Wednesday, November 29, 2023

It's Gopher Day all over again!

"Asda; call Viscount Rothermere!"

Disclaimer: there's a lot of product placement in this edition!

The other day my sister came to set up an Alexa unit. Is that what they're called? Apparently its official title is 'Amazon Echo Dot Smart Speaker.'

Alexa will do. 

(Dad is shouting "Alexa!!" as I type this!)

I couldn't remember her name. Wanted to call her 'Asda'. I knew it was wrong. Alex? I can remember Siri (Apple) and Cortana (Microsoft and Halo) but for some reason 'Alexa' eluded me. I can see the first 2 or 3 letters in my mind, know how it should feel as I mouth the syllables. I know it's a short, 2 syllable word starting with 'A'- it's obviously a name. 

I just couldn't grasp it.

(I’ve realised since typing this it’s a 3-syllable word, so that should be a good aide-mémoire should I forget it again!)

As regards my illness, I was waiting for a quantum step downwards (it's never upwards) and this appears to be it. Or maybe it's excessive beerage. Heavy drinking is essentially brain damage-inducing anyway, but I do think this is part of the dementia.

I haven't drunk THAT heavily for a while.

So I was trying to tell an old friend of the last thing I saw at the theatre which was 'Groundhog Day: The Musical', at The Old Vic. All I could see in my mind was Punxsutawney Phil being held up and his cute but gormless face, Bill Murray and the letters G-O-...hence 'Gopher'. 

Had to back track and sidle-off to the left and right in my brain, then managed to seize on the elusive 'Groundhog'. 

Know your rodents from your marmots, young lion.

Some of these words are just becoming more elusive, but I consoled myself that it took me ages to remember Frontotemporal Dementia, and that was 3 years ago.

Did I tell you I'd cleaned the driveway?

I cleaned the driveway. 

Dad was excessive in his praise of my prowess with the pressure washer.

I said 'Don't thank me, thank KARCHER!"

Took me an hour and a bit. 

How to impress girls.

Repetition, Deviation, er, er...

In fact, I am forgetting things, as I told J the above story 3 times before she told me I'd repeated myself. 

I was up in London for a meeting with the neurology bods. 

It was a bit pointless really as they'd got the photometry scans (3d scans of my brain) 2 years apart, but had yet to measure the differences. That would happen in 2 weeks. 

They could have postponed the meeting till then. I mean, they may have post-doctoral theses coming out of their bums but common sense seems to have been the price to pay.

Anyway, as usual I had to undergo a neuropsych test which I blitzed. I also pointed out a typo on the card I had to read out which had eluded everyone previously, wrote a sentence and was complimented on my handwriting, and also knew the date when asked which the neurologist had to check.

When the Prof came in he said you've probably (WTAF??) got dementia but we don't know what type.

Well, we all know I've got a dementia but it has been previously described as atypical of atypical. And as we know the brain is so complex the variables are unique to that individual.

I definitely have Pillockitis.

Udder tings...

I have been walking Tomos every weekday. He's a splendid fellow. Today I sang him 10cc songs in the style of Nico

You should try it at home yourselves, once you've done a professional risk-assessment of course.

I have met lots of very nice dog-walkers, and Tomos is highly sociable and wishes only to run and run with other dogs and then fall asleep at his home. 

He is a very lovely dog, and very popular.

I know other people's dogs' names, but not the owners'.

(That was an apostrophe workout!)

At the weekend at J's I met up with J, Stanley, Chippy and Wilbur. Wilbur sadly, like many of us today, also has dementia. He has tranquilisers in the evening to stop him barking at nothing at all. I looked in his eyes and he's not the same dog anymore, which is sad. His barking used to set off the other 2, but even they don't fall for it anymore. 

They know he's a demented.


Sir Michael Take

My new favourite spoof person on social media is the above mentioned fellow, and former MP for Dorset West. 

When Trump was elected Armando Iannucci declared 'satire is dead.' Well certainly the lines are more blurred than ever before. 

He has been quoted by The Daily Mail and GB News a few times. 

He has a wife, Bunty, who he tries to shield from coarse language, Ant and Dec, socialism and immigrants.

Did I tell you I'd cleaned the driveway?

Oh. Okay.

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Oh god: it's you!

