Something I did do over the winter period was acquire a snake. Jeremy, as he’s known, is a gorgeous corn snake. I picked him up on the 27th of December, so I’ve had him 4 weeks now. He shed this week, growing a bit larger and  the plan is to put him on larger feed in a few weeks.

We’re still getting used to each other (he’s currently hiding on my windowsill) but I like having him here – his scales on my skin is akin to having someone else here touching me – even if his touch is a bit cooler than most people’s.

Tattoo failure

So last August, I decided that by the end of the year I was going to decide on a tattoo and get it done.

And I didn’t.

I’m still wavering on a design, but I have – I think – set on a  premise. A bionic spine bolted to my back, engraved with symbols new and old including the rune Dagaz.

Resident Evil: Retribution

So, I thought it was interesting that the synopsis for Resident Evil: Retribution on Amazon Prime was “A sequel to Resident Evil: Afterlife (3D).”

That was it.

Turns out, I couldn’t really have explained it any better myself. It’s not really a film in its own right – it wouldn’t make any sense unless you’ve seen the others, and even then…

So. That was how I killed my evening.

2014: Year of the body mods

I’ve been thinking about getting a tattoo since I was about 12, I reckon. I didn’t particularly see an appeal in getting an earring, but tattoos were cool.

I’m turning 28 this year, and I still don’t have a tattoo. This is in part because I haven’t confirmed for myself what I want to get, but I have some ideas. More on that later.

What I have done though is started getting piercings. In April this year, I got my first piercings – a left helix CBR and a barbell in my left nipple; I like the asymmetry.

I still don’t like the idea of a regular ear piercing though my lobe (maybe it’s a bit too “mundane” for me), but I’ve started thinking about the idea of getting a flesh tunnel in my lobe.

Last Monday I got my third piercing – an RPA. I don’t think I’d really considered a PA or an RPA as something I’d go for until earlier this year, and then I just decided I was going to get one. For those not familiar with acronyms, an RPA is a Reverse Prince Albert – which is to say that currently I have a ring going down my uretha, through my glans and back to the urethra again. Feel free to Google if you want to know what this sort of piercing looks like.

Getting it didn’t hurt because we took the wise decision to use anaesthetic. My nipple and ear hurt more, so that’s a good sign on how good the anaesthetic works. It didn’t bleed much at first, but I did go out and buy some panty liners when I realised that the inside of my boxers were covered in blood after wandering Edinburgh for the early afternoon.

There’s been some pain – mostly discomfort from the ring shifting around, but the bleeding has stopped, and it’s getting better. I’m no longer waking up three times a night because the ring moved in my sleep.

So, back to tattoos. Nearly. I’ve gotten three piercings this year, and that’s probably all the ones I will be getting this year – maybe ever. I’m not sure I want any more after all. But I’m still thinking about tattoos; more than ever now actually.

I have a few ideas for ink. After a discussion about Futhark runes with a friend, I remembered the associations I’ve long had with the Dagaz rune. The problem with that particular idea is placement and style. I don’t want it to be mistaken for an hourglass, which means that it should be somewhere where orientation will be clear; this kind of nixes the idea I had of having in on my upper forearm. I could have it at the top of my spine, but I’m less convinced by that every time I think about it. I’m not sure how prominent I want it, so having it on the upper arm seems wrong. Maybe somewhere on my upper torso? I don’t know.

Another idea I’ve been considering goes back a decade to when I was part of Warbird Wing. It was a time where I got a start on things I’m doing now, and where I could boast knowing and talking to people on five our of seven continents. Sadly I’m not in touch with many of them, but I’m still proud to declare myself a Warbird. What I’m thinking for this is probably a hawk emblazoned over the Imperial symbol with an outer ring that says “174th Warbird Wing – Hawk Squadron” in Aurebesh. In case you hadn’t got it, there are some Star Wars links here. So the idea with this would be a unit patch-style tattoo on my upper right arm, I think. I want to talk to some of the other Warbirds about it, but I’m feeling pretty happy about the idea.

I think my main thing is that currently my skin is a blank canvas. Like with any blank canvas the trick is knowing where to start. I want the first tattoo to feel right, and I think that’ll free up a lot of the hesitance about getting more because the first one was right. This is part of the reason a small tat like the Dagaz rune appeals – it’s not a big thing, and it breaks the ice as it were.

But this is me thinking out loud now. My goal, I think, is to decide on a tattoo and get it done by the end of the year. That seems reasonable, and a good goal.

#rpgaday – Day 4 – Most recent RPG purchase

Demon: the Descent – Heirs to Hell. Having backed the Demon Kickstarter, I thought I’d also pick up a copy of Heirs to Hell – and it was rather cheap on DriveThruRPG.

Well, that was rather short and sweet.

I think Demon: the Descent might be the most recent system I’ve picked up as well, rather than just a supplement… Nope! I lie. The most recent RPG I’ve “purchased” is Timewatch, a game about time travel with intelligent time-travelling velociraptors.

I say “purchased” because as with many things these days, I acquire them through Kickstarter.

#rpgaday – Day 3 – First RPG purchased

Strangely enough, given my previous post, it’d be a Fighting Fantasy book. I strongly remember it being Ian Livingstone, but not what book it was.

Orpheus by White WolfGoing back to the idea of proper RPGs, it’s a little trickier. I’m not sure which I bought first – Orpheus or Witchcraft.

