Wednesday, 23 May 2018

There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks in which decades happen

Well, it happened. I sat here quietly, like granddad sitting in his easy chair with a can of special brew and the TV remote, waiting to see if his ungrateful grandchildren remember his 80th birthday. And sure enough, the day came and went without even a card, let alone a phone call. None of you bastards noticed that the 17th of May 2018 was the ten year anniversary of this blog - I didn't even get one lousy congratulatory email. Was I eclipsed by the bloody royal wedding? Was that it? I refuse to believe that Monsters & Manuals Day 2018 wasn't the subject of at least one street party with purple and yellow bunting and free opium for all.

I jest. Yes, it was 10 years ago I started writing this blog: Saturday, 17th May, 2008. You can find the first entry here. I started with a pretentious, half-workable idea, and I like to think I set the tone very nicely for what followed: a decade of mostly pretentious half-workable ideas, during which time there has been:


  • 1,352 posts
  • 1,696,166 page views
  • Probably getting on for a billion broken promises about stuff I'd blog about/publish
  • One marriage
  • One baby
  • One massive natural disaster and the loss of most worldly possessions
  • A PhD
  • A move between countries
  • Shit loads of alcohol imbibed
  • Yoon-Suin

And lots else besides. Ten years is a long time. There's a scene in Magnolia that I often remember, where a character - an old man slowly dying - insists that "Life's not short - it's long". I know what he means when I look back over the last decade. I don't feel like it's a case of blink-and-you-miss-it. I feel like it's a veritable ocean away. In May 2008 I was living in Kawasaki city in Japan, working for a startup, usually packing in 12-14 hour days, doing very little in the way of creative projects, eating and drinking out almost every night, and living for the weekend. 

Fast-forward ten years and I am living in North East England, with a job that offers almost limitless flexibility, doing lots of creative things when I can in between looking after a baby girl and fulfilling husbandly duties (which, for those of you unmarried men out there, involves disappointing amounts of sex or romance and mostly doing stuff like taking the bins out, unblocking the plug hole in the bath, and mowing the lawn), living for the weekend because it means I'll have time to iron my shirts for the week ahead, and spending most evenings knackered on the sofa drinking 18 year old Glenlivet because one of the few things that improve with age are taste buds. You can pack a lot into a decade. Trust me.

What does the future hold? God knows. Blogging is hard when you've got other commitments, and having young children ratchets up the difficulty factor of everything exponentially. 2016/2017 were peak years for this blog in terms of page hits. 2017/2018 has seen a precipitous decline - most of the blame for which can be lain at my daughter's feet. I work every evening, more or less, on RPG stuff, but mostly that work is unseen as it is being ploughed into creating publishable material for different projects. The blog often doesn't get a look-in, sadly. 

Now, don't worry, I have no intention of quitting. I've been doing this for 10 years now, and it's become pretty much the longest-running single thing I've ever stuck at - that includes jobs and even careers. I'll still be writing Monsters & Manuals until the day Google pulls the plug on it (which in occasional dark moments I suspect of being only just around the corner). It might not always be what it once was. But then again - what is? 

42 comments:

  1. Your blog is at the heart of what i call the 'Useful Strange' corner of the OSR blogoscene, im glad that you keep chugging away at things. Heres to 10 more years

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    1. Useful strange! What other blogs are in that category?

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    2. You have the usual suspects of Coin and Scrolls, False Machine, Goblin Punch, Zak, Against the Wicked City, though there are many MANY others as I'm sure you know haha

      The central point being that there's an onus on developing strange/weird/new ideas that are mechanically simple enough to slot in almost anywhere with a minimum of fuss.

      Anyway, congrats again, I've been a reader for ages here and wanted to show a little support

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    3. That is a wonderfully useful description, Mufn. :D

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    4. Great, thanks. Very kind of you.

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  2. Congratulations! This is by far my favorite blog. Well done.

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  3. Congratulations! Thank you for all you've shared on your blog and Yoon-suin is a marvelous book.

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  4. Congrats, man. I DID spend a lot of time watching the Royal Wedding (and the hours of televised commentary that accompanied it), but if I'd realized, I certainly would have given you a shout out. Ten years is nothing to sniff at.

    Taste buds might improve with age, but I'm not so sure about the liver. I try to stay the fuck away from tequilas these days, and most clear liquors not named "gin" (the occasional mezcal is okay). Cheers to your scotch...enjoy it as long as you can.
    ; )

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    1. What's a good mezcal for a beginner who likes good whisky?

