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Am I repeating myself in the Firefly and Serenity quotes for post titles yet? Feels like I might be.

Anyway. The year remains a tough one, with August just shyly outpeforming July in the positivity thing, but not by much. I survived, and maybe that's enough. I've had nothing but brighter tomorrows promised to be all year, and it seems to me I've stumbled through a fair few tomorrows that always seem to conveniently procrastinate that knowledge.

I have, for whatever reason, become fond of Twitter again, and am continuing to daftly pursue a freelance writing career, if only because pursuing a regular career is somewhat more daft.

As far as freelance endeavours go, I managed to secure a job writing for a visual novel phone game company, which initially was very exciting and even at just the right side of not dreadfully paid, although Upwork likes to take a truly gargantuan cut and then smile and say they're helping freelancers out. The visual novel itself isn't anything lewd, but nonetheless I had the enjoyment of coming up with a corny if lovely story and submitting the overview for payment. Payment of any kind in my direction is always to be encouraged.

Mostly because I can barely afford to eat and would like to provide for Milkshake, who to her credit goes some way to providing for me too.

Anyway, this French startup sends me all their vigorous gumph, by which I mean guidelines to how to write the visual novel script, and I get to work. 3,000 words, the guideline says, and many more instructions that turn out false besides. So some other frog-man strolls in on the online chat app thingy and says no no, this is wrong for X Y Z reason, and now I gotta fix it.

I sulk for a week and bash out some nonsense the evening after he politely asks where the update is.

It's possible I'm not very good at this.

It's all fine in the grand scheme of things, but for the last eighteen months or so the world has seen fit to admonish me whenever I get excited in writing something and put some passion into it, and quite frankly the world is wrong.

So the perpetuity of that false truth annoys me greatly. And there's still the skittishness of folks to contend with too - some upbeat agency sort gets back to me the other day for a proposal I submitted months ago, organises an online conference for us to 'discuss the way forward', then bails at the last minute. Aggrannoying.

I'm fielding other opportunities or whatever you want to call it, and trying to scratch by as and how I can. I really sincerely am. Scrolling through these freelance things is a bit like parking up the ship and finding a job in Elite Dangerous, except there's a trillion other ships also there after the same thing. And lots of weird prove-yourself nonsense that it's surprisingly difficult to tolerate when you've - happy, grateful remark actually coming - had the good fortune of actually working for nearly ten years, on and off, as an established and paid writer.

Been a long strange trip, right?

Also, I take sodding lovely pictures in Elite Dangerous, I do. Nobody cares, but I don't care they don't care, I like to do it. Me and my spaceship. God, that's a weird yet enticing game.

Anyway, relationship's going splendidly, people more or less leave me alone, I've much time to do as I please, and if my health ever actually affords me any modicum of energy and even-keeled straightforward existence in any way, I might even be able to actually accomplish something soon.

September is always a lucky month for me, and August is always a dour one. Things will continue to improve.

Things will continue to improve.

Out of Gas... Again

Why make an effort when even the most valiant of them is immediately quashed?

It's easy to believe that I'm having a dreadful year. It's hard to remember everything's basically a series of compelling fictions. I have all this excitement and passion that nobody wants.

Neighbours meddle in my affairs and money sinks through my pockets as soon as I dare admit that I have it. Job interviews promise feedback they never give, and I've got so addled in excitement at a romanticised freelance life I've been wasting my time flapping my urgencies at pretty much everyone on Upwork ever. That site is one heck of a weird jungle, isn't it?

I guess that the problem is that my skillsets aren't altogether unique, not in the corporate writing space. I could use my unique writing abilities to write another book, if I thought anyone would have any inclination to buy one. But honestly, I feel stuck. Honestly, it feels like just one more dead end.

And I can't afford more dead ends sitting here with an empty bank account and vague promises from all and, indeed, sundry, of some wonderful better tomorrow for my soul. Every direction I take is a dead end and it's crushing and lonely, for all the support and love I get.

Last night, Milkshake and I revealed the truth to each other, that if we weren't in one another's lives and our individual lives happened to end, that'd be OK. That was actually a load off my mind. It wasn't some sombre thing, nor some love crazy suicidal pact, but rather a deep appreciation for how terrible this planet and its denizens can be, and a quiet acknowledgement that we could, indeed, go silent into that good night if afforded reason.

I don't even know where I'm going with this. I just can't see a way out. Trapped indefinitely in maudlin poverty.

It's Dangerous to Go Alone

Don't be alarmed, but I've been thinking about death a lot the last few months. How's that for a promising way to open a blog post following one dripping in malaise and apathy back in March?

Thing is, I lead quite a contented existence nowadays, quite a happy life, albeit punctuated with pockets of unpleasantness as all lives must be and, I daresay, with far less unpleasantness than many lives and far less unpleasantness than there used to be. That's gotta be progress, right? Surely.

Anyway, I've been thinking about death a lot, but it's all in a sort of memento mori sense - look it up - that makes it all quite a peaceful appreciation of the nothingness we're all bound to become. You know? What better incentive is there to appreciate the time you're given than to be consistently cognizant that it's going to end - and for the most part, that you've no idea when?

It sounds morbid, and to many it is - maybe it's a Scorpio thing, who even knows. Questions weary me nowadays, and I drift between days in a slow, languid roll. The irony that I now live the kind of long drawling do-nothing days I have indeed chronicled here to have been spending the best part of a decade escaping is not lost on me.

Not much irony is lost on me altogether, to be honest. Anyway, I'm job hunting nowadays, and isn't that fun?

I'm spending an inordinate amount of my time a) working around the incompetence of other people and 2) waiting for things.

Does that seem right to you?

It doesn't matter - it is what it is. I work as little as I can these days, which is the sort of wonderful feeling I can only implore you to encourage. You'd be surprised how little it impacts your productivity. How much of what you actually do, work wise, is productive?

Moreover, and more bluntly, I'll work hard when I'm given something worth working fucking hard about.

This year, I'm yet to see that manifest to be perfectly honest. And that's fine, because it's apparent to me that this is a transitional year - it's a year on its way everywhere else. Like 2017 was to an extent, but that was more about old things dying and a new relationship blossoming. Said relationship is going splendidly, I'm happy to say. With challenges, as all things are, but I'm remarkably well looked after, in the ways I've more or less always wanted, and you can't really ask more than that.

But let's sidestep to death and finality for a minute. No, no, stick with me here, I promise there's a decent point to be made. Remember I mentioned I'm job hunting? Remember I mentioned I'm being buffeted about by the incompetence of other people? Let's go over this a moment.

Essentially, I'm now on the other side of a wind-down period at the copywriting agency I was in. As of 22nd June 2018, I've been shuffled onwards with some truly meagre redundancy pay. Seriously, it barely warrants mention. I'm all for attitude of gratitude and all that, but come along now. I'll stop fucking whinging when I've stopped being in fucking poverty. It's been years, and I deserve better, anyone does. Nobody deserves this perpetual hunger.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaanyway. Maybe there's some latent anger here? Of course there is. You can practically hear Starlet screaming - and yes, she's still here. Always here.

Point is, back around April or May time, our rapidly shrinking online agency team were told what many of us suspected - right as I stopped trying to clandestinely search for new jobs, which in hindsight was a mistake. In short, we were told that the business was folding, basically being wound down in Norwich to be set up elsewhere in the country. We were all a few months from being let go during a wind down period.

