Getting Communities Together Pt 3.

We have what are two separate communities under one banner. I’d love to think the RPG crowd on Twitter or really anywhere is one big, happy family. Some things happened recently to remind me that even though we might be family, we still have plenty of duality and separation to go around.

I promise I am going somewhere with all this.

I’m speaking from my own experiences as an OG (Old Gamer.) All of the opinions are mine. I’m not the world’s expert on all things Old Grognard, but I do sort of identify with that label. Labels are a lot of what this all boils down-to in the end.

We have what are two separate communities under one banner. I’d love to think the RPG crowd on Twitter or really anywhere is one big, happy family. Some things happened recently to remind me that even though we might be family, we still have plenty of duality and separation to go around.

“Those darn kids…”

Those “kids” are pretty great, actually.

I think that’s pretty much the battle cry of the Old Grognard online. “Those darn kids” or whatever synonyms are used, is usually the start of some real polarizing arguments. It’s not always wrong, but it’s an attitude that usually leads to trouble of some kind. It’s not fair to the younger generation and quite often speaks poorly of the older person saying it.

We have this up-and-coming crowd of young gamers. Many of them were brought into the hobby through an interest in Critical Role or some other actual play podcast. Many of them got with a group and discovered they like D&D as a hobby. Great!

They learn to make characters. They play their characters with zeal in many cases. They roll dice and eat snacks, too. Many times they breathe new life into old campaigns or allow us to start new ones. We should be celebrating this! “Those darn kids” are keeping the hobby alive. Screw what edition they’re playing!

Some of us old guys are figuring out that if we want new players, we have to change up the paradigm a bit.

This newer crowd/rpg subculture comes with some new and different rules, however. Not necessarily RPG rules, but socio-cultural rules. It’s similar to trying to understand today’s teenagers. In fact, my own kids fall into this category. It requires a lot of patience and understanding to get to know these “kids.”

Session Zero is a great example of this. Prior to a few years ago, I don’t remember it ever actually coming up much. Sometimes we ran a game session where we made new characters and introduced ourselves, but no one ever discussed “red flags” or “X cards.” Most of the time we discovered one another’s sensitivities after someone got offended. Turns out I actually like Session Zero discussions. They’re useful in so many ways!

“Back in my day…” redux.

Pretty sad that some people were like this back then.

Back in the 1980’s and 90’s, we had a much different political, social, and cultural climate here in the United States. The AIDS scare had people paranoid about sexual relations (ironically it turns out the heterosexual community was most affected.) The Satanic Panic had people extra jumpy about RPGs. The religious right was consistently bombarding America with their often pretentious “values.” Cocaine had half of Hollywood, the music industry, government officials, and corporate executives stoned off their asses and making sketchy decisions. (New Coke, anyone? Reaganomics maybe?)

A lot of us growing up back then were taught to shame gay and trans folk. Gamers got “The lecture” about burning their books and throwing away their “evil” dice. Women were still fighting the glass ceiling and trying to be treated as equals in the workplace. Being sensitive to the needs of others was relegated to “political correctness.” Conservatives ruled the US for over a decade. Eesh.

This is not to excuse the bad behaviour of some of the older generations of gamers. There’s never a good excuse for hate, intolerance, or even really bad behaviour. But it does signal a need for change in some of us as people, and should serve as a wake up call for those engaging in such radical nonsense. If you’re old enough to become bitter and jaded toward someone, you’re old enough to figure out how to get your shit straightened out.

These “new” kids…

Respect will get you success!

Learning is an ongoing experience at any age. Change is inevitable at any age. Cultures and societies change mores and values all the time. It’s not always an instant change. For us “old” guys, some of us wonder how change occurred overnight.

If we “Old Grognards” can put our edition differences aside and sit down with these fresh-faced younger players and DM/GMs, we can accomplish so much together. Gaming is supposed to be fun! For crying out loud, have fun with it.

We should all be rolling dice together and yelling “huzzah!” not bickering over whose edition is best or whether we should be concerned over someone’s pronouns. Yes, we should be sensitive toward one another’s feelings, don’t get me wrong. But pronouns should have been agreed upon probably during Session Zero if they weren’t already established.

