Category Archives: Conundrums

I was going to write something this morning…

kotaku-balancing life and video gamesI got about 500 words into a post this morning and bailed… I felt like I was just rambling and I didn’t see any resolution to my thoughts in the near future.  The post was based on this Kotaku article posted a few days ago, titled “How to Balance Video Games with Real Life”.  It resonated with me on a very personal level. Gaming is something I’ve been passionate about from a young age, and finding time to make it a part of my adult life is a daunting task.

So if you get the chance, read it. It apparently expresses my thoughts clearer than I can this morning. Guess I need more coffee.

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Self Improvement

SIC

The time change totally kicked my butt yesterday.  I vaguely remember my alarm going off at 5AM.  I’m pretty sure I remember hitting snooze, but definitely don’t remember finally dismissing the alarm.  Sure enough I wake up and look over at the clock which reads 7:07 AM and a notification on my phone that says, “You missed an alarm ‘Get Up & Go To Work'”.  Whoops.  So that means I slept through 10 minutes of my alarm going off before my phone finally gave up.

So I resolved to make some changes.  I updated the alarm on my phone to be louder.  I also picked a new song as my alarm sound.  I’ve found that I can’t use songs that I like as my alarm.  Because after a couple days of that song waking me up… I grow to hate it.  It totally ruins the song for me.  So I try to pick a song that I sorta like so it’s still pleasant to wake up to, but I’m not too attached to.  Thus I arrived at Frank Sinatra – “Summer Wind” as my new alarm.

retro-coffee

I made a point to set up the coffee maker the night before and set the program.  So that when I wake up, piping hot coffee is waiting for me.  (Which I am enjoying its full robust flavor now).  It makes it a lot easier to get out of bed if you have something warm and waiting for you rather than knowing the first thing you have to do when you get up is a chore.

The third change I’m trying to make is getting cleaned up and dressed right away.  Usually I lounge around in my bathrobe until the last possible second before I have to actually start getting groomed for the world beyond my front door.  And I’m usually groggy and lethargic all morning, until I actually start getting dressed, then I feel like I finally wake up into “day mode”.  So I thought, “What if I just get dressed right away?”  So far… seems to make a difference.

snooze

The final change I made is the most foundation rocking one of them all though…  I disabled the Snooze feature on my phone.  I am a chronic “snoozer”.      I will literally hit snooze for an hour in the mornings.  I just hate waking up.  HATE it.  Once I’m up, I’m good.  But if snoozing is an option, it’s an option I take every time.  So I decided to take that option away from myself.  Today… it worked.

But it’s going to take weeks to see if this move is successful.  “Sleepy Me” is a sneaky bastard.  I have been known to solve the two compound equations that my phone requires to turn off my alarm, go into the other alarm on my phone and set an alarm for T+1 hour, and go back to sleep.  Sometimes with only vague memories of it even happening.  “Sleepy Me” is committed to not giving up on the night.

All I really want is to get a reasonable amount of sleep each night, but not sleep more than I have to.  Sleeping is just time wasted in my book.

Does anyone actually wake up feeling refreshed and energized with a zest for life?  How do you do it?  I’d love to know your secrets.

Doing Something Interesting

I’ve had the urge to create, and it seems like it gets stronger every day.  Each time I have some free time to actually do something, or plan something. I am coming up COMPLETELY blank.  I feel like I’d really like to do something with video.  So as an exercise, I’ll list my strengths and weaknesses.

Strengths & Weaknesses in Making Interesting Videos on the Internet:

Strengths:

  • Not afraid of being an idiot
  • I think I’m funny (Might be a weakness?)
  • Have a decent camera
  • I like games (Games are popular on internet)

Weaknesses

  • No ideas
  • Not good looking
  • No time for editing
  • Need more equipment (Capturing direct footage)

Okay.  So there we go.  Writing those down was… not helpful.  Maybe I should just stick to this blog thing.

Fuuuuuuu……dge

I wondered when this day would come.  The day that I seriously have to consider replacing the Toronado.  The damage to the front axle is more extensive that I thought, and it’s not a part that is readily available.  I don’t know if it can be fixed, and we can’t sit around with just one vehicle while I wait for the part to materialize.

I’m really kinda torn.  I’ve been driving this car for 5 1/2 years now and I still like it actually.  I’m familiar with it, and I’m comfortable with it.  But sometimes I think, it’d be nice to have something different.  Not necessarily “newer” or “older” or “cooler”, just nicer.  By that I just mean comfortable and reliable.  I don’t need anything fancy or cool.

Andrea and I differ a bit in that.  She needs the cool factor.  And the cool factor drives up the price.  One note of observation: “grandpa cars” are usually cheaper.  And they’re usually pretty well taken care of.  There seems to be a lot of them, an nobody wants one.  By contrast cool cars are wanted by everybody, so you get a lot less car for your money.  Besides, old people really have it figured out.  Big roomy cars you can stretch out in.  Comfy seats.  And why do you need lots of power?  It’s not like you’re going to pass anybody with the cruise control set at 55mph.

