Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Dementia Philosophy Post

Epicurus or Zeno?

I was never interested at all in Biology or Chemistry, but I loved Physics. When I did Julius Caesar for O-Level English Literature I looked into Brutus and Cassius's philosophers of choice: Zeno the stoic for Brutus and Epicurus for Cassius.

In short, stoicism is living a life of virtue accordance with nature, where calm reasoning supersedes emotion.

Epicureanism is about living life to its pleasure without resort to Hedonism. It was a version of  Zen in its own way - you wanted peace, pleasure in small things and no excess in materialism or emotion.

Sound quite similar, but they became opposites.

To me reading up on these guys was a revelation, and much more interesting than the text was then to a 15 year old boy who liked looking out of the window.

Physics and philosophy - the subjects of dreamers. Now that would have been a curriculum I could have got behind.

In the end art and history for A-Levels.

When I retrained I chose stonemasonry but in retrospect I should have been a field archeologist.

Hindsite is a bastard.

Morning Walks

I love walking Tomos. He's such a happy dog. He wants to meet everyone and say hello. 

Today we stopped by the moat and saw the cygnets who are now growing up and are half the size of their parents but still with the grey plumage.

We also saw tiny baby moorhens! 

I love their feet too.

They were the size of a goose egg each, with black fluff and bright red beaks. There must have been 8 of them. They were so tiny they would alternate between paddling and then walking on the pondweed. Like Rallycross, but for wildfowl.

Tomos is always looking to run and play with other dogs. Some dog owners are very nervous, and unsurprisingly their dogs become nervous wrecks too. Dogs are social animals and the majority of the dogs we let off in the field by the moat and they run and play bitey-face for as long as they can. Tomos being of great working stock can go on all day.

Elmer Tomos
I hate getting out of bed but I really enjoy walking Tomos and meeting the other dog walkers. Yin and Yang, eh? 

Or to put it another way, bloody 'dualistic world shit', to quote the great thinkers Derek and Clive.

Gaming Bit

Back playing Baldur's Gate 3 on the computer.

Rosie is my little halfling (Hobbit) bard. She's leading the merry band of misfits through the Sword Coast and into the Underdark. She's 3 foot high with red hair, facial tattoos and piercings. She's already slept with 2 of her party. I think she'll have all of them by the end of this adventure. 

It's good fun running through this again. It beats endlessly pouring over my D&D adventure book waiting for the information to absorb into my brain. 

There are so many variables involved in this game - almost impossible to have the exact same experience twice.

You see I can feel my interest in tabletop D&D waining. I've had this before a few years ago and then it came back with a vengeance, so hopefully that will be the case now.

Maybe I'm no longer able to make new memories, which is why when Dungeon Mastering older adventures I've run before it's easier. I'm hoping that this adventure just happens to be an anomaly and that I'll be back in the thick of things, living and breathing the adventure we're playing at any one time and able to run it like I used to, acting out the characters, doing their voices and describing the story in rich detail with all the atmosphere intended.

If not then there's nothing I can do anyway, and I'll have to move on and find something else. I still enjoy playing, which is much easier to do. 

That's where the stoicism comes in.

Hives

This is a recent thing. I thought they were bedbugs or cat fleas initially, but they're either an allergy or a response to stress. 

Being on Sertraline I'm never that conscious of being stressed, but J and I are going through the divorce proceedings and she's been really good with me. It will all work out for the best. However, the process is not unstressful.

The hives may be an allergic reaction to soft fruit. I'm eating a lot of strawberries at the moment.

In fact, the timing is so apt me being here for my parents as both can't move very far and rely on me to do the shopping, ferry them to and from medical establishments and do other stuff for them. 

Is this part of a cosmic plan? Is everything settling in place as part of the grand narrative?

Bollocks it is.

Anyway, my brain hurts now.

Monday, June 3, 2024

The (brain) fog is growing thicker, as am I

Weekend in London

Just come back. Left on a coach on Sunday morning, getting to Hammersmith at 12pm precisely, then met the players in the Willoughby as normal - or as normal used to be -  and played Soulbound RPG. It's a bit like D&D in a broken world of dread fantasy. It uses a simpler d6 system as opposed to a D20 system, so it's easier to pick up.

Adrian ran it and it was very good, even though my character got ripped to shreds at the end. 

It was a noble sacrifice. 

I then stayed at Adrian and Lisa's and had a lovely meal in the garden, and watched as Lisa pointed out a flying stag beetle in the sky above, which zipped past at 10pm, which are endangered thanks to humans.

I then went to bed early, zonking out at 11pm in the room with my amphibious and invertebrate buddies, croaking and hissing away. It's like falling asleep in a rainforest without the getting-eaten bit.

Morning: I'm incapable of logistics these days (one of the reasons my work became impossible) so I got to New Malden station to see Sacha and Alice, but then panicked about trains being late and missing my train home, so I texted my apologies and ran back onto the platform.

Nerys was at Castle Cary to pick me up at 2pm. And here I am. 

I am absolutely hanging inside - I feel like I need descaling from head to toe. I need to be abstemious for a while; my stomach is distended and I feel like shit. 

Let's try and bring myself back on the tracks.

Pond Life

You see, I've become almost completely reactive. Just watching YouTube clip after YouTube clip. 

Reading only a bit. 

Sat here in my man-cave looking out of the window then turning 90' back to my screen. My brace of views.

Going to the supermarket, walking Tomos. Taking one of my parents to the hospital or doctor what seems like twice a week.

Going to the pub. Drinking too much. 

