“I have chronic fatigue.” TJJS Ep 13

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It’s official, belovedests. The increasing exhaustion I’ve been wrassling for the last nine months is now officially diagnosed as chronic fatigue. (Or Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disorder, or whatever other fancy-pants names the cool kids are using these days.)

What does that mean for me and this-here podcast? Listen and find out!


And as mentioned, if you’d like to give me your thoughts, you may use the comments below, or get in touch.

Love you.

“I am folding 1000 origami cranes this year.” TJJS Ep 12

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Meg Worden makes origami cranes. I make granny squares. And we both clearly have a LOT of opinions on why that is a Good Thing.


Show notes!

  • The first attempt = buffalo
  • “My anger became impetus, I love it when that happens.”
  • I love the goal creep here
  • Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes
  • Going to federal prison? Learn how to crotchet!
  • An alternative to spider solitaire and candy crush
  • The magical transition from conscious competence to unconscious competence
  • Practicing… well, practice!
  • Learning something tangible is different to something abstract
  • “Having faith that the practice itself is going to do the work it needs to do within your brain.”
  • The dreaded weight of needing to constantly make something original
  • And the relief of something with built-in Enoughness standards
  • “habituating the enjoyment of a practice” is a key to exercising, which I totes believe
  • Tetris reduces PTSD symptoms: “it gives your brain a chance to put things where they belong”
  • “There is more order in the universe. Take that, entropy!”
  • Abstract order imposition is possible too. But less good.
  • Why Catherine never smokes, and Meg loved it
  • Zentangles sound neat.
  • Pattern repetition is also soothing!
  • Does this apply more to people in entrepreneurial/uncertain professions?
  • If your life is small, should your craft be big?
  • The small thing makes space for the big things!
  • Everyone has a life that is full of abstracts. Making something tangible is the DUPEREST important.
  • Catherine’s breakfast everyday: Summer Porridge.
  • (1/2 cup dry rolled oats, 5 huge spoonfuls of yoghurt, 6 dried apricots sliced into bits. Yum.)
  • “Don’t get too judgey about what works.”
  • Do you make things? Have you started ‘cos we are hella convincing? Please tell us in the comments!
  • What will Meg wish for?
  • The intentionality of making for someone else.
  • One very charming story care of one of my roleplaying characters

Tell us about your makering below, belovedest!

“There’s room for improvement.” TTJS Ep 11

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I don’t remember the last time I grinned so much while editing audio. Tanya Geisler is not only a splendid coach and speaker, she has a truly contagious giggle.

We’re talking a lot about the Impostor Complex, so you better believe this gets meta fast.


Show notes!

  • Driving with a blizzard in your car versus talcum powder in intimate places
  • “Speak or shit letters.” (German speakers, feel free to provide the accurate German version!)
  • The impostor complex as a handy signpost to what matters to us
  • Two possible reasons for this podcast to exist, one maybe more flattering than the other
  • The only legit answer to, “Who am I to do this?”
  • How do you discern between realistic objections and ones from your inner critic?
  • Trauma with Johann the adorable ski lift guy
  • “Your ministry is where your misery has been.”
  • Tanya’s TEDx talk
  • …and then tigers will eat me.
  •  Props to Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes
  • Props fight off tigers!
  • “The one-hit wonder gave in to the impostor complex.”
  • The narrative of success and why Eliza Dushku will be playing me in the biopic of my life
  • No montages.
  • If you can’t be a Top Ten, what’s the point? and other bullshit
  • The Wright Brothers were first, and that other guy
  • (Langley, I think?)
  • No-one remembers the also-rans, unless they’re Nikola Tesla
  • The world is better for your cupcakes.
  • If anyone designs a tattoo I love with that idea “It’s enough for it to exist”? I’LL GET IT INKED.
  • My pecans are none of your business!
  • Being a slave to the Making Things Machine
  • And my calzone-licious Instagram
  • Am I a worthy calzone?
  • Brené Brown
  • Credibility, creativity, and fumbling in the dark
  • Improving your expectations
  • “In service of what?”
  • Letting each chair take its own time
  • How do you know if your idea needs more time?
  • Terrible French accents!
  • Kicking your inner critic to the curb, and other useless strategies
  • Sandboxes have very few tigers in them.
  • Catherine’s terror ratio
  • Asking for help is a totally useful litmus test!
  • The prosaic Clash of the Titans
  • The Impostor Jar

Want to share your thoughts? We’d love to hear it in the comments!

