Archive for the ‘Stuff’ Category

Accomplishments Update

December 6, 2022

So it’s been about three months since the last update, and since I’m about to go on my normal Christmas vacation and am about to redo my schedule on New Year’s Day as normal. it seems like a good time to assess how things work out for the three months where I returned to working from the office.

DVDs worked pretty well, as usual.  I managed to get through “Pretty Little Liars:  Original Sin” and “Doom Patrol” and finish off the “X-Men Animated Series”.  As part of going through “Original Sin”, I also rewatched “Scream Queens” so I could compare the two.  Then I turned my attention to a rewatch of Babylon 5, which I should finish sometime this week.  That worked out pretty well for a three month span, and it leaves me ready to watch something new in the New Year, which should actually go a bit faster since “Go 8-bit” has ended its run on my Canadian game show channel and so I can watch such things on Sunday nights again.

Books worked out pretty well, although it may not seem that way.  I’m still working my way through the Pierre Berton history books, and I’m down to the last book and a half out of about five or six.  I should be finished them by the end of December, or at least be pretty close.  Then I have to decide if I’m going to read some lighter history books — mostly by Bill Fawcett — or re-read something from my fiction book cases that I’ve been meaning to re-read for a while, like the X-Wing books.  Right now, I’m leaning towards Fawcett, to get those books done while recognizing that they will be lighter and faster reads than the Berton books.  I did have to ditch a WWI book that I had planned on reading, partly because I didn’t have the time and partly because I was looking for a good WWI book covering the war to pair with that one which talks about the lead-up to the war, and didn’t find one.

Video games are a bit hit and miss.  I did manage to finish all the missions in “Space Crusade” and only didn’t win the last one.  I also managed to play a fair bit of “The Old Republic” to finish off my latest attempt at the TOR Diary with Captain Trunk.  But I didn’t play “Galactic Battlegrounds” or “Dark Age of Camelot” that much, and am missing not really being able to play longer games like “Dragon Age Origins” in the time I have available.  This is something to think about when doing up my new schedule and plan on New Year’s Day.

On Projects, I did manage to finish and post my story inspired by “Taming of the Shrew”.  That’s huge progress for me.  Unfortunately, after that I did absolutely nothing on Projects, mostly because I didn’t feel that I had the time to do it and kept shuffling my schedule around a bit as well.  This is another thing to think about when doing up my new schedule.

I have a plan set up for my vacation and will try to do some things, and then will be moving to the new schedule in January.  We’ll see how things work out then.

Quick Stuff …

November 4, 2022

The reason for writing this post for today is in the second point here …

So, after finishing off “Scream Queens”, I decided to not start watching something new and to rewatch something.  One of the big reasons for that was because I had planned on rewatching Star Trek shows until I got sidetracked with “Original Sin” and “Doom Patrol” and the like.  The problem I had, though, was that I slipped a couple of months towards winter and really, really want to start off the New Year with new things, as that’s when I redo my schedule and start any kind of new routines, so it just fits better to start with a new show in the New Year.  So I definitely couldn’t have gotten through DS9 before then, but might have been able to get through TOS by then, and I was really tempted to try that.  The problem is that I have a kinda Christmas tradition of rewatching Babylon 5, and I didn’t have the time to watch both.  So I ended up choosing Babylon 5, which then should finish right about the time I’m supposed to go on vacation before Christmas, which means that all I’ll have to do is take a day and binge watch Crusade like I’ve done before (Crusade is indeed great to binge watch since it’s only thirteen episodes that are a mix of really good and kinda meh episodes which gives a better experience when you aren’t doing two episodes a night that might be meh).

Since it’s fall and things are getting colder, I’m finding that watching Babylon 5 is working out really well, because I tend to doze off more when it’s colder and so have been doing that a bit, and it doesn’t matter if I do that during Babylon 5 since I know what happens already and might, at worst, miss a scene that I’d like.  I’d want to stay awake more if I was watching something to comment on.  Also, if I get busy and want to do something else or something runs long, it would also work well to just have it on and listen to it instead of having to watch it, or if I need to skip a night it’s no big deal since I have lots of time to finish it.

The second thing is that my schedule is going to have to change again.  For the longest time, I had — not very intelligently — been putting off the Philosophy posts until the end of the week.  The main reason to do that was because those generally came out on Fridays and I wanted to make sure that I got the posts for earlier in the week out first, which meant doing them on the weekends.  That generally worked out all right because I had a lot of time in the evenings to write and so I could generally finish one off, even if things ran a little close.  However, now that I’m working from the office more often I get home later and so have less time in the evenings to do things, and so it’s a lot more difficult to fit them in.  The TOR Diary posts and the general entertainment posts and the horror movie posts and even the Shakespeare posts tend to take me at most an hour to write, unless they’re really deep ones like the “Original Sin” posts.  But a Philosophy post can easily take me an hour and a half or more to write, since in general I want to talk about them more.  That’s why the last couple where shorter ones or the Philosophy in Pop Culture posts since those fit more into the hour timeslot than a longer one.  That was mostly working, but I was busy this week and on the weekend for a number of reasons and wanted to write a longer Philosophy post, and even the next Philosophy in Pop Culture post was longer, and so I didn’t really have the time to write them and didn’t feel like doing that anyway.  Which made me realize that this was an ongoing problem that I was going to need to address sooner rather than later, if only to preserve my own sanity.

