A Curse of Wealth

Since I accepted the job in North Carolina and moved to Raleigh, I’ve often felt as though my life was a roller coaster careening in unknown directions. I simply hung on for dear life, not sure where I was going but having faith the ride was better than it had previously been. Even with that faith, there’s so much of my day-to-day existence on which I wish I had a better grip.

A sample: I still have too much stuff. I understand the philosophers who insist that your possessions possess you, I am confronted with this fact every day. I left much of it behind when I left the home I grew up in. I left more of it behind with every move I’ve made since, and still I have enough to dominate the second bedroom and influence much of the rest of the apartment. I can’t stand being weighed down by it all; but when I attempt to purge, memories overwhelm me and I end up jettisoning far less than I meant to.

We’ll be in this apartment for a few more months at least. I must get rid of more of these things before we leave – and preferably long before, so that I can enjoy this space more than I have been doing. The roller coaster’s exciting; but damn it, I want to feel as though I’ve got more control than this.

Rogue One overview

Apologies for any spoilers; I’ll try to avoid as many as I can. If you’ve seen Episode IV, you have a pretty good idea whether our heroes accomplish their objective.

So how was the movie? Well, Maya – whose first Star Wars in the theater was Episode VII – thought it was wonderful, and possibly her favorite of the franchise. Me, I think it was very well done, but I was rather unprepared for the tone. While the main-storyline movies have an adventuresome matinee serial feel, this movie is frankly grim. Bad things happen to good people in this film.

However, the bad things are not gratuitous. This movie has a point to make, and it makes it well. So I think that I will call it a very good movie, worth watching again, but it’s not an Episode. Notwithstanding the many references and linkages to main-storyline Star Wars, and even nods to novel and comic ideas, Rogue One is its own beast.

And why shouldn’t it be?

The Guru Trap

The Guru Trap is worse than the Dark Side. It is easy, seductive, and life-affirming. One can easily make all sorts of regrettable decisions without ever realizing it.

Let me supply a quote from the “Illuminatus!” trilogy by Shea and Wilson:

“That’s right,” Hagbard agreed. “I wanted to see if you’d trust your own senses or the word of a Natural-Born Leader and Guru like me. You trusted your own senses, and you pass. My put-ons are not just jokes, friend. The hardest thing for a man with dominance genes and piratical heredity like me is to avoid becoming a goddam authority figure. I need all the feedback and information I can get—from men, women, children, gorillas, dolphins, computers, any conscious entity—but nobody contradicts an Authority, you know. Communication is possible only between equals: that’s the first theorem of social cybernetics—and the whole basis of anarchism—and I have to keep knocking down people’s dependence on me or I’ll become a fucking Big Daddy and won’t get accurate communication anymore. If […] all the governments, corporations, universities and armies of the world understood that simple principle, they’d occasionally find out what’s actually going on and stop screwing up every project they start. I am Freeman Hagbard Celine and I am not anybody’s bloody leader. As soon as you fully understand that I’m your equal, and that my shit stinks just like yours, and that I need a lay every few days or I get grouchy and make dumb decisions, and that there is One more trustworthy than all the Buddhas and sages but you have to find him for yourself, then you’ll begin to understand what the [Discordians are] all about.”

These Things In My Life Are Good

Lord Bitweaver’s Journal, 31st of Flowerbirth, 716 —

Today, I am pleased that I have made enough progress with the plot of “Discordia’s Glitch” to write an imaginary dust jacket blurb, and pleased to have friends still excited about what they see there. I am pleased to have walked 7,500 steps during Saturday’s tour of Natural Bridge with few ill effects the next day besides weariness, and I am pleased to have reached the “Person of Some Importance” phase of the Fallen London Browser game.