Now, as this blog attests, I've lived my life long enough to know how this'd go down. When I lose a relationship or a job, life ensures I have a long period of isolation for unfathomable and unreasonable reasons. I was therefore entirely unsurprised, and even a mite amused, when literally every other member of my team landed a cushy new local job in town almost immediately and I blundered around getting rejection letters and, until recently, not a single job interview. The office closed, I worked a few weeks from home as part of a strange agreed notice period, the work dried up without anyone to really assign it to me, and I essentially got paid a salary for goofing around on the PlayStation 4, hiding from the summer sunshine and, every so often, having lovely sex.

Not a bad thing to earn a salary for and, as you can perhaps appreciate, part of the reason why I can't feel too hard done by as such. Getting paid for just living my life is basically the dream.

In any case, you can see how this ties into my theme of suffering for others' incompetence, and I shan't bore you with how that phenomenon manifests to this day in other aspects of my life nowadays, conjuring complexities that ought not be. But as for how this ties into death, into finality, well. Work ethics versus a deadline become very intriguing.

With everyone knowing their jobs had been made forfeit to facilitate the office relocation, the sense of tension, of effort and of investment in the office changed, becoming more carefree and lighthearted. I realised how the impending finality brought out the reality in people, eased their burdens and worries... and I realised that if everyone could just realise how temporary everything is, and remember the finality - memento mori - worries would be fewer, personalities would be more genuine, and you'd not needlessly exert yourself on things you can do with minimal effort.

Effort doesn't equate the quantity of success in anything. I'm still finding that out for myself as I desperately try to uncomplicate my life, with help from Milkshake and the like. If you can breeze your way into and out of things, why shouldn't you?

I want a new simple well paid job, to move somewhere where my neighbours aren't noisy kids, nosey mums and abject arseholes, and to enjoy life in simplicity and comfort.

So I will.

When You Can't Run

Somehow, whenever I come back and start writing here, I remember all the old formatting tricks. It's ingrained, I guess - and with twelve years and counting of my inner thoughts bubbling around the place, why wouldn't it be?

Granted, entries are far fewer and further between nowadays, but it's perhaps... good and right that that's the case. Yet with all that's gone on, all that's kept me occupied, bustling, lazy and everything in between, here I am. Writing.

Writing is all I do these days
, which is to be expected when you make a living from it I suppose, although in my current state of secret ennui I tend to do as little as I can reasonably get away with. Sometimes I get called out for that, but most other times I'm praised for a kind of ramshackle excellence I'm making no effort to perpetuate.

Although life is sweet, tonight, I feel down. That's a passing emotional fancy, and I daresay one that'll pass in time, but part of me also feels it's the default state of void-stuff I tend to emotionally return to when all the lights and clockwork fade. When the videogames stop and the girlfriend is away and the friends are smiling elsewhere and the family please themselves.

So in terms of updates? Well, 2017 ended and 2018 began, all with the lack of fanfare I daresay they deserved. Life's become complicated for everyone and the wind hasn't stop blowing up on the lonely hill where I live since September. Seriously, it just always windy and it's annoying.

I had a birthday in November, which proved far more complex socially than it needed to, but people's support was nice I guess. I realise it sounds ungrateful, but then I also don't go to birthday parties and make the host do all the running around entertaining while insulting them for the pleasure. I'm funny and old fashioned like that. Worth mentioning i got abjectly spoiled by Milkshake both for the birthday and Christmas, and I feel awful for never having the funds to reciprocate. How does she do so much with so little?

Her presence continues to teach as much as her belligerent mother's presence continues to infuriate. Milkshake might read that sentence there one day and become terribly cross with me, and so she should, but she'd also sign resignedly at the truth of the matter, I'm sure. I don't know. I'm trying to combat the fact that when she and I aren't sharing company I feel listless, but at least I'm not making relationships and the acquisition thereof the be all and end all of my existence any more.

In other news, work continues to be intense in its volume, and increasing - yet money never seems to.
Straits just keep getting e'er more dire there, near as I can tell. It invites ingenuity though - so for example, I stream an advanced computer to a Shadow PC box nowadays rather than own a pricey computer. It works well enough when it wants to, no better or worse than any physically owned PC might decide not to work one day without cause. Plus when you're paying someone for a service, they are beholden to fix it, not you. It's nice.

Lots is nice these days, the more I think about it. I'm more distanced from various social circles but seem to be enjoying it, which is ironic considering how much of the posts herein all screamingly ache for company of some kind. Don't get me wrong, I'm bitterly and destitutely lonely even as I write this, but I think I've somehow identified that this feeling is always going to be with me and nothing - no success, no love, no circumstance - is ever really going to change that.

Beyond that? Love/hate relationships with games like Elite Dangerous who makes gameplay work and I somehow get stuck into it, but I'm weaning off that process now. Assassin's Creed Origins was a dreadful bore, locking open world antics behind levels nobody needed to gate content artificially to create busywork. I love Persona 5 and am catching up with old Final Fantasy games, a far cry from my once infamous loathing thereof. Probably Prompto's fault.

Still don't get Stardew Valley. That game's a lot of work too.

It's just cold all the time in Norwich these days, with snowy showers of unrivalled immensity welcoming us into the springtime. It's been fun, but is growing stale, like so much else. My current jobs, being careful what I wish for here, have also ran their courses. They're boring now, and other people keep making stupid mistakes and half-arsing their jobs to make mine more tricky than they need to be. Useless and pointless.

I'm not sure why I'm feeling so negative. I think I just feel stagnant, and you know how much that always makes me edgy. Always hungry. Always on the poverty line. too tired to even go out to the shops and get the juices or water my body's crying out for. So tired, so very tired. So very, very tired.
Believe it or not, I didn't intend to leave this sitting stagnant for over a year. There've been countless occasions I've contemplated adding things to all this and it's simply not occurred. I know, I'm awful. But it also means there's plenty to chronicle, so hooray. Maybe.

As you might expect, much has changed. Read over the last entry and you'll find a load of Bull, rather literally, and some Inara wangst on my part. In the interceding year -- not long after that post, in fact -- both such individuals have left my life. Inara through floaty aloof ways, in which she ended up with someone else (and that's fine, as it seems we weren't really a match no matter how much all and sundry harangued me to the contrary), and Bull through his own poor impulse control.

How to remark on all this concisely? Basically, you've likely seen how Bull had an eye for the ladies, despite... well, already living with a lady. Boy liked to have his cake and eat it, and it all came to a head when some German geek chic girls swung through town. Nights out with Bull led into a sordid emotional affair on his part that soon blossomed into the real thing, and while I'm happy to stand by and watch people sow their own discord from time to time, I do have this awful habit of taking things personally.

So when it was revealed to me that he'd been telling his understandably upset live-in girlfriend, when she discovered his philandering, that I was purportedly the one inviting him to go out and chase girls -- literally a role reversal of how it always went down -- I cut ties. He didn't take it well at first, and made all sorts of hot smoke about it all, but I quietly ignored him because I am, contrary to popular opinion, an unpleasant individual.

That all hit its head in the first few weeks of 2017, and so I'm enjoying having had almost a full year free of Bull. As much as he helped me when I was down and out, I will not tolerate being a scapegoat for one's own lack of responsibility and culpability. Without his influence, my friends are more open (transpires nobody I knew liked him!) and social events are much freer, as am I to not have to be babysitting the dopey fucker.

Work wise, things progress decently. I'm grateful to have regular writing work, and although it's not always scintillating, the people I work with on all my assignments are consistently nice. In a similar vein, I relaunched Freerale, my steamfunk book, once again. This is part of a big literary endeavour that I'll get onto shortly.

