Taking Back The Morning

Something that I’ve struggled with for a very long time is the matter of morning momentum. When I was little, I would wake up almost immediately ready to do whatever was needed of me. These days– particularly since the end of college– getting up in the morning has become a long, drawn-out affair that sees me taking sometimes hours to get out the door. This isn’t good. I can pinpoint, in fact, when I got into this bad habit. When I worked the evening and night shifts at Adelphia, I tended to get up earlier than I should have to “do stuff”. This meant that if I had to be at work at 10p, I would be awake by 4p so I could putter around– surf the web, play some games, that sort of thing. I would then go to work, come home, and instantly crash into bed (around 8a). Do that for a year and you have a bad habit in the making– made worse when, later on, I got a second-shift job and did more or less the exact same thing, also for a year.

There’s lots of ways to break this habit, but the first one that I decided to use was LeechBlock. I’ve set it up with an aggressive filter, giving me just ten minutes to get through my normal webcomic crawl in the morning.
Secondly, I was thrilled to hear that Minuteur had been updated to Universal Binary. A good timer is invaluable for constraining slacking, and Minuteur is one of the best for OSX. Since I’d last used it, though, it added some very nice features, including the “time-left bar”, a simple vertical meter that drains as time goes by. I’m sure it will get a lot of use once NaNo comes around.
Finally, I dusted off my shell scripting skills in order to gather data for GeekTool. GeekTool works along the lines of Samurize, which allows you to specify information to appear on the desktop. Since I’m using quite a bit more of the base OS X tools such as iCal and the like, and because I have the annoying tendency to not dress properly, I set it up to show the next week’s worth of events as well as the current weather. (I also have my current memory usage listed for curiosity’s sake more than anything else.) This allows me to save time by not having to react to things, but rather being able to be more proactive (for example, if I know a game or something is being released, I’ll make a plan to swing by and pick it up).

Overall, while it seems like I’ve spent a lot of time getting all this set up– and I have– the cumulative effect of all the wasted time being put to better use from here on out far outstrips the initial investment. We’ll see in the morning how well it works.

Derailer

Quiet day, though a big one in terms of locating really old stuff for hyper-cheap. It’s also going to be a long day tomorrow, so I’d probably better just get to bed and tell you all about what was picked up… tomorrow. Ish. I make no promises as to if I’ll get a “real” post up, but there will be a post (even if I have to resort to Youtube wankery as I should be doing now, but am not).

Yeah, I’m tired. ‘Night, all.

Normalization

The weekend was good to me, aside from the whole license plate thing. Not moments after I got that resolved, though, but another crisis popped up today. It too has been resolved. I’m just still sort of jumpy, because honestly, after two consecutive “holy crap important fix this now” things, who wouldn’t be?!

I’m just gonna go to bed now and deal with the rest of this week as carefully and cautiously as I can…

License To Do Something Unpleasant

It should not really have surprised me to discover this morning that my car’s license plate was missing. After all, it was the exact one-month anniversary of my having obtained the license plate. Those of you who have known me for any length of time are also probably not surprised to learn of this; instead the timing was just a little accelerated. The fact of the matter is, putting a Pennsylvania plate on my car is akin to putting the kiss of death to it. The last time that I went through great pains to have my car properly registered and demarcated in this great state, it lasted three months before the Unsignaled U-Turn Of Doom incident (which it should be noted was immediately before a job transition, maximizing the inconvenience). So, really, it wasn’t a matter of if my car was going to be rendered useless, but simply when. I didn’t need to go get groceries for the week today anyway.

Yeah. Slightly bitter, even though it’s getting off easy compared to last time. Of course now I have to make it to the AAA office in Monroeville tomorrow morning without getting spotted by the police. Which is going to be very fun indeed.

Anyway. I did say I was reading through One Piece, and I’m up to the middle of Usopp’s introduction. Honestly? I haven’t found any likeable characters in the story beyond Shanks and Luffy, in that order… Luffy is endearing, but I can’t shake the feeling that maybe I would have liked him better if I were ten years younger. Zoro/Zolo is also an interesting guy; but similarly, I get the feeling that the introductions were all the character development that the crew is going to get. Maybe that’s just the first three volumes being uncharacteristic of the rest; maybe not. In any event I’m going to stick it out for a while longer unless something seriously off-putting comes up (I have the next five books, so hopefully things will improve by then). It’s not bad, per se, it’s just… not looking to be my thing just yet.

