August 2021 Wrapup!

And thus, the flourish, the finale, the end of the performance, and tricks month draws to a conclusion. This was an interesting month, as many of the pieces were quietly done throughout the year, and postponed to now; this created a strangely out-of-time experience as, when written, I felt ‘well, I’m going to need to explain a lot about Qanon, I guess,’ as opposed to the relatively mainstream bullshit it is now.

Still, let’s have a look at the blog, shall we?

This month’s Game Pile gave us two games that I wanted to look at because of how they used obscurity to reinvigorate a genre. Then it gave us two games – that I did videos about – which just made me happy, for extremely small or big reasons. Look, no two ways around it: I freaking love Mike Bithell’s the Solitaire Conspiracy and this month I was very sorely tempted to make all my videos about it. Just, two to four full hour videos of me playing through the game.

Story Pile was a chance to watch shows and movies about cons, heists, games, and pranks, and of course, get back to bollocking the Now You See Me ‘franchise.’

I love this theme, and this year I had a host of articles bubble to the surface that I, for want of a better reason, postponed to August. We got to talk about The Mormon Murders, The Eucharist Wafer Conspiracy, the fascinating life and story of Poker Hall Of Famer Henry Orenstein, venting about the way that churches serve as a greenhouse for conspiracy theories, and an article I wrote almost a year ago but postponed to now because well, it was so perfect for tricks month: The Human Mars Base That Definitely Exists I Promise Dude Just Trust Me. I talked about shapeshifting in 3.0 D&D and the strange control that 3.5 has over the conversation of ‘third edition,’ too, for some of that D&D Content.

Shirts? Well, this month I made a lot of shirts – seven designs, each to send a message to my students. You can check them out here.

This month has been begun under lockdown. I had a big semester of teaching lined up, and, because of the new guidelines and health concerns, we have shifted to full online teaching. That means that there’s a sudden transformation away from how things were just two months ago, to this new, glummer now. I was really enjoying being able to go to the uni, meeting face to face — even masked! — but now we’re doing online classes.

I like online classes. I don’t like having to travel to the university. It’s time spent and energy spent. I can roll out of bed at 9.15 and make my 9.30 class. I like that. But I always feel like I’m giving students less than what they want, less than they think they need. That’s where I’m at, emotionally.

But that’s not all that happened this month! After all, real life comes with some truly unforseen problems, and in this case, we got hit with a whallop of circumstances. First of all, our waterbed broke, which led to a multi-day experience of draining a bed, drying stuff off, demoulding surfaces, replacing wooden fixtures and all while sleeping on the floor. Then we had to make up a backup bed, which started with an air mattress (that broke) then got replaced with cushions from a sofa (which was fine but not good) then we bought a new air mattress while we waited on the waterbed to be replaced. There’s a whole ordeal, we’ll talk about it more later.

But then while we were busy with this, Elli went to grandma’s to play, and the silly dog hurt himself, which meant that now, while sleeping on the floor, we had to deal with a dog with an injury on his leg wearing a cone to protect himself from worrying at it. This means that any given time in our freshly-limited space, Elli might bash into a surface or get stuck on something and need help, all while I’m teaching online.

It has been.

A month.