Archive for the ‘Stuff’ Category

Shomi Craving

December 8, 2018

So, a while back I was one of those who had the streaming service Shomi, which ended two years ago. Just recently, my cable provider added a version, at least, of its main competition at the time — they launched at about the same time and were constantly compared to each other — which is Crave TV. I had been tempted to pick that service up but I’m set up to watch stuff on my TV, not on my computer, and so hesitated to pay that much for something that I’d have to alter most of my viewing habits to actually watch. Now that it’s on my regular cable box, that’s not an issue anymore.

The package I have is actually interesting, as it contains channels from Crave and HBO that show shows and movies during the day, but also include an on-demand channel that lets me watch what’s available whenever I want to. It’s a lot like another channel I had a while ago, called Hollywood Suite, which only had movies. In fact, this model let me watch one of the movies on the list of movies I thought might be interesting, since it was on at 6 am when I wasn’t doing much anyway. I’ll probably talk about that one sometime this week.

The only issue with it is that the TV shows and movies clash with my huge stacks of DVDs to watch, since they obviously fit in the precise same time slots. On the plus side, having this will let me watch Agents of SHIELD, and well as inflict Voyager, Enterprise and Discovery on myself. Okay, maybe that’s a bit of a mixed bag [grin].


Update on That Accomplishment Thing …

November 30, 2018

So, it’s been about three months since I last talked about how my accomplishment kick was going, so I thought this might be a good time to look at it, especially since Christmas is coming and after Christmas I need to readjust my schedule, so it’s a good time to reflect on it and assess and reassess what I’m trying to do. I’m going to follow the order from the previous post, even though that might no longer reflect what’s going best.

(Ah, who am I kidding? It’s still going to be pretty much accurate [grin]).

DVDs continue to be the star of the new focus. I managed to finish He-Man, She-Ra, and two anime series from my half-hour stack, and am almost through Matt Smith’s run in Doctor Who over those three months after finishing Dynasty. The only thing that hasn’t gone as well as it had when I wrote the previous post is watching movies. Well, it’s both gone better and worse. Rewatching movies that I wanted to rewatch has stalled, mostly because I’ve stopped playing games or, at least, stopped playing games where it’s convenient to watch a movie (more on that later). I wanted to rewatch all the Star Trek movies again and after at least a month if not longer I’ve gotten through “The Wrath of Khan”. However, I’m making pretty good progress on those cheap little horror movies — I’ve finished off the “The Shadows” collection — and am even making some progress on some older movies that I picked up cheap, having recently watched Casper and one of the Naked Gun movies, as well as Pride & Prejudice & Zombies. I hope to continue doing that as things go along (they’re pretty good to watch while I’m eating or in an evening when I don’t want to do anything else).

The downside here is that my stacks are getting pretty large. Well, the half-hour stack is going pretty well for now, but the hour stack is getting larger and larger. I have a ton of TV shows that I haven’t watched and want to — made worse by the fact that I’ve actually bought some new ones — and also want to rewatch some of the shows that I’ve already watched, like Babylon 5 or Buffy/Angel. This is getting a bit concerning to me, especially since it will take longer to watch hourly shows than half-hour ones. But still, I’m making progress and now have the actual ability to watch hour-long shows and make progress, so it’s still better than the alternative.

Reading, however, has taken a bit of a hit. After finishing my list of historical works, I started reading some Ben Bova science fiction novels. Despite them being relatively short, I’ve only finished two of them so far. Part of the reason for that is because I don’t read for as long as I used to in the evenings (due to winter coming on I fall asleep earlier in the evenings) and part of it is that I bought some comic trade paperbacks and also a “grab bag” box of 100 comics that I’m now working through. So I expect this to pick up once I get through that. At least the stack/list here isn’t getting any longer.

Video games are a mixed bag, but that’s better than the disaster they were in the last post. I abandoned my Persona 3 run and instead finished off all of my Dragon Age: Origins characters and replayed Dragon Age 2 to do an analysis of it, which was very good. And then I mostly stopped playing games for about a month, except for trying out Cultist Simulator and Sunrider Academy. Since I wasn’t playing games and especially not playing console games, this pretty much stopped me having anything on while playing console games, especially since for DA2 I really wanted to pay attention to the story and found that having the TV on at all kinda drowned that out. So it’s a lot better, but …

… I have a lot of games that I want to or should play. On GOG, I have about 170 games including freebies. I have finished something like three of them — Huniepop and Knights of the Old Republic are the two I remember, but there’s probably another one in there somewhere — and have played for any significant amount of time somewhere around 10 or so of them. I would really like to make a dent in those games. I also have a large stack of console games to play, including new ones that I bought and would like to try out. A big consideration for my schedule in the New Year is trying to figure out when I can play games and which ones I should play to make a dent in that stack/list.

