winding down

Once again, I haven’t written anything here for a while. This morning at 7 I registered for the spring 2016 semester, and after working until midnight last night and going to bed about 2:30 I set an alarm to go off a few minutes before 7 with the plan that I would wake up and be ready to register for classes, and then maybe do a few other things before going to my 11:15 business law class.

As planned, I woke up, rolled out of bed a few minutes before 7, and was ready a couple minutes before 7. This morning before going to bed I had picked out which sections I wanted to register for. My desired section of German 2 only had 4 seats available, and accounting 2 had a few more seats than that, but writing 1 (i.e., the class I tried taking last summer on campus and online last spring and the summer before that, never mind during my second semester of freshman year almost 6 years ago) and American History had, and have, a bunch of sections available because they’re required general education courses, so I picked out sections so I would be taking 2 classes every day of the week next semester (in contrast to this semester’s schedule of 1 class Monday/Wednesday/Friday and 3 classes back-to-back Tuesday/Thursday – not something I wish to repeat).

Anyway, I registered for classes, and then had to wait about 30 minutes before the university website was working so I could see that I had successfully registered. Continue reading

High Autumn

I haven’t written here for a while, have I? I’m not entirely sure why, honestly. I’m still working and taking classes, and as of about a month ago I have a girlfriend (F, who I’ve mentioned before here), so I suppose I’ve been busy. Too busy to blog, apparently.

I can’t think of anything particularly exciting that has happened recently, so I suppose I’ll start rambling about recent events and current happenings. Mid-term grades came out yesterday, and for the most part they were, I suppose, satisfactory (particularly considering the effort I’ve been putting into my classes and the stress of working a lot and moving).

That reminds me – about a month ago my (now former) room-mate got a job offer in another city, which set into motion the process of his moving out of the apartment and my eventual transfer to another apartment in the same complex. That process was stressful, but my mother and sister drove down one weekend after I signed the lease to help me move, and my brother and a friend of his also came over for an afternoon to help me move. I almost feel like I am, or have, finally settled in, but due to the state of my room and kitchen that might be a slight exaggeration. It probably wouldn’t hurt to clean up a bit, but who has time for that?

On the work front, due to some people quitting, transferring, or in any case leaving (and now I’m not sure I remember who did what, since I don’t think it was anyone I knew very well), I’ve had to work a lot of hours for a few weeks. The first couple weeks of the semester I was scheduled to work 20 hours, which I liked, but then I had to work 24 hours for a few weeks. Okay, that’s still tolerable (even if I’m ‘lazy’ and value my time not spent as a cog in the capitalist machine). For I think a couple weeks I was scheduled to work 32 hours, which is difficult when also taking 12 hours of classes. Luckily, some new people have started now, and I think I’m going to be working slightly fewer hours, at least for next week. I think this week I am only scheduled for 28 hours, and tomorrow I (finally) have a day off after working for 6 days straight. Admittedly, the last two days (tonight and yesterday) are only for 4 hours each, which are almost rewarding after working last weekend.

As of last Saturday I’m officially 24 years and 6 months old (so 24 years, 6 months, and 4 days old today). On one hand it seems weird thinking about being 25, but at the same time I can’t really think of any goals or anything like that. If I were on a “conventional” track, I would have graduated from college 2 years ago, be working, trying to find a job (more likely in this economy), or possibly in post-graduate education. Maybe working on my master’s or doctorate? The important thing here is that I’m not on a “conventional” track, due to taking 2 years off from school and now being a “non-traditional student”.

I can’t really think of anything else to write about, particularly considering I need to be getting ready for work, so I guess this is where I sign off. Maybe I’ll write about my recent writing projects in my next post.

Look Down

Ten days seems to be approximately the amount of time that passes before I realize that I haven’t written here for a while.

Thankfully, as of last Wednesday (the 19th) I no longer have stitches on my right hand, so I have two fully functional hands again. The nurse that took the first stitch out had to go get another nurse to help take out the other 3, but aside from the wound hurting a bit after the stitches came out, and it being a bit sensitive over the next few days (mostly when I changed gloves at work), it still hasn’t troubled me much and seems to be healing nicely. Continue reading

Last gasp

My writing class is finally over as of yesterday. Due to a consistent lack of effort and interest, I suspect I’ll probably have to take it again in the future, and I haven’t decided yet when that might happen. The good news, at least, is that the final grade will be available next week, and for now I have about two weeks (technically, two weeks and a few days) before the fall semester begins.

