Condoms of the Apocalypse

I’ve mentioned my apocalypse rants in an earlier post. I don’t think this is going to be a rant. But you never know, these Apocatree!!!things often get out of hand what with the spirit of the blog sometimes running off with my better sense in hand. Anyway,  today I figured I’d chew over two things; the genre of apocalyptic fiction itself, and then I suppose I’ll run you through my plan for when the doomsday shit hits the annihilation fan.

So the world ended. That’s a given in this sort of scenario. I suspect if this were actually the end of the world, such as the sun expanding to consume our little spacerock, there wouldn’t actually be anyone left. Admittedly, that would make a pretty dull story… unless some race of cosmic superbeings wants to film the remaining planets of our solar system in a mildly voyeuristic March of the Penguins kind of way.

But that’s beside the point.

So what we’re actually dealing with is a specific genre of Post Disaster fiction, in which a disaster has managed to finally give what for to the majority of our once mighty works. Unfortunately there isn’t a particularly good title for that, so I think Post-Apocalyptic fiction will have to do.

Apocawall!!!  This isn’t a new genre. I suppose an early example in modern literature is Mary Shelley’s The Last Man, in which a pandemic kills all but one human. As far as the protagonist can tell, anyway, he spends a lot of time looking at the grass. We’ve since run the gamut of climate change apocalypse in Waterworld, nuclear apocalypse in The Beach, batshit crazy apocalypse in A Boy and His Dog, and poorly lip synched apocalypse in Mad Max. I suspect that the horror infused zombie apocalypse has become even more popular, evolving beyond it with gnashing teeth and grasping hands, though I suppose it could be argued that the Zompocalypse is less Post-Apocalyptic and closer to the Apocalypse median. Vincent Baker’s Apocalypse World could reasonably be called the most influential roleplaying game of the last ten years.

But why? What is this fascination with what comes after our society crumbles?

I think part of it is hope, that no matter how badly we fuck up there’s bound to be a few folks who get out alive. Part of it might be a removal of authority figures and the perceived removal of consequences, allowing us to wreak carnage and mayhem without restraint. Maybe we just want to know that it ends; there is a certain appeal to being the last of your kind. Better living as the epitaph of humanity than being erased by the tide that comes after you.

I suppose a big part of the appeal is a return to a life in which there are unknowns. In a world where every inch of ground is mapped and the borders drawn (if often disputed) there is little space left for discovery or exploration. The lands over the next hill being an unknown give the landscape a sense of mystery, and the mandate of the masses no longer had any effect on what the individual believes. Small communities hang together through necessity, though I tend to imagine these as more  like H. P Lovecraft’s Dunwich than theApocolake!!! anarchist utopia they might be.

Maybe its a re-balancing of the world to a pre-modern time, where nature still provided for the small holdings of humanity. Whether its for a sense of cosmic justice, or a nostalgia for rustic lifestyles that are no longer really tenable (I’ll not go into the mechanics of life without penicillin), these ideas hold a lot of attention. Also, picking over the bones of a dead civilisation can be lucrative, and gives the whole situation a very Dungeons and Dragons feel. Just with marginally more cannibalism. Adventure (and longpig jerky) ho!

Anyway, the plan. As promised. I can guarantee that it is flawless.

A lot of people think the end is nigh, and respond by stockpiling food and medical supplies. I hear guns and ammo are also popular apocalyptic accoutrements. Some might even run for their bible. But my plan is slightly different.

Step 1- Pick up kukri. Put in belt. (Note this is not the backup plan; the less you guys know about Kukrigate the better…)

Step 2- Hit the Apocobranch!!!chemist to line my pockets with antibiotics and fill my bag with hundreds of condoms.

Whether I barter them or not, Iife is now awesome.

You see, people tend to forget about this sort of thing until its too late. A lot of the fundies we see on Doomsday Preppers would probably never think of it at all, then breed themselves into a pickle of a Malthusian Trap. But even with society in tatters people are going to want what they always want. And if they want to be not stupid about it, they’ll wait for the arrival of that dread nomad, the Latexion.

Now, some would argue that a low level reliance on a monopolistic mercantile strategy is ill advised in an environment where Road Warriors proliferate, but I have prepared my rebuttal in the form of a short scene.

The sand storms whip across the wastes as the sun sets over the ramshackle town of Bunnings. A lone figure strides from the horizon, but is stopped by the gate guards, Shambles and Monsanto.

