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NEW VIDEO: I Quit MMOs and THIS Happened


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  1. It happens - I had my own bad slip up last week. It's how we bounce back that defines how we're progressing! The idea of going to a RL support group has spoken to me before - we've got a good series of them on campus but I haven't quite made it. Sure, we know our struggles with gaming and more, but I've always sort of held back since it might not be welcome at something like AA or so.
  2. Yeah, that first few days is the toughest! Gaming just kind of fills that void of when there's nothing to do, so figuring out what to replace it with - particularly when you've already been run down for the day - is the hardest part of this thing. Cam's right - scheduling things may feel ridiculous (at least, it felt silly to me the first time I wrote down to brush my teeth at precisely 22:36!) but it does help, especially for us folks used to work schedules and all the "productivity hacks" that surface from time to time!
  3. My favorite team is the Blues (Army, why'd you have to do this to me?!), followed closely by the Stars - fell in love with hockey when I lived in STL, have to support what the Stars organization is doing for the game in my state though. It...has not been a fun deadline
  4. Well, that was interesting. This final semester is proving to be something else entirely. Haven't had much time for anything other than schoolwork, worrying about schoolwork, and the basics of getting my life in order. Started cooking a little (as much as my weird grad student schedule can handle with getting home at weird hours and just wanting to go to sleep), sleep is a bit of a struggle still to put it lightly, but I think I'm starting to figure out the secrets, and starting to feel more aware of things - I had an urge to game on Thursday night and instead started on a productive thing. Then Friday happened. After some combination of stress and being mentally exhausted from the nonstop madness of this semester I had just had enough. I needed something brainless on Friday night, even more so than going to play Magic with the guys, and... I don't think I need to finish that sentence. Ended up regretting it all weekend (and unrelated: really, really wasn't in a good place mentally this past weekend in general, but I think I've come out the other side of it for now). I was meaning to come back and be more active here since the first of the year, so why not now? This actually hits on my biggest problem so far: what do I do when I need something just completely disengaged from work, life, etc.? Watching movies/tv never quite sat well with me, and it was my hockey team's bye week anyway. Everything I've found so far requires at least a bit of effort toward being productive, creative, or active; a situation I just did not have the energy for last Friday. And yet, the obvious answer is one I'm trying my best to cut out of life...
  5. Day 53. Timestamp Monday, 21 November 2016 at 23:05 UTC -0500 Putting the timestamps is a bit of a relic at this point, yes, but it's my thing in the journal for some reason - been doing it since the beginning. Going to be getting back on track with productivity and building myself up - what I think of as Phase 2 of this project. I think I've got the urge to game more or less under control, though there are still those desires floating around, ready to strike at any moment. And yet, I have to wonder. Most of my success thus far has been simply because I'm so busy with grad school that I just haven't had the time to game aside from some very specific moments that have been easy to resist. I can only see there being a ton of dead time that I will be tempted to actually break this streak...especially since, as I'm sure is true for many of y'all, Thanksgiving isn't the best of times ever. Already I can feel it calling to me, to be my refuge from whatever nonsense or boredom may show up. I've come too far to slip up now, but this week may be the biggest test of all of them - apparently I'm going to be discouraged from going to Magic even (still bringing my decks though, just in case) If I'm going to get through to two months, I'm going to need to figure out this whole "idle time" thing - without the distractions of daily life, or even Magic - and I'm going to need to figure it out fast. Oh boy...
  6. In the spirit of nanowrimo this is always a thing that comes up. This year I took the approach of planning the overall skeleton of it - I have four or five major plot points or "set pieces" that sort of frame my story - and leaving the rest to the Muse. Let me tell you, it's scary going beyond the end of the outline. And yet, it's also weirdly liberating. Like, the chapter immediately after the end of that spot has a ton of character development that just sort of happened - I didn't even think about it before that writing session! Give it a try! It might take you a bit to find that source of inspiration and get rolling again, but it will come! This is where I might write an essay on how things have gone in the US over the last couple weeks and my thoughts on the matter, but this is neither the time nor the place so I'll spare ya ;P This idea of all of us being able to change the world, though... this is something that I've been pushing heavily since then. There's never been a better time to give it a shot! For me, that means building something - whether it be contributing to some open source project that I believe in, coding my own thing that might one day make a difference, or just teaching friends and family how to be secure online (the area I'm training to work in, to put it shortly). What will you build? It may take time to discover it, but it's there - it's what makes us human.
