Category Archives: blog thing

Condition Report for the Fourteenth Interval

Conditions were superior during that interval

-Corr, speaking of some past period of time

It is that time again.  Another blog anniversary has rolled around.  I have now been doing this for fourteen years.

WordPress.com says hi

Fourteen seems like a long time.  It is about a quarter of my life at this point.  But, then again, beyond a certain age you find a lot of things that have hung around for significant fractions of your life.  I’ve been driving my current car for 17 years, I’ve been married for 21 years, I have shirts in my closet that still fit that pre-date the blog even.  And don’t get me started on the little things that collect around the house, items that do not have any real value but which I hang on to for whatever reason, like the front license plate to my first car, which was towed off to the junk yard back in 1986.

So, in a way, fourteen years doesn’t seem like all that long ago.  Also, the number fourteen doesn’t strike me with much in the way of inspiration.  Sure, it is the sum of two prime numbers and the age I was when I started high school.  I’ve also had a job pretty much continuously since I was 14.  But nothing really struck me for a post title besides Wilson’s fourteen points.  Me and history.

I’m also a bit lost for a graphic representing that number.  Thirteen had the whole bad luck superstition around it, and fifteen at least has a Taylor Swift song going for it, but fourteen… I suppose there is a state highway 14.  Whatever.

California State Highway 14

Past efforts, with better titles, if you are interested.

Like so many things on this site, there is now a set pattern of items I share annually, so we might as well get on with it.

Base Statistics

The same thing every year, looking at how the various needled moved over the last dozen months.

Days since launch: 5,114 (+366)
Posts total: 5,609 (+394)
Total Words: 4,378,757 (+411,478 words, not including this post)
Average words per post: 781 (+20)
Post Likes: 12,090 (+2,578)
Average posts per day: 1.097 (-0.01)
Comments: 33,780 (+1,329)
Average comments per post: 6.03 (-0.19)
Average comments per day: 6.61 (-0.23)
Spam comments: 1,482,548 (+18,381)
Average spam comments per day: 289.90 (-23.1)
Comment signal to noise ratio: 1 to 43.8 (-1.8)
Comments written by me: 6,857 or 20.3%
Images uploaded: 16,210 (+1,635)
Space used by images: 1.5 GB of my 3 GB allocation (49%)
Blog Followers: 1,888 (-40)
Twitter Followers: 775 (-1)
Tumblr Followers: 34 (+0)
US Presidents since launch: 3
British Monarchs since launch: 1
Prime Ministers of Italy since launch: 7

For some of you that will be enough stats.  Others will want to dive deeper, which you can do after the cut.

Continue reading

Promptapalooza and Writing a Blog Post

This Blaugust is Promptapalooza where we spend the month chasing a series of daily prompts… if we so desire.  I opted in, but only for the minimum effort, which meant writing about the prompt I had drawn on the day it was due.  Mission accomplished.

August means some sort of Blaugust

It isn’t that I am against any of the other prompts on the list, but I am not sure I really have anything to add.  But the prompt from  August 9th prompt, led by Paeroka over at Nerdy Bookahs, felt like something I could address in some way.  It just took me most of the month to get to it.

The pompt itself is:

Share the process you go through in order to create content, both mental and mechanical.

Which sounds a bit pretentious to me.  I am not a fan of the idea of “content creators” as it is both over broad if you interpret it literally and often extremely narrow in the vision of some.  A few weeks back somebody asked on Twitter for “EVE Online Content Creators” to speak up and be recognized.  The person really wanted Twitch streamers and people who make YouTube videos.  People who write stuff?  Not content creators to them.

So I am a fan of saying what you mean on that front.  I am a blogger.  I write a blog.  I do not “create content.”   How does one even define “content?”  How many units of content are created by a Twitch stream versus a YouTube video versus a blog post.  Some of my posts are remarkably content free, so will likely not spoil your diet if you’re trying to cut back on content.  You will not get your USDA recommended minimum amount of daily content by navigating to my URL.

In fact, I would argue that, 300 word in to this post I have created no content so far.  Maybe I should stop grousing and move on, eh?

So how do I write blog posts, which is how I am going to interpret the prompt?

First, there are three types of posts on my blog.  They are:

  • I did a thing
  • A thing happened
  • I have an opinion about a thing

The first is the meat and potatoes of this blog.  The instance group runs a dungeon, I write about it.  I am in a big fleet battle in EVE Online, I write about it.  I do something new in Minecraft, I write about it.

Easy.  I generally write about it as a story, a tale of how I or we started in situation A and ended up in situation Z.

The second is the structure that holds the blog together.  Weeks can go by where this is mostly what I post about.  There are lots of these, an you probably recognize some of the common ones.  EVE Online releases a update or the Monthly Economic Report.  SuperData sends me their digital revenue chart.  An MMORPG I am interested in announces, reveals, or actually launches an expansion.  An anniversary of some sort arrives again.  Something new and relevant to my interests launches.  The last day of the month arrives.  It is Memorial Day.

This is interrupt based blogging.  Stimulus, response.  These not only give a month structure… unsurprisingly, I am usually aware of when the last day of the month falls… but gives me filler to chew on when I haven’t done something I feel like writing about.

I have an opinion covers most everything else.  Quote of the Day posts are generally vehicles for an opinion.  Book reviews, movie reviews, posts about shows we have binge watched during the pandemic, those are all opinion pieces.  They are not stories and, while they can be timely, they are generally not as locked into a time slot as, say, an expansion launch or the end of the month.

As for the mechanics of how I write blog posts, I wish I had a process I could share.

I tend to sit down and just start writing.  If I am writing about something I did, I will generally at least go and look at any screen shots I may have taken along the way.  You will find some early blog posts about the instance group where I talk about taking notes, but that fell by the wayside for the most part.  At best I’ll jot a sentence or two into a Notepad++ document, usually some small tidbit I want to remember.  Maybe I will write very simple timeline… we went here, A blew up, B said something funny, we went home… but that is about it.  Screen shots are usually my reminder.

And then I write the story.  I might revise it a bit, especially if I think about it over night, though that can be a mixed blessing.  If you see a horribly mis-matched sentence in the middle of a post, that is usually the result of my thinking about the post in the middle of the night, obsessing about some phrase, getting up in the morning and adding it in, and then not checking to see if it actually made a damn lick of sense.  There have times when I have tacked something on to the end of the sentence that mirrors a revision I put at the start of the sentence, but forgot about.

