Blatant Advertising!

I like to mess around in Adobe Photoshop and other photo apps. Here’s a collage of my various site headers I made for Instagram. Just because.

Cheers

Steve 🙂

Advertisements

Writer Interrupted: The next poetry book

It has been about a year since ‘The All or the Nothing’, my first book of poetry, was published as an e-book. It’s now available in print, as well.

I guess it’s time for the follow up. I’ve been working hard, compiling and editing, designing and laying out the book in Adobe Indesign and Photoshop, and it’s only a few weeks away from release. This will be a book release to start, with an e-book to follow.

It’s called ‘Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered‘, and it’s a collection of poems for readers in various states of mind: happy, sad, mildly infuriated, dogmatic, dramatic, fizzled, cranky, spanky, smiley, wily, overwrought, overworked and dizzy.

If you like my poetry, you’ll like this book, because it’s…more of my poetry.

Out soon.

Cheers

Steve 🙂

Why do we blog?

Why do we blog?

Some say it’s cathartic. Some say it encourages and develops us as writers. A creative outlet. Some say we do it for fun. To get in touch with like-minded souls. Some say they just need to vent—anger, tears, love and fears. Some say they want to inspire. To express their opinions. And some say their blog is only for them, that they don’t care what others think.

All of these things are true. But there’s another, underlying truth: we blog because we want validation. We want people to acknowledge our efforts. We want people to like us and our work. Let’s not fool ourselves. If we didn’t we would write private journals, rather than sharing everything publicly.

The blog is an amazing tool. We create, and in creating reach out to others, raise spirits, inspire and influence.

I’m so happy I started blogging. Without it I wouldn’t be who I am today. Maybe you wouldn’t be, either.

So, why do you blog?

Cheers

Steve 🙂

Poetry. A poem.

When I read good poetry
I want to write good poetry
But my feeble affectations
And wanton masturbations
Pale to insignificance
When compared to
Browning, Whitman, Yeats

I yearn to write good poetry
The way I yearn to read good poetry
But such poetic vastness
Just becomes loquaciousness
Flowing perspicaciously
Away into a vast, uncaring
And unconcerned wilderness

I write a lot of poems, some from my head, some from my heart. Many don’t appear on this website. For more of my poetry, check out The All or the Nothing, my first e-book, available at most online book sellers.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Another Sunshine Blogger Award! Thanks heaps – I am not worthy!

Thanks so much to beingmimismumma for the nomination for another Sunshine Blogger Award! I would love to answer the questions you have posed for me, however I’ve got two uni assignments due!!

But don’t despair: here’s a link to my previous answers from a few days back! (Big cop out, I know, but sometimes life gets in the way…)

Cheers

Steve 🙂

Guest Post: Mind Matters 

I’ve never had anyone do a guest post before, but I was chatting with my sister-in-blog Donna, of mind matters, and asked her if she’d like to write one.

Donna and her family were traumatised while living with a religious cult, and she works through her issues in her blog, along with providing snippets of her photography and poetry. Sometimes she’s a bit controversial, but she’s always interesting.

So here is the first guest blog! Enjoy.

Steve 🙂

I Beg To Differ

Is chivalry dead? Should it be? A lot of people might say yes.

Sometimes certain issues seem to illuminate themselves in me. The other day when I was heading into a store, a man who had already walked out of the store turned around and grabbed the door for me. It was kind. It was an innate response. He didn’t even pause. He just did it. Then, when I was leaving the same store, a young male teenager whose hands were loaded with cartons of napkins, reached out–causing his load to teeter–and opened the door for me.

My point is: maybe a cause can begin in a legitimate way and then morph into something it was never meant to be. By then, it’s too late to back up. Believe me, I know what it’s like to be kept down by the opposite sex and stripped down until I thought I was nothing. But I also know what it’s like to fight my way through raising five kids and getting a degree in my forties.

