Opportunities for Growth

For those who read the previous blog entry, Unexpected Hope, yes I did bump into that lady again. I gave her another one of my business cards the very next day and I even saw and spoke to her again the day after that. She promises to email me. If you happen to be reading this, I’m still waiting 😉

In other news, the Creative Writers group is going extremely well. We had had a few fires to put out because too many people were joining that didn’t really belong there. I had wondered for a while how I might be able to make sure that everyone understands the ‘spirit of the group’ when I know that only a fraction of the members will ever read the group description or the pinned post, and join based on the name of the group alone.

I don’t remember now which of the other group administrators reminded me that you can set three questions for new members to answer. I’ve seen too many groups misuse this feature. They’ll ask a confusing question such as ‘Do you promise to follow the group rules?’, when the rules are only accessible after you’ve been accepted. I didn’t want to make this same mistake.

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I had posted a rant to the group after I had kicked out the trouble-makers to try and make sure we didn’t have similar trouble again:

“Creative Writers is a community of writers, wordsmiths and storytellers. We know the power of words. Some words can cause discomfort, and some writers are skilled at deploying these words for maximum effect.
If you plan to drop a verbal bomb in the group, please include a trigger warning out of respect for your fellow writers.

“If you happen to see a word or phrase that offends you, please remember we’re writers. We use words to illicit an emotional response. By all means, correct their grammar and punctuation, but demanding censorship goes against the spirit of the group.

“Having said that this is not the place to discuss religion or politics. You can submit any piece of writing for critique but bear in mind that we deal mainly in fiction and your opinion may be analysed as such.

“We are here to become better writers. To help each other, support one another and learn from each other. Competitiveness and attention seeking behaviours disrupt the spirit of the group and will not be tolerated.”

I boiled this rant down to the following three questions (I copied this from a membership request, so it also includes the answers I’m looking for):

  • Do you understand that this is a place for fiction, and not religion or politics?

    Yes 🙂

  • If you post anything that could be deemed offensive, are you willing to include a trigger warning?

    Yes.

  • Are you looking for a supportive group of fellow writers, willing to help others grow and develop your own craft?

    Yes!

As long as the member answers ‘Yes’ (or some synonym of it) for all three questions, they’re in. If they only answer one or two of the questions, or they reply ‘no’ (or some equivalent response), they are declined. People who still haven’t even answered the questions are declined after a six-hour window of opportunity.  Despite this hurdle, membership continues to increase at a rapid pace.

It seems like we’ve regained the ‘spirit of the group’ I had established when I took over. Finding a way to quit the day job and do this full-time isn’t so pressing anymore. We’re still creating a Kickstarter page, but the focus has been switched from payroll to our product. Which is only right. We’re asking for £3,000 to cover production and marketing of the Monolith Anthology.

 

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We’ve gone back to this cover

 

My original plan, after all, had been to produce Monolith for as cheaply as possible so that all the writers and other contributors can get a fair share of the profit. If I could do it without putting any money in, I would, but my team tell me that this is just as unrealistic as hoping to raise enough cash to pay each administrator $5,000 per month for 6 months! They make a good point.

With all the time effort and passion I’m putting into the Monolith project, including the Creative Writers group and Creative Writers’ Press, I worry that Laura, my girlfriend, is getting neglected. To that end, I’ve been asking her what she’s really like to do with her life. She said she’d like to travel more. At first, this answer made my heart sink when I realised that it would be a long time before I could afford to buy flights and hotels all over the world. Then I watched this video:

I often watch TED videos while I’m working on Monolith, to keep me motivated. This video helped me to realise that travelling the world doesn’t need to mean expensive hotels and flights to every destination. You can travel on a shoestring if you don’t mind roughing it a little, and I have a tribe of over 7,700 Creative Writers to ask for help.

We’ve already had members offer Laura and I a place to stay in Holland, Iceland, Pakistan, Canada, South Africa and several states in America. I don’t have a lot coming in from Patreon subscriptions, but it would be enough to keep my phone data active, and as long as I have power and internet access, I can write anywhere. If it gets too hard I know my family would welcome me back.

We’re not running off immediately (much as I’d like too) we’re currently aiming to start our adventure next year after Monolith has launched, which will hopefully provide an additional trickle of income. In the meantime, we’re going to save up and do our research so we can do this as safely as we can. It will still be risky, but it’ll be a great adventure, an amazing experience, and I’ll have some great stories to tell. I may even end up with my own TED talk!

