Ask the grumpies: Post-retirement activities?

chrisinny asks:

Contemplating retirement in 12 months. It is recommended to have a plan for your life when work no longer fills so much time. Well, work (and raising a child) pretty much filled most/all of my spare time, with a little left over for reading and quilting (neither of which can I really use to fill a day). So any recommendations for new interests to take up? I may try some volunteering (which had done at the library in the past) but need to find where I can make a contribution (but have no interest in being in charge, of anything). Live in a rural area with access to a tertiary city- so apps like “meetup” are ok for occasional, but not daily activities. I do have a spouse but he has been retired for years so he already has his own routine(s).

Have you considered political activism?  If you live in the US, there’s a lot of work that needs to get done.  Click up on our activism tab for ways to get involved.  I know it’s not the most fun thing in the world, but it’s so important right now.  Living in a rural area means that your voice is especially important because you’re likely to have representatives who are not 100% blue and can be swayed with some effort on your part.  Being in charge can really suck, but you might be able to nudge those who are in charge into being a little bit more active.  This is especially true with state and local politics.

Your library is a great place to go not just for volunteering directly (or for reading books)– they can also connect you.  For example doing people’s taxes for free at the library is a popular volunteer activity and one that can be done in rural areas.  Ask your local librarian about that and about other groups in your area– the library is a place that many groups meet, particularly in small towns.  Your parks and recreation center may also be able to help you but they might think the request is odd whereas librarians will totally think it’s normal.

#1 recommends anime.  :)  #2 recommends your local animal shelter.  Other popular retirement activities include taking continuing education classes, doing exercise classes with parks and recreation or the YMCA, gardening, cooking, hunting, hiking, etc.  And, of course, travel… or working part-time.

Good luck with the next stage!

What recommendations does the Grumpy Nation have?

Why I love anime

Because they’re almost all mini-series.

Generally you know if you’re starting something, it will finish.  It will have nice closure.  You won’t be left hanging.  If the show gets popular, it is still going to finish the story line and end.  They might add a new season, but it will also have a story line that has a crafted ending at the point in which it starts.

As a kid I HATED when the puppy never made it home or we never found out if the pirates were successful at getting rid of the evil miasma that was taking over the world.

Now at least sometimes we get some closure when they take a beloved series cancelled too soon and make it into a movie.  Though in the movie (spoiler alert!) everybody gets killed off.  Failing a movie, sometimes we get to see the last couple of unaired episodes on dvd, like with Wonderfalls.

Another reason I like anime is that it tends to focus on perseverance over innate talents.  In a series DC1 and I are currently watching, Law of Ueki, that idea is spelled out point-blank.  The main character loses “talents” as the series goes along and makes the point that that loss just means he needs to work harder, and that he can still enjoy the process of something like running even if he’s lost his innate ability to run well.

That idea that you can escape your circumstances also shows up with a recurring theme that you can create our own families, our own lives, our own destinies.  We can surround ourselves with other imperfect people and help each other grow.  As one of my favorites, Fruits Basket, says in the opening song, “I can’t be born again, but I can change a little every day.”

OTOH, #2 doesn’t like anime — most of it.  I have seen some lovely and wonderful examples, but mostly it irritates me.  I can’t stand how all the women have BIG EYES and teeny tiny mouths.  Just bat your lovely eyelashes and don’t talk, airhead.  Sigh.  Anatomically impossible women’s bodies in children’s outfits creep me out.  Yes, I know it is a cultural thing that I will not fully understand, not being steeped in that culture.  Still, ick.  IBTP.

#1 notes that #2 is talking about anime that #1 does not watch (well, maybe some harem anime…).  There’s a lot more to anime these days than male fantasy, especially with anime that is appropriate for children (a necessity when one’s child is old enough to ask awkward questions).  There are a lot of strong smart female characters who persevere for their own reasons.  Ginormous breasts are also absent from most of the anime I watch.  There’s even animes in which the girl starts doing something because of a boy, but like in Legally Blonde, through her struggles she realizes the boy isn’t worth it but she is.  Another of my favorites, Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge, turns the Pygmalian story on its head– 4 pretty boys are recruited to transform a goth girl into a lady, and instead she changes them.

Any other anime likers?  What do you like most about the art form?  For non-anime watchers, have you ever been annoyed by a series ending before there’s closure, or deciding to drag out a story arc way too long after the show gets popular?

Must Dos with the next generation

DH recently had an interesting conversation with his relatives.

He says, and I paraphrase:

Hey, I was just wondering what you thought about “must-play” games…meaning games I really have to play with DC, or really anything I “have to” help DC experience?

I’m planning on playing role-playing games with hir…probably starting when ze’s ~7.  The Descent boardgame seems pretty obvious.  DW has nixed Magic: the Gathering.  I’m sure we’ll play some miniatures game like Warmachine or Hordes.