I know I am not inferior to any male. But everyone is uniquely endowed by God, who equips us all differently for purposes and roads that lead in many directions. Is either sex inferior? No. But generally a man’s body is built differently than a woman’s. If we are at war, who would I want at the front lines in battle? A man. Does that make me sexist? No. When it comes time to do one of the most important things in life, who does it? A woman. What am I talking about? Giving birth. We as women are equipped to grow a human being in our bodies. No inferiority complex here.

Anyway, back to my original point of a gentleman opening a door for a lady. I love it. My husband opens the door for me. I am grateful that the women before me fought for the rights that we didn’t have before and I am in no way disagreeing with that; I just wanted to give a little food for thought.

You can read more from Donna at mind matters. 

Enthroned. A poem (and a dedication).

Enthroned
Commissioned at the hearth
Creation at both ends

Poetry of motions
Movements and quotients

Seated and relieved
The uncanny mind projects
And words flow on

Moreso than the waterfall
Or waste disposal

Until the final act is done

And the seeds of doubt
Are flushed

Begone!

.
You may not have guessed (or maybe you did), but this light-hearted poem is about me writing poems on the loo (oooh, how fourth wall of me). A most productive time that I would be remiss not to write about.

It’s dedicated to Victo Dolore, a doctor/writer who has an amazing blog about her doctoring (in a good way), her love for her kids and life in general. She has a wonderful ‘thoughts from the throne’ column every Thursday, where she literally blogs from her toilet.

Here’s to you, Victo. Great minds think alike (or is it great bums?). If you haven’t checked out Ms Dolore’s blog, do yourself a favour and click here.

Cheers

Steve 🙂

Another Award! Oh, I’ve got this one before. That’s okay, I’m very humble…NOT!

Actually, I am a bit humble. But only a little bit. Carly at message in stanza has nominated me for the Real Neat Blog Award. Thank you, Carly, you are very kind and obviously very wise (I said I’m a bit humble).

The rules:

  • Put the award logo on your blog
  • Thank the people who nominated you, linking to their blogs
  • Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you
  • Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs
  • Notify your nominees
  • Ask your nominees 7 questions

Here are my answers to Carly’s questions:

If you could learn any type of dance, what would it be?

The merengue, because it sounds like meringue, and I like a dance that you can eat.

Do you like board games? Or are they bored games? If you like them, what’s your favourite one and why?

I love board games. I love table top roleplaying games more, though (my favourites are listed here). Currently, my favourite board game is Firefly, an adaptation of the fantastic TV show of the same name. Don’t know it? Click here for more).

If you could be in a different job, what would it be?

Something where I actually earn money for my work. I do a lot of work currently for nada. Zip. Zilch. Just for love. Awwwww…(the sound of a tiny violin)

What is your biggest phobia out of these options: heights, spiders, dark, or being late somewhere?

My biggest phobia is being discovered as a fraud – DOH! Didn’t mean to tell you that.

Mountains or beach and why?

Why, because it rhymes with sky, and I’m in a cloud watching mood.

If you die tomorrow, what would you like your last words to be?

“Rosebud”. Already taken? Okay, probably “Aggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!”

What would you like your last meal to be including beverage?

I assume this is the last meal I have before I die tomorrow. Hopefully something that I can pass tomorrow morning so that when I die my bowel is empty (yep, kids, that’s right. When you die the muscles in your rectum no longer work to hold in your poopies. Know what that means?)

Have you done karaoke before? What song did you karaoke to? What did your friends think of your performance?

Sure have. Won a karaoke competition singing a rendition of Billy Joel’s New York State of Mind, one of my all time favourite songs. I won a jug of beer. My friends, already pissed, were suitably impressed. But they would have been even if they weren’t drunk, because my Billy Joel impression is awesome.

Coffee or tea and why?

Both. ‘Cause that’s the kind of guy I am – indecisive.

What inspires your writing the most?

My crappy life. And sometimes my not so crappy life. No, basically my crappy life.

