Sunday, 27 September 2015

Habitica's Back to School Advice Challenge

My back to school challenge addresses a group that's often forgotten about in these lists of things to do: the humble chalkie. Yes, some of the more generic lists and how to tips can apply to us, but not everything translates across perfectly when you're the one up the front out-numbered.

Selective Gamification
People often talk about life-long learning, making education fun and self-motivated, but rain down ire if you're not intently focused on each special snowflake's intrinsic needs every moment. The huge cachet of respect and the massive pay packet we educators get is meant to cancel out our need for fun and self-motivation.

In this regard, gamification can be a blessing and a curse. Long ago I went through and changed all my tasks into gamified ones, but soon saw the error of my ways. I would recommend leaving some obviously work related activities in their natural state, prominently displayed up the top (or use the tagging system meticulously on them) so you can demonstrate that no, really, Habitica IS a productivity website. Perfect obvious examples are taking the roll, marking homework, organising daily jobs like choosing a line leader etc. I rarely gamify my To-Dos since they are so ephemeral, and generally push the school based ones to the top as well.

OK, so the fully focused one is semi-gamified

I also have some school based activities gamified but with no reminder note for plausible deniability - such as holding off the zombie horde (being at staff meetings on time), slaying the giant (handing in my lesson plans by the due date), plucking the harpy (dealing with that parent). These have a separate, gamified tag, so that at the end of the day I can tick off those as appropriate.

Another tag group I have is Yesterdailies. These are not merely school related (depending on your dedication and how much marking you take home it may be more useful for you), but there are some that are linked to my productiveness at school and could end up being self-defeating if I did them that day, such as being in bed by 10 and shutting off all electronic devices before that. I mark them off retroactively, talking about yesterday, not today.

Checkboxes for weeklies
You probably have a spread of subjects, grade levels or both. A grey checkbox daily that falls due on a Friday (though if you're running more than one of these for something, I would have them fall due on different days so you're not run ragged by perfectionist tendencies if you have them) is a good way of keeping track of them all across the board. These help to make sure that no area is being neglected because of a more enjoyable focus elsewhere. If you abhor marking and paperwork like I do, then a Meta one is a good way to make sure that all facets are being covered.

One student isn't much, but it's a baby step

A meta one so I don't fall too far behind in any one area

Double dipping
If you need extra carroting for something (like I do with marking), there's nothing wrong with motivating yourself using both a habit and a daily for it, or even a graduated daily. I make sure to strip the streaks off graduated dailies if I just did a tokenstic amount, otherwise I'll think I'm keeping up with everything when it's really not the case. I have a generic catch-all for annoying paperwork. For those "important" bits that are due weekly, they have an individual daily that lights up on the day it is due, but you better believe I also click on the generic habit as well.

Some days I am hammering on that daily like a rat in a Skinner Box

Banked To-Do's
I'm hoping that your school is less of a cowboy operation than mine, so maybe you won't need this one. Often at work I get blindsided suddenly by things that need to be done right now, whether that'd be new paperwork (needed yesterday), or my students haven't grasped what should have been a simple concept and I have to scramble to make resources to support them. Many of these things tend to be complicated and stressful, so to make sure that the payout is commensurate with the work put in, I have a couple of spare To-Dos that are a ripe, rich dark red. Instead of making a new To-Do and ticking it off instantly (which only gives a minimal amount of XP and gold), these elder ones help to adequately compensate for the running around with my hair on fire that is situation normal here.

Because I deserve it

Clickable tags
This isn't just related to school work, but that is the main time I take advantage of this. Each of my tags has a perma grey daily which I click on when it has been a hectic, over the top day for it  End of school concert, parent teacher meetings, sports days, marking semester exams, all those sort of things qualify. It also acts as a header, with most of the dailies or habits for that tag filed directly underneath it.

Monday, 25 May 2015

Paint Chip Poetry

Ruth Long, that wonderful innovator who also goes by Bullish Ink had a great idea for a more visual poetry month: Paint Chip Poetry  and was kind enough to list the tools she used to make them all.