I can’t think of any other game ze “needs” to play except maybe Magic Realm and Star Fleet Battles.  See, except for really old games, I think things are just getting better.  This goes for video games too…I’ll probably try to break out some Wizardry (Werdna) sometime, and maybe Nethack…but there’s no reason to go back and play Super Mario Bros I don’t think.

I’m sure I’ll show hir the Firefly tv show when ze’s old enough.  We’ve already started watching Dr Who together.

I don’t have any must-read books until ze’s probably 10+…even then I prefer just reading a lot to anything specific.

What do you guys think?

Is there anything you think kids today should experience that you liked as a kid/teenager…or that you wished you’d done when you had time back then?

(Disclaimer:  Yes, I married a nerd… but if you looked at my “must do with kid” list you would realize he is actually the less nerdy of the two of us!  I’m all about the math and the books.)

In which I am a Giant Nerd

I don’t even play D&D (YET!?!?), but I made a D&D character (4th edition).  I thought it would be fun.  It was!  I did a lot of it online, and we also whipped out some of my partner’s large collection of D&D books in order to help with the many options.  The great thing about the online system is that it spits out printable cards with all your attacks on them, with necessary stats on each, and color-coded.

Meet Dara, the level 1 half-elf swordmage.  That isn’t her real name.  I know her first, middle, and last names — but I’m not telling you because neither is she.  She’s going by Dara because she’s not too proud of a certain event in her past.  She travels around trying to get back to something that happened years ago.

Dara has a familiar, because I thought it would be fun to have one.  Also, it gives her fire resistance, because I know it sucks bad to be on fire all the time (thank you, WotC podcasts with Penny Arcade, PvP, Wil Wheaton, and celebrity DM Chris Perkins [who is totally cute]).

She’s highly intelligent, which wasn’t actually my first choice, but when I started constructing her stats, all her good attacks were int-based.  She’s also got a knack for success to help her friends and an aegis of assault to mark an attacker — look out, monsters!  So far she only has leather armor — look out, me!  Dara is good with Arcana and History, but terrible at bluffing.  She’s pretty decent with Insight.  She’s got a booming blade and a lightning clash, which seem fun.  Even better is her Vanishing Blade attack, where she becomes invisible and teleports.  Wheee!  It’s a daily, but a cool one.

Dara is currently unaligned and prays to Ioun.

My partner, of course, thinks this is awesome, because he also is a giant nerd.  A hot nerd.  Who bought a very hot table (“Suck it, Swiss army”).  Another reason I am a nerd is because I want this, even though I have no real use for it.  No use, and nowhere to put it.  And it would be ridonkulous expensive. But still.

#2 has played D&D first edition (with the boy she had a crush on in middle school, she was DM), D&D second edition (with her first boyfriend and his friends, she was a Psionocist), and D&D third edition with her partner and some of his friends of friends (she was a cleric).  That’s not counting all the computer games she used to play, ending with Neverwinter Nights.

#2 sometimes makes role-playing gaming jokes in class and a small handful of students will giggle.  She wishes a subset of that small handful would learn to make friends with soap and water.


My hobbies are pretty dull and pretty constant.  I like books and anime and food and really that’s about it.  When I live in a city I take in shows (especially opera!), but it has been a while.  If my job weren’t so mentally challenging I would probably do fun math problems in the style of Martin Gardner.

My husband, OTOH, gets crazy hobbies.  They last at most 3 months.  Some of them, like board gaming or computer programming will last 3 months, then turn off, then turn on again in somewhat predictable cycles.  Even origami has come back a time or two.  The RC airplane, OTOH, has not come out of its box in 5 years and he debates giving it to goodwill about once a year… and I don’t think he will ever finish that first blue scarf he was knitting… painting, calligraphy… he may still have the stuff but they didn’t last long.

Whenever DH is between hobbies he gets depressed.  That’s when I suggest baking as that’s my favorite of his cyclical hobbies.  It’s hard to believe that he couldn’t boil spaghetti when I met him and now he’s taking on challenging recipes just to see if he can do them.  Panna cotta!  Croissants!  The months he spent perfecting pie dough or genoise!  Sheer bliss.

Right now he’s on a making-things-from-scratch-that-don’t-normally-get -made-from-scratch kick.  I love reading blogs (especially from homeschooling Christian housewives with a dozen children– my blog vice) wherein folks do that, and having DH on one of these kicks is a really special treat (so long as he stays away from kombucha).  It is true that I do recall some previous cheese and bread experiments that really stunk up the apartment pretty badly (and more than one potable experiment that didn’t work out right).  Right now we’ve got pickles steeping, cheese hanging, and bread and oatmeal bars baking.  But the most obvious thing if you’re here is the heavy heavy smell of vanilla in the air.  He’s bulk ordered 2 lb of vanilla beans and is making his own extract.  Apparently it involves vanilla, brown beer bottles, colorful plastic corks, and a lot of vodka.

One of these years I bet he’ll get a canning machine.  Those will be good times.

What are your hobbies?  Are any of them delicious?