Part 1

Mason looked out at the stretch of cars ahead of him. The roads were clogged with honking horns and screaming drivers. He sent a glance at the bus stop in front of him. The striped lane was blocked by the traffic. He patted the key in his pocket and started to jog down the sidewalk. Mason wasn’t sure what was going on, but it was big. His interview had been canceled in the middle of a question, and it seemed like the entire building had left already. Someone had remembered that the guy from HR was talking to a hopeful employee. The lady at the desk was on the phone and crying. The HR guy had hurried him out of the building before he could figure out the conversation.

His plan, so far, was to get to the hotel and call Sydney. Maybe she would know what was going on. He could check the news too, but he needed to make sure she was doing alright. Her parents had let them shack up in their cabin by the lake while the income problems settled. It sounded better than it was. Their ‘cabin’ was pretty much a big shed, had an old fashion wood stove for heat and cooking, and a rotary phone that couldn’t make outgoing calls. It was just big enough to fit a twin bed and their suitcases. They currently called it home. The flight out and the hotel room had to be paid with a portion of the little money they had left.

Mason slipped through the crowd of people as quickly as he could. He was jostled, shoved, and pushed, but he continued along his path. Pieces of conversations drifted around him. Roads were closed. Flights canceled. Someone shouted at their cellphone and was swiftly joined by dozens more. He pressed on. Finances hadn’t allowed for a cellphone in quite a while.

The intersection ahead was blocked by a wreck. A head-on collision had turned pulled four other cars into the mess due to the tightly packed lanes. He stopped at the edge of the sidewalk. There was a small crowd trying to pull the people out of the wreckage. It would have been impressive if most of those gathered were focused on clearing the intersection than helping the injured. He looked at the gridlock directly in front of him. The cars were literally bumper to bumper. He couldn’t see an open space to move through. There wouldn’t be anywhere for the traffic to go once they got the wreck cleared.

Mason took a deep breath. He stepped away from the street and pressed his back against a building. The smell of the surrounding throng was thick with panic. He could feel something on the horizon. A hammer being drawn back as he stood on the nail. He needed to get to the hotel. It was the only place he actually knew in the city and could use it as a point of reference. From there he could find his way to the airport. The flights would probably be going again once he got there since he had to walk.

A shrill scream filled with fear and pain cut through the noise. There was a brief moment of silence before the world around him burst into chaos. He caught a flash of movement near the wreck. A splash of blood. His attention was hijacked by the roar of an engine.

An eighteen-wheeler barreled down the center off the lane. It broke through four pairs of cars before the engine died. The momentum did not. Mason watched as the trailed wrenched to the side. It lifted off the ground and crashed into the traffic immediately before it.

He watched in a detached way as the shockwave moved through the cars. A part of his brain told him that he wasn’t sure if he wanted to move to the city anymore.

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That was frustrating

For the last week or so I have not been able to post anything on WordPress. It wouldn’t save, post, or allow me to do anything. Rather annoying.

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Kid Movies

As a parent I have the pleasure of watching a lot of movies aimed at kids. Sometimes it’s the same movie repeatedly. I don’t mind, most of the time, and I understand. There are movies that to this day I can repeat verbatim because I watched them so much as a kid. The problem I’m finding is that my wife and I like to discuss the movies.  We try to rationalize the world they are set in and fill in the holes. It can be fun. There is one movie though that annoys the hell out of me.

Bolt.

For those who don’t know, it’s a movie about a dog who doesn’t know it’s an actor. It thinks that it really is a superpowered dog who has to protect his person. Things go wacky when Bolt escapes to find his person.

Sounds fun right?

Considering the people who made it know how movies work, it isn’t. Ignoring the multiple animal cruelty laws they would break every time the camera rolls and the fact that Bolt somehow survives being locked in a box filled with packing peanuts & shipped from Hollywood to NYC, it is completely it still has plenty of problems. The movie opens with an action scene that spans a city. It’s quickly revealed that it was a set and all the cars were props. Everything about it was setup, even the backdrop is fake. The punchline of the joke is that the shot is ruined by a boom-mic poking into the scene.

My daughter has rediscovered her love of this movie & it’s back in rotation. I’m tempted to steal a page from my parents book & just have it disappear.

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Idea Wrangling- Pixies

One of my favorite books when I was little was The Borrowers. I love the idea of little people coexisting with humans. Living in the walls, crawlspaces, and forgotten attics while they carefully scavenge things while living in secret. In fact, one of my first stories was about being shrunken down and my adventures.