My current goals include finishing another chapter of the novel soon, preparing the first set of “Managlitch City Underground” podcast scripts for Season Two, working toward a step count of at least 4,000 per day, and assembling my podcast episode submission which will hopefully move me from Semi-Finalist to Finalist in the Parsec Awards. I also plan to prepare some preliminary material for the Intervention staff listing, and this weekend I’ll be heading to AwesomeCon to help with the Intervention / ReGeneration Who con table.

Tonight I’ll be visiting my Mom to see how she is doing and feed her cat. We did some heavy cleaning there a month ago, and the apartment is noticeably nicer; we’d like to keep it that way. After that, we have a friend’s birthday party to attend if we have any energy left.

So much going on in my life right now; plenty of it is darn good.

A Conventional Dry Spell

Lord Bitweaver’s Journal, 4th of Swiftstorm, 716 —

Two months of no journaling… yeah, can’t say I’m too pleased with that. What happened? Many things, but primarily ReGeneration Who. What I’d planned to be a simple administrative job turned out to be many nights of collating, emailing, updating, correcting, and otherwise maintaining the staff listings for the con. On top of that, there was a fair amount of travel promoting the convention, which sucked my energies away. I managed to get 1.5 Managlitch episodes in there, and the first chapter of a novel, but that was all the creative will I could locate.

Besides that, life has stayed pretty steady. Roxy is working practically full time, which means that much of our money woes have become minor concerns. My job continues to chug along, a little dull sometimes now that I have a routine, but comfortable and positive. I’m on new medication now for my depression, and my body’s still dealing with the chemical changes involved. Oddly, my appetite’s decreased and I think I’m losing a little weight.

I worry terribly about Mom. I’m not at all certain how her situation is going to pan out – her mind and body continue to fade, but so very slowly. I hope she doesn’t start a fire with those damn cigarettes, of for no other reason than I don’t want everyone in her apartment building hurt. As usual, she can’t be bothered to do a damn thing that would improve her situation, and is content to watch cable television every waking hour, pet her cat, and slowly sink into a pile of discarded wrappers.

But in happier news, there are many good things ahead. I’m due to have a short piece of writing about Doctor Who novels appear in a charity anthology, I’ve released the 20th completed episode of Managlitch City Underground, I have that first chapter of a novel done, and Roxy has scheduled us twice-monthly appointments with a massage therapist. Soon, I’ll be able to pay off one of the two remaining large debts of mine from the move to North Carolina, which will free up money for other fun pursuits. And, I wake up every morning next to a wonderful woman who loves me. Going without that for five years wasn’t fun at all.

So here’s hoping it’s not two more months until next entry. I don’t want any more of my life to be empty of definite memories.

Editing Out Your Skull

Lord Bitweaver’s Journal, 1st of Chillsnap, 716 —

I have been working very hard lately. Hard enough that despite having important things to do, I took about ninety minutes of ‘me’ time after work to do a small quest chain in “Borderlands, the Pre-Sequel”. Have another sniper bullet to the noggin, you villainous thug, you.

But then we got down to the important stuff for the evening. Roxy has a brand new job, one with a decent working environment and a potential future! We are both extremely excited, so of course, sushi was mandatory. Mandatory for her, anyway; I’m more of a hibachi kind of guy. The point is our meals were yummy, and it was great to have a little personal date night together, even if at one point she had to sit through me geeking out about the clean, utilitarian lines of the original TV series USS Enterprise.

We got home then and I handled some convention email, then once our brains had settled we sat down for an editing session on Managlitch Episode Nineteen. Not an especially long episode, but it has three voice actors and some important plot revelations. I needed the mood to be right, and to reveal just enough to have people guessing while not so much as to hand it all out on a platter. Anyone listening through the whole run will have a pretty good idea who is behind this all, but that’s okay; we didn’t want it hidden too carefully!

Anyway, getting the script exactly where it needed to be took two or three hours of editing. This podcasting lark isn’t one; as I’ve mentioned one or two times before, it’s real work! But we made it happen, and I’ve contacted the voice actors; and I’ll actually be starting to write Twenty soon, so I can take advantage of a meetup with another voice early.

