Archive for the ‘Stuff’ Category

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.

Blog Update

May 27, 2022

You might have noticed that there wasn’t much content on the blog this week.  The reason was that my area was hit with a pretty major storm and I lost power for most of the week.  I normally have at least some of the posts — usually the horror ones — scheduled a bit in advance so they’d keep going for a while, but recently I’ve been busy and haven’t been able to do that, so the well was a bit dry for posts.  On top of that, the storm hit on Saturday afternoon and I was planning on using a long weekend here to catch up on posts, but I had a lot of things to do on Saturday and so was going to start on Sunday, which obviously I couldn’t do.  So you managed to get the one post that I had written ahead on “Party of Five” but there was nothing else scheduled for the week.

Since I’m still a bit behind and still a bit busy – especially with the storm — I’m going to take next week off to try to build up the backlog a bit and ensure that I can get posts out for the week after.  So there probably won’t be anything until after next week, but then hopefully things will be back to normal.

There’s Just Too Much

May 10, 2022

So, after abandoning “Hearts of Iron”, I wanted to get back into playing other video games.  I mused about it for a while, as is my wont, and then decided that I’d be clever and schedule in finishing off that run of Dragon Age Origins with all of the expansions and playing as Spencer from “Pretty Little Liars”.  And, well, so far I’ve booted the game up once to see where I was.  Now, one of the issues with my picking that up again is that it’s the PC version and I have a subconscious — and probably invalid, since it wasn’t an issue when I started playing the game — paranoia that I won’t remember how the controls work and so won’t be able to do well in the fights (this is also the reason that I never returned to a character in VTM:  Bloodlines, although in that game that fear is more valid).  But another issue that I was having was that there still were a lot of options that I was musing about to fill my rather limited video gaming time even after I had supposedly made up my mind.  I keep thinking about playing “Star Wars:  Rebellion” again as the Rebel Alliance.  I’ve mused about picking up “Wizardry 8” again, since I was having fun with my last run.  I’ve thought about picking up some of my PS2/PS3/PS4 games again.  I’ve thought about picking up games like “Icewind Dale”, or Might and Magic, or the Gold Box games, or other older RPGs (I’ve been reading the CRPG Addict again, which makes me think of that).  I’ve also pondered hooking up one of those classic consoles and playing some of those games. Thus, one of the things that’s stopping me from committing myself to Dragon Age Origins is all of the other games that I have in the back in my mind that I could be doing instead.

So the only game that I’ve been playing regularly is “The Old Republic”, and the only reason that works is because it slots into a specific time slot that I have set aside specifically for it and almost nothing else (occasionally, errands).  It’s not that it’s an MMO because I haven’t been playing “Dark Age of Camelot” for a while despite having a semi-set time slot for it.  No, the main reason I can play it is because I have a specific set of characters I want to get through and I have a time set aside for it and nothing else.  But when I have time slots that cover more a specific hobby rather than a specific instance of that hobby I often can find myself not doing any of them because I can’t decide which of them to do.  In fact, my scheduling things exist because of this, because when I left time slots open I found that I spent so much time deciding what to do that I didn’t do anything that I wanted to do.  At least here this only happens for specific hobbies or things to do.

This hits video games the worst — I mean, I’ve even managed to have specific “Wizardry 8” runs shortcircuited by my coming up with another party that I want to try instead — but, yeah, it can in theory hit anything.  The main reason that I haven’t hit it with DVDs for the past while is that I create a specific time slot and a specific stack to watch them, and so all I do is proceed through the stack.  And since I in general want to finish a series to talk about it, I have another incentive to stick with it and not switch to anything else.  And yet when I switched to rewatching Babylon 5 in December the urge to pick something else, even while watching it, from the stacks of things I wanted to watch again rose.  For books, again right now I have a stack of historical books to read in my general reading time and a set commitment to Shakespeare in a specific time set aside to read those sorts of things (while doing laundry) and so far that’s working, but at one point not so long ago I ditched finally reading the “Heroes in Hell” books because, if I recall correctly, I wanted to re-read the “X-Wing” series more.  Right now, I have shelves of books that I want to read in that time and hope that when the time comes to get around to them the stack and commitment to the stack will help me stick to them (again, there are some book series that I started and wanted to finish but never got around to finishing).

