One night at the castle

Well fuck. I wrote a short film (around 6 mins) tonight and wanted to post the PDF here as my blog entry for today but the plugin I installed to my WordPress that was supposed to let my post PDFs inline broke my Add Media and Insert Document buttons instead.

So there’s not even a way for me to insert it as a link.

I will have to get on chat with tech support to fix this shit.

Anyhow, here it is.


I’m not all here yet

Sorry if this entry is a little more jumbled and disjointed than usual, if that is indeed possible. I am writing earlier then usual  because Le Gang is getting together earlier than usual tonight and that is throwing me off my game a tad.

We’re getting together early because the Great and Almighty Joe, Doer of Things, is on spring break starting today. Normally, we would not be getting together till Joe gets off work at midnight.

But tonight, we can get together at a time when, god willin’ and the creek don’t rise, the sub might actually still be in the sky.

It’s hard for someone woith my background to believe but it’s already beginning to look summer-like around here. In March.  Where I come from, there’s a sort of folk belief that Saint Patrick’s Day, which is tomorrow, marks the end of the really BIG blizzards.

But summer won’t even be a twinkle in Mother Nature’s eye on PEI till about a month from now. And that’s when PEI will be getting the sort of weather we are getting right now – still cold-ish, but sunny.

OF course,  here, cold-ish means 8 degree Celcius, whereas back home on Prince Edward’s Island [1] it means -8. Positive temperatures are a month away too.

And seeing as this year marks my 20th year in the GVRD, the evidence clearly indicates that this disconnect between where I live and what my mind insists “should” be happening is never going away.

Even more enduring is my belief that if people are home, the door should not be locked. That’s never going away. There is something fundamentally offensive to me about opening a locked door and finding there are people home. It shocks and upsets me.

I’ve tried to wrangle out exactly why in this space before. It has something to do with friendliness and hospitality, but it goes much deeper than can be adequately explained by the Acadian assumptions of hospitality and gregariousness. [2]

So let’s look, instead, into my own personal history for an explanation. As patient readers know, I was a latchkey kid from an (arguably too) young age.

That means that for most of my childhood, coming home from school meant coming home to an empty house. That means I have thousands of memories of unlocking the door and walking into a home where I would be all alone for around an hour.

And that’s a very lonely feeling. I had just made the difficult emotional transitions necessary for an agoraphobic person to walk home from school and what I really needed was a warm welcome and someone who would listen while I related the events of my day to them.

But nobody gave a shit what I needed. The general attitude was that everyone was doing me a big favour by allowing me to be there in the first place, and anything I asked for above that was simply beyond the pale.

Not that anyone ever said that. That would have required thinking about it and that would involve thinking about me, so clearly, that was out of the question.

Anyhow. Back to the topic.

So I experienced this small daily trauma of coming home to a cold and lonesome house thousands of times. It was particularly bad when my mother started leaving for work before I even woke up, so that she would have time to walk there and still have time to get her lesson plan for the day together.

By then my siblings were all either out of the house or at least out of school, so those who were still home could get up whenever. So that meant that every school day, I got up by myself, made and ate my own breakfast, got myself ready for school, and left home without seeing another human being.

Throw in the months of the year when the nights were so long that it wasn’t even fully daytime when I walked to school and you get a pretty good picture of an extremely cold and lonely childhood.

What can we conclude from this? That for the lion’s share of my childhood, if I had to unlock the door when I got home, that meant nobody was home, and that made me sad every single time.

And when a trauma, however small, is repeated that often, the mind comes to accept that as simply “how things are”. Like it’s a rule of nature. And when something violates that, it shocks me.

And now the real problem appears on the horizon. Patient readers also know that I have massive issue regarding feelings of abandonment and rejection.

You just have to see how I describe my relationship with my family to realize that.

So when I open the door to find people home,  I immediately feel rejected. Like those home were trying to keep me out because they didn’t want me around.

They are not, so to speak, open to me.

And that kicks me right in the issues. My neuroses are such that I am always ready to believe that people don’t want me around and are trying to get rid of me so they don’t have to deal with me any more.

And for an agoraphobe like me, to have that happen in connection to home, the one place we can feel safe, is especially traumatic.

So what might seem like a small thing – my roomies locking the door while still home because they want to take a nap or whatever – has a very large effect on my mood.

And yeah, that doesn’t “make sense”. But in case you haven’t noticed, I am a crazy person, and by definition, crazy people are not rational.

I guess that’s it. Mystery solved.

So why don’t I feel any better?

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.


Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)

  1. Only people who are from PEI can call it Prince Edward’s Island, It’s Prince Edward Island for everyone else. It’s kind of like a nickname, usually used when one is being sardonically grandiose about our little Island.
  2.  Not that those things aren’t part of the equation. There’s still a little part of me that can’t accept that nobody “goes visiting” after church on Sunday around here.

    I guess on Sunday afternoons, they just do…. whatever. Weird. 

One against the hoard

(Feel free to skip this one, Felicity, it’s about life here in Fanhattan. ) 

I live in a hoarding household.