When I walk Tomos I think dumb things, make up stupid names like Dame Hillary Frankensplurter or Cedric Mufflespart, Doris Minge...that kind of thing.

I resort to childish playground humour. 

(If you hadn't noticed.)

Walking in Waterloo station today, wearing a Mutley T-shirt, I felt I looked rather like a disabled - dressed funny by my mother - in contrast to all these stylish people walking past. 

What the well dressed man in Wells is wearing this season

Damn. I used to be stylish - more so than these buggers. I should try harder. 

You just don't get the gentlemen's outfitters in Wells.

You help your mates

It was nice to meet up with people this weekend. 

A lot of the gaming sessions have been cancelled recently for one reason or another, which is disappointing. Still, last week during half-term I had a call from my friend Katy, of Edspired Tutoring fame. She was running a game in Pilton Working Men's Club for the kids, and she was suffering with food poisoning. 

That morning, Jacqui and I had had a difficult but necessary meeting about our divorce, which I'm glad we had. I received the distress call from Katy in the form of a text-message at 10.43am midway through the meeting, and managed to get to Pilton by 12.30.

Katy was white as a sheet and really having a horrible time, so we co-ran the game  - the kids were really good actually - aged from about 9-14. Very sweet some of them. And they knew the game too. 

It was nice to help. Because that's what we do for each other.

Without that, what do we have?

This is one of my favourite YouTube clips. Because this guy is a real character and epitomises the phrase 'salt of the earth'.


Reasons to be cheerful

When you're having a bit of a lull in your abilities it's important to try and keep going and concentrate on the stuff you can do. I can a still run a game of D&D but I'm not all 'over it' like I used to be. What I mean is, I don't know it as vivdly as past adventures. The key parts haven't resonated in my mind like they used to. It's all a bit more hazy.

It's a combination of my deteriorating cognitive faculties and that this particular adventure is just more difficult to run. 

Well, anyway, whilst I can still do these things so that people don't notice, I won't be able to forever. Maybe one day I'll just say - 'I can't do it anymore' - and that day will come sooner or later. 

Shame, as I've got some really good Kickstarters due to arrive over the next 12 months that I may not be able to appreciate...

So, I've had some really nice times recently/ Meeting up with Tanith, Robin, Anita and Nerys, bumping into Aisha and having a gossip with her, meeting Matt and Floyd outside my house on their daily walks for a chat, catching up with Herb and his dog Daisy when I'm walking Tomos in the morning, and then looking forward to playing online on Monday evenings with Tim, Sacha, Eddie and Boyd, on Wednesdays with Larry, Callum and Ross, and on Thursdays in person with the Wells crew of Simon, Matt, Luke, Katy and Hannah, then the socials with Clare and everyone else.

And in the summer going to stay with Mat and Suzy and Rupert and Sophie, and more gaming and lounging and chatting and relaxing, and hopefully seeing Mark H and Will and Ben and Becks in Wells some time.

I'm conscious that I'm actually lucky to know so many people, have an active social life and have things to look forward to. Because some people don't, and I can't imagine how depressing that must be.

And also Helen Mirren.
Thank you, universe.





Sunday, May 19, 2024

Enough of this simulation

Sir, this earth simulation has malfunctioned

What? They've invented a what? An internet? What type of thing is that?

Well sir, that's where all the information in their world is available on their palmtop devices in an instant.

Sounds marvellous. And the problem is what?

Well sir, facts and misinformation are served up on the same platter as you will, and the residents find it very difficult to ascertain the truth from the lies.

Anyway, I thought they were dealing with climate change? What are they doing?

Er. Well some people  - the scientific community - are all for solving it, The others, aren't. 

The others? Who are they?

Well, mainly oil sponsors, the misinformed, billionaire plutocrats - that type of thing,

Ah. I see. So what's happened?

Well, while they had liberal democracies who were accountable all over the planet, they're now electing bigoted idiots instead, who appeal to the worst instincts of the mob and who are bankrolled by the billionaires with their vested interests. It's got to the stage where it's beyond saving.

Ah well...obliterate earth 10056/QQQQX9 and pull up another one. The experiment must succeed!

Yes sir.

Sir, we're running out of them...

Time

When you're 50 a decade is one 5th of your life. 

When you're 5 a year is one fifth of your life.

You're always looking backwards on your life which is why our perception of it is that it speeds up exponentially.

Our brains also dismiss the things we've done many times, whereas a toddler experiences everything for the first time and records it. We should try and do new things all the time, but having FTD, I only seek familiarity and routine. 

https://drdavidhamilton.com/why-time-speeds-up-as-you-age/

2 for 1 sale at the hospital

Parents were ill recently. I won't go into details, you'll be pleased to know, but they synchronised maladies so when one went in the other followed: different illnesses but at the same time.

So Thursday to Monday was taken up with going back and forth to Yeovil. It's about 30 miles, and takes thankfully only 45 minutes as the road is quite fast.

The standard of driving is so bad these days, with both type of idiots on the road: ditherers and boy racers. 

Boy racers, often in an older BMW M-series, over-take like nutters and disappear in a roar into the horizon.

20 miles later you're right behind them at a junction.

And the ditherers....Jesus.

It's enough to make you demented.

Get stopped by the police much?

The doctor found out Dad had pneumonia in one lung. Now he's taken 2 day's worth of antibiotics and he's already back at Tescos talking loudly about how the fish counter isn't what it was.

That's progress, though on Monday we're at Taunton checking out the dodgy pacemaker.

Antique humans.

Thursday D&D group

D&D group wanted me to name-check them. Well tough. Matt, Katy, Luke, Hannah and Simon can all do one.

