Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Safe Spaces


              A couple years ago I was presenting to a group in a state facility.  Half way through my spiel, the building went into an active shooter drill.  We squished into a closet, closed the door, and waited for the all-clear.  Based on the jokes made at the time, I think I was the only person upset with our defenseless tactics.  The door was not locked.  We were just hoping that the dice didn’t come up snake eyes.  I found out later that the only person in the building with a gun was the head of security and he was required to keep it locked in his office.

              Later that year I was called into jury duty.  I got there already having stripped my pockets of pepper spray, pocket knife, bottle opener, and anything I thought could be even mildly objectionable.  I passed through the metal detector and earned a wand check because I always forget my cane is a no-no.  The lone security guard checked me in and whisked me off for processing for my civic duty.  There was nothing stopping someone from walking in—no security barrier—just a single rent-a-cop.

              A couple years later I had to request a replacement social security card.  I entered the Federal building and found my way to the appropriate floor.  Upon entering the waiting area, I was greeted by a Federal police officer.  She was kind enough to walk me to registration.  In doing so she made me walk on her left side (not my normal practice) so her gun hand was free.  I could feel the contours of the body armor vest under the shoulder she graciously offered as we walked to my seat.  I remember thinking that here at least was someone taking security seriously.  Of course, I had to strip down all my normal less lethal gear before that trip and the guard was in the office not at the building entrance.

              A couple weeks ago I had the pleasure of touring my employer’s Federal counterpart in DC.  By this time, I was used to the normal restrictions—so I divested myself of my usual panoply the previous evening.  As I went through the metal detector, the guard made me go through my pockets again.  They saw my key-bar which looks like a pocket knife.  After I explained that I was carrying an innovative keyring and not a potentially deadly universal multitool, I was cleared, badged, identified, and eventually given the run of the building.  Especially given the recent shootings, I was not encouraged.  What happened if someone chose not to go through the metal detector and went on a rampage?  That was exactly what happened in the DC Navy Yard shooting—and the poor security greeter was the first targeted.

              I am committed to the right to keep and bare arms as well as the essential right to self-defense.  Nobody should be forced to take up the tools of protection if they do not wish but I feel strongly that those who do not wish to do so should not render the rest of us defenseless either.  Consider that National police and emergency response times vary from ten minutes to an hour or more depending on region and volume.  For example, yesterday my county ran out of ambulances due to the number of snow-related accidents.  Consider also that most of the recent active shooter events have played out in less than the amount of time it takes police to respond in the first place.  In the case of the Florida school shooting there was an armed school resource officer on premises as well as several nearby sheriff’s deputies.  They stood back and waited while the shooter went about is grizzly business.  In the pulse nightclub shooting, the police waited hours to confront the shooter while many victims died from their wounds.  Yesterday a Maryland student took a gun to school and shot two classmates before being shot by a proactive school resource officer.  Sometimes emergency response is a hard counter to those up to no-good and sometimes not.

              In wrestling with this issue, I am reminded of Tommy by Rudyard Kipling:


“I went into a public-‘ouse to get a pint o’beer,
The publican ‘e up an’ sez, “We serve no red-coats here.”
The girls be’ind the bar they laughed an’ giggled fit to die,

O makin’ mock o’ uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an’ they’re starvation cheap;
An’ hustlin’ drunken sodgers when they’re goin’ large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin’ in full kit.”


Kipling’s rhyme is pertinent despite its age.  Soldiers returning from Vietnam, Korea, and world war II felt the lash of public opinion despite standing in harm’s way at their country’s behest.  I do not pretend to such exalted company.  I do feel society would rather denigrate me for my unwillingness to become a victim than celebrate me for my clean record and moderate track record though.  “He’s one of those gun people—you know, one of those.”

            The end result of all this security theatre is that I have to stand outside my employer’s building in the middle of Baltimore, where there was a shooting a couple months ago, stepping over homeless, across from some abandoned buildings used for drug peddling, with nothing more than a container of pepper spray, strong language, and the hope that the rent-a-cop shows up soon to let me in.  I routinely have to divest myself of basic tools like pen-knives because it makes someone somewhere “feel” better.  I have been followed many times by unstable people from the midsummer mitten wearing profit who followed my wife and me onto a cross-town bus to the guy who tried to lead me by my cane while claiming he could punch me in the face.  My very obvious disability seems to draw crazy people like a moth—and this is run of the mill every-day crazy.  I do not have the luxury of door-to-door personal car service.  I spend more time in the company of strangers—in the wild—than any of my friends.  So, I have the double whammy of being a self-defense minded person and a PWD who society views as incapable of self-advocacy much less self-protection.