She also did a post working with kids, and I thought I could steal that idea too (though I now can't find it to link to it).  I did something sort of similar with my first graders, but it didn't run as smoothly as I hoped it would. A fair few typos, and a couple of practice goes later, and we get some results that  I can post (the delay was due to end of term insanity).

Yellow is the colour of the SUN!
Yellow makes me feel HOT!
Yellow is beautiful.

Red can be lava and hot.
Red can be the sun.
The sun can be very hot.

Orange paint is the colour of orange. I am painting.
Orange our uniform is when it is P.E. time.
Oranges, are a fruit. We can eat that fruit. It is so... yummy.

Red is a fire
Red is Iron Man.
Red is an apple.
Red is dangerous.
Red makes us burn.
Red is a fire truck.
Red is cool.
Red is a mask.
Red is a toy.
Red is a car red is a ball.

Light yellow is the colour of the sun and a lemon.
Yellow is like a banana to eat and lemons.
Dark yellow is fun like sand and dirt to play.

Orange is like an orange bright school hat, and an orange truck.
Orange is like the sun in the sky, and a P.E. shirt.
Orange is like Aja's bottle.
Green is the colour of grass.
An alligator's colour is green and alligators are dangerous.
The grasshoppers are also green.

Once there was a girl that loved red.
So she went to have a picnic
and with everything she loved that was red.

I like green. My favourite colour, the green is like the grass.
Green is like an apple.
Green is like I live.

My dress is yellow.
My book is yellow and brown!
I like my yellow star.

Yellow is like lemon that we eat.

Purple is like Rarity's hair and Twilight.
Purple is Rainbow Dash's hair and Spike.
Purple is Sofa and Rapunzel.

The fire is burning.
Volcanoes are red.
The flower is pink.

The tree trunk is brown
A school hat is orange
Skin colour is light orange

Red is the colour of a fresh apple.
Red is part of the rainbow
Pink is the colour of a princess

Monday, 20 April 2015

Using SuperBetter and HabitRPG in tandem

I like SuperBetter and HabitRPG for organising myself. I’ve talked in the past about them (here’s the first time, a compare and contrast between the two and an explanation of how I used Habit (though it’s changed somewhat since then). I’ve known people on both platforms interested in using the other, so I thought I’d make a post about how the two can be used in conjunction most effectively. It does mean that I’ve summarised parts of both of them here, so that people unfamiliar with one will go into the other with at least some knowledge.

This has ended up a lot longer than I thought it would be, so if you want the TL;DR version: Use Hyperlinks in your task descriptions on Habit that point to specific tasks in SB. Click them off in Habit, open them in SB then comment on them and wait for ally comments.

Both SuperBetter and HabitRPG can be "played" in a range of ways. The way I've used them has varied over time, as my familiarity and engagement with them and other users has waxed and waned. In my opinion, there's more of a recovery mindset with SB users, and more of an improvement mindset with Habit, but they're not exclusive.

It seems to me that there's more people who need to make big sweeping changes - possibly involving a lot of real small steps at the beginning - in SB. If you've already got a lot of plates spinning in the air and handling it reasonably well, then selecting similar sorts of allies in SB might be more effective. However, I've had allies from all walks of life, countries, beliefs etc, and while sometimes I might roll my eyes and wonder what I've let myself into at first, they've all provided different insights and points of view that I hadn't expected and so I've learned from them, even if their suggestion was not something I followed up.

The way I am suggesting using these two sites in tandem is like so:
SB for the deep, personal connections allies provide, focused on one facet that's important to me (in the past I tended to use a multi-pronged approach, but I am shunting the bulk of that stuff over to Habit). Habit for the normal day to day stuff (though I'll be winnowing that down), reminders, to-do list.

New to Habit?
Start slow (you can always add more). Use emoji and tags to help easily identify things. Set alarms, change your homepage, shortcut/favourite/bookmark the link so you visit at least once a day until the habit of Habit sticks.

