Back in business…

The sun won’t set, ’til the pain and the final breath…

Alright ladies and gentlemen, I’m back. Let’s start with a quick update about what’s been going on, and what’s going to be happening for the future of this blog.

What’s been happening?

First up, apologies for the longer than expected delay. Turns out that my ISP are less than efficient when it comes to actually doing their goddamn jobs, and it took far longer than it should have to get my net hooked up. By the time they told me it was hooked up, I was due to go house sit for six weeks on the other side of town, and when I got home I discovered that my connection actually hadn’t been hooked up. Add another week to get a tech out to have a look, who turned out to be one of the most bigoted, racist bastards I’ve ever met… I had to deal with a twenty minute rant about “sand monkeys”, and yes, he really did use that term. But, I now have internet access again. I’m also still unpacking here (it’s a much slower process than I expected), which has sapped much of my time for doing anything hobby related.

On a more personal front, there’s been some ups and downs for me lately. I’ll touch on that briefly as I talk about what I’ve been up to for the last few months, but for anyone concerned that the opening line of this update is a cry for help, don’t worry. It’s a line from a song, and that to will be explained a little later.

First up. Soundwave. Sweet Zombie Jesus, Soundwave. One of the first years I haven’t spent a significant amount of time at the main stages (inc. Stage 3, as that’s the biggest apart from Stages 1 and 2), and yet one of the best years for me. Literally the only time I went near those stages was to see Alice in Chains, other than that I was on the small stages. I won’t give a full list of the bands I saw, but highlights were Amon Amarth (they had a longship on stage!), Volbeat, Clutch, 10 Years, Nostalghia, The Boss Hoss, Gwar (and may Dave Brockie, aka Oderus Urungus, rest in piece having passed away shortly after this tour), TesseracT and Living Colour (yes, that Living Colour! And yes, they played Cult of Personality).

As I mentioned in my last update, I headed off to Jenolan Caves for a couple of nights so I could attend the wedding of my friends Edwin and Kathryn (Love you guys! ‘Specially you Eddie, you bearded beast!). I showed up a night early to have dinner with the wedding party at Caves House, and it was totally worth it. The food and drink was amazing (dessert was garnished with pop rocks, and I discovered the joy of espresso martinis… how did I live life without them before?), and the company was of course wonderful. The next day was the ceremony, held in the Temple of Bhaal cave. Eddie, Kathryn and the wedding party looked spectacular in their Gallery Serpentine designed outfits. Kathryn in particular, who I’m more used to seeing in casual gear, was a jaw dropping vision of beauty, looking like a gothic princess (I hope Eddie doesn’t mind me commenting about this, but I couldn’t let it pass without saying something). The reception was a lot of fun, and I got to spend a fair bit of time catching up with some friends I hadn’t seen in a long time, while also getting to know some new people. So it was a happy time for all concerned, and I’m glad to have been there to see one of my oldest friends in Canberra (and someone I consider to be like a brother to me given what he’s done for me over the years) finally hitched to the girl we all knew he belonged with from the start.

As is always the case with weddings though, while a happy occasion, it was also a reminder that yes, I am alone. We’re over four years on from the day my ex-girlfriend left me, and while the pain from that has long since healed (admittedly with the occasional flare up when I heard that she was getting married, or that she was pregnant), I still haven’t managed to meet anyone else. In the last couple of years, I’ve made attempts to start dating again. A six month foray into the world of online dating left my self esteem at it’s lowest since just after the breakup, given that I got literally no replies after months of sending out messages. It turns out that rejection by silence can be just as bad as outright rejection. Other than that, there had been three women I’d met in various places who piqued my interest enough to actually make me want to take action. Sadly, none of them panned out in my favour (thankfully in the case of the most recent one, I was advised by a friend that the particular person I was interested in had met someone a week before I met them, so I didn’t make an arse out of myself). So at this stage, I’ve given up for the moment. Just going to concentrate on getting myself back in shape, on a better financial footing, and even start looking to try and get a deposit on a house together (okay, that’s years away, but you have to plan these things). So I guess the takeaway here is that, while I’m not entirely happy about the situation, I’ve accepted it. It doesn’t prey on my mind like it used to, and that’s a positive thing in its own right.