Friendships throughout this past year have been supremely nourishing, and I've also finally put a stop to my poor choices of relationships. After some awkward situations in pursuing someone I shouldn't -- not for moral reasons, it just, again, was a bad match in a multi-month chronicle I quietly tabulate internally as "Pretty Receptionist Saga 2.0", I spent much of this year alone, casually seeing one or two people for a date or two before meeting, quite by chance while out with friends, my current partner, whom we shall dub Milkshake for reasons we ought not get into.

Tentative forays at first have led to a sweet and, dare I say it, quite fairytale love affair in which we've moved pretty fast, albeit cautiously and with support from both our social circles. My Pisces girlfriend dresses almost exclusively in black, is big on New Age stuff, loves gaming, hates people -- all qualities I adore. While her mouth may run in some unsavoury directions at times, in a manner quite vexatious, I know how to deal with impulsive people -- and it's not like I can take any moral high ground. I love her very dearly and her influence in my life has been one of sublime healing and grace. She's also massively funny, which is the ultimate aphrodisiac for me.

There's been travel since I wrote here last too. A work team trip to Lisbon this January past, which I found very soothing and moving. A little too much to drink perhaps, but the city is beautiful and the people mostly relaxed and kind. The food's good and you soon get used to literally every other man on the street offering you drugs in plain sight. I wish I knew the appeal of maijuana, I really do. There's got to me a less smelly and visually unappealing way for you endearing little duckies to relax for five minutes.

Gaming wise, I'm of course always giving it some welly. I have fallen massively in love with two Japanese games in the last year I never thought I'd touch -- Persona 5 and Final Fantasy XV.

Naturally, Persona's oddball story and visually arresting black and red motifs for everything it does make it something of a no-brainer, but XV surprised me with its loveable characters (except Gladio, who we likened to my former friend Bull with tongue firmly in cheek even before his exited my lifestream). I love Prompto because he reminds me so much of myself, to the extent that I went a bit mad in the first few months of this year and, to this day, model my hairstyle after his with limited success. Read his character profile, his traits, his antics to hide his hurt, and tell me that's not a prettier version of me.

He's absolutely wonderful.

Financially, I'm almost always circling the drain, although I daresay buying the Nintendo Switch at launch didn't help. Nowadays I'm doing my utmost to resist hype for stuff instead of buying everything at launch and the like. I'm also renting games more, in more recent months.

Turning thirty! Turning thirty in November 2016 was wonderful. It's an age I've always sort of idealised as being a little more balanced and even keeled. It's not quite there yet, but I definitely have enjoyed my first months of thirtydom infinitely more than my fucking atrocious twenties, the majority of which are chronicled here. While it's true that youth's veneer begins to fade and it's all very sobering, I'm still loving being this age. I have good feelings for this decade.

For my birthday, everyone attended my favourite bar and coffee shop in the world for a night of drinking and being dressed in black and red. Everyone was kind, everyone was giving. It cemented the notion that finally I have a good and robust social circle to which I can extend my trust.

Let's see, what else bears mention...? It's all going OK - better than last year, perhaps, and far nicer than 2015. I'm holding my expectations for 2018, simply because I seldom plan anything these days. This is the one major challenge I'm looking to come, beyond my own emotional instability. I want to have a life plan of some kind and not always feel forced into living month by month, trying to make money ends meet when they're reticent to do so.

I want to crush my debts and build a meaningful existence, and perhaps even ascend to a more lucrative career position. Although, you know me -- I'd want that eventuality to contain as little hard work as possible.

Not THAT much has changed in a year, after all...

Just Looked Like... More Space

I like September. September is one of my favourite months. I always tend to have pretty good luck whenever September rolls around, at least as far as the last few years have gone, anyway. 2016 is no slouch as far as that's concerned, because there's all manner of... little happy things happening here and there that are saving my bacon or making my life just that little bit more lovely. I continue to enjoy strong ties with brilliant people across the board, and in areas of work, rest and play, I've got a nifty balance. My mind is anxiously busy though. My mind doesn't seem to want to stop spinning, and it's making it difficult to keep... abreast of what the good stuff is, you know? I am focusing on the bad a lot lately. Looking at what's not there, which is fine and all, but... these things that are going on, they only ever happen in bursts, so I have to be present, I have to be in the moment.

The bad news is, I've delved into financial rack and ruin again. It's pretty severe. I'm spending this whole month fighting, and in earnest, I feel like I've been fighting for so long now that I've lost all focus and drive in... the things that really matter. So I let things slide, all the time, or let the house and garden get into its dear yet sorrowful state, or just plain don't look after myself. I spend my days urgently scraping up the energy to fight back X, Y or Z problem, do so, and then melt away somewhere.

My life's in a position now where I need to remain constantly switched on. I'm connecting with great friends, not least since Bull is so distracted with his own shenanigans as to stop poisoning my lifestream. I'm having to chase my tail as far as money goes, over and over and over. I'm also reasonably active as far as my dating life goes, or at least moreso than I've ever been at any other point in life. That makes it sound like this amazing big super thing, and I guess maybe it is, but... I dunno. It's all rather transient.

And Inara? Don't get me started.
I know, I know, we were making headway. Well, now we ain't. girl done fell off the map, is all. So I stopped getting in touch, because every time I invited her to do anything she found a reason why we couldn't, so I'm like... sure, OK, hint taken. I got the date with you I said I wanted, I can cash it in here and we can go our separate ways happy.

People around me ain't so adamant on letting it slide. I am fine on letting my feelings burn about a bit and peter out on their own, because I'm nearly 30 and suddenly insanely mellow about everything, to the point that almost nothing excites me as much as almost nothing really fazes me. Is this normal?

Either way, everyone else was jumping up and down on the Inara issue, culminating in Benz telling me that at her acoustic gig, for Inara is a musician, said Inara person had mentioned how I don't text any more and maybe she'd upset me and apparently she 'looked sad'.

Well, la di da, princess. You're calling me out ofr being unresponsive?

Now, let's not lie. I'm a bit of a bastard. I was fully intending to go to Inara's gig, we had discussed it a little, but I elected not to because ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha no fuck you why am I chasing you so you can pick and choose when to engage me?

So I missed her gig, on purpose, after saying I'd go, knowing fully it was stupid and petty of me and expecting her to not exactly care too much, hence me being so stunned when my friends reported in what they did, and dropping hints about how she was wearing black and red, what if she did that for me? Yeah, doubtful. Either way, I got in touch, Inara even miraculously answered the same day, I asked how she was and... nope. That's it.

I was out on the night of her gig, of course. Out on a jaunt, 'twas but a caper to the new bar I go to every so often, where they were having a night of music by female electro DJs. Wasn't necessarily my notion for going, of course, but it wasn't exactly a dissuasive factor.

While out, I was messaged by and ultimately met up with a young woman I'd already had a date with recently. I hadn't been certain said date had gone well enough to warrant another, buy young miss thought otherwise, and she's in her thirties which is kind of hot to me for some reason. Anyway, we met up, we headed to the bar and suddenly... there it is. Out of nowhere, entirely without my prior planning, it's tipsy talking under low light, then it's abruptly the kiss-barrier broken, and then suddenly we're off to her apartment.

Yes, really. Apparently I lead a life now where if I'm annoyed at a particular woman, not only will I passively-aggressively not show up to her special event where everyone else coos around her telling her how amazing she is, but life will actively orchestrate spontaneously presenting someone else for me to sleep with on the same evening.

Now, I know that's damn petty, but it broke a few traditions I at no point wanted to be a part of anyway. Why should I waste my time with who my friends keep telling me to go for when she can't be bothered with me? Why shouldn't I instead spend time with people who are into making... progress? Ahem.

