Yet another journal-type place for Darcy to rant, rave, and/or recuperate from the world.

Monday, August 30, 2010

A Helpful Tool for the Indecisive Gamer

I have often lamented my boredom while I am at home, but I'm not really bored in the sense of not having anything to do. Quite the contrary. I have many things I could--or even should--do at home, but I am, by nature, an indecisive person. By the time I decide what I want to do next, it is usually too late to actually do it, and I've just spent X number of hours listening to my iPod (or playing Solitaire, or doing Samurai Sudoku, etc.) while trying to decide what to do!

I've tried scheduling my various possible activities, but didn't ever keep to the agenda. I was talking about this with Carl earlier, and he came up with a solution that is so simple, I'm surprised I hadn't come up with it myself.

"You're a gamer," he said. "Randomize it. Make a list of activities and roll a die. If you don't really feel like doing whatever comes up, just re-roll." (Or something to that effect--I'm paraphrasing.)

The idea was so ingenious that, as soon as I got home and had a chance, I started typing up a list. I even made up some "rules" for it, so I wouldn't cheat and just re-roll everything. Then, I thought maybe other people might be as indecisive as I am--or just have trouble finding things to do--so I changed anything that was specifically for me, so that it could be used by a more generic group of people, and this is what I came up with:

Indecisive and bored, but don't feel like driving anywhere?
Got so many things you could do that you can't decide which one to do at any given moment?

Use this handy list of 33 (and counting) activities which can be chosen at random, and take place either at—or within walking distance of—your home!

Each possible activity is numbered.

To decide what to do, and for how long, roll a d30 for each free hour you have, minus one (so you'll have leeway to go over-time if necessary), or just re-roll the same d100 (or percentile dice) and write down what numbers you get. Match the number on each roll to the corresponding activity.

For each instance of that activity's number, do that activity for one hour, unless a different time-frame is specified in the activity's description. Any numbers above the highest number on this list with a valid activity (or any activities where any bolded qualifications are not met) should be re-rolled.

Number 24 can either be eliminated (for those who are either not musically inclined, or don't have any musical instruments of their own around the house), or modified to fit the situation. The four instruments listed are the instruments owned by the writer of this list. Obviously, the size of the die rolled to determine which instrument(s) to play should be adjusted according to the number of available instruments. If you desire, you can roll only one die, and play that instrument for a full hour, instead of two instruments for half-an-hour each.

  1. Write a story/poem/play/song/whatever, or part of one—note-taking and written planning/plotting/character sketching/brainstorming counts too, as long as you actually write some of the story/poem/play/song/whatever itself the next time you do this activity. Editing/revising/rewriting a past story also counts. Once you've got a story as polished as you believe you can make it, if it's an original work (in other words, not fan fiction) you might try getting it published, or submitting it to a contest.

  2. Write a journal or blog entry—probably ½ hour, but could take an hour for longer entries.

  3. Read a book, fan fiction, a PDF, or some other text-based thing(s).

  4. Listen to an audio book.

  5. Play a card game.

  6. Play a video game.

  7. Play a computer game.

  8. Write/type an essay about something you learned either by doing the encyclopedia thing (#27), or about something in a book you've read. If you wish, post it online (on your blog or on a related message board or something similar) and invite others to discuss the topic with you. This could be a way to not only learn different perspectives on the topic, but also a way to find people of a like mind. Plus, debate is fun, as long as constructive criticism doesn't turn into personal attack. If you've done this activity before, and posted some essays online, take a few minutes to look at and reply to any comments made to past essays before you start on a new one.

  9. Tidy up/reorganize your bedroom.

  10. Clean the bathroom, including tidying up and scrubbing/disinfecting surfaces.

  11. Do laundry—doesn't necessarily have to be your own. If there's laundry in the dryer, fold it and put it away (or put it where its owner requests). If there's some in the washer, move it to the dryer and start another load washing.

  12. Do dishes/clean the kitchen.

  13. Vacuum all staircases, hallways, and the floors in all common areas of the house.

  14. Plan a menu for the next week (breakfast, lunch and dinner), and write a shopping list to go with it based off of what is and is not currently in the kitchen/pantry.

