Tag Archives: Comparative Geeks

Happy 5 Years of Comparative Geeks!

It’s true! This was the holiday weekend, back in 2013, that we started up Comparative Geeks and got this whole thing going. We’re now coming off of by far our longest hiatus, and it’s good to be back! Hopefully you’ve noticed that the podcast is back – remember you can subscribe to that on iTunes or find the feed here: http://feeds.feedburner.com/ComparativeOpinions

At this point in our lives, now with the Geek Baby and the Nerd Baby, the podcast is by far the easiest thing for us to do. It takes that back-and-forth discussion time that we tended to put into posts and turns it into a process where you can join along! Hopefully you’ve given us a listen and enjoy it – let us know what else you’d like to see us doing with that. Week in Geek should be back soon, a news podcast is a bit daunting after a hiatus, I must say!

We did have a Star Trek post go up Saturday by Hannah – hopefully you caught that! And we’ll try to keep some written content coming, it’s just gotten harder to find the time! That should improve with time.

(That’s the theory).

Meanwhile, David had thoughts of trying to dive back into The Astral Chronicles, but is now not sure. Spending these 5 years as media consumers and critics, he’s realized he’s spent a lot of time saying what he likes to see is new stories – and maybe The Astral Chronicles isn’t quite there. This is leading to thoughts of a more  commentary/non-fiction webcomic, rather than a story-based fiction webcomic. Stay tuned!

In the coming months we’ll also probably make the transition back to WordPress off of our self-hosted site. Life got too busy not only for us but for all of our contributors, making the push to really grow the site too much to sustain. That’s okay – we’re happy still with where we’re at right now! Thanks for sticking with us, dear readers.

Audio

Thor Ragnarok – Comparative Opinions Episode 67

Welcome to the Comparative Opinions podcast! This week hosts Holly and David made it to Thor: Ragnarok, and the time to talk about it is now! This is the last episode of Comparative Opinions this year, we’ll be back in January! So yeah, spoiler-light and then spoiler-filled discussion of Thor: Ragnarok, which turned out to be a hard movie to talk about without spoilers… short answer: go see it!

Comparative Opinions is a weekly half-hour-ish podcast hosted on ComparativeGeeks.com. Subscribe for new episodes every Sunday!

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Music is by Scott Gratton: http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Scott_Gratton/Intros_and_Outros

Finding Joy in Your Leisure

This might sound obvious, but… it can be easier to lose track of than it seems.

It can be easy to confuse an activity that you tend to enjoy, with always enjoying that activity no matter what you’re doing.


I’ve had to confront this concept several times lately. First up was in video gaming.

I wrote a while back that I was trying to decide on a game to play, because I was feeling the itch to play some video games and had not played much in a while. I had beaten Deus Ex Mankind Divided and then played a good amount of Mass Effect Andromeda but not much since. I toyed around with a lot of thoughts, but finally decided that my best option was probably just to power through Mass Effect Andromeda to beat it.

However, after playing a bit, I realized that I was really just going through the motions. System-wise, I’m so powerful every fight is just blasting through things. I’ve already turned up the difficulty once. By allowing you to learn all the abilities in the game, it lets you become just so good that the fights aren’t the point.

So then, the point is the relationships and conversation, right? But I’m continually amazed at how shallow some of the relationships have ended up, as in I just expect more conversation topics, more things to pop up. I started a relationship with Vetra, and it has been thoroughly bland. For a game with a ton in it, honestly it needs even more. At least my twin is finally awake…

I’ll get back to the game at some point and beat it, I imagine. Knowing that there won’t be any DLC – when the DLC in the previous Mass Effect games were some of the best parts, is disheartening. And knowing there won’t be a sequel. Those were the sorts of things that kept me going and kept me re-playing before, but now I just don’t know.

Basically, playing the game felt like it was me just playing to play a game at all, the action of which is not where I find joy. I don’t just play video games – I play video games I enjoy. Sometimes we have to push ourselves to get through parts we don’t like, things like that, but the game at its core needs to make you happy, or else why are you playing?

To answer the question what to play, I bought XCom 2 as the price dropped to a great spot. I’ve been loving it – they captured the feel of the first game, with some good improvements and changes both in system and thematically. It’s also a good one to pick up for a bit, do a mission, and put back down – fitting my life nicely at the moment.


The other thing I had been doing was some mobile gaming, in this case Magic the Gathering: Puzzle Quest. I don’t think I’ve fully written up a review, but it’s a pretty fun one. It’s free to play but they would love to sell you the in-game currencies, which you can use to buy both Planeswalkers – your avatar – or card packs. You also get cards slowly over time, and the currencies over time and from playing. There was definitely some learning curve; there are some elements that are automated and ordered for the computer to handle, so then you have to figure out control of the interface so that things play out like you intend. This is also the computer AI’s weakness in the game, as it tends to let things flow and there are several types of actions it does not take.

If I were to give a new player advice, it would be that there is a set of tutorial games in the Story section, not as the first option in those but by swiping to the side. Play through those, they not only teach you a lot of things (some of which I had learned or looked up online by the time I found the trainings, and some which I learned then), but they give you some free cards. If I were to give a second piece of advice, it’s join a coalition.

I actually started thinking of this post a while back when I was realizing that what I had reached a point of doing in this game was grinding dailies. There are Events which come up on a continual basis, you play games to gain rank, get currencies, get booster packs, and rank against other players for top rewards. The rewards are all great, but the continual basis of these coming up means you could just every day have a ton of this to play. I had fallen into playing every possible game in these Events (there’s a limiting factor of how many games you get to play, and which color of decks), and was staying up late playing the game like crazy, basically not realizing how much time I was putting into it.

Into grinding dailies.

