May 13, 2010


What great words of wisdom will come spilling out today?

I must have set off an alarm or something yesterday. I was talking about blogs. I had mentioned that my mother had two blogs, that sort of seemed to be, mixed up. Now, I notice that, not only have the blogs been straightened out, so-to-speak, but she informed me this morning (my time), that she now has a THIRD BLOG! Hahaha… my mother! And, she also mentioned that dad has a second blog!

You know, I suppose I could have two blogs going. One that deals with my classes and students, and the other about everything else. Or maybe one about living and travelling in Taiwan. Or another just about complaints and praises. Or how about a Monday blog, a Tuesday blog, etc.

Now, I am getting a bit crazy. I think that the more you make work for yourself, the more work you have. Take my blog for instance. Yes, I try to write in it every day. So far, coming up to three months, I think I’ve done alright. I read over my first blog on Feb 23/10 yesterday, and noticed that I had set a goal for myself. That was to write in the morning.

Well, you know, it seemed like a fine idea in the beginning. I get up around 5:00am, so why not. But lately, I’ve been finding that a) I’m getting up a bit later and b) just don’t have the impetus or the brain power to write at such an early time. It takes all my brain cells just to wake up, feed the beasts, take a few pictures from the roof, make the coffee, get the computer going, and get ready for my day.

The other thing that seems to be taking a lot of time, is something that I did myself. You see, there are a lot of great games on Facebook. Most computer games, I find, are mindless, brain-sucking, wastes of time. I suppose I could say the same about some of the T.V. programs I watch! But there are a few of these games that I enjoy.

Let me start by saying, that secretly, I like video games. But not just ANY game. I like the type that challenge YOU, not the rest of the world. I have a lot of game apps on my iPhone as well. At first, they were fun and exciting. But once you’ve completed the levels, or gone as far as the ‘free’ app will let you, why bother keeping it? Sometimes, I’ve tried to introduce my students to some of these games. But alas, they are only fun for a short period of time.

Also, I kind of like gambling. I should, I suppose. I worked in casinos for over 20 years of my life, part-time and full-time. I’ve been to Las Vegas at least 13 times, and once to Macao. I used to love going to Bingo with my friends and parents. There was one year in particular, I kept track of all the winnings a friend and I collected. We used to go together, and between us, would spend about a $100 (not including food and drink – just tickets). After the year, I looked back at the calendar. We had won over $21,000, and yet had spend, about $20,000! So, lesson learned? Perhaps. Gambling is just not a career for me. A fun thing to do, okay.

So, I get onto Facebook. I start playing FarmVille. I must admit that this is one game that I do enjoy playing with the ‘rest of the world’, or at least, MY world. Helping neighbours, collecting prizes, building up your farm… but now, like my mother before me, and I believe my sister, as well as a few other people, it’s kind of run its course. There’s no real challenge any more. Plant the crops… several hours later, harvest. Build a building. Open an egg. The most fun I had was collecting the St. Patrick’s Day gold and the Easter Eggs. And then what? It’s like a balloon that you slowly let the air out of. You keep blowing and blowing, and then you run out of breath, and the balloon collapses.

Well, now I’m finding that with some of the other games. I don’t mind playing slot machines. I don’t mind tearing open pull tabs. I don’t mind scratching spots for prizes. But again, where’s the challenge? Yes, getting from one level to another is great, but there’s nothing. Sure, I could post a message to the wall to say that I’d gone up a level. Who cares?

Now I’m into Family Feud. A little over a month ago, the ‘Family Feud people’ did something to the system. Since that time, there have been problems. For those of you who know about Family Feud the T.V. program, you’ll understand what I’m talking about.

In the game, just like the T.V. program, you answer questions. You try to find the most popular answers. You type your answer, it will ‘ding’ if correct, and you gather the points. If not, a big red “X” appears on the screen. Three “X’s” and the round is finished. The first two rounds are normal points. The third round is doubled, and the fourth round is tripled. After each round, you are shown how you are doing compared to the ‘average’ score. At the end of round 4, should you have more points than the ‘average’, you go on to Fast Money.

In this round, you are asked five questions, you giving your answer for each. Your score is tallied. Then you get to ask your friends to help you. They must accept the challenge, and answer the same five questions. Your scores are added together. Should you get 200 or more, then the ORIGINAL person gets 5,000 points, whereas the second person get 5x the score (i.e., 200×5=1000). Simple enough. Periodically, like some of the other games, you will get a ‘win-only’ prize instead of the 5,000 bonus.

Now, I really started getting into this game. When whatever happened those few weeks ago, suddenly I don’t get my 5,000 bonus any longer. My friends are answering the questions, a message is posted stating that they were the first to complete and our total score was over 200 points. I go into the program, but there is neither an addition to my score, and neither is there a ‘result’. You used to be able to see the results – basically, the answers that you both gave, along with the top answers.

I started keeping track of the number of bonuses that I was not getting. Then I joined the community page to see if there were any other such problems! OMG!! Not just one or two, but thousands of people playing this game are all complaining of the same thing.

So, off I send a message to the ‘Family Feud people’. Well, all I can say is, I don’t know if there are actually any real people that operate these games. I think the “Matrix” has something to do with it. I get a message back explaining all the rules of the game, how the point system works, what to do if there are any problems, when there is someone available PST to answer any questions… but nothing to really explain what is happening.

This isn’t the first time either. Now I realize these games are free. There is no charge to play and advance. And there’s no way on this planet that I will send a credit card number across the computer to some automated system to get extra questions to answer. Neither would I do that to get extra credits. I’ve read a couple of problems, one being from my mother, about that very thing. Purchasing, with REAL cash, virtual credits to play a game. However, the credits have not appeared, and only computer-generated emails are being sent out saying that it will be submitted to the powers-that-be to evaluate.

So what am I saying here? I guess in essence, I’m bored. I’ve spent a lot of time in front of the computer, and for what. To get to level 37 in FarmVille? To be #2 in Family Feud? To spend countless hours playing mindless games, that could be put to better use?

I always mention to my students about doing homework before playing games. But here I am finding myself doing exactly the same thing. Wanting to play the game, to pull the handle, to answer the questions, and the only thing I’m getting is a sore butt!

My cousin Mike made a comment about the number of games I had going. Now I see what he meant. I think I’ll dwindle these games down to the three or four, or maybe five that I like the best, and the rest will have to go.

[insert a big YAWN]

[rubbing eyes]

Is it morning already? I can smell coffee!

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “May 13, 2010

  1. Bilbet

    Well son, it is well known that the world runs on good intentions. So we are doing our part.

    It is also a well known fact that exercising the brain keeps the mind in tip top shape.

    Now what have you learned from this? Time for another blog – separation is a good thing. Go for it – we’re waiting.

  2. Yes there are a hell of a lot mindless games to play, and it seems they are all similar in that you get credits to play, then buy items or what ever to advance to another level, in which you get more credits, etc, etc. Like a dog chasing his tail. Oh well, time flies when you are having fun!

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