“You can live your truth & be yourself in any profession (even your old one).” – TJJS Ep 10

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In this episode, Elizabeth Potts-Weinstein and I talk about how to live your truth, in whatever role you’re in. I also prove that I am a history geek.


Show notes!

  • What is a profession?
  • What the standards are about… and what they aren’t
  • Trust and credibility might be different things from your professingness
  • The U2 Rule: Quality of the product inversely proportional to quality of the packaging
  • How not being truthful to yourself actually undermines that professionalism
  • Mistaking the display of professionalism for the substance
  • Being afraid to profess who you are
  • … because tigers will eat you
  • Mad props to Leonie Dawson!
  • “Not punk enough.”
  • Finding truth-friendly opportunities in sometimes unlikely places
  • “Being you is the only variable you can’t fuck with.”
  • The freeing feeling of admitting your love of wrestling (or whatever)
  • “I don’t think I really want to explain how we slayed a dragon.”
  • The practice of living your truth
  • You never stop being afraid… maybe even once you’re an old lady who gives no fucks
  • Forging your own persona armour!
  • What do you do if you accidentally varnished yourself into the corner?
  • The advantages of playing in a new space: no standards!
  • The love fixes the beginner’s wobblies
  • And so does practice!
  • You can’t be Gary Vaynerchuk as he is today. (You can be him on Day One, though.)
  • “If you wait too long your head gets full of other people’s voices… people who have been doing it long enough to sound very believable.”
  • Incremental truthfulness
  • “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds” – it was Emerson, actually. Oops!
  • The trap of needing to have it All Figured Out In Advance
  • Move to Bolivia or give up entirely
  • “I’m not changing my mind, I’m exploring my mind.”
  • The iterations get smaller, wahoo!
  • Taking off the armour = losing lots and lots of weight
  • Profound life lessons from terrible reality shows
  • Your truth really wants to be found

Want to share your truth? We’d love to hear it in the comments!

“Passion is a virtue. Mostly.” TJJS Ep 9

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“Transcendence is not the boss fight at the end of the level.”

When you invite a writer on the show, you can pretty much guarantee great turns of phrase. This episode features my friend Patrick O’Duffy and I talking about Batman, passion, social media, and why cynicism is boring.


Show notes!