So it goes.

When I write about something that happened, those are the posts that involve the most research.  I go back and look at how the SuperData chart changed since the previous month.  I open up the .csv data files to get regional numbers to compare against past months.  When an expansion launches I try to mention the theme, how much new content is being added, and if it is a WoW expansion, how long it was since the last expansion with a list showing other expansions for comparison.

I take “a thing happened” and try to apply some context.  That is my value add, though the value may only be seen by me.

These posts not only give the blog structure, but also have structure themselves based on past posts, which also makes them easier to write.  My Month in Review posts follow a pretty strict format. Even ones that change up a bit, like patch notes, generally have a formula that lets me put things together quickly.  Practice and all that.

And then there are the opinion pieces.  Aside from Quote of the Day posts, which tend to be quick and spontaneous based on something that popped up, these are usually things I think about in the shower or while trying to get to sleep.

I can hear an objection out there.  Yes, these three post types are not mutually exclusive.  I have written, as an example, about an event the CCP launched for EVE Online, told the story of my own experience with that even, and given my opinion about said event, all in a single post.  Rare is the post that does not have an opinion, stated or implied.

But the posts generally are written for one reason, and the other two may or may not tag along.  So that EVE Online event post example would be “A thing happened” primarily.  But you can tell which is which by what the theme is based on; a story, some facts, an opinion.

Promptapalooza and a Quote of the Day

It is August, which means it should be Blaugust, but since we effectively did that in April (which was Blapril), Belghast decided, based on some feedback, that encouraging people to post every day for another month might be too taxing on some.  So, instead, we have Promptapalooza, where each of the participants gets a writing prompt to drive a post.

August means some sort of Blaugust

Yesterday was Everwake’s turn, which involved rituals.  You should go and take a look. Today it is my turn, and my prompt is:

  • What is a favorite Quote/s, and tell us why

This seems like a bespoke prompt for me as somebody who has a blog category devoted to quotes.  (Reminder: If you click on that link, you need to scroll down as this post will appear first, being the latest post about quotes.)

And I certainly have a lot of quotes to choose from, ranging from some Smed classics (there is a whole Smed tag to look at) to Chris Roberts and optimism of developers to Derek Smart and his own influence to some Gevlon staples to perennial developer complaints and F2P discussions and prescient quotes about the genre so on.  Lots of things to work with.

But I am going to go with a quote that I have used before but has never quite made it to the Quote of the Day status.

Being an elf doesn’t make you turn off the rational economic calculator part of your brain.

Edward Castronova

Dr. Castronova is known in our circles for his study of virtual worlds… though “synthetic worlds” seems to be the vogue term at the moment… and their economies, often covered by his posts at Terra Nova and on his own blog, both of which has been pretty quiet for some time now.  He has written a lot of interesting, thought provoking, and occasionally wildly optimistic things about video games over the years, but I like this one the best.

I like it best because it explains a lot of player behavior.

We will tend to do things in order to maximize our progress, however we choose to measure it. There are always exceptions, but that tends to be the way of things.  We will work towards the things we are focused on and do the things that reward us in the ways that we most desire.  Currency, kill board stats, battleground achievements, levels, whatever is our prime motivator, that is where we put our efforts, and we will focus on this things that most optimize the best results for us.

Why do the immortal god-like capsuleers of New Eden shoot NPCs in anomalies?  It is the easiest way to earn ISK, which is the foundation needed for other activities.  Why did we rush off to do battle grounds in Warhammer Online?  That was the fastest way to level up to get into the “good” content, the city raids and such.

The problem is that we live in this world and not the world of our games, and are driven by the desires and needs and goal we have here and not by what our character, elf, orc, capsuleer, or otherwise, might find as their own motivation if we were able to give them life and consciousness.

So it goes.

Next on the list for Promptapalooze is Stignite at The Friendly Necromancer.  Go visit their site tomorrow to see which prompt they got for the event.

Others taking a crack at this prompt:

Blaugust Promptapalooza Arrives

August is here, which usually brings with it the Blaugust festival of blogging event.

However, as I mentioned at the tail end of yesterday’s post, we already did Blaugust back in April… Blapril… because everybody was home, pandemic, free time, blah blah blah.  And not everybody is up to doing an event like that two times a year.  So, instead, we will be having the Blaugust Promptapalooza.

August means some sort of Blaugust

The plan, which is laid out in detail by Belghast, is to have a chain of posts, each connecting back to the previous blog that posted and linking out to the next one on the list.  A set of writing prompts were handed out to those who raised their hand over on the Blaugust Discord, but those were optional.  If you didn’t like what you were issued, you could go with something else.  And, if you saw one you liked you could jump right in and write about it as well.  The prompt list is linked from Belghast’s post.

I happened to get one that fit in with me, so ran with it.  I’ve already written it and it will hit later this week.

The list of blogs currently participating, and the dates of their posts are:

You can see me tucked in there on the 5th of the month.

So look for this coming to a blog near you in August.

Have You Ever Question Time

There was a quiz over at Contains Moderate Peril, which was grabbed from Ace Asunder, where it had been borrowed from RNG, who got it originally from Vamp It Up Manchester, which probably makes it more of a UK thing, but it had a few questions I though might lead to amusing anecdotes about which to write, so I figured I would swipe it next.

Now that we have established the lineage of the quiz, let’s jump straight into the questions.

Driven or been driven at 100 mph/160 kmh?

Yes.  While the speed limits on US highways top out at about 70 MPH most places, there are plenty of long runs of road where you can get up to speed.  Also, cars tend to have the most ridiculously optimistic speedometers.  My Toyota speedometer measures out to 160 MPH, a speed it could only attain if you pushed it out of an airplane.

I think the first time I hit that speed was shortly after I got my drivers license.  My grandmother would let me use her car, a 1970 Buick Electra 225 with the 455 CID engine. (7.5L for those who measure in that way.)  It was a mighty motor, with more torque than a sane man ever needs, and I once laid a 70 foot long patch of smoking rubber on the pavement in front of a friends house.

It looked something like this… image borrowed from the internet

One evening I got onto highway 85 and nobody was on the road, so I decided to see if I could peg the speedometer, because I was a 16 year old boy in command of two tons of iron with a powerful engine.  I was well past 100 MPH by the time I passed Fremont Blvd and let off the gas to let it wind down so I could take the exit to highway 280 and fill up the gas tank.  I think I blew through almost a quarter tank getting that brick up to speed.  Gas was $1.29 a gallon at the time, which seemed expensive at the time.

