Wow, three months since I posted here! And that was friends-only. You may deduce that I'm not really using LJ these days.

I am now on Facebook - though I haven't really gelled with it and, at the moment, don't expect to be a big user. I was thinking about it for a while, but put off by its utter refusal to provide info to prospective users. In the end I went on because some groups I want to follow are happening there. Also a stream of occasionally witty blathering on Twitter at @timgray101.

Serpents' Teeth, a supplement for my Jaws of the Six Serpents RPG, should be out in the next week (assuming no weird stuff has appeared in the latest print proof). This is mostly material by other folks who've run Jaws for home groups and at conventions. Some great stuff.

I've got a new business called your|clear|info, helping people make great written communication - plain language editing, improving websites, etc. Early days, and I'm fine-tuning the concept organically. 

As part of thinking about that (helped by sessions at the excellent Inspired Entrepreneur community) I realised I wanted to turn all the thinking and reflecting about communication that I've been doing over the last few years into a book. So that's a current project, titled The Radio-Controlled Message Bottle. Aiming for a short ebook - I may be too pithy for my own good... I think probably print if the final size makes sense.

Another project on the boil is a simple generic RPG system. My regular reader will know this is an itch I get periodically. It's going to be called Rocket Amoeba and it may be good. It's certainly drawing on my experience with PDQ and my own stuff.


Happy new year!

Oh, I missed wishing the LJ peeps happy Christmas. Well, hope it was. Dad and Beryl came down and took me over to sister Linda's on Christmas Day, where there were 11 of the extended clan. Unfortunately I was in the early stages of a cold so not terribly sparkly, but it was nice to see everyone - bit weird to do it all in one day. The cold has lasted all of Christmas week, limiting me to short shopping trips. Would have liked to get more done and go to a couple of movies. Will have to catch up this week!

In terms of years past and to come - well, of course 2011 turned out to be dominated by losing Mum, and all the arrangements following from that and zipping between here and Yorkshire. After a false start the house sale is now going through, so if all goes smoothly we'll draw a line there in the next few weeks. That will be sad; but also important for moving on. More positively, I got my Albion RPG out after several million years, which had been a major life milestone or millstone, probably both. I came out of a boring job to take the chance of some life navigation but then had difficulty using the time well due to sinus infections etc.

So I went to post on a forum thread about new year plans and realised I don't know much about what I'll be doing in 2012! I am working on supplements for two of my games, and want to get those out as soon as I can, and I'm tinkering with a little generic system that I'll put out for cheaps. Beyond that I have no ideas about RPG/creative stuff. Financially I have options I've never had before, though that goes with a responsibility to be wise and careful. I need to get an income, which could be a job or an assemblage of self-employed stuff. Goodness knows which of those looks more dubious at the moment! So that needs a bit of focused attention soon. And some holidaying and visiting people and stuff.

Some foundations for the future, some enjoying myself more. Those sound about right for non-resolutions. And perhaps getting dressed before lunchtime. Excuse me.

Pivotal objects, transplanted

Yesterday a van of stuff arrived. My sister and brother-in-law had arranged to bring the furniture and objects we wanted from Mum's house, some for them and some for me. Apparently when I'd packed my boxes on Friday I'd done a rotten job.  ;)  One fell through; we're hoping nothing important got broken.

It's another stage of the end of an era. Linda says the house looks really bare and horrible now. (Though there's some more bits to bring, and the big furnitures are going to a charity shop when we finish the process.) On the other hand, it's good to have these things where we can look after them, and carry them with us. Lots of them have got stories.

Linda has the stone seat from by the rhododendrons: a big slab, apparently dug up from the garden, provenance unknown. I have the kitchen table of forty-odd years tucked away in the garage... from pure sentimentality, as I can't use it at the moment. The folding stepstool that intrigued me endlesslessly as a child will have to find a corner somewhere. I've just hung a picture on the stairs - a former cushion cover, of flowers embroidered masterfully by Grandma. And so on.