New to SB?
Decide how much you're willing/comfortable with sharing. Prepare a summary of what you're up against, what you want to achieve, and what things you're looking for in an ally and send this as an email when you ally up. That way, they're not going in cold, and can start making a connection.

New to both?
Congratulations! You've got no prior baggage or expectations getting in the way. I really do think that both running in tandem in a focused, thought out program will be the most effective, and will be starting this myself real soon.

When I first started using SB, and also when I started with Habit, I had no ideas what to list at first, then it exploded. I trimmed it down, but eventually it keeps creeping back up again, and you'll find things in multiple columns or listed in different ways all clamouring to be checked off. Scheduling a monthly/quarterly overhaul to cut down on feature creep is a great idea. Even if you find you're able to deal with more, you probably can condense, refine (or even remove) to make your lists more effective.

This post is part thinking aloud my overhaul, and partially signposting what I think would work well.

For my SB setup: I'm going to strip it bare of everything but the biggest issues I am struggling with, and largely try and stay focused on my big ticket item - writing - where ally support will be most beneficial. For me, that means some family items will remain as bad guys, but the bulk of my powerups, quests and Bad Guys are to do with typing.

On my first run through, most of my names tended to be flippant, but I made sure to give them detailed descriptions of what each one is, so that my allies know what it entails. If it's a Bad Guy, I liked to list in its descriptions some Power-Ups or Quests I can use to defeat it, or at least lessen the loss. I've seen allies doing it the other way too, but for me that seems overkill - it's more a case when I'm sucking at something I need a reminder of how to do better. This time round, they’re far more descriptive.

To a large degree, I use Quests and Power-Ups largely interchangeably. Short, quick things I tend to put in Power-Ups, and most of the time I made recurring Quests, though I pretty much ignored the which day it falls due section. The way SB highlights that wasn't too effective for me.

Turn it on here...
And it pops up over here, on the right hand column, right where some websites have ads.
I'm so used to blanking that out that I never see it.
Allies: a summary
Allies, and my interactions with them are my main focus of SuperBetter. Their different points of view, kind words and suggestions will all go towards encouraging me and making myself accountable to both myself and them. The more details I provide, the more help they can provide, and the stronger bond we form. This is the same whether I interact with them on my page, their page, or elsewhere. It makes a tighter bond and a more effective feedback loop. I've found this to be effective even after we stopped using SB. If you're both comfortable with it, would recommend in allying up in other ways too: emails, follow their blogs, friends them on other social media it can all help (so long as you trust them, and they trust you).

While I want the bulk of my SB use to be on issues I'm dealing with and writing (my main focus at the moment for me), it's important to also add some things you feel good about and want to celebrate. All doom and gloom can be hard going for allies. Even if it's something as simple and small as three daily gratitudes (which seems to be a very popular option, even if the daily bit isn't always daily), some silver lining will help.

When you check stuff off, some explanation towards why you lost, or what you achieved, or your mindset that helped you win will help keep your allies informed and engaged, and spur conversation. Worst comes to worst, you've got a safe place to rant and rave about your boss/customers/spouse/kid/neighbour/insert anger inducing thing with a sympathetic audience.

Allies - give and take
There is nothing wrong with asymmetrical alliances. I have posted lengthy, detailed accounts of all sorts of things, but I'm comfortable doing so. I've posted links to photos of my family and other things that could be used to identify me. I've shared Facebook details with some allies. I love having long, rambling conversations with allies where we solve all the worlds problems and then some.
But that's not for all my allies, and that's fine. There's some I don't know if they're a bloke or a chick, and it doesn't matter to me if their either, neither or some other option I'm unaware of and have just unwittingly insulted. There's some who only interact with me on their activity feed, because they're still in the small step stages, and seeing me clicking things off in a frenzy depresses them, but they're up for having a yarn where they're comfortable, or in an email discussion, and that's fine too.
There's some that type nary a character, but have gone through and liked just about every comment and click I've done, no matter how deep it's nested, and that's fine too (I'm assuming they're reading them as well, and even if they're not, I'm narcissistic enough to enjoy having an imaginary audience hanging on my every word).
There are some that are kicking goals one month, and then struggling the next, that's perfectly OK as well, we all have ebb and flow in our abilities, interests and output. The only sort of ally doing it wrong is the one pointing at someone and saying they're doing it wrong (I'm whistling innocently now I've realised I've just done that).

