Me — March ’19 Update

We’re already chugging along through 2019, and I think we’re at the point where 2019 doesn’t quite feel new, but (at least for me), it doesn’t feel like anything has really happened, either. Which is a bit surprising, because there’s been a lot of new and interesting things going on.

So let’s jump on in with the Monthly Update Topic Order™: blog, writing plans, video games, reading/listening, school, and other things.

Not much to say about the current state of the blog. I’m pretty happy with where it is right now, forcing me to write regularly but not often enough to be oppressive. That said, I might want to be upping the content come summer. More on that in a bit.

As you probably know, I don’t really have a whole lot going on writing wise. That story I posted last week was one of my first forays into the world I’ve been working on with some friends, but since that’s a collaborative project, I don’t like to talk about it much. I will say that we plan to have stuff to present some time this year, though, and when that day comes you bet your butt I’m going to be talking about it here. Apart from that, I’m working on that full length Lisa Stenton play for school. Have I mentioned that on the blog? Well, now I have. It’s still in a very rough draft and nowhere near at the level in which I can show to anybody (the public especially), but it’s coming along, which is exciting. That’s pretty much all I’m working on at the moment.

I don’t feel like I’ve been playing pretty much anything lately. I pretty much get home from work or school, try and fail taking a nap, and then work on whatever needs to be done. When I do have actual free time, though, I usually watch videos while casually playing Heroes of the Storm or Hearthstone. I haven’t even been playing on the Switch lately, which makes me feel a little bad, but I know I’ll get my hours in with time. Also, my brother and I have been dedicating a few hours every other week to playing classic games, which has been fun because we’ve been narrating characters to each other in silly voices. Right now we’re going through Secret of Mana, which has been a blast. I’d say “expect a review on that soon”, but I’m realizing I’ve been saying that a lot lately and have yet to review anything in 2019. Oh well.

Listening, though. I’ve been listening to a lot of Day9 and Critical Role. Those two channels combined produce about a dozen hours a week, which is more than the amount of free time I can spend watching YouTube, so that’s pretty much all the media I’ve been consuming. Haven’t listened to podcasts or audiobooks in months, but I’m sure I’ll binge on stuff a few months from now to catch up.

As far as school goes, I mentioned last month that this would be my last semester. Well, that’s not happening. One of the classes I needed got cancelled, and there’s no way around it beyond taking an extra semester. For one class. So all my plans for picking up a second job after this semester and saving up have kind of gone out the window. Sucks, but can’t do anything about it now, so there’s no use dwelling on it.

Craydon Map.png

Second-to-lastly, D&D is going great. I just finished my first full city, Craydon, which took about 10 hours of work to build. It houses roughly 18,000 people, complete with about a dozen factions, shops, and lots of events and secrets to uncover. The Aleor campaign is going great. I will one day post a campaign diary of the story. When I get around to it.

So, that last thing. I’ve been considering finding a feasible way to take commissions on story writing. Like, fanfiction, micro fiction, writing prompts, whatever. It’s something I could certainly do, but the only thing would be monetizing it in a way that actually provides me with an income. People would need to know and have read my work for that to be any sort of business plan at all, which is not something I can magically make happen. It would be a good hobby for a bit of extra change, but it’s not on my radar just yet. I need to give it some more thought first.

Me — A Rare Free Weekend

Warning: this is a bit all over the place. It’s pretty much a very rambling free-write.

 

So, I (obviously) didn’t post a short story this weekend. I’d like to apologize. I offer no excuse, but instead I give you an explanation. When I woke up Saturday morning, I realized I had absolutely no plans whatsoever for the entire weekend, and I don’t know when the last time that was. I doubt it’s happened at all in 2018, (cancelled plans excepting).

As happened, I decided to spend it doing nothing productive at all and see where that got me, and I succeeded. I wrote a tiny bit and went to go buy groceries, but that’s about it. Beyond that, I played a ton of Heroes of the Storm and NieR: Automata. I’ll tell you what though, doing nothing was hard. It’s not as though I had to make a conscious effort not to be productive—I’m sure I’m not more or less lazy than anybody else—but I can’t let myself relax without feeling bad about it. I would play a few hours of something, get bored and stop. Make food and then struggle to find something else to do.

