#1  
Old 09-21-2019, 09:54 PM
Derleth is online now
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Your Odd Hobbies


What hobby or hobbies do you partake in you don't see others talking about?

Obviously, this is going to be skewed by the bubble each of us inhabits. For example, I program as a hobby, but I don't think that's odd because I'm on Hacker News and Lobste.rs where most people program as a hobby.

Anyway, my odd hobby is reading old newspapers. Not as part of genealogy, just because I like history and I think newspapers help bring it to life better than textbooks or novels. They're sometimes wrong, they lack perspective, they don't have the space to go into great depth even on things happening all around them... they're the thoughts of the people of the time, in the moment, or as close to it as we're ever going to get. Plus, you get advertisements and comics and random content, like notices.

Luckily, there's plenty of ways to spend hours up to your eyeballs in 1920s Oregon or 1890s New York City:

Google has a good archive, if a bit eccentric as to which papers it has, and which editions.

Here's a single-paper archive, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

The Internet Archive has another eclectic collection.

The Library of Congress has a great collection of American newspapers and some other newspapers in other sections, like the November 8, 1918 edition of Stars And Stripes published in France.

Oh, and here's a single-newspaper collection of the Morning Oregonian I referred to.
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Last edited by Derleth; 09-21-2019 at 09:57 PM.
  #2  
Old 09-21-2019, 11:19 PM
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I accumulate ("collect" suggests some sort of plan and/or discernment) and restore vintage LavaLites.

And I don't know if this is a "hobby," per se, or merely a rather specific instance of "completist fixation," but I'm working my way through every extant Alfred Hitchcock film (even the WWII propaganda shorts) in chronological order of release.
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Old 09-22-2019, 12:07 AM
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I collect heart shaped rocks. I collect lots of things but that is an odd one. I'm a collector.

And I make tiny books.

Last edited by Beckdawrek; 09-22-2019 at 12:07 AM.
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Old 09-22-2019, 02:32 AM
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This feels familiar somehow, anyway, human skulls and roses, not real skulls, but tattoos, sculptures etc of skulls and roses as depicted in paintings and my two fabulous swag lamps. An odd pairing, perhaps, outside of Santa Muerte depictions, for collecting. No, I am not a devotee of Our Lady of Death.
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Old 09-22-2019, 06:49 AM
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I have a Treasure Chest. I've always been fascinated at the old Argg-Pirate-Chest-full-of -plunder idea. So I started collecting suitable booty. Anything shiny that looks like valuables, though 99% of my trinkets are just that. So far I have about a hundred outdated foreign coins, odd junk jewelry and tie clips, and all sorts of things that look cool. My old wooden chest was broken last year, so I am searching for a new suitable plunder chest. This time I want a clasp on it so I can lock it with my 100-year old lock and key.
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Old 09-22-2019, 08:26 AM
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^^that actually sounds pretty cool campp, and who knows, maybe in a 100 years or so, it really will be treasure
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Old 09-22-2019, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by mjmlabs View Post
I accumulate ("collect" suggests some sort of plan and/or discernment) and restore vintage LavaLites.

And I don't know if this is a "hobby," per se, or merely a rather specific instance of "completist fixation," but I'm working my way through every extant Alfred Hitchcock film (even the WWII propaganda shorts) in chronological order of release.
I think this first one sounds like a neat hobby and wish you would post some pictures of your LavaLites.

Also, I really appreciate learning the term "completist fixation" because I have it (badly) and am glad to have a name for it that also suggests that it's a mental illness that I should get over! Why else do I buy the next book in a series in hard cover when I almost always read books on my tablet? Or when I didn't even like the last two books in the series?
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Old 09-22-2019, 09:14 AM
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I collect heart shaped rocks. I collect lots of things but that is an odd one. I'm a collector.
My gf does this. Every year she brings a few perfect specimens home from St Martin. She then "rehomes" her finds. Planters, flowerbeds, near a bench in the garden, etc. If you are observant you'll see many dozens of heart-rocks around our home.
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Old 09-22-2019, 09:40 AM
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I collect breakfast cereal - I currently have 31 varieties. I do eat it, and track expiration dates so it doesn't get (too) stale. I also save the box covers once its finished, just to have a record of all of the different kinds I've eaten.

