Thursday, November 15, 2018

Holiday Humbuggery and Riding in the Wet and Cold.

Life has been interesting of late. I have found myself at these keys several times looking at the blank page of a new post and completely unable to choose what to write about. Often, I have some overall theme in mind for my posts like one of my Rules or a situation that is on my mind that demands commentary. Fleshing out one of those ideas is extremely easy.
This type of post, the general status update, for me is more difficult. I don't want to ramble aimlessly. I also don't want to preamble too much, like I am right now. When I have several things weighing on my mind organization is the most difficult thing.
Let us start with the title of the post. If you go back and read my more holiday related posts from the past you may catch a glimpse of the idea that I am not a big fan of the holiday season. Starting a week or so before Halloween I begin craving the second week of January. I have felt this way for years. It isn't that I hate the idea of the holidays, spending time with family, the big meals, the gatherings, the busier schedule, or even giving and receiving gifts. I don't enjoy the holidays because of the undercurrent of extreme stress that comes with it.
People start stressing about money and the entire list of things I just mentioned. There is a collective feeling of frustration and anxiety in the air that starts building around now and doesn't dissipate until the holiday season is closed out. Sometimes it even takes a few months after the fact for the teeter-totter of the zeitgeist to swing back to balanced. I feel that in the air and it overrides the positive aspects of the holiday season.
It is funny then that I have felt so much sadness and anxiety about my family's decision to skip this holiday season entirely. That's right, kids. No Halloween costumes. (Not that I generally do that anyway!) No Thanksgiving gathering and meal. No Christmas gathering or gifts. No Counting down the New Year. We have decided, with the caveat of giving the little one gifts, not to do holidays at all this year.
I should feel a great sense of relief. My normal "bah humbug" feelings should be satisfied. I have talked about skipping the holiday season's formal rituals in the past. The reason we are skipping it though is the death of my Mom. That has my "healthy psychology" alarms going off. I don't want to sacrifice the holidays on the altar of our sorrow and loss. At the same time, mentally and emotionally I admit that I am not in the holiday spirit. Perhaps the choice to sit this season out is the right one. More importantly, while I am fundamentally satisfied with the choice, I don't want anyone else in the family to look back and completely regret that we didn't do something.
All of that falls under the heading of worry. Worrying accomplishes nothing at all except for wasting time and producing stress. I try hard not to waste time so I try to be practical and not worry. Instead, I focus on the solutions or positive aspects of the things I cannot fix. The next month and a half should be much less stressful than normal. I will save a significant amount of money I normally spend on gifts. That breaks the routine of spending too much at the end of the year and playing catch up in the first part of the next. I have also decided to celebrate internally. I am focusing on being thankful and celebrating the spirit of the holidays emotionally and spiritually. This may end up being my favorite holiday season in spite of the fact I do miss my Mom terribly.
On a funny side note, Mom did a thing every holiday season that stressed me out completely. It started with the same basic conversation each time. "David, you know (holiday, birthday, or event) is coming up. If you want to have our normal get together I need some help cleaning up." I always agreed and imagined myself dusting, vacuuming, and moving furniture. That stuff happened, but then Mom had some project on the agenda like buying new furniture, painting the walls, tearing up and relaying the floor, or a complete remodel of the kitchen and bathrooms. She reeled everyone into this project like a pro. This may be the first holiday in my life without a major renovation project! Oh, wait, my oldest has already set one in motion. *sigh* Traditions do carry on from generation to generation.
I made the completely insane decision to attempt to ride my motorcycle year round. I adore riding. It is relaxing. It is extremely fun. It also has the side effect of me owning my first Ninja suit. I mean not literally. I just own a thermal base layer. Read that as spandex tights and shirt. For weather down into the mid-40s, a normal set of clothes, the base layer, and my riding jacket is ample protection. In the low 40s and under you need additional protection.
Motorcycle pants and jackets are bloody expensive. I even shop at the lower end of the cost ladder and could not come up with a meant-for-motorcycle riding solution under $400. Luckily, I am not completely stupid. I found a Dickie brand duck insulated coverall for $80 that does the trick and has the added bonus of being water resistant.
I tested this outfit out, without the ninja base layer, picking up a "new" motorcycle in a steady rain. The temperature ranged from 45 down to 35 degrees on the hour-long trip home. Toward the end of the trip, my fingertips got a bit tingly as did my toes. I haven't started wearing thicker socks yet. Other than that I was entirely comfortable and only a little damp.
The fingers thing is a problem I haven't quite answered. I believe, on my Versys 300 anyway, the answer is heated grips. The brush guard hand shields certainly help to keep the wind off my knuckles. My fingertips are still exposed though. Once I figure this little problem out, I think I am ready to ride through anything but ice. I really want to putter through the snow.
I am also gearing up to launch my "solo" podcast. I have decided to do things differently this go round. I want to get a dozen or more recordings completed before I begin posting anything. That should allow me to maintain the show without having to constantly record. Garin and I couldn't easily skip recording for a week without building a buffer episode or two up ahead of time. I wasn't smart enough to treat my podcast as a business then. Lesson learned.
The plan for the show is evolving all the time too. I consider it a sister project to my blog. I constantly am told that, if you know me, reading this blog is just like listening to me talk. I plan on giving my typical brand of narration with the recordings but adding in some of my friends to talk about various and sundry things. I am also recording my D&D sessions. I have plans to record my Arkham Horror campaigns. I think the gaming stuff will ultimately lead to making videos. There is nothing wrong with David's mixed multimedia platform. Like any other internet "star" eventually, the sex tape will come out. Just kidding. That is already out there for you bastards who are sick enough to look it up.
Finally, damn Wizards of the Coast. I had decided to take the plunge back into Magic the Gathering when wizards crossed over D&D and Magic while also returning to the plane of Ravnica. This shouldn't be any surprise since my last "return" to Magic was during the Return to Ravnica block. I fell in love with the Orzhov Syndicate. I was completely sad when the new Ravnica block didn't introduce Orzhov in the first set.
Then I started playing MtG Arena. Oh my god, I love Ixalan. Tribal (Orzhov) Vampires! Merfolk and Dinosaurs are amazing as well. There is a Red, White, Green Dinosaur trigger deck that gets my blood pumping! It has all the triggers, man! All of them!
As you can tell I am stupidly excited for the game. I play about an hour a day. I really look forward to the friendslist option on the game. It was clearly in development right from launch. I expect Arena to be a big platform in the long term. The only catch to that is I cannot bring myself to spend money on digital cards yet. I have that argument with comic books too. I like having digital copies of my physical stuff, but I haven't gone purely digital in anything but books. We shall see if that changes.

For now I am going to go paint some minis for next week's D&D game. My plan for it probably deserves its very own post. That will have to wait for another day though.

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