I have known this for a long time, but this is my first time overtly admitting it to myself.  I guess it’s been bothering me for a while and today is the day that it crossed the sensory threshold[1] and became a conscious thought that I could no longer ignore.

The evidence has been quite literally stacking up. This whole apartment is jam packed with boxes and boxes of random crap. There is a huge island of it taking up a third of our living room, for crying out loud.

You know how when people are describing a hoarder house, they always say “there was just a thin corridor between the stacks of stuff”? That’s us, to a T.

And it surprises me to suddenly realize how that has been bothering me.

Why? Because like Joe and Julian, I have stopped seeing the hoard. I’ve accepted it as part of the structure of the apartment. Most of the time I am not even conscious of its existence most of the time.

And as anyone who knows a bit about hoarding knows, that’s called clutter blindness and it’s one of the classic symptoms of hoarding. The hoarder is addicted to adding to the hoard and thus learns to block out all signals from the environment that might tell them to stop, much in the way that a food addict like myself might ignore messages from their body telling them that they are full because they are so fundamentally addicted to using the pleasure from food to meet emotional needs. [2]

So it’s not surprising that when I have broached the subject with Joe, he’s become very defensive and hostile. It’s his hoard, and I was challenging it. That’s never going to go well, no matter how reasonable a case I make or how gently and thoughtfully I put it.

Now as hoarding homes go, this is a very mild case of the syndrome. The hoard isn’t messy or gross, it’s all somewhat organized, and it doesn’t have a severe impact on our lives or place harsh limits on what we can and cannot do.

Makes it kind of hard, not to mention embarrassing, to entertain guests, though. And it would be nice to have the room to have a table and chairs where we could play board games or, miracle diablu, even eat a meal together.

Ya know. Like humans do.

But you can see why it took me by surprise that it had been bothering me so much for so long. The hoarding has had very little direct and obvious impact on my life. I can get around the apartment just fine. It’s not an unhealthy environment.

So compared to the toxic nightmare I lived in when I lived with Angela, who is a pet hoard and a regular hoarder, this place is so clean you could perform surgery in it.

No, the effects are much subtler than that. Like our patio. We have a lovely patio. Wraps around the corner of the building and everything. I would love to be able to curls up with a book out there and get the fresh air and sunshine I so desperately need.

But nope. The patio is also packed with stuff. Stuff that we never ever use and that, therefore, seems entirely superfluous to me.

Like I have said to Joe, it’s not that I want all this stuff to end up in a dumpster somewhere. Perish the thought.

But that doesn’t mean it has to stay with us. There’s a Value Village three blocks from us that would be happy to take our excess belongings and find good homes for them.  We could free up so much living space if we did a little purge.

But it’s Joe’s stuff, and he’s not going to agree to that like, ever. Like all hoarders, he feels like he is “saving” this stuff from being “wasted” and therefore has a sentimental attachment to it, like it was a rescue puppy.

Getting rid of it, even if it went to good people who really need it, is like giving said puppy away to a hoarder.

And like with the puppy, trusting anyone enough to do that when you are emotionally attached to the puppy and it has become “one of the family” in a sense is very hard.

I mean, I get it. I’m a Taurus too and I understand the power of our karmic mission to accumulate value. We Bulls are far better at acquiring than divesting and our biggest spiritual challenge is to learn to let go.

But unlike some bulls, I have never had a hard time purging my possessions of the superfluous and unnecessary. Even when I had to get rid of half my books in order to move from our previous apartment, I had little problem weeding out the ones I didn’t really feel I needed, and books are the physical objects I come closest to feeling a real emotional connection to.

Other than that, it’s all just stuff to me. Material objects that changes of circumstance can turn from an asset to a liability (and vice versa) at any time.

That makes me the odd one out amongst my friends, I suppose. I like to get things but I also possess a strong dose of opposite instinct as well.

To me, getting rid of the low value things only increases the value of what is left. I mean, what is more valueable – every episode of Doctor Who, or every episode plus a lot of other random stuff?

And I know this is one of the things that makes me seem cold and inhuman to others. And suppose it’s true. I am somewhat cold and inhuman.

But at least I’m honest about it.

And I think that should count for something.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.



Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)

  1. Incidentally, the sensory threshold effect explains why the old saw about being able to boil a frog without them knowing it’s happening if you raise the temperature of the water slow enough is pure bullshit. No matter how slowly you raoise the temperature of the water,. eventually the pain will cross the sensory threshold and the frog will feel too hot and jump out of the water. So much for scientifically ignorant metaphors. Nature is not that stupid, people!
  2. That’s the main reason I developed such a strong bias against eating between meals. If I confine my eating to meals, I have some control over how much I eat. And I rarely ever add anything to a meal, no matter how hungry I am. I still eat too much, but at least the problem doesn’t get worse.

Just let me finish, I’m not DONE yet!

Let’s talk about compulsive thoroughness, shall we?

I ask that as if I have a choice.

In that clip, Jack Nicholson is being an asshole but he has a point.

Anyhow, patient readers know that I have my own arena of obsessiveness and that is what I am going to call compulsive thoroughness because that’s its primary operating force, but it actually covers some other, seemingly unrelated things as well.

