Monday, April 28, 2008

Frustrated Incorporated

It's time for me to vent and let off some brain-steam. I'm frustrated. About what you say?

Well, truth be told, none of these bothers are earth-shattering frustrations. Rather, they're smally niggly bits which are eating away at my patience; a patience which most friends and family members claim that I have an enormous amount of.

Let's take them in turn...

#1 = WORK
I'm in the process of changing gears work-wise, switching my day-to-day emphasis on baseball related activities (data development, sales, tech support) and returning to a heavy immersion in wargame design, development, and playtesting.

I'm excited to change gears and am really looking forward to doing new things. The preseason and early-season baseball rush always causes me to suffer a bit of burnout, so switching to something radically different is a big boost to my mojo.

The niggling frustration I'm having right now is that I want (and need) to become like Butter. I need to get "on a roll" with my game development & playtesting, but I haven't found that steady flow of inner-brain magic yet. Oh, I'm working diligently and making progress. I just need to get in the zone. That's something that software designers, programmers, artists, architects, and even athletes can probably relate to.

I can't explain how to make it happen. It's not a switch that you simply flip and suddenly, you become inspired and enormously productive. But if you focus on something long and hard enough, eventually magic happens. Ideas flow like cheap wine. You do three days worth of work in one-day. Inspiration bubbles up. You find yourself thinking up brilliant ideas right before dozing off to sleep and while in the shower the next morning.

Anyway, that's what I'm missing right now. I want it to happen... NOW. I guess I'll just have to keep plugging away and stay focused. Sooner or later, it's gonna happen.

I have never finished dead-last in any fantasy baseball, football, or hockey league that I've participated in. And I've been playing in various leagues for well over 20 years. I'm used to finishing in-the-money, and I've won my fair share of league championships. But currently, in my HARL Baseball league, my favorite fantasy league of all time, I find my Sevy Rhinos team in dead-last. Yikes!

As frustrating as being in last place is, I have faith that things will improve for my ballclub. Experience tells me that you cannot really gauge the strengths/weaknesses of your rotisserie team until 6 weeks of the season have elapsed. On paper, I was pretty happy with my team when I looked it over post-draft. The offense looked very strong, and the pitching seemed decent, although there were a few question marks to consider. But man, has my pitching staff totally sucked so far! Their total implosion is the major reason I'm dwelling in the cellar right now.

My starting pitching staff (this is an NL-only league) consists of Jeff Francis, Oliver Perez, Tom Gorzelanny, Randy Johnson, Joel Pineiro, and Shawn Chacon. Of my top four hurlers, only Oliver Perez has been any good. Francis started off poorly, but his last 2 starts have been solid, so he fortunately appears to be returning to form. Gorzelanny may be hiding an arm injury. His control has been dreadful, and that's very unlike him. The Big Unit missed the first 2 weeks while resting on the DL. He's been decent so far, and I'm hoping he returns to his form of 2005 and leaves his 2006 Yankees season as an aberration. Arizona has a good young team, so the Unit can't help but benefit from that.

The rotation hasn't been my only worry. Prior to this past week, my bullpen had been lit up. Jose Valverde and Tom Gordon have been like kerosene matches standing next to an open flame. Ryan Madson hasn't been much better. Only Kevin Gregg has kept his ERA down and helped my club. Fortunately, things appear to be turning around, as all four relievers combined to bolster my staff last week with Wins, Saves, and quality outings.

So things are improving. I even stuck SP-Odalis Perez into my flex slot to get more Innings Pitched and hopefully whittle down my bloated ERA and WHIP with some quality statistics. Of course, banking on Odalis Perez to be reliable is like hoping that Paris Hilton disappears from the tabloids. But hey, when your options are slim, you gotta gamble sometimes!

Getting my local board game group to show up and play games on a regular basis has been a major point of frustration for me. I have played a bunch of board games with my friends over the past 8 months or so. They've been extremely enjoyable gaming sessions. I just wish they could happen A LOT more often!

Let's face it, organizing anything is always a big challenge. It's especially tricky when you're dealing with adults who have very busy schedules and kids. Plus, since this is just a fun thing and not a formal event like a class or work project, or participation on a sports team, people tend to blow these things off when squeezed for time. I can understand, but it's still frustrating, especially for the person (me) who arranges everything.

Plus, some of the problems with maintaining a steady gaming schedule has been my own fault. I was extremely busy working overtime and doing other activities during off-hours in February through the first half of April. Nobody else picked up the ball and ran with it, so the game club basically went on hiatus for a few months.

On the plus side, I haven't given up hope yet. I love board games, wargames, and card games. And I have a bunch of new games (at least to me) to try out, as well as many old favorites to continue to bring to the table. Despite my disappointment in not getting enough traction going amongst my gamer-friends to put the game group on auto-pilot, I still think it can be done. It's just going to take time and plenty of patience. The fact that I own a bunch of cool games and don't want to see them languish on the shelf for eternity is a driving force behind my continual efforts to light a fire under people's butts.

So I shall start again. People need to come to the realization that having FUN with family and friends is a critical component to a healthy, happy life. It's too easy to get overly caught up in work and day-to-day trifles which are not important in the big scheme of things. So I'm trying to do my part in spreading the joy. Hopefully it will work!

I have three blogs going right now. There's a private one dedicated to the development of my tabletop miniatures wargame called And On the 7th Day They Created Severnia. That's where the project team members and I post our thoughts, ideas, and observations about the Sword of Severnia fantasy wargame we're involved in developing.

I also maintain a blog for my HARL Baseball league, where I write about my fantasy baseball league and share information with the league members. There's also an associated website called HARL Central where members can download weekly stat reports and view online reports.

And then there's this blog, a personal journal where I discuss board games, card games, miniatures, wargames, software development, fantasy sports, and anything else that strikes my fancy.

Keeping all 3 blogs up-to-date can be a challenge. Of all three, writing to this one is the hardest. Experiences designing software/games and with my fantasy baseball league help to generate articles for the other two blogs without much of a problem. But writing to a personal journal is different.

While I almost always have something to say, sometimes I wonder if it's really worth saying. I mean, there's only so much people can read while surfing the net. So I frequently ask myself the question, "what makes this blog worth reading?" Why bother writing at all if I don't have anything interesting, informative, or captivating to say?

That's probably something that a great many bloggers struggle with. Sure, you can use blogging as a pure ego trip, gaining satisfaction in the simple fact that your voice is on the internet somewhere. Or perhaps, you just want to write for cathartic purposes; because it makes you feel good to share your feelings and get things off your chest. They're both valid reasons I suppose.

For me, I want to inform and entertain. The thing that I hope for is that a reader learns something and has fun doing it.

I know that I don't always succeed. I'm still learning what makes a good blog post, what's useful to write about, and what people enjoy. Truth be told, I'm probably overthinking this. Perhaps that's why I'm frustrated about not writing to this blog often enough. Four or five posts per month is not enough. I want to be more prolific and not let things get too stagnant. Posting 12-16 times per month would be oh so much better!

But for an increase in posting to occur, I'm going to have to take a new approach to this blog. Perhaps I should be willing to write shorter posts? Perhaps I should feel free to just brain-dump and not feel guilty about it? Perhaps I need to stop worrying about being informative and just starting writing? It's very possible that could be holding me back.

So I'm going to try something new. I'm just going to LET GO and WRITE and see what happens. At least I can't be frustrated about lack of posting any longer if I take that approach!

Until next time... BE GOOD.

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