Shambles: Who the fusk is that? Ze’s not allowed into town.
I like to think that gender norms will crumble with society, the patriarchy and mass media.
Monsanto: No S, don’t mess with zir. That’s the Latexion.
Shambles: Who?
Monsanto: They say that ze has all the condoms left in the world…
Shambles: Then we do what we always do. We shoot the fusker in zer fusking face and take the condoms for ourselves!
Monsanto: Don’t do it! Zir coat is lined with condoms! Think how many you’d destroy if you fired!
Shambles: …Ze’s not got any on zir fusking face!
Monsanto: But think!  I’ve heard stories, how ze keeps a cave in the mountains, the Cavern of Prophylaxis, and only ze knows where it is!
The Latexion has gotten close now, mere metres away.
Shambles: Ah, fusk this!
Ze pushes Monsanto out of the way, and fires a burst into the Latexion’s chest. Ze stumbles, but does not fall, and takes the last few steps until ze’s nose to nose with Shambles. Ze draws a condom full of bullets out of zir jacket, and drops the bullets to the ground, slowly, one at a time.
Latexion: You should know better.
Shambles falls backwards in fear.
Latexion: These are 99 percent safe.
The Latexion strides over Shambles, and into the town.

Yeah, so that’s pretty much the plan.

Also, the pictures were not a vision from beyond the end of the world, but were from my adventure on Dartmoor near the ruins of Longstone Manor! Hope I didn’t scare you!

Orcs Should Talk to their Union

Hello, The Hobbit.

I’ve not really been one for watching films, but I’ve found it hard to avoid you. With your run through the cinemas and the terrible weight of your legacy, the Battle of Five Armies has proven to be something that I cannot avoid.

To be honest, I haven’t enjoyed the Hobbit films so much. I’m not saying that their not good films, they certainly have their poignant moments and a number of interesting characters. And Cybele knows I’m not trying to shame you for liking the film. As I’ve said, their powerful and exciting movies. The story of the dwarf prince, his friends and their unlikely allies struggling to reclaim their homeland from the greedy Smaug have been powerful images to me since my childhood; they’re full of this terrible sense of legacy and familial duty that makes their quest sing in the heart of someone as pluralistic and ill-committed as myself. The story is both simple and surprising; the heroes face everything from goblin warriors, to hallucinogenic elves, to the riddles of a creature that sits beyond recognition, who only came into focus in later stories. It was one of the big stories in my childhood.

zx Raoul van Wijk - Another Orc
Photo: Another Orc by Raoul van Wijk, courtesy of Flickr.

I don’t think that my disapproval is because I enjoyed the story when I was a child, though I feel what was once a children’s story has been made into an adult one. Essentially, the Hobbit under Jackson’s directorship has become more like the Lord of the Rings; the farcical violence, the Classical themed games of words and wits, and even the brilliant incompetence of both heroes and villains has been replaced by a sort of gung-ho, warlike action film. There have been moments, such as when the dwarves are escaping Barry Humphries’ morbidly obese goblin clutches in the first film, where it even began to feel a little like a scripted video game, with each character getting to show of their special combat move. The violence is visceral, in your face. The forgone conclusions, the assumption of knowledge of the Lord of the Rings, strip the menace from Gollum’s threats. So much of the primal fear that comes with the abstracts of a children’s story, the empty spaces to be filled with frantic, terrifying imagination, is lost.

But in the end, I don’t think this is what put me off. You might say “Oh, you self indulgent writer you, you’ve burned like 400 words on this already, why haven’t you got to the damned point?”, and I suppose there is legitimacy to that argument. I have made this long preamble because I loved this old story. I have written this article because I deeply dislike what has become of the Orcs.

The Orcs really, really need to have a chat with their union. The man upstairs with the eye is not paying them nearly enough for the crap they put up with from those damn self righteous heroes.

This is not to say that I dislike what Peter Jackson has done with his Orcish villains. They are just as fearsome and terrifying as I’m sure Tolkien would have wanted them in his later books, though as mentioned before they were little developed beyond a strange, chaotic force in the Hobbit. What really strikes me is how poorly the Orcs are treated, by both their masters and by the supposed good guys of the films. Nobody questions at any point that Orcs need murdering, despite obviously being sentient, and the Orcs respond to this hatred with violence.