The basic idea is that once I start something I feel compelled to complete it. That’s led to such things as finishing reading a book I am not enjoying because stopping is not an option for me. I have to finish it. I do not feel like it’s a matter of choice.

It’s like when I start something, I allocate all the energy do doing that thing in advance and that is the energy that keeps me going through the thing, and it’s an energy so strong that is pushes me through the steps without giving me a chance to object.

Perhaps that’s what it takes to get anything done when you are a depressive like myself. Maybe it takes a compulsion so strong that it borders on insanity to overcome my depressive resistance to all action and that if I did not have this compulsion, I would get even less done with my life.

Take this blog, for example. I need to blog. Life without this nightly ritual of self-expression is unthinkable to me. I would have so many thoughts that have nowhere to go.  It would be like not being able to use the bathroom.

Yes, I know that’s a disgusting metaphor, but it’s all that I got.

So to me, this blogging is compulsive. One could argue that it’s the longest running compulsion I have ever had, seeing as I have been writing 1K words since 2011.

Okay, now I have to do the math. That’s roughly 2,550,000 words I have written. Throw in the original million and all the novels I have written and you get four million, easy.

Now if only I had the capacity to call attention to the damned thing.

What this proves is that my compulsions come in all sizes, from the quotidian realities of feeling like I have to finish whatever quest I am on before I can stop playing Skyrim to the mammoth sized challenge of completing my degree at VFS.

I realize now that at the very heart of it, it was compulsion that got me out of bed every day to haul my ass to class. I had started the degree and now I had to keep going until it was done. That’s all there was to it.

That’s why when people commended my perseverance, I of course thanked them and appreciated it, but deep inside it didn’t feel like it was a big deal at all.

Why? Because stopping was literally unthinkable to me. There was never a question in my mind as to whether I would finish. Of course I would finish. There was no other option on the table.

And it’s the power of this compulsion that makes it so hard for me to change plans, and by extention, not be able to do “sudden”. Even if my plan was nothing more than staying in and playing Skyrim (how novel), the energy is still already allocated, and to take it out of its current slot and move it to the new thing is incredibly difficult for me and involves some pretty intense psychological pain and discomfort.

So most of the time, I can’t do it. The new thing would have to promise a very high level of reward for me to consider putting myself through that.

And you could easily say, “What’s the big deal? So you stop doing one thing and go do something else instead. So what?” [1]

But it’s not that simple. People don’t always make sense. A compulsion, like a phobia, is by definition irrational.

If it was rational, it would be called something positive, like “good instincts”.

To me, the definitive moment of compulsion comes when you realize you do not want to do something but that doesn’t matter because the very thought of resisting the compulsion fills you with a mighty and chilling dread so powerful that it overwhelms all reasonable concerns and rewduces you to a primitive state of utter terror.

And you know that this makes no sense.  That’s the worse part of it. You know that the emotional reality of it bears little resemblance to the objective truth of it but you are powerless to resist it

For example, I know that nothing bad will happen if I change plans. The idea that a change of plans would somehow precipitate an unthinkable tragedy is ludicrous on the face of it. By what means would this occur? What would the mechanism be? How can a negligible change in the electrochemical potentials of my mind have any effect whatsoever on the real world, let alone have the power to call the lighting of the gods down upon my head.

But that doesn’t change the terror one bit. It comes from a place far deeper than reason, the place where superstition and phobias live, and this place shrugs aside reason like it was not even there because it has survival priority on its side.

Our reason can only operate at the tolerance of our deeper instincts. The whole process of civilization consists of keeping them happy so we have a chance of being human. When something violates this soothing of our instincts – like, for instance, famine – reason as we know it gives way to the very practical application of our intellect to the problem of staying alive.

And so, when my compulsion comes calling, my reason can pound on the wall it erects as hard as it wants and scream as loud as it pleases, and it will make no difference.

After all, a man’s got to do what a man’s got to do.

Even if he doesn’t even want to,.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.





Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)

  1. For some reason, I hear that in a Jerry Seinfeld from Seinfeld voice.Now there’s somebody who knows a thing or two about compulsion. 

Jewel of the Nihl

Freeling nihilistic today.

I feel like telling the whole goddamned world to go fuck itself and to leave me the hell alone and let me breathe for one goddamned second.

I’m like, fuck you all.

And if I was not such a slave to the absolute Truth, I would be able to enjoy this mood. I’d get pissed off at people, maybe write some evil shit in this blog, rail against the injustices in my life, and blow off a hell of a lot of steam in the process.

But I made my deal with the Devil a long time ago, and the contract reads that in exchange for the powers I have been granted, I will be sursed to always know the truth about myself and be forever incapable of escaping my Olympian point of view for long enough to just be my own self for a while.

To be Human. Merely human. And normal.  Average, even. Whatever it takes for me to escape this constant knowing and seeing and understanding that has denied all that is human inside me for a long time.

Like I am not allowed to be just another person in a sea of 7 billion. I am unique or I am nothing. I’ve been a queer duck for so long that it’s become central to my identity and the very idea of being merely average seems like death to me now.

Those weird poiwers of mine are all I have to offer the world.

