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Melincholic Obtenebrous Dipolar Compression of (the) Spirit

If I had just discovered major depressive disorder in the 5th Century BC I think I would have ended up calling it ‘Melancholic Obtenebrous Dipolar Compression of the Spirit’ (MODCoS). While Melancholy is a good description of the every day world wearyness that one can experience with ‘general’ depression and is probably best summed up by Dürer’s engraving, entitled ‘Melencolia I‘ :

Melencolia I (B. 74; M., HOLL. 75) *engraving  *24 x 18.8 cm *1514


That’s ‘Melancholic’, what about ‘Obtenebrous Dipolar Compression of the Spirit’ ?

Tenebrous is simply shadowy, gloomy or dark. Obtenebration is the act of darkening, so by inference Obtenebrous is the adjective of darkening, a thinning similar to what the Hobbit, Bilbo says ;’like butter spread over too much bread’.

Dipolar – not bipolar as in ‘both’ or ‘twice’ (bi-) but di- (both) because when one is Melancholic and Obtenebrated one is almost entirely a different person. You can do (and say) things that you would otherwise never conceive of. You have a different frame of logic, which to the dipolar you is *perfectly* rational.

Compression of the Spirit – basically the Black Vise that I described before.

The Black Vise

Where then is my hope– who can see any hope for me? – Job 17:15

Depression is a funny thing. Funny as in queer (in the traditional, Tolkienesque sense). It is an emotional, spiritual illness as well as a mental one, and often a physical one. To this end there isn’t a medical-only cure. Unlike ‘the diabetes’ where you take insulin and it has a physical, biochemical effect on the body, depression medication doesn’t ‘fix’ the problem. It can help, like how clean water and bandages can help a deep wound, but without eventual stitches and antiseptics you will keep bleeding and get infection. Indeed many essays, poems, art and all sorts of creativity have been expressed to try to explain or at least convey the feeling. Churchill called it his ‘Black Dog’, something that would hound him and kept lingering, coming back to drag him away.

This is how I would describe depression using pictures from a popular collectable card game. In this instance the depressed person is the cute little doll thing:


Basically you’re stuck. You can’t escape. You move and pointy things poke you, you don’t move you get squished by pointy things. You need external help to free yourself.

It’s dark all around and seems hopeless. You’re tired from struggling, struggling hurts and makes you more tired and more weary of the world since it’s dark all around anyway. Even with help escaping the Black Vise is hard.

When you wiggle free you are crushed, battered and hurt and reduced to your core self. It’s still dark around but it’s not as oppressive. It’s like being that little match in the darkness. Finite, but not being extinguished just yet as it falls to the ground below the darkness.

To regrow you need to fall onto fertile soil, like family, friends, medication, counselling, love, comfort, reassurance. Something that keeps the ember of that match warm while it germinates in the darkness, while your inner fire gathers itself.

Let him sit alone in silence for the Lord has laid it on him. Let him bury his face in the dust—there may yet be hope – Lamentations 3 28/29

Then with a bit of light, you poke out a root, re-embedding yourself in Life. Anchoring might take time for not all seeds grow at the same rate. Some need more water than sunlight , some need more warmth than light – we are all different. But eventually you can extend a shoot with a little leaf and absorb all of that goodness that exists in life. Yes nighttime comes once a day, and some days are cloudier than others, but with all that nourishment you brush it off until you regrow and hopefully flower once more.



Ten Things of Thanks

1) More Cricket on Wedesnday – this time a ‘T20’ game – its more ‘showy’ than First class cricket. And lasts only about 3-4 hours and had a great time with LostInTheWoods. The game came down to the wire and Hampshire won by literally one point. It was extremely exciting and tense, excited that I didn’t go deaf from the shouting. I do think the bar screwed up and gave me ‘full fat’ (if you have the Diabetus read that as 50g of sugar!) but that kept me going until tea time! Great fun too. 🙂

2) More 40k with Neph. He won naturally. Crowning moment was when he got 4 sixes on 4 dice. Completely overkill! Still he enjoys it and I sneak maths and basic multiplication into it so that’s gotta be good right?

3) Nicotine. Useful in moderation for its mild stimulant (and consequent relaxing) effect. Functionally it is similar to caffeine.

4) Fairy Power Spray – great for stripping paint from old toy soliders. Doesn’t smell horrible or strip skin from your fingertips as much as dettol. Squirt on the offending paint job, leave it a while/overnight, old toothbrush and water = easy paint removal with no gunk or horrible smell.

5) Tea out with friends for a birthday. Lovely Italian food at Puchinni’s followed by ice-cream at Sprinkles.

6) New shiny toy solider army book – with fake scaly skin cover. It’s extremely childish but they are my first ever army as kid so I enjoy it a lot more than I probably should being a grown man with small plastic and pewter lizard men.


7) Lovely Lizzi. She was wearing pretty dresses today. 😉

8) Maple Pecan danish. Lovely wifey got me some when I was having a rough day due to my 2nd late night hypo in a row. They helped.

