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delirium happy

Just keep on trying till you run out of cake

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Hobbies, part 2
delirium happy
I figured that the best way to go about looking over the list of hobbies and activities that people mentioned when I asked about it on Monday was for me to compile a list of everything mentioned, and then go through them one by one. That way I think I'm less likely to miss things, more likely to think things through, and less likely to rationalise stupid reasons not to do things.

Knitting -- I'm already planning on giving this a go. Current status is that emmavescence has some yarn and needles, kindly donated by mattp which she's going to stick in the post for me at some point. Once I've got that, and possibly tried to get started, I'm then going to figure out what I need.

Jewellery making -- This doesn't really appeal to me. Possibly this is because I really just don't have a clue exactly what it entails. Anyone care to enlighten me?

Internet -- I already spend quite a bit of time on this one. You'd never have guessed, would you?

Reading -- I do quite a bit of this one too. I want to get back into the habit of reading somewhat more regularly than I currently do, mind. I tend to go through phases where I'll read a book a day for a week or two, then nothing for a couple of weeks. Just need to try to adjust my habits to be more balanced.

Collecting -- I find it far too amusing that the two items that my friends mentioned collecting were tea and basques. I think this says everything anyone would ever need to know about my friends. However, I'm not sure that collecting is for me. Though I will admit that there definitely is a temptation to build up an army of sheep. I currently own five different sheep, I think, ranging from cuddly toys to fridge magnets to ornaments. This is probably something that I'd be more inclined to add to on a whim, as and when I see potential additions, rather than something to actively spend time pursuing.

Baking -- This definitely does appeal, not least because the end results are yummy. I do have something of a problem though in that I don't currently have a working oven. That said though, I actually measured my oven earlier today, to give the dimensions to my dad, who's going to look for a new one for me, so there is actually some progress on that front. For now, this one is a non-starter, though.

Going for walks -- Not really one that appeals. Too many bad memories of being dragged on walks when I was little, in hand-me-down waterproofs that weren't and leaky wellies, going further and faster than I could physically keep up with. Plus that I don't know where are nice walks around here. Plus, there's the whole "outside" thing that I have issues with.

Writing -- The problem that I always seem to have with writing is figuring out what I want to write. I'm feeling somewhat burned out on the essaying side of writing at the moment, and I've never really got anywhere in attempts to write fiction. Possibly something that's worth giving another go, though. Possibly if I spent more time on it I'd find that I did actually have stories in me that needed to be told.

Scrabble -- Another one that I already do. Today I made the word "sheltas" for 96 points.

Puzzles -- This is a superb suggestion. I love puzzles and don't do nearly enough of them. I should hunt down a good source of puzzles, I think. Any suggestions?

Coding -- I've tried to get into this several times, but never succeeded. From the bits that I've done as parts of courses, though, I think it's something I'd be good at. The problem I always have is that I always find myself at a stage where typical learning exercises are too simple and boring, but actually doing anything useful is too complicated, so I stall. Possibly I should give this Yet Another attempt, and see if I can stick to it a bit better this time. One thing that I would actually like to do is write a roguelike game. Possibly I should just dive in and attempt something like that straight off the bat. Sure I'd produce some ungodly ugly code in the process, but hey. It's not as if it hasn't been done before (Crawl was written by someone teaching himself to program).

Bike riding -- The line I like to drag out here is that I used to know how to ride a bike but that I've forgotten how. This isn't 100% true, but it's fairly close. When I was about 10 or so, I could ride a bike reasonably well, although I did fail my cycling proficiency test for being somewhat unsteady. I then didn't ride a bike again until I was 17, at which point I went out on one when I was in Iceland and was really unsteady and barely able to stay on at all. And I haven't ridden one since then. I really don't feel like attempting to teach myself to cycle.

Learning a language -- I've tried this once or twice and got absolutely nowhere. I think this is something I'd have to take a class for in order to do properly and I don't really want to do that.

Computer and video games -- spend way too much time with these already.

Birdwatching -- Just doesn't appeal to me.

Photography -- I think I lack the photography gene. I have a camera, and I occasionally take pictures with it, though they're always of the quick snaps type, rather than anything that I'd really think of as photography.

Model railways -- I actually think this sounds rather fun. Though I'm fairly sure it would require significantly more space than I have available here, so it's a non-starter.

Browsing book stores -- That's what Amazon is for, isn't it?

Getting nails done -- This is something that I want to do at least once, to see how it agrees with me, and I suspect it would be good for my self-confidence and stuff, but that's definitely going to wait until I'm more at ease with myself.

Swimming -- There's the dressing room problem here, big time. Non-starter, as far as I can see. (Though I haven't been swimming in almost 10 years, and kind of miss it occasionally.)