  • “Irony is a sometimes food.” (Especially if you’re a bearded hipster.)
  • We both have dogs! Photos at the end of the post.
  • Is social media anti-passionate?
  • “looking for signal over noise”.
  • The antenna, searching for signal.
  • Passion’s not passive, it’s a process! (Say THAT three times fast.)
  • It’s a filter, in both the screening sense, and in the Photoshop sense
  • When everything is filtered in the terms of your passion… that’s when it becomes a Bad Thing.
  • Like GamerGate, possibly.
  • Judging people based on their cars. And beards.
  • What you are passionate about still matters… especially if it’s setting puppies on fire. Or Hitler.
  • More seriously nerdy references, this time in regards to learning how to drive.
  • Passion can fill up all the space and leave nothing for paying the rent
  • Balancing passion with pragmatism
  • Lining up The Food Pyramid with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
  • “Transcendence is not the boss fight at the end of the level.”
  • Living a hatful life.
  • Is there a difference between following passion and chasing passion?
  • Life changes sometimes give us space – and a permission slip – for our passions
  • Overcoming the need for self-reliance through a Batman comic
  • Passion doesn’t mean the work is easy, tragically.
  • “Passion makes us do things that aren’t particularly logical, but are wonderful.”
  • Harry Potter and the Knit One, Purl Two
  • Picture of this epic cross-stitch is also below!
  • The difficulty of long-distance relationships with your passions.
  • Getting addicted to the feedback aspects of your passion
  • Caring about something enough to do the boring work of getting really good at it (because with the passion, the boring stuff… isn’t)
  • Cha-no-yu and devotion to the process
  • “Passion is like nitroglycerin, except it blows off your hope rather than your leg.”
  • Passion will take as much bandwidth as you give it.
  • “A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.” – Winston Churchill
  • Being a fan, obsessive, otaku – maybe more about the social skills than the enthusiasm
  • Defaulting to cynicism: FUCK NO
  • “Optimism is occasionally silly, but pessimism is dull.”
  • Why we don’t like Birdman, but will see Jupiter Ascending
  • Patrick’s novella The Obituarist, wherein he foresaw the rise of the social media undertaker, and wrote this:
  • “All Twitter accounts are as unique as fingerprints, while all Facebook accounts are basically the same.”
  • A wavelength only you can hear, versus a language everyone understands.
  • Four different ways to get back on track after that segue! EESH.
  • 1. Using my Tumblr as Channel Catherine, the place I go to feel specific things.
  • Getting lost in the signal by boosting the signal
  • 2. Callback to episode 5, social media as a vector for the transmission of passion
  • Grafting other passions on, like a fruit tree, or an extra arm?
  • 3. The consumption of passion, versus the creation of it
  • “You can spend all your time eating other people’s passions, and it’s really not nourishing.”
  • You keep using the word glamour. I don’t think it means what you think it means.
  • Passion: works out all your muscles!
  • That great post-punk album, Ragging on the Zuckerberg
  • 4. The passion bubble, aka the paleo cult
  • Terrible cannibalism jokes? Don’t mind if I do!
  • Losing the capacity to talk to people outside of your passion
  • The origin story of That Guy!
  • #nailedit
  • “We know more about the slashfic than the actual cultural phenomenon!”
  • “Your passion crafts the space where you live. Every now and then you need to stop and ask, “Do I still want to live here?””
  • Our moral: If You Are Batman, Get An Alfred.

And as promised, here is Patrick’s dog:

ernie the dog

Here is mine:


And here is the cross-stitch I made for Patrick the year he left for Melbourne:


Want to share your stories about The World’s Greatest Detective? Come chat in the comments!

“Intentional spiritual practice is the key to true peace and clarity in your life.” TJJS Ep 8

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An ex-pastor and an atheist walk into a podcast… and have a mutually respectful and delightful conversation about spiritual practice with a lot of common ground?

Bill Todd isn’t your ordinary Christian spiritual director, if there is such an animal. Whether you are religious or not, there’s useful and sweet ideas all over this episode.


Show notes!