Please do everyone at your gaming table a huge favor- leave politics, real world religion, and all of your old baggage at the door. There’s plenty of time to find things to argue about on the Internet. If you’re playing a virtual game, it works much the same way when you sit down for Session ONE onward. The bottom line is play nice. RPGs are a cooperative experience, so uh, please cooperate okay?

There may yet be a Part 4 to this discussion.

I feel like Old Grognards still have a bad rep in the RPG community. Maybe some of us have earned it on an individual basis. Unfortunately, the labels and/or stereotypes run both ways. Sometimes we older players and DM/GMs have a hard time finding a pickup game online, at a convention or even at our local FLGS. Sometimes the discrimination runs both ways. Labels, good or bad, run both ways.

I can’t say I entirely blame the younger crowd for not wanting grandpa or grandma at the table. Sometimes we do tend to bog the conversation down with tales of the days of yore. Yesteryear was a very long time ago for some younger gamers. Some of these younger folks don’t quite get the difference between beer-n-pretzels gaming vs a serious campaign, either.

Thanks for stopping by today. I have a ton of good stuff for Power Rangers RPG, Dungeon Crawl Classics, Monster of the Week , and maybe even good old 5E in the works. This topic of the generation gap in gamers and my friend’s battle with “old cishet white guys” has been occupying a lot of my thoughts lately.

Regardless of what edition you play or who is at your regular table, please have fun. Please treat one another with kindness and compassion in real life. I appreciate you for being here. Thank you!

Freedom Day: May 19th Edition.

What’s the lesson? What’s this trying to teach me? I mean, I’m trying to to wrap my head around a lot of this even now.

Personal Share.

Sigh. It’s the classic best-of-times, worst-of-times scenario. Getting canned from a place where I was miserable might have been better for them than me? Maybe? The verdict is still out on this one. (*Note, I have to tread very carefully with this topic. Certain folk might still be creepin on my socials and here.)

Spiritually, it’s all about the silver lining. What’s the lesson? What’s this trying to teach me? I mean, I’m trying to to wrap my head around a lot of this even now. I’ve done a lot of processing, or at least I’d like to think I have.

Here’s my question: Who’s teaching this class, anyway?

I love Eckhart, believe me.

The very spiritually correct answer is the Universe/Source/God. I’m not trying to force any of this concept on anyone. Take from it what you will. I’m no Eckhart Tolle and my connection with the Divine might not be quite as strong these days? Sorry. That escalated quickly. (*Much like I occasionally poke at Matt Mercer, I seriously doubt Eckhart or his people read my blog.)

If we’re the creator and the creation at the same time, why do we make things hard for ourselves? This question has been relevant for centuries, maybe longer. Sadly, I don’t even have it that bad! Basic human needs met in this 3D lifetime? Check. Anything beyond that? Still working on it.

If you want to stretch the bounds of spirituality a bit, it’s actually me teaching me or my higher self teaching me. And then so on and so forth up the multidimensional food chain all the way to Source. That’s kind of a trippy concept. What? I can’t give myself the proverbial Cliffsnotes?

Karmically, how many times does one have to go through the wringer before we move on?

Early Iron by Maigheach-gheal is licensed under CC-BY-SA 2.0
This is a wringer for those wondering.

I seem to remember someone saying situations would be repeated until a specific lesson is learned. Now, clothes used to go through the wringer a few times to help them dry, but there came a point where it wasn’t doing any good. So I have to ask, if I continue to flunk the same lesson, do I still get to, uh, “graduate?” Is “graduation” day when we die or the next proverbial day when we get to go answer for everything? The deeper one reaches, the more questions come up to be answered.

My dear old Dad used to say, “It never gets any easier, does it?” The older I get, the more I really understand the question. Not sure I have any more answers than I did when I was 17, but at least I get the question from multiple angles.

Every answer leads to more questions. Some questions are more of a struggle to figure out than others. Sometimes we struggle like crazy just to come full circle to the simplest answer possible. We overlook simple answers due to their lack of complexity. As my good friend Jake once said, “If it was simple, we wouldn’t be here.”

