Monday, 5 January 2015

That was 2014, This is 2015

The dominant feature of the past year for me has been that I own a house. It's exciting, and expensive, and exciting. I have some damp issues, and some loud neighbours, but overall it feels good to not be paying £700 a month to a landlord who stiffs me on basic maintenance.

I have also been a dad for a full year (I hit the one year mark with her birthday in March and this has been the first full calendar year) which is even more exciting and possibly more expensive in the long run.

Money has been tight this year and will continue to be so, I suspect (see above,) but I am determined not to let it get me down. The fact that Littleport is slightly out of the way is a bigger problem, and I'm not seeing people as often as I would like. Most of my vaguely local friends have busy schedules already and don't have cars, and most of the ones further out game at weekends and so can't commit to a weekender.

Not-a-Resolution* #1: See people more this year than last

My birthday yesterday brought it home to me that, aside from my awesome family, I have been feeling pretty isolated. It's not usually a problem, I'm kinda self-contained in a lot of ways, but the lack of human contact does leave me feeling detached and unloved sometimes. Yesterday my brain weasels were obsessing over the fact that most of the people who had sent me birthday greetings on G+ sent them only to me rather than to a circle as well, so clearly they didn't want to be seen associating with me. I know this is insane, by the way, but brain weasels, yeah.

Not-a-Resolution #2: Fuck you, brain weasels.

My weight is down, and staying down. At the end of the Christmas excess, after cooking (and helping to eat) two fine hams (I briefly considered adopting the moniker 'Cool Ham Luke', before deciding that was ridiculous) and the magnificent tagine that Hanna cooked for my birthday (lamb with figs, apricots and honey, and lashings of maize couscous,) I weighed in this morning at a shade under 104kg and I fit snuggly but comfortably in a 38" waist (in the summer I was 117kg and straining 42".)

Not-a-Resolution #3: Keep the weight down (and spend less money on snacks.)

Part of #1 is going to be a little thing called No Rest for the Wicked, a live-action Warhammer 40K game run by some friends in Scotland. This will be my first serious field LARP experience, and a chance to meet new people. The kit is looking daunting, but also exciting. I have vague plans to buy some electronic parts and a pair of clip-on sunglasses to bash into removable furnishings to make my glasses look less contemporary.

I may also try to get back to the local board games night, although I don't think I know anyone there anymore. Still...

Not-a-Resolution #4: Play more games (and make cool kit without feeling overawed at the work involved.)

In 2014 my pub LARPing has died back almost to nil, in large part because the society I have been an active member of for years took an active opposition to the presence of my daughter at games.

Now, I entirely understand that people don't want a small child underfoot, especially around a horror-themed game where they are playing foul-mouthed arseholes. I'm not wild to have her surrounded by that sort of influence, and I don't want to ruin anyone's game. What I object to is the underhanded and mealy-mouthed way in which this was handled. No-one actually addressed us directly on the subject at any point; instead, complaints were raised at the top-level of the society and we were handed an inflexible dictat that ignored the fact that pretty much 100% of the people we actually gamed with were fine with Arya being around. My faith in humanity in general and gamers in particular was only saved by the active and vocal support we received from said people we gamed with, ranging from 'I never had a problem with her being there' to 'damn the man; we love seeing her here.'

Partly as a result of this, and of the fact that she is older and more active, but we are no more able to afford childcare while we go to games, I am not going to be renewing my membership of the Isles of Darkness. It's a shame, because I met a lot of good friends through the society and had a lot of good times, and I was excited to see what this year's reset would bring. Most importantly, those people who stuck by us are people I both like personally and enjoy roleplaying with, so:

Not-a-Resolution #5: Continue to hang out with cool Ioddies.

It sort of combines aspects of #1 and #4, but bears singling out.

Another of the big successes of 2014 for me has been my blogging (he blogged,) and in particular the growth of my media blogs, My Life as a Doge and Bad Movie Marathon. I've found that I have become a better critical thinker for putting my thoughts in written form, and the BMM in particular is garnering a large (by my standards) audience.

Not-a-Resolution #6: Keep blogging.

So far so good then.

I have also started putting some of my writing out there, if without success so far. I still plan to get a compilation of my short writing out for sale this year, and I'm aiming to work on some of my longer pieces with a view to epublishing and journal submissions. Watch this space for my inevitable JK Rowling-like triumph!

Not-a-Resolution #7: Write like the wind!

Finally, and in line with my blogging in many ways, I got back into reading in a big way, thanks to the Kindle app on my phone and not having to lug hardbacks around on the train. I want to keep that up.

Not-a-Resolution #8: Keep reading.

So, that was 2014 and this is 2015. I hope it treats you well.

* I see resolutions as a means to disappoint yourself, so these are guidelines, not fixed goals.

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