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My current office setup

2021 at work started in a fairly typical way. Over the course of the christmas break our central IT team had updated the VPN to add a secure traffic proxy. This was mostly transparent to the entire group, except for our development environments, which don’t have the corporate certificate trusted, and therefore were – correctly – throwing errors about possible Man in the Middle attacks.

Usually my solution to this kind of issue is to go back to my personal laptop for a couple of days until I can spend the dev time fixing it. But just before Christmas I treated myself to a new M1 Macbook Pro, and while it runs like a dream, it doesn’t support our virtualized container environments yet, and I hadn’t gotten as far as putting a full python environment to run Ansible in yet.

So I spent most of 2021 so far scrabbling to get to where I was at the end of 2020 and move forward from there.


I was a little surprised to see this pay off, tbh. Image from Cyberpunk 2077

I finished Cyberpunk 2077 (Female V/Nomad/Arosaka playthrough), for one of the most depressing endings a video game has ever given me. I think I’ve got some more things to say about it beyond The NotReview, especially after a full-VO character turned out to be trans in an interesting and deep story, and some bits about disabled representation in the game. It’s small things – Fyr went though the whole game too and didn’t get that story, for example – but it’s worth talking about the things it does do right, even with the things the game – and the company who made it – have done wrong.

A starting point on a new game

I mentioned in an off-hand way that I could probably follow up To Stifle The Night with a whole series of related games taking a different aspect of the World of Darkness style horror games, stripping them back and building something simpler and (to me) more interesting to run. So I really shouldn’t be surprised that while working on some background fluff for Inherent Violets – a short-run Masks campaign I’m running – I got hit by a nearly fully-formed version of Werewolves for the same universe, now known as The Gloaming. So the new tab in my RPG OneNote is called “To Serve the Bones”, and has been filled out with some bullet points in prep for a full write-up. I’ve added some other tabs for possible future bits too, because what I need right now is new projects.

No TORG last week, but we’re doing a bonus session this week, which will be great. It’s been a while since the last session – between Christmas and other stuff – but the party have just accidentally triggered a trad-horror Orrish Nightmare Tree while in high-fantasy Asyle, which is several pay-grades above them and was just supposed to be a reminder of the existence of the Big Bad. Ah well, fun and games to come.

Also this week I’m running Tomb of Annihilation, where the party have reached some of the later, more utter-bastard floors of the final stretch, and balancing the encounters towards the possible side of hideously unfair is occasional wearing. Also this week: playing the World’s Largest Dungeon, which is an old 3.5 adventure which I’ve been playing since Sept 2016, and was running for a few years before that. As of last session – which I missed – I’m the longest living character, which is a little terrifying. Then TORG on Saturday and more D&D on Sunday (5th Ed, where I’m playing a clockwork-obsessed artificer in a home-brew world of low-magic and early Universal Studios horror). Busy week for gaming.

Salique, a Windwalker Monk.
Click this to see armory profile.

Also I’d like to get my WoW Monk up to scratch to join my guild in the current Raid, organise the next session of Inherent Violets, and finish some projects in both the Carcosa Dreams and my own minecraft servers.

I may be overcommited.



(Image Credit: @emmetbroaders)

This week has not been great for being a human, really. Between the UK Government’s inability to stick to a course for more than a few days and the fizzing bomb that is the US government right now, it’s been tough to focus. I’m also dealing with the social fallout of having dealt with some stuff at the back end of last year very badly, and disappointing friends in the process.

Socks reading “Cheer the fuck up” made by Lucy.

In the depths of this is that I’m 40 in a couple of weeks, a milestone that I was hoping to celebrate with friends and partners in expressive style, in person, in our house. I’m throwing myself into things (like games, as above) and trying to focus on small things that bring me joy (such as these handmade socks), but it’s a shitty instance of a shitty time of year, and that’s hard.

But, as the socks say, I shall attempt to cheer the fuck up, do things I enjoy, and fake enthusiasm until my brain catches up, which is – annoyingly – something that does actually generally work for me, so long as it’s taken alongside weapons-grade antidepressants, of course.

Another week.

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