Without them and the strange wonders they bring. I would have nothing.

I wouldn’t even know who I was any more.

But here they are, and here I am. Hating the world and hating myself and hating the constant noise from all those computers clicking and clattering away in my head. It’s no wonder that I spend so much time hunkered down and trying to shut everything out.

My outer world is very quiet, but my inner world is loud as hell. I have to get deeply absorbed in some task before I can even hear myself think. The pistons grind and the roller roar and the industrial press clangs and the computers click to one another like electric songbirds and I just cower in a corner and try my best to relax.

Sometimes I can even cope.

And I know that is what is really going on in my head. I do not have the luxury of ignorance and its connected ability to allow for catharsis without justification. I can’t just act on my emotions and vent them into the world without moral justification.

Even when I am writing this thing, which is supposed to be a safe place to express whatever I need to express,I can’t just lash out at the world willy-nilly.

As far as I can tell,. mentally healthy people have some ability to adjust their personal reality in order to better suit their emotional needs.

Not me. To me, reality is what it is and that’s it. There’s no flexibility built in to the system at all. My mind derives the truth and that is it. Case closed.

Past that point, only new input can alter my perception of the truth. My emotional needs don’t stand a chance.

And I know how wrong this all is. I know, intellectually, that there are a lot of different but equally valid way to look at the world and that my brutal truth machine is only one of them. I know that I would be a lot healthier if I coule simply let my mind choose whichever of these points of view – let’s call them filters – whichever of these filters makes me the happiest at that moment.

But I can’t do that. It would violate objectivity, and I am very emotionally dependent on my sense of objectivity. I need to believe that I am seeing things as they really are, with clarity and focus, or I feel totally lost in this confusing and frightening world.

My actual senses are poor and so I have to rely on my inner senses and their ability to deduce, infer. and calculate to compensate.

Anything that messes with that process has to go.

But it’s a tragically inhuman and intolerant system. There is no intermediary layer between me and the truth, no agent to negotiate with reality and try to minimize the emotional harm it does to me.

And that’s why I feel so vulnerable and exposed all the time. Or at least one of the reasons. I have sacrificed a lot in order to be naked before the truth and I am seriously beginning to wonder if it was worth it.

Sure, I see things others don’t and have extraordinarily sharp perceptions about things and all the rest.

But at the end of the day, I am still just another human being trying to cope with life and not doing so great a job of it.

I mean, ultimately, the point of life is to be happy. Everything else is either total bullshit or a means to that end, including knowing the truth of things.

So if this brutal truth machine of mine is making me a lot more unhappy than happy, clearly something has got to go.

But there is no way that I know of to back away from the truth once you know it. Nothing conscious, anyway. Enlightenment only goes one way – a mind, once expanded, cannot go back to the way it was before.

It just doesn’t fit in its old clothes any more.

And, more fool me, I expanded the fuck out of it when I was far too young to handle what I would learn. Sitting there bored in class or lying in bed trying to get to sleep and thinking about things, making connections, fitting it all into a single world view, and all without conscious effort and with no thought to the consequences to myself.

The result : the human wreckage you see before you,.

Maybe this is why us dreamers are such a depressive lot – when we eschew all limitations in order to soar high and see far, we remove all protection and end up naked and alone in the stratosphere with nowhere to land.

And we get so very tired of flapping that the idea of stopping and just letting ourselves drop like stones becomes very appealing.

We know it would kill us.

But at least then, it would be over.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.








Let’s pretend it’s post con depression

Well I feel like crap.

But I’m okay with it.

HAd fun on my last night of the convention. Went to a panel called Youtubealoo. It’s the simplest of ideas. The mods show their favorite YouTube videos from the last year.

As far as I can tell, that’s the main way the kids these days socialize. They show each other YouTube videos on their phones. As access to media becomes a total non-issue, the social capital shifts to the person with the best internal knowledge of what awesome videos are out there.

Seems like an era in which I could shine, if I was their age. It really seems to me sometimes like my generation created a world for their kids that they wish they had experienced when they were kids.

And bravo to that. It’s a world where being a nerd is not only safe but desired. Where the battle against bullying has been won on the cultural level – everyone knows it’s a thing and is against it.

Sadly, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen any more. I am sure kids are still getting bullied all the time. But now, at least, they have the force of public opinion on their side and the veil of tacit approval that made bullying socially invisible despite its horrific nature has been ripped away, never to return.

Bullies may still bully, but they do so knowing they risk a very large dose of public disapproval awaits them if anyone finds out and they get that label attached.

Now where was I. I swear, if it wasn’t for tangents, I would get no gents at all.

Oh righ. So, the YouTube vids were fun. I liked seeing what delighted the young’uns. There was a certain amount of the “it’s funny because they are screaming” comedy that I find so distasteful, but it was all comedically justified, at least.

Some of it was even mildly funny.

I liked these ladies :

They look like they are having a lot of fun and they are funny and appealing and a grat couple of gals to hang out with.

That said… Trixie, girl, what the actual FUCK is that thing sitting where your face should be? Because it’s positively hideous.

