I made it down to the Go club the other night, something which I don't manage to do nearly as often as I'd like. Playing in person is a very different experience than playing online -- it tends to make you stop and think about your moves longer before playing, and it's much easier to get friendly feedback, which I need as a beginner.
The meetings are held at a game store, which has an awesome selection of books and equipment for classic games such as Go and Chess as well as numerous modern strategy/wargames. So after playing I wandered over to the shelf of Go books and looked through to see if there was anything I couldn't live without.
I was on the point of buying one when I stopped myself: I've got three Go books that I'm kind of in the middle of and a couple others that I haven't read. Sure it's "only seven dollars" but what the heck do I need with another book (however good) when I haven't read the ones I've already got?
There is, I think, a particular temptation as your income climbs and your amount of free time decreases to buy things instead of (or as an excuse for not) doing things. I only get around to playing 2-3 games of Go a week, but having books around makes it feel like I'm serious about learning -- even if the fact is that I simply don't have the time to get particularly good at it at the moment.
Similarly, I found myself recently trying to justify buying the iPod Nano that I've been wanting for ages by telling myself: "You really need to get back to running so you'll stay in shape. But running can be boring, so you don't go. Now, if you bought the iPod you'd go running all the time."
Yeah right. For about a week. Then I'd simply listen to the iPod at work and still not go running. How about first building up the discipline to exercise more regularly and then shelling out $150 for the iPod?
There are simply so many possessions that are available to us in the modern, middle-class USA that it often seems easy to convince yourself you're getting something accomplished simply by buying something, even without taking the time to use it.