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Tag Archives: hobbies

The summer is over, both in my mind and in the weather, which signals to me, for one reason or another, that it’s time to restart or pick up new hobbies that have been on vacation.

This week, I have already started one, which is to continue my NHL09 (released in 2008 so I’m 3 years behind now) season. In NHL09 there is a “Be A Player” mode where you can create a player to develop through juniors and into the NHL. I had stopped halfway through my second year (where I had already graduated into the NHL with the Leafs) but am not continuing my season. My version of the Leafs are horrible (way worse than real life, and some other teams have made amazing trades to stack themselves) but they called up a star prospect from AHL so they should make it into the playoffs! I forget why I stopped playing previously, but hopefully my return to it is not due to excitement about the upcoming hockey season and I will be able to complete a season or two this year.

I’m also going to start working on my Android apps again (soon, probably). I am up to 6 apps now so I don’t think I should start new ones, although two of them (UDA and Yummy Chinese) aren’t really beyond alpha stage. Right now, I’m more inclined to improve my existing apps, and I think I will work a bit on my VIVA Next Bus app. I rather like this one, perhaps it is because it was my first app, but also maybe because it is a constrained problem.

I have had a lot of pressure lately, of the peer variety, to get a Nintendo DS Lite. I can, off the top of my head, name the following people that have one: Alex, Tsu, Keith, Victor, Nelson, and Ben. With so many people having one, it’s almost like the #2 must-have gadget (after an iPod of course). There have been a lot of deals for one recently; I could have bought one for $130USD in NYC, or a NDSL + Brain Age for $150 from Dell, or $140 at Zellers. There’s a lot of opportunity, a motive (to play multiplayer with friends) but no purchase. Why is that?

Well it’s not really the cost of the device that is the problem, it’s the utility for the cost. If I had a NDSL, it would sit at best as the #3 option for time-wasting, on-the-go, activity. The first on that list would be music (either through iPod or my phone), the second would be reading a book (otherwise I would never get through my book backlog); and if there’s no one else around (for conversation) and I didn’t have my camera, then I would probably appreciate a NDS.

It had crossed my mind to buy one lately, the driving factor being that I have to sit through another Convocation ceremony soon. I think I’ll probably end up bringing some headphones, or a book, or a friend (and I’ll have my camera anyways).

In the previous two parts, I talked about my current hobbies and the difficulties of starting new hobbies. I’ve been holding the third post back, because I was hoping that I would think up more ideas. Well that hasn’t happened so I’ll just discuss some potential hobbies that I’ve thought about but haven’t picked up. Why? well here’s why:

Playing the Stock Market
This hobby has a great reward! Provided I have enough money to make trading stocks worthwhile. But I think the more depressing feature is that it just takes too much time. First, to learn enough information to decide what to trade, and second to monitor the market so as to know when to sell. Oh yeah, there’s also the risk that you won’t actually come out ahead. Of course, I could just buy blue chips and let them sit there, but how’s that a hobby then? That’s what mutual funds are for. Some more reading for you unbelievers out there

Networking, I think, has the greatest benefit of my hobby picks, but it’s more of an intangible benefit since you can’t really see it (or rely on it but I digress). It’s also a hassle because 1) I’m an introvert, 2) it’s so superficial, 3) I’m not interested in the networking “activities”, and 4) there’s no immediate benefit!

Wedding Planning
Hey yeah I could do this, but there’s so much to do and no plan to go about doing it!

This seems like it would be fun since so many of my friends do it, but it’s somewhat expensive and seems like such a hassle to travel so far only to spend more effort climbing a man-made wall.

Hitting the Gym

Another hobby which involves physical exertion, but that isn’t the part that is the hassle. The difficulty I think is planning and scheduling. Without figuring out which sets of muscles to work on when, and going to the gym regularly; I don’t think I would get a lot of bang for the buck (although it’s free…).

More Games
I’ve been thinking about starting WoW, mainly because the box has been staring at me since Boxing Day, but I don’t have anyone to play with; and ultimately, while I think it will be fun, I’m sure that it will just be the tedious waste of time I remember. I’ve also had thoughts about buying a Nintendo DS as it seems like it will be fun. I’m not sure whether I will enjoy playing on a small screen though. And anyways, these ideas are just different variations of a unrewarding hobby.

In my previous post on hobbies, I listed what my current hobbies were and my thoughts about them. A note on my previous list though. I tried to list only serious hobbies and not superficial things that I regularly do. Take for example: movies. I do watch movies, but just because I do it once or twice when I’m out with friends does not a hobby become. To me, a hobby has to be something that I’m willing to invest time into and learn the intricacies of.

And that is, I think, the problem with finding new hobbies. I’m not happy with the fact that I end up sinking my “hobby time” into less-rewarding hobbies such as gaming, but I just can’t find replacements that will satisfy my criteria. In the end, it is a cost-benefit analysis; will my new hobby provide me with a rewarding enough experience to justify the effort I put into it?

I believe that I get this from photography. When I take photos, I’m documenting my life so I can remember it. When I develop photos, I appreciate the fact that I’m able to create art or beauty so easily; plus I can hang it on tape it to my wall. When I find a bargain, be it a used CD or clothes; I’m happy because I got a deal and other people may have paid full price for it. When I travel, I trade the cost for memories and experiences.

