Metatalktail Hour: Hobbies! October 10, 2020 5:48 PM   Subscribe

Happy weekend, MetaFilter! This week, I'm curious to know what Covid/quarantine hobbies you've stuck with! Are there things you're really enjoying? Are they things you've always done? New hobbies? Things you've always wanted to try or never expected to try? Most importantly, how can we all try them?

As always, conversation starter, not limiter! Tell us everything that's up with you!
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) to MetaFilter-Related at 5:48 PM (116 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

Bought a bass after 35 years playing the guitar. It's a whole new world. I still suck, but get better each day. And my guitar playing has improved a lot, as well.
posted by signal at 6:18 PM on October 10, 2020 [7 favorites]

Reading. My reading picked up at the beginning of the year and REALLY picked up in March (escapism says what now). I’ve just started my 48th book of the year. I don’t think I’ve ever read this voraciously in my life.
posted by obfuscation at 6:21 PM on October 10, 2020 [12 favorites]

I told myself two years ago that I could not do my other hobbies (playing the viola, etc.) until I finished my 30 sewing projects. When the pandemic began, I thought, woo-hoo, I can finally make some progress! Alas, having bought more fabric, I am still only down to around 29 projects or so. And I bought 3 new knitting projects as well.

Catching up on my reading though, which is nice.
posted by Melismata at 6:27 PM on October 10, 2020 [7 favorites]

MOAR machine tools, because the more ways I have to hideously injure myself at the hands of an unstoppable unfeeling machine, the better.

(sotto voce) I mean, y'know, may as well get started now rather than waiting for the 2030s like the rest of you. Not that you heard it from me, of course.

Also, burning up carbide, because I fucked up the feed rate! Yay!
posted by aramaic at 6:29 PM on October 10, 2020 [3 favorites]

"Bought a bass after 35 years playing the guitar. "

Bass is so much awesomer than guitar. Source: 29 years of playing bass.

Y'all, it's so cute, we moved back to my hometown (which is weird, I KNOW) and my very first violin teacher from when I was 8 (her first year of teaching!) is my middle child's very first viola teacher. (I switched to bass at 13, as part of the same school program, because I super-sucked at violin buuuuuuut I was amazing at bass.) She's only a couple years from retirement but it makes me kvell that she got to teach my kid too!

I've been learning to paint watercolor during quarantine, and it's kind-of amazing. I don't expect it to look good, and it's very loose, so I'm actually doing it. Whereas when I try to draw I get very fixated on the fact that it does not look good and give up quickly.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 6:37 PM on October 10, 2020 [6 favorites]

Baking, but sadly not exercise
posted by Going To Maine at 6:45 PM on October 10, 2020 [9 favorites]

Written correspondence. A not-insignificant portion of which is with MeFites, thanks to the MeFi Card Club! I just snagged a box of these My Neighbor Totoro pop-up cards, so this month's missives will be extra fun. As a hobby, it's pretty low cost, very COVID-friendly, analogue so my eyes can get a rest, and satisfying as hell.
posted by lazaruslong at 7:03 PM on October 10, 2020 [4 favorites]

In January this year I had an unregistered, rusted shut, completely non-functional motorbike sitting under a tarp in my backyard. After many many hours of amateurish mechanics it now runs efficiently, legally, and safely. How good is backyard mechanics? So good
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 7:30 PM on October 10, 2020 [13 favorites]

I started watching movies, choosing them randomly, and so many turned out to have the horrible boss, or awful girlfriend, or terrible husband, or bad best friend. It made me start wondering - does anyone watch these movies, recognize themselves in these characters and change their evil ways?
posted by racersix6 at 7:38 PM on October 10, 2020 [6 favorites]

Over the summer, I decided to enter a piano competition that’s gone virtual this year. It gave some focus to my practice that I haven’t had in a while. I submitted my video a couple of weeks ago. So excited to have accomplished that!

Now I’m looking for a winter pandemic project. Thinking of tackling Schumann’s Davidsbundlertanze. There’s definitely enough material there to keep me going through to spring.
posted by bkpiano at 7:46 PM on October 10, 2020 [5 favorites]

I had a pandemic project of learning to ride my bike well enough that it would be a plausible mode of transport for important destinations within a maybe 5 mile radius (e.g. the office, should I ever again need to go there). I think I accomplished that. I haven’t been out in a few weeks but it does bring me joy. Not sure about the several months of winter we’re about to get, though, for continuing to do it. Not sure I’m that hardcore or that skilled.

Tonight we saw Andrew Bird do a live show over the internet. It was sweet and intimate and weird, so, basically perfect Andrew Bird. He spoke a little about what some of his songs were about and I was startled that I basically had the right idea about each one. It clearly unnerved him a little to be doing a live show to nobody with no real applause, so I want to send him a postcard saying thank you.
posted by eirias at 7:58 PM on October 10, 2020 [5 favorites]

We've gone camping 1 or 2 weekends a summer during many of our years together, with a big break when the kid's sports took up our weekends. We bought a small camper in early June and have spent 22 nights this summer camping, and I think it's going to be our thing as empty nesters. There is a lot of America I haven't explored yet.
posted by COD at 8:13 PM on October 10, 2020 [9 favorites]

Meditation. I’m doing mostly guided meditation using the Insight Timer app. Kinda skittering around between different teachers & methods, but seem to be settling into some Buddhist teachers lately. According to the app (yes, I am gamifying my sanity with a phone app) I have 293 consecutive days, usually 20-30 minutes in the morning, and it’s keeping me grounded and sane. It helps incrementally with my anxiety, and on bad days at work, I’ll do 10 or 15 minutes at lunch.

I haven’t kept up any of my other avocations - can’t go caving, can’t play music with other humans, so I’ve really let that fall off- barely maintaining which is a point of self-disappointment- and the scanning and cataloging of photos is on again, off again, but the meditation I have absolutely stuck with. Considering my natural propensity to catastrophize in my head, it may be saving my life.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:23 PM on October 10, 2020 [13 favorites]

I bought a burr grinder so I can fresh grind (and repeatably grind) interesting coffees -- I used to just drink work coffee, but since that's not happening for a while, I invested a little so I could make my own.

I've gotten into watching UK panel / quiz shows: it started with The Big Fat Quiz, then 8 of 10 Cats Does Countdown, then Would I Lie to You, and now I'm on Only Connect.
posted by batter_my_heart at 10:30 PM on October 10, 2020 [4 favorites]

UK panel / quiz shows:

posted by Going To Maine at 11:04 PM on October 10, 2020 [6 favorites]

I’m delighted to report that I have made excellent progress on becoming an outdoorsy person this year, thanks to Covid! Bird watching, hiking, shooting clays, camping, and now foraging for mushrooms have all been so enjoyable and I feel so much more at home in the woods/outside than I used to. I’ve gotten so much better at hiking in particular and now I’m scheming on snowshoes for the winter! We live in an area with lots of space to recreate and I’m so grateful that we can be outside safely, it’s been amazing for my mental health and a beautiful way to mark the passing of time in a year when every day feels the same.