People say I spend too much time in my head and I overthink things. Yeah. I probably do. Then again, I believe anything worth doing is worth the effort. The details are important. If I’m worried and giving something a lot of thought, it’s a sign that I care.

One of my favorite teachers often reminds us that we’re already there.

Anna Brown, who claims to not be a spiritual teacher, but quite often speaks the truth about all things spiritual, really gets it in my opinion. You are already that which you are seeking. There are no answers to search for because you already possess the knowledge. Basically, stop trying to dig philosophically so much because you can just live.

Only, I’m stick-stone-stubborn as hell. I refuse to give up. I refuse to stop beating my head on the metaphysical wall. What the heck am I doing here if not to figure out what I’m supposed to be doing here? I love chasing my tail!

Back to the metaphysical drawing board this month.

I started watching a skeptic named Andey Fellowes on YouTube recently. Please don’t think I’m abandoning my views on spirituality or any of my beliefs. However, some of what Andey has to say does ring a bell. He gets very honest and critical about certain popular spiritual and Law of Attraction teachers and what they’re saying. Honestly, I’ve had some of the same experiences. He’s right about a good number of things.

I’m still kind of a “New Age” guy, though. I’m not changing everything about myself to become an atheist or a former “New Ager” as they are called. I don’t troll Andey, either. In fact, if love and light is your jam, there’s no point in trolling anyone, ever. Especially not someone who is speaking out against your long-held beliefs.

All of that having been said, I’m going back to my spiritual roots through the end of June. I am thoroughly examining what my goals in life are. I’m going to ask myself what I intend to manifest. I’m going to give a lot of mental effort over to changing beliefs that aren’t working for me. My overall goal is to hone the habits that will get me to a better place in life yet. It’s time to get off the struggle bus and find some joy again.

Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you. Have a wonderful day wherever you are and whatever you’re doing.

RPG Twitter Be Like…

As much as I want to be love and light, I can’t abide by racist, homophobic, transphobic, pedophilic, abusive, hateful individuals in my life. I’m on a spiritual path and I’m very willing to forgive (*except on one specific thing I mentioned.) I abide by the Wiccan principle of DO NO HARM. If someone can’t follow that one simple rule, we’re going to part ways.

Not the KYBO fire UFO Twitter is. LOL!

So, I delved back into social media today on both Instagram and Twitter after a period of inactivity other than the occasional story post, retweet and blog notification. I liken being away to a social media detox.

(*I grew up in Iowa and live in Des Moines, btw.)

I actually recommend everyone take a break from time to time. It’s healthy. You’ll find time and mental health benefits you never imagined were there. I have my share of mental health issues. Trust me, it was a good cleanse to take a break.

Walked into kind of a mess on Twitter, though.

Photo by Mudassir Ali on Pexels.com

I make mistakes every day. Trust me. No need for a reminder.

I don’t look my followers over on Twitter as well as I should. Turns out my well-meaning desire to be a friend to all sometimes gets me backing some, uh, unscrupulous folks. Anyone can change for better or worse. I unfollowed some people today that need to work on the ‘better.’ It makes me sad because a couple of these bad actors put out some really good content, too.

But, as much as I want to be love and light, I can’t abide by racist, homophobic, transphobic, pedophilic, abusive, hateful individuals in my life. I’m on a spiritual path and I’m very willing to forgive (*except on one specific thing I mentioned.) I abide by the Wiccan principle of DO NO HARM. If someone can’t follow that one simple rule, we’re going to part ways.

People make mistakes. So do I. It happens.

We can correct. We can atone. All it takes is open dialogue. People can change.

I might be an Old Grognard, but I’m far from a grouch most days.

Curmudgeonly Grognard is NOT the same as hateful and intolerant.

Someone who I genuinely look up to posted something on Twitter that I took issue with. I immediately unfollowed him. Much to my surprise, (more like dismay,) he gave me a big, unsolicited, unprompted, very kind shout-out. Holy buckets! Needless to say I promptly followed again. Mistakes were made.

My mood was somewhere between “Back off!” and “Don’t make me become the center of a national headline.” Then the whole thing on Twitter happened and suddenly I wasn’t done with humanity any more. I can be curmudgeonly when I’m tired, in pain, and hungry, which I was at the time. I’m not always a grouch.

