Topic of the Week: Your other hobbies

Yeah, board games. We like researching them! Buying them! Putting their pieces in little bags! Taking things out of the bags! Writing about them!

I feel like our other threads; writing, gardening, cooking, music, etc. are a little quieter than they used to be.

So, coming up for air. What other hobbies? Interests? What else do you collect? Past, present, or even aspirational is fair game.


With my childless colleagues, I usually joke that I have kids, but that’s wearing thin given they’re 7 and 11. More importantly I know there’s some of you here with younger kids with waaaaay more needs than mine.

Anyway, most of my other pursuits are mainly solitary affairs. I quite like reading contemporary Sci-Fi, I tried the older stuff and well it’s of it’s time. Always after recommendations, currently reading Children of Memory.

I own a switch, specifically to play Nintendo exclusive titles such as the Mario platformers and Zelda games. Still need the newest title of both though!

Other than that I am a man of faith so church takes up a non-zero amount of time. I’ve found myself in a position of taking the lead on all things PA for that, so that also takes my time. It’s fun to come up with creative solutions for a shoestring budget.


Most of the other things I do (3d design and print, computers, books, films) have their own threads. I;m currently sharing a house with two excellent cooks, one of whom I’m married to, so I don’t do much of that at the moment, and I haven’t had a batch of homebrew work since I moved here. Don’t know what’s going on with that; every time, the primary is fine, but when I pitch the yeast for secondary it just sits there in the bottle. It’s not getting infected, it just dies. Oh well.


In recent times some of my other hobbies have lapsed a bit.

  • reading SFF, recently managed to overcome the slump I was in during and after the pandemic. Just started Bonehunters for my Malazan reread.
  • photography. With traveling less that one has also taken a backseat and I notice I have forgotten some of what I knew of how to take cool photos. It is making me a little sad right around the time of the year where I make my photo calendars for next year. Also mobile phones are great for always taking pics but not helpful for taking more interesting photos
  • cooking and good food and drink in general, including especially baking anything from bread to cakes
  • writing that one has taken the hugest downturn of all my hobbies. I haven‘t written a word of fiction in 2 years now. I miss it. But it will come back with reading more.
  • my other gaming hobbies: computer games and rpgs but the latter probably won‘t make a comeback anytime soon. Maybe when I retire I‘ll have time for those again?
  • techie stuff (my server/s) and in particular—with @RogerBW introducing me to Advent of Code last year—coding has made a comeback as a hobby for the first time since I started university in 1996 and it‘s great.
  • the one that seems most aspirational is gardening in particular growing veg and fruit. We now have much more space and I really want to find the time for it because nothing tastes quite as good as what you helped grow.

There is more: yoga, skiing, traveling, bicycling, metal music. I would have NO trouble at all filling all my time with hobbies.


Cricket, NFL, Stand Up, eating, cooking

Will possibly add to that when I’m less tired!


Add “sleeping” at the very least


Being a parent means most of my free time and energy is spoken for. But it does come with some sub-hobbies, such as “being furniture”, “being playground equipment”, “having headaches”, “hugs”, “asking questions that nobody should have to ask”, e.g. “why are there 5 different shoes here but none of them match? Why is their glitter in the light fixture? why is this sticky? what’s the smell?”

I used to have a whole bunch of computerized hobbies; but working on a computer all day has basically zapped that. But I still do a fair bit of home network and home lab stuff (home lab virtualization). That dovetails fairly often with my amateur programming hobby, where I write about 200 lines of a new program and then it sits on my harddrive for 8 years before I go back, read it and think to myself, “What idiot wrote this?”.

I’ve also dabbled with 3d printing a bit, something I want to get back to. But it’s sort of on hiatus because the area I had my 3d printers setup is a storage/stating area while we reorganize the garage.

Speaking of reorganizing the garage: that’s mostly to make room for two things: our minivan (sure would be nice, especially in cold weather) and my woodworking workshop. I used to design (in an old version of SketchUp) and then make things out of wood. I haven’t really done this since my kids were born; at first because of the noise of running power tools in my, then, basement workshop, and since moving, because the portion of my garage that was designated for my workshop has been filled with boxes like it was some sort of storage locker.

I’ve also done a bit of print-and-play for board/card games, as well as some insert/organizer work; but a lot of that is on hold until I get more free time and/or tools. Last Christmas I got a Cricut machine (computer-controlled Xacto knife, like a CNC); It’s neat but the software is trash and the computer interface proprietary (or, at least, not supported by a 3rd party library that you can plug into other CAD/CAM pipelines)

In my very lazy freetime (which is pretty often), I watch YouTube videos. I’ve cultivated, over the years, an eclectic variety of channels that I watch. A poker vlog, an offroad recovery company, a couple of automotive fabrication channels, a few hobby machinists, a few woodworkers, a music theory/popular music expert, a minecraft let’s player, an language/etymology channel, a hobo, a travel vlogger who makes a lot of content about trains/trams, a covert camping/camping challenge vlogger, a Farming Simulator let’s player… and others. Also plenty of solo board gaming, of course, as well as general boardgame channels.