I'm not in the business of cheap publicity.

Except for myself.

Having had a cancelled session due to ill parents, the last session we had went really well. It all takes place in the eerie, perpetually dark and frozen Icewind Dale. Lots of sinister things are happening as the party travel from town to town, sorting things out, but then discovering more intrigue and twists and plots as they go. They're now third level which means they are starting to get tougher - more resilient and potent. 

I'm feeling more confident running this adventure but it's all still very cloudy in my mind in comparison to previous adventures - some of which I've known inside-out. 

Now I know the bare minimum and have my notes to remind me. I still need to précis the rest of the adventure. Getting round to doing it is another thing entirely.

I guess that's just the way things are from now on. I cancelled my newspaper subscription for the same reason - assimilating the information is still doable, but retaining it is very difficult.

Bad Habits

Been drinking way too much. Feel like a kettle that is badly in need of descaling. 2-3 bottles of strong beer every night.

Well last night I didn't, and I need to keep that going for a while. I love the taste of the stuff but then don't know when to stop. Last night I had some Yogi tea and watched some TV. I didn't crave beer. It was easy.

Weird relationship with alcohol. 

I dreamt I could levitate. It was really nice, but people weren't that impressed. I contacted a post-grad researcher at a London university in order to prove scientifically that I wasn't a fraud. He was the only one genuinely intrigued and amazed at my super-power. 

Cut to a few months later and everyone in the world could levitate too. 

Story of my life, that.

Good Habits

I've been watching 2 new YouTube channels. One is Mr Frog. This guys has a bunch of amphibians and a bearded lizard, and they stand around while he feeds them [warning] live cockroaches and worms. He puts in weird little sound effects. I find it hilarious.



The second is a guy called Ari who is a polyglot - he has an amazing ear for languages and can learn conversational anything within 2-3 weeks. It's a bit showy-offy but...the joy he brings to everyone when he speaks their language is palpable. I think it's great. 


I'm watching fewer videos about Trump as they're clickbait and all the same, and instead more music and sports videos. I've enjoyed walking Tomos too, and I've been looking after the old folks a bit more while they get back on their feet. The chores give me more get up and go as I would just sit on my arse all day otherwise, and once you're up and about you see more stuff that needs to be done.


Tuesday, April 30, 2024

I find you very puerile...

Sympathy for the Beige

Spare a thought for dull celebrities. I know I know, they make a lot of money. 

'He's a great bloke. He's got loads of money.' 

Yes, unlike that lovely old pensioner down the road living on government handouts. Evil witch.

Anyway, I digress...

These people are efficient yet dull: human Mars bars.

Ronan Keating of Boyzone fame


One such person is Ronan from Boyzone. They sang banal covers of sugary, forgotten 70s popsongs. They resurrected these hideous things like the terpsichorean necromancers they were.

Then they got old and wretched and Ronan found himself on daytime TV. 

He has no sense of humour and nothing interesting to say. Just wallpaper. Suits the medium I guess.

But when he sang in the group he affected this weird speech impediment. His handlers must have advised him to. 

"Ronan" they said, "you're almost see-through. Lose a leg or something. The viewers barely notice you!"

So rather than becoming the world's first quadriplegic pin-up he bottled it and instead developed this weird speech impediment.

'Say' became 'Shay' or even 'ßay'.

That's the lengths beige people have to go to to be interesting. 

So sad.

Another is Dermot O'Leary, or rather, Dermot O'Dreary. The girls loved him. But if you just listen to him without looking at his front-head you'll see what I mean. 

Years ago I was driving on the M4 and turned the FM radio on. All I could get was Radio 2 and inbetween the dull music - where even Elbow are considered too out-there to be on the playlist - he was bloody presenting this radio show.

 Just muttering endlessly about absolutely fuck-all. I felt myself nodding off - it was more effective than sleep songs or ambient music on The Calm App or chloroform.

It was actually dangerous - no one should have let him on there because it was hazardous to motorists.

And then he presents X-Factor or Britain's got no talent whatsoever, with the Great Satan and Death Becomes Her. More banality for the masses.

I mean how bloody beige can you get?

He's professional and efficient and dull. The Chartered Accountant of television presenting. 

Actually that would be Sophie Raworth. 

I feel bad for them all. I really do.

Poor bastards.

Talking of accents...

I was assisting a photographer friend of mine once upon a time. I set up the lights, and tried to make the subjects feel at ease. 

One lad  - posh Edinburgh - had just joined the particular accountancy firm we were doing the shoot at, and was nervous. He had a big round head and a chubby body, bursting out of a fashionably tight suit. It wasn't the greatest styling.

Anyway, I asked him what he'd done recently, just to take his mind off things.

"I went to the cinemahh with some friends."

Oh, what did you see?

"Ted."

Did you like it?

"I found it very puerile."

I had to stop myself laughing - there's something about that accent that's so snooty and dismissive and of course so funny. 

Of course Ted is puerile - that's the whole point. 

I'd seen it too and thought it was hilarious. But then, I am its target audience.

It's a Miss Jean Brodie accent. In my mind somewhere between Denis Law and Fyfe Robertson with an altogether disdainful tone, and best spoken with nostrils flared.

Ayn Rand down the pub (who's been banned for 2 weeks - ha ha) speaks like that too. Can't wait to see him again when he's taking court with his bitches, spewing his plutocratic nonsense for the whole pub to hear, and talking of 'silly, opinionated women.'

Yes, how dare they...

I shall challenge the fucka. And then write about it HERE! John Otway will guide my debating style:




Lots of dot dot dots...