Anyway. Whole thing's got me spun about. I don't actually know how to do any of this sort of thing, in terms of the... swiftness of it all, you know? What's this, suddenly go from barren wasteland to full beef platter? Girl's insanely slender, too. You've no idea.

Not that that's important, but I become a bastard when things don't go my way and just find other elements in life that go my way. Whole financial situation has me frustrated like you cannot believe. Life's happy and smiley, my jobs are both singing my praises, everything is coming up roses, but between certain frustrations and the consistent, undying heat of a summer that simply will not fuck off and die and give us some half decent autumn temperatures, I'm just on the raggedy edge all the time.

I'm really tired of fighting and just keep making more reasons why I have to fight. It's not what I want to be any more, and in one year I've managed to craft, with utmost help from all manner of directions, a really nice life with good people, good prospects, good pay and good times. I'm attracting the kind of women I never knew I could, people seem to sing my praises for the slightest thing and life often conspires to reach over and rub my belly whenever things look to be in a slump.

So why am I so furious?

Took me ten years to get here, I guess... maybe that's part of it?

Do The Job, Get Paid

Hubris. Hubris is a heck of a thing, isn't it?

Let's talk about Banana Bread, for instance. That's the translated username of someone I played at Hearthstone this morning. You know me, I do like a bit of Hearthstone. He was playing, extremely well I might add, as Anduin Wrynn, who's not a bad character as such, were it not for the bizarre decision that the designers of Hearthstone made to have Anduin, a devout and pious Priest of the Light, use most of his cards to steal from people.

Why is this a thing? How does it make any sense for a Priest to steal from his opponents?

Such a git.

Anyway, so I managed to hold my own for a while with my piratical Rogue deck, which also specialises in stealing stuff, but nowhere near as much as Anduin can because, for whatever reason, Rogues aren't given anywhere near as much chance to steal stuff as Priests are. I know, right?

In any event, the point is, Banana Bread Anduin over there knows he's got me beat. I know he's got me beat, but I'm going down swinging, getting duff hand after duff hand and flailing to get it out onto the board. Bread's countering my every move. Bloody Bread. Stuff you, Bread.

He's also got the Auchenai Soulpriest on the table, which means that any of his healing powers instead turn to damage. He's stealing everything in my deck and then some, as well as making up new ways to steal things I haven't even got hold of myself yet. All his healing magic has been turned to darkness and is sapping my HP to the terrible, terrible zero.

And then, whilst throwing out many sardonic 'Well Played' remarks, Mr Anduin Banana Bread plucks out Reno Jackson. Reno Jackson is an almighty card that heals you up to full health if certain conditions are met. It was a smug final blow, it would seem, to crush me beneath his onslaugfht at fully restored health, 'Well Played' hanging tastelessly in the air all the while. I watched the screen with a semblance of dread.

But of course, Bread had the inverted healing thing going on, so instead of immediately granting himself full health, he instead did enough damage to himself to take him far into negative hitpoints and IMMEDIATELY EXPLODED, leaving me momentarily bemused before yowling a screeching laugh of realisation and crumpling over guffawing at the action.

See? Hubris.

Hubris is a killer. It's got me plenty of times, and now - in these days of delightful success and abundance - I've got to be careful that I don't unravel what its basically a year's work.

And it has, you know. It has been a very, very long year, as well as a particularly remarkable August. Usually August is a flat and lifeless month, with this August initially proving little in the way of altering that perspective as it proceeded. Grand swathes of tedium and unpleasantness marred by pockets of highly pleasant and delightful company, as well as the odd speight of troublesome if forgettable behaviour by Bull. Pretty standard stuff, and par for the course, but... I was getting frustrated, because sometimes you just know there should be more happening.

As you're aware from the last entry, I'd successfully secured an outing with Inara for the end of August, although a big part of me refused to believe it, thinking for whatever reason she'd duck out of it at some point or another. Her hustle and bustle ensured that she'd go anywhere from a couple of days to an out-and-out week between message responses, which had me... annoyed, but... I dunno. I felt like I could close my bets, if you know what I mean. As in, I'd always wanted to ask her out, I'd done so, so whatever happens it's still a good thing, you know?

And then I suddenly started meeting and/or getting closer to tons of people all within the space of a week for no adequately explained reason.

By which I mean female people! So now I gotta get through this with no hubris! What's up with that?

Luckily, it seems to be going OK. There are two amazing people at work I'm super fond of, let's not lie here. One of them is the new manager, who's unbelievably nice. Like, super nice, even when her smile hides this inner sadness or feeling of inadequacy or somesuch, I don't know. She's unbelievably pretty and the way she and I interact... sometimes gets me thinking. It feels like she gets nervous around me sometimes, although I'm pretty sure she's spoken for. Maybe I'm legitimately terrifying. But there are certain things and mannerisms she does at work that seem... maybe too based in fondness for work environs? I don't even know.

I have such a hard time talking about when I think women like me, because I'm usually actively rummaging for reasons why they shouldn't. It feels bullish, if not Bull-like, to talk about girls liking me. She in the street giving me the lingering looks, she the other day with the soft smile and sidelong stare although we're strangers, this new manager, the New Age writer girl in the office too... gosh, she's delightful too. Oh dear.And she's been leaning a little more on the clutch too, albeit not overtly. She's coaxed one of the other writers, a more senior lady, to say, "You're quite the pair you two, aren't you?!" to our copious shenanigans.

Said shenanigans mostly revolve around banter back and forth, of course. But she hints at camaraderie every so often. "We'll do our own pub quiz and it'll be even better", she'll say, or "I got that tattoo just to impress you, Tony!"

None of it's serious of course, but even so. I bumped into her the other night in one of my favourite bars while out with Benz and some of our friends after a gig my friend did (and it turns out he knows someone I've been to school with who've I've now been reintroduced to after 15 years, which is a whole other story I can't even begin getting into right now).

But this writer girl was there - Mononoke, let's call her, after her Ghibli tattoo - and I greeted her on the way in after seeing her through the bar window and tried not to think too hard about the guy she was sitting with, because ignorance is bliss and overthinking will drive you mad. I barely think about anything any more. Except my finances, which I keep messing up and giving myself hungry weeks over. Not clever. I'm on the cusp of overcoming debts and I keep tipping myself back over the edge like an imbecile.

Anyway, a little later into the evening, Mononoke wanders over and says hello and gives me a half-hug, all of which is a bit baffling given we're work colleagues, and we talk a little bit about not much because we're both quite tipsy. She bids farewell, goes back to her friend and I have to sheepishly explain to Benz, her boyfriend and my other frieands, all knowing smirks, who that attractive brunette in the miniskirt just was. Then she emails me the next day on my work email saying how nice it was to have bumped into me.

What's going on here?! Because we're not even at the part where Rumblecorn decided we should hang out again

Yep, I'd closed the book on that little odyssey, but there it was, and she's all flirtatious texts and such, so I thought... sure, why not? Rumblecorn was recently revealed to me to be one of Bull's exes and she's wanting to hang out because it's almost time for her to leave town so let's see if I can at least coax a kiss into happening before she's off and away and for God's sake, stop looking at me like that, there are things I need to be taking care of right now, OK?

Ugh. Anyway.

Rumblecorn and I meet up after her work, but it turns out she's brought a friend to introduce to me, and it turns out this same individual - a pigtailed little green-eyed blonde with a fixation on death, dark humour and general madness - is coming with us.