  7. Yes! If we're all around here still next November I'm totally down for a Nano group forming from here! It's definitely a challenge, fitting all that in. I was actually ahead of the game until the election results came in... Since then it's been a struggle, but what isn't in life? Hell, "a struggle" is why we're all here after all. Sort of a problem is a futuristic game is a centerpiece of my story this year - I've held it in check, but the temptation to go for it in the name of "inspiration" has been there... I actually decided to take your lead and try my hand at mixing, creating electronic music, etc. I...tried. Student technology store here still hasn't gotten me my copy of ProTools yet even though I bought it Friday >.<. Figured that I'm a creative type anyway (most of the time, when I'm not burned out as I was on writing this week), might as well revisit the idea of composing. Also, the world needs more Mozart remixes, just saying. As for this weekend, I made it through Pokèmania...so far. The temptation is still there, but I found a new distraction: when I went to Friday Night Magic I was told that, yes, people play another format of the card game that's much more casual and social at the same place I already was frequenting the following evening. (EDH/Commander for those of y'all in the know). Drove home, built a deck, spent my Saturday night playing with them. Magic two nights a week may be a little much, but it was fun nonetheless. I just hope I can find a regular, steady group for it when I move next year... That's one of the good things about gaming as I look back - no matter where I went I could find somebody who played <insert popular video game here> with little effort. A quick look from afar indicates that this may be difficult for EDH where I'm going, but it has to exist, if a city this size has it...right?
  8. Day 49 Timestamp: Thursday 17th November at 23:09 I called it. I want to backslide. I just... I need a mental break from everything. NaNoWriMo stress, this relentless semester, the cluster.... that was and is my country since a bit more than a week ago. I think I’m in a place where I want to keep forging ahead, keep writing, keep telling my story, without the added pressure of NaNoWriMo. 1,667 words per day just wasn’t fun anymore - the events that made it awesome don't really line up with my schedule here. Writing this story is an Ultra-marathon, not a sprint (though word sprints against others are fun as heck), and I've been getting burned out on the frenetic pace this month. I think I’ve found an online community of writers that may prove to be just the sort of creative energy I need to keep it going throughout the year. They plan on watching all of Alfred Hitchcock’s corpus over the next year for inspiration, enough said. Plenty of classics in there I haven’t seen. Maybe next year when I’m in a bigger city that I love I’ll revisit actually doing nanowrimo. For now? I’ll just take it easy. Take some time to do my digital forensics work, read the book that apparently is waiting for me in the office overnight because Amazon decided a $10 paperback was signature required, and do whatever. Part of that includes that I want to get that new Pokémon game literally everybody around me is talking about. I even had a conversation about it at church last Sunday, for God's sake... Y'all know. Y'all understand my predicament. I've made a good deal of progress in these 49 days, soon to be 50 by the time y'all read this, but not to the point where it doesn't feel like I'm depriving myself of games for my own sake. Not yet. I'm still trying to get there. I haven't been able to write like I have been on my novel since about Monday night, and even then it's been sporadic since last week's events took place. I need a relief valve of sorts, but I'm terrified. Terrified of losing all the progress I've made. Terrified I'll be right back here in a month or three at square 0. And yet, Thanksgiving is next week. Oh God. Going to need all the inner strength I can find to get through that...
  9. It's going pretty well actually. We're at a month down as of today (or a couple days ago according to the bot on Reddit). I've mostly been putting them up on my personal blog since some friends were curious. Timestamp: 31st October 2016 at 16:24 Whoa. It's been a month since I started this journey. Interesting. It has gone so much smoother than it has in the past. I thank grad school for keeping me busy. Really, I do. Get me out of the apartment and on campus with something that can't really play games, and, well, there's not much of a choice in the matter. I've been focused on this one thing as a goal, and it seems to be working so far. Now we come to the hard part. A full month, yay! If the past tells me anything, I'll get complacent in about a week or so and start slipping. A few minutes here and there getting hyped over the next one to come out. Midterms and projects are hard, I need to blow off some steam. What's a game or two for an hour going to harm? I can control myself for a full month after all! Suddenly, back right where I was a month ago. Great. Yeah, no. Can we please not do this again? NaNoWriMo starts up tomorrow, so that'll keep me busy enough, for sure. Ultimately though, we'll probably have this conversation again next month. Actually filling the void, starting to move myself from a mentality of "must resist the urge to game" to one where I've got so many better things that I want and love to do that I don't even need to actively (or passively, for that matter) resist. I think coding is trying to push into that space, and maybe writing once again will too, but it's early yet. I won't be in grad school forever (thank God), so I need to figure this out sooner rather than later. On top of that, the gaming aspect is the only area I've really made progress in this past month. I'm still spending far more time on the internet than I'd necessarily like to spend. There's that idle time I don't quite feel like being productive or rising or otherwise doing something useful that is still open. I am a fair bit more present in life, but I did just lose this past weekend to trying to set things up at home to where I could still do things there. Daring to Try is probably the thing I want to get into the mindset of most, but possibly the hardest piece of it. It's funny - we get stuck in our daily rituals and suddenly it's a month later and you've forgotten all about pushing the envelope. Some progress has been made in the past month, but there's a lot more to go.