So lets take some of that weight of hindsight the series seems to assume we’re applying, to remember one of Christopher Lee’s lines from The Fellowship of the Ring.

Orcs are Elves.

Orcs are not demons, or automatons, or attack dogs. They are the most proud, beautiful and long lived of the races of Middle Earth, the very foundations that the gods put in place when they decided to populate their world with living things. And they were broken, tortured by a Nemesis, Morgoth, that nobody bothers to remember. They are a mere margin away from being “one of us”. And they are hated for it.

The Elves hate the Orcs because they remind them that once you scratch the surface they are not beautiful. You burn out the fine features, and the pride and the layers of racial superiority propaganda, and all you have left is the grief of an immortal trapped in a transient world. The Dwarves hate the Orcs because of competition, because the Orcs thrive in all the same environments and are unfettered by the terrible greed that weighs on the Dwarf psyche. The Orcs hold mirrors up to these races, and show that for all their history and civilisation they are still fatally flawed.

zx Niccolo Caranti - Orcs!
Photo: Orcs! by Niccolo Caranti, courtesy of Flickr.

Humans have grown up fighting the Orcs, a fight that has been going on since before their own birth as a species.They feature less in this story, and by the Lord of the Rings, slaughtering Orcs en masse has just become the done thing. The Orc holds up a mirror to human beings, because they are both desperate, and lash out in this desperation and fear of death.

As for Hobbits, well. Orcs seem a far off threat in the Shire. There is that whisper though, a whimper of “my precious” down in the dark paths of the soul, that suggests that maybe a Hobbit could see an Orc as worthy of something other than hate. There is a reason Bilbo doesn’t knife Gollum in the face to escape the cave, though that may have been in line with the tone of the rest of the film. From memory he just fly kicked him the head, to keep things interesting.

Frankly, the heroes look like a bunch of jerks.

I suppose, in the face of giving the Orcs more character, a more fleshed out back story, and wants and needs of their own, Jackson made a dichotomy for me where I couldn’t really stand to see the Orcs as evil any more. Yes, they’re vicious, and they have a shit-tonne of hate that they can’t really deal with, but when the reflex of the apparently civilised races is “kill them because they were born that way” that becomes alarmingly understandable. Throughout the series we see Orcs speaking, scheming and striving. They crack jokes. But never once do the heroes of the tale try to speak to an Orc.

zx First Last - Orc.jpg
Photo: Orc.jpg by First Last, courtesy of Flickr.

They slaughter them in a manner that feels more like a splatterpunk zombie film than a heroic adventure.

One might argue that there is nothing one could say to an Orc that would stop them wanting to kill you. But I can think of one thing.

“Help me topple your master. I want to help you.”

Of course nobody tried that. An argument against this idea is fear of the Orc’s terrible master, but that holds a lot less water in the face of the Hobbit than when Sauron’s power is in its heyday in later stories. I can almost imagine a mass withdrawal of labour looking a little something like this:

Grazgut, Orc Union Rep: Sorry to be the one to say this boss, but we’re walking. Sick of you making us chase those damn runts. We’re not coming back until our demands are met.

Dark Lord Sauron: No! You traitorous swine! Guards, dispatch this filth!

Grazgut: Not gonna happen your Dark Lordness. The guards are on strike as well. Sick of your, what did they call it… negative reinforcement of good workplace behaviour? The whipping, basically.

Sauron: Curse you, you tiny abomination! You cannot deny me, I am your master!

Grazgut: Well, the gang have begun to see you less as a giant eye and more as a giant dickhead, so we’re off. Send us a Nazgul when you’re ready to renegotiate.

Sauron: You are delusional! My dread lieutenant, the Witch King of Angmar, will break you like the dog you are! No man may slay the Witch King…

Grazgut: You might want to reconsider your wording there boss. Might encounter a bit of a problem when the prophesied protection of your favoured enforcers isn’t valid for 99% of your workforce.

Sauron: …

Alright fine. What was your name? Gobnut?

Grazgut: Grazgut.

Sauron: Very well Grazgut, in my terrible benevolence I shall cede unto you a break room, with tea and coffee making facilities, and aim to reduce flogging in the workplace by ten percent over a period of-

Grazgut: Not good enough.

Sauron: What???