Perhaps Santa will bring me a bigger house. :\

London trip

Was down in the capital yesterday. Wanted to go to an evening event by the Inspired Entrepreneur network, and found a cheap train that made it doable.

Arrived at St Pancras at lunchtime, so had the afternoon to suit myself. Did a fair bit of wandering round, looking at London things I hadn't seen before, but there was a really cold wind and I got chilled, which makes my tummy unhappy, so that took some of the shine off the day.

Lunch at one of the St Pancras shops - was a sandwich slightly too exotic to sit well, a mistake in retrospect. Walked on to PC World on Tottenham Court Rd as fancied a big techy shop for general geeking, and an Amazon promo mail had sparked my curiosity about Android tablets so I wanted to have a play. Wandered down TCRd and Oxford St till I got fed up of all the people and made a tube hop with my Lobster Card.

Next stop Fortnum and Mason, the upmarket gifts and accessories stall - spying for the lower classes! Nice inside, and staff very smart (men in tailcoats) but as expected it was mostly things normal people don't want at prices they'd never pay. Had tea and cake, which cost the same as a two-course meal at home - silly, but went with it as I don't expect to repeat the experience. Silver teapot, nice cake.

Down towards Trafalgar Square - dark by now, choir singing - possibly to do with the Olympics. Wandered in to the National Gallery for half an hour before closing. Art's not a big thing for me, so it was very much see what happens. Was struck by the glow of many of the paintings, and the impact particularly of the large ones - can see the power of them, even after several centuries. Nothing really grabbed me emotionally, though I was impressed by some scenes of Venice by Canaletto that were almost photographic in their detail. Next hop to a restaurant called Pho that does "Vietnamese street food" - I had a cousin of a Pad Thai that hit the spot very nicely.

The evening event was a mini-talk by Nick Williams to launch his new book Resisting the Soul, plus the Inspired Entrepreneur Christmas party - chance to meet a few people. The book is about resistance, a name for the psychological force that tries to prevent us from doing our authentic, creative work - something I'm exploring at the moment, which is why I wanted to go. (I say more about it on the timthinks blog.) A good do, over all too soon, followed by a zoom to the station and a return to a cold house shortly after midnight.


Crumbs, I haven't updated this in about three weeks! Time was, three days would have been a long break. I'm in a gradual process of falling out of love with LiveJournal. The community buzz has mostly evaporated, as folks have taken up with other social media. In particular, I think most people I know are flinging their thoughts into the ether via Twitter these days. Which makes it all more ephemeral but satisfies the need to feel you're communicating. I'm doing that myself, in fact. Also, I'm getting heartily tired of the quantity of spam comments on LJ, even despite their multilingual education potential. I started for public-facing opinion/polemic stuff. At some point I may well move a personal blog to Wordpress too.

Anyway, what have I been up to? I'm continuing to emerge from the sinus etc funk of the summer months and am actually doing some work on RPG publishing stuff now, though I need to re-educate myself on focusing and getting amounts done in a day. The peril of doing stuff for yourself; quite different from when I trooped off to the office for the day job under obligation to other people. There are supplements in the works for Jaws of the Six Serpents and Albion, due to come out as soon as I can get 'em ready!

On the personal front we're still in the process of selling Mum's house, and things are looking hopeful right now.

My main focus the last few weeks has been Dragonmeet, a one-day RPG convention that took place last Saturday in London. I was actually a (modest level) sponsor of the con, and had a Silver Branch stand. I had a really positive experience on the day. My main objective was to get Albion in front of people to increase the buzz, and I was able to show the book to lots of folks. I'd taken most of my other stuff as well. There was a good level of sales, covering a goodly chunk of the costs, which is always nice. Some folks were running Jaws and Albion at the con; many thanks to them. I was also one half of the panel on small press publishing, which was well received. Unfortunately the recording being made by Paco from GMS Magazine has got corrupted, so you'll have to take my word for it! DM is always a good networking con, and although I was on the stall pretty much all day I was able to exchange quick hellos with a bunch of folks.

