I’ve put a fair amount of time into the game Rust and recently started recording some gameplay videos again. Here’s a look at my latest piece;
I’ve put a fair amount of time into the game Rust and recently started recording some gameplay videos again. Here’s a look at my latest piece;
Ordinarily I avoid clichés such as “caught between a rock and a hard place” at all costs while writing, but the idiom feels too appropriate both for the upcoming year in general and my own path through it. And since I haven’t written a single damn word these past few months, using a well known turn of phrase in the title here is an acceptable evil. I can live with it.
Between the enduring wars and related displacement of peoples, high temperatures melting polar ice caps, declining honeybee populations worldwide and Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy, it’s easy to be frightened of what the future holds. Personally I’m too busy being scared of everything and anything to worry much about whether I’m going to drown, perish in a nuclear apocalypse, or wind up building a wall along my country’s southern border. And yes, I’m Canadian buddeh.
We’re coming up on the three year anniversary of my brain injury and, in the interest of absolute optimism, I’ve made some significant progress. The problem is I have to look at a chart of that progress spanning the entire time period in order to even be aware of it, and I never really feel it. This is the kind of shit you can’t quite understand until you’re living with a debilitating invisible illness.
On the brighter side, I’ve been seeing a new counsellor who has a stronger approach to healing mental health problems, starting with proper diagnosis and understanding. I’m easily distracted by the extreme anxiety I live with every day now, and the bouts of severe depression that strike every so often. I’d never considered that I’m recovering from a series of tightly arranged traumatic stressors. Looking at the past through the frame of how it shaped my mind and my present rather than agonizing over the unfortunate events is much healthier, and I’m grateful for the lens my new counsellor has provided.
Time passes strangely when you’re outside of the world, looking in. In the past three years I haven’t made many new friends, but I have lost many who I thought would be by my side forever. I haven’t adopted any new passions or learned any new skills, but I have allowed my previous skills to rust over. I haven’t held a job for more than two weeks, but I’ve submitted many applications.
The main ordeal I’m faced with now is re-integrating myself and my actions with the rest of society. This ordeal’s engine is my anxiety. It’s hard enough trying to hold a casual conversation with a stranger (or even a friend) while your subconscious is screaming insults. It’s difficult to stay focused when every stressor, even good ones like exercise and mental challenge, causes your skin to itch and seem too tight. It’s hard to interview well for a job if you’re determined to be honest, but the honest truth is that your symptoms would prevent you from being a good employee.
If I’m going to make any really significant, positive changes for myself this year, it will most likely be a year of necessary evils. Maybe if I force myself through enough awkward conversations I’ll have one that really matters. Maybe if I work out enough I can go back to loving exercise and practicing martial arts rather than loathing the mere idea of sweating. Maybe I’ll send out resumes in bulk and go into every interview prepared to paint myself as a picture perfect employee.
Or maybe the planet will be overrun by intelligent apes and I’ll join the fight for human survival.
Honestly… I don’t know which of those “maybes” is the least likely.
I am stuck between a rock and a hard place, and freeing myself will be the hardest thing I’ve ever done. These past two years I haven’t had the energy or the aptitude for much… certainly nothing so difficult as reformatting a mind as damaged and disused as my own. But I want to do that work more than anything else…
If our world ended next year, whether in a nuclear apocalypse or a cataclysmic flood or a massive meteor strike… I’d be okay with that, so long as in my last moments I could feel I’d done something meaningful and significant with my life. So I guess I’d better hurry up and get on the path to self-actualization… either that, or uncover a way to assign higher intelligence to lower primates.
Either way, I’m fighting for my freedom, and my place in the world.
Some time back, I compiled a list of possible issues TBI can introduce into your life. I combed through a bunch of sources and then put them all together, took out the duplicates, and came up with a list of common complaints related to traumatic brain injury. I’ve refined the list over the past couple of years, and I’m sure there are more issues I’ve missed, but this is what I’ve been working with, thus far. These apply to mild, moderate, and severe. And a lot of them are problems I have dealt with on a regular basis throughout the course of my life.
Here’s the list, broken down by category:
2. Aggression (verbal/physical)
3. Raging behavior
4. Trouble being understood
5. Trouble understanding
6. Trouble finding words
7. Trouble communicating in general
8. Agitated, can’t settle down
10. Anxiety – Feeling vague…
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Too tired for new excerpt… here’s an old fav
Hey Readers, welcome to tonight’s excerpt. If you’re a regular follower, let me know what you think about the new theme. I’ll probably experiment with a few more, I’m not sure about this one. If you’re new, double welcome to you! I’ll throw some links at the bottom of the post that you might be interested in. Happy Friday Everyone.