As it turns out, I was reading the weekly Shakespeare post while doing laundry, and being back at the office means that I need to do an extra load and so have an extra hour, so that’s were the hour and a half can come from.  Then in the evenings after work I generally can find the time to write one of the shorter blog posts to keep things up to date and ahead.  So I’m going to give that a try and see if it helps.

Which, then, explains this post:  I needed something that I could write relatively easily and posts like this definitely work for that.  I’m hoping to have a Philosophy post here next week.

Vacation, Schedule and TOR

October 23, 2022

So, I used some vacation time recently, and usually after I do that I talk about it, but this time I didn’t do it, at least not right away.  There are a couple of reasons for that.  The first reason is that I didn’t really do anything all that interesting on my vacation.  I had decided not to play a video game and while I was planning on working on some projects about the only thing I managed to do was finish a story.  I did manage to catch up on a lot of the stuff I needed to do here around the house, which was nice, but that made for a pretty boring vacation.  And I finished playing “Space Crusade” and poked around a bit with “Galactic Battlegrounds”, which was nice, and also did manage to catch up on my reading, since the new schedule doesn’t leave me much time for reading.  But, yeah, not a very eventful vacation.

The second reason is that I’m currently pretty much filling up my weekday blog posting blocks with regular posts and so don’t have a lot of room to fit posts like this into it.  I had the “Original Sin” stuff on tap for Tuesdays, the Trunk Diaries come out on Mondays, Wednesdays is the Shakespeare, and Thursdays are horror movies.  Fridays I tend to try to get a Philosophy post in, so that means that I always have something set for or even scheduled for all of those days, making it difficult to fit anything else in.  Hence the story post coming out on a Saturday and this one coming out on a Sunday, and the curling posts being added to Mondays.  This may change but right now the only really flexible day is Tuesday and I have a lot of things I can put there already.

I have gone back to working from work more often, and built out a schedule to try and to get into a routine with for that.  And, of course, I ended up going on vacation after about three weeks which … doesn’t really help in establishing a routine since when I’m at home the routine is completely different from when I’m working from work.  I also wanted to run that routine until January which is when I normally reassess everything and so to not change it and … I ended up changing it.  The big issue was that I had planned on buying lunch on Wednesdays and then coming home to watch a horror movie to keep that stack growing, but the one place that I bought lunch at at least moved and the other wasn’t the same as I remembered it, which made buying lunch not as simple as it used to be.  So that was an issue, but I could have worked that out except that I also realized that the time was a bit rushed to watch a movie.  I had about an hour and a half available but if anything that I did before that ran long or if the movie was longer than an hour and a half then it wouldn’t work.  Given that, I found that I felt like I was trying to rush through the evening to get to being able to watch the movie, which was more stressful than I wanted.  So I shuffled that out of the weekdays and onto the weekends.  I also shuffled when I play video games and do projects.  Of course, I haven’t actually managed to really do that schedule yet because of other things that have gotten in the way, but for good or ill the base schedule is changed because it simply wasn’t working at all.

Finally, about the only video game that I play regularly is The Old Republic, and one thing that struck me about it is that for at least the last three characters I haven’t been doing the romances (which in that game means flirting with a love interest).  This is odd for me since I tend to really like the romance options in Bioware games and games in general (like the modern Personas) as I feel they add to a story and to a character.  But after pursuing Dark Side Jaesa on the Sith Warrior path — I went Dark Side specifically to try out that option — I didn’t do a romance with any of the others.  Well, Sledge Hammer, while he ended up in a kinda romance with Dori, wasn’t the sort of character to pursue them, so that was out.  There weren’t any really interesting romance options for Dori in the Imperial Agent story, so while she certainly would have been interested in a romance she wouldn’t have been interested in the options presented to her.  As for Trunk, while he was married in the show he likely wouldn’t be all that interested in Ashara who is the Sith Inquisitor option and his story of raging revenge doesn’t really align with him flirting with people anyway.  That being said, my next two planned characters are a Corran Horn ex-pat who will definitely romance Kira and a Benjamin Sisko ex-pat who will probably aim for a romance (I haven’t decided whether to make him a Bounty Hunter to align him with his Mirror Universe counterpart or a Warrior to fit with his normal approach) so I will come back to them at some point.  But it is odd that I dropped the romance options for so long.