And ditto to pleasure reading, the Kindle I bought the first week of quarantine is in my top five quality of life purchases!
posted by stellaluna at 11:36 PM on October 10, 2020 [7 favorites]

I had some amazing sourdough starter given to me by a classmate. I accidentally killed it by putting it in the oven to be warmer than the cold kitchen, then forgetting about that and turning on the oven.

Then I bought some sourdough starter online, but I didn't like it as much.

Now I have no sourdough starter. Hobby over.
posted by amtho at 1:12 AM on October 11, 2020 [8 favorites]

Stoneshop and I started a daily exercise routine back in March, and we're still going. Cardio four times a week, a bike ride (30 mins) the other days.
The trick is watching something fun while you're on the rowing/stepping machine, so you don't get bored and time goes by quickly. We've cardioed our way through Red Dwarf, then Black Adder, and we've now started on Absolutely Fabulous.

It's nothing spectacular, but we're pretty consistent about it, and so we may very well be fitter than ever now. Thanks to British comedy!
posted by Too-Ticky at 1:45 AM on October 11, 2020 [3 favorites]

I've been enjoying having more time to focus on apartment/balcony gardening, I have 24 plants in my studio/on my balcony so far, and added 7 more today when I removed 7 baby dollars trees from the main plant and repotted them, we will see how many survive!
posted by ellieBOA at 5:40 AM on October 11, 2020 [2 favorites]

Jami Attenberg announced a free writing event called 1000 Words of Summer and I jumped in joyfully, writing last thing at night and typing it up every morning and looking at the Slack to see what everyone else was doing. The summer program is over but there's NaNoWriMo and I've found something else for January. With winter coming in Chicago, this is the brightest thing on my horizon!
posted by BibiRose at 6:49 AM on October 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

My new Covid hobby is embroidery! Etsy has so many artists that sell the cutest little kits. This is the first one I finished, I have one that's about 1/3 done and 3 or 4 more waiting. I prefer crocheting if I'm watching TV or on a Zoom call, embroidery is more of a monotask for me, but I will pop on a podcast and stitch for an episode or two, and it's great. Forensic Files also works for embroidering because that's basically a podcast on TV.

I bought a food dehydrator last week and am going to dehydrate all these hot peppers I keep getting in my CSA today to grind up into chili powder. That's new to me and seems fun, we'll see. I really like preserving food. It also seems like a good skill and set of tools to have in this bleak time.

One of my "hobbies" for the last 18 months is coming to an end - I got signed divorce papers on Friday morning! 🍾🎉. I got them back to my lawyer within a few hours. Now the judge needs to sign, and I'll be freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! I thought when this time came I'd be sad or something, but nah. Not one bit. Total joy and elation. It's wonderful, I feel like a huge weight has been lifted. There's some financial procedural things and other loose ends to tie up, but I'll not be married anymore and that in itself is fucking fantastic.
posted by Sparky Buttons at 6:49 AM on October 11, 2020 [60 favorites]

Ahhhh congratulations, Sparky Buttons!! That’s wonderful. Also, your embroidery project is totally adorable.
posted by eirias at 6:53 AM on October 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

Eyebrows McGee: "Bass is so much awesomer than guitar."

Yes. I feel that I've been a bassist stuck inside of a guitarist all these years.
posted by signal at 7:29 AM on October 11, 2020 [3 favorites]

I've become barely competent at both playing the khaen (roughly a large bamboo harmonica widely used in Laos and Thailand) and riding a unicycle. They are very different things; however, both are new to me and picked up more or less at random in the last eight months. I can play a hand full of Thai standards and some western songs that can be played entirely in C major. And I can ride on sidewalk quality pavement without falling down. (Doing both at the same time is not going to happen any time soon.) I have not made much progress on piano in the last 10 months, even though it seems like the obvious thing to spend time on. I sometimes wonder if spending my youth playing one-note-at-a-time instruments was a mistake.

Yesterday I finally made japchae that I like better than any restaurant in town. Some day I'll be able to make it for other people and see if they agree.
posted by eotvos at 7:50 AM on October 11, 2020 [3 favorites]

I have managed to not get any better at music despite several attempts. My wife is already very good at music (french horn) but has no interest in recording tech, so I've got better at production/recording instead! AskMe gave me some great advice on local guitar instructors doing online lessons, but I'm waiting for some clarity on my current job's longevity before I add a significant weekly expense!

I'm rebuilding both of my FDM 3d printers and learning SolidWorks (thanks to their hobbyist license). The little printer, which started life as a Wanhao Duplicator i3, got a new control board (SKR 1.4 Turbo w/TMC2209 drivers) which quieted it down from "ugh, I have to run this thing" to "oh, hey, is that running?" I had no idea that the waveforms used to drive the steppers would have such an impact, without changing anything else. It also got a new control board + PSU housing, which I printed on the big one.

The big printer, which started life as a TronXY X5SA-400, is getting a new belt path heavily inspired by the Voron community design. I'm trying to address limited belt tensioning options in my first redesign, and set up the X carriage to hold a Mosquito Magnum hotend/extruder, mainly because I want the one-handed nozzle change.

It's all silly, but it's something productive and meditative to focus on while the world falls down around our ears, yeah?
posted by Alterscape at 7:54 AM on October 11, 2020 [6 favorites]

Bought a bass after 35 years playing the guitar. Me too! Well, I didn't have to actually buy one, I am playing a teeny-tiny Ibanez Mikro that we bought for my son when he was eight (he is now eighteen and has both a five-string and an upright electric, while my husband plays a Fender Jazz bass that I can hardly even lift. I might get myself a normal bass if I keep playing for a while longer.)

As a guitar player I never paid all that much attention to bass lines while listening to music, it really adds a whole new dimension to my listening. A few months ago I was listening to Joni Mitchell's Hejira which I've always loved, but I found myself going "whoa, that's a really cool bass line... whoa, that's an awesome bass line... whoa, what is that..." Looked the album up on wikipedia to see who was playing bass on it and turns out it was Jaco Pastorius. Ohhhh, that explains it.
posted by Daily Alice at 8:29 AM on October 11, 2020 [5 favorites]

It's all silly

Good! The world needs silly things.
posted by Too-Ticky at 8:36 AM on October 11, 2020 [4 favorites]

I bought a food dehydrator last week and am going to dehydrate all these hot peppers I keep getting in my CSA today to grind up into chili powder.

An excellent idea!

