It is day two of my little experiment. Things aren’t too bad, but it is still too soon for me to experience any real emotional distress. Despite what my wife thinks, I am quite capable of going a few days without video games, thank you very much.
This would be a good time for me explain my experiment in detail.
I will start with the rules:
Rule One: NO VIDEO GAMES. I know this seems redundant, but my whole project hinges on this first rule. I am not allowed to play any video games, ever, until March 1st 2012. This includes computer games, console games, web site games, IPhone games, hand held device games, etc. I am not even allowed to play Pong. I can play ping-pong, but I may have to change that since it is basically an analogue of Pong.
Rule Two: Instead of playing video games, I will spend my extra time working on special skills or hobbies. These activities will grouped together by category and each category will be assigned its own month. I am allowed to do other activities besides the specified category, but my main focus for that month must be within the chosen topic. Each month will also have some sort of end goal, something about which I can say, “Hey, look what I did!” These goals will be set once I am actually in each month, doing the activities.
Rule Three: My wife loves this one. I am only allowed to watch T.V. when my wife does. Yes, I am sure this is every girl’s dream. This rule is to make sure that I actually work on my special projects, instead of transferring my gaming time into T.V. time. It is at this moment that I am glad I married a woman as nerdy as I am. My wife likes to both beam up and wield the force, which makes this rule easier to bear.
Rule Four: This rule is more of a commitment to my readers. I will commit to blogging at least once or twice a week, if not more, for the duration of the project.
Next is the tentative month-by-month schedule.
March — Handyman Month
Yes, that’s right, gamer to handy man! Being a gamer, I am apparently lacking in manliness. You would think that me being able gun down other gamers in Call of Duty: Black Ops would transfer into manliness points once I stopped playing, but I have since found out that there is no exchange rate for thumbs to biceps.
March’s main focus will actually be woodworking, since that was the manliest thing I can really think of. I ask you, what’s more manly then hairy dudes wielding axes and carving up slain trees? Slaying dragons, that’s what. But since dragons don’t exist, I will have to settle with carving up the pre-slain trees found at my local Lowe’s.
April — Gardening Month
This month I will be gardening… yay, plants. I’ll be putting my newly acquired woodworking skills to use to create above ground “gardening troughs” in which to plant nature’s bounty. My wife and I currently rent a house, and our land lord would probably not like me tilling his front lawn. So garden troughs it is! April’s activities will actually lead into August’s; August is going to be cooking month (more on that later), and I plan to use some of things I grow in the recipes I learn.
May — Outdoor Adventure Month
Can you hear it? I know I can! It is the baritone bellowing of adventure. After I attain maximum manliness in March, and get in touch with Mother Earth in April, I will be thrusting myself into the adventures of the outdoors. Being a gamer, I have had most of my adventures while air conditioned and glued to a couch. Not this month. It will be time to get sweaty, and to be in the woods while I do it. Or maybe a field? I don’t have anything really planned for this. Maybe I’ll spend three nights alone in a lean-to, or go backpacking, or maybe I’ll even oil wrestle a bear! Whatever I do, I am sure to be very uncomfortable and surrounded by predators.
June — Music Month
In my previous post, I talked about how my brothers learned how to play music while I played video games. That much is true, but the main reason I never learned music is not because I preferred video games. I actually have a really annoying condition. My hands kind of sweat…a lot. Yeah, yeah, whatever, I’m a big sweaty nerd, I know the cliché. My moist demeanor is unfortunately coupled with the skin condition of eczema on my hands. These two problems combine to make playing most instruments impossible. I could have learned the drums, but my younger brother inherited all the rhythm.
You may be asking, “Hey sweaty guy, how are you going to pull off music month?” I will ignore your insult and go on to answering your question. To my delight, I have discovered the perfect blend between drums and string instruments. You may have heard of it: the hammered dulcimer! This thing is basically a trapezoidal piece of wood with strings across it. You hold a wooden hammer in each hand and strike the strings to play notes. It actually sounds pretty cool. The hammered dulcimer also compliments my nerdiness, since it is often used to play medieval music at renaissance festivals.