I sincerely hope that it is a product of a very strong need to conceal your identity because then I can at least pretend that it’s the best you can do with that in mind.

Otherwise, I would have to imagine that you worked hard on that.. thing… and that when you got it to its current state, you looked in the mirror and said “Perfect. That is exactly how I want the world to see me. ” and I am not sure I could handle that.

It’s like you set out to land the role of the picture in the dictionary beside the phrase “scary drag queen” and landed it so hard it cracked down the middle.

I mean, look at your friend Katya. She’s got the right idea. She is clearly in drag, but looks fabulous, and most importantly, like a human being.

Whereas you, girl, look like a makeup artists’s fever dream.

Anyhoo, after that Le Gang plus Jax and Spuug got together at our local Denny’s for dinner. And much high quality conversation was had.

Then we dropped Spuug and Jax off at the convention and went over to Felicity’s place to hand out and watch videos like we usually do.

Overall. I had a lot of fun at the convention, but I feel something akin to guilt about all the stuff I feel like I should have gone to but was too lazy.

That included a memorial service for a local furry named Ravenwood. He died of a heart infection in the last year. And I didn’t even know he was dead until I saw the noticed for his memorial service at the convention.

And I feel bad about that because I owe a lot to Ravenwood. When I first moved to the GVRD in 1998, he was the furry who got me a bachelor suite in the same building he lived in and walked with me to apply for welfare and talked me through the process when I was freaking out on all levels.

And aftert that, he was the person who checked in on me now and then and came over sometimes to use my internet connection and thus provided the only genuine human interaction in my life in a period when I was the craziest and most depressed I have ever been in my entire life.

And that can’t have been easy.

But it was that selfsame mental illness that kept me from going. To my social anxiety, the service was nothing but a room full of total strangers who had no idea who I was and to whom I would have to justify my presence and I just could not face that.

I just didn’t have the spoons.

I mean, a lot of the time I can’t even justify my presence on Earth to myself. I am constantly battling to assign any value ot my life at all. On my bad days, I feel like I am nothing but a liability to all who know me and humanity in general.

And I know that’s crazy, But knowing that does not fix the problem. My powers of reason, like anyone else’s, are finite and there is only so much power they can put behind modifying emotions with thought.

Past that point, the emotions win. Emotions always win. We are emotional creatures with access to reason, nothing more.

Shit. I just nodded off for a few seconds. And I have already slept a ton today. I must be having one of my sleepy days.

And I hate my sleepy days. They make me feel like my life is being stolen away from me. I don’t want to sleep all the time, I want to do stuff.

But when the need is great, sleep I must. Looks like I will be taking YET ANOTHER fucking nap in a day of naps.

Some days I wonder why I even both getting out of bed.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.


All my yesterday

I guess this is turning into a con report. That’s cool.

Yesterday, there was nothing I was interested in attending in the afternoon, so I didn’t end up at the convention until 4:30 pm or so. That’s when J&J were heading over, so I just hitched a ride with them.

At loose ends, I wandered around a bit until I saw a poster for a “Waffle Donut Party”.

Well, this was something I just had to investigate. I was aflame with curiosity. Are they waffles that taste like donuts? Donuts made on a waffle iron? Donuts that were publically indecisive on important political issues?

Alas, I will never know, because even though the partty started qat 4 pm, it was over by the time I got there at 4:40 PM. The door to the official hotel room of the party was closed and all was quiet on the inside.

And I was too shy to knock and inquire.

SO I wandered back to the video game room, which was on the same floor. They had all kinds of consoles set up. It was pretty awesome.

Not sure where to start, I decided to leaf through the catalog of Playstation 4 games. There were many intriguing options, but I didn’t want to play something with a plot that I would grow attached to and then have to abandon.

Then I came across the game that called out my name : Street Fighter V.

And yeah, I felt a little lame for having chosen a modernization of a game I already knew from long long ago when I had all this modern stuff to choose from, but what the hell, I’m here to have fun.

So one of the kids behind the counter took my badge and gave me the CD for the game, and pointed me to a PS4 and got the thing and its TV turned on for me, and left me to my own devices.

I hate it when that happens. My devices suck.

But hey, how hard can it be to stick a CD in a thing and play a game?

As it turns out, maddeningly so. Why? Take a look at this :

That is what the PS4 looks like. Now take note of two things :

First, note how amazing 1970’s electronics it looks. We have come full circle. The angularity, the flat black plastic, the forward slope : it is the exact same design asthetic as late 70’s high end electronics.

Heck, it looks like you could open it up and play LPs on it.

But secondly, note how absolutely featureless it is. Only the two controller ports interrupt its dead black shininess.

Note in particular its lack of buttons.

Now imagine poor old me staring at this thing trying to figure out how to get the CD into it. There was no “eject” button. There wasn’t even a “power” button. And there was absolutely nothing to indicate where a CD would even go.

This is what happens when you give the designers too much control. They create things they think are too beautiful to be marred by things like buttons, directions, or any other purely utilitarian concerns that would dare to try to interrupt its aesthetic perfection.

