I’m easily obsessed with things. My husband hears me squeal at the computer and clap my hands like a seal and he immediately knows he’s lost me to some new fad or idea. Currently it’s writing my own MUD. I have enrolled in The Builder Academy to learn how to do it. This has caused me a great deal of stress and since I’m taking a much needed holiday from work (I have been very obsessed about work too) it is crazy I’ve allowed this MUD stuff to dominate my spare time. Yesterday I was morosely stomping about the house complaining I hadn’t been given a VNUM. Peter (finally decided to name him…sorry I mean say his name on here- he’s not a puppy who I’ve just been calling Cutiepie for years) didn’t even bother asking what a VNUM is (if you’re interested and don’t know it’s what they call the room, mobile and objects in Mud builder work – each one is distinct – and I need one to start practising building). Anyway Peter just hears these strange new words falling out of my mouth, rolls his eyes and thinks (I’m sure) “How long will this one last?” By the way I have the VNUM now – got it this morning – but now the GOTO command won’t work so I can’t go to the VNUM room. Sent another mudmail to the main guy on TBA – Rumble – poor guy doesn’t know what he’s in for now I’ve been set loose in his academy.
Yesterday to while away the time before my VNUM I tried to download the SMAUG code & Cygwin (a Windows compiler for source code) and put them together to create – not sure what – an editable version of a Mud code to play with I think. I was winging it but that’s what I do best. Anyway it did not work. On the final compilation step I kept getting errors and the instructions basically gave up at that point (it said, “If you are getting errors here your problems are too big for us to solve”- great- even a source code help manual has given up on me). Then I discovered Mud Maker - now that is fantastic!!!! I have created a very rough and ready MUD based in a university. Needs loads more work. I made Peter log on last night and the head security guard Frank (an npc mob) killed him over and over again. With a torch. Brutal. I had made him too aggressive and strong with an almost pathological hatred of my husband. But it was fun.
Anyway sometimes I get obsessed with something for a very long time – but I don’t know at the outset whether a new obsession will be a long or short one. WoW definitely appears to be a sticker- couple of years now. But others have been a very very passing fancy (accountancy as a hobby (?!) and guitar playing – although I swear I will go back to the latter one day so please Peter leave my guitar where it is and don’t replace it with a fishtank. Sometimes my obsessions are short lived and based purely on nostalgia (I decided one day to research the Gospel of Thomas – I have a doctorate in 1st century church history so there is at least some connection there). Sometimes they come out of nowhere (I decided one day to research quantum theory – in terms of physics I have a GCSE only!). Sometimes they are useful & permanent (enjoyed learning HTML) and sometimes creative (discovered flash fiction and thereafter entertained Peter with a stream of deeply profound 6 word stories). And that’s not even covering my eating and drinking obsessions – I no longer drink alcohol because it’s just not good for an addictive personality but I have replaced that with the equally unhealthy icecream, coffee, dark bitter chocolate and cheesecake combo – DAILY! I am a committed vegetarian for moral reasons who still obsessively thinks about eating chicken and once looked up “Roadkill for Sale” on the intranet to see if I could buy some “ethically sourced” meat.
I was even obsessed for a few years with the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Can’t remember if I’ve said this on here before but the Buffy music was my goto music in my head whenever I felt nervous. I have done so many presentations in work with that music pumping in my head I’m surprised I’ve never taken it too far and attempted to stake someone (“no I will not go through that slide again, prepare for a dusting cynical questioner”). There’s a bit in season 2 that had a big impact at me. A very innocuous bit really. Buffy is running down the corridor in a turquoise coat- she is desperate but looks so cool and well – the impact of that on me was I just had to go out and buy a coat just like it (I called it my Buffy coat), and – crazily – I decided to try to run like her while wearing it by pumping my fists and looking like there were lives dependant on me getting somewhere. When I was running into work. Each morning. I crossed a line there I think.
