It’s Freedom Day, 14 Months In.

There’s a few other minor tidbits to share. I find myself constantly burned out on depression. The only thing more disappointing than my career aspirations is the lack of funds in my wallet. (LOL!)

My monthly personal share. This month I learned…

New psychiatrists ask a LOT of questions. New to me, not new to the profession. He’s a nice guy, though. Hopefully I’ll stick with seeing him. Or he’ll want me to? However that works.

There’s a few other minor tidbits to share. I find myself constantly burned out on depression. The only thing more disappointing than my career aspirations is the lack of funds in my wallet. (LOL!) I’ve even been staving off writer’s block and I never thought that was possible. Finally, summer vacations are nice for the teachers and kids but school starting is priceless when I’m home all alone with just the cats.

Nemo (Left) and Snoopy (Right) just snuggled up on the couch.

I’m looking for positives here.

“Pain. All I know is pain.”
Pain Bot- Teen Titans Go!

I wake up in pain every morning. I go to bed in pain every night. Somewhere in the middle, there are a lot of ups and downs. Usually pain, too.

Anybody who tries to convince me I stupidly chose this? Is probably crazier than people accuse me of being. Oh, I hear plenty of “It’s all in your head,” and “You’re making it all up,” from doctors and nurses who I thought were supposed to be helping me. Well, if I’m nuts, then it’s from the pain on top of why ever else I might be crazy. I know what I go through every day.

Each morning I get to wake up in pain is still another morning I get to wake up. I’m grateful for that. There’s a roof over my head and a warm cat by my feet. I celebrate any time I find a quarter in the laundry or a dime on the ground. (It adds up.) There’s a bumper crop of abundance in each day if you know where to look.

I’d be happy if corporate America shriveled up and blew away tomorrow.

Disclaimer: Some people mistake me for a Socialist or a Communist. Now, to be fair, I have studied about both quite a bit over the years. If we’re being honest, some tenets of a socialist democracy do appeal. Unfortunately it’s prone to abuse, corruption, misinterpretation, and ultimately suffering. So, love our government and economic system in the US or hate it? Still better than the alternatives as far as I’m concerned.

Yeah, I know. I’m anti-capitalist. I’m what the crazier half calls crazy. I’m a lunatic, a socialist, and a dreamer. I’m just “woke” enough to believe there’s maybe life outside of chasing the almighty dollar. Not that I trust my government any more than I trust corporations. They’re all corrupt and greedy as Hell. Prove me wrong.

Okay, admittedly I’m pretty bitter. I’ve tried like mad to get over it, pretend it isn’t a thing, even spiritually bypass the fact that I’m unemployed. I’m still pretty pissed off over a year later. It’s just like any relationship ending suddenly, really.

I still can’t give specifics because ya never know when one of the shifty lil shitz might be reading my blog in an effort to hang me with my own words. I’ll just say that if I ever hear “It’s what’s best for the company” ever again? Well, friends and family will be visiting me in the nut farm for a while.

F$@&%x*

You hear about “quiet firing” and “quiet quitting” these days more and more. I think there’s some truth to it. People are getting fed up with being mistreated and undervalued in the workplace. And, strangely enough, large corporations are usually the workplace in question. I never want to find myself tied up in that position again. Any employer lacking in compassion should be… Well, uh, trying to think of something at least Rated R to say right now. Yeah.

I still stand by the notion it’s better to suffer the lack of free spending cash and a lavish lifestyle than to go to a job where my values don’t match my employer’s. I think it’s better to breathe fresh air than show up to a stuffy office building every day and hate it. I firmly believe I’m better off writing blog articles about my unemployment and the inconveniences it has caused than blindly trudging through life every day just waiting to kick the bucket.

My psychological journey has been in the forefront of my day-to-day life these days.

It ain’t pretty. I’ve been in a pretty dark place. I haven’t tried to delete myself or anything, but I ain’t happy. Not kidding, I really feel like a failure most days. I don’t know where I’m headed, but I sure know where I’ve been.