"One of our friendly counsellors gave him a donut..."

(A day trip to Ikea.)

Yes, Ikea. I went there with Dad. It's a terrible place, painted all blue and yellow. 

I've never had a problem with that colour combination until now. 

We went to look at 3 pieces of furniture, only one of which was actually on display. 

It wasn't very impressive. 

The one compensation was the packet of mini cinnamon buns that I bought at the end, and which they have traditionally for breakfast in Nordic countries. 

Ikea is a vision of hell. Endless furniture and things you don't need but perhaps amongst them there are things you do need, so you keep looking. 

I couldn't bear it any longer. I was actually getting very stressed - this is an FTD thing too. Panic is coming.

I asked an assistant up a ladder "How do I escape?" Then I ended back in the same place, and asked multiple more assistants. One assistant and a guy doing maintenance were very helpful and agreed about the awful dystopian nature of the place, even though they didn't use those precise words.

It's like some terrible French play about being in hell but you're not meant to realise until the end, except you sussed it out early on and just had to put up with it.

Maybe that's why they have all those sweets at the end of the store, to make up for the trauma.

We ended up ordering everything online. I had a day of constructing a Billy Bookcase - fastened to a stud wall with leftover fixings from the Billy bookcase in my man-cave; 2 large filing cabinets and a small magazine rack/table.

Wiped me out for 2 days it did. And I used to do stuff like that in my sleep.


Yes I know. You're not interested and don't really understand and don't want to. 

Well tough. This is a big part of my life and so I will talk about it.

230 hours of Baldur's Gate 3. Yes, two hundred and thirty hours spent playing this game since October 1st. If it wasn't so brilliant I wouldn't play it. Truth be told my iMac struggles with the graphics a lot and in certain parts judders. I have the graphics turned down low too. 

Nephew Ben has bought it for his PS5. He's loving it too. It is a next level of gaming and brilliantly written and performed, with Jason Isaacs and JK Simmonds amongst the voice acting talent.

I'm doing a new run-through and have Lae'zel as my girlfriend. She's a Githyanki you know. 

I like strong women you see. 
Just don't make her angry...

One of the biggest hits in the game is Astarion, who is a gay vampiric elf. He is incredibly funny and cutting in as camp a way as can be. 

In fact, there is lots of naughty stuff to do if you're inclined that way from designing their genitalia (6 options so far to choose from) to partnering up with other characters.

It is a next-level game, and how you act and what you do, who you befriend, who you kill, will alter the ending in myriad ways.

Aside from CRPGs (Computer Role-Playing Games) the Thursday group of D&Ders in Wells are now in the humid jungles of Chult. From communications with 3' high frog people who only speak their language, to rescuing eagle folk from pterodactyl folk, man-eating plants and dancing monkey fruit...there's been plenty to occupy us. 

And we are playing again tonight.


Most lessons to me were utterly boring and I didn't want to be there: English lit (apart from Chaucer for its historical value), chemistry, biology, German, geography, maths and PE when it was cricket season. No interest in any of them whatsoever.

My friend Rupert who very kindly came up to see me on Monday from Hampshire, has a son who sounds very similar to me at that age. Only interested in a few things, doesn't pay attention - looks out of the window, day-dreaming. Story of my life.

Art college and school - while I didn't mind either they both achieved the opposite of what they intended - and squeezed the imagination out of the pupils in order to make them viable economic units.

But I kept some stored in secret, and I funnel it now and again for gaming purposes!

It's not what it was but it gives me hope.

Just don't tell the authorities.

Aging #24

Went out with 2 of my D&D buddies on Tuesday night. It was good fun. Lots of good beer, getting to know each other a bit better and having a laugh. 

Jeez-  did I have a hangover the next day. But it was worth it.

I'm also meeting an old schoolfriend I haven't spoken to since school. She did look slightly horrified as I spoke her name in the middle of town and she couldn't quite work out who I was with this sporran on my face.

But we are going for a coffee this Saturday, I must say she looked exactly as she did at school which is remarkable seeing as we are 54/55. 

Some people age better and/ or just live healthier lifestyles. I'm not sure about either with me.

It's hereditary, whatever it is.

I still dream about lost friends as though they're still alive. That haze in dreams where reason and fact is obfuscated (see 'social media') and you're back to almost where you left off with the person. And you wake up and you come to terms (in a lesser way) with the void they have left.

