Monthly Archives: February 2013

February challenge: Oh yeah, the challenge…

Well, turns out I’ll be starting this one a little late.  I let myself relax a little too much post-wedding, and I’m only now just starting to get back into a routine that’s not filled with late-night gaming, X-Men cartoons and copious amounts of fudge.  Waiting until nearly halfway through the month before starting a monthly challenge is cutting it a bit fine, but I think it’s better to get things started now and overrun an extra 10 days into March instead of let it go and do nothing for a month.

I was originally planning on running through some of the BSM practice exams for my driving theory test, and after dedicating some time to starting this a few days ago I sat down with my laptop, opened the DVD case and…  noticed the disc was missing.  Not having the resources handy through me off a little and didn’t make the best start to this challenge, and then I discovered that the exam format’s changed dramatically since my wife passed her test, so her DVDs are a bit less useful.  Plus I’ve got my C# exam coming up in early March, and studying flat-out for 2 different exams doesn’t seem like the best idea either.  So I’m going to forget about my theory test for now and focus on something a little more doable that won’t distract me too much from my revision.  I could make the focus of this challenge my exam, but as Richard Wiseman discovered when researching new year’s resolutions you’re more likely to just make yourself frustrated if you just keep repeating the same resolution (or challenge) over and over.  Obviously I’ll still be studying for my exam, but I’m going to make something else the focus of this month’s challenge and not just retread old ground.

I’m keeping it simple.  Each day I’ll be starting my morning with some exercise.  I don’t mean “burn off all the fat” type of exercise  and I don’t mean going to the gym until I’m rippling in muscles and covered in 6-packs either.  I already do enough bike reading to handle any fat-burning kind of exercise I need for now, but it would be nice if I could help someone carry a table without getting sore arms the next morning.  I’m not going to do anything too extreme either, I’m just planning simple quick exercises like push-ups and a number of stretching exercises à la Wii Fit to help wake me up.  I’ll add a few more exercises to the mix when I start to get bored in a week or so.

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Posted by on February 11, 2013 in 30 day challenge, Self-Improvement



January Challenge completed (sort of)

Well, that went surprisingly well.  I was going pretty stir crazy after the first two weeks, but somehow I managed to chug on through without (mostly) playing any games.  There was one moment of weakness/stupidity, when I followed a link in a forum topic somewhere and found myself playing a random adventure/RPG for 2 hours before I realised my mistake, but it was a little late to say it didn’t count…

One of the obvious results of not playing games is a massive abundance of free time.  There were a fair few moments when I just sat down after finishing something off and just ended up feeling a little lost.  Times when I’d normally start Steam, or boot up the Xbox, I just ended up sitting down not quite sure what to do next.  Can’t say it did too much for my productivity though, as I ended up spending a lot of time that I spent playing games just Cyberslacking instead.  Obviously I have some procrastination issues, but video games definitely aren’t the main problem there.

I also spent a lot of time thinking about the games I’d like to play, and apart from the random urge to go back and play a few rounds of Street Fighter 2 or remembering how much I liked certain sections of Bioshock, most of the games I felt like playing were ones which posed a challenge.  I touched on this a couple of years back when I noticed I was getting too caught up on earning achievements in games and less so on actually enjoying them.  Unfortunately I think I’ve gone too far in the opposite direction, and have stopped trying to go for anything too challenging, instead trying to get the most of the game in as short a time as possible so I can get on with something else.  I guess I need to find a balance of fun + challenging to really enjoy a game.  Right now, that game seems to be FTL, a roguelike (in spirit at least) with randomly generated sectors and enough different ships to make each playthrough different enough to be worth trying.  Since I was busy getting married I didn’t end up booting it until I got back home on the 5th Feb, but I managed to get my hours in and beat it for the first time yesterday morning (on easy anyway).  Another option is to just add more challenges into a game, such as the Nuzlocke challenge which sounds like it could make the Pokemon games fun to play again, and not just a chore for large parts of it.  I’m not sure whether I’d actually go back and replay the older ones, but if I pick up any of the newer games (or maybe check out Platinum which I missed before) I can’t think of any other way I’d like to play it.

The other half of my challenge, spending 1 hour learning and practicing the C# programming language, was a different matter entirely.  I managed to do alright for the first couple of days, getting in some time here and there to crack on and read all about Parallelism.  Then I became so swamped with wedding planning and other activities that I couldn’t fit a single programming session in edgeways.  I still need to do the exam so now that my wedding’s over I’ll be getting back to this, but it’s not going to be one of my challenges.


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