Sunday, January 27, 2008

Real Life Confession - New Year's Resolution

Well, my first week of the semester is now over, including the weekend. I now find myself wondering how the rest of the semester will roll out. As usual, I maintain my optimism that things will go smashingly well and that I will, more-or-less, be happy with everything. It’s certainly off to a great start, and I think I might actually have the discipline/determination to make sure it continues that way.

Starting off, my new year’s resolution is proving to be a really, really good one. I should have done this sooner. And to make sure that I have a higher chance for success, I made only one resolution this year. It just happens to be a resolution that facilitates the accomplishment of other desirable ambitions. Okay, before I divulge what my resolution is, I have to preface it with a confession. I’m not very proud of this, and I’m sure this is going to result in the cutting off of one of the corners of my man card. Okay, here it goes: I play the Sims. I don’t play it often – perhaps a couple hours per month on average. For any of you who don’t know what it is, it’s a game where you create people and run their lives. It’s kind of like taking barbies or “house” to a much higher level. If you want your little sim to be a major league sports star, you can do it (though he or she will have to put in a lot of hours on the weight bench and possibly develop some charisma by practicing their romance skills in front of a mirror while being locked in the bathroom). This sim might even manage to mess up cold cereal in his or her haste to catch the carpool to get to work, but it all works out in the end because cooking skills can be developed while slaving laboriously over that bowl of Wheaties.

On the flip side, if your sim has a different aspiration, such as “pleasure” or “family”, his or her desires and related aspirations will be different. You can lead your little sim along, for better or worse, and see what kind of person he or she will become. If you really want to get your hands dirty, you can even get your sim to get married (though I strongly encourage you not to propose until the other person has had a hearty meal, gone to the bathroom, had enough fun, doesn’t think the room is too dirty or poorly decorated, doesn’t find your ripped muscles and expensive eau de toilette to be tasteless, and that the person considers your relationship strong enough. This is also really good advice to follow in the game.). Once your happy little sim becomes a happy couple of two sims, they can have their own sim children or adopt. You can even get them to marry aliens, vampires, hippies, or even the scantily dressed maid if you really want to live life on the wild side.

One of the big keys to success in The Sims is to keep your sim’s task list sufficiently busy so as to keep the character from being slothful and spending all of his or her time playing a snowboarding game on the computer or having pillow fights with other sims. I will overlook the irony that as you do this, you yourself are spending all the time at the computer running someone else’s life while your own personal task list is occupied by “Play The Sims”. To really achieve some of the more ambitious goals, it will take a sizeable amount of your character’s lifespan to achieve all of the prerequisites. So, managing their task list is critical.

And with this, I decided that this would be a great thing to apply as my new year’s resolution. For this year, I am aspiring to go about my day according to how I have it planned out in my daytimer, as opposed to going about the day in a more whimsical, mood-based manner like I have in the past. I’m generally a hard worker and pretty organized, but this endeavor is helping to take me to an even higher level. It takes more discipline, obviously, because after doing homework for hours and going to class, my motivation to go swim a mile may be a bit lacking. But I have already made my decision about what I am going to do, so I do it, and once I have swum that mile, I feel really, really good. Of course, I really love swimming anyway, so it doesn’t take much to persuade me to go, but the same concept applies with getting myself to do homework and projects before the night before they are due, or spending my Saturday afternoon working on a cover letter for an investment banking job rather than spending hours on Facebook.

I like to think that this will allow me to not only be a whole lot more productive, but it will also help me balance out my life more. By planning out my days and sticking to the agenda, I can get things done a whole lot quicker and more efficiently and also make sure that I am taking time to, say, get exercise, have a social life, keep up with the news, keep in touch with people, know when somebody’s birthday is coming up, etc. I will skip that part about practicing romance in front of the mirror while locked in the bathroom though. Sorry Sims, that’s going a bit too far. I’m also getting better sleep so far, though that’s probably not saying much since it is just the first week of school and the projects haven’t yet started really piling up.

And so this is where I am at this point in the New Year and school year: my man card is missing a corner thanks to The Sims, but I’m getting a whole lot more done and am even managing to make it to the gym, which should redeem that corner of my man card. How ironic. The Sims has helped improve my life and make me be more disciplined and use my time wisely. Now if only I could find a way for Starcraft to make my life better, aside from finding more efficient and ruthless ways to crush my opponents and more efficiently use hotkeys, then I would really be on a roll. Maybe that will help if I have to negotiate a corporate merger in the future.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Random Confession - City Block Disappears

Shanghai. Officials are left scratching their heads after an entire city block disappeared late last night.
You Peng Jing, a local student, was the first to notice this strange phenomenon when he went out during a study break to buy a bottle of Perrier.
“I had been studying the periodic table of elements for 14 hours straight and found myself quite parched. Nothing quenches my thirst quite as well as a bottle of France’s leading mineral water.”
When he tried to enter the Jiadeli supermarket he usually frequents, he was in such a haze that he didn’t even realize it was no longer there. He ended up falling 20 feet into a hole in the ground.
“Fortunately there was a pool of run-off water from typhoon Hillary. I was able to get out by performing some simple moves of Taichi that I had mastered back when I was volunteering at nursing homes.”
In the meantime, scientists are finding it difficult to determine exactly what caused such an unusual occurrence, largely because of the large crowd of cats that has gathered around the site. Police brought in dogs in an attempt to disperse the crowd. Upon arrival, however, the dogs wet themselves and fled in fear. Some believe this could be a feline-led act of terrorism.
“I suspect this is an act of protest because the restaurant Hao Hao Chi, previously located on that very block, planned to begin serving kitten cordon bleu.” said a resident of the neighborhood who prefers to remain anonymous.
When the mayor was informed about the disappearance, he laughed hysterically and said “that’s one less Christmas card I will have to send out next year.” He then followed by saying, “don’t quote me on that.”
As officials continue their investigation of this event, they ask that residents not panic and that they avoid any sudden movements around cats that could startle them into hastening the launch of phase II of their malicious plans, should they prove to be the culprits.