Sunday, August 30, 2009

on the right track

Hello everyone. I got a very good sleep last night. It's sunday afternoon. Church was very interesting. The guest speaker had a brilliant way of bringing the bible into the modern age and illustrated how we're all called upon to bring some of God's kingdom to earth. It might not always seem like it but even our troubles can be a part of that. I also met up with Pastor Sam who wants to have breakfast with me at Symposium one day soon. That'll be an interesting morning for certain. Joseph has certainly proved an interesting companion in church. He usually gives me a lift to and from. Today, he got me to feel a shoebox stuffed full of flashcards. There were over seven thousand of them and they were all five-letter words. The box was nearly full and had quite the heft to it. Thinking about all those myriad cards spread out, each with its own five-letter word was just mind-boggling.

Last night, I visited Mark and Wendy. We tried out the game of Talisman which I have on my netbook. It's a lot more fun with three or more players. The dynamics just work well. We must have played for a few hours and they'd be up for a full game of it one of these days despite Wendy eventually having been turned into a toad. It's a fantasy game which doesn't take itself too seriously and works well for groups. Dinner was excellent as always.

This afternoon, Ava, Amia, and Allison are coming over for a visit. It sounds like everyone is doing well. In fact, I believe I hear voices downstairs now. Think I'll pop off and see who's here. Later, folks.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Delicious Victory

Hello everyone. I've finally worked up the nerve to try and get to Symposium on my own. After writing since around five A.M., I figured I just damned well wanted a good breakfast and a break. I've placed my order and am writing this blog entry while it's being prepared. I've essentially been waiting all summer to be able to do this. At last, I've succeeded in getting here on my own. There's still the getting back part. However, I made certain dad was around in case I screw up irretrievably there. I don't expect to though. It's pretty quiet here this morning. I just overheard a man essentially get hired. Who would have expected that given these hard times? Very nifty. I expect I'll find out his name eventually. It was also apparently some little kid's birthday but I couldn't tell whether it was a girl or guy.

It's damned nice to finally be able to get somewhere on my own like this. I hope to come here once a week. Not certain I could financially sustain coming much more often than that. Breakfast was absolutely scrumptious. Bacon, eggs, home fries and toast. Delicious! Service has been very quick also. I got here somewhere around nine and it's now just ten after ten. I'm enjoying an orange juice before I head home. They don't rush you here which is something I deeply appreciate.

It would have been infinitely better had there been a friend or two available to share this personal victory with. Eating here alone is comfortable enough but one does feel the absence of companionship. Even facing yet another personal victory by myself, I still feel like I'm on cloud nine. Making the podcast documentary of this isn't going to be easy but I ought to have enough source material. I'll look at that starting on Monday. it'll take a while before I feel completely competent with the route. In particular, the part going back. However, I've done it once now. That counts for quite a lot indeed. I'll finish my drink, pay my bill, and head back home.

I'm back safe and sound. It's approaching eleven thirty. Guess I was walking out there for around an hour. Going there was just so straight-forward and went so well that I guess I was a bit overconfident. There were a few little adventures on the way. I got confused and took some guidance from Al, a friendly man who saw me in a moment of confusion. He unfortunately took me to the right intersection but wrong corner. It took quite a bit for me to sort that out. I need to have a couple more lessons about the initial part of the route going home. However, all's well that ends well. Breakfast was awesome. I wouldn't dream of having lunch today.

The netbook didn't find any wifi signals within range. However, I can easily do without the Internet should I choose to go and do some writing there for an afternoon while enjoying a fruit smoothy. Now there's something to look forward to. Better yet would be to line up a few people near my age for an afternoon chat but one can't have it all I suppose.

I still have to find an offline encyclopedia somewhere which I can load onto the netbook. Haven't solved that problem yet. However, I did manage to round out my sound effects collection this week using some of the money my grandmother sent. I can now be absolutely confident that I have everything I need in the sound effects department courtesy of Sound Ideas. I got the XV MP3 collections since they have a 30-percent-off Summer promotion on. Guess that's almost over now. The only thing I'll eventually have to take care of in terms of assets for the game is a suitable opening and closing theme. None of the music I've already acquired quite works for that. Once I've developed more of the soundscape and audio presentation overall, I'll be better able to choose those pieces of music wisely. I have what I need for everything else. All that's such a very long way off. I don't kid myself that my current creative burst is going to last especially given current social circumstances. I need there to be more to life and there just isn't anything now.