And here are my questions for nominees:

  1. If you could torture a person with one terrible song, who would you torture and what would the song be? Better yet, how exactly would you torture them using the song? Are you really that nasty a person that you would torture a person?
  2. You’re a writer. I could ask you how you got started, but it would probably be as dreary as my own story. So tell me what your best ever story is. So I can steal it.
  3. Digital or analogue? Come on, don’t tell me you don’t know what I’m talking about? Oh, all right, ‘analog’, for you Americans.
  4. Time flies when you’re having fun. Rewrite that cliché using ten words and the truth. Or a lie, if you have to.
  5. You meet your favourite cartoon character. Who (what?) is it, and what does it do to you when it meets you? If it isn’t funny, give up now.
  6. Time or National Geographic? If you’re too young to understand what I just said, give up now.
  7. You have the power of magic. What type of magic is it and why? If you answer all technical and stuff we’ll know you’re a total nerd. If you don’t answer with all the technical specifics we’ll all know you are officially boring.

Blogs I’m nominating:

Behind the White Coat – https://doctorly.wordpress.com/

The Showers of Blessing – https://theshowersofblessing.wordpress.com/

Kismet – https://chungwipff.com/

Dorky Mom Doodles – https://dorkymomdoodles.com/

SerotoninVoid – https://serotoninvoid.wordpress.com/

 

Thanks again, Carly! Very much appreciated.

Cheers

Steve 😊

Versatile Blogger Award 2 – Thanks muchly!!

Thank you Alma at Bookish Endeavours for nominating me for this award. As you know, I am a man of few words and fewer actions, so I will keep this short and sweet.

The Rules:

The rules say to thank the person who nominated you (also providing a link to their blog), nominate 7 blogs (okay, it should be 10, but I ran out of oomph) you feel should be awarded, and then share seven interesting facts about yourself.

Seven blogs I’m nominating for the Versatile Blogger Award:

My apologies if you’ve already received it or don’t feel like participating.

Seven Interesting Things About Me:

I’m going to cheat with this, as I’ve been nominated for this award before by a different blogger. Here’s a link to my previous question answers, if you want to check them out (yes, I’m lazy! Bet that’s something you didn’t know about me. Oh, you did, did you? Now I’m all paranoid…)

Versatile Blogger Award Nomination – Woo hoo! Cheers and thank you

 Thanks, Alma! Love your work!

Cheers

Steve 😊

Adele – 25. Sing ‘em loud! A Review.

I’m a big fan of Adele. She has an amazing range to her voice and the tone has an earthy, time worn quality to it. She also revels in songs about lost love, which, being the sad sack that I am, I’m particularly fond of. So if you’re not a fan, you may as well click away now, as this will not be an unbiased review. Just saying.

I guess almost everyone in the world has 21, Adele’s sophomore album that blew minds with its dark and swaggering vocals and 60’s aesthetic. 25 is the follow up (all of her album titles reflect her age when the album was produced – I guess she’s not going to change that in a hurry). As usual, she has surrounded herself with great musicians and co-writes all of the songs. Adele has a capacity to take a fairly simple song and turn it into an emotive tale of longing and pathos that manages to take hold of your brain and not let go.

There are 11 songs on the album, all soaring ballads and torch songs. Hello is the big hit that everybody has probably heard way too many times by now. Send My Love, Water Under The Bridge and River Lea get a bit funky. I Miss You and Sweetest Devotion are boldly percussive. Melancholic piano strains fire up When We Were Young, Remedy, Love In The Dark and All I Ask, and the sensitive acoustic filigree of Million Years Ago is hauntingly sweet. This album never really steers a foot wrong.

Let me be clear: this is not an adventurous experiment that takes Adele out of her comfort zone. Adele has a formula that works and fans love it. We’ll be singing out loud accompanying these songs until the next album rolls around.

Awards! Can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em

I have been nominated for the Real Neat Blog award by Alma at Bookish Endeavours. Thank you, Alma; I most graciously accept your nomination in the most pretentious and snooty way possible (I bow, like that guy on Sleepy Hollow. It was cancelled. Oh, I’m sorry everyone, too soon?).

Being as unaccustomed to fame (and the lack of it) as I am, I have decided to post this award with my many (read: few) others, answer your delightful questions (in a pretentious and snooty way) and nominate several other worthy blogs.