            I’m not going to argue for guns in schools or constitutional carry.  I’m not going to claim to have all the answers or even the best answers.  I have said and will continue to say disarming law abiding freedom loving people like me helps nobody.  I am rendered even more of a victim than the general public.  If we are really and truly going to discuss how to make our schools, our places of business, and the halls of government safer, we need to start by saying that good gun owners and self-defense advocates are not the problem.  Guns protect people every day, from the students who were not shot yesterday because an armed resource officer stepped in, to the thousands of crimes that are prevented each year by responsible armed citizens.  The state will not protect me while I wait outside its building.  It will fire me if I fight back against an active shooter though—I was told so during our employee orientation.  This is the standard our society is setting; that it is better to die an unarmed sheep with no blood on my hands than be given the minimal tools to defend myself.

            Our buildings, our airports, and our most vulnerable are defenseless despite useless inconvenience like the TSA’s repeatedly verified inability to stop real threats.  People who have done nothing can’t even carry a pen knife into a federal building but people like me are the problem—or so I have been told lately—often—forcefully.

            I mention this because readit, YouTube, and Facebook are in process of culling legal firearm related material.  These are private companies who have every right to sensor their content as they see fit.  These private companies are also where a lot of “free speech” takes place.  If we want an honest discussion of gun ownership, where is it supposed to take place if not on YouTube, reedit, or Facebook?  How can I make people aware of my particular concerns without those platforms?  YouTube is banning videos containing even images of legal magazines capable of holding more than 30 rounds or legally owned accessories like suppressors and bump-fire stocks.  What happens next?  Do we ban images of political views we do not agree with—oh wait, that’s already happening.  An honest discussion takes place when there is a forum for those with whom we most disagree.  Moderate candidates succeed when all views can be heard—not when uncomfortable discussion is prohibited.  I am safer when society has to consider the full implication of its decisions.  Please consider writing to your social media vendor of choice and politely request a more open policy—for my sake—and for the sake of honest conversations everywhere.  Today it is guns.  Tomorrow the “publican” may decide not to serve “your” kind.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Into The Dojo

Now that I have 1 teeny tiny game under my belt, it’s time to jump back into the dojo.  I have a couple choices to make.


              Based on last week’s partial game, I’m going to mostly follow the internet’s advice and switch up my perspective 75-point list:


Armored Korps or steam cold killers:

·        Sorscha (S1 +29)

·       Marauder (-11)

·       Beast-09 (-18)

·       Man-o-War Bombardiers (Full -16)

·       Bombardier officer (Free)

·       Man-o-War Demolition Corps (Full -14)

·       Sergeant Dragos Dragadovich (-6)

·       Koldun Kapitan Valachev (-4)

·       Lady Aiyana and Master Holt (-8)

·       Greylord Forge Seer (-4)

·       Grolar (-18)

·       Man-o-War Kovnik (Free)

·       Gorman Di Wulfe, Rogue Alchemist (-4) or

·       Orin Midwinter, Rogue Inquisitor (-5) or

·       Saxon Orrik (-4)


This is a balanced force with some interesting threat vectors and buff targets.  I do not know which of the 3 mercenary solos works best.  Gorman (I own the recent mini crate edition) can shut down a battle engine with blind, rust a construct, and hold flags tolerably well.  Orin covers antimagic and blows through units using chain lightning (particularly good on feat turn.)  Saxon gives pathfinder, an ok gun, and contests well with tough and stealth.  Any suggestions are appreciated.


