So in the short time between when the boy is put to bed and when I get to bed, I try to relax. So what is relaxing? I split my time (not evenly) among three basic activities:
I read science fiction, fantasy, and science. I’ll occasionally read technology related blogs or similar articles, but they really need to inspire me to read.
In the science fiction realm, the best author used to be David Weber. Unfortunately, as his series went along they become almost formulaic and boring. His non-series books became unreadable with so much detail and so many characters packed into too small a space. Much of the published works are the same way. After fifteen books, there’s only so many ways to blow up space ships and there can only be so many world’s-most-amazing-swordsmen. It becomes rote.
What I have found, in both fantasy and science fiction is the wonderful world of independent publishers. There are plenty of dogs in this category, but get a free digital reader for your PC or a Kindle and there some truly excellent books out there for less than $2.
Right now, I have no one favorite author. Contenders would be Ian M. Banks (his culture series is simply stunning), Jim Butcher (two great series, in spite of what the sci-fy channel did to one of them), and Steven Brust (though his series is falling off lately). I could probably mention a few of the independents here too:
- Andrew Chapman – Pagan series
- Randolf LaLonde – Spinward Fringe series [though I have some issues with his work]
- Andrew Mitchell
- Michael E. Marks – Dominant Species (fantastic book)
- Howell Morgan – Queen of Orcs series (Truly fantastic fantasy)
There’s a lot of trash out there too, but for 3-4 books for the price of one paperback, I can live with it.
Second, games. I have and enjoy playing on an X-Box 360. I prefer first person shooters and racing games. I really can’t stand RPGs or much along those lines. I can only play for about an hour before I get bored though. Currently, my favorite games are Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and Forza Racing 3. I have Halo 3 and Halo Reach, but haven’t really gotten too deep. I’m saving them for a rainy day.
Otherwise, I just found wargaming.net and have thoroughly enjoyed playing the demo versions of some of their games. Apparently they have multi-player versions too. I’m going to have to investigate. The games are kind of steep ($40), but based on the demos, seem well worth it.
Television. First, as I stated here, I don’t have cable or satellite. I have a roku with internet streaming from Netflix and Amazon Video on Demand. I watch only what I want with no commercials and I only pay for what I watch. Right now I watch roughly five shows regularly.
- Castle – I love Nathan Fillion (if I was gay, I would lust after him) and Stana Katic (I do lust after her). Every episode is well written with some of the best acting, bar none.
- Breaking In – this is my quirky, weird, but hilariously funny comedy. This is what Big Bang was 3 years ago, but weirder. I’ve always been a fan of Christian Slater and he’s simply the coolest character on TV right now.
- Big Bang Theory – this was my life 20 years ago. It’s gone down hill slightly though.
- Top Chef – my guilty pleasure along with Top Shot, but I loathe the format of Top Shot. Survivor has ruined competition shows.
- Whatever I find on netflix. Some gems include Rough Science (Survivor Man meets Top Gear meets Mythbusters) and Glassreiter (German Anime – very bloody, but fascinating)
What do you guys do to relax?