Sunday Morning, Feeling Good

June and I went for a drink last night, I had a bit of a lie-in this morning, I took my time getting myself together and I feel good.

There’s evidence to suggest that, taken in moderation, alcohol is good for us.  As I haven’t been out for a drink for a few weeks, visiting the pub last night was very welcome indeed.  I don’t like to get drunk these days, but three pints of Abbot Ale, which is fairly strong, was enough to make me a little merry.

So this morning I feel good.  I was hoping to trim the hedges at the front of the house, but it’s blowing a gale at the moment and I’d probably end up chasing the clippings down the street.  I’ll mow the lawn this afternoon once it’s dry again after yesterday’s rain.

On the subject of feeling good, or not, this article on the BBC news site suggests why we creative types may all be a little mad.  When we try to deal with our problems, it’s often easier to do so if we can get some sort of handle on the  causes of those problems.

I posted a new Mitchell cartoon this morning, which I drew yesterday.  Just the thought of him rolling about with laughter at the misfortunes of a dog makes me smile.  I have nothing against dogs, but have no difficulty putting myself into Mitchell’s position and seeing why he would find it so hilarious.  This is probably what the BBC article was pointing to with the similarity to schizophrenia in creative minds.  Well-developed characters speak in our minds with their own voices, but we know they are only the creations of our imagination.

The next Story to Nowhere episode will be posted tomorrow and this morning I created it.  I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to say, but as I began writing it came to me quite quickly, along with the idea that I wanted to draw the image in pencil instead of in Photoshop as I have been doing.  I don’t know if this will continue, but I’m pretty pleased with the end result.

By the smell of the aromas drifting up the stairs, I think that my lunch is being prepared by June and so I’ll close this off before I’m called to the table.  Now I can smell it I realise I’m feeling rather peckish…

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Fighting Back

Looking back at yesterday, it seemed like I wallowed in my misfortune a little too much.  My mood hasn’t been the very best in a general sense for a while, so it’s pretty easy to slip into the frame of mind where one setback takes on far greater proportions than it should.

While I’m still angry that I’ll probably be losing a fair bit of money, I’ve got to put it into perspective and move on before it gets out of control.  I have, after all, still got other projects on the go and I’m lining up others all the time.  It’s not like this loss is in danger of putting me on the streets or preventing me from earning my living in a broader sense.

Unfortunately, this is probably not the case for the employees at the company that’s gone out of business and with the ups and downs of the games industry at the moment, new positions may not come to them immediately.  They are talented people, so I would imagine that they will all get new jobs eventually, but the uncertainties of suddenly finding yourself without work is tremendously worrying.  Having been there twice in my life I know how difficult it is and I wish those guys all the best of luck in finding new jobs.

I have a lot to be thankful for.  While working freelance has more than its share of potential problems, I’m doing something that I enjoy and I get to work with a wide variety of talented people, who are always inspiring in some way, however small that might be.  People who have found their ideal job and then complain about it need to get a grip of themselves.

What I do can be hard at times and not without its fair share of stress, but without the challenges it would be a pretty boring job.  There are times when I doubt my own abilities, particularly when the writing comes easily, but without some kind of self-regulation none of us would ever grow as creative individuals.

So I’ve had my bit of self-indulgent moping and it’s time to fight back, get my mind into gear and get on with the things I do well, striving to do better all the time.

At least I’m not digging ditches.

Ups and Downs

What a mixed day today is proving to be and it’s only lunch time.

With the game, Special Enquiry Detail, being released yesterday, there was more great news this morning when Gamezebo gave it a great review (4 stars) and said some wonderful things about the story and dialogue, which was my main role on the game.  I was feeling really good and pulling together some great ideas for a few different projects.

Imagine my horror when I received a letter from a solicitor that talked of liquidation in relation to one of my clients.  It’s always bad whenever any company is forced to close down, but this particular company owed me a not inconsiderable sum of money.  I actually feel a little physically sick as a result.  Although there’s always the chance that I could get the money as part of the liquidation procedure, the likelihood is that it’s not going to happen.  If the money was there to be paid they probably wouldn’t have gone into liquidation.

I feel like screaming and shouting and kicking things, but so far I’ve made do with a lot of heavy swearing.  I’m not sure I can motivate myself to do anything constructive for the rest of the day.

New game released

I don’t normally talk about games on this blog, that’s for my other blog.  However, Special Enquiry Detail: The Hand that Feeds has just been released on Big Fish.  I’m really pleased because I created the premise and the characters from the ground up as well as writing the story and dialogue and designing the main gameplay.  I think it’s a good balance of all the elements.  I hope those of you who might be interested in playing it will like it.

Octavius – a new cartoon posted

I’m back from my short break from my comics and cartoons and have posted a new Octavius cartoon.  Octavius will be appearing every Tuesday and Thursday.

My other cartoons and comics are back, too, though with an adjusted schedule.  Story to Nowhere was updated yesterday and will be appearing every Monday.  Mitchell was updated on Sunday and will be appearing on Sundays and Fridays.

I hope this schedule doesn’t have a bad effect on my health.

Lunchtime walk – and conflict of the sexes

Today has been a little cooler than it was over the weekend, which made my lunchtime walk a little more pleasant.  I always like to go for a half hour walk at lunch, usually incorporating a trip to the shop if we’re in need of a loaf of bread or something.