As to a pairing, I’ve been wandering around with a variety of options.  I’ve mostly settled on Old Witch II in jaws of the wolf.  I looked at butcher 1 with a jack gunline but it lacks defenses and would probably get shot off the board.  Here is my tentative dojo list:


Jaws of the wolf or no shoot for you:

·       Old Witch II (+27)

·       Decimator (-15)

·       Decimator (-15)

·       Juggernaut (-13)

·       Victor (-34)

·       Kayazy Eliminators (-5)

·       Kayazy Eliminators (-5)

·       Widowmaker Scouts (-8)

·       Manhunter (Free)

·       Widowmaker Marksman (Free)

·       Yuri the axe (Free)


Decimators can push heavies out of zones and get surprisingly mobile by following up on beat back.  Alexia’s ability to deliver RFP and create solos in some matches can win games, assuming OW can protect her.  On feat turn OW turns the decimators up to 9 or 10 with rerolls on all those shots.  I am fond of the fact that if OW is standing in front of victor she gets to pick deviation direction for his shots—which can be a huge problem for some bricks.  Regardless, I have a lot of collecting to do before any of this hits the table.


Friday, March 16, 2018

First steps

Last week I got together with a friend to play a small game.  We are both out of practice looking to put in whatever gaming we can manage.  Jayson forgot his models so I made him a 25-point list on the fly.


My List:

·       Kommander Sorscha (+29)

·       Juggernaut (-12)

·       Marauder (-11)

·       Marauder (-11)

·       Man-o-War Demolition Corps (Full -15)

·       Man-o-War Kovnik (-5)


Jayson’s list:

·       Orsus Zoktavir, the butcher of Khardov (+28)

·       Decimator (-16)

·       Decimator (-16)

·       Juggernaut (-12)

·       Widowmaker Scouts (-8)

·       Yuri the axe (Free)


This was not a hardcore game.  It was a game for out of practice fans needing to get our toes wet.  We dumbed the scenario and terrain down.  Jayson wanted some time playing games with adults.  I wanted to test out some concerns regarding Sorscha and demolition Korps.  We used my winter themed 4x4 play mat with a tree in the dead center marking the only scoring zone.  The left side had a bunker situated between 2 straggling forests.  The right hand side featured a couple of ruins.  We knew the center would become a grind-fest—the objective was just to get our brains used to playing on a board with real minis again.


1.       Jayson won the roll and chose to go first.  He broke his list into 3 groups with Yuri and a decimator on the left, Butcher and the juggernaut in the middle, and the widowmakers with the second decimator on the right.  I decided to throw everything at the objective.  I placed the demolition korps slightly to the right with the jacks continuing my red wall to the left.  The Kovnik stood in the middle of the 2 groups with Sorscha behind her jacks.  I am so used to thinking of her as a super solo that I almost placed her with the jacks outside her control range but fixed my error at the last minute.

2.       Turn 1, everybody ran forward on both sides except the Kovnik, who put desperate pace on the MOW.  Side note, I hate, hate, hate, the fact that it takes his action for this benefit.

3.       Turn 2, Jayson moved up with his jacks.  The decimators blew the arms off my juggernaut, pushed a marauder back, and killed a MOW.  His juggernaut ran to the objective. Widowmakers fired away doing a couple points of damage to the 4 remaining demolition korps.  Butcher cast iron flesh on himself.  I reviewed the situation and found that butcher on armor 20 is near unkillable for sorscha.  I would have put a dent in the big guy but not enough to kill him.  So Sorscha moved up and feated on his entire army except for Yuri and a couple widowmakers.  She dropped a scout with a hand cannon shot and hit butcher with tempest, knocking him down, finishing by moving back enough that when butcher shook the affects she would be out of charge range.  The Kovnik walked forward putting desperate pace on the MOW—again.  The MOW charged the objective (1 had to run lacking LOS) and did 23 damage to the contesting juggernaut.  My remaining jacks ran forward, trying to get a line on the enemy for next turn.

4.       Turn 3, Jayson had butcher shake all affects, dropped his feat, and charged to kill a second man-o-war.  Two widowmakers brutally gunned down the kovnik on raw dice.  His armless juggernaut head-butted one of the demolition korps, leaving it knocked down but alive.  A decimator finished off the juggernaut with a couple dozer shots.  The other dozer took shots on Sorscha and missed (defense 18 for the win.)  On my turn, the demo korps finished off the juggernaut.  Sorscha cast boundless charge on a marauder who slammed one of the decimators 1 inch.  I scored 1-point on the objective and we called the game due to time and work.



1.       Demolition corps are brutal—even more so on the charge.  However, they need desperate pace to get in range.  If they keep shatter after the CID, they are going to completely wreck face.  I am going to love trying them with their command attachment.

