One Focused Summer

Every few summers, things get so busy that I need a list to remind myself how focus on the things that help me relax.

This is that list. Is it a big list? Yes. Will I finish everything on it? No. But it gives me something to shoot for … and something to focus on.

Baseball! Damn, do I ever need more baseball! Before the pandemic, my friends and I would go in on a 10-game ticket plan for the IronPigs, which guaranteed I’d see 6 to 8 games a year. Sadly, life got complicated, and post-pandemic, we haven’t gotten the band back together. Still … I need more baseball in my life. I’m hoping to get in a few ‘Pigs games and maybe even a Vermont Lake Monsters game (my daughter goes to college in Vermont) or Rochester Redwings (my son’s going to RIT).

Read books. If it’s summer, then I’m reading. Again. Nuketown’s 17th annual summer reading list is online and features 18 books (15 novels, three non-fiction books), three novellas, and five graphic novels. My goal is to read them all by September 21, 2024.

Complete video games. I’ve started a ton of games and finished few of them.

  • Cyberpunk 2077: I’m close to the end, but paradoxically, that makes me not want to play it, because I know that hard decisions (and the end of my character) are near. Sure, I’m already thinking about how I’d want to play the game a second (or third or fourth) time, but still … I’m enjoying this world. It’ll be hard to say good by to this V.
  • Fire Emblem: Engage: I don’t have the same level of emotional engagement with this iteration of Fire Emblem. It’s fun enough, and there’s a bunch of nostalgia thanks to being able to revisit heroes from previous games as “Emblems” (basically ghosts that live in magic rings; just go with it). Still, I’d like to finish the game.
  • Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: The White Whale of my video game library, the one game I want to finish that I never have. For the last few years, I’ve been in the final temple. I’m close, very close, to the end, but getting there means finding some dedicate time (and walkthroughs) to battle through.

Play RPGs. Being a gamer, I’ve always got games I want to play

  • Cyberpunk RED: I’ve been hard at work on the next arc for the Lair of Secrets campaign: the edgerunners’ descent into the sublevels of the now-ruined Elysium corporate headquarters.
  • Dragonbane: The “mayhem and mirth” fantasy RPG is based on an earlier Swedish RPG; I unboxed it over at the Lair’s YouTube channel and now I want to play it. Fortunately, it came with a solo adventure so there’s an excellent chance I can play it on vacation.
  • Fallout 2d20: The Lair crew is getting together an extended weekend of online gaming just for Fallout this sometime this summer.
  • Mothership: I have the boxed set; it’d be awesome to actually run an adventuring using it.
  • Alien: Ok, if I don’t run Mothership, then I definitely want to run Alien. After all, Alien: Romulus comes out this summer, and there’s a chance it won’t suck!

Play Solo RPGs. I read The Solo Game Master’s Guide by Geek Gamers as part of my summer reading list, and it’s inspired me to finally jump into some of my solo RPGs.

  • Ironsworn: Starforged: Technically, the Lair crew is running this as a co-op, but in reality, we’re trying something different: solo adventures that occasionally come together for co-op quests. It’s a grand experiment, and one I look forward to trying.
  • Chiron’s Doom: A solo journaling game I picked up as part of ZineQuest 2023. You can check out my walkthrough on the Lair of Secrets YouTube channel.

Play retro games. The Ready Player One replay stalled in January 2024 after the Dig Dug review, mostly because I got stuck playing Zork. I’d really like to get further in the game than I am, but realistically, I might need to call things “good enough” and move on. There are only five games left in Phase 2 of the Replay, and it’d be nice to get through them this summer.

Go to the beach. I didn’t get to the Jersey Shore at all last summer. I’d like to change that.

Go to Iceland. My wife and our extended family are headed to Iceland for a summer vacation. We’ll be on a cruise (my first) featuring lots of day hikes to notable places in the Arctic country. How much time will I have to read? Probably not much … but I will have my Kindle with me.

Build and fly rockets. I’ve been building rockets on and off for the last few years, since finding a cache of classic model rocket kits that belonged to my dad. It’s time to build a few more.

Watch movies. There are a few potentially good movies coming out this summer, and I want to see them:

  • Furiosa – I loved Mad Max: Fury Road, and this movie is generating some great buzz.
  • Deadpool and Wolverine – The only Marvel movie coming out this year, it looks like it’s going to be just the X-Men, wiseass extravaganza we need.
  • Twisters – I loved Twister when it came out. Sure, it’s a B movie creature feature with tornadoes as the creatures, but it had Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt, and pretty impressive special effects. Sure, this new movie is cashing in on that nostalgia … but it looks pretty cool.
  • Alien: Romulus – Ah, the Alien franchise. You’ve done great things (Alien, Aliens) … and you’ve done terrible things (Alien3PrometheusAlien: Covenant). The Alien: Romulus trailer looks like a return to form … but we (and I) have been burned before.

List of Summers Past

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