Personally, I’m looking forward to being able to enjoy myself again. For the last several weeks, I was stressing and focused on the class, which usually resulted in procrastination and feeling bad about procrastination rather than anything resembling productivity. Since the class is over, I’ll be able to resume work on my various creative writing projects and ideas, as well as possibly finish a few books and play some computer games.

I’m planning on going home for a brief trip next week, so that will be nice. I’m sure being a full-time student again this fall will impact my free time, but I’ll have to see. I never had cause to develop study skills in high school, and after quickly learning that I didn’t like being a computer science major my freshman year of college could definitely have been better.

Anyway, on a lighter note, here’s a brief list of current writing project ideas.

  • Crusader Kings 2: After the End mod history and/or narrative
    • Tribe of the Mouse (central Florida)
    • Duke of Driftless (Dubuque/northeastern Iowa)
    • something in the Ozarks (southwest Missouri/northwest Arkansas)
  • Europa Universalis 4: Super States mod history and/or narrative
    • California
  • Crusader Kings 2 narrative
    • Byzantine Balearics – working title “Edge of Empire”
  • list of fantasy ideas to be made into a story

summer and strategy

Apparently I haven’t written any posts here for almost two weeks. I suppose I should change that, shouldn’t I?

I don’t know that I can think of anything recently that’s particularly exciting, since I’m still working, taking a writing class, and corresponding with F (the young woman I’ve been texting since late February).

The night of the 4th of July wasn’t as busy as I had expected it to be, but of course the next day, when I had the kitchen to myself, was the day that more people decided they wanted pizza. I managed, and I’ve heard that my hard work is appreciated, so that’s always good to hear. Days off are always nice, particularly this week – I had last Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday off work, worked Friday and Saturday night, and then I have three days off this week, which I just realized are about half over, since I had Sunday (for once), Monday, and Tuesday night off.

Last Tuesday I drove to campus and sat outside the classroom for several minutes before one of my classmates pointed out, as he was leaving, that there was a sign posted that class had been canceled. I had received a wake-up call from my mother that morning, which meant I was awake 45 minutes to an hour earlier than usual, and I later saw that the teacher had sent the e-mail canceling class around 8:30 that morning. Driving to campus only to find out that class was canceled was slightly frustrating, but it was nice having class canceled on a day off (even if I had trouble imagining being ill in July, as the teacher apparently was).

I don’t remember if I’ve mentioned Europa Universalis 4 or the Super States mod here before, but I’ve been thinking about it lately. Europa Universalis 4 is a game from Paradox Interactive (the company that makes Crusader Kings 2) that allows one to play as any country between roughly 1444 and 1820. About a year ago, I discovered that someone had made a mod (the Super States mod) that allows you to play as a US, Mexican, or Australian state or Canadian province that somehow wound up in 1444. Now, of course, there are a few additional scenarios, but playing as a US state thrown back in time has appealed to me. I’ve thought before that it would be interesting to play a game with that mod and then write a history from “the beginning” (1444) to European contact in the late 1400s/early 1500s. European interaction with the new world would be very different if there are equally advanced states of European descent occupying the New World.

Previous ideas for writing this “history” have included Missouri (because I’m a life-long native of Missouri) and California (because it offers more interesting opportunities, like the possibility of having a navy and Pacific colonization and exploration). The creator of the mod, however, has been busy with vague “real life” issues, and has not been able to keep the mod updated for the current version of EU4, since several expansions had been released since the last mod update. However, an update for the mod was released on July 4, which unfortunately wasn’t working but did get me thinking about the interesting possibilty of a strategy game, like RISK or Diplomacy, set in the United States. Or perhaps I should say the Divided States.