I had quite a day a couple of days ago. There was a big shift from my sort of quiet, stagnant state to an overwhelming amount of domestic productivity and creative energy. It’s a little freaky, but I like it. Then, the next day I crashed- hard. Suddenly I was back to being exhausted, sore, and somewhat unmotivated.

Even my beloved hobby, TableTop RolePlaying Games, has had it’s shares of ups and downs as of late. We spend a lot of time in the TTRPG community discussing racism, sexism, ageism, ableism, transphobia, homophobia and other negative things. Sure, it would be more fun discussing books, settings, dice, Game Master advice, Player advice or really anything game related, but a few rotten dipshits have wrecked that for all of us. Someday down the road I hope people will embrace what they love and joy instead of criticism and hate.

Life is full of ups and downs. Learning experiences come in all sorts of sizes, shapes and forms. Sometimes we don’t know what it all means until ages down the road. I’d throw my hands up and say. “It’s all part of God’s plan,” but we all know that’s not how I do things.

Speaking of my favorite hobby.

TTRPGs have been a big part of my life for 40+ years. Yeah, I take my gaming pretty seriously. I’ve been a collector, player, DM/GM/Judge/whatever, designer, writer, and critic for most of those years. I still have a lot to learn. The hobby has only really been around for a little over 50 years in a way we would recognize it.

Modern Dungeons & Dragons (Fifth Edition or 5E) has failed some of us. This has led to the creation of the Old School Renaissance movement. (Or Revival, Rescue, Revision. Just insert your favorite “R” word after Old School.) Some of us in the #ttrpg community really enjoy running older versions of D&D or even other games developed in the 1980s and 90s.

The problem arose when a lot of us older, white, male gamers gained a reputation for bigotry and other negative behaviors. It may have always been there, but this modern crowd of gamers is far more sensitive (in a good way) than those in the past. It’s not going to fly now.

If new players are discouraged from joining in at the game table, turned away from conventions, or shouted down on social media? Those are players that might never come back. New players are the lifeblood of any game system. For the Love of God, please consider inclusivity and diversity in all things hobby related. We (humanity) have got to get past the hate and the negative rhetoric or we’re never going to evolve as a species.

This takes a toll on my mental health. I get that we old, white, (presumably cishet) males have been screwing up the US for centuries. It’s finally coming back around to haunt us in our own socio-cultural interactions. I’m pretty saddened that people behave so poorly toward one another.

The TTRPG/boardgame industry is just one tiny example. It’s not even that many of us OGs have these hateful feelings or are bigoted in some way. It’s the perception that we’re bad news. That stereotype is going to kill the OSR despite our best efforts. And trying to break that negative stereotype through love and positivity can be exhausting mentally as well as emotionally. Then we go out into the rest of the (“real”) world and see it even more prevalent out there.

This seems like a good stopping point for now.

Please remember to be kind to one another. Thank you for stopping by. I appreciate you, always. Take care.

On Turning 50.

Today’s the day.

Wow. I’m not sure I ever thought I’d make it this far. Half a century ago, Donna Craigmile gave birth to a bouncing baby boy ahead of schedule. Somehow I survived.

Here I am, 50 years later. I often ponder how my dad felt when he was this age. I probably should have asked him at the time. Alas, I was a rebellious teenager. Always arguing with the old man about something. I didn’t appreciate what he went through until long after his passing.

Some things haven’t changed much, oddly.

Back when I was 10, I was introduced to tabletop roleplaying games in the form of Marvel Superheroes and Dungeons & Dragons. I was totally hooked. I still am to this day. I have a lot of treasured, beloved memories of those games and many since.

Along with D&D and comic books, came my love of all things strange. I mean, I was already kind of an outcast amongst my peers in a small Iowa town. I wasn’t terribly athletic or interested in sports. (Sorry, Dad.) May as well read the National Enquirer and learn about aliens, demons, and bigfoot, right? Ah. Good times.

