It doesn’t Woof

I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning
I was much too far out all of my life
And not waving but drowning
– Stevie Smith

I have had depression for many years, the first symptoms being in my teens. I have my suspicions as to why but I don’t want my mind to go there. Pointless, what was done cannot be undone.

I know of ‘the black dog‘ but I never associated depression with a dog. I view depression as a multi-tentacled beast which slowly, steathily reaches through my mind, carefully and efficiently strangling those parts of my mind that allow me pleasure, taste, motivation and all things good. The descent into what I can only describe as just plain existing is subtle, each strangulation unnoticed in itself until the day I wake and do not want to move, where the only sensation that can break through is pain.

My depression is chronic. Medication works until then, for reasons I do not know, it stops. The tentacles return.

You would think that after so long I would see it, feel it, know it but I honestly do not.

Yesterday though I met the dog


I had – for once – a good week at work. On Sunday I reviewed what I had done for the week and was genuinely pleased. I need to work at being better at work after 2019 and last week hit a good spot. I wasn’t high fiving myself but I was content, happy, back in the groove I want to be in.
Nothing later that day was out of the ordinary. All normal, all stable, all okay.

While sleeping Sunday night that black dog arrived

Everyone wakes up at some point, sees the time and wants that day to be cancelled. I’d bet most of those are related to alcohol, late nights and OMG I DID WHAT?
I get it, done that too.

This was – and still is – different
No late, no drink, no shame
Stop the world I want to get off
Close eyes, stay still, let it pass

I was due to work though, so I did
The dog stayed
Work was really hard to get through

The dog is still here now
And I don’t know when it will go
I don’t know how to make it go

I’ve had down days as we all do, but I can’t recall ever feeling this way this fast and this completely

If I could I would lie down, close my eyes and curl up

Existing is hard

In a real dark night of the soul it is always three o’clock in the morning
– F. Scott Fitzgerald

On Gaming

When I was younger I played video games because I enjoyed them. I loved the Worlds, the high scoring, the challenges, the “one more go” with Bosses

Then I moved to enjoying two player games with Jacqui. Lemmings wasn’t two player but hey she nagged from the back seat. Mario Kart was and we had many many races on the N64 decorating the landscape with bananas. Toejam & Earl was wonderful and funny. Taking turns playing Castle of Illusion. There were quite a few games which we enjoyed playing together.

I remember playing SSX Tricky and Jacqui calling out for the volume to be turned down because of the repeated “It’s tricky to rock a rhyme, to rock a rhyme that’s right on time It’s Tricky…”
but hey, I was that good. How good? Platinum everything, so yeah.

Gaming moved into escapism. It had been something I’d get lost into before – I came home from a Late shift once, 10pm and started playing Shining In The Darkness on the Megadrive. When I remembered to look at the time it was 4am, so I kept playing til 6, had a shower and went to work at 6:15am for the Early shift.
FF VII was a whole new world and my girls will associate that fight music with where we lived and that time.

Caring is hard. It’s more than 24/7. Gaming became a way to switch off my head. Go elsewhere while sitting in the same place.

I remember completing the last action in Fallout 3 and feeling genuinely sad that I had completed the game – so I loaded the last save and stayed well away from that location.
Skyrim captured me completely. I would say “SSHHH!!” to anyone disturbing me as my Stealth Archer crept through dark passageways.
Many other games captured my attention by the hour.

Jacqui died.

For quite some time it felt wrong to be happy, to escape.
My gaming hours dropped to zero.
I can remember two games I played in 2019. Breakneck (because it was an easy daily no-brainer) and Trine (because Wes and I recently completed it in one go).

I have 7500+ games on Steam. I have a heap on GOG, Itch, Epic, Origin, Uplay, Humble and more, but I’m not playing them.


I think part of it is that I don’t want to escape from my life into a fantasy game experience. What I want is to escape from my life into a real life experience.

The combination of working from home for 16+ years along with the caring role I had closed off every social connection I had. (That’s actual social, not those stupid buttons).

A few years ago if you had asked me if gaming was part of the solution or part of the problem, I would have replied solution.
Now .. it is not.

I am at the point where I am considering selling all my game accounts. Yeah it’s against the rules but rules are there to be broken.

I just don’t want to play any more.