So I think for now… unless someone on my Oldsmobile forums posts up the part I need, I’m going to buy a super cheap car to get us by for a few months.  I don’t want to run out buy something that we settle for just because we’re desperate.  So I’m on the lookout for a super cheap car for now AND the Toro parts I need.  And maybe long term something in real nice shape that I can drive for another 5+ years.

It feels like a really sad day.

Well….  This isn’t good.  It looks like the axle failed BECAUSE another part failed.  The support that holds the axle in place, basically.

The part that is broken is listed in the picture below as “SUPPORT BRACKET AND BEARING”.

The problem is… you can’t just run down to AutoZone and get a new one.  The only place I can get one is from another Toronado.

It MIGHT be able to be welded back together.  But I don’t know.

Could this be the end of the Toronado?

I hope not.

This is my new life

Honestly, I keep waiting for the day when life slows back down.  I’m coming to a point where perhaps I have to realize that this is my new life.  One full of activities, long days, short nights and only a small fraction of time that not only is purely recreational, or even just idle,  But a fraction of that fraction is expendable in the manner that I choose.

This year in particular, the number of things we are going and “doing” seem to have taken over.  It feels like a real life game of Tetris.  You know how when you start, it’s easy to fit all the pieces just perfectly?  But as time goes on, things start to pile up and you’re forced to make compromises, not only are you fitting pieces in spots that aren’t exactly perfect, but the more compromises you make, the more difficult it becomes to find a place for the next piece and you continually lose room to maneuver.  Remember how the music increases in intensity as your screen fills towards the top?  I feel like my tempo has just kicked up a notch.  When that happens, things get frantic, you make mistakes and sometimes the whole game comes crashing down.  But sometimes… you hit that threshold, keep your cool and battle back to a game that is completely manageable.  I’m really trying to play it cool.

I don’t want this post to be a big complaint.  I’m just exploring whether I need to pare away the volume of activities, or find a way to cope with the new level of stuff we’re doing.  Or if this is just a temporary rush that will end soon.  This isn’t to say I regret the time I’ve spent.  For instance, Mom’s wedding was this past weekend.  I certianly never looked at it as a hassle or a bother.  It was a great weekend and something we’ll talk about forever.  Especially the part where the Pastor stole my scripture reading haha!  Every weekend we’ve spent away has been worth it.  I guess it’s what it does to the middle of the week that is tiring.

The natural thing for people to say is “get used to it”.  I think that’s crap.  I like to think I have a little more control over my existence than to let the wind blow me from one calendar page to the next.  So if I go into hiding it’s nothing personal.  I’m just trying to preserve some of my own sanity, which requires an occasional diet of solitude and the comfort of my own chair.

 

Restless

I’m really itching for a project of some sort.  I have some ideas, but they all would cost a fair amount of money that we don’t really have to spend.  So I’m trying to think of what I can create using pretty much stuff I already have.

One medium that comes to mind is video.  I’ve got a cheap HD camera I borrowed from work and I’ve got all the video/audio editing software already.  But I’m completely coming up empty when it comes to content.  I really enjoy watching Classic Game Room and would love to do something like that, but I don’t really want to just emulate something someone else has done already.  Though heavens knows I have enough old games to get started.

Another topic I thought of was using video to document a project build, though that puts me back into the lack of funds category.

A long term goal of mine is to get all of my vintage systems off the HDTV in the den to a more period correct setup.  Kinda like a dream setup from 1995.  Haha!  I want to make them all easy to pick up and play without having unplug wires and power adapters to get the system you want working.  Just select the system on a switcher, turn on and play.  I think I can knock that out fairly cheap, but I’m going to have to take advantage of Garage Sale season which I plan on hitting the circuit hard this year!

For now I’ll just keep the gears turning.  When I break through, hopefully it’s something I can go full blast into.  Or maybe I’ll discover something completely new and fall in love.  Who knows.

Status Update

What a windy good for nothing day.  You know those pictures NASA sends out of the Martian landscape they get from the rovers up there?  Desolate, windblown, frigid… yeah, that’s today here in Great Bend.  I opted out of walking to work today.  Take away my street cred if you must, but I just wasn’t feeling it.

Andrea and I have been talking about whether or not to get our free membership to the gym going again.  I’d hate to get it and not use it because it costs the station money whether we use it or not once we sign up for it.  I know it’d be a good thing, but that place just closes too early.  If you’re not wrapping up your workout by 8:30 then you’re liable to get locked in.  And heading down anytime before 7:00pm is just madness.  I know I’d be good for us though.

Everything at work is really starting to come together.  It’s hard to believe the hell we were going though back in September with the whole system change.  There’s another radio station here in town that has been stuck on the wrong satellite all day.  Been giving Charlotte traffic reports all day.  Nice to know that we’re not the only place in the world that’s had a rough time.

Other than that, just plugging along.  I’m so darn proud of myself.  I’ve got almost all of my Christmas shopping done already.  Between the radio auction, and Black Friday deals online, I’ve knocked out about 90% of the Christmas list.  It’s a big stress reliever actually.  The money is spent already, so that’s behind us, and I don’t have to fret about what I’m going to bring as gifts for that trip to someone’s house we’re making THE NEXT DAY.  I know nobody’s suprised, but there’s been several years I’ve been wandering Wal-Mart at 8PM Christmas Eve hunting with all my might to find a somewhat reasonable gift.  This year… a breeze!