And finally, the only reason I’m not playing more Wii Sports Resort ping-pong is because my shoulder is starting to bug me, after having not been used that much in quite a long time.

Catch you folks tomorrow.

The Magic Schtick

…yeah, so here’s the explanation for the title, and let’s just move on.

I’ve been reading through Negima this afternoon (in between doing a TON of other things, meaning I’m a damn liar when I said I wasn’t doing anything interesting this weekend), and in all honesty this is a pretty good series. Granted, it’s a bit more chaotic than Love Hina was, but that’s a natural consequence of having thirty-three main characters as opposed to, what was it, ten? Not even that many, I’d guess. Anyway, everyone knows by now the story about how the series wound up being a gigantic revolt on Akamatsu’s part, trying to get him to do another romance series when he wanted to do something with a bit more action. Both of those descriptions I think, are wildly off the mark– Akamatsu is a comedy writer, first and foremost, and his editors could have forced him into writing an epic manga about table salt and he’d still wring it for every laugh it was worth. It also helps that the characters are likeable, and none really seem to be redundant or useless (except to service a gag). Many Hollywood writers could stand to learn a lot from this series.

Then we get into how today wound up lucky. I managed to snag a copy of Wii Sports Resort. Not just a day early, but for $10 off as well. To say that I am satisfied with the purchase would be as much of an understatement as it would be to say that oxygen is sometimes beneficial for the proper functioning of a human. Seriously, the games included control very well, table tennis in particular, and while they’re not exactly too tricky, they have a LOT more depth than the original Wii Sports does. Bowling in particular is greatly improved through the use of an “easy” control mode option, which obviates the need to hold a button down– it’s simply just a swing now. And the swordfighting game, while it may seem simplistic at first, winds up being one of the most fun and cathartic uses of the remote possible, particularly once you unlock the “showdown” game (six words: “Night Of A Million Zillion Ninjas”). Heck, even “Frisbee Dog” is fun, in its own way (though a less silly frisbee golf game is unlocked after a single play of the dog game). My only complaint, really, is that golf hasn’t improved much; though they did add a second set of holes, making a total of eighteen, who’d want to play it when it controls so twitchily? Really, golf was the one game that cried out for an easy control option. Still, it evens out quite a bit: each and every game, and by that I mean every single sub-mode of every game, has five “Stamps” that act as Achievements. Some are easy– nail three bullseyes in a row in archery. Some are bloody insane: survive the final level in the swordfight showdown without taking a single hit. I mentioned on the Twitter feed that this was Game of the Year material, and I mean it… it’s going to land on someone’s list, without a doubt, simply because as simplistic as the games are or can be, they’re fun. Which is all that really matters in the long run.

Ciao, folks– tomorrow, more reading. Probably going to read through some more One Piece by then.

Couple Days Off

Folks, I don’t know if you were aware of this, but I’ve got a pretty full schedule ahead of me. Now that I’m feeling better, I have a lot more ambition to try to resolve some of the projects that I’ve set out on, the biggest one being the XNA project. I made a post in the forums today about how the updates to the Xbox Indie Games system would improve the service (foremost among those improvements: review copies to send to game websites!), and the entire setup has me far more psyched to do this than I had been before. Plus– well, I did say I wanted to have something out in Q4 ’09/Q1 ’10, and it is the end of July. On top of that, I also started thinking about the traditional fall projects I occupy myself with: October has been the gaming-rush-thingy that I usually do, and November is (of course) NaNoWriMo, so I’ve got the next four months booked pretty damn near solidly with “work”. (This also includes the D&D campaign I’m running monthly, and any other obligations that may come up.)

So, what this basically means is that this weekend is pretty much my last set of “days off” for the foreseeable future. I’m prepared to spend it relaxing and doing as little “productive” as I possibly can. Think of it like taking a deep breath before diving into the ocean; that’s certainly my perspective, aside from the fact that I can’t actually swim, so the metaphor falls apart and LOOK NEVERMIND JUST GO WITH IT. I intend to go out exactly once this weekend, and that will probably be Saturday lunchtime to the Hokkaido buffet (considering my trip out last weekend was spoiled by the fact that I still hadn’t regained my full, monstrous appetite).