Grazgut: We’ve had a better offer from Akhenata Queen of the Damned. Her employee rest space has bean bags, and ghoul pay beats no pay, thankyou…

Grazgut begins to leave the Monstrous Crucible.

Sauron: No… wait… you can’t collectively bargain, your on individual… shit.

Well, now that little interlude’s finished, I suppose I can get back to the article proper.

Now, part of this is genre. Tolkien wrote in a line of heroic fantasy in which killing your enemies still seems like a valid solution to your problems. Now, that has been subverted and examined a great deal. As many works, recently Game of Thrones have shown, everybody is connected, and killing somebody often just creates more problems. And Jackson’s Orcs aren’t Tolkiens. They feel much more human.

I think a huge part of it is how our society treats its… I can’t even describe the category. Outcasts works, but it doesn’t get into nuts and bolts enough to feel personal. In The Hobbit’s Orcs, I see Fight Club‘s disenfranchised young men, beating each other and tearing down society because they’ll never be allowed what they work for. In The Hobbit’s Orcs, I see the mentally disturbed killers in Criminal Minds, who are gunned down by police officers in an alarming number of episodes for the crime of mental illness. In the Hobbit’s Orcs I see protestors in the USA driven to violence after state employees, “keepers of the peace”, murder without repercussion. They could be any marginalised group in our society, and the heroes seem as willing to demonize them as any paranoid news program or vote grabbing politico.

I think that the Hobbit’s remorseless murder of those deemed outsiders reflects something about us. In the book, goblins were a near elemental force, certainly dangerous, but the enmity did not feel like hate.

Some part of us wanted this. Some part of us is so terrified of our society’s problems, be it mental illness, violence, disabilities, or anybody else who falls outside the herd, that we wish to destroy them. Because those problems can afflict anyone. They are everyone’s problem, and thus everyone’s responsibility, and yet the media of the main stream feels the need to beat down these problems, because destroying something is easier than helping it.

Maybe I should just accept the Hobbit films for what they are. A thrilling heroic fantasy. I don’t want to be preachy and spoil the fun for everybody else.

But I just cannot feel that hate for the Orcs any more. I can’t cheer for the destruction of these hurt, desperate creatures. Their masters, yeah, fuck the torturing fascists right in the eye. But the Orcs didn’t ask for this.

The Orc holds up his mirror, one more time. I don’t look. Its better not to. Maybe the monster and I can walk out of here together, without fear. I hope that’s how it ends.

I don’t know.

Well I guess it ends with Peter Jackson going to bed on a huge pile of money, but hell, good for him.

Photo: Goblins aka Orcs by Andrew Becraft, courtesy of Flickr.

All photos acquired through Flickr. They are all Creative Commons and free for you to use or manipulate and use in your own work, as long as you don’t profit from their use, the owner is credited and your own work is subject to the same freedoms. So, on that note, surprise! I don’t get paid to write this, and you all are free to butcher this so-called “article” and use it in whatever nefarious deeds your strange minds can conjure. Enjoy!

My Australia Day Special

This is something I made for Australia Day.

You know those times when you promise somebody something, and the next morning you wake up with a smoking gun and no alibi?

Well, this experience was not particularly like that. Not at all, in the literal details. This half arsed roleplaying game grew out of a joke that led to my promising a friend that I’d have it ready for the upcoming Australia Day. Don’t know if he even remembers.  Anyway, here’s the finished product, and I use both terms loosely. I have learned that I’m an alright writer, poor artist, and lack in both skill and software when it comes to pdf editing. Nonetheless, I made something.

Now, an Australia Day comedy roleplaying game written by an anarchist historiography enthusiast about a country that keeps telling him to “love it or leave it” is naturally going to be a pretty strange beast. I have endeavoured to push no agenda, and present a wacky of view of what my country of birth might be, could be, or maybe was once before anyone alive today remembers. I can’t speak as to the Kahlua’s agenda.

ALSO: Serious course language warning on this one guys. Just so you know.

Australia Day

Best wishes everybody. I might have a little “sample adventure” up in a couple of days. You might even find me filling this blog with a play report. We shall see.

Happy Day Off.

On Cyberpunk, the Verge of Vegetarianism, and Schnofu

Over the last two months, I have been having an adventure.

Now its not the traveling the world seeing new places kind of adventure, though that has also been happening. I’m currently in Edinburgh. That may come up again later in the article.