 

 

 

 

 

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Mum’s Back!

I’m going to start with a video. This is the first 5 minutes of my Dad and I driving out of Pontgarreg this morning. Just because.

Mum has spent the last four nights in Dalton visiting my Grandparents and making sure the guest room at the bungalow will be ready for me to take up residence. The nieces were gone too, spending time with their father. They all came back today on the same train. Sometimes the trains here in the UK are a little weird.

The train they were on was supposed to split into two shorter trains at a town in Wales called Machynlleth. Don’t ask me how to pronounce that. I know that the double ‘l’ is pronounced softly and sounds more like ‘hl’, and the ‘th’ doesn’t sound the way you expect either.

Anyway, they were supposed to have two drivers, but they didn’t. As a result the half of the train that was supposed to continue on to Aberystwyth, where we’d already arranged to meet them at the train station, was cancelled. My sister has her own car, so she went up to Machynlleth to collect our Mum, and her daughters. Dad and I got a little more guy time in.

Last time he and I were in Aberystwyth, there were two stores we wanted to look around in weren’t open. It was a monday, and they only open tuesday thru saturday. We took the opportunity to check them out. Pic dump!

As you can see from the pictures, both stores contained a joyous mish-mash of geeky stuff from various fandoms. DC, Marvel, Game of Thrones, X-files, Dr Who, Game of Thrones, Family Guy and much more. Rickety Ramshackle even had Laurel and Hardy! Dad walked away from Other Dimensions with a Doctor Who coffee mug and a clockwork spinning Tardis!

I rather like the new phone I picked up while in Carmarthen, and decided to get a pay-as-you-go sim card for it, so I’d have a fully functioning phone while I’m waiting for Mum to order the spare one from her plan. Here’s some other shots of Aberystwyth and other places between there and Pontgarreg.

I’ve skipped a bit. Before we could go back to Pontgarreg, we had to meet up with my Sister, Mum and the girlies. They showed up right as I got my new minutes loaded. I couldn’t resist loading up Pokemon Go! to test out my new data plan as we all walked back into Aberystwyth. Dad and I wanted to introduce them to the cafe we had gone to on Monday, MG’s. Just as before the food was great, even though we could only get ‘light bites’ at that time of day.

Mum was exhausted from her trip back from Dalton with the little ones. We decided to go back home. I’d used up all my Pokeballs before we got back to the car, so I missed out on a Muk. I managed to hit some Pokestops as we drove past though, but then used all of them up when we got back and found a Drowsee in the driveway! No-one else in the car was even remotely interested.

Today’s poke-haul was a Paras, 2 Pidgeys, a Ponyta, a Weedle, a Kakuna, a Pidgeotto, an Eevee, and of course the Drowsee. That last one got me to level 5. This is only the second time I played, the first being while wandering the airport. You may recall that prior to having nothing to do for nearly 12 hours in an airport I was skeptical of Pokemon Go! Besides being disappointed, but not really surprised, to discover that there are no pokestops or gyms in the village of Pontgarreg, it seems like harmless fun. I just now caught another Weedle!

After she’d rested and recovered from the trip, Mum and I talked a little about the layout for my new room in Dalton, figuring out where my bed, desk an Xbox might go. We also talked a little about my recovery, my writing (she loves it), and one of our favourite books ever, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrel. It’s nice to have Mum back. Dad and I have had some fun, but now we can really get things done! She’s always there for me.

Dad did point out that I had a few words missing from my Hermes925 excerpt, so here’s the updated version, now with comments enabled. Click here!

Daleks, Demiro’s and Dude-time

Dad and I had another guy’s day out. This time we went to Cardiff, Wales to see ‘The Doctor Who Experience‘! It wasn’t just awesome, it was awemuch! If you are even a tiny bit of a Dr Who fan, you must come check it out. I wouldn’t consider myself a Whovian, in fact several of my American friends are way more excited about the last of the Time-Lords than I. Despite that, ‘The Doctor Who Experience’ is pretty epic.

*Spoiler alert – skip down to the paragraph beginning “After that..” if you’d rather see for yourself*

The building is located in Cardiff Bay. Before you even get in the building, you can see a Tardis standing out in the bay on a slim structure. When you get inside there’s several daleks, including one built out of lego, another Tardis, and a couple on costume replicas in the lobby. You start out you’re in a Gallifreyan museum, in which a curator hands you each a pass and advises you not to touch anything ‘because we don’t know how your human dna will react with Gallifreyan technology.’ After a brief celebration of the Doctor and his many faces, they track the Tardis and bring it up on screen. We get to watch helplessly as the Tardis is attacked by space dwelling time-squids.

