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Considering therapeutic and engaging hobbies/interests

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Larry F, Oct 23, 2018.

  1. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    When I was a kid, my life revolved around main three activities: school, friends, my projects. My friends and I would daily go though our garages and find pieces of 2x4, copper pipe, and lawnmower wheels. We made a different vehicle every day.

    I liked easy woodworking, including using a radial arm saw in grade school. I didn't care for finish work, I just wanted a utilitarian thingy. Electronics, ditto. I used switches, lights, and buttons to make a calculator. At a younger age, I liked building the same kinds of models as my friends (wwII land, sea, and air).

    Languages. I've formally studied French for a number of years, and picked up written Italian and spoken Mandarin.

    I live for music. But it is becoming more difficult to compose and play my beloved blues improvs. So, if I am mobile and can sit up for a while, guitar it is. I had been doing 2-6 hours a day until recently. Then two weeks ago, I had a huge setback in terms of pain, but also with muscle fatigue and a very powerful tiredness. Not drowsy. But feeling like you have hiked a ways and someone asks for a break. The accepted practice is not to sit down, as it will be so hard to get up. Whatever. It is the feeling that makes me want to sit down so bad that I have at home when I am fatigued. If I was resting/sleeping for two hours, I would get up and feel pretty good in my body for a bit. Then in about 10-15 minutes, I might start to wander upstairs to play guitar. But then I tell myself that I need to rest up for a minute, because if I don't, playing with be painful and unpleasant, and I am not sure if I can turn that around that day. By this time, maybe 15 minutes have passed since I got up, and I have already bailed on plans I just made to play guitar, and decided I need more physical rest. When I lay, it is always like, "oh, baby," I'm staying here on/in the bed for the rest of my life. I even think about how good it will feel that night and tomorrow morning. Really.

    So, when I am in-between laying in bed and playing guitar, I'm a little interested in finding another activity to keep my hands busy, that I can work on in teeny stages or binge, that produces a physical thing or possibly some research. I really liked the projects of my youth

    lock-picking

    building life-sized, realized models of various handguns (don't use regular firearms much anymore, but loved using plastic and wooden toys with my friends. I suppose I can google it, but what do you know about making and selling plastic model kits of weapons? Legal? Dangerous?)

    I've built a few small wooden boxes a few years ago and really enjoyed all stages of it, including my continued pride and sense of enjoyment I get when I see them in the house. My only concern is using the table saw in the basement. Among my other problems, I apparently have no reflexes in my left arm, and weak ones in the right. No power tools for me, especially because of the meds I take. But I never have been much good at sawing with any kind of hand saw. It is very stressful, actually, because I can't keep to much of a tolerance on these.

    I built a Marsh Champ from a kit. Really enjoyed that. But true to form for any soldering project I have ever done for music has eventually failed. Usually after months or years. I have been expertly trained in soldering by my nuclear engineer father. I review youtube vids on soldering. Sometimes I just like to watch some good soldering going on. I can't anything anything as complicated as an amp, pedal, or any kind of guitar electronics mod anymore. Unrelenting pain can make it difficult to maintain your train of thought, and follow specific steps. But I still think I would enjoy getting an aluminum or steel box, and drill or punch holes in it. Maybe put in a line or two of 1/4" jacks, pots, tube sockets, switches, etc. Not an electrical project at all--just mechanical and soldering. I could even invest in special high-end Italian or German soldering irons, and maybe use the Dark Web to buy some blackmarket solder.

    As you can see, I'm interested in fairly mindless but skilled activities that produce an outcome. I would love to volunteer my time to various organizations, but my illness doesn't allow for that kind of activity anymore. Because pain and fatigue cycle up and down throughout each day, I can't predict when I might be down for the count until about an hour before. I have missed dinner with my mom, my students' PhD defenses, and, two weeks ago, a concert on which one of my best works was performed. Couldn't go.

    I think lock picking would be fun to learn, but don't know what tools are illegal and not.

    As a kid, I taught myself morse code and built a table top telegraph network. I have always wanted an excuse to own a genuine telegraph key.

    Maps, maybe.

    I donate money to my former students' projects and often contribute to money-raising activities for musicians in need (including dead and gone Mississippi musicians who get new headstones).

    I probably should chart out the musicians who played around Chicago with Muddy, Wolf, and others. In other types of music, I have found that amassing a lot of particular information about some musical aspect can put me on firm footing, knowing that I know as much as anyone else who played on what song, etc. Along with this, I'd like to be able to recognize their playing and start to develop a sort of network of style transmission within the blues guitar scene in Chicago blues (or beyond). But, as I said, I don't necessarily want to get involved with a research project.