2.       Getting out-threated by decimator guns was…not good.  Hocestbellum was right.  I need something that threats more than 8 inches on the charge—which means range.  I was going to skip the bombardiers on account of resolving all that blast damage but now I think they have to come back in.

3.       The Kovnik, while being my least favorite MOW piece, is helpful.  I’ll re-work the main list to include one to give the demolition korps a boost.  After turn II though, I cannot expect him to stick around sadly.

4.       I just need to play games.  It is not even a question of “reps.” When you forget to check if your jacks are in control range at deployment you are really starting at the bottom.  I’m going to test smaller list elements until the MOW CID update goes live and then it’ll be time to lock the list down and get some actual reps started.


This was a great experience.  I can play—I just need to get back in the swing of things.  Next up, revising my current test list and dojoing a pairing.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Big plans for big red

One of my goals for this year is to play in at least one tournament or warmachine event.  I used to play in monthly tournaments ranging from magic to 40k to warmachine.  Lately though, what with the demise of my FLGS’s PP league and associated group, I’ve been reduced to vicariously watching others play through the inter-tubes.


              It turns out that another local store has occasional PP events—no regular gaming there but I’m going to reach out and see if we can work on that.  I figure at this point I’ve done enough complaining over how PP has chosen to run MKIII.  That’s all well and good in the abstract but at some point, I have to draw steel in the world they have wrought.  That requires me to accomplish a couple goals.

·       I have to get comfortable playing in the SR format.  Most of my games in this edition have been at 50 points or less with narrative campaign scenarios or journeyman league games.  Playing timed games with a full 75-point list means I have to get at least minimally proficient with the upcoming SR rules.  That’s going to take some reps.

·       I have to build 2 lists that I can handle in timed turns that are somewhat competitive.  What with my visual impairment, giant spam lists are a no go.  I need smaller model count lists that use clear strategies so I don’t clock myself.  I’m probably going to be asking my opponent to mark my cards—war room is entirely inaccessible for us blind folk—so I’m going to want to minimize the hassle for them.

·       I’m going to have to pick up a laminator so I can print and create my own cards.  I own plenty of top loaders—I just need to make sure everything is current.

·       I need to figure out what material components I need to bring other than models, cards, dice, dry erase markers, and measuring sticks.

·       I need to find a way to carry and deploy my list(s) quickly.)

·       I need to make sure my lists are fun to play since I’m probably going to lose a lot in the beginning.


So, here’s my first list.  I want something that has a chance against Cryx and other random nonsense.  It assumes that the end of the AK CID represents the upcoming game state.


Armored Korps

·       Kommander Sorscha +29

·       Marauder (-11)

·       Beast-09 (-18)

·       Man-o-War Demolition Corps (Full -14)

·       Sergeant Dragos Dragadovich (Free)

·       Koldun Kapitan Valachev (-4)

·       Lady Aiyana & Master Holt (-8)

·       Hutchuk, Ogrun Bounty Hunter (-6)

·       Battle Mechaniks (Min -3)

·       Battle Mechaniks (Min -3)

·       Greylord Forge Seer (-4)

·       Grolar (-18)

·       Greylord Forge Seer (-4)

·       Marauder (-11)


This list has several ways to deal with incorporeal through A&H applying their buff to the demolition corps or Beast 09 as well as the two marshalled jacks who already have magic weapons.  The demo corps with shatter will wreck things on Sorscha’s feat turn.  The grolar and Hutchuck can set up assassination runs with knockdown.  The mechanics can repair and score as well as providing advanced move to all three of the MOW elements.  Sorscha is a threat all on her own.  It is small enough that I should be able to handle the movement easily.  I even have movement trays for the units.