Accomplishments Update

September 6, 2022

So it’s been about five months since the last update, and I wanted to wait until the summer was past and I headed back to working from the office before posting this one, since I was making a push to get some things done before that happened.  So let’s see how things worked out.

DVDs, as usual, worked out pretty well.  I made it through “Party of Five” and “Ghost Whisperer”, and then took some time to backfill the “Party of Five” spinoff “Time of Your Life”, and then finished off my Jennifer Love Hewitt watching with “The Client List”.  During that time I also managed to pick up the entire 90s animated X-Men series, and so that’s what I’m working on at the moment.  The main issue with DVDs and TV shows in general — since some of these were on my streaming services but fit into the same slot as DVDs — is that I keep adding new shows to watch when what I wanted to do was rewatch some of my older shows (Star Trek TOS and Star Trek DS9, specifically), which means that I might not be able to get them in before January, which is when I definitely want to start watching new stuff.  For example, after commenting that I didn’t think it was going to work out well I probably need to take a shot at “Pretty Little Liars:  Original Sin”, which is on Crave, and if I’m going to do that it might be worth trying to catch up with “Doom Patrol”, at which point I definitely wouldn’t have time to get through DS9 even if there’s time left to get through TOS.  So my access to the newer shows is impeding my ability to rewatch older shows, which is something I always want to do.  The big plus here, though, is that there’s no impact whatsoever on this due to my going back to working from the office.

Books are working fairly well, although getting through the historical books — and reading in general — is going a lot slower than normal.  For this time period, it was that I was trying to do other things to clear them off the books, and coming up it will continue because my evenings will get shorter and will be packed with other things so that extra time to read goes away.  So it’s likely that most of my reading will be done while eating or watching baseball or curling, which is a lot less time than normal.  Since I still have a stack of historical books to get through and it takes longer to read them than other books, my progress is still going to be pretty slow on reading.  That being said, my carving out the time while doing laundry to read Shakespeare is going pretty well and I’m on track to finish them all in March, and I did manage to get through “Storm of War”, “War at Sea”, a biography of Winston Churchill, a book on the battle of Waterloo, a book on violence in Congress before the Civil War, a book on the rise and fall of Ancient Egypt, a book on fighting techniques of Naval Warfare, and a host of books about historical blunders — which I used as a breather between the heavier works, especially since they were all books I had read before — before starting on my set of Pierre Berton books with “War of 1812”.  So I did pretty well, but it does take quite a bit longer to get through this stuff which makes it seem like I’ve accomplished less than I have.

I actually managed to do pretty well with video games according to the schedule I worked out in June.  I didn’t play Starship Titanic at all, but I did manage to get through a fair number of missions in Space Crusade, so strategy games worked well and adventure games not at all.  That’s something to consider going forward.  I also managed to play The Old Republic almost once a week and even managed to get a bit of Dark Age of Camelot in.  So while it’s not my ideal for playing games — the schedule leaves me no time to play RPGs other than TOR, for the most part — it does let me get through some things I wanted to play and for the most part fits into the same slots as I go back to working from the office, so things should stay more or less the same.

Projects, as usual, don’t go very well, but I’ve actually started one!  I’m working on a story that is about 2/3s done.  I had meant to finish it by now but other commitments got in the way, so I should finish it in September at some point, at which point I will post it.  For Projects, I have dedicated time set aside for them and a proposal for doing things and motivating myself, but in general it hasn’t worked.  The time I was able to put aside for writing the story seems to generally work, and with a little more dedication I can probably actually get some of these things done.  That being said, none of that has worked before.

So, as I said, I’m back to working from the office which means I lose some time in my evenings.  We’ll see if I’ve managed to build that schedule right to keep getting things done.

Lessons From “The Sims” … and How They Relate to TOR and the Blog

August 15, 2022

A long, long time ago, I had a copy of “The Sims”, along with most of the expansion packs.  Well, okay, I still have them, but they aren’t installed and I don’t play them anymore.  I keep getting tempted to play them, but never get around to it, at least in part because I’m so bust.  At any rate, I joked to my manager at the time that my Sim seemed to have a better life than I did, and noted that maybe that was because my Sim didn’t own a TV … but did own a hot tub.  The reason for this was because the TV could only mildly increase how entertained the Sim was (making them less bored) but the hot tub could increase hygiene, entertainment, and social bars if other people came over.  So, in general, the TV was a waste of money and time.  Even a simple chess set worked better, and even if played alone, because it would increase entertainment and the logic ability that was used to get promotions in certain jobs.

In general, this was the lesson of “The Sims” that kinda stuck with me:  activities that satisfy more than one desire are far more efficient than activities that only increase one desire.  And so for a long time I’ve been trying to do that.  I’ve had trips downtown where I walk down to a museum (about an hour and a half walk) and do some shopping on the way back, which combines physical exercise, the shopping I want to do, and the trip to the museum that I enjoyed.  Before the pandemic, I created another one of these for myself by walking down to do some bowling and then doing some shopping at the stores on that street on the way back.  I’ve always combined reading with things like eating and watching sports on TV, and did the same while playing video games (I watched the “X-Files” this way, which may not have done them a service).  The posts about horror movies were an attempt to combine the mild enjoyment I got from watching those sorts of movies with generating content for the blog.