Yes. Punctuation. There's a thing. 

For or against?

The apostrophe was always a problem. Brought in to the English language by the Georgians, apparently most people have a problem with it.

Well, I say most people are DUMB!

Get over it and LEARN THE RULES!

That's why I'm the world's worst teacher. Doing it for them or hitting them over the head with a travel-anvil because they don't get it.

What are you up to these days, Geraint?

I'm glad you asked me that, Clarence. 

I'm writing in a posh Edinburgh accent as you can tell. 

My days are spent reading and weaning myself off of 'what's Trump said now?' videos on YouTube.

I walk Tomos every day. I speak to the dog-walkers who don't mind my presence - getting fewer by the day, restraining-orders being what they are.

I shop at Waitrose and Tescos. I sometimes meet up with people one-on-one. I see my sister. 

I need to get away at weekends more and see friends out and about.

I sometimes wash.

(Only joking.)

I cleaned the bathroom the other day - I had to be asked even though I knew it needed to be done.

I should mow the grass but I like seeing the dandelions and daisies. I remember buttercups too - don't see those anymore.

Everyone has to have a uniform lawn here. But no one ever wrote a poem about a lawn. But meadows seemed to inspire lots of people.

Oh lawny lawn,

Oh lawny lawny.

Come to me,

I'm really horny

Doesn't work.

End. 

(E.E.Cummings, aged 12 and a half.)

Oh, I ended up watching - bingeing - Fallout on Prime. It was wonderful. 9/10.

Our hero.


Tuesday, April 23, 2024

D&D-skilling

Being Boring

So I had this whole blogpost. And it was so boring; I didn't want to inflict it on you.

So you'll be pleased to learn I haven't.

I'm so interesting I have a series of novelty t-shirts. This is the latest:
My Mother does not approve

I have had many compliments from people in the pub. Well, it is the height of wit and sophistication, after all. 

That settles it: I shall buy some more.

I've always wanted a t-shirt that says 'The band on your t-shirt is crap.' You could have a whole load:

'All your opinions are rubbish'
'Why do you work at that place?'
'You're the Dungeon Master...' (I hear that a lot.)
'Why that outfit?'

They could really have an impact. Thought-provoking and fight-inducing Tees.

I should also write my guide-book for elderly - 'Around London in 13 toilets.' 

That's a good dollar, the toilet market.

Hampshire

I spent the weekend with friends in Hampshire. I'm very lucky to have friends like these - proper friends. Always there for each other.

Their dog Douglas is a golden Labrador and he is lovely. He's very calm and loving. 

I do love dogs as you know.

It's lovely to have them in your life. I've come to believe animals are nicer than humans. Well, I don't personally know any Komodo Dragons or stonefish, but you get what I mean.

Rupert (human) is very nice too. I keep calling him Wilbur (dog). I have no idea why.

Typing and flab

My typing is getting worse. Much worse. I'm having to correct so much of it as I go. I do have bad days and good days with these things.

In fact I've just raised the chair and I've already improved my typing...

But with FTD while you have ups and downs, your head will never be clear of the fog again.

So while the panic is over, I do notice decline in certain areas.

I'm properly flabby now too. 

Again.

So I am improving my breakfasts with porridge with seeds , berries and real honey. I had it this morning and it took almost the same time to make as toast. Easy. And delicious too.

I also need to borrow my sister's bike and ride around as my legs are like Crazy Legs Crane's.

Exhibit A


TV and Shit

So, as new TV series drip-drip through after the actors' strike in the US, here are some what I watched recently.

For All Mankind on Apple TV. Started off interestingly with an alternate history where the USSR beat NASA to the moon. It then focuses on the families of the astronauts. I started to fast forward through those bits to the actiony bits. This is not what sci-fi really is. I'd say it became rather like Eldorado in space. 5/10.

3 Body Problem on Netflix. Based on a 4 part series of sci-fi novels by Liu Cixin. It features lots of improbable cigarette smoking in Western offices and the Wow signal from 1977, which a Chinese scientist decoded and replied to, which turns out not to have been the best idea. It's interesting. I binged it over a couple of days so it must be good. 8/10

Fallout on Prime. Interesting and beautifully styled. But like a book I didn't watch it the next night and then 2 weeks passed. DO I care about the people in it? Not really. 6.5/10

The gaming bit you always ignore

On my 2-part session of DMing for the kids over Easter, I asked them in preparation to specifically use the old analogue method of character creation with dice, pen and paper: creating the character from concept, through to rolling for their ability scores, selecting their skills, abilities and spells, then methodically working them up to level 4, which makes them more powerful and involves some thought and some arithmetic.

2 of them did, and 3 didn't. 

The three who didn't just pressed go on the computer charactermancer and ended up with characters whose ability scores were random, so you can get a super intelligent barbarian who has the physicality of a middle-aged librarian, and the kids get frustrated because their characters are useless.

It's not much fun when you can't even pick up your battleaxe.

The modern world is all about labour-saving, shortcuts, saving time. The offshoot is deskilling: being oblivious to processes and ultimately being unable to fix or improve things.

We are reduced to pressing a button on a computer which number-crunches in microseconds, making the decisions for you.

The next session I run we are going to roll characters in the old way, which is actually part of the fun, but it does involve some thought.

I know reading big books can be a bore, but you really could force yourself to just read the bit that's applicable to your character. 

I made a late start to photography after buying a terrible digital camera in 2003, and then I went to college and learned photography using a totally manual, large-format camera and made expensive mistakes using 5"x4" Polaroids and film. 

I learned to use my own judgement when using any camera after that. 

