camping & Hamlet

Hamlet's BlackBerry

This weekend I went camping for the first time in about eight years. I’ve always liked the idea of camping much more than the reality of camping, as in my mind, weather conditions and insect populations don’t exist. It went better than I expected, and I even had fun. Not sure I’m up for more than one night, though. By the next morning I was ready for the indoors.

One of the things I brought along with me is the book Hamlet’s BlackBerry by William Powers. I’ve been reading it off-and-on since February, and I hoped that during the down times I could finish it up. There were a few of those moments, but not many. I ended up finishing it at home.

The book is one of the most fair arguments for dialing back online activity, or at least creating a space away from the distractions of the internet and focusing on being physically and mentally present, either alone or with other people. I haven’t gotten to the point where I feel pressure to be connected all the time, but I do miss it when I’m not. On the other hand, a part of me was looking forward to disconnecting this weekend, at least for the 24 hrs away from civilization, but I wasn’t quite sure if I was disappointed or relieved to discover I had cell service at the campground.

The Hamlet connection comes from a reference to “tables” in Shakespeare’s play. These were hot tech at the time, and reminded me of something like portable dry-erase boards. Hamlet makes some notes about the things that are bothering him, and feels relieved to get them out of his head and into a device that can store them for him until he his ready to do something with them. I feel the same way about my smart phone and the Remember the Milk app — no matter where I am or what I’m doing, I can usually take that thought that would quickly disappear and make a note about the thing I need to do.

I liked the idea of stepping away from the screens for a period of time. I thought that a 12 book challenge would be easy to complete in a year, but I’m not reading as much anymore, in part because I spend so much time on the computer when I’m at home. I need to start setting aside dedicated time at home that is not on the computer, and not just when I’m cooking, cleaning, or doing laundry.

LEGO

I loved playing with LEGOs when I was younger. I probably would still be building things with them, but at the age of 13, my grandparents stopped buying them for me and since I couldn’t afford them, I lost interest. Why did they stop buying them for me, you ask? The box said ages 7-12, or something like that.

A man with a lot of LEGOs and time on his hands has recreated scenes from the Bible using his LEGO sets. They are accurately depicted, albeit with a touch of humor in the nature of their form.

LEGO is coming out with an Imperial Star Destroyer in its line of Star Wars figures. Check out the opening scene from Star Wars IV: A New Hope re-enacted with LEGOs.

My undergraduate degree is in Mathematics, so I think it is particularly cool that someone has put the time and effort into making mathematical sculptures using 1×1 and 1×2 bricks.

Brick Tales has recreated scenes from various classic literary works, including Hamlet, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and The Lord of the Rings.

For those who remember what it was like to build things with LOGO bricks that did not suggest a particular function or usage, take a look at the LEGO