The interaction of these creatures and the Tardis causes a time-space rift to open in the museum. The curator is genuinely shocked to discover that we can enter the heart of the Tardis itself. The Doctor himself, his 12th regeneration, notices our intrusion. At first it seems he’d rather leave us trapped in the labyrinthian corridors of the Tardis, but he soon realises he could make use of us. We are to find time-crystals that have been scattered through time and space to strengthen the Tardis and stop the aliens.

The Tardis materialises within itself to allow us a way out, and we find ourselves in the control chamber. The Doctor talks us through working together to fly the Tardis to the site of the first crystal. It’s a bumpy ride, but we land safely on the Dalek’s home planet Skaro. The damaged and destroyed husks of Daleks are everywhere, and the first crystal is lodged in one of them. A brave volunteer removes the crystal, but the Dalek’s are alerted and we a forced to flee quickly to a time corridor to our next destination.

We emerged in a dark and heavily wooded graveyard. Tombstones marking the graves of Amy and Rory, and two of Clara’s stand amid several Weeping Angels. The second crystal is held in an Angel’s grip, and my Dad steps forward to retreive it! The Doctor contacts us once more to inform us that the aliens are causing the universe and time itself to fold in on itself. He gives the curator some instructions and we follow his lead, finding ourselves back in Cardiff.

Something’s different though, and it’s revealed that we’ve been transported back to 1963. Time and space are still overlapping though, so the dirty alley we’re in also contains a view screen from the Tardis and the device waiting for 3 time-crystals to be placed in it. Luckily we find the third crystal right there in a barrel of trash. The three crystals are set into place, and the alley wall explodes. Weeping Angels, Daleks and time-squid aliens tumble through the rift, lashing out at us as they go. Then the rift is closed, the wall restored, and we’d saved the universe!

Then the curator (who never broke character), leads us out of the alleyway, collects our passes and ushers us into the real museum. Starting with the control room set from the first ever episode in 1963! The place is a treasure trove of original props, sets and costumes from the series all the way through to present day. Several versions of the Tardis and it’s control room. Daleks, Cybermen, Sontarans, and many other classic and modern enemies of the doctor, along with costumes worn by companions and all 12 Doctors. It was amazing!

After that we went looking for somewhere to eat and found Demiro’s. They serve traditional Welsh food as well as Italian and Spanish inspired cuisine. We happened to be there while they were preparing for a 60th Birthday party for someone, which helped make the mood seem even more celebratory! I had Calimari followed by Spaghetti Carbonara, and Dad had Crabcake then Spaghetti Marinara (containing fresh mussels, shrimp and calimari), and it was all delicious.

Another great day with my Dad, with lots of good talk both there and back. One of the things we talked about was doing short stories. I know of several publications offering money for short stories, but so far I’m putting all my effort into this blog and (slowly) my two big story projects. If I put the big stuff on the back burner for a little while perhaps I could churn out some short stories and bring in a little money? Dad pointed out that Isaac Asimov, one of the greatest sci-fi writers of all time,  got his start with short stories in magazines too.

With that in mind I have a question for you. Should I switch my focus to short stories, at least for now?

I look forward to hearing your replies, and please follow me, if you haven’t already to be kept up to date on what I decide to do. Perhaps you’ll even get so see my first drafts and help me polish them up!

Have a great day.

Erm…Superman?

I really have no idea what I’m going to write. I’m determined to write every day though. so we’ll see what comes out. It’s 10:30 at night and I haven’t even looked at by computer screen all day. I hadn’t even picked up my tablet until about 10! Mum is out of town, the nieces are with their Dad, and my Sister is spending some time with her boyfriend. It was just me and my Dad today. It was a good day!

We set off early for a nearby town called Aberystwyth. Dad wanted to get a second controller for the Xbox 360 so that we can play Halo together. I hoping he wants to play co-op,  because I’ve never been a fan of head-to-head contests. More on that another time perhaps. Aberystwyth has the closest branch of a chain of video game stores simply called Game. It’s similar to GameStop in the US. He also wanted to just hang out with me for a day, so that’s what we did.