  10. Day 18, apparently. Timestamp Monday 17th October at 22:46 You know, I've heard that advice twice in the last few days, albeit stated differently. Trick is figuring out what the steps are and then going after them. I will say, though, that the brief trial run I did at work today had very promising results. Just taking that first step is better than nothing, and soon 1 step becomes two, two becomes four, and so on. ...Same as that sort of slippery slope I've written about before with my relapses. That literally just hit me. Right now, as I write this. Everything I write is more or less stream of consciousness, and that idea literally came into my mind at that very moment. How can I harness this idea, almost to hack my brain to take those urges to spend time gaming and instead spend them doing <insert productive thing here>?! The default is kind of an idle state, and all I seem to need is a push one way or another. The push to game was coming hard this past weekend. Truthfully, I had a bad day Saturday for reasons that are neither here nor there, and y'all know how handy escapism can be on days like that... Fortunately, I am proud to report that the streak is still going strong and it is Day 18. Funny how much inertia can be created just by sheer willpower to not slip up again. How to turn that back on itself and focus it on a positive direction, rather than keeping my head above water?
  11. Wait...it's been two weeks?! Timestamp: Friday 14th October 2016 at 13:01. Wow, so it has been two weeks since I started on this journey of self-revitalization. That's two weeks without launching a video game, two weeks of refocusing on who I am and what it means to be who I am and where I am today...and two weeks of rising to be better than I was. It's tempting as hell to sit back and rest on my laurels today. After all, it's Friday - the strongest commitment I have is waiting for a weekly phone call that should be coming in any minute as I write this. Midterms are done, there are a couple finishing touches I need to put on a group project before Monday night, but other than that there's really not that much I need to do today. It's all but idle time. And what do I typically do with idle time? I would game. The urge to do so is literally right before my eyes. I mean, I've got friends I talk to exclusively through Steam ,for God's sake. I wish I could change that fact, but it's the reality I must live with. And yet, I've mentioned the slippery slope that caused me to slide all the way back to square goddamned zero two or three times now. That. Won't. Happen. Again. It simply can't. My life literally depends on it. And yet, my motivation to actually do productive things is still, to put it very lightly, a work in progress. I must admit that doing away with time wasting sites isn't going so well. Sure, I've got the blocker in place on my productive laptop that's almost more of a joy to use (aside from the lovely feeling of this mechanical keyboard at home...) than my full-power desktop, but I'm still not actually doing anything with that time. I mean, work this week was busy enough to keep me off it without much of a concern, but this morning I just derped around on reddit for four hours instead of doing interesting things (though I have to admit that one dog was adorable as hell). I've got programs and a novel to write! WHY, BRAIN? WHY?! Seriously, this whole motivation thing is starting to annoy me. How do I get myself to do things, awesome things that will give me that feeling of accomplishment I want?!
  12. Timestamp: Monday, 10th October 2016, at 23:32. Today has been tough. Work was absolutely silent, to the point where I really wasn't needed at all. Follow that up with a tough midterm that I and potentially a third of my class did terribly on, and the temptation to crack open a game is more than it's been since I've started this. And yet, as I sit here with 15 minutes to go in the day, about to climb into bed, I stayed strong. Not quite sure how, but I think having the sacred classical music stream close at hand is a large factor in that. I've never been really "religious" per se, but I am a believer in Christ and all that. I'd be happy to go into it more, but now's not the time or the place - after all, I still have another midterm tomorrow! Suffice it to say, I'll need whatever help I can get going forward, as I've decided to amend my 6 principles of a new me again. This time, I'm adding mindless browsing to the StopGaming component. Already done as another user suggested and set up a browser extension on my primary laptop to enforce this. God help me, especially if this week at work continues to be completely dead. So dead it's been that today I had to periodically trigger the motion sensors to keep the lights on... I love days like that, but what am I going to do in the meantime?! I have no idea how I’m going to do it. I really don’t. What do y’all do to fill the time? On paper I feel like I should push myself to program, or to write, or to do something else productive, but sometimes that drive just isn't there...
