I have a good number of things to keep me busy. First of all, my favorite hobby also happens to be my job, which keeps me plenty busy. I work in computer systems and network administration. It’s kind of addictive, really. If you’re someone who will sit down and read about different ways to solve a problem, and then implement some version of a solution using that knowledge, I recommend this area. I have other hobbies too, and am picking up another one, but they all have one thing in common…
All of my hobbies have a healthy dose of problem solving, and they are all things that nobody could ever claim to have absolute mastery of. There’s always something more to learn about it. I guess that makes them lifelong hobbies. One hobby I enjoy, but don’t get to do much of lately is billiards. I’m not talking about walking into a bar to play 8-ball on a 6-foot bar table. I’m talking about tournament 9-ball, straight pool or even one-pocket on a 9-foot, tournament-quality table. I’m no professional at it, and certainly now I’m out of practice, but I was no slouch when I played a lot. I was lucky to have a place to go where there were a lot of good players who would share bits of knowledge with you, and I had the luxury of time to devote to it at that point. Billiards, contrary to the talk of blowhards who play in bars and put their bottle of Bud in the pocket while shooting, is a game of physics — not geometry. Once you figure that out, you look at the game in a completely different way.
Guitar is another hobby that exhibits these features. I started playing at age 12, and really never stopped, even when I didn’t own a guitar. There’s always an extra one around somewhere, and I managed to stumble onto plenty of them. If you’re good, people want and invite you to play their instruments. Even the stereotypical cocky bastard guitarists recognize an opportunity to see a good player play, live and up close. And I learned that even players who aren’t as experienced or well-rounded can teach me a thing or two — you always have to keep your eyes open!
The hobby I’m picking up now is woodworking. This is the most dangerous hobby I’ve picked up, but I practice good safety and recognize bad safety practices pretty quickly. This one started just recently — in fact, I haven’t technically made anything yet. I’m laying a wood floor in my house, and instead of hiring a contractor to do the work, I used a fraction of what that would’ve cost to buy the tools I needed to do the job. Table saw, miter saw, router, jig saw… and more, and I still haven’t come close to what a contractor would’ve cost. The tradeoff is that it takes far more time and patience to do it yourself. In doing these rather basic things with the tools I have, I’ve sparked an interest in doing more with the tools I have. I’ve done a good bit of reading now, and it turns out that the tools I have now can actually do a good number of things. Also turns out that doing the basic rips, miter cuts, rabbets, and templated cuts are a great way to get at least a basic understanding of how these tools generally work and what they’re capable of.
It’ll be a while before I do anything creative with these tools, but I’ll try to post pics as things get rolling.