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My convection heating started to leak gas a bit, causing a lingering gas-stench smell when I got in from work. I located a nearby gas engineer online and he came round and replaced my valves and my fan and I signed up for a service contract. Seems my system had not been serviced in a good few years. Some interesting things arose from this. In order to pay the bill of £780, I had to get a credit card account set up – something I swore I’d not do again. However, Virgin Money was good enough to allow me to have £4k credit on an interest-free card (for first 12 months). This means that I have a reasonable credit score, now, which is good. It also forced me to stop paying for all those monthly frivolities like charities, Spotify, Patreon and so on, so that I can pay back the card in good time, thus further improving my credit score. Nice. I feel much more organised financially. A few short years ago I was flailing around in debt… it wasn’t so nice.

The cats are due for their boosters this week, so I’ve booked them in on my remaining days off. More miserable crying in the back of the car and baleful stares when we get home. Still love my kitties. They’re still defurring themselves for some reason. The Feliway doesn’t seem to work.

I’ve been to see a few films to catch up. Not least of which was Star Wars Episode VII : The Force Awakens. Oh, my stars. I loved this film. I am crushing so badly on Kylo Ren it makes me cry – yes, literally cry. Went to the cinema in Kettering with some of the games crew to see the film on its release date in 3D. My first 3D film! It was a bit distracting but worked rather well in the space dogfight scenes. I bought a Star Wars calendar for work and January was Kylo, as is April. Wishing my year away like a fool. I bought a great coat (no, not a greatcoat) from Simply Be which suited the look I wanted for my dark Star Wars outfit. I also bought some leather gloves to set off the costume, and some Sith and Empire badges to wear as insignia on the coat. I’m the first to admit, when I get into something, I wrap myself up in it like a thick blanket and immerse my whole world. Big time.

I went to see Deadpool to see what all the fuss was about. Out-bloody-standing film. It was a finger to all those terribly serious, square-chinned, macho bullshit DC and Marvel films and I enjoyed it immensely. It was a bit rude, lots of jokes about sex and farting but hey, nothing gross or ugly. Well done the asshat studio bosses.

I’ve also watched The Martian since I read the book ages ago, having had it recommended by George Hrab. Very well done book to film translation. I also went to see The Last Witch Hunter, Vin Diesel’s latest role, which he was allowed to reprise in a Critical Role one off. More of that later. This film was like a really well made LARP and I got quite into it, enjoying the little nods to games here and there.

I finally got to upgrade my PC on Boxing Day last year. Well, sod all else to do with no friends, family or kids around over the holidays. I tore out the old mobo and so on from Smaug and fitted him with an Intel i7, 8Gb of Ripjaws RAM and an MSI gaming mobo, which also replaced my sound card.  Amazingly, it all just sprang into life as soon as it was built. What a chuffed bunny I was! A few driver and OS teething issues but wowsers, what a massive difference!

Work

Not a lot to report at work. Same old same old. No pay rise, no change in office location. Virgin Media leased line is fnally installed and working. Whoop!

Games

I’m in so many games groups now it’s starting to get a bit crazy, but if I miss one for whatever reason, I get very blue and rather grumpy. Can we spell addiction, kids?

The Chronicles of Ishar – my friend Carl’s homebrew system of fantasy RP in which I play a faerie girl, whose deity is Jareth (yes that Jareth), lord of Dragonkind and master of love, plots and intrigue. I’ve been allowed to see the level progression for this race and boy, it’s pretty amazing. Let’s see if Inka the Faerie lives that long. We play this every couple of weeks or so. Due to the recent passing of David Bowie and Alan Rickman*, we decided to have a tribute game, 13 hours long, to rescue a child we’d found and then lost. This required a chiming clock to gee us up every time it struck an hour, lots of plot devices from various stories, singing, puzzles, mazes….I got rather emotional towards the end**, when all seemed about to be lost. This particular game required me to know a few of Carl’s favourite films with the two protagonists in them. I’d watched Die Hard, Prince of Thieves, Labyrinth and Dogma to prepare. I’m now one of those Jareth the Goblin King fan girls. Sigh.