Its also not the looting a tomb and then battling the dragon that for some reason lives twenty floors below ground kind of adventure. Actually that happened too… well, not exactly that, but you get the picture. Lousy gnomes and their magic.

Anyway, this adventure I’ve been on is a culinary one; I’ve been running a little experiment on myself and my very understanding partner, and so far it has been going well.

Over the last two months I have eaten a grand total of five dishes containing meat.

As a bit of background, this is not really what I’m used to. Growing up in Australia, you tend to find yourself eating meat with a regularity that would make the people of history, and indeed a number of people in less developed countries, blanch at the extravagance. Admittedly, I’m probably making it sound worse than it is; when I visited Japan, people were surprised that my family and I didn’t eat meat every meal of the day, before proceeding to feed me chicken and salad for breakfast. Anyway, you grow up in a meat eating household in Australia, and from my experience at least you’ll probably have at least one meat dish a day. So this is new to me. I’ve not been, I suppose, a hard core vegetarian, as I know that if I draw an absolute limit for myself I will almost instinctively buck against it through a sense of pure grumpy subversiveness.

Admittedly, this is not the first food experiment I have engaged in, though we might save the stories of Sheep Hearts (and How to Devour Their Courage) and The Strange Case of the Pig’s Head for another time.

Now I personally have struggled a little to put my exact reasoning into words. For the sake of staying succinct, and since nobody else is around to ask questions, I figured I’d do a little interview with myself to try and show this as it is, and not just as a mad experiment that I’ve carried out on my own digestive system.

So… not eating meat huh? You worried about your weight?

Well, not so much. I’ve been lucky in that I’ve never much had to worry about my figure, though due to my recent transformation into a windblown drifter I will say that I’m not training as hard as I used to. If I were still doing fifteen hours of Judo a week, I might need the protein. But I don’t think that’s the big reason.

You ran out of money, didn’t you.

No, but there was a moment there between paying some bonds and getting my first paycheck where I was eating a lot of lentils on rice.

Aha! You’re in Scotland! You’ve been driven mad by disgust at the local delicacies.

Well, this is my second time staying in Edinburgh, and on the first run I tried all the stuff that tends to freak out the tourists: The haggis, the black pudding, the various fried iterations of various other foodstuffs… can’t say any of it bothered me all that much. Haggis is really just like any other sausage with a higher oat content, and black pudding tasted no bloodier than the average steak. A few folks I’ve heard complain of “having to think about what their made from”, and the answer, like your steak or (ostensibly) your chicken nuggets, is that their made from bits of dead animals. So they didn’t bother me any more than other meat consumption.

Well if that’s not it, why? Have those animal rights activists finally got to you?

Wow, this projected id is turning out to be a real jerk. This was part of the reasoning. I run into a bit of a contradictory element in my brain here, as I think that empathy for animals is important, but fundamentally I don’t have a problem with people eating them. On a pragmatic level, I know that a healthy human being is valuable enough to justify the sacrifice of animals. On the other hand, I’ve yet to see a more striking vision of Hell than a factory farm, so there’s a degree of respect and moderation that I think has to play into it.

And I think that moderation is becoming even more important. As incomes in developing nations grow higher, more people are demanding a piece of that meat-rich Western diet. And given the amount of energy it actually takes to produce meat, then the Human race is going to wind up shooting itself in the foot one way or another. My guess is through either over-exploitation of resources or an antibiotic resistant epidemic that grows out of some very short term focused factory farming practices.

Wait… this is going to become one of your apocalypse rants isn’t it?

Not this time, actually. Of all things, this time it comes back to Shadowrun.

You’re kidding right?

Well, maybe its not the main thing, but it is one of the biggies. Now for those who aren’t familiar with Shadowrun, and don’t feel like tabbing over to Wikipedia, its a weird sort of cyberpunk/fantasy rpg. The kind of setting in which the statement “Cybernetically enhanced Ork wizard and punk rocker” can actually make sense. Its not a fictional world without its problematic content, but one of the things that struck me was the setting’s take on the food we will be eating in sixty years time.

Everything is soy.

Due to a combination of population pressure and lack of viable arable land, meat consumption has become non-viable for the vast majority of the population. To quote “tofu is to our dinners what chicken was in the twentieth century” (Shadowrun 5th Ed. pg 41). And this is an idea that intrigued me.  So, driven in part by wanting to kick the decadence of the Western diet in the face, and in part by wanting to see what I could achieve in this meat free culinary field, I basically got started on a Cyberpunk Diet.

