I got a harsh reminder of just how much I fail at SC2 yesterday and today after a few games against all three Ward siblings, gamer friends I know from school, who can crush me in so many different ways. There are three basic components to SC2 that one can always be working on, which are micro, macro and strategy/opening. The former might be called tactics: winning battles between armies by fancy footwork and clever usage of things like forcefields. This is something closed off to me at the moment as it’s too much on top of everything else. Macro is keeping your bases going while you’re busily trying to annihilate the enemy, expanding your economy and continually producing reinforcements. This is hard, but I’m getting slowly better at it. Strategy in StarCraft II is how you spend your initial resources and time and what kind of units you angle for at the beginning of the game. Right now I have one strategy, a short-term strategy that for me is either “whee I’ve won” or “okay that didn’t work now let’s slowly die because I don’t know what to do now”. This is the infamous Protoss 4gate, which I am told can lead into other more interesting things, but all I can do right now is get the massive initial attack off—about ninety seconds late at best, often more—which is a good beginner’s strategy.

And it works: I win the majority of my practice league games. That’s hardly surprising, though. Tonight I’m planning to try out a Void Ray rush strategy as an alternative, because it’s getting a bit boring trying and failing to get my build right. Ben has offered to give me a “Brotoss training sesh” later this week, when my present housebound illness passes, and hopefully he can help me sort out stupid things I’m doing. None of this is overwhelming though, because there are always basics you can get better at that really do make a difference to your gameplay: making sure you keep expanding your economy and reinforcing your army.

In other news my e-reader continues to transform my life. My dream of a neatly segregated day of focusing in on things and not living at my desk is coming to fruition in a big way. I go to bed on time every day because I’m not being distracted by things online I don’t actually care about; I end every day reading rather than messing about; when I’m on the computer, I’m always doing something constructive. This is great; it’s definitely boosting my mood. It’s also giving me a fresh look at how I actually want to be spending my time, causing me to throw out projects that I’m just not that bothered about. I do not for a moment think that this is down to a gadget—it’s just often the case in life, I am finding, that when things change you get a boost to your plans. Another example of this happening is at the end and the beginning of each term.

I spent three or four hours today clearing out Emacs links from my notes. Again I’m experiencing massive difficulty throwing aside things that genuinely aren’t useful. The thing is, I’ve realised that for all my tweaking I’ve not actually got that much use for a computer besides a flow of content from the Internet, and as a glorified notebook, diary and of course e-mail. I do some sysadmin stuff but not all that much really, and I’ve got the tools that I need and I already know Org-mode well even if the rest of Emacs remains mysterious. But what makes it hard to just move on from all this is the feeling that I’m missing out on so many cool features. There are keybindings everywhere to do useful things, but so many don’t come up enough to be worth memorising. It still hurts to say no to them, though.