There are a few blogs and podcasts devoted to this hobby, but it's definitely unusual.
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Old 09-22-2019, 10:48 AM
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I have a Treasure Chest. I've always been fascinated at the old Argg-Pirate-Chest-full-of -plunder idea. So I started collecting suitable booty. Anything shiny that looks like valuables, though 99% of my trinkets are just that. So far I have about a hundred outdated foreign coins, odd junk jewelry and tie clips, and all sorts of things that look cool. My old wooden chest was broken last year, so I am searching for a new suitable plunder chest. This time I want a clasp on it so I can lock it with my 100-year old lock and key.
That does sound really fun.
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Old 09-22-2019, 10:57 AM
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I have a small collection of pneumatic (air) horns and small sirens. I work in audio and acoustics, and have a minor fancy for noisemakers.
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Old 09-22-2019, 12:01 PM
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I have a small collection of pneumatic (air) horns and small sirens. I work in audio and acoustics, and have a minor fancy for noisemakers.
You're a naval fetish away from having your own Twilight Zone episode.

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Old 09-22-2019, 12:07 PM
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I build cairns where nobody can see them. Wild horses eventually knock them down. Completely pointless.
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Old 09-22-2019, 03:27 PM
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Dunno if these qualify as hobbies or just habits/practices, but I used to add up the numbers on license plates I saw. Above 50 was somewhat rare. Think I only got above 60 once.

Also, walking to/from the train in downtown Chicago, I used to look for the closest difference I could see between the numbers of 2 taxis I saw at the same time.

Used to pass a bank with a digital time/temp. Would switch fro time to F to time to C. Whether the temp was in F or C, I'd try to calculate the other before it changed.

I used to collect colophons from books I read.
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Old 09-22-2019, 05:41 PM
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Here's a few:

1) I'm trying to identify songs for each of the integers from 0 to 100, where (a) the lyrics of the song for an integer contains that integer, and (b) I've got at least a passing familiarity with.

I'm also trying to avoid using the same song multiple times, if possible. (Right now I'm using Five for Fighting's "100 years" for 15, 33, and 67, but I'd really like to use it just for one of them.)

2) I mentally collect songs sung to ballad meter, that 8.6.8.6 hymn meter (syllables per line) that is characteristic of numerous songs from "Amazing Grace" to "Pop Goes the Weasel" and enables you to sing the lyrics of any one of them to the tune of any other. (I need a group of carolers sometime to sing "O Little Town of Bethlehem" and "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" to each other's tunes, just to see the reactions of the listeners.)

3) Unlike Dinsdale, I don't add up the digits on license plates. However, here in Maryland, most of the license plates have 5 digits and 2 letters. 5 digits make up a cribbage hand (with 0 = 10), so I score license plate cribbage hands when I'm driving down the road.
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Old 09-22-2019, 06:27 PM
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I don't have an odd one, but I remember a guy back in the 80s who was telling me that he collected airline tail numbers. I thought he was having me on, but no, it was (and is) a thing. I asked him what he did with them and he said "Oh, you know, talk about them and trade them." It's a mystery to me.
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Old 09-22-2019, 07:35 PM
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I used to build furniture. We still have an use some of the things I built. But when I got my first computer, I dropped it and got into programming. And reading TSD.
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Old 09-22-2019, 07:55 PM
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I made a decision to NOT have a hobby that would result in messes and clutter. I'm very proud of myself for switching hobbies from collecting vintage hardware and tools to... posting here.
Seriously.
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Old 09-22-2019, 08:15 PM
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I don't have an odd one, but I remember a guy back in the 80s who was telling me that he collected airline tail numbers. I thought he was having me on, but no, it was (and is) a thing. I asked him what he did with them and he said "Oh, you know, talk about them and trade them." It's a mystery to me.
It sounds like you're describing the hobby of plane spotting. A plane spotter might go hang out in a spot near the airport with a good view of arriving and departing aircraft, and write down the tail numbers of the airplanes they see. They might have a goal like spotting every 737 in United's fleet (there used to be companies that would publish lists of tail numbers and what airline they belonged to to aid this, now there are websites that do the same thing), or to spot rare airplanes like the last airworthy BAC-111 (A test airplane used by Northrop Grumman which they quietly retired recently). I assume you must have misremembered the "trade" part. I don't know what a plane spotter would trade, unless you're conflating it with trading aviation memorabilia or something like that.

