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October 22nd, 2003


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04:54 am - One Week
October 20th to 26th is National Game Playing Week here in the UK, where Hasbro's MB Games and Parker brands are promoting their wares harder than usual. There's a "design a game" competition, but it's only for the under-16s and I don't think they're looking for anything too revolutionary. (Alas.) There's a poll searching for the nation's top ten games and there's a survey to find the Best Games Playing Pub in Britain. (Which closed at 9am on the first day of National Games Playing Week; no telling yet whether, as suggested, the Angel and Greyhound in Oxford really has won.)

The same seven days are also, suspiciously coincidentally, the National Chess Week for Barnardo's. The aim is to raise half a million pounds for the children's charity by getting players to donate £1 for every game of chess played during the week in question. The week has got terribly little publicity and if they get within one zero of their goal then they'll have done extremely well. Nevertheless, I am particularly pleased that all these fine weeks are going on with my birthday (Thursday) slap bang in the middle.

The Middlesbrough Gamers' Club contribution to the latter has been a rather hastily-organised one-off in-club chess tournament. I sometimes think the club is rather slow-moving, but this time idea to inception took place in less than three weeks, largely due to two diamond geezers who run the Cleveland Chess Association web site. They came in and ran the show, we had 16 players. Ten minute games, five rounds, Swiss system, four finishing on 4/5, 5-minute Blitz semis and finals, book token prizes, the club gives £125 to Barnardo's, Bob's your Uncle. It was not at all disastrous, which makes it "all right".

In other chess news, the direly under-strength England chess team did finish half-way in the European team championship, with four matches won, one drawn and four lost, which is both a good result considering the squad who played and a dreadful result considering the squad who could have played. Russia won as expected with eight match wins and a draw, but seven of those eight match wins were by 2½-1½, which smacks of laziness.

ericklendl points out the (English-language) 7th World Scrabble Championship is in progress in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. No messing about here; eight games per day for three days then the top two play best-of-five for the crown. I'm shouting for the English, as usual, particularly the ones I've met (Mark Nyman, 6-2 after day one, and Pete Finlay, 4-4 after day one) - the latter of whom invited me to the local Scrabble club a couple of months back. Failing that, Jim Geary (4-4) always writes with a ballsy attitude and we always like Japanese champ Keiichiro Hirai (7-1!) because he let us use his stuff on the MSO website back in the day. (Yesno, Scribblerus - and want an invite code?) After day one's eight rounds, the podium is occupied by a Thai, a Sri Lankan and a Japanese, which rather pleases me.

Talking of ericklendl, individual and team results from the World Puzzle Championship are available. As far as the team results go, I'm going to say "strength in depth", "online qualifying test", "mmm-hmm" and leave it at that.

There's another way to interpret One Week, too. A week and a bit ago, I posted a bit of an upset rant about my lack of business. You all gave very kind replies, which I haven't really faced up to responding to, even though they were very much appreciated and distinct food of thought. One of the mrstrelloids suggested Here's an idea. Keep a diary of everything you do for one week. Here are the results - aggregated totals of 168 hours in the life of jiggery_pokery between Monday 13th and Sunday 19th October 2003.
  • IN BED: 70 hours. (7 spent at night before I get to sleep, 48 spent in sleep overnight, 7 spent between waking up from sleep and geting up, 8 hours of going back to bed during the day.)
  • ON PC FOR PERSONAL AMUSEMENT: 35 hours. (31 spent not doing other things, 4 spent while eating at PC.)
  • MIDDLESBROUGH GAMERS CLUB: 14 hours. (8 hours at club, 1 hour in travel, 5 hours on PC doing club business - producing meeting minutes, proposals, arranging chess, etc.)
  • WATCHING TV: 12 hours. (3 hours spent alone, 3 hours after meals, 6 hours at Fuchsia's.)
  • CHATTING AT fruufoo's WEEKEND-LONG PARTY WHILE AWAKE BUT NOT WATCHING TV: 9 hours.
  • MEALS: 7 hours.
  • WALKING: 6 hours. (Including time spent looking for the exercise book which is still missing and time spent helping shista get a chair from midnightschilde's house.)
  • DATABASE COURSE CLASSES AND COURSEWORK: 4 hours.
  • PERSONAL HYGIENE: 3 hours.
  • SETTING WORLD PUZZLE CHAMPIONSHIPS PRACTICE PUZZLES: 3 hours.
  • HOUSEWORK: 2 hours.
  • PREPARING LIVEJOURNAL POSTS I MIGHT EVENTUALLY FINISH AND POST SOME DAY: 2 hours.
  • PAYING WORK: 1 hour.
There has been some rounding involved here - I can scan the original page of times and notes for you if you like, but this seems a reasonably accurate summary.