Learned a possibly deadly skill?

I spent summers on my grandparents farm where I learned several skills that might fall into that category, the most obvious being how to handle and shoot firearms.  It is just a thing in the country.  At eight years old I was judged worthy of being sat with a bolt action .22 rifle and a baby food jar full of bird shot to pick off the starlings that would peck at the figs on the big tree my grandfather had planted.  I was paid 25 cents a head.  I also learned how to handle poison gas bombs for the ground squirrels and traps and a few other things.  I was, however, not allowed to get within six feet of the table saw in the barn because that was dangerous.

Ridden in a helicopter? Gone zip lining? Been Bungie Jumping?

I am going to lump these three together because they are all negative answers.

Been to an NFL game or Ice Hockey?

I have lived within reasonable driving distance of two NFL teams, the San Francisco 49ers and the Oakland Raiders, all of my life and I have never been to an NFL game. (The Raiders are leaving for Las Vegas though, so my opportunities will soon be reduced by 50%.)  NFL teams only play 8 home games a year, the stadiums are huge and crowded, the tickets are expensive, and I am not a fan.

I have been to many NHL games.  We have a professional team in San Jose, the Sharks, though I even went to a California Seals game back in the day.  I have also been to major league baseball, NBA basketball, and MLS soccer games as we have teams in the SF Bay Area close by.  Just never an NFL game.

Watched Dr Who?

PBS during my childhood seemed to entirely consist of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, Sesame Street, nature documentaries, pledge drives, and television from the UK, including  Doctor Who.  I watched a lot of Tom Baker episodes and some of the Peter Davidson episodes.  If you ask me who my doctor is, the answer will always be Tom Baker.  If Gandalf were a time lord, he would be the Tom Baker version of the doctor.

Been to Canada?

I’ve been close enough to see Canada, but I have never actually been into Canada.  I’ve been to Minnesota, and that’s about the same, right?

Visited Disney?

Disneyland is an hour flight away.  You can hardly avoid it.  I have been a bunch of times, twice for company events where we left in the morning, flew down for the day, and got back home that nights.  I am also just old enough to have gone as a kid when they still had tickets, so saw the “E Ticket” of legend. That said, I am not a big fan and it is hugely expensive these days.  My daughter complains that we never go, but she has been to Hawaii more times than most people ever will.

I have also been to Disney World in Florida once and on a Disney cruise.  That mouse is everywhere.

Visited an actual castle?

That depends on what you call a castle I suppose.  I’ve been on forts and fortifications and in a palace or two.  But not a medieval castle, that being what I imagine the question is getting at, as that wasn’t really a thing where I live.  I did find an arrow head once though.

Visited Vegas?

Vegas is a 90 minute flight away and the location where many conventions and events take place.  I have been many times. (I’ve posted here about going to EVE Vegas at least five times.)  It is bright and shiny and colorful with some good places to eat.  But if you don’t really drink or gamble it can lose its edge pretty fast.  Also, the dirty, seedy underbelly of the whole thing is pretty visible if you start looking for it.  I enjoy the first day I go and am generally ready to leave by the end of the second.

The hardest thing for me about Vegas is that they allow smoking everywhere.  I’m from California where smoking in public is only allowed in very specific pariah zones.

Eaten alone at a restaurant?

I am not sure why this is even a question.  Yes.  Many times.  I see people do it all the time, though I am not one of those people who sets up a nest with a good book in a corner booth, but if I was alone and needed to eat I wouldn’t think twice about eating alone in a restaurant.  This must be one of those English things where they are always looking for something else about which to feel embarrassed.

Played an instrument?

I took trumpet lessons in school in 4th grade.  I wasn’t any good and didn’t have any passion for it.  I am pretty sure I just wanted to get out of class for an hour one day a week.

Ridden a motorcycle?

Yes, in the form of a dirt bike out on the farm mentioned above.  It was fun then, but I have no desire to ride one now.  I’ve seen what happens when cars and motorcycles collide.  If there was a question about seeing a dead body, my answer would involve a motorcycle accident I witnessed.

Ridden a horse?

Again, on the farm.  My grandparents didn’t have horses, but the neighboring farm did, so I got to ride a bit back then.  It wasn’t a big deal to me.  A dirt bike is more exciting to a young male I suppose.

Been skiing/snowboarding?

I have been skiing.  My stepmother liked to ski and so we went once or twice a year when I was a kid.  It was a very yuppie sport, expensive and inconvenient, and while I enjoyed it some at the time, when it came to the point that I had to pay in order to participate I stopped completely.

Gone to a festival?

Yes.  Maybe.  I am divining what these means from context, which is a multi-day musical event.  But I’ve only gone for one of the days, so does that count?

Driven a stick shift?

My first three cars were manual transmission.  By the time I got to the fourth car I was commuting daily across the valley in stop and go traffic and got tired of “rowing the boat” constantly, so went for automatic transmissions after that.  But hell, even F1 cars have paddle shifters now, which is something you add to an automatic transmission.

Ridden in a police car?

I have been frisked up against a police car, but never invited inside.  I have ridden in a fire engine though.  When the SFFD took over administration of Treasure Island in SF Bay and friend of my aunt’s drove us around the island in one of the fire trucks.  It was loud, even without the siren going.

Driven a boat?

A few times.  No particular stories to go with this though.  We live near the ocean and a huge bay and a freshwater delta and a series of lakes and reservoirs, so the opportunities are at hand.  Going water skiing in the delta was a thing when I was a kid.

Eaten Escargot?

No.  I poison snails I see, but don’t see the need to consume them.  I have plenty of more palatable food at hand.

Been on a cruise?

My step-mother again, she loves cruises and goes on a few a year.  Her and my father have brought the whole family along a few times.  As a floating hotel that brings you to the next destination while you sleep they are fine I suppose.  The food aspect is overrated to my mind.

The best cruise was probably on the Freedom of the Seas, which was the largest cruise ship in the world when we went.  That ship had a lot of space and things to do.  I enjoyed just being at sea on that one.  The Disney cruise was good too, all the more so if you have kids.  The rest have been on Carnival ships, which are okay but not as much fun.  I’d go again, but I am not interested enough to plan it myself and I’d rather go sit on the beach in Hawaii or by the pool somewhere, it being cheaper, more relaxing, and less crowded.

