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2021-02-27 17:22:53 (UTC)

Goals Reflection: February 2021


[Names and other identifying details have been removed to preserve privacy.]

Haven't heard much from the eco-compound lately. The weather there must suck right now. The US has experienced a surprising cold blast, primarily in the south-central part of the continent, and the eco-compound isn't too far away from there. Maybe they're just blanketed with snow for the duration.

Meanwhile, garden plot registration happened this month. I'll be back to the plot I adopted late last season, with the hopes that some extra prep time and planning will allow for some additional success. I have a 10ftx10ft plot, and the layout will consist of a "horseshoe" around the edges, and a larger central garden bed adjacent to the open side of the horsehoe. In the horseshoe beds, I intend to grow garlic, ginger, potatoes, and onions. In the central plot I hope to grow a pumpkin plant. I also have a bird house and the post it will go on will be in the central plot.

I'm choosing these plants in particular for a couple reasons. First, I would eat all these vegetables. Secondly, I didn't see too much of them on the "free-for-the-taking" table throughout the last growing season. Either people aren't growing them, or the area isn't amenable to these plants (something that I am planning for), or the plants grow so well that people don't want to give up their produce.

As for where I fit in within that mix, hey: I'm still a beginner. I don't expect a bumper crop this year. I know I did passably well as a complete novice last season with a bare minimum of preparation and supplies, so my advance work can only improve last year's performance. "When you start at the bottom, the only way is up."

Since the day job has been rather all-consuming as of late, I've done little game design and more game play. The one productive thing I've been doing lately is creating gameplay videos of a demolition-derby racing game I'm entertained with. The videos have been successful, at least in convincing my brother and an old friend of mine to buy the game for themselves and start racing. It would be fun to schedule some online races sometime soon with one or both of them.

There's also been a casual game I picked up that is best-described as a "customizable slot machine." As play progresses, the player chooses new elements to add to the rolling barrels of the slot machine. These new elements combine with others in their array to provide bonus scores, new pieces being produced while others are destroyed, and other interesting effects.
For example, you can add a "Toddler" and "Candy" to your slot machine. If Candy is adjacent to the Toddler after a spin, the Candy is destroyed and you earn extra coins. If a Pinata is adjacent to the Toddler after a spin, the Pinata is destroyed and five pieces of Candy are created.

There are plenty of other surprising and dramatic synergies possible within that bonus/destroy/create framework. Personally I find it a fascinating study on probability, and worthwhile to study as part of game design.

I have resolved to create at least one worthwhile tabletop game design this year. I also want to create at least two worthwhile video games this year. I feel like last month's Global Game Jam event was a satisfying warm-up, and I'm confident I can create something just as good again, and include even more gameplay elements that will turn it up a notch.

The day job is fatiguing, and pace hasn't slowed since the beginning of the year (regardless of the number of clients). I'll be leading two trainings in March simultaneously, and that will be very demanding. The saving grace is that, with the online classroom, many of the materials don't go away once they've been created: videos, quizzes, etc. So the bulk of my time will be spent facilitating online meetings and offering tech support to clients and - on occasion - to staff.

I am certain I will be throwing in a few extra three-day weekends throughout the year should this pace persist.

It's been too cold to do much laser-cutting. There's a guy who sent me some vector files of his game pieces that I will come around to eventually. I've also been investing in a lot of vintage artwork, and I intend to make a lot of stuff with that. For a friend of mine's birthday, I made her three coasters with vintage illustrations of insects, and she really liked them. Personally I would consider them "rough drafts" (one of the coasters had a minor blemish) but they were serviceable enough for a gift.

The first batch of sandalwood soap really hasn't been touched and is still dormant. I will likely set up another soap-making day with my soap partner next month.

I did my income taxes earlier this month, and my State refund has arrived. That, coupled with my Federal refund, will add some nice padding to the savings account.

My brother and mother moved to another large city about an hour further away by car, at the end of last month. My first time visiting them will be the first full weekend of March. Meanwhile, I've kept in touch with them all by phone or email. It was my birthday month so my mother called and wished me well, asking what I'd like for my birthday when I visit. I replied that a few rounds of Backgammon and some pastries would be just about right.

My artist friend celebrated her birthday earlier this month as well, and I visited to help her celebrate. I met the cats she adopted, and beyond all that she and I had a great time goofing around and laughing nearly all evening.

I also reconnected with an old friend of mine, whom I've known since maybe 7th or 8th grade. He lives nearby, has a family, and is generally holdin' it down pretty well. He and I have a history of playing role-playing games together, and he's shared with me that his daughter has been bitten by the bug. We'll see how his games evolve over time. I'll be cheering him on from afar - at least until the pandemic is manageable.

Finally: I've been conversing with one of my coworkers quite a lot this past month. Our office uses an instant-chat application to assist staff with connecting with one another quicker than email, as close as we can replicate to a conversation in the office. So this lady and I are becoming good friends and swapping messages back and forth throughout the work day with greater frequency, and on topics far, far removed from the day job.

Personally, I'm reluctant to take it any further. Although the possibility and temptation of a romantic interest is obviously there, my gut tells me its a bad idea at this point. The last time I tried dating a coworker (in my early 20s) it was cumbersome and short-lived. Plus, I think this lady is close to 10 years my junior. We share a lot in common, though I wonder if all these points of intersection would make a deeper relationship worth it for both of us.

She and I haven't had any conversations directly about this, so I'd rather not manufacture anxiety about it. By staying professional, I can maintain a status quo, staying cordial and good-natured.

I went to the surgeon to whom I was referred by my general doctor to address my abdominal issues. After some questioning and a physical exam, he strongly suspects that my gut issues are actually a strain of the connective tissue between my abdominals and my obliques. He has an Airdyne exercise bicycle as well, and after describing my issues we both considered the possibility of over-training as a possible root of my issues.

Fortunately, this is treatable through mostly-topical medications. Icy Hot is back in my regimen, after not touching the stuff maybe since I'd been in my teens. Why have I neglected to use it for so long...?!?! I've added it to my evening routine and find it very soothing.

The surgeon indicated that full recovery takes months, which - though daunting - is consistent with my symptoms. We've also ruled out organ disorders and a hernia or two.

We also had a brief discussion about mental health disorders during a pandemic. He explained his informed opinion by describing life right now as "biological warfare," where things like lack of sleep, anxiety, worry, and other mental issues are par for the course for every rational person.

The day job continues to be one of the most demanding aspects of my life. I am managing rest, relaxation, recovery, and maintaining my health as best I can during a serious pandemic. I've become more social-at-a-distance lately.