It seems that there needs to be some sort of fundamental shift in the global geopolitical picture in order to get me to write a blogpost nowadays; and the last one, on the collapse of Afghanistan, I didn’t even get around to publishing. The time for that seems long passed, now. We’re in yet another future—one where not only is Britain not in the EU; not only did our lives get upended by a global pandemic; not only did the previous insane US president incite a mob to attack his own capital; not only did the republican government of Afghanistan collapse like a cold soufflé; BUT the Russians have just gone and invaded Ukraine for basically no reason, and turned pretty much the entire world against them.
I must not be alone in feeling this sensation: viewing the world with the kind of uncomfortable ache of watching everything being undermined and going to shit. Kind of like I were George Lucas, having just sold Star Wars to Disney—only unlike Lucas, I have to keep going to the cinema to watch them butcher everything I thought I knew.
It’s like time is paused, that’s how it feels. As we head into another lockdown, I found myself absently sifting through my games library on Steam. It has the ability to sort by date last played, which is a harrowing experience that makes you realise actually how little time you have for games in your life these days. Some of my favourites have gone unplayed for literally years. There are games I have been big into lately and feel I played “the other day” that I haven’t touched since this time last year.
But it isn’t just that, of course. The rhythm of the day has settled into a kind of mantra: keep working, stay home, don’t socialise because it’s not worth the hassle. The patterns are starting to etch permanence onto how I think. I forgot there was a time when children could stay with other people if they actually wanted them there. I forgot that normally, I don’t need to sidestep back a meter if my dad wants to pass me in the hall.
In any case, the sensation is like time isn’t moving. Or–it is, alarmingly so, but nothing is changing; as the months fly off the calendar. I feel like the stress has aged me ten years. We’re all holding out for a return to normality, I know, but it helps to remind oneself that there is such a thing.
Speaking of returning to normality, it’s the US election. I wonder if there’ll be a return to sane & actually respectable statesmanship too? I’m not holding out much hope on that one.
Tomorrow the UK will significantly loosen its lockdown precautions and –boy– it’s been a fun few months hey? Feels as though this year is going to be like one of those days where you wait for everyone to be free, spending time procrastinating and not really doing anything; only to have it all fall through and just end up going to bed, making a note to try again tomorrow.
It shouldn’t have to, though. For someone like me with all the resources (besides time) still very much at my disposal for what I do, it should’ve been an opportunity for me to get on unhindered and somehow maximise on the situation. And what is the situation, exactly?
Yes, given that this is the single biggest change to human behaviour to have happened in my lifetime, I should probably say something about it. Covid-19, otherwise known as the coronavirus, crept up on just about everyone. At first it was a foreign news story. Then it was a casually-dismissed threat, laughed off by arrogant politicians. Then it was a real issue, with a creeping wave of precautions. But eventually, it became apparent that containment had failed and we were all going to need to do something drastic.
Far too many ignored the warnings and carried on regardless. In the UK, as in many places, government was eventually forced to bring in a lockdown: no travel except essential, no visitors even family, work from home except if that isn’t possible; in which cases, don’t work at all unless you’re providing essentials for people to live. If you’re reading this today, you probably wonder why I’m bothering to explain it; just about everyone has seen something similar happen where they live; it may not be unprecedented as a pandemic, but as a social change there really has never been anything so sudden, widespread and life-altering. And the crazy thing is, if I’d posted this blog even just the start of this year, it would read like just another weird “what if” science-fiction scenario.
Another click-bait title? Seriously? (Is it still click-bait when nobody reads your blog, or does that simply make it harder to swallow that you’re doing it for the lols?)
Anyway — so recently I was looking into getting a new compact PC to play Planet Zoo on the TV in the dining room. While researching such devices, I came across this rather severe little asterisk footnote at the end of the specifications block:
This would appear to suggest that not only does the industrial chemical Antimony trioxide give you cancer (the State of California knows this), but it is also somehow packaged with the entirely package-less Windows 10 software. In other words, Windows 10 gives you cancer! …says the State of California, anyway. Shots fired.
It’s around this time of year I get all nostalgic for videogames I got as Xmas presents: Age of Empires, Baldur’s Gate 2… Mount & Blade Warband. Actually, I didn’t get that one as a present, so I’m not sure where the association comes from. But I’m also reminded of where I was this time last year, and it seems like every year it gets more unbelievable how little I’ve progressed.