I eventually had to swallow my pride and go ask the kids behind the how to turn the frigging thing on. Turns out, there ARE buttons, but they are teeny tiny and crammed into the vertical gap on the left hand side of the goddamned thing.

And the CD goes into an invisible horizontal opening in the horizontal gap.

Ao I got the CD into the thing and started playing SF5. It was pretty good. Then Spuug showed up and watched me play for a bit. Then Jax showed up and suggested we play some Jackbox games.

They are made by the same people who did You Don’t Know Jack back in The Day, and they are fun, silly party games.

There was some technicaly futzing trying to get the damned thing working, then we realized we had to let the PS4 update its software before we could play.

Jax suggested we go get some pizza at Panago’s while it did so. So that’s what we did.

Then we got to playing and had a lot of fun. Other people joined in from time to time, and all in all, it was a very social thing for me to be doing, and I am proud of that.

Then, at 9, it was time for the VancouFur version of the Turkey Readings. In that version, a fur named TonyGreyFox reads aloud from truly terrible books and people pay to make him do it in very silly ways. like “read it in a Scottish accent”, or “slap your thigh every time there’s a quotation mark”, or “end every sentence with the word haggis”.

It is ten tons of fun in a one ton barrel. Hilarious. I laughed so hard it was exercise.

My own contributions included the haggis one, making him replace every comma with the word “boing”, and, in a My Little Pony fanfic of epic awfulness, , replacing the word “pony” with the word “beaver”.

That reached its apex when a character said “Haven’t you ever seen My Little Beaver?”

After that, I attended Whose Lion Is It Anyway, which is a hilarious improv show . There is tons of audience participation, and I tried to volunteer to go up for a game but another guy wanted to do the same thing and I lost a game of rock paper scissors to him.

Otherwise, I could not overcome my timidness, even though I really, really wanted to do so. But it did get my mind to thinking about how good for me joining an improv troupe could be because it would help me learn to trust my instincts and not overthink things so much and that could do wonders for my mental health.

I mean, God knows I’m funny enough.

I just need to get the fuck over myself.

And improv could help.

Anyhow, that was my day yesterday. Back to your regular compulsive self-examination tomorrow, as there is only one panel I will be attending today.

Feels kind of neat to diarize for a change. Most of the time I have no events in my life to detail. But conventions are full of them.

I’ve been doing things! Yay me!

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.




I don’t want to do this

I’d rather not be blogging right now.

It’s a lovely day out, I am feeling lazy and self-indulgent because I am en vacance,  and I honestly would rather be doing something else.

But there is nothing that interests me going on at the convention until 6 pm, and so I really have no excuse to skip the bloggening today.

So here I am, typing my thoughts into this little blog o’ mine.

About the “nothing interesting till 6 pm thing : I can’t tell if the programming is genuinely uninteresting to me or I am just getting too old, lazy, fussy, and out of touch to appreciate what folks are into these days.

I remember a younger me who was so stoked by everything going on at a convention that he would get up early and spend the whole day in panels. To that version of me, a convention was like watching TV when I was a kid in the 80’s, when I would watch the best thing that was on even if it was something I didn’t even like.

I would go to panels I had no interest in just to continue to be in panels. And I ended up having fun anyway because I got to look into a world of which I was not a part.

But now, it has to be something pretty appealing to me in order to motivate me to get off my lazy butt and go attend something.

Oh well. Like I said before, it would be easier if I had a room at the hotel. Then a) I would get super bored and that would compel me to go explore, and b) the convention would be literally right outside my door instead of six blocks away and therefore the gumption price of panel attendance would be far, far lower.

But there is also the fact that there is not a whole lot of programming at this convention in the first place. I mean, there’s plenty of panels. but not enough so that there are always multiple tracks of programming going on at the same time, and there are stretches of time where there is no programming whatsoever.

So I suppose that, given that, it’s no surprise that the subset of that paucity of programming that I actually want to attend is relatively small.

Yesterday, I went to the Writers Meet And Greet panel at 3:30 pm. That was a minimally organized even where the person running it did not seem to have come prepared and more or less was winging it.

But that didn’t really matter so much because we were all writers and therefore super verbal and eager to talk about stuff.

So I had a good time there. Participated in the discussions and enjoyed hearing the perspectives of other writers about how they approached the craft.

One thing that occurred to me during the panel is how I am a furry and a writer but I never write furry fiction. And that’s… kind of odd.

I have always avoided doing furry fiction because I was afraid of getting trapped in a sort of “furry ghetto” where I would be tagged as a furry writer and thus be unwelcome in the wider world of science fiction in which I wished to make my name.

That’s pretty rich comingfromr a guy who never sends anything anywhere anyhow and therefore is unlikely to get pegged as anything at all by anyone.

But I also think compartmentalization plays a role. There is my furry life and my writing life and I am not interested in combining them.

Still, I am extraordinarily well wualified to write furry fiction, and to be frank, it would not be that difficult to produce work that was substantially better than most of the amateur furry fiction out there.

So I will continue to mull it over.

Then I went to the Furries In The Media panel. It was quite good, like it always is.

It was also delayed by technical issues. Which it always is.