I think my love for Star Wars really got the whole ball rolling.

I plum lost my marbles when the original Star Wars RPG was released. That game is still like a second language to me. I’ve logged an insane number of hours creating starships, droids, races, characters, and so many other things for that one RPG.

Before roleplaying was my love of Star Wars action figures. We didn’t have tons of money back in those days, but I still managed to have a fairly okay toy collection. Spaceships and aliens were really my thing then and now. And the whole Jedi thing is cool, too. Plus Boba Fett, because back then he was a Star Wars icon.

From Star Wars fandom to RPGs, my interest in many other things blossomed. Science fiction, fantasy, and horror were my mainstream escapes growing up. Somewhere in there I also learned a little about Zen Buddhism and meditation. I also developed an interest in the paranormal and psychic phenomena.

Then college happened.

I started out as a Theatre/Speech major with a minor in Journalism/Mass Communications. Acting- Star Wars again. Journalism because I shadowed a reporter for the local newspaper when I was in Eighth Grade and thought it was pretty cool.

I bounced around majors a LOT back in those days. I had fallen in love with Sociology in college. Sociology + Theatre + Writing = RPGs. But I also tinkered with my major repeatedly and considered becoming an Alcohol/Drug Abuse counselor, a History teacher, a parapsychologist, and a Public Relations specialist. I ended going back to Journalism/Sociology. Theatre is awesome, but in the end most of us end up eloquently asking, “Do you wish to have fries with that?”

Good times were had in college.

I got to work in a game shop, Mayhem Collectibles. Truthfully one of the best times of my life. I wish I had been a better employee back in those days, but I was a dumb kid. What did I know, right? Gotta learn sometime, I guess. Thanks Rob and Dave for giving me a chance. You guys rocked!

I also discovered even more RPG experiences, and wargaming. I even did LARP for a while. I met so many awesome people and had so much fun gaming back then. It eventually led to me meeting my wife, Heather at a convention.

She came back to Ames and found me at my all time lowest some years later. She sorta rescued me and brought me to Des Moines. She divorced my former best friend. (Messy, ugly story.) We eventually started dating again and low and behold we ended up married.

About 16 years flew by after the wedding.

I’d be lying if I said I remembered all of it. I’ve had different jobs. For a while there, I ate, slept, worked, played World of Warcraft and raised babies. I love the life I have now, but there are definitely some gaps where nothing seemingly nothing happened between then and now.

About seven years ago, not long after my fourth son was born, I really got into Ufology again. That led to a major spiritual awakening. Then things got really weird.

For a brief time, I almost did the unthinkable.

Yeah. I nearly gave up on all of it. RPGs, science fiction, movies, TV, non-spiritual books, almost everything nearly went by the wayside. It really mellowed me out. I’ve learned to love the connectedness amongst us all.

I have a bit of an obsessive personality (disorder?) which led me into a deep dive down many rabbit holes. Some of those things weren’t bunnies, either. Turns out some of the stuff written in the National Enquirer back then actually had a basis in fact. Like, some of that sh*t is real!

I have to thank Dr Steven Greer for getting me interested in meditation again. That drew me further into spirituality. I’m one of those wacky “New Age” kids, I guess. I don’t do organized religion, so we have to call it something.

I also want to again thank Laura DiBenedetto for being my self-growth, self improvement seifu. I don’t know what I’d have done without her exactly. Oddly enough, my obsession with Law of Attraction led me to her. It’s all one big cycle.

I have to thank the entity known as Añjali as much as it pains me to do so. If it weren’t for the debacle caused by her sham event and false extraterrestrial contact, I might not have gotten back into RPGs at all. It’s not that I’ve given up on Ufology, ETs, extradimensional beings, spirituality or the paranormal. I’m just a LOT more skeptical of certain sources because Ufology is a rat’s nest of government spooks and black budget special interest corporate operators.

So, here we are now.

I plan to out live other men in my family. The death clock starts ticking pretty loudly at about 65 in my family. My goal is 100. Guess we’ll find out when I get there where the end was supposed to be.