My Habit setup: I find the social side of Habit to be far more tenuous - the groups are larger, you can't see what people are working on, there's not as much interaction. This can be both a good and a bad thing. If I look at my guild lists with an unbiased eye, there's some that are fairly inactive, some that I don't really interact with and just skim comments, and some that are purely social, not productive (but that's not neccessarily a bad thing). I could streamline it by leaving a bunch, but it's not hurting me, and occasionally I pick up a good challenge, or some ideas, or drop a few words in a bit of banter.
I find that the daily little things that I need reminders of or some sort of gamification to encourage me to do (or not do as the case may be) go perfectly here. 

Case in point, not checking my email on my phone when I get up in the night for a slash. It's a tiny tiny thing that you'd think I could brute self control my way into doing... wrong! Once I added it as a daily (really a yesterdaily, I check it off if and only if I didn't do it last night) it dried up. When I deleted it because I had racked up a streak and so obviously had it under control it came roaring back that very night... some adult I am huh? So I added it back in and now it's subsided again, mostly.

Unlike SB dailies, I find Habit Dailies effective in prompting me for the things I need to do on a regular basis effective as there is some penalty for not doing them (but as a high level cleric that tends to be losing my perfect day buff not the threat of death. I may have to look at my play style to bring that back in perhaps).

I have some Dailies that are eternally grey. They work as master tags and bonus modifiers. I have a lot of habits that are also repeated some way in the Dailies column, because often the things I do are not things that must be done today right now. For me its frequently I have a smorgasbord of things: I could be doing any of these three things. Having extra tasks I can tick off help me to prioritize (sometimes with questionable logic) and escape the inertia in of making a decision because I am spoiled for choice.

A while back I gamified everything, to make it more immersive, but I've since moved away from that stance, just for convenience. Some things still keep their names, but I've largely been adding them as what they are.

A hypothetical blank slate on both sites:
Here's some screenshots I put together for a mate who tried Habit recently. He was interested in improving his drawing, effective studying, getting more exercise, and dancing
All the things!
Just school

Just Art

Just Dance

Just Exercise

The first: An overview of everything. I made everything tagged, emojied, weighted (some hard, some easy) some greyed out completely or due on certain days. The one's following: clicking on the various tags brings up only those entries.

Over the years I tried to get him on SB too, but I didn't have any luck. Here's a quick mock-up for SB I've just made. Much of it is condensed down: instead of the different types of exercise, there's just exercise - the breakdown would be added in a note he'd type in, and if he added some more detail then his allies could interact with him apart from just "Way to go mate." There is also some double up: Stayed Up Too Late is a Bad Guy that you can lose to, OR you could win it, OR you could click on the Power Up Went to Bed on Time. Why yes, I do work at the department of redunancy department, redundancy division, why do you ask? The reason for this is so that we have positive things to help guide positive thoughts, and also because there's a difference in my mind from actively going to bed early, and happening to notice just in time that it's nearly my assigned sleep time and making a mad scramble for bed. Having different ways of recording it does allow for some nuance. This was also a quick 20 minute example, and the real deal would be modified as needed, so take it with a bit of a grain of salt.

Bad Guys

Power Ups

Quests page 1

Quests page 2
There's a lot more clicking around to get things ticked off (Quests, Bad Guys and Power-Ups are all on different pages, and then you need to select the one you want, then if you did it (possibly also picking the difficulty level as well) so if time is of the essence, recording victories and losses elsewhere then entering them when you can also add the comments to explain them to your allies would be my recommendation.

Also to be added would be assignments/exams as once off quests. In SB, they'd be in the To-Do column, but I'd be recording the due date somewhere else, as neither site fills me with confidence for reminders of when things are due on time.