I don't do that, but I do keep a log of every flight I've ever taken, including the tail numbers of the planes I flew on. I use the website flightmemory.com to keep track of everything.

I also used to collect, or perhaps just accumulate, "vintage" computers. I haven't added to the collection in over a decade, but one of my spare bedrooms is full of old computers from the 1970s and 80s. Stuff like an original IBM PC from 1981, and my pride and joy, an Intel Intellec 8 from circa 1974 -- basically a big blue box with a bunch of lights and switches on the front.
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Old 09-22-2019, 08:20 PM
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3) Unlike Dinsdale, I don't add up the digits on license plates. However, here in Maryland, most of the license plates have 5 digits and 2 letters. 5 digits make up a cribbage hand (with 0 = 10), so I score license plate cribbage hands when I'm driving down the road.
I thought I was the only one that did this. Pickup trucks in Washington State have 5 numbers. Best so far is B50555J.
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Old 09-22-2019, 09:05 PM
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I build cairns where nobody can see them. Wild horses eventually knock them down. Completely pointless.
This is the absolute best hobby/activity I can think of. Take lots of pictures.
You're a bad, bad man Gatopescado


But cool as hell.
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Old 09-23-2019, 06:11 AM
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I build cairns where nobody can see them. Wild horses eventually knock them down. Completely pointless.
Kick it up a notch and teach your dogs to do it.
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Old 09-23-2019, 08:39 AM
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I also used to collect, or perhaps just accumulate, "vintage" computers. I haven't added to the collection in over a decade, but one of my spare bedrooms is full of old computers from the 1970s and 80s. Stuff like an original IBM PC from 1981, and my pride and joy, an Intel Intellec 8 from circa 1974 -- basically a big blue box with a bunch of lights and switches on the front.
Cool!

I don't collect hardware myself, but I collect software and emulators. I've run all of what I consider to be the legendary mainframe and minicomputer OSes under emulation: ITS, Multics, various Unix versions, VMS, and MVS. I'd never be able to manage actually owning any of the hardware that software would require to run natively, but my interest is in the software anyway, and a good, modern laptop can easily emulate a 1970s mainframe without breaking a sweat.
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Old 09-23-2019, 08:40 AM
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I collect foreign language versions of theatre musicals. Mostly Andrew Lloyd Webber.
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Old 09-23-2019, 09:05 AM
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Anyway, my odd hobby is reading old newspapers. Not as part of genealogy, just because I like history and I think newspapers help bring it to life better than textbooks or novels.

I do almost the same thing, though I generally stick to one specific paper. Most mornings I skim the New York Evening World for today's date 100 years ago at the LOC Chronicling America site. I enjoy it because newspapers weren't written as history, they were written for a contemporary audience, so you get a sense of the opinions of the day. I'm also experiencing history in real-time, and sometimes I catch myself thinking of things that happened then as current events. For example, in July there was the heavyweight boxing match between Jess Willard and Jack Dempsey, and when it was announced I found myself genuinely looking forward to it.

Maybe another odd hobby of mine is watching old auto races. This past May I watched all of the old Indy 500's from 1961 to 1978, though not always the entire race. Older ones in particular were usually edited down to highlight newsreels. Right now I'm working through Formula 1 starting in 1988, and I'm up to the '89 Montreal GP. The late-80's is about when I started having a general interest in F1, though coverage was hard to find in the U.S. at the time so I've never actually seen most of these races.

