Tag Archives: Video games

Inbox Zero and Consumption Culture

Inbox Zero and GTD changed how I work. The tips of “Don’t constantly be reading incoming email” and “move email messages out of your inbox” are keys to how I succeed at managing what seems like a deluge of incoming email. It’s changed me, in some ways for the worse. I see inboxes everywhere now.

I’ve got a Netflix Instant queue filled with movies I’m never in the mood to watch. I feel bad that I have hundreds of unread articles in Pocket. I just unsubscribed to The Magazine because I couldn’t keep up to date with new issues. I even quit playing Words With Friends, because it was just another inbox.

That’s just the beginning. My Letterboxd watchlist has just over 400 movies added. My Downcast “Everything” playlist tells me I have 238 unplayed podcast episodes (a little over 100 hours). I just added up some 25 seasons of TV shows I’d like to watch, including Breaking Bad, Supernatural, Sopranos, and many others. The unread shelves in my Goodreads have 168 books. I’ve got a stack of video games that each deserve 40-50 hours of play time. Let’s not even talk about comic books, new music, board games, and Longform articles published online.

For a long time I felt almost crushed under the pressure of not having any time to consume all these things. Really, who has that kind of time? I’d need some 2,500 hours of free time to get through all my lists of unread/unwatched/unconsumed stuff. If I spent 2 hours a day, it would take me almost 3 and a half years.

Then I realized: then it’ll take 3 and a half years. It’s not going anywhere. Some of those movies and TV shows I’ll watch with my wife, some of the movies, books, or podcasts will be things I want to talk about with friends. Some of those books will get made into movies, some of the podcasts episodes will be worth skipping, some of the movies I won’t finish, and some of the video games won’t merit a second playthrough.

When I first got my Xbox 360, the game I played most was this puzzle game Hexic. You just spin these pieces around in the grid shaped game area. It dazzled me and I played for hours. I was the same way with Tetris. And nearly every other video game I can remember, I was constantly replaying it to master a top score or best time. I must have rewatched the original Star Wars trilogy every week of my childhood, and I can’t count the times I’ve seen some of the movies we watched as a family growing up (Romancing the Stone, So I Married an Axe Murderer, and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure come to mind). I think as a teenager I saw more reruns of Quantum Leap and Saved by the Bell than any single person should.

I think most people are like this. I think most people are daunted by the things they haven’t done/seen and comforted by the things they know best. I think most people would rather eat at the restaurant they know they like then try some place new, or eat at the same entree than try something they may not like. Sometimes its nostaliga that has us watch old movies we love instead of a new one or revisit vacation destinations than visit a new city. It takes a great deal of effort to try new things, step out of your comfort zone, and take a risk.

So I refuse to think of my Watchlists as Inboxes anymore. They are wishlists. They are a pantry. They are a rainy day toy box. No one ever feels pressure to use up all the flour and sugar in their pantry. Just use it as needed, since it’s not perishable. When Christmas is over, no one should ever feel pressured to buy up the rest of their Christmas list. It’s about enjoying what you have, not what you don’t. And some toys you keep stashed, in case kids can’t play outside. So that is my new philosophy. And I feel much better.

If only I could make a decision on what movie to watch next.

Working Late

I put in 72 hours so far this week in order to get a massive project at work off the ground. I wasn’t running the project and I wasn’t deploying any changes, but somehow I found myself right in the middle of it. I’ve still got some items to follow up on this weekend and plenty of work to get done Monday morning, but all I want to do right now is relax. I might buy groceries and cook dinner. I haven’t seen Lauren in a few days because of my crazy work schedule (I was in the office until 4 AM last night). I’m looking forward to our date tonight, because I know we will probably play some Lego: Harry Potter on the Xbox 360 and, if for no other reason, I know she won’t ask me for a last minute emergency firewall change.

Running Out of Summer Holidays

Memorial Day & Independance Day are gone, Labor Day is only a few weeks away and I can already see myself planning way past it. Summer is nearly over and like always I’m wondering where it all went. I just checked and I’ve got about 3 weeks of paid time off on the books, so outside of my summer hospitalization, I’ve been sitting at my desk at work. I remember when I went canoeing on the Harpeth river a couple times a summer just on principle. My skin is pale and summer is almost over.

What usually dictates my summer schedule is the theatrical release calendar, but I haven’t seen many movies this summer either. I guess I’ve just been looking forward to the fall video game release calendar. I’ve already put aside $120 to purchase Guitar Hero 5 and The Beatles: Rock Band.

I need to make another trip to Memphis and get in some of my daddy’s barbecue ribs before the last summer holiday ushers in the start of Autumn and I missed the whole thing. At least fall weather means camping and football.

Scratch That, I’m Officially Tired

and the weekend hasn’t even started yet.

Friday night I’m going to Harrah’s Metropolis to participate in the local Rock Band competition. We have our song picked out and we’re likely going to get smoked by some 1337 guitar heroes, but it should be fun. I plan on spending no more than $20 gaming, but according to my track record I should make back gas money on the slots.

Saturday I’m running 8 miles. By running I mean walk/run/walking 8 miles. I just want keep my leg muscles loose and my willpower strong.

My dad made me two 3’x3′ planter boxes for the back and I need to figure what to grow. The book “Square Foot Gardening” is going to help me through it, but I’ve got some work to do.

