WHEN ONE DOOR CLOSES, ANOTHER OPENS. THIS IS THE WORST SUBMARINE I’VE EVER BEEN ON.

A quick shout-out to our wonderful daughter, Erin, who graduated Year Twelve during the week.

She’s had an eventful life, our girl. De-mothered at 4 days old, stuck with a grief-stricken and useless father for the first year of life, lumped in a procession of day care centres as I struggled to combine unplanned single parenthood with returning to work… a succession of schools as we moved from Huntingdale to Morley to Huntingdale again to Clarkson to Mandurah to Rockingham to, finally, Karratha… And through it all, she has grown into a fine young person, filled with grace and humour and intelligence and warmth.

It was Erin who decided the woman I was dating was meant to be her Mummy and started calling her so (We’ve been married 14 years, now).  She was the dux of her primary school. A Junior City Councillor. House Captain at two High Schools. Academically adept. Artistically talented. Loyal to others and attracting of great loyalty in turn. Deeply capable as a human being. With a strong moral compass and sense of right, and a deep understanding of the right way to be a part of her friendship group, community, a culture.

She didn’t get any of that from me.

And now she’s finished her schooling. Once again, she did herself proud, winning the award for the top Visual Arts student. Her final set of exams awaits. The the University offer we have absolutely no doubt will arrive in early December. Her siblings plan to come up for Christmas. When they leave, she’ll be going with them, first to a holiday in Malaysia, and then to the room they’ve already organised for her at their house in Perth. Our household, which once held seven, and has consisted of the four of us for nearly eight years, will shrink to three.

She’s got an amazing future ahead of her. She’s earned an amazing future. There is no ceiling she cannot breach, and no limit she need set herself.

There is no way I can think of in which we are not overcome with pride in who she is, what she has achieved, and the standards to which she holds herself.

 

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Our brilliant young woman.

LEGO 250 REVIEW: MIXELS

I’m trying to re-establish my routines and habits while I hope time and reflection will help repair the damage to my family caused by Blake’s suicide. As part of that, I’m continuing my Lego 250 reviews from where I left off. Today, I’m looking at an entire range of sets, because they’re tiny and I’m damned if I’m going to review each one separately.

Mixels. They’re totally a thing.  Continue reading “LEGO 250 REVIEW: MIXELS”

LEGO 250 REVIEW: 5973 HYPERSPEED PURSUIT

I’m doing it hard today. It takes a huge commitment of energy for me to remain focussed right now, energy that ran out this morning and left me completely non-functional. In getting Luscious, Lord 14, and Erin through each day I’ve been stressing the importance of routine and habit: when the will is suffering, and the emotions are unravelling your day before you, routine and habit can be the difference between achieving the one thing you need to make the day a functional one, and laying on the bed counting the non-existent cracks in your pillowcase all day.

So, I need routine today. I need habit. And as I couldn’t manage to get up, dressed, and through the three-minute drive to my workplace, I’m going to get a Lego 250 review up. Then I’m going to go count pillowcase cracks for a while.

Let’s make it a good one, shall we? Continue reading “LEGO 250 REVIEW: 5973 HYPERSPEED PURSUIT”

HELP HOLLY

Everything has been tough since Blake died, but for his partner Holly it’s been complicated by Real World ™ difficulties that have made life doubly hellish. Not only did she lose her job for the crime of mourning her partner, but thanks to a ridiculously short vacate notice and housemates who have chosen to cut and run rather than step up and take responsibility, Holly is left holding a financial can she can’t manage, never mind cope with.

The Triffitt and Battersby families have done what they’ve always done, come together to help one of their own. We’ve started a Go Fund Me Page to help Holly get back on her feet.

We can’t bring Blake back, we can’t get Holly into a new home, we can’t give her a job. But we can reach out to you, our friends, and ask that you help Holly in this time of desperate need. 

If you’ve got a couple of bucks to help a young woman who shouldn’t have to cope with the emotional load she is carrying dig herself out of a financial hole she shouldn’t have to bear, you would be helping in a way that will have very real consequences.

Click here is you can spare a buck or two to help Holly out.

A BARDING OF BLAKE

One of the things that defined Blake was his love of Dungeons and Dragons. When he moved out of home, I gave him my original set of dice, as I wasn’t playing at the time. He had them with him when he died.

One of the conversations we had, as a family, after his funeral, was around finding a way to commemorate him within the game he loved so well. We had his plaque, but somehow it felt important that others be allowed to have this aspect of his passing, too. I don’t know why his plaque, out of everything, but there it was: we wanted anyone who wanted to, to have a plaque of their own. So I hit upon the idea of creating a plaque as a magical item, and releasing it into the wild. That way, people could have a way of including Blake in their own games.

The idea has grown into two linked items, and here they are. McTrippy’s Plaque and the Night Lenses incorporate several of Blake’s unique facets: his weird plastic sunglasses collection; his love of the Lythari class; his unique, strong charisma; his compulsive need to travel; his ridiculous enjoyment of setting comedy traps within games. They are, I hope, perfectly Blakey.

I’ve uploaded them to The Dungeon Master’s Guild, so hopefully they’ll be on that website and DriveThru RPG soon for all and sundry. But if you’re a reader of this blog, and a player of Dungeons and Dragons, they’re here for you now, should you wish to use them.

It’s something, I suppose.

 

Download McTrippy’s Plaque (pdf)

 

Credit: These cards were created using a Creative Commons template from the Binary Adventures Blog.

28 DAYS LATER, or ON COPING, or NOT.

Jeff Lacy walked to the ring as the hottest prospect in boxing. he’d been compared to a rampant Mike Tyson, to Apollo Creed, to everything young and brash and good-looking about American sports. He’d been anointed the next big thing, and was almost un-backable in the betting room. Joe Calzaghe was older, slower, past it. Eight years as champion had taken their toll. His hands, never tools of one-punch knockout power, were brittle shells, particularly his left, which he’d broken in his last bout and was convinced hadn’t healed properly. You couldn’t find anyone in the American press, and few in the British, who gave him a ghost’s chance against a fighter predicted to dominate the super-middleweight landscape for the next decade or more.

12 rounds later, Calzaghe was elevated to the legendary status he would never relinquish. Lacy was a hollow shell. Hypnotised by the nearly 1000 punches Calzaghe had thrown, concussed by the 350+ that had landed, the victim of one of the rarest feats in boxing– a perfect shut out round, in which he landed exactly zero blows to his opponent– Lacy was forever beaten. Gone. Destroyed. More than his body was broken that night in 2006. His spirit was ruined. He was never the same boxer again, never the same man. The abyss had not only stared back, it had bitten his soul in two. It was one of the greatest beatings in boxing history, and the man who lost it was forever lessened.

What does this have to do with Blake? Continue reading “28 DAYS LATER, or ON COPING, or NOT.”