Obdormio.com Unwasted Hours

24 December, 2012

The Slump

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Obdormio @ 00:00

It never fails. The last couple of weeks of the semester, as the exams loom overhead and the list of things that absolutely critically need to be done this very moment is always at least a few points too full, I get filled with creative sparks and a burning desire to do anything but this. The procrastination muscles work overtime, and I am brimming with energy I want to apply to something not at all exam-related – start up that online D&D game, finish a stupid story I’ve been neglecting for years and be done with it, reorganise the shelves and sort through the piles and piles of comics that my childhood built up. The second the exams are over, I’ll be ready to go.

And then the exams are over, and I’m not really doing anything at all. Plenty of time now. It can all wait. Let’s play a short game of Sims instead.

In case you’re not familiar with the game yourself; there is no such thing as a short game of Sims.

This post-exam slump is as predictable a part of the process as the panic-induced burst of procrastination energy that precedes it, and yet I never get around to counteracting it. It is at its worst in December, as this break is so much shorten than summer, and as I am a big Christmas fan, I also want to just wallow in holiday bliss without doing more work that strictly necessary.

Speaking of, unless something’s gone wrong, this post goes up on Christmas Eve. Merry Christmas, the lot of you!

The next semester will be my last as a student – at least for the foreseeable future – so I guess the pattern of panic and slump will also reach its end. I don’t think life in regular gainful employment has quite as many crunch periods. Next December, I’ll be making tests rather than taking them – which I’m sure is still a good bit of work, but probably with less of the stressful wait beforehand. So no more slump? I’m hopeful, ’cause I’m an incurable optimist, but I guess I’ll have to wait and see.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have Sims to rule and cookies to eat. Merry Christmas, once more.

22 October, 2012

A Lack of Board Games

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Obdormio @ 00:00

I feel like I don’t have enough board games.

I don’t know if I’m properly qualified to be a board game geek (though I do have an account on BoardGameGeek), since I haven’t really played a wide variety of games. I do however feel like one, like someone who will go out of their way to get in a fun board game. But I feel like I don’t own enough of them. I’m actually less than impressed by some of the mainstays. Carcassonne, for instance, I’ve never seen the appeal of. There are a few I do like enough to have standing on the shelves however.

For a good long while, the only game I had was the Game of Thrones board game, which I’ve written a bit about before,  and which I used to play with friends pretty regularly. I still play it, but much less regularly now. It’s probably my favourite game, but it takes a while and needs many players, so we have to make an Event of it.

I’ve got a couple of card games. Monty Python Fluxx and Chrononauts are both good fun, but rarely see play. Bohnanza is a fairly recent acquisition, and has also not seen much use. Citadels I’ve had on the shelf for a little while, but never played – the opportunity has yet to present itself.

Kill Doctor Lucky I have gotten to play since obtaining it, and it was as much fun as I remembered. I quite like that style of humour – the family board game of murder in the dark. Earlier today I purchased a copy of Pandemic, which I have enjoyed playing in the past. I even played a little solitaire round to refresh my memory of the rules. I won.

And that’s it, really. That’s all that’s on my shelves. Like I say, I feel it’s not enough, but I don’t know where to go next.

I have been watching and enjoying Wil Wheaton’s TableTop show, but it hasn’t really inspired me to go get the ones I hadn’t heard of before yet. Maybe one will show up eventually?

Or maybe you, gentle reader, have some suggestions?

 

15 October, 2012

A Very Quick Word while Short on Time

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Obdormio @ 00:00

I continue in my withdrawals, and in my plans. Although the short break is now over and work ramps up again, I continue to explore the possibility of running an online game, and I think the exploration has progressed to the point where it is only a question of when, not if, it will happen.

As part of these almost-preparations, I have been catching up on and rereading Chris Perkins’s column on DMing, on the theory that learning from the best can’t be bad. I used to follow that column pretty regularly, but fell off at some point, possibly due to lack of a real game to experiment on. After reading about the way he uses arcs and his efforts to tie characters to the world through origin stories, I’ve tried to jot down some things myself. I managed three vague sentences that might describe viable arcs, and I produced a couple of potential origin stories, but they didn’t feel too good, really.