But, yeah, video games are the worst.  I was busy this week and used my video gaming time for other things, but I hope that when it starts up again I’ll finally be able to commit to something.  Otherwise, I may not be playing games for a while.

Accomplishments Update

March 29, 2022

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.

Final Vacation Update

January 3, 2022

At the time I’m writing this — I’m scheduling it to actually go up later — I technically still have some time left on my vacation, but I also know that other than working out my schedule for the next few months (which is a “New Year’s” thing instead of a “vacation” thing) I’m not really going to do anything of consequence in the last couple of days of my vacation, so since I have a bit of time to kill while waiting for my laundry to finish it seems like a good time to write this out.  This continues on from my previous update just before Christmas.

The big thing is that I actually did manage to finish Persona 5 Royal, clocking in at 92 hours of play time.  I actually made a mistake with it, as with other elements of my schedule dropping off I decided to take a run at it in the morning — I normally played it in the afternoons — and managed to finish the main plot at about 11 am.  So all I had left was the new dungeon and extra month of socializing, and so I figured that I could probably finish the entire game that day.  I figured that I could probably finish it off by about 3 or 4 — about one regular session — and at worst it would drag into the evening but I didn’t have anything else to do that evening so that would work pretty well.  And I ended up finishing it at … 12:30 am.  So it took me over 12 more hours to finish it from there.  That was, of course, really, really late for me, but I wanted to push through it to get it off my list and free up my afternoons again.  So I was successful and I don’t regret it, but if I had known that it would take that long at 11 am I would have left it for another day.

The last week of my vacation I didn’t play MMOs, preferring to focus on other things, and in fact didn’t get another run in after my last post on them.  But that was a success, because I got to try them out and decide which ones I liked, and am planning on at least poking around with them in the New Year (I’m trying to decide what slot they should fit into).  I don’t think I’ll subscribe to Star Trek Online at the moment, because I’m still not clear on how it’s all supposed to work, but I’ll be maintaining my subscriptions to The Old Republic and Dark Age of Camelot.

I did manage to get through Babylon 5 and Crusade before the end of my vacation, despite my not being sure that I could do it.  I finished Babylon 5 before Christmas Eve and burned through Crusade on Christmas Day, partly while doing other things.  That let me get through some movies before I’ll be turning to new TV shows in the New Year.

I managed to keep up with the blog, but didn’t really manage to get ahead.  I have some time around New Year’s Day to get ahead a bit and maybe to try to watch some movies ahead, since it’s looking like it will be difficult for me to find time for them in the New Year.

I also managed to do a decent amount of the chores and errands that I wanted to do over my vacation, which made me feel pretty good.  I was worried about this because while I did not too badly at this at the start of my vacation I let it slide until the very end.

I made progress in the lighter books but I’m going to have about four books of the “Heroes in Hell” books to get through in the New Year before I can turn to other things, which I will figure out on New Year’s Day.

General projects didn’t get any better, as I didn’t do anything wrt them at the last part of my vacation, and had pretty much given up on them at that point.  I am planning on putting them into my schedule for the New Year.

And finally, on other traditions, I did my full day watch of the Star Wars movies — excluding all the new ones but including the prequels — but didn’t get around to doing my full day watch of the Lord of the Rings movies because on the day that I was supposed to do that I had to do something else and then the next day I played Persona 5 Royal all day, and so at that point I just gave up on it.

I didn’t have too many days to relax — Christmas and the day I watched the Star Wars movies were probably the only ones that really counted — but it was a pretty productive vacation, and I got the things that I really, really wanted to get done done (Persona 5 Royal and playing the MMOs, along with the biggest errands and housework).  So that makes me feel pretty good about it.  Hopefully I can keep the productivity going in the New Year.

2021 in review

January 1, 2022

In terms of hits, this was not a good year for the blog, as after a few years of relatively steady growth I ended up with the lowest number of hits that I’ve had since 2016, which was a sharp decline from last year.  The views per visitor climbed to a height that I haven’t seen since 2015, which indicates fewer visitors reading more things, which could explain the drop.  I’m not sure what the explanation for the change is, but since this was a year-long trend that I was watching it really drove home the idea that I do the blog to get my ideas out of my head and not so much for views, because while I found the drop disappointing ultimately it didn’t make me want to stop blogging.

So, like last year, I don’t plan any changes this year, and as always thanks to everyone reading and commenting.