Nerd Links

These links have pocket protectors!

  • Never Alone, a game with a side of education. Jesse Cox gave this one all kinds of props, so I am eagerly awaiting its release for Mac through Steam.
  • Better World Books, a place to buy books, donate books, and help world literacy. Sounds awesome to me.
  • Sandstorm, app-ifying servers, for personal, developer, and enterprise use. I’m not sure how I feel about it, but there’s some technical awesomeness going on here. Their pitch is heavy on the security.
  • Arcade Legacy, an amazeballs (thanks Paul!) arcade in an empty mall! These guys have everything I’d set up for my own arcade. If I had a bucket list, this place would be on it.
  • Bios Urn, because why haven’t we always done it this way?
  • Strange Matter Coffee, bringing San Francisco coffee to Lansing! This place was Kickstarted! I want to give it all the exclamation points! I don’t know what this feeling is, but it might be caffeine-flavored love.

Writing Journal

This post is coming to you while I’m going through airport security. Enjoy!

Rewriting the Remembrance, from 17 and 23 January.

What does Diane think of the Keep? How does it make her feel? Of course, the general impression is of being stuck inside Herod’s head, but how would it filter through to Diane? Scientist that has conjured a unicorn from her dreams, which subsequently attacked those she was just starting to care about. While desperately trying to find an anchor with which to understand how the world was changing, her co-worker works a miracle, impossibly repairing an entire town and then deciding to stay there. While her husband begins to get seriously ill, she and those around her are slapped in the face with a reminder of how the world used to operate, but they can’t/won’t reclaim because of something as ephemeral as dreams. She then tries to keep her husband, barely able to breathe properly, from – from what? Dying? Changing? She knows that he’s changing; she’s terrified that the change they’ve dreamt of will take him away from her. She’s not trying to keep him from anything at this point, it’s too late for that.

She’s trying to ease his pain. That’s the filter she’s viewing everything through at this point, from Jason to the Keep to her role in all of this.

There’s nothing around them, as they transport Sebastian, that can help. Things here are pointed, hard, strong. Nothing about the concrete, steel, or glass speaks of comfort or relief. She hasn’t survived all of this to give up hope, though. To her, it will mean that they haven’t reached their destination quite yet. Jason and company are taking them someplace where Sebastian can be comfortable.

They have to be.

State of the Skippy – Mental Health

Speaking about this makes me pretty damn uncomfortable. I hoped that writing about it would be less so. It’s not.

I suffer from an anxiety disorder that is likely caused by a chemical imbalance in my brain. As I have aged and added stressors into my life, it has gotten harder to manage instead of easier. Wisdom and experience have not brought me peace, but instead increasing frustration. At one point, I had such a severe anxiety attack that I thought I might be having a heart attack. I wrote about it:

That is when I should have sought help. That is when I should have recognized that something was actually wrong, and not just a character flaw on my part. That is when I should have begun talk therapy, if not requested medication immediately. Hindsight, 20/20, all of that goodness.

I did eventually start talk therapy, and it did some good. He and I both came to the conclusion that medication wasn’t an enemy in this case, and that I had taken all of the steps available to me that weren’t medication. You’d think, at this point, that I’d go right to my physician and start talking about available medications, their advantages and disadvantages.

Ha, nope.

You see, I got a shiny new job. I poured myself into that job, and it was amazing. It was (and still is!) such a good job, that it may be insulting not to call it a career step. I still live in Michigan, though, so I’m pretty sure our economy would smack me down for getting cocky. Anyway, I dug the new job so much that my baseline mood was lifted, thereby negating my need for the meds. Right? Right!

Wrong. The honeymoon period was incredibly long, but inevitably, I could not (and should not) prop up my entire mood on one aspect of my life. About two months ago, I went in to the doctor, and had the hardest conversation of my life. We talked about which meds did what, which ones had generics, what changed when you went from name brand to generic, etc, etc. In the end, we decided on a specific generic as a one-per-day pill, and the improvement in my life has been obvious and welcome.