9) Sluggaz Club – had a good time playing 2 games and chatting with people equally as nerdy as myself!

10) Sleep. I’m finishing this being unable to sleep on Sunday morning. So I’m thankful for the sleep I have had throughout the week.


Life has been pretty good. My mood is stable, there’s things to look forward to. My favourite toy soldiers are getting an update…. carno

But somewhere in the background is this annoying factor about (almost) not being able to have children. I’ve done everything according to the book – we’re young, married, have space, open to children and yet none, whereas there’s other people in a similar situation can sleep around and get each other pregnant at the drop of a hat. Which is a *little* frustrating. More frustrating that they don’t attach the same value to ‘the marital act’ or the happy results of said act. I know I can’t make everyone think the way I do, but it is still a bit frustrating. I think it is my way of dealing with it. When I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes I got angry at people getting wildly drunk or smoking lots or otherwise abusing their body with no conseqences and here was me, at a healthy weight, studying hard, not genetic predisposition and BAM, pancreas explodes!. Now I have a pipe and just think it’s people’s own choice. The issue occurs when it hurts others.

I’m a bit tired today and we’re going to have the neice and neph over so I’m going to grab a nap.

10 Things of Thanks

10 things of thanks

1 Toy soldiers with neph this morning. He was looking at my ‘robot’ and likes robots. He wanted to play. So we played a stripped down version of the ‘affair that has been over half of my life’ aka Wargaming. He ended up liking my space marines more (since they were painted) Obviously the real rules would be too complex to seem sensible to me most of the time 5 year old Neph, but largely made up ad hoc 😉 We had fun.
2 Wifeys Birthday Steam Train – basically she got to DRIVE A STEAM TRAIN. Which she loved. I got to RIDE ON A STEAM TRAIN. Which I loved. It was a great day out and full of fun. I was glad to be a part of it and join in.

3 Yesterday, Wifey, Niece & Neph went to a local-ish Steam Rally. As noted on Wifeys page, they have been integral parts of both of our youths and upbringings since we were small. I love the smell of coal smoke, steam and freshly trampled grass that seems to invoke the ‘steam rally’ feel. The sight of machines that are in most cases over 100 years old (although steam power is thought to be about 2000 years old) being so able to do so much, and not using petrol or electricity is amazing. The thought of the innovation of the human race gives me hope for our future!

4 Return to Club – Feeling quite down I haven’t been painting many toy soldiers or playing anything. I also didn’t attend our wargaming club, partially not due to having the energy and partially due to mood and motivation.

5 Brain Meds – I’m feeling a lot better than a couple of weeks ago. Either I have undiagnosed bi-polar and I’m manic (time to start fires, take drugs and drive fast cars?) or the medical help is actually helping.(more likely!)

6 Supporting and loving Wifey – she’s brilliant. Basically. Read her blog. It explains her lovelyness.

7 My friend the lostinthewoods for lunch on Friday afternoon. We solved the worlds issues, talked about nerdology and such like. It was really nice. I did get a little sunburned but it was worth it!

8 The weather which hasn’t been too bad – while it’s been mostly hot and burning, it eased off on Saturday enough that I could bear it. The increased heat has made me hypoglycemic a couple of times though.

9 My new pipe, which I have only partaken of twice in a week, and has proven itself to be a nice medatitatve relaxing experience. It gives me some ‘me’ time, lets me watch the world go by and while increases some risks by 10% is helpful for the depression (Something to do with MAOI in the brain). It also makes me feel closer to my dad and late granda who both smoke(d) a pipe. Gandalf Approves


10 D&D – We played D&D on Wednesday with friends. It went quite well. I’m hoping it will pick up again this week when the coolness of the particular dungeon comes into its own. *insert evil laugh here*

Ten Things of Thankful


A Poem

In goes the fang

Sharp precise incision

Out comes the liquid

The elixir of my life

The skin hardly stings

As the accursed takes it in

All the units necessary

To fuel another night

It is dead inside

The Pancreas.

What you thought it was going to be some emo vampire poem *trollface*

10 Stupidly Expensive Things Whot I Want + TTOT

This is total fantasy and most of these items are completely pointless and/or impractical, e.g. I cannot ride a motorcylce, play a harp or would ever use 1000 toy soldiers!

1) A Harp ££


How can wood and strings be that expensive?

2) A HD Cruiser Motorcycle £££,£££,£££,£££


Surely a Vespa would do?

3) A Full Blood Angels Space Marine Chapter £££,£££,£££,£

We are the Emperors Angels of Death… 










4) ..and someone to paint it £££,£££ to £££,£££,£££

5) Nikon Microscope £££,£££,££

This is small. But the one over there is far away.

6) An 18-200 VRII AF-S lens for aNikon Camera. .5£

AF-S DX VR 18-200mm f3.5/5.6 IF ED

7) A unicorn – this would require genetic manipulation of rhino and horse DNA in a country with few ethics. I would probably look more like a Ki-rin than a Auropean unicorn. £££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££,£££ +

8) New serverboard based computer with 3 monitors and the power to crack government encryption in 15 years! Liquid Nitrogen Cooled and overclocked to the max. Only has solitaire and windows 95 installed on it though.

