Time Management and Gaming, or a lack thereof
May13

Time Management and Gaming, or a lack thereof

So here’s the terrible truth you guys — I’ve barely played any video games for the last couple of weeks. I feed my virtual cats in Neko Atsume twice a day, and maybe play fifteen minutes of Puzzles and Dragons in bed before falling asleep.

Part of the problem is just being busy. I went from having no job to what borders on too much job in a matter of weeks. I get up early now, and I’ve been going to bed earlier than I have in years in an attempt to be functional before 10 a.m. (Weird.) I have a long commute, and at the end of the day zoning out in front of a Let’s Play seems more tempting than being more active and actually playing a game.

The big issue, though, is that I have a hard time prioritizing my gaming. I think it’s partially a response to The Bad Old Days ™ in WoW, when I quite cheerfully let too many things in my life slide because it’s raid time and we’re totally going to kill Gruul this week. I think there’s a whole generation of us with this weird black hole in our lives around 2007, and while I don’t regret any of that I’m also sensitive to any signs of it happening again.

20150507 075456 500x385 Time Management and Gaming, or a lack thereof

SO MANY CATS

Consequently, gaming is just about the lowest item on my priority list. I feel bad about playing a game when I have almost anything else to do. Somehow even wasting half an hour on Twitter feels like a better use of my time, which it certainly is not.

I mean, I could play a game tonight, but I also really should balance my checkbook and read up on hotels for my upcoming trip and catch up on the news and well I haven’t mopped the kitchen floor lately and if I’m just going to be wasting my time with video games I really should do that first.

All this would be fine if I was satisfied with my current game consumption, but I’m not. I miss games. We’re six weeks out from the FFXIV expansion and I still have 1.2 levels to go, not to mention starting the huge amount of story quests available after the cap. I started a new play-through of Mass Effect 2 and all I’ve done so far is scan 18 million planets.

I want to game more, but sometimes I can’t escape the little voice that tells me there are much better ways to fill my time.

So tell me, dear grown-up readers: do you ever feel guilty about your video game time? How do you organize your schedule to make guilt-free time for elves?

NBI Talkback Challenge #1 … sorta
May08

NBI Talkback Challenge #1 … sorta

As I mentioned earlier in the week May is Newbie Blogger Initiative month! One of the ongoing events is a “Talkback Challenge”, where a topic is chosen once a week for everyone to write about. This week’s prompt is:

How did GamerGate affect you?

Oh dear. How do you write about a subject that you’re still afraid to put in the title of your post? For the record I’ve written about the whole mess a few times previously:

However, the NBI is a good cause so despite being uncomfortable with the subject matter allow me to share my GamerGate experience with you… Friday style.

When I first started hearing about it I was all

wtf gif NBI Talkback Challenge #1 ... sorta

It quickly became apparent that this was more than just some dumb internet drama: war had been declared on visible women in gaming and any one of us could be next. My Twitter feed went oddly quiet for a few days while most of the gaming women I knew were like

scared gif NBI Talkback Challenge #1 ... sorta

The worst part was that no big game media outlet would talk about it for those first few weeks, much less take a stand. I felt abandoned by my hobby, like they were saying

media gif NBI Talkback Challenge #1 ... sorta

As I watched people I respect leave the gaming sphere, I stopped feeling intimidated and conflict-avoidant and instead started getting angry.

mad gif NBI Talkback Challenge #1 ... sorta 

GamerGate has been marginalized thanks in particular to the efforts of some very strong women, although they are still stalking, threatening, and ruining people’s lives. As for its effects on me, I stopped making YouTube videos about gaming, I chose to no longer register as media for gaming conventions, and when someone with “gamer” in their bio follows me on Twitter my first reaction is

rolleyes gif NBI Talkback Challenge #1 ... sorta

And that’s my story.

Cat Context 74: Valve’s Mod Debacle, SWTOR, Heavensward
May06

Cat Context 74: Valve’s Mod Debacle, SWTOR, Heavensward

cat context vertical Cat Context 74: Valves Mod Debacle, SWTOR, Heavensward

Usually Cat Context records on Sunday evening, but this week Liore, Ellyndrial, and Arolaide met up on a Monday morning to talk about MMOs and mods. We probably could have used some more coffee.

Elly considers getting back into Star Wars: The Old Republic and he gets the inside scoop from Arolaide. Do you need to subscribe? Is it worth buying the expansion? Are the space battle quests terrible? Whatever the answers, both Elly and Aro seem pleased at having a co-op Bioware RPG in their lives again.

Hey, it could be worse — you could be the person in charge of selling mods on the Marketplace at Valve. The gang talks about Skyrim mods, what “transformative work” really means, and GabeN’s disastrous “ask me anything” on Reddit. There is also a lot of arguing about copyrights and whether developers deserve any of the profit from mod sales. (Hint: Elly has the Wrong Opinion.)

Also now Liore is playing a weird Japanese mobile game about cats! Elly might have seen a famous person in Las Vegas! Aro is excited for flying fat chocobos in Heavensward!

Like to watch? This podcast has a livestreamed video version:

If you enjoyed this podcast, please “Like” or “Favorite” it in your media consumption method of choice! It makes us feel nice.

* A cool blog post on how to play Neko Atsume
* Free Music Archive page for our theme, in THE crowd by The Years

TV Credits That I Never Skip

Nope, still not a video game post… also when you’re short on time and energy, Newbie Bloggers, consider a post that is nothing but awesome YouTube videos. Ahem.

One of the casualties of our modern binge-watching television habits (thanks, Netflix) is the opening credits. Sure, they might seem interesting at first but after the first three episodes or so they’re usually just 30 to 60 seconds of time where I’m not watching the show. Yes, House of Cards, your trumpet is so somber. Yes, yes, DC at night, yes. Get on with the politics!!

There are rare cases though where I will always watch the credits, even during a marathon. Behold:

Dexter

I only watched the first four seasons of Dexter and from what I hear the opening credits may be the best part of some of the later seasons. And they are indeed really good — ostensibly they just show just getting ready for his day but there is blood and violence inherent in every supposedly innocent motion.

The Simpsons

Including The Simpsons on this list is a bit of a cop out, I know, but the fact is that they have a unique opening for almost every episode and occasionally they are works of pure art. Speaking of which, a recent standout was this version by cheeky artist Don Hertzfeldt. It pushes the boundaries of what viewers will accept from a show opener, and I really really like it.

Freaks and Geeks

Not only is the song amazing (I dare you to listen without getting the urge to start pogoing) but the cast is just so damn good even in the opener. You can pick up little nuances about each character just from how they sit in front of the camera, and it’s a nice reminder that Martin Starr was always a national treasure of acting.

American Horror Story (season 1)

I only watched the first season of American Horror Story, and while it was ridiculous, over-the-top fun it was the opening credits where the real scares could be found. Creepy dolls, weird patterns, and that “music”… the opening does an excellent job of setting the tone.

Sealab 2021

The visuals aren’t terrible interesting after a few repetitions, but the theme song is 22 seconds of pure catchy pop. I will always, always sing along to this.

DIY Wallpaper with Gift Wrap
May04

DIY Wallpaper with Gift Wrap

Okay yes, I know this post isn’t about video games and I haven’t written much here lately. I just recently became fully employed and I have a bunch of freelance gigs, which means long hours while I get organized. Given limited time, I’d rather be playing games than writing about them.

I will be back to writing thrice weekly very soon, and you can still check out Cat Context or catch up on the blogosphere over on my column at MMORPG.com.

In the meantime… here is a post on home decorating. Look, just roll with it.

Plain white walls are the bane of any decor-minded renter. You usually can’t paint them, and wallpaper is expensive and difficult to remove. The only real option is to hang up enough art and photos that it makes the walls look more interesting. Or is it?

I mean really, isn’t wallpaper just paper on a wall? Yes, traditionally it’s a certain type of paper that is attached with glue, but let’s not quibble about the facts. There are some other very lovely types of paper out there, such as gift wrap. And staples can stick paper to a wall, but they’re also easy to remove and the holes can be puttied over in minutes before moving.

Clearly I would be stupid for NOT gift-wrapping a wall!

BEFORE

before1 500x391 DIY Wallpaper with Gift Wrap

This is the kitchen cutout wall in my apartment. As you can see it is very white and boring, but doesn’t lend itself to art. You may also notice a slightly confused man in the kitchen thinking, “Why is she taking a picture of the wall oh god what is she up to now,” but that is not important to this project.

DURING

To gift wrap a wall, you will need:

A staple gun
A sharp xacto knife
Lovely gift wrap in a quantity large enough to cover your wall
Scissors
Ruler

Let’s talk about the gift wrap. For the best effect, you probably want to splurge on nice paper. Try a store like Luxe Paperie. Some things you want to keep in mind when choosing your gift wrap are:

  • Paper thickness: You won’t always have a choice, but thicker is more durable.
  • Pattern matching: You’ll probably want to make the pattern seamless between pieces, so pick something that won’t be too hard to align.
  • Reflectiveness: A pattern with shiny pieces will reflect the light in your room differently. That’s fine, but keep it in mind.
  • Pattern size: Don’t pick a pattern with tiny elements — remember that most people will be viewing your wall from a few feet away.

You also want to chose a wall that doesn’t get a lot of rough traffic or wet splashes. Order one extra sheet of paper to keep on-hand in case you need to repair a tear.

The actual procedure for papering is exactly what you’d expect:

  1. Staple a piece of gift wrap to your wall.
  2. Use the xacto knife to trim around the edges or around outlets and vents.
  3. Smooth out your paper constantly as you staple to keep ripples to a minimum.
  4. Match the pattern for the next sheet, and keep going until you have no more uncovered wall.
  5. Success!

AFTER
after 500x384 DIY Wallpaper with Gift Wrap

Ta-da! The kitchen wall is now an accent wall, and looks much better. The staples and any mis-matched pattern seams are not very visible unless you go looking for them. There is a little rippling, but generally it’s not bad.

Overall wallpaper is probably the better choice if you own your walls or you are expecting to host the Queen for dinner, but if you are on a tight budget and a renter I would totally recommend this technique and I will definitely do it again in the future.

Project cost: $75 (paper and staple gun)
Time needed: About 4 hours

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