Just do be careful to thoroughly wash your hands during / after. Especially if there's a chance that you may at some point soon after be touching any delicate areas of another person's body (or your own) so as to avoid them suddenly yelling out OH GOD WTF

ask me how i know
posted by lazaruslong at 8:49 AM on October 11, 2020 [7 favorites]

My new hobby is making dodecahedrons from toilet-paper tubes, and you can, too. DIY details, source links and photos in the most recent entry of my blog.
posted by Rash at 9:08 AM on October 11, 2020 [10 favorites]

Sparky Buttons I am so happy for you! What a journey. Best of luck as you continue your new chapter!!!
(And, your embroidery project is so cute!)
posted by bookmammal at 9:31 AM on October 11, 2020 [2 favorites]

Hey Rash, thanks for the link. I want to make some kind of lampshade for a ceiling fixture and I may use your example. I don’t have any new hobbies because I am busy both working and being a grandmother. I spent five hours today with the grandkids and my kid going off to see a movie and then having lunch and then yadda yadda. Who has time for a new hobby? Not grandmas!
posted by Bella Donna at 9:39 AM on October 11, 2020 [2 favorites]

I've got tons of projects / hobbies going at any given time; so as usual I've not really 'finished' anything so much as added more layers or variations. There is one onerous hobby I've just got to tackle, which is filing and shredding and more filing and cross indexing and a ton of shredding again, of all my papers notes recipes and financial hoo-ha. Ugh.
But hey, y'all reminded me I want to take up piano lessons again, so let's toss the stack of outdated health insurance info aside for now and look at keyboards!
posted by winesong at 9:59 AM on October 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

We bought a house at the beginning of the summer, so recent hobbies include yardwork (so much invasive ivy!) and anxiety (rationally, I know a house is an asset, and not just debt and things waiting to go wrong, but it is sometimes hard for me to remember this).

Old hobbies that are quite nice in our new house are long walks in the new-to-me neighborhood, which has pretty old homes and a cool nature trail, as well as letter writing. Seconding lazaruslong's enthusiasm for mefi card club - Sparky Buttons's efforts at organizing has really brought me a lot of joy, so I'm so pleased to hear her good news!

Oh, and my boyfriend got me a Switch console for my birthday. So my newest hobby is being super late to the Animal Crossing train, ha. I really like the early stages, but I suspect I'll have to just erase the island in a month or two when I get distracted and don't check in every day or two - I am old enough to have abandoned tamagotchi guilt, and I can't be having an abandoned ghost island haunting my dreams.
posted by the primroses were over at 10:16 AM on October 11, 2020 [4 favorites]

Congratulations Sparky Buttons! Sorry that took so long and I totally get the aaahhhhh feeling!

After dithering over the purchase for more than a year, I finally bought an electric bike and it is exactly as much fun as I thought it would be. It's exhilarating and makes me feel so strong and free. Now the weather is turning and I find that I don't want to give up biking so I just ordered an exercise bike.

My real pandemic hobby, though, has been getting my shit organized. I cleaned out a quarter-century's worth of accumulated random crap and am on the very last part now, a giant box of photos that I'm almost done thinning out. Although it's been emotionally grueling to sort through everything, oh my god, I don't think I even realized what a psychological burden it was having all that crap taking up space in my life. I have so much free space! I know where everything is! I don't wonder what's in all those boxes up in the rafters of the garage, under the shed, in the attic! And along the way, I got rid of everything associated with any bad memories. It is so fucking wonderful. It's like my whole house can breathe.
posted by HotToddy at 10:18 AM on October 11, 2020 [15 favorites]

Looked the album up on wikipedia to see who was playing bass on it and turns out it was Jaco Pastorius.

Jaco absolutely did his very best work on Joni’s albums.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:39 AM on October 11, 2020 [4 favorites]

My mother surrendered the family piano when I bought the new house back in January, so I've been playing again regularly for the first time since college, so that's been fun (and humbling).

I've definitely gotten way more into plants.

Oh, and sometimes, when I get really lonely and blue about not being out and about around people, I paint pictures of nights out that I miss.
posted by thivaia at 10:41 AM on October 11, 2020 [9 favorites]

My new “hobby” has also been organizing/cleaning out. I have a bunch of stuff ready to be collected by my city electronics pickup program this week (3 computer towers minus hard drives, printer, various cords/cables, old cell phones, etc) and I also joined my area Buy Nothing group this summer (thanks to a comment by vers) and have given away an entire legal-pad-page list of household stuff to neighbors. Plus I’ve shredded a lot of old docs and have several shopping bags of books to take over to the used book place later this month. All of this has given me some measure of feeling like I at least have some control over my immediate environment, and it makes me less anxious about everything else (waves hands vaguely).
posted by bookmammal at 11:27 AM on October 11, 2020 [6 favorites]

Plants! I've always had a few houseplants here and there but I left them in the care of an erratic waterer every summer and I think they could tell that I wasn't super involved. Now I'm home all the time so can fuss with them and check their leaves and mist them and mumble to them and they seem to be doing really well. Now I've got a new humidifier which is usually in my office but I've put it into the kitchen window which is where most of my plants live and I like to think they are having a Spa Week. How can you do this: get a plant and put it in a sunny window. For better results, get a lot of plants, some will do okay!

Also I had a brief attempt at getting one of those vegetable boxes for a while (Imperfect Foods, mixed feelings and ultimately I cancelled but lmk if you want my unvarnished feedback) and have been learning how to do more with more veggies which has been useful work.

Also there was a broken pipe at my Mom's house. She passed a few years ago and "sell mom's house" has been on the todo list for a while, slightly back burnered because we were waiting for spring and then the pipe gave up the will to live in February (not even burst, just.... died). So, part of my "hobby" has been managing the insurance-covered work that has been happening there since then (rebuild entire kitchen including floor, lots of painting and appliance replacement, all new electrics). It's really taken far too long and having to bird dog this contractor is not enjoyable but I am decently good at it so I guess I've got that going for me.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 11:27 AM on October 11, 2020 [7 favorites]

I don't have any new hobbies, but I'm now able to participate in my old hobbies, which is amazing. I have been very diligently finishing or unraveling abandoned knitting projects, and as a reward I bought a bunch of new yarn and just started knitting a sweater. It's going to be cute. At least, I hope it's going to be cute. It's pretty basic knitting, which is what I'm in the mood for right now. I'm also baking some stuff, but mostly pretty non-elaborate stuff. I made strawberry cupcakes with frozen strawberries, which worked surprisingly well. And that's cool, because now I know that I can have strawberry cupcakes in the winter if I want them. My crockpot is getting a lot of use.

My possibly new hobby is taking care of my yard, which I have neglected to do since I moved in 3 years ago. I'm about to go out and plant some bulbs. We'll see how that goes. (I'm mildly phobic of earthworms and other worms, which makes planting anything somewhat challenging.) I had someone come and rip out an old rotting fence, and now I have a bare area in my backyard that I think I'm going to plant with pollinator-friendly native plants. And there's an area of my front yard that has been taken over by weeds. Right now, I think I'm just going to put down cardboard and compost to kill off the weeds, and then I'll figure out what to do about it in the spring. I would really like to convert the front yard to something other than grass, but I need some time to figure out how to do that, because it seems like a big project for someone whose previous yard-care experience has been limited to occasional mowing.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 12:22 PM on October 11, 2020 [2 favorites]

Daily Alice: "As a guitar player I never paid all that much attention to bass lines while listening to music, it really adds a whole new dimension to my listening"

YES! I'm basically re-listening to all my favorite music which I'd always approached from 'let's see what the guitarist is doing', now as 'wow, the bassline is so cool!'.
posted by signal at 12:46 PM on October 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

Been building some models and working on The Quarantrain in my basement.

I also bought a new banjo and started learning again. I took lessons about 10 years ago, never got very good, and forgot everything I know. I will do exactly the same thing this time around.
posted by bondcliff at 2:33 PM on October 11, 2020 [4 favorites]

(apologies in advance for being a bit of a downer, feel free to skip)

I don't know if they even count as a "hobbies" anymore, since I've done so little of them lately, but at least in theory photography and learning to play piano. In recent months most of my non-work time is spent sitting on my butt surfing the web and ordering delivery food. Once or twice a week I'll get up the gumption to tackle a household chore, or practice piano for 20-30 minutes, or actually cook a meal. It's difficult to find passion to follow my preferred pursuits. Most of this isn't strictly pandemic-related, except the lack of photography - I'm a bit nervous about going out and about any more than I have to right now. Mainly it's the built-up isolation of years of being single/living alone, 10+ years of WFH, and a medium-sized streak of introversion, abetted further by lack of motivation to keep up an exercise schedule. I read so much here and elsewhere about how people have tackled projects, taken up new hobbies, and gotten into political activism while in quarantine. I envy them a lot, which makes my own circumstances seem even crappier. While not having lost my job is a legit blessing, it means that I'm continuing to do the same old same old with work taking up the majority of my energy and time. The longer I do nothing, the more the inertia increases and the harder it gets to break out of this mode and change my habits. I'm hoping I'll eventually get sick of being a lump and decide to engage my enthusiasms again before it's too late.
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:55 PM on October 11, 2020 [18 favorites]

I read so much here and elsewhere about how people have tackled projects, taken up new hobbies, and gotten into political activism while in quarantine. I envy them a lot

Just to be clear, Greg_Ace, the hobbies I listed above are only part-time. My other hobbies are depression, anxiety, doomscrolling Twitter, working-from-home-but-giving-it-very-little-effort, and generally lying around wishing everything didn't suck so much.
posted by bondcliff at 3:16 PM on October 11, 2020 [30 favorites]

Thanks for the hilarious ethical dilemma, bondcliff!
I had to cut back on some hobbies because I injured my hand early in the pandemic, but I've been slowly getting back to baseline.
I reopened my coloring books about a month ago and was delighted that my pens haven't all dried out.
I've been going through my old cookbooks to see if they have recipes worth keeping. Also took a couple of classes on herbalism since that's sort of cooking/mixology adjacent.
I joined a sort of artsy RPG/mail art project where we're all Space Gnomes and send each other postcards from our respective moons and asteroids. The Discord is a hoot.
posted by The Ardship of Cambry at 3:35 PM on October 11, 2020 [4 favorites]

Oh gosh, Greg_Ace, please don't let me make you feel bad! I'm genuinely a mess: I'm nowhere near my pre-pandemic baseline in terms of hobbies or anything else. (Actually, I'm better than my pre-pandemic baseline in terms of keeping my house clean, but my pre-pandemic baseline was not good, and that turned out to be a problem when I had to depart my house suddenly and stay away for five months.) I've had a really difficult time since February, and I'm doing a little bit better now, but only compared to how I was doing in June and July.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 3:38 PM on October 11, 2020 [3 favorites]

Hobbies: with a newly minted 3 month old, my hobbies have tended to baby related. I'm really enjoying cloth nappies, ordering cute prints and celebrating long overnights with no leaks. Also experimenting with different folding techniques for our flats. I'm also reading breastfeeding sub Reddits, as well as trying to figure out this baby sleep game.

Life has been pretty intense- my parents came to see babyfeet before the recent Melbourne lockdown was announced (like, were on the road) so they stayed with us for 12 weeks. It was amazing at the start, and I feel so privileged to have had my mum on hand. But 12 weeks is a long time. It feels bad to complain, especially when others haven't even been able to see their parents, but it was a relief when they left. I'm grieving not being able to introduce newborn babyfeet in person to my sister and other in-laws. Hanging out for the restrictions between metro Melbourne and the rest of the state to ease. But we'll never get that newborn phase back, you know?

Also feeling pretty isolated as we turn down various social events with mrfeet's family. Yes we would love you to see her, but we aren't going to break the law to do so. I feel like the message instead is "we don't want to see you". They've turned out to be conspiracy theorists also. It's the younger three siblings shaking their heads at the parents and the rest.

I knew my personal trainer is an antivaxxer, something I can't turn a blind eye to anymore, so I won't be going back. :/ I'm just devastated watching qanon stuff infect my Facebook friends. Even non Q right wing frothing is seriously killing friendships.

But. The sun is shining, my baby is sleeping, and we'll be ok.
posted by freethefeet at 4:48 PM on October 11, 2020 [8 favorites]

I read so much here and elsewhere about how people have tackled projects, taken up new hobbies, and gotten into political activism while in quarantine.

My new hobby is playing a gacha game. If other people want to make jam and learn to play guitar, that's fine for them. I don't like WFH and solo-tining is hard, so I do not feel at all bad about spending my down time watching bootleg musicals and levelling up some characters. Okay, so I might feel a little bad about being so invested in managing inventory in a game when my actual rl closet has got a bit scary and maybe a couple of sweaters jumped out and hit me in the head last time I opened it, I might feel a little bad about that. Or I might not.

And I think some people use the talk posts to flex a little, and that for every Mefite with a pantry full of lovely, hand-labelled jars, there's another one who says they're making jam, but all that means is they spent the last six months looking at jam on Instagram.
posted by betweenthebars at 4:56 PM on October 11, 2020 [7 favorites]

Oh and congratulations Sparky Buttons, I remember you sharing the start of your divorce journey here. So happy for you!
posted by freethefeet at 5:09 PM on October 11, 2020 [2 favorites]

The most amazing thing happened. And then I fell off a ladder.

So something happened at work a week ago that is unbelievable. My team has been nominated for a major national award, and not just some weird obtuse industry award. You probably read about these nominations. It's beyond a dream come true. And it's weird because I feel like I've hit the peak of my career. There's nothing else left. I've proved it. This is it. We took this ragtag little group of hardworking and smart people and we built a dynamo that produces exceptional, beautiful, and meaningful work. We haven't actually won but we're a small shop, and I never expected this honor. I've just been trying to do a good job. If we win, I worry it will destroy us, because suddenly every team member will a very valuable asset that others will want. And we could get pulled apart. But right now, as we wait for the final winners to be announced, I'm on top of the world.

But life has a way of humbling you when you get too high. My wife asked me to get the Halloween decorations which we store in a loft in the garage. And this afternoon when I went to get them down on top of the ladder, the ladder twisted and I feel off. I'm generally okay. I will get a giant bruise on my ass which took most of the blow. I scrapped my elbow and I think I sprained my wrist. Smacked my head but I did that last, so the ass took most of the inertia. Had a headache for a while but it's gone now. But I feel old and fragile, scraped and sore.

It's been a wild week. I was on the top, and I fell, and yet I'm still okay. I'm bruised and sore, but for the next few weeks, if I can survive them, I've been honored for doing really great work, until I learn that we don't actually win. So right now I'm in this weird spot where I hurt all over, but I don't care, because apparently I did something right, and well. I've both survived and thrived. When we don't win, I'll still have this feeling. Pain and pride.
posted by Stanczyk at 5:20 PM on October 11, 2020 [21 favorites]

I started to pick up my bass at the beginning of all of this, but that lasted about a week. I will attest to how much more you hear of a song when you’ve played even a little bass, how much more the rhythm stands out. Sadly, for me, it was that understanding that made me see just how good a lot of the bassists were in the supposedly “simple” punk songs I wanted to learn how to play. It got reall intimidating real fast.

On the other hand, having never really been into funk music changed pretty quickly. It’s not my preferred music to listen to, but it’s hella fun to play.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:58 PM on October 11, 2020 [3 favorites]

Bought a bass after 35 years playing the guitar.

I bought a bass after 32 years of not playing the guitar, or really any other instrument in all that time. Here's what led to that:
  1. Watch a reaction video of deadmau5 listening to someone's remix of one of his songs, where they had included a really neat synthesized bass line. He says he would love to see somebody try to actually play that, because it's basically impossible.
  2. Watch a video of Davie504 playing the impossible bass line. Go down the rabbit hole of extremely meme-dense Davie504 videos, eventually leading to watching a bunch of Charles Berthoud's videos, which I found more enjoyable.
  3. Start thinking I might like to turn the bass lines in my head into actual sounds on a bass. Commit to the notion that if I'm still thinking about it in a few months, I'll give it a go.
  4. A few months later... I'm still thinking that way, and pandemaggedon looks to be on, so I bought a bass and amp just before all the stores closed down. Having watched a lot of videos and read a lot about it, I knew it would be much more difficult than it looks and that I would suck at it, and I was right, but happily so.
And here we are and here I am, still learning, still sucking at it, but gradually getting better. Part of the challenge has been figuring out how I want to go about learning to play, which is kind of a meta-level way of having fun with learning an instrument. Bass seems to suit the way my brain works a whole lot more than the guitar ever did, decades ago.
posted by FishBike at 7:47 PM on October 11, 2020 [4 favorites]

I had just moved into a new apartment in September after sharing quarters for seven years, so it was a total toss-everything-and-start-over type of move. The apartment is one of those "inch-by-inch" spaces, and furnishings literally have to be this exact size, and no other thing will fit. Which was frustrating for shopping locally, but makes Amazon and Overstock like a twisted dream come true, because every.item.has.measurements. So I had a big time ordering and installing and really getting into it until UPS and the mail carrier told me to take it easy on them. By that time I had all of the big chunks, so I dialed it back. Then the plague started...

For about eleven weeks, I was the only live person at work on the second floor of our rather large office building, due to the fact that everyone who works there is headquarters staff, mostly over the age of 62, and I live three blocks away. The island went on lockdown, as in, they closed the highway, and closed the port. With literally everything on the island closed except the local grocery store, a hardware store, and Walgreens, it was easy to stay home. Also, not going to happy hours once or twice a week, not eating out, and not shopping every day significantly improves your budget skills.

June saw a "soft opening" of the island, since we had been able to limit the spread to about 85 cases county wide. All of South Florida immediately came here, disregarded all anti-COVID measures, and ran our local infection total up to over 1000 cases within 14 days, so we locked back down. It is only just now that we are gearing back up.

In July, Work decided that our "reduced staffing" situation was the ideal time to implement a new payroll system, so I got to learn all of that new HR/Payroll stuff just in time to rehire about 300 people locally, and another 500 or so nationally.

TL;DR - I have not had a chance to develop a new hobby this year.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 8:00 PM on October 11, 2020 [4 favorites]

for every Mefite with a pantry full of lovely, hand-labelled jars, there's another one who says they're making jam, but all that means is they spent the last six months looking at jam on Instagram.

Since March I've acquired 12 tiny canning jars and 12 slightly larger canning jars and 1 package of pectin and 1 pressure cooker with a canning setting and 1 package of chalkboard labels for lovely hand-labelling....I still haven't managed to even attempt to can a single thing.

I haven't really had the energy to take up any new hobbies except baking. Sourdough was a very prolonged failure; yeast bread turned out pretty well but takes too much planning ahead for my brain to manage. Quick breads have been a great success though - I've been making lots of scones and muffins. Oh and I tried making naan the other day and that was surprisingly easy and delicious.

Other than that my main hobbies have been watching an absolutely staggering amount of tv and spending far too much time doomscrolling.
posted by randomnity at 8:16 PM on October 11, 2020 [5 favorites]

I went into covid continuing on a hobby begun months before, operation find-a-new-job-because-the-one-i-had-was-ridiculous, and felt pretty hopeless when everything shut down...but surprisingly, things really started taking off at that point and wfh made it so much easier to fit in phone interviews. I now have a new, entirely remote position, and did all the interviewing and job talks remotely. The whole thing is not something I would have pictured a year ago but now it seems so covid-esque, how could it have gone any other way??? Anyway, I am glad that hobby has been shut down... I also took up painting, inspired by an ask me that mentioned the 50 little paintings in acrylic book. It has been extremely meditative for me although I’m only about half way through and it’s arguable whether i am actually learning per se :). Also I’ve come to view housework as more of a meditation and a great excuse to listen to books on tape, so can I calll that a hobby too? Have been keeping up with the vacuuming so much better! And then there’s Animal Crossing... I haven’t watched too much tv but my time on the Switch has really been ridiculous, but so soothing when things have been dark...
posted by Tandem Affinity at 8:40 PM on October 11, 2020 [4 favorites]

Sadly nothing really new hobby-wise, I was WFH enough so that it wasn't that big of a deal.


The Universe has been plotting against me behind my back for the past few months. I'm just waiting for another horror.

The slow-leak tire on my car is now a new tire and really four new tires and probably some suspension work. Not mad, 14yr old has done me a solid but why not last year or next year. Then a month or so ago my fridge decided to give up the ghost (oddly, I'm a rare apartment dweller that owns their fridge by way of a previous tenant). She lasted far to long for a cheap fridge, but again why now???? I don't want to invest in a new fridge when I'll probably move sometime soon. OMG, new apartment complex owners totally want to evict old tenants but can't because of COVID but they will. The apartment, she's served me fine for 20 years without renovation so probably OK, but why now??? Then my coffee pot decides to go belly up.... WTF???? 2020 take a break.

Now I get an email from my sister.... mom wants some PI from me to finish up my grand-uncle's estate (he made it to like 102) but WTH do I have to do with that? Then OH, BTW, COVID seems to have hit us and my niece has pneumonia and asthmatic sister is also sick and both are quarantined and assuming positive ATM. Fuck 2020 chill out for a moment.

Sorta expecting something else to rear its ugly head tomorrow.

Everything seems to have gotten together and decided to pile up at the same time.

Sorta really the only thing that I can't wrap my head around is why my mother needs info about me to tidy up my grand-father's brother's estate..... I don't see how I really fit ito the equation.... The rest I know of a reasonable theory and I'm not overly surprised (yet pissed all the same).

Wrong thread, but fuck 2020 for maybe different reasons, or at least the last couple of months in particular.
posted by zengargoyle at 10:05 PM on October 11, 2020 [5 favorites]

I also got into plants. On days when nothing else could motivate me to get out of bed, I got up to go look at my plants and see how the new growth was coming along. I started taking photos of my plants looking so beautiful and to keep track of their growth, but had no one to show them too. So I started a plant Instagram account, got involved in the "plant community" and met a bunch of really nice people, over 1500 of them. Not a big following at all, but still a bit surreal to think all those people are interested in seeing my plants!
posted by keep it under cover at 12:37 AM on October 12, 2020 [4 favorites]

A little more than a year ago I posted this 1000-word comment in a thread. Lockdown gave me the opportunity to expand this into a 100,000-word historical text... and it's not over.
posted by elgilito at 1:04 AM on October 12, 2020 [8 favorites]

Not exactly a hobby, but I got a flu shot as I do every year. I am also chronically registered to vote.
posted by Cranberry at 1:17 AM on October 12, 2020 [7 favorites]

I spend an hour every morning playing with washi tape, glitter pens, and sparkly stickers as part of an online tarot course where you fill out a journal page a day. I am trying to connect with a playful and intuitive side of myself, and it's doing good things for my overall mood.
posted by rawrberry at 1:38 AM on October 12, 2020 [6 favorites]

betweenthebars: I think some people use the talk posts to flex a little

Flexing is a hobby too.

Speaking for myself here: I'm crap at many things, I suck at sports and I'm not good at all at sticking to a routine. So if I get a chance to mention something that I'm managing to do, and that makes me feel better about myself, I'll take it.
Dog knows that many of us can currently use anything that makes us feel a bit better about ourselves.

And if that means that someone is saying they're making jam, when in reality they have gotten as far as collecting jars or looking at recipes, well... if it makes them feel better, it's a good thing.

It's easy to see a collection of comments like these and think 'why am I not doing all of these things, too?' and then feel like crap. But that's not the point. The point is to lift ourselves up a little, not to put others down. And I think we can all be forgiven if we feel that need to lift ourselves up a little, even if just to keep our heads above the water.
posted by Too-Ticky at 2:02 AM on October 12, 2020 [15 favorites]

It's not a new hobby, but I'm extremely glad I've been able to continue writing during the pandemic. I sometimes feel like a guilty turd about this because of all the creative people I'm hearing about who are struggling to keep doing the work during this time. But at the same time, I completely lost the ability to do it myself between 2012 and 2017 because of mental health stuff, so on some level I feel like I've already served my "sorry but I can't do this right now because of how terrible I feel" time. It's nice to know now that I don't automatically and immediately lose the ability to do the work when my mental health slides, which used to be true but doesn't seem to be as true any more. It's also nice to be able to take refuge in the gentle, trauma-informed, queer-inflected little worlds that I create when I write stories.

As another person who inherited the family piano after becoming a homeowner, I've also been very slowly trying to pick it back up again, but only in the last couple of weeks. It's led to some amusing discussions between me & partner about what "being able to play the piano" means. My argument is that I can't really play the piano because I don't sight read or read bass clef fluently, I can't just sit down and play pretty much anything I want to. He claims that I can indeed play the piano because I can sit down and bash out some chords with my left hand and a melody with my right. I guess for me, "being able to play" implies a level of fluency that I just don't have, a feeling of being at one with the keyboard (or guitar fretboard) that I've observed in other musicians but never felt myself, whereas for him it's a lot less aspirational and more utilitarian.

I've also started watching Neon Genesis Evangelion, as someone who's never watched anime beyond Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh, as well as someone who doesn't watch much TV in general. I really like it so far, particularly the way that it incorporates stillness/silence into the storytelling for a show that is at least somewhat about big battle robots. Plus I really like the music for both the opening and closing credits.

Beyond that, I've firmed up a few recipes and now have a go-to from-scratch pasta/lasagne sauce that I like. I used to get breakfast and lunch catered at work five days a week, so working from home full time has been a real step up in the amount of cooking I'm doing for myself, which sometimes I really like, but sometimes it's more like "whyyyy do I have to think about what I'm gonna eat", particularly lunches on busy working days. I do best when I have something satisfying and nutritious ready to go, but I don't always have the spare executive function to have done that prep in the first place.

And in the interests of transparency, as I appreciate from some of the other commenters, all of that creative and productive stuff sounds great but you should see how small a slice it takes up on the pie chart of how I spend my time compared to "getting high and playing video games or watching Star Trek".
posted by terretu at 2:54 AM on October 12, 2020 [4 favorites]

I just keep pecking away at writing. Nothing anyone else will ever want to read, but it makes me happy.
posted by pracowity at 4:34 AM on October 12, 2020 [6 favorites]

I eat one Curly Wurly a day. Every day. Stuck with it for the whole lockdown so far.
posted by biffa at 4:53 AM on October 12, 2020 [8 favorites]

I've got a bass myself that Mrs. Example bought me for my birthday last year. I don't practice it anywhere near enough (and haven't touched it in a month or two, because work has been nuts--this is our busiest time of year). I have managed to play the bass riff from the Pixies' "Gigantic" at a reasonable speed, and can play along with a couple of other songs that have relatively simple bass lines. ("Since You're Gone" by the Cars and "Down in the Park" by Gary Numan.)

Much less of a hobby and more of an obligation, though, is the fact that I got fed up with not being able to go to the gym for the last six months and tried the first few minutes of one of those online fitness video programs.

I'm reasonably sure I'm dead now. I'm commenting from beyond the grave, where apparently muscles still hurt in the afterlife. Send ibuprofen.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 6:06 AM on October 12, 2020 [9 favorites]

"I read so much here and elsewhere about how people have tackled projects, taken up new hobbies, and gotten into political activism while in quarantine. I envy them a lot, which makes my own circumstances seem even crappier."

Next week we can have a metatalk entitled, "Honestly, Eyebrows, you sit in the house all day and you've been tripping over five baskets of clean laundry waiting to be sorted for the last three weeks: What is your deal?"

(I get my quarantine guilt from seeing other moms posting totally elaborate and educational projects they're working on with their kids. I am not doing that. I desperately need a break from my children and I definitely do not have the bandwidth to plan and execute a multi-week age-appropriate learning project aligned to state standards. I barely have the bandwidth to make sure they show up for distance learning!)
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 6:39 AM on October 12, 2020 [12 favorites]

I mostly have expanded hobbies that I already have -- I write in a journal more, I exercise more, I garden more (my garlic this year was fantastic), I read more, I knit more (that one's tough with cats, luckily I don't knit anything more complicated than a dishtowel), I play music more, I listen to the radio more. Am trying hard not to also do eating more and drinking more, with mixed success.
posted by JanetLand at 8:00 AM on October 12, 2020 [2 favorites]

Now I have no sourdough starter. Hobby over.

As a potentially-helpful aside, I successfully generated a sourdough starter by using the lees from unfiltered unpasteurized beer. To avoid contamination, I poured off the majority of the beer (and drank it separately) to keep the neck relatively clean and untouched, and then used the lees.

The beer yeast will be near death from starvation, but I found they can revive if you give 'em a chance. It'll take a few rounds of feeding to get them going, and the discard part becomes even more important than usual to select for aggressive growth, but it did work until I got bored of dealing with starter.
posted by aramaic at 9:08 AM on October 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

I have been knitting baby surprise jackets which, despite being all garter stitch, are a goddamn delight in these quarantine times. I have made at least 15 of them, and have developed a collection of incredibly cute buttons like cauldrons, mushrooms, cat faces, hearts, stars and many other shapes.

I started knitting them because they are a great use for a single 100 gram skein of sock yarn, or two 50 grams balls if you alternate colors every two rows. I have so many pairs of socks for myself that it did not make sense to continue cranking out socks.

I am not pregnant and do not know any pregnant people.

Memail me if you are expecting and desire a tiny woolen sweater from a stranger. I have three more on the needles.
posted by bilabial at 9:25 AM on October 12, 2020 [12 favorites]

Next week we can have a metatalk entitled, "Honestly, Eyebrows, you sit in the house all day and you've been tripping over five baskets of clean laundry waiting to be sorted for the last three weeks: What is your deal?"

I would enjoy that thread. I finally put my flannel sheets on my bed. I took them off when the weather started to get warm, washed them, brought them home in the laundry bag and.... kinda kept eyeballing them saying "I will eventually put those away" but I never did. I kept walking around them on my bedroom floor (my bedroom is not large) and it got colder and I just put them back on the bed. This may be my new system.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 9:28 AM on October 12, 2020 [21 favorites]

Yes there should be no covid guilting here or people comparing themselves to others. My recent post highlighted the ... highlights of the last six months. It did not list all the things I look around and see that I should have time to alsoooo do. It did not include the library book I have that is overdue by two months, the eye doctors appt I’ve been meaning to make for a month, or how terrible I am at loading the dishwasher. I’m still ok with all this...
posted by Tandem Affinity at 9:33 AM on October 12, 2020 [4 favorites]

I was on the sourdough bandwagon before COVID hit but I'm definitely better about baking more regularly than I was before. Also trying out different fancy patterns of cutting and using my banneton.

I also started an Etsy store for the polymer clay earrings I make because I couldn't resist the pressure to feel like my work has value by selling it (I've been thinking about this a lot lately but I do tell myself that at least if I sell some I can roll the money back into making more things so I don't destroy my craft budget. Also if anyone is interested in a fairy house made out of a baby food jar for the cost of shipping, memail me and I'll send you pictures. I want it to find a happy home.

My reading has tanked along with any semblance of exercise, though I've been making good progress in Graveyard Keeper on the Switch. Still way too much doomscrolling though!
posted by brilliantine at 9:36 AM on October 12, 2020 [2 favorites]

My dog has eaten all my hobby time. She is adorable, so that's OK. Most of my free time is spent walking her, really.

Otherwise, I just study for and take exams. Over and over. They're difficult exams and I am getting burnt out. But in the next few months, I am going to finish earning my CPA license and submitting my applications to law school, and it'll be worth it.

The only hobby that I'm serious about is writing fiction. I have had to tell myself that it's going on the back burner until all these exams and applications are over with, and I can't wait! Random drips and drabs and dialing into my writers' group meetings aren't cutting it.

I do still read a lot, because I need to escape from our Hell World sometimes. And I watch goofy TV shows so I can chat with my friends about them. And I even bake a little, and take care of my houseplants, and try to keep the apartment reasonably clean. Last night, I pulled out my knitting, and while I didn't actually do any...well, it's a first step. A good idea.

Wish I could play music and keep working on my Spanish and French, but...maybe one day, when my brain isn't quite so absolutely fried.
posted by rue72 at 10:09 AM on October 12, 2020 [4 favorites]

Thanks for asking this, by the way. I love hearing what everyone is up to.
posted by rue72 at 10:10 AM on October 12, 2020 [2 favorites]

bilabial--I am not pregnant, do not have a baby, and do not know anyone having a baby--but those baby jackets are beyond adorable and I love them.
posted by bookmammal at 10:20 AM on October 12, 2020 [6 favorites]

I have been cross stitching more than I have in a while. It's especially good for long, boring, minimal-engagement necessary zoom meetings. I got to the point where I was finishing a subversive cross stitch kit in a day, so I got a bunch of complicated patterns... but switching thread and things is hard to do while still half concentrating on other things. A friend posted a pattern she'd made from Modern Folk Embroidery, and that got me. They're intricate and complicated, but they're all one color (or at most a few), so I've really been enjoying those over the past few weeks. I'm halfway through a julbocken for my little brother, and then I'm going to tackle the sort of COVID appropriate Jane Austen sampler. The very first thing I made in These Times was a Stay The Fuck Home sampler that I was worried about finishing before the pandemic ended. I really hope that the pandemic ends before I finish this one.
posted by ChuraChura at 10:44 AM on October 12, 2020 [8 favorites]

Well, I started this pandemic by doing the gaining-weight hobby. This lasted through the end of June. But then on July 5 YouTube happened to suggest a wonderful, inspiring video that led to other videos (and movies), and on July 6 I started a whole food plant-based diet (previously pescatarian).
Happy to discuss over memail - it's going great!

In watching ALL THE YOUTUBE (lots anyway), I somehow got more inspired to like maybe, could I, maybe- make my own YouTube channel (acrylic painting videos), and thereby increase my painting productivity? I can and I did it. Sometimes the paintings will be terrible because I have a lot to learn but that's ok! Still shocked I got it started, honestly.
posted by Glinn at 10:51 AM on October 12, 2020 [9 favorites]

Wow, Glinn, that's amazing!

I moved to my new place in a new town nearly two months ago. Weekends are lonely; weekdays are usually pretty great. I just started doing a couple of loads of laundry for my kid's family once a week because it is a big help to them and they keep me fed with their leftovers (seriously, I hate cooking). It also helps me deal with my laundry. Like, I would happily go for a month without doing laundry and probably never fold it and put it away.

Today was laundry day. So of course I folded my kids' laundry because not folding it does not help her. Somehow it led to my reorganizing my tiny apartment, so now all my shoes are put away and all my shirts are hung up. It's a fricking miracle. Also, good timing. Because I am pretty sure I am coming down with a cold. What makes me so sure? Yesterday my granddaughter, in a feat of timing worthy of a hockey pro, sneezed into my mouth (I happened to be yawning) from no more than a foot away. I was on my knees to be at her level; that proved to be a mistake. :-)

Earlier I went out and got soup stuff and comfort food in case I wake up sick. For once, I am ahead on work to my client. Also went to the small local library, which has a tiny (a fraction of a shelf) collection in English. It is so small that the librarian felt compelled to apologize over it, while I did my best to make her feel better by explain (in Swedish!) that it was totally fine, I was just curious. I came home with an Alexander McCall Smith book, one of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency novels, that I have not yet read. I was so pleased. It will be perfect sickbed reading.

I broke my very favourite tea cup this morning. I have owned it nearly 20 years and I was so chill about it. I felt a momentary pang as I watched it fall and heard it shatter but then I was over it. This weekend I was sad and felt sorry for myself just because and today I am doing great for no discernible reason.

I am trying hard to remind myself that "this too will pass," whatever the hell this is: sadness, happiness, my favourite tea cup. I suppose some Buddhists might say that cup was already broken or has always been in the process of breaking. Dunno. Mainly, I am just happy that I may be coming down with a cold but I am not actually in the process of breaking. AM I worn down some? Absolutely. I have no friends here, and I found out last week I may lose my regular gig in December. But that doesn't make me special. For now, I'm doing well. In part, thanks to this community. If you, too, are feeling blue from time to time, hang in there!
posted by Bella Donna at 11:09 AM on October 12, 2020 [11 favorites]

Mostly, spending far too much time on my phone and watching lots of Netflix. Now that summer is over, I am a bit less depressed and have picked up knitting again (scarves, to hand out to people experiencing homelessness).
posted by sugarbomb at 11:50 AM on October 12, 2020 [5 favorites]

That is super kind of you, sugarbomb.
posted by Bella Donna at 12:18 PM on October 12, 2020 [2 favorites]

My job has always been WFH mostly and my work schedule has been consistently too insane for the pandemic to have allotted me any more free time than I ever had, so I haven't picked up any new hobbies. But I recently moved into a complete blank slate of an apartment -- just a portable mattress, a camping chair, and some handful of lamps and shelves that I claimed from the home I used to share with my ex. So my hobby now is pretending that I'm ever going to buy any furniture, but not actually buying any furniture.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 12:23 PM on October 12, 2020 [6 favorites]

I watch a lot of YouTube videos by artists and makers, preferring those with little or no commentary, and one of my favorites is Corter Leather. I love their work, and my super-awesome husband got me a wallet from them for my birthday this year.

They have some free patterns, so in May, I downloaded a few patterns, ordered ~$50 worth of tools and leather scraps, and started making wallets. Leathercrafting isn't something I was particularly interested in before, and I don't have any desire to monetize it, but I'm really enjoying it. I can begin and finish a project in a few hours, so I don't have unfinished projects hanging over my head. I make mistakes and just go with them because I'm new to it and can't expect myself to be perfect. At the same time, it's simple enough that I can go slow and take extra care and see that effort rewarded. It's a fine mix of instant gratification and careful crafting, the latter of which I never really thought was something I could do. YouTube has been a boon for me in terms of learning patience and care.

Also, Glinn, great job starting a channel! Subscribed!
posted by malthusan at 12:58 PM on October 12, 2020 [3 favorites]

Virtual Dungeons and Dragons - second night tonight. I haven't played since I was a kid and was skeptical of adding more screen time to my life, but it works pretty well!

I'm not recording enough since my singer left the country, but still practicing cello and bass every single day, and guitar when I feel like it. I really need to take the time to organize all our recordings and get some of them out there.

Oh, and I bought some fountain pens based on a recent MeFi fountain pen discussion, so I've been drawing and writing in inks again, which is immensely pleasing.
posted by aspersioncast at 1:50 PM on October 12, 2020 [2 favorites]

Huh. It would be demented to do one of the Modern Folk Embroidery patterns in tiny filet crochet. And yet....
posted by clew at 2:10 PM on October 12, 2020 [4 favorites]

I posted pictures of some of the Halloween decorations my wife put up. As you'll see they were totally worth falling off a ladder over.
posted by Stanczyk at 4:42 PM on October 12, 2020 [5 favorites]

I finally figured out how to do the moonwalk. If we ever party again, I will be ready.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:23 PM on October 12, 2020 [10 favorites]

My baby is back! My 1985 Westfalia! So I can now campaign with the best of them. I put a political ad up on, and it is still up, and I am getting replies from people who already voted for me, they said what I posted on Ballotpedia resonated with them! It is cool! I am gonna be on the TV sometime tonight, in an interview, out on the Bluffs, with my hair blowing around, and so forth, it was nerve wracking before the interview, but once it started it was great! Very adept reporter I was totally comfortable as I took all the rope I need to...

But my Westfalia is kind of a hobby with me, and I think I will start some plein air painting crossing over to finishing up with a photo of the scene. I have been on foot for a year and a half. It is amazing what all new gas lines and seals, and a whole new cooling system and some other stuff, good deal for my old car. I think it crossed the time line and I can get a blue and yellow plate for it. As far as California goes, it is an antique. It will still pass smog though, I made sure of that.

Whee, I went for an ice cream today.
posted by Oyéah at 6:25 PM on October 12, 2020 [5 favorites]

In June, after my garden was fully planted, I started my every three years attempt to finish couch to 5k. I told myself that it would be good