Bloody Stubborn

2014 was a bad year. It’s a year I find too painful to think about.

In December 2014, having had such a rough time, I decided to go into 2015 with a stubborn resolve. To make the best of things.

The world got worse, again, this year. A relentless downward slide with monumental forces pushing it deeper and deeper.

I tried to make the best of things. I spent my year keeping my friends and family close. I pushed as hard as I could to have the best time I could, even if it all seemed at times as if the world was collapsing around all of us.

I can say, with certainty, that I wasn’t in the place I was last year. I know a lot of my friends are, though. And everything’s more precarious for everyone.

I feel like we’re all standing on the precipice of something. What’s over it… is not something any of us humans want to find out. There’s enough of the bastards trying to push us over.

I’m bloody stubborn, though. It’s not my place to say, but I’d like to think it’s not selfish stubbornness. I want to be stubborn for all the people I love.

Happy new year, everyone.

██████████

Today I visited the █████ █████.

I’d been waiting a long time for this ████ to come. And it was pretty hard to see that ████ █████ ██ ████ █████, but I think it’s all worked out by now.

█████ was there. ██ sat, and just looked at each other for a while. My eyes kept filling, but I didn’t know why.

Nothing felt right. Not in the sense of feeling sad, but things were… off.

███ had ███ █████, the taps didn’t work properly, and I ended up drying my eyes on the paper towels.

What’s worse, I couldn’t find anyone else.

It was just me and █████.

███ told me that I shouldn’t have come. Yet I’m not sure if I could have survived the morning if I hadn’t.

███ told me to run.

The ████ noises I heard in the background since I arrived at the █████ █████ were almost deafening now. My time was up. I calmly walked into the corridor, whacked the emergency exit button, and legged it.

████████ ████████ ███ ██████ █████ ████████ ██████ ████ ██. I bled, a lot, but I got away. Problem is, I bled a lot, so they have my █████. And because I was ██████ by one of them, the wounds are ███████ ██.

We live in a world of them, now, and have done for a long time. And soon, █ ████ ██ ███████ ████.

I’ll survive.

Friends of Fame

I know a lot of people in many walks of life. Some of them can be considered to be famous.

Some I met through mutual interests. Some of them I got to know through business. Some of them I’ve known since childhood. Some were already famous when I met them.

As they grow more and more well-known over the years, it becomes necessary for them to have a public face, switched on at a moment’s notice, and in the most unlikeliest of situations. People look up to them. Complete strangers approach them with reverence, and an often decently-disguised, but recognisable hint of jealousy.

This is a very strange thing to watch from the sidelines. It’s especially strange to be drawn into it, when you’re recognised as a ‘friend of the famous’. Suddenly, someone wants to be your friend very, very much, and you know why they do, and you know that they hope you won’t catch on.

I completely understand why they do this, though.

I am incredibly lucky and privileged to be able to count so many people who I personally admire and look up to, as friends.

But I know that if I’d met any of them later than I did, I could have never been anything to them, other than just another fan, or a social climber. Or worse. These assumptions have nothing to do with them. It’s to do with me, and others, and the cult of the celebrity that we have as a society, that means all of these wonderful people have to be on their guard at all times.

And as a friend of the famous, as much as it truly pains me, I have to be on my guard too.

The Monster Under Your Bed

Terry was wide awake, his eyes staring up at the ceiling. He’d heard a particular noise. A very familiar noise.

The sky outside clouded over, and the moonlight pooling on the bedsheets dried up. The room was dark. Steadily, the monster rose up from the end of his bed, darkening the room even more.

Two red eyes and a pitch-black silhouette was all that Terry could see of the beast. That noise, that deep, growling noise, reverberated throughout the room.

Terry had been going through this nearly every night for 8 years. And every night, he’d shrink into his bedsheets, shivering in fear, thinking that this time — THIS time — would be the time that the monster would finally put him out of his misery.

But it had been 8 years. And over time, the fear in Terry’s chest had lessened, and he began to think about his situation. Here was a terrifying creature, rising from the foot of his bed every night.

Sometimes it’d step towards him, slowly, its deep silhouette gradually sucking out the light surrounding it. The sheer dread, the constant threat, would leave Terry sobbing in anguish.

Sometimes it would be everywhere, the pitch black rising quickly, and Terry would wake up suddenly and realise that the dark creature had arrived.

But each and every night, Terry would fall asleep, unable to keep his eyes open for a single moment longer. And as he lost consciousness, there would be a deep, growling voice.

“Not tonight,” it would say.

But tonight, Terry wanted it to be different. He’d been living in fear for 8 years.

He took a deep breath, and rose up. He pushed aside his blankets, and pulled himself to the end of his bed.

Exhale.

Inhale.

Terry looked up. Staring into the consuming darkness, he could just about discern a hint of sharp, white teeth.

Here we go.

He felt his way around the silhouette, and clasped his hands around what he assumed to be the creature’s back. Soft skin and light fur met his touch. He buried his face into the shadow, and let the warmth of the creature wash over him.

Terry was fully expecting this to be the last thing he ever did. So when a clawed limb touched his back, he froze, anticipating the end.

Then, the creature placed another arm on his back, and in a single action, pulled him upwards, delivering a near-crushing hug.

The monster whispered:

“Thank you.”

TwineTubular – Twine macro for a YouTube background video

I’ve been quietly playing about with Twine recently. While working on something completely unrelated, I happened across this jQuery plugin called Tubular. I immediately thought it would be a cool thing to use in Twine games, after seeing how Porpentine has pulled off spectacular usage of YouTube-sourced audio in her games.

So I spent what turned out to be an entire sleepless night hacking jQuery and a jQuery plugin into the form of a Twine macro.

I have only tested this on the default Sugarcane template in Firefox 21 and Chrome 27. I can’t really provide any support, as I have no time to do so.

Here it is. Hope you’ll all get some use out of it.

Here’s a demo.

Update 2013-05-27: You can now use multiple videos in a single game (this didn’t work before as the plugin wasn’t cleaning up properly upon termination). You can now also use the audio from the YouTube video when you specify another argument.

After Posterous

Now that Posterous is leaving the building, I have moved this space to WordPress.com and a new domain name, jonathanprior.com. I’ve done this so I don’t need to fiddle around with updating a WordPress install which I’ll likely leave fallow for months to years on end.

And no, I still don’t really have time to blog. Every once in a while, though, I’ll churn out something. But my current attitude towards blogging hasn’t really changed.