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.

A Need for Speed

Okay, I admit it.  I love car racing.  There I said it.  I have come clean.  I know what you’re going to say.  I have heard it all before.  I know all the jokes about going around in circles.  Say whatever you want, it won’t affect me.  I know what I like, and I am comfortable with that.  I told you people at the beginning that I loved cars, so really, this shouldn’t come as a shock to you.

one of my “to do list” models
Generally speaking I prefer either touring cars or open wheel racing.  So, yes that means I sometimes have to get up very early on a Sunday and watch the races from Europe.  It also means I must scour the internet looking for races that are rarely broadcast on TV channels I get.  A cable channel devoted entirely to fast cars sounds wonderful, but why did they have to put it in the top tier TV package.  How I long for the day when I can choose the 15 channels that I watch and pay about $1 for each of them.  Quake in fear cable companies, that day is coming

What spurred this blog topic was my local paper.  Every week they have a car section and the reporters get to drive a whole bunch of cars that I never will. This week one of the reporters went to a racing school that is located a reasonable distance from my house.  In between fits of jealousy and rage, the fire, the desire, the urge (perhaps it would be too cliché to say the drive) for this hobby was reignited (maybe if I had an editor he or she would want me to use puns like, it got my engine started…. perhaps it’s good for all of us that I do not have an editor)

I love the look of these cars
I guess there is a speed demon lurking in most of us.  I love car chases in movies, and I love the roar of the engines.  I have fantasized about racing Porsche 911 down an empty highway, foot to the floor.  These thoughts haven’t surfaced for a while (I guess that is what life on a commuter bus does for you) but this newspaper article did it.

So, I did what anyone who had an internet connection would do,  I googled it.  Then of course reality set in.  They have long and short courses.  They have a cool track, great facilities and Van Diemen Formula cars, and a cool program.  The pictures are fantastic and the lust for speed is boiling in my blood.  Everything is perfect, except that to go to this racing academy I would have to give up eating for the next two years.  I grant that it would be worth it, but somehow…… after two years without sustenance, my body would be too emaciated, and I probably wouldn’t have the ability to turn the wheels.
vintage and cool

Reality is cruel.  It gives passions, dangles them in front of you, and then watches as you vainly jump for them–it is like playing monkey in the middle with two taller older brothers.

I could write a letter to the editor, hoping to wipe that smug smile off the reporters face, but what good would that do.  It isn’t his or her fault exactly (I was too angry to check if it was a man or woman), but my frustration level makes me want to lash out.  I probably won’t feel better until I get my own dose of speed.

Just in case somebody wants to know.  Currently, my favourite kind of racing is The British Touring Cars, followed by Endurance Racing (most notably the 24 Hours of LeMan) and then the Australian V8 SuperCars.

Cars, A Passion, Even in Miniature.

I was visiting  a friend for a bit of beer and movie fest kind of night.  I noted that his children had quite the collection of toys.  In fact, his son had a huge toy car case–it probably held 100 cars.  I checked out his collection of cars, and was impressed by the size and choice of his cars.  The fact that he still played with them, despite his love of his iTouch games was also commendable.
I think toy cars are cool.  I had a fun collection when I was a kid.  Most adults with a love of cars would tend to aim for the pricier, highly collectible large scale die cast cars that are ubiquitous these days.  I am not one of them.  I might like to build car models, but I only have one large scale die cast car–I got a Shelby Cobra as a gift one year.  I do love it, but I would rather have a Pocher kit of it to build.  When I think of it, I am sure part of the attraction is that most of us will never get to drive their “dream car.”
cool subjects and box art
I enjoyed Hot Wheels and Dinky cars as a child, but I am not really into them as an adult.  I check them out from time to time when I am in a toy store, or a department store.  Nothing seems to grab me.  However, when I am visiting Japan, I always check out the Tomy brand of miniature die cast cars.  Of course, anyone who has read some of these blogs before knows I am a real mark for things Japanese.  However, I am not sure it is the Japaneseness of these products that really appeals to me, or just the overall exotic nature of them.
I love everything about them. 
Maybe it’s the packaging.  I mean the box is cool.  I am not really a fan of the North American blister package.  The Tomy box has either a cool picture, or an artistic drawing.  If I were a collector ( by which I mean, looking to make a buck) the boxes themselves would be collector’s items. I think it is much cooler opening that box than tearing the blister pack apart.
Maybe it is the subject matter.  Despite the widespread embrace of public transportation, there are a lot of cars in Japan.  Among them, there are a lot of cars which will not be seen outside of Japan.  That kind of uniqueness appeals to me.  Some of the subjects re odd,  but there is also a blade runneresque quality to some of these cars–science fiction come to life, that makes them cool.
a box, stickers, and a cool Lapin
Maybe it is my connection to Japan.  My collection is small.  I bought most of them at a Don Quixote discount store in Chiba.  The price was probably around 125 Yen–which means that these cars probably didn’t appeal to Otaku culture in Japan.
a limited edition
A funny thing is that I have never heard of a group of people collecting these cars.  Maybe they do, but maybe this is one of those things that seems so much cooler by an outsider than someone in Japan.
this one is pretty cool, but the packaging?
I have seen some of these cars available at the Pacific Mall in Markham.  The price was a whopping $10 each.  Needless to say I didn’t buy any of them.  I would love to expand my collection–I know a purchase service in Japanif I really want something, but I will probably wait until I visit Japan again to augment my collection.  Besides, as anyone can see, I have enough hobbies to tide me over until that vacation.