  • Your definition of “spirit” will vary…
  • … but there are some similarities with the practices.
  • The abysmal track record of change from the outside in
  • The bundling of all spiritual practice under religion
  • What does a spiritual director do, anyway?
  • Prayer, and contemplation, and then getting your hands dirty
  • Dallas Willard
  • Compassion, patience, love… all learnable skills, right here right now
  • The inarticulable longing for more
  • Alternate names for the podcast: The Mutual Admiration Society
  • A secular spiritual practice?
  • Mindfulness as an anxiety management tool, with delightful benefits
  • Vespers, muezzin, and… kazoo?
  • Structure, and the emptying of ritual? Sport players violently disagree!
  • Again, moving from a religious box to one that we all fit in nice and comfy
  • DIY intentional spiritual practice
  • Coming from a tradition that has abandoned embracing tradition
  • How do you make it work, either inside or outside of a religious framework?
  • Brennan Manning and Henri Nouwen
  • Tracing the influences of your inspirations, the same way you do with musicians you love
  • Going on tour!
  • “I heard a familiar language that I had never heard spoken before.”
  • The universal experience of resonance
  • “Who are the people that strike that resonant tone in you?”
  • “What are the things that have shown themselves to be worthy over time?”
  • Never trust a spiritual director who doesn’t have their own spiritual director
  • The Jesuit 30-day retreat, and how to do it without going to a monastery
  • “It takes a certain amount of bravery to say, “I’m going to let this change who I am.””
  • The skill to be silent, and the payoffs
  • Why Catherine shaved her head
  • Phil Stutz and Barry Michels: The Tools
  • Stretch time! YES YOU.
  • Running towards the things that scare us, and what you do when you can’t run any more
  • “Making a business is a leap of faith so profound that the need for some sort of spiritual push-ups to support you becomes pretty much immediate.”
  • The isolation of making a new thing
  • The “I have the skills, but I don’t know what I am doing” problem
  • The contractual obligation to pray versus a place to find answers
  • The profound relief of “I don’t know”
  • … and learning how to swear
  • Shedding the old constraints and then creating much better new ones
  • “resonance archaeology”
  • Being upfront, not exclusionary, through your descriptions
  • Richard Thompson, who really is as good as Bill says.
  • Getting dissed for being a pastor (by a doofus)
  • Dr Martin Luther King Jr, Abraham Joshua Heschel, and Thich Nhat Hanh
  • Do the labels matter less the more you dig into an intentional spiritual practice?
  • “The more comfortable you get with your own self, the more comfortable you find you are able to be with people.”
  • Callback to the first episode!
  • Women have maybe an advantage here? Tragically?
  • What is Bill’s spiritual practice?
  • Context, including hidden nuns, Phyllis Tickle, and the always-moving wave of prayer
  • “Can I understand this? Can I get access to it?”
  • God in Search of Man : A Philosophy of Judaism
  • Reading scripture with your imagination! WHAAAAAAT
  • Asking to be shown, to enter into it, not just observe
  • Using someone else’s experience as a lens to understand your own better
  • The same difference between practicing alone and jamming with a band
  • Again and again, the externalities don’t seem to matter much
  • My best impersonation of a bored checkout chick, plus Brother Lawrence and The Practice of the Presence of God
  • Sacred potato peeling
  • There exists a version that is right for you, if you go looking for it.
  • Bonus music geekery about Australian pub rock
  • And, as promised, below is the must-listen playlist.

Bill’s playlist of Aussie pub rock

Angels – Liveline
Angels – Darkroom
Screaming Jets – Hits and Pieces
Choirboys – Choirboys
Sports – Don’t Throw Stones
Rose Tattoo – Scarred for Life
Hoodoo Gurus –  Mars Needs Guitars
You Am I – #4 Record
Midnight Oil – Best of Both Worlds (Live)

He adds: Obviously this is just a skim across the surface. AC/DC broke worldwide, but these bands I had to search out – pre internet.  Dodgy music magazines, cut out record bins, and tape trades.  Although I do love the instant access to music, I miss the digging and detective work to track down a tape of a band that you have only heard of through a single sentence in a magazine article.

I made a YouTube playlist so you can hear the sound of these bands. Since I wasn’t going to pubs much in the 80s I often chose tracks from later in their careers than the albums Bill references, but it still works.

I even added one vital band he didn’t mention. Bonus track!

Thoughts? Musical conversation? Come to the comments!

TJJS Ep 7: “Business is beautiful.”

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Business is beautiful? Whew, what a bold truth! I would expect nothing less from the sweet and stimulating Amanda Farough.


Show notes!

