Making space

I found myself burning out a bit this week. The last couple of months have been very productive but also a bit manic, and I’ve realised I need a bit of a break, so I’ve pared down a few of my activities. I log daily or weekly streaks for just about everything I do, because I find it’s the only way I can keep up with things – I’m very obsessional about my hobbies but also very fickle, so I’ll spend a few weeks obsessed with playing videogames and then a few weeks obsessed with making games instead and then a few weeks where running is my main passion… Maintaining daily streaks such as my run streak is the best way I’ve found to make sure that hobbies don’t get neglected during times when they’re not my main ‘thing’. However, when I have a lot of these streaks going, they become overwhelming and take over my life. As such, sometimes I have to decide to let go of some of them, and that can be really hard when I’ve put so much effort into keeping the streak going for so long.

This week I had to quit the Fetchpoint game again. The game involves going out every day and collecting tokens, including a red bug token that appears daily in your local circle and needs to be collected and taken out of the circle in order to be ‘squished’. You get bonus points for a bug-free circle at the end of the day and minus points if there are any bugs remaining. If you squish your bug for thirty days in a row, you get a badge. I have been chasing this badge for a long time and very nearly had it in September – unfortunately, after I ran the Virtual GNR, I felt too ill to collect my bug for that day and so the attempt came to an end. I started playing again in March to make a fresh attempt, but other areas of life have meant that some days I just don’t have time for the two-hour walk that a bug hunt often requires. It’s been a frustrating experience, and so I’ve given up again for the time being. Hopefully there’ll be a time in the summer or autumn when things are a bit quieter.

I’m looking forward to a quiet bank holiday weekend. A bit of running and walking, but mainly just sitting on my sofa with my game code 🙂

Next door's cat
It really makes me laugh when I open my front door to find this familiar figure sitting on top of my car and staring at me balefully! He was still there when I got back from my run thirty-five minutes later.

This week’s earworm playlists:

Saturday

Michael Land – ‘On The Hill’
Sia – ‘Cheap Thrills’
MC Hammer – ‘U Can’t Touch This’

And a bonus track that Geth was humming that day:

Michael Land – ‘Phatt Island Waterfall’

Sunday

Michael Land – ‘Upstairs At The Hotel’
Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballé – ‘Barcelona’
Public Image Ltd. – ‘Rise’
Levellers – ‘Julie’

Monday

Dee Cooke – ‘Control Room’
Michael Land – ‘On The Hill’
MC Hammer – ‘U Can’t Touch This’
Michael Land – ‘Upstairs At The Hotel’

Tuesday

Michael Land – ‘Upstairs At The Hotel’
Princess Superstar and The High & Mighty – ‘Bad Babysitter’

Wednesday

Dee Cooke – ‘Control Room’
Pride & Fall – ‘December’
Michael Land – ‘On The Hill’

Thursday

Michael Land – ‘The Barbery Coast’

Friday

Cole Porter – ‘Anything Goes’
Michael Land – ‘On The Hill’

A mellower, more behind-the-scenes week

This week has featured a lot fewer deadlines and manic last-minute things than last week did, so I’ve been able to get back to some semblance of normality in terms of the house upkeep and the exercise/training programme. It’s been especially nice to get back out for my walks, as it’s been really clear and sunny all week. This has meant that early morning runs have been a bit chilly, but afternoon walks have been the perfect temperature. Hope the sunshine continues.

As often happens when I release a game, I feel a bit bereft of my project and am already eagerly planning out the next one. This covers many things: the long planning document acts as my project for April’s Camp NaNoWriMo, and the new game itself is the full version of the excerpt I released for IntroComp 2020 and will also be entered into ParserComp 2021. Planning out the puzzles is fun, but I can’t wait to dive back into coding. I’ve got two and a half months to finish the game, so an important mission is not to get distracted by anything shiny in the meantime!

A blissfully quiet weekend awaits. Looking forward to finishing off the last of the other games from the jam (I’ve been playing the Spanish ones this week and it’s been a really fun way to get some language practice in) and also getting in some time with my much-neglected Switch Lite.

Blue sky
Spring is behaving this week.

This week’s earworm playlists:

Saturday

Dee Cooke – ‘Control Room’*
The Crüxshadows – ‘Dragonfly’
Dee Cooke – ‘Intro And Exit’

Sunday

Dee Cooke – ‘Path And Tree’
Michael Land – ‘Governor Marley’s Mardi Gras Fish Fry’
The Beatles – ‘Ticket To Ride’
Dee Cooke – ‘Control Room’
Lily Allen – ‘The Fear’

Monday

Michael Land – ‘The Barbery Coast’
Lewis Capaldi – ‘Someone You Loved’
Soft Cell – ‘Say Hello, Wave Goodbye’
Dee Cooke – ‘Control Room’
George Fenton – ‘Bergerac (Main Theme)’

Tuesday

Dee Cooke – ‘Control Room’
Soft Cell – ‘Say Hello, Wave Goodbye’
The Crüxshadows – ‘Ariadne’

Wednesday

Joe Hisaishi – ‘Kokoro No Kakera’
Michael Land – ‘Scabb Island Overview’

Thursday

Michael Land – ‘Scabb Island Overview’

Friday

Dennis Martin and Takeo Miratsu – ‘If You Still Believe’
Michael Land – ‘Scabb Island Overview’
Dee Cooke – ‘Intro And Exit’
Lisa Lougheed – ‘Run With Us’

*Like last week, I have spent an embarrassingly large chunk of the last few days with my own compositions stuck in my head after making them for my game. Given that music is planned for most of my future game projects, this could become a regular occurrence.