“I already chose,” I told her, standing and following her along the arena’s protected roof, “that’s why I’m here.” I stopped and rooted my feet. “Because you’re better than me at this, and I need your help.”
“Who, me?” The Pixie batted her long eyelashes and flounced about like a schoolgirl that had just received a compliment from her favorite teacher. “What could I possibly teach you?” She asked, striking her favorite Peter Pan pose with both fists on her hips and chest thrust forward.
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Hello folks, thanks so much for stopping by and reading. It’s straight to business today… click on my links for other excerpts, and as always any sharing is appreciated. Blessings and love for all. That said…
Warning. The following content contains mature language and themes.
Three fucking weeks and Tegan still didn’t know who had killed their man. The pigs blamed it on the Pixie of course, but more than a few of Tegan’s buddies considered the Pixie a secret project of the police force. It made sense in her mind… how else could that little bitch be within the police’s grasp on so many occasions, helping them, and always escape? The topic stayed on the back table at Emira’s many nights after each article on the masked twat appeared in local apers. Tegan didn’t believe it. Put her in a room with the Pixie and she’d put the little bitch on her ass, and then make her scream.
Tegan paced the kitchen in her little two-story, not comforted by the burble of the old coffee pot or the sounds of the boys in the back room or even the whirr of her favorite toys re-counting her cash. She had hired an out of work old mortician to do an autopsy on the body. Three G’s and a bottle of bourbon was all it cost. He’d found smudges of makeup on the back of her man’s neck and shirt, some skin toned but some purplish and pink. Just like the Pixie. But the pigs had to be involved somehow… Tegan couldn’t focus her anger on that skinny little cape wearing will o’ the wisp. The Police. The Pixie. Fucking pigs, the lot of them.
Laughter from the back room drew her attention, and the heavy shouldered woman ambled back and paused in the entryway. The blonde in the guest room upstairs was almost ready to spearhead Tegan’s new project.
She’d gone about it all wrong initially, and only her brute strength and determination had made her succeed. Way back when this one skinny bitch had borrowed money from her and showed up with excuses instead of cash. She got a knuckle sandwich for that, but still didn’t cough up any dough. So Tegan had bound and gagged her and stashed her in the closet.
It hadn’t even been intentional. Tegan just figured after a few hours or so the bitch would come up with a way of producing some capital. And then she’d kind of forgotten about it until her buddies showed up to watch the game and one of them was bitching about getting shot down at the bar (again) and something in Tegan’s entrepreneurial mind put the pieces together. They’d paid a hundred a head for that train ride and the Big Cheese got to watch. What sweeter justice could a girl get?
From there she’d progressed to sedating her bitches, but guys would only pay so much for a lifeless whore, and only a select breed of them enjoyed the rough dry road. Her business was booming, but it had its limits.
“What’s up Tegan?” Brian called from the long couch. Tommy and Greg were seated next to her favorite boytoy. Ever since the shootout with the pig she only felt comfortable around the guys that had helped her with it. Past their heads she saw Saturday Night Live playing on the big screen. Is it that late already?
“Not much,” she replied, “just thinkin’,” and then she put a meaty palm on the rickety wooden banister and sauntered up the stairs.
Howdy readers. Sorry for taking such a long hiatus from the blog… sorry to myself mostly. Writing this thing does me more good than it possibly could any of you, which I suppose makes me a selfish bastard. But I’d best keep on with it.
I’m currently struggling with recovery from traumatic brain injury, which can (and has in my case) be exceptionally debilitating. I had to teach myself how to talk – it took two hours sounding out my name in my bedroom to get that far – but my former doctor (former for a reason) refused to acknowledge my symptoms and sent me on a downward spiral. I’ve found some small amount of equilibrium now and I intend to build upon it.
For anyone who liked “The Pixie” never fear, chapters 3 and 4 are both partially written and I’ll be posting teasers in my next update. This one was just to get back on the horse, say hi, and link to some gameplay videos I’ve thrown up on youtube recently.
Episode 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fc7MBjD2aJM
Episode 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BrkuroeKz6Y
I’ve never been much of a gamer but following my injury I wasn’t able to exercise, play sports, or even think or right or behave the way I used to in social situations. Many of the doctors and counsellors I’ve seen tell me that I will never get back to being “the old me”. It is fairly commonly accepted among people with brain injuries that one must only look at one’s accomplishments since the injury, not before it. Because remembering before is like remembering being superhuman.
