Jan 17 2013

Sooo…I’m all Skyrim’d out

Am I even allowed to say that? I’m afraid Kaleb, Todd Howard, and Mr. T are going to come to my house and I’ll find out firsthand that they all pity da foo.

Anyway, as I was saying, I think I’m done with Skyrim. For a while anyway. Compared to writing and producing VBS skits, the rush of sneakybowing bad guys is kinda weak. Maybe once I am done or at least have all of my major story problems solved I will indulge myself in some more Bethesda goodness–maybe even pick up all the DLCs.

Until then, I have work to do!

And I love it.

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Aug 31 2012

…and no TV make Dan something something…

So losing my TV has made me more productive (duh). Sunday night I read to the girls seven chapters of The Lady in the Lake by Raymond Chandler, Monday night I picked The Baby up from tennis and we went driving around. Tuesday night I went home and cleaned parts of my office, living room, dining room, and kitchen (parts of all, all of none) (see this post).

I would have gotten more done, but doing more takes money. Sitting on the couch playing X-Box costs virtually nothing, just a little electricity. Doing stuff–fixing the sink, cleaning the house, changing the oil in the cars, all cost money. Of course the trade-off is real productivity–smithing in Skyrim nets you nothing in real life, whereas fixing the sink saves you money and makes you a better steward of your resources.

Last night I helped an older couple with a couple of computer problems then came home and got a lot of work done on a friend’s blog, then read some more Chandler to the girls and drew a picture for the oldest.

I seem to be handling the DT’s OK so far. But I think it makes me more tired, doing more work instead of slouching down relaxing, but last night I must have finally slept enough to catch up on sleep–I woke up irreparably awake today at 4:15.

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Aug 27 2012

My TV is a goner pt. 2

This blog was birthed because my TV was having problems in December of 2008. Now, it has finally died. Eight years of mostly loyal service. It’s terminal this time.

And so, we will have to start TV shopping some time. I’m not in a huge hurry, as I have a ton of other productive things I have to do, and other more important expenses, like replacing the water heater.

Upside for the two of you who read this blog: I should start posting more often.

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Aug 20 2012

Fus Do Clean!

So I was cleaning my study.

I hate cleaning.

But once in a while, usually while on vacation, I get this urge to clean. Everything. Yes, I’ve seen the meme.

The problem with me cleaning, even when I am enjoying it, is that I clean the way I play Skyrim. No, I don’t mean I enter every room, pick every lock, and kill every organism that opposes me (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

What I mean is this: I used to play various games that were entirely linear, like Halo, Halo 2 and Crimson Skies, and Tomb Raider. They are awesome games. And so I played the heck out of those games. Thoroughly. And so finally one day I was bored enough to play a game Heather got from a video store that was going out of business. ‘The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind.’

I hated it. You pick stuff up, people kill you. You walk outside, the fish kill you. People threaten to take your money–then kill you.

So I did not play the game. It stunk and I hated it.

And so I went back to playing HaloHalo 2 and Crimson Skies, and Tomb Raider. They are awesome games.

And so finally, I was bored with them.

I gave Morrowind another chance. It was what they call a ‘sandbox play’ game. That means instead of a linear story, you wander around and do what you want. If you don’t want to do something, don’t. If something is too hard, come back later. You don’t want to do something a certain way, use your problem solving skills and learn a better way to do it–be it killing a skeleton, obtaining a treasure from a festering sick ward, or getting from one island to another.

It still took some getting used to.

“This game’s OK, but it still kind of stinks.”

“This game’s pretty good, but it still bites here and there.”


And so I was hooked. Then I got The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion for my birthday, and it was even BETTER. Now I’m playing The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

And so on Sunday afternoons when I was resting, and the weather outside was not delightful, I would sit inside adventuring all over the grass and tree covered hills that filled the expansive virtual world. It was one of the things that my brother and I would do together. I’m not saying The Elder Scrolls is a multiplayer game–it’s not (in fact there is an in-joke about the lack of multi-playability in Morrowind). It’s just that the world was so expansive and so many ways to accomplish tasks that we loved to sit on the couch and watch the other one play. To an extent.

He hated watching me play. When he played, he would get a quest, do it, get the next quest, do it, and so on. Just like A, B, C, D, etc. No matter where those quests took him, he was always about the mission. Me, I loved the open world and its vast choices. I fulfill ABCD quests every day. I don’t get to wander off and just do whatever (I have heard that is frowned upon by many employers, especially ones open 24/7/365).

And so I would start on quest A, and then get distracted.

“Ooo, what’s that?” I would ask.

“What are you doing?”

“I’m going to go check out that house.”

“What? You’re almost to the city. Just finish your quest and then go check that out!”


And I wouldn’t either. Mr. Mission-Oriented had to sit there and watch me play Oblivion like a kid with ADD trying to read Wikipedia. I would wander here, there, maybe back where I came from, and frequently just plot a compass point and start wandering on purpose just to see what I might find. I don’t do that IRL because that is how you end up on 12th street in downtown Kansas City with people asking if you ‘NEED something;’ but that’s another story.

And so, to tie it all up finally, that is how I clean.