  15. Watch T.V. (DVR counts, and is a good way to be able to watch more shows, since you can skip over time-consuming commercial breaks! T.V. series on DVD do not count.)

  16. Take a nap. It's probably best that, if this activity is chosen, you get it done first—that way, the napping hopefully will not interfere with your sleeping at night, and you won't be groggy during whatever you have to do in the morning.

  17. Watch the first movie you think you would like to watch and can actually get your hands on within five minutes—no long choosing sessions! If you didn't get enough dice landing on movie watching to make up that movie's running time and you really want to watch that movie, subtract an activity for each hour of your chosen flick's playing time past the first. If you only got a single hour's roll for movie watching, and don't feel like watching a movie anyway, just re-do that particular d100 roll.

  18. Call someone, just to talk and/or catch up.

  19. Write a letter by hand to someone, put it in an envelope, address it, stamp it, and put it in the mail box to be delivered. Don't forget to be careful, and write legibly!

  20. Play with the child(ren) and/or talk to the adults you live with, or make friends with some neighbors and talk to them.

  21. Watch one episode of a T.V. series you have on DVD—two episodes if it's a ½-hour show.

  22. Do a puzzle.
  23. If you are musically inclined, practice singing, either a capella with some sheet music in front of you, or with someone to accompany you on an instrument of some sort. You might even try a karaoke machine, a tape/CD with only accompaniment, or the Sing Star Play Station games.

  24. If you are musically inclined, learn to play one new song on each of two different instruments. It cannot be the same song for both! Roll 2d4 to decide which instruments to play—½ hour for each instrument.

    1. Trumpet

    2. Guitar

    3. Piano

    4. Recorder(s)

  25. If the weather's nice, or you can reasonably compensate for mildly-bad weather (with an umbrella or a jacket or something), take a walk—½ hour.

  26. If it's not too cold outside, clean out/wash your car. If you don't have a car, offer to wash a friend/neighbor/family member's car--for free.

  27. If there is a complete set of encyclopedia in the house, close your eyes, point to the shelf on which the encyclopedia sit, open your eyes, and pull out the volume to which you've pointed. Then, open that volume somewhere in the middle, and read about the first topic you see. Once you have finished reading through the encyclopedia's blurb on that topic, go on the internet to research and learn more about it. Take notes.

  28. If you're into tabletop RPG's, do some preparation for a campaign you'd like to run, or make up a character in any system, just so you'll have one if you find a game to play in that system.

  29. If there is a playground nearby, walk there and play a game of some sort. If there's no one to play the game with you (like basketball, tennis, soccer, etc.) then just practice—shoot some hoops, hit a tennis ball against a handy wall, kick a soccer ball around, whatever. You'll need whatever equipment is necessary for the outdoor game you've chosen as well, of course.

  30. If there is a playground nearby, walk there and swing on the swing set—½ to 1 hour, depending on how long it takes to walk to the playground (and back to the house), and how long you feel like swinging.

  31. Cook a meal. Don't forget to ask anyone else in the house if they want some! Only include this if you are going to be hungry enough to eat the meal you cook.

  32. Play a board game. Only include this if other people are available to play with you.

  33. If too many of these don't work for you, make your own, customized list of possible activities!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I'm moving to Smithsburg!

We officially have a place to live again. Anna told me today that we got the house in Smithsburg. The land lord for that house is going to e-mail her the lease agreement, and they'll sign when we've got the security deposit paid. Don't know exactly when we can start moving in, but it'll be either the last week of August or the first week of September.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What Happend to July?

Goodness, it looks like I forgot to post for more than a month!

And I was so hoping to have at least one post on this blog for each month this year. Oh, well. It's not really important.

The Haven 4th of July party was great, and for my birthday on the 23rd, I borrowed the sjoelbak from Grandma S. I took it to the Haven, and taught anyone who wanted to learn (and wasn't too busy preparing for Pennsic) how to play. It was much of the fun.