I even did better with little projects, in that I’ve started a couple and a couple of things for them. But I still don’t work on them anywhere near as much as I should. However, some of the timeslots that they would normally been in have been ones where I’ve done things for the blog, like writing posts or watching those horror movies to generate blog content. This is the only reason that I can post pretty much every day right now, which I’m doing so that I can clear out the backlog of blog content that I have … and I’m not there yet (philosophy posts are struggling under this model). Still, I’m even making good progress there, which is taking some of the pressure off of me. So that’s good. Still, I do need to find the time and motivation to do the actual projects that I want to do.

So, things are working out pretty well. The biggest issues right now are built around this model actually being successful, and so my feeling that I can get things accomplished and thus setting bigger goals for myself, which then can add up and seem overwhelming. But it’s still better than it was in almost all areas, and that’s good enough for me.

Sick …

October 5, 2018

So, as I already mentioned, there was an extended power outage here a couple of weeks ago. I happened to be on vacation the following week, and joked to my parents that after the power outage and all I needed to do to recover after it I was pretty much back to the point where I could go and start doing the things that I wanted to do at the start of my vacation by this past weekend.

And then I caught a cold.

While many people would complain that getting sick on their vacation would ruin it, I’ve never really felt that way. Years ago, I had my wisdom teeth removed, and deliberately scheduled it for a Friday so that if I ended up reacting badly to the anesthetic or in pain I had the weekend to recover from it. One of my co-workers expressed some surprise at this, to which my response was that if I was sick enough that all I could do was sit around and watch TV all day, would that be a bad weekend, or a good weekend? I considered it to be a good weekend. The same thing applies to getting sick on vacation: I’d rather be sick when I really don’t have to do anything than sick when I need to be or should be at work. That way I don’t really feel bad at all if all I do is lie around and read, watch DVDs, or play games.

As it turns out, the weather impeded me more than my cold did, since it rained at least part of almost every day making it too wet to do the outside things I wanted to do, which are the only things that I really needed to get done before going back anyway.

That being said, while replacing my window handles I managed to pick up all of Eccleston’s, Tenant’s, Smith’s and Capaldi’s runs on Doctor Who, which means that I can watch them again after watching them twice while I had Shomi and not being able to watch them since. I also finished off all of my characters in Dragon Age: Origins and have started my analysis run of DA2, which is turning out to be a bit too addictive a game for me [grin]. So, stuff happened and I’m feeling better now. All in all, not the vacation I was hoping for, but it worked out well enough …

Some General Thoughts and a Longer Dragon Age 2 Discussion

September 26, 2018

So, there was a bad storm out here recently, and I lost power for an extended period of time. Not being able to do most of my regular pass-times I instead did a little light reading: “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” (I took a short break to read the entire comic series “Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-Man” at one point). This, of course, worked out really well for my general reading, as I went from about 600 pages before the weekend to sitting at over 1000 today, when the book was going slowly not because it was a bad book but because it is a rather heavy book — in both content and actual size, since I’m reading a hardcover version of it — and so I can only get through a relatively small number of pages in an evening. But now I’m almost finished, and then that just leaves “Guns, Germs and Steel” out of my list of historical books and then that list will be finished! Right now, after that I’m planning to turn to fiction and read my collection of Ben Bova books, and instead of going on to philosophy after that I’m thinking about going through some serious literature for a while. But that’s in the future, and the X-Wing books will have to go in there somewhere.

Of course, being without power didn’t do wonders for my watching DVDs. However, I had just finished watching Dynasty — I’ll put up my final thoughts on that Monday — and have started watching Wonder Woman. Yes, I’ve comitted to finishing it this time. I’m working my way through She-Ra, and can’t wait to finish that one, for reasons that I’ll expound on at length when I talk about the series as a whole. So that’s still going along.