              I’ll probably throw this out to the larger community once I have a pairing set up.  I need to figure out something to deal with more attrition-based lists.  As always, feedback is welcome.  I keep trying to rearrange the 12 points of Hutchuck and mechanics—mainly the mechanics—to see if I can build something more flexible.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

MOW CID, 1-point, that is the question

                            The armored corps CID is up and life is…interesting.  After going back and forth with some people on a couple isolated points, I am just going to put one wall of text down here.
              While I want to discuss man-O-war testing, there is a more important issue on the table.  There seems to be a significant part of our community comfortable with and/or rabidly behind the juggernaut’s one-point-increase.  I’ve had several people ask why this is such a big deal—after all, juggernauts are still good, the battle box is still net 0-points, and community consensus says our basic beet stick heavy was undervalued.  So, let’s look at why this is such an issue.
              The juggernaut is an iconic jack.  It sets the standard for what you want a heavy jack to accomplish—punchy fist for an extra initial—access to power attacks—a big main weapon to break armor—a nice critical affect—high strength for throw checks—MAT 7 to make those attacks hit as reliably as any non-character heavy—the highest armor and number of boxes of any baseline heavy—and a grid designed to take a beating and still remain fully functional.  There is not a faction in the game that would not love that stat line.  The juggernaut also sports defense 10, SPD 4, and no special rules.  The protectorate’s crusader costs 10-points while sporting an only slightly inferior profile.  In a model-to-model comparison the juggernaut is objectively better than the crusader so should cost more than 10 points.
              The question is how much more?  The next comparably situated heavy is the ironclad.  It is slightly less resilient than Khador’s finest but sports 25% more SPD and 20% more defense.  Also, it can drop a mass knockdown affect as a special attack while the juggy has no similar capacity.  In an open field grudge match between the iron clad and the juggernaut, the ironclad wins every time.  The juggy runs as far as the ironclad charges so regardless of its output, the ironclad will get the alpha.
              It is important to remember that while people look at the juggernaut’s durable stat line, there’s a reason he’s so tough.  Khadoran lists often have to rely on their durability to weather enemy alpha strikes before they can strike back.  At defense 10, few heavies have to boost their attack rolls to hit yee’old juggernaut—meaning they get their full focus worth of attacks while the reverse is not always true.  Cryx’s slayer, while considerably less durable, still requires a boosted to-hit-roll to overcome defense 13—and that’s not taking into account that the helljack sports SPD 6 base.  Raw stats are important but only in the context of how the total package performs.  I can build a god slaying gun on an invulnerable chassis but if it is SPD1 and RAT 0 its impact is diminished—see the current state of the Victor as an example.
              Models do not exist in a vacuum.  Their performance is influenced by the chosen caster, support pieces, theme lists, scenario types, terrain, and player skill with same.  So, when I say the juggernaut is roughly comparable to the ironclad, I’m speaking in general terms.  Is a slayer worth 10 points?  Probably.  How much more is it worth with unyielding and carapace?  The response I get most often is that the slayer only achieves that level of crazy with one caster in one theme list.  I’d be willing to accept that save that another reason I get for the proposed 1-point juggernaut tax is that Harkevich jack spam is “oppressive.”  Isn’t that one list with one caster too?