Oh well, maudlin as this has become, I should end on one of those 'And finally...' moments.

 No. Can't think of one.

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Moving On

 Autumn is here with a vengeance

It was absurdly hot for way too long, and all of a sudden I can wear clothes again. For months all I could wear was a baggy t-shirt, shorts and flip-flops. Every day the same things. Anything else and I was a sweaty mess.

Then it just rained and dropped a few degrees, and all of a sudden it was Autumn. I find it to be reassuring in a way, that despite climate change we are at least in receipt of actual seasonal weather. 

We escaped the worst of the Storm Ciaran, as did most of the country...

Anyway, enough of the weather.

Actual Moving

So a couple of weeks ago I finally moved all my shit here. I was in London at J's (no longer 'home' which is peculiar as I spent 9 years calling it that) and hired a van in London as it's £50 a day as opposed to nearly £80 a day in Somerset. I packed my stuff, having worked out the volume (see picture).

Only a cubic metre out!

So I packed everything up , drove to Somerset, and unpacked it and set it all up, with some stuff in storage which I'm gradually forgetting about, which is not good. The thing is I had so much get up and go that week that I couldn't stop, so I achieved lots, DMing in Wells, then driving the van back the next day to off-hire it and play on the Sunday for the last time with Larry, Adrian and the crew. 

That's the end of an era, then.


Still, looking ahead at least we have Zoom and various other platforms to meet up on and play RPGs on. We're looking to move the Sunday session of Temple of Elemental Evil to a Wednesday afternoon/ evening online, which would be great.

I DM'd last weekend in Wells for an unprecedented  Saturday session in addition to the Thursday session. I DM'd for 5 hours. It was great -  it was a kitchen sink session with a dragon, going up a level, meeting a long lost sibling and in doing so fulfilling a personal quest, a trip to the astral plane and then off to the terribly hot land of Chult to battle zombies and dinosaurs in the jungle.

All in a day's work.

I've also lost days (97 hours so far) to Baldur's Gate 3, which is the most ambitious RPG computer game made to date. My iMac is struggling to cope with processing the data when in the setting of the city where there are scores of NPCs walking about talking, arguing and everyone has a name and a story. It is vast. An incredible achievement by Larian Studios.  

I have a girlfriend called Shadowheart who worships an evil god, but we don't talk about that. My other friends are Will who is a Sorlock , and Lae'zel, who is a mighty Githyanki warrior.

2023 Githyanki

1981 Githyanki

I should really be doing something more than gaming but it is so addictive because it's exciting and you are in the middle - at the heart - of the adventure.

At least I'm writing a blogpost at long last. I haven't even been writing diary entries (I have kept them going for over 35 years) as my life is so uneventful right now!

Man Cave

So yes, I have made a man-cave and am still constructing it. I'm taking Dad to Ikea on Thursday to look at options for his music room.  Dad is all about music, and can't visualise things, so I've shown him some options online and done a scale drawing of the room with possible variations for new furniture, but we'll need to see it physically to make the decisions.

I took the net curtains down in the room. Funny looking out of this huge 1960s window onto the road - the all-too familiar but changed houses opposite. My parents are among the last original owners of these houses when they were built in 1963/4. The people who've come and gone, remembering them , the cars, how things were back in the 1970s and 80s. It's kind of nice and sad at the same time.

Last week I made a desk extension. I'd looked into buying keyboard drawers but they were expensive and I didn't like the designs of them, using bulky clamps and things to attach, so I decided all I needed was some MDF which I would cut, paint and then place everything on top of. 

It's sturdy and impossible to tip due to physics. 

© Geraint Davies Desktop Solutions 

Just got to clear the arch of hideous clutter (Dad's) around it and I'm done. 

What now then?

Funny being here. People I haven't been in contact with and new people I need to befriend and make a social life with. I will go back to London more and more I think. Things with J are good and long may that continue. I walk Tomos every weekday morning, I play online with friends on a Monday, I'm in touch still with people. More online gaming with people would be good. And meeting more people in Wells with similar interests/outlook would be great.

I do, however, need to do more round the house and not get sucked into gaming all day.

And not forget about selling all that stuff in the lockup!