In it, I learned about some town councilman somewhere in the US who had to resign because his political opponents found out about his being a furry and used it to launch a smear campaign against him.

Myself, I am very much a “publish and be damned” kind of guy. I would never resign because of that sort of thing. I refused to be ashamed of who I am.

Not only would I refuse to resign, I would turn the tables on my opponents by making the discussion about their violation of my privacy.

After that panel, I went to dinner with Joe, Julian, Spuug, and Jax. We went to the White Spot at Ackroyd and 3 Road.

Then Joe and I went to Felicity’s house to hang out with her for a while and watch videos and do our usual thing.

Then it was back to the convention for Bad Fanfiction : The Movie. That’s a panel where the moderator writes a terrible piece of fanfiction based on suggestions shouted by the audience  – it’s kind of like improv for writers.

I was kind of disappointed by it this year. There was a group of people who insisted on having their own conversation, plus for some weird reason, the moderator insisted on playuing music during the whole thing.

So between those two things, the atmosphere was not one of open sharing and fun but one where I could barely hear what others were saying and I felt alienated and excluded because it was so hard to concentrate.

Still, we wrote a ridiculous piece where Ellen Degeneres and Optimus Prime rescues a starchild-type baby who then turns into the seven chaos emeralds from Dragonball Z, so, ya know, it wasn’t a total loss.

After all that, I came home and tried to wind down because I was very tired but also highly stimulated, and I hate that mental state.

Eventually I got to sleep, though.

And that brings us to today!

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.



Things are getting rather fuzzy

This weekend is VancouFur, the local furry convention, and that means that my blogging may end up being rather spotty as I consider myself to be officially en vacance now and, if I am lucky, I will be too busy for the bloggening.

This year, just like last year, the convention is extremely local to me, as it’s happening in our living room.

Just kidding. It’s happening at a hotel just six blocks from my home, and that is dang convenient as it means there is absolutely no need for a hotel room and I can get there via a quick bus ride or an even quicker cab ride.

That makes the whole deal a lot less expensive and time consuming, and best of all. I get to come home and sleep in my own bed when the day’s festivities are done.

I’ve already done one thing, namely the Eye of Argon panel. For those of you who are blessedly ignorant of this phenomenon, The Eye Of Argon is widely consider to be one of the worst fantasy stories ever published.

Here’s a link to it. 

But be warned : it is truly terrible. It starts off bad and only gets worse from there. It commits every literary crime in the book.

But it reserves a special spot in its heart for the wholesale abuse of adjectives. In fact, it’s writing like the Eye of Argon that makes writing teachers declare a fatwa on adjectives and ruthlessly hunt them down in their students’ prose.

Not only does the novella use far too many adjectives in a way that seems almost compulsive, it uses them in bafflingly inappropriate ways that suggest that the author only has a vague sense of what these words mean but likes to use them anyhow because they make him feel smart.

I mean, at one point, the hero, Grignr, admires a woman’s opaque nose. Opaque.

I guess he has a “things which fully reflect light” fetish.

Anyhow, the idea of doing this monstrosity as a panel is that people take turns reading the blasted thing out loud and their turn ends either when they reach the end of the page or when they laugh.

SImple, effective, and goddamn fun. Reading it out without laughing is a real challenge, and the frigging thing is so badly written that reading it out at all is hilarious.

So I had a lot of fun doing that last night. It’s a bit of a marathon, as the thing IS a novella, and what with all the laughing and riffing and whatnot, it takes around three hours to get through.

But man, is it fun.

Today, I will be going to a Writers Meet n’ Greet. Not sure exactly what that will entail, but it sounds like my kind of thing.

I will also be attending Carthage’s “Furries in the Media” panel, which started off small in the first year of the convention and now has grown to such epic proportions that last year, it took place in the biggest room in the hotel and it was standing room only.

Apparently, this year, Carthage was unable to sufficiently convey the magnitude of the event to the programming coordinator, and the event will take place in a much smaller room than last year.

So that should be fun. I plan to get there as early as possible so I can be sure to get a seat, hopefully up front so I can more effectively annoy Carthage.

Annoy in the most affectionate possible way, of course.

The first thing he said to me this year was how good I looked. And that kind of fkloored me because I don’t get that a lot.

Anyhow. after that will be supper with tout la gang, plus hopefully a few bonus furries we have stolen from the convention.

Preferably, it will be furries we know, but I have roofies.

After dinner, I plan on going to the How To Draw Naughty Bits panel. I went to it last year and had a lot of fun. Didn’t learn a thing, as I am not an artist, but it’s still ten tons of fun to be in the room with a bunch of people giggling and making dirty jokes as someone tries to teach us how to draw furry genitals etc.

Then at 11:30 pm there is something called “Bad Fanfiction : The Movie”, and there is no way I can miss something that so perfectly fits my interests.

So its going to be a long, full day.

Right now, that Rock Crab voice in my head is trying to convince me that it’s all too much and I should stay in my hole here at home instead.

I suppose that’s one downside to the whole being able to go home every night thing. If I was at a convention far from home and staying in a hotel room, I would not have to produce the willpower to leave home every morning.

Sheer boredom alone would get me out of the hotel room and off to panels.