That’s where the Old Grognards of the RPG community get a bad rep. A lot of us grew up in a different generation. Back in our day racism, sexism, paranoia and -phobias were commonplace. (*Not excusable.) Some of us have learned/changed to be tolerant, accepting, patient, and more open to new ideas. Others have yet to come around, unfortunately.

It’s easy to lump all of us old, white, cishet guys together into one category. Most days, I fit into some or all of those descriptors. However, it doesn’t mean I fall into that category all the time. Yes, I get that many people have been dealing with discrimination, hate, and bias their whole lives. It hurt then and it hurts now. Treating people like shit is NOT okay.

In the end, I’m here to eat pizza and roll dice. Fun might even be had. 😁

Sure, we play all kinds of RPGs, minis games, board games, etc where violence is commonplace as long as it’s IN GAME! Hate and violence have no real place out in the real world. Kindness and understanding should be universal. If not love, then neutral understanding, please? We can do better as a species.

Whether it’s social media, gaming, or even here on my blog, I strive to be kind to people. I always try to state it’s my opinion. If someone doesn’t agree, it’s okay. Mine is not the only opinion. I’m cool with it. I never go online with the intent of rammining my opinion down others’ throats. We can always discuss.

Please be the change you want to see.

Please be kind to one another.

Above all, please be kind to one another. Be compassionate. Try to forgive.

I’m lucky. The Source/Universe/God got involved in my life. Yes, I’m a “New Ager.” It doesn’t make me more right or wrong on any given day than I was before. However, it did wake me up to many things. For example: love, compassion, and kindness go a lot farther than fear, hate or intolerance.

Every journey begins with the first step. I doesn’t matter who takes the first step. Let’s walk together, okay? If we can’t do that, can we at least walk quietly and go separate ways for now?

I’m not asking for world peace (but it would be nice.) If people want to disagree, that’s cool. I am open to discourse as I hope everyone is. But violence and hate are unnecessary in many cases. All it takes is one person asking, “How can we work this out?”

Thanks for listening. Thanks for being here. I appreciate you. Namaste.

Why I’m Still Blogging.

My point being, I get there’s no profits in simply giving people money. But building a community, planting trees, and creating jobs for people can be profitable. If people can throw $40+ BILLION at something, why not have it be locally owned farms? Why not have it be community centers and housing for the homeless? How about we encourage people to embrace joy and prosperity?

I spend a lot of time behind this computer screen.

Every day I come to this blog to pump out fresh content of some kind. Not gonna josh anyone, it keeps me sane. I’m super grateful for you if you’re reading this, whoever you are. Thank you!

I’ve been through a lot dealing with unemployment and health issues. It’s getting better, slowly but surely. I think the Universe likes to test us to see if we’re ready for more joy, love, freedom, prosperity, peace, and harmony every day. It’s not always easy.

We don’t learn as much from easy.

These billionaires, God love em, who have so much money to throw at buying major social media entities just blow my mind. I don’t envy their riches. Good for them for getting where they are today. (I would love to join them.) I mean, they literally have the power to do so much for so many and yet…

It’s true since the first epoch of mankind on this planet that life isn’t easy. We’re here in the physical to learn, remember, and grow. Overcoming challenges and trauma ultimately lead to joy and love. Where would we be without duality and contrast through it all?

I keep coming back to this notion that if I were a millionaire, things would look different.

What would I do with that kind of money? First, take care of my family. Get all the bills paid and make sure the kids are pretty much set for life. I’d teach them what I did to hit millionaire status so they could do the same.

Next, I’d make sure my wife could retire happily and maybe sell real estate or just hang out at home with the cats all day. As long as she’s happy, it’s okay. My wife, Heather, has truly earned a rest after everything she’s done for us.

After the personal stuff comes the investments. I’ve blogged about this before. I want to build my personal empire by helping people. I want to pay it forward as much as possible. Heck, I’d start my own commune if I thought it would help people. (*commune? Collective might be a better choice of words. Not trying to set myself up as any kind of cult leader.)

