Waning and Waxing Hobbies

Ah, hobbies. Those wonderful ways to fill your leisure time and relax in a world that’s a little too stressful. Everybody probably has at least one or two. I’m sure there are some folks who have dozens. I have several, myself, from reading to hiking, and many other things as well. But as interests change, some hobbies start to lose their appeal and others suddenly become more important. This waning and waxing of interest in hobbies is something that's been happening to me recently. One of my hobbies has become a source of frustration, rather than pleasure, and I've gotten a lot more interested in another one.

Blue Star Quilt As some folks here may know, I quilt. I’ve been quilting for about 5 years now. It's a hobby that grew out of a fondness for sewing in general and from hanging out with friends who quilt. And in that time, I’ve made some cool stuff that I’ve been proud of and which other people have enjoyed as well. However, quilting has always been a hobby that has brought me equal measures of joy and frustration. For every project I completed that seemed easy, went smoothly, and came out looking better than I had expected, there always seemed to be at least one project that left me frustrated enough to scream. Finally, last year, the balance tipped from equal measures of joy and frustration to simple frustration. Projects that should be quick were suddenly time-consuming, easy projects turned into difficult ones, and suddenly this wonderful means of relaxation seemed like work. So, I'm letting this hobby go. There's one more project that I feel obliged to finish, but it will be the last.

Wukoki Ruin At the same time, my love of photography continues to grow. This has been a hobby of mine, off and on, since I was a kid, but in the past year or so, something's changed. Instead of just getting out with my camera and enjoying taking pictures, I've started to get serious about getting better at this whole photography thing. After many years of using the automatic settings on my various cameras, I've taken the plunge and am using the manual settings on my camera most of the time. I'm expanding my range of subjects beyond my traditional interests of landscapes, architecture, and wildlife. I set a challenge for myself of taking at least one photo a day in January, and I did it. I've also started looking back through my archive of digital photos, doing a bit of desperately needed organizing, and posting the decent stuff to Flickr. I'm really hoping that I can finish organizing and posting my entire 5 year backlog of digital photos before the end of the year (while keeping up with everything I shoot this year). And I'm having a ball doing all of this. I've never enjoyed photography more.

So, to the friends and family who have received a quilt from me as a gift, enjoy them well, because there aren't going to be any more ((Except for Dad — you're still owed a wall hanging, and I'm hoping to make that your birthday present.)). You may be getting photos from me instead, though. Should be a fair trade, too — I'm already a better photographer than I ever was a quilter, and I hope to keep improving.

New Year, New Project: "What I'm Reading"

Happy New Year Everyone! The following idea for an ongoing Flickr photo project struck me towards the end of last year, and I've even managed to get around to acting on it:

I'm not normally one to keep track of what I'm reading - the record keeping kind of bores me. But this year, I thought I'd do something to keep track.

So, I'm going to snap a pic of the of every book I read as I start it (or shortly thereafter). I'm planning to include eBooks and audiobooks, too, as well as any really interesting articles, blog posts, etc. that I come across and have time to snap a picture of.

I might come back and make note of when (or if) I finish the book. Or I might not. The whole point of this is to keep the boring record-keeping to a minimum.

If anybody else wants to play along, leave a comment - if there are enough others, I'll start a group for this.

I'm sure there are plenty of other hassle-free ways to keep track of such things, but from my perspective, nothing's easier than just snapping a picture. I don't know if I'll actually manage to keep this up for the whole year, but I think it'll be fun to try. And, as I said, if anybody else wants to play along, drop me a comment, either here or at Flickr - if enough people show interest (and I'll likely consider one other person "enough people"), I'll start a group.

If nothing else, it might be amusing to have photographic evidence of just how weird my taste in reading material is.

I'm Baaaaack!

What can I say? I needed a break. After spending two years writing constantly for school my muse ((Such as it is.)) decided to go on summer vacation. Or take a sabbatical. Or something. But now even the Car Talk puzzler is back from summer vacation, and I'm starting to feel slightly guilty about not having posted anything for... yikes - over 4 months. I've had some ideas marinating during that time, so it's time to start posting again.

Me. Napping.

Vacation's over, and you can once again expect my usual level of inanity on libraries, technology, and anything else that comes to mind to be appearing here soon.