Been on TV?

In a couple of crowd scenes on the news.  Nothing that would have had my presence noted.

Been in a paper/book/magazine?

I was quoted once in the local paper when asked some questions by a cub reporter who then printed what they felt I should have said rather than what I actually said, much to my annoyance.  The problem with the news is that every story I have been personally involved with has had significant material errors and the reporting team doesn’t really seem to care.  If the news has a bad reputation these days, it is in part their own fault.

Eaten Sushi?

I live in California.  You cannot drive two miles without passing a sushi place.  I am a peasant and like things like California Roll and the Shrimp Tempura Roll, but I’ll eat sashimi.  Raw fish, fine.  Snails, no.

Seen a UFO?

Literally, I have seen many things flying I couldn’t identify.  Flying saucers or space aliens from other planets however, no.

Rescued an animal?

Out on the farm, depending on how you want to count rescue.  There were a whole series of dogs who showed up in various states of repair, hung around for the summer, and disappeared of their own accord.  A few cats too.

Met someone rather famous?

I like the modifier “rather” in this question.  It is a very English affectation, like you might not be expect to have brushed up against real fame, just some lesser degree of it.

We occasionally talk about famous people at family events and I always find it amusing who focuses on what sort of fame.  It seems to be divided up between sports stars, musicians, movie and television stars, and then there I am talking about tech luminaries.  So when it is my turn I always bring up that I have met and conversed with Steve Wozniak a few times.  But if you need somebody in one of the other categories, I got to talk with Bob Weir of The Grateful Dead a few times as he was something of a Macintosh enthusiast back in the late 80s/early 90s.

The Labors of Blapril

April is over, more than two weeks gone at this point… not sure how that happen so fast… and with it went Blapril, which encompassed the book end weeks before and after April.  So it is probably time to sum that up and move on.  Belghast already has his event summary up, so I am lagging behind as usual.

The Blapril went

For the six week run that was Blapril I managed to post 43 times, which adds up to once a day with one additional post.  That was more than enough to qualify me for the rainbow award, which went to people who posted 31 times during the event.

The Rainbow Award

Out of the 48 people who participated in Blaugust in some way, 20 of us made it to the 31 post mark, with Bhagpuss topping the list with 48 posts.

There were clearly some of the usual suspects on that list, myself included, who post regularly, if not daily, most of the time anyway.  But there were also some who pushed themselves to get in that many posts.

While most of my own posts were just me rambling on in the navel gazing way to which I have become accustomed, I did spend a bit of time focused on Blapril topics.

That, for me, is a lot of posts for this sort of event.  I tent to wander off on my own.

As for lessons learned… I think there is something to be said about how the pandemic is affecting us all in different ways.  Blapril was very much a reaction to the strange days we find ourselves in and, while some things seem to be close to universal… how oddly long March felt and yet how fast time has seemed to go by since gets echoed a lot… we’re all in out own little worlds with our own special problems.  As I pointed out in my post on motivation, I am actually busier than usual and that working from home all the time, sitting at my desk there all day, has actually diminished my gaming and writing time as, by the end of the day, I want to get up and go somewhere else.

So my drafts folder has filled up with post ideas and starting paragraphs, but actually finding the time and motivation to finish a post has been difficult some days.  Some bigger posts have been lingering, waiting for me to get back to them while I crank out some shorter items, often at the last minute.  It is one of those things that I wouldn’t be surprised if nobody else noticed a change, but I see it.

The sameness of the days and the new at home all the time routine bleeds into the sameness of the games I generally play, leading to a desire to break routines.  But routines are also the structure that keeps me going some days.  So there was no doubt some good and bad in the extra bit of pressure that Blapril brought.  But some people found it too much, and I can understand that.

So it sounds like Blaugust will be different this year based on feedback.  Some ideas are being bounced around and I fear that July and the gateway to Blaugust will be upon us before we know it.

But for now we celebrate Blapril and all of those who joined in.  The official final list of blogs:

I think for Blaugust I will put my other blog on the list.  It could use a bit more traffic and screen shot posts count these days.

My Top Five Most Viewed Posts Year by Year

Something of a follow-on to last Saturday’s post about the top five most viewed posts over the life of the blog.  Something of a Blapril thing in this last moment of the official Blapril season.

The Blapril commeth

I started looking at this as I was writing the last post, but decided to hold it as a separate entry, in part because that post was long enough already but also because I think this imparts different information.

The top five posts over the life of the blog is burdened by the inertia of past years.  As I noted, four of the top five have been in the top five for most of the life of the blog.  They were:

  1. Play On: Guild Name Generator
  2. Running Civilization II on Windows 7 64-bit
  3. How To Find An Agent in EVE Online
  4. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  5. How to Catch Zorua and Zoroark

But looking at the top five post in a given year, I think that might give a better look at what was going on in a given year as opposed to what got crazy views for any given year.  So lets go back and see what was popular in past years:

2006 – The Blog Begins

  1. EVEMon 1.1.4 Released
  2. EVEMon 1.1.6 Released
  3. Portal to the Commonlands
  4. PowerColor Radeon x1950 AGP Review
  5. Five Features Blizzard Should Steal From EverQuest II

This was the chaos era of the blog where I hadn’t decided really what to blog about, so was all over the map.  I was playing EVE Online and had discovered EVE Mon.  That “review” is just a link to a review at a site that no longer exits and which the Wayback Machine seems to have lost.  As for the five features, I might choose a few different ones now.

2007 – The First Full Year

  1. Play On: Guild Name Generator
  2. PowerColor Radeon x1950 AGP Review
  3. Tabula Rasa Beta Forum Access!
  4. x1950 AGP vs ATi2dvag
  5. Rejected Arasai Character Model

There is the first appearance of the top all time post.  More about that video card, which I apparently bought.  Tabula Rasa beta forums?  And that last one was linked in an EverQuest II news update on the official site.  That was back when somebody thought blogs mattered I guess.

2008 – Settling In

  1. Play On: Guild Name Generator
  2. How To Find An Agent in EVE Online
  3. EVE Online – The Tutorial
  4. 2008 MMORPG Progdictionations
  5. Is There Hope for a Science Fiction MMORPG?

And now the top two all time and one contender are on the list.  My first annual predictions post.  See, that post was popular at some point before I beat it to death!  And a bit of serious writing about SciFi and why putting a fantasy skin on it isn’t working.  I should go revisit that as I would argue we’re still not there yet.