I've started reading a book called Haulted State by Charles Stross. Hope I got his spelling right. It's about a poor hapless cop who finds herself called in to investigate a bank robbery which took place in an online fantasy game. I've barely scratched the serfice but it's pulling me along so far. I've also started listening to a series of documentaries I grabbed from the BBC Documentary podcast all about gold. There's also a nifty series of discussions they're doing called the Athiest and the Bishop which I have to make certain I catch the rest of. The first one was absolutely awesome. They're going at the harder questions and not pulling any punches. Other than that, there's not a whole lot else on the horizon. I've pretty much given up on hearing anything more from that teacher I was starting to have some slight hope for. There's certainly a degree of dark amusement at the thought of overwelming a teacher with too much information but it's still disappointing. Haven't heard from Sarah up in Niagara Falls either. She was going to be pretty busy until the Autumn though so I guess we might still actually get together eventually. God! This has been an extremely solitary Summer. There's no end to the status quo in sight either. I've picked up some more online penpals and found another chat community to join which is mainly populated with blind Christians although they hope this changes over time to be more inclusive of other Christians as well. They've survived for around four years so far. Not too shabby at all. It's certainly better than total isolation but when you've been praying for more time with friends and/or a special lady who's actually present in person, it just feels like putting a square peg into a round hole. There just aren't any alternatives within my reach. At least it passes the time a bit more pleasantly.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

life goes on

Another saturday is upon me. I had a broken but ultimately sufficient sleep. Hopefully, I'm not in line for another hard fight with insomnia. That would truly suck. Yesterday, my parents and I joined our neighbours for a corn roast. It certainly made for some interesting conversation. The corn was scrumptious and so was the catfish I got to try for the first time.

Psychologically, I'm feeling more able to cope with the life I've got rather than wishing like hell for drastic change. I guess all the isolation finally thumped me against rock bottom. Society sees fit to utterly squander my gifts. Under such circumstances, I'm doing all that I possibly can to enjoy the copious time at my disposal while doing what good I can. I no longer feel that I owe the world more effort than I'm giving. The certainty that things will ultimately improve either by my lucking out in the love department or at least by eventually obtaining affordable housing has taken better root in me. Over the past couple of days, I've actually made quite a bit of progress with Enchantment's Twilight's design document. There's still a ton to do. Even the design document is going to be quite a substantial size when it's finally done. However, I'm hopefully going to avoid the problem of wanting to continuously add new aspects to the game when actual development starts. It'll be especially useful for maintaining a cohesive vision if I ultimately choose to try and turn this into a collaborative Internet community project to be published for free. I'm nowhere near that major fork in the road.

This afternoon, I used Skype to call my grandmother. She sent some money to all her grandchildren and I always like to thank her for it. It makes quite a difference for me. Skype worked quite well as did the new gaming headset. She had no trouble hearing me but couldn't hear other people who were farther away from the mic. Also, she didn't seem to be disturbed by hearing her own voice come back at her despite the pc speakers being on. Dad tried it out also and they had quite a good conversation. It seems we'll be going on a family trip out to Winnipeg at some point. That ought to be a damned nice change of place for me. I've had all too few of those this Summer and it unfortunately shows in my overall lack of progress with Enchantment's Twilight.

Last thursday, I went out with Adam and his latest girlfriend for a meal at Symposium. It was damned good to be there with a couple of people my own age. We thankfully didn't get caught in that major storm walking over there. It struck during our dinner and seemed to be finnished by the time we left. As usual, the conversation was good right along with the food. Keith, one of the waiters there, happened to be serving us and remembered me. All the staff are quite friendly. It's a major reason why I'm fighting as hard as I am to learn how to get there and back independently. Even if, as seems likely, I don't meet anybody new there, I'll still come out ahead. That makes a very nice change of pace when most of the time, my acomplishment and experience don't seem to ultimately count for much more than praze from people I'll never meet. It's the sort of thing that gives me hope for better things to come if I can just hang on, be patient, and try to keep cheerful.