If you’ve been following my list of video games, you’ll note that I’ve put the Persona games on hold and started playing Dragon Age: Origins again. So far, I’ve finished my Dwarf Noble playthrough and am now working on finishing my Dalish Elf (she’s an archer, which is a bit of a different playstyle for me. I think I might need to start bringing along two warriors instead of having only one — Alistair — and then bringing along Leiliana). But you also might have noticed that after that I mentioned Dragon Age 2 and talk about it being an “Analysis run”. What’s all that about? Well, at work I was listening to a lot of Chuck Sonnenberg’s old video game reviews while working, and that included his Dragon Age 2 run. The first time I had watched it, I had disagreed with some of his conclusions in Act 2 and Act 3, but at the the time didn’t really go into it because some of them were things that I kinda griped about in my own thoughts on the game. I think, though, that it might be worth taking a look at them again and replaying the game with that in mind.

I’ll outline the two main issues here, but will revisit them and go into more detail on them later. The first is that in I think Act 2 — I’ll look it up more specifically when I directly address it — Chuck comments that Dragon Age 2 was the canary in the coal mine for Bioware. What he means by that is that DA2 was the first game where there was a huge discrepancy between professional review scores and player review scores, with professional reviews rating it so much higher than the players did. This was only exacerbated in Mass Effect 3. While I think he’s right about that, I don’t think that it was the canary in the coal mine for, at least, the issues that led to it. I think that honour belongs to Mass Effect 2, because as outlined in Shamus Young’s massive treatise on the Mass Effect games Mass Effect 2 was the game that moved away from giving you interesting choices and having those choices matter and instead towards railroading the character into doing what the writer wanted, which in that case was work for Cerberus. Chuck laments that choice was an illusion in DA2 but at least there that your actions couldn’t prevent the times to come was itself an important part of the story, as it seems to me that DA2 definitely aimed at being far more of a tragedy than the first game was, and in a tragedy no matter what you do you won’t be able to stop the tragedy from happening, either because it is inevitable no matter what you do or else because the reactions of the characters in the story will always be ones that lead to it due to their natures. They’re just not capable of doing the things they need to do to prevent it because those things are so anathema to their own personalities and who they think they are and how they think the world should work, and thus they create their own downfall due to who they are as people.

But Mass Effect 2 was not a tragedy. The player is not forced into working with Cerberus due to their own character, and in fact their own character likely would forestall them from actually doing it. Nothing in the characterization from Mass Effect suggests that the Council would ignore the Reaper problem after one attacks them on their doorstep, that the Alliance would simply abandon their colonies that are under Collector attack, that Cerberus is interested in them, is trustworthy enough to work with, or is even competent enough to make a difference here, or that Shepard would even consider working for them and not returning to the Council anyway. ME2 derails the plot and characters to make this fit, but covers it up with cool characters that you want to play with. DA2, instead, builds the railroading into the story but doesn’t have the interesting characters to make that more palatable.

Which leads to the second issue. In Act 3, I believe, Chuck comments that given all that’s happened in DA2 he can’t understand why Hawke doesn’t just leave, and that he/she only stays because they’re railroaded into it. Shamus, on the other hand, remarks that there is no reason for Shepard to work with Cerberus at all and only stays with them because the game won’t let them quit. The thing is, I think that unless you’re a character that is mercenary to the point where even Isabella would look at you funny, DA2 actually is careful to give almost all characters plenty of reasons to want to stay. First, Hawke for almost all of the game has family that they care about in Kirkwall, from your surviving sibling to your mother. Even in Chuck’s playthrough, Hawke isn’t likely to leave as long as Bethany is still in the Kirkwall Chantry. Second, even if your family is all dead — as mine was in my playthrough — you have friends that can’t leave as easily. Avelline, for example, is captain of the guard, while Varric still has some contacts there. I’d mention Anders’ seeming attachment to the place, but does anyone consider him a friend in that game [grin]? Third, you have a family estate and history there that you’ve recently reclaimed. That’s a reason to stick it out there instead of simply giving up that thing that you did so much work to get back, and that was very important to your mother. Fourth, it wasn’t that long ago that you had to uproot yourself and begin a new life elsewhere. Now that Kirkwall is finally feeling like a home again, Hawke might not be anxious to pack everything up and start over again. And, finally, Kirkwall’s not even all that bad compared to the rest of Thedas. What we have are unstable situations and one really disastrous event — the end of Act 2 with the Qunari — in the number of years you’ve been there. Ferelden, where you came from, had a civil war in the middle of a Blight. And a lot of the simmering issues in Kirkwall are simmering elsewhere as well. Hawke has some power and authority here and so is likely to think that at least they can make a difference here, which isn’t possible elsewhere. So almost all characters can find some reason to stay and try to make Kirkwall work rather than moving on.