As my life has gotten busier and I’ve been updating the blog every weekday, combining things has become even more important.  My evening watching usually combines watching shows that I want to watch with my cool down time before going to sleep, and if the shows are new I add in watching something to eventually generate content for the blog.  I obviously combined things like doing dishes and cooking for the week with writing blog posts since both give me time where I have to wait for things to soak or things to cook and don’t have to pay much attention to them.  The Shakespeare reading pretty much only happens because I decided that I could do it during the two hours per week when I do the laundry, where I can’t really leave the house but obviously don’t have to pay much attention while the washer and dryer are doing their thing (in fact, I considered moving laundry to during the week since I can do it while working from home to carve an extra two hours out of my weekend, but then noted that I’d have to find the time to do that reading and the like anyway, so it wouldn’t save me all that much time).  So I try very hard to combine activities and am always interested in coming up with ways to take things that I’m doing anyway and find a way to use that to satisfy something else as well.

And I’ve come up with another one.

Some readers might remember my TOR diary, and if they do they’ll remember that I never manage to finish any of the character runs (I made fun of myself for not doing that in the Ranathawn diary, and then didn’t finish that one either).  I also have set aside a time block to play The Old Republic, and I’ve been doing that fairly regularly for a few months now (I’ve finished an Imperial Agent run and am now about to finish a Smuggler run, only having Corellia and the end game left to do).  I have a plan to play three more characters once my current Smuggler run is completed.  And so I was thinking about how to generate content for the blog and remembered the TOR diary, and thought that since I’m playing the game anyway and since Mondays are a bit hit and miss for content anyway and since I play and write on the weekends it would make perfect sense to resurrect it, since I’d be able to write the post pretty much the next day after playing it.  I wasn’t sure about it since my previous attempts involved completely original characters (except for the expat of Galen from Crusade as the framing device) and my next planned characters are all expats (Captain Trunk from Sledge Hammer! as a Sith Inquisitor, in line with my Agent and Smuggler, another Corran Horn inspired Jedi Knight, and The Sisko as either a Bounty Hunter or Sith Warrior).  But I’ve decided that that won’t matter, and this will give me a way to turn that playing to good use while still being able to play and enjoy that game.  This might also let me resurrect the “Philosophy in Popular Culture” category which often ran on Mondays, but since philosophy posts are getting a bit thin I could indeed stick them in that slot to make things easier for me.

Anyway, soon I’ll write up an intro post for that, and then hopefully get into writing about the adventures of Captain Trunk, the Sith Inquisitor whose unbounded rage gives him incredible power, all driven by one key phrase:  “HAAAAAAAAMMMMMMMMERRRRRRRRR!”.

What are the Movies in my Closet?

July 11, 2022

So after listing the TV series that I have in my closet, it’s time to go through the likely longer list of movies on the movie shelf in my closet.  There aren’t really any exceptions here, as there tends to be more room there and movies tend to be in more consistent packages.

So let me start with the obvious ones:  the Star Wars movies, from the Prequels through Return of the Jedi.  However, I don’t have any of the new movies in there, as I hated the sequel movies and didn’t care enough for Rogue One to put it there.  Then I have the Star Trek movies, from the TOS era — which are the ones I enjoy the most — through the TNG era, but none of the Abrams movies.  I also have two thirds of the pre-Daniel Craig James Bond movies, as I picked up two of the three collector’s packs that came out some time ago.  I skipped the last one because the Brosnan movies was Die Another Day, which I wasn’t interested in and still haven’t seen.  I also have the Aliens movies, although the only two I care for and rewatch are Alien and Aliens, as I don’t care for the rest of them.  And I of course would be remiss if I didn’t mention the Lord of the Rings movies (the extended versions).

Of course, I also have a bunch of the MCU movies in there, in fact I have most of them up to Endgame, so it’s easier for me to list the ones I don’t have in there, which is basically the Iron Man movies, Black Panther, and Captain Marvel (which is odd because Shazam!, DC’s version of Captain Marvel, is on that shelf).  I also don’t have any of the Incredible Hulk movies, but I haven’t watched them and don’t own them so that leaves them out.  Keeping to the superhero theme, I also have Deadpool and Deadpool 2, even though the one I rewatch is mostly the first one.  I also have the Fox X-Men movies, both Stewart and McAvoy, along with The New Mutants, and the Raimi Spider-Man movies as I didn’t care for either of the other series and so don’t own them.