              The more I’ve discussed this issue the more I feel there is a double standard for Khador.  The juggernaut profile isn’t just an icon for warmachine, it’s a faction defining piece.  Khador’s shtick is big slow tough jacks that do not shoot well and hit like a ton of bricks.  The unspoken argument I hear most often comes down to the juggernaut feels too good for its points if you’re on the receiving end because it would be more expensive in—insert another person’s faction.  This is a massive double standard.  The point of having faction defining elements is that they should be largely unique to that faction.  That means that they should be competitively priced and reasonably appealing.  Khador’s identity is based around the empire’s willingness to forego arcnodes, light jacks, focus 8 casters, any jack with a base move over 4, accurate jack shooting, alchemical innovation, and crazy magic tech.  In return we are supposed to get scary medium based infantry, hard hitting durable jacks, self-sufficient troops, warcasters that get the job done without a lot of support, berserk convicts chained to cursed relic weapons, small units of specialists, lots of inaccurate AOE attacks, and a focus on the fundamentals with a pinch of winter for flavor.  Khador derives a lot of its identity from what it cannot have; so, when someone says ‘X’ model feels too strong it bugs me.  Look at all the things I do not get that_every_other_faction gets.  I pay for that _slight points efficiency by forgoing a metric ton of design space.
              The corollary to this argument is that other factions get tons of broken oppressive crap that I have to swallow because it is in-theme for them.  Ambushing bears that hit harder than some light jacks?  Really PP?  *looks at my unit of woodsman sadly*  Sloan shredding my entire army at range freeking 16 with armor piercing hunters that advance deploy and have long leash with fully boosted shots for every jack in her battle group that all have true sight???  I don’t get a focus 8 caster but Menoth gets a focus 10 caster…because reasons?  I am supposed to take that degenerate nonsense on the chin because other factions should have nice things too.  I’m fine with that.  Seriously.  If one faction getting stealthie incorporeal solos free is the cost of Santa visiting once a year then that’s cool.  I am not OK with being told that the things that define my faction are too good by factions that are granted the proverbial keys to the kingdom.  Call it faction envy if you want.  I Genuinely do not understand why everyone else gets to be pulled up to Cryx’s current status while my faction has to pay a tax for just being what it was designed to be.
              If PP is upset that juggernauts and marauders were omnipresent in Khador lists I wish they would consider why that was the case rather than trying to force a macroeconomic correction using microeconomic tools.  The reason those 2 jacks see so much time is that they are *fairly* costed given their effectiveness, faction relevance, and ability to trade in the all heavies all the time world we live in.  The berserker chassis was rendered unplayable to keep Karchev spam to a minimum.  The grolar, spriggan, demolisher, and decimator suffer from poor design and excessive cost.  That leaves 5 jacks that are reasonably effective and usefully costed—and the destroyer had to be cut 2 points to meet that standard.  Of that list, the juggernaut is the only one that can consistently one-round other heavies.  Is it any surprise that it showed up all the time?  If we’re going to see more huge bases then the marauder needs to go up in cost but the juggernaut?  I’m not saying that something didn’t need to be done.  I just do not see juggernauts going up to 13 solving the larger problem.
              My bigger question isn’t why raise the cost of the juggernaut.  Rather I want to know why the Khador all-jack-list with 7ish jacks is a step too far.  I’m not buying the “it was a negative play experience.”  Cryx can run 2 incorporeal battle engines (with tough mind you) that require me to take a 12-point mercenary package to even have a chance at defending the alpha.  I’ve seen a Sloan player cause a new player to rage quit the hobby on the spot.  Why are those negative play experiences acceptable and my faction’s defining play style elements a step too far?  I am assuming that upcoming CIDs will give the least among us more tools and corrections to current inequity.  Why is it necessary to bring this one element down when presumably everyone else is going to be brought up?
              I have asked this question in many forms in many forums.  The discussion always degenerates into a discussion of base level mechanical interactions with no substantive answer to the big question.  Why is it ok for other factions to ask questions I do not have good tools to answer when apparently the same is not true for my faction?  I’m not quitting the game.  I’m not trying to flame PP.  I just want an honest considered answer to this question.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Health stuff or confessing my sins