I’ve given up on keeping up with all of them, though, and I’ve fallen way behind because I’ve been more active in my other hobbies recently. When the new baby comes in March, I’ll probably revert back to YouTube-watching as my primary hobby outlet.


Let’s see…

I play video games, though not NEARLY as much as I used to. I started Persona 5 Royal in 2019 and have yet to finish. I should, it’s SO good. It just takes so much time… Maryse and I have started a Super Mario Bros. Wonder game, that’s always a great time.

I listen to a lot of heavy metal and I’m enough of a geek about it that it counts as a hobby, LOL.

I read a lot less than I used to. Used to be big into comic books as well…

I started watching wrestling again (AEW only due to time constraints, and not live at all).

I started Brazilian Jiu Jitsu again back in April after three years on the couch (there was a plague going on, don’t you know). Got my second stripe on my white belt last week. I’m improving!


I collect spores, mold, and fungus.

Okay, not really (though this year we had some odd mushrooms growing in our front yard for the first time ever. No idea why).

I feel like most of my hobbies have kind of dried up. I used to be a voracious reader and video game player. Now I’m lucky if I finish maybe a dozen novels and all of four to five games in a year. I like to draw and occasionally dabble in it, but nothing really focused for years now. I like to paint miniatures, but haven’t raised a brush in over six years. I can’t even keep up with television shows anymore. And even board gaming, while probably my most practiced hobby, still does not get all that much of my time.

Once upon a time I practiced kendo, iaido, and even further back, archery, all of which I’d consider picking up again if I had the time and I didn’t always feel exhausted. I have some Gundam models that I need to get to, as I used to have fun assembling those, and I also enjoy putting together LEGO, and have some sets that I could build, but I have nowhere to keep them once they are assembled at this time.

Funny enough, over the past number of years I learned that I enjoy karaoke, and feel I’m actually a pretty decent singer, whereas back in the day I would have been way too embarrassed to even try singing in public. Probably just part of getting older and not caring what other people think about me. :slight_smile: So, I just sing a lot in the car.


What?? Was this mentioned? You’re going quattro?


I can’t keep track of where I’ve brought it up before or not. Girl #4 arrives in March!


Some joke revolving around multliple copies of Roads and Boats…


Limiting this down to what I do currently, or will be resuming in the next year or two …

I play darts twice a week for two different local bar teams. This year’s goal is to get my three-dart average up over 50 - not that unreasonable as I averaged over 46 last season but I have started slowly this autumn/winter so far. They are fun nights out, with many mixed-sex teams including some good female players, as well as some former pros and semi-pros to give us a tough challenge. It’s a sport I definitely prefer playing to watching, and get more enjoyment(?!) following various football, american football and cricket teams who I support.

I love keeping up with political news and current affairs, especially from Spain, the UK and US. My partner and I host a fortnightly Facebook video show talking about the local area we live in, and as part of that I get to deliever a brief “deadpan” news summary so can add some quirky “and finally, …” stories to the mix from things I have found over the previous two weeks.

I quite like photography but am not really into the technical side of it. From 2025, I’ll get to resume taking stills from concerts my partner is organising, this time at a big venue further up the coast so will get to meet, socialise with and photograph a few stars from the 1960s through 1990s on stage then.

I suppose my last mention is caring for many local cats. I have seven cats currently sharing my home, my partner has eight indoors plus we feed 20 or so outdoor cats in her garden and other corners in the neighbourhood. We have known many of them for several years and nice to have them come and greet us or follow us around the square we live.


Stray thoughts came together into some categories:

The Ocean
I grew up in San Diego. Given that I now live next to a sporadically polluted river, this is a “vacation only” thing but growing up was sailing (Sabots, Lasers, Cats), body surfing (and boogie boarding; I’ve done the board surfing but my family is body surfers so it always comes back to that), scuba and snorkel. Aquariums. Nature specials. This also spilled into swim team and water polo but water polo is rough and JV was ok but when I made Varsity I quit a few weeks later. Too much.

First was piano, then guitar. Starting in High School I led music for church until my mid thirties (fist bump with @raged_norm for the pew gang). High School was also choir, then a cappella in college (oh gosh I just checked and I’m on youtube no I’m not saying where). Tried a garage band which was about as bad as it gets. Solo coffee house gigs were easier to plan and control.

I just like stories. The medium tends to change. Books, movies, story driven video games. It goes in waves and cycles, and whatever is easiest to access. Right now its books (or nothing) with the crowded house.