How to use them together:
Now that everyone has an understanding of how to use the two sites and a quick example of what a starter set would look like in both, it's time to get all synergistic up in this place. The way I would suggest this is to use Habit as your main site of data entry, using the magic of clickable links in your titles thusly [Name of the clicky bit you're clicking on](actual link) in your actual naming of tasks, like so. That means that after you click on the plus you did it, you click on the link, and it takes you directly to where you mark it off on SB.
This from my artistic friend:
From the Habit column in Habit

Would go directly to this:
The Posted some art quest page, ready to check off
After clicking everything off in SB, go back to your activity feed and write your notes to keep your allies informed, and bask in the feedback they provide.

For battling Bad Guys, you could even make separate Habits for them at different difficulty settings (that was often something I forgot to adjust when clicking it off). This would especially make sense if you're a subscriber in Habit, as the data retention would possibly give you more info (I'm not too sure about that, graphs don't really do it for me and I barely glance at them).

Enough of the Hypotheticals, let's get back to me:
I was planning on visiting Dr. Meta soon (a cull and overhaul of Habit) and so I guess no time like the present. A before screenshot of EVERYTHING before I started culling:

A lot of those To-Do's got added and never looked at again

I then went into SB, and stripped out all my old stuff (even the ones that I am still going to keep) so that it reset the counters. I thought about what I wanted to add back in, and how it would relate to Habit.

Here's my new, improved Habit everything screenshot.
Possibly there's still too much going on?

NOTE: I'm not a productive dynamo and powered through a ton of To-Do's, instead I weeded out things that had become too much of a "some day, one day" thing instead and ditched a couple of challenges I made for myself in my private guild because I'm not focused on them at the moment, they were just cluttering up things.

Here's a list of things that have the SB tag, the ones under the SB headings with extra emoji are purely related to SB (I use a tag separator for every tag grouping I have, even if they're not always filed under it because of reasons). You see that most of the others have the hyperlinks set up, so when I tick them off in Habit, I can tick them off here too. For the visiting the ally Daily (greyed out at the moment as I have no active allies), I'll add a check box for each ally. They will likely only be ticked when I've posted a few comments on their pages (I'm quite an active and chatty ally), and the comment-storm Habit will be for the long rambling discussions that I love.

After swapping between the three groups in SuperBetter (Quests, Power-Ups and Bad Guys), this is the lists I've ended up with:
Power Ups

Bad Guys (there was too many for one screen so I zoomed out a bit)
 It's much smaller than my lists from Habit, but that's because these are the things I am focused on, and don't want to distract my allies with other things. Allies can click on them, see my track record, and my detailed description so they know what's going on. In my first email with them where I give them a summary, I will be describing what I am doing in relation to each one, and some ideas of what I'm looking for from teaming up with them.

Monday, 9 March 2015

State of the Empire

I've been a slackard in regards to posting here, but that's because I am in the process of reinventing myself. Of course I'll still be me - I'm not that imaginative when it comes to these sorts of changes, you just have to look at how many dwarven clerics I've been in various games over the years. But I have been getting gradually more focused in writing. I know it doesn't look that way here, but that's because I've been trying my hand in a few other writing sites as many of the competitions I've followed and participated in for a while have either folded or I'm having trouble hitting the word count in the assigned time due to either perennial laziness or trying to put together a book. That's not moving as fast as I would like it to, but it is progressing a lot better since I decided that novels aren't for me (just yet) and hit upon the idea of a collection of short stories. With my attention span, that's far more doable.

I did work out though that just putting a book out there is not enough, it is going to need some other support from me as well, so I have been brainstorming on that front too. Obviously I won't be able to publish as Snellopy, so this brings us circuitously to the reinventing of myself. There's already a famous David Ashton writing books so I am going to run with Dave James Ashton. So to that end, I am largely going to be focusing on that site now, at least in regard to fiction. That means that this website will be.... I'm not quite sure at the moment, but it has been wanting for content for a long time. Posts about SuperBetter and HabitRPG are about all I can think of off the top of my head. 