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Aberystwyth, Wales.

On the way we talked about all sorts of things, including differing cultural references between America and the UK. We had watched Deadpool together the night before, which he enjoyed, but we kept having to pause the movie while I explained what Deadpool was referring too. The only one I wasn’t able to translate was when he describes Professor Charles Xavier as “heaven’s gate looking”. I just googled it quick and I’m quite certain that I don’t want to know.

The reason the subject of cultural references had come up again on the drive is that I had just seen a red Rover, and had laughed at it. Americans, here in the UK we have a a few different car brands not available in the states, including Rover. In other words I had seen a red car that happened to be a Rover. Brits, in America there’s a child’s playground game called Red Rover. Of course, it’s only funny if you’re crosscultural, and my Dad is not.

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Red Rover

I then had to explain the difference between the difference between the American slang term ‘junk’ meaning male genitalia, and ‘junk in the trunk’ meaning a woman’s big beautiful buttocks. He brought up ‘fanny’, which means female genitalia in the UK, but a gender-neutral bottom in the US. We discussed the possibility of writing a whole article of the subject, but I’d rather share the rest of our day with you.

We briefly looked into getting me a UK mobile phone, which I’m used to calling a cellphone, but quickly discovered that the selection sucked and Dad wasn’t sure what the new postcode (zip code) was going to be anyway. They’ll be moving to Kidwelly soon, and I’m moving to Dalton-in-Furness shortly after that, so there’s little point in getting a phone that works in Pontgarreg, without knowing for sure if it will still get a good signal elsewhere. So we moved on.

It was quite the walk from where we parked to Aberystwyth proper, and my calf muscles began to tighten, just from not being used to walking everywhere. Our pace slowed a little as we got into town, and my legs functioned as they should for the rest of the day. I had mentioned on the way that I was craving black pudding, (click the link Americans) so our first stop was a café that served a full Welsh breakfast. We found a delightful place called MG’s Cafe Bar. If you happen to visit Aberystwyth in Wales yourself, I highly recommend you make a point of finding it.

After our delicious breakfast, we began hunting for Game. It wasn’t where Dad expected it to be, so we wondered about a bit. We visited the ruined Castle, walked along the promenade enjoying the sea air, and even went up Constitution Hill on an electric cliff railway. That’s a pair of train cars that travel along a steep incline in counter-balance. One goes up as the other comes down.

At the top of the hill is a camera obscura. That may sound like grease on your lens, but it’s actually a darkened room in which the surrounding view is projected onto a round white screen. Honestly, I was disappointed with the clarity of the view and preferred to observe the town below and the surrounding countryside from the observation deck.

Then we resumed our hunt for the Game store. During this time we talked about all kinds of things that I barely remember. I just enjoyed being able to hang out with my Dad. We had no schedule to keep to, and no strict agenda. If we didn’t get him a controller while we were here, it wasn’t going to be the end of the world. Not even the middle. No hurry, no worry. We did eventually find the Game store. It had moved locations. We discovered that they also sold used mobile phones, so I decided to bear that in mind as I researched. The controller was acquired and we meandered back through town toward the car.

On the way back it was decided that we should have a Superman marathon when we got home. Man of Steel followed by Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (extended cut). He’d never seen either of them. I’d seen Man of Steel many times, but BvS only once, and even then it was the theatrical cut. We bought snacks and beer on the way, so we could just munch during the movies without either one of us having to cook. It was great! I even showed him the trailers for Wonder Woman, Justice League and Suicide Squad afterward.

To cap it all off, Mum called from Dalton and has been helping my Grandparents to make the guest bedroom liveable. They’re going to remove one of the built in units in there to give me more room, find me a folding desk and get a blackout blind to prevent the neighbours security light from waking me up at night. She also happened to mention that her own mobile phone plan comes with an extra sim card if we want it. All I need to do is buy the handset. Which would give us a great excuse to go back to Game in Aberystwyth!

That pretty much brings us to right now. I would say it was an awesome day, but as Dad pointed out while we were heading back to the car, awesome doesn’t seem to cover it. It was an awemuch day!

I hope your day was at least as awemuch as mine! Remember to follow and share, and I’d love to hear your comments. I’m going to bed now. Goodnight! 🙂

Kidwelly Castle

A trip to Kidwelly

Today my family and I went to check out the town that they’ll be moving to at the end of August. Kidwelly. That’s actually the English word for it, in Welsh it’s Cydweli. I took lots of pictures on the way, and while we were there. Some of my favourites will be posted on Instagram, but the full pic-dump is right here!