I love you all, family. Thanks for being here. I appreciate you every day. Please be kind to one another. See ya tomorrow.



Freedom Day! 11th Month Edition

Our continuing mission to seek out new opportunities, new wealth and prosperity has hit yet more snags. I’ve been off work for 11 months with no prospects for gainful employment in sight. The government is not helping yet or possibly at all. The bills are starting to creep up.

Captain’s Log. Stardate: 6.19.2022.

Our continuing mission to seek out new opportunities, new wealth and prosperity has hit yet more snags. I’ve been off work for 11 months with no prospects for gainful employment in sight. The government is not helping yet or possibly at all. The bills are starting to creep up.

A family of six surviving on one paycheck in this day and age looks pretty grim. Law of Attraction aficionados would say I chose this. Lord knows I have plenty of reasons to be down these days. Guess I’m choosing depression, too. It wouldn’t be so bad if I could just bury my head in the sand and just pretend things were going to improve.

Site engagement has been up.

THANK YOU!

One silver lining this month has been engagement on this site. I saw a couple of beautiful spikes in views earlier this month. Wow! If you’re here, thank you! I appreciate you stopping by.

A lot of the feedback I’ve received from sources such as #ttrpg Twitter has been extremely positive. I’m still somewhat new to blogging and it makes my heart flutter a bit when I hear a compliment. Thank you! Of course, more site traffic isn’t a sign of positive or negative opinions, but I’ll take the up-tick in views. Thank you!

Then there’s a ton of stuff that doesn’t make much sense yet.

I regularly mull over what I’m doing right in terms of writing, parenting, husbanding, adulting, etc. There’s never a super clear answer to any of my questions. It’s not like life comes with a user’s manual. Kinda wish it did some days. (Like, the ones ending in “y.”)

I keep wondering about how to best monetize myself in the roleplaying game market. Kickstarter? Patreon? Maybe just put stuff on Ko-Fi? I’m not sure I’m ready for DriveThruRPG just yet. That would require a finished larger product.

Someone recently mentioned trying out Fiverr. (Coming Soon!) I have often considered doing piece work, short articles, and social media posts. The same wonderful person mentioned possibly doing some ghostwriting or editing. Terrifying, which is why I’m looking into it.

Then again, am I really supposed to be in the RPG market at all? What about writing a novel? (Not as easy as it sounds, btw.) What about life coaching? (LOL! Not sure if I should be coaching or finding one.) What about becoming some sort of spiritual teacher? (*Don’t worry. Andey Fellowes and others would talk me down off that ledge.) What about a self help book? (Uh… 😐)

Figured out what I’m not doing.

That list goes on forever. The most obvious ones include finding another dispatching job. No thanks PTSD. Not today.

Scrubbing floors is right out. Even if my back and pain levels could tolerate it, my wife would likely shoot me. The hours for that kind of work are not worth the pay and effort involved.

Iowa Workforce Development. There’s a reason I’m no longer looking for a job in this state. They were more than happy to help as long as I wasn’t neurodivergent, in pain, and happy to throw my college degree out the window. Iowa needs dental hygienists and welders. Just don’t come around here being one of those sinister teacher types. (*Love you, wife.)

I’m too old and out of shape for retail, restaurants, factories, and office jobs. I have too many values and principles to ever do sales, especially over the phone. Call center jobs tend to become very stressful and triggering about five minutes in. I don’t even think Wal Mart would take me as a door greeter at this point.

In fact, screw working for any kind of big company or corporation ever again. Even if all the corporate culture head trash didn’t make me want to vomit, I’m pretty sure any review I receive is going to trigger me all over the place. That’s assuming we get that far. “Let’s have a meeting” would be followed by me coming completely unglued on someone. No thanks.

Bring my Garden Weasel to work day?

A brilliant and beautiful soul put me onto some new avenues of abundance.

Laura is the best!