Plentyoffish is a busy place today. I couldn't get in this morning to check on the forums. It seems I somewhat overwelmed the teacher who seems interested in me with too much information. Online dating is so awkward that way. You get no feedback until you've gone and written too much and then, it's done. Revealing too little seems to have made it all to easy for people to keep hold of negative presumptions about me and simply move on. Revealing too much is problematic also. However, at least I'm left with a sense that they've got something to work with if they're actually interested. I've always felt better about things which start with all my cards on the table. I don't want anybody ever to feel that I'm hiding information or less than honest. If they're going to turn away from me, better they do so without any excuse of that nature. There was a time when I had more of a sense of undamaged hope about newly started connections to people. Janene has clearly destroyed a good chunk of that. I fervently hope that some day, I'll meet someone new who can put me on cloud nine again. I'd like to think that I still have enough remaining optimism and faith in people for that to happen. We all need some spark of magic in our lives.

Next up for me, I guess there's church in the morning. Other than that, there's nothing on the radar until wednesday morning when my next lesson comes around. One week has been much the same as the last for too damned long. I'm a bit behind in my podcast listening. By romorrow, there'll be a bunch more for me to grab. Nice to have a small stockpile to give time a good swift kick in the ass when it starts to crawl. I ordered a couple of new accessories for my netbook yesterday. One is a key-operated Kenzington security lock I found a recommendation for in Smart Computing. Subscribing to that website was a splendid investment on my part. I also found out about a new notebook stand which may work better for the netbook and be more portable than the table I've been using. I'll know one way or another about that in around a month I guess.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

back from a walk

Hello everyone. I've just returned from this week's orientation lesson. I'm hot and a bit out of breath. My legs aren't too bad but I'm not thinking of climbing any mountains today. Crossing Battleford is going a little better. It'll always be a strenuous crossing but I'm now somewhat more confident that I won't accidentally end up on the wrong corner. The Glen Erin crossing is still tricky due to the curb direction and actually being able to hear the serge of parallel traffic correctly.

I've grabbed a nice berry cooler and some ice. Been having one of those on most days lately although not usually anywhere near this early. Mom and dad are babysitting Ava and Amia. I went with them on Monday. The kids were certainly cute but I just found it too long a stretch of time. It was hard to get anything of substance done and I couldn't really help a ton since I don't know where things are. Once I get my own place, I could probably do a better job of it. Yesterday morning, I got quite a bit done on the game. I just hope this creativity lasts. It feels very precarious.

On the plus side, a teacher has shown some actual interest in me on Plenty of Fish. Usually, they've tended to be in the "I don't want someone I have to take care of" category. She seems genuinely interested in getting to know me rather than just about what it's like to be blind. What's more, I believe she may be close enough to actually get together with. How utterly refreshing. Here's hoping this time, things might go somewhere lasting.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Playing Clue at the End of the World

Hello everyone. It's yet another long and uneventful sunday afternoon. Despite this, I'm in a pretty good mood at present. Church was thought-provoking and cheerful this week. I got to know a couple of people a little better and they me. Also, the sermon was thought-provoking. The pastor found a nifty way of talking about soul ties and how having improper relationships can diminish people to the point where they can no longer form a truly lasting relationship with anybody. He used duck-tape to illustrate the point. Somehow, I doubt that even he could convince my friend Adam of that rather painful truth. It's always been rather self-evident to me. We can indeed lose parts of ourselves in this way even if we're as careful and thoughtful as possible. Thankfully, I believe I've recovered as much as is humanly possible from losing Janene. I know I'm more fortunate than many people in that regard.

Earlier in the week, I was looking through Revelations in the bible thinking about the end of the world. It fit my mood of frustrated loneliness. Thinking about the misery of others does have that effect of lessening how keenly you feel your own. However, you know my mind and know that it never stays in a "normal" direction with this stuff for very long. I found myself harking back to my days as an Anglican. The old minister's voice came right back to me talking about how the day of judgement would come upon us like a trap when we least expected. I always pictured a poor happless kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Time would simply be up and we'd all have to read 'em and weep. For good reason, the focus is always on those unconfessed or unforgiven sins. We're exhorted to keep the decks clear of these as it were. However, presuming things end suddenly as many denominations including mine believe will happen, God will be looking upon and clearing away quite the fascinating tableau of unfinished stuff.