Compare that with ME2. The main issue is disappearing colonists that no one seems to care about and that Shepard really has no reason to care that much about either. Cerberus is at best a small-time organization from the first game, and at worst is at best incompetent and at worst evil. Joining Cerberus actually causes Shepard to have less authority — because no one trusts Cerberus and so are reluctant to help someone working with them — than they would if they went back to the Council or the Alliance. Moreover, the Reapers are the bigger threat and one that Shepard should be more interested in pursuing. Yes, the two plots tie into each other, but no one seems to know that at that point in the game. ME2 doesn’t really give you any reason to think that working with Cerberus is going to in any way help you achieve any of your goals.

When we look deeper at DA2, we can see that the motivations were actually there, while when we look deeper at ME2 we can see that the shallow motivations it gives make no sense. DA2 might have failed to make the emotional connection, but from a plot and characterization standpoint we can see that it did the work to add the things to the story that we could then use to drive us forward. However, deciding that is the point of the “Analysis run”: to play the game with this in mind and see if it does or doesn’t work and what the game itself actually does here. It’ll take a while for me to get there — I do want to finish the DAO stories first, and then pick one to start from — but that’s the goal, at any rate.

Sports Drought …

September 19, 2018

So, one of the main reasons that I’ve been able to watch so many DVD movies lately is because of something that I haven’t been doing: watching a lot of sports. Normally, I watch baseball a lot, or even NFL football, but that’s fallen off a bit and there aren’t very many sports on the horizon to take their places.

For baseball, the Toronto Blue Jays have had a very weird and poor season, with lots of injuries, key players not performing, and an inability to even trade for any exciting prospects because of the aforementioned injuries and poor performances. Most of the players on the roster are players that I haven’t seen before this season, and those are the ones that tend to be doing the best, for certain values of “best”. They have long been out of playoff contention and aren’t really all that fun to watch beyond that, with few players to really cheer for, and the ones that there are ending up struggling at some point. Plus, they’ve run a lot of 4 pm games on Saturdays, which is a pretty inconvenient time for me to watch. And while some other teams are shown at times, I generally don’t care about them until the playoffs. So it’s no wonder that I’ve put watching movies ahead of watching baseball.

The CFL, of course, has been running for at least half a season now, I think, or maybe for most of it. Not only do they play their games at very inconvenient times for me, in the East the Montreal Alouettes are still in the playoff hunt despite having won only 3 of 12 games. Then again, the Redblacks are actually above .500 and are on top of the standings, so that’s something, at least. Still, no afternoon games early in the season meant little reason to watch when they did have some on Labour Day, because I had no investment in any of the teams at all.

The NFL just restarted, but again I don’t really care about those teams so if I have to choose between movies and the NFL movies win.

On the horizon, hockey is about to restart, but my favourite team, the Ottawa Senators, is an absolute mess right now with all sorts of odd situations going on, and my childhood favourite team, the NY Islanders, lost their best player to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the off-season and they weren’t a very good team before that, so when all of that is added to their games generally being on at inconvenient times I’m not feeling motivated to watch hockey right now.

But the future may be brighter. In addition to the baseball playoffs, the curling season is about to start! So that should give me something to watch.

Although, any player on any of my favourite teams might want to be careful for the next little while. Just in case.

Would you believe … it got worse?

September 7, 2018

So, I mused a couple of weeks ago about how while some things were working well with my new schedule, video games had been mostly a disaster, and that I was switching to P3P with the FeMC to try to break out of my gaming slump. And then in the next couple of weekends I played the game … once. For about an hour or so. And that included a long weekend where I only played one game over the entire long weekend … and that was Dragon Age: Origins. Okay, I also briefly played Pinball Arcade, and set up a Mass Effect themed Master of Orion 2 game and played it for an hour.

I like playing games. I want to play games. So why wasn’t I playing games?

Part of the issue is that while I like Persona 3, I don’t care for the dungeons. I find the dungeons boring and disconnected from the story and better parts of the game. I also had come up on exam time which greatly limits the S-links you can do, so that wasn’t really thrilling me either. And I also noted that I had a lot of games to play (I had purchased a few new games from GOG that looked interesting). And I also watched Chuck Sonnenburg’s Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age 2 reviews — as noise while working — and was reminded that I wanted to finish off my existing characters and do Dragon Age 2 at least once again, and so got an urge to, well, do that. This got in my head when I was trying to decide what to play, making me indecisive and hesitant about what to play, until I finally decided to just go ahead and play DAO on the last day of the long weekend just to play something. And while I enjoyed it, I’m still not sure it’s what I want to do.