              I want to write something profound—something witty—something self-deprecating that speaks to a greater truth…but I cannot.  So, let’s keep it simple.  I am fat.  I am 50ish pounds down from where I was in 2013 but I am still way bigger than I would like and being brutally honest, I have not been good to myself of late.

              In the past I have been able to point to progress in other areas to justify lack of progress in matters massive.  I might have backslid a bit but look at my new job, my exercise regimen, my improved finances…as long as I did not backslide more than 20 pounds or so it seemed worth it.  Now…ah…not_so_much.  Fatness does not bother me in and of itself (that is fixable) but my lack of willpower irks.
              Fatness is a symptom of larger problems.  First, I have lost most of the reinforcing schedule structure that kept me on my best behavior.  Squish and B have put their gym membership on hold.  Twas a time when we went 2 or 3 days a week without fail.  The free transportation, social pressure of gym friends, and the buddy system insured regular gym time.  Now, with each uber trip costing $7.00+ each way, it is harder to justify the quantity and quality of activity of old.  I have purchased blind-friendly exercise routines which I genuinely enjoy but the motivation and accountability is not as high as before and my participation has suffered accordingly.
              Then there’s “work.”  I no longer take public transportation to and from work each day.  Paratransit takes me door-to-door, supplanting my daily treks around the bus stop.  My commute is 2 to 3 hours round trip—cutting down time I used to use for walks and grocery junkets.  My activity level is noticeably decreased.
              Second, work is dietarily toxic.  My previous routine left me with few disturbances.  I could not leave my desk easily because of my work flow.  So, while I was not covering much ground, I had few opportunities or reasons to stray from plan.  I was an employee in an office building of a couple thousand.  Nobody cared about my habits as long as my job got done.  Nobody was pushing me toward my health goals but there were few negative pressures; so as long as I was mildly motivated, I could stay on-plan.
              You would think that working in the library for the blind that I would find a more supportive environment.  Part of my issue is that the library employs no more than 30 employees even counting contractors and volunteers.  Everybody is in my business—commenting on what I ordered for lunch—counting how many snack wrappers are in my trash can (I am not kidding)—pushing me to order with or for them.  It’s that whole small world thing.  The contract and operational employees are as like to treat me like a special snowflake as a valued professional peer.  Most of the time I politely redirect, educate, and do the smart tolerant thing.  I try not to engage—not to give them a chance to hit my buttons.  Sometimes though I just lose my patience.  The secretarial and security staff comment on how much I order, how often I order, if I order or not, whether I included them on my order.  It does not matter that I order delivery at most twice a week and they order out every day for lunch and breakfast, the delivery people come in through that front entrance and they feel empowered to voice an opinion.  I hate being made to feel self-conscious.  My immediate reaction is to fight back in pure spite.  So even though I did not think of ordering or snacking when I started this job 9 months ago, I feel like I have to keep doing it to make a point…to prove they have no power over me.  Stress makes me hungry.  Food makes me feel better.  The more stressed I am the greater the chance I will overindulge…multiply…consume…etc.
Supplementing that issue is the fact that my schedule is 2 hours off the rest of the office.  I arrive at 6:30 in the morning, have lunch by 11:30, and am on my way home by 3:30.  Most employees work 8 to 5.  Everyone else is eating lunch hours after my meal is done.  So, my day is coming to a close and my work area smells like fried food, burgers, and pizza every-single-day—just when I am at my weakest.  Put that together with food being the proximal cause of my stress in the first place and meals are problematic.  I tried incremental fasting and failed horribly.  I was fine till 1:00ish and then olfactory suggestion destroyed my willpower.
              My schedule changed.  My activity level changed.  I let stress get the best of me.  My gout is acting up again.  My belt is starting to tighten…and I know where this spiral leads.  I feel bad so I eat more, more often, more per serving, more of the things I know I should not.  I feel worse so my motivation slips.  I stay home and do the one thing that makes me feel better—eat.  Screw that nonsense.  I am going to make better choices by finding sustainable patterns that fit my new life.  I am not falling back down that rabbit hole.  I need to proactively change to sustainable choices that I am motivated to perform.

Here are some of the better choices I am making going forward:
1.       A friend of mine going through addiction recovery and I have a call scheduled twice a week.  He talks about recovery and I talk about health stuff.  If he can fight off controlled substance addiction I can eat better.
2.       I have tested and am now using reusable 14oz plastic shake pouches by little green pouch.  I have a breakfast shake that I make in 5 shake increments, freeze, and take to work in the morning.  It is the best combination of health and efficiency I have come up with so far.  I am going to take it to work every day starting tomorrow.
3.       I am going to bring in a selection of Birdseye frozen steamed vegetables each week—whatever is on sale.  Lunch is going to be a heaping 500 calorie or less serving of random veggies.  I’ll add some low cal hot sauce to make it palatable if required.  That is a 0-effort meal that should fill me up with good things for the rest of the day.
4.       I am reading a book from bard called the gut makeover.  It is…interesting.  The author talks about how to reconfigure your digestive track over 4 weeks.  There are no portion sizes.  I need to get out of the holidays but after that…I am going to give it a try.
5.       I am publicly acknowledging that exercise or the lack there of is not my problem.  My friend Phoenix has cut over 50 pounds through moderate portion control.  If she can do it how can I do less?
6.       I have asked to have my desk moved to a less disruptive location.  It may take a couple months until the area is ready but my boss has agreed.  In the mean time I’m just going to confront bad behavior openly and honestly.  I am not doing myself or anyone else any favors by letting this crap slide.
7.       I work in a library.  I am going to take my breaks on the lowest basement floor and walk through the stacks.  I need to get out of my office periodically anyway.
8.       I am going to work on confronting the behavior that makes eating uncomfortable, guilty, stressful, and socially awkward.  I am entitled to splurge every once in a while—I need an eating plan that can handle that within reason.

I was already doing most of this stuff desultorily—I just need to commit to doing it all the time.  I do not want to get down on myself but I feel brutal honesty is the only way to deal with my health issues.  I am going to make better choices.