I did one of those Ancestry DNA tests a while ago. Finally started getting some hits on relatives that aren’t sixth cousins and such. Some of them were even promising leads; 1st cousins, no shared maternal ancestor.

Silly me, getting my hopes up, thinking that maybe at last I’ve found a clue to who my father may be. I messaged them, hoping to untangle a branch or two – or at least narrow down the list of suspects, since if they’re a first cousin, it must be their uncle, yes? – and then I waited.

And waited.

And waited some more.

The three potential cousins all left me on read, and have left me there for over a week. Which seems really counter intuitive if you’re on a site that’s all about mapping your family trees. Maybe they just don’t want to acknowledge my father’s dark and mysterious past? Who knows.

Still, frustrating. Perhaps next I’ll take the 23&Me test, see if I get any hits over there. Until next time.


Retro Style Games

I think games have gotten too complicated, too layered and full of spectacle and obscure systems.

I’ve come to this conclusion after having spent a deal of time with Dragon Quest XI, specifically the “S” Definitive Edition. Now, I had the game before, and tried to start it four different times.

Four times, I got nowhere. I was bored and overwhelmed by the third town. At the insistence of others, I tried the Definitive Edition, because it has a “2D” mode. Basically, it strips it down to behave in most ways like the old NES iterations of the franchise.

I’m forty hours in and still enjoying it… at least, enjoying it as much as I do anything these days, but that’s still more than the newest, flashiest games are keeping me occupied. Maybe I’ve finally gotten old, and can’t deal with things if they’re not the way they were in my youth.

Regardless of the reason, DQXI is pretty entertaining in 2D mode, and has a pretty good – if bog-standard for a fantasy RPG – story. I recommend checking it out if you’re into JRPGs.



I am a moody creature. Comes with the assorted flavors of mental illness I suffer from. One minute I can be exhausted and depressed, the next full of righteous fury, moving on to a brief period of productivity, then back to exhaustion. The roller coaster is not very fun.

Today was very much an exhaustion day. Had doctor visits scheduled both early and in the afternoon. Didn’t leave a lot of room to work on the writing, and my mood was not productive. So I didn’t do much. Added a couple sentences to Believe Me, and that was it.

Instead I played Scribblenauts Unlimited, which would be good if it wasn’t for the godawful controls on the PS4 version. Just gimmie the regular system keyboard or let me use my USB one. The wheels they use remind me of trying to use T9 texting.

Perhaps tomorrow will be a better day, I hope so.


Tossing in Towels

I tried. I made it a month, and though I didn’t do a writing prompt every day in that month, I did still manage to cough up thirty of them in thirty days. That’s something to be respected.

I just don’t think I can keep this up for an entire year. Fatigue is already setting in, alongside the boredom and writer’s block that were the original problems I was aiming to cure.

I’d like to say I’ll power through it, but I know myself better than that. It was a fun experiment, but not one that appeared destined for success. We’ll see if I can at least continue blogging every day for a while longer, but without the writing prompts I have the issue of “What is there to say?”

I’m sure something will come to me, and I may revisit the prompts again after a refractory period, but for the moment, the train has parked at the station.


Gaming Anhedonia

I used to describe myself as a gamer. Every new release had me hyped up, excited, ready to tear into it.

I say “used to” because for the last six months or so that hasn’t been true at all. I can’t stay up half the night with deadly focus on the next mission in Hitman, I don’t drool in anticipation over the next release in the Yakuza series, I’m not twitching with anticipation over getting my hands on Far Cry 6.

I don’t know if it’s me or the games that changed. I know it was a slow process, that each thing released in the last year or so was a little more disappointing, a little more engaging. Longstanding series and new entrants alike failed to light a fire under me. Given that some things – like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla – haven’t changed significantly from previous entries, I rather think it’s me.

I don’t know what to do about it. Gaming is basically my last hobby. Without it, I feel like I’ll just float away with nothing left to do, and the idea scares me. “Get another hobby,” I hear you all say. I’ve run through most of the ones available to me in this state, and they all faded away already. I don’t know what to do.

It seems a silly thing, to be troubled just because I don’t like video games as much as I used to, but taken in greater context, it’s terrifying to me.



My family tree is a bloody mess. Between adoptions, marriages and one whole half of it being made up of giant question marks, I doubt I’ll ever know where I came from.

There’s those lovely DNA kits, of course, but today that’s the cause of my irritation with the whole thing. The other day, a new match popped up. One who does not show up anywhere in the maternal lineage. One who is listed as being a 1st or 2nd cousin. One no one in my family has heard of.

I was a little excited. This seemed like it could be the key to finally cracking into my mysterious father’s side of the tree… or at least shedding some light on which of the six stories about him, if any, are the truth.

