Hobby Inspiration from an Unusual Place

It is weird where hobby inspiration comes from.  I get the itch to start a new hobby quite easily.  Often it is from talking to people.  When someone is passionate about something, then you can’t help but be intrigued.  Often it is from television.  Exposing the masses to something will certainly catch some people’s interest.  Most recently for me, it was from a book.
 
Looks pretty and organized.
I started reading Lawrence Block’s Hit Me on a recommendation from a friend.  He had recommended another series by Block, but I couldn’t find them in the library so I settled on this one.  The basic story was that of a contract killer who loves….. wait for it…not alcohol.  Not fast cars.  Not loose women……stamps.
 
The character (his name is Keller) had such passion for stamps.  He also had a lot of knowledge to impart on this impressionable reader.  He detailed the equipment and literature, as well as quite a lot of historical information about stamps.


When I was young I shared a stamp collecting hobby until that person took it over and became obsessed with it.  I don’t even know what became of it afterward–probably someone benefited from it.  Either way, I do remember looking at the stamps and thinking of exotic places.  I loved the themes–trains, cars, paintings, space travel, …. the ideas were endless.  For some countries, it is really interesting to see what they value enough to put on stamps.  Of course, for some countries, they are hoping other people from foreign countries will value them enough to collect them–hence the Disney stamps produced by some countries–I guess some country has already produced a Frozen stamp.  I wonder if that is a big part of their GDP.  (note…I checked, and yes, a stamp already exists)



I would love to have this one.

As for me, yes, there is an itch….but I won’t even scratch this one.  There is just too much out there.  Too many stamps from too many countries.  While the tool collector in me loves the idea of all those specialist tweezers, there is just too much involved.  On top of that, since I really am more interested in the pictures than the collecting aspect, I would be better off buying a full colour catalogue.  I could enjoy the hobby is a much more confined way.

As for the novel….I enjoyed its episodic nature and reading about stamps.  It was entertaining and certainly made my commute more enjoyable.

What One Season of Darts Has Taught Me

 
My first season of darts is over and I see a need to reflect on it.  There were highs and lows, and some genuinely warm moments.  I decided to play darts in February after watching it on TV.  I joined two leagues and three months later, my latest obsession is still going strong.

Apparently there are two seasons of darts.  Fall through spring, and summer.  As you might guess, the summer season is only about half as long as the other season.  I guess lots of people go on holiday in the summer, so I don’t expect the shortened season to be as serious, or as well attended.

What I have learned:

Ø      Darts, like many other activities, gets better with practice.  In the past few weeks my three dart average has increased, and my ability to hit doubles and triples has gotten better.

Ø      Competition makes you better.  Despite not being that competitive, wanting to win makes me a better player.  Unlike some, I don’t get down on other players, and try not to let my performance get to me.

Ø      With any activity there is a whole new lexicon to learn.  Without knowing it, I have added a lot of dart related words to my vocabulary, much to the chagrin of my coworkers.  Of course, they use a lot of ESL related vocabulary that other people in their lives don’t understand….so it’s pretty much a wash.  I throw around words and phrases like treble, three in a bed, checkout, double out, oche, flights, sisal, double bull, 9-darter and so many others. 

Ø      Leagues only work because so many people put in a lot of work.  Casual or not, a lot of organization and stats keeping is needed to keep the league going.  It seems like a lot of the people who I play with are retired, but it still requires a lot of their time.  Thanks.

Ø      The temptation to buy lots of equipment exists whenever you start a new hobby or pastime.  Fortunately, I have resisted the urge to spend a lot of money.  I’ve got some darts, a board at home, a small case for the darts, and a few extra parts.  Most people I have seen have several sets of darts, a rather large executive case, a large number of spare parts, and various tools.  Knowing me the way I do, I am sure I will get there, but for now, I am keeping it simple.

Ø      There are a variety of people and people types involved.  While most of my experiences have been good, some have been bad, and I have to accept that clashes will happen in the future.  Hopefully calm heads and rational thinking will prevail.

Ø      There is a huge world of darts out there.  There are professional leagues and huge tournaments.  I have only encountered the tip of the iceberg.  I may or may not make that big jump in the next year. While being a professional anything appeals to me, I know there are drawbacks to taking something you enjoy to a level like that.  Friendly competition is good, but intense competition may not be so great.

I have enjoyed darts, and I will be playing summer darts.  I will let you know how that goes.

Limits

When I tell people I have a lot of hobbies they mostly ask what they are and leave it at that.  The more adventurous ones might wonder how I can afford it.  Funny though, no one wonders where I keep it all.

I have written a couple of blogs about storage, but that’s common to all hobbyists.  We’ve all got tools and supplies and various other equipment.  It takes up space, but most of that is “out of the way” or stuffed into a closet.  There is always room for that stuff.  What nobody really stops to consider is what do you do with the finished products.

If you have a hobby that results in some finished product, you might want to display it.  In some cases you’ve got to display it.  Sure, you can give some of it away–some people do crafts that turn into Christmas presents.  But, how many times do your family and friends want that stuff?  If it is a quilt, you probably don’t mind having six or seven of them, but how many wool sweaters do you want?  How many hooked rugs do you need?  How many paint by numbers can adorn your walls?

Okay, some of these crafts are beautiful.  Hence the reason I wrote that you’ve got to display them.  Sometimes these crafts are so integral to your life that everyone expects to see them on display at your house.  No problem there.

I, Jack of all hobbies, however, have so many hobbies, and do not often produce things of display quality.  What do I do then?

Limits.  I have limits.  There are only so many of one thing that I can have before it needs to get pared down.  If I make a good car model, it usually displaces a model I am less happy with (though some parts end up in the parts box for that diorama I am going to do someday).  I’ve only go so much shelf space, and the better models make the bad ones look rather poor.

New magazines displace old ones–or more likely, deluxe editions of books put out by these magazine publishers displace the magazines.  Realizing that they had me paying twice, I read the magazines at the library and only buy the books….but this is a topic for another day.

Train stuff….well, I can always make more room for train stuff.  I am into N scale, and that doesn’t really take up  a lot of room…..besides, you’ve got to have priorities, and you’ve got to rationalize.

Take my latest puzzle.  I did it because I liked trains.  I thought about putting it up over in the room where there will be a train…but then I realized that wall space was at a premium, and I had already done a couple of other train puzzles that I thought were better than this one.  So what could I do?  Despite my pack rat nature, I am going to pass this puzzle off to someone else who will have to figure out what to do with it once they are done.