My point being, I get there’s no profits in simply giving people money. But building a community, planting trees, and creating jobs for people can be profitable. If people can throw $40+ BILLION at something, why not have it be locally owned farms? Why not have it be community centers and housing for the homeless? How about we encourage people to embrace joy and prosperity?

I’m not there yet. I dunno if I ever will be.

With the way things have been going this past year, I don’t know if it will ever happen. Right now I’m planting that seed. I’m doing the few things that bring me joy throughout this struggle, like my humble little blog here.

I’ll take the joy as it comes. I’ll look to expand my resources when the time and the opportunity come. The prosperity will come in many forms and I absolutely know it’s there. Right now, I’m just working on getting out of neutral in my life to get the prosperity flowing into it more. I believe love, prosperity and joy are out there waiting for us. ALL of us.

Thanks for stopping in today. I truly appreciate all of you. Happy Cinco de Mayo if that’s a holiday you celebrate. Take care.

Freedom Day! 9 Month Edition.

I started thinking today. What am I dreaming about now? What is my intention? What do I want to manifest next? I realized I literally don’t have an answer yet.

People have conceived and had babies in the amount of time I’ve been out of work.

Personal share, of course. I was canned on July 19th, 2021. I can’t say who or why, only that it happened. Gotta love NDAs and Severance agreements. It’s been a blessing with a few bumps in the road.

I have applied for numerous jobs and been shot down cold. No interviews. Not even an email thanking me for applying in many cases. I finally stopped applying. I don’t miss it for one second.

Unemployment ran dry. Disability may or may not ever happen. I’m just kinda floating right now. My wife’s income takes care of the bills. Hooray for that. The kids are taken care-of at least.

I tried my hand at freelance writing. All it did was ramp up my anxiety and depression more until I was barely functioning. It wasn’t due to any pressure from the publisher. I just can’t seem to reach a point where criticism, especially of something I hold very dear (writing) is going to be okay.

Here’s the part where I’m supposed to say something super positive, right?

Yeah… screw that noise.

Spiritually, it’s been a learning experience. I freely admit I manifested this kinda weird state of affairs into my own life to learn and grow from it. Hindsight being what it is and all, I guess it’s teaching me something.

I was put here to experience life in my physical form. Okay. I get that part.

We bring about what we put into intention and emotion. I get that, sorta. Somewhere along the way I maybe fouled up on that one. My intention was always freedom. (Loving my freedom from the grind, btw.) My emotions may have been skewed a few times, which I believe has led the Universe to test me even more. Am I really bound for greatness?

New day, new intentions.

I started thinking today. What am I dreaming about now? What is my intention? What do I want to manifest next? I realized I literally don’t have an answer yet.

I know what I’d like to see, obviously, in terms of my family’s well being. But for myself? That’s a bit tougher. I’ve been kind of circling the drain, as a friend pointed out a couple of months ago.

Since then I’ve been doing a little better mentally, I guess. I’ve had to come to terms with where I’m at in life and where I’m headed. Accepting where I am now and the way things are has been a big pill to swallow.

My bags were pretty much all packed when…

2020 Spring Break lasted most of a year. The Icky Cough-Coughs happened and shut the whole planet down. It’s kinda hard to abandon ship in the middle of a pandemic. Although much like my untimely firing, it has turned out to be more a blessing than a curse.

I just need to unpack and move back into my man cave. Spring cleaning this year is going to be arduous at best. It will be sort of nice to have everything back out where I can find it readily again, though. I’m staying for the long term now.

Time to start dreaming again.

You always hear stories in Law of Attraction circles about someone who quit their job, dropped out of mainstream society, started a YouTube channel and is now a millionaire. All through the “magic” of LoA manifestation. Another one of my favorites wrote a bestseller, started his own company and is now a millionaire. In the end, I think that’s kind of my dream, too.

I hear you’re never too old, stupid, or inept to start fresh on the road to a million dollars. There’s only one slight catch that’s been bugging me from Day ONE of my manifestation journey- What in the Actual HELL am I supposed to sell, produce, or show that’s going to make me money? No one ever has an answer.

Honest disclosure- I’m not making a single dime off of this website currently.