I fear I am running up against the limit where I can’t really do too much more without committing fully. Perhaps I should be posting a game ad already? How do you even choose players? I don’t know the first thing here!

I think I’ll postpone for at least another week, just to get some school work out of the way at least, and contend myself with reading the Iomandra campaign summaries while I wait.

1 October, 2012

Idle Desires

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Obdormio @ 00:00

I’m having a bit of D&D withdrawal.

It’s been a good while now since last I played the game, and a few months since I even wrote something about my world to release some of the steam. Today, I finally watched this year’s Acquisitions Incorporated episode, and many laughs were had. I also recently got caught up on the excellent Critical Hit podcast, after having fallen a month or so behind. It all adds up to a great big desire for more D&D. Before you know it, I’m scouring Obsidian Portal for interesting wikis, trying to soak up the mood like some desperate sponge.

There’s a new edition of the game on the way. I have barely skimmed the playtest materials currently out there. I like some things, am very sceptical about others, but I’m trying not to make up my mind before I see the finished product. I quite like 4th edition, though – and I already have a bunch of the books – so I doubt I’ll be switching any time soon. Late adopter, that’s me.

But as I’m not really playing, it hardly matters at the moment. I don’t have the time for running a game; that much is certain. I suppose I could try to find someone else to run one and just play in it, but that’s not the easiest project in the world either. No, gathering a group around a table at this point seems an unassailable task.

But, there’s always the Internet. I have been toying with the idea of putting up an ad on Myth Weavers. I don’t have much experience in play-by-post games; I’ve participated in one that sort of petered out pretty quickly when the DM disappeared, and been the DM of another, on Google Wave, that also did not last long. People do make it work however, so maybe I was just unlucky. I could try signing up for a player on a game, I guess, but there aren’t that many 4e games advertised on there, and among those even fewer that I think look interesting.

If I decide to try running one myself, I think I would want the story to circle around exploration – adventurers sailing off into the unknown to explore the world and discover what lies in the blank spots of the map. Possibly structured around a central search for a lost treasure. It’s all in the vague not-even-early stages.

It’s something that I think I will eventually talk myself into, even though I have no idea if I actually have the time to run it properly; I don’t even know what the time requirements will end up being. It’ll take a little more time, though, so while I wait, I’ll just have a look at Obsidian Portal …

24 September, 2012

A Post with a Foolish Conclusion

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Obdormio @ 00:00

Blog posts are pretty disposable things, really. I’m typing this in a simple little input box in the WordPress back-end; it hardly feels permanent. It’s all bits in the end, little ones and zeroes stored on one hard drive or another, ready to be copied and accessed and viewed whenever convenient.

I feel like this with most things written on a computer, really. It’s disposable, copyable, temporary and flimsy. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why I’m sceptical about e-books; they don’t feel real. Sure I can write up a story or other text on a computer, and really should, considering the convenience, but it doesn’t feel real until it’s on actual paper. That’s how it was with my master’s thesis, at any rate.

Of course, just being on paper isn’t enough to make something feel non-disposable either. I often print out stuff that has a limited use and is then discarded – bit of my thesis, to continue the example, that were very much work-in-progress, used for a time and then crumpled up and recycled.

I used to carry notebooks around – and really should start doing that again – to jot down ideas and thought and stories while I had them. I scribbled in them with pencils and wore them out by forcing them into pockets they didn’t really fit in. They were cheap little things, flimsy – there’s that word again – and while they weren’t ever discarded, they were definitely a temporary vessel for thoughts. On the whole though, paper, and books in particular, feels more permanent than typing electronically.

And some books feel very weighty indeed. I’m not talking about printed books here, they’re a thing of their own, I’m talking about notebooks – books for producing text, not consuming it. I recently bought a fancy notebook, to use as a log book for the next part of my study course. Since I knew I was going to keep a log, I decided I wanted a proper book to keep it in, not just another folder of lecture notes. I ended up buying a Paperblank, one of those that imitate the look of old leather binding. I got a hardback one, so it feels solid and looks pretty. It felt so proper that I felt I had to sit down and take some time to write out a title page, with proper letter spacing and as pretty looking letters as my clumsy hand can make. I used pencil sketches I had to erase after using ink and everything!