2009 – Pokemon Posts Show Up

  1. Play On: Guild Name Generator
  2. How To Find An Agent in EVE Online
  3. Shaymin Event at Toys R Us
  4. Regigigas Event at Toys R Us
  5. Rotom Secret Key Event

The top two abide while Pokemon event posts gain the favor of Google.  Remember those download events?  Remember Toy R Us?

2010 – Chang in the Wind

  1. How To Find An Agent in EVE Online
  2. Arceus Event Annouced!
  3. Play On: Guild Name Generator
  4. Heroic Deadmines!
  5. Pokewalker Yellow Forest WiFi Event

The guild name generator is finally down the list a bit, though agents in EVE Online are still a pain to find.  More Pokemon events and the promise of a heroic version of the Deadmines for Cataclysm.  A pity it didn’t live up to the original.

2011 – MOAR Pokemons

  1. First Pokemon Black and White Download Event – Victini
  2. How to Catch Zorua and Zoroark
  3. Download Mythical Celebi at GameStop
  4. Play On: Guild Name Generator
  5. Shiny Pokemon Events Coming to GameStop in January

So yeah, Pokemon was a thing.  It is years like this that I wonder if I should write more about Pokemon, not so much for page views as because apparently people want to read about it.  Did I actually have a Pokemon following here, and has it died off due to lack of posts?  Also, the agent finder showed up in EVE Online, so that post fell off.

2012 – The Peak

  1. Diablo III vs. Torchlight II – A Matter of Details
  2. Running Civilization II on Windows 7 64-bit
  3. How to Catch Zorua and Zoroark
  4. World of Warcraft Magazine – Issue 2
  5. Hulkageddon V: Unholy Union – Coming Soon

The blog is as popular as it is ever going to be.  The Civ II post shows up, but it was that Diablo III vs Torchlight II post that seemed to piss people off.  Then the leading Pokemon post of all time, followed by the Official World of Warcraft Magazine.  I have all five issues still plus the apology pets for shutting it down.  And Hulkageddon.  That hasn’t been a thing for a long time.

2013 – Google Turns Its Back

  1. April Fools at Blizzard – 2013
  2. Running Civilization II on Windows 7 64-bit
  3. 6VDT-H – The Biggest Battle in EVE History Ends the War in Fountain
  4. Considering Star Wars Galaxies Emulation? Better Grab a Disk!
  5. Type 59 Being Pulled from the World of Tanks Store

That April Fools post is still the single largest day for page views on the blog.  The Fountain War ended with a huge battle while the two competing SWG emulators were being cautious about letting you just download the client.  And then there was World of Tanks and the Type 59.  I get a link to that post from the WoT forums every once in a while to this day.

2014 – Insta Levels Become a Thing

  1. The Mighty Insta-90 Question – Which Class to Boost?
  2. Running Civilization II on Windows 7 64-bit
  3. Blizzard Isn’t Giving You a Free Copy of Warlords of Draenor
  4. Level 85 in EverQuest… Now What?
  5. Considering Star Wars Galaxies Emulation? Better Grab a Disk!

Warlords of Draenor hype and insta levels were being discussed.  That EverQuest post still gets a bit of traction now and then because it still isn’t obvious what you should do or where you should go when you do boost up.

2015 – Decline Sets In

  1. Considering Star Wars Galaxies Emulation? Better Grab a Disk!
  2. The Mighty Insta-90 Question – Which Class to Boost?
  3. LOTRO and the Great Server Merge
  4. Running Civilization II on Windows 7 64-bit
  5. Level 85 in EverQuest… Now What?

When four of the top five posts for one year are from past years, that is a sign that things are headed down hill for your traffic.

2016 – Even WoW is in Decline Now

  1. WoW and the Case for Subscription Numbers
  2. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  3. Running Civilization II on Windows 7 64-bit
  4. Executive Outcomes Leaves The Imperium
  5. Pre-Ordering WoW Legion at a Discount

That was the summer of Blizzard’s discontent, when Warlords of Draenor popularity collapsed and they decided they would never speak of subscription numbers again.  There was some hope in Legion and you can see some nostalgia influence as Alamo, a post from 2009, makes its first appearance in the top five.

2017 – Pokemon Revival

  1. April Fools at Blizzard 2017 – Not Much to Talk About
  2. From Alola Pokedex to National Pokedex in Pokemon Sun
  3. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  4. Where the Hell is that EverQuest Successor Already?
  5. Pokemon Lycanroc event at GameStop

Write about Pokemon, get page views.  This seems to be a thing.  Also the eternal question about another EverQuest was alive.

2018 – April Fools Remains an Anchor

  1. April Fools at Blizzard 2018 is Mostly Just World of Warcraft
  2. From Alola Pokedex to National Pokedex in Pokemon Sun
  3. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  4. Burn Jita Back for 2018
  5. Rumors of Future Daybreak Projects and the End of EverQuest

April Fools tops the list again, but how long will it remain popular?  Not much longer if Blizz continues to waver on the idea.  Burn Jita was a thing, as was that Daybreak rumors post on Reddit that said they were going to stop development on EQ and EQII.  While that didn’t come to pass, there is some truth in the idea that the team would have to stop working on them to even come close to having the resources to make a new MMORPG.

2019 – Nostalgia Rules

  1. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  2. How Many People Play EVE Online?
  3. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  4. April Fools at Blizzard 2019 is Pretty Much No Fools
  5. What Should EverQuest 3 Even Look Like?

A ten year old post about a silly item from the old WoW forums tops the list.  Nostalgia is a thing.  People were also interested in how many people played EVE Online, finding a warm ocean in Minecraft, and some meager April Fools.  Once again though, going on about the future of the EverQuest franchise made the list.  There might be something in that… I mean, besides the obvious nostalgia factor.

Lessons?

I suppose you can say that I should write more about Pokemon, April Fools, and the future of the EverQuest franchise.

You might also wonder how the top all time post only made the cut for five out of thirteen years.  But the years it did make it, those were big years for page views and it was way out in front for a lot of those years.

Also, as page views decline older posts that Google likes tend to dominate the top five.  I thought about doing the top ten for each year because that tends to bring in a few more posts from the given year, but that would just make the post much longer and would break from the whole “Top 5” idea that was going on.