So I’m looking for hobbies, but not just any hobby. I want a hobby that is 1) fun, 2) that I can get something out of it, and 3) is not too effort-intensive. Now finding something that satisfies those 3 factors doesn’t seem too difficult, although there is no defined definition of fun, rewarding or easy.

Of course if it were only so easy. I’ve realized that there’s another factor besides return-on-investment (ROI) for starting new hobbies, and that is fear. There’s fear in a couple of ways. First, there’s the fear of change. Why start a new hobby when I get a reasonable amount of fun out of the effort I put into playing games? This is easily surmountable by peer pressure. There’s also the fear of making bad investments. Your (hobby-)time is limited so you don’t want to make a bad choice and pick up lawn bowling. Or maybe you want to keep your options open in the event that your friends decide to pick up movie making. In any case, what I think this means is that you only end up starting new hobbies that are overwhemingly favorable. For example, niche blogging is incredibly profitable for the amount of time I put in.

So what does this all mean? Well I have a bunch of hobbies that I don’t really enjoy as much anymore, thus I don’t spend as much time on them as I previously did. So, I figure I should find some new hobbies to replace them; but I can’t seem to pick up any hobbies because I don’t think they are worth it. What sort of hobbies you say? Well, I will let you in on them in the next part.

I need new hobbies. I was reflecting, and realized that some of my old hobbies aren’t that fun anymore; so I’m in search of new hobbies. What were my old hobbies you ask? Here’s a list:

This includes finding out about, listening to and “collecting” music. I’ve been lackadaisical about finding out about music for awhile, ever since I was in a music-immersive environment like Seattle. Recently I have been relying on people to tell me what to listen to, but their picks don’t have a high hit rate with my preferences.

I still listen to music, and all is good. Maybe I don’t spend as much quality time listening, but I still spend a lot of time with my iPod. I used to be anal about collecting music and then tagging them correctly. Everything had to be 192kbps (CBR natch, VBR wasn’t popular), and I went searching for all the songs I liked. Now, it’s more of a find what I can and throw them into a folder. Don’t even get me started on discographies.

Going to Concerts
I would do this more often except invariably CD versions are good-enough and a live act doesn’t provide enough incremental value or atmosphere. Also, it’s too expensive in Toronto, it’s not like the Seattle scene with sub-$20 concerts featuring good bands that I actually want to see.

I think I got tired of wasting time being a mall rat once I left high school, and now shopping isn’t fun because I have nothing to buy! Plus, it’s not good for the bottom line, so that’s two strikes. I do like looking for bargains which I still do on occasion on CD crawls or say Boxing Day. I’ve also scoured the bargain forums (i.e. Red Flag) for a couple of months, but realized that I hardly ever bought anything from there so it wasn’t a good use of my time.

Making Web Pages and Other Web Stuff
This hobby has its ups and downs, sometimes I’m enthusiastic and start working on a project; but those instances are fewer and farther between now. The main problem is that it’s too tedious and there is too much repetition to build a web application, and usually there’s a free alternative that does the same thing. So why bother making it?


This hobby is still good and interesting, but it doesn’t work so well in the Winter nor at night. Plus, I don’t like the organizational aspect or using Photoshop.

Watching TV
When I say watching TV, I guess I mean the shows that I follow (i.e. BSG, Smallville, etc) rather than just using TV as background noise (hello Space). I used to be good at putting aside time to watch the shows on actual TV, but then I got lazy and started time-shifting via BT. Now, I’ve been slacking at even downloading the shows because some of the shows aren’t as good as they once were (BSG) and I realized that the others were pretty dumb (Smallville, Everybody Hates Chris). I have no idea what happened to Hockey Night In Canada; maybe the Leafs are just too crappy now.

Earning AdSense Revenue
This is also still fun, but again limited — you can’t force people to make money for you! Also, I realized that while I do make decent income, it doesn’t bring in enough to significantly augment my discretionary income.

Still do this, still fun. I can only write so much though.

Playing games
I still play Warcraft and I still play Gamecube games. But this isn’t a hobby per se but rather a default. If I have nothing else to do, then I play some games.

I don’t usually put reading in my list of hobbies, because usually it refers to reading books. However, I realized that I do the generic form of reading quite often. In addition to books (that I hardly read, so I can’t really call a hobby), I read stuff on the net, comics, and my 150+ RSS feeds. This is for the purposes of wasting time (like gaming) or for interest (say an article on one of my hobbies). But again, you can only read so much before you go crazy.

Actually, I found an even more interesting phenomenon which I will blame on Digg. I think that there is now too much to read, so I’ve been forced to skim through articles instead of actually reading them (yes even the ones I’m interested in). But I digress.


Ok, this site was fun when it was new; but adding new friends and seeing their news feed is not really as interesting as it seemed to be. I used to have a tab up which I refreshed every couple of hours; but this has since become checking the site once a day. Maybe if I take a longer break from it, it will be more interesting.

This is a great hobby, and I would love to do it more if not for the time, money, and effort commitment.

So these are my hobbies. Some are still good, and some need to go. But what will I replace them with and why do I have to spend so much time blogging about them? Well you will have to wait for my forthcoming blog on Hobbies to find out (hey, blogging is a hobby, not a job).