Similarly with masonry - some people calling themselves masons can't use the hand-tools, and some places on site you can't get to with an angle-grinder - mallet and chisel is the only way.

We have deskilled ourselves over generations. Understandable as many of the jobs were exhausting and let's face it, horrible. 

But the upshot of this is we are becoming Eloi and Morlocks. And fast.

Conclusion: you can never learn too many skills. 

Icewind Dale

I'm currently preparing the above title for our next 8 month long Dungeons and Dragons adventure. Like Tomb of Annihilation it takes place in an extreme environment, and is epic in scale.

But what is slightly off-putting is the size of these adventures: this book is 300 pages long, and details new monsters, characters who the players will meet, environmental hazards, small quests, side-quests, the main quest(s). 

Let's play humans!

I can imagine this being very off-putting for new players/Dungeon Masters.

When I started 40 years ago, an adventure was 12-30 pages long, written by computer programmers (without being computer programs) and you needed to almost decode the entire adventure in order for it to make sense and be playable. 

But they were concise, the information was all there, and once you got used to them they were easy to run.

Now they're 10 times the size. That's a big difference.

But we started last Thursday and had a good time. The session zero was great - we fleshed out the characters and they are already very distinctive. 

Let's go!





Friday, April 5, 2024

Optimum Girths

Comparing Nibs

I don't think many people hand-write much these days apart from shopping lists. I hand write lots - having written a diary since I was a teenager.

I mentioned this to Mark the other day on a video call and we got our nibs out and had a comparison.

He surprised me by getting out his vintage Parkers. Beautiful things, So elegant.

While some people love watches, I love stationery.

Here are 3 of my pens: 2 Rotring Art Pens and a Lamy Accent. I had a Cross which I wrote with for years but it recently bit the big one. So I took up with the Lamy Again.

Some pens


Post

I love getting things in the post and today was a very special day. 

In 1992 on the Tottenham Court Road I did a personality test. It said I was a very BAD person.

I didn't want to be a BAD person. Luckily they had a book which would make me into a GOOD person.

It was called Dianetics.

I bought it but didn't read it. 

32 years later they're still sending me these every few months.
Contains a lock of Tom Cruise's pubes, destined for Ebay

I love how desperate/persistent they are. They have less than 40,000 estimated people left in Scientology and as a result they are running out of money. 

One of the good things about the internet is now everyone can see how preposterous it is as nothing is hidden - they can't keep a lid on their secrets anymore.

We all know about hydrogen bombs and Thetans and volcanoes and Xenu. It's laughably-bad trash-sci-fi made into a religion. And we can all see it and make fun of it all, which of course they cannot bear.

Good.

And then my new pants came as well. 
State of the (f)art pant
What a day! Can't wait to wear these bad boys.

Think I'll get the letter framed.

Accents

I like accents

When I was at school kids were bussed in from surrounding villages I'd never heard of. Some of them had accents so thick I could barely understand them.

You never hear westcountry accents elsewhere - especially London. Everyone assumes you're dumb if you speak in the westcountry burr, so if you have one people tend to lose them.

People in London - especially public school types - also think that about the Welsh. Don't believe me? Having Welsh parents I'm particularly sensitive to these things, and people say the most extraordinary things they wouldn't dare say about West Indian or Pakistani people anymore, instead directing their bigotry against other minorities.

I realise the animosity works both ways.

But you get my point.

Now that I've returned to the town of my birth I seldom hear those very strong accents from 40 years ago. I think with decades of radio, television and now social media those accents have homogenised. 

The BBC has an archive of regional accents going back to the 1920s in remote parts of rural Britain, and most have disappeared.

Thanks to those awfully bright people who run the BBC, it's no longer available.

Anus is best said in a south African accent. The south African tongue around ‘anus’ is something to behold; something to savour.

“Yah. EYEnoose is my five-reet word.” (How to speak South African.)

“ ‘andy tups.” What you get from watching daytime TV.

The same person said:

"When I shout at someone, it's all over after that."

 Well, it may be all over for you, but it may not be for them.

Bloody cardigan-wearer.

The size of heads

I have a very large head. It is in disproportion to my puny frame. I take a XL in hats. 

Not a large - AN XL!!

Jacqui has a very small head. Think a lemon and a grapefruit.


As scientific as it gets

I wish I didn't have such a massive head. 

I wish I was a little bit taller...

Why I want to live in a Carry on world

I want Barbara Windsor to wiggle past to the music of Eric Rogers.



I want Charles Hawtrey to keep a hot water bottle under his kilt because it keeps his dangler warm.

I want Valerie Leon to work in a camping shop and show me how to get the [tent} pole up.

I want Terry Scott to be Tarzan.

I want Kenneth Williams to be Kenneth Williams over and over again.

I want Bernard Bresslaw to say 'I only arsked' in his high-pitched voice.

I want Sid James to be the lothario and do his laugh and go "Cor blimey!" when he sees a naked lady.

I want Joan Sims to be absolutely disgusted when the nude men turn around.

I want compulsory double entendres.

I want distinctive, infectious laughter.

I want silly to replace depression.

I want to be a highly repressed male surrounded by right dolly birds.

And what is wrong with that?



Oh. Okay.

Friday, March 29, 2024

“Rambling, ill-thought out and vague.” (Mr Owen, 1984)

Walking the dog

Turn up to meet my dog-friend Tomos. Oscar the human is there too. Lovely chap. The three of us walk up the High Street.

Just Tomos and I now. It makes me happy watching him making his own amusement as he races around the field without any other dogs. Just running makes him happy. I can identify with that.

