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Archive for April, 2011

Hiking up mountains always has a nice clear goal.

Over the last few years I have found myself acquiring new hobbies and activities, however my free time has oddly gone down in the same time period. I run into the problem where I have a lot of different things I want to do but only time for one or two, this creates a sort of activity paralysis where I then want to do none of them and just play a computer game instead.

I asked the question, why does a computer game have a much greater appeal then all of the other activities? Achievements and clearly tenable goals. When faced with practicing piano for an indeterminate amount of time versus unlocking a single achievement on Steam it is easy to get motivated for the achievement.

So I developed my own achievement system for my hobbies and activities.

As I am currently playing Neverwinter Nights 2, I modeled it off of the skill and feat system (nerdy, I kn0w). Where every hobby is given a category such as Fencing, Piano, and Reading. Under each category is a list of ways to “level up” that particular skill. In a separate list are a list of feats, or achievements, that I have not yet unlocked. Here are some of the skills of achievements for my life:

Skills

Fencing (++)

  • + Fencing Practice
  • ++ Equipment upgrade
  • +++ Fencing Tournament

Piano (+++)

  • + Complete lesson
  • + Practice sheet music
  • + New sheet music
  • ++ Memorize Song
  • +++ Perform to an audience

Writing (+)

  • + Post a blog entry
  • + Write a journal entry
  • + Record a dream
  • ++ Fictional writing

Achievements

Sport of Kings – Place in fencing tournament

On the Road – Odometer reacher 100,000

Trekkie – Watch The Original Series

Stickshifts and Safetybelts – Drive over 10 hours in one day

I made the rule that I cannot add any achievements or skills retroactively from before I started, however I can add if I come up with something new. If I do something I deem as awesome, interesting or noteworthy I will create a new achievement. Likewise if I do something that adds to a skill, I may either add an appropriate skill or new way to skill up. Once I reach ten “+” in a single skill I will mark it as leveled up to be “Level 1 Writing ()”, with all skills starting at level 0.

One category I may add is Programming with an achievement to write a program to keep track of everything. Currently I am using text files.

Now I get to skill up my writing.

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Bookshelves

Plenty of books to go around.

One aspect of moving away from home was the leaving of my precious books. Since moving up to Seattle I have brought up some necessary favorites (Pratchett, Martin, Jordan) but I have been hesitant to add to my collection. Mostly because I have the looming specter of moving and the daunting weight of books. There is also the budget issues of constantly buying new books (I have the luxury of reading during my commute). So I have taken advantage of the wonderful Seattle library system to fuel my literary reads.

The downside of this can be readily seen by book lovers everywhere, my bookshelf remains static. I cannot add my favorites and easily peruse all of the stories. This came to light recently when I tried to remember all of the books I have read recently and I could not remember the titles of a few of them (I knew the stories but not the names). Fortunately I stumbled across the book shelving website Goodreads.

Here I can input all of the books I have read, want to read and am currently reading. I can also add ratings which (in principal) will let me find new recommendations. You can also add friends however the only person on there actively is my Mom, I have one friend using it but they have not updated it in a while (to be fair I did not for a while myself).

Maybe one day I can go back and purchase all of the books I have read and fill up all sorts of bookshelves.

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