My plan is still to move to Dalton-in-Furness to help take care of my Grandparents and to be near my old friends and my old stomping ground. That won’t be happening until mid-september though, and there’s lots to sort out until then. Including being able to prove that I’m staying here so that I’m eligible for employment, getting a copy of my National Insurance card, actually getting the in-home care position arranged and secured, etc. In the meantime, I’m going to help Mum, Dad, Gill (my Sister), and girls Bethany & Imogen, to get set up in their new home.

I rode with my Sister and the Girls. The country roads are tiny, particularly around the village of Pontgarreg where they currently live. It’s a good job I trust Gillian completely or I might have been absolutely terrified. I tried to take video of the speed at which my sister confidently navigates these narrow lanes, but then we got stuck behind a tractor.

The first thing we did was visit Parc Y Bocs, a farm shop with a café and an amazing playground. The girls had a great time, and went for the the pirate-ship themed treehouse first.

After we were done playing, we went to the café. I had the salmon and broccoli quiche, which was yummy. The girls had the cheeseburgers, and I got to try some of Imogen’s. That too was delicious. The kind of delicious that starts at your mouth and spreads comfort and joy through your entire body. I took a picture of the specials board because I thought some of my more immature American friends would find one of the items amusing. Can you guess which one?

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It’s a Welsh-style pork meatball.

After that we had a quick glance at the Ysgol Y Castell, or Castle School, which will be the girl’s new school once they start the new school year. We couldn’t actually get close because of the security fence around the grounds. It seems appropriate that it be heavily fortified, but the real reason is because you can see Kidwelly Castle from there.

It’s not far from there to the Priory Church of Saint Mary. This is one of 3 churches that my Dad, as Priest in Charge of Cidweli and Llandyfaelog, will have purview over. This is the reason why they’re moving. The Reverend Trevor Copeland‘s promotion. It’s a beautiful old church. Here’s some pics of the interior.

Then we walked through the town and what passes for a town centre on our way to Kidwelly Castle. There were some great shots of St Mary’s and the Castle on the way.

Then we got to explore Castle Kidwelly for a bit. I’m looking forward to exploring more of it once they live here.

We walked back through town, had some disappointing ice-cream, and drove to the new Vicarage. Two and a half storeys. It’s only 2 from the front, but the pavement curls around on a slope to reveal 3 storeys from the back. Sure enough, once we get inside, there’s a downstairs with just 2 rooms in it. One of which will be Dad’s office, where he talks with visiting parishioners and church officials. The other will be the guest bedroom where I’ll be staying until I move to Dalton, or whenever I show up. 🙂 It has an en-suite bathroom!

After the grown-ups finished discussing what still needed fixing and measured up the rooms we made our way back from Kidwelly to Pontgarreg. We played I-spy on the way so I didn’t take as many pics. Here’s what I got though.

It was a fun day. Kidwelly is a nice little town. There are buses which will make it much easier for me to get around if Dad or my Sister are unable to drive me. Not that it should be an issue for long.

I’m going to get more writing done tomorrow. I’m thinking it’ll be Hermes’ turn for an update. I’ve been requested to write an article detailing my dating misadventures since I broke up with Monica. I may actually oblige them. Subscribe so you don’t miss it, and don’t forget to share my articles!

Have a great day/ night. I certainly did!

 

The Journey Continues

Day 2. It’s almost 3 pm British time. I’m riding a train to Swansea, ahead of schedule. I’ll be changing trains to continue to Carmarthen, which will probably be the same train I would have switched to if I’d taken the later train out of London. Either way I can’t call ahead because I  didn’t think to check if my US bought pay-as-you-go would work here in the UK. It can, I just need to add international minutes. Significantly harder to do when you have no available data.

On top of that I feel sweaty and gross. I’m still wearing the clothes I put on at 4 am US central time yesterday. Which on British time would technically be 11 pm on Wednesday July 20th. In other words, I’ve been wearing the same clothes for about 22 hours straight, and I was already feeling clammy before I even boarded the plane. There is WiFi on board, which is good, but have you ever tried to type or text whole sitting on a moving train? It not easy! The carriage bounces and jolts. As I’m writing, the movement of the train carriage has caused my finger to come in contact with the screen when and where I didn’t intend to. This results in chaotic spelling errors  and random movement of the cursor. The last being particularly annoying when I have to find where it went and discover what part of the sentence was deposited there.