  • “When we embrace the beauty in our business, the striving goes away.”
  • Beauty an antidote to “Make more widgets, minion!”
  • Broadening our definitions to include everybody, ‘cos that’s how we roll
  • Everyone is an entrepreneur
  • Top-down mandated organisational beauty?
  • Our best Evil Overlord impersonations
  • The C-level execs, stamping out productivity widgets and adjusting their character sheets
  • “Pockets of beauty in a sea of mediocrity”
  • Mad props to the Ipswich City Library
  • “Librarians are the bomb diggity”
  • The slot machine theory of customer service experiences
  • All hail the bus driver man!
  • We expand the definition of business even further
  • “Having those little pockets of life where someone reaches out and metaphysically strokes you on the cheek to say, “I see you”, it’s world-changing.”
  • I write my epitaph
  • The opportunity to make beauty in this moment is almost always accessible. SCORE.
  • “The internet is a digital magic-making machine.”
  • Cultivating that opportunity in whatever it is we do
  • Not every widget is beautiful.
  • “Sometimes the sandwich is just a sandwich.”
  • The beauty in the challenge of showing up and not hating the widget
  • “Well, if it’s not always beautiful, then clearly I suck.”
  • “Acknowledging the suck is part of the beauty of it, though.”
  • The introspection required to recognise and articulate mid-suck
  • don Miguel Ruiz and The Four Agreements
  • “Always Do Your Best. Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.”
  • Invader Zim and Adventure Time, both strong recommendations
  • “Being busy is for crazy people.”
  • Amanda no longer says she’s busy. She just says, “not interested.”
  • Not allowing brain-pickers, but being fine with question askers
  • Instead of vague questions as a source of gaining understanding, read and research.
  • Delight us and we shall drop knowledge vomit on you!
  • “Transformation is not a spectator sport.”
  • The addiction to busy-ness
  • Amanda’s fortuituously written article!
  • You get to determine what is beautiful
  • …and avoid playing The Comparisons Game, hopefully
  • Avoid the EnvyBot 5000!
  • Waiting until the widget is the only thing in frame before you judge its beauty
  • Betsey Johnson high heels beautiful versus Target flats beautiful
  • Every sammich is beautiful
  • Do not live in the space of “Nope”
  • Nope versus no, two very different places
  • Introducing Future Catherine (again?)
  • And an accidental brilliance: living in ALLIANCE with your values
  • No = disengage, nope = refusal to engage
  • We will never beat you up for not having the energy for anything but nope. That would be wrong.
  • Mic-dropping on everything but getting the eyeliner right
  • Transitioning from nope to no once you regain a few fucks
  • Start with no
  • The difference between being a person with anxiety who is productive and a person with anxiety who is not productive
  • Being ruthlessly compassionate with your to-do list
  • The accidentally beautiful sammich
  • “Beautiful opportunities require a certain amount of focus.”
  • “If you want whatever it is you to do be beautiful, prepare to give some things up.”
  • Upside: they’re rarely the things you really want to do.
  • Downside: prepare for discomfort and self-consciousness about your hairy legs.
  • “Wouldn’t it be easier if I shaved these?” “It’d be easier if I didn’t care.”
  • #nailedit
  • The amazingest pun I never meant to make: EnvyBot 5000 and his endless attachments
  • “You are beautiful and you make beautiful things, every single day.”
  • Amanda’s Instagram and my Instagram are both waiting!

As promised, I made a shop for your beautifully illustrated interpretations of our smartness! Get in touch if you want to know more!

My epiphanies

Living in alliance with my values. It’s roughly one squillion times more powerful than alignment.

I’m still reeling from this idea, and will undoubtedly explore it further over time.

What are your thoughts, and widgets to share? JOIN USSSSSSSS

TJJS Ep 5: “Change means giving up things.”

The Jibber Jabber Show Ep 5

In this episode I chat with my long-time friend, voice actor and inveterate pun-maker, Kevin Powe, about why change means giving up things, and almost immediately give up trying to count the number of silly voices we do.