I can always count on my friend Laura DiBenedetto to set me straight. She recently clued me into a couple of new avenues to abundance. I’m working on it, but it’s taking a little time. More on that as it develops.

I also continue to practice the skills I learned from The Six Habits. Laura’s book legitimately can and will change your life if you work with it. I may still get down sometimes (depression sucks!) but it’s an ongoing process, much like spiritual awakening.

The human brain creates channels of memory like lava carving its way down the side of a volcano. Practice a habit for 21 days and you can change the channel. Brain cells that fire together wire together. Neuroplasticity can modify those channels to improve your life. Look up Hebb’s Law. A constant practice of Kindness, Acceptance, Gratitude, Presence, Goodness and Intention will yield positive results given enough practice.

I’ve been back into the book lately, myself. Sometimes we get out of practice on certain things. It’s good to go back to basics and remember why we came here.

Gratitude is key.

Okay. I’ll buy that one. I’m so happy and grateful I have a roof over my head and a food on my plate. I’m grateful for all of the wonderful things I have in life. I’m grateful for my family’s health. I’m super extra grateful for my wife’s job. I’m super happy and grateful when I find loose change on the street, too. I’m grateful I met Laura, too.

Gonna go off now…

I’d like to say I’m grateful I got canned from that last gig. Look at all the stuff that’s teaching me. I’m grateful to be walking around with not-two-shits to give about anyone working for a large corporation or what they have to say. I’m grateful Iowa Workforce Development was more than happy to help as long as I did exactly what they wanted me to do. I’m extra grateful the government keeps denying my disability because I love being f’kn broke all the time. I’m grateful every time I log into LinkedIn to find out some other scamtastic pile of refuse has viewed my profile, because it reminds me I’m glad I gave up that damn job search crap months ago.

I know I have some things working against me every day.

Silly “Old Grognard” photo

First up, my age. I turn the big 50 in ten days. Even if I wasn’t long in the beard and bald as a cue ball, my birth certificate does not lie. I could shave tomorrow, but I know in my heart of hearts it will do me no good.

But what does that mean? Why is that so bad? Well, first off, employers really don’t want to see me walk in the door because they know I’m old enough not to take any sh*t that they hand out to the younger new guys.

On every given day, especially now that I’m officially “old,” my health comes into question. Which, I know how much they cringe with FMLA comes up. I literally have no choice but to mention it nowadays. I’m happy to be functional three days out of five most of the time.

My back and my pain tolerance make it pretty hard to do a lot of those fun repetitive motion tasks like mopping floors, scrubbing toilets, running a cash register, stocking shelves, standing all day, and a lot of other things y’all youngins take for granted. In fact, writing is one of the few things I can enjoy doing while sitting down from the comfort of my couch. (Too bad it doesn’t pay better, but we’re working on it.)

As bitterly annoyed as I am becoming toward certain entities, one fact remains prevalent.

No clue wtf I’m doing any more.

I have a family to take care of. That hurts on so many levels I can’t even describe them all. I’m very grateful my wife is taking care of all of us. That’s super.

Sorry, kids. Dad’s kind of a deadbeat. Seriously, I know how it looks. I wish I could provide more. I so desperately want to give more financially. And I live here. Your mom and I are still married somehow.

So, yeah. 11 months into this sh*tshow and I still have more questions than answers. I’m still wrestling with finding myself, accepting my own inadequacies, and fumbling around with what to do. I’m still unable to rub two shince together and have not two sh*ts left to give some days. Improvements are hopefully on the way soon.

Thanks for being here, one and all. I would have liked to have glowing things to say, but it’s been another r month. Onward and upward, I suppose.


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.

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.

Personal Share at 3:33AM

After my last “real world” job experience, I’m not too keen on criticism. Seriously, I’m still having nightmares about that shit. I wasn’t kidding about the PTSD. Trust me, I’m still in therapy

I’ve been having trouble sleeping the last couple of weeks.

Yup.