For better or for worse, I’ve been unable to accept this mantra. I’m determined to make my life as great as it once was, and greater still… sadly it’s a slow process. Playing Rust and recording gameplay started as a way to pass the time and escape misery, but now I’d like to see if I can make something more of it. If you like the videos let me know, and share them with your gaming buddies. Now my focus is sliding and it’s time to try to work on something else.
I recently completed some physiotherapy on my legs (still doing the exercises but seeing massive improvements already) and I feel like a new man. There’s a springiness I’ve lacked in the months following my sprained ankle that are a big part of my zest for life. If I stay faithful to my physio I should be back at the MMA gym by early September, which is right around the time the sailing season ends…
And sailing is going great. The same looseness in my limbs that gives me confidence on the ground is so key for feeling at ease on the water. I’ve nailed down the basics of the boat and am starting to shoot selfies during the long reaches of races, as you can see below.
I’m still writing up a storm, and I’ve got some fun stuff you can check out if you like my work in fiction.
Need for Steed: Suravani’s Oasis is a story I’m writing solo on the creative writing/roleplaying website Althanas.com. I’m using it to build upon a model concept for a herculean character who will appear in the first full length novel of Echoterre. The desert continent it takes place in is also great for forcing me to expand my creative thinking, as it is rich with unique lore.
The Cellebration is a post-tournament in game social mixer I started half a year ago – and the party is still going strong! This can be read much like a choose-your-own adventure story, there’s a rich cast of some of the top characters on Althanas and they put a lot of energy into out-flirting and under-cutting each other. If you want to read something light and silly and a little bit sexy, check this out!
The Pixie’s Paramour is a short story I’m working on as part of a larger anthology called Murderville. It’s a gritty look at an ultraviolent future to our current social regime where larger than life heroes and villains fill the void in humanity. The following teaser shows more the ugly side than the fantastical, but hopefully it will hook your interest:
I’d never been in a real street fight – at least not since the seventh grade. At a certain point around age fourteen the consequences of combat changed. The idea of being seen by society as a violent criminal for the rest of my life terrified me much more than the concept of taking a beating. I chanelled my energy into martial arts and combat sports and gradually the desire to engage in pointless bloodlust waned.
Ten years later the red mist returned to lick at the corners of my eyes. A gauntlet of unfortunate events had filed my rough edges back into points. Weapons with only one purpose. And so I trudged the streets of Murderville, trying my best to disguise a limp.
The small city had a prettier name once. Before the Farmer’s Market dried up and the local busisnesses skipped town, leaving only the lowest cost franchises and warehouses amidst boarded up abandoned buildings. The population had waned, but only slightly. A different breed of citizen had occupied the haphazard assortment of smoky-halled apartment buildings and falling down houses. Those who slipped through the cracks left in our capitalist society.
My refusal to vacate the barren town was one of the reasons she gave for not loving me anymore. I’d been worried when communication became more about buzzword text messages than the long conversations we used to share. But I’d given her the benefit of the doubt… and when at last we saw each other again she had force-marched herself through a complete breakup without telling me. Yet still she wept in my arms. She come to know me too well, and inflicted as much pain as she could in leaving.
Barely sleeping and in a constant daze, I’d thrown myself into training. The increase in vigor matched with minimal focus brought me a badly sprained ankle that didn’t want to heal. I couldn’t lift, couldn’t run, couldn’t jump, couldn’t train. It took less than three weeks laid up in my apartment for the red mist to boil up.
And then I found myself downtown, navigating the cracked cobblestone of old Market Square with feet bare inside green rubber crocs. There was a time when I never went out on foot without wearing sturdy shoes. In case I had to kick someone or run, or both. But kicking and running were out of the question with the injury to my right ankle. I leaned against one of a long line of wooden supports holding up a walless roof that had once sheltered the farmers on market days.
A long low sedan nosed to the curb, fresh white paint reflecting the late noon sun. I realized with mild surprise it was the same honda civic I’d seen circling the block in the opposite direction. My slow, deliberate pace had looped me through to where the civic pulled up to park.
Three of four doors opened and six feet hit the street. Innane conversation cut off as three skinheads in baggy T-shirts and jeans. The passengers looked to the driver who was looking at me. He was taller and broader in all dimensions than his buddies – fatter, more muscular, and his skin and scalp was several shades paler than the others. The kind of semi-tan prison inmates get during their daily hour of outdoor recreation.