I am not convinced that I hare many/any followers here, but on the off chance I'm not just talking to myself I would be grateful if you join me over at my new home:

Tuesday, 16 September 2014


She was, yet was not.

A scion of the sprawling and stately Viridian-bound-by-Sienna.Mere potential, not yet her own entity. She waited. Impatient to be... powerless to begin.

Finally released with the rest of her cohort, they lay abandoned. Some were snatched up by a night forager, the excitement palpable as they were jostled and shoved. Her excesses stripped from her, she rolled into a shallow indentation - one of the lucky ones. Discarded and abandoned, she lay nestled amongst the leaf litter and other detritus of the forest floor. Near her, less fortunate kin wasted away before even coming into the birthright of their names.

At first she believed a similar fate was in store for her. But as the days lengthened and warmed, she felt the fabled stirrings and realised the time of portents was nigh. A new fear gripped her, the uncertainty of the unknown. Good or ill, it would have to be better than longing for change - a beginning. Unsure of what to do, she sent out tendrils seeking for support and nurturing. Although tentative, she was successful and this gave her the confidence to try something even more daring. Gathering her courage she fought to grow and rise above all that was concealing her and keeping her down. Hard though it was, finally she surfaced from the soil. Basking in the warm glow of evening sunlight, she experimented with unfurling her newly crafted leaves. And so it was in the way of her kind that she finally came into her name. "I am Jade-superceding-Blue!" she declared, thrusting her stem towards the vault of the heavens. The forest was impassive in the face of this announcement, for the emergence of yet another sapling is a common occurrence, one that happens frequently every day. Undeterred by the apathy, Jade-superceding-Blue knew eventually the rest of the forest would indeed take note.

The passage of years is erratic for trees. Often characterized as timeless and wise in fiction, this is not always the case. To them the march of days can blur together… one sunset after another, though they acknowledge each has a mystery and splendour all its own. Seasons pass in a companionable, complacent silence with only the susurration of their leaves in wind and the ceaseless chant of sap marking time’s progress. Yet other moments can feel drawn out, their consciousness crystallized and concentrated in an instant. This deep introspection for the trees can be triggered by almost anything and they become lost in wonder for what feels like an eternity then transcribe their emotions in a flurry of activity. Though few humans can interpret their messages, their ways of communicating are of great interest to their own kind and many creatures of the woodlands as well.

It was not long until Jade-superceding-Blue made her first expressive artwork: the interplay of dappled shadows cast by her branches upon the ground. As she was new, there was little recognition for her. Her next attempt - the the creaking of her boughs in the strong gusts that heralded the arrival of plump raindrops - caused a sensation. Soon those elderly trees that surrounded her began to seek out her insights which were vibrant compared to their own tired discourses. As she grew out of her awkward sapling stage, Jade-superceding-Blue vowed to never ossify as they had done, instead to always be reinventing herself and following her passions wherever they lead.

Deciding such a stand should not be made in secret, Jade-superceding-Blue announced it to the forest in an ostentatious riot of blossoms that shocked the deadwoods. Her audacity caused many more to champion and flock to her, but her statement was not for their benefit. Instead it was her attempt to stay true to herself. Before suitors could even begin to curry her favor Jade-superceding-Blue caused the bulk of them to recoil in horror when she developed a knot in her bole, which was her moving portrayal of a butterfly eaten while concealed within its chrysalis.The rest of her coterie abandoned her as she spent the better part of a decade considering the first frost of the season in silence. Intertwined new growth which was the result of her meditations upon it received a response that was muted at best. Jade-superceding-Blue followed it up a few months later with a sprinkling of leaves that was a joyous paean to clouds. While she was happy with her creation, many thought it was passé and overdone. Their opinions did not worry her, uninterested as she was in accolades. She garnered notoriety once more with a niggardly fruiting, which encapsulated her disdain for the abundant and unbridled fecundity of her peers: plenty of words, but little substance. After a period of contemplation, she next set forth a torrent of pollen which was meant to be symbolic of the deluge of ideas she felt swamped with and her inability to choose which one to commit to. Many took it as an apology for her previous work, and derided her for selling out and going mainstream.