Depression is real. I fight it. I fight it every freakin day. Some days are better than others. I choose joy. I choose positive thoughts. Shit still happens.

I’m grateful for being here in one piece, chatting with you. Yes, it could be a thousand times worse and I seriously feel for anyone who is struggling right now with depression or possibly a war in their back yard.

Lately, it’s been a little tough. I’m not pulling in the big bucks like I was. Okay, specifically, I’m not pulling any bucks. It’s kind of a downer if I’m being pragmatic. We’re not starving in the streets, but I’m starting to feel like a sixth wheel in my house. It gets to me because there’s so much more I want to do.

I get that I’m not everyone’s cup-o-tea.

“Look I so old to young eyes?” –Yoda

If rejection letters and flush emails were currency, I’d be a millionaire. I’m a writer, so getting shot down for things is kinda par for the course. Not a huge deal. And I’ve been blessed with not-a-ton of criticism.

After my last “real world” job experience, I’m not too keen on criticism. Seriously, I’m still having nightmares about that shit. I wasn’t kidding about the PTSD. Trust me, I’m still in therapy. Probably for a long time to come.

My wife and I playfully debate about changing my profile pics. She keeps trying to convince me to shave the beard. I contend that looking a couple of years younger is not gonna help and I love my beard.

It’s what I have to work with. Trust me when I say I have my share of issues working against me. Now if I could just convince the government…

I don’t expect everyone to love me. I’m not that arrogant. If I’m not your cup of tea, can I at least be your soda? Cup of coffee? Coaster? Anything?

February was the month of getting shot down in flames.

Criticism is not my friend.

Ever see that old Nintendo game, Duck Hunt? You can just call me “Daffy” because it’s like I’m out there flying around just waiting to get picked off. That dog’s still laughing at me, too.

The other day I receive another one of those should-have-known-better flush letters. I don’t know why I put myself through some of these things. I see opportunities that I think are fabulous that are “open to everyone, but…” The most bothersome part of that debacle is it wasn’t even a paid gig. It was a scholarship for cryin out loud!

Again, grateful there was no criticism there with the feedback. I would have caught that one in the feels for sure. I’m happy for whomever got it, but it was pretty obvious that I had no hope in Hell on that one. Onto the next one, I guess.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m on my own for the most part.

I’ve taken down my “Looking for Work” banners, etc on social media for the time being. I’m also pulling my resume down off of some websites because I’m tired of people just looking for names to add to their list or worse- selling it to telemarketing scum. I’m also a little annoyed that I’m getting spam calls from people who obviously pulled my number off the resume. If I didn’t give it to you, you shouldn’t have it!

I feel like seven plus months of looking for a job is enough for now. If I was going to get hired for real money, it would have happened by now. Countless applications = one kinda lame interview. Depressing.

I’m not sure I’m back to starting my own game company or looking for a suitable bridge to practice my high dive from. (Kidding about the bridge, for now, I guess, maybe.) At this point Wile E Coyote and I have a lot in common when it comes to wacky schemes. If anyone has any offers or deep thoughts they’d like to share, I’m all ears. jeffcraigmile@gmail.com

Thanks for hearing me out. I appreciate you.

Freedom Day! February 2020 v2.0 Edition

It’s going to get better. One of the toughest lessons in Law of Attraction is learning when the Universe is testing us. Also, learning from past experiences that keep repeating themselves is important. The Universe likes to ask, “Are you sure? Are you really ready for this awesomesauce thing you’ve been manifesting?”

I only wish I was kidding.

No surprises, really.

Remember the year 2020? Have any of us forgotten it yet? So far, this year is starting to remind me of 2020 in all of its shitastic glory.

I’ve reviewed, revised and rewritten this site. That’s as close to a breakthrough as I’ve truly had this year. I feel like we’re connecting more, reaching you, a more receptive audience, and growing together.

Then there’s the rest. The Icky Cough-Coughs came to visit in the middle of January and ate up two weeks of our lives here at the Craigmile house. It was not fun times. All of us came through it okay, which is a huge plus. Just when ya thought you were done with quarantine, though. (Eyeroll.)

