Because, well, reasons, I was doing some random web searching. I think I started out looking for information on the Hussite Wars, as you do, and ended up on one of my periodic wanderings about that Internet place.
And what should I come across, but some strangely familiar text.
A website that seems to have something to do with fencing - though I was a bit baffled by the content - is currently using text lifted from my old website, with some unrelated photos added. Why they would want to do this I'm not sure - the University self-defence class kinda closed down nearly a decade ago, and in any case my 'about the class' article probably isn't all that relevant to whatever this site was supposed to be about. Likewise my syllabus was kinda unique, so I'm not sure why someone else who certainly isn't teaching it would want it on their website.
But then they do have articles like 'does fencing cause pimples' (yes, really, I did not make that up) and 'how to stay safe at a party'. Their advice includes the suggestion that you should learn a good self defence system, like fencing.
Clearly I go to the wrong parties....
Anyway, this is one of the stranger things I encountered in my wanderings. 'Are you ready for a duck?' (a well-intentioned and informative site for people thinking of getting a duck as a pet) pales by comparison.
In the past couple of weeks, I have pretty much had All The Jobs come in. Mongoose have provided a list of layout deadlines that includes a LOT of projects, Amber have commissioned another book too. And I got an interesting message from a contact in the TV sector as well. Not sure where that one might lead.
I've also parted company with the SDF after 16 years or so. Given the circumstances a rant is tempting, but I'm trying not to go there. Prior contacts from that world are welcome to contact me about it, in which case I may venture an opinion or two.
At the present time I'm working on The Traveller Companion for Mongoose plus another project for them. I've just finished the first draft of a small book for Amber, so once the editorial comments come back I'll finish that off.
Today's project was a fairly radical reorganisation of the website and some updates. Also the removal of some material that is no longer relevant since my departure from the Self Defence Federation.
It looks like I managed to go an entire year without posting to my so-called blog.
In that year I did create the kindle editions as planned, and took some of them down again to publish through Antimony Sun instead. Not sure how much of a success that constitutes.....
I'm going to post this here to keep myself honest. Otherwise this might slide to the back burner and thence off the stove.
My plan for 2015 is to produce kindle editions of some of my older books whose rights have reverted to me.
Some of the reversions were amicable or mundane - eg for In Glory Die the publishing contract came to the end of its 10-year run. Others, not so much - eg the poeple who published Behind the Throne went silent and never paid me anything, so I've claimed the rights back.
Anyway, plan is to rework these titles and others, and put them out for the Kindle. Let's see how that goes....
Apparently, I don't understand APR, so Barclays has helpfully introduced a new system to help me calculate what my overdraft will cost me. By some incredible coincidence, this also results in me paying three times as much for my overdraft.
Maybe those of us who do understand APR can stay with the old system? No? Okay, then, but even people who can't understand APR can figure out that they're now paying far more. If Barclays were honest and just said they wanted more money from us, that would be more acceptable than the polite falsehoods they're putting forth about why they've made these changes.
Nothing I do can about it, most likely, except maybe consider moving to myother account at a different bank. And never buying any sort of financial services from Barlcays, ever again.
I wonder what this latest piece of rapacious gouging is going to cost Barclays in the long run?
This summer's fencing activities started with SWASH, which was smaller than in previous years due to timing changes forced by the Royal Armouries' refurbishment programme.
Despite (or perhaps because of) lower attendance, SWASH 2014 was a really excellent event. With smaller classes and a less crowded freeplay area, there was more time to play and more contact with instructors when learning.
I was a marshal for much of the event. You could tell when I was a marshal because I had a marshal's hat (well, a vaguely Western looking hat with a sherrif's badge on it). I was a marshal for the rapier, backsword and sabre/smallsword tourneys and at various times in between. The rest of the time I was... well... there.
The new tournament format resulted in a high standard of entries, and numerous bouts for those involved. What we saw was some excellent fencing (or fighting, in some cases) and hotly contested bouts that remained gentlemanly. Competitors were in my opinion exemplary in their fair play and courtesy... notably in the area of acknowledging or refusing to accept hits.
The backsword event in particular involved the marshals having to run around a lot, which certain people seemed to find amusing. The competitors got a rest between running marathons with swords; the marshals had to do it constantly. This more than anything else explains why I was sober yet comatose by 10PM on Sunday night...
I was able to attend some classes during SWASH, notably a gutter-fighting class based around Sykes-Fairbairn armed and unarmed combat and a horrifically exhausting smallsword class courtesy of Phil Crawley.
Yes. Smallsword, exhausting. Same sentence.
Damn you, Phil...!
Couple of weeks later and I'm in Edinburgh assessing IL1 candidates along with Ian MacIntyre and Phil again. Interestingly, the two we'd failed in Lincoln were exceptionally good this time around, which proves the importance of a high bar. Overall standard was pretty decent to very good, and we established that Ian should indeed be installed as Regional Assessor for Scotland.
Sunday saw Ian horribly discommoded (or maybe just commoded, if that's a real word) by some kind of wholemeal-derived poison masquerading as beer, leaving me and Phil to play in the park while he nursed his misery away from civilised folk.
Despite this, the overwhelming conclusion to be drawn from the weekend, if perhaps one influenced by a certain amount of whisky, is that those involved in running the assessment weekend do indeed deserve the respect of the fencing community. I seem to recall the phrase 'eminent as fuck' was used at one point, summing it all up in suitably Scottish style.
Suddenly it's July 2014. Not sure how or when that happened...
In the past few weeks I've finally finished the Celts books for Amber and the Liftoff! project for 13Mann. So now I can get to work on 'The Swordie Book' for Amberley and some more Call of Cthulhu material for Cubicle 7.
I've repeatedly decided to leave the games industry behind, but almost inevitably someone then offers me money to do some work for them. I like money, even if it's game-industry rates, so it's one more project then I'm out.
These days I'm more selective than previously about who I work for - largely due to the number of clients who have decided not to give me money after all. There's also the fact that in the past I've given good ideas to a client, so to speak, for little or no gain. I'm reluctant to waste good creativity these days, so I'm asking a bit more from the client. We'll start with paying on time - if you can manage that then you'll have my full attention.
On a related note, I had hoped (due to information from a third party) that there might be some resolution of the QLI issue. Turns out not to be the case. The short version is that I was never paid for most of the work I did for QLI, and I have records of an agreement with FFE, the overall license holder, that this work was first-rights-only. However, with the collapse of QLI, rights have reverted to FFE... only QLI never owned those rights because they didn't pay me.
No resolution seems possible at this stage.
The moral of this sad tale is that no matter how enthusiastic you are, no matter if you're working with a friend, get a contract. I worked on a handshake with someone I had reason to trust, and I lost out badly. Truthfully, I did know better but I allowed myself to be over-enthusiastic and put aside common sense.
A little while ago I agreed with Far Future Enterprises that I'd do a line of adventures and supplements for T5. This has not been mentioned elsewhere, so it'll be interesting to see how long the news takes to leak out (if ever).
Anyway, Adventure 1: Kinunir Down is done, and Adventure 2: Research Station Chamax is underway. I've also done a big adventure/sourcebook called Tales of the 4518th, which is currently being edited.
Despite a self-inflicted back injury (I picked up a sock and banjoed myself good and proper), I managed to be at the inaugural seminar for the new Goshin Jutsu system along with all the other Regional Training Officers and of course Dave Turton.
Quite a mix of people on the course, from ASMAA 'faithful' to karate practitioners. Looks like we made a very decent start, though it may have been a bit optimisitc to try to teach all that material on one seminar.
Nobody can claim they didn't get their money's worth though!