to a fault
i might’ve mentioned a time or two that i earnestly enjoy learning. about almost anything. i generally take the read-DO-read approach to unfamiliar undertakings. here’s what it looks like: research enough through books and the internet to get started, employ the ol’ trial-and-error method until ruin is imminent, then desperately scour said books and web pages for the vital pieces of information missed on the first round.
although chaotic, this pattern is significantly more gratifying for me than bringing in an expert. “give me a day or two, i can figure it out” seems to be my subconscious determination. this self-teaching penchant can also lead to an unhealthy quantity of time spent mastering skills i will have little use for in the future. but, true to my sickness, i actually like obtaining the useless information. and my quest is not always motivated by an industrious DIY productivity. often a how-to i look up is out of sheer curiosity, or perhaps the need for a challenge.
exhibit a: a few weeks ago i had my first blogiversary and celebrated by gifting my weblog with a new name, url, and license for a makeover (access to the style sheet). having previously taught myself a bit more than basic html, and after an in-depth CL class that utilized some java and python, i thought i might be able to decipher enough CSS to tweak the format and maybe add a fresh coat of paint to the faded wallpaper.
i should have known. i should have predicted the obsessive all-nighter that inevitably sat in ambush around the corner. as the wee hours crept by i was driven by both small successes (centered masthead! navigation features!) and futile code-testing (if anyone knows anyone who can help me thread the comments, i’d be über-grateful to know the secret). i sleepily reprimanded myself for “wasting time” on something that was clearly unnecessary, and certainly not knowledge i would ever need in my daily life. (neither is it helpful to recall in a life-threatening situation, nor impressive to share at a dinner party.) but, learning is what i do, to a fault, perhaps, and i never feel like time spent in discovery is a waste. i have certainly forfeited sleep for less worthy causes.