I love writing. But I’m doing it all for me. It’s keeping me out of the nut farm most days. It’s not concrete enough for my wife, and as such there might be some pretty ugly changes on the horizon. I dunno.

So, the first dream, and maybe all there is, I just want to write. I want to share my kooky ideas about role playing games, UFOs, ETs, Spirituality, LoA, and a lot of other stuff to a willing and kind audience.

I intend to manifest enough to keep the site up, make my wife happy, help the kids out, and maybe buy a few books to help my fellow creators out. It’s not a huge financial goal, but it’s a plausible start.

In the end, it’s all about happiness. If a couple of articles per day keeps me going through the other stuff, cool. That’s what I intend to do. If one of my writing projects stumbles into a paid product, all the better.

Thank you for being here. I love you and appreciate you as always. Have a great weekend.

Personal Spiritual Share: Existence.

Sometimes the struggle comes before the prosperity. Whenever you’re going through crap, there’s always a lesson on the other side.

It’s been a rough couple of days.

Expectation of injured.

One thing people don’t tend to understand as well about depression is that it doesn’t show on the outside. The same goes for chronic physical pain. Just because there’s no fence post sticking through my neck, doesn’t mean I don’t feel the pain every day both emotionally and physically.

I’ve said before that if pain is fear leaving the body, I can walk up to Godzilla and kick him in the nuts. I ain’t scared of nothin. (*Editor’s note: Yes, that’s horrible grammar.) But the point is: I’ve had my freakin fill of pain and fear both. I’m done.

There’s ALWAYS a lesson!

Quick story for ya. The other day I went to my kids’ ballgames and dropped them off to their respective teams. Grandview Little League is notorious for having very little available parking on Saturdays during game days. I circled around a few times and couldn’t find a space. So, out of sheer frustration, I took the car home and walked back to the baseball field. It only takes about 15-20 minutes. I used to do that kind of thing all the time where I grew up.

So, I get back to the ballpark and walk past my usual parking space only to find it wide open. I busted out laughing because you just can’t make this stuff up. The Universe taught me a lesson that day. Sometimes the struggle comes before the prosperity. Whenever you’re going through crap, there’s always a lesson on the other side.

Taking it one or two steps further.

Walk with me for a moment figuratively. IFF we’re spiritual beings having a physical experience, then the human body is basically a lens through which experiences are focused-in-on and perceived. These fleshy suits we wear in 3D reality are like a magnifying glass for experiences and feelings in the physical. (Editor’s Note: If you really want to blow your mind, multiply everything by millions upon billions of beings across the universe and alternate reality timelines. It’s staggering!)

As a collective consciousness, Earth is a big classroom with the Universe/God/Source as our teacher. Everything we all experience together is then a spiritual lesson for us all. Every moment of joy, triumph, or passion teaches us something. Likewise, so does lack, pain, and suffering.

I think we all know what we would prefer to experience while we’re here on Earth. The hard part is experiencing all of the things we don’t prefer in order to learn what we do prefer. For example, we have all at some time experienced lack (of some sort,) so we know what an abundance looks like. We’ve all been sad, so we know what joy looks like.

It’s hard to be grateful for the negative stuff.

Yet I am, because without it, I wouldn’t know what the awesomeness on the other side will look like. As an aside, because I do know what much better times look like, I know the sad times won’t last forever. Until then, I’m grateful for what I have.

Thank you all for being here. Have a fabulous weekend.

Change of Projects.

I once had what I thought would be a fun horror/space game for FATE. It still looks pretty in my notes.

Once upon a time recently I was planning to do a horror/space one shot for FATE RPG.

First, GI Joe RPG showed up at my doorstep. Then, Freelancer: Skies Over Tolindia showed up in the mail. I backed it on Kickstarter wayyy back when I still had a job/stable income. Finally, I recently acquired a copy of Mutant Crawl Classics RPG, which promises to be as fun as DCC and Gamma World combined. Woot!

Needless to say, I have three big reviews I want to write in coming days. I’d like to drop a few one page adventures for GI Joe and Power Rangers RPGs while I’m at it. They’re easy enough to plan. I might also cook up a couple of adventures for DCC and MCC, since Goodman Games is pretty cool about their intellectual properties.