The Dragonmeet experience was slightly marred on the way back to my B&B, when I tripped climbing the kerb with my suitcase full of books and did an impressive roll in front of folks at the bus stop. I've been nursing tenderised ribs and diverse bruises since, though it'smostly mended now. Shazbat. So that was added to post-con tiredness and possibly getting too cold before the pub lunch on Sunday, so apols that I was a bit muted, but it was nice to see people and chat a bit more.

I was slightly taken aback at the con by a few people wanting to know when the supplements will be out. In my head I'd only just started talking about them... So, yes, now to focus a bit more on those. And do some more of the life navigation that I was going to be doing the last few months and has got derailed. I shall need to be thinking seriously about income generation in the new year.

Albion supplement

Revisited what's to go in this, and got a provisional list of sections with page counts. That'll be really helpful for breaking it into chunks that can be ticked off.

I knew I wanted to put the otherworld stuff in here - more about the Danaan and Fomor, their plans, section on the Hobfolk, what's really going on with Cromm Cruach, etc. Stuff that's important for the GM in dealing with those setting elements.

There was a question about going broader, e.g. did I want to do more working up on the Druid Order, and maybe give it a book on its own. (I like the idea of just 'Order' as a title.) But that would involve a lot of new ideas/material. Looking at the rather low sales level so far, I think the best plan is to parcel up all the ideas/material I have already into one book, then it's all out there. So I can do short sections on blight creatures, crossing the Mistwall, etc in a section for Albion's secrets alongside Annwn's and Abred's. I like the triplicity.

The working title has been The Book of Willow for a while, but I'm heading toward The Book of Riddles (relating it to the Thread of that name). Softback, somewhere in the region of 96 pages. Out when it's ready. ;)


Have had a very boring web presence for, oh, probably the last few weeks, as I whinged about being fuddled and fatigued by sinus infection/cold type stuff. Included a tooth that had been on its last legs (roots?) for a while and had started to abscess. Had that removed last week, and of course there's an energy hit just from trauma, but it means at minimum I don't have that toxic load to deal with and can fight other stuff better; and at maximum it might have been a cause of the sinus trouble. Felt crappy over weekend but am starting to feel more with it than I have for a while. If any solar power were available today *looks out vainly* I might even be zippy. Ish.

Still in the process of selling Mum's house. It's sold subject to contract, but that leads us to an extended process with a few bumps along the way... What we're doing with the contents would probably look like a ridiculously drawn-out process to most folks, but we're nibbling away when we can get up there - as we did this weekend. I seem to have shifted mental position and am looking at it more dispassionately. Still a nice area to visit though...but that might change as we have to drain and deactivate the heating system soon!

The weekend 7-9 Oct I was at the Furnace RPG convention in Sheffield. Played Ghostbusters and Spirit of the Century on Saturday, a very silly version of Wilderness of Mirrors (rescuing Pippa Middleton from evil mastermind Carol Vorderman) and Hellfrost using FATE on Sunday. Caught up with some folks, and generally had a good time. It felt generally a bit more subdued this year, though that might just be me projecting my tiredyness. I bought a wheely suitcase to take some books up for sale - the case worked fine but unfortunately no books sold!

Took a short holiday to Wales in the last week of Sept. Had a good time, and was OK that week with sea air and unseasonal sunshine. Went to Llandudno and Conwy. Must put some pics up sometime - took lots. Got myself a Kindle to talke along, and it worked out pretty well once I got used to using it. Read the first two of Charles Stross' The Laundry series (budget-conscious branch of British intelligence repelling extradimensional monsters) - enjoyed them, but a bit of brain work is mandatory.

Looking ahead, I've got a couple of RPG supplements to get together, and am thinking about convention attendance in the next few months. Also need to get back to the wider life direction stuff. Go go gadget Tim!

Spammers harness spirit of Stanley Unwin

Just about to delete a spam response from another post, but thought a couple of excerpts might provide amusement. The only link to the service it purports to promote is a Polish domain name.

Subject: hosting - Go like a bat out of hell5
Give a leg up 
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