Over the past weeks and months, various people have asked me with curiosity, incredulity, even suspicion: what do you do all day?
First, it’s important to know that I’m a creature of habit. I enjoy it when things are much the same today as they were yesterday, and am looking forward to a tomorrow that looks a lot like now. For many people that would be simply the worst, and I respect that even as I respectfully disagree.
Second, I don’t blame you if you fall asleep halfway through this post. My life is simple, rote, Spartan in habit if not in clutter. Expect no big revelations.
Times are approximations, standard rules and regulations apply, no purchase necessary.
0745-0900ish: Wake up. Sometimes it’s as early as 0600, sometimes it’s as late as 1000, but 0800-0815 is by far the most common window for me awakening. It doesn’t seem to correlate terribly well with when I go to bed, either; a lack of sleep here usually (but not always) portends a nap later in the day.
I break my fast with a pair of Atkins shakes and a multivitamin.
0830ish: Morning dailies. Two of the free-to-play games I engaged with, Gems of War and Let It Die, have their 24-hour cycles pop while I’m generally asleep, so I spend time in the morning logging into them and doing the minimum daily requirements. Occasionally I’ll actually play one for a while in the morning, particularly Let It Die, for an hour or so, but that’s actually relatively uncommon.
0900ish: Morning bookmarks. I have a set of websites I check religiously every morning.
- The CRPG Addict (new content several times a week): Chester Bolingbroke (likely not his real name) is playing through a bunch of old computer RPGs and writing them up. The writing is engaging and he’s willing to put up with even more willfully (unintentionally?) terrible design than I am, so it’s enjoyable to read and has regular doses of schadenfreude.
- The Digital Antiquarian (new content a couple of times a week): Jimmy Maher (actually his real name) is an excellent writer, and he’s been covering early computer and gaming history for a long time. I actually came across one of his books, The Future Was Here–part of my long-time favorite Platform Studies series–well before I found his blog. Articles tend to be long and meticulously researched; my archive binge nine months or so ago took weeks, and I’m a fast reader. Right now he’s writing about Sid Meier’s Civilization, which also means he’s been diving into the details of Communism and the role religion has played in the development of society and other such topics that obviously come from analyzing an old computer game. Always a fascinating read.
- Dinosaur Comics (new content several times a week): My favorite comic for a decade plus. Don’t let its use of the exact same panels for every single strip fool you; it’s regularly smart, clever, and funny as hell. My avatar just about everywhere is a very light edit of T-Rex’s head from this strip.
- Dumbing of Age (new content every day, weekends included): I never read the previous “Walkyverse” comics, and it turns out that there’s no need to; Dumbing of Age stands alone as a paean to college, adolescent naïvete, and deep questions about identity. It’s funny and really serious, oftentimes both in the same strip. (It’s also extremely continuity-heavy; prepare for some binge reading of the archives if you pick it up.)
- Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal (new content several times a week): It started out as a darker, edgier The Far Side, and while those strips still happen regularly, it’s more often a nerdy look at questions of identity, sexuality, and the future. But, you know, funny.
- Electoral Vote (new content daily): Run by Andrew Tenenbaum of MINIX fame, this site used to only update in the run-up to presidential elections. In the utterly insane world we live in today, Tenenbaum decided to stick to a daily update schedule “until things calm down”. (Spoiler alert: they haven’t.) It provides precisely the right amount of political news and analysis I can generally handle on a daily basis, presented in a trenchant tone that makes it way more readable than most news sites. It also provides links to all of its sources, which is way more than most political sites do.
- A couple of Tumblrs and Twitter feeds for fannish crap that aren’t worth sharing.
1000ish: Time to head to Walmart and pick up a rotisserie chicken. They’re $4.98 plus tax, which is way, way cheaper than I could do on my own. Plus I’m lazy.
1030ish: Time to eat said rotisserie chicken. This is earlier than I like eating, but they start putting the chickens out right after 0900, so they start to get a bit soggy if you don’t get there early, and they definitely don’t improve by sitting on the countertop.
1100ish: Comedy TV time. I allow myself to watch only one episode each of the various shows I’m consuming, and noontime is when I watch the funny stuff. Right now that’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Last Man on Earth.
1200-1900ish: The first big open window of the day. I’ve been reading a lot lately, so that happens here; this is also when I usually loop back around to Let It Die and actually put some time into it. If I’m in the middle of a normal, non-free-to-play game (right now it’s the original Phantasy Star for the Sega Master System), progress happens here.
I also do puzzles. I keep a pair of stacks of puzzle books next to my recliner; I tend to only do one of a type (a Sudoku, a Slitherlink, whatever) before switching off to another puzzle type, or grabbing a book, or snagging the controller. I don’t remember being this unfocused in my solving before retirement; not sure what that’s about.
If I’m tired due to staying up too late, not getting enough sleep, or just, y’know, feeling like it, I’ll take a short nap somewhere in here too. It’s not usually for more than an hour or so, but sometimes it’s 2-3 hours. That’s fine too.
Usually dinner’s just another pair of Atkins shakes somewhere in here.
1900ish: Drama TV time. Anything serious I’m watching happens here. Right now that’s just The Punisher, but it’s been up to three different shows at the same time. If it’s a bit creepy, like Stranger Things, I’ll push it later to make sure it’s dark outside when I watch it. Ambiance is important, y’ken?
2000ish: Evening dailies. Warframe and Spelunker World have daily events that pop at night, so I do those. I always do Spelunker World first, because Warframe often has some missions to do as well, and I like to finish off with them.
2100ish until: Evening variety time. I watch Twitch, read, solve more puzzles, play more videogames, until I get tired and hit the bed. Sometimes that’s as early as 2200, sometimes it’s as late as 0400. I don’t really worry about the timing. After all, I can always nap the next day.
As you can see, it’s super action-packed exciting times! But I like the slow rhythm of my days quite a bit.
Now, it’s 1120, which means it’s time for some Brooklyn Nine-Nine. If you’ll excuse me…