Actually running was another obsession for me – but a weird one – since I tried very hard to become obsessed about it but I didn’t actually like it. I had lost weight through running and so needed to keep it up to keep the weight off. So I did 5K races, 10K races and eventually one day decided on the spur of the moment to do a half marathon. I tried to pretend I was enjoying it but it was tough. Very tough. Also the scenery for the half marathon wasn’t too great- one long part was around a bleak industrial zone. It was like a post apocalyptic nightmare – with fancy dress and cheering crowds. I fixed Buffy in my head and ran on. Until mile 10 where I walked a bit. And mile 11 and 12 when I limped a bit (a lot actually), railed at the universe and scowled at the crowds. Then mile 13 where I somehow found the energy (oh energy thy name is vanity) to sprint and smile so I’d look good in the photo. Like any true obsessive I crazily started planning a marathon the day after the half marathon. My husband brought the laptop over to the couch to help me do this since I couldn’t actually get up from the sofa. Peter has done two marathons (he is a fantastic runner – because of the very thing that in my view has led to my repeated death in dungeons – his ability to tune out at the drop of a hat. Just saying!) Anyway I’m jealous of his marathon prowess. But I was a lot more into planning the training schedule and the diet than doing the actual running. And that’s a fatal flaw in any marathon plan. I was forced to admit one day (when I was changing my training plan for the 100th time to account for the fact I hadn’t run in a fortnight) that I actually didn’t enjoy running and I’d rather do a different work out in the gym. And that was that- obsession over (I think – unless the weighing scales tell me to rethink that decision one day). I still work out. I still watch my diet (only good calories in icecream, dark chocolate and cheesecake surely). But I am no longer obsessed with running.
So what am I obsessed with now – MUD creation aside. Well WoW, as you know, and this blog and other WoW blogs. WoW has been an obsession for a long time. And as obsessions go I think it’s a fairly healthy one. I posted over on Mana Obscura the other day about Personal Identity and WoW and how I get a buzz from achieving things in the game- levels and new dungeons for example. I also enjoy having a hobby my husband shares – even though it often leads to certain tensions well documented on this blog. I like the look of the game – in my opinion certain zones in Azeroth are simply beautiful and I find it really does calm me down to look at them (other places are a complete nightmare of course- yesterday I spun around ten times in Stormwind because it was so busy and laggy I kept losing my bearings). There’s also the social dimension – I like meeting people (some of them!) in dungeons and my new guildees of course! There’s also the challenge of learning a class and role and doing the research that comes with this (for me anyway – my husband researches nothing & plays by instinct only (like a zen master). Although even he occasionally gives a little plaintive request for me to explain a certain talent to him – I tell him the only talent he needs to learn is the one of looking things up on the web.) It’s relatively cheap- when you’re on an economy drive to know there is a world of entertainment for 8.99 a month is great – it is cheaper than a meal out or visit to the cinema. It also gets me interested in other things like podcasts – I love the Instance and now The Double O podcast. So it’s good isn’t it – as far as obsessions go?
So why then do I often feel guilty about it? I sometimes worry I spend too much time playing the game (and now writing about the game and reading what other people have written about the game). I listen to the Instance when I work out so even my gym time is really WoW time. When is it all too much?
And I can also feel guilty about not playing it. Yesterday my MUD obsession made me guilty about neglecting WoW! Sometimes I find myself reading on the sofa and thinking – oh not played Bravetank today, not played Luxmi for a week, poor Flossy can’t remember where I’ve left her. Then I think – right set aside a month- get all your alts to 85 then you’ll have achieved some in-game nirvana – a tidy and organised set of toons. But then I stress – what about my writing, what about the 50 books in one year challenge I set myself back in January, what about all the other things in my life? Then I get tired and overwhelmed. It’s good to have hobbies. It is good to have time to have hobbies. I know this. When I was growing up I studied 24/7 – I never did anything but study. I was obsessed about good grades and being the best academically. As an adult I want be more well balanced than that. So how can you do the things you love in life justice without becoming too obsessed over them and when you are obsessed over them what happens to the other things in life.
I feel the need for a timetable to block out my week/life into segments – work, reading, sleeping, TV, WoW, writing, husband (this is not in priority order by the way!), dog, family. But not only would WoW need subdivisions (all the alts and their needs), what subdivisions should exist under husband time? Again- no priority here – we have chores, meals, heart to hearts, “special time” (and by this I don’t mean watching him for the 20th time score an amazing goal on FIFA). And what about when the subdivisions overlap (TV time with husband – is that good – am I ticking two life boxes there – how efficient. If we can incorporate some “special time” too we are three for three!) Can someone produce a Venn diagram of all this please? And we haven’t even got any children yet. And I’ve not really covered exactly how long my work hours have been & how obsessed I am about success in that part of my life. Is this all even doable?
This is the sort of thing I mull over and that stops me reading my 50 books and leveling even one of my characters to 85 (poor Terema is still stuck at 82). I get obsessed about so much that I end up obsessing over my obsessive nature. Perhaps that’s the only thing I’ll ever complete fully and to the highest of standards – being an obsesssive. It’s something I suppose.