Think about it: There'll be unfinished buildings being constructed. Potholes will remain forever unfilled. Novels will be left forever unfinnished. Some poor bastard will be three or four twists away from at last solving that old Rubic's Cube. Folks will never find out how The Usual Suspects ends. You know there'll be at least one delicious bacon and eggs breakfast on the verge of being tucked into. Some other poor soul will have nearly finished a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle and be searching for that one missing piece. It'll remain forever lost under some table or couch cushion. People will be caught right in the middle of dressing or, as my luck would have it, shaving. There'll be one ragged strip of unshaven fuzz on the left side of the bottom of my chin and god will gleefully shout: "Time's up!" That would be forgiveable. However, if he blows the whistle just as I'm about to take my first bite of that new Darry Queen blizard I haven't had the opportunity to try all summer, I'll be a tad cross with him. How about that group of six friends holed up in a parlour playing out the last unresolved game of Clue? Will God take pitty on them and tell them: "It was Colonel Mustard in the drawing room with the pipe!" before sending them off to their final fate? I sincerely hope so. Anyhow, there's another deranged thought from the mind of Mike for you. Enjoy your Sunday. God bless all of you.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

z: Time passes.

Hello everyone. The past two weeks have been very slow and frustrating. I just haven't gotten much of the fresh input or socialisation I need. The days have crawled slowly past. The weather has gotten much better particularly over the last week. However, other than practicing what I can of my route, I've had no reason to go out into it. I thought I'd be doing so much more with people this summer. Instead, I hear news of events like Taste of the Danforth and others which I'd love to attend with some good and trustworthy company. Where does one go in order to even begin the work of making friends who would actually be interested in attending such things? Festivals, science fiction conventions, or even regular nights out at some pub would do me a whole world of good presuming they were places where you could still hear yourself think. I'll give up a great deal to spend less time alone but not my hearing. There's still the whole frustration of needing more of a life beyond family. It is especially keenly felt this summer. Mom and dad are quite sympathetic and understanding. However, other than getting me to some places when they're free to, there's nothing they can really do to help change my circumstances on that score. Mom took me out to meet Nadia again last week. Due to a few circumstances, I can't see the two of us going any further than friendship. It's a strange paradox. For the two hours during which we talked, it was such a nice reprieve from feeling profoundly disconnected from everyone. It was good to have someone near my own age to talk with for that span of time. A damned frustrating shame that nobody closer to me has any interest. On the way back, I helped mom with carrying the tank for our barbecue to get it filled. The attendant mistook me for her husband. Go figure. Presuming I don't look overly old, I guess that at least made mom feel good. I try not to take my frustration with current circumstances out on them. They have enough to worry about with dad adjusting to retirement, grandkids and so-forth. The solitude and lack of a real ongoing connection to a community is slowly doing its damage though. I can feel my drive to keep trying to change things and continue working on Enchantment's Twilight slipping away from me bit by bit. The irony of working away at something which speaks to the importance of community and of looking out for each other while finding myself so stuck fast on the outside of a more full life definitely isn't lost on me. I feel like a coiled spring left to slowly rust away. I find that I'm getting more angry that nothing I do seems to actually count for anything other than perhaps an emailed acknowledgement that I've inspired someone or that my writing has had a positive impact on people too far away to meet.

All I need is for one woman who is close enough to decide that I might be worth getting to know on a more serious level than friendship. She'd get the most loyal and faithful husband, willing to jump at any opportunity open to him and willing to do whatever I could to make a marriage work. All I need is one employer to actually notice what I've done or take the time to get to know how honest and hard-working I am. For so profoundly changing my life He or she would attain my best efforts and loyal service. I've kept plugging away over the years thinking that some day, the right person would come along and my life would at last progress somehow. Lately, it's getting harder not to think that perhaps I'm the only lost soul struggling to live under some outdated notions of responsibility, morality and so-on. Everyone seems to be after sex with no commitments beyond it these days. Company loyalty seems to be a concept no longer valued at all. I just wish I could truly fit in somewhere other than my parents' house preferably before I start pushing forty. Eventually, I know that things will get better. If nothing else, it will eventually be my turn for a subsidised apartment. The wait is just so damned long! Presuming I can make friends of some of the people where I end up, I could conceivably become quite content living as a single man. Right now, I could really do with some profound change but I don't see any chance of that happening any time soon. I just have to keep going somehow.

This weekend isn't going so badly at all. I've purchased a few dvds including the Band of Brothers mini-series about World War II. The sound work in it has been absolutely first-rate so far. It comes in a tin with the dvds lifting out of it like a folded scroll. On the one hand, I'm profoundly glad I purchased this. For once, it isn't something you watch and miss the company of a special woman while doing so. It's also quite lengthy. The CNIB had a book called Beyond Band of Brothers which I read prior to starting through the dvds. Thanks to that ten or twelve hours worth of reading, I'll be able to better comprehend the battle sequences in the twelve-hour mini-series. It's worked out quite well so far. I say that having gone through the first three dvds plus the extras dvd. So far, the story tracks nicely. This wrecks the surprise but I'll take full comprehention given that choice any day.