Apparently it’s also possible to accidently the article before it’s ready! Despite my tiredness, my sweatiness, the difficulty I’m having writing this, I’m still excited. I get to be with my family again!

I will type more later but I feel an involuntary nap coming on.

I’m back. While I was sleeping the ticket guy came, looked at my ticket and told me to change at Bristol Parkway. I then went back to sleep. I knew that all I had to do was stay on the train until Swansea and change there. However, my sleepy head got me up and off the train when they at announced the next stop was Bristol Parkway. Imagine my lack of surprise when they told me that the best train for Carmarthen was the one I just gotten off. So now I’m on a different train, that will likely put me back on the original timetable. Not a huge problem, just a minor inconvenience. I should have ignored it and kept sleeping!

I realize that my American friends and followers won’t have any idea where I’m talking about. Some of the Brits won’t either. However I like British place names. The train I’m on now (that doesn’t have WiFi) just pulled out of the station at Neath, for example.

On this train I met a young chap called Dave who studies physics but is leaning towards computer engineering. We had a good chat, and he followed my blog. Thank you Dave. 🙂

I made another new friend on the plane called Joe. He’d just spent a week in Oregon and was flying home. He too said he’d look me up. He was kind enough to offer me the use of his phone when I discovered that my US phone didn’t work here. Thanks Joe, I managed to contact my tribe via WiFi instead, but you’re awesome nonetheless for offering. 🙂

I’m on the last leg of the journey now. I just need to stay on this train until Carmarthen, and a representative of clan Copeland with be there to drive me the rest of the way to Pontgarreg.

The Journey Begins

The airport has free WiFi, but I can’t get it to work. I’m writing this in the while waiting for my flight, but I suspect that it won’t be published to WordPress until I land in the UK. (I was actually able to get WiFi on the plane!)

As you probably already know, I spent the last week raising money for the trip. I ended up selling my Magic: The Gathering cards and all but a couple of my graphic novels to River City Hobbies. If you’re in La Crosse, Wi be sure to pop in and say “Hi!” to Tom and the others. Even if you’re on team Apex! They’re good people. Tell them “the Brit” sent you.

That brings up the first of many distractions from the topic. Here in America, I’m the Brit to almost all my friends. I’m not sure how that nickname will work once I’m back in Britain surrounded by my fellow Brit. I’ve no doubt that I’ll still be the Brit to my American friends, but it would be a little bit odd if my British friends do too. Will they call me the Yank? My accent has definitely been effected by my time in the states. Partly deliberately. An accent in customer service can be useful, people listen harder, but it doesn’t matter if they don’t understand you.

Back on track. I arrived at the airport,  accompanied by my friend Alex, a little after 8am. He drove the car, the VW Beetle, back to La Crescent, MN. He’ll take good care of it. He offered me $500 for it, but he couldn’t get it to me until later. I decided,  since my roommate Jitters has been left with the apartment all to himself, to have Alex give the money directly to Jitters. That way I know my half of the rent and some other bills are covered for another month, and I can feel a little less guilty about leaving him in the lurch. Especially since he’s also taking care of my feline buddy Scott for me.

Jitters, of course, has been completely understanding and supportive. He’s a true friend and has done nothing to inspire any guilt. Still, I’ll sleep easier knowing Jitters still has a roof over his head, and Alex has a car.

I’m a bloody nice person. So it irked me somewhat when one of my friends chose not to attend last night’s last ever game of D&D. It probably won’t actually be the last, the party fairly unanimously decided that we should continue via Skype or Google Hangouts. The time difference will mean a very late night for yours truly, but it will only be even two weeks. Anyway, the friend who will not be named claimed he was too busy to attend. He told one of us his cat was sick and he needed to keep an eye on it. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. Especially when his girlfriend posted a picture of him, and his cat, fast asleep on the couch.

When pressed he claimed that it was because I pick on him. Am I a bully? To I say hurtful things to everyone around me to demean them and keep them in line? It certainly doesn’t sound like me. The friends that did show up certainly don’t seem to think so. Unless I inspire so much terror that they dare not contradict me to my face! Again this seems unlikely.  This would have been everyone’s perfect opportunity to get everything out in the open, knowing that if I take it badly, I’d be fucking off to England in the morning anyway!