This time last year, I was attempting NaNoWriMo again in order to finish the sequel (or one of them) to Cloudgazer. In it, there’s a scene where we get a look into the past of the main character Kiy, shortly after he became separated from his little sister Julene. There is this one scene where a young Kiy is bracing himself for the harsh reality that it may take him as long as a year to find her, as unbearable as that sounds. Those who read the first book (and the start of this one) know however, that Kiy will still be looking for her some 11 years later. I can sympathise with Kiy here, as I feel this is how so many of my project timescales go when I think back to the aspirations of my younger self.
I can scarcely believe it’s been 18 months since I last published something on this blog. I swore not to do any more of these “oh look how long its been I promise to write more soon” bullshit posts, so I suppose that’s probably why. What you don’t see, is the mountain of unfinished drafts that have been started in the interim, but which have not yet achieved a degree of quality or completion yet that I feel they’re ready for the great wild web.
So here we are. I’m still trying to write, and code games. I have a new day-job, web development, but I’m still working on pretty much all the things I was working on at the start of 2018. Scratch that, at the start of 2017 things didn’t look all that different. It’s tough to maintain momentum. But if talking about it will help, perhaps this is what I need.
The most significant thing that has happened is that I have gained a daughter; Lucy and I are now proud parents. That might seem to put stagnating timescales of personal projects into perspective, but as she’s only been around for a month or so I don’t think that’s fair on her.
Life, uh… finds a way I guess. Of getting in the way. One way or the other.
But I feel optimistic. Parenthood is an exciting time, and honestly, it is no exaggeration to say I am inspired every day. I never claimed to be the greatest person at time management. But perhaps, if I could just improve it a little, the fruits of all the years of work on so many projects might start to at least see the light of day.
Isn’t it outrageous when headlines grab people’s attention with a bunch of downright lies? The only trouble is… sometimes, as in the case of this one, they are true.
‘Technically’ is one of those sort of words that hides a whole underworld of meaning under a modest, unassuming exterior. Sometimes, the technicalities make all the difference. So, read on for the *gasp* shocking truth about the atmosphere your doctor doesn’t want you to know! Number eight will enrage you.
So I have about half a dozen posts pending publication (and the rest) which are fairly in-depth and thus need to be tightened up a whole lot more. With the UK “Surprise” Election coming up this week (and last year’s ranting on the referendum being my last post of substance), it seemed that now was as good a time as any to talk about politics. You know; when you’re pretty much sick to death of hearing about it.
Lately, I’ve been getting incredibly frustrated with something, but I don’t really know what that something is. I have a grating, itchy discomfort somewhere in my brain that commands me to let things out. Why? Because there are too many people that are friggin’ wrong about everything.
When in discourse, it is healthy and desirable to seek opinions and arguments contrary to your own. I am keen and receptive to the other sides from my viewpoint; I’ve actively sought it. However, I think in this I’ve reached a critical juncture where I’m about done. I’ve heard enough bull from people that wouldn’t know a fact if it gave them an enema. I can’t stand to read another paragraph of supposedly witty quasi-intellectual defence of human stupidity, purporting to be “fair” by simply picking the mean between two arguments. And discussions with those who confuse emotional distress for logical reasoning are getting tiresome.
I’ve not got much excuse for having done so little with the site in the last 6-12 months, besides a wedding but I may be rather milking that one. It soon became clear that my neglect had worse effects than just my overactive guilty conscience: another useless timewaster somewhere in the world decided to write a script that makes my website turn into a spam emitter unless I keep wordpress constantly updated. Seriously, I feel like all I do in life these days is update things.
So if you’re joining us in the future, why not laugh at the idiotic people of today for (amongst other things) trying, unsuccessfully, to block GM salmon from being sellable in the US, without actually having any reasons. Can you believe people used to be this ignorant?? I know, right! Luckily we get there in the end.
If you’re joining us from the present; congratulations! You have remarkably unlikely timing. Or you check my site every day and are therefore part of my Fan Club. I love you guys.
However, if you’re joining us from the past; awesome! You’ve got the time travel thing sorted. Big props to you, it’s a toughie.