Oh, and I have officially started on Project Discordia. What with everything else we did, officially starting consisted of setting up some folders in Dropbox and roughing out some very general character sketches, but I’m calling it the start. When will it be done? Not for months, I’m certain. But I’ll drop the occasional update here once it’s really rolling: this isn’t a Sekrit Project. Thank goodness, because I hate keeping those quiet.

Projected Activity

Lord Bitweaver’s Journal, 31st of Colddark, 716 —

I got a preliminary thumbs-up from Roxy on Episode Nineteen. All I have to do with that one is do the editing pass, confirm voice actors, get the recordings, and edit them together. Then I can release. Easy, right? So easy that I’m going to try to start Episode Twenty this week, because that’s going to be a special season finale anniversary episode, and that’s going to be even worse. I think that all successful writers have masochistic tendencies.

On top of that, I’m starting Project Discordia tomorrow. No, it’s not related (much) to the Principia or the Illuminatus tales – more to the original goddess Eris herself. But we’ll see: I expect this project to take months at least, and many things can change between here and there. I rather expect them to. That’s part of the fun. It’s also part of the Monty Oum Project, a fan effort to honor the memory of RWBY’s creator by setting aside our fears and excuses and making new things. I’ve had the idea that Project Discordia’s time had nearly come, and this was the last sign I needed to start putting the pieces in order.

Then, of course, there’s Project Shadow. That will consume not just time, but money and other resources I don’t have now but I may have soon. Some people know a little about it and they are pretty excited; well, so am I. This is probably the least practical of the ides I have going right now, but it would likely be one of the most fun. And if I can pull it off, it has the potential to be something flashy and attention-getting.

Lastly, Project Punk which has been on the boards for at least a year-and-a-half. Changes in my personal life may bring that back in reach again… it’s hard to say. This excursion would be done almost for fun alone; it won’t advance my life goals in almost any way, but we should all have a good time and maybe pick up a few bucks. I don’t know where I’d find the time, but that’s becoming such a regular refrain I’m beginning to ignore it.

See, the time is there. I’ve suspected this for a while. If I can stop focusing on social media that’s boring me, and stop fretting over anxieties that are rarely as bad as my jerkbrain makes them out to be, and stop re-reading books I’ve read 100 times just because they are comfortable, all this time could be going toward my creativity and personal goals. That’s what I’d like most to do with 2016: I’ve been spending my time more wisely lately, but I’m thinking I could do even better!

At least I don’t have to worry if I’m a writer any more. I’m writing constantly these days (if constantly means at least a few hundred words a week). They say that if you’re writing… then you’re a writer. That’s been good for my confidence and creativity. And that means even more words escape my brain to appear on these pages.

Existence Success

Lord Bitweaver’s Journal, 30th of Colddark, 716 —

So, when I said I wanted to get Episode Nineteen written this weekend, I didn’t expect this.

Thursday at Gender Rebels was fun. Lots of good Who and cosplay talk, with just a little bit of Moffat-hate thrown in to annoy me. No one there knew next to anything about Classic Who, which would make me feel old if I were the type to grouch about such things. Which I’m basically not. The desserts were not the best Roxy and I have ever had there, but whatevs.

Friday evening I drove a moving truck for a friend. I honestly hate that, which tells you how much I like the friend. Besides, I couldn’t help with moving boxen, because of the hip replacement. This was the best I could offer for help, so I gave it. Still moved some lightweight stuff, and managed to wear myself out nicely.

Saturday (today), Roxy generously handled some more moving work for our friend because I’d had about enough. I was feeling sick and mentally exhausted – I’ve had to take my brain meds twice today. I did a few home chores and tried to relax a bit, but I didn’t really relax properly until almost nine tonight, when I forced myself to open a Word document for Managlitch Nineteen, “Existence Failure”.

