Limbo

While I am supposed to be diligently (re)playing a few certain titles for my dissertation, unfortunately, the gaming world will not hold still for me, so I have been dabbling in other games for the sheer pleasure of it (I suppose this is necessary and related to some form of sanity maintenance or other…). After reading about the game Limbo in Edge Magazine a few months back, I was happy when I returned from my summer holiday and my husband had told me he had bought it on Xboxlive for me as a surprise.

First of all, the game is beautiful. Using every shade of grey, along a spectrum of sharp and muted variations that give the game world texture and depth. Stunning is the first word that comes to mind. In terms of the audio – I had read that the designers really did not want to use a soundtrack as such, feeling that music is often used to indicate to the player how they should be feeling at particular points in the game. While I welcome the odd, eerie, distant sounds that almost linger in the background – it really made me feel apprehensive. I could not read what was going to happen; if I would be attacked at any point, etc. The first time I died, I didn’t even realize that I was supposed to jump over a small spike-laden ravine. My little guy simply fell into the hole, was awkwardly impaled, and his limbs fell off. It was only then that I realized that I had to jump instead of run.

The controls are quite simple. Using only two buttons for all actions. Simplicity is good for the most part, but it does make game play a bit more challenging in that – especially in the beginning – I was not sure what I was supposed to do besides run and jump. I spent a good 10 minutes at the first bit where I thought I was supposed to jump up and climb a structure, when I was actually supposed to pull the handle of an old cart so that I could climb on that first. Once I figured it out, it was simple, but I never really thought of “pulling” when in my head I was only thinking “run” and “jump”…

I only played for about an hour or so so far (grrr to sharing the Xbox! lol). But so far I applaud the designers of the game for creating something that feels so on the edge of simple, yet pulls you in and holds on to you in a most (addictive?) way.

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Purging for Productivity

I have only been home for a few days, and I am already starting to feel the stress and pressure to ‘get to work’ on my dissertation. I did some work before heading off on holiday in June, but, as anyone knows, taking a 6 week hiatus from anything can break any sort of inspiration or flow that I had when I went away. So I am trying to get back into work mode – a mode that I must admit, I am not comfortable with. It is not that I don’t enjoy what I do – I absolutely love it! And when I AM in the zone, writing frantically, barely being able to sleep because the ideas and sentences are running furiously through my head – I am at the top of my game. However, it’s the getting back to that place. I know I have written before talking / asking about how I get to that zone; asking my friends and colleagues the same thing. But for some reason, each time I am embarking on a writing project, my ‘method’ seems to change. Perhaps it is the magnitude of what I am trying to do (looking at the big picture can sometimes hamper productivity – we all know that). This time, I am trying something different than I have done before.

Purging.

Clothes. Furniture. Books. And anything else that gives me a feeling of energy-draining clutter. I spent the last two days working on a spring cleaning of sorts. Of course, i only managed to successfully complete one room (my youngest daughter’s room – heck, it’s not like I actually go in there to work!). I have dreams of my office/bedroom being in an immaculate state of organization and function. I fantasize about my kitchen being remodeled in a crisp modern decor that just begs for me to sit at the kitchen table with my laptop and a cup of coffee in the morning. Of course – I am a long ways away from  that dream kitchen, but thought I would start by purging the contents of my kitchen drawers and cupboards. I have so many unused utensils and dishes – I always feel bad that I have so much ‘stuff’ but only use about 1/5th of it! Mind you, much of it comes from my parents when I first moved out – all of their mismatched hand-me-downs that I feel guilty getting rid of, but equally guilty that I don’t use them.

I have been thinking about weeding out my ‘friends list’ a bit too over @FB … I am always amazed at how many people we are “friends” with, and how little time we (ok…. I / the other ‘friend’) put into maintaining that ‘friendship’. I know it is no biggie to keep people I barely know on my list, but it makes me feel guilty for not talking with them, and I feel stalker-ish for looking at their profile. So – that is my new golden rule – if I feel like a stalker when checking in on a ‘friend’ – it’s time to go. Nothing personal of course – there really isn’t anybody on my list that I don’t like, but in the spirit of ridding myself of some of the external (and artificial) sources of guilt-driven obligation.

While to some, it might seem like this whole process is yet another form of procrastination – and it very well could be. But I believe that with all of these things organized, minimalized – that will free up some head space that has been tied up in things not getting done (after three years, I still have unpacked boxes from my move here), messiness and clutter. Like a blank canvas, I am hoping that with a sufficient amount of purging, I will be able to move ahead and muddy up a couple hundred word doc pages. =)

Back in the City

Summertime is all over but the sunshine it seems. Got back from a nice (somewhat) relaxing 5 week holiday out east yesterday. After taking a day to adjust, today is all about sitting down and etching out an actual work schedule to get this dissertation written. Of course, that might have to wait, since when I arrived home, there were a few issues of Edge Magazine waiting for me in their pristine plastic packaging. Must catch up on that stuff before I can write… 😉