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Everything posted by checkercharlie39

  1. Embarrassed to say that I relapsed in a major way. Thursday was so exhausting. I was so tired. So stressed. So overwhelmed by work. I just had no willpower. I went home from the office at 3 and probably played Civ til like 11. Then yesterday morning I woke up feeling like garbage, and I didn't even really think about it. I pretty much just played from about 10am to 10pm. So much of this is just being tired, and overwhelmed. I need to find a way to make my job less overwhelming. The problem is that the video game binges are part of what make it that way. So here I am on a Saturday, back on Day 1. Feeling like shit, totally behind on my work. I guess an advantage this week is that I'm actually going to go visit my wife and dog for the weekend this Thursday, so I actually wont have a civ-capable computer for the weekend. So if I can make it to Thursday that should make it pretty easy to make it to Sunday.
  2. Well Tuesday was fine. I had no problem finding another way to just sort of vegetate after a very long, exhausting day. I had a really hard time getting motivated to even watch TV. I kind of hate how streaming forces you to decide things all of the time. I decided I'd just start watching all the movies I haven't seen that are on HBO Max in alphabetical order so the decision is just already made, so I watched 2010 last night, which bored me out of my skull as a kid so I turned it off part way through. As an adult, I found it a lot more interesting! Today has been a challenge though. Woke up unmotivated. Very hard to start working, and a couple of times was just so overwhelmed by my job that I just started thinking, "fuck it, let's just play." Just now I was taking a walk and having Bilbo Baggins esque thoughts like, "well why shouldn't I just play? Don't I deserve some relief?" It's really weird. I can't imagine never playing Civ again. There really isn't any part of my brain right now that believes that I'll never play Civ again. But I've been plugging away, one foot in front of the other.
  3. Day 3/4 Yesterday I had to work my ass off because of all the time I lost playing Civ last week, left me little time for relaxation, but when I was done with my day I tried to do semi-productive stuff. I made myself a healthy dinner that I can reheat a couple more times this week. Played guitar. Watched a little TV. Read a little Today is really gonna be the big test. Tuesdays and Thursdays are teaching days, and they're very exhausting. My productivity usually tanks after Tuesday and Wed-Sat I have a hard time working and that's when I start losing whole workdays to Civ. That's kind of the pattern: get my teaching stuff together Sunday and Monday, teach Tuesday, lock into Civ when I'm done, then lose tons of productivity and hobby time to Civ until Sunday when I realize the work is piled up and has to be done and I scramble to finish by working overtime Sunday and Monday just to get the bare minimum done to keep my job... repeat. Even talking about it right now I really want to play, and I still have two sections left to teach... I'm going to try to stay at the office later than normal to try to get back up to speed and make up for lost time. I have it in my head that I'm going to have a cold beer and play guitar to unwind when I get home, rather than plop down and play civ for 7 hours. Today is the first real challenge of my quit.
  4. Day 2: One of the weird things about my Civ compulsion is what can set it off. Some of my favorite side-interests are related to the game. So if I'm reading about say, the ancient world, reading about the Scythians or the Egyptians or the Sumerians or whatever, it's going to touch off my urge to play. If I read about politics, that too. If I read about some of my favorite civs to play as--Australia. Netherlands, Korea--it touches off my urge to play. But even certain concepts, like defense, flight, philosophy, that have analogues in the game can do it. This morning I was reading the news and the phrase "buy some time" came up, and I was thinking about how often, when I get surprise attacked by a neighbor in Civ and I'm behind on technology I have to find ways to buy myself time to beef up my defenses. I got the urge to play. This is pretty insidious. Anyway, I have a long stressful work day starting, I'm hoping the pressure of looming deadlines is enough to stave off my urge to play today.
  5. Well I did it. 24 hours. I mean, that's not a big deal really, but I'm trying to think of these 24 hours as part of a new commitment. The real test will come as the week wears on and I get more and more exhausted by work.
  6. I guess it depends on how much a distraction it is for you. I used to have what we'd probably consider an "addictive" relationship to the game Everquest (I know this dates me). I still post with folks on a message board from those days even though most of us haven't played the game in 10-15 years. Our relationships and community have well survived most of us quitting the game. I still posted there a lot even after I'd stopped playing and most folks there were still playing. It can be done! I don't necessarily think you have to lose the community as long as they're not pressuring you into coming back.
  7. I'm halfway or so through day 1. I'm having a really hard time starting to work. Time that I'd ordinarily fill by playing Civilization. Though today probably wouldn't pose a major challenge for me because I've let my work pile up so high because of my gaming that if I don't get my ass in gear today there would be real consequences. Last night at 8:00 I said "that's it, I quit playing Civ and Civ like games." I've said this before, but y'know, maybe the program will help. I said, "At 8:00 tomorrow I'm going to draw a hashmark marking 24 hours, then at 8:00 every day after." My username is a reference to Kurt Vonnegut's first novel, Player Piano, which is a sci-fi dystopian satire of the ways humans are allowing technology to make them useless, built in is another critique that advancements in technology that save labor aren't really being used to help the human race pursue higher callings, but instead the people who get replaced just kind of get left to rot. Anyway, in the book an engineer builds a machine called Checker Charlie that he claims can beat a human being at checkers (just to be clear, the book was written in 1952 when this was not easy to imagine) and the main character happens to be the best guy in town at checkers. The main character is on his way to victory but the machine shorts out in the middle of the game, and its suspected that the main character's eccentric friend sabotaged it. The designer of Checker Charlie says to the friend, "if you weren't involved, how come you were so sure Checker Charlie would lose?" The friend replies, "Because my sympathy is with any man up against a machine." Anyway I've been thinking about that book since yesterday and how prescient it was in 1952. I feel like we are totally owned by our technology. That it uses us as a tool much more than we use it. The companies get a lot more in return for our complaisance than we receive from their products. This fight to not play Civilization (and also to substantially cut back on social media networks) feels like my front in this weird battle to preserve our basic humanity.