So other than that I have some other movies series, like the two Gremlins movies, along with the two Ghostbusters movies, the two Charlie’s Angels movies, the three Despicable Me movies, the Frasier Mummy movies, the Scary Movie movies and the series that inspired them the Scream movies, the two Addams Family movies, the Shrek movies, the Dirty Harry movies, the Predator movies (although I think I liked the first one the best), Johnny English and Johnny English Reborn, the two Airplane! movies and the Universal Dracula movies.  In addition, I have the 10 pack of science fiction movies in there — mostly for Oblivion — as well as the three pack that contained Aeon Flux, Ghost in the Shell, and The Island.  I also have the Jumanji movies, meaning the Robin Williams original and the first two remakes, along with Silent Hill 1 and 2 and the Nightmare on Elm Street movies, including Freddy vs Jason (but I don’t have the Friday the 13th movie in there), along with the Mortal Kombat movies (although again I only really rewatch the first) and the newer Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies and the two Scooby Doo live-action movies.  And of course, as I think I said elsewhere I have a collection of Stephen King movies, including Rose Red and Carrie, even though most of them are movies that I’m not that inclined to rewatch.

This leaves the list of individual movies, like Happy Death Day, The Blair Witch Project, The Widow, The Craft, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, The Changeling, both versions of The House on Haunted Hill, Thirteen Ghosts, Dark Shadows, Trick ‘r’ Treat, The Legend of Hell House, Oculus, and Cry_Wolf.  But of course I have a number of non-horror movies as well, like The Medallion, Mystery Men, Bedazzled, King Arthur along with Excalibur, The Incredibles, Clue, Free Guy, The Pink Panther (the Steve Martin Version), Top Gun, The Running Man, Galaxy Quest, Elvira’s Haunted Hills, Robin Hood:  Men in Tights, Spaceballs, Dracula:  Dead and Loving It, The Mask, Rush Hour, Beowulf, Street Fighter, Casablanca, and It’s a Wonderful Life.

Again, these all pretty much make sense, as any of them that I might question rewatching are ones that I actually have rewatched recently.  As I work my way through my stacks more movies will likely end up there, but for now that’s what I have to rewatch, both in movies and in TV shows.

What’s in MY Closet?

July 4, 2022

So, as anyone who follows my discussions of horror movies, general movies, and TV shows knows, I started dividing up the things I’ve watched into three rough categories:  a set of boxes for the things that I will never watch again and might try to sell at some point, a set of boxes for the movies that I might watch again but am not planning on watching again any time soon, and a closet where I keep the stuff that I want to watch on a regular basis.  Now, that closet actually has some things in it that I put in there a while ago before I started that division, and so I can question whether whatever is in there should really be in there, and thinking about that — and noting that the shelf of TV shows was getting pretty full — I wondered if at least one of them that was in there should be in there.  And then, as I’ll relate in a bit, I decided that that very show really should be in there.  If it is, indeed, in there and I didn’t move it already.

Which made me think that I should go through and look through it.  And then that I should list what is in there on the blog so the readers can see what I like and don’t like.  Hence, this post.  I’ll probably use this one for the TV shows and will do the movies in another post.

Now, first, there are some exceptions.  The big one is that Babylon 5 and Crusade, Star Trek:  Deep Space Nine, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Angel are not in that closet despite B5 being a series that I rewatch once a year or so, DS9 being a show that I rewatch on a regular basis — and more than The Next Generation, which is in the closet — and with my having watching the Buffy shows multiple times and having them on my mental list of shows to rewatch at some point but that I never get around to rewatching.  The reason is for tradition, as when I moved into my house and bought a TV stand for that I filled the shelves on the bottom with those precisely because I watched them so frequently.  I’ve cleared out the other shelves, but kept them because they look good there and it’s good to know where they are so I can rewatch them.

Another set of exceptions are Dark Shadows, Dallas, and Dynasty.  I’ve rewatched Dark Shadows recently, and while working from home was tempted to rewatch Dallas the same way, and might consider rewatching Dynasty at some point.  But the reason they are in that closet but not on the TV series shelf is that the first two, at least, are way too big to fit there neatly, and it only made sense to keep Dynasty with Dallas.  The rebooted Battlestar Galactica also falls into this category, although I’m not as inclined to rewatch it as I am the original series.

And another set of exceptions are all my animated series, which have their own shelf, whether I rewatch them regularly or not.  That being said, the only ones that I would put into a category of not rewatching them are She-Ra, Reboot, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  I can’t imagine rewatching She-Ra again, but for the latter two it’s just that I didn’t enjoy them that much and didn’t enjoy some of the story arcs so that rewatching them would get to be a bit annoying (the same reason that The Nanny is a series that I won’t rewatch regularly).  But for things like Justice League, Batman, The Real Ghostbusters, Teen Titans, Transformers, Duck Dodgers and Thundercats, they sit where my animated shows sit even though I’d probably rewatch them occasionally (and did, while working from home).  This also applies to my anime, like P4:  The Anime, Yu-Gi-Oh, Stein’s Gate, Vampire Princess Miyu, Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok, .hack/Sign and Liminality, and Read or Die:  I’d probably rewatch all of them at some point, but they fit into the shelf I have reserved for animation.