Later this afternoon, I believe Dan and his family are coming over. We were supposed to go to Canada's Wonderland with them yesterday but poor Ava got a bad eye infection from a dastardly little mosquito. For a little while, we thought she might have to have a stay in the hospital. However, it seems that the medication she's been given has done the trick and she's apparently back to her cute self. I'll be able to observe that first hand fairly shortly unless plans change. Next week, my parents will be babysitting on most of the days and I'll probably go with them for a couple. I'll spend the other days here so I can get in some route practice and, God willing, some further writing on the game. I pretty much stalled out last week and pray I'm not in for another chunk of absolute creative freeze. I've had quite enough of that this long and lonely summer as it is thank you very much. Church ought to liven up tomorrow a bit. That's really become something I can count on. Hark! I hear a super-high-pitched Amia scream unless I miss my guess. Time for Uncle Mike to put this blog entry up there, go down and investigate.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

people and fantastic places

Hello everyone. Church today was interesting. The sermon was about how we should all be prophets and not be afraid to do extraordinary things in God's service. Other than being a general encouragement to continue with my staggeringly large project, there wasn't anything else in it which I can immediately make use of. I've never been afraid to discuss my beliefs with people presuming they're at all interested. Sticking out certainly isn't new to me. That's for certain. Should opportunities to do more immediate good present themselves, I'm absolutely willing and eager to pitch in where I can.

I got to know a couple of people after the service and they now have a bit of a better grasp of my situation. Making inroads socially is a very slow process but I feel like it's at least proceeding. I'm very optimistic that I'll eventually get beyond the "see you next sunday" stage with this congregation.

Yesterday, I saw Allison, Ava and Amia who came over for a visit and dinner. Dan had to work this time. Ava and Amia were very cute and up to their usual chaotic standards. I taught Amia the word "chips". There were potato chips out for people to nibble on and she was very interested in them. She's getting better at indicating audibly what she wants but not quite at the stage where she can ask directly. She'll raise her arms when she wants to be picked up. Ava still doesn't like to eat her dinner and needs to be talked into it or bribed to keep going. Even dessert doesn't always do the trick. I wonder when she'll grow out of that. Her little sister certainly enjoys her food. They'll be going to Canada's Wonderland for the first time pretty soon and I'll probably go with them. It'll be interesting to see what they think of all the attractions for kids. I still remember my first ride on the Ghoster Coaster. I have a whole lot of good memories of that place.

Tonight, I'll be having dinner with Mark and Wendy. It'll be good to see them again. I believe we'll be trying out a new burger place. Other than that, who knows? Going out with excellent friends like them can hardly fail to be interesting. Over the weekend, I've been reading To Glory We Steer by Alexander Kent and have very much enjoyed the book as I usually do with the Bolitho series. I'm almost done. They're about to square off against the French fleet so I suspect I'll finish it up this afternoon. Kent has a terrific way of making you feel as if you were right on the deck with the book's characters. I just hope I'm up to doing even half as good a job when I at last come to the story-writing stage of Enchantment's Twilight. That's still quite a ways off although there'll certainly be bits of it throughout the design document.

Adam and I certainly had a good time on friday evening. Turtle Jack's was up to its usual good standards. Their new summer menu had a Thai chicken dinner which I quite liked. The Score brownie for dessert was even better but a little on the rich side. Adam has found a splendid new fantasy board game the name of which completely escapes me. Many of the concepts gave me ideas for how Enchantment's Twilight should work. One thing I definitely want to incorporate is to have battles potentially take place over multiple rounds of play so that other players have a chance to become involved. Incorporating that into the original three-round-per-day mode of advancement ought to be within the realm of possibility. It does require a break from strict realism though. Given that each segment of day, morning, afternoon and night, is an eight-hour chunk of time, it would be a rare fight indeed which would last even most of one such time period. When divising board games though, I'm beginning to see that one must be willing to introduce elements which somewhat stretch the suspention of disbelief in order to achieve overall gameplay objectives. Thinking through such implications seems to be what I'm in for over the next week. No real character inspirations have occurred to me for quite a while so I have to concentrate on other areas. I'll be looking over the current rendition of the game board and see if I can resolve the history and function of various places in greater detail. As more of this builds, I expect it'll become easier to come up with a roster of characters who would realistically compete for positions on the island's ruling council.