As for 2020, Alamo is out in front already, followed by the search for a warm ocean in Minecraft.  The only thing new there is April Fools of course, and it is in fifth position as April Fools really fell down this year.  I suppose a world wide pandemic will do that.

A Flawed Profile in Gamer Motivation

Another set of shared posts started in the Blapril Discord channel around the Nick Yee/Quadratic Foundry gamer motivation profile quiz, and I was going to simply give it a pass.  After all, I had done that back in 2015 and then again as part of Blaugust last year.

But then I read the post from Bhagpuss on the whole thing and decided that I needed to take the quiz again right then and there if only to prove a point or two.  So I opened up a fresh Chrome session in privacy mode and ran off to take the quiz.  I already have a profile there but didn’t want to be tainted by anything I had done in the past.

One quiz later and the results were mine.  I am “Aggressive, Spontaneous, Gregarious, and Grounded” according to my answers.

My profile summary graph – May 2020

Just eight months back during Blaugust I was “Calm, Driven, Gregarious, and Grounded,” and had this chart.

My profile summary graph – August 2019

And about four years earlier, back in June 2015, I was “Calm, Spontaneous, and Grounded,” according to my answers, with the following graph.

My profile summary graph – June 2015

I guess there is a common theme in “grounded,” though that may be due to wearing a static strap while taking the quiz.  You cannot be too careful!

So what is going on here?  Is the quiz garbage?  Am I a liar, and an inconsistent one at that?

Maybe some of both?

That the quiz is garbage isn’t a hill I am willing to die on.  But I will stick with the idea that the quiz, like much in the realm of the social sciences, is trying to measure complex things via simple parameters.

And while I am demonstrably an unreliable narrator when I speak of my own motivations, I would contend that is because said motivations are not simple, but are often complicated, interdependent, and contextual.

So when I get a question like this about story absent any sort of context, there isn’t really any clear choice.

How important is this to me?

In a lot of games it isn’t important, or it is something that is organic to the game and develops over time.  There isn’t a whole lot of story in RimWorld or Civilzation V or Minecraft other than what you make.

In other games, like EverQuest II, there is a lot of rich story going on that I tend to skip pass.  I am at the quest giver saying, “Cool story bro, but just tell me who you need killed already.”  I honestly cannot tell you any of the big story arcs for any of the expansions in any but the most simple terms, if at all.

I am a little better in World of Warcraft, where I can at least tell you the major plot line of most of the expansions, but I still tend to read the quest objectives on the way rather than listening to any NPC tales.  Just give me the damn quest Anduin!

But in a game like Diablo III I am all about the story, which is part of why the post story seasons don’t do much for me.  Slaughter and levels upon levels and piles of gold don’t mean much as the context in which the really mattered has passed.

So if I am playing a Civ game, it is not important, if I am playing Diablo III it is extremely important, and if I am playing WoW or LOTRO is is somewhat important.  So what is my answer supposed to be then?  As with a lot of questions I went for the middle ground, which you can interpret as a shoulder shrug and append the phrase, “I guess” to the end.

And that is how I felt about a lot of the quiz.  Absent the anchor of a specific situation, my answer is always going to feel uncertain.  It is like asking me how important strawberries are to me.  I like strawberries, and they seem essential if we’re talking about a strawberry shortcake or strawberries and cream, but maybe less so if we’re talking about nuclear proliferation or civil rights.

It is thus easy to argue yourself into the position that everything on the list is not important at all.  Nobody is going to die if the storyline of your game is insufficiently elaborate.

Without context the questions are meaningless, and the quiz is no fun if you you just wet blanket the whole thing, so what happens to me is that I start to think of context where the thing in question is more or less important to me.

But those are all thoughts of the moment, and if I took the quiz in another two weeks I bet I would come up with a different set of contexts that would alter my answers.  I took the quiz less than an hour ago and, as an example, I cannot remember what came to my mine around this question regarding being an agent of chaos.

Not an Agent of KAOS

Right now I can come up with context that get me to any of the response options, but I cannot even recall the answer I gave, which at least implies I did not weigh it heavily.  It was very much in the moment.  And given that the only common thread in my three results is being “grounded,” which sounds like the opposite of being an agent of chaos, I almost feel like there should be a slider for how serious an answer should be taken.

I think the only thing I picked as extremely important was about explosions and blowing things up, which was probably my most visceral response.  But I don’t know how much of an indicator it really is.  Blowing things up for me tends to apply mostly to EVE Online or maybe Minecraft when I have some dynamite.

At the end of the quiz, once you get your score, you can then go to the game recommendations page.  My theory is that if you have answered all the questions correctly… yeah, what does that even mean… the recommendation results should include at least a few games you know and like in the top results.  According to the site, the results are based on the favorite games of the 1,000 people whose answers were closest to your own, so it gets around the whole “is the quiz even valid” and gets straight to “garbage in, garbage out” for results.

For the last two sets of answers I got the following recommendations:

Balanced (2020 / 2019):

  1. Elite: Dangerous / No Man’s Sky
  2. Borderlands 3 / FTL: Faster Than Light
  3. Factorio / ARK: Survival Evolved
  4. Subnautica / Factorio
  5. Fallout Shelter / Cities: Skylines
  6. Kerbal Space Program / Subnautica
  7. Portal (series) / Terraria
  8. Civilization (series) / Portal (series)
  9. Rise of the Tomb Raider / RuneScape
  10. Half-Life 2 / The Sims (series)

Not completely off the mark I suppose.  I own a bunch of those games, and certainly Civilization would make the cut and I guess RuneScape is an MMORPG, but there is nothing on the list I am playing a lot of lately.

“Balanced” refers to the relative popularity of a given title in people’s lists overall.  You can also see just “Popular” games or you can open it up to “Niche” games.  Going with “Popular” makes the list less likely for me. The Fallout series dominates as individual titles.

Going with “Niche” does get my Lord of the Rings Online on one list, and RimWorld makes the other, but it puts Cookie Clicker at the top of one of them and WTF is that doing on any list of mine?

Now I am curious to know what answers would get me to EVE Online or World of Warcraft as a top ten recommendation, even in the “Niche” category.  I want to reverse engineer this, to figure out which buttons I need to click to get an answer that matches a game I am currently playing and then evaluate whether those answers really fit me, even if it is only in the context of a specific game.

All of which seems to make this quiz and its results a good conversation piece or a starting point for some self-reflection, but it doesn’t seem to provide anything that one might qualify as a solid answer

Anyway, if you want to see the results and responses from other bloggers, Jeromai over at Why I Game has the list of links you are looking for.

