Posted in Nerdy Things

The Lament of a Used Gamer

Once upon a time, I sat on the edge of my seat watching TV commercials for Final Fantasy X and Kingdom Hearts. I squealed with glee as the music and characters danced across the screen. As I waited for the games, I enjoyed reading any news I could get in my subscription of Electronic Gaming Monthly (is that still going?) and scrolled through DeviantArt for fan art.

Such was the excitement of yesteryear, because I have turned into a used gamer.

What can I say? I grew up. Bills have to be paid, groceries have to get bought and I have a full-time job. Time is not on my side when it comes to my video game hobby.

I dropped out of gaming during most of college, distracted by college and work. By the time the Playstation 4 was released, I hadn’t even touched a Playstation 3. Maybe I would have been better off skipping the PS3 altogether, but I couldn’t do it. I play games like I read books: in order. I wanted to know what all the hype with Assassin’s Creed was about and I wanted to play every Final Fantasy game I could get my hand on, regardless of reviews. There were even handheld Kingdom Hearts games re-released for the PS3. I HAD to play them all.

For the most part, life as a used gamer has been pretty easy. I kept entertaining the idea of buying a PS4, but never saw many games I was interested in. Sure, there were a few Assassin’s Creed games, but I had plenty to play through on the PS3 first. I was happy.

Then Final Fantasy XV was released.

I felt that old excitement rise up in me with each commercial. I wanted this game. I wanted to play it the day it was released and to discuss all the ins and outs with other fans of the game.

Do you know how much it it would cost to buy a PS4 and FFXV? Even if I buy both used, it’s more than $200. Now, I’ve spent $200 on worse items. Hell, I can remember a few in the past year or two. But I’ve learned my lesson. $200 is nothing to throw around. It’s a week or two’s worth of groceries, a monthly student loan payment, a car payment. Then there’s the fact that I will likely have a wedding to pay for in a year or two (if I don’t elope because weddings are stupid expensive) and would like to buy a house in the next 2 – 3 years.

There will be no Final Fantasy XV for me in the near future. I like my gaming hobby, but I’m keeping to my old and used games until my financial situation changes.

How much longer will it really be until a Playstation 5 is released?

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Posted in Planner Life

Journey to Planner Peace – Y2:M1

How many years does it take to reach planner peace? The world may never know, but I’ll be damned if I’m not going to try! 2017 marks my second year being fully immersed in planner culture. I started with a Passion Planner last year, which had its pros and cons. This year, I may have gone a little crazy, investing a lot of time and money into the creation of my own, custom planner.

I had a number of lofty goals for my 2017 planner. I wanted to be able to see all 24 hours of the day for each day. I wanted to be able to track my food intake, my mood and the weather, to see if there was any correlation between the three. I wanted to track chores and spending, to get more done and spend less money.

I did all that, for like a week. Then, life got busy and some of those sections suffered.

One month isn’t enough time to declare something a success or failure. Frankly, I might just be lazy. I’m going to double down on all those sections in February. After all I’ve invested in this planner, I’ll be damned if I’ll let myself use only half of it.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned on my path to planner peace this month is that it won’t be short. It will take years. I really don’t think there’s a way to know what parts of a planner will and won’t work for you until you’ve used it for a long period of time.

The second lesson I’ve learned is that you can’t beat yourself up over planner choices. In the great vastness of the internet, someone is using stickers more efficiently than you. Someone has a better planner than you. Perhaps there is even a person out there who has achieved planner peace. But today, my planner is all about the journey.

One month in, I am actually very happy with my planner of choice. Given all the things I wanted to track, this result was inevitable. To improve upon my planner usage in 2018, I’m thinking I need something more customizable day-to-day. Something that will allow me to track 24 hours one day,but not look awkward if I only need to track 6 hours another day. Something that allows me to track different things day to day with relative ease.

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Posted in Success

Being Too Nice is Not a Benign Flaw

Of all the flaws a person could have, being too nice certainly isn’t the worst of them.

So said my grandmother when I lamented to her that I was too nice and therefore easy to pick on. The bullies of my youth preyed upon this aspect of my personality and I often wished I could be harder. If there was a way for me to go back in time and teach my young one skill to make her life easier, I would teach her how to throw a good punch.

But I can’t go back in time and I can be too nice. My grandmother did have a point. Being nice isn’t a terrible thing to be. There is a point, however, when the effort of being nice causes a person more harm than good. This is something I’ve been examining lately and I want to detail out all the main ways being too nice can be a real detriment to a person.

