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.