The majority of what I do over the weekend, then, will consist of varying tenses of the verb “to read”. Because dammit, I like to read.

Rush

Long day, but ultimately it was worth it. I don’t have an actual post– I had some complaining about the Amherst arcade thing typed up over lunch, but I lost the will to whine upon hearing that Nicalis (the guys working on Cave Story Wii) have hooked up with Nigoro. And that La-Mulana will be getting the upgraded-graphics treatment on the Wii.

Actually, now that I look at the “origin” source of the La-Mulana report, there’s some other news worth getting your hooptydoo on: the Mega Man Complete Works book is getting an official translation. Judging by the book’s cover this doesn’t seem to cover the Legends/DASH timeline, but you know what they say about books and covers. Still gonna get it, because I love me some Classic Rock. (Am I the only one who uses that phrase? Does that make me even more of a nerd?)

Anyway, just to give you all a glimpse as to why I’m excited for La-Mulana, I present to you some Bailout on the matter:

Yeah. Hardcore.

Self-satisfaction

I’ve mentioned before how much I like Delicious Library, haven’t I? Because I totally do. I was lucky enough to get the iPhone sync tool before it was pulled from the App Store, as well, meaning I don’t have to wait to go home to check to see if I have something already upon coming across a good deal. I hope Delicious Monster and Amazon can come to an agreement on that front, too– it’s an excellent feature, and DM shouldn’t be punished for tying to bring something good to its customers (and drive Amazon sales while they’re at it).

Sorry for what might seem like free advertising, but I really, really like the app, and it came in extremely handy this afternoon.

Indestructible

Today did not start out well at all… those of you who follow the Twitter feed knew that I had run into some trouble last night. Something I ate, naturally, which was not at all happy about the matter and wanted out the emergency exit, so to speak. Given that I had been sick last week as well, I figured it was the best time to take a trip to a medical professional… who said I was just dehydrated, that the cold was nothing serious nor was it related to the nausea, and that I should be fine with an IV. I asked if I could just drink even more gatorade than I already was in lieu of getting stuck with needles, and that seemed to be an acceptable answer.

They also sent me away with a prescription for an anti-nausea drug. It wasn’t one I had heard of before, but apparently medical insurance does more than just irritate me: the ten pills prescribed would have cost me $25. EACH. So I didn’t get it filled because, well, I don’t have $250 to throw away on ten pills that were prescribed “as a precaution”.

Anyway, after a nap, some light dinner, and lots and lots of gatorade (it’s a good thing I got many flavors that I like, otherwise it would get really nasty after a while), I felt good enough to play around with Street Fighter IV for a while. 2-D games are a blessing for the ill gamer; the absence of a first-person perspective cuts down the chance for motion sickness. However, the sheer frustration of SF4 induces another medical condition: high blood pressure. Why didn’t I give up when Sagat managed to get three Perfect rounds off against me in a row? Well, a) I hate Sagat, b) it was the farthest I’ve ever gotten on Medium, so I felt committed to it, c) I really hate Sagat, d) there was an achievement in it for me if I finished Arcade Mode on Medium or higher, and e) I mentioned that I hate Sagat, right? So yeah. I wound up subjecting myself to more frustration than was really necessary– and then some, because after I beat Seth (the cheapest bastard EVER) I figured it would be another easy ten points to go online and get my first win there. Yeah, that wound up being another half an hour as I got my ass handed to me by nearly everyone… but in the end, by golly, I did get that coveted W.

Now that I have the irritation out of the way, I can play the game to have fun again, by dropping the difficulty down to Easy and just cutting loose. It can be easy to forget that games are supposed to be fun, but in all honesty if we lose sight of that, then it’s time to consider taking a break from gaming. In my case, it’s not the first time I found myself at an impasse with gaming– I got back into fighters (twice) because I was overdosed on RPGs, so I’ve learned the value of switching things up every once in a while… Speaking of that, I really should get back to Eat Lead later this week.

Anyway, for now, good night, all… hopefully tomorrow I’ll post good news without any new complications cropping up.