Quote:
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I build cairns where nobody can see them. Wild horses eventually knock them down.
This sounds like a song lyric.
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Old 09-23-2019, 09:18 AM
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I've been picturing dozens of untamed stallions, snorting and running everywhere, looking for rocks to knock over...aha! They have a scent... a whinney, a snort, and as one, the troop wheels and gallops full tilt towards the last unmolested cairn...
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Old 09-23-2019, 11:48 AM
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I do what my wife calls "pointless carpentry." I have a big pile of scrap wood from various projects over the years, and sometimes when I get bored I'll just grab some of the scrap, grab some tools, and just start drilling holes, nailing stuff together, and cutting things up for absolutely no purpose. It's not even Homer-Simpson-esque "outsider art," it's really just me making sawdust.
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Old 09-23-2019, 05:10 PM
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I do what my wife calls "pointless carpentry." I have a big pile of scrap wood from various projects over the years, and sometimes when I get bored I'll just grab some of the scrap, grab some tools, and just start drilling holes, nailing stuff together, and cutting things up for absolutely no purpose. It's not even Homer-Simpson-esque "outsider art," it's really just me making sawdust.
It's like carpentry stimming! Sounds like fun
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Old 09-25-2019, 09:24 AM
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I thought I was the only one that did this. Pickup trucks in Washington State have 5 numbers. Best so far is B50555J.
Woohoo - 28-point hand!!
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I build cairns where nobody can see them. Wild horses eventually knock them down.
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This sounds like a song lyric.
I've got no roots!
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Old 09-25-2019, 11:01 AM
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I think I'll take up that cribbage numbers game. My equivalent brain busywork has always been to find as many words as I can within words.

A hobby I've had for 50 years now is to draw house plans and detailed landscape plans. Sometimes I really get going and lay out small islands, complete with village main streets. I also play the various computer simulation games, though they're limited compared to free-form pen and paper.
  #31  
Old 09-25-2019, 11:53 AM
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Axe throwing. I play in an axe throwing league and I've been doing this since January 2018 AND my 17 year old daughter is in it too. I recently broke my axe handle so I'm in the process of replacing it and I'll tell you that this is no fun. I ended up buying a new axe and I'll finish re-handling the old one along the way. DCnDC, you can come over and make some more sawdust in my basement with the new axe handle is you want.

I also like bird watching, but not to the extent of going out into the wilderness and finding exotic ones. I just like seeing a cardinal or titmouse at the bird feeder.
  #32  
Old 09-25-2019, 12:39 PM
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I started buying model kits ca. 1991 and over the course of the next 10 years or so built maybe half a dozen models. It finally dawned on me when I realized I had literally scores of unbuilt model kits that somewhere along the way, my hobby had become collecting model kits rather than building models.

In fairly short order, I sold them all off on eBay, which meant that in its final stage, my hobby became selling model kits.

Last edited by KneadToKnow; 09-25-2019 at 12:39 PM.
  #33  
Old 09-26-2019, 12:31 PM
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I collect odd books.

Not quite sure how to explain this. I think one criterion is something like, if I say to myself What in the hell is that?, then I'll buy it*. Here are some examples.

Isis Unveiled by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. Basically, I'm a sucker for an author who created their own religion, or anything close. So I also have a copy of The Vital Message by Arthur Conan Doyle. (Incidentally, Isis appears to be dedicated by, but not signed by, the author).

I have several different editions of The Well Of Loneliness dating from the period when it was a banned book in the UK (so they are all illegal imports). The lurid paperback covers are a joy.

I have The Book Of Artemas, plus the second, third and fourth books. Multiple copies of some of them. They are British political satires published during the first world war.

I have a copy of the UK edition of Mein Kampf (English language but with the German title). Printed November 1939 (!).

I have a load of slang dictionaries.

j

* - I do this in restaurants too. Yes, there have been disasters (which Mrs Trep particularly enjoys).
  #34  
Old 09-26-2019, 12:44 PM
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I used to tag trains as a teen. I've been told that's bad and illegal here. So pretend I didn't really do itshhhh!. (It's bad and illegal kids, don't take up this hobby, not good. You'll get caught and be arrested, a shame on your whole family. Bad. Just don't do it, you hear me?)
Now I take pictures of train tags if I'm first in line at a train crossing.

Last edited by Beckdawrek; 09-26-2019 at 12:46 PM.
  #35  
Old 09-26-2019, 02:54 PM
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I machine small steam engines that you can hold in your hand.

It combines my love of being a machinist with the joy of always being on the hunt for just one more tool.

A new hobby that is starting to ramp up: I'm trying to get my hands on a vintage Seeburg 1000 background music system--they are quite rare, so it may take a year or two before I actually find one. Once I have one, I will work on building up a collection of the old Seeburg records. These are a weird sized record that plays at 16-2/3RPM and has 20 background music songs per side (20 x 2 sides x 25 records in the player = 1000, hence "Seeburg 1000").
  #36  
Old 09-27-2019, 08:09 AM
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Among other things, I collect business cards from the managers of any Starbucks that I visit. I do not accept cards from others if I haven;t been to that store.
I also collect pocket schedules from NHL teams, as well as major and minor league baseball teams.
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Old 09-27-2019, 10:08 AM
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Not really a hobby, just more of a way to kill time while waiting for traffic lights to turn green. I look at the license plates of the cars around me and break down their numbers into prime factors.