After returning from the wedding, I was home for a week or so before I went over to the north side of Canberra to housesit for a colleague. I spent around a month and a half there, and it was a really nice break. I got to play some of my favourite Xbox 360 games again (though I still haven’t finished Lost Odyssey… sigh), and catch up on a lot of reading and watching of movies (those of you who haven’t seen Dredd, watch it. NOW!). It also gave me a chance to ease myself back into regular gaming. We had a Pathfinder session (Reign of Winter, with Jimbles as the GM), and a session of The Laundry RPG (a fill-in session instead of Shattered Star because I stupidly forgot a vital component that I needed for the session). I also ran a few sessions of The Laundry for my cousin Liam and his friends, who are in high school and learning how to play a few different systems until they feel confident to run their own games. So that was a lot of fun, and I felt like it was almost like a holiday for me. Sure, I was still working, but at the end of the day I went home to a nice big house, didn’t have to think about unpacking and sorting my stuff, and got to just chill out. I also spent a fair bit of time making requests to nearby pizza places to draw stuff in the boxes they were delivering to me… Dominos and Crust failed to play the game, but I want to give a bit shout out to Pizza Capers Gungahlin, who drew me wizards, dragons, unicorns, a Cyclops, and some kind of weird snake like creature I still haven’t figured out. They made my day every time I opened a box and found another sketch, and they were really friendly and enthusiastic about it on the one occasion that I went to the store to pick up the order. So kudos to them.

Also during the house sitting holiday, I managed to catch a couple of shows here in Canberra. First up was the Suicide Girl’s Blackheart Burlesque, which was a lot of fun, with lots of segments based on pop-culture and geek interests, ranging from Planet of the Apes, Star Wars and Kill Bill segments through to Portal and Zelda routines. A few weeks after that, I found out that Kylesa, one of my favourite Sludge/Stoner Metal bands were playing at the ANU Bar, which was very unexpected, given that most bands who tour from overseas just skip us. Unfortunately it wasn’t well advertised, but the crowd that did show up made up for it by really getting into the show, and it was an amazing gig all round. Even got all the band’s signatures on a poster, and found a couple of really good new bands to follow, Looking Glass (a Canberra based Stoner Metal band) and Rise of Avernus (Sydney based Doom Metal).

Anyway, I’ve been home for a bit over a week now, and am just settling back into sorting out the apartment, and plodding through my day to day work, keeping on top of all the little issues that come up so the other guys can concentrate on the project work that’s going on at the moment. There’s also been a day trip to Bega to go to my uncle’s 60th birthday, so I’ve been able to catch up with family, and a bit of time spent at the movies with friends. I’ve seen The Amazing Spiderman: Rise of Electro, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and The Lego Movie during the last month or so, and loved all of them. At some point I’ll probably talk about them in more detail, but for now I’ll just so you should go watch them if you haven’t already.

Other than that, the only other stuff I’ve been doing is beginning to plan a few new RPG groups that I’d like to run, gauging interest in various systems and campaigns; and starting up the latest iteration of my Blood Bowl: Chaos Edition league online. So far we’re 3 rounds into a 10 round season, and my Skaven team, the Ratfink Basterds, are sadly trailing at 4th out of the six teams in the league, with 1 Win, 1 Draw and 1 Loss. Could be worse though, I’ve finally got a Rat Ogre on my team, so I should be able to start dealing some damage hopefully.

Anyway, that about sums up what has been happening. So…

What’s coming up?

As I mentioned last time, I’m dropping the reviews of the films from the 2013 Canberra International Film Festival. It’s been too damn long since I’ve watched them, and I need to get this blog back on track, which means back to tabletop gaming. Now this doesn’t mean there won’t be reviews of movies still, in fact I’d be surprised if I don’t make time to rant about how awesome the new Godzilla film is when I finally get to watch it (Note: This movie cannot fail to be awesome. IT WILL BE AWESOME. That is all there is to it. It’s just a matter of how awesome), but for a little while at least I’d like to go back to the core theme of the blog, so RPGs. Let’s see what I’ve been looking at/working on:

  • I’m fiddling with a few character concepts at the moment for The Unusual Suspects, but until I can arrange art for them I won’t post them. I still need to check if the guy I was using before is still active on Fiverr, and look into alternatives if he isn’t. Once I’ve got that sorted though, it will start updating again.
  • I’d like to get the reviews section for RPGs and other gaming products up and running. I’ve still got all Third Party Publisher stuff for Pathfinder that I was gifted during Mikaze-mas late last year to review, so that’s high on the list (and will be cross-posted at, and some of my Kickstarter stuff has come in, so that’ll get me started at least.
  • Given that I’m looking at ramping up some new groups when I can, I’ll be doing a lot more work on building campaign settings again. This means that Cooking the Cosmos should be making a comeback. While I’ll be abandoning the Urban Magic setting I was building for WoD (for the foreseeable future at least), I’ll still be working on the homebrew Pathfinder setting from time to time. However, it won’t be a priority since it’s not going to see use anytime soon, as I’m already running a Pathfinder game, playing in another one, and have the next two campaigns for when those wind up ready to go (I’ll be running Wrath of the Righteous, the Mythic campaign, while one of the guys will take over from Jimbles and run Iron Gods, the upcoming Pathfinder Sci-Fantasy campaign).  Instead, I’ll probably be looking to flesh out a Shadowrun, CthulhuTech, or The Laundry RPG campaign settings, and will be writing about that process. It may also go into discussion about Realm Works, the campaign management tool released by Lone Wolf Labs, since it has finally been officially released. I’ll have to sit down and play with it to see if it’s going to be as useful as I think.
  • Campaign journals. This is an iffy one. I tried to write an in character one for Reign of Winter, and so far it just hasn’t worked for me, but I may give it another try.
  • I’d still like to get some guest posts happening. Jimbles hasn’t had much to say recently, so I might poke him with a stick, see what happens. Might try to find some others who’d be interested in contributing as well.

So, that’s an idea of where I’m looking at going. Which leaves us with just one last thing…

What’s with the line at the start of this update?

As I said, it’s nothing sinister. I’d have used it as the title, except that when I put titles like that I sometimes get concerned messages from people who have just seen the title and not read the context. So I’m a little more cautious about when I do that now. Anyway.

The line is from the song Hats off to the Bull, from the album of the same name by Chevelle, one of my favourite alt-metal bands. They’re a band that is in regular circulation on my playlists, all seven of their albums. The song is about never giving up, giving it your all, and not stopping “’til the pain and the final breath.” Admittedly they have mentioned at concerts before that the inspiration was for the aggressive bastards in the mosh pits at their shows, but I don’t think that detracts from the song at all. The whole point of finding meaning in songs is that you can take what you need to from it, and this song in particular is one that’s kept me going at the odd time when I’ve found it a bit hard to keep myself motivated. It probably helps that it’s one of my favourite sons from what is probably my favourite of their seven albums, but that’s beside the point.

Anyway, that’s it from me for now, but for those of you who are interested, the full lyrics of the song are below (title links to the video clip for it). Keep an eye out for updates soon, and for those of you who have stuck around, thanks for your patience and understanding about the lack of content for a while.


Hats off to the Bull – Chevelle

All our needs put together
Don’t bleed on their own
You paid for an eyeful
So behold the bull
Why can’t I look up, out in the clearing
Tell me what’s there below, (end over end
While he’s safe for the moment, guess what he’s learning
He’s never safe from the crowd, come one

So hats off to the bull
No giving up
Either way, it makes ya mad
Well some of us
Hats off to the bull, keep giving all
What ya say we make amends

To be monumental
Could mean the beyond
The simpler the treasure
Means the higher the cost
Well as for the ending, damn right I’m learning
You might ask for the door, end over end
Well I hate how the clouds hide
The gasps from above

So hats off to the bull
No giving up
Either way, it makes ya mad
Well some of us
Hats off to the bull, keep giving all
What ya say we make amends

Find your challenge, suffer miles
Colours grey, he brings them out
Don’t mind the challenge, suffer miles
A little shallow, if I don’t say

Hats off to the bull
His time ain’t up
Bitter hell in the lion’s den
For some of us
Hats off to the bull
The sun won’t set
Till the pain and the final breath

So hats off to the bull
No giving up
(Either way, it makes ya mad)
(Well some of us)
Hats off to the bull, keep giving all
(What ya say we make amends)

Hats off to the bull
No giving up
Hats off to the bull
Keep giving all
Hats off to the bull
No giving up
Hats off to the bull

One thought on “Back in business…

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