Okay, so those are the exceptions, aside from movies which I’ll talk about in the next post.  So what is actually in there?  Well, the series that got me pondering if the shows in there should all be in there is Charlie’s Angels, the original 70s one.  As it happens, I picked up a Roku streaming thingie and wanted to try it out, and so went to a free site that provided throwback shows and streamed the pilot to see how it worked.  And even though I was only partly paying attention to it, I found that it really was just a lot of fun, and so it justified its being in there and taking up that space.

I’ve already mentioned that I have Star Trek:  The Next Generation in there, and of course I have Star Trek:  The Original Series in there as well.  I, of course, have the original Battlestar Galactica series there as well.  I also keep Doctor Who, the modern series up through Capaldi’s run, there as well, along with Space:  Above and Beyond and Smallville.  I also have Space: 1999 in there, which is a show that I definitely want to rewatch at some point.  The original V series also made the cut, because I like the original miniseries even though I’m not as fond as the one season it managed to get.

Speaking of one-season wonders, I have The Flash, Birds of Prey, Stargirl, Scream Queens, John Woo’s Once a Thief, and of course Twin Peaks (especially since I didn’t like the recent continuation).

I also have a couple of shows that feature Holly Marie Combs, with Charmed and Pretty Little Liars making the cut.  For shows in a similar vein, I also have Sliders and Quantum Leap, along with Friday the 13th:  The Series, and for a less horror-filled version of that I have Relic Hunter. 

When it comes to history, I of course have The World at War there.  I also have the BBC Definitive History of WWII and a couple of History Channel Classics, although I guess those are candidates to be moved because I’m always going to be more likely to watch The World at War instead of them.

Moving on to comedies, I have Get Smart, Sledge Hammer!, Frasier, Wings, Black Adder, Soap, Gilligan’s Island, The Munsters, The Adams Family, Daria (the exception to the animation series rule since it’s not a cartoon), and Mad About You.  I also have Married With Children there which I haven’t watched in ages but do think that I’d like to rewatch it at some point.  I also have the first two seasons of Hot in Cleveland (I keep looking for but can never find the entire series) as well as Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

And finishing off with the two more recent additions of Knight Rider and House M.D.

And that’s all of them, and thinking about it, yeah, they all should be there.   I’ll do the movies post likely next week.

Trying Out a New Gaming Schedule

June 27, 2022

So I have been griping for ages now — and specifically pretty recently — about how I never really get time to play video games, and I’ve tried a number of ways of scheduling them in an attempt to get to play them, usually to no avail.  On the few occasions that the schedule has worked — in 2020 the shifting schedules due to the pandemic allowed me to finally play Saint’s Row the Third and IV — circumstances have caused me to change the schedule or I ended up getting busier and so not finding the time to play them.  Most recently, I set aside a couple of time slots to play in the hopes that I could continue that when I return to working from work most of the week but ended up having the schedule on its own not give me enough time to get into Dragon Age:  Origins again and getting used to its mechanics, not really be good for any kind of RPG where I’d have to remember what I had done the week before — which eliminated the Wizardry and Gold Box games unless I wanted to do my own mapping, which I definitely don’t — and where the second day of that kept getting interrupted because I didn’t realize how long the other stuff on that day would actually take.

So, as is my wont, I started thinking about it.  In fact, I actually put into my schedule a specific time to figure all of that out.  But, of course, I thought about it at other times as well, and so came up with a rough plan before that time.  The basic constraints were that I’d have about 4 – 6 hours to play on two consecutive days, and then I wouldn’t be playing again for the rest of the week until those days came around again.  So I needed a game that I could at least make some good progress in playing for 4 – 6 hours, and ideally in playing for 2 – 3 hours, but that I could easily pick up again after a week without having to spend too much time figuring out what I had done the past week and what I had wanted to do the next week, without having to take notes on that, which would make it feel more like work than like fun.  So that left out a lot of RPGs, as noted above.  Arguably, the KotOR games would work, maybe the Dragon Age games (except Inquisition, which is just too long for that), maybe the Personas (which are pretty linear), maybe the Fallouts, but RPGs in general were going to be difficult to pull off and would take too long for me to finish to really work with them.  The last thing I wanted was to try this new schedule out and fail because I didn’t finish anything and so didn’t feel like I was making progress.

However, I also have a long list of games that probably would fit well into this model.  The first category of games for this is adventure games.  I picked up a lot of them from Good Old Games that I haven’t gotten around to playing, and some of the shorter ones could be finished in a 2 – 3 hour block — I did the Sam & Max games that way — but even the ones that can’t be finished in that time block or even a 4 – 6 hour block wouldn’t be a problem since I’m a fairly impatient adventure gamer and so rely on walkthroughs pretty much as soon as I get stuck so it would be pretty easy for me to simply pick up from the spot in the walkthrough where I stopped the next week before.  Or, at least, that’s my theory.