I love how simple the pleasures in life can be.

I can see PsychoBeth, Jimmy's ex-girlfriend, in the distance. She doesn't recognise me: a blessing.

Last time I saw her was 14 years ago at a party in London, shielding Jimmy from anyone and everyone. 

“Hello.” I say, as I do to every other dog-walker.

She smiles suspiciously, guardedly, at me. I can see in her eyes she doesn’t recognise me - this is just how she is with people in general.

It's nice to be anonymous to certain people. That's what I liked so much about living in London: just leave me alone unless I want you to know me.

"I rarely forget a face. But in your case I'll make an exception." (Marx G.).

The older woman in the tight jeans is with the dog walker who can’t stop talking in case she dies. She speaks at that pitch which makes the bones in my ears rattle and my brain wobble, like a jelly when the Klingons have hit the starboard bow.

At least Enzo is there with Stuart’s boss. Tomos and Enzo take turns running after each other nipping each others’ bums until we decide it may be getting out of hand. 

Like toddlers they are: play until they go too far and it all ends in tears.

Moistness 

And not in a good way.

Quiet Wells is (Yoda syntax). 

Perpetual gloom and rain. 

That is the extremely dull story of 2024.

I'm just going to have to murder someone. Maybe a sacrifice will improve the weather.

‘You never know!’ (My Mum - every year, ever.)

John Barleycorn…anyone seen him?

Dungeons and Dragons Update

Lots of magic markers to make maps and play. Spent a small fortune on the things. They’re not actually THE Magic Markers, but alcohol-based markers by Winsor and Newton.

One set has beautiful brush tips. They are great for drawing the cracks in paving slabs.

I feel I have to make an effort for the best experience or I’m just cheating myself through my own laziness. It makes me feel ‘armed’ for want of a better word, for the next session.

Cog rooms which change configuration

The gaming table last Sunday

Ready for the Boss Fight!
The Boss Fight!

Amazing Sunday session. BUT, I did notice my attitude was getting rather bad. Increasingly impatient because I knew the answers and they didn't - bordering on rude/aggressive. 

I want my condition to stabilise and upping my dose of Sertraline from 100mgs is not what I want - just psychologically. Sertraline maxes at 200mgs, so what's after that? I guess tranquillisers. But I don't know. And what effect will they have on me?

Thursday evening’s big boss fight - things were so complicated with high-level action, controlling multiple non-playing characters (NPCs) and multiple spell effects, area effects, reactions, bonus actions, extra-planar shit… I/we managed to get through it. 

Boy it was stressful at times and I had to take some deep breaths to keep my calm and focus. It was hard to run abut then again would have been for most DMs. 

I came back and had a couple of beers while I decompressed.

I do wish at times like this the players would KNOW THEIR SPELLS! 

Until then, there there, and take ∞D6 damage in a 500’ radius. 

After this one I have a new campaign to get my head round. I also have to prep the 2 day session in Pilton for the same kids I DM’d for at half-term. 

Oh well, it keeps me on my toes.

It’s just getting more difficult to organise my thoughts and ideas into something coherent. My brain has a decreasing amount of clarity.

Pint of sertraline, love.

I phoned the Health Centre and can't even get a phone call with the doctor to up my prescription of my anti-psychotic drugs until 10th April.  

I guess I could just take an extra one to up it from 100mgs to 150.

Too many people and too few doctors. 

So I'm back drinking again. It's not good. It’s not terrible either. All or nothing me. 2 bottles of beer every evening.

I have an issue with alcohol. 

Actually I did have a herbal tea night on Wednesday. 

So that’s cured it!


This:


Literature innit?

Have you seen the word ‘Betterer” being used in print recently? I have. 

“If I was betterer at everything I'd be a Brilliant.” (Me, just now.)

Despite spell-checkers, grammar-checkers and presumably punctuation-checkers, people are increasingly illiterate.

And innumerate.

Btw, the title of this blogpost comes from an English essay (think I got a D- back in an age when A*s weren’t mandatory) in Mr Owen’s class. Nice guy. But thanks to him we all ended up writing essays in the style of a schmaltzy Dylan Thomas. 

Bad habit to get into.

And as it happened very difficult to get out of.

I just wanted to write stories but we were told we had to do descriptive essays about smells and tastes in cathedrals. 

Well how fucking boring to an imaginative 12 year old!

That put paid to my interest in English as a subject, until maybe my 20s. 

A friend of mine introduced me to Martin Amis, Bukowski, Henry Miller, Philip Roth and The Beats. I’d read Fear and Loathing and The Dice Man before but this was a renaissance in what literature could be; for me, at least.

I’ve tried dipping back into more modern stuff. E Annie Proux’s ‘Shipping News’ is an astonishing piece of literature, but the Time Traveller’s Wife, The Beach and Cloud Atlas are all SHIT. AI in its current state would produce similar word dysentery.

Nick Hornby? NICK HORNBY???

And I’ll fight anyone who thinks those books were good, with flying headbutts.

I warned you!!


Modern novels: 70 pages each on 5 characters, seemingly unconnected, who you don’t care about and the last 50 pages ties them all up. 

DON’T 

CARE. 

My favourite short story is a 3 page cartoon strip by Alan Moore called ‘The Disturbed Digestions of Doctor Dibworthy.’ Check it out - it’s a piece of genius. It is perfection. A definition of brevity.

Right. I’m off to buy a $60 Trump-endorsed bible.




Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Surfing the waves of dementia

 A couple of days of mehhh...

It's been a tough last few days. Feeling a little down, lethargic, uninspired - which is unusual. 