July — Physical Fitness Month
So as a gamer I am not the most physically fit individual. I am not some acne-ridden ogre, but I may be a bit…uh…soft. So that’s why July will be the time to get in shape! I am already trying to eat better and take regular walks, and who knows how Outdoor Adventure month will tone me up. But July will be a special focus on fitness. I am not just going to be lifting weights. I will be learning about more subtle arts, such as yoga or maybe Tai Chi. I have also agreed to do Pilates with my wife. I will probably also do some kick boxing so I can hold on to my perceived manliness. I will be balancing my downward dog with a punch to the gut. Fun.
August — Cooking Month
I love food, but I don’t really know how to make it. That’s why I am going to be in the kitchen in August. At this point, the stuff I will have been growing in my garden will be ready for preparation and consumption. I will probably feel really accomplished when I eat my garden produce, but may also feel devastated if I come to think of them as my pets. My wife, mom and mother-in-law are all phenomenal cooks, so I am sure they will want to see what I can do.
I actually already know the goal for this month. It is both brilliant and terrifying. At the end of the month I will be cooking a full meal for my in-laws. That’s intimidating enough, but also throw in the fact that my mother-in-law is a food critic and Editor in Chief of foodchannel.com — talk about pressure! But if I fail, it won’t be too bad… I’ll make sure to have her teach me some stuff, that way, if I fail, I can just blame her faulty teaching.
Also, foodchannel.com is a great site where you can find all of the latest food trends and information. This site is actually going to be my main resource during the month of August and I suggest that everyone check it out!
September — Tactile Art Month
This month will signal my immersion into the arts. Gamer to Renaissance man, I say! By tactile arts I mean things like sculpting, pottery or stained glass. I remember enjoying pottery class when I was a kid, so this one should fun. My main focus is going to be sculpting. This has been something I have wanted to for a while but never really made time for.
October — Stereotypical Women’s Hobbies Month
I know how that sounds, but hear me out. My oh-so-wonderful-brother-in-law brought to my attention that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month; he further suggested that I should do women’s hobbies as a show of support. I have added the word “stereotypical” because I know that both women and men have a variety of hobbies and skills and are not necessarily confined to their stereotypes. These are merely activities that are, historically, more often associated with women than with men.
(Note: When I told some of my friends about this month some of them got up in arms and said that it was demeaning to women. I want to make it abundantly clear that I respect women and their abilities and am in no way a bigot.)
That being said, some of chosen activities will be things like, sewing, knitting and maybe needlepoint. My mom is also a master seamstress and will probably be my advisor during this month. I know a lot of women who like to knit, my wife being one of them, but I actually have never met a man who knits or who has knit before. (I once saw a man crocheting a pink heart, but that was a very uncomfortable experience as he stared and winked at me, so I won’t count it.) Believe it or not, I am looking forward to this experience.
November — Culture Month
“To sleep, perchance to dream” – Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”
November, a month of refinement. This month will be solely dedicated to the activities of culture — and not pop culture, mind you. This month is probably the one my wife looks forward to the most. It is going to be filled with plays, operas and concerts. I will probably be picking up some Shakespeare or Sophocles to read. November could be very interesting, as I feel it may turn out to be a grab bag of various topics, philosophy, poetry, theatre, etc. I may also try to write my own short theatrical piece. To wear a beret or not to wear a beret? That will be the question… and maybe to also grow a curly mustache.
December — Free Month
At this point in my journey, I will have learned a lot of stuff. December will be for me to focus on some of my favorites and try to improve my proficiency. Who knows, maybe I’ll knit an afghan.
January — Paper Arts
It’s going to be cold, so I plan to be inside a lot. This month is going to be the perfect time to work on painting and drawing. This is another set of activities I am really looking forward to. Painting and drawing can be so beautiful and I have always wanted to become good at them. My doodles are pretty good, but nothing that can be considered art. My mom is a really good painter and my friend Collin can do it all. They will both be a great help during this month. I may also attend some formal classes instead of just being locked up in my house day after day, continuing to doodle.
February — Writing Month
The last month! I am actually an aspiring writer. If this experiment works out really well, I may try and turn it into a book. February will a great time to sit down and compile all of my experiences. I also plan to work on a lot of short stories, many of which I will probably post. Thinking about it, I already feel kind of sad. February will be the end of the adventure. I will most likely be spending a lot of time thinking and reflecting on how the experience has changed me. What better to do than write about it?
So there you have it, my year planned out to the knit-one purl-two. It’s going to be a crazy experience and I hope you join me for the ride.