I can always come back to the other stuff, right?

Just because I abandoned one spiffy project for other things doesn’t mean I can’t come back, right? It was a good idea once and will still be there in the future if I decide to come back to it. I still have my hand written project outline.

For a guy who doesn’t work a regular job, one would imagine I have a lot of time on my hands. It looks good on paper, anyway. When I have four kids to chase, a wife to support and all of my own wacky projects? Time evaporates rapidly and I find myself writing for my Blog at 2:00 in the morning. Yay.

For added excitement, my youngest developed an earache at 4:00AM on Friday. We have Little League games all weekend. My oldest has to be taken to and from work. Somewhere in there we actually have to cook and get groceries in there. Oof. To think I wanted to squeeze in D&D or Power Rangers in the midst of the chaos. Maybe next week? LOL!

I appreciate all of you. Thank you for being here with me on this incredible journey. See you tomorrow at about 2:00AM.

Summer Vacation and My First Monster.

Ah, the lazy days of summer. It makes me think back to all those days I laid around in the air conditioning reading D&D books and coming up with cool stuff.

The first time I read through the AD&D Monster Manual, my first instinct was to create a monster.

Okay, I was 10. I was the DM for our group. One of my friends loaned me his AD&D Monster Manual so I could throw more XP their way. I skimmed through the whole thing. There’s a lot of goodness in there. The thing that naturally stuck out to me were the dragons.

First, a tiny bit of backstory.

I grew up in a small Iowa town. When school wasn’t in session, there wasn’t a ton of stuff to do. This was before the internet was a thing. Summers were mild until about mid-June. My parents house was old and got super hot. Hanging around in front of the air conditioner was a necessity sometimes. Like so many others, I had a small dedicated group of like-minded nerds.

My summer vacations were full of Kung Fu or kaiju movies on Saturday night, after pro wrestling and Pac Man on the ATARI 2600. Backyard baseball, swimming at the public pool, and of course, D&D rounded out my days. Those really hot summer days were spent camped in front of the air conditioner.

That’s when I did a ton of reading. I digested the entire 1st Ed AD&D DMG and a book on Zen Buddhism one week, the Monster Manual 2 and a Stephen King novel the next. Somewhere in there I drew dungeon maps or created Marvel Superhero bad guys for game days.

A couple of years later, it was all about horror movies and DC Heroes. Star Wars RPG came out somewhere in there and all of us were big fans, so that became a regular game session for us. We also played a lot of Battletech somewhere in there.

I was hoping my first character would be a ninja.

Those were the Basic Days. I ended up playing an Elf. I was somewhat sneaky and roguish. Oriental Adventures wasn’t a thing yet. But, I still got to swing a sword and throw Magic Missile around.

Imagine my disappointment when there were no actual kaiju in the Monster Manual. Dragons are cool to this day, sure. But Godzilla is king of the monsters. So, the first monster I ever created was the Plutonium Dragon. I also made its frightful cousin, the Uranium Dragon. Alas, I haven’t seen the notebook pages they were written on in a long time.

I miss being a kid and looking forward to summer vacation. There was always that sense of wonderment and well, adventure. Sure, I still come up with new monsters, but there will always be radioactivity spewing nightmare fuel dragons.

Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you as always. Have a great day. See ya soon.

March 19th. Freedom Day Again.

I’m working on myself today. Tiny steps. It’s not easy. Looks easy on paper, but…

Personal Share: Circling the drain.

As you may have already guessed, I’m going to get a bit vulnerable in this particular article. Not gonna lie, it’s been a rough couple of months for me. As a trusted friend pointed out, I seem to be “swirling the drain.” She’s right without knowing how dark it really has gotten. This is harder than I thought it was going to be and is probably going to turn into a whole series.

A well known Law of Attraction guru whom I have never met in person once said, “Once you overcome the fear of dying, what’s left?”

*Disclaimer: Do not taunt bears or go skydiving with lit dynamite. Also, juggling chainsaws is right out. Do not try dangerous stuff at home based on what some internet goob said. That is not what we’re talking about.*

He was poking for the obvious answer of there’s literally nothing to be afraid of. Start a new job and get fired in the first 10 minutes? Why not? Talk mad smack about the government on social media? What’s going to happen? Who cares? Become a millionaire overnight? F*ck yeah! Why be afraid?