D&D 5th Edition – in one game, I’m playing a dwarf cleric, Dasoda Runeminer, who’s having a tough old time of it. Not as tough as her predecessor, Geraldine of Sunhollow, a paladin who was eaten by an Ilithid. In another game I’m Trouble, a Chaotic Evil tiefling rogue, modelled rather heavily on Heath Ledger’s Joker. He’s a complete shit and it’s great fun pushing the limits of the party’s tolerance of him. Lastly, I’m in a Japan-China-styled game playing a tough as boots Lawful Good dwarf fighter, Hano Sanzo, a folk hero and arm-wrestling legend. It’s nice to be able to just hit things very, very hard rather than fiddling about with spells.

The Campaign of Darkness (CoD) – this is where I play the Neutral Evil tiefling ranger, Tori, in an all evil party. After completing a few missions that the party needed to do, there were some changes made. Greg, the usual DM, stepped aside to allow Carl to run it for a while. Three of the party remained behind, while Tori and the half-orc anti-paladin Cograk ventured out with their new compatriots, Babau, a demon and The Survivor, a … human? We’re off to the islands of Tori’s creation to slay those who made her, and to find a cure for the mad bard Quentin’s insanity, so that he can be a werewolf again.

Star Wars : Rogue Legacy – a Star Wars RPG, based on Edge of the Empire. We play on Roll20 with some of the guys from CoD and some from the other 5th Ed games. The DM for this game is Tim. I’m playing a Twi’Lek female, who co-pilots a freighter and is Force-sensitive, strangely leaning to the Dark Side… This is a fun game. It’s nice to walk and talk and interact in the Star Wars universe with friends who get it, who feel it just as strongly. It’s not all that serious, we do always have a laugh.

There are plans afoot for a hardcore, absolutely-by-the-book 2nd edition AD&D game run by Tim with me, Ghost, Carl and Greg as players. My character is mostly made. A teenage cleric (first level) with one spell and poorly-fitted armour and a burning heart.  I’m DM for a 5th Ed game myself for occasional play with Tim, Jen (who plays in the Eastern game) and my good friends Rob & Judy from Leicester. I ran a game for them over NYE which I completely wrote from scratch, testing myself as a newbie DM. I enjoyed it and we’re planning more in future with the same group. Going to use a module this time! I had the chance to play D&D with some #Critters (fans of Critical Role) in January, where I played a half-orc ranger. That was great fun and I still chat with those guys.

Critical Role – a live Twitch stream of a bunch of voice actors playing 5th Ed D&D. Suggested by Jen as something to watch for fun, but at 3 hours average per episode, it’s taking me a while to catch up. It’s all at once Very Real and a complete hoot. The DM is Matt Mercer, who is rather good at his job. His show that was a guide on how to DM for beginners massively inspired me to run my first game. I’d watched the half hour episode where Vin Diesel plays his Witch Hunter character and Matt Mercer DMed for him and a few other guys. It struck me that Vin’s not very strong on improv, which the voice actors really are good at. I’d recommend this to any role players, it’s a proper education for players and DMs alike.

PC Games – since my hardware upgrade, games are loads more fun! So I went a bit crazy on Steam and got a few RP games together to add to Elite : Dangerous. Now I play Shadow of Mordor, Knights of the Old Republic, Sword Coast Legends and Legend of Grimrock as much as I can. Overlord sadly still won’t work properly, so I blew that out. All my apps, such as Roll20, Skype, AudioSurf, all work so much better, I can’t believe I struggled for so long!

Romance

Nope. I’m pondering joining a nunnery. It’s still all in my head. I’m a slave for the Goblin King. I’m a Knight of Ren. I’m a sexy half-demon bitch with a madman as a lover… but no… none of it’s real. Hey ho.

things

OH MY GHOD. Suddenly, boyfriend! Which still sounds daft at my level of adulthood, but still… A friend responded out of the blue to one of my stupid Facebook posts (on the left there) and long story short, we arranged a date to see Star Wars. That went well, so we had another date at Alton Towers. That went even better, so now it’s A Thing™, and I’m so happy I could burst.

We have lots in common, we seem compatible in our music and media tastes and sense of humour. It’s only been a month and we live 30 miles apart but my goodness, I have so missed having someone to just… BE with. To share time with, to hold hands with… sorry. Gushing. Tl;dr version – we’re okay, thanks 🙂