Being Too Nice to Consider Yourself

Letting someone who is clearly in a rush ahead of you in line is nice. Letting everyone who asks ahead of you is being too nice. If you say yes to every single thing without any consideration for yourself, you set yourself to be walked on. Believe me, I know. It’s been a bit of a life long struggle.

Being Too Nice to Tell the Truth

This is really just a fancy way of lying, which isn’t nice at all. Maybe you want to spare someone’s feelings. Maybe, in that moment, you don’t want to deal with their disappointment. Then later, you tell the real truth. Maybe you back pedal on an earlier statement or say no after agreeing to a task previously.

This isn’t really being nice at all, though it may feel like that in the moment. It’s a way of avoiding a situation or a conflict.

Being Too Nice to Stand Up

Standing up for yourself, a cause or a person is certainly a good and kind thing to do, but it can also be confrontational. You might not feel like you should stand up in the interest of keeping the peace, but that can be hugely flawed. Sometimes you have to stand up or risk letting yourself, a cause or a person get stomped on. Even if you’re not the one doing the stomping, you still share some of the blame for not trying to stop it from happening.

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Posted in Planner Life

How Many Years Does it Take to Get to Planner Peace?

Two years into planner life and I have yet to find peace. In the planner Facebook groups I’m in, people often wonder if planner peace is even possible. I thought I had it figured out, making my own planner specifically to my needs. Turns out that even custom making my own planner isn’t enough.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved my Passion Planner last year and I love my custom planner this year all the more. But in both cases I’ve found sections I thought I’d use that I actually don’t and other sections that I wish the planners had.

The year has hardly begun, and I already find myself speculating about 2018. Should I modify my current planner and make a new custom planner for 2018? Maybe bullet journaling is really what I need. Perhaps the simple organization of Sew Much Crafting inserts will finally bring me peace.

If I’m being honest with myself, the only path to planner peace is spending years trying out different planners until I find the one that fits perfectly. I know some people by a bunch of different planners at once, trying them out off and on throughout the year, but I can’t bring myself to do that. If I’m going to buy a planner, I’m going to use it. I’m going to use it all 365 days of the year. Not only will this drive home what I don’t like about the planner, but what I do like.

Today, I’m leaning toward some Sew Much Crafting inserts for 2018. On particularly busy days, I’ll miss each day having it’s own page, but I think it will be better overall.

Tell me your stories of planner peace. Have you found a system that works? How many years have you been using your system and how did you know it was the one?

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Posted in Nerdy Things

I Want to Live Like Temperance Brennan

I mostly just read and listen to jazz.

I’ve been watching the first season of Bones on Netflix and have become re-enamored with Temperance. I love that woman. On many occasions, I feel like that woman. I rarely pick up on metaphors or sarcasm and can be brutally honest when it comes to fact.

I mean, a fact is a fact, right? I’m not going sugar coat it or try to bend it to fit an agenda. Then it’s little more than a lie. Facts just are. At least, they are to me.

With my infatuation growing, I watched an episode where Bones and Booth are at her home. She makes a comment about what she does in her leisure time. Something  like, “I mostly just read and listen to jazz.”

That’s the best definition of a perfect life I’ve ever heard.

I doubt I’ll get more books read, despite my best efforts, but I can surely fill my work week with great jazz playlist on Spotify.

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Posted in Planner Life

My Year With Passion Planner

2016 was my first year solidly in the world of planning. I had no idea the community was so large or that the selection of planners was so vast. Among all the options, I choose Passion Planner as my planner of choice for the year. Their set up was geared towards achieving goals and that’s exactly what I wanted for my year.

Passion Planner is a tool that many will find useful and some will find restrictive. It really depends on what you want out of you planner and how much freedom you want to have over its week to week design. Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of this unique planner.


Detailed Goal Setting

Passion Planner is made with big dreams in mind. It starts out with tools to map out your main goals for the year and break those down into micro goals to schedule throughout the year. I found this really inspiring. It made me look at my goals in a completely different light and make them seem realistically achievable.

Space for Personal Projects and Work Projects

Passion Planner assumes its users have both work projects and personal projects. I really appreciated how these two parts of life were given space in each weekly layout. Where some people may feel the need to have a planner for each of these parts of life, Passion Planner makes it easy for them both to be organized in one space.

Space to Create

Each monthly and weekly spread includes a big blank space for you to do with what you want. It was great to have a space that could change with your needs each week.I personally used the space for idea generation and making notes.

Month and Year Reflections

This is part of the goal setting portion of the planner.These sections keep you on track with your goal and force you to ask if you did enough to accomplish your goal.During good months, it was a great way to reflect on all I had done. During bad months, it was a kick in the butt to get a move on.

