When does an interest or hobby cross over into obsession? And is it necessarily always a *bad* thing? I know you all know what I am talking about here. I’m sure we all have some sort of WoW memorabilia, many of you have gone to Blizzcon, you’ve had guild meetups, etc. Heck, my old guild all went to Disney World together.

So I’m probably preaching to the choir here, but … I want to talk about my With Fire and Sword obsession (again). And yes, I have reasons for why it’s a good thing instead of a bad thing. Hear me out.

My main point here is that it has actually gotten me *away* from the computer. Sounds crazy when you look at my Steam profile and see that I have spent 300 hours playing the game. Ok fine. But I’ve done several things other than play the game.

I’ve spent a lot of time on Wikipedia, learning about the Khmelnytsky Uprising, Cossacks, the Polish Commonwealth, the Ukraine, and vodka. Ok, maybe that wasn’t ‘away from the computer’ but it was learning! Give me a break here eh?

I’ve read the book With Fire and Sword by Henryk Sienkiewicz.

I’ve watched the Jerzy Hoffman movie, in Polish with subtitles. My mom hates subtitles and is annoyed that I always turn them on, but even in regular programming it’s easy to miss what someone says … not so much if I can read it at the same time. Plus, with this, it’s a great way to learn some of the pronunciations. Skrzetuski sounds NOTHING like it is spelled. I mean, the -tuski part does but the first part is not even close.

I bought some vodka. That could possibly go under the ‘bad’ category, but hey, it got me out of the house and to the liquor store, right?

Then, on Saturday as I was going to the grocery store, I saw a banner for a Ukrainian festival. As luck would have it, it was happening on Sunday (yesterday) at a nearby Ukrainian Catholic Church. You KNOW I had to go. HAD. TO. It was a perfect day for it, too … 70 and sunny. Just gorgeous. They had Ukrainian music playing and of course plenty of Ukrainian food. I ate pyrogys, kielbasa, cabbage rolls, and sauerkraut. I washed it down with Obolon, a brand of beer brewed in Kyiv.

They had all kinds of things for sale, too. Ethnic costumes, the little decorated eggs, beaded jewelry, decals for your car, scarves, hats, flasks, t-shirts … you name it, they had it, with a Ukrainian flag or symbol on it. I bought these colorful coasters because I’ve been moving the one that I had back and forth between the computer desk and the end table next to the easy chair, so I *needed* them.


I bought this magnet for my fridge in the shape of modern-day Ukraine, in the colors of the flag and with all of the ‘states’ outlined. Except they don’t call them states there, I forgot the word, I think it starts with O …(brb wiki) … ah yes, oblasts.


They also had CDs. Even better, they are in MP3 format so there are really 5 full CDs on each disk. Only problem was, well … I definitely can’t read Ukrainian. So I have no idea what’s actually on any of them. How am I going to pick one out? Well, in the end it was quite easy, because this one …


has a picture of the statue of Khmelnytsky that stands in Kyiv, so I bought it as much for the photo as I did for the music.

So … obsessed? Yeah maybe. But is it really so bad to immerse myself in the history and culture of something REAL?

AFK, working on my winged hussar Halloween costume.

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10 Responses to “Obsession”

  1. koalabear21 Says:

    You are insane, but I am very happy it got you out of the house 😀

  2. repgrind Says:

    If I start talking about moving to the Ukraine, THEN it’s time for an intervention. We’re not there yet.

    A winged hussar tattoo might be kinda cool though …

  3. tomeoftheancient Says:

    I definitely agree on the winged hussar tattoo!

  4. Erinys Says:

    I’ve always thought that obsessions which broaden the mind are a brilliant thing, especially when they include food and fridge magnets.

    However I’m probably biased as I get obsessed about things on a regular basis.

  5. Cain Says:

    Those Eastern European countries definitely know how to do food! Each is slightly different, but they all have a lot of similarities (pyrogys, kielbasa, etc). I would pass on the moving to Ukraine right now, so it’s good you got them to come to you 🙂

  6. Leit Says:

    We’re part of a culture where, in some parts, revering a trilogy of movies that came out before we were born is considered a bare entry requirement. So yeah. The bar for obsession is set pretty high.

    Ex-sovbloc vodka can taste really weird, because it’s often made with weird shit like horseradish rather than grains as a base. I hear a lot of US vodkas use a potato base, which sounds a bit like it’d come out tasting of battery acid.

    Also: only 300 hours? Scrub. 😀 (it’s nice that Steam provides these little cues that tell you a lot more about how much you’re enjoying the game than what you might otherwise think)

  7. repgrind Says:

    Well, I saw The Empire Strikes Back in the theatre when it came out so … um …

    I didn’t go cheap on the vodka, I bought Sobieski, made from rye in Poland. The fact that Jan Sobieski is in the game might have been a contributing factor in my choice. :p

  8. Leit Says:

    Oh lord that must have been so awesome. 😀 Missed Jedi?

    (excuse me while i go brush this tread pattern off my uvula)

  9. repgrind Says:

    I was 8 and it was my little brother’s birthday so … I didn’t exactly care about it yet, sadly.

  10. wolfgangcat Says:

    I probably shouldn’t tell you that I live in the place that has the biggest Ukrainian community in all the country 😀

    I also shouldn’t tell you about the Ukrainian store a few blocks from me that sells all kinds of Ukrainian imports with a small grocery section specializing in *fresh* perogies, cabbage rolls and seasonal food such as Easter bread – anything you could want.

    I’ve even seen hand-embroidered traditional Ukrainian costumes used in the festival dances, but those are appropriately expensive.

    It even has a big meat smoker in the back so you can pick up the most amazing Ukrainian sausage you could ever imagine daily after 4:00 pm.

    Hehehe…every day here is a Ukrainian festival 😀

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