Fed up of Wells, bored mainly. Missing London, dogs, gamers, non-gamers etc.

Wake up tired. Realise when I'm walking Tomos that I don't want to talk to other people today. People witter on as they're walking, like a result of some anxiety disorder. 

Some feel they have to fill every calming second of silence with something else that's gone wrong with them, all the while the pitch of their voice sounding like a deranged homeless playing a cornet that's been pulled out of a skip.

I have to turn away and get distance between us - at least 20-30 feet.

If I come across as rude then so be it. I just can't be doing with you today and the dissonant word salad that you're puking at me. And it's bright enough as it is. Too bright even.

This is way too much sensory information.

So leave me alone in my cave, on the increasingly creaky floorboards (must have them checked out actually) while I wile my life away on YouTube and my obsession with Trump, MAGA, rugby, and martial arts.

When I go out my trusty Sony XM4s are often on - muffling the audible world. Dark glasses or a welding mask would help, but they're further down the line.

I can feel myself being irritated with everyone. I have to remind myself that I'm ill and not in a great place currently - that it's the illness that's making me feel this way, and I need to create some space between me and it.

Sunday I went out today with Nerys and her friend Pip and their dogs. It was nice. But I'm finding it difficult to converse with people if it's something I haven't been briefed on.

I can feel myself becoming more detached from everything. 

The fog is becoming thicker, as am I.

Why doesn't everyone like TTRPGs, Louis Cole and rugby league? The world would be a much better place. And much easier for me.

Dim Watchio

I ran out of things to watch on Netflix, iPlayer and Prime, so I've renewed my subscription to Apple TV and there are some quality things back on there. 

I’m currently watching For All Mankind: an alternative history to the Apollo space project, where the USSR beat the USA to put a man on the moon. It’s actually done really well and you should watch it. But it does have some soap opera moments which if you're into sci-fi are a bit of an irrelevance. 

I fast forward through those bits.

Fall Out comes to Prime, based on the video game. It does look really good, but the gamers hate it already.

Some good looking films coming out too. Late Night with the Devil looks right up my strasse. 


Should go and see Dune 2 which is out now. But I won't. Because I'm rubbish.

Man at the bar, he say...

Man at the bar slightly right wing of Ayn Rand. Starts ranting at the 18 year old behind the bar as though she is in a position to challenge his bilge.

Blah blah... flat 10 percent tax, abolish the NHS, abolish state everything within time - within time! - and everyone pays into their own pension and health insurance...

Wow.

Flat rates. I remember them when I worked for Chorion. 

"Everyone is getting the same: a 10% bonus."

So the CEO gets a bonus of £23,500 and the receptionist a bonus of £2,500. 

Fair...my arse.

Of course it's not 'fair' or 'the same'!

Put into practice, the twat at the bar's economic theory would create social disparity on a scale we haven't seen since the late 18th century. Cue tent cities and riots like we haven't seen since the Poll Tax.

And plutocrats like him would be the first to blame the poor, the homeless and immigrants.

It’s the kind of nonsense hard right fanatics in the Tory party have talked about since the 1980s. 

Looks like certain nutters are still doing it. 

Next time I might join in. That'll be a whole post on its own!

He was like an octopus!

Looking after Tomos, who was like a 14 year old boy alone with his girlfriend. 

I was that girlfriend. I felt like a piece of meat I did. 

He was all over me, just wouldn't leave me alone. I just wanted to watch the rugby on TV.

Had to go down the pub.

Of course Wales lost.

It's ours!


Writing techniques

Benny Anderson writes abba songs by playing rubbish for ages and hearing accidental stuff that's great, and making a note of it.

He adds that if you do that 8 hours a day for 260 days of the year you should end up with 4 good songs.

I've followed this technique insofar as I witter to myself for ages then write down the less salacious rubbish, all for you.

Practising my Werner Herzog impression as people look on. 

That weird bloke talking to himself is me. I've yet to write much down.

It's becoming more difficult.

Old Ladies' Hairdos

What is it with old ladies and their hairdos? 

'An Ann Widdecombe my child, and make it snappy!' demandeth they.

Chop all my hair off and call me Doris. I shall have a complimentary fussy cardigan to boot.

This used to be a demarcation when women got to 40. Dress like a grandmother.

I'm glad women keep their hair longer for longer. 

I'm a baldy with a beard and fancy 'tache who dresses in t-shirts and jeans. Shirts are too fussy in the main. 

3 months off the booze and I still can't shift the final roll of tummy fat.

Growing old, eh?



Friday, March 8, 2024

Return to Stupid

 Bloody bloody bloody

Spending all my time in my man-cave, which is really just a grown-up version of a den.

Well, it's got all my stuff in here. I don't want to share what I watch with M&D and they wouldn't want to watch what I'm watching.

So here I remain, waiting for the day to go by. 

God - still only 1pm. I better go for a walk to town, sit in a cafe and get served by some passive aggressive child, and then come back again.

Did you know coffees cost £3-4 these days? Bloody outrageous.

Might as well stay in instead. You know, cut out the middle man.

Government handouts

My ESA payments have stopped. I now get paid NOTHEENG from the government. Yada. Nil. Zip.

I'm entitled to PIPs apparently. But only £60 a week. I have an ISA which is prohibiting any Universal Credit.

Weird being dependent. It seems 5 minutes ago I was raking in money by the thousand, and then it all stopped.

I was going to go out and do stuff, but my brain said no.

Bloody dole-dosser!

I have always avoided any form of permanent employment for this reason: my avid fear of being typecast. That's what I will tell them at the Labour Exchange.

