It’s been two years since I wrote a week of lists, but I thought I would start this last four months of 2016 with revisit to that old meme. So, starting on the first, the eighth edition of the Week of Lists begins, called the “Turning 40ish Edition” with deep and engaging topics such as this one…
I turned on Twitch the other night, not planning to watch anything in particular, but there on the screen was suddenly a live stream of Deadmau5 hunkered down in his studio mixing music.
It was simultaneously incredibly dull and also the most awesome thing I’ve watched in months.
Karin rolled her eyes at me, wondering aloud more than once why I was watching a guy (she’d never heard of) streaming a videocast of himself working at his computer mixing electronic music. More of the disbelief was levelled at the “why I was watching” part than the “guy streaming a videocast” part.
I couldn’t necessarily explain it, but I think it has something to do with validation for my own eclectic mix of weird hobbies. Admittedly nowhere near as awesomesau5 or lucrative as a world-class DJ mixing beats in his studio, I admit, those hobbies are what make us authentic human beings, and not life-by-committee or for-profit efforts. So, yeah, it might be weird, but if Deadmau5 and I have only one thing in common (and it probably is exactly that one thing) it’s that we are doing our own things in an effort to be more genuine people in this short life.
My weird things are:
5. Mashing Up Running & Photography
When I’m so inclined I have this thing I do: I take a camera with me on a training run. Photography people get. Running people get. Taking photos while running people quirk their eyebrows at and chuckle at the effort. Then they see the results.
4. Grooming my Cast Iron
Cast Iron is the hipster accessory of cooking. It’s reaching into the classic kitchens of our pre-grandmothers and pretending we’ve discovered this amazing invention that has the potential to measurably improve our cuisine output. I’ve been laughed at for my cast iron and a dozen years ago you never would have convinced me that the effort of grooming a pan was worth it. But cast iron has a weird quality that you don’t think about it until you own a piece and use a piece and care for a piece: it improves with age and use. How many things do you own can you say that about? How many objects are in your life that get better the better you care for them? I’m betting not many.
3. Home Video Production
And then there was the other side of the camera: I take this obscene quantity of home video footage. I have at least half a dozen cameras that capture various kinds of HD footage and they all feed into this growing repository I’m building. And from that blossoms these little home video nuggets. Like all of you I once shirked at the thought of a life captured on a grainy home movie, but not-so-suddenly but with this long multi-year effort of my hobby, we have this collection of little films about us. And we go back to them more than you might imagine.
2. Writing Pointless Code
It may not surprise you that I, this guy you know from the internet, likes to build little projects from raw code. I mean, most of the time I like creating the text and the pictures, but whereas years ago I wouldn’t have spent weeks building a piece of software that didn’t do something purposeful, these days I’m content to write little widgets and faux-semi-games or quasi-content-management-tools with a highly focused purpose, if for no other reason than it makes me laugh in the same way a nine year old might think herself clever for building something out of LEGO.
1. Failing Hard
And if nothing else has come out of the last ten years of my eclectic hobby-making it’s the notion that I’m no longer afraid of failing… hard. Really. I’m not. I’ll try anything for a few minutes, a few weeks, a year or two… and then just stop doing it because it’s not what I expected it to be. I slurp out the dregs to see what I can learn from the effort, but I’ll dabble in any new project or hobby just to say I tried it. I would have hated myself for that ten years ago, wanting everything to have a point or be an effort towards some grand scheme, but these days I’m content to let more stuff slip.
Just don’t expect to find me streaming it on Twitch any time soon.