If you’re looking for a planner that gets straight to the point and has everything you need without adding stickers, then Passion Planner is ideal. You can decorate with stickers if you want – I certainly did throughout the year – but that can be redundant. Everything you need is already there.
The Come Dated and Undated

If you want a Passion Planner that starts in May, you can make it happen. Passion Planner has both dated and undated planners, so you can buy what you need when you need it. The undated planners even come with a Monday start if that’s what you need!


The Specificity Can Feel Restrictive

What happens if you change your goal a few months into the year? Or maybe you don’t have a day job to fill in the list for work projects? Passion Planner is built to move you towards the main goal you set at the beginning of the year and not much else. If your goals and needs vary from month to month, it can be hard to customize the planner to fit in.

Too Much and Not Enough

I found that some weeks I would have completely filled out and other weeks would be nearly bare. Sometimes there were things I wanted to track and there just didn’t seem to be enough room with everything else in there. All the different sections in the planner a great – if you use them. If not, they just take up space that could be better used for something else.

Calendars are Useless

I’ve heard this complaint laid against many planners and I lay it against Passion Planner, too. The monthly spreads are nice, but there’s no reason to look at them instead of looking at the current week. A lot of the sections in the calendar spread are nearly the same as the weekly spreads. I really wish those areas were filled with something else.

Hard to Decorate

This con isn’t really fair to Passion Planner. It can’t help that it’s a bit new to the planner scene compared to other planners. As such, there aren’t many stickers out there for the planner. I’ve found a few on Etsy, but absolutely nothing in craft stores.

Big is Too Big and Small is Too Small

I used the large Passion Planner in 2016. Each page was a full 8.5 x 11 inches. I thought I’d need the space, but it was such a chore to lug around. For 2017, I bought one of the smaller planners, thinking the size would suit me better. While the size of the planner did suit me better, there then wasn’t enough space for all the things I wanted to put in the planner. I ended up gifting the planner to a friend for Christmas.

No Dated Monday Start

This bugged me more than I thought it would. When I have plans during the weekend, they often take up the whole weekend. With a Sunday start, I had to divide that event across two weekly spreads. It just didn’t feel right. I didn’t want to have to switch to an undated planner just to get a Monday start.

Final Verdict:

I believe Passion Planner is the ideal tool for those who have a single, primary goal for the year or for those who have a huge project planned for the year. It’s also very good for balancing personal tasks with work tasks. However, if your goals change throughout the year or if you don’t have a singular focus for the year, I don’t think it works very well.

Using Passion Planner was a big learning experience for me. I figured out many of the things I did and didn’t want to track. For 2017, I decided to make my own planner customized to my needs. I have a lot of confidence that this design will be just what I need this year.

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Posted in Success

Understanding and Embracing Success

What if you’re already successful and simply haven’t recognized it, yet? You keep seeking it, stressing out over uncompleted tasks, all the while wondering why success remains elusive. It remains elusive because it sits behind a self-imposed blind spot.

This is the perfect description of the place I have been for the past few year: successful, yet unable to recognize that success. This year, I’m devoted to truly embracing the success I have and embracing the happiness each day has to offer.

I can trace my idea of success all the way back to 4th grade. I was 10. I was depressed. I wanted out of this life and thought about dramatic means to achieve that goal on a near constant basis. That had been my life for years, but on one fateful night in 4th grade, I decided to choose a different path. I gave myself a set of specific goals to achieve success and dedicated the next two decades of my life to those goals

  • Get grade grades in school in order to get into a great college
  • Travel to a different country
  • Learn Japanese
  • Learn how to fence
  • Live independently for at least one year
  • Have a successful and well-paying career

Drive to accomplish this list overcame everything in me for years. Then, a little more than two years ago, I checked the last thing off this list. I was happy and I was lost.

I’ve done a lot of wandering in the past few years, but I it all finally clicked in 2016. I am happy. I have succeeded in every goal I set for myself those many years ago. But I have a blind spot.

Every blind spot is different, but mine is mostly made up of the expectations of others. I have not achieved the things other people think I should have at this point in my life and they let me know. In 2017, it’s time for this to stop.

People will always feel the need to comment on you and your success, especially those close to you. Most comments will come with good intentions as those who love you simply want you to be happiness. But they also have a blind spot: they are not you.

You are the only one who can define what success means to you. Once you define it and achieve it, you have to recognize it. Embrace your success and don’t let anyone convince you that your successes are somehow inadequate.

This is the biggest lesson I learned in 2016 and I’m ready to fully embrace my success in 2017. It’s time to stop worrying about success when I already have it. It’s time to do those things that make me happy with no guilt attached. It’s time to be unabashedly me.

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