Personal blogs -- to the extent that there are still such things around -- often focus on new enthusiasms. Indeed, probably a good proportion of all blog posts ever written are on the topic "Hey look, I have a new blog!" But enthusiasms of all sort are often transient, flaming out in their glory and leaving behind a cluttered secondary market in fitness equipment, musical instruments, fancy cookware, and beer-making supplies. Reflecting this aspect of the human condition, today on Infinite Art Tournament we officially decommission two of Michael5000's hobbies.
Chess (November 2009 - January 2013)
Nature of Project: An attempt to play a game of chess with someone from every country in the world on the chess.com website.
Level of Success: Reasonably good. I made my way through 157 "countries," about 2/3 of the entities recognized as such by chess.com.
Decline: Long-term burnout generated by a chronic tendency to initiate too many games; the difficulty of finding players to represent the world's smaller and poorer countries; my failure to significantly improve my chess skills in three years of regular play.
Fall: Failure to compete with droll online entertainment Fallen London for limited casual gaming time resources.
Geohashing (October 2009 - August 2012)
Nature of Project: A highly arbitrary and difficult-to-explain pastime (I tried here) that rewards local exploration, navigation and map skills, and a certain low-grade form of what you might call "daring-do."
Level of Success: Very good. I really enjoyed this pursuit, and was assiduous in its pursuit. Indeed, I think for a time I might well have been considered among the top 50 geohashers in the international scene. There are several people of my acquaintance who think of me primarily as "that guy who does that geohashing thing."
Decline: An interruption of service on the website where participants record the results of their expeditions fixed my attention on the artificiality and fragility of the hobby. Afterwards, I found it strangely difficult to regain my enthusiasm.
Fall: During a period characterized by increased work responsibilities and hours, geohashing expeditions became less frequent, ceasing altogether in late summer 2012.
In a melancholy but stirring ceremony Wednesday evening, sidebar boxes related to both enthusiasms were formally removed from this blog.
Have you, dear reader, abandoned a hobby or interest lately?