Gaming time

I spent all of the Easter weekend working on last-minute polish stuff for my new Adventuron game. It was a really fun project, but these things always get a bit manic just before release and so I now most definitely need a quiet weekend of playing games instead of making them! As such, for the next couple of days I’m going to be curling up on the sofa and playing all the other games that were made for the jam (along with a bit of Bravely Default II, which I’ve been neglecting for the last couple of weeks!).

I submitted the game on Wednesday and have just been catching up with day job work since then. I’m looking forward to a more normal week again next week and am excited about getting out for my nice long walks again 🙂

Easter tree
My Easter tree (all the rage this year from what I’ve read!). The LED lights have started to go a bit dim as the batteries have worn down but they were really bright last week.

This week’s earworm playlists:

Saturday

Joe Hisaishi – ‘Kokoro No Kakera’
Clean Bandit and Louisa Johnson – ‘Tears’

Sunday

Michael Land – ‘Herman Toothrot’
The Goodies – ‘Funky Gibbon’
Michael Land – ‘Club 41’
Duran Duran – ‘Planet Earth’

Monday

DNCE – ‘Cake By The Ocean’
Johann Pachelbel – ‘Canon In D’

Tuesday

Joe Hisaishi – ‘Kokoro No Kakera’
Walk The Moon – ‘Shut Up And Dance’
Lisa Lougheed – ‘Run With Us’

Wednesday

Michael Land – ‘The Underground Tunnels’

Thursday

Lisa Lougheed – ‘Run With Us’
Dee Cooke – ‘Monster’*
Dee Cooke – ‘Control Room’

Friday

Soft Cell – ‘Say Hello, Wave Goodbye’
Lisa Lougheed – ‘Run With Us’
The Firm – ‘Star Trekking’

*Yes, the tunes that I composed on BeepBox for my new game have spent a lot of time stuck in my head the last few days. It’s good that they’re catchy… right?

Finishing off the month

A fairly hectic week this week as I’ve had a lot of things to get finished before the end of the month. My ear is feeling a lot better after finishing my antibiotics course, and my energy has seemingly returned, so I’ve been able to start improving my running speed again.

My main focus this week has been getting the bulk of the work finished for my current Adventuron jam game. I’ve spent this week finishing off the coding and am looking forward to getting stuck into the graphics over the weekend. I’m really excited about getting everything put together and spending a few days working with playtesters before the deadline!

I’ve also been continuing with my long walks and increased-distance runs, which are really nice now that the spring weather has arrived. It means that I’ve pretty much doubled my pace on the LEJOG challenge I’m doing and should be well on track to finish by the end of the year!

There’s been quite a bit of day job work this week too. Business has picked up a bit recently after last year’s slight COVID slump and I’ve got some important plans for going forward that I’m going to start implementing soon.

Finally, I’ve made sure to get some quality downtime with videogames when possible. I’m still really enjoying Bravely Default II and expect it will take me a good couple of months to finish. So many games on the list afterwards that I can’t wait to play…

I would say I’m hoping that next week will be quieter, but there’s a Camp NaNoWriMo month starting and I expect I’ll end up doing something for that! Maybe not with a super high wordcount this time though…

Jesmond Dene
Still enjoying my spring return to Jesmond Dene!

This week’s earworm playlists:

Saturday

Bucks Fizz – ‘My Camera Never Lies’
Sting – ‘Englishman In New York’
Jason Derulo and 2 Chainz – ‘Talk Dirty’

Sunday

Camila Cabello – ‘Liar’
Captain Ska – ‘Liar Liar Ge2017’
Kevin Gillis – ‘Run With Us’

Monday

Lauv and Troye Sivan – ‘I’m So Tired’
Revo – ‘Savalon’

Tuesday

The Midnight and Nikki Flores – ‘Because The Night’

Wednesday

Revo – ‘Savalon Desert’
Kirsty MacColl – ‘Days’
Lauv and Troye Sivan – ‘I’m So Tired’
Coldplay – ‘Fix You’
The Midnight and Nikki Flores – ‘Because The Night’

Thursday

Demi Lovato – ‘Heart Attack’
Jason Derulo and 2 Chainz – ‘Talk Dirty’

Friday

Sia – ‘Cheap Thrills’
The Proclaimers – ‘Make My Heart Fly’

Sleeping and walking

Just a mile for my run again today…

…but I did go out for another walk in order to pick up my repaired phone. I had to wait in a coffee shop for an hour as the phone wasn’t quite ready when I first arrived… and it was the first time I’d been in a coffee shop since March! I had to give track and trace details, which I hadn’t done before. On the whole, I felt really safe – the table layout had been done well and everyone in the shop was keeping a good distance. It sort of felt like a nice piece of normality for the first time in ages.