Then, the magic happened. After a minor struggle to start, the word floodgates opened and I wrote thirteen pages in three hours. I don’t know how that compares to the Secret Masters of Science Fiction, but that’s a lot for me. And I was thrilled every second: I was “on”. Sure, it will still need editing, and the recording will be a bear because we’ll need three separate sessions; I don’t care. The Muse was on me tonight and that’s a high I often crave and rarely attain.

So now, all I have to do is come down enough to get some sleep, because it’s back to external responsibilities tomorrow. And Monday, I want to start a new project in addition to the podcast. Void knows how I’ll manage that. Gonna try anyway.

Thank you Muse. Hope the end result is worthy.

Ruler of Raleigh

Lord Bitweaver’s Journal, 27th of Colddark, 716 —

Over a week since my last journal entry. Glad I absolved myself of the original “every day” idea, or I’d feel like total crap right now. It’s been a roller-coaster bunch of days. I don’t really know what to make of my life right now, I admit; I haven’t been so busy with projects, socializing, and responsibilities ever in my 47 years that I can remember. Good thing? Bad thing? I don’t know.

We had our friend Quinn over for dinner and gaming last Wednesday, and it was a joy to have a friend over as always. The new copy of “King of Tokyo” got some entertaining use, and I played my first game of “Star Munchkin” in ages – winning literally by accident.

The next day our friend Tony came for the whole weekend, barely beating a winter storm that gave me my first working day from home on Friday. We played more “King of Tokyo” – that was a wise purchase – and managed to get out of the house Saturday to see “Black Violins” perform in nearby Greenville. That was money well spent: I had a great time.

I did find out that it’s time to retire the old “Dirty Pair: Project EDEN” dub we worked so hard on back in the day. Between our untrained voice acting skills, the poor multi-generation copy, and other flaws when compared to the slick work you see on Crunchyroll these days, it’s just not accessible. Perhaps one day I’ll try something like that again, but for now that flick is headed for the vaults.

Two ReGeneration Who internet meetings, Sunday and tonight, have gone well. We are behind where we wanted to be, but ahead of where we feared we’d be, so calling it a win at the moment. I’ve done a ton of work there in the last few days, building spreadsheets and a web survey form. Not to brag, but I’m glad I’m quick on the uptake at least in some areas.

And the best news: Roxy got a job! She starts Monday, and a whole lots of the financial pressure will come off. This looks like a decent position with a future, unlike last year’s crap job. I’m super excited. This will be good for the both of us, and she’s deserved it for ages.

Tomorrow is the Gender Rebels meeting at the cupcake shop, and this weekend I’m helping a friend move, heading to my mom’s to clean up her apartment, and attending another two staff meetings. Somewhere in there I need to start writing Managlitch Episode Nineteen. So, the journaling will happen when it happens.

I’m not bored.

You Must Construct Additional Pylons

Lord Bitweaver’s Journal, 19th of Colddark, 716 —

Not an exciting day, but not a terrible one. Worried a bit that I’m not working hard enough for my bosses, then left work today with 65% of the ticket queue cleared and only 3 tickets in my own section, all awaiting user responses. So I’m not lazing around, either.

Went to see my mom. She’s still doing as well as ever. I don’t understand her life, but then I’m sure she doesn’t understand mine, so that’s about even I suppose. Would love to have the time, money and persuasiveness to take her out to some of the fun or tasty places I’ve found in Raleigh… while I still can. No one here’s getting any younger.

MarsCon caught up with me a bit today, I think: I’ve spent a lot of the day desperate for a nap. But I finally shook it all off enough to post Managlitch Eighteen notices all over social media. Marketing is another thing I know nothing about and am learning as I go. This particular skill I’d be *really* happy to pay someone else to do for me, but since all I can offer are warm thanks right now, probably not.

Got some ReGen stuff to finish hopefully tomorrow. As always, I’m wishing for a magical source of more energy: mom, dinner, and advertising was everything I could manage tonight. Will try for a good night’s rest tonight, and more catch-up tomorrow.