So if it's 3623, my mental process is:
  • The end digit isn't even, so it's not divisible by 2.
  • The end digit isn't 5 or 0, so it's not divisible by 5.
  • The digits don't add up to a multiple of 3, so it's not divisible by 3.
  • Is it divisible by 7? Add 7, divide by 10, I get 363. Add 7, divide by 10, I get 37, so no.
  • Is it divisible by 11? Add 77, divide by 100, 37 equals no.
  • 13? 3623 - 13 divided by 10 is 361, plus 39 is 400, so no.
Then it shortcuts
  • 17>364>330 no
  • 19>368>350 no
  • 23>3600 no
  • 29>371>400 no
etc
  #38  
Old 09-27-2019, 10:41 AM
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Oh, when I go to Home depot (or any home improvement place) I 'swipe' paint chip samples. I like to get seasonal colors (as in fall colors or christmas colors). I guess they're free. Occasionally a worker will give me the stink eye for doing it.
I have literally 1000s.
**
I like the short golf pencils at lottery outlets, too.

Last edited by Beckdawrek; 09-27-2019 at 10:45 AM.
  #39  
Old 09-27-2019, 01:51 PM
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I breakdown numbers into prime factors too. Not just license plates, but the locker I'm using at the gym, or an office number. I also do things like count how many days until a particular event takes place, by running mentally through the calendar.

I'm also into social dancing, which is not super rare, but definitely something of a niche activity. Same for learning and practicing foreign languages.
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Old 09-27-2019, 02:47 PM
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You're a naval fetish away from having your own Twilight Zone episode.

sorry, not getting the reference.
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Old 09-27-2019, 04:24 PM
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For me and license plates it's reading the ~3 letter codes as assembly language opcodes, Unix commands, etc. I can get fairly creative at inventing a plausible derivation of the acronym. But if I get a QQQ or some such I give up. (I wouldn't be surprised if a ham could make that into something, but I don't know many of those codes.)
  #42  
Old 09-27-2019, 04:41 PM
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I also used to collect, or perhaps just accumulate, "vintage" computers. I haven't added to the collection in over a decade, but one of my spare bedrooms is full of old computers from the 1970s and 80s. Stuff like an original IBM PC from 1981, and my pride and joy, an Intel Intellec 8 from circa 1974 -- basically a big blue box with a bunch of lights and switches on the front.
If you ever take it up again, I still have my first computer: an original MacIntosh. Well it was upgraded to a Mac 512 and it also has an external disc drive. And software on floppies that may even be still readable. A carrying case too. I might be willing to sell.

As far as the license plate thing, I used to try to find words that contain the three letters in that order, although not necessrily consecutive. Shorter words are best. I no longer do that, because I stopped looking at plates and instead look at logos.

I'm looking for EVs and mostly just spot a number of Teslas. Other kinds of EVs are more work, because I have to look at more than the logo. I did spot what I'm pretty sure was a Bolt the other day and today I saw only my second Ioniq, but was a hybrid (Ioniq's come in either hybrid or pure EVs).
  #43  
Old 09-28-2019, 12:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Annie-Xmas View Post
I collect foreign language versions of theatre musicals. Mostly Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Are you familiar with theatre company Dagoll Dagom? I don't know how many recordings (official or bootleg) are out there, but their work is mainly musicals, both in Catalan and Spanish.
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Last edited by Nava; 09-28-2019 at 12:51 AM.
  #44  
Old 09-28-2019, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Gatopescado View Post
I build cairns where nobody can see them. Wild horses eventually knock them down. Completely pointless.
Your hobby rocks! (blush)

My hobby is model railways.
Here's a video of it at an early stage.
  #45  
Old 10-03-2019, 05:30 PM
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I attempt juggling. I have- sticks, wheel, balls and a fushigi. My dexterity in my right hand is poor and my dexterity in my left hand is worse.

I make balloon animals. I believe I actually have a gift for this. I need live instruction to get past some humps and can't find an instructor in Philly.