Dancing -- Does sound like one of the funner ways to get exercise, though rather too social for me at the current time.

Role playing -- Is something that I'd definitely like to try properly. I've done a bit of roleplaying in my past, but never a proper full campaign or anything, and I think I'd enjoy it. Requires people to play with, which I don't have though. Possibly could consider doing some online, but I don't think that's likely to be as entertaining as tabletop.

Sewing -- Is something that I might find interesting, but is similarish to knitting, so I think I'll stick with just the knitting for now.

Crochet -- See sewing.

Beadwork -- I'm actually completely uncertain as to what this is. Anyone care to help me out?

Music -- People mentioned singing (I suck at singing), song-writing (never tried it, but I bet I'd suck even worse at that) and musical instruments. Learning a musical instrument is possible, but I'd feel uneasy with the investment required to buy an instrument in the first place only to try it and then possibly discover I didn't care for it. Possibly worth looking into different instruments to see if anything I could pick up cheap appeals to me. (The two instruments that appeal to me most, I think, would be saxophone and drums. And I'm fairly sure neither of them are cheap. Though could be wrong.)

Taking care of and playing with pets -- I'm generally not much of an animal person, though I do enjoy animal company a lot more than I used to. I got on really well with amanda's cat, Snowball, for instance. I do sometimes consider getting some sort of a pet, but ultimately, my main feeling here is that I'm not stable enough that I'd trust myself to properly take care of an animal, so that rules that one out.

TV and movies -- Another one I already do. My DVD collection is fairly impressive.

Cooking -- This is a possible. I do like to experiment with combinations of flavours, which I usually do in the form of sandwiches (today's sandwich was French mustard, melted goat's cheese and ham). I'm also trying to be somewhat more adventurous with stuff that I actually cook, and learning more techniques would probably be a good thing. Don't really know where to start though, and the lack of an oven is an issue again (though less than with baking, since I do have a hob, a microwave, and a George Foreman grill).

Political Campaigning -- The main reason why I'd not even think about this is that I don't actually know of any political party in this country that I actually like and agree with enough to fully support.

Travel -- I think I wrote recently about why I don't travel abroad, but I probably could stand to see more of this country. Possibly I should go visit people more often, or something.

Phew. Think that will do for now. Will go through the ones I made positive noises about some other time (probably tomorrow) and figure out what the next steps are.

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I've roleplayed online for 12~ years and I find it very gratifying. It appeals to my love of writing, but it all depends where you go and which crowds you fall into. Of all the communities I've seen (on and offline), RPers are THE most cliquey I've known. There are great forums for them, though, if you can wade through the tripe.

Puzzles. I used to love puzzles. I might try those again, myself.

Hmmm. I might give it a go, then. Any recommendations?

This seems popular at the moment. It's also run by an old friend of mine. The rooms vary and the people can be welcoming, or not. I haven't used a chat site like that for a long while, though. I tend to lock myself away in LJ comms, but that's because I don't have the sort of time required of socialising with people online.

RP online is more like interactive fiction. Rarely do you have a DM or GM, and not so often do you get into groups of more than 2 - it's hard to regularly organise groups larger than that. So, simply put, it's two people playing the same story from the perspectives of their different characters.

You could compare it to cybersmut, but with plot. :D

When I go through an online roleplaying phase I tend to go to www.rondaksportal.com - games tend to be a little on the slow side, but in a couple of months you can find yourself in a dozen or so at once.

Puzzles -- my favorite is Games magazine, but I never saw it for sale in the UK (not that I looked very hard).

Musical instruments -- can be rented pretty easily here (at least the more popular instruments), but I dunno about there, again.

Sounds like you need to consult the mighty Simonk Quinlank...

That is deeply disturbing.

Browsing book stores -- That's what Amazon is for, isn't it?
I'm going to have to disagree. There's something that feels different about actually going inside a bookstore, looking through the books, sometimes with coffee, and just the overall atmosphere of the place. ... Or maybe I just treat bookstores like libraries with shiny new books.

Yes, and there's also the pleasure of randomly finding something you'd been looking for for some super low price at a used bookstore, and of discovering books you never would have thought to search for online. Amazon is to real bookstores what microwaved ready-meals are to a meal in a nice restaurant -- it gets the job done, but strips all the pleasure out of it.

That's actually a better analogy than you'd imagine, since I absolutely hate eating out at nice restaurants. I find the environment incredibly uncomfortable, usually find that most of the food items contain things I don't like, and then you're charged through the nose for it at the end. I'm far, far happier slobbing out at home with some nice comfort food.

I guess I should also mention that my definition of "nice" entails not having seats, and preferably, not having utensils.