As a parent now I spend a lot of time watching animated movies. While I might be watching cartoons and such without kids the selection would be different. For a good stretch of time one of my goblins loved the Tinkerbell movies that Disney had going. We watched them quite a lot and, as we usually do, my wife and I started to overthink the stories.

The place they live is called Pixie Hollow and they have Pixie Dust, but they are all called Fairies. Not once are any of the characters called Pixies. They did come up with the name ‘sparrowmen’ for the male fairies (which is a cool term) but the Pixie/Fairy thing wasn’t answered. Granted, I didn’t read the attached books. If that is where the information rests then I have yet to disturb its slumber.

Couple with the movies such as Epic (shudder), Strange Magic, and The Secret World of Arrietty  I’ve started to consider an attempt to start a project.

This is the part where I try to organize some of the rambling in my head. You have been warned.

It would be set in a town, or city, where people live unaware of the little world around them. There would be different sorts of people (fairies, pixies, & brownies) as well as small magical creatures. Animals would play a part, but most would lack the ability to speak. Pixies and brownies would not have wings while living in buildings, crawlspaces, and such. The main separation between those two peoples would be nomadic vs a settled way of life. Fairies would have wings and stick to parks and gardens.

Magic is something I’ve considering as well. Each kind of people would have their own sort of magic. It would be tailored for to fit their way of life. Honestly, I’m still trying to figure it out. Fairies would have magic based around plants. Pixies could have something connected to scavenging, tracking, or maybe even camouflage. Brownies would have magic similar to Pixies, but I was thinking something closer attached to crafting.

Luckily, I’ve got the plot settled. I’m worried about how to get the tone and world settled. Thanks for reading.

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Personal Update- Feel Free to Skip

I like to think that I’m very open about health. Specifically, mental health. Growing up it was always just kind of known that the men in my family had depression. No one really questioned it, but we all knew. Mental health wasn’t a pressing issue, you kept your head down and went on. That’s how it was.

When I got older I decided to take things into a more serious light. I sought out help. My GP directed me to more qualified people and treatment began. While I’ve always thought that I’ve had depression it turns out I was wrong. Anxiety and OCD. I found this odd as I never even considered OCD as a possibility. It turns out that it isn’t just arranging things just so, or cleaning your hands constantly, there are a lot of other symptoms to it.

I’m being treated now. It helps a lot. I can look back on how I was and see the progress I’ve made. If anyone were to ask me I would tell them that getting assistance for mental issues is a big step. It’s not one that most people like to talk about and it’s a lot of internal struggle to make the effort. Seeking help is completely worth it. The process takes time and honesty, but there is progress.

One of the most important things I have ever learned is that asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness. Letting your troubles pile up because you’re too afraid for others to see what’s going on is. It’s the equivalent of lowering your drawbridge to allow entry, not putting up a white flag.

Great, you say (you being the hypothetical reader who I said could easily skip this post), mental health is a good topic. Why is this something you’re talking about now?

Well, there’s been some extra stress as of late and I’m seeing the cracks in my new foundation. A couple of weeks ago I had a panic attack, it wasn’t the first I’ve ever had, but it was the first one since I’ve been getting help. It set me back a couple of days because I was mad at myself. After that some other things happened, I don’t want to get into the details, but it was stress. A lot of freaking stress.

I’m seeing old habits crop back up. While they aren’t as bad as they were, I still don’t like that it’s happening. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to indulge these old routines to ease the pressure. I’ve been doing the little ones, the ones I don’t see any harm in, but I don’t want it to snowball. Before I was getting help it was hard to leave the house.

There is an appointment coming up. I’m going to mention all these things to the person helping me. I know that it will get smoothed out. I’m just still adjusting to this new arrangement. My new foundation isn’t yet set and I’m seeing cracks. It’s nerve-wracking.

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Fated

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Simplifying Shadowrun v2

I had thought that taking the D20 Modern approach to Shadowrun would be a better take on things. While the skills are closer to the setting the mechanics are still borked. At the time they worked, but looking at the D20 Modern stuff now is just silly.

Taking D20 Modern and adjusting it to a smoother ruleset ala D&D 5e would solve the problem. This would be workable for Shadowrun and other modernish settings as well.

In short, my efforts in this hobby would probably be better set adjusting D&D 5e to have some elements of D20 Modern. There’s still a bit of work, but once I’ve got that completed it would make running Shadowrun easier.

Or I could just be chasing my tail.

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