This weekend I’m busy, and so probably won’t play any game at all. After that, I need to decide what to do. I might end up waiting until I go on vacation and thus have time to fix my two problems, that of projects and of video games. It doesn’t help that both of them fit best into the same three available timeslots, which always makes me feel like I have to choose between them. That’s something that doesn’t really happen when I’m on vacation and separating them out might be something to think about over the next few weeks.

Thoughts on Stingray …

August 29, 2018

So, a while ago I signed up for Stingray Retro. I still have it. So what do I think of it?

It works pretty well for what I wanted it for. It provides some decent music and something somewhat interesting to look at should I happen to look up at the screen. This makes it pretty good to have one while doing things like little projects, reading when nothing else is on, or writing blog posts .. especially since my baseball team isn’t doing so well and so watching baseball isn’t of as much interest to me as it used to be (plus the schedule has been running annoyingly into later games lately).

The music mix isn’t or at least wasn’t that varied. At the start, at least, I saw a lot of Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, and oddly enough The Spice Girls, which got a bit repetitive at times, although that seems to have settled down a bit. It does, however do a lot less Kylie Minogue than Vintage did, which is both good and bad, mostly because they don’t play the song I really like, and the others don’t appeal to me as much. The Canadian content surprisingly lacks Bryan Adams — one of the more popular Canadian artists — but does focus a lot on Shania Twain, Celine Dion, and a surprising amount of Glass Tiger, with some Corey Hart and other Canadian bands at times. But it’s a Canadian station, so that’s to be expected. Other than that, the mix is pretty good, and even includes a couple of Rick Astley songs, which I did actually like back in the day and so can still listen to … but, yes, it does mean that the channel effectively rickrolls me every so often.

So, as I hinted above, it’s worked out pretty well. I only listen to one of the three channels that I have but that channel plays the songs that I know and like enough that I don’t really need any other channels. Definitely worth getting, and mostly superior to Vintage, which is what it replaced.

That Accomplishment Thing and How It’s Going

August 22, 2018

So, it’s been a couple of months since I started putting a focus on getting some various things organized and listed out and to thus finally finish or do some of the things that I’ve been meaning to do for years. How is that all working out? Let me break it down from the things that are working out the best to the things that are working out the worst:

DVDs are working out amazingly well after some small adjustments. I now have the ability to watch hour long shows and half hour long shows and feel like I’m making progress. Right now, I’m almost done Dynasty and am almost done the 2002 series of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, and have felt like I was making progress the entire time. Sure, splitting my watching time between the two means that I take a lot longer to finish them than I would otherwise, but that’s a lot better than looking longingly at hour long shows that I’d like to watch and wondering if I’m ever going to be able to watch them again. The half hour long shows still provide the flexibility I need while the hour long shows still get some play. I, of course have my half hour shows planned out probably through the end of the year while I still have to decide what hourly shows I’ll watch after Dynasty — it is actually, at this point, unlikely to be Knight Rider or Airwolf, and more likely to be the original Beauty and the Beast or something else — but at least the possibility is there to get those in, which makes me feel like buying that stuff isn’t a waste.

But on top of that, changing what I watch while playing games has been a massive improvement. When I was off for a week but after I had stopped trying to watch Knight Rider while playing games in the afternoons, I started watching movies while playing games. This was a revelation. It allowed me to put on a bunch of movies that I in general always wanted to watch at times while not having to pay a lot of attention to them. This also let me start watching a series of movies while eating and then also while doing other things, as long as it was something where having the noise available was good but I didn’t have to watch it in detail. So, in general, for movies that I’ve already watched but want to at least sorta watch again. So I’ve done the extended Lord of the Rings movies, the Star Wars movies — twice — and the Star Trek movies, as well as some others. I think I’m going to watch the James Bond movies I have next, which I haven’t watched in years. Movies work because they’re long enough to cover off a lot of time without my having to really do anything — even select the next one — but short enough that they generally run out at more convenient times than the 4+ hour Knight Rider disks. This lets them be more flexible than the Knight Rider disks were while still being things that I can turn on and mostly forget about for a while, which is great.