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    2. Dude, I don't know. I only buy mezcal in Oaxaca (where it originated), and usually from the mezcal equivalent of wine tasting rooms. I never buy it commercially in the States (or UK).

      The bottle I most recently picked up (last Easter) is from El Cortador and is in a style called "joven madre cuish;" it's more "wild" tasting but still very smooth. You don't have to drink the one's with the worm in the bottle (that's a particular style and...I assume...mostly sold to gringo tourists). Like vodkas, there are a lot of mezcal "infusions" with different flavors. I go for the clear stuff myself.

      If you can't get out to Oaxaca, I'd look for something that says "hecho en Mexico," and make sure it has an Oax. mark somewhere on it. It's still an acquired taste, but it's great for sipping with a shot of fresh lime juice and a shot of traditional "sangrita" (made with orange juice and chili powder) on the side. They call that a bandera ("flag") 'cause the three glasses look like the Mexican flag: green, white, and red.
      : )

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    3. Please note: sangrita is NOT the same as sangria.

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  5. Kudos noisms! Sorry you missed the opium parade and celebration - I told them to make sure you got the invite.
    As a fellow married person, I disagree about the sex but agree that chores and family reduce that whole midnight-writing-draft-#237 thing.

    Thanks for producing this blog, we out here appreciate it. :)

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    1. You're welcome. Family is great and I wouldn't change it for the world...but there are days I miss those Sundays where I used to just get up and write for most of the day...

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  6. Congratulations! This has been one of the consistently readable blogs out there, and I hope it will stay that way. Ten years is a small eternity on the Internet.

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    1. Yeah. In 2008 I'm not sure Twitter was even a thing? And rpg.net was still actually worth visiting - that's how long ago it was!

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  7. This is a must-read blog for me. I check it daily. Thank you for sharing your insights and ideas and cheers to another ten years!

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    1. You are very welcome. I ought to update it daily really.

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  8. Congratulations, you are an inspiration!

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  9. Congratulations!

    Along with some online images of John Blanche miniatures, your blog, which I started following from Shanghai, was the main factor in getting me back into gaming after a long hiatus. My wife's views on that might be ambivalent, but my kids are certainly pleased.

    So, as a full weekend of D&D with old friends looms, thanks very much and here's to the next ten!

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    1. That's a nice comment. Thanks, mate. My wife sees all this as vaguely endearing, I think, but, fundamentally, also impossible to fathom.

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  10. Yeah, I was out moving this weekend so I missed it as well. Sorry dude. CONGRATS all the same! :-)

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  11. --Shit loads of alcohol imbibed

    Yet you act like a prissy cunt.

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    1. You act like one of those "incel" types who is one day going to go mad with a gun in impotent rage at your unhappiness. Go outside and play some hurling or something, and get a job and a girlfriend, before it's too late.

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    2. Your blog is just another place on the web where I can shit on mediocrity in a virtuous effort to keep the idiots down.

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    3. I don't know why you waste your own time doing this. This type of comment has no effect on me whatsoever. Do something productive.

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    4. I affect you deeply. I have a tremendous demoralizing effect on the whole of the osr. If you deny this again I am going to have to bash your brains right in.

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    5. You're an exceedingly minor irritant in an irrelevant tiny niche of a tiny segment of an extremely small hobby. You're also plainly torn up by self-loathing. The two things are undoubtedly connected. Go outside in the sun, get some exercise, and make some friends.

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    6. Worthless, your material and this 'scene' you're in that huffs and puffs like a fat old queer in front of a mirror. It costs me nothing to say so. In fact it gives me pleasure to be correct all the time.

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    7. I'll tell you when it is OK.

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    8. Nobody's fooled. Is this arrogance routine something you read about in a PuA forum? Go out in the sun and get some exercise.

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  12. I have despised you people, OSR pally cretins, for a long time but since I found these guys below, I have known I am right, and I don't need to go lightly anymore. The STANDARD, the QUALITY, in the OSR is dreadful. You people are USELESS,

    https://www.youtube.com/user/TheDiceStormers/videos?view=0&flow=grid&sort=p

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  13. Grateful and amazed you can keep it going like you have. A toast!

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  14. Congratulations! Yoon-Suin really blew my mind when I first came across it - I still remember reading the journey of Laxmi Gupta Drahl for the first time, the Wizard Ogres have stuck with me since. Here's to another ten years!

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  15. Congrats, short-timer. ;) Here's hoping for ten more!

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  16. Ha! What a cute coincidence. My blog turns 10 in July, and I think the early years of both enjoyed much back and forth. Here's to 10 more years!

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