Cash spent during the week: 30p, newspaper with jobs listings; £3.00, MGC meeting fees; £4.68, provisions for fruufoo's party; £1.66, bus fares. Total: £9.64. I would trumpet this as "net +36p for the week" were it not for the £200 of standing payments every month: National Insurance, phone bill, computer magazine subscription I must get eventually round to cancelling, chipping away incredibly slowly at the credit card, £20 savings...

Those are frankly very ugly numbers, definitely unsustainable in the future. Is this a typical week? Most weeks will have less time spent in bed, less time at fruufoo's party, slightly more time watching TV and somewhat more time on the PC for fun. (PC fun time consists mostly of LiveJournal, but to a lesser extent following the world news, following leisure news I'm interested in and participating in other communities. Sometimes there are computer games, too, but none at all last week.)

I'm not proud of these numbers; in fact, I'm ashamed of them. Hopefully I'm ashamed enough of them to change them in the future - but, two days of this week down, inertia reigns again and they don't look so very different so far. I recognise this is really not the way that a supposedly mature, responsible adult should behave.

Incidentally, I do recommend the exercise, if only as a tool for quantifying self-horror. Let's see if someone can achieve a low-score even lower than mine...

Other things: ten things that are radical about the weblog form in journalism and the counterpart ten things that are conservative about the weblog form in journalism. I particularly like #1 in the radical list, with mention of the concept of the gift economy. That pretty much sums up my existence at the moment quite neatly, comparing the several hours worked for (and my level of interest in) the Middlesbrough Gamers Club, WPC puzzles and this weblog to the single hour of paying work.

Finally, just because it's fun, the menu card at McDonalds in Delhi. Not so much beef, for obvious reasons.
Current Mood: unsustainably poor
Current Music: nothing, actually

(9 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


From:philonightmare
Date:October 21st, 2003 09:52 pm (UTC)
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I think I'm gunna take out my chess set and keep on 'a playin'. It's really too bad that no one in my family knows how to play except me. :/

Chris, what got you into games? I was just thinking about that earlier today as I was stumped beyond the theory that all males love games, and therefore I shouldn't be so surprised that you are too.

--E
From:songmonk
Date:October 21st, 2003 10:16 pm (UTC)
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That can't be it...can it?
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 26th, 2003 06:40 pm (UTC)
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This is a very difficult and interesting question. I'm going to answer the related but slightly different question of why I like games.

The short answer is that I found the games I liked fun; the longer answer is that I found I enjoyed the thought processes that my favourite games let me go through.

I tend to like thematic games rather than abstract ones; chess, while not completely abstract, is strongly towards the abstract end of the scale. Games in which the activity you play you're doing is something that would be fun or cool to do for real are often more appealing than ones which don't.

I tend to like the ability not to have to worry about the rest of the world for a while and to only have the concerns pertaining to the game in your mind for the duration of the game.

That's a start, but I feel like I ought to be able to write much more than this on the subject.
[User Picture]
From:bateleur
Date:October 22nd, 2003 02:57 am (UTC)
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I love the idea of a McAloo Tikki Burger ! Not to eat, you understand, just the fact such a thing exists. Bordering on self McParody, that menu !
From:2ndavemusic
Date:October 22nd, 2003 05:26 am (UTC)
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My thoughts exactly. Seemed a little odd to read down to the Happy Meals after that beginning...

Chris, whatever caused you to look up the menu of a Delhi McD's?
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 26th, 2003 06:41 pm (UTC)
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Inevitably, I was following other people's blogs and someone else linked to it, saying much the same things as were said here :-)
[User Picture]
From:glissando
Date:October 22nd, 2003 03:16 am (UTC)
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Maharaja Mac! What a great piece of alliteration! It might even convince me to eat in a McDonalds, which is quite something indeed.
[User Picture]
From:fangexploring
Date:October 22nd, 2003 07:18 am (UTC)
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Hi Chris,

Firstly, just wanted to say thanks for all the useful links and food for thoughts with your posts.

Secondly, you are older and much more mature than me, but I still want to say something in regards to the following. Hope it helps.

I'm not proud of these numbers; in fact, I'm ashamed of them. Hopefully I'm ashamed enough of them to change them in the future - but, two days of this week down, inertia reigns again and they don't look so very different so far. I recognise this is really not the way that a supposedly mature, responsible adult should behave.

I used to think this way too, to get myself to change. My numbers would be much worse if not for a job which I want to quit. But after finding LJ, to me, it's not a matter of shaming self into action, but we could be doing more worthwhile things with our time, and we all have the abilities to do much more, help out others, and make a positive impacts on people's life, if only we choose to. I can't do it at the moment, and inertia has the upper hand on me too, but I think I can change, and though don't know you nearly well enough, I think you can too. Hope you didn't mind me saying that. Just identified with what you said, that's all. I hope things improve for you.

Ken
[User Picture]
From:amuzulo
Date:October 22nd, 2003 12:36 pm (UTC)

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You actually expect something good to come out of Hasbro? Bah.

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