Wasn't my plan, but I quietly abandon the last minute flirting with Rumblecorn plan and take the two girls off for iced coffees. We sit in the coffee shop for a good three hours, not that we're aware of the time, talking and chuckling. Rumblecorn drops a few hints, which Quinntails over there starts backing up with subtlety only a Sagittarius can so endearingly fail to provide: "Well, you ARE single now..." and the like.

I'm not sure how to react to that sort of thing, so I don't, which for whatever reason always seems to help matters. So that's that whole avenue of intrigue opened up that I've not even followed. The meet-and-greet all ended with Quinntails saying she's up for hanging out more ("I really like you a lot, you've got a morbid sense of humour."), and then she thanked me for the coffee in an adorable bobbing-pigtails half-bow and was on her way.

So that's things to think about right there. Then I accidentally got asked out by an attractive Irirish girl who's the sister of a comedian I know, but let's wait a spell before getting to that because I'm sounding horribly smug at the moment.

I'll take a little time to confirm that two board games nights have occurred since last I blogged here, one of which was mine and lovely, the other of which was Bull's and lovely. I've given him his own one on purpose when asked to do one at another venue to keep him busy and out of my way. It was a pretty good night, all told, although he's already asked me to make the playlist for the next games night he has. Because my playlists are awesome.

He's been up to no good here and there - nothing too drastic. I just need to be sure he doesn't lead me astray. Saying no to him more often, even outright making up reasons why we can't hang out, has done me all manner of kindness. I'm in a really good place in life right now, and as cruel as it may be to say of someone who'd been so instrumental in the healing and reclamation journey this past year's been about - of which I'm so proud and grateful - I'm having to revisit his relevance. It reached a saturation point where I was almost like a sidekick character to Bull's life story of epic heroics... such as those are.

So since then, standing on my own two feet more, I've been doing OK. Of course, it's still apparent that Bull has his own agenda that intersects with mine as and when it's convenient, and I definitely feel that my insistence, however indirectly, on my own independence rather than being a perpetual ego crux has had an effect on his behaviour. Even if he's not immediately aware of it. He didn't come to my games night, for example, which actually helped matters. I've kept him entirely in the dark about any and all female individuals with whom I've spent time and/or developed interest, to prevent any intervention, as well as any questioning. That still didn't prevent him from getting Inara on his radar of his own volition, which we'll get to shortly.

Anyway, sorry, yes. I got accidentally asked out by a nice Irish girl, because she's new in town and was looking for decent places to go, so I recommended my favourite place in town. She said she'd head there the next day, so I said that if I happened to be there, please don't think I was stalking her. got to cover your hiney in this day and age as a guy, I'm telling you. But she said just come join her for coffee anyway, so I did and it was all very pleasant, although I daresay not anything that'd necessarily go anywhere. Soon as she left, Benz and all my other friends all comically leaned in close to me and began asking me all these questions as to why this gorgeous woman is here with me.

Then talk turned to Inara, of course, and then the event I invited her to finally came around, although not before she gatecrashed the pirate party on Friday without my expectation. I was already drunk by then, but so was she, and it was all a bit awkwardness on toast. Bull, of course, who wasn't even supposed to be there, was delighted at Inara's presence. He hijacked the clumsy conversation I'd managed to start and then I essentially lost her until it was time to go to the bar Bull was trying to drag me off to before the beautiful Spanish-Swedish-British girl had shown up anyway, and I was already concealing an ill temper amplified by alcohol because I'd been trying to clarify with Inara when to meet with her the next day - Saturday - to take her to the event, and she'd just cheerily fluffed it off with saying she'd confirm tomorrow.

Stop being so flighty! Yeesh.

Anyway, Inara - sensibly - declined Bull's insistence on going with us to the bar, and so away we went, because Bull wanted to go there because he'd had a bad work week.

Aww, diddums. Go drink then. No need to rope me into the caper. Of course, I was already too drunk and ended up drinking more and, well, I went further than I usually do that night, and ended up losing half of Saturday to nasty yucky feelings. I had to hold back and think of the bigger picture when Bull began cheerfully informing me how much he liked Inara's booty and how much she'd been flirting with him. I disregarded it, because I know he'll interpret you blinking at him as flirtatious if it's in his mind to do so. He tried all the noble but-alas-I-am-taken bullshit.

Ugh. There's a mess of complications I could go into following that right now, but let's not. Let's round things off by saying, yes, I actually got to spend time with Inara. She wore a pretty dotty dress and I wore a waistcoat and tie and we went to the nice classy gin evening with our friends, where she danced about the place like a social butterfly but still had plenty of conversation with me too.

She's seethingly charismatic. There was a certain thing she said and did, with a soft smile and a knowing look, that pretty much melted me where I stood. I could barely hold myself together, trying to be cool but... interested, you know? Little touches, little jokes. She'd tuck in close when I offered her a drink for no discernible reason. Some of my friends insist she really likes me a lot. She said all these things about spending more time together doing X, Y or Z thing, plus she's a huge geek so we got to talk about games for ages. She thumbed through the copy of my book Freerale that I'd given to my favourite bar, where we were for the night, and I felt all nervous as she smiled over the contents.

So even with all that's been going on, I've been having to work pretty hard to keep a level head. Inara's got a talent for getting under my skin and, even despite a smorgasbord of work and social commitments, is finally finally leaning in my direction as I get the opportunity to show, rather than tell, her why I'm worth spending time with. I've no idea how to proceed or where to invite her or anything else though, which rather terrifies me.

But what I'm really taking away from this and massively appreciating is that the changes I've made in my personal life seem to be drawing in intelligent, confident, active individuals to share my company now, which is all new to me, and massively exciting. I'll continue treading carefully, monitoring my attraction patterns and - ugh - being patient, as well as managing Bull's ego and his machinations, including his propensity for sticking his bloody, bloody, bloody beak in where it's not wanted. I guess in a perverse sort of way I sort of like managing and misdirecting the guy, as I'm in no hurry to ditch him for whatever reason. Can't be bothered with the aggro and the fallout, so I just waft distractions at him while I go about my business. When I capitulate to his insistences, things don't seem to go very well and I end up making stupid decisions.

Things to think about.

Wacky Fun


Unfortunately I'm writing with a muddled mind, which I can't help but think is a bad idea.

By and large, there's not a huge amount to report, yet... sort of is. I don't know. It feels like there's some magic underlining and underpinning everything these days, as though events are concertedly trying to create as many opportunities for me as possible. Given the state of one's dry spell, you can interpret it as you may.

Largely, things remain the same. Rumblecorn can't decide if she's off the menu or not, so we barely speak. Bull is still good company, yet also simultaneously infuriating and given to bragging and doing all manner of deeply stupid shit that he somehow gets away with, which would be annoying were it not for all the times he doesn't get away with it. It's still pedantically difficult to get through to him about the simplest of things. Five attempts the other week to drum it into him that yes, that's my pizza order you've eaten half of while I'm repeatedly telling you why it doesn't taste like your usual order which you've instead given to me.

Hahaha! It's actually comical. I feel like part of me would've lost my temper but... I dunno. I'm old, children. The benefit of that is that little stuff like that just barely registers any more. This happens as you age, and I actually quite like it.

Anyway, I could go on and on about who's doing what these days, and admittedly it's all interesting stuff - my friendship circle has been introduced to a new bar in town I accidentally discovered and now it's one of our new favourite places, alongside our existing favourite places... friendships remain strong, times remain good, although socialising can prove oh so expensive from time to time. Food and evenings out, I've tabulated, are my major expenses these days. I'm quite fortunate insofar as I've got the majority of my cash flow pretty much under control, with extremely healthy income based off my part-time office writing job that makes a great bedrock for my rolling freelance magazine contract to dutifully top up.