  13. Timestamp: Sunday 9th October at 23:38. Day 8 It's a funny thing, motivation. I spent at least a decade of my life (absolute number of hours almost undoubtedly, never mind real time) chasing completely arbitrary and ultimately meaningless goals in search of that next hit of dopamine or whatever it is. Ultimately, that stuff doesn't even matter. I couldn't even tell you what many of those bullshit "achievements" were for actually doing. I do remember that there were a large number of such achievements just for exploring the entirety of certain areas in World of Warcraft all those years ago. Who gives a f**k? I did at the time of course. Looking back, I couldn't tell you a blasted thing about any of those areas I've explored (and not just because I've heard that Blizzard has since literally brought down an apocalypse on them, changing them forever) - I have no photos of my character in wherever it was, or any particularly unique experiences. This is where if I were still writing these on Reddit some pedant would come out of the woodwork and point out that absolutely everything is unique in one way or another, on some sort of micro-level. Looking back, how unique could it possibly be? It's all, fundamentally, the same stuff that millions of other people are experiencing. Sociologically I'm sure one could make the argument that there's value in such broad shared experiences, but at what cost? What benefits to my own life - never mind society as a whole - came from this period of way too much time? If there's one thing that this period of self-reflection is letting me do, it's to see just how absurd all of this actually was. Sorry I've been a little rant-y in the last few posts, y'all. It's just so amazing when I look at my life with the same critical eye that I might evaluate something in class or my readings or what have you. Actually, you know what? I'm not sorry. Not at all. For God's sake, there is an entire industry of people out there who make a living from people watching them play video games! Just how ridiculous is that?! All the more power to the people who've made that work out for them, fair enough. Maybe I'm just getting older (and was when this first became a thing), but I just don't get the appeal at all. What started this all tonight? Well, I got something of a much more worthwhile achievement. Apple even helpfully gave me a badge for it, just like in a game! Despite doing almost nothing today aside from watch football (or what my sorry excuse of a professional team calls football), I still managed to get out and hit my move goal. 350 Active Calories burned today is absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things - I was even averaging closer to 500 during the week - but the fact that I was able to stick with it is a promise I'm making to this "new me" that I'm slowly building toward. No matter what, I will rise. Even on an off day, there is something I can do to make myself better. And to do this, I will dare to try. Sometimes that's all I'll be able to show for my efforts - the old college try, if you will - and that's okay! It's the fact that I'm trying to be better that matters. After all, it's only a matter of time until I succeed.
  14. Timestamp: Saturday 8th October 2016 at 23:56 C-C-C-COMBO BREAKER! ...Uh oh, the robot is angry with me. Or at least, it would be if I had finished coding it. Hey, it's been a week since I dedicated myself to this project. Here's a real end-of-week retrospective now that I've gone for a run and gotten those feels out. But really, cam I go back in time, bottle that feeling up, and relive it any time I'm feeling down about something? Anyway, wow, it's been a week already. Time flies when you're a grad student, I guess. But really, I remember how it was the first time I tried to quit - the cravings to game just wouldn't go away. It was almost to the point where I felt I needed to lock myself out of everything. It was bad to put it lightly. This time around? The cravings are still there. Hell, I nearly gave in tonight. I would've played one of those more intellectually useful games that I said I'd allow myself, sure, but it might just as easily have gotten me off track. Fortunately, it's Saturday night and the internet bar of sorts was showing the newest episode of My Little Pony just after I got done with my fantasy hockey draft. Yeah, that place is something interesting even if I'm not drinking (and indeed, I more often eat popcorn instead of drink beer during the games). It's probably the closest I've otherwise come to the sort of place I was all emotional about in the previous post. Yet, I wouldn't exactly call it something productive or otherwise useful to my future. I need to move beyond mere escapism as a thing. I just do. But how? I've mentioned before - if not on here than to some folks privately - that as useful and engaging and challenging as programming and tinkering with my lab are, they aren't exactly relaxing activities. If anything, I was a bit anxious Monday when I was programming and the scope kind of blew itself way out of the water. Writing is a good candidate, but NaNoWriMo's rules are quite clear: I'm supposed to start during the month of November, aside from any planning I might do. There's also the matter of how to be social without being a hardcore gamer that's still an open item. I was never all that into League of Legends, yet talk of Worlds is impossible to avoid. That's just a symptom of a larger problem: everyone I know except perhaps for you, dear reader, is just as much of an obsessive gamer as I was. This I'm sure will remain open for a while, if only because of the midterms that'll consume my focus for much of this coming week, but if anyone out there in the æther has any suggestions I'm all ears. As I write this, yourclassical.org decided to play a movement from the absolutely stunning Ein Deutsches Requiem by Brahms. If only finding equally amazing social groups were as easy as pretending I'm one of the world's great conductors...
  15. Timestamp: Thursday 6th October 2016 at 23:19 Building better habits is the core of what I'm doing here. Even though I'm beyond tired and have been that way all day to where absolutely no amount of coffee could help (I tried), plus this stupid headache is being a literal pain, I need to post something. If I let it slide one day because of <insert excuse here>, what's to stop me from letting myself slide on picking up a game again? It's not because anything happened today that I have to post (in fact, I've had lazy Sundays that were more eventful), but that I have to post to ensure an off day doesn't cost me any of the progress I've started making or will make in the future. Also because if I miss a day the robot I'm building to keep me on track will get mad at me. We don't want any angry robots, now do we?
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