.

But it, holy fuck, it’s annoying. It’s annoying because I’m so used to the experience of typing on this keyboard that that single thing being wrong, that tiny little error, a glitch of the brain, a missing step that I somehow don’t fall over, just itches at the edge of my consciousness.

It’s so irritating.

Deadpool Reaction: Frozen Cokes

Yesterday I watched Deadpool, which is to say, I went to a movie theatre, which surprised me as much as anyone else. It was a decent, fun movie, and I think I may have some more thoughts on pulling it apart, but you know what really stood out to me?

The movie theatre wanted to charge 740% of the bloody price of a frozen coke down at McDonalds!

The Siege of Summer Continues

It’s one thing to write a thousand words a day. It’s trickier to write a hundred good words in a day.

I’ve been producing work for a friend’s website, which, hypothetically, will be paid, though I find myself completely apathetic to that. I’m working on games, but feel like I’m pushing a rock down a drain. I can light up enthusiastically when I’m trying to engage someone, particularly my teachers as it is their care and fostering that has helped create these products.

I work, I toil.

I bear up.

I hope you’re doing okay. You deserve to do okay.

D&D Day 3

And that’s that. I have barely a word to say about our big three day game, because I am very tired, but there it is.

Hey, sometimes when you write something every day, it’s just a reminder of why you didn’t write something more or greater.

D&D Day 2

Today marks day 2 of the 3-day D&DAthon and it was so exciting I had to have several naps. I’m serious, we have these long sprawling combats of people shuffling cards and squinting at their cool powers. I’m playing a leader – a bard, in fact – so most of my goodness happens on other people’s turns. Particularly, I can do a lot of off-turn malarkey which needs to watch for its opportunity. Twice I’ve gotten so tired and dizzy I had to flop down on the sofa and have a sleep between my turns – and that’s because twenty minutes between turns is quite a thing.

This is something to consider for game: The amount of mental load your players have to go through to keep playing is a serious problem. Try to make sure when you design, you design something that minimises the amount other players have to disengage, and where the mental load can be tracked easily.