He’s mentioned feeling like he’s being teased/picked on before, but usually to other people. Even on my last day, he refused to clarify his feelings in person. He issued a threat, again through a third party, but made no mention of it when I messaged him. Like I said,  it bothers me. Perhaps he’s just a coward, and I should just let it go. Why anyone would lack the courage to tell me to my face is still bamboozling me though.

However, I’m supposed to be talking about the trip! I saved up about $900 in cash, and my wonderful Mum saw to it that I had another $1000 in my checking account. The plan was to arrive early and go from desk to desk trying to find the soonest, cheapest and most direct flight to the UK, and use whatever is left to buy food, train tickets and hopefully have pocket money until I get settled.

Things had changed a little since I last flew out of Minneapolis-St Paul. Instead of a variety of airlines represented, almost every desk said Delta. This wasn’t the end of the world. Delta was my preference anyway, but the lack of competition wasn’t ideal. It turned out that there was one flight available. Direct flight (yay), at 10:05 pm (I can keep myself busy), for $1853 (ouch!). I took it. By the time I got through security and pulled out my tablet to email Mum, it was still only 10:25 am.

Many of my friends, including nameless, play Pokemon GO! So far I had resisted the temptation, choosing instead to spend all my time not at work or sleeping, writing. That includes writing, sharing and curating the content for this blog! However, with time to kill, and the knowledge that I won’t be earning a paycheck until Britannia says I can, I thought I’d give it a go. It kept crashing of course, so I’d flip between that and Facebook. Using my $20 pay-as-you-go smartphone since I still can’t get the free wifi working.

This airport has a lot of Pokestuff. So far I’ve found 3 gyms, constantly changing hands. Pokestops all over the place, sometimes in groups, and a plague of Drowzees! I’ve faced a lot more than the amount I captured, but between the crashes, and the fact that my dude doesn’t move from the spot once the map loads I still have 8 of them. I have also captured 2 Zubats, a Rattata, a Krabby, a Nidoran, and the Squirtle I started with.  I also got an egg from one of the Pokestops. No idea how it’s supposed to hatch though if my dude won’t move!

I walked all over the place, exploring concourses and corridors I have never been to before. Seeing all kinds of displays and artworks, and cool shops, I didn’t even know were there. I may keep it up when I get home. It’ll give me an excuse to explore. I don’t need to feel weird about my curiosity either, as long as I’m holding my phone I’ll be just another Pokemon player, and not just some creep looking at houses in strange neighborhoods. I may need some company for some parts of town. Much I love the conspiracy theories about Pokemon GO, it’s a fun little game.

I still have 2 hours until my flight. I’m think I’m done writing for now, but I have a great seat by the gate right now. If I explore anymore I may not get it back.

I actually just received a series of Facebook messages from nameless. I’m probably more confused now than I was before. He’s still going to send me money for the furniture he’s taking, and he says he’s going miss me. Apparently the only reason he didn’t show was that he was dead tired. Let me ask you, my audience. If you knew that you were never going see someone again but you were ‘exhausted’, would you bail, or suck it up at least a for a while. Most of the others were tired too,  and had to leave a little earlier than our D&D games normally run too. They, however, showed up!

He claims he’s going to miss me, that he’s sure he’s going to see me again before too long. This implies not only that he enjoys my company as a friend, but also that he has faith in my talent and future success. He did state outright that he felt bullied, both on the podcast (the Masquerade with Bumble and the Brit, and no it’s not Bumble) and the D&D nights too. Maybe I’m over thinking this, but when I felt victimized, belittled and mocked by a friend, I stopped being their friend! He’s not me though. He clearly doesn’t think like me. I shouldn’t expect him to act like me.

To summarize,  I’ve been waiting for 10 hours for my flight. I have less than two to go, and I’ve kept myself occupied by exploring the airport while playing Pokemon GO, keeping up with Facebook, writing, and dealing with confusing emotions.

Since I’m doing this on my tablet, don’t expect the usual linkapalooza with pretty pictures and video. I may go back and edit later. Perhaps remove some parts I later regret, and make it all pretty and interconnected with other articles for you. You may have noticed that I’ve started linking to articles by other bloggers that I’ve enjoyed. Please show us all some love by signing up for email notifacations. Even if you never read the emails, the follower stats and traffic will help us all be successful.

Thank you for listening. What do you think? About any of this?