Initially I thought it would be interesting to have the players playing as different states, and that led to the idea of having the players start by fighting over a particular state, uniting it, and then moving on to try uniting the States in their image. I drew a few rough maps of Midwestern states (Missouri by hand, Iowa and Nebraska on the computer) for this game, but it’s somewhat hard to do that when you’re not familiar with an area of a state and there’s not much in a region. It’s fairly easy to designate a metropolitan area as a “territory”, or to draw a shape around a town that’s obviously going to dominate an area due to having the largest population in a particular area, but beyond a certain point I feel like it would be difficult for aspiring governments to hold on to territory beyond a certain distance if they’re limited to pre-modern technology.

I’ve also been thinking about the After the End mod for Crusader Kings 2, probably because thinking about the Divided States and pre-modern technology reminded me of it. Lately, for some reason, I’ve been thinking it would be interesting to play in the southern US – I’ve never been east of Chicago, but lately I’ve been thinking Florida, the Carolinas, or Virginia (among other places) might be interesting to play because of the possibility of naval combat. Who doesn’t like ships, right? At the moment I’m considering a project, similar to my Chariton after-action report, for somewhere in Florida, but I don’t think I’ll start that until some time after the Horse Lords expansion is released tomorrow and the After the End mod is updated with whatever new mechanics they decide to integrate.

Summer mix

Finally renewing my domain for this blog (less than a day before it was due to expire) reminded me that I haven’t written here for a while.

Procrastination and stress continue in my summer writing class, but I met for an individual conference with my teacher today. After arriving 5 minutes before I had signed up for the conference, we talked for a few minutes before we were done, which was still a few minutes in advance of 11 AM, which was the time I had signed up for my conference. We didn’t have class today, and don’t have class tomorrow, so a couple extra days of being able to sleep in slightly will be nice. Long story short, my grade is better than I had expected, but since there’s now just under a month left I need to step it up so I haven’t completely wasted my time and money and have to re-take this stupid class yet again.

As for the non-academic parts of my life at the moment, work has kind of been dominating my “free” time. For whatever reason (sleep deprivation?), I don’t think I’ve done much of late as far as playing computer games or otherwise entertaining myself, but I’m still probably spending too much time on social media. On the other hand, as much as I may dislike my current job, I do have to pay rent, tuition, and other bills somehow.

Other recent amusements have included online versions of the board game Diplomacy, continuing conversation with the young woman I’ve been texting since late February, and last week’s quick trip home. Continue reading

post-solstice

I haven’t written here for a couple weeks, and something made me think I should write a post instead of doing anything actually productive.

Today marks the beginning of the third week of my summer class, which going well, for the most part. I think it’s interesting that the teacher is a graduate student who’s about my age, but I’ve thought that was interesting when it happened before (for a chemistry lab during the fall 2013 semester). One day during the first week she asked if anyone knew about Myers-Briggs types, and I raised my hand and helped her remember several of the dichotomies. She is apparently an INFP. Other interesting things about the class include the two older gentlemen taking the class – I think they’re probably both in their 60s, but one’s a history major and the other is some kind of business triple major, majoring in finance and two other related majors I can never remember. I remember wondering what the class would be like – at 24, I’m barely a non-traditional student, so I wasn’t really afraid of being the oldest person in the class, but it seems slightly more likely to happen now than it would have been when I was a “traditional” college student, or at least when I was taking classes before I turned 23 (which I believe is the age beyond which my current university considers a student “non-traditional”). Other than them, and one girl who said she was still in high school (almost making me envy people who live in college towns and can therefore take college classes on campus before graduating high school), most of my classmates appear to be traditional college students. For that matter, now that I think about it, I probably don’t look like a non-traditional student (see above about being barely non-traditional).

In other news, I’m looking forward to the end of this week. After working until midnight last night and 5-9 PM Friday, Saturday, today, tomorrow, and Wednesday, I’m currently planning on visiting family, though it will only be a brief visit. Originally I had a dentist appointment scheduled for Friday, but then that had to be rescheduled. Around a month ago, I made plans with the young woman I’ve been texting since late February to (finally) meet this Friday, and after some uncertainty while I decided whether I should change plans, I decided to proceed as planned, so that should be interesting. If nothing else, staying up late texting is entertaining. I probably should get more than 4 hours of sleep tonight, though that has more relation to my procrastination/lack of effort on the first project for my writing class, rather than being distracted by flirtatious text messages. If I had been more diligent (story of my life) last week, when I was supposed to be working on it, I presumably wouldn’t be as stressed this weekend, though somehow I wasn’t motivated enough to actually make any progress.

