Eastercon 2011 & Managing a Minecraft Habit

It must be a sign that you are developing a problematic addiction to a computer game when you change your computer’s windows manager so that the game runs faster. On my Linux desktop instead of using Gnome I am now using xfce. It’s a far more minimal environment. I have gone through periods of using it heavily before. It lets me play Minecraft with a much higher frame rate than I was playing it with under Gnome. Also in full screen mode, which a very good way to lose track of time and end up playing a solid fifty minutes and let a mug of coffee go cold right in front of you. More importantly this machine is getting quite old and under this windows manager everything is a lot more responsive than it was under Gnome. I will probably keep using Gnome until the lack of native support for all my Gnome keyboard shortcuts for dealing with Rhythmbox, an iTunes clone, irritates me.

Recent activities in Minecraft include building a glass fronted house near the deep cave system I explored this evening. Also finding my first redstone ore and also a few blocks of gold ore. I don’t have any grand building project in Minecraft at the moment. The phase where I was excited and built and underwater house is over. My habits in this game are at the moment all about finding the deepest caves and exploring them for the rare materials inside.

There is an environmental lesson that can be learned while playing Minecraft. I’m sure of it.

I have decided that the most liberating object you can craft in Minecraft is your first compass. The ability to always be able to find home makes me feel much more comfortable just going for a wander to see the sights.

Last Saturday I took a break from playing Minecraft and went to Eastercon, the UK’s largest SF convention, at a hotel on the site of the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham. Below is the post I made to Whitechapel’sVile Hugging Thread” about an hour after getting back home. To give you an idea how much food cost at the Hilton Metropole the burger I had in the evening cost me £15 and the total I spent on all the books mentioned below was about that much.

I went to Eastercon today. The usual tradition of missing junctions and getting lost on the way to conventions happened twice today. I blame tiredness. While there I spent far too much money, mostly on expensive food, but I did buy some books: J.G. Ballard’s High Rise, Harlan Ellison’s Shatterday, a copy of New Worlds 2 and M John Harrison’s Parietal Games. The copy of Shatterday was a bargain at £1 for a “tatty” hardback. Although the best deal of the day was being sold a new copy of Parietal Games for £6 instead of some of the eye-watering prices its available for online. Parietal Games is essential reading. My mind is blown right now. Utterly exhausted and kinda content.

I didn’t go to any panels, but I did watch Doctor Who in a room filled with hundreds of other people. That was a strange experience. Also didn’t find out anything about the new New Worlds. Sorry.

Edit: At this point I’m just mashing on keys at random until some meaning emerges.

Now I’m going to read The Dead and try to go for a run in the morning.

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