The rules are simple: two go in, only one comes out. Or something like that.

Oh, sorry, that’s Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (showing my vintage, there). Back in the days before Mel Gibson imploded.

Actually, the rules are more like this:

  • Put the award logo on your blog
  • Thank the people who nominated you, linking to their blogs
  • Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you
  • Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs
  • Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blog, etc)
  • Ask your nominees 7 questions

I’m worn out already. You have to remember, I’m laid up in bed with a torn calf muscle. It’s not fun. And I’m feeling my age for the first time in my life.

So here are the questions I have to answer. If you have seen my previous answers to awards (here and here), you’ll know I tend to go on a bit.

My nominees and my questions are further below.

 ANSWERS!

One fictional character that you hate and why?

Alpha Girl. She is my arch nemesis-sis-sis. Say that five times fast. I dare you.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

If I was normal, I’d say flying or something like that. But as I’m not: an automatic umbrella that pops out of my head when it rains. Or when I see people I really don’t want to talk to.

Actually, I’d like the power to light my own farts, but instead of a little flash, a huge firestorm would erupt. Okay, that’s a bit stupid. I’d be burning down everything in sight. Maybe it could work like a flame thrower? More selective with targets, that sort of thing.

Maybe I should quit while I’m ahead.

Marvel or DC?

When it comes to comics: DC all the way. Their Rebirth initiative had me at ‘Hello’.

When it comes to movies, DC and Marvel. They each have different styles – DC is a bit grittier, Marvel’s a bit funnier. Yes, it’s possible to love both, people!

Pretzels or bagels?

Bagels aren’t that big in Australia. Not in size, I  mean, but popularity (imagine if bagels were tiny little things – how would you butter them?). I love pretzels, but I’m talking about the little ones, not the big ones you guys in America have. We’re all topsy-turvy down here.

And do not say ‘down under’, or I will be forced to decapitate you. With a tiny, razor sharp bagel.

What is your go-to coffee order?

Long Black. Very unpretentious. I drink coffee for the taste of the coffee. Adding milk, chocolate, caramel, crème, egg, enchiladas, dog biscuits (or whatever they add now) is just spoiling it.

The problem with drinking long blacks is it’s easier to tell when the barista has screwed it up.

“I love the smell of coffee in the morning. Unless you’ve burnt it, damn you!”

How did you decide that you’d be starting a blog on WordPress?

I was a sad sack who wanted a public place where I could post sad stuff about my sad life. It was cathartic.

And sad, when you think about it.

One movie that you can re-watch?

I have so many…Alien, Blade Runner, Star Wars, The Accidental Tourist, Man of Steel, Memento, The Dark Knight, Unbreakable, Arrival. The list goes on…

I would hate to be in a movie. Maybe I am. Maybe my life is actually a movie, and I’m just the understudy (do they even have those in movies? No, that’s plays). That would explain a lot.

NOMINEES

https://lilpickmeup.com/

https://nicolesundays.wordpress.com/

https://dpadjoy.com/

https://littlefears.co.uk/

https://thelonelyreaderblog.wordpress.com/

https://bennettoblog.wordpress.com/

QUESTIONS (for nominees to answer)

  1. If you were a pizza, what type would you be? If you answer ‘plain cheese’ you should give up blogging altogether. Just saying.
  2. You have just won the gold medal for mawkish pretentiousness. What’s your speech? It has to be in the third person, just to make it more obnoxious.
  3. You have a choice to save the world, or save your pet. Which do you choose? If you don’t have a pet, you may save your favourite DVD. But not the DVD player. That’s going just a bit too far.
  4. If you were to make a movie about someone famous, who would it be and who would star in it? If they starred as themselves, would the production implode in some kind of freaky mirror-dimensional paradox? Or would they multiplex into multiple versions of themselves and play all the parts? I don’t know, you’re answering the question.
  5. Desert island: you can take one thing. Yes, it can be your girlfriend or boyfriend. But if you had a choice, would you take them? Maybe there’s only enough food for one. What happens then, huh? And if the two of you only had each other to talk with, how long would you last before it turned into The Hunger Games? Didn’t think that one through, did you?
  6. Have you heard of that old BBC show The Onedin Line? If you say yes, you’re lying. Yes, it’s an actual show. Google it. I’m not doing all the work, you know.
  7. What’s your favourite colour (that’s English spelling, not American). Why so boring a question? Because I haven’t finished. Now that you’ve told us your favourite colour, imagine the world in only that colour. Everything! Walls, floors, cars, people, dogs, cats, fields, countries, sky…how long until you absolutely hate that colour, eh? Burn!