Another category that could work are strategy games.  Some of them, obviously, wouldn’t work, as they would involve a long, unbroken campaign that would take longer than those time blocks but would require me to take too much time the next week to remember what I was trying to do.  But some of them would be made up of smaller campaigns where you could fit one or more of them into that time block and then would be able to pick the next one up the next week.  And some of them, especially ones where I was playing against myself, would be simple enough or provide enough feedback to allow me to pick up where I left off even after a week.  Or, again, that’s the theory.

The final category is more a collection of games that I want to play but bridges genres, which is a collection of Star Wars games that I keep meaning to get back to.  The game that I’d most like to play — Rebellion — obviously wouldn’t work because it would require too much thought to remember all the things I was doing the previous week, and it also tends to cause me to lose track of time which is not at all good when I need to quit at a specific time.  But a game like Galactic Battlegrounds is built on a number of small scenarios that I could play one or two in that time block and then pick up the next one the next week, and there are a number of those games that are either linear or split up into scenarios and so it wouldn’t be too difficult to find a place to stop for the day that I could start from the next week.  Again, that’s the theory.

So that’s what I’m going to try.  I’m going to split the two days between adventure games and strategy/Star Wars games, and so play adventure games on one day and strategy/Star Wars games on the other.  While this means that I may not finish an adventure game in one day when I could if I played two days, it also allows me more variety in what I’m playing.  Of course, it also allows me to be flexible so if I really want to play something on both days I can do that without losing much.  I think I’ll start by playing the Amiga version of the old Space Crusade game which I have through an emulator, where my plan will be to work through all the scenarios until I’ve won all of them.  Since I always play on my own, I will have all three Space Marine groups to work with, so that should help, and I think I actually did that once in the past.  For adventure games, I’m going to play Starship Titanic.  I have the audiobook of it and liked it, and did like the small part of the game that I actually played, and have it from GOG, so I’m going to try to work through it, likely heavily relying on a walkthrough.

I’m going to dump my full list of games that I want to work through at the end of the post.  Again, I don’t expect to get through all of them, but the point is to give me a lot of options so I can find the ones that work and most interest me.

Star Wars:

Star Wars Battlefront

X-Wing/Tie Fighter/X-Wing Alliance series (probably won’t run on my system)

Star Wars Rogue Squadron

Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds

Star Wars Rebel Assault 1+2

Star Wars Shadows of the Empire

Star Wars Empire at War

Star Wars Dark Forces + Jedi Knight

Strategy:

Incubation

Space Crusade

Defender of the Crown

Civilization

Sim City

Disciples 2

Majesty

Call to Power 2

Tropicos

Age of Wonders

Pirates!

Heroes of Might and Magic

Alpha Centauri

Ghost Master

Port Royale 2

Master of Orion 2

Dungeon Keeper

Afterlife

Risk

Axis and Allies

Birth of the Federation

Blood Bowl

Star Trek Armada 1 and 2

Emperor of the Fading Suns

Syndicate

Syndicate Wars

Sunrider Mask of Arcadius

Real Politiks

Victoria

Beholder

Colonization

Covert Action

Adventure:

Sanitarium

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis

Escape from Monkey Island

Elvira

Dracula: Love Kills

Starship Titanic

Lure of the Temptress

Flight of the Amazon Queen

Dark Fall: Ghost Vigil

Her Story

Space Quest

Leisure Suit Larry

Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude

Blade Runner

Renowned Explorers

Red Shirt

The Guest

The Dame Was Loaded

Heart of China

Quest for Glory

Dragon’s Lair

Maniac Mansion

Eric the Unready

Spellcasting 2 + 3

Rise of the Dragon

Gabriel Knight

Phantasmagoria

Zork

Spycraft

Planetfall

Conquests of the Longbow/Conquests of Camelot

The Dagger of Amon Ra

The Colonel’s Bequest

Bloodnet

Rex Nebular and the Cosic Gender Bender

Layers of Fear

Dreamfall

Star Trek: 25th Anniversary

Star Trek: Judgement Rites

Shamus Young Has Passed Away

June 16, 2022

Shamus Young passed away yesterday morning.  He’d had a number of medical problems, including incredibly high blood pressure and recently kidney failure necessitating that he go on dialysis.  From the post, it seems like even though he didn’t let on about that on his blog he was expecting to not live much longer.

Regular readers of my blog will know that I refer to him quite frequently, and also that I’ve read and recommended his book “Mess Effect”, covering his posts on the Mass Effect series.  Completely coincidentally, I was cleaning out some boxes of books this past weekend and found his book “How I Learned”, which was a bit of an autobiography focusing on his school years and how he felt that the school system failed him and also fails other children.  Maybe I’ll take some time and read it again in the near future.

