Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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56 Responses

  1. Avatar Mark J says:

    The last time I gave up anything for Lent was many years ago, when I gave up god for Lent.

    And I’ve never been happier since. I highly recommend it.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      Without delving too far into the topic of religion, Lenten practices have nothing to do with God.

      Assuming a deity (which I don’t), I find it difficult to believe that said deity would desire or be pleased by arbitrary privation *EXCEPT* if said arbitrary privation resulted in realizations that wouldn’t have been achieved otherwise.

      The point is the realizations that wouldn’t have been achieved otherwise (independent of the deity).Report

  2. Avatar Mark J says:

    Damn, this is what happens when you get interrupted in the middle of posting a comment.

    “And I’ve never been happier since” should be “And I couldn’t have been happier since.”Report

  3. Avatar zic says:

    I thought I’d give up giving up. Austerity is so last season. Plus, I like to be contrary, so if you’re giving up vidya games, Jaybird, does that mean you’re going to stop commenting here?Report

  4. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Nothing. I might try and go back to not eating leavened products during Passover thoughReport

  5. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    I will give up superhero movies and listening to rap.Report

  6. Avatar Chris says:

    (That was me every year when my Mom would demand I give up chocolate for Lent.)Report

  7. Avatar dragonfrog says:

    Lent snuck up on me again! I must think of a thing to give up. Last year I only realized it was Lent like three days in, so made an even worse hash of it…

    Facebook might be a good choice, but I’ll have to structure some exceptions around it, or I’d also be giving up nearly all social invitations.Report

  8. Avatar Maribou says:

    As Jaybird knows, I am once again having such a challenging/stressful year that I feel my life is on a hard enough difficulty setting without adding any Lenten endeavours.

    My fervent hope is that next year will be unchallenging enough that I feel inspired to make it a little bit harder.Report

  9. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    Not exactly a Lenten resolution, but for the past couple of weeks I’ve been talking 3+ mile walks nearly daily with my wife. For those who do observe Lent, perhaps it need not be giving up something you like; starting something that you should be doing and forming a new, good habit might be just as good, no?Report

  10. Avatar zic says:

    Hey @jaybird for all that time you’re not going to be purchasing vidya games, I have a recommendation for you — a book, Reamde by Neil Stephenson. I’m about 200 pgs. in (it’s over 1,000), and haven’t had this much fun in a book in a while. @mike-schilling and @maribou , too. If you haven’t, dip in. You’ll get out of Iowa really quickly, I promise.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      My problem is that I’m still reading my cert books. (Which is, I suppose, a Lenten goal like what Burt is talking about.)

      I want to get my certification so, then, I can say “Okay. I now have the resume that a 42 year old in my field should have” and rest on my laurels until I turn 43.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

      I’m in the middle of a plus-sized book too (it’s about this nut chasing this big fish.)

      Has Stephenson ever written something both good and much shorter, so I can get my feet wet before jumping into the deep end?Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        He wrote Snowcrash, which not so hefty; I had trouble getting into it. His only other work I’ve read is Anathem, and that was amazing but equally hefty. But I’d say it’s worth the heft, when you’ve the time.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko says:

        Diamond Age borrows from Neuromancer in that it immediately drops you, with almost no exposition, into a world different enough from our own that it takes a lot of “Wait, wha? Lemme read that again because I don’t get it,” moments before you even understand what’s going on. Alsotoo, it just sorta… stops, as opposed to “ends.” But it’s recognizably Stephenson, pretty thoroughly thought out, and if the climax fizzles a bit, the buildup takes you to some really interesting places. I liked it a lot notwithstanding its flaws.

        And it clocks in at under 300 pages.Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        IIRC, Cryptonomicon was my first (and still fave) Stephenson. It’s hefty for sure, but I burned through it fast (a few sleep-deprived nights, the first time in a while a book had kept me up). Anathem – despite being the sort of thing that on paper (heh) should have been right up my alley – I found kinda dull.

        And what Burt says about Stephenson’s abrupt endings is true. You always get the feeling that his editor gave him a now-or-never ultimatum to turn the damn book in already.

        Here’s a pretty well-received non-fiction article he did for Wired way back when, could be some good bathroom reading:


      • Avatar Burt Likko says:

        One wonder, how outdated is the technology he’s describing in that article? it was 1996, after all, and most of us still don’t think that much about cable.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        You can imagine where it went from there.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain says:

        For people with the bucks to pay for service, the current state-of-the-art Europe-Asia link runs from London to Tokyo under the Arctic Ocean. It shaved 60 milliseconds off the transit time, an amount of time that is hugely important to the high-speed algorithmic financial traders. Those are the same people who are paying the $300M bill for a new cable from London to New York in order to save 6 milliseconds.

        At the other end of the scale, consider how sparse fiber is in Africa.Report

      • Avatar dragonfrog says:

        I like Stephenson but count myself among the people who don’t care for his endings – I don’t know that ‘abrupt’ would be the way I’d put it. Maybe ‘Hollywood’ – it’s like there’s this compulsion to make everything wrap up neatly, and make it ‘happy’ even if nothing in the plot has been leading that way so far.