Even with coffee, I think 7 hours of sleep over two days is about my limit. Tonight I’m thinking about going to bed before 3 AM, but it remains to be seen exactly what happens. I’ve had some ideas lately that I finally listed and am thinking about incorporating into a project, but I think I’ll write about those later.

Half May

Other than having trouble falling asleep May 13 after work (cause: momentary obsession with comparing Missouri in the After the End mod for Crusader Kings 2 to Missouri as it actually exists resulting in staying up until 4:40 AM, then not falling asleep until like 7:30 AM) I’ve had a decent few days. My mom came down to help my brother move out of his dorm room, and since she didn’t want to make the approximately 5 hour drive twice in one day she came down the 14th (the day after her birthday). My brother was an RA for the last month or so of the semester, so he was busy with checking people out of the dorms. The night of the 14th we all went out for dinner. The next morning she and I went on a walk, got coffee and gas at the gas station near my apartment, and went to campus to fill up her car with my brother’s stuff. After a couple hours of helping him move furniture and carrying stuff out to her car, Mom and I went out for lunch, she did some shopping, and she bought me a few groceries before she left about 4 PM. The morning of the 16th, my brother dropped by before he left about 10 AM, and I spent most of the day not doing anything significant. After my roommate got back from work shortly after 3, we headed across town to a small local convention. We got there about 4 PM, and had been there only a few minutes when I felt my phone vibrate. I looked and saw I had a new voice mail and a missed call from work, so I checked my voice mail and learned that I was apparently scheduled to work 4-9 PM on the 16th. The last time I checked my schedule (May 11), I wasn’t scheduled to work again before 4 PM on May 17.

Long story short, I wound up being an hour late, and we weren’t very busy for the 4 hours I was there. I’m hoping it doesn’t have any dire effects, but it’s weird that my schedule changed, probably on one of the days I had off, and my manager didn’t call me to ask if I could work on a day I was scheduled to have off, like she usually does. Yes, perhaps I should have checked my schedule more recently than Monday, but why would I do that if I have no reason to be there, considering I usually avoid my place of employment unless I have to be there (for example, to work a scheduled shift)? I can handle changes to my work schedule, particularly after a few days off, but I usually prefer to have more than -5 minutes warning, and it would have been nice before I was on the opposite side of town.

Anyway, in happier news I checked my grades and the Business Applications professor commented that I had “great answers” on my final, so that’s good (even if I felt like I wasn’t writing anything particularly original), and I had 100% on that. As of today, I have about 3 weeks until my summer class starts, and final grades for the semester will be available Tuesday. With an A, my GPA should improve (and continue to do so once I retake the Writing class this summer).

(Below the cut: early morning storms, and some pertinent thoughts on college and graduation)

Continue reading

Summer!

My Business Applications final has been available for a week, and was due by the end of finals week, which if I remember correctly is Thursday of this week. (See previous posts about online classes leading to disconnnect from campus schedule.) Anyway, I submitted my final earlier this afternoon, and according to my math even if I don’t do very well on my final I should achieve a satisfactory grade, considering I have 100% or close to it on all of the assignments, and about 90% on the two quizzes over Microsoft Excel and Access in the last weeks of April. Now I can enjoy the week until final grades are available and the 27 days until my summer class starts.

Technically, that number should probably be more like 26, considering today is essentially over due to my working from 4 to midnight tonight. Tonight is, however, the last day I work this week, and now that my spring semester is over I can (finally) return to amusing myself with Netflix, Crusader Kings 2, Europa Universalis 4, and writing.

In Chariton news, I’ve played to (if I remember correctly) 2767, and the current Duke of Chariton is in his 50s, so he probably has less than 20 years left. My current plan is to finish playing his rule. I’m not sure what will happen next, but Paradox Interactive (the company that makes Crusader Kings 2) released the first information about the next expansion, which will probably be coming out sometime in the next month or two. For my next After the End-related writing project, I’m considering playing as a Norse chieftain in the wilderness once known as Wisconsin, but that probably won’t start until after the next expansion is released. I know the After the End mod has expanded to California, and I’m looking forward to updating my version of the mod from 0.4 to 0.5 and seeing how California might impact the rest of the map (though I admit I don’t anticipate much influence from California to reach the Midwest).

