New Look, Same As The Old Look

I’ve given the site a minor facelift, switching to an updated version of the theme I’ve been using here for years. I’ve never been happy with the font on the previous theme; this one is much more readable. I might make more tweaks as I get used to the new options.


Hello World, Once Again

This is an introduction post. It might seem strange for a blog that’s somewhere around a decade old to post an introduction, but in that decade I don’t really think I’ve made much of an impression on anyone, so it seems like a fresh start might be in order. (Plus my About page probably needs an update.)

My name is Alan, I’m a 30-something guy from the UK, and I’ve been reading fantasy novels for pretty much my whole life, and regularly reading comics for around a decade. This blog is a place for me to talk about those things, along with my other interests, and hopefully share some of my enthusiasm for that stuff with like-minded readers.

Because I think it’s worth stating, I’m a liberal; I support intersectional feminism and reject discrimination of all kinds, be it about appearance, ethnicity, disability, sexuality or gender expression, and I believe in promoting representation and diverse voices in our media. I hope I can live up to those beliefs in writing about that media here.

I’ve been very quiet at times over the years – which I’ve blamed on things like World of Warcraft addiction (not true for some time now) – and despite all the times I’ve come back and said I’d write here more frequently, it’s never stuck, and I never allowed myself to develop the habit of regular updates. I’m hoping to finally fix that. Obviously my past performance isn’t very promising, but I want to do more with this space than I have, and I want to finally put in the effort that requires. This might mean more personal posts, and it’ll definitely mean posts about more than just books. I’ll see what I can come up with.

I’ll end with this: Hello, and thanks for visiting my site. Hopefully you’ll find something interesting here.

(Also, you can follow me on Twitter @sometimesKysen.)

Quiet Again

I mentioned somewhere, before I started writing last month, how in past NaNoWriMo attempts I stalled after a week – and not only that, but after stalling I would stop writing anything for weeks or months.

Hello again.

Final count is no higher than my last entry. 30% of my super-low target. And I’ve stopped doing anything else, too. I barely even tweet.

Consider this post me trying to kick-start myself before these few weeks turn to months. I have other posts I want to write, but don’t know when I’ll get to them. Soon, hopefully.

(And I want to keep going on the novel, but lets not jinx that.)

Endings and Beginnings

For the last five years or so, I’ve been playing World of Warcraft. I’ve mentioned it before – it’s the reason I went quiet for over a year because I got in a bit too deep while unemployed. Anyway. This weekend, my raid group, the guild I’ve been with since I switched my account two years ago, decided it was done, and they’d not be continuing.

Which left me with a choice. I can try to find a new guild, start over with another group of total strangers, keep playing; or I can quit too. Right now, I’m looking at the second option.

I was on a six month renewal, so right now my account’s paid up until November. But I’ll not be raiding any more, and only playing casually. I’ll see the end of the current expansion pack, at least. After that, I’m done.

So what’s left is to decide what to do with my time. At the very least I’m gaining 6 hours every weekend, as well as all the other time spent logging in for little things. I don’t want to sink that time into watching TV, playing other games, or just checking Twitter.

Starting tomorrow, I’ll be setting some time aside every day to do some writing. Blog posts at first: book posts, all the stuff I’ve been promising but not delivering for the last few months. After that, I hope I can talk myself into trying to write fiction again. I have a lot of ideas, but no idea what to do with them.

However it goes, there will be a change. In my life, and on this blog. Let’s see if I can do it right.

Brief Look Backward

Viewing stats led me to look back at some of the older posts on this blog (circa 2005) recently. I feel a little embarrassed for myself with some of them; I come across whiny and was constantly making excuses for not posting while still never having anything to say. (I still struggle with that last part a little.)

I’m occasionally tempted to go back and delete those posts, but that sort of self censorship would be a mistake, I think. That is who I was; this is who I am. I have to live with it. Plus it’s a reminder that I am getting better at it. A little.

One of the worst decisions I ever made was to delete a website. I was a teenager; it was a Pokemon fansite I’d been running for a few years. I’d written walkthroughs and guides, hosted other people’s work, and had active message boards. One day I decided I’d lost interest in Pokemon, and deleted it. Permanently. I will always regret that.

Twenty Twelve

Twenty-twelve will probably be looked back on as a very significant year for me. It’s a year of firsts, and of discovering things I hadn’t found before (but should have).

This year, I:

  1. Travelled abroad for the first time since my mid-teens. I went to Toronto – my first time crossing the Atlantic – did some sightseeing, went to Niagara Falls and –
  2. Met up with friends from the internet in real life for the first time. A few thousand miles from home I met with a couple of guildmates from World of Warcraft; it was nice getting to know them face to face.
  3. Also while in Toronto, on a bored evening, I joined Twitter. Several years late to the party, I’m now totally obsessed with reading my feed. It’s a very interesting way to see all these little bits and pieces from interesting people, share links and content, and occasionally some big conversation will start up that makes you think.
  4. I travelled up to Edinburgh for a couple of days for the Fringe Festival, saw a few good comedy acts and An Evening With Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer. I just wish I’d planned things better to get more seen.
  5. Spent a weekend in Krakow with my parents and some others. Didn’t do a lot, just saw a few parts of the city. On the last day we went to Auschwitz-Birkenau, which was interesting – and much bigger than I had expected. The kind of thing you don’t forget seeing.
  6. I started little a forum-based role-playing game over on the Kevin’s Watch message boards. It’s my first time doing something like this, and I’m still getting the hang of it; unfortunately it’s been sorely neglected since I had the completion date on my house confirmed. Speaking of which…
  7. 2012 is the year I bought my first home. In November I completed the purchase on a little two bedroom flat, which I’ve spent the last month decorating and partly furnishing. I’m a little disappointed it is taking so long to feel like it’s ready, but I expect to be moving in about a week from now. It’s almost enough to make me feel like an adult. Almost.

So, with 2013 a new stage in my life begins – I move out of my parents and into my own place. I’m also starting a book club on Kevin’s Watch in January, restarting my Book-a-Week posts here on the blog, and getting back on track as a GM over on my game.

Here’s hoping for even more new things and firsts in the year to come.

Normal service will resume…

Well, obviously things have been quiet around here lately. At the minute I’m spending a good portion of my spare time working on getting my new flat all prepared to move in – lots of scraping, filling, painting, cleaning, and furniture shopping.

I expect to be moved in by christmas week at the latest. Hopefully once that’s done I’ll be able to get back on track with my reading and writing on here.

I did well for a while here with the regular updates; I want that to continue.