Look at poor old Harry H Corbett or Bob Grant - highly-trained actors who ended up being cast as Steptoe and Jack respectively no matter what they were in. 

Poor dears.

Oh, and I also had a (late) tax return to do...which I tried and failed to do so I went back to my old accountants and they've done it and instead of the thousands I thought I would have to pay it's only a few hundred.

Trebles all round, as they say!

Dungeons and Dragons (i)

Yet they ran around, those characters, trying on necklaces and opening chests in the middle of corridors without a care or thought.

It's called Tomb of Annihilation FFS. Annihilation! And a whole tomb of it. Death, death and more death. 

'A tiptoe through Gaylord Gardens' it is not.

These days no one takes a hint. Many don't hear sarcasm either, which is really weird. I blame the Americanisation of everything.

I thought it would put the parents' minds at rest

Now I have to do some more forms shit for my Easter stint of DMing for kids.

If there's one thing I hate even more with FTD it's forms. I never had much of an attention span and now it's almost zilch. 

Boring shitty forms.

"I'm not a paedo! Your kids are safe - don't worry!" I will shout. 

And everyone will understand.

Dungeons and Dragons (ii)

My Thursday party all died. Yes. All of them. What's known in the trade as a TPK - Total Party Kill.

Honestly they should have listened to their mums.

'Why do you want to copy them?'
'Well if they all jumped off a cliff, would you?'

Guess what they did?

For essentially that's what happened. To be fair, everyone was tired and getting over colds. No one was at their best.

So we are continuing the last 3-4 sessions of this campaign in a metaverse where THIS NEVER HAPPENED.

They owe me. Oh yes. 

THEY OWE ME.

Tiswas or Swap Shop?

Back in the late 70s early 80s, on a Saturday morning kids had a choice: proper BBC teacher-controlled, parentally-approved BBC or...I.....T....V.....

Now there was a whole punk movement in its prime at this point. And while many of the punk groups weren't played on Top of The Pops because they weren't deemed appropriate, the punk thing was all around. The older kids were all punks, and it was cool.

A lot of middle classed kids weren't allowed to watch ITV. Back then there were only 3 channels in the UK - BBC1, 2 and ITV. 

In answer to BBC's dominance with Swap Shop, ITV decided to go national with a programme that was broadcast only in the midlands on ATV. And Tiswas was it.

Hosted by Chris Tarrant (I know), it had John Gorman from The Scaffold, Bob Carolgees and Spit the Dog (a punk dog ventriloquism act) and Lenny Henry and Frank Carson. 

Everyone got custard pies from the Phantom Flan Flinger, including ALL the guests. 

It was the right programme at the right time - punk TV for kids - total anarchy and mayhem.

But the main reason mine and probably most other dads watched was the lovely Sally James.

Ah. Sally James, Sally James, Sally James...

Wondered why Dad liked Tiswas so much

She was a trained actor, and actually a really good presenter. You could phone in and get your names put on her garters. She could cope really well with stoned rock stars and shy kids all the while having buckets of water thrown over her.

She would dress up as a St Trinian's schoolgirl in stockings, and also came in as Miss Whiplash once. She was always wearing denim waistcoats with nothing underneath so she could do a quick change between commercial breaks as everyone got gunged.


                                                           Proper children's entertainment

Frequent guests were Bernard Manning, Big Daddy and Jim Davison. There was a bloke who would guest occasionally called Norman Collier who had 2 acts, one was where he impersonated a chicken, and the other was his broken mike act which we all started doing in the playground. 

I watched it again and by today's standards it...isn't very good or politically appropriate.

Ah, the 1970s. Where sexist and racist comedians were the staple of Light Entertainment, and also hosted kids' TV. Stan Boardman AND Mike 'This is not a wig' Reid on Runaround.

But Sally James though, eh?

Marvellous.

Facebook Community Sites

A crew is filming in Wells - rumour has it for the sequel to Wolf Hall. The farmer who lets us walk our dogs in his fields has rented part of the field out for the film crew - a large marquee and facilities are stored there.

The Cathedral and Bishop's Palace are being used as locations for filming. No doubt they are charging a good rate for filming there.

Other notable films shot in Wells include Dungeons and Dragons, Hot Fuzz, The Huntsman (no, me neither), The Libertine, Dr Who and countless others.

You'd think people would be used to it by now. The following are genuine posts from the Wells Community Facebook site.

"We never hear how much money is made and where it goes to, for all these films over the years. ,It would be just interesting to see who benefits from these visits"

It's a series of business transactions, numbnuts. Who do you think?

"...some should be given back to the council or whoever can manage it (most probably not the council then…), to spend on a longer lasting legacy or even something in the area that requires it!"

On that basis they should do that with all businesses connected with Wells, then? And who and how much? Sorry - I forgot - you're a RETARD.

"Who gets all the dollars?"

This is Britain you tit. And again, if you haven't figured it out I refer you to the answer I gave some moments ago.

"If we had a more egalitarian society and system it would all be more transparent and fairly distributed within a community but as it is the landowner will reap reward (and may or may not contribute to charity or local good causes) and so get richer and richer. The less well off will not be aware of any benefit to them, but there may be some crumbs if for example you are a worker in the hotel or hospitality trade..but often film crews have their own catering for H&S reasons. Only answer? Communities buy up land and then all share in the rental of it?"

We don't live in a socialist utopia madam and anyway aren't farmers struggling enough? It's his land, he's a generous soul who never complains - give him a break when an opportunity comes his way.

I'm genuinely shocked at how dumb some people are. 

I, on the other hand, am lovely.