Thursday, June 23, 2016

I'm the Hobbiest

That's not a misspelling.  It's the superlative of "hobbier."

As a multiple hobbyist, I've developed a set of best practices that I apply across the board.  Over the years, as my interests have multiplied, these practices have served me well.  I can only wish I'd had them on hand when I first began messing around with electronics, collecting and computing; I might have wasted much less time, money and material along the way.

Of course, how you hobby is entirely up to you.  But if you're multidisciplinary in your approach to life, and your hobbies tie together, then having a set of organizing principles can make life easier.

Over the next few weeks, as the mood strikes, I'll be touching on the following topics:
  • Workspace
  • Equipping
  • Organizing
  • Building
  • Finishing
  • Safety
  • Discipline and prioritizing
  • Maintaining interest

That is, when I'm not busy Doing Something Else.

Hobbying is essentially having something to do with one's time that usually results in the creation of something, even if only memories of the time spent.  Outdoorsmanship is of that latter category:  you may create a shelter in the woods, or you may create a great meal from forage, but oftentimes you simply observe, participate in nature, and pit yourself against the elements, the fish, the quarry.    And sometimes the reward isn't so tangible as a physical trophy or fine dining experience.  Sometimes you just get some exercise and a sense of well-being, a sense of time well-spent and energy well-expended.  If you're a mountain biker, you derive satisfaction from the cardiovascular training as well as from keeping your machine in good working order, prepared for anything that may happen on the road.

And I do all these things.  And I consider them hobbies, even if I don't get to indulge in them very often.  (I haven't gone on anything that could be called a "hunting trip" for more than 40 years, for instance, and I've never actually shot anything.)

But for me, the main thrill is in the construction of something that will last, something I can admire, even build on later.  Collections serve that desire, as do art and building and modifying objects, both practical and decorative.

A dedicated builder has a workshop, or at least some kind of workspace, a set of tools and supplies, a set of goals, and a set of skills accumulated from experience.  He also has understanding friends / spouse / significant other, willing to allow him the time and space to indulge his interests.  Someone who will feign interest in his creations, someone who may even chip in to help when an extra hand or two is needed.

Just don't ever expect this someone to help with the cleanup.  That's your responsibility alone, unless your someone is a full partner in your efforts.

" When your hobbies get in the way of your work - that's OK; but when your hobbies get in the way of themselves... well. "
--Steve Martin

Outside of outdoorsmanship, my interests generally incline toward engineering and art.  I'm a builder.  I'm into finding problems and solving them via the construction of something novel, or the modification of something existing.  I'm happy to reinvent the wheel as long as I'm likely to learn something useful in the process.

So over the next few weeks, by way of covering the abovementioned topics, I'll be touching on each of my primary interests:

  • Electronic circuitry, digital electronics & robotics
  • Radio controlled aircraft and vehicles
  • Carpentry
  • Bicycle and automotive repair and maintenance
  • Plastic modelling
  • Arts and crafts
  • Fishing
  • Computer case modding
  • Computer networking and information technology
  • Collecting
  • Musical instruments and digital recording
  • Photography and amateur astronomy
  • Integrating several hobbies

In no particular order, of course.

Artist's conception of Byff's workshop, developed from archival sources.

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