Cyberpunk diet? That’s the stupidest-

Alright, I’m going to dismiss the interview id now. Anyway, I decided that I’d try to make this cyberpunk themed diet viable, in part due to curiosity, and in part because I have faith in Humanity’s capacity to dig its own grave and in ten years time maybe this will be all we have to eat.

So, the following is my experiment to see if tofu really can be chicken. And beef, incidentally.

Tofu Katsu Curry (aka Schnofu)

The drop of the evening. Some of it went into the food.

Now I suspect those who know me will know of my love for Japanese Katsu Curry, which is basically a chicken or pork schnitzel served in curry sauce. Now the sauce is usually made from a curry roux mix on a beef stock base, so that was the first thing I had to work around. I wandered the aisles of the Scotmid, trying to think of the closest thing to beef that I could that didn’t contain meat.

“Red Wine!” came the answer into my brain.

“A reasonable start,” I replied to my brain, “but the sauce already has some white win in it. Might be counter productive.”

“You’re right…” my brain took a moment to consider, “Mushrooms? They’re everybody’s favourite carnivorous micro-tree!”

“Now we’re talking,” I thought, and started loading up on closed cap white mushrooms.

With my wine, onions, carrots, mushrooms and tofu slab in hand, I returned to the flat.

The Cooking

Look kinda like cheese doesn’t it?

Slab of tofu? Check. Veg and curry roux mix? Check. Wine? Where isn’t there wine… Crystal Castles 1 and 2 cued up as working music? Oh yes.

Lets Neuromance the hell out of this.

So, I sliced the tofu and fried it in some oil, garlic, salt and pepper so that it would hold its shape a bit better. Turns out this slab was pretty firm anyway, so it wasn’t too hard. The heel of the slab got chopped up and went into the sauce to help the mushrooms pretend to be beef.

The Schnitzel line, a proud tradition of my people.

After letting it cool a moment, I coated the tofu in flour, eggs and then finally breadcrumbs, and fried it to a golden brown and slightly burnt finish. Because as it turns out you need to pay attention to these things.

As for the sauce, dead simple. Chop and fry mushrooms and onions, add curry roux mix (available from all the East Asian grocery shops I’ve been to), wine and water, hoik in spare tofu and some chopped carrots and we are golden.

The sauce in all it’s bubbling glory!

So that was pretty much that. If I could have Takeshi Kaga maybe shout something at this point that would be great.

The Verdict

I think it turned out pretty nicely. I hear that snarky Interview Id sneaking back to accuse me of not having a sense of taste and thus not being fit to judge these things, but screw that guy. I subjected a number of the people I live with to the result, and the feedback was generally positive. Tasted just like chicken schnitzel to me, which makes me wonder if I was just tasting oily breadcrumbs and protein all along.

The resulting Schnofu

Not long ago I also made a Chilli Con Tofu, but I feel like that’s a story for another time. The feedback on that one I believe was something to the effect of “could have used some salami”, so maybe further experimentation is required…

So that was that. Happy Soy Food everybody.

The finished product. I might have eaten some of it. And it is sitting on my laptop. Because I’m a professional that way.

My Mission, Should I Choose to Accept it

Check me out! I’m blogging!

Hardly the most original statement this century, but there you go. Through quite a few years of writing I never managed to get into blogging with any more commitment than Twitter posts of questionable enthusiasm, so you might say that I have come very late to this party. Like so many things, it was just something that got put off.

Why now? I guess I’ve been uprooted, both from my usual turf and from the people who used to take me to task if I wasn’t writing. So in an effort to banish the Failure-to-Self-Motivate Demon, I’ve set up this little string of e-scrip. I’ll try and give you something new at least once a week. Hopefully the threat of disappointing an internet readership, real or imaginary (you know who you are) will keep me motivated to keep the old brain cogs greased.

So what to expect? In summary I’d say fiction, odds and ends of roleplaying game discussion, and little articles that are probably better dubbed musings for their not linking to any research beyond a strange media osmosis. I’ll try and keep them nice and separate, though keep in mind this a first attempt, so it may be that WordPress and I won’t get along.

I’ll tell you how it goes.