The beginning of the year also brought us Governor Kim Reynolds meddling about in Iowa Workforce Development. Iowa has a massive shortage of “skilled” jobs, but nothing requiring a college degree. Nothing like a Bachelor’s degree in two majors just to have IWD tell me they’ll be happy to retrain my fibromyalgia-having ass to become an arc welder or a dental hygienist. (That shit ain’t happening.) But I still persevered through all the added hoops necessary to keep my unemployment check coming.

Then this week, I got shot down for a job I really had my sights set on. That hit right in the old depression, worse than anything in months. While I was recovering from that and a pain flare, I got a love letter in the mail from IWD. My unemployment money is due to peter out this week. We knew this day would come, but it doesn’t take the sting out of it.

Plus a lot of little things keep popping up like the kids’ grades. Minor household disasters are one of the latest things on the shit list. (Okay, a chunk of our garage literally fell off the other day.) Just for fun, I accidentally chipped a tooth the other day, too. One of these days my student loans are going to come due.

Let’s not forget it’s also an election year. Russia and the US are doing their damnedest to not go to war with one another or however that works. Let’s not forget the trucking, uh disaster, in Canada. The mass news media has more garbage and propaganda than ever to spew. I wasn’t even going to touch on this, but it does come up around here occasionally. Every once in a while my wife also goes rant mode over something a school board does any given place in the US. This whole book banning/burning thing makes me ill.

Chillin. Waitin for things to improve.

It’s going to get better. One of the toughest lessons in Law of Attraction is learning when the Universe is testing us. Also, learning from past experiences that keep repeating themselves is important. The Universe likes to ask, “Are you sure? Are you really ready for this awesomesauce thing you’ve been manifesting?”

My answer is always, “Give me a couple million dollars and let’s find out, okay?”

Hasn’t happened yet, but any day now. Right? (Nervous chuckle.) Until it does, or something equally wonderful, I have gratitude for the blessings in my life. I am grateful for new friends, especially on #TTRPGTwitter. I’m also grateful for my Earthly teachers new and old. I’m grateful for the wealth and prosperity that flows into our lives easily, endlessly and copiously every day. It’s the whole notion of living in the dream fulfilled.

The dream shifts and evolves.

Maybe this is why my vision board is not posted anywhere but in my head and on the internet. My big dream is to be a successful RPG writer/game designer. I intend for my kids to be well taken care-of. I want my wife to be happy. I’m pretty satisfied as long as all of that is in motion.

Would I love to be rich? Sure. Am I focused on being happy regardless? Yeah. Most days. Growing beyond contentment into joy is the pinnacle of high vibrations. As we all know from LoA, high vibration pulls us closer to manifesting our highest and best intentions.

I appreciate all of you. Thank you for sharing this space. More to come.

Short Personal Share

I’ve pretty much been out of action for 4 days. I’m healing, slowly. Lots to catch up on.

I’ve been pretty much flat on my back for 4 days now.

Between my chronic pain flare the other day, which went way longer than expected and this stupid cold (Thanks, kids!) I’ve been flat on my back most of the week. Needless to say, I’m woefully behind on everything at this point. It ain’t pretty.

I think I wrecked my posting streak here on the site. We were up to about 10? days in a row. I was trying to hit the big 100 mark before I took a day off. I’ll have to keep going, I guess. Welcome to the hustle and grind portion: Law of Attraction edition. Heh heh. Naw. I mean it. This blog is part of my flow.

Anyway, Hot n Sour soup and a warm comforter will probably help most. I’m going to try to keep #FlashFicFeb up. Day 10 was rough. I haven’t started it or Day 11 yet. I’ll get there. Gotta get the creative juices flowing again.

Have a lovely weekend. Stay hydrated. Please get lots of rest, vitamins, sunshine and fresh air. See ya soon.

Photo by Dina on Pexels.com
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