But whatever. I will get showered and dressed and out the door, and once I am at the convention, it will be easy for me to keep the momentum going.

So I will ignore the Rock Crab as it tries to convince me to just crawl back into bed and sleep until it’s all over.

If I did that, I would only end up hating myself for being too much of a pussy to take advantage of all the awesomeness a furry convention has to offer.

Instead, I will get a shower, get dressed, throw a few things I think I might need into my backpack, and take a cab to the hotel.

And verily, I shall romp and frisk and frolic with my own kind, and bask in the company of like-minded individuals, and bond with my tribe.

I will try to make people laugh, and sometimes succeed.

I will contribute to discussions and learn from neato panels.

I will hang out in the games room and, for the first time ever, visit the dealer’s room with actual money to spend there.

And when it is all done, I will come home, sleep, and be well.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.




When should dreams die?

Today was Therapy Thursday, and in the course of today’s session, we ended up talking a lot about my inability to accept my life as it is now.

Why can’t I relax and accept my current circumstances and, like my brother told me a long time ago, just try to build some kind of life for myself?

Short answer : dreams. .

Specifically, the dreams of a future in which I am gainfully employed and contributing my substantial talents to a worthy endeavour. A future where my life finally begins and I become a contributing and fully intergrated member of society instead of being a socially isolated burden on it. A future where I am worthy of respect.

Right now, I am nearly impossible to respect. I’m easy to like and to appreciate and to admire for my gifts and things like that. But none of those things are respect.

Because respect comes from doing things. Substantial things. It comes from having a way to justify your existence. From having a real answer when someone asks what you “do”. From having accomplishments and achievements. From being somebody.

And it does not come from being a home-bound invalid who plays Skyrim all day and can only justify his existence by pointing to a blog only friends and family read. [1] It doesn’t come from having a VFS degree but being too timid to look for work. It doesn’t come from being so damaged that it often takes me half an hour just to work up the willpower to go get a drink of water or get up and go to the bathroom.

So in a very literal sense, I am not respectable. I am lovable. I am admirable. I am even, on a good day, enviable.

But respectable? Hardly. Nobody truly respect an invalid unless they are productive in some substantial way, like say being a novelist.

In which case they are not, in my books, an invalid. They are merely disabled.

I explained ot my therapist that if I met someone just like me, I would not respect me either. I’d be sympathetic to my plight and wish nothing less than a swift and total recovery for myself.

But respect? :Like, real respect, like the kind people who can actually do things get?

Forget about it. When a full acount is taken. I am,. in fact, a loser. A 44 year old man who has never been in a relationship, held down a job, made any kind of name for himself, and who barely has the competence to keep himself alive even though he is in a situation where 90 percent of the work of life is done by others. Someone who, despite a prodiguous intellect and substantial creative gifts, still finds himself needing to pathetically turn to others for help in the simplest of situations.

Nobody could have true respect for someone like that. Not the kind that counts.

So I need my dreams of a better life. A decent and respectable life. Not this deadening doldrums of media consumption and bathos.

And to keep those dreams alive requires that I refuse to accept that my curent situation is the best that I can hope for. If I truly believed that. I would kill myself, because I would see no point in going on with life.

So sure, I can see how it might seem like the best course of action is to accept everything about my life as it is right now.. .but only if you ignore the need to have some reason to go on living.

Healthy people have life momentum. They get it from their jobs, their families, their relationships, and even their hobbies. They don’t know what it is like to have your life come to a full stop.

Even if they have been unemployed for a long time, they don’t get it, because they still had the rest of their lives to keep them going.

I do not.

So to keep myself going and maintain my will to live, I have to stay restless and ambitious no matter how much it hurts.

And make no mistake, it mostly causes me pain. Wanting so much when you can do so little is brutally painful. Staring across the existential void at all that you have even dreamed of sitting there. waiting for you to reach out and grab it, but knowing that your arms are far too short and too weak to hold onto them, is horrible.

But it also reminds me that I am still alive. I haven’t died inside yet. I haven’t given up. I am still kicking and screaming and biting and scratching and trying to escape this prison of my own devising.

I suppose that’s why my inner conflict is eternal. I cannot and will not accept that I should just give in and make the most of being worthless.

And it’s not like my dreams are unattainably ambitious. I just want what most other people already have. A job I can do, the ability to support myself, a decent wardrobe, a boyfriend, maybe some self-initiated social activities, close tied with family. Nothing outrageous or unrealistic. Just a normal life.

And I am going to keep fighting myself for as long as it takes.

I think the great and mighty Al says it best :


On a good day, I can accept the facts about my life.  That I have serious mental and physical issues, that I have a long ways to go before I can finally be a part of the world instead of always being on the outside looking in, that I have suffered a great deal because of things that were beyond my control in my childhood.

I I will never be able to say “Well I guess this is it. Better make the best of it. ”

If I did that, I would want to die.

Because it would mean I have already died inside anyhow.

So why not finish the job?

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.




Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)

  1. By the way, thank you so much for reading this blog that I write for my own psychological reasons and not in an attempt to entertain anyone.

    It means the world to me.