Session 3 – left calf

Two more hours. The images are left calf back after the drawing, then outined. The following two are left calf outside in pen then outlined.

I said I’d forgotten how much tattooing my calf felt. It took only a couple of minutes for the reminder to kick in.
All the touched area now feel like a nasty burn. Still, shouldn’t be touching that again for 2-3 weeks so it’s got time to settle.

Session 2 – left arm

A few more hours under the needle today.

and now I feel my usual post-session crap. No endorphin rush here, has never happened after a tattoo. Only happened after the suspension.

Tomorrow the left calf sleeve is started and each Thursday for some time will rotate between calf / lower left arm / upper left arm.

New Ink decided

Tomorrow I’m booked in all day with Neil at Inkling. Going to complete my left arm and turn what is currently about 40% coverage into a full sleeve with no negative space.
The following Thursday – and maybe a couple after that – will be a complete sleeve on my left calf (is it still called a sleeve if it’s on the leg?). Design will be 100% anatomical with the images coming from the lithographs in this Atlas of Human Anatomy. So muscles, tendons, veins and varying depths across the back of the calf. No bone though – that’s covered on my right leg.
Rightleg. I dislike black ink but I’ll have to concede some use of grey for delineation.
And I’ll get the orange semi-colon on my right hand changed to green (hopefully).

Yes, I have forgotten how much my right leg hurt and I’m not sure how my shin will react to a needle, but hey, needs to be done.

I’d really like the back half on my neck done. Again anatomical – on the left starting with muscle moving through to grey vertebrae on the right. But I have this thing that I want to be able to see my tattoos. I know I could have some amazing anatomical work – or other art – on the biggest canvas I have but if I can’t see it? Maybe if I run out of space on the front. And neck? So visible? I’m old, I’m in my last job so what the hell – it’s only skin.

Who sent me something?


A small – but perfectly formed – package arrived in the mail today, and I have no clue who sent it.

I’m not going to describe it because … well, I don’t have to. What I will say though is that this is the most thoughtful and deeply personal gift I think I have ever recieved.

Whoever you are, let me know? That you thought of me, chose this and sent it is amazing. You are amazing. Thank you.

A Year of Firsts

I realised earlier today that I’ve completed my ‘year of firsts’ – a year of everything happening without Jacqui. The Widower’s groups I read said this would be the hardest. A widow I met though said the first five years were the hardest. I suppose the truth is somewhere inbetween.

2019, apart from bring the saddest year of my life, has taught me a lot.

It showed how amazing Automattic has been. They have gone over and above what I think any other company would have done. HR, my team lead Raul and my team have all been there, and at the Grand Meetup two people in particular, Alicia and Chrissie, help me get through what I found to be a very difficult time.

It also showed me a lot about people personally. Pointless saying any more here about that.

Twitter. When did I leave twitter? No clue, don’t miss it.
Facebook. Very happy to have left the lizard’s domain.
Tumblr. Sad to have left there but it had to happen.
Both of those domains are comprehensively blocked here


What would I like from 2020?

A holiday would be nice. Have not had a proper holiday in over 11 years. Doubt it will happen though as going away on my own I would not enjoy.

Sorting the house out some more, but that’s money and ideas needed.

To see my youngest get married next November.

There is one more item, more of a hope. But that’s for me and a very few to know and know why.


Biggus D*ckus


Stan: I want to have babies.
Reg: You want to have babies?!?!
Stan: It’s every man’s right to have babies if he wants them.
Reg: But … you can’t HAVE babies!
Stan: Don’t you oppress me!
Reg: I’m not oppressing you, Stan. You haven’t got a womb! Where’s the foetus gonna gestate? You gonna keep it in a box?

Christian-Schiffer is offended.

Santa Hat on vscode insiders and pushing of religion is very offensive to me #87268

Screenshot: Screenshot 2019 12 19 at 13 38 02

Text: “The Santa Hat on vscode insiders and pushing of religion is very offensive to me, additionally xmas has cost millions of Jews their lives over the centuries, yet even if that was not the case, pushing religious symbols as part of a product update is completely unacceptable. Please remove it immediately and make it your top priority. To me this is almost equally offensive as a swastika.”

Posting as a FYI should you ever encounter this … organism.


reddit has some thoughts
Santa Schiffer