Accomplishments Update

So it’s been pretty close to six months since my last vacation ended and I reworked my schedule, and with another vacation coming up it’s a good time to look back and see how the new schedule is working out (right before my life circumstances change and my schedule also changes, it seems).  And as it turns out I have some interesting things to note about why things are the way they are, which is rather unique.

As usual, DVDs are working out pretty well.  I got through both The Bionic Woman and House M.D. which means that I’ve gotten through two TV series that I wanted to get through at the start of the year, and most importantly wasn’t bored out of my gourd doing that.  I think my pace is significantly slower than it used to be, and when my schedule changes it’s likely to be ever more so.  The big thing with both shows — but especially House — is that my schedule said that I should watch 2 episodes 4 days a week and 4 episodes 3 days a week, which was supposed to align with how the disks at least used to pan out — most DVD collections in the past had 4 episodes per disk for the most part — and with those shows that didn’t work.  House, for example, typically had 5 episodes per disk, except in some cases where it had 4, and maybe 2 at the end.  Since I really hate changing disks in the middle of my evening — my TV watching schedule has me turn off all the lights and everything and just watch right before going to sleep — this meant that in general I would split between watching 3 episodes and watching 2 episodes, and might have watched 4 if it was a 4 episode disk, which completely overturned my evening schedule since on some of the days that I planned to extend my late afternoon/early evening stuff later I was actually starting earlier and on the days that I planned to do little in the late afternoon/evening I actually had free time.  My next show — Party of Five — does the same thing as House, so I’ll be maintaining that “flexible” schedule.

Why does that matter?  Well, doing that means, as noted, that I’m taking longer to watch these shows than I might have otherwise.  The good thing about this is that despite my worries it doesn’t seem like taking the extra time means that I’m getting bored with those shows and so desperately wanting to watch something else.  I would have watched House M.D. for about 2 and a half months and didn’t really notice how long it was taking me.  I have 11 seasons of my next two shows — Party of Five and Ghost Whisperer — which should take me until early summer and hope that they work out as well (although they are unlikely to be as good as House was).  So one of the keys to this schedule is going to be how well I can handle watching one show or similar shows over a longer period of time than normal.  (I’m also running out of shows to watch, with only Heroes and the original Twilight Zone left if I don’t find something else).

I’ve also managed to squeeze some time in to keep up with the horror and science fiction movies.  This is more challenging with the schedule from January and even more so with the new schedule, because it’s difficult to find 2+ hours to watch things when I haven’t just eaten and/or can delay eating for a while, because I cannot watch these things after I eat, because I need to watch them carefully enough to write about them and if I watch TV after eating I usually end up dozing off.  Still, I am a bit ahead in watching for both and hope to keep that up and so keep making regular posts about them in the future.

Books are also working out really well, and also have an interesting link to the schedule.  I had set aside a specific time to work on little writing and programming projects, and then couldn’t figure out what to do in them, and really felt that I wanted to get through some of the classic literature that I hadn’t been reading while still reading and re-reading a bunch of the historical books that I wanted to read.  The issue with that, of course, is that I would normally do all of this reading in the unscheduled time that I have to reading for fun, and it really wouldn’t work to put both of them into that time.  So I took over the projects time and inserted the classic reading into that time, which allowed me to get through “The Divine Comedy” and make progress on the rest of the complete works of H.P. Lovecraft.  I have the complete works of Shakespeare to get through after this.  On the other side, I was able to get through “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” and am about halfway through “Storm of War” again, after taking some time to read some new graphic novels that I bought in the meantime.  I plan to keep that time slot assigned to reading in the new schedule (the actual plan is to do that reading while doing laundry, which is a two hour block once a week where I don’t have to pay a lot of attention to the laundry itself and so can do something else, and reading is easier to interrupt when I need to move things from the washer to the dryer than a movie would be).

