Too Many Hobbies

Sometimes I think I should retire. It’s not that I don’t like my job because I do! It’s fantastic, really! I get to turn dials on the production systems of a computer network that has no equal anywhere on Earth… and that’s pretty cool.

No, I need to retire because I have too many hobbies and not enough time for any of them. As you might guess, Photography is one of them and, as you might also guess, it has slipped a bit in recent months. What with starting a new job, moving from Canada to Switzerland, and adding a new little girl to the family, I just don’t seem to have any time for photo work, video editing, programming, writing, or Christmas shopping. Sorry to throw that last one in there so early, but when you have to ship across the Atlantic Ocean, you have to start early.

I thought I’d write this article to briefly touch on some of the other things I like to do. Perhaps some other photo buff has a similar interest

Programming: I’ve written so much code over the last 25 years that I just can’t keep track of it all. Most of it just things I do for myself, touch I have contibuted some things to the open-source projects like Debian.

Travel: I moved to Zurich, Switzerland to take this job. I could have gone to any one of a number of locations around the world, but this seemed like a great chance to do some travelling. Switzerland is located pretty much in the center of everything. So far most of the destinations have been within the country but we have made a few trips to France and Italy. One day I’ll get around to processing the photos from those trips and posting them in my gallery.

Family: I’ve got a beautiful wife, a 3-year old son, and an 8-month old daughter (as of November, 2007). This is really the “hobby” that makes it so difficult to find time for all the others. People who don’t have kids really don’t understand just how much time they take and how much freedom you give up. Your life doesn’t change. Your old life ends and a new one begins. The change is that dramatic. I don’t regret it in the slighest — my kids are the most wonderful parts of my life — but the cost is significant.

Reading: Robert Jordan, Stephen King, Orson Scott Card.

Business: I’ve started or helped start three companies. One failed before it really got started, one ran for a few years, and the last did quite well (though I left to take my current job). I write a bit about it, too.

Home Renovations: I’m an engineer and though I could never get my mechano set to to take on the plans I had in my head, I’ve found that I have a pretty good knack for making things fit together when I’m the one cutting all the pieces. So far I’ve built a new kitchen (including moving 3 walls), inserted a mud-room in our garage, and added a deck on the back of the house. Each of these projects has taken several months from start to finish and I always lose 5-15 lbs over their duration.

Video Editing: Raw video is the most boring thing to watch in the world. Every time I’m doing some photography and I see a tourist with a video camera pointed at whatever-is-there, I cringe. When I see that person hold the shot for 10 seconds and/or slowly pan over the scene, I know that it’s likely some poor souls are going to be tortured with, “Want to see some shots from my vacation?”

Every year I take the collected footage from my video camera and make a DVD to send to family as a Christmas present. I set it to music, change between scenes fairly rapidly, and condense 12 months of video down to about 15 minutes. That’s a pretty good ratio.

I also enjoy time-lapse video in conjunction with my previous hobby of home renovations. Check this out… Four months of work in four minutes.

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