What I'm Doing

A /now page.

Good News!

I got confirmation that the heart surgery I had last year has gone Just Fine™. I no longer need to be restarted with disturbing regularity.

Working

As a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, I’ve been working from home since mid-March. This has sadly not lead to people discovering that a lot of meetings could/should be emails, as they have discovered video meetings. Work now features between two and six hours of video meetings a day Because I can’t ever have nice things.

Stressing

As everycunt won’t stop fucking mentioning, there’s a pandemic going on. One of the relatively nice things that’s happened involves no longer being in a higher-risk group, as the heart surgery I had last year has gone Just Fine™. I no longer need to be restarted with disturbing regularity.

Video calls remain stressful given the amount of focus they require at the best of times; I’m avoiding them as much as possible. I’m trying to see people, but the current UK government roadmap is (to my mind) insanely optimistic, and while the Scottish government isn’t doing quite so bad it is shackled in key ways to the morons down South. So I’m currently running a less permissive set of allowed interactions than is legally required.

In a move to avoid doomscrolling1, I’m spending some time away from Twitter. My Facebook is already a heavily-curated echo chamber, and anyone who thinks I’m somehow wrong for that can fuck themselves with a rusty fence-post.

Writing

Will resume when I have mental capacity. I dug out a bunch of short stories and made a wee anthology as a way of teaching myself Affinity Publisher, but I haven’t come up with anything new in far too long. Right now I do not have the processing power available to create anything new.

I’ve always said my writing is strictly muse-dependent. Right now she’s busy drinking herself into late-stage cirrhosis at the state of the world. I think I may join her.

Freelance

Given the above, I’m not currently accepting freelance work. I have no confidence in my ability to hit deadlines right now.

Performing

Festivals and Events

  • Fuck-all. Pandemic, innit.

Drumming

I’m part of three crews, which will hopefully all resume once things ease off:

  • Unsæli (drums, fire, and folklore)
  • The Noise Committee (an Edinburgh-based community drum crew)
  • Big Drums (a small performance/teaching crew)

One of the most notable physiological and psychological effects of drumming is its ability to relieve stress and impose order on chaotic thinking; it’s one of the few things that leaves me feeling better about the world. Well, that and gin.

None of us are practicing or performing right now, of course. This is having exactly the negative effect on my mental health that you might assume.

Media

I can’t keep this shit current. I don’t have the attention span.

My ability to focus is generally shot. Normally I’d binge-watch something in the evenings over the course of a couple of weeks for company, while reading or writing or playing games or whatever, but I’m having a hell of a time paying attention to what I’m doing right now that any alternate input is messing with the streams.

That is not how my brain typically works. I’m best when I have multiple sources to jump between, I have no idea how to deal with this sudden major change in the availability of cognitive focus. See? I’m using sesquipedalian loquaciousness to distract myself. Help.

Television

  • What We Do in the Shadows is a lot of fun (especially Matt Berry swearing up a storm) but it gets cringe if I watch too much at once.
  • Killing Eve is pretty good, isn’t it?
  • Current watching that requires minimal engagement is White Collar, which is pretty much a targeted Sunday-evening-cozy2 for my mind
  • Netflix has historic Masterchef series. This is dangerous.

Music

My listening hasn’t changed much since about 2008, which was a good year for angry bands with northern accents and guitars. But I haven’t listened to much in a while because that would require listening in a way that I can’t currently (see lack of focus, above).

  • Longwave is a chill-out mix of Radio 4 classics. It is really quite relaxing.

Books

Marvel Unlimited continues to give me way too much access to comics for my own good.

  • Current highlights include Immortal Hulk and what Jonathan Hickman’s doing with the X Men.
  • Current lowlights include anything Donny Cates is writing (seriously, nobody gives a shit about emo twat-god Knull, give it a rest) and Dan Slott’s Iron Man, which is telling the same stories Matt Fraction and Kieron Gillen did years ago, but much much worse.
  • Sex Criminals is amazing, but you should’ve known that by now. And it’s soon to end, at which point I will probably cry.
  • DIE is fantastic. And the related RPG is really great.

Nothing’s really grabbing me like Hickman’s grand arc from Ultimates to Secret Wars, or Fraction’s Iron Man. And holy hell do I miss James Roberts’ MTMTE/Lost Light. Though I wonder how much on that front is down to the aforementioned problems with attention. If I have to focus on a single thing, I want it to be long and I want it to be good.

Games

  • Unavowed is pretty much exactly what I want from an urban fantasy point & click adventure game.
  • Even better, Disco Elysium is the Platonic form of adventure game. Grind it up and jam it into my veins.
  • Current immersive time-waster is Assassins Creed: Origins. There’s something about wandering Egypt that’s quite soothing in its own way.

What is This?

This page is a brief guide to what’s going on in my life right now. It exists to give a similar answer to if we met in a pub and you asked So, what’re you up to these days?”

That last sentence is horrible. I’ve had better days.


  1. Obsessively reading social media posts about how utterly fucked we are

  2. A specific genre of TV invented for the Sunday evening slot on ITV, exemplified by such classics of the genre as Midsomer Murders and Downton Abbey. Designed to be watched after a big roast dinner, ideally with glass of whisky in hand, less to get drunk and more to keep the mild buzz from the wine with dinner going. Dramatic tension to engage the brain so you don’t think about work in the morning, a story that’s easy to follow if you nod off for ten minutes, and a quaint status-quo that gives you the artificial feeling that the world is actually kind of OK.