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Another year, another attempt at keeping track of what I’m doing. The weird thing about this site is that it has a fairly complete record of my existence for about 10 years, and then a gradually less useful one for the following 10 years. I find the bit where I’ve got actual documentation of my life really useful, but not – apparently – enough to keep doing it. So, let’s try a new format.

Work

It’s been a quiet week for work, surprisingly. It’s the first holiday period I’ve not had a single call since I started working for PR (Life Update, if I’ve not mentioned it here, I’m currently devops for the second largest alcohol company in the world. My role is lead devops for the front facing sites in Europe-But-Not-France, and increasingly the rest of it too). New Years Eve our cocktail recipe sites take an – aha – Absolut hammering, and I’m really glad that everything apparently held up.

Next year we really get rolling on a couple of projects that are going to affect my work quality of life a lot, as we shift from the AWS hosting I’ve been building/maintaining to a managed “black box” hosting environment, and my role transitions from direct hands-on building servers to more of process and quality control of the release and build pipelines. I’ve been skeptical of this change, but have been working with layers above me to negotiate boundaries so I don’t end up responsible for things I cannot control.

I’ve done no coding stuff in the last two weeks, including personal projects. It’s been weird.

Play

RPG

At the end of last year I ran the weekender of To Stifle The Light, my first homebrew system, my first vampire game, and my first weekender – played in two long sessions over a weekend. It was a great success. There were a few bits that didn’t work as well as I’d hoped, but the pacing and act construction held up, the system let people do interesting things without getting bogged down in numbers. I’ve now got ideas for how to extend the system to other classic horror tropes (Werewolves, Elder Gods, Mages … basically heading towards White Wolf without the social issues).

I’m still running a group on Tomb of Annihilation, just over two years in we’re on the final three levels of the dungeon, and got our first party character death a few weeks ago. ToA is famously deadly – we’ve only really gone this long beforehand because the stuff leading up to the dungeon is less so, and there have been some really lucky rolls – and I’m running a somewhat modified version right now (Deadly is fine, but I’m working around traps that are Bullshit, canonically undetectable and then immediately deadly, and generally making sure it requires bad luck or prep to die, rather than good luck to survive).

TORG is running a little more slowly. We’ve drifted off the track of the original adventure by some way, and a couple of out-of-game events have caused a few too many skips, but I’ve got a reasonable idea of where it’s going for the next few sessions which will hopefully get it back to the main plot.

LARP

No LARP has been happening. Carcosa Dreams (the events company I’m part of) ran an online event over yule, but I dropped out of that in early December for various reasons. Last year we ran a single event – Sisyphus, which went really well – but I haven’t actually done any LARP at all since Tales in the Sand back in November 2019. I miss people.

Computer Games

Over christmas I’ve mostly been playing Cyberpunk 2077. I’m currently in the “clear up sidequests” run before completing the main mission. I stand by my earlier thoughts, but I’ve got more to say about the storytelling, I think.

I’ve been playing World of Warcraft too, but I’m behind on getting gear, so I’ve got some hefty work to do before I can join my raid group. That’ll probably be after CP, tbh.

I’m hoping to do more streaming on Twitch this year.

Rest

I’ve had two weeks holiday, which has been amazing. Slowly Fyr and I have been making progress on the house, from a new rug in the living room to lining up possible contractors for putting a new door into a wall later in the year.

Just before the most recent escalation of Lockdown we did a socially-distanced yule celebration with friends. Fyr got some garden furniture (it’s a good time of year to buy it) and we sat around an open fire drinking from our own beverages and generally being in people’s company for the first time in months. All within guidelines at the time, and all with all possible care. Having been socially isolating since effectively February it was the most people I’d seen at once since then, and was desperately needed in these darkest of days.

Then, of course, we jumped from Tier 2 to Tier 4, which means nobody should leave home unless they have to. Mostly Oxford’s case problem is with students being forced to travel, which Tier 4 continues to do. So now it’s a hope that the vaccine rollout overtakes the government’s desire to please everybody without spending too much money on doing so.

Mission for today is to get my home office back to professional status in time for starting work again on Monday. Maybe finish a thing on 2020 In Music for this.

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