Video games are, for the first time in a long time, not an utter disappointment.  I managed to fairly consistently play “The Old Republic” and “Dark Age of Camelot”, even though on some says I didn’t manage to play them because other things were happening or a needed to run errands.  Still, that’s all acceptable and for the most part I was indeed still getting in some regular time with them.  As for other games, I started out playing “Hearts of Iron” twice a week, and it was working out fairly well.  Sure, the default game speed was a bit slow, but I started playing as Australia and so found it kinda relaxing, as with there not being that much that Australia can do I was able to start playing while watching game shows and only had to acknowledge messages every so often, do some planning, and select new building and research projects when I felt the desire.  However, I then did the math and figured out how long it took to get through a month in-game at that speed, multiplied that by how many months I had left and divided it by how long I could play a week and discovered that just getting through a round with Australia would take way too long, let alone the multiple rounds I had wanted to play.  And it wasn’t clear how to actually change the game speed (it’s not as easy as it is in “Star Wars:  Rebellion” for example).  So with a vacation coming up I decided to delay the game until I went on vacation and could play for 3 – 5 hours every day and so get through that round and maybe another.  Which turned out to be a good idea because I also had other things infringe on my game playing time and so it would have only taken that much longer.

Still, I had some time to play some games and so started trying to figure out what to play at that time when I had some time.  I decided that I’d take a shot at “Disco Elysium”, but played it for a couple of hours before bouncing off it really hard.  There were two reasons for this.  The first was that the game is pretty dark and I wasn’t in the mood for a dark game.  The second was that the game felt to me like it was balancing itself in a gray area between having a defined character and a player-defined character.  I had a fair amount of choice in what I did and what things I tried, and could choose my archetype which would suggest from my skills what I should do, but the character itself made most of the comments and seemed to be making a lot of decisions and also seemed to have it so that their history was driving a lot of what’s going on.  I can work with a pre-defined character like in the Persona games or in a mostly player-defined character — even with limited real choices — like in TOR or KotOR, but this was just bugging me.  So, yeah, the game didn’t last that long.  I might pick it up again later at some point, but it wasn’t what I wanted to focus on with a month or so until I returned to HOI.

So, since I was watching House, at one point I decided to start a new Wizardry 8 party based on the characters from that show, and was overjoyed when early on the character I had selected for House himself chimed in with “Now don’t do something stupid and get me killed!”, which really fit the character (these sorts of moments are what I really love about Wizardry 8 and why I keep coming back to it despite the fact that I’m never going to actually finish it).  But I ended up dropping that for a couple of reasons.  The first was that while the game was indeed one that I could play for an hour at a time, I ran into the issue that exploring every nook and cranny is important and playing for an hour or two and then not coming back for a week meant that I tended to forget what I had explored.  It does have a decent automap, but that works less well when you are exploring areas with different levels, which is where I was at the end of the monastery.  So that was becoming a bit problematic.  The second reason was that I recalled from my list of games to play and how I wanted to play them I was supposed to start at Wizardry 6, and felt bad for not doing that, but didn’t feel like I’d have the time to get through all of them, and so didn’t really feel like playing it.  And I ended up, as already noted, having things take up that time anyway.  In the new schedule, I have the same evenings set aside for them, although I’ll have less time per day to play.  That being said, the times set aside for MMOs are the same so I should at least be able to play some games in the new schedule.

As might be predicted from what I’ve said above, projects other than the blog haven’t happened.  The blog, as you should be able to tell, is still going at its normal pace, but anything else has not been started.  The good news for this is that I have time set aside to do stuff like that in the new schedule that isn’t taken up by reading.  The bad news is that I’ve tried to run on the new schedule for two weeks now and have not even looked at starting any kind of project.

So, I have a two week vacation coming up, and then I will be on some form of the new schedule, so we’ll see how that all works out.

One Response to “Accomplishments Update”

  1. Abandoning “Hearts of Iron” | The Verbose Stoic Says:

    […] tried to pick up “Hearts of Iron” on my vacation as I promised, and it just didn’t work.  A big part of that was that I made a mistake in my scheduling.  […]

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