Sunday is Easter and my parents are cooking up a storm for the day. It would be a long day of driving, but I would get to see my nephews on an egg hunt. Still undecided there

“Being Tired” Is Overused

On Sunday, I woke up after about 5 hours of sleep on a conference room floor. I started playing (continued from the night before, technically) some eye-popping video games for 6 hours before driving 3 hours home, where I watched 2 hours of TV. It’s 8 o’clock Sunday night after an exhausting weekend when I did the unspeakable: I logged in and did a little work. Whatever happened to the weekend being sacred?

“After hours” is precious time and I decided to take advantage of it.

Too often I see tweets or Facebook statuses about being tired, being exhausted, or being busy. But the last few months have gotten me excited about being busy. It’s really tempting me to try to be busier. Getting things done is satisfying. I’m starting to believe that the weekend is sacred for more than one reason. Yes it’s the best time to rest and relax, but it’s also “after hours” and a great time to get things done.

Kilanfest 6.0

I’m in Louisville, KY today and Kilanfest is about to kick off. Not many people have showed up yet, but I’m expecting to get all I can handle in the Halo 3 tourney today. I remember when I didn’t have an all-consuming job and I had sharp Halo 3 skills. I don’t know why I’m so excited to get showed up by a bunch of 16 year olds.

Renting Video Games

For the first time in 2009, probably since before even last year, I walked into Blockbuster and rented a video game. Not since I first owned my xbox 360 do I remember renting a game. Today I rented two: Call of Duty 5 World at War & Guitar Hero Metallica. This upcoming weekend is KILANFest in Louisville, so I wanted to have some fresh games on hand. And I also went to Best Buy and purchased Left 4 Dead. I know I’ll love it. When I’m done, I’ll probably trade it away on Goozex.

I still want to play Fallout 3, Halo Wars, the Hellboy game, that Bourne one & the Quantum of Solace game, and it’d be nice to finish playing through Mercenaries 2, despite the fact that it’s an over-the-shoulder game. I still need to do a cost analysis on how much it would cost to buy/trade at Gamestop vs. Goozex trading vs. just renting at Blockbuster. I would imagine that at the end of the day, it’s close to being a wash.

Board, Card, & Video Games

I remember the good old days when I get in on a game of spades any night of the week. I remember finding out the next day about some crazy game, epic hand, or insane strategy the next day. No one was married or had kids or had to work late because they were up against a deadline. Thursday night was as good as Friday night. If you felt like getting a game together, you could always find a fourth.

Now I find that we all watch more television and play fewer games.

But last night several of us showed up at a friend’s for his birthday. We had dinner, caught up on how we’ve been, then dusted off some games. Mission Risk is still just as much fun as it used to be. I still don’t know if I’ve ever won a game of Mission Risk (or world domination for that matter) but just about any game is fun when played among fun people. Case in point, I just bought a game called Munchkin. It brags that it’s all the fun of Dungeons & Dragons but without the pesky roll playing. We started laughing and yelling so loud that the 2 year olds playing in the other room wandered in to see what they were missing.  New Years Eve we’re all getting together again and I hope we can get a game of Munchkin to happen.

Speaking of New Years Eve, Twilight Imperium shall be played. It’s the single most complex strategy board game I’ve played (though I am sure there are others even more complicated). The last time we played it took 5 hours. It’s like a mashup between Axis & Allies and Settlers of Catan but with an emphasis on game politics. There’s a unique game board each time and each player has special bonuses and can build technology for even more bonuses. After 7 games and about 40 hours of game play, I think I have a winning strategy. I’ve actually won twice.

I signed up for gamefly.com recently and the first game I rented was Guitar Hero: Aerosmith. Thoroughly unimpressed with the Aerosmith songs, but the other tracks are fun. I actually played for a little while today and the fun didn’t last very long. I had these great dreams of really getting my money’s worth out of my gamefly.com subscription, but so far, well not so much. I just can’t devote whole days a video game anymore. Although I still contend there’s no better way to break in a new CD than to listen to it while playing Tetris with the TV muted.

This Tuesday I’ve got a game night with some of my oldest friends planned. Indeed, we have a fourth: time for a late night game of spades. The next day (Christmas Eve) I’ll be heading to Memphis which means cribbage and progressive rummy. I’ll always love spending time with my family, if for no other reason than it’s the only place in the world where I can get a game of progressive rummy.


I’ve been camping out 3 out of the last 5 weekends and so far the weather hasn’t let me down. But soon it’s gonna be freezing cold. My weekends will soon be a mix of ramping up on my SQL DML skills, learning all about joins and temp tables. And Fable 2, Fallout 3, and Guitar Hero World Tour all just released. Not to mention I just got an email about KILANFest happening again in January.

The last KILANFest was October 4th & 5th, it was a blast, but only Travis & I drove up to Louisville for it. I’m hoping to bring some more folks from Tennessee with us for KILANFest 5.0, potentially 2 cars. And I really want to stay for more of Sunday festivities. Last time we arrived on Friday night even though the event starts on Saturday morning. But hanging out on Friday night was a good time. We got to help setup for the event, which consisted mostly of crimping network cables, tearing off duct tape, wishing I’d brought my fishtape, holding open doors, and “field testing” the Rock Band setup.

But it was fun spending time with the IT crowd at Summit Energy. Every IT department has to meet unique requirements for the business. I’m in a group of about 40 IT professionals that focus on the development, implementation, and support of clinical applications and infrastructure for over 150 locations. They run a shop focused on corporate user support & proprietery internal enterprise systems. It’s probably just a change of wardrobe, but it’s fun to sit down with them and talk shop and maybe do some networking.

That should be one of the highlights of KILANFest in January. In the meantime, I need to get my Guitar Hero skills up to par. It’s my understanding there will be a GH tourney and I don’t intend on finishing 2nd.