Like I said, I bought this to keep a log in; it has a specific purpose, which is why I felt I could buy a fancy book for it. I’ve been burned on this before, you see. I bought a couple of Paperblanks a few years ago, pocket sized ones, and found myself stumped. They looked to neat to just scribble notes in. A book that looked that good, I felt, had to be actually filled with something good as well.

And that’s Paperblanks, that basically just fake looking good! I am tempted to get something like this, something that legitimately is awesome, just for the sheer coolness of it. The problem, however, would be compounded; what on Earth would I put in it?! It’s the same urge that makes me want one of those hollowed-out books for hiding stuff in, even though I have nothing worth hiding it it! I would like to have bunches of beautiful books in the shelves, but what do I put in them?

I basically need more intrigue in my life.

9 July, 2012

Summer Reading

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Obdormio @ 00:00

Summer is upon us at last, and even in this neck of the woods there have been days that actually look like it. I’ve started my vacation, and am greatly looking forwards to days spent doing nothing but what I feel like. I’m even slowing down my post writing, as the notice on the front page should already have told you about. Unless you’re reading this at some point in the future, of course, in which case, it doesn’t really matter.

Over the past few years, summer has become the time when I get the most reading done. Over the course of the year, I mostly read stuff I need to, and every time I read something just for fun, I feel guilty for not reading something useful instead. No such problem in summer. The only problem then is picking from the smorgasbord of books I have yet to read.

That list keeps on growing, it seems to me. So much gets added to it, and then slips down the list as new and shiny titles catch my eye. On the top of this year’s summer reading list, for example, lies Elantris and Snuff, two very recent purchases. Snuff, of course, is the latest Discworld novel, and I have long been a fan of the works of Terry Pratchett, so I’ve basically been saving this one as a summer treat. Elantris, I have high hopes for. I have enjoyed every other book I’ve read by Brandon Sanderson, so I don’t see why I shouldn’t enjoy this one as well. This will be the first of his I actually read in print, though – all the others I listened to as audiobooks. I wanted to that with this one as well, but couldn’t find a copy for purchase, since I apparently live in the wrong part of the world. I’ll save my annoyance with region restricted audiobooks for a different post, though, and just enjoy Elantris the old fashioned way.

To offset the new and shiny factor, I also grabbed a book that has been waiting on the shelves for a while, when I vacated my Bergen room for the summer. I have a tiny ambition of being versed in pre-Tolkien fantasy, so The Worm Ouroboros seems a good place to start. I’ve actually read a few pages of this already, and wow, this is heavy on the “high” in “high fantasy”. Lofty language and archaic word forms mixed with fairy tale epic. Seems like fun.

Even though I couldn’t get Elantris, I still have a fair few audiobooks lines up as well. Related to my previously mentioned tiny ambition, I have  A Princess of Mars, and its first sequel stored in the iTunes library. In a recent sale, I also grabbed Lucifer’s Hammer and Gulliver’s Travels. I know very little of the first book, but the blurb seemed interesting enough to get it; the second I know through its many adaptations, but I have never read the original myself. Finally, in the audiobook category, there is Out of Oz, the conclusion of the series Gregory Maguire started with Wicked. I loved Wicked, but found myself less impressed by the first two sequels. I started a re-listen of the whole series to refresh my memory before starting on this one, but stranded half-way through Son of a Witch, lacking the interest to complete it. Even so, I want to see the end of the series, so I guess I’ll just skip straight to it and hope my memory catches up.

That’s all the books I have lines up for the summer so far, but there’s no shortage of titles on the big unread list, so maybe I’ll manage to fit in a few more. Maybe I’ll even manage to type up some thoughts as I finish them. What’s on your summer reading list? Happy summer, and happy reading.

 

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