My Shrinking World

Some days, it feels like the world is shrinking. So many pillars of my life are disappearing or crumbling before my eyes. The recent Open Gaming License (OGL) debacle by Wizards of the Coast has shaken one of the foundational pillars of my modern life, revealing the growing cracks that were hidden from my eyes (largely due to privilege and my frequently tangential involvement in the Tabletop Roleplaying Game section of the internet). The way that Twitter is slowly dwindling as it is likely on a path towards being mismanaged into irrelevance (as evidenced by the recent changes to the app’s feed system). Old apps and websites I used to go to for entertainment have already boiled the frog and it took major highlights of the difference between my recent experiences and the reasons I used to spend my time on them to make me realize I needed to move on. Sure, I’ve managed to find a lot of new things to fill the gaps in my life (at least mostly, anyway), but it still feels like my world has shrunk.

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A Rainy Grey Day in January

It rained today. It is the middle of January and, instead of the freezing cold, snow, sleet, and “wintery mix” I’ve grown accustomed to in the Midwest, it merely rained. It was a cold rain, to be sure, as the temperature is hovering right above freezing and driven below it by every gust of wind, but it was not a freezing rain. It plinked off my umbrella with a liquidity I don’t typically expect a month into winter. Usually it bounces off my umbrella with a plonk and snap, as the fabric repels the solid crystals or sludgy drops, but today it plinked and then slowly rolled away. I know the cold and bitter winter I expect is still hovering on the horizon, waiting for its chance to invade once these warm southern winds finally leave it be, but it feels like it lost any real chance it had to take hold this year, despite the havoc it wreaked around the holidays.

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My Most Expensive Vacation Fantasy

Around this time last year, I was fantasizing about taking a trip somewhere. About entirely escaping from my day-to-day life and just going off to do any number of things. Maybe sit in a hottub in a remote cabin in some snowy woodlands somewhere. Maybe spend a night or two in a luxurious hotel room with a large bathtub so that I could finally immerse my entire frame in the water. Maybe just going someplace quiet and secluded so that I could finally just exist in silent peace for a while. Any of those, and more, would have been such wonderful experiences, but I just couldn’t get the money and the time together. Eventually, I did go on a summer trip with two of my siblings and two of our friends which ticked some of those boxes. It was nice to get away for a while and I hope to do something similar again soon. Probably not this year, what with the busy calendar I’ve got through the end of May, but someday.

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The Weather Feels Like March in the Middle of January

The weather has been unseasonably warm recently. Usually, at this time in January, the local temperature is bouncing around zero degrees Fahrenheit and the heavy cloudcover means I don’t see the sun for weeks at a time. This year, the only zero the temperature is jumping around is zero degrees Celcius. We’ve had multiple days with almost no wind, a decent amount of sun, and tons of humidity (enough that work is staying at a damp 20% humidity or higher instead of it’s usual mid-winter single-digit levels). All of which followed a week of blistering cold that finished off all the plants still clinging to life thanks to the unusually warm fall we had. Now, as I go for my walks amongst the browns and yellows of dead plant matter, it feels like I missed two months somehow and wound up skipping ahead to late March.

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Housing Woes

While I still have options open to me and there’s probably plenty of terrible, shitty apartments I could still live in, I’m being pretty effectively priced out of the city I’ve lived in or near for the past nine years. I moved here in the final days of 2013 and I won’t be able to afford it without some kind of miraculous intervention or massive income shift by the end of June. My apartment’s rent is going up by a few hundred dollars (apartments in the complex are listed for 350 more than I’m currently paying and I’ve got six more months on my lease, so who know how high they’ll be by then) and this place isn’t worth what I’m paying for it now. It’s constantly leaking cold into the apartment through the exposed foundations and poorly insulated floors/walls, I’ve been trying to get a leak from the roof properly addressed since August of 2021, and I can hear every movement any of my upstairs neighbors make.

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No NaNoWriMo This Year, But I Think I Wrote More This Year Than Any Other

I’ve been avoiding the topic for a while now because I don’t really want to think about it that much, but I decided not to do National Novel Writing Month this year. Which means it is the first time in ten years that I haven’t even attempted it. It will be the second time in that period that I didn’t succeed. The last time I didn’t complete NaNoWriMo was back in 2016 while the election and its results were happening on top of job hunting and dealing with an increasingly difficult roommate situation. I realized after only a couple days that I couldn’t handle writing on top of everything else that was going on, so I stopped. This year, I realized I wasn’t going to be able to do it a few days before the month started and resigned myself to skipping it.

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Appreciating the Sunlight and Warmth I Can Get

I would like to take a moment before the post begins to say that, if you are in the US and are of 18 years or older, you should GO VOTE. HELP THROW OFF THE CHAINS OF FACISM AND POWER-HUNGRY RIGHT-WING ASSHOLES BEFORE WE CAN’T ANYMORE. IF YOU’RE NOT SURE HOW TO DO IT, HERE’S A HANDY STATE-BY-STATE GUIDE OF USEFUL VIDEOS! With that said, let’s move on to the original topic: The Weather.

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Winter Is Coming, Weather I Like It Or Not

It snowed yesterday (here’s my usual reminder that I write these a week ahead of time, so really it was eight days before this posted). It was fairly brief and I only got a bare glimpse of it because I was busy at work. I couldn’t stop to go watch the mixed snow and sleet come down, which was unfortunate, but I did get to see a bunch of people walk down a hallway I can see from my desk and a lot of them were dusted with the stuff. It’s not really the same thing at all, but it was enough for me to know it was snowing and when it eventually stopped. It was a weird occurrence, given that there hadn’t even been rain on the forecast when I went in to work that morning, and weirder still when you consider that we had a 24-hour period that hit the mid-sixties at the lowest just two days prior. Sure, it was above freezing so the snow didn’t stick around upon landing on the ground, but it was still weird to get our first snow in mid October. I mean, just recently I was thinking about how weird it’d be if we got our first snow before Halloween again and here we are, more than half a month beforehand. Now we’ve got a span of days sitting around freezing before we pop back into the sixties and maybe even seventies in about a week. Absolutely normal weather, for sure.

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The Hardest Part Is Hitting Post

Maintaining a blog like this is a difficult task sometimes. Not because of the amount of effort required to write five posts a week and, at present, do either one special post or one relatively long chapter of a story once a week. That’s definitely a lot of effort, but it’s effort I find fulfilling and rewarding. I wouldn’t really describe it as “difficult” since it feels better to do it than not do it. The difficult part is maintaining a healthy relationship with the blog itself, my expectations for the blog, and my expectations for people I know interacting with the blog. One of things that made blogging long-term unsustainable back in 2018 (even though I managed to keep it up daily for over a year), was that I got lost in the numbers. Another was that I got incredibly focused on how social media and my behavior (by which I mean posting habits and content posted) drew people to my blog. I also was going through a lot toward the end there, so maintaining a one week buffer was not something I really had the time, energy, or creative focus to do. Now it feels easy. Not effortless, of course, but I don’t have to put much effort into actually doing the work.

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