Also, the original series of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe proved that I can have an autoplay half-hour series and not worry if I fall asleep during it. All I’ve done is back up to the last episode I was watching and then watch the complete episode the next time I watch. Yes, this sometimes means that I end up watching most of an episode again if I want to see the ending, with the most ridiculous one being one episode of the 2002 series that I watched three times before being able to move on, but for the most part it’s working out well, and so that lets me watch some of those anime series that I’ve never been able to watch (see the list for the details). So this is just working out really, really well after some initial stumbling blocks.

Books are also working out really well. I’ve managed to work my way through my stack of historical books so that there are only two left. Yes, it is likely to take me another month to read “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” in my limited reading time, but that’s okay; I enjoy the book and have the time. As I can see the end of that list, I now can even look forward and plan for what I’m going to read next, which could be trying to get through those philosophical works I’ve been looking to read, reading something like the X-Wing books just for fun, or splitting the difference and reading all of the Ben Bova novels I have. I’ve had some issues with books that I didn’t enjoy, but I know how to work around that so it’s all good. This is working out pretty well.

Video games are, however, a disaster. I suppose I can take consolation in the fact that I did manage to “finish” Persona, but the problem there was that I didn’t particularly enjoy it and that carried over to Persona 2. And since Persona 2 introduced new issues of my having no idea where I was supposed to go to do the next thing and having a much greater frequency of random encounters which was annoying, I wasn’t having fun playing games … and that’s really the main point of playing games. It didn’t help that I was far more interested in playing Persona 3 or Persona 4 again — which were the next games on the list — nor that I didn’t have a good way like I have for books to only play games as an obligation and then move on to more fun games or things nor that after changing to watching movies I could play PC games again, many of which were far more interesting than Persona 2. Persona 2 actually ended up being blocking for me, where on one weekend I barely played games at all because it would require me to play that game. Yes, I ended up being busier than normal and had less time to play, but if I had wanted to play it I would have found the time. That I didn’t is not a good sign.

So, at least for now, I’ve tried to fix the problem by rescheduling Persona 2 for Christmas, when I’ll have more time to dedicate to that without neglecting the other things I want to do. In its place, I’ve moved on to the FeMC for Persona 3, which is a much more interesting game. Hopefully, this will work out, but so far accomplishing things with games has been a disappointment.

The only area that’s been worse are little programming projects and the like. I’ve done nothing with them. My original plan was to do them early afternoons on weekends and video games in the late afternoons and evenings, but my morning work and errands has always run over leaving little time to actually do them, and with the blog itself taking up what little time I could use to advance them anyway. And the only other free time slot is one that gets preempted a lot. And moving games to that other time slot means not playing them, and I still do want to play or finish some of those games, and that’s probably a higher priority for me right now. I have started a little bit of thinking about some of these things, but haven’t really done much yet nor have I really figured out the scheduling issues. I’m going to try to keep fitting it into the existing schedule and try to do it more when I have a spare hour or two, but this is really not going well and might necessitate a schedule change.

So, that’s how things are going. I’m hoping that I can stick with this and thus keep getting the things done that I’ve been wanting to do for ages, and so far it looks like I’m on a reasonable track except for little projects.

My Lists Are Long …

August 3, 2018

So, I’ve talked about the lists I’ve updated and created to try and get things done. The three lists that are on the blog are, well, all rather long, and also aren’t entirely complete. For example, I only have three hourly shows listed on my list of shows to watch on DVD despite the fact that I do indeed have a rather large library of DVDs to watch, that contain both shows that I’ve never watched and shows that I have watched but really want to watch again. In fact, I’m not sure that I’ll return to Knight Rider after finishing Dynasty, and so it might not even be accurate (the half-hour list is pretty much right). And when it comes to my reading list, I have a large number of philosophical works listed and, on top of that, have a number of works that count as “literature” that I want to slide in there at some point. Oh, and I’ve already mentioned the six+ boxes of fiction that I want to read. Essentially, I’m setting up lists that, if I try to complete everything on them, will likely take me years to complete.