I suspect it was Orpheus, as Witchcraft was out of print, and I had to order it from America. Admittedly, that may still mean I bought Witchcraft first, but Orpheus was almost certainly in my hands first.

I now own all of Orpheus, including the short stories book. It’s one of the only games I own in its entirety – may in fact be the only game. I’ve only skimmed some of the later books in the vain hope that someday I might get to play in a proper campaign and knowing all the metaplot would spoil things a bit.

#rpgaday – Day 2 – First game gamemastered

The first game I properly ran was a Witchcraft game. It didn’t go so well, didn’t even really go anywhere. I think we managed a couple of sessions at best before it fell apart – something that seems a common trait in my games when I’m feeling down.

Vampire: the Requiem by White WolfThe next game was a Vampire: the Requiem game as I recall – that actually went on for a while. The bit that stands out there was the ghouled cat called Twinky who ended up being better than most of the characters in a fight – when she could be bothered to take part. Rule 1 of ghouling – never let them know they can do it without you. Okay, so I was bending the rules with letting a cat do it independently, but it amused the players no end.

World of Darkness: Asylum by White WolfThen there was the old World of Darkness game that was actually a feint into a new World of Darkness game – the Apocalypse was changed by a cabal of mages who cast a ritual to remake the world in their image – setting themselves up as the Exarchs and removing everyone else’s memories. For some reason, the players could recall who they’d been, but had lost their abilities; they were just mortals stuck in an insane asylum. In the Old World, they’d been vampires and werewolves, and now they were just human. One of them found Malkovian in the asylum basement and got themselves ghouled – nowhere near as powerful as the vampire they’d once been, but still useful. With that, they managed to break out of the asylum and escape into the real world. Things didn’t go too far after that, but I thought the concept worked rather well.

#rpgaday – Day 1 – first RPG played

I figured I’d join in on the #rpgaday theme for the month. The first topic is the first RPG you played.

That I can remember? One of Ian Livingstone’s Fighting Fantasy books. I don’t remember which one, but I’ve probably still got it somewhere…

Of course, if you’re meaning a true RPG, it was a modified version of the West End Games Star Wars system as part of the Imperial Order (a Star Wars gaming fan-club that had a roleplaying wing at the time – Warbird Wing for life).

Witchcraft RPG by Eden StudiosThe first RPG I actually played around a tabletop was Witchcraft. I joined a game in first year, and that was an interesting game. The first of two PCs named Pyro (after the MegaTokyo character, but with actual fire abilities like the Marvel one). The second Pyro was in the Orpheus game I also played in first year. They died within a week of each other as I recall. My notes on what they could do were quite extensive – I’d handwritten out all of the relevant rules text into notebooks with coloured tabs to keep it all organised; I never do that any more.

So that’s a brief look into where my roleplaying habit started.

Old sayings

There are two phrases I said in university that stick out in my mind even now. One of them is behind the naming of this website as I noted on the about page.

The other went something along the lines of “I code in 8 dimensions”. I said while I was trying to figure out a tricky iteration loop, to try and describe the visual mindset I get into when I’m “in the zone” with something. I don’t know why I said 8 dimensions, but it seemed apt at the time.

I still kind of think that I think differently from other people. That I visualise things much differently. Not that anyone really thinks alike, but I think my mental processes are quite a bit different from what is considered the norm. I can’t simply turn my mind off – something which troubles me occasionally – it doesn’t relax.

It comes into my roleplaying as well – I get times when I’m not just pretending to be someone else, it’s more like I assume their personality. I don’t need to think about what they would do or say, I just do it – even if that’s at odds to something I would normally consider saying or doing. It’s a natural process – something I couldn’t analyse if I tried, and after having a couple of roleplaying characters make comments in my mind on something I’ve seen outside of a game, I have tried somewhat. Times like that (and like this) that I wonder if I have a mild form of schizophrenia.

Still, I can face the world.

The Hammershot

I like NERF guns. It’s not a secret. I like modding them too. Not the power mods other people do, but cosmetic ones. The guns just don’t look right in standard colours, though the Zombie Strike range is better than most. Even so, after I was done with my Hammershot, it looked even better than when I got it.

Repainted NERF Hammershot

I disassembled it (surprisingly easy – the internals are more or less one piece which slides right out) before hand-sanding it to get the sheen off it, and grining the logos and warnings off with a Dremel.

Next: painting. Grey plastic primer to give it an even coat to start from. Decuma Grey and Graphite Grey metallic spray paint (from Halfords) was the next step. After that, it’s all hand-painted with a mix of Games Workshop paints. The antique gold colour is a mix of Warlock Bronze, half-dried Shining Gold and a bit of Ironbreaker. The wood effect is Rhinox Hide overlaid with Skrag Brown then drybrushed with Dryad Bark (that took a little experimentation). The wrap I did in Khorne Red with a Carroburg Crimson wash. That strange bronze-silver colour on the lower bar is a mix of Leadbelcher and Warplock Bronze. The last step was to spray it all with a spray lacquer to seal the paint.

I did the sanding down and priming one day, and all the painting another. Possibly rushed it, and you can see the downside of that on the thumb slide (that small bit where the paint has slid off), but I’m very happy with the overall effect.

It received very positive reviews on its first outing at the No Rest for the Wicked Nova Corporation Ascension Day Party on Sunday night.