I’ve also been thinking lately about how I haven’t posted much about the Chariton game here lately, which I’m going to have to address now that I’m done with the spring semester. I think my writing has reached the point at which I’ve played to, but since I haven’t looked at that for at least a week or so I’ll have to look at that later. I also keep thinking about writing 25-year updates to show the state of “the world” (or at least the part on the map), which would be at roughly July 2691, 2716, 2741, and 2766. I’ve also considered playing a while in “observer mode” to see what the AI might do. So far, the current Duke of Chariton’s heir has proven to be quite lustful, considering he’s acknowledged a bunch of illegitimate children in addition to a decent number of legitimate children.

Backward and Forward

This morning, I went to bed about 2 AM, planning on waking up around 8 for my counseling appointment at 9 AM. This was slightly delayed by my browsing the Internet via my phone until about 2:30, but I had set my alarm clock and a timer on my phone for 8 AM.

For the third time, that didn’t happen. I woke up at 8, but I turned off my phone’s alarm, rolled over, and went back to sleep until 8:50. I decided to go ahead and go, started getting ready to drive to campus, and then, about 8:55, I realized that if I left my apartment about 9, I would make it to campus at 9:15 and then it’d be a few more minutes to walk to the counseling center. I decided this didn’t seem worth it, so I went ahead and called the counseling center, talked for a few minutes to the counselor I’ve been meeting with, and for the third time we rescheduled for the same time next week (even though we haven’t actually met since April 9).

Needless to say, this was frustrating. This general mood wasn’t helped by going to campus anyway to meet my brother for lunch. While walking around campus and eating in the student union, I felt like I was enjoying people watching too much. The good news on that front, at least, is that taking classes this summer and fall should mean that I’ll have some potential for being around people that isn’t while at work. At one point I also started wondering what it would be like if I could either start college all over again, with a blank transcript, or at least have followed a more “traditional” path by going to one school, finding something I wanted to major in, and then staying at that school until graduation (4-6+ years, finances depending), as opposed to my college experience to date of going to a university I liked, majoring in something I didn’t like after the first week, leaving that school after a year, taking two years off in the work force, and then taking classes at one school before transferring to yet another university. Third time’s the charm?

I distinctly remember, the first semester of my freshman year, deciding I didn’t enjoy being a computer science major. In retrospect, I really should have talked to someone about it, instead of continuing to attend classes I disliked and, in general, not being the most diligent student. It would be nice if I had been more motivated and interested freshman year (particularly second semester – my worst semester to date), but it seems like half of college, if not young adult life in general, is learning how to navigate bureaucracy, or at least large, impersonal structures. Even if you don’t go to college, and instead go to the military or the workforce, there’s probably some element of that involved.

Anyway, it could be worse. My current Business Applications class, as I’ve written here before, is easy, and aside from two quizzes I’ve taken recently my current grade is almost 99%. I’m not too concerned. In contrast to the spring 2010 semester, where I stopped attending most of my classes by mid-February and was a mess at the end of the semester (if not earlier), this semester has been okay, disagreeable writing class and my own failings excepted. Once I take the writing class this summer, my GPA will improve, and next fall German and Accounting should, hopefully, be more interesting (or at least easy).

Non-academically, the last few weeks at work have been a bit rough between people quitting or leaving, so we’ve been short-handed. New people have been hired, though, so aside from training them (which I thankfully haven’t had to do recently) it sounds like being short-handed might be less of a problem. Tomorrow’s pay day, which will be nice until my paycheck promptly vanishes to pay rent and bills. C’est la vie. I believe I have the next couple days off, though, so that’ll be nice.

I’m not a huge fan of summer, due to not enjoying warm weather, insects, and sunlight, but the weather recently has been pleasant, even if I prefer autumn or winter. In general, it could be worse- for example, I don’t live in Nepal, Syria, or the territory claimed by the self-styled “Islamic State”, and (unlike the characters of Revolution, which I’ve started watching again) I have access to the Internet and modern conveniences.

Writing this makes me feel like I need a “mental health” or “venting” tag. “Life” suddenly seems way too broad as a category and tag.