I've also downloaded an inexpensive visual novel creator engine, which I'm yet to fully tinker with, but I'm massively excited for being able to really make something with it. Make my own visual novel games, thus bridge the gap between my writing, my art and just my love of gaming, you know? Make a product and possibly sell it.

That's a big idea. The biggest and most exciting creative idea I've had for... I don't even know how long. It makes sense, given I've put the whole novel writing thing to one side and just plain never got around to trying ebooks. But visual novels? A videogame that uses my doodles and my writing to make a nice interactive narrative? I can get behind that, and it's a genre that seems to be on the uptake on the gaming indie scene. Intriguing times.

The intrigue stretches to potential candidates as well. Or candi-dates, if you want to be crass about the whole thing. People on the scene I've realised I could start dating, basically. It's part of that 'new magic' stuff I alluded to. Crazy, isn't it? I don't really want to be... I dunno, objectifying? I dunno. I don't really want to be that guy who just blogs about girls all the time any more. But that said, it's all interesting, how these dynamics play out. The whole thing is intriguingly synchronised with my own shifting beliefs and feelings, which I'll go into as I advance.

While I was in London for Hyper Japan, I was really pleased with noticing how I was gaining a few little looks, like quite pronouncedly interested looks and remarks from persons of the female persuasion, persons I'd normally assume wouldn't be interested in me. They say it all kicks off when you're yourself and don't try though, so as much as I hate that sentiment and don't actually think it's the answer as such, I daresay it plays into things a little.

Anyway, although Rumblecorn's fallen off the map, which is likely for the best, a fair few things have coalesced since August began. Firstly, I had a suspicion that a girl at work likes me, and now I'm pretty much certain she does. She does a lot of staring, and has started emailing me using the work email system asking questions about things that actually aren't anything to do with me because we work in different departments. Seems innocuous enough, but we've never formally spoken, so why email me? Felt like an excuse. I wouldn't even normally flatter myself in calling it that were it not for the dreamy stares she constantly throws at me during morning team meetings.

I'm not attracted to this individual, however. So that's something that can't really progress. Also, a really attractive new girl has started, replacing the really attractive girl who was already there who's now leaving. Also, one of the writer girls seems a lot more fond of me all of a sudden. And she is very attractive.

I dunno. Could be something, could be nothing - I don't mind either way, which is sort of the point, as I've resigned myself to just enjoying the experience day by day by day by day and seeing what happens.

The other element in this thick and heady intrigue-soup is the fact that I've essentially finally admitted to myself that I've got feelings for Inara.

Not deep, screaming, abyssal, urgent and in-love feelings. But definitely feelings, a fondness, an attraction that I just decided to... stop pretending I could so readily dismiss. It makes sense. I'm always writing about her and my exasperation at her flighty nature could only be born out of a desire for her to... I dunno, stand still and make good on all the intrigue she's lacing about, you know? I'm not saying the feelings make sense, because they definitely don't. I'm just saying they're there and I'm stopping the whole... blocking them out thing, or trying to talk them away.

A few things triggered this all to bubble to the surface. Firstly, she's back in town. Secondly, she responded to some of my social media stuff. I don't recall specifically as to how or why or even what I'd said, but there it was. All florid and snarky, but not maliciously so. I give as good as I get in that regard.

But I sort of realised that that's not doing anyone any favours, and I let those emotions I've harboured for Inara foam about me for a while. Let go of the notion of me being uppity and unreasonable about it. We've got lives. We're leading them. But she also dropped yet another hint, much as I felt it'd never get acted upon. She said she was definitely up for joint Pokemon hunting some time. As in the app, you know?

So that was a heck of a thing. It's not the first time she's basically loosely mentioned that good things might happen if I ask her out. And for a few days, maybe half a week, I went a bit doolally and was being all cute on Facebook like NOTICE ME SENPAI and I don't think that really helped. Also, if you call someone who thinks they're better than you better than you they'll take that ball and run with it like you don't even know.

So as circumstances played out and I got all confused, contemplating who out of all these intriguing people in my life I should give my time to, something happened. My favourite place in town is hosting a gin night at the end of the month, and that involved invitations that could have a plus-one thing going on. I feel like you know where I'm going with this.

So I got my invitation from my good friend Benz, and I thought to myself... OK. This invitation here is like the Wonka Ticket. I only get one, I only get to invite one person. Nobody's going to mind if I go to the gin tasting night on my onesies, but why should I do that when I've got like all these intriguing potential dates? And when was the last time I asked anyone out anyway?

So, I asked Inara out over messenger. Because nobody talks face to face about stuff like that any more.

And, surprising precisely nobody, she saw the message and nothing happened.

So I was like... screw it. I've admitted I feel something for this girl but it felt apparent to me that it was one-sided, so I didn't want to waste any more time. I was a bit pissed off, but also grateful because it meant I could just cleanse what seemingly were unhealthy forms of emotional attachment and get on with things. Plus, my invite, my golden ticket, still remained. Maybe I could ask out the writer girl at work. Maybe I could ask out the new girl at work. Maybe I'd wake up tomorrow and randomly meet someone to ask out for it. I set myself the challenge of finding a date for this thing by the time of the event, which is at the end of the month. I felt like that was a reasonable challenge that, as long as I approached it in a way that treated it as a fun game that didn't hurt anyone, myself included, could work out.

And then, out of nowhere, Inara messaged me back and said that she'd love to join me.



After all this hassle, all I had to do was just ask Inara out. And she said yes.

I would say it meant no more games and hint dropping, but there's still elements of that from her side. I can't tell if she's just disinterested or if she's being cautious. It always takes at least a day before she messages me back, but she actually does so now I'm not going to get excited over breadcrumbs, because that way madness lies and unhealthy attachments get formed, but it's an improvement. Her words are full and cheeky and charming. I don't really go for charisma any more because I seldom trust it, but... I dunno. No matter how I try to downplay this, I'm happy. I'm keeping it mostly to myself, apart from this whole blogging thing. But I'm happy.

I've dropped loose hints of meeting up with Inara before the event for this or that - mostly board game nights, which is a whole other story I don't want to go into now - but there's been no dice. I'm staying... healthily detached? Is that was this is? Like, if she finally gets back to me and says no, I'm like... OK, no problem. And not in a spited slighted way, just... I dunno. You've got your life, go do your thing. Thank you for confirming you're my plus one for the gin thing.

Part of me thinks she'll duck out of that, but at the same time.. why should she? The only thing I can think of is that she'd get a better offer. I can appreciate she'd likely have lots of interested suitors to consider. I daresay she enjoys it. Point is, I'm not hurting, I'm not yearning, anything like that. This is a nice feeling I'd like to enjoy. I don't even know if I'd want a full relationship with Inara and I'm purposefully not giving that any attention. I might not even take her out if she ducks out, after all. Alternatively, she and I could meet and hit it off properly. We just don't know, kids.

Given it's Benz's event, I had to RSVP my invitation. I told her it was me plus one, then refused to say who the plus one was when Benz asked me, then finally admitted it was Inara. Benz and Honkers - the latter of whom was present and, for whatever reason, has got out of her constantly-hugging-me phase - both gasped in delight, and Honker began jokingly talking about kids and marriage and blossoming love and how much I deserved to be happy. Even levelheaded Benz got into it a little.

I talk it all down though. I'm happy this is a thing but I'm not 100% there's mutual interest.
I just tell Benz and Honkers that I'm content spending a good afternoon with good friends and a smart and pretty lady. I've very intentionally mentioned none of this to Bull, because he's not been invited to gin night, I don't want him invited to gin night and I don't want him knowing that Inara's my plus one for the evening because he'll start insisting I try to sleep with her because apparently that's how you solve everything.

