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I didn’t like my Dad. Most of the time he was an abusive alcoholic. But I did learn some important, helpful lessons from him. One of them was the joy of reading.

Dad read voraciously. He spent half my childhood on the couch, his nose in a book and his gigantic, dual-volume Reader’s Digest dictionary close at hand. Reading was the one thing he approved of, that he wouldn’t tease me or yell at me for doing, so I read as much as possible.

For him it was Wilbur Smith and Ken Follett and Edward Rutherford. He liked historical fiction…

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The lawn looks wonderful today.

And you better stay off it.

I’m 41 years old. I’ve been gaming since the eighties. Atari, Commodore 64 (long live Zork!), NES: you get the idea.

I’ve seen a lot of change in the industry, in how games are made, marketed, and played. After thirty five years of gaming, I’ve come to a get-off-my-lawn truth about the state of video games in 2021:

It sucks.

Games-as-service, seasonal models, microtransactions…bah! It’s all junk that’s reduced the quality of games and destroyed once noble companies.

*hikes up suspenders and glares at lawn*

In my day, publishers…

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“This attack won’t bring my man back, the pastor right. But since I popped I know my man got the drop in the afterlife.”

It’s a cold November night in New York, 1993. Snow devils swirl and chase each other over the sidewalk. The wind is gusty and bitter.

The neighbourhood is empty.

No one with any common sense is out after dark.

A man hunches in his coat as he walks up the street, pulls the fabric close to ward off the chill. …

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I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a child.

I read voraciously from an early age and was naturally adept at putting words together. From kindergarten to university teachers and professors would consistently present my stories and essays to the rest of the class.

I wish I was encouraged beyond that natural ability, to work at and practice writing. I wish someone had cared enough about me to foster that ability.

Alas, that wasn’t the environment I grew up in.

I was emotionally abused. I had an unstable father who took out his moods on me. I was…

Musings on a beloved company I no longer recognize

Haunting. From the second the game boots up, that’s the feeling. I wander through an occupied city void of human life. Its streets are filled with hostile, intelligent aliens intent on hunting me down and destroying humanity.

Lessons from 40 years of living with bipolar disorder

Image from Pixabay

Laura looks at the clock. She’s been at the library for the last three hours. She’s prepped for her psych exam, finished her Classics assignment, and spent a half hour wandering aimlessly through the aisles. There’s nothing left for her to do. She can’t stall anymore.

She has to go home.

She sighs and packs up her books. She catches the bus. She gets more nervous the closer she gets to her stop.

The bus grinds to a halt with a squeak and a hiss of the brakes. She gets off and pauses as the bus moves on, wishing she…

How to handle a slip up after a period of sobriety

Photo by Mantas Hesthaven on Unsplash

Content Warning: Drug Abuse

In 2007, I was committed to a mental institution. I was suffering from severe depression, bipolar disorder, and addiction.

My days spent inside were my first sober ones in over a decade. I spent the following two years clean and medicated. My life was markedly different, and my mental health began a slow recovery.

Then I relapsed.

For me, it was the end of the world. I looked at it as the destruction of my sobriety, as a failure, as a betrayal of my loved ones. It shattered my fragile confidence and self-esteem.

Since then, I’ve…

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Back when I was young and peerless at wasting my time, I frequented George R. R. Martin’s Not A Blog. I haven’t been there in a decade or so but when I was there, George would lavish thousands and thousands of words on whatever tickled his fancy: politics, geothermal energy, cheezies, and sometimes television. (In fact, he spent so much time writing his Not A Blog that people angrily wondered if he’d finish A Song of Ice and Fire at all.)

Anyway, while praising Melinda M. Snodgrass, who was working on Wild Cards — a series curated by George that…

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I’m the father of two boys, age ten and three. The oldest is my stepson, the youngest is biological. I love them both with all my heart.

Today my oldest, Gordon, was supposed to clean his room. He lied about it so he could play on his computer. When I started explaining to him what he did and how lying is what saddens my wife and I the most, he became angry. He lunged at me with his fists balled up and for a second I thought he was going to hit me.

For a second he was.

There’s a…

Peter G. Penton

Grew up in Tilting, Newfoundland. Father. Reader. MUN veteran. Ex-smoker. Mental illness survivor.

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