Tag Archives: Leisure

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!

The Future of Leisure

Hello, and welcome to Comparative Geeks! Another month in and another holiday, and the new site is going well. It’s been a real joy to bring you new content, like the podcast and my webcomic. It’s also been great to bring you opinion and fandom pieces from a variety of writers!


Today is my birthday, and if you’ve been following us a while you know that I like to write an opinion piece on my birthday, on a topic important to me. Which brings me to my topic, although to be fair I’ve already been on topic here the whole time: the future of leisure.

All this, here, on Comparative Geeks: both the things we’re talking about, and the writing itself, can be considered leisure activities. I wrestled recently with the definition of “hobby,” because I think that there’s a difference between a hobby and doing a leisure activity. I’ve recently been hearing the phrase “side hustle” and that seems like a closer definition for what this site is, which still gets us into the territory of having three defined sets of activities – outside of other categories like work, family time, religious activities, education, social activities, food, sleep… Oh, and travel time between it all.

Wow, there’s a lot of things we do to fill our time!

People who have a problem specifically with leisure activities think more time should be spent on some of these other categories of activities. Think of the stereotype of the asocial geek who just needs to get out and be more social, right? But more, it seems like people have trouble with what kinds of leisure activities people pursue, whether they are “practical” or not.

But I titled this about the future of leisure, and that’s more where things are now. People are all over the place balancing their time now, and we have to be. People have always needed to be balancing their time, but over the decades, over the generations, the balance has shifted. Work plateauing at lower levels, travel getting faster. More families without children or having children later. Two-earner households. Fewer people involved in religious activities. The Internet and other technologies allowing us to change how we do a lot of things, how long they take.

There are present trends that I see moving into the future. A big one is the move towards a Living Wage, as opposed to Minimum Wage. That’s going to do a lot to make it so that some jobs become technological instead of employees (well, more than now) – and will change the sort of work people are doing as well. And it will also hopefully make it so that fewer people are working multiple jobs. And projections that more and more jobs are going to require at least some college education. All that taken together, to me, means that people are going to have more time and maybe a little more money on their hands.

For me to say that leisure is going to change, however, I think there’s also a change in priorities that have to change. After all, with so many things calling for our time, there’s always something else we could be doing. But I think that the opportunity for more leisure will be there, and I think that there are also compelling reasons for leisure to be a choice.

You see, as the population, the number of people working, and the effects of globalization all increase, I also see another effect coming to the fore. And that is that there are going to be people doing all sorts of work. Some of that will be as a main job, some of that as a side hustle perhaps. To the extent that, if we’re all doing both work and practical activities with the rest of our time, we’re stepping on people’s toes – people who do those things for a living.

I’m not sure how far I think it might go, but we might reach a point where we should be paying someone to do our yards, to do work on our houses, to do everything to our cars… to clean our houses? To do all these things that we could be putting our off-time into, but which are also ways that people make their livelihoods. I mean, it’s already true now – but as it becomes more and more of the economy, I think it’s going to matter more and more.

And I see such interesting things, as we travel. Uber and ride-sharing. Air BnB and home-sharing. And things like ordering your groceries to be delivered to your home. Changes in work. Changes in how we approach life. Side-hustles and making money to do other things with. Transitions, I think, to a future we might not completely recognize. And in that future, I think that we are going to have leisure time – and I think that we need to embrace this fact, not mock the people that decide to pursue leisure.


Science Fiction Today – Work

WThe way that we work in today’s world is different than the way it functioned even just twenty years ago. With advancements in technology and the way that physical distances do not mean as much anymore, it is bound to happen that how work functions becomes different.

Some of the problem that actually happens is that the people running the show are used to how things used to work and that is what they know. It can be difficult to think that things could function differently. Now there are a few different directions that these changes could go, but each have good sides and bad sides.

Worker Factories

One way to go and is often seen in stories is the worker factories. With the advancement in technology and the possibility of being able to go completely digital, that means that the space people need to be able to do their work is less. If you can have all the paperwork at your fingertips and do not need to keep the miles and miles of paperwork in ever expanding filing cabinets.

By needing less space you can cram more people into an office to try and get more accomplished in a day. There is also the thought that you can reach people at anytime so suddenly, where do we draw the boundaries of people being at work or off of work? Suddenly, it is about churning out work at all times and using less space to do more.

Virtual Work

Now being able to be connected at any time to work could be a good thing. The ability for people to work on projects across continents makes it so that the physical office does not matter. We can connect over phones, video chat, and even work on files across countries. The ability to work becomes unbound to a physical presence.

Now obviously this cannot be every job, but in some ways it can benefit almost every job. The ability to control so much from a touch of a button already exists, and that ability is just going to grow as the technology advances. As the connections between nations grows larger the space between will grow smaller. Already there are corporations who work in multiple countries and currently we still travel between, but there is so much that can be done without being in the physical location.

The big thing is that more and more of our work is going to be able to be done online or with a computer. We can talk to each other and connect, we can control machines, we can have meetings, we can share documents, and so much more. Who knows where the boundary actually lies? At the same time this can be used to either make everyone have to work harder or to help all of us work smarter.

This post is part of the April A to Z Challenge, and also part of our occasional series on Science Fiction Today. You can read an explanation of both here. We are striving to keep these posts short, and know that we have not covered every example or angle – plenty of room for discussion!

Can We Be Too Old For A Genre?

Recently I was asking the question, what does it mean to be an adult? It seems like a good question, in a society lacking a proper coming-of-age, and where we have many aspects of dependency now carrying on late into people’s 20’s. What does it mean to suddenly, somewhere in the midst of all of that, be an “adult?”

In thinking about this question, I have also been wrestling with some opinions that I’ve read. One is Alan Moore, acclaimed comics writer, who thinks that comics are for teens, and that the adults (generally probably men/manchildren in his mind) reading comics are just refusing and failing to grow up. I wrestled with this a bit in a discussion of Watchmen on Sourcerer, and I was talking Alan Moore again today for V for Vendetta

The other opinion is that of Alejandro Inarritu, director of the new film Birdman. I read about this on We Minored in Film – great post (and it got me commenting at length) and it got me thinking I wanted to write about this. Well, rant about this. Inarritu believes… well, in his words (quoted from We Minored in Film):

“I think there’s nothing wrong with being fixated on superheroes when you are 7 years old, but I think there’s a disease in not growing up.”

So two creators, saying comics, comic movies, superheroes… these things keep us as children, make us weird or wrong as adults. And I want to respect and engage with their opinions, because unlike people who don’t even give science fiction a chance, these creators are engaging with the genre, creating works in the genre, and not just completely dismissing it. So what does it mean for a genre – like the comic book story – to be for children? Well, let me be sarcastic, and then a bit serious.

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