June Skullduggery

Pride month is here, and unfortunately I’m spending most of it at home, entertaining guests and taking care of household needs. Next month holds bigger plans, including a wedding and even a beach getaway. June is my month to prepare.

And preparing I am. For those who don’t know, I became a parent almost five months ago. This prompted thoughts as to how my own parents could have done more for their health. So I’ve put myself on a dieting and exercise regime to get the weight down. A routine that involves an hour on the treadmill for four days a week, usually coupled with almost an hour of calisthenics and weight lifting.

I’ve been at it for about a month now. Aside from weight loss, some extra muscle is really helpful. There’s always something heavy to be lifted, be it the baby carrier, stroller, or additional bags. It could come in handy next year when I return to fan conventions, and have to lug all those extra books to the booths…

Speaking of, and I can’t get into specifics due to an NDA, there’s something coming down the pipe. And it’s not Banner Saga-related nor does it have anything to do with Stoic. If I’m cagey about what I’ve been researching, please understand I just don’t want to jinx it. Still, more stories are coming from yours truly.

But let’s talk about what I have been reading and playing…

In terms of “old books that have aged surprisingly well” comes Five Plays by Anton Chekhov, Oxford University’s 1998 translations. His works often deal with misery despite success, unrequited love, suicide, and the pitfalls of empathy.

Yes. It does sound modern and yes, it was all written more than a century ago. I was surprised too.

Each breezy play clocks around 60 pages, all about 95% dialogue. Reading it is easy but interpretations aren’t, and that’s probably by design. Screenplays are often “tonally neutral” as to allow the directors to imprint their own aesthetic. One producer may prefer a tragedy or drama, but another might conjure a melodramatic comedy from the same script.

If you decide to read it, do yourself a favor. Don’t peruse anyone’s analysis yet. Just read a play, then consider what others think. Chekhov is like a mosaic crafted from a broken mirror—even after a century, few agree about what they see.

Regarding gaming and television… well. I have a horrible confession.

I love Evil Dead.

Evil Dead: The Game was well worth the wait. Saber Interactive took full advantage of cross play. XBox, PlayStation and PC gamers are jamming together like a dream. All of a sudden, my friends in totally different social circles are mixing and getting to know each other. When a game does more to bring people together, it’s not a bad thing.

I find myself enjoying an hour or two every other night for just a few matches, always filled with gory fun. What sets it apart from titles like Dead by Daylight or Friday the 13th is that the Demon is more of an omnipotent manager/summoner who is on the defensive. The Survivors have to beat the clock, scrounging weapons and racing all over huge maps to discover the objectives. It really shakes up the horror game formulas at risk of becoming cliché.

If you love Evil Dead, I recommend getting it now. If you’re only curious, it’s okay to wait a few months for new maps and modes. Saber Interactive has plans that I’m looking forward to, and the new content will be nice value-adds as time goes on.

Honestly, the game is so good, it got me rewatching both the original movies and Ash vs Evil Dead on Netflix. It’s probably not a good thing to let Bruce Campbell crack me up while I’m on the treadmill, but hey. The guy is like fine wine. You just can’t beat him and believe me, both old age and the forces of evil have tried.

Catch you all on the flip side.

Injuries Journal Part I

About a week ago, I injured myself carrying my backpack from work to home. The condition, I believe, is a pinched nerve. I’ve done my research and the symptoms match it far, far too well.

The vertebrae, being the key to the central nervous system, is incredibly complex, although that complexity reduces the further down the back you go. Among my symptoms include a bit of pain at the base of my head and spine, fatigue in my legs and sometimes my arms, minor carpal tunnel syndrome and cold flesh at my neck. The spot in question is definitely on my cervical vertebrae.

The worst problems are two fold: first, the nerve endings in my throat are convinced that almost anything I swallow is cold, resulting in persistent brain freeze. Second, muscles connecting my esophagus to my spine keep clenching whenever I eat. This caused acid reflux and heart burn. Eating can be quite an ordeal.

The good news is that there seems to be definite signs of improvement. The first few days, I had trouble getting to sleep because of the pain. Now, I can get 8 or 9 hours uninterrupted. I’ve been taking ibuprofen for anti-inflammation, aspirin for blood thinning, using a heating pad to reduce the cold and muscle pain, and have also alternated with an ice pack to reduce any swelling. Tums for the acid reflux.

Oh, and for the pain… I am now a proud initiate of the Tiger Balm cult.

I’ve been encouraged to go to the doctor’s office but two things hold me back. First, it’s a cost I don’t need right now to find out two, that as a pinched nerve, they recommend a conservative treatment (what I’m doing now). At best, I could probably receive some muscle relaxants and something for the agony (which is reducing on its own) but I’d rather not bother. At the most worrying end of the spectrum, it is possible I could require surgery to repair the damage… but I don’t think my current physicians is particularly scalpel-happy.

Today, I made myself a breakfast of bacon, coffee and some egg creation of mozzarella cheese and sauerkraut with spices. Went down alright with minimal brain freeze and almost no clenching, both very good signs. But, it’s very common for the problems to grow worse throughout the day. The two biggest problem foods are anything solid and hard, and cold. Particularly beverages. That hot coffee makes everything easier.

One interesting thing that happened yesterday night while a few coworkers and I were playing Cards Against Humanity. I had quite a few shots of Fireball, a cinnamon whiskey served room temperature. (Amusing note: I remember my coworkers disdain at Fireball until last CAH night, when they kept wanting more shots after trying it.) It was only after I got home that I remembered that Sarah made a bowl of popcorn, and I ate it without feeling any discomfort whatsoever. This might be a solution at the next dinner with friends, where I could carry a flask of Fireball and chug it as not to feel the pain when I eat. Until then, I’m going to conserve what I have for later.

Today I’m taking a day off of work to stay on my back (sans sex) as much as possible. I’ve hooked up my PC to run off the big screen television with zoomed in text for easy reading. (Tip: hold CTRL and use the mouse zoom button. I recommend it while web browsing to ease strain on the eyes, dear readers.) I made a deal with myself that if there is no improvement by tomorrow, I would schedule a doctor’s appointment.

We’ll see what happens… going to get back to wrapping up this novel I’m writing. And will post another update tonight after dinner. Later chummers.