Or… you know, not.

I’ve been left on “read” for several days after I tried to reach out to this person, which leaves me with the question of the day: Why on earth would you join a site that’s explicitly for tracking down and sorting out your relatives, upload your DNA so you can cross reference it to the world at large, and then just ignore a potential close relation? Seems rather counter intuitive to me.

Oh well. I am beginning to suspect the mystery of my father will never be solved. Perhaps I should get me a lightsaber, then. Make it more exciting, at least.


Writing Prompt: Dragon

What the Dragon wants, it gets. When it hungers, it feeds; when it tires, it sleeps; when it lusts, it satiates that lust; when it needs hands to grasp the things it cannot reach, it breeds them.

Few of those hands are ever aware of where they come from, or that they are being used by their unnatural, inhuman father. There are exceptions, of course. But the Dragon is careful who it chooses for its brood mothers. Those who dream of love, it seduces. Those who dream of violence, it violates. Few survive. Fewer remember. But the blood runs true, even in children who do not know or believe in their father.

Legions have come and gone, each cast away in turn. Some were too human, weak and puling and powerless, unable or unwilling to do the things their dark father demanded of them. Others were to full of pride and ambition drunk on the unnatural strengths of their maker. Each still served a purpose, as the Dragon learned and adjusted and cultivated family trees the way some would trim a bonsai.

Now it has what it has wanted all along. The perfect set of hands. Strong enough to contain the Dragon’s essence, its power. Dumb enough to not know what it was bred for.

The Dragon will walk again, and worlds will tremble.



You’d think I’d learn. Maybe I will, eventually. But I keep cheaping out on the tools of my trade, and it always turns around and bites me.

Some of you may have seen pics of the Incredible Deteriorating Keyboard (TM) over on Twitter; that was the most recent result of cheaping out, because I didn’t want to have to spend $300 on a keyboard. Instead I paid $150 and got a piece of crap that in less than six months was almost unusable.

Now I’m on the Apple Magic Keyboard, and all I can say is “Wow.” From setup to usage, it’s delightfully quick, responsive and seems sturdy enough. It has now been plastered with Supernatural stickers, as most of my belongings are, but I think it’s going to take pride of place for quite some time.

If any of you out there are looking at tools you need for your creative endeavors, I strongly urge to you spend a little extra for the good stuff, because trust me, every time I go a little less expensive, I end up spending more in the end because I have to repair or replace them.

All that aside, the Apple Magic Keyboard is awesome, and I really recommend it for anyone with an iPad. It’s pure sorcery, I think.


Writing Prompt: Box

The box has lain quiet in the deepest parts of the Atlantic Ocean almost since the dawn of time.

It seems simple enough, at first glance. A metallic rectangle, six feet by two feet, with little to distinguish it from the other detritus floating around it. But take a closer look and you might notice the engraving.

Dozens of capering figures, animals and designs that look like primitive drawings of fire ring both the top and bottom edge. Carved through across the middle is a series of panels depicting two men. In the first, they are holding each other’s shoulders. In the next they are bowing before a fire. Another panel over shows one carrying leaves and fruits towards the fire, while the other brother carries a lamb. The next shows the brother with the fruits walking away with a dejected expression. The last shows the two at each other’s throats, the brother who bore fruit with a blade in his hand.

Written across the front of the casket in hundreds of styles and tongues is what appears to be a single word with dozens of different spellings. “Cain. Caine. Cagn. Kain. Kaen.” A multitude more.

The box has lain here for millennia, untouched and safe – or perhaps the world was safe from it – but time and tide have worn away the edges, and now a single crack has formed at one corner. Through that crack an occasional bubble emerges, defying that the pressure and length of time it’s been submerged should have ensured nothing living or breathing could be inside and alive.

Inside, Cain lies waiting, knowing that soon enough his seal will be broken, and he will be free.


Beware the Binge

Netflix is a wonderful but terrible beast. So many shows and movies, all available with just a click of a button.

But it’s a trap. That little bar that pops up at the bottom when one episode or movie is over, scrolling past almost too fast to notice it, that serves up your next bit of entertainment? That’s the death of productivity, right there.

It’s hard to tear yourself away, especially when the system is purpose-built to keep you there.

On the bright side, it also means I don’t have to push anything when I’m sick and just want background noise while I doze and wait for the fever to go away. On the down side, I stay invested and don’t get anything else done.

Probably won’t be a writing prompt today – not because I’m binging Netflix, but because the fever it keeping coherent thought from taking root and being put to use – but hopefully tomorrow.

Until then, it’s Supernatural reruns for me, and bedrest.

Stay safe, everyone… but beware the binge.

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