So it goes even now, the slow sonorous cycle of the changing seasons aped in miniature... her tenuous new growth reaching ever skyward derided as immature posturing, the folly of a washed up artiste seeking the limelight again; then her foray into peeling bark marking her as a feted celebrity. Loved or loathed, through it all Jade-superceding-Blue remains immune, happy in doing what she enjoys, secure in the knowledge that hers is a name of renown.


This was a special one off piece, with a prompt given to me by a great mate who saw me say a while back that I should do more writing, and came up with the idea. She even took a screenie, including a typo (so much for proofreading on my part):

Though it can hardly be considered as flash fiction, seeing as how it’s taken more than six weeks to get around to posting it. Some of that was because I was trying something new: writing it solely on my new (well, new back when I started) phone - a Galaxy Note 2 that Tho got me specifically for the stylus for writing. While the handwriting is faster than pecking away at tiny keys, it does occasionally do some weird stuff, and I tend to play with silly writing styles to see how good its recognition abilities are. Madeline is also a fan of presumptuously ordering I hand over the pen and the phone. Editing wasn’t done on it though, as that’d be a painful.The piece in general was an interesting exercise. I did a lot more passes in the editing of it, trying to weed out repetitive word use and to live up to the high opinion I have of my friend. It also makes me wonder if for my normal pieces do I do enough of that - I will have to go over older pieces and see how they hold up with a more critical eye to editing. I was hoping to make it to the botanical gardens and take a picture of the banyan tree there as it is the largest, most impressive tree hereabouts but getting there is not as easy these days as it should be. I did manage to get a picture of a new seedling on the family farm in Dong Anh though, so that is at least something. 

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Five Sentence Fiction - Waiting

Just scraping in before the cutoff for the topic of waiting for Five Sentence Fiction. It's not autobiographical... I think >.>

Aspiring Author

Things are too busy at the moment so I'll wait till they slow down to start writing. Wonder what's on T.V. tonight? Nano isn't really for me, I'm more of a planner. Where's my muse when I need her?

Epitaph: Wish I'd written a book.

Friday, 15 August 2014

State of the Empire Address

Well, it's been quite a while since I've done one of these, and I've been dormant for ages so it seems appropriate to do it now. The new school year is about to kick off, and I am at a new campus (with the same company) so while a lot of my old complaints will still hold true, but there will also be a delightful newness, helped in no small part by swapping to Year 1 International (so that means I have the same class for the whole day, and have finally ditched the third grade text books which were horrible). I will have a lot less typing time as it will be a more hands on, but I'll also have less marking too - something that makes me very happy. That will just mean I will have to be more focused in my free time. They do like their forms and paperwork here, but I guess it is only fair that I atone for previous years by submitting it all on time.

I went on a short hiatus here while I was working on a project I have been referring to as the Honkin' Big Book Project. But "working" should be in air quotes, as the end of the school year with a newborn at home wasn't quite the best time to choose. I do have plans of working on it, especially now that I am largely waking up around 5 o'clock or so most days due to one daughter or the other. I have slowly been weaning myself off my early morning clickbait feast, and by small steps I'm becoming more productive then - so long as neither Madeline nor Rosalyn wake up again. I intend to go back to posting more regularly here, even if it is just something short. I have however also found a nice new place to play on, so I will have to do my best not to spend all my free time there

To aid with all this I have just recently finished a rather drastic overhaul of HabitRPG, coughed up for a subscription and used another orb of rebirth. I still hadn't hit level 100, but once again standards were slipping a bit. I also hadn't really been using the Habits column much, relying instead on Dailies and To-Do's. I've pulled a lot of no-core activities that I've either mastered, are too easy or aren't what I want to focus on, and dropped some challenges that were equally distracting. I'm excited for the new start of the school year, and new focus that I've got... we'll just have to see how long that lasts.