Catching Up

Well. It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I wasn’t even going to look up how long it’s been, but the WordPress app front loads the list of recent posts and, well, the last time I posted here was in February. And even that post was late. So I guess 2022 hasn’t been a good year for posting. Hasn’t been a good year for a lot of other people either, but at least this one small thing I can fix…

In actual fact, I did have plans for posting here multiple times across the year, but distractions and overthinking combined make for a high hurdle. Something of a theme for the year, maybe? Anyhow, here’s a bundle of thoughts that maybe should have been posts of their own but didn’t make it.

Health

May as well get this out of the way first, seeing as part of the reason for getting back into posting was to throw out updates on my health situation. So, the good news is that the cancer is staying put for the moment—my medicine is doing its job nicely and long may it continue to do so. Covid hasn’t been quite so friendly, and it’s taken two shots at me this year, the latter of which left me with a cough that’s been hard to shake in the face of a cold snap and the array of sniffles and maladies doing the rounds at the moment. Still, Christmas is coming, and that’s a season of rest, right?

Work

Not a huge amount to say on this front, apart from the fact that I’m getting towards two years in the games industry and still enjoying it. Actual details will be thin on the ground, due to the NDA-heavy nature of the industry, but we actually had some RTE cameras in the studio recently, and it was nice to see some info creep out into the wild. With any luck, there will be some exciting news on the projects I’ve been working on revealed to the world.

Writing

Not for the first time, NaNoWriMo was a bust. Honestly, being stuck at home as much as I’ve been this year isn’t conducive to creative writing, at least for me. What creative juices have been flowing have been directed towards work instead. Hopefully something to balance a little better in 2023.

Travel

I travelled! Not just once, but twice. First time in March, a long weekend in London, to catch the Stonehenge exhibit in the British Museum (proof that the BM can do pretty well in the absence of imperially abducted goods) and do a metric ton of walking across a city I love but hadn’t been to in about ten years. Then, towards the end of the year, I took a somewhat chaotic trip across Switzerland, Germany, and Brussels. My travelling partner came down with Covid (I dodged it, somehow), but we took in new cities and met old friends, and I got to travel by rail and climb to the top of Cologne Cathedral, eleven years after I arrived in town too late to gain access. Again, here’s hoping that 2023 has some new travel adventures in store.

From below ground level to the base of the tall spire. With only a few pauses to catch my breath.

Movies

I didn’t get to the cinema much this year, mostly out of a desire to avoid Covid. And there are still several movies that came out this year that I really want to watch, not least The Banshees of Inisherin. Still, I did see a few. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was disappointing, at least on my first and only watch. Chadwick Boseman’s absence was felt and the gap wasn’t entirely filled, even with multiple actors taking their shots at it. In this, it felt as disjointed as its Marvel stablemate, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Which at least had the advantage of multiversal capering and Sam Raimi’s imaginative visuals to keep things fun. Lastly, there was See How They Run, which started strong with Saoirse Ronan and Sam Rockwell’s double act (Ronan in particular is a deadpan delight) but never quite committed to the bit and limped to a flat finish.

TV

If movies were something of a mixed bag for me in 2022, TV offered a lot. Especially when it came to large-scale fantasy productions. Amazon’s The Rings of Power threw huge amounts of money at the screen to variable results, but despite a few charming performances it was sunk by the fact that its setting, massively truncated in time and space, had little to no internal coherence. Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon fared a lot better by keeping its focus on the machinations of family and regal politics and trusting the audience to follow along with its time jumps. Its success can be seen in just how hard the climax of the series hit. Lastly, there was the long (as in decades) awaited adaption of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman, which proved admirably faithful to the books, under Gaiman’s stewardship. Perhaps even to a fault, as the series more or less climaxed in episode 5, had its strongest episode in the subsequent one, then picked up some loose plot threads to round out the season. Now that it’s been confirmed for a second season pickup, hopefully some of these pacing issues can be smoothed out.

Other Media

Loads to talk about here, but this is already dragging on a bit, so I’ll do a drive by on everything.

Comics: Kieron Gillen has been one of my favourite writers for years, and he got his moment in the sun this year with the Judgement Day crossover, in which he got to put all of the Marvel toys in play and run them through an existential wringer. Well worth catching, especially if you read his Eternals series (a vital prequel and great series in its own right).

Games: Best game of the year is a recent entrant. Pentiment sees the player take the role of an artist in medieval Germany and attempt to solve a murder that rocks a small mountain community and the nearby abbey. It’s meticulously researched and beautifully presented, but it’s not heavy going at all, and I introduced a non-gamer friend to it, much to their enjoyment. Worth a spin if you have any interest in murder mysteries, the social politics of imperial Germany, or illustrated manuscripts.

Roleplaying Games: Keeping up a regular gaming habit in the face of social distancing wasn’t easy, but now that those restrictions have eased a bit, there has been some in-person gaming too. Most of that has been plain old D&D (with Solasta providing a nice toolset for online D&D adventures) but I’m hoping for more in 2023: a return to Call of Cthulhu, the new Pendragon release from Chaosium, and the Kickstarter delivery of DIE, based on Kieron Gillen’s comic of the same name, which promises some psychologically intense gaming if I can find people willing to play it.

And that’s…

…it. Too little too late as far as 2022 goes, but here’s hoping I’ll be a little more active in 2023. Plans are afoot to be a little more organised at least. I have all of the tools at my disposal. I just have to use them and develop good habits that have fallen into abeyance. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all.

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