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About Zeno

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  1. It's Done! The new, low-profile CPU cooler arrived early this evening. I had already prepared for its arrival, so it took me only twenty minutes or so to get to this: With the last-minute changes, the new rig is a little over budget, but most of the cost was covered by selling my graphics card. I'll have another motherboard to sell, soon, which should more than take up the slack.
  2. New Desktop PC . . . delayed, again! Good news and bad news, yesterday. The good news is that my new CPU arrived at last, after a long delay in customs. It was shipped from a seller in Hong Kong, and everything between China and the U.S. is a bit . . . messy, just now. In truth, most of the delay was probably due to the pandemic. So, I was able to start building my sleek new "downgraded" desktop PC! It works like a charm and, best of all, has no dedicated graphics card. The bad news is that I was planning to use the stock AMD cooler that came with the processor, which was a bad
  3. Another point against getting rid of a smartphone is that for better or for worse - and mostly for worse - they are now required for certain basic functions in many contexts. I cannot log in to any of the systems at work without two-factor authentication, and the only non-crazy-making way of doing that is to use the smartphone app. I think @Pochatok is correct, though: address the underlying cause, whatever it is that pushes you toward distraction and escape, and the pull of the smartphone will subside on its own.
  4. It depends a lot on the kinds of games that draw you in, and their technical requirements. If they're games that require a dedicated graphics card, downgrade to a system that uses a CPU with integrated graphics - good enough for doing things online and doing office work, but not good enough for games. That's what I've been doing, and the very nice "downgraded" desktop PC I'm building is almost complete. If the games don't need that kind of power, then you might look into apps that block particular programs from running, or block you from visiting certain websites. I haven't used those, my
  5. Burning Off the Fog I'm going to stop referring to games at all here, at least for a while. What I did a month ago was not to "quit games", but to begin to reclaim my life from the fog in which I had allowed it to be enveloped over the past five or ten years. The process of sorting photos and - now- videos in the ongoing (pandemic-prolonged) division of the household has been a harsh sort of therapy. With photos from my childhood, and with photos and videos of my children, I can now survey the entire half-century span of my life, and I can begin to reckon with the damage sustained in
  6. Advice from a musician: learn an instrument first, then learn only enough theory to do what you want to do with it. Making music is a living process, something that can only be experienced in the immediacy of the present moment. Theory is reflection after the fact; on it's own, without something to reflect on, it's just empty.
  7. One Month! Even though I quit games in the last days of March, I'm using April 1 as my reference point for keeping track of how long ago I left gamer-world. I figure that counting days would mean I'm thinking every day about the fact that I quit games, which is an indirect sort of way to be thinking about games. It would be nice to go for days or weeks or even whole months without thinking about games in any way, even in the negative. My various projects are coming along. My writing was a little disrupted this week, but I've still accomplished more in this past month than I had in th
  8. Welcome to the forum, Alexander! I was going to ask whether there is a difference for you between playing online and playing in person. I was thinking chess would be a different experience when you're face to face with someone. You mention playing Monopoly, though, and how much you end up hating those with whom you're playing. That may just be in the nature of Monopoly! Everyone hates everyone when playing that game: too much chance is involved, and once you start falling behind, bankruptcy becomes inevitable. (I've heard that people in Cuba were once encouraged to play Monopoly
  9. Welcome to the forum! Any way to get back in touch with them? There must be others working in the games industry who have the same struggle, maybe even people you work with every day. I'm not sure how you'd find them, but it might be worth asking around, discreetly. I'm just thinking it might be easier to find your way toward balance if you knew you weren't the only one, and if you could talk and compare strategies with others in the same situation.
  10. Also, the CPU I ordered was still stuck in customs as of yesterday. Today, though, there's a change in its status on the tracking page for the domestic carrier that will be delivering it to my door. So, there's some hope I'll receive it over the weekend or early next week. If it arrives on the weekend, I may spend time on Sunday building my new working PC, the slim case for which fits neatly on a shelf next to my desk. Then I'll move my elder child's gaming PC into the case I'm currently using, which will free up some parts I can then sell off to bolster my budget.
  11. The Grand Bargain is working better than I could have imagined. Not only has it completely settled the turbulence I had been experiencing, but it has gotten me to take a closer look at my budget and make a few adjustments in my assumptions as to where my money should be going. Funny story, though. On the very evening I struck the Grand Bargain, I logged on to my employer's HR system to look at the stub for my end-of-April paycheck. I was expecting some supplemental income from an extra responsibility I'd taken on at my university and wanted to see what my total net pay would be for the mo
  12. It's good that your profs were willing to cut you some slack. The message has been circulating among faculty at my university since last March that we should be more accommodating to our students during while the disruptions of the pandemic continue. I hope the new approach to scheduling your time works for you.
  13. I think you have the right idea about learning to handle failure, but it goes one step further: one of the very best ways to learn is to fail, early and often, but in a setting in which failure is somehow safe. One of the worst things about educational institutions these days is that every single thing - every assignment, every test, every breath or stray movement - is observed and assessed on a rubric, with no margin for error. Everything is for high stakes. Every failure is a potential catastrophe. Is it any wonder millennials and gen-z-ers are racked with anxiety and depression?
  14. It may be that your lack of purpose is both cause and effect of your obsession with gaming, which can provide the illusion of structure and direction without the kind of attention and discipline you need to accomplish anything worthwhile in the real world. [Full disclosure: I teach at the university level, so I have a different sort of perspective on the problem you're facing. At the same time, I used games to escape from a bad home situation, since resolved, which left me adrift in my professional life.] Your immediate problem is somehow to finish your current term. What you may nee
  15. The Grand Bargain I have jokingly suggested that I have been going through the "bargaining" phase of grief, lately, trying to establish terms on which I would allow myself to buy back into PC gaming. The constant switching back and forth between gamer-mindset and non-gamer-mindset has been creating some turbulence, though I'm happy to say it has not seriously affected my productivity. I think I've hit on a way to calm things down, and it's by way of taking a good look at my budget. One good thing I've been able to do in the last year or so is to get a handle on my spending, using an