I don't use Amazon except for rare books, though I do use it to keep track of books I've been meaning to get.

Key to all ventures to used bookstores is that you talk to other people at the bookstore. Ask for recommendations, even if you don't really want or need any, from the shop clerk. Ask what makes those books worth reading. Make polite enquiries into the choices of other people browsing and poking and ask them what they're looking for and why.

People often wonder at the sheer enormity of my experience. A lifetime of being curious yet polite has gotten me far. And a friendly word or two — I think of it this way — we all want a friendly word or two, along with being able to say, "Sorry, I'm a bit busy right now, but good luck finding your book."

I find that minor social practice of that nature — 4 line conversations, basically — is excellent practice to start tumbling the agoraphobe barriers.

Heh, I don't think I've ever talked to anyone in a used bookstore besides occasionally asking if the clerk knew where to find some specific book I wanted. (And usually not even then, since they usually don't know.)

It's very enlightening. All sorts browse used bookstores — the impoverished who like to read instead of watch TV while taking breaks from menial jobs; students of all varieties; older academics looking for out-of-print copies of books they rue selling as undergraduates; antiquarians; people interested in topics that mainstream bookstores don't find profitable enough to sell ...

You can usually have a brief but interesting conversation, and occasionally make a new friend, but it's never a situation in which it's rude to say, "I'm sorry, I'm rather preoccupied, perhaps we'll run into each other another time," but if the person looks interesting, or what they're looking at looks interesting, or most fruitful, the person fits one stereotype but is browsing completely another, talk to them.

You learn a lot about people and you can overcome a lot of shyness quite easily this way. All you need to have as qualification is a common language to some degree and an interest in reading books. Because you have that, it's sort of like making a pickup in a bar, except there's no script and there's no pressure.

If someone looks interesting, talk to them. If not, a polite nod will do. I am a bit excessive — everyone gets a "Good morning, sir," "Good evening, ma'am," "Good afternoon, gentlemen" or "A pleasant day to you, ladies" just by passing me on the street. Nothing more. Just simple common decency, which this world could abide a bit more with.

You did indeed get Sheltas. Damn you!!! :op

Model railways don't need to take up a lot of space. The bit of mine that currently is useable measures only 4'x18" and is still far bigger than it needs be. I've seen convincing model railways built in OO scale measuring no more than 3'x8". Other scales, such as N are even smaller and could easily fit a meaningful model into half that size.

Of course, there's the cost; they can be expensive. I keep the basque collecting going on the side and ebay is my friend for that :P

If you like puzzles, then you might want to have a look at Alternative Reality Gaming or ARGs. Don't know how much you know about them and I'm not quite sure what a good starting point would be (the main sites are unfiction with the unforums and ARGnet but there are probably better intros elsewhere), but they might be more absorbing than individual puzzles!

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I didn't get around to replying to your first post due to obscene amounts of overtime, so I'll do that here and give you follow up comments based on what you've said above.

Dance Dance Revolution -- a combination of computer gaming and exercise. This only requires a PS One (or two), a second hand edition of Dancing Stage Euromix (best version available without importing) and a dancemat (worth doing a bit of research to get a good one, but they're not expensive -- mine is fabric and cost £30). You can also get free open source versions of DDR for the PC and make you own arrangements. This is really good exercise, good fun and you compete against yourself outdoing your scores. No other people are involved or even have to see you, which is why I got into it (I'm not doing it at the moment but I should again looking at my round tummy).

Baking -- I see what you said above about an oven. I second this suggestion if you do get a new oven. My specialty is gorgeous moist brownies.

Teaching oneself a musical instrument -- I'm still playing my flute and currently doing a real push to get properly good at it (still doing it myself not taking lessons). My flute cost £175 'reconditioned'. However, this very weekend I tried a xaphoon aka the 'pocket saxaphone' and fell in love with it. It looks like a recorder with a tenor sax reed but sounds loud and rich like a hybrid between a sax and a clarinet. Best of all it's £45 from Hobgoblin music so you can buy one without feeling guilty if you end up not liking it.

Programming -- I'm not programming for a living now so I'm gradually getting my act together to finally program an interactive fiction game like I've wanted to for years. So yes, I recommend a rogue-like game, maybe try a language like Ruby or Python?

Oh and I also make costumes every year, if you were wondering about the icon on that comment :)

I never got around to replying to part I, but one I do which no-one had mentioned yet is d.i.y.

Big d.i.y. projects are risky if one's mood is low anyway, because it's so demoralising when they run aground and stay half done for ages. But little things like putting up a hook where you need one are really cool, because for the rest of the week or month or until it wears off, whenever you see the result you can have a little hit of "go me, I did that!". Or so I find anyway.

Mind you, the same probably applies to knitting.

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