Not trying to sell anyone’s program, just thinking out loud.

There is a very valid point about not being afraid to fail or succeed. When there’s nowhere else to go- look up. As people, one has the capability of lifting oneself up. The opposite stands true as well. Sometimes we’re our own worst enemy.

It’s better to suffer the slings and arrows of grievous misfortune than to be afraid of trying in the first place. Truly it is one of the easiest damn things ever to say. I get it. I’ve been at this for a while now with self help, LoA, and the whole spiritual awakening show. Saying is easy. Doing, on the other hand…

There’s always a choice.

This is way tougher than I thought it was going to be and I’ll definitely be continuing this conversation in future articles.

We choose our actions in any given moment. Every sentence, heck- every word is a choice. We get to set our intentions with every choice big or small. Whether it’s make a cup of coffee or move to Alaska, everything boils down to a choice. Then the real, heavy, stubborn world kicks in and reminds us that all of our actions have consequences and our decisions have far reaching ramifications sometimes. (Which is why no chainsaw juggling or moving to Alaska for me.)

Here’s where I’m struggling:

I’d like to choose that victim role every day but… My choices roundabout got me here. I can choose better. I can choose smarter. I know this now. Maybe I’ve always known and I’m just now remembering, but that’s another story.

I choose to sit on the couch wallowing in misery and self pity. I’m choosing to be effectively crippled by self doubt and anxiety. I’ve chosen to let depression basically kick my ass all over the place.

Fear and anxiety (which is like, more fear) have basically been holding me back for a few months now. Today I’m choosing to start taking those very small steps toward recovery. My physical condition might still slow me down for now, but I’m going to get my mental, emotional and spiritual health in order.

Tiny steps. “Lean into the suck.”

The same wonderful friend that leveled with me about swirling the drain once said to “Lean into the suck.” I have always loved that phrase because it describes walking home in January Iowa weather perfectly. I literally used to walk or bike everywhere all year round.

It’s true of life, too. Sometimes things get bumpy. Those consequences and ramifications come back around like an exploding boomerang. The solution is to just keep on plowing through it all. It’s tough going, but no one is expecting everything to be done overnight.

I’m taking some pretty small steps. I’m choosing to improve my situation as opposed to choosing to binge on another Netflix series. Today I finish one more project on my to-do list than I did yesterday. One small step forward every day. One small victory building toward the next and so on.

I may not get it all figured out by the 19th of April, but I’m choosing to keep going. I’m determined to move toward abundance and away from lack. I’m determined not to become a permanent resident of my couch. I’m resolute that anxiety and depression do not own me. I intend to take more chances and try new things.

Thanks for being here on this journey with me. More to come on this topic. Take care. Have a lovely weekend.

We’re Still Here

Really depressed right now.

Super glad and grateful we’re all in one piece.

Hey, looks like I was wrong. Russia hasn’t touched off the big one yet. The Ukraine could be doing better, but the rest of the world remains relatively safe. Even though we’re never promised another day, it’s nice to have one.

The world still goes on. Again, I’m so happy and grateful for the peace and prosperity that flows into our lives easily, endlessly, and copiously every day. We have our share of rough times, but somehow we still prevail.

Now for a more personal share.

I’m tired, family. I’m tired and I just want to go home. Sometimes I don’t think this planet is for me, nor was it ever. I’ve had a lot of those rough times as of late, and survived only to wonder how many more are out there. I’m not the self-deleting kind, so no worries there. I just wonder why se are set upon the Earth to experience suffering, loss, hate, and all manner of other misfortunes.

I am wrestling with my depression a lot these days. Job prospects are looking pretty sad. Things are kinda tense here at home following a personal matter. It just wears me down. It’s all wearing me down.

I keep asking why, but the Universe never seems to really answer. I mean, is a straight answer that hard to come by? Why are we here? Why do bad things happen to us?

I appreciate you being here. Thank you for stopping by. Have a good week.

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