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She Needs Me

It is amazing how a certain game is capable of causing such seismic epiphanies in my personal perception, but sometimes you need the benefit of distance to be able to see yourself for what you really are. Last night, I grasped why I don’t talk in Guild chat any more: I don’t have anything to say. All those things are recorded on the Other Blog, pretty much daily, and once they’re done? I’m just with a bunch of people to do stuff. Except I have little or nothing in common with any of these people any more, they’re all vastly more committed to progression and gear than I will ever want to be, because I just feel… well… because I choose not to play nearly as much and write more, am not fussed my gear is the best… yet because of the way this game is constructed that makes me become somehow… less worthy.

I feel this because that’s what I told people for years was the way things were.

As a GM (Guild Master) it was my job to prep people for play, how they needed to work hard and makes sure their gear was good as it could be and after years of this, I got angry. In the end it was because people didn’t care as much as I did, and many of them still don’t. All that mattered to this minority was being themselves, and doing what they decided was most important, and last night I had a WTF moment the like of which I’ve not experienced for many, MANY years. Nobody else in this group of people realises that’s what I now am, happy just to be myself. They still assume I’m the same person I was and they don’t grasp how much has altered in the last year, because none of them read my work online. My husband will only do so if promoted, on any given day, and it is a horrendous irony that the people I thought were friends no less about me than those who only know me through the Internet.

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The people who are supposed to be my ‘family’ are pretty much strangers, because I can’t communicate with them on equal terms.

That’s quite a significant moment of truth, I grasp. For those who don’t use the same platforms as me to communicate, I’m the problem. I’m the person who is communicated with via my husband, and never directly. In fact, with the exception of the two people (GM and notable Harpy lover) who exist and who I know read here I don’t think anyone from my Guild has whispered me for years. Our only communication is via Guild chat. I suppose, that’s probably my fault too in the end, that had I stayed GM things would have been different, but I suppose I will never know. I don’t have the money to transfer all my characters anywhere else, and I wouldn’t want to because the major reason I play is that I get time with my husband to just kick back and enjoy myself. I do, too, it’s hugely relaxing to be with someone who you know will tell you to your face if you’re shit, will offer ways to improve, and is supportive of what you do, even if he doesn’t read it. I know he cares. That’s all that matters.

In the end I suppose I grasped last night that if I won’t play a game a certain way, I’m always going to be ‘different’ and people choose to accept that, or they don’t. Beating myself up about these choices ultimately, is not helpful long term, but what it does is allows me to write about the World in a  way I don’t see anyone else willing to do. You can be critical of something you love, in both constructive and a self effacing manner, and  make a difference, yet so many people feel the answer in criticism is to make it all about ‘look at me, I’m right and you designers are arsewipes.’ Understanding your culpability in the equation, accepting individual perception is as significant as a bug or a failure in design does not seem to be the way this World works. Unless you’re selling yourself and are a personality? Good luck.

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I don’t want to stop playing Warcraft. I can’t make people like me, and I don’t want to affect any kind of change in what happens in my Guild. I’ve just said all this out loud because after several years, I feel better for doing so. I am as much to blame in non-communication as the people I know don’t, and in the end it takes two to have a relationship. I am comfortable with how things are now I’ve admitted as much to myself. You can’t expect people to care if you don’t do the work, but if you realise that the only reason some people were nice to you to begin with was because you were in charge? It should come as no real surprise. If it matters to both sides, you find a way.

That’s the biggest lesson I take from this going forward.

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Funny Girl

As another actor of a certain age passes away, I have pause for thought. British comedy, since at least the 1950’s, has been a product of the era it represented. That means Hancock in the 50’s, That was the Week that Was in the 60’s and Python in the 70’s. Fawlty Towers, which played between ’76 and ’79, was even more a product of that time period, because it combined the anarchy of the Flying Circus with a comedy trope that had been established with programmes such as Love Thy Neighbour.

This was how the English dealt with people who weren’t English.

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You could argue it was a colonial hangover, that portraying people not born and bred here was always going to have this element of distrust and sometimes abuse. It would take quite some time before it wasn’t about making fun of people because of where they came from was considered acceptable… except, hang on, no. That’s still happening. TV shows might no longer use race, sex and place of birth as means to make fun of other people, but it doesn’t seem to be stopping politicians. I’d post that clip of the Orange Man mocking disability as an example but fuck that for a game of soldiers.

Sometimes, you don’t focus on what is funny and instead look for a bigger meaning.