Whatever I love, I want to make. I like music, so I try to write music. I like stories, so I’m writing. About 12 years in and I’m literally looking over at the last 50 pages of my last draft and I can’t get to them. Before Christmas? There’s been disruptions. I also like building legos. Designing games or solo modes which are mostly in notes form as once I get to the mocking/playtesting stage I don’t have the raw time for the iterations. If I have time for this now, it’s the book.

Parenting / Physical Therapy
As with all the other parents of young kids here, most of these have dried up. Video games stopped when I got married, as I could literally feel the eyes boring into my back when I tried to play. I don’t fully understand why she dislikes it so much. Similarly, the guitar has dried up since I don’t have a quiet place to play undisturbed. Movies and books will pick up again once bedtime becomes standard (youngest is 6 months, maybe three more months to do it?).

Parenting basically becomes your hobby when the kids are little. With my kids, I’ve also been taking up all kinds of physical therapy - feldenkrais, integrative manual therapy, traditional manual therapy, movement therapy, anat baniel… at this point some of her therapists have offered me a job. Despite the five years of “training” I’ve had now, the proper degree would still take three years of school, and more time to replace my income, so it’s not going to happen, but it’s just how far into this thing you get. I think this is a hobby, or at least a side hustle by now.

I’m not doing music anywhere either but performance art still needs its place. My wife goes a bit batty reading Aladdin for 50 nights in a row, but I slip into the role and feel like I’m rehearsing and perfecting a performance. Working the cadence and intonation each night, nailing that one sentence, etc. I don’t know if I’m any good, but engaging with the process keeps it fresh :slight_smile:

I do like collecting. When I was a kid it was bottle caps. We have a good coin collection (Europe was a lot more fun before the Euro). The most expensive thing I collected was guitars, and I got up to about 6 at peak. Coasters turned into a homebrew Skull. Movies and books, if I like them I want to own them.
Out of all that, modern day its physical therapy and writing. If/when the world opens up again I’d like to finish my game designs. Get back into fighting shape. Work through the list of movies I’ve written down. I’m itching to pick up the piano or guitar again.

Even longer term, I’d really like to live next to some water again.


You recall I’ve got three. We’ve got to have a family summit somewhere in Kentucky.

I don’t know what the joke is. He just needs a fourth copy to keep up.

Edit: Roads & Daughters & Boats.


This happened for me as well. And we’ve talked a bit about it. My partner tends to have hobbies that can be done while sitting near a TV that’s on. Knitting, crocheting and, recently, jigsaw puzzles. I don’t fault her for that; it’s how she was raised. And, admittedly, my family spent most of their time watching TV than doing anything else, but I’ve learned to despise TV, especially the modern television drama mini-series format (which, I admit, is currently one of the best formats available for telling complex stories with nuance).

I want to be doing something with my brain and with my hands. And, normally, I find TV/movie drama too emotionally exhausting to watch (this is something I had to develop a vocabulary around because for the longest time I just felt anxious when watching serious TV shows and movies). Naturally, as a teen growing up in the 90s, video gaming became that for me.

But the problem, I think we discovered, was that video games are demanding and isolating; she didn’t want me being in a different room, and if she wanted to tell me a story about something that had happened that day, she didn’t want me to have to somehow signal that my attention was freed up.

Also, I think there was some amount of envy involved; feeling unsatisfied watching TV while I was genuinely enjoying whatever game I was playing.

Oddly enough, board gaming sort of came around as part of this: a way to get away from my computer to spend some intentional time with my partner. But, these days, we never get a chance to play board games together because she’s usually too exhausted and just wants to watch TV.


Yes I used to do this! Accents and everything! (the trouble was trying to remember what accents I used last time. My wife thought it was odd that a mer-people in a particular book had Welsh accents…)

Like most people so far, being a parent (and because of wife’s Long Covid fatigue, often a more or less single parent in a lot of things) has meant that I don’t have a great deal of spare time.


I have started getting into DIY and have been trying to do the odd thing around the house. I’m not sure about getting TOO ambitious because we’re hoping to get an extension done and don’t want to do stuff that will get replaced before long! I also do some woodwork although that has gone by the wayside a little.


I assume the box lid for Roads & Boats acts as baby’s first crib in the pillbox household.


I do like the 6-8 episode miniseries, especially as in the earlier days of streaming the whole series would arrive at once. This allows you go at your own pace. Of course the way it’s going now is 3 episodes upfront followed by a weekly drip to get subscriber moneys. I’m too lazy to figure out how to sail the high seas so miss anything that isn’t on my current subscription(s).

I should add TV to my hobbies, but I don’t really think of it that way. Like what has been mentioned, it’s the thing I do when I need to be ready to drop it quickly, or am too tired to engage in other things.


I’ll add proper journalism. I have a standing subscription to Private Eye, for those not familiar with it, it’s a fortnightly journal known for it provocative covers and satire. In all that though is some excellent journalism that’s happy to go after anyone, both good and bad.

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