I was getting close to cutting myself off completely, when the friend who got me into the game invited me to join a coalition he was joining. It’s a group of up to 20 players, who get a chat channel, and who have access to the occasional coalition events. These have great rewards, and you get rewards both from how you do and from how your coalition as a whole does. Some other events also include coalition points, but not all of them.

And this has helped me to cool down on my playing, to slow down. To not just play all of the dailies. I can focus instead on the events that include coalition play, but not stress myself, keep myself up at night, or just generally get distracted and play the game like crazy. Mobile games can do that, and it’s important to temper yourself. Many are also built to be a time filler that you can pour too much time into. I think I’ve found a good balance, by doing some stuff that’s fun and has a group feel to it, and to skipping some of the solo stuff that was just me feeding the game my time.

Because it’s not just about the act of playing, it’s about enjoying playing.


There are plenty of other things I could talk about. Quitting listening to podcasts that I don’t like, just because they’re on the topics I’m interested in. Really, I haven’t been reading enough lately to have an example here – though I will say, MtG Puzzle Quest is a decent game to play while listening to an audiobook!

But let’s just go with one other topic.


It’s been a bit since I’ve written a long form post here on the site, which maybe that fact alone ties back to my topic here. A lot of what I do, and have been doing since we moved to the new Comparative Geeks last year, is back-end work on the site: scheduling posts, putting podcasts together, these sorts of things. Those take up a lot of time where I could be creating instead, and they’re just plain not as fun as creating.

And it’s important to remember that something like this site is a side-project for us, not a job or a money maker. It’s a labor of love, and therefore it’s important that you love doing it. Holly and I have made it through by helping each other as we’ve waxed and waned in interest, we’ve kept the dream alive.

So while we’re about to take a long hiatus, I think that absence will do a lot to make the heart fonder. We haven’t taken a break this long before, but I think we’ll be back strong. We also have been planning on moving back to WordPress dot com, where there would be less behind the scenes management to worry about.


 

Remember that your leisure should be fun. I’ll try to do the same!

A Pause, A Reflection

Happy Birthday to me!

It’s my birthday, and has become our tradition, I am just writing whatever I want for my birthday. Which, as has been fairly pointed out, isn’t much different from any other day of the year.

Except lately, it is different. A little while back, I finally broke down, gave in, and stopped putting out articles, blog posts, and fillers, on a daily basis. I was keeping the dream alive, but with Holly dealing with pregnancy, and one by one our contributors having other parts of life to contend with, it was down largely to me – and I wasn’t doing a very good job of it.

It being my birthday, I am in particular doing the sort of “what am I doing it for and what are we accomplishing by it?” thinking that comes with the passage of time. It’s a reflective time.


I wanted to get started with Comparative Geeks – something we did back in January 2013 – to get myself into a regular habit of writing. Here more recently, however, the focus had fallen onto the “regular” part of the equation, rather than the “writing” part. I honestly haven’t written much of anything resembling an essay in some time, and my poor webcomic has languored since March.

Since we’re hitting a big reset moment here soon – with a baby expected in a month’s time, and us planning to take the end of the year off from the site – the questions I’m asking myself are really, what do I plan on doing when we come back in January?

The pop culture and geek culture stuff that we talk about was always about the content. It’s served us well all this time, it’s what we consume, what we’re interested in. At this point, our consumption is way down, and I think our two podcasts are covering that nicely. We’re consuming far more news than content, for instance, and Week in Geek gives us a nice outlet to talk about the stories of the week. Meanwhile, for more topic-driven and review-based content, Comparative Opinions is a lot of fun to do, and it matches roughly our current ability to consume the culture and commentate on it!

What’s funny, though, is that while these podcasts have been accomplishing the goals of Comparative Geeks, they still haven’t been meeting my writing goal.

And when you get down to it, the writing goal is about content creation, about me taking some of my stories and getting them out there. In the long decision making process of choosing whether I’d prefer to pursue non-fiction or fiction, I leaned to fiction, and I need to get back to that. I’ve missed it.

So if we’re back in January as mainly 2 podcasts a week, an ongoing webcomic story, and the occasional essay or review post, with the occasional piece by contributors, I think the biggest thing is just to feel okay with that. Being happy with what you are doing in life has a lot to do with setting expectations, and I’m currently dealing with changing expectations.

And that’s okay. Because pushing this further to pursue what I want out of it – rather than enforcing some sense of what “ought” to be happening – should lead to something better for everyone.


In closing, I want to say that I don’t tend to think that we – people, humans, individuals, societies – ever have to “peak.” We can be constantly improving, constantly bettering ourselves. Nonetheless, as a personal thought that isn’t quite in line with conventional wisdom, there’s plenty of doubt. But hey, sometimes that doubt is a great song, so it’s worth it, right?

Things Keep Happening – Meme Monday

Scott Pilgrim is the voice of my generation as far as I’m concerned, so it makes sense to come back to time and again. I don’t even actually have my copy of the comics right now (that’d be with Julia), but quite a bit has stuck in my head. So I definitely think and say the phrase “things keep happening” at times thinking of this… without others perhaps getting it.

We’ve been moving in a bit more – movies and books are on shelves, necessary new pieces are coming into place. We’ve been cleaning hoping that the fleas are gone and stay that way. We’ve been potty training.

Hmmm, another reference maybe only I get… (it wasn’t just me – check the thread).

I’m back to occasional evening shifts, which I haven’t much had in a couple years (had weekend shifts instead), too. The long and short of all of this is… the site has not been getting as much attention lately. Sorry about that!

Hopefully you’re enjoying the podcasts, we’ve been enjoying getting those together and out still. Let us know if there’s a topic or news story you’d like us to cover!

Other than that… what references do you like to drop that you feel like should be a meme but that maybe only you get?