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Language can be funny, yet the best bits of Fawlty Towers were physical, to the point where you could argue a clip round the ear solves nothing. However, there were clever pieces of interplay, using Spanish and misunderstanding thereof as humour. Nobody will ever fault that Andrew Sachs was a superb actor, and I’m not here to say anything else about that. Bernard Manning was a comedian, but now is often considered a liability. Rolf Harris was an entertainer, but won’t now ever be remembered as that. All of this is seen with hindsight, and that colours certain sections of history with a far less flattering light.

What worries me more is that people have short memories, and forget how shit it is to treat ANYONE badly. I don’t want to go back to the 1940’s, the 60’s or the 70’s please. In fact, the further we pull ourselves away from the Dark Ages, the better it will be for EVERYBODY. So, remember this. At the time it was funny and, for many people who like to indulge in a level of nostalgia as a means to deal with current issues, it still is. That doesn’t make it free of criticism, and it certainly shouldn’t be used as an example of how comedy is universal.

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This country looks inward more than it really should, and still has an awful lot to learn about foreign relations.

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Don’t Believe the Hype

I’ll tell you where the anger started today. It was this article that was headline news on the radio, that our PM was ‘furious’ immigrant kids would get better treatment than UK children. This is the same woman who, earlier in the week, pronounced that faith lies behind what she does. I’m not sure what religion tells leaders to treat people from overseas as second class citizens, but this certainly no religion I want any part of, and this makes me feel that I’m quite happy being agnostic.

My bad mood was further compounded by a badly asked and placed gaming-related question, but the anger in that has been largely removed by writing out the problem. However, if I wanted a reminder that however bad you think life is, it’s really not, I’ve had it in spades today. The four car shunt half a mile from our house I crawled past, followed by the car fire that spread to a house, three doors down from my daughter’s school. I saw the family standing outside in shock, clearly devastated at what had transpired. I can’t even imagine what they must be going through.

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Then on my way home a car had been abandoned, elegantly coned off, door still open, left as a casualty of too much for the emergency services to deal with, and I realised at this point that however bad life gets, you NEVER give up and walk away. Though it is very easy to understand why so many people do, and why drugs become a really rather attractive alternative to having to deal with life ‘cold.’ I then remember a conversation earlier in the week with my sports masseuse, who asked me if I’d ever taken drugs for depression.

I vividly recall this conversation in my late teens with my GP, who I doubt is still alive. It was very simple, he said,  if you’re not confirmed with having a chemical imbalance, NEVER just go to medicine. Look for the answers elsewhere, within yourself before you default to drugs. Chemicals only cure certifiable and confirmed bodily dysfunction. They won’t make you happy. This is the same guy who when I was suffering with chest issues at 14 said, in no uncertain terms, that taking up smoking would kill me in my 20’s. I still believe both these things not to be true per se,  but to demonstrate how doctors ought to work. It isn’t just writing a script, you need to talk to patients, to know and understand them before there’s a chance to simply condemn then to an existence potentially with blinkers.

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The same, I realise this morning, is true for game design. You don’t just ask a question and expect that to solve your problem. You should be interaction with those who have played the longest as well as trying to encourage new people to come forward and offer their opinions. You certainly can’t base your entire modus operandi on statistics generated from the game itself. It might seem to give all the answers, but removes a vital human element from the equation. If you run the country, you don’t wave faith in people’s faces, and you certainly don’t pretend that you’re any better than the rest of the planet, just because you happen to be in charge. I don’t care who you are, people deserve more respect.

Then I come to me. I’d like to have an uninterrupted night’s sleep please, on my front, and not cause my husband and kids any more discomfort than I already have. I’d like a good friend’s shingles to not be horrible, another good friend to not be so stressed about her future, and everyone else the chance to catch a break today. I want to hug you all, tell you how important you are (coz that’s true) and remind you that the only way life gets better is when we help each other. It doesn’t take long, is often as simple as hugging someone via a Tweet, and the difference it makes to people’s well being is often immeasurable.

Be the difference today, not the person just thinking of themselves.

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Moving on Up

Day Three of my bullet-sized antibiotics and I can most definitely state an improvement in both mental and physical health. Yes, there was still coughing in the night and I had to sleep with a pillow mountain to keep myself upright but otherwise, a distinct shift forward in recovery. At least part of that movement was due to a sports massage which I dragged myself in for yesterday, and which proved to be the biggest revelation of all. I though that lying on my front would be impossible, but as my masseuse pointed out, there’s less surface area of lung under pressure than being on your back. The amount of crap that came out of my lungs afterwards, and the two hours sleep I then managed as a result have been instrumental in recovery.