For those of us who didn't go to Pennsic, there was the "Anti-Pennsic Pool Party" on the 31st, which Carl threw at his parents' house. That was great--it had been a long time since I got to talk to some of the people who were there, since I mostly end up in the private gaming room on Thursdays for Brian's neolithic D&D game.

The three of us found out either late in July or early this month that our land lord is raising our rent. We can't afford to pay the higher rent, so Anna's been looking for a new place for the four of us (me, Anna, Tim and Dylan) to live.

So far, I've seen one place that we all liked--in Knoxville--and Anna and Tim went to see a place in Smithsburg that they say I would probably like. We haven't heard anything from the people who own the Knoxville house, but the owners of the Smithsburg house are definitely looking over the rental application, because there have been phone calls made to at least Anna's work, and one other person.

We're definitely going to be out of this duplex before September 1st though, so I started packing this past Sunday. The way I pack for moving is last-in-first-out. First, I pack the most non-essential items I own, and then I work my way from those to the stuff in my bedroom, which is usually the stuff I use most often and/or need daily.

Once everything has been moved to the new house, the first things I unpack are the those daily/most-often-used things, and then I go backwards(-ish) to the first things I packed originally. On Sunday, I started by packing my books. As much as I love to read, I know that my books are the absolute least essential things I own.

Once I had all of my books packed, I packed up all of the movies in the basement (Anna's, Tim's and mine), and then I packed my music stuff.

All I have left to pack now is the stuff in the laundry room, the paperwork and office supplies in/on my desk, my extra bedding from the linen closet, my stuff from the bathroom, and the absolute essentials--my bedroom. When I get around to doing that packing, everything but the bathroom and the bedroom will be done at once, and will probably take less than an hour. The last bits will be done the day before I plan to sleep at the new place--wherever that will be--and will be unpacked as soon as it gets there.

Almost there . . . (50-Book Challenge Update)

21. Confessions of a Part-Time Sorceress: A Girl's Guide to the D&D Game by Shelly Mezzanoble
22. Mission of Honor by David Weber
(Honor Harrington, book 12)
23. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

The next three are from David Weber's Dahak series, which I'm pretty sure isn't finished yet, but he just released a book from a different series this year so I don't think the Dahak series is going to be updated soon.

24. Mutineers' Moon
25. The Armageddon Inheritance
26. Heirs of Empire

The rest of these are all by either Anne McCaffrey, Todd McCaffrey, or both, and are all from the Dragonriders of Pern series, in story chronology order (or as close to it as I could get without stopping in the middle of an audio book or four), though when I actually read them, I got some of the second and third pass books mixed up and read them out of order.

That's the way I prefer to read the series myself, but when I recommend it to someone else, I usually recommend that they read it in publishing order.

The two short story collections, I read first and all at once, since I couldn't figure out in the recordings where each story began and ended.

27. The Chronicles of Pern: First Fall
28. A Gift of Dragons
29. Dragonsdawn
30. Dragonseye
31. Dragon's Kin
32. Dragon's Fire
33. Dragon Harper
34. Dragonsblood
35. Dragonheart
36. Dragongirl
37. Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern
38. Nerilka's Story
39. The Masterharper of Pern
40. Dragonflight
41. Dragonquest
42. Dragonsong
43. Dragonsinger
44. Dragondrums
45. The White Dragon
46. The Renegades of Pern
47. All the Weyrs of Pern
48. The Dolphins of Pern
49. The Skies of Pern

I also read Where's My Cow? by Terry Pratchett, but that doesn't count, because it's not a novel--just a children's picture book.

Only one more to go! Now, if I hadn't packed up all my books all ready in preparation for moving this month, I might actually pull one out and read it this week. Or if I had any idea what I wanted to read next, I'd download the audio book. But I don't.

Oh, wait. . . . I started reading a book the other night while I was at a club downtown where I am a member, but it was late and I couldn't get past the third chapter. Plus, it's a really long one (Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke and Neil Gaiman), and it's one of those I have to be in the mood to decipher (due to the very British-ness of the language), so it would probably take longer than the rest of the year to finish it, considering I don't have my own copy.