Providence?

Hell of a trip down here. We’ve had an ice storm that’s lasted for the previous two days. I stayed home on Sunday and Monday which was a bit rough seeing as how I didn’t leave the house on Saturday either. But that was enough. It wasn’t coming down today and we’ve actually seen a little bit of something I’d call sun.

Having disgusted myself quite thoroughly on Wednesday with my lack of productivity I went Half Wilson and took a few days off from PC gaming. Friday night I’d had enough and I resolved Saturday morning to reinstall a bunch. It didn’t bother me much since it was the plan to only take a couple days off.

Come the morning I did indeed install Steam, picked a dozen games and had it pull them down. I’m still giddy over the fact that my download speeds are such that 400g of downloads takes a bit over an hour including the installation process.

While it worked I started grinding on my “writing consolidation project.” But more on that later.

So…I was playing a bit of Skyrim on Saturday morning when suddenly the screens went dark and it got quiet. Ruh roh.

My first thought was a power hit, but the UPS wasn’t screaming and the other machines were running just fine.

I started it back up and went back in and played another 10-15 minutes aaannnnd pop down it goes again. Well…I’d be worried if there was a pop. It’s just an immediate software-based power down. Now, Skyrim is a near 10 year old game (11/11/11) so it’s not really stressing out my machine, even though IT is about 8 years old by now.

So Saturday night I started making sure everything was backed up (and thank the good lord for my foresight in keeping everything on separate boxes, a san backup of most everything, etc.) So it wasn’t SUCH a bear to make sure everything was up to date and square.

I figured that for it to be a sudden problem like that it would have to have something to do with the new Steam reinstall. Besides, my windows install was a couple years old, so a complete ground-up refresh was probably in order anyway.

Sunday morning I took my UEFI usb stick with the win10 installer on it, nuked the partitioning and let it go nuts on my 2t ssd.

I spend most of Sunday morning and early afternoon reinstalling software, tracking down motherboard drivers and such. It was just easier to grab them online than it was to find them on the lan.

But I was mostly absorbed in document conversion. For SOME reason I’d apparently decided for a few years to do my writing in Word. Great dude, thanks past me for that horseshit. A few hundred files individually opened and saved as text (I’m sure I probably could’ve scripted it. But it would have taken me longer to find out how, write the script, and debug it than it did to just do it by hand I’m sure.)

Yesterday I kicked off 2077, not having played it in a week and feeling the jones.

To its credit it took a couple hours.

Bang. Right at the tail end of the “can’t save now” clouds sequence. Fuck me. Well, let me start it up again and get through that section.

Bang. Down it went.

Dammit.

As long as I didn’t use the GPU it would stay up for any length of time. So my hypothesis is that it’s just overheating suddenly for some reason. I’ll give it a good look when I get back from the cigar lounge tonight…or…you know, not.

Monday night I started shopping around. After all, 8 years is a LONG time for a desktop computer. This thing owes me nothing. I lost myself in the fantasy of a shiny new screamer of a box, maybe 128g of ram, a couple 2t SSDs, some GPU that would heat the house, etc.

But…by the end of the night, after Cigargoyle’s nightcap stream was wrapping up, (and after another spontaneous powerdown) I got to thinking.

What if…I didn’t?

What if I cleaned off the gpu (it’s probably hopelessly gunked up with dust, dead bugs and my hair) then…just left it alone.

What if I didn’t fight so hard to feed and maintain my favorite addiction?

It’s a terrifying thought. But that sinking feeling in my stomach is one of the greatest indicators of a path of growth I’ve come across in my near 52 years.

Already I can feel my brain just thrashing against the notion, all the stories and games I’ve loved so much and just letting them go. But the quest for adventure through these things is just so shallow. In the end they take the place of the search for adventure in my own life. Yeah my life is progressing and moving forward in a way I’m finally pretty happy with, if both a bit late and slow.

While I planned on talking about dispensing with the games, I didn’t quite expect my mind to go all balls-out in this direction today. I like to let the words take me where they will. Sure, these kinds of posts lack direction, and I don’t expect they get much in the way of readership. But that’s fine.

[Ooh, my favorite seat is about to become available…

5 minutes later I’m moved over.]

“Ooh, Mike’s got his favorite seat!”
“Yeah, I’m a creature of habit, what can I say.”

I’m generally startled that people notice me at all really. Not in Bible Study group, surely. But just generally around the room.

Well enough of that.

I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to say that giving up video games, even if that’s just these desktop AAA titles would be the hardest thing I’ve ever tried to undertake.

They’ve been such a significant part of my life for more than 40 fucking years, after all. And yes, I could list chapter and verse what negative effects I think that’s had on my trajectory, how looking for excitement in a saccharine experience has prevented me from pursuing it in real life and all. And maybe I’ll spit out a piece about that at some point in the future. But that’s not for today. Today is for looking forward.

What am I going to do with my time? What sunk costs am I going to let lay?

I’m not sure there are even any subscription services, MMOs and such, that I need to cancel.

Do I go through the work to shut down and cancel my Steam account?

I don’t know. It’s not a problem I need to solve. The technology has rather solved it for me.

“I’d like to get to 100% in Cyberpunk 2077 first.” Is the kind of reaction my brain’s having to this idea.

That’s exactly the kind of trap I am expecting.

It’s like Gollum being tied down by an elven rope, squirming for any way out. But…I’m either going to stick to my guns or not.

It’s going to be a “one day at a time” affair. I don’t think bold declarations of “never again” are going to serve me very well. Hell, maybe they will.

The trick is going to be having something ready for those moments when the impulse strikes. Even if it’s just some kind of goofy ass affirmative replacement.

So what IS the benefit? (Not that I don’t have a hundred handy. But I won’t when it comes up and I’m thrashing thus.)

It amounts to having time and energy to spend on other things. One of the insidious things about video games that I’ve mentioned before is that the time spent actually playing is the lesser of the evils of the thing. It’s the time and energy spent dwelling on them when I’m not specifically engaged in them.

All of that energy spent thinking about how I was planning on approaching a certain problem or what I was going to do next, how I was planning on outfitting a character and what I was looking forward to would all be spent thinking about other things. What other things?

Shit it actually doesn’t matter even a little bit. It’s an interesting realization. But aside from dwelling on the past there’s literally no single use of my mental and emotional energy that’s worse.

All those damned projects that are in a start state in my workshop. The damned state of the house at all (though I’ve got to give myself some credit for keeping it up as I have been. It’s so much better than the way I lived even less than a year ago.)

So I’ll add a little red X on the whiteboard for days without gaming, and a blue/black/green one for days where I spend at least an hour writing. That’s not “collating existing writing” because that’s a task on its own. But actually writing.

Should be a good step.

Yeah. I’m pretty encouraged about all of this. Plus, it got out 1500 words in about 90 minutes. So I’ll take THAT shit any day.

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