Thursday, May 12, 2005

Cliffs Notes

I decided the other day that it was time to read Macbeth again. So I went to the bookstore to browse the various printings. It took me all of 10 seconds to remember that I am hopelessly unable to decode 17th century English. When I asked one of the employees if they had any sort of annotated version, the following conversation ensued: Her: Is this for a class, or just for you? Me: Just for me. Her: So what exactly are you looking for? Me: Well, I need something that tells me what the heck "kerns and gallowglasses" are, for instance. And maybe some historical context, because I don't want to read a seperate history book. Her: Oh, you need the CliffsComplete Macbeth. Me: Cliffs Notes?!?! But that's cheating! I can't use Cliffs Notes! Her: Well, you said it is just for you... how is it cheating? Me: [Look of stunned disbelief. Why the hell hadn't I thought of that?] So I bought the Cliffs Notes version. And I'm glad I did. Cliffs Notes are awesome! Why do I always try to do things the hard way? Don't get me wrong, I understand the value of hard work... but I also understand the negative value of wasted/unfocused effort. The Cliffs Notes version of Macbeth keeps me focused on the important stuff like the plot, the characters, and the historical context. It doesn't let me get bogged down trying to figure out that kerns and gallowglasses are lightly armed soldiers from Ireland.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Persistent, Stubborn, or OCD?

Between January 27th, 2005, and April 24th, 2005 (88 days), I found at least one Geocache every single day. At first, I was going out every day simply because it was fun. Then, I did it because I thought it would be fun to do it every day for a full month. Then it was just part of my daily routine. But somewhere along the way, I started feeling like I had to find at least one cache per day. It took me a while to admit it, but I couldn't deny that my Geocaching streak was starting to own me. Sure, there are worse things that can own a person, but it got me thinking about how easily a person can let even a simple and enjoyable hobby turn into an obsession. The streak was broken on a day that involved a few failed searches and an eventual loss of sunlight. It stung a little at first, but now the monkey is off my back, and I'm back to Geocaching only when I want to. Have you ever let something get out of hand like this? Let me know. I'm curious.