    I'm also putting my music up on soundcloud and writing about it on FB. A couple of CD labels have suggested that I put out some kind of career retrospective of my music for instruments, voice, and electronics. I am hiring a team to handle all of the recording, scheduling, payment, communications, etc. I cannot keep up with even one email every two days.

    Is there anything else that you might recommend to me? I should learn arduino.
     
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  2. loco gringo

    loco gringo Tele-Holic Gold Supporter

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    Tying classic salmon flies. There is much history and a lot of information out there.

    Digital photography, photo processing, and fine art ink jet printing. I am talking about a different level than jpegs printing on auto.

    Up the game by learning black and white ink jet printing. There are kits to convert some printers to black and white. Some of the work is stunning.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2018
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  3. D_W_PGH

    D_W_PGH Friend of Leo's

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    Woodworking with hand tools only, and with good quality woods that feel good to work and are pleasing to your senses. I know you're saying this is a tough go, but therapeutic (unless it's sleep inducing) will almost have to involve a physical aspect.

    I'm assuming you are good at things in general. Sawing by hand is generally a suspension of dissatisfaction exercise. it won't work well at first. At some point, you'll find out you're just good at it and comfortable with it. You have to suspend dissatisfaction in the interim so that it doesn't cause you to stop before you get good.

    If you have physical limitations, you can keep the size of the items made small, and the wood used uniform and easy (like genuine mahogany, butternut, etc.).
     
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  4. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Both of these ideas are very good. I could see getting lost in fly tying. I've tried to interest myself in photography, but just can't adopt it as a hobby. Who knows?

    I've seen youtube vids of master wood craftsmen building small boxes with hidden compartments and no apparent means of opening them. Except for a little touch pressure on a specific spot, then, out slides a drawer. It would be fun to be able to experiment with that kind of thing, but not sure how feasible it is for me to acquire the skills to do that with heart and confidence.

    I've tried knots off and on. Don't stick with it. Same with card shuffles and tricks. When I taught guitar in the 70s, I had a daily supply of willing participants for my tricks. Much fun.
     
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  5. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Ad Free Member

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    ammo loading--make some money!
    pickup winding--just building the winder at first is a pretty fun project
    marquetry--like a jigsaw puzzle, but you cut your own pieces
    stained glass--like marquetry, but light goes through it
     
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  6. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Doctor of Teleocity

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    Arduino electronics, Raspberry Pi or the newer microbit system.. can make all sorts of gizmos. Tinkering is fun and lots to learn to keep it engaging.

    I have a prototype midi controller using a microbit and the guinea pigs have a remote monitor system I made using a Raspberry Pi and IR camera.

    Extra boards and bits can control actuators, screens, switches, etc.

    Some video games are incredible these days too. Deep interactive stories. Ones like LA Noire are like novels come to life. I think of them as better than a book.
     
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  7. Zesty feline

    Zesty feline Tele-Holic

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    None of these hobbies will fill that gap in your precious soul mate, only the thunder of the lord will satisfy man's desires, make music, make praise! play skilfully with a loud noise!
     
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  8. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Doctor of Teleocity

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    if you are looking at Arduino, I made this for a museum.

    Has an Arduino with an audio board that plays mp3s of oral history recordings of people from the community. Could dial a story or play another by putting it down or picking it up again.

    Beats a touch screen.

    IMG_2995.JPG

    IMG_1870.JPG

    IMG_2994.JPG
     
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  9. VintageSG

    VintageSG Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    Another vote for Arduino/PI.
    You'll learn coding and have something that beeps or flashes or just scuttles around avoiding things. Very satisfying and inexpensive.
    B/W printing. There's something really satisfying about developing 35mm or 6x6 film, dodging, burning in under the enlarger then watching the white paper magically come to life in the dish. More fun than the taking of the pictures.
    Build amps!. Mmm, the warm glow of the glass coming to life in your hands.
     
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  10. Boubou

    Boubou Doctor of Teleocity

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    Was just going to say fly tying
    https://www.theflyfishingforum.com/forums/fly-patterns/?s=9bbe4989bd3e13b1867b9008ed422d0b

    And yes salmon flies are so pretty
    Or regular flies
    990548C7-5813-4929-A7C2-A434D9064314.png

    Also as you are somewhat of a woodworker, woodturning is fun
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2018
  11. uriah1

    uriah1 Telefied Gold Supporter

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    Wooden ship building or electronic toy making.
    Stay away from tatooing as a hobby., lol.

