Obdormio.com Unwasted Hours

24 May, 2012

Typing between Coughs

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Obdormio @ 00:00

You might have noticed that there was no post up on Monday, and if you didn’t notice it, well, I guess you know now. Public shame is a fact. The shame! Oh, the shame!

But I have excuses! It wasn’t just because I am a lazy ne’er-do-well and unreliable couch barnacle! Since about last Monday, I have been suffering from acute pharyngitis – fever and pain and the whole shebang. From Thursday till Tuesday, I basically stayed in bed, alternately sleeping and coughing and occasionally watching a bit of TV. I could not even begin to think about sitting down to write a post to satisfy my self-imposed schedule. Not even a crappy filler one. I cannot remember the last time I was so reduced by illness.

I can remember the last time I came close, it happens to be last May. I had just handed in my Master’s thesis, and almost immediately got struck down by a variety of ailments, including what would later be diagnosed as gout. I figured at the time that my body had basically been as stressed out as my mind in the final stretch of writing the thesis, and once it was all done my immune system basically went on holiday for a while. I’ve spoken with others who have had similar experiences, of suddenly falling ill once the exam season is ended. I sort of wish that was the case now, but if so it seems my immune system is working of a bad calendar – my first exam started yesterday, and I won’t be done until mid-June. I sincerely hope getting ill in the spring won’t become a tradition.

The knock-down last May was in some ways worse, and in some ways better. Like I said, it came close to the same level of reduction, but not quite there. My mobility was severely limited by the gout attack, and I was similarly confined to bed, but my mind remained pretty clear – I could have written something, lying there. So no fever, and a clear mind, but on the other hand, the pain was worse. At its hight, it reduced me to weeping, which I think pain hasn’t otherwise managed since I was a child.

Anyway, the upshot of it all is an amendment of my mental schedule rule to give me the opportunity to call in sick. Now you must excuse me; I have an array of pills to take.

9 April, 2012

Did I Mention I’m Insane?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — Obdormio @ 00:00

Continuing on the topic of world building, I’m going to give you a little insight into my demented mind. I think world building is just fun, something I occasionally do with no intention of using the world in any sort of story. That’s not the demented bit, I think that’s pretty common for humans in general, whether or not everyone’s conscious of it. No, the demented bit is where I, on occasion, spend hours and hours thinking of tiny and insignificant details that no-one will ever hear about, just because I’m a perfectionist idiot who doesn’t think my imaginary world is worthy of that label if I can’t draw you its star charts.

As an example, I’ll show you a bit of one of my conworlds (that’s constructed world for the uninitiated. This is the Internet, of course it’s a thing). I’m going to use the one I made to play Dungeons & Dragons in, and a world built for a game is of course different from one built for use in prose in some ways, but my madness shines through nonetheless. If you’ve read the D&D 4th edition books, you’ll recognise elements of the base setting here, as this world is based on that, with my own embellishments and changes wherever I felt like it. It is based on 4th edition, but rules elements aren’t really reflected in the world itself, so I think I’ll keep it if I ever move on to a different edition. I haven’t actually used it much in play, though. This is part of the dementia, I have spent more time by far planning this world than using it.

Here, look at this map I made. It’s not finished, and yet I’m showing it to you; a big step for me. The idea is that this is a map made by a character in the world, an academic who drew together various sources to make one big map of all the known world. Yeah. It’s not even an accurate map, I put in errors that this imaginary guy made!  And I’ll probably never even use it! Folly!

A map of the Middle World

Click to embiggen further.

As I said, it’s not finished. A couple of the months are missing symbols, I’m not really happy with the World Axis model, the map itself needs some work, and the constellation map is still pretty blank. Also, I think I might have messed up the order of the constellations of the ecliptic. That is not a joke, this is the sort of thing I spend time thinking about. I’ll give you a moment to pity me.

Actually, don’t, it’s not really warranted. I’m having fun, in my own weird way. I’ve spent quite some time thinking about how all the elements on this map fit together, which bits were owned by whom at what time, and how it all adds up now. Maybe if I finish this map, I’d feel driven enough to run a game in this world that focused on exploration, Age of Sail-style. The map isn’t the main product of this conworlding (yeah, it’s a verb too) of course – I have a by now rather sizeable wiki document detailing various parts of it, and a ludicrously complicated Calc spreadsheet which converts dates between the four calendar systems I’ve thought up. Yes, four calendar systems. Solar, lunar, mathematical and Mesoamerican-style. I did warn you this was an insight into my madness. I don’t dare show you the spreadsheet, it’s a mess of a thing which I’ve basically hacked away at until it did the thing I wanted it to, without ever fully understanding why, and I’m sure anyone who’s good with that sort of thing would point and laugh. I can tell you with some surety, however, that the 20th of Morad, 9651 in the Iounian calendar, is the equivalent of the 17th of Ronníad, 9893 in the Sehaninian calendar, 22/1/9893 in the Dark calendar and 5 rain, 17 hammer, 149 in the Imperial calendar. Geeks, bow before your king!

I think that’s sufficient exposure to my mind for now. It’s good to let some air in, now and then.

16 February, 2012

Abject Terror

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Obdormio @ 00:00

So, some times you get results you didn’t expect.

Sunday evening I sat there panicking about the impending public shame that would result from a Monday with no post, so I hit upon the idea of making a quick and dirty one, that would be fairly easy – essentially a small list. I knew there would be some duds when I started, right? So I pooped this post out in about forty minutes of not very focused work – which doesn’t mean I picked the links at random, though, they really are very, very good – and then scheduled it for publication. Sure, it wasn’t my best work, but I went on with my day secure in the knowledge that I don’t really have many readers yet.

And then this happened:A tweet by David Willis


And then this happened: Graph of site visitors

And then this happened: A drawing of me hiding under a table

Sure, two hundred people may not be very many in the grand scale of things, but for a fledgling blog that still numbered its posts in single digits and had its previous high point in visitors at 12, it was a bit of a jump. And on that post, too! The half-arsed, minimum-work hackery! It’s very possible this is the largest audience I’ve ever had, and that is what I showed them? And these aren’t people who’ll be coming back, either, I had one chance at an impression here!

It didn’t even look good! The subheadings weren’t very aesthetically pleasing. I thought about trying to make them look better as I wrote the post, maybe make some nice lines under each of them, but decided to not get bogged down in that sort of coding minutiae. That’s the sort of stuff I’d use to distract myself from writing anything at all. So up it went, in all its lack of glory.

Obviously I’m glad Willis liked it enough to comment, that was a nice thing to do of him. But man, it was not a post designed to impress writers I admire.

So, lessons learned? Fear the duds. Try not to be mediocre where large groups might see it. And when you link to someone awesome, someone awesome might also link back to you, so … try not to? That’s the lesson here? Hell if I know.

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