There are a few different routes I take for variety and today’s took me past one of the town’s schools, which is a primary school.  I’m a little out of the loop these days so I’m not entirely sure of the age range, but I think it’s 5 to 11 years of age.  The playing field is bounded by a hedge and as I walked along the side of the hedge I could hear a female teacher explaining to her pupils how to throw a ball.  It must have culminated in her throwing it because she said, “There, just like that.”  She followed this with, “I know it’s not brilliant, but I thought it was pretty good for a girl.”

It actually quite shocked me that a teacher would use a phrase like that in this day and age.  What sort of lesson is this teaching those pupils?  That girls have to apologise just for being girls?

Now I undeerstand that there are and always will be differences between the sexes.  Girls like to do girl things and boys like to do boy things and we shouldn’t stop them from making uncoerced choices.  I also understand the need for competition, both amongst the members of each sex and between the sexes, but no one – male or female – should ever feel they need to apologise for any natural lack of expertise or ability whatever the context.

This actually reminds me of a time when June and I were first looking at houses in this area.  We went to one house that smelled really strongly of dog as soon as we walked in.  So strong that I felt like being sick.  The guy apologised and said that his wife had divorced him a few months ago and “well, you know us men are no good at housework and stuff”.

What?!

Any man who cannot keep a house clean, wash and iron clothes, sew a button on, take up the hem of a pair of jeans, cook a meal, wash pots, etc. etc. should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.  My father is in his seventies and even though he’s not as sprightly as he used to be he still maintains his house to a high degree of cleanliness.  He even spent a lot of time nursing my mother until she passed away last year.

When it comes down to ordinary, everyday things of just getting on with our lives, neither sex should claim to be better or weaker than the other, we should just do these things.

Of course, my position on gender equality is undermined to a small degree when I’m informed that dealing with spiders “is a man thing”.

A Hot, Busy Saturday

I couldn’t believe how hot it was yesterday, considering we’re still in May.  It looks like it’s going to be another hot one today, too.  I think today may be mostly a reading day.

Yesterday, though, was pretty busy, but a lot of fun.  I went through to Hull to see family and to take Caitlin (one of my granddaughters) out to lunch.

I called in to see my other granddaughter as my first port of call.  Leilani is now ten weeks old and as I haven’t seen her for a few weeks the change was pretty big.  She was so much more alert and as I was holding her and talking to her she was smiling an laughing at me, which must be one of the most pleasant things ever.  I think they should show film of laughing babies after the evening news every day and the whole world would be a much better place.  I delivered my Bears painting, which seemed to go down very well.

I went to see my Dad and brother next and was surprised to see that a shrub I bought Dad a couple of years ago has burst into beautiful flowers, which didn’t happen last year.  They’d bought themselves a new VHS/DVD combination player and recorder and although it was working it didn’t seem to be recording the Sky programmes.  As far as I could tell it was all connected up okay but not having Sky myself (I don’t want to give money to Murdoch’s empire) I have no idea why it wasn’t working.

I went to see Shaun, Emma and Caitlin next.  they moved into a new house last year and have only just got their new Koi pond finised with the fish finally in place.  Their garden is very much in the process of being finished, but it’s easy to see how it’s going to shape up when they have everything in place.

I took Caitlin out for lunch and she had some nuggets and fries with a huge milkshake.  She was convinced that the nuggets were made of fish for some reason, but they were definitely chicken.  Perhaps they looked a little like fish fingers and that was the connection in her head.  After lunch was finished we drove to Toys R Us so she could pick out something for her birthday, which is next week.  As we headed there I tried to tell her that we should go home because I couldn’t remember the way but she wasn’t having any of that.

As soon as we stepped in the door she spotted this pink horse and decided that she wanted that.  I suggested we take a look around just in case she spotted something she wanted more, but as we walked around her mind was clearly on the horse and we came away with it.  Still, as it was what she wanted I’d have to consider it mission accomplished.

We went to the park on the way back home.  This was one of the parks I used to take her dad to (along with my other sons) when they were young.  It’s changed a lot over the years – all the large climbing frames have been removed and there are no longer any boats on the boating pond, which now looks pretty bleak with just a few ducks and geese paddling the surface.  A woman was feeding them with her daughter and was kind enough to give Caitlin some of the bread to join in.

When I took her home Caitlin couldn’t wait to show her parents the horse.  They both laughed because she’d spotted it before and had obviously wanted it for quite some time.

Shaun had previously had a few goldfish in with his Koi and wanted to separate them, so he gave me three for my pond.  One of them has a fantastically long tail and matching fins while another has markings very similar to a Koi.  The third is a little more like a traditional goldfish.  I quickly got them into the pond when I got home because I didn’t want to stress them out too much in the bucket I used to transport them.  They didn’t seem troubled by their ordeal and seemed to be getting frisky with my established fish.

I then decided to mow my lawn, which is very dry at the moment, and June and I sat in the garden for our evening meal to enjoy it once again.  I took some pictures of the pond and surrounding plants, a couple of which are below.

Pond and plants

Pond Fish

All in all, a very good, if hot and busy, day.  I finished it off with some drawing – cartoons for both Mitchell and Octavius.  I just posted the first of the new Mitchell cartoons this morning.