My Top Five Most Viewed Posts

As tends to happen with blogger events, topics come up and become memes within the event with bloggers picking up the topic and running with it.  For Blapril the latest relates to some talk about blog traffic, namely the top five most viewed posts.

The Blapril commeth

Blapril is still live through the coming week, and I still have one more post about it, but I figured I could jump in on this idea as well.

Well, technically, I have already jumped in on this idea in the past.  The annual commemoration of the founding of the blog sees me post all sorts of meaningless information about the blog, including the most viewed posts over the life of the blog.  It is when I bare all the stats.  The last time around was for the 13th anniversary which hit last September.

At that time the top five posts for all time were:

  1. Play On: Guild Name Generator
  2. Running Civilization II on Windows 7 64-bit
  3. How To Find An Agent in EVE Online
  4. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  5. How to Catch Zorua and Zoroark

That has actually changed slightly over the past seven months.  The same five posts are at the top, with the order being adjusted.

  1. Play On: Guild Name Generator – 65,769 views
  2. Running Civilization II on Windows 7 64-bit – 55,530 views
  3. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID! – 42,962 views
  4. How To Find An Agent in EVE Online – 40,210 views
  5. How to Catch Zorua and Zoroark – 36,188 views

The first post is from August 2007 and was perhaps the first headline of mine that Google grabbed onto, boosting it to the top back then, with enough traffic to sustain it.  The post is also the quintessential example of low effort, high popularity having taken about a minute to crank out the not quite 150 words that surrounded the link to the actual guild name generator.

The second is another Google special, as people to this day still type in searches asking about running Civilization II on 64-bit.  Even though it is from 2011, the info in that post is actually still applicable, as it works with Win10 as well.  And it no doubt says something about how solid Civ II was that I still get traffic on this today, 24 years after it launched.  At least this was a post I put some actual work into.

Then there is the Alamo post, which I put together on a whim back in 2009 because Meclin used to love that Alamo forum post.  This one was a slower burn and is the one on the list that doesn’t rely on Google search results.  Instead, it is one of those things where one person uses a search engine to find it, then posts it somewhere on Reddit, and the traffic comes from that.  With the coming of WoW Classic and the related nostalgia, this post has been getting a lot of Reddit links and I expect it will one day top the all time list.  While I put some effort into putting together this post, it was basically copying somebody else’s work to preserve it.

How to Find an Agent in EVE Online was very popular for a stretch and actually represented some work I put in to help the EVE Online community.  It was popular back in 2007 when I wrote it because finding an agent was, like so many things in the game, an absurdly difficult thing to do.  CCP eventually made this better with a “Find Agents” button that brought up an easy to use (in EVE terms at least) search window… and then they made it a bit worse with The Agency interface, but it is still not as bad as it once was.  This post gets almost no traffic now and has been falling down the list as time goes on.

Then there is a Pokemon post.  If I expanded to the top 50, there would be a lot of Pokemon posts on the list like this one, that related to specific events happening in specific versions of the series.  Google loved my Pokemon posts and sent a lot of people here for them.  They were often short lived.  This one related only to Pokemon Black & White, which again puts the post back in 2011.  But for a brief flash they were quite popular.  If you wanted make a blog to just get a lot of traffic you could do a lot worse than covering Pokemon related news.

The most recent post on that list is from October of 2011.  They have an advantage in that was also a time when the blog was still getting more popular as time went along, things peaking in early 2013, at which point Google made some changes to their search results that directly impacted blogs.  So those posts were in at the peak time and have had longevity on their side.

This made me wonder what the top posts were back then, so I went back to some of my old annual posts to get the all time tops from past years, just to see how that top five evolved.

Back in 2009, three years into the blog, there were already two of the current five on the list:

  1. Play On: Guild Name Generator
  2. How To Find An Agent in EVE Online
  3. Shaymin Event at Toys R Us
  4. Getting Upper Blackrock Spire Access
  5. What Is A “Tank” In EVE?

Also there is a Pokemon event post.  And the Blackrock Spire post remained pretty popular over the years, as it currently sits at 11th place on the all time list.

At the four year mark the top two remained solid:

  1. Play On: Guild Name Generator
  2. How To Find An Agent in EVE Online
  3. Getting Upper Blackrock Spire Access
  4. Five LEGO Video Game Titles I Want
  5. Is There Hope for a Science Fiction MMORPG?

At five years, which puts us in 2011, we have three of the current top five:

  1. Play On: Guild Name Generator
  2. How To Find An Agent in EVE Online
  3. How to Catch Zorua and Zoroark
  4. Getting Upper Blackrock Spire Access
  5. Fighting Blood Elf Porn

With 2012 and six years of blogging, four of the current top five are now present:

  1. Play On: Guild Name Generator
  2. How To Find An Agent in EVE Online
  3. How to Catch Zorua and Zoroark
  4. EVE Online – The Tutorial
  5. Running Civilization II on Windows 7 64-bit

In 2013, with the peak of the blog having passed, the top five actually includes a post from that year:

April 1, 2013 remains the best ever day for page views on the blog.  It has all been down hill from there.

At year eight and the start of the decline, still just four of the current top five.

  1. Play On: Guild Name Generator
  2. Running Civilization II on Windows 7 64-bit
  3. How To Find An Agent in EVE Online
  4. How to Catch Zorua and Zoroark
  5. First Pokemon Black and White Download Event – Victini

But there are two Pokemon even posts on the list.  See.

Nine years in things are still running along with the same top four, but there was enough Blizzard April Fools nostalgia to push the 2013 post back into the top five:

  1. Play On: Guild Name Generator
  2. Running Civilization II on Windows 7 64-bit
  3. How To Find An Agent in EVE Online
  4. How to Catch Zorua and Zoroark
  5. April Fools at Blizzard – 2013

That same list holds true for 2016 and the ten year anniversary, so I won’t post it again.  But the fifth entry, the Alamo post, is finally in the top ten, hitting 8th position.

The list is again the same for 2017, and the Alamo post is down at 10th spot.  Something must come along to give it a boost… like maybe the announcement two months later of WoW Classic.  November 2017 see it get 5,200 page views.

In 2018 the list changes just a bit as a Pokemon post gets a revival.  But Alamo is now in 6th position and closing.