You ever tried sleeping with someone? It's kinda tricky, you guys. Kinda tricky.

Anyway, that's not my notion. I'm not committing to Inara, but I'm pleased I can find an avenue for my fondness. In the interim, I will continue exploring the possibility space with writer girl, office girl, any other girl. Maybe that sounds dastardly to you, but it's not where I'm going with this. I just want to enjoy myself and help others enjoy themselves.

That's actually pretty much all I've ever been about.

Everything's Shiny Captain, Not To Fret

Oh my. Genuinely didn't intend to leave this for a month. But there it is - and now I've a fair amount to catch up on. Let's see if I can get any of these ducks into anything even remotely approximating a row right here.

Always seems to go this way, doesn't it? Updating far later than intended. This has actually been quite a big month, full of all sorts of shenanigans, but let's see if we can get shit done.

Oh, and don't you know that I'm an amiibo™ now?

I'll explain in a little while.

Anyway, wasn't there talk of Rumblecorn? Of course there was talk of Rumblecorn. Also quite a fair bit of talking with Rumblecorn, through texting and such. The reason we met so frequently was because she's been back in town with a summer job between studies, and part of that's entailed call centre work. She used to work somewhere in which our morning commutes intersected, which was a good way for us to dance circles around one another. She then shifted jobs and those mornings vanished, but we have met up once, a few weeks ago. Was it a date? I don't know. I've a mind to call it a date to break the monotony, but I don't know if - given my intentions - it's wise.

Anyway, you can stop giving me that look because it seems said intentions are unlikely to manifest, because life doesn't like letting me do those kinds of things, even when it's apparently fine for everyone else. In earnest though, I've not exactly been doggedly pursuing the whole thing, so I can't be that keen. I mean, she's vanished periodically for ages every so often and I've not really noticed. She's probably found other ways to express her carnal interests. She does that. I knew that. Full confession, I like dropped the ball on that one. I don't like dropping balls like that, not least since it leaves me with a couple of others of a more blue persuasion. Oh me, oh my, but the humidity has rendered dry spells elsewhere you can't possibly imagine.

You know how they say that when it looks like everyone else has someone, it's all in your head?

OK, that's fine... but what do you do when that's irrefutably what's actually happening?
They don't cover that in Bullshit Inspirational By The Way We're All Meant To Be Independent And Shun Everyone School, do they? And straight up, all my friends are in wholesome (Ish) relationships or engaging in new ones and thewir all smoochy and canoodly and it's just, I mean... it's complex because they're my friends so I can't reach for flamethrowers or stuff like that.

It doesn't bother me overly I guess - I mean, it makes me phenomenally angry, but... in a different way to usual. It just feels like broken promises and a year of waiting and... you know? I feel like life's had me leap through one hoop too many, and now here I am.

As an amiibo™.

So yes, the whole Rumblecorn issue is... it's half on the map and half not? I feel like I'm adrift between ports right now - one day I'll have people approaching me all the time, introducing themselves, keen to say hello, and others I'm almost invisible. It's all invalidation training or something, I guess... I mean, nothing too bothersome.

Isn't it weird how I always write during Hungry Week? It's OK this month though, because I made a lot of money and... all of the spending that's taken place has been of my own design, so I'm not really cross or suffering too much. I've had it a lot worse than this, but it's really rather uncomfortable. not long lasting though, and like I said - did it to myself this time, with full awareness.

The freelance work is slow, and I'm no longer teaching my Italian friend any English due to her financial concerns, but luckily my office job is... I mean, I guess it's going OK? Nobody's yelling at me, so I guess it's OK. I've slowed my productivity there drastically though. I genuinely sit and scroll through TV Tropes while all the attractive women who work there stir up reasons to get stressed and have children and such, I don't even know.

Anyway. Let's talk about this pal of mine - I used to address him as the true name I call him, but let's give some bloggy anonymity right here because... well, basically, I'm going to bitch about him a lot.

Who, me? On this blog? I know, right?

Anyway, this guy and I have been close firneds for a year now. He's an Aries, very gung ho, very... I mean, he frequently courts controversy. He's the one with the girlfriend who everyone used to hate who then suddenly turned out not rude and pretty OK and even sometimes quite sexy and stuff, not that I'd pursue that line of enquiry because she also spends a lot of time bitching about her boyfriend to me, but that's OK because everybody bitches about this guy to me and I spend even more time bitching about him to everyone else because as much as he's charming and likeable he's just... utterly insufferable.

In any case, I'm nicknaming him Bull, not only because he's full of it (saying to my face after a night out he's going home while simultaneously texting a girl he's not dating who he used to geschmoink, asking if she's still out, anyone?), and not only because he constantly steers situations to his advantage and totally overblows his capabilities (Fixing a computer game by manually replacing a missing sound file that was causing it to crash IS NOT HACKING, IMBECILIC MAN), but also because, much like Dragon Age's Iron Bull after whom I'm naming this big lug, [Spoiler (click to open)]he would, I've no doubt, utterly betray me and everything we've been through together if there was something 100% in his best interests running in contrast to me. Hell, I wouldn't - and never have - trust him around anyone I'm dating.

Anyway, look, my buddy Bull is basically the poster boy for Narcissistic Personality Disorder - yes, more than me, and remember, I'm trying to fix what it's done to me, whereas he's embracing it. So if you need a crash course in his personality, go read up on that malady. I'm past the minor annoyances - the fact that he instantly loses respect for any man who's 'more alpha' than him, that he instantly loses respect for any woman who actually sees through him and calls him out for his objectifying them, all that jolly nonsense porridge. That's all water under the goose.

What gets me now is two things - the fact he instantly forgets anything I'm doing that doesn't directly involve him, the fact that his penchant for treating me as a sidekick in his life's adventure is getting worse, and - OK, THREE things - the fact that he's constantly hassling me to do shit.

Oh, and he'll drop out of things he's been invited to without explanation if it suits his immediate interests. Four things.

Not like... errands or stuff, although it borders on it. It's more just... OK, examples. Say I'm visiting my sister, who lives out of town. Say that's happening on a Saturday, as it did last Saturday. Say I've told him this, very clearly, in English, in little, teensy-tiny words.

Five things. Everything he wants has to happen immediately and the world needs to bend over to give it to him, and if I'm involved I have to do it immediately.

Sorry. Anyway. So I've told him I'm visiting my sister. Less than twenty minutes later, he'll get an idea of this 'great way to spend time together', and to his credit he's gregarious and generous company and has helped me out many a time. But he'll just turn around and say, "Hey, let's do this on Saturday."

And I'll have to remind him I'm out of town. On a particularly bad run, I'll then get messages from him on that Saturday I'm out of town asking if I'm in the city to hang out.

Come over! I've cooked! We can play games! Let's spend all your money on Steam games again that I've no intention of playing with you unless they immediately gratify me, and don't even think about reading any dialogue or getting into any plot!

Ugh. I'm a lot more cross than I let myself realise. But yeah, these are little annoyances, but they're constant, like waves nipping at the shore, wearing it down, bit by bit. And yes, on an almost daily basis he messages me. Can't he get distracted by some blonde girl again? So much peace and quiet.

In any case, yes. The friendship is bordering on the poisonous, if not journeying therein. I'm aware of this and controlling my exposure accordingly. I'll throw down a couple more examples that segue into my other news for the last few weeks.