My deepest condolences to his family and those who closely collaborated with him.

When I Want to Do Something Productive

June 13, 2022

I tried to put together a new schedule template after my vacation time in April, but it isn’t really working out as I planned.  A big part of the issue is that, as usual, games are not working out as well as I would have hoped, as usual because I can’t decide what game to actually play.  I had wanted to play Dragon Age:  Origins, but I hit the wall with that one because it seemed like I’d need a longer initial session than I had time for in order to get myself back into the groove for that game, and there was nothing else that stood out.  The other issue was that the time block that I could have used to get that longer initial session was Saturday afternoon, but that wasn’t working out for me.  The reason for that was that with playing TOR in the morning and then doing some cleaning and then doing laundry and reading Shakespeare while doing that, and then having to cook and eat and then wash dishes I ended up running out of time to do the two things I had scheduled for Saturday afternoon and evening, namely playing games and watching a movie.  So ultimately I came to the conclusion that I could probably never do both of those on Saturdays, and that given the timing I might not be able to do either, especially given that I usually needed some extra time to right blog posts.  Especially after the power outage, I decided to at least not formally schedule video games and so look for games that I might be inspired to play — like “Axis and Allies” — or that I can play for a short period of time when I get some random time to play games, like the Classic Console games or maybe “The Pinball Arcade”.

But what that meant, especially after the power outage, was that I suddenly would get unexpected free periods, when my Saturday or Sunday work ended early or on Fridays if I didn’t have to cook and eat.  And then I’d have to figure out what to do.  Now, the issue with these sorts of free periods is also the reason I went to a schedule in the first place:  I’d have time to do something and feel like I should do something productive, but wouldn’t be able to decide what that should be, which usually ended up with me not being able to do something productive.  I definitely feel the same thing in those free periods, which stops me from just going to do something for fun.  I think to myself “I have some free time, I should try to make progress on something”, which then leans me towards writing a blog post or maybe watching a movie.  But sometimes I don’t have time for a blog post or to watch a movie, or else watching the movie won’t fill up all the time, and so neither of those work.  But I still want to do something productive, which stops me from doing something just for fun.

Except, oddly, at this point in time, for one thing, my main hobby:  reading.  I had been reorganizing my book shelves, and decided that I wanted to re-read and read some of my history books, and so made a big stack of them in the stand in my living room.  I started with re-reading some of the World War II books I had before moving into one that I hadn’t read — a biography of Winston Churchill — and then a number of other books that I hadn’t read, and a bunch of Pierre Berton books, and so on.  Now, that’s a pretty big stack, and as history books a lot of them take longer to read than an average book — the Churchill biography was both long and had small print, and so was a much slower read than normal — and so reading it just when I had a chance meant that it was taking a long time to get through them.  Which wasn’t really an issue, but again the stacks are big and I want to get through them, and so it is something like an accomplishment, in the sense that it’s something that I specifically want to do and that I can’t do other things — meaning, read other books — until I finish the stack.

Thus, I can justify and feel good about doing that reading in those free periods, because it is something useful but also something that fits well into those time periods, especially when there’s something like baseball or hockey on so that I can read while watching that as well.  As historical books and also books that I’ve already read, I don’t have to pay as much attention to them as I would with the Shakespeare or with a horror/sci-fi movie, and as I definitely noted during the power outage I can read for long periods of time but also can read for a half hour to an hour, and again unlike the Shakespeare while I like to end a session on a chapter I don’t have to do that.  So as happened before it fits into my accomplishment model pretty well, giving me something “productive” to do in those free periods that fits well in all of them but fits more into my general hobbies than the things that are more projects.

However, that’s likely not going to be the case over the long term.  It works when I am reading historical books or philosophy books or a series that I haven’t read in a while or never finished, but it wouldn’t work if I should decide to re-read the “X-Wing” series, for example.  It’s hard to argue that getting through that series is at all productive, even though it would be more enjoyable.  In theory, I have the same issue with TV shows in the evening — after getting through “Ghost Whisperer”, I want to re-watch some “Star Trek” shows — but in that case the time period where I watch TV shows is itself set and set aside to, at least in part, watch some shows before turning in for the night.  I might look at the stacks of TV shows and grumble that I’m not making a dent in that stack, but I would be deliberately setting that time aside to rewatch those shows, and would never consider watching the TV shows in any other time period so they could never be fulfilling the function that the historical books are fulfilling right now.  So I’m likely to lose the benefit that I’ve getting from my choice of reading material right now which means that I have an additional reason to select my next set of books using a criteria that lets me maintain that, but I also, of course, at some point will want to reread those books that I, in general, reread on a regular basis, making my choice of reading material a bit tougher than it normally is.

That being said, when I reorganized my bookcases I set aside a bunch of books that I wanted to read or reread that I hadn’t done in a while, and so if I so choose I can keep this going for a while after I finish the historical books.  At any rate, this situation is a nice one while it lasts.