Lexifabricographer For when the right word just won’t do…

February 24, 2011

Sad losses

Filed under: geekery,the interweb she provides — lexifab @ 3:58 pm

Yesterday was not a good news day. There was the obvious horror of the Christchurch earthquake, the news from which seemed to worsen with each unfolding hour. The earthquake seems somehow like the latest leg of some summer tour down under of a band of travelling natural disasters. On the tail of four months of floods and cyclones, this is just the latest episode in a season of one damned thing after another. When commonplace events like storms and cyclones and earth tremors all seem to have been turned up to 11, you have to wonder whether some unhinged weather god has suddenly decided to throw an apocalypse. Volcanoes and tsunamis, on stage in 3…2…1…

Except of course, much worse things happen elsewhere in the world, and it’s only the relative uncommonness and proximity of the recent disasters that makes them loom so large. Bad things are always worse in proportion to familiarity. How well you know personally or can identify with people caught up in a crisis will dictate your emotional response to that crisis? At least that’s how it feels to me.

Which brings me to news from yesterday of two deaths that made me feel acutely awful, despite having no genuine connection to either person.

First up came the news that Dwayne McDuffie had died of complications from surgery earlier in the week (details still seem sketchy). McDuffie was a writer of comics and, later, a film and television writer/producer. An African-American writer who championed racial diversity, he wasn’t afraid to call his employers out for their smug ignorance of race over the years. To be honest while I respect that, it’s not for that or for his more famous work – Milestone Media, the Static Shock and Justice League cartoon series, and a hoard of comic and cartoon credits – that I admired him. It was for the little-remembered Marvel series  Damage Control, which was about the New York cleanup crew who dealt with the aftermath of superhero battles. It was a brilliant piece of post-Watchmen (and obviously pre-9/11) metacommentary on superheroes (especially the Marvel version, whose personal lives were supposedly more ‘realistic’ than their DC counterparts’) and it was funny as hell. The link is to McDuffie’s original pitch for the series. I haven’t had a chance to check my comic collection yet – it’s boxed up in several different parts of the house – but I hope like hell that I haven’t thrown my copies of the series away over the years.

Shortly after that came the less unexpected but still unwelcome news that Nicholas Courtney, better known to me for my entire life as Brigadier Alastair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, had passed away. When I started watching Doctor Who – which you need to understand is the single most influential cultural touchstone in my life – the ABC was constantly showing and reshowing the Jon Pertwee and early Tom Baker seasons. The Brigadier was a near-constant presence in those years, second only to the TARDIS and the Doctor himself, and the show would have been the poorer without the character’s wry humour and Courtney’s subtle performance. He will be missed.

In all, it was a bit of a misery-guts day – but out of all that there were a couple of shining lights. The gaming community have done themselves credit a couple of times over. First of all was the fundraiser by Elizabeth Shoemaker Sampat of Two Scooters Press to support a friend with a genetic disorder that results in blindness. (Get six whole games in PDF for a ten buck donation now). I’m pleased to see that they’ve raised quite a lot already.

The other fundraiser I took note of was a similar offer over at RPGNow, which is bundling 45 PDF products for twenty bucks to raise funds for victims of the New Zealand earthquake (they did a similar one for Haiti last year). There are some real gems amongst the inevitable dross, like Cold City, Beat to Quarters (the Hornblower/Jack Aubrey-inspired Napoleonic naval war RPG I’ve been dying to check out) and the creepy vampire game Annalise. Well worth checking through the list to see if there’s anything you want there.

Tell me something that made you feel a little bit happy. And next time I blog I think I’ll make it entirely about things that are making me happy right now.

February 17, 2011

Out of the long dark

Filed under: administraviata,wombat,wordsmithery — lexifab @ 2:26 pm

I really can’t put this off any longer.

I’ve taken the last three months off from more or less everything else – blogging, writing, work and most of my gaming – while I nestled in the comforts of family and did my bit to give the Wombat her best possible start in life. Happy to report that that part has gone very well and that she remains adorable and comfortable and happy and well.

But I have been stalling. I’ve been back at work a couple of weeks now. There has been plenty of time to resume writing and punching out the off blog post. I’ve been neglecting what I shall only-slightly-sarcastically call these responsibilities because I wanted to get my sleep under control, because I wanted to get back into the groove of going to work and because I really really liked being on holiday.

Really, it’s mainly down to that last one.

The other two excuses have suddenly evaporated. In the past few days the Wombat has decided that she’s going to sleep through the night. That means the blessed return of full night’s sleeps. Except on nights when I stay up too late watching movies or playing games or whatever, but self-inflicted insomnia excuses nothing, and will not be tendered into evidence in this court of self-justification.

Work’s going pretty well too. I have a lot to do, it’s varied and it’s challenging rather than numbingly simple or oppressively difficult. I have responsibilities, albeit scary ones in which the balance between my knowledge and experience on one side and the severe consequences of failure on the other side are tipped at an alarming angle in the wrong direction. Invigorating!

So it comes down to the holidays, literal and figurative. I have more or less written nothing other than post-baby and post-Xmas thank you letters since the Wombat arrived (and try not to feel slighted if you didn’t get anything from me because, well, lazy). It has been nice to just chill out and completely disregard the urge to hammer out word after word, to just strike that sense of self-obligation far away and out of sight while I concentrated on keeping everyone bathed and fed, reading the odd book, enjoying the company of family and friends, watching the  apocalyptic visitations of La Nina and improving my rocket jumping and/or sniping techniques.

But the words sneak back in when you’re not paying attention, and the little buggers nag. They get their hooks in and they insinuate. They demand to be pinned down, tagged and released. There’s probably some sort of revolting coral spawning metaphor I could follow that with – but I’ll hold it off while you get  clear.

The point is, I’m writing again. I probably won’t have anything specific to share here any time soon, unless another useless triffid story cuts to the front of the queue. Most of what I was working on when I downed tools in November was well short of half-done. Moreover, with some distance I can tell that most of it was also badly half-baked (which is not a reason not to go back to it and attempt to restore some sense of dignity and order, but I do need to be realistic about how long it’s going to be before it’s ready for human consumption).

In the meantime, Lexifab is back in business. Hi y’all. whatcha been up to?

Powered by WordPress