        Generally I’ve just skipped reading the last chapter, and not found that the books lost anything by it.

        I liked that the trilogies delayed the forced happy ending until the last book, and I really loved that Anathem set things up so that what would otherwise have been an annoyingly unbelievable Hollywood-perfect ending actually made sense.Report

      • Avatar dragonfrog says:

        Diamond Age is also a bit shorter if you consider it to be a different work the moment you get a whiff of annoyingly contrived happy ending, which IIRC happened a few pages in to the last chapter. No good will come of reading beyond that point.Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        @dragonfrog – yeah, maybe “unnaturally tidy” is more descriptive than “abrupt”, though it still happens *fast* – like I said, I almost get the impression the only way for him to be able to just…stop…writing, is to suddenly pick the shortest route to completely tying off each thread.

        But endings are pretty famously hard to do, even (maybe especially) for good storytellers.Report

      • Avatar Jim Heffman says:

        The thing to remember is that what Stephenson writes is a combination of satire and “intellectual’s notebook”. Each of his books has been a satire, although sometimes the notebook outweighs that part of it.
        “The Big U” for men’s pulp adventure.
        “Zodiac” for 1980s-vintage technothrillers (similar to but distinct from the previous genre).
        “Snow Crash” for cyberpunk (and if you haven’t read Williams’s “Hardwired”, you should, because it’s a good book in its own right but it’s also the work that Snow Crash is most directly parodying).
        “Cryptonomicon” for Dan Brown-style “secret history” stories.
        “The Baroque Cycle” for Gore Vidal-style straight-up historical fiction.
        “Anathem” for hard-SF works.
        “Reamde” for the more modern sort of technothriller.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        What, the same way that True Grit was making fun of Western thrillers and ended up being one heck of a darn good Western thriller?Report

    • Avatar Maribou says:

      @zic It’s on my list! I’ve read several Stephensons. I think the Baroque Cycle will be my next venture into his waters, though.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko says:

        I rank the Baroque Cycle as my favorite work of fiction, bar none. Thing is, it’s massive. Can be a little intimidating. And when you say it’s a grand epic about the invention of calculus and the adoption of fiat money, people look at you funny.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Ah, it has Leibniz in it (I am a fan), so now I’ll have to read it.Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        Given the plot points/dramatis personae, it should have been subtitled “Mo’ money, mo’ nads”Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        Hey, whenever it gets too deadly serious around here, a bad philosophy pun is the best way to Leibniz things up.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        You should consider this:


      • Avatar Chris says:

        Many years ago, when I was a grad student who was interested in applying a particular model to humor, I and some other graduate students started looking at puns as a fairly straightforward type of humor to study. As “research,” we attended the O. Henry Pun-Off World Championships, after which my entire upper body was stuck in a cringe for 3 days.Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        A truly great (that is, awful) pun completely sidesteps the pun(ch)-up/down question.

        A truly great pun hurts everybody, including the punner.Report

      • Avatar kenB says:

        Dave Barry, from “Why Humor is Funny”:

        Puns are little “plays on words” that a certain breed of person loves to spring on you and then look at you in a certain self-satisfied way to indicate that he thinks that you must think that he is by far the cleverest person on Earth now that Benjamin Franklin is dead, when in fact what you are thinking is that if this person ever ends up in a lifeboat, the other passengers will hurl him overboard by the end of the first day even if they have plenty of food and water.


      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        I now feel like my decision to not ask “you know who else needed mo’nads?” was the wrong one.Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        In the Baroque Cycle, Jack Shaftoe has a somewhat-related problem…Report

  11. Avatar A Compromised Immune System says:

    Have you considered looking up something on boardgamegeek.com to tide you over?Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      My abstinence includes such things as DLC. It hadn’t occurred to me to go for analog games but… that seems like cheating too.

      So no games.

      I will play the copious games I already have.

      Once I get off the internet. And do some studying.Report

      • Avatar A Compromised Immune System says:

        You need other people to play board games or card games so it could be a good and welcome change to do so for Lent. I know that years ago when I made a similar new year’s resolution it resulted in rekindling a few friendships because I found opportunities to invite old friends to spend social time again.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        Oh, I’ll be *PLAYING* board games. (My group will be meeting on Saturday.)

        I just won’t be *BUYING* any.

        I heartily recommend getting a group.Report

  12. Avatar zic says:

    (Deleted per Zic’s request)Report

  13. Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

    I am going to stick to the Lenten mantra I shared on the site two years ago (modified slightly for the non-religious). Specifically, I need to learn to shut up and listen more.

    Give up harsh words – Use generous ones
    Give up unhappiness – Take up gratitude
    Give up anger – Take up gentleness & patience
    Give up pessimism – Take up hope and optimism
    Give up worrying – Trust that things will work out
    Give up complaining – Value what you have
    Give up stress – Remove the things that cause it
    Give up judging others – Discover the good within them
    Give up sorrow and bitterness – Fill your heart with joy
    Give up selfishness – Take up compassion for others
    Give up being unforgiving – Learn reconciliation
    Give up words – Fill yourself with silence & listen to othersReport