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CheckerCharlie's log


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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.

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1 hour ago, checkercharlie39 said:

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.

Glad you're here, you're in a good place.  Great first-post!  You're definitely not alone in your thoughts. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

Edited by checkercharlie39
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One of the first things I did starting this was go seriously digging for other things to spark my interest and to engage my brain as much as games did (or more).  Guitar is awesome but maybe more options in addition could help --  if you haven't already, go check out Cam's list of hobbies or other things out there that maybe you haven't given thought to yet.  You can do it!  Keep going!   And I feel your pain?  MMOs have been my main weakness BUT I have a thing for games like Zeus as well lol.  GL!

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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.

Edited by checkercharlie39
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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.

 

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