  8. You haven't posted to this journal in awhile but I enjoyed skimming it. It caught my eye because of your username. I actually read chapters from Ann Lamott's book with my students, one of the better writings about writing out there!
  9. I teach at the college level and I strongly dislike the idea of gamification in education because I really think it plays into so many of the worst impulses behind education policy that already exist. The general attitude is to teach as though learning was a means to an end and not a value in itself and to value metrics over outcomes. Grades and the focus on standardized and advanced placement tests already encourage a gamified mindset because teachers are forced to "teach to the test" (that is, focus on the metric rather than learning), meanwhile our systems of grading and examination encourage students not to actually learn, think critically, or take risks, but instead to figure out the path of least resistance to getting the grade that is acceptable to them. Study after study has shown that grades and exams are actually bad for learning. Students actually acquire knowledge and skills much better when in less structured (not unstructured) environments. Try to get rid of them, of course, and parents and politicians will cry foul, claiming that you're getting rid of "rigor" and "standards," forgetting that, y'know, Aristotle, Confucius, Siddartha, Hypatia, Jane Austen, Ben Franklin, Frederick Douglass etc. never got a letter grade on anything but are revered as some of the great thinkers and sages of human history. Of course, these people likely learned in times when education was much different... they likely studied in "small classes" with more personal interaction with their teachers. To replicate the systems that produced these minds you'd have to... oh no, hire more teachers and probably pay them more, which will never happen. Educational administrators will spend a billion dollars on the latest tech fad but not a dime to invest in the actual human workforce. Despite the best efforts of actual educators, our education system both college and K-12, has become more about producing docile employees with "job skills" than actual learning, knowledge acquisition, critical thinking. I have a hard enough time keeping my passion up in the relatively unstructured environment of higher ed, I have no idea how K-12 teachers who actual care about education put up with it... small wonder than people are leaving the profession in droves. Bringing it back around: Gamification accelerates all of the worst educational trends by even further characterizing the act of knowledge and skill acquisition as a means to an end and not a life long pursuit. Students learn better when there is less structure and more fluid and personal interaction with teachers. Let games be games, let education be education.
  10. I'm sorry if I'm a bit skim on details about myself, I'm very worried that it would be easy to connect me to my real life identity based on the details of my story, and I think that would be very bad for me. But I'll try to be very straightforward and as honesty as I think I can be under the circumstances. I'm 38 years old and since I was a kid I've struggled on and off (mostly on) with compulsive video game playing. Diagnosed ADHD, anxiety, depression, taking medication. Usually my mind will latch onto one game and I'll play that game obsessively to the exclusion of all others. When I was younger it was MMOs. As an adult it's been primarily turn-based strategy games but honestly I can go more specific and just say that for the last 16 or 17 years of my life I have had a major problem with the Civilization franchise of games. When I'm on a civ kick it can really destroy my life. It takes over all other aspects of my life. I sometimes wonder where I might be in life if I'd never heard of the game. I'm a postdoctoral scholar at a well-known university. This is a very high pressure job, with very high demands for both teaching and publication. I'm also coming to the end of my contract and I have been unable to line up other work despite several interviews. Unlike pretty much every single other industry at the moment, and all the talk of labor shortages, the job market for higher ed in the humanities/social sciences is stupidly competitive. 500 people might still apply for even the worst jobs. In fact, it was a job rejection back in June that sent me into my current spiral. I hadn't played any Civ game for awhile, I'd managed to really tamp it down. But I didn't get this job that would have solved a lot of my problems and I really fell into a hole, I purchased Civ 6, and 7 months later I've had a lot of lost workdays... a lot of lost hobby time... a lot of lost time just being present to the world. I've managed to do a fine job of keeping the teaching part of my life/career together because it's really hard to hide being a bad teacher, and y'know the deadlines really force me to work. For better or worse, however, my research output is much more likely to determine how my career goes and I've lost so much of that to playing games. My research output has suffered immensely. I also used to think of myself as a fairly creative person, playing music and doing video stuff, and a person who enjoys reading, film, art, etc., but all that's really fallen by the wayside. My wife and I live in separate cities at the moment (very common for couples in academia to live apart for an extended period) which has made it very easy to lie to my wife about how much time I spend playing Civ, but even when we're together I'll be playing secretly while pretending to work. Honestly, when we're together the professional consequences are probably worse because she would never put up with my gaming all night, so I game during the day when I'm supposed to be working. I've had issues with compulsive drinking. I used to smoke. I've used drugs in the past. All of those things I was able to quit or control. Like, if I wake up in the morning and say "I'm not going to have a drink today," I'm not going to have a drink that day. If I wake up in the morning and say "I'm not going to play Civ today" there's a near certain chance that I'm going to be playing Civ by the end of the day. I have been telling myself "that's it, I quit" for months. I'm embarrassed to talk about this, I feel totally owned by the game. I feel like I can't go to my wife for help because so much of this I've been doing behind her back. This is the first time I've ever really talked seriously with anyone about this issue.