Thanks for the nomination, Alma!

If you liked what you read (or even if you didn’t), please support my narcissism by following my blog. I don’t make any money out of it, but it keeps me from being sad(der). All it takes is a click – save a depressed person today!

Cheers

Steve 😊

Not Without My Calf! A true story of cows, muscle fibres and underinflated ego.

Today, I tore my calf muscle.

For those of you not familiar with the calf muscles, they are not part of a cow, but located on the back of your lower leg. They are important for balance, walking, running and generally being human. When you tear your calf muscle it normally happens high up on the back of the leg. It’s similar to an Achilles tendon rupture – you could be walking or running and then you hear a pop and feel intense pain. In my case it felt like the muscle had left the bone. The muscle has major tears in the fibres (muscles are made up of fibres. These present as striations under the skin in very thin people or lean weightlifters – Dr Steve. Note: not a real doctor).

I was running with my friend’s dog (whom I used to walk when I was house sitting recently, and so I’ve kept up the visitation rights) up a steep, slippery, grassy knoll. Nothing could go wrong in that situation, right? Doh.

So, now I’m down and out for several weeks (more if I don’t let it heal properly, but hey, why would I want to use it earlier than recommended?). This is NOT a good thing. As some of you may know (or none of you, based on the number of views on my blog – just kidding), I’m a bit of a fitness fanatic. I work out four days a week, ride and walk regularly. With this injury I can hardly walk at all.

I am going to go cray-cray.

My fitness routine is part of my mental health regime. It’s a vital part. I’m not a fan of depression, and I don’t like the prospect of slipping backwards as a result of my injury.

It also means I can’t drive anywhere (despite the fact that I drove home VERY painfully). I have a manual car (‘stick’ for Americans), and using the clutch is agony. And doesn’t help my recovery time any. So Kung Fu is cancelled. Psych appointments are cancelled. Dinner with friends is cancelled. D&D is cancelled (NOOOOO!!! Notice how the nerdiest activity is missed the most).

At least I can still do my uni work, blog and write my novel. Maybe it won’t be so bad.

Hmmm, I guess I’ll keep telling myself that.

Remember. A poem.

Remember life
The semblance of
Before the fall
(So far you fell, maybe you’re falling still)
When integrity, respect
Were friends on call

All you’ve done
All your transgressions
You just wish it wasn’t so
Accept the facts
(False truths are outside your control)
And move on, go

Kneel, head down
Pray for rain
(Forty days and forty nights should be enough)
To wash your sins
Down life’s ever circling drain

For an end to hurt
And an end to pain
(Through pain you endure, through pain you survive)
For a little daylight
Through the clouds again

Guardians of the Galaxy – the Marvel formula strikes again…A movie review.

No spoilers here…

I’ve seen all the Marvel movies and generally I love them (Incredible Hulk was a bit meh, but that’s okay, you can’t have everything). The last few have bordered on a bit average, though. So why is this? Is it because I’m basically seeing more or less the same film every time, just with different characters? Is the music basically the same every time, forgettable (don’t believe me? Can you remember any of the music from Dr Strange? Thought not). Maybe my love affair with Marvel movies is coming to an end. Maybe the first wave of characters were the ones I really liked the most. Maybe…

Which brings me to Guardians of the Galaxy, vol.2 (GotG). Another Marvel blockbuster, filled with likeable characters, humour, huge explosions, crazy-ass comic book moments, and team-bonding experiences. So why did I come away from the theatre thinking, “that was pretty good”. Pretty Good?! Not, “that was mind blowing”, but “pretty good”.