That means today I will be going for a PT session, though I suspect cardio is out of the window. It does mean I will be doing SOMETHING: the lack of physical exertion has been real cause for concern, as it is now a week since I did anything of note. I’m looking at the subzero temperatures however and deciding, at least until I’m fully recovered, that I will not be walking to the Gym. It is proper taters out there, and so I can remember this for future reference, that means COLD. I went and checked on the Internets: taters (potatoes in the mould) is a reference to the time when potatoes were buried in a heap to protect against frosts like these. There was a lot of Cockney rhyming slang in my youth, and this is one piece I’d like to maintain.

This therefore is your reminder that yup, I’m alive and improving, and some actual content might break out here in the next few days. Carry on.

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Rip It Up

Okay, that challenge was really optimistic. I couldn’t even walk yesterday, and this morning I own antibiotics as thick as my little finger. As a result of this, for the first time since May, I’m had to cancel a PT Session, and to say I am gutted is an understatement. I have the energy, just not a working set of lungs. Once I’ve fixed that (and removed all the other issues with my throat) we’ll restart the #50Ksin50Days thing because that’s a really cool thing to do and I’d like to complete it.

For now, this is me back to a measure of normality, off to start the re-write of my first 50k OF WERDS as I was going to do on Saturday, and returning you to regularly scheduled faffing.

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King of Pain

Dear God, body, what did I do to deserve this? I coughed my way through the night and I’ve coughed my way through the entirety of the morning and yet, I feel great. In fact, this is the best I’ve felt for several weeks despite I did sleep in pieces, and I sweated so much that I could wipe myself down at 5am. So, I went to the Gym and I tried, but there’s nothing doing. However, I still did a kilometer, because there are now principles at play that require me to at least make an effort.

DAY #1 :: 1km (6.0 kph power walk)

Knew this would be impractical but having started yesterday I refuse to then give up because that fucking sucks. There was so much coughing and just inability to function that I’ve now come home and gone full-on self-care mode. Lots of heat in my throat, and just taking it easy in the hope I’ll wake up tomorrow and feel better.

Enjoyment Factor: 2/10. I however went and did it. I’m now sitting with a hot wheat wrap around my throat and honey/lemomgrass/ginger in a teacup, trying to get my body to stop stressing.

Let’s hope that this is the worst over with and I’ll feel better tomorrow.

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Still Alive

Yeah, I’m still here. If you read the Words Blog you’ll know that I’ve done the NaNoWriMo thing a few days early because… well, I just want to write fiction right now and am not that fussed about keeping the World up to date. I still love you guys, but this cough will not budge and it is making sleep a bit of a problem, and it also making exercise or walking anywhere in the cold an exercise in pain. So, I decided to do something utterly stupid about it this morning, because I am mad, me.

#50Ksin50Days was born.

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It’s the most consumptive, consumerist 50 days of the year ahead of us, and the period where most people make resolutions and try and be fit. So, I think maybe I just cut through all the crap and forget the ‘oh I’ll wait until after Xmas’ bollocks and just get on with running 1k, every day, for 50 days. I might have to job some, there might be days when fast walking is involved, but the brief is simple. Even on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, I need to run one kilometre SOMEWHERE. What it then does is focus my mind on the process of how I run, and how it happens. It will be an exercise in persistence and application, and if you like, you can join me.

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Let’s face it, 2016 has been utterly shit, and I think it is time I took the whole fucking year by the balls and showed it who’s boss. So, here we go: I’m starting on a Friday, I have no ceremony, but for the next 50 days? I’ll have summat to write about.

DAY #1 :: 2km (mixed 7.0 kph jog and 6.0 kph power walk)

Okay, so I start with two, but as only one counts per day, that’s fine, but it gave me a chance to cough continuously at the Gym with an audience. Lots of asthma drugs taken. Did it on two treadmills as I swapped after warm-up to go and hack up a lung in the Ladies. My feet feel extra bouncy in new running shows, and even though I could not breathe, I had plenty left in the legs at the end.

Enjoyment Factor: Even with cough and bleurgh, this was an 8/10. Once upon a time I’d have gone back to bed after the start to the day I had (locked myself out of the house) but instead, I went out and STARTED A THING.

Here’s to the next 49 days.

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