  1. Play On: Guild Name Generator
  2. Running Civilization II on Windows 7 64-bit
  3. How To Find An Agent in EVE Online
  4. How to Catch Zorua and Zoroark
  5. First Pokemon Black and White Download Event – Victini

Which brings us to the 2019 list, which I posted way up the page, and the current top five.

Basically inertia and Google have kept four posts in the top five all time since 2012.  And, honestly, I do not see the current top five list changing any time soon.  The next post in line, the Victini post, which gets a sudden bump in traffic any time Nintendo mentions that Pokemon, sits in sixth place and about 3,000 page views behind.  Then there is a whole clump of posts about 5,000 page views back from it, which seems like a pretty difficult gap to bridge given the decline in traffic.

It isn’t impossible.  The most viewed posts for the last couple of years have clocked in at around 12,000.  But this year looks like it will fall short of that… except for Alamo.  WoW Classic nostalgia and posts to Reddit keep driving that post up.  It has nearly 12,000 page views already this year, about 10x the Blizzard April Fools post for this year, which fell flatter than usual.  If that keeps going it might go up another spot.  But beyond that, I think I am stuck with this top five for a long time to come.

Others who have taken part in this post topic:

Seeing that last one, I considered doing a bottom five as well.  However, WP.com will only show me the top 499 posts and, closing in on the 5,500 post mark here, that only lets me see the top 10% of posts.  So the top five will have to do.

I am glad now that I spent the time every year compiling these lists, though in reviewing them the seem a bit wonky at times.  That Victini post shows up and disappears.  I suspect that WP.com wasn’t fetching the full list at times.  But overall it lets me track the trends.

Blapril and Staying Motivated

We are now into week five of Blapril and week seven of staying home in my part of the country.

The Blapril commeth

This week’s topic is about motivation and keeping it going.

  • March 29th – April 4th – Blapril Prep Week
  • April 5th – April 11th – Topic Brainstorming Week
  • April 12th – April 18th – Getting to Know You Week
  • April 19th – April 25th – Developer/Creator Appreciation Week
  • April 26th – May 2nd – Staying Motivated Week
  • May 3rd – May 9th – Lessons Learned Week

And never was there a more on point topic to my mind.  Motivation is leaking out of me.  I feel tired all the time.  Were it not for some of the structure I have around my writing I might very well be blog fading.

And I feel a bit guilty about feeling like that.  Like a few other bloggers, I feel like I am one of the luckier ones in this season of pandemic.  I still have my job, I can do it from home fairly reliably, nobody in my family has caught the plague so far, and we have a sufficient supply of toilet paper and other essentials to carry on.

So what is the problem?

Even I, a pretty dedicated homebody, am starting to feel a bit of cabin fever.  This is not help by the fact that my wife’s job is essentially on hold, being on commission and all, and the school district is pretending to do “remote learning” which totals up to about 3 hours out of my daughter’s week, so the two of them… the outgoing pair in this house… are really feeling confined by this “stay at home” situation.  My daughter especially, being 18, a senior in high school, with a job, money, and a car at her disposal, she was really on her way to a fantastic senior year.

Now it is all shut down.  Stay at home, no prom, no grad night, no parties, no graduation, and it is feeling really unfair to her.  And that doesn’t even get to college starting.  She is dying to go away to school (and to get away from us, for which I cannot blame her) but, while the school is whistling a happy tune about everything being normal by the end of August, there is still a great deal of uncertainty as to how this will really play out.  So she is on edge and doesn’t have enough meaningful or fun things to occupy her, which also goes for my wife, so they end up clashing.  Even the cats are on edge.  They know something is wrong.

Meanwhile, I am very busy.  My company is very much in demand right now and there is a push to move features along faster to support our customers.  Working from home isn’t new to me, but I spend most of my work time at the office where I have a nice desktop machine with a big monitor.  I generally plan my weeks around getting stuff done at the office and doing follow ups and admin work at home.  But now I am always home, have more work, and everything at home takes me about 20% longer to do because my work laptop is dinky and I am prone to interruptions.

And in the midst of this I keep hearing about all the stuff I should be doing with copious amounts of free time I should have now.  Shakespeare invented calculus and Newton wrote Hamlet during plagues and all that.  Even at work HR has been filling my inbox with all sorts of suggestions about to use all these extra hours I am alleged to have.  So I am starting to feel like I must be missing something as I feel like I have less free time, not more.

So I am at my desk at home from when I get up until the afternoon begins to wane.  It isn’t a lot more time than I would spend normally, if you count the hour round trip that was my commute, but the commute was kind of down time, a step away into my car to listen to an audio book as I rolled home.  And after spending that much time at my desk, the urge to then stay there and play video games or write a blog post is pretty weak.  I want to get up and go somewhere else.

There is a pool of time in my day that goes towards video games and blogging, and that pool has grown more shallow, and mostly at the cost of gaming.  The joy of ManicTime tracking my time is that I see I’ve spent about half of the time playing as I did last month, the March of forever.

That eventually starts to impact my writing.  As I wrote about five years back, the two are intertwined, to the extent that one might speculate as to whether I game to blog or blog to game.  If I game less then there is less to feed my blogging and then I spend more time sifting for topics and putting something together which reinforces the cycle.

Meanwhile time seems to be speeding up.  March seemed to last forever, and we were only stuck at home for half of it, while April seems to have zipped on by.  Or at least the free time I can find seems to be moving at top speed, weekends slipping past in a blink.

This is about the point where I have dug myself deep enough into a hole that I should start telling you about how I got out.  A pity I don’t have a pithy line or easy strategy to share.  In fact, all I’ve got is that I find I have to buckle down and force myself to have some fun to relax.

I can still find a bit of peace, some relaxation, so escape, if I press through and actually play a game for a while.  There is this real reluctance to even both, a barrier of sorts that I have to get around or I’ll just sit there at my computer and look at the launch icons for WoW or EVE Online or Steam and then start reading the news or Twitter or, god forbid, Facebook.

If I can find a reason to log in, a mission, a goal, an op to go on, or something else I can immerse myself in, I can still find that bit of escape, the refreshment of not worrying about the present.  It can be like a splash of cold water on a warm afternoon. But, like everything else these days, it seems to require more effort than it should.

I am not sure that will help motivate anybody, but at least I am able to say that it is possible to find distraction, though you might have to try harder than usual.

Maybe reading another blog will be motivating, so I should link out to the Blapril participant list again.