GotG has lots of humour. Drax is the standout, with his complete lack of tact stealing the entire show. Every character gets their little bit of screen time (with the exception of Peter Quill/Star-Lord, whose plotline with Celestial “Ego” takes up the majority of the story). Every character gets some sort of emotional struggle to contend with (Gamora and her sister, Rocket Raccoon and his need to be loved, Star-lord’s daddy issues, etc.). There is a major character death (although by the end of the movie you’re struggling to feel much about it—and this from a guy who cries in movies if someone breaks a glass). The special effects were amazing, as would be expected from a film with a budget bigger than some small countries (far too much reliance on CGI, though). I loved the 80’s soundtrack, but it wasn’t quite as catchy as the first time around. The orchestral soundtrack, as usual, was cookie-cutter forgettable.

So, what was the problem?

I think we are seeing so many of these movies and their sequels every year (and now DC is in on the act, as well), that unless there is something new in the story, tone and feel of the movie, then we become a little jaded. At least I do.

So GotG was fun, but it didn’t have me wanting to talk about it afterwards (not in the way Chris Nolan’s Dark Knight movies had me discussing implications for days afterwards with my wife). We live in dark times, with economic stresses, rampant terrorism, crazed isolationist governments, growing homelessness and a host of other ills. People want movies that make them forget about serious problems. So, this movie achieves that. At least while you’re in the cinema. But it doesn’t give you anything meaningful to attach to it, to stick with you beyond the initial viewing. I’m sure many will disagree with me. Feel free.

I’m looking forward to Thor: Ragnarok later this year. Hopefully I won’t come away feeling the same.

Rating: C

House Sitter #1 – recording is a dog’s life

I’m looking after a friend’s house in the city for the next eight days, and I’ve decided to record a number of songs I’ve written during the last year.

After dropping my mate off at the train station, getting confused by his reverse stick shift (crazy foreign cars!), setting up my gear, playing with the dog (she was sad and needed cheering up), working out where stuff was located and making a list of required groceries, I was finally ready to do some recording (Phew!).

I decided to record one of the simpler acoustic songs to start. It’s called ‘My God’, and was well received when I played it live a few months ago.

After tuning and warming up (this house is so cold!), I knocked out a few tracks, doubling the acoustic guitar rhythm track. All good? Nope. It sounded a bit too regimented (recording to a click track can do that, sometimes). So I decided to record the tracks again without a click.

But first, a 2km walk, lunch and grocery shopping. I never said this post would be interesting…

Time. A poem.

In time, you’ll forget
Future becomes past
Distance and memories

In time, you’ll move on
As nostalgia replaces
Longing and currency

In time, you’ll change
Regrets and vicissitudes
Lost with familiarity

In time, truth will fade
As falsities interweave
Becoming the new history

D&D. A haiku tetralogy.

Dice

Polyhedral dice
In your hand, controlling fate
Hack! Slash! “Die, monster!”

Delve

Deep dungeon delving
Party of five outsiders
Death or glory here

Dauntless

“My hit points are low”
Rest or spells to recover
“Ready? Time to smash!”

Dire

“Awful acting, yeah?”
Comedic celebration
Shared gaming love


These haiku are about my love of tabletop role playing games (RPGs), particularly Dungeons and Dragons (D&D). I loooooove RPGs.

Don’t know what D&D and RPGs are? Read about them here and here.

Everything is awesome. Not.

I often get depressed at the worst times. Like today, when I have to do work for uni and my motivation is at an all-time low. The solution? Write aimlessly about depression for my blog. Yes, I’m sure that will solve everything (I may claim to be a writer, but I never claimed to be an intelligent or coherent writer. Or a man with a plan).

Sometimes I play guitar to get me back to a reasonable mental state. But, as we all know (and as I should know, by now), music played by sad people often tends to be…sad. It’s not often that melancholy musos rip into a version of ‘Everything is Awesome’ from the Lego movie (actually, it’s never – no real musos would ever play that song).

