Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Return of the Jedi I'm not REALLY a Jedi but I DO have a cache of mindtricks at my

It's been well over a month since my last entry and I suppose that warrants the question: Where have I been?

From a metaphysical standpoint, I haven't really gone anywhere; I've been where I always am, I just haven't been writing.  So maybe the better question is, "Why haven't I been writing?"

Though it's true that I had been going through a tough personal situation that greatly impeded my ability to get into the proper writing headspace...that was only part of it.

I did travel for a bit (to be explored in a forthcoming entry about my first experience traveling with a toddler)...but that was only a week, which doesn't account for the other five or six that have occurred since my last entry.

I was in search of something...a few somethings, as it were, but none of which were "myself" in a self-actualizing sense.

Truth be told, there isn't any one particular reason as to why I took a hiatus (though, perhaps, I might just have needed a break)...but if I were forced to home in a single grand unifying theory I would have to say that it was...

this sumbitch right hea!

That's right.  Waldo.  This prick stole so much of my life over the past two months it is INSANE.

It all began with one of the newest of the Waldo books.  Sometime last year I had noticed at Borders that they had re-released the original Waldo series with a few new books thrown in.  The titles were altered, the standard stock of characters were placed into the original three books, and a few insanely difficult books were added to the library thus bringing the grand total of Where's Waldo? books to 7.

I was breezing through one of the books when I got hung up trying to find the key...that goddamned key.  At first, I spent a few hours searching fruitlessly for the tiny black opener of doors.  I grew frustrated and threw the book aside.  I tried to convince myself--in vain--that I didn't care...that I could go forward with the rest of the book and come back later (my approach was always to find the basic things and not to move on to the next page until I had found them all).  After a few more days of searching (and squinting), I finally gave in and moved on.  I would do a new page, then go back and look for the key.  I wound up finishing the book...without finding the key.

By that point, it had become not unlike a needle in my brain.  I went on to the final Waldo book knowing, in the back of my mind, that I had left something unfound in a previous one.  Every time I found the key in a different puzzle I cringed.  Finally, after a month or so of searching, I had an idea: why not look it up on the Internet?  SURELY there would be a site...or, more likely, tons of sites dedicated to cataloguing all of the locations of all of the things in all of the Waldo books...right?

Wrong.  BIG TIME.

So, though I was desperate to find this friggin' key and left ultimately without the aid and succor that I had hoped for, I was forced to take more innovative approaches.  I used a magnifying glass (which ultimately helped me to find the key), I took a high resolution 12 megapixel picture of another puzzle and used Photoshop to erase the wrong Woofs (ironically, I found the correct one thanks to some Internet help), and I basically did everything I could to find all of the missing persons and things throughout the Waldo books.

Backtracking a moment--shortly after finding my initial Internet search fruitless, I had the idea of cataloguing the locations of all of the major things across all of the Waldo books.  Though it seemed like a tall order, it served a few purposes.  To those of you who are sitting there with that obnoxious half-grin wishing to ask me "Where do you find the time to do this?" or some other hackneyed half-assed attempt at wit, I can say only that there is always a method to my madness.

For one, there are MANY people who enjoy puzzles and who don't simply give up when they can't find a solution.  These are the people who develop more resolve the more frustrated they get.  Many of these people likely enjoy Waldo books.  Though there is a certain amount of satisfaction that is derived from finding everything on your own, there is also nothing more frustrating than being UNable to find something, so, for these people, I am providing a wonderful thing: peace of mind.

As a second point, I am filling a void in the Internet; it's not every day that one gets to do so.

And, ultimately, (here comes the madness method) I will drive traffic to my site.  I have no way of gauging how popular Waldo is right now...but with the cyclical nature of all things pop culture, I am confident that, sooner or later, he will see a resurgence in popularity.  When people find the Where's Waldo? books anew, they will undoubtedly get stumped at one point or another and will turn to the Internet to find assistance.  Hopefully, they will find my site and, upon finding it, will explore the other non-Waldo related entries that I have up.

So, the next seven entries will be devoted, in order, to the re-released versions of all seven Waldo books.

Happy hunting, folks!