A thick marbled steak, fresh from the meatlocker.
Thank you so much for reading! If you enjoy my work please let me know by sharing this post with like-minded folk or leaving a comment. Even if only two people read what I write… I write it for you too!
Ahoy and avast to anyone still reading this blog – and my many thanks to you and your mighty attention span. Much has happened since my last update: I’ve had to take time off from martial arts training due to a sprained ankle, but have taken up sailing in the meantime. I’ve been focused on my professional writing but found a lull recently and began revisiting some of my old online haunts. Here’s a look at one of the articles I recently wrote for a Crossfit website:
The freelance writing kept me busy for a time, but I recently landed a copy-editing job which left me wanting for an excuse to write words of my own. I’m still developing the illustrious Echoterre fantasy series, but keeping that secretive until the first novella can be properly published. In the meantime I’ve reactivated an account on Althanas.com and started a solo quest there that promises to entertain:
Other than that I’m staying happy and healthy and rehabilitating my legs, hopefully to return to Loyalist MMA before the end of the summer. I promise to post more often again, so long as you all keep liking and sharing my work. Be well!
There are literally millions of things to be done each time we access the internet. While I’m definitely guilty of hanging around facebook to chat with old friends or cruising wikipedia for interesting articles, of late I’ve focused more on finding websites that offer helpful free services. If you’re interested in making some positive change in your life and spend a lot of time online, some of these may prove useful. Enjoy; my top five free online resources.
5. Youtube – this may seem like an odd choice since everyone knows about youtube… but did you know how useful it can be? I’ve learned many things on youtube over the years, from Parkour and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to linux installation and zombie survival skills. These days there are also a wide range of inspirational/life skills based videos, for those seeking a little guidance. On the other side of the coin, many youtubers earn a living off the new advertising system, so if you have a useful skill, a camera, and a little charisma, you could turn a tidy profit just by filming yourself and uploading to youtube.
4. MapMyRun – I’ve been using this site for years due to its one unique application; it provides road (and sometimes trail) maps along with a tool for plotting (and measuring) your route. Modern MapMyRun is connected with a larger site (MapMyFitness) and now includes a plethora of fitness related tools including one of the best calorie counters I’ve ever seen. If you walk or run for exercise and would like to improve, tracking your progress on MapMyRun is a great bet. Likewise, if you’re trying to count calories or macronutrients its worth making an account.
3. Elance – I recently signed up as a Freelancer after a couple years of putting it off. While Elance connects freelancers to employers in a range of practices including programming, design, marketing, administration and consulting, the bulk of the work they process revolves around my most marketable skill: writing. I applied for about a dozen jobs over the course of two days, and hear back from one shortly thereafter. I earned my first $25 in a week doing a simple, fun story writing assignment that reminded me of highschool English class. The client was so happy with the result, he offered me a 5,000 word job which we’re currently discussing the fee for.
If you have skills that are applicable in an online context, Elance is a great place to pick up some extra cash. Many ‘lancers use this site to supplement their income, or keep themselves in the green while traveling in foreign countries. If you live in a nation with particularly low rent and cost-of-living and work well independently, it shouldn’t be too difficult to support yourself off Elance.
2. Fitocracy – I found this site off a reference from my Business Gamification class on coursera. Simply put, Fitocracy is a facebook-like fitness based community that includes an elaborate workout logging application and a fairly arbitrary points system. You log a workout, you get points, and then people give you props (similar to “likes” on facebook) for being so badass. If you’re lacking motivation or communal support for your fitness regimen, Fitocracy is worth some investigation. Aside from the fun of its main functions, there are also an endless supply of “Quests” which encourage you to try new kinds of exercise, as well as social groups surrounding different sports, eating habits, and interests. Fitocracy is especially great for anyone new to the idea of working out/exercising. It provides a super-positive, supportive community that can and will answer most of your questions for free within a few minutes.
1. Coursera.org – Legitimate University level courses. Online. Free. I’m not sure I should have to say more. Covering a wide range of topics, coming from Universities and educators all across America, this is simply an open sourced educational tool providing accreditation you can actually put on your resume. The site offers an option for a “verified degree” on most courses that includes a small fee, but even the completely free classes can be connected to and displayed on a LinkedIN profile. So far I have passed two nutritional courses with honors, and am halfway through the aforementioned business gamification course. Seriously, check out coursera.
Well, that’s all I’ve got for today. Hopefully soon I’ll write something a little more… fictional. Thanks for reading, and be well!