Show Notes

Do we need to define the terms? Nah.
Kevin’s history of “progressively less dicking around”
…and there’s the first silly voice. Love it!
Definition #1: In order to accomplish change, you have to be prepared to give some things up.
Abandon cynicism!
It’s heartbreaking that you can’t do all of those things.
“Millions long for immortality who don’t know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon.” – Susan Ertz
You can do anything, but you can’t do everything.
I got to use the word “perforce”! Woo!
Second silly voice
The (maybe toxic?) meme of Accomplishing An Adventure
Any stretch activity has innate benefits
The girl who learned to dance in one year
Voice number three!
Reductionism is dangerous
The classic Samuel L. Jackson monologue, “Do I contradict myself, motherfucker?”
“Change is neither implicitly good nor bad, and often when we’re pursuing it, we’re doing so for crappy-ass reasons.”
The tragedy of osmotic goals
Definition #2: Sometimes you have to give up your ideas – and other people’s ideas – of where you should be going.
The Dreaded S-word.
Real change will not be possible until you give up some of the shoulds.
Fourth silly voice and counting. Actually, I will stop counting.
Giving things up as the admittance ticket for change
…it wouldn’t be a chat with Kevin without at least one terrible pun
Joseph Campbell’s mono-myth, Odin and sacrifice
What happens if you get stuck in the doorway? You get mediocre and pissy.
Important point: we are not talking about Following Your Dream
Amanda Palmer and “Fuck Plan B!”
Peter Ball (and his must-read articles on Die Hard)
“It’s irresponsible to be saying to people, “If you’re not living your dream, then you’re not living life”.”
The liberating realisation that I can do whatever I want with the format of this podcast, woo!
“How creatively liberating it is to know where next week’s rent is coming from.”
It’s tiring to feel like the elastic band that’s been holding back a Mack truck for months. Who knew?
(I can’t possibly transcribe that noise.)
Part-time job + part-time creator = exhilaratingly different way of being
“When curiosity goes, that’s the sign that the tank is empty.”
Definition #3: To change, one must give up The Comparisons Game
“It’s like being really good at being punched in the face.”
The desire to make concrete things
It’s hot! 39C hot! Thus I make fun of US people!
“If want you want is not good for you, many of the things you will give up to make it work are probably good for you.”
Heading in the wrong direction? Better take those wheels off!
The perilous Facebook feed trap: “Fuck it, Imma pick a direction. What could go wrOHGODBEESONMYFACE
Despite our history, I do not wish harm on the bees
Another giving up things example!
…and another terrible pun, this one my fault.
Definition #4: To have change, you must give up considerable amounts of your own bullshit
The Elizabethan ruffle, the stilts… and the boat anchor
What ARE boat anchors made out of, anyway?
The delight of other people’s enthusiasm
“People when they’re wildly enthusiastic about something are people at their best.”
Yay Jemina! And The Tardis Guy! And Ben McKenzie!
“…which is pretty much a gild-plated invitation to go completely fucking insane.”
Of course you’d get cameos in everything if you were Stan Lee!
Propmakers, cosplayers, and the admiration both for the craft and what they gave up
Cosplay as ritual magic
The Comparisons Game again!
“Clearly, one of the things you’ve given up is dicking around on Facebook.”
Things very productive people have clearly given up: excuses, half-assed efforts, quitting, crappy iPad games
It’s incremental, thank God
“Unhealthy goals require you to give up healthy things.”
A script to use on your friend with a critically ill child (or other fun-destroying situation)
Spoon theory!
And how spoon theory applies to change and giving up things
It’s the second time a guest has referenced Flow. (Have you read it yet?)
Giving up the enthusiastic-sprint-then-collapse method
Pacing improves your creative efforts
Giving up everything except two standards: must publish, must be potentially useful
Are authors marathoners or serial sprinters?
Two author friends we mention: Peter Ball again, and Patrick O’Duffy
I fail at false modesty
The history of an reformed apologiser
What I needed to give up in order to change into someone more helpful
“Sometimes you just give things up, and sometimes you go after them with a hatchet.”
Protips on breaking the bystander effect, plus the bonus from reading psychology books for fun
Mentally prepping for the situations where my default kinda sucks
Michael Garibaldi, telepaths, and pre-rehearsed versus spontaneous
The two main reasons I am terrible at chess
NaNoWriMo and structuring the environment, not the project
Finding just enough structure to get the butt in the seat, and let it play from there
Why you should never trust Kevin to navigate
I’m sorry, German people!
Road trip on a schedule versus freeform
Definition #5: To change (and be happy), you may have to give up your current default structure.
Your mileage may vary, but is pretty much guaranteed to require giving up: some ego, other people’s expectations, your outdated expectations
Learning to abandon the armour of bullshit and say, “I don’t know.”
He-Man Presents A Very Special Episode
I clearly don’t know how to describe an elephant

My Epiphanies

I am doing better at using structure as a tool to get my butt in the seat.

For example, I just started a teensy side hustle on a budget of two hours per week. I’m finding that is a stunningly brilliant tool to clarify what is important, and y’know, GET IT DONE.

What epiphanies did you have? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!

TJJS Ep 4: “My friend is kinda stalking his ex.”

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Many surprising insights come out of picking up some dice and pretending to be a different person for six hours.


Now you get to share in the benefits of my pretend friends! Got a friend who is kinda stalking their ex? One of my roleplaying characters has some advice for you.

Do you have a dilemma that you want an imaginary person to help solve? Leave a comment below or use the Contact form for extra discretion!