I do this monthly board games night at my favourite coffee shop bar in the Verse, right? You know this. Bull is a frequent guest, as are many other folks who have grown to love the strange little event I do in which Benz is good enough to play my weird yet lovely Spotify music over the establishment's speakers. I bring board games and funny hats and we all have a grand time.

This month, after some delays and mishaps due to the bar being refitted, we got the event going. Lots of people who claimed an interest in turning up ducked out at the last minute, but OK, whatevs. Oh, and Inara didn't come, because she moved out of town and then recently moved back to Sweden and now constantly Facebooks doodles - great ones, actually - as well as passively-aggressively mumbling things about doing things on her own all the time. Genuinely don't know/care if that's her preference or not any more.

The point is, Games Night was going well and Bull was there. It was a quiet one, which I didn't like, but we were muddling through. It's the most mediocre such event I've hosted, which really sat badly with me for a day or two after... especially when Bull fuckin' abruptly stood up, said they were off to get food not even a couple of hours into the event, and took half my attendees with him.

What the abject fuck is wrong with you? Shall I do that at one of your tabletop RPG nights and see just how well that goes down?

Ugh. Man, I am ranting much today.

Shall I explain about the amiibo thing? OK then. Basically, this year i went to Hyper Japan with my good buddy... um... did we give her a bloggy nickname? Man, I got really bad at this. Um. Anyway, yes, that gal. The one who used to live with a big nose on legs and now has everyone after her and I kinda thought about it but now it's apparent she and this other dude have a thing going - didn't I tell you everyone has someone? Distinctly told you everyone has someone - and... where was I going with this?


That female friend and -- oh! Scorpilolita. Had the chance to spend time with her and her fella a few times this month. Sometimes it was even her idea, ain't that nice? They're doing well. That pleases me somehow.

Sorry. Yes. This female friend and I have been spending a lot of time doing wacky summer things, and Bull, being he and being incapable of addressing any woman without evaluating her sexual potential, noted my initial attraction when, oh, let's call her Gumdrops, got single. So she and I visited Hyper Japan in London recently, where Nintendo was also holding a stage show, hence my amiibo posing. It was a really fun event and it was great to get out of town, and I'd budgeted smartly and everything so I had plenty to throw around that day, even if I was stupidly generous in getting lots of things for friends. Guess I'm like that. Got some nice bits for me too though, but I was happy at how smartly I spent that day. Gumdrops and I had a grand time. Nintendo demoed the new Zelda to a rapt audience, and then they held a quiz for a game I'd only played once, but they were desperate for participants, so I got up on stage in front of like ten whole people and answered questions with comically inept answers, gaining 0 out of 20 points in front of the public.

Turns out answering the 'guess which monster in our game makes this big nasty roar' round in front of everyone with the name of the unpopular new British Prime Minister makes the host in the pink shirt fall over laughing and incapable of doing his job for a good five minutes.

They gave me a hat for being funny, even though I lost the quiz. That's good. I like the hat.

You know who was at the gorram event that day though? Freakin' ex! Viper Von Dogmeat. All colourful with her new boyfriend, whom I'm already aware of and... honestly, hand on heart, I'm cool with that part. He's a good looking guy, and he's Asian so she's going to be totally into that. He was buying Gundam models though. Nerrrrrrrd.

Sorry. Seriously. Seeing her again... I mean, if she did notice me she never let on, which is good, but... it just annoyed me, not because of feels or the like, but more... this event runs three days, and she has to go the same day as me? She has to converge in the capital, a massively statistically strange and unlikely thing to happen considering it's miles from Norwich, on that same day?! What the hell?!

It shook me a little. It tested my healing and had me on edge in case she saw me and started some very unwelcome drama. But, I talked to myself, stayed brave, even when she and boyfriendface were twenty feet away... I dunno. I felt proud, I felt like progress has been made over this last year. She can show up wherever she rutting likes. I'm confident. I won't be shaken or intimidated by that curious creature any more. I also didn't let on to Gumdrops it had happened - well, I mentioned an ex had been present, but after the event, and didn't specify who, because Dogmeat is essentially irrelevant now.

That's nice. Shiny.

But, curveball! This leads me back to my rant! Because Bull, he sees all the time I've been spending with Gumdrops. So he makes his own conclusions. And not, I never told him, or anyone, about seeing Dogmeat again. I'm not talking about irrelevant people to people in my present life.

But yes, once Gumdrops and I are back in town after London - at the same Games Night he half fucked up for me, actually - he goes and says, right to her face, that she and I are a couple.

On the basis of no facts or evidence, bar us spending time together.
Hell, I realdy know that if I did pursue Gumdrops it'd not be on a permanent basis, because I've known her a good five years and, for all her prettiness, wit and merits, she's self-interested and self-motivated. That's no bad thing. It's just that she is her own top priority, and that's always been apparent. She's not hostile about it, it's just very apparent, maybe more than she knows... and that's why I'd not settle down with her if it were even possible. I can't, and won't, keep going for people who can only render themselves a priority.

But yeah, what Bull said about us being a couple didn't go down too well. What a wanker.

Hey, so did you see that Pokemon GO came out in an unannounced and remarkably shambolic launch process that's simultaneously transformed the very bedrock of modern society overnight?

I could go on about it at great length - my fun experiences, captures, underhanded Gym captures and general Black Ops playstyle where I try to conceal myself among more obvious players, how it's transformed my city, how fun it was in London, the positives and negatives, the way you can use it to meet people (it's a great icebreaker for nerdy girls!)... I could even break down the player archetypes, the trios of fat bearded men in shorts you see staggering around strapped to battery packs, the two guys and a girl combo that's always amusing because you're wondering which of them is the third wheel because we all know the girl's boning one of them... the way couples use it for walking dates now, which I love and also fucking hate because the world's constantly rubbing all the dating everyone but me gets, quite literally everyone, I don't even know a single single person right now, and don't you know I got the game early and I'm on Team Valor and it's made my friends gamers even if they weren't and everyone seems to message me as their gamer friend with their progress like I'm their professor...?

...Anyway, no, you already know all this stuff, it's all very pervasive in the media. Just know I'm playing it and enjoying it, and that - of course - Bull has found ways to piss me off about it.

Like comparing our levels. We're on the same team, but he wants to beat me on levels. For no fucking reason other than his own meaningless and laughable machismo. He always asks what level I am, tells me I play ti too much for being ahead of him (which isn't the case, I just began earlier), and then grins and says he's catching me up, then shows me pictures of his critters in the same way he shows me pictures of blonde girls he insists are flirting with him, and I react with the same passively feined interest.

But most annoying of all, until I coldly nipped it in the bud, would be his constant texting about the gym near his apartment, and him sending multiple texts in capital letters whining for help if it was under attack by another team.





I just reminded him that I live on the other side of town, in a neighbourhood I have to defend alone, and that I also have work to do. Boy loves hassling me when I've work to do. Ugh.

...Anyway. That's that. In better news, I treated myself to a cheap, for a collectible, edition of my third favourite game ever, Skies of Arcadia for the Dreamcast after my last paycheque. I've had to sell off so much of my childhood and gaming collection to make it this far, so it nicely marked a turning of fortunes.

Also. Sky pirates.

And I deserve nice things.

...Ok. I get it. It's good to have friends now,. I have amazing friends, a strong nakama of awesomeness.

But literally as I finish writing this, Bull messages me asking if I'm up for McDonalds and Pokemon catching.









"See you tomorrow?" he offered plaintively.


I'm getting people into KPop though. Well, they're listening to it and talking with me about it. At work, and at my favourite bar. This pleases my face. This is actually a really positive month - he's just the poisoned chalice on the plinth in the centre. Dripping on my goddamn carpet.


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