    Not sure. Fly tying I did as a kid. Made a billion and did not live
    close enough to hallowed waters. Can't get trout to bite anything
    for the life of me., but, I did catch a few frogs.
     
  12. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Friend of Leo's

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    You can type, and I assume can see what you type. Have you done any computer programming? You don’t need an arduino or Pi to start (though they are awesome in their own right). You just need a computer with a keyboard and screen. Laptops can even go to bed with you.

    Make simple text or visual games. Make a blog or website from scratch. Take the time to learn C++ and DSP and make a DAW plugin (you seem like the kinda chap who could do that. I’m the kinda chap who could only dream of that). Make whatever you feel like making.

    Edit: download Blender or some game framework like unity or unreal, and discover the deep evil never ending chasm that is 3D modeling.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2018
  13. D_W_PGH

    D_W_PGH Friend of Leo's

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    Doesn't ammo loading (with intention to sell) require an ATF permit or something? It is relaxing to do, though - especially if you don't try to hurry with it.
     
  14. maxvintage

    maxvintage Poster Extraordinaire

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    Stay with me, music and arduino and physical difficulty come together here.

    I started teaching myself irish traditional music on the penny whistle, which may be the easiest instrument in the world although irish traditional music on the whistle is not easy. There is a well known player, Donncha O'Briain, who had MS so bad he had to have the whistle placed into his hands to play it. But once it was handed to him, he was fantastic. The tin whistle is a surprisingly expressive instrument--you can use "half-holing" to get pitch bends, for example, and it's the lightest most portable instrument around, and it takes no embouchure, and very little breath. You basically have two octaves, and overblow slightly to get into the second octave.

    I also bought an arduino in the hopes of making a "silent whistle" that I could practice with using headphones. The learning curve is too steep for me, but it seems eminently doable. A silent practice whistle would be eagerly welcomed by whistle players. (I have to wait till nobody's home to practice--with a silent whistle I could practice anytime). It could also serve as a simple midi wind controller for people wanting to trigger samples in the DAW.

    This guy got me thinking about it. I emailed him, but he was not exactly welcoming or forthcoming.

    The challenging part is the half holing. You could make simple keyswitch whistle but you'd be missing the really important part.

    edit: Penny whistles are cheap--a perfectly playable one is 10 bucks; you can spend a few hundred for wood. They're diatonic and you would typically have whistles in multiple keys. Most irish music is in D. Here's a video of a guy horsing around with the blues with what looks to be a maybe an A or a G whistle. But you can hear the pitch bending and also some vibrato, which you can add with breath or by trilling on non-adjacent holes.

     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2018
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  15. stxrus

    stxrus Poster Extraordinaire

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    Ham radio.
    Easy to get into plus you can make friends all over the world
     
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  16. pdmartin

    pdmartin Tele-Meister

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    I became a ham only to discover I don’t particularly like talking to people.
     
  17. trouserpress

    trouserpress Tele-Holic

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    Lock picking sounds interesting especially if you start practising in the neighborhood. But folks won't appreciate it.:)

    What about cooking / baking? A huge universe that awaits to be discovered.

    If productivity is not a must then you could dive into some sophisticated computer game (like guitarteach already proposed). I know a lot of clever young folks who enjoy playing a game called "Witcher 3" very much. I took a look at it too and was fairly charmed.
     
  18. dogwatermike

    dogwatermike Tele-Meister

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    How about putting together a parts caster from warmoth? They go together easily with basic soldering and “woodworking “ skills and you can produce interesting combinations of parts, pickups, etc... many choices for beautiful woods and finishes.

    A closely related hobby is buying all the cool parts and NOT putting it together.... that is easy and satisfying! Don’t ask how I know about that one!

    There is a modeling/analysis program called Mathematica from Wolfrum Research... if you have an interest in modeling effects (e.g. ring modulators) or pickups or synthesizing various sounds that might be fun. There is a home version which is inexpensive.... you can write formulas in equation format, create sound files, work with them, etc. There is bit of a learning curve. I dont know about the capabilities for doing group theory....

    Cowabunga!
     
  19. trapdoor2

    trapdoor2 Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    Indoor free flight models? Can be as easy/simple as a Pennyplane or a No-Cal or Peanut scale or crazy like F1D.

    For me, these things are so satisfying to build and fly. I'm looking forward to retirement so that I can get back into it.

    Neat video...

     
  20. Urshurak776

    Urshurak776 Tele-Afflicted

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    Have you ever built your own effect pedals? Loads of fun!
     
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