So keep on keepin’ on.  And I’ll try to do the same on my end!

Blazer Update

Well, I’ve gotten to the point where I can’t progress any further on the Blazer without spending some money.  Now that the weather is nice and Andrea and I have been talking about camping a lot this summer, we decided that we need to get it running ASAP.  Especially since we’re already paying for insurance on it (which isn’t much, but still).

So I finally think I’ve got the fuel pump wiring straightened out and working like it’s supposed to.  I decided to tear into the engine and inspect the fuel injector and fuel lines for any leaks and see if anything under the intake could be causing problems.

Upper intake manifold removed. You can see the injector in the middle and the fuel lines on the right. Do you notice anything odd? Look closely...

WTF!? A HOSE CLAMP to stop a leak? Just when I thought it couldn't get more rednecked!

I was amazed.  To think that someone would go through all the trouble to remove the upper intake manifold and put it all back together and not spend the $50 on the new lines to just fix it.  You can see the bright silver finish from leaking gas washing the wall clean and a puddle of gas and gunk down by the bolt at the bottom.  “Well there’s your problem!”

So with new parts in hand we set out the replace the leaky fuel lines and the injector.

Old injector vs. New one. Pricey little bastard ($270). The old one's lines were so brittle they stayed in the position they were installed.

Yup... it's old.

Yup... it's new.

These are the nozzles that spray the fuel. Not the best technology today, but it works.

Old fuel line from inside the intake. This is the one that had small cracks leaking fuel inside the engine.

Those fuel lines were the hardest part of the job.  They were obviously installed in the truck before the engine was put in at the factory.  There wasn’t a whole lot of room and ended up having to get some smaller tools to get the job done.  But after a bit of swearing, we got ’em out.

Ready to install!

With all the stuff out of there, cleaned all the gunk out of the intake. Didn't worry about making it spotless... not like anyone is going to see it.

My favorite part. Looking at all the new stuff perfectly in place.

Andrea got her hands (and face apparently) dirty with this job too! I love having a wife that's interested in this stuff!

As we were putting everything back together it started getting dark.

Before I tried to start it up, I told Andrea that I was nervous.  That either it was going to do the same thing it was doing before, or it wasn’t going to start at all.  Turn the key…. and it cranks over but wouldn’t start.  I could get it running with some starting fluid, but it dies once all the fluid is burned up.  It’s just not getting any fuel.

So I’m thinking we’re gonna need a fuel pump too.  I don’t regret spending the money on these parts as the both were shot, but it sure would have been nice if that were it.  Future updates to come.  I’m definitely in too deep now to turn away.

Whew, busy!

Man alive!

Ever since our radio auction at work I feel like I’ve been playing constant catch-up.  That was several weeks ago yet, and still I find myself scrambling to fit everything done I need to do into a short day.  Now with a short week I’m trying to squeeze as much stuff in as I can.  I need to be able to let a few things slide and deal with the recovery when I get back… but for some reason I keep thinking I can do enough not to be behind when I return.  Yeah right!

So I’ve been sacrificing some time on the net to get some other things accomplished around the house.  Got the valve cover gasket changed out on Andrea’s car this past weekend which seems to be holding well.  Got my old cracked tail light lens swapped out on the Toro.  Did a bunch of dishes and laundry the past few days.  So I’ve been productive, which when you’re busy I guess that’s all you can ask for!

My Funk

Well I get into these little funks every now and then.  Where I just feel very passive.  Usually when I get in these ruts I find myself doing a lot of things that don’t involve much input on my part.  I haven’t even been much into gaming lately.  I’d rather do something that I can just absorb and not have to push something forward, whether it’s a character, thought, a project, a goal or what not.

I’ve actually spent a decent amount of time just looking up random topics on wikipedia just to soak up a quick general understanding of things I’ve never really put much thought into before.  Make myself a little more well rounded, if you will.  Sure you can’t trust wiki for a lot of details, but they usually get the big picture of a topic pretty well.

I’ve been watching a lot of Big Bang Theory catching up on Season 1 & 2, and just discovered that Quantum Leap is on Hulu now!  Man I LOVED that show.  Can’t believe that it is 20 years old!

I haven’t even made a post on any of my regular message boards for a couple weeks, and I’ve been on my messenger almost as scarcely.  It’s weird to not feel like doing things I know I like to do.

I think part of it is I’m just not passionate about anything right now.  As far back as I can remember, whatever it is I’ve been interested in at the time, I’ve been fanatical about it.  Whether it was Mario Kart, the Toronado, building computers, the old radios, or whatever.  Not to say I’m not interested in those things anymore, I’m just not passionate about much of anything right now.

I think the best thing to do is to just ride it out and see where I end up.  I know I’m not going to feel lethargic forever.  I just need some kind of spark.  But for now I apologize for being somewhat of a hermit lately.  I’m sure SOMETHING interesting will happen.