I did not zombify. I did not become someone I’m not. I did not lose myself. In fact, it feels like the whole world has taken a step back, and I can breathe again.

When I was 3/4 of the way through my first bottle of pills, I met again with my doctor, and we went over how I’d changed, how the world had changed, and how my body was dealing with any side effects. We determined that I was on the right path, and I got my refill automatically sent to the pharmacy.

I took my last pill from the first bottle without even realizing that I hadn’t called the pharmacy to activate the refill. The night when that pill wore off, I had an anxiety attack that had many of the same symptoms as the one that sent me into the hospital. The next morning, I woke up right back in that old place, with the world pressing in on all sides. Thanks to Nikki’s still-logical brain, we got my refill processed quickly.

My take-away from that, and really, from all of this: I don’t want to be in that place any more, and I am thankful that I have a way not to be.

State of the Skippy – Spirituality

I may share more than I usually do here. If you’re not interested in spirituality (specifically neo-Paganism), or are only interested in your own, I’d advise skipping this one.

IMG00046In the past year, I’ve come to terms – mostly – with being associated with Chaos Magic. People who have known me a long time, as well as people who have only known me recently, seem to have a “well, duh!” moment. I’m never the one to make the claim. I still don’t know enough about it yet to be able to say something like that. I have a book or three to read, and people to ask.

I’ve had hints and leanings and bludgeoning that have pointed toward the Feri tradition. I’ve read Fifty Years in the Feri Tradition, but it felt like half of a conversation. I don’t know what the book’s author was responding to, and I don’t really want to know. I’ve read some websites, and the tradition seems to be as varied and diverse as I was told. Most of what I’ve seen makes me want to break it apart from the inside. There are a few gems of “Yes, that resonates, exactly!” Though I’ve been in San Francisco, the birthplace of the tradition, I’ve yet to run into any of its practitioners that I know of. I’m loathe to ask to meet a friend of a friend. It seems to me that a chance meeting would be far more meaningful.

My anti-anxiety medication has changed things a bit. The energies that were nearly always present are now at least an arm’s reach away. Things that were like flexing a muscle before now require intent and effort. I feel a bit less like a force of nature and more like an expression of that force.

I realize how vague, cryptic, and confusing this must be, and I apologize. Perhaps writing about my spirituality will come more easily to me over time.

State of the Skippy – Holidays

Historically, I’ve not been very good at summation posts. Things like conventions, conferences, holidays, vacations and the like are so full of experience that blogging about any one of them feels like a pale tribute at best. Instead of trying to capture the entirety of the season, I’ll make a couple of notes about some highlights.

We got to see Annie at the Wharton Center, and watch my good friend knock ‘em dead as Daddy Warbucks. Wrangling was done to make the tickets happen, risk-taking was done to make after-play food happen, and then visiting was done to send Gil and Allison off on their winter break. An excellent afternoon, evening, night, and morning. And I’m not just saying that because of the scotch, the mac and cheese, and the breakfast. Did I mention the scotch?

The family gatherings this year were amazing, though we were down one due to illness. Gifts were exchanged, children (and perhaps some adults) ate way too much junk food, silly hats were worn, drinks of many varieties were imbibed, and everyone made it through safe and sound. In the end, an amazing set of holidays.

16028681287_70d0f20687_zThey moved the Great Lakes Invitational back inside the Joe Louis Arena, thank goodness. No more open-air hockey shenanigans. Cian and I arrived in time for the championship game between the University of Michigan and Michigan State University. Trying to explain the rivalry between these two similar-sounding schools to my friends who live out of state is an exercise in hilarity.

The holidays were so much more than this. I didn’t mention that Cian knew I was going to have a coffee and a coney at the game, how hilarious the white elephant games were this year, or how we’ve apparently been Doing It Wrong this whole time. I didn’t talk about the tree, the new battery charger that I got, my renewed interest in video games, or the New Year’s party.

And maybe that’s good, because then I didn’t have to bring up who won the hockey game.