“What is this sponge doing in my study? I will take it to the kitchen.” Walk to kitchen, place sponge, and decide to make coffee.

“While the coffee is brewing I will clean my study some more,” I think. Head back to the study, pick up bucket of car wash stuff.

“This belongs in the car,” I say, in the same way Indiana Jones says, “This belongs in a museum.” I take the stuff out to the car, only to find the trunk is full of stuff. Might as well clean it out. I’m on vacation, I don’t have time to clean it out during the regular work week. Clean the entire trunk. It looks amazing, put the car wash stuff in the trunk. Full of dopamine from completing my task (“Happiness comes from the achievement of goals!” as Darwin Mayflower would say), I enjoy the cool autumn morning air.

“I should vacuum the car while it’s nice out.”

That’s great–but I have to clean the car first. I can’t divert a river to clean something like Heracles, so I do it myself, sort things into ‘goes in the house’ and ‘goes in the trash.’ I goes in the house. Coffee’s up! I grab some coffee, but my travel mug is in the car–the only thing that belongs in the car. Nevermind, I’ll just put it in a non-travel mug and take it with me.

And so I head to the car wash–carp, no quarters. Off to Walmart, pick up things I need, get cash for quarters. Back to car wash, vac the car. Coffee is now cold. Autonomic brain orders another dump of dopamine as a reward to the volitional brain, which fuels promises.

“I swear on the lives of my daughters and all future unborn grandchildren that I will never ever again let my car get so messy!”


My stomach hurts from drinking coffee all morning and not eating food. I’m too busy to eat food. I’M CLEANING DANG IT!


Fine, stupid stomach. I’ll stop what I’m doing, which is CLEANING just so I can put food in YOU, baby!

But the stomach doesn’t care. He knows I love him. I want breakfast, but now it’s too late to get it anywhere. But Casey’s has donuts all day. And it’s kind of a ripoff to buy one or three when you get a discount for buying six. Six it is.

Now I am full of caffeine, dopamine, and donuts. LIFE IS GRAND! I’M ON VACATION AND I’M CLEANING AND I ACCOMPLISHED STUFF.


Back to the kitchen, hey, maybe some more coffee? Nope–the coffee is now scalded, while I was out cleaning. Whatever.

I walk back to my study. It’s still a complete wreck because I have cleaned the trunk. And vacuumed the car. And bought stuff for the house. But only have removed one sponge and one bucket from the study.

“Why didn’t you just clean one room and finish that quest?” asks my brother’s memory, squeezing all the dopamine out of my brain. If accomplishing goals makes you happy (which it does for me), the lack of accomplishment brings abject soul-wallowing depression.

Might as well play Skyrim.

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Nov 18 2011

Age, maturity, boringness, and flatware

As I age and mature I find myself thinking about, for birthday and Christmas, fewer impractical extravagances (pirate hat, Tesla coil) and more practical needs (debt reduction, flatware).

The side effect is that I am becoming boring.

Before you no doubt object, remember that I have mentioned ‘flatware’ twice already.

I used to be largely content to eat with most any utensil of most any quality of workmanship. It’s not that I couldn’t tell the difference between a finely crafted furcated utensil and some piece of barely-usable piece of junk hastily stamped out of cheap metal. But as I get older I find myself disliking most of the forks in our home.

Shortly after we were married Heather and I purchased a very nice set of flatware. They were thin, but they were sturdy and, more importantly, had smooth edges. For some reason, every single implement from this set has disappeared–save two knives. I blame the children.

Since then we have somehow acquired some unpleasant forks from the Ugly Flatware collection. Most utensils of even the lowest quality are relatively smooth, but cheap forks, and their tines in particular, have a rather unpleasant feel to their edges.

When I said I dislike most of the forks in the house, the reason is that I have a couple of forks that do not belong to me; they may belong to you. I use them when we eat communal meals, rushing to the kitchen to secure fork preference by making some pretense of helping cook, or appearing to be magnanimous and doing the dishes.

My friend Kaleb has some amazing flatware; all of the utensils are heavy enough to murder someone with. I don’t know why my standard of an object’s sturdiness is measured by the capacity to successfully commit murder with said object. I used to work with a guy who measured everything by its capacity to destroy a tree; at the time we worked in a woodworking factory.


Why, you are no doubt asking, don’t you just go buy some nice flatware if it means that darned much to you? Let me show you something:

Maturity is Inversely Proportional to Fun
Fun is Directly Proportional to Excitement
Excitement is Inversely Proportional to Boringness
Boringness is Directly Proportional to Maturity


Maturity and Boringness are the mortal enemies of Fun and Excitement

It’s sad but true. Observe:


  • New X-Box 360
  • Collector’s edition of Skyrim
  • Skipping work
  • Drinking Mountain Dew
  • Skipping work to stay home drinking Mountain Dew while playing your collector’s edition of Skyrim on your new X-Box 360
  • Going to work every day on time
  • Paying life insurance
  • Visiting the dentist
  • Caring for children’s needs
  • Buying flatware
Eventually the flatware may win out, simply because I can’t keep doing the dishes in order to secure a fork, and hiding them seems kind of childish.
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