I might be overthinking this a little …

That being said, I am making progress. I’ve made good progress on the history books that I wanted to complete, and so can expect to finish the list in a couple of months or so. He-Man has stalled a little since I started slipping Dynasty in as well, but that’s only because I’ve taken time away from it to watch Dynasty, which means that I’m about half-way through it. All I really need to do is live up to my bargain and actually watch the half-hour show in the evenings, after watching one or more episodes of the hourly show and hitting a convenient time point. And I’ve still made some progress on He-Man anyway, especially in the last few days. Finishing Persona was a coup, and I’ve started Persona 2 and am making progress with it … although it turns out that games are working out the worst, because every time I play Persona 2 it reminds me of how much better Persona 3 and Persona 4 are, and a number of things keep reminding me of other games that I’d like to play. Thus, I feel the most dissatisfied with the games I’m playing, and there actually isn’t an alternative like I had with “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire”, which was to read it for an hour or so and then read Deadpool graphic novels in my general reading time. I don’t have free general game playing time nor do I have a lot of games that I could play in general spare time to at least let me play a game that I want to play or enjoy. The counter to that is that for video games there are far fewer games that would make me feel that way; Persona 2 is just a special case, and only because I like the modern Persona games that much more than them that it drags down my enjoyment of those games.

However, an issue with this is that I have little programming projects in the queue as well, but the pressure to finish these things tends to distract me from doing them. It’s not so much that I consider those things more important than the programming projects, but that I consider them at about the same level, and due to time constraints it doesn’t really work to do them in the early weekend afternoons like I had planned. What I’m finding is that my morning stuff plus cooking lunch plus cleaning up takes me just past the starting point for those projects, but then that wouldn’t leave me a lot of time before I’m supposed to play games (and I only have a few days to do that as well). I don’t want to delay playing games because a) I need the hours to get through them in any reasonable amount of time and b) I don’t want to play them too late because then I might not fall asleep that well. Plus, playing them too late would also cut into the time I can explicitly watch those DVDs. So it’s just easier for me to start playing earlier and then finish earlier, and I still get my watching and reading done as well. It just ends up cutting off all of those little projects, which then makes me feel bad that I’m doing nothing on them.

I think a reshuffling of my schedule is in the offing …

Anyway, it’ll be interesting to see how I progress with this and how satisfied I’ll be with the whole thing as time goes by. So far it hasn’t been terrible and it has been nice to finish some things that I’ve always wanted to finish, but there have been moments when the things that are supposed to be mostly fun haven’t actually been fun. We’ll have to see if they’re fun enough for me to still have some fun with things while still feeling that I’m progressing.

Thoughts on my recent vacation …

July 13, 2018

So, I recently took a week’s vacation. Now, the interesting thing about this is that I took off one week in the summer. Why is that interesting? Because I don’t like to take only a week’s vacation, because I always feel like I’m just getting used to the fact that I’m on vacation when it’s time to go back. Moreover, I don’t like taking vacation in the summer. Additionally, the reason that I don’t like to take vacation in the summer is that I find that the heat of summer is at least if not more limiting than the cold of winter, but in summer I never get that feeling of looking out the window at the weather and thinking “Well, at least I don’t have to go to work today!”. I first time I took vacation in the summer from work — rather than from school — it was the hottest week of the year, and I didn’t have air conditioning at the time, and I mused about going back to work.

The week I took off was the hottest week of the year so far and broke heat records. At least I had air conditioning this time.

So why did I take the week off? Because it was convenient. I needed to burn a week to ensure that I didn’t leave too much for the last half of the year, and I needed an extra day to fill in around Christmas, and the week started with a holiday so it made it convenient. The last release had gone out and my manager didn’t have a new feature for me, and my few bugs weren’t due any time soon, so I was in a slow time anyway. Thus, from a logistics standpoint it was the perfect time to go, and of course there were a number of things that I wanted to catch up on if it wasn’t too hot.

As it turns out, I’d say that I had a productive vacation, if not necessarily a relaxing one (it was a bit too hot to really relax, even with the air conditioning). I made up a list of things that I wanted to do and didn’t expect to get through half of it. I probably got through over three quarters of it. The big things that I didn’t get done were little programming projects and those sorts of projects in general and a few small outdoor things that it was just too hot to get around to. I also learned that Persona is, in fact, a really annoying game, but I’m now on the last dungeon and almost past it, but a random encounter gave me a TPK and I quit out of frustration and haven’t gotten back to it yet. But I made really good progress on it nonetheless, and so will soon be moving on to another game, Persona 2. I got a number of errands done that I needed or wanted to do, including making a batch of spaghetti sauce. So that’s good.

Still, I think I’m less tired this week after working all week than I was after being off the previous week [grin].

So, a useful vacation. Now that I’m back to work and have a feature I’ll have to make sure I build out my schedule to get the things I need to get done done.