The heat certainly doesn’t help. It’s going to be over 100° for a good chunk of the work week again, which will be tough. I find it hard to be comfortable when it’s over 80°, even if I’m not doing anything.

So no, I didn’t have a great time relaxing. I got a lot done in the games I’ve been playing, but other than that it’s hard not to feel like I threw the weekend away. And it’s not as though I have a shortage of things to write. Beyond the two or three small personal projects I’ve been touching on here and there, I want to work on that Xelfure story I brought up recently. I realized that the two-layer narrative is unnecessary, and while I do want to keep it, the “story” is complete in itself, so I shouldn’t need to worry about the flashback part. Honestly, it’s just been difficult to get started because it’s not going to be a simple 2,000 word flash fiction. I don’t know how long it would end up being, but it’s a good length. Multiple weekends worth of writing for sure, and it scares me.

I’ve been thinking about my resources a lot lately. My time and money is generally stretched pretty thin, and gaining one means losing the other, when I’d love to have more of both. I’m sure that’s the case with the vast majority of people though, eh? Struggling to find that balance.

In any case, don’t expect me to stop writing those weekly short stories. Next weekend’s is bound to be interesting. If nothing else, I think I need to write these little stories for my own personal sanity if nothing else. I have this irrepressible need to be productive in everything I do. Heck, even all the games I play I have specific long-term goals in mind.

Time grows short. The fall semester starts in about a month, and I have plans for pretty much every waking moment during the work week throughout the semester, which means any and all things that could possibly be considered “free time” must all be done on the weekends. Oh boy.

 

Life — Boosting Efficiency

One of my biggest things is about efficiency. In everything I do I like to be as efficient as possible. We all like to get the most out of our money, but even when I’m playing video games I like using strategies that accomplish my goals as quickly as possible. That being said, I’m just going to toss out some basic life tips that everybody should know when going about their day-to-day lives. These tips are pretty simple and can save you both time and money without making your life more complex in the meantime.

We’ve all seen on a lot of sites “Ways to save money quick” and the obvious propaganda stuff. There are useful website addons (Adblock is probably the biggest one), and a few of them are actually pretty neat. I’ve heard ‘Honey’ is an addon that can save you a lot of money from multiple sources, but I haven’t tried it so I can’t say for sure.

Whenever I order anything online, I always google “X Site coupon codes”. Most sites you can order online from will have coupon codes that will save you money, and a lot of the time you can simply look up a code that works that can save you around ten percent. Granted, if you’re only buying one thing that 10% may not be a whole lot, but if you’re buying all your semester textbooks off of Thriftbooks, for example, it can save you a good twenty bucks. Always take a minute or two to at least look it up. You won’t always find a code that works, but especially if you’re ordering a good amount of things, it can save you a ton of money.

If you don’t have time to read something important, there are free websites that can narrate it for you! ttsreader.com is the one I use for when I need to read a short story, online speech, or whatever the case may be. I can listen do it while doing other things, so I don’t have to sit there and read it worrying about all the things I need to do without having time. Keep in mind that this is an automatically generated program, so it won’t sound quite like a person reading it to you, but it’s still pretty neat, and you can use it for everything! Heck, you can copy paste my blog into it and have it read to you there! Again, though, it doesn’t sound quite right, so use it sparingly.

And the last tip for the day is regarding driving and gas mileage. As far as I know, this is pretty common knowledge, but regarding how expensive gas is these days, it’s super important to get as far as you can with it. So, number one thing is to pace yourself. Never slam on the gas or the brake. When you ease into a stop, it is a lot better than slowing down dramatically once you get to the red light. At the same time, don’t try to accelerate as quickly as possible when it does turn green, because it burns a lot of gas. So, whether you want to be going faster or slower, pace yourself. Change your speed as gradually as possible. I’ve also been told that buying gas at the coolest part of the day will get you more volume per dollar (since like most liquids gas expands in heat), but this actually isn’t true. Well, technically it is true, but the effect is negligible simply because the gas is stored underground where the temperature change is almost nonexistent. So, don’t plan your fuel-ups based on what time of day it is. It doesn’t matter.