Sometimes I lie around waiting for my depression to subside. This is one of the worst solutions, as I tend to fixate on everything bad in my life (which is almost everything I do) and then try to rationalise it with all the people worse off in the world than me (which is a lot more), which makes me sadder as I’m obviously a complete waste of time who has just wasted my own time. Almost a living double negative. And don’t get me started on the bit where I start fantasising about the perfect life (or, more appropriately, perfect lie).

Often, I try to read, but people with depression are attracted to literature in much the same way they are attracted to gloomy music. This makes unhappy endings even more unhappy (“But Rhett, we should be together. I love you!” “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn. I think I’ll return home and gamble and drink myself into a deep and inescapable hole. And maybe guest star as a Force ghost in the next Star Wars movie.” Note to Disney: do not have an ‘Anakin’ Force ghost cameo. I’m warning you now. You don’t want to see a depressed fan when he’s angry. Nothing to lose, y’know. I warned you I’m not always coherent).

I’m a fairly creative person—I compose stories, poems and music, draw, write this stupid blog—and one would assume that I would be able to find some way (other than high doses of legal and potentially illegal medication) to get me out of the dumps. What I’ve found is that depression is ideal for creativity. I’ve written some of my best work when I feel like crap. Of course, it tends to be a bit depressing, but there you go. Horses for courses, and all that jazz.

I know there are lots of people in the world who suffer from anxiety and depression—a quick search on WordPress reveals hundreds of blogs by sad and lonely bloggers with more than enough to say on the topic. So, my own vaguely pathetic attempts are almost laughable (or miserable, depending on how they turn out).

So, I’m looking for some sure fire quick fixes (yes, I know there aren’t any, but tell me anyway. I’m a true believer in panaceas and placebos, except when they’re administered rectally). Meditation? Tried it. Martial Arts? Do it already. Working out? Yep, a great fix that lasts the period of the workout and about an hour afterwards…Alcohol? I’m sure there’s a potential down side to it, but it’s looking good, so far…

Surprisingly, this pithy bit of writing has cheered me up slightly (on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being dead and 10 being obnoxiously and overwhelmingly extroverted, I guess I’m a 4). Not because it’s good, but rather just a way to vent. Maybe I should try some more. Perhaps those uni responses…

Fate Core System – Story telling table top role playing at its finest

I’ve been threatening to do a Fate Core review for some time now (it’s one of my Top 10 Favourite Role Playing Games), but you know how it is, so much to do and so little time… But today’s the day!

So, what is Fate Core? It’s a table top role playing game*, or TRPG**, which focuses on dramatic story telling. In the last decade or so, a number of games have entered the TRPG market that emphasise player engagement and involvement via storytelling and role playing***, including Apocalypse World, Mouse Guard, 13th Age, etc.

I believe Fate Core is one of the best cinematic story telling games around. It has some crunchy dice rolling mechanics and emphasises player awesomeness. It encourages players and Gamemaster (GM) to work together to create the story proactively as you play the game. And it enables you to play any type of game imaginable.

Here’s a few things about Fate Core:

  • Fate Core uses fudge dice. The player rolls four of these to determine if they pass or fail tests. Fudge dice have two pluses (+), two blanks ( ) and two minuses (-), and when rolled together show an outcome, where pluses are positive (obviously), blanks mean nothing (again, obviously) and minuses subtract from the pluses and blanks (you can use standard dice to simulate these if you don’t have fudge dice). When a player wants to do something cool (for example, running across the backs of crocodiles to get to the other side of the stream), the GM sets the opposition (the previous example might be considered great, or +4 opposition). The player rolls the dice and has the opportunity to invoke an Aspect (see below), or use stunts (see further below) or skills (see even further below) to add to the roll, or use Fate points (see even further down below) to influence the outcome. Once rolled, the player describes what happened and the game moves forward.
  • Players and environments have Aspects, which are phrases that describe some interesting and individual detail about the character or place e.g. “Tempted by Shiny Things”. These aspects are used in the game during Scenes, which are dramatic devices used to describe action and events. If you can describe how your aspect can add to an action, then you can get a bonus on your roll. This is called invoking, and usually costs a Fate Point. Alternatively, the negative component of an aspect can be compelled – that is, used to make things more difficult for the player. This earns them a Fate point they can use later.
  • Fate Points are the currency of the game. Players start the game with 1-3 Fate points (depending on how they build their character), and you can spend them to invoke aspects. You gain them for compelling aspects (see earlier).
  • Skills are used to do complicated or interesting actions with the dice, and are added either when you build the character or during the game – they range from +1 to +4, and you are limited in how many you have. For example, Rapport is a skill for social interaction.
  • Stunts are special tricks a player can use to get an extra benefit out of a skill or alter some rule in your character’s favour e.g. “Another Round?” Is a stunt a character with rapport can use to give a bonus to gain information when drinking in a tavern.
  • Damage is done to characters via physical stress or mental stress – a bit like hit points from D&D, but not. Physical and mental stress is recovered after each scene. A player or GM can also opt to take consequences from actions – these are longer lasting impacts that play into the story telling elements of the game, and in some cases, can affect your rolls.

What I’ve explained is very brief and doesn’t capture how cool all these elements work together when playing a game (I’m sure the authors, if they ever read this, will roll their eyes and say “But he’s just scratched the surface!”). Trust me, the rules are well written and play tested, and work really well in a live setting, allowing you to play any type of situation.

Fate Core also has an easy version called Fate Accelerated, which is quicker to learn.

One of the fantastic aspects of Fate Core is that the GM and players can make up any sort of background/setting they want to play in. There are also a number of pre-made Fate Core settings, that you can use for quick or extended games, such as Morts (zombie apocalypse), Red Planet (Soviet pulp sci-fi), Save Game (set inside a video game world), and Romance in the Air (political intrigue/steampunk), to name a few. These can be downloaded from DrivethruRPG.com, for as much as you want to pay for them.

Fate Core is also the system used in a number of other games, such as the totally cool far future transhuman Mindjammer (one of my top 10!), The Dresden Files, Spirit of the Century, Atomic Robo, Eclipse Phase (Transhumanity’s Fate), War of Ashes, and even an indie Fate Core version of Mass Effect.

If you haven’t played this game before, get some fudge dice (or regular six-sided dice), grab the rules from EvilHat.com or DrivethruRPG.com and start playing! You won’t be disappointed.

 

* Don’t know what a TRPG? You don’t know what you’ve been missing! Click here for an explanation

** Or just RPG for all the old school grognards out there who don’t get computer RPGs and table top RPGs mixed up

*** Despite what RPG implies, some RPGs are so crunchy and combat focussed that they are almost not RPGs at all, rather board games with character and skill building

Missing. A short tale.

Something was missing. Every time I looked, I thought I saw it, but like some mote in the corner of one’s eye, when I looked again it was gone. I was starting to doubt my own senses.

I clambered around the room, searching up and down, turning things over and tossing them about, trying to find the missing thing. I wasn’t sure what it was, just that I needed it. Right now. I felt like a junkie itching for a fix, but not knowing exactly what hit he needed.

If it wasn’t in my room, maybe it was online. I flicked on the laptop, checked a few regular pages, a few irregular ones, and eventually gave up, my chin resting on my open palm as I scratched my head. It had to be around here somewhere. But what was it that was missing? What was it that proved so elusive and mysterious?

And then it came to me, like a lightbulb flickering on in pitch black.  I was missing a life.

I guess I needed to get up off my arse, get out of my room and find it.

 

Trois Haiku

Telecaster

Weaving ecstasy 
Musica Exotica
Telecaster Love

Chemo

Cancerous growth
Burning fear, tempus fugit 
Walk a straighter path

Nightmare

Veil of sleep, behind
Tormented dream, deja vu
Woe begotten tide

 

I will forever adore the Haiku and its mystical 5/7/5 syllable structure. Here are three I composed this morning.

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: