Bird Watching Anyone?

For a while now I’ve complained to my lovely wife that I am bored and need a hobby. I have a few, but they mostly involve staring at a screen — watching movies, watching sports, reading (on my tablet), etc. For the last few years I have been dabbling with genealogy, but that too is passive and entails sitting at a computer. Well, it’s time to stop complaining, get up off the sofa and get out from behind my Chromebook and tablet. I’m going to get a hobby!

Of course, the next question is what the hell do I want to do? I recently read the new Ted Williams biography by Ben Bradlee, Jr. and Ted was passionate about two things in his life — hitting a baseball and fishing. Baseball was his profession, and he was better at it than pretty much anyone who ever played the game. But fishing was his true passion. He fished whenever he had the chance. On days off during the baseball season, all winter long, and even during the birth of his kids (by choice by the way). And when he wasn’t fishing he was talking about fishing, teaching others to fish, and sitting in his basement tying fly fishing ties. Dude was obsessed, but he was happy.

I’m not saying I want to go fishing, although frankly it sounds relaxing and fun. But I’d like to find something that I love to do. Over the past few years I used this blog to explore the world of movies and many of you followed along as I watched and blogged about the American Film Institute’s top 100 American films of all time. I think that quest inspired my wife to suggest we explore a whole bunch of hobbies together to see what we might like and then I can blog about the experience along the way. I thought that was a great idea. Not only does it expose us to a bunch of things we might not ordinarily do, but it also gives us something to do together. Plus I love to blog, so there you go.

There will be some basic rules for this exercise. The first is that we will try to find some things that we’ve always wanted to try but haven’t gotten around to. Secondly, we each have veto power if something the other suggests just sounds absolutely terrible — so we will not be hang gliding, sky diving or taking any hot air balloons up into the atmosphere because I am terrified of heights. And I’ll probably forgive Leslie for not wanting to try baseball fantasy camp. But beyond that we’re willing to try just about anything.

We’ve started a short list that so far includes such things as archery, martial arts, kayaking and yes, even bird watching. We’ll be keeping an eye out on Groupon and LivingSocial for deals on things we’d like to try, and we’d love to hear ideas from our friends (yes Bill Roberts, I’m trying to convince Leslie to go camping but we may have to settle for off-roading). And if you want to try anything with us just let us know!

We’re going to kick this project off by taking a wine class at a new bistro in Gilbert called MWC (because they had a great deal on LivingSocial). We got four, 90-minute wine classes for $38 per person. Our first class is Wednesday evening, July 9, from 6-7:30 p.m. Feel free to join us if there are still openings.

So be on the lookout for my posts about our hobby odyssey and maybe we’ll see you out on the river, or at the range, or on the course, or in the dojo!

4 thoughts on “Bird Watching Anyone?

  1. Bike riding … My wife got me hooked on it and it’s an amazing way to do stuff together, be healthy, it’s not that hard and it’s a great way to get to see your community. There are some great rides that will let you travel all over and meet some fun people (RAGBRAI was an awesome event).

  2. So basically, you need to get off your ass and out of the house.

    The easiest thing is to have your friends take you along on their hobbies.

    My gym has a “try it free for a couple sessions” deal if you want to box or do yoga. You may have another heart attack if you do the former but still.

    I am also happy to hike or play card games anytime. Hiking is a great way to get out of town/the heat during the summer – and, well, birds.

    I have long been intrigued by the archery store on Chandler Blvd. and would be interested.

    Look forward to your new book “Killing Time”. đŸ˜‰

  3. Camping is a good one. White water kayaking is quite difficult, though, so stick to sit-on-top kayaking on a lake or something.

    Something like Techshop ( is 10 different kinds of awesome (and Connor might be interested too…) Who doesn’t want to weld or cut things up with lasers?

    Cooking is always a favorite. Maybe specialize in a particular authentic cuisine to taste what it’s really supposed to be like.

    Home brewing (though that might expose Len to beer that has actual flavor…)

    Do something artistic. Painting or drawing classes. Simple photography beyond snapshots. Ceramics. Community theater or improv. Learn to play guitar.

    Auto-mechanics shop at a community college. Because everyone should be empowered by knowing enough about how the damned things work.

    Learn to play chess decently.

    Astronomy. Learn to pick out some common stars and constellations. Watch ISS go overhead. Be able to identify Venus and Jupiter when they’re up. See the actual Milky Way (work it into the camping if you go somewhere really dark).

    Take some Red Cross or CERT classes and learn how to help in an emergency.

    Get your hands dirty and try gardening? Maybe just a raised bed or something small? It’s incredibly satisfying to work outside (not in the summer for you, of course) and to make something grow.

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