I collect many things- Including but not limited to

Obsolete computers. Commodors 64, Commodore Plus 4, A Zenith laptop that pioneered the 'clamshell' design, my dad's old desktop from the 70's.

Weird Cookbooks- The Official Spam cookbook, the tiny ketchup cookbook, The Marshmallow Fluff Cookbook, The Special Effects cookbook, and To Serve Man (seriously. It was published by Owlswick Press and is signed by the author)

Vacuum Tubes- I forget how many I have. I also have two testers.

Don Quixote- He's a nut in rusted armor charging windmills. But there is something noble and great about him.

Light Emitting Diodes- I LOVE these.

Bats- The animal not the sports equipment. One wall is hung with plush bats and action figures. A dear friend gave me a bat preserved in formaldehyde years ago. I bought another preserved in urethane at the Ren Faire two years ago. I have bat field guides and a Bat Seeker brand bat detector.

Cthulhu- I have statuettes, books, pins, rings, necklaces etc. I also made a fine felt Cthulhu mask and Cthulhu doom pamphlets.

Canes and walking sticks- I have one that was originally meant as a fluorescent bulb protector. I filled with a string of LEDs. It went on when you stamped the base on the ground.(It's currently broken) I founda cool black and brass table leg on the sidewalk. I found a cool Bacardi bottle stopper at a flea market. Thanks to a friend who is handy with a drill, I fused the two and now have a black cane, set with brass diamonds and topped with a brass bat.


Writings Of The Mentally Divergent- Hercolubus The Red Planet (about how a giant planet will soon crash into our solar system and kill us), National Sunday Law (The Catholic Church is the beast of the apocalypse and the government will soon pass a law making the sabbath Sunday), Various letters to the editor.

I think that's enough for now.
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  #46  
Old 10-03-2019, 06:43 PM
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I honestly had no idea there were at least two other people in this world who make a practice of breaking down numbers into their prime factors. I mean, it's not like I bring it up often. If I do, I usually get blank looks. It's nice to know I'm not alone.
  #47  
Old 10-03-2019, 10:36 PM
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I letterbox. I love geo-location games in general but letterboxing combines hiking, puzzle solving and ďartĒ collecting. One of my favorite parts is the rubber stamp carving. A spin-off activity is exchanging letterbox trading cards.

https://youtu.be/AOM9RzrNdHU

https://www.atlasquest.com/


Quote:
Originally Posted by DocCathode View Post
...Cthulhu doom pamphlets.
Thatís a thing!? You just moved up to my favorite doper (well, for today anyway).
  #48  
Old 10-03-2019, 10:45 PM
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https://photobucket.com/gallery/user...ODU5NA==/?ref= https://photobucket.com/gallery/user...ODU5NA==/?ref=

Printed onto one sheet and properly folded, you get a six panel tract. I have ideas for a longer tract truly in Jack Chick's style, but have no ability as an illustrator.

Last edited by DocCathode; 10-03-2019 at 10:47 PM.
  #49  
Old 10-03-2019, 10:51 PM
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accidentally posted the same link twice, https://photobucket.com/gallery/user...ODU5Ng==/?ref=

That oughta do it.
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Nothing is impossible if you can imagine it. That's the wonder of being a scientist!
Prof Hubert Farnsworth, Futurama
  #50  
Old 10-04-2019, 05:36 AM
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I 'collect' alter egos.

What I mean by this is: I have your typical [first initial][last name]@gmail.com email address. And despite having a very uncommon last name, I have gotten emails for over three dozen people who have inadvertently given out my email as their own. Most of them (not all, but most) have the same last name and first initial as I do.

They're all over the U.S. and a good chunk of the world, from Hawaii to the Baltics to South Africa. I'm getting a lot of traffic for one guy who just had his 50th HS reunion at a Long Island high school, the Hawaii alter ego must have a kid who attends a YMCA day camp, I just got a department-store bill for a woman in the Ivory Coast (a first-timer), etc. I've gotten apartment leases, itineraries for full-day interviews, conference info (one was a regular attendee at an annual fire-prevention conference), all sorts of stuff. I've gotten contact information for a number of them - street addresses and phone numbers (generally in confirmations for pizza orders and the like); I almost never get their emails, because my email address is the address the sender thinks belongs to them.
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