October 2022 Wrapup!

Oh it’s a wrapup article, those are fast and easy to belt out. WoooOOOOoo~

As is the ritual, we first describe the Game Pile articles of this month in its theme, and put it into a bulleted list, such as if we were to shoot these posts, with a kind of spirit gun.

  • The Excavation of Hob’s Barrow, a brilliant Wadjet Eye point-and-click adventure which taps into a vein of horror I find rarely wielded, and which I really enjoyed.
  • Scooby Doo! Escape From The Haunted Mansion!, a board game experience that calmed some of my general fears while still giving me a wonderfully silly spooky story to read to my family.
  • Star-Spawned, a tumblr post, which I decided to try and engage with as a serious piece of games writing, which, you know, it is, but also, I still feel a bit selfconscious about it.
  • Suspended, probably one of the best and most affecting Infocom games with the best interface of any of the games of its type.

I’m not going to lie to you: Every one of these articles was written very close to the time it went up. I worked on the Hob’s Barrow video the morning before it went up, and I had to go to work that day, so it was a full day of work, come home and spend the next four hours on it, knowing I had another day of work the day after. That was non-ideal!

Part of that is because the schedule crept up on me, but a big thing is that Hob’s Barrow was so bloody good I knew I wanted to do an article on it, but also I didn’t have all the footage from my playthrough collected.

But that’s not the only pile we’re working through, we’re also looking at this month’s Story Pile articles:

  • Moral Orel, a claymation comedy series about whacky Christian fundamentalists that could end with an extinction event without being bleaker
  • Midnight Mass, a really good series that just disappoints me for not being about a way cooler idea that they put in my head, damnit, I mean come on
  • McGee & Me, The Not So Great Escape, where I talk about the weird childhood media that has literally haunted me in my inability to ever feel like I can even avoid being ‘used up’ by the media experiences around me.
  • Harry Chapin’s The Rock, in which I kind of don’t actually suggest that you should engage in ecoterrorism but I do sort of have an emotional episode about whether or not someone should??
  • Demon Slayer, which goes up tomorrow and is, I think, a palate cleanser? After The Rock?

Dread Month’s a bit of a weird month because on the one hand, it’s where I dump any really horrible articles that I’ve written throughout the year. It’s also a good place to grapple with any dark or fearful topics, or if I find a fun story that’s pretty

Ostensibly though the plan for each theme month is I go ‘hey, let’s watch some media that relates to this theme and talk about some bomb classics of the form,’ and like, this month, some real bangers were on the list for checking out. I mean, Alien, The Exorcist, Aliens, Predator, Gremlins 2, Predator 2, Halloween, Alien vs Predator, Scream, Prey — now the month is closing it’s real easy to think of halloween classics I’ve never seen and that would be interesting to see and write about.

But instead, this month, of the five Story Piles, they were all occupied before I ever got close to October by watching series that I then had to get my feelings out about. I didn’t expect Moral Orel to be a Dead Month article, but what else could it be, given its content and its emotional tenor? The Great Escape from McGee and Me was on my mind back in April, but it belonged here, it was even about horror movies.

And I say these things, but it’s not like I’m making a serious case. Nobody’s threatening me about my blog posts. My patrons are incredibly kind and supportive (when I can handle looking at Patreon). It’s just an interesting coincidence that this year, the Dread Month slots for Story Pile articles were almost filled up before we ever got here.

I did some more Dread Readings, of some classic stories:

I like the Dread Readings a bit. Partly because they’re fun to do, and they exercise a skill I don’t often get to appreciate (performative reading), and they show me what elements of these classic stories is still there to provide a sensation of horror, but also, they’re really easy.

I faced down my own struggles with having my name attached to terrible abusers. I reflected on the loss of pets and how a dead world hurts more in light of the people who don’t even get to understand why it’s going away, and that chains into the way that people can leave us with terrible monstrous problems to deal with that they might not even remember. I put down some words about how it kind of sucks that ghost hunters’ feel they’re entitled to respect when they’re largely just scaring themselves and dwelling on other people’s trauma for content clicks.

Well that’s a lot of bummers. In amongst these, though there were other articles I was really happy with. I wrote about my horrifying himbo lovecraftian monster-prince, Tideward. I talked about running a cursed campaign of D&D, forests made of meat, and ways to interpret Warlocks as existing in a space of pre-emptively personally cursed failure. And I talked about the Soul Eater, and by that, I mean, I talked about the Cleric.

For this month’s design, I made a fridge magnet or sticker design that made the Demon Core, one of the scariest human artifacts ever made, into just a li’l guy. This thing killed people who were standing in the same room as it because they looked at it. What a spooky li’l guy. But the reason it happened was a nuclear scientist was messing around and had a lot of confidence, so, maybe that’s a lesson about confidence we could all use.

You can get it over on Redbubble here!

Okay, so this month, this month this month

You know what, fearless accounting of my actions, that’s what autoethnography do be doing.

I am not doing great with my PhD. Turns out that a year and a half out of action thanks to the pandemic coupled with panicked attempts to prepare financially for a new normal meant that I did real, real bad at keeping to a writing schedule. Two weeks ago I attended a meeting where I almost cried because I 100% agreed that I had fallen behind and let people down. That sucks!

I think a big part of it is that I was writing to show I was writing. I wasn’t writing to coherently construct a sort of interlocking piece that showed the place I wanted to fill with my work. So I had this big slab of writing that was just covered with notes like what is this saying? and what do you mean? and when I came back to review it I had to admit, I, the person writing it,couldn’t reconstruct what I was getting at.

This is bad! Don’t do this! Admit when you’re filling air!

Today, I am looking down at my bullet journal, at all the details in it. At all the things I’ve noted and kept track of, and the way that a reinvigorated approach repositioned me. I don’t know if I’m doing a good job, but the way forward now looks less like a wall and more like narrow steps. I think I’m doing better. I think I can do better. I am less afraid. I feel like in the past two weeks I’ve done more than I did in the past month, which is a good feeling for improving but also holy crap that makes the last month feel worse and then I think about the month before that.

But I don’t feel good about getting to here.

And now, back to marking.

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