I slept for ten hours last night as I’m still catching up on my missed sleep from the weekend. As such, I’ve not really had much time to do stuff today. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll get caught up with all my admin and then I can maybe have some me-time on Friday 🙂

Trainers
I did some reorganisation of my shoe shelves this evening, as my ‘easiest access’ area was still full of high heels… and I’ve not worn high heels all year as there’s been nothing to dress up for. I’ve put all my trainers centre stage instead, as they’re getting a lot of use due to all the walking I’m doing. I cleaned up my Doc Martens in preparation for the winter too 🙂

Today’s earworm playlist:

Bill Conti – ‘Gonna Fly Now’
Justin Timberlake – ‘Can’t Stop The Feeling’
Gunship – ‘Rise The Midnight Girl’
The Midnight – ‘Gloria’
Queen – ‘I Want It All’
Michael Jackson – ‘Beat It’*
The Midnight – ‘Crystalline’
Rage Against The Machine – ‘Killing In The Name’
Sacre – ‘The London Marathon [Theme From The Trap]’
Alien Ant Farm – ‘Movies’
Idina Menzel – ‘Into The Unknown’

*RIP Eddie Van Halen 🙁

Recovering slowly

Just a mile for my run this morning…

…though I then ended up walking six miles trying to find a shop that would repair my phone screen! Going to try and take it a bit easier the rest of the week.

(I’ve also added my big long video about my challenge to yesterday’s blog if you’ve not seen it already!)

I’m still not feeling 100% – I can’t concentrate and feel pretty fatigued in general – so I think I need a few more days of catching up with sleep. Hoping to be back to normal by the weekend.

One more walk tomorrow to pick up my repaired phone, and then I think I’ll finally be able to settle down and get some rest!

Autumn tree
A lovely autumn tree from my walk today.

Today’s earworm playlist:

Nick Heyward – ‘Take That Situation’
Foo Fighters – ‘Times Like These’

The first of a few rest-ish days

A very early couple of miles this morning…

…in order to see what my mile route looks like in the dark so that I’m prepared when I start running just after midnight on Sunday morning. I’m almost never awake at five in the morning, let alone out running. It was super peaceful!

I spent the morning getting work done (and trying not to fall asleep) and then headed out for a walk in the afternoon. I’ve not been out walking for a couple of weeks as I’ve been too busy with multiple run training, and it was really nice to crunch through the leaves (Newcastle is looking very autumnal now).

I get to sleep in tomorrow morning (no, really, it’s on my training plan – I need to start shifting my sleep pattern in preparation for the weekend). I’m fairly busy with day job work for the rest of the week, but my much-lighter run days will make it feel like a bit of a holiday!

Autumn leaves
I love these leaf colours 😀

Today’s earworm playlist:

Zombie Nation – ‘Kernkraft 400’
Cast of Pocahontas – ‘Colours Of The Wind’
System Of A Down – ‘Chop Suey’
The Cure – ‘The Hanging Garden’
Robin S – ‘Show Me Love’

And a bonus track that Geth was humming earlier:

Limahl – ‘Neverending Story’

Enjoying the autumn weather

A two-miler today…

…and it was nice doing a different route to my 1.2-mile lap! That’s the last chance I’ll have for over a week, though, as multiple run training starts again tomorrow.

I also went out for a long walk this afternoon, as I’ll be running and working for the rest of the week so will be a bit too busy for walks. It was perfect September weather – lovely and sunny but not too hot while walking, and it was a really nice route too. I managed to photograph some red phone boxes I’d spotted while out with the social run group a few weeks ago, so look out for those in future Phone Box Thursday posts 🙂

A little more time spent indoors tomorrow, and hopefully I’ll be able to share my finished decor project (as far as it can be finished right now!).

Autumn leaves
A photo from over the weekend. The trees are starting to turn now, which is always exciting.

Today’s earworm playlist:

Vangelis – ‘Chariots Of Fire’
Gunship – ‘Rise The Midnight Girl’
Sacre – ‘The London Marathon [Theme From The Trap]’

A lighter day… sort of

Just a mile today…

…and then a short walk. It felt like a much lighter day exercise-wise than I’ve been doing recently! As such, I feel like I’ve got a bit of energy to get rid of, but that is best saved for the virtual race on Sunday.

I spent most of today working – I’ve had a lot of day job work this week, which is great and is keeping me from obsessing about the race too much. I also did a quick clean of my car, which I’d been putting off for months. I managed to get some of the glitter off the backseat from last year’s Christmas wrapping paper, but not all – I think it will always be glittery to some extent!

One last day of work tomorrow, and then I’ll be able to enjoy the weekend – last weekend was really busy with work and I haven’t managed to take a day off during the week, so I’m really looking forward to it!

Car bumper sticker
This bumper sticker arrived this week, so other drivers will now be able to… tell what running club I’m in 😀

Today’s earworm playlist:

Vangelis – ‘Chariots Of Fire’