Replace NASA with ‘Evil Overlord Inc.’ and it would be accurate!

9) Sub-dermal CGMS, Insulin Pump and wearable computer all synchronised in a non-clunky way to work as an artificial pancreas – £££,£££,£££

It’s actually a really old idea…

10)To own games-workshop and nintendo. GW is a bit more viable being only ~48X££££££, whereas nintendo approximatly 520x times their worth! Though I guess for majority shares I could roughly halve that value!

They’re actually not that bad despite what the internet nerdrage claims.

They are actually worse than the fanbase says…


Ok now to the wifey bit; 10 things of thanks. This is for the week just gone.

1 – Painkillers, my left back/shoulder/leg/head has been acting up again. They work. Woo!

2 – Niece & Neph who were largely well behaved and brought joy to my heart during their sleep over, who accompanied me, no whining, to the play park so wifey could sleep on and were just generally cute and nice company, if not a *little* trying at times.

3 – Church youth-work BBQ thing. Though I’m finding religion/God/church hard at the moment it was good and worthwhile going to. It was nice relaxing craic.

4 – Nice locum doctor – I gets me brain medicine on national ‘elf!

5 – Baldur’s Gate II – A really really oldschool computer RPG that I’ve played though moreso than any other game. The array of choices and options is quite staggering and I’ve been replaying it recently. If you’re a geek get it on!


6 – Paints – I dabbled with my watercolours which I found to be quite relaxing and made some prop-y bits for my D&D game which will hopefully resume on Tuesday after a 3 week hiatus due to absence and illnesses all round.

7 – Sunshine. I don’t like the heat but I do like the light and actually today isn’t too oppressive.

8 – Pepsi Max, I looooove Pepsi Max, and I’ve had lots of it this past couple of days and it has helped me keep chugging along. That probably means I’m addicted but as long as my pepsi-sugar readings (as opposed to blood sugar readings) are fine then I have nothing to complain about. THERE’S BLOOD IN MY PEPSI-STREAM!

9 – For this geeky cartoon which made me really happy.

10 – Wifey, for being ultra-supportive while I was being quite down and chivvied me along to the doctor and is just generally amazing. And lovely. And bringer of chocolate. And hugs. And Tea. And all sorts of lovelyness.


Ten Things of Thankful

Wifey Test

My wife has an uber blog

I’m testing this for her blog:


Ten Things of Thankful

D&D House Rules

Most RPGs tend to have house rules – a tweak on the ‘rules as written’, generally adopted because   no decent rules system could possibly cover the almost infinite things that any player may think of doing. (If the system does cover everything I would hazard a guess that it’s not fun to play and overly complex!) Some are basically house ‘rulings’ on ambiguous rules or occurrences. Others are actually new (or modified) rules.

There’s 2 ‘house rules’ that I use in D&D and both involve action points. To summarise – an action point gives the player an extra standard action that turn. Generally only one can be used per battle/encounter and the players get 1 action point for every 2 encounters they do. They cannot be saved between days. (resetting to 1)

Firstly I allow more than 1 to be used per battle – but no more than 1 per player turn, the reasons for this are simply that it penalises saving – basically you start with one, get another one after your finished 3rd 5th and 7th (and 9th and 11th ….) encounters. But if you can only use 1 per encounter you basically have to use your initial action point during the 1st or 2nd encounter then use the extra one in the 3rd or 4th and so on. Otherwise they’ll start to accumulate and you can’t use them.   As the encounters go on you’re more likely to run out of other resources (powers, healing surgers item uses etc) and thus going to want to rest – so saving isn’t a good idea. You might be dead and not get to the next encounter to spend that action point you’ve saved. Bascially carpe diem – use them early and often.

To avoid this punishment and to encourage dynamic heroism I allow more than 1 per battle.

The second involves action points and another limited resource – daily powers. These are usually the battle changers – if they hit. Since they are generally used on the toughest enemies they are less likely to hit than a regular attack on a regular pleb. It’s a bit disappointing as a player when your uber daily you’ve saved and not blown misses and makes little difference than if you’d used a good at will or encounter.

Natural 1

So to this end (before rolling damage) if a player totally misses with a daily they can spend an action point to re-roll to hit. And yes they can use 2 action points in a turn in this way – 1 to use the extra action to take a daily and then spend one to re-roll. So in short saving a little is generally worth it in my games compared to Rules As Written (RAW)

Needless to say this didn’t just spring up overnight, it is the result of sucky moments and me feeling sorry for my players as well as cold hard maths.


I’m still tinkering with the settings but this is going to be my webpage/blog about various RPGs (D&D, Rogue Trader and maybe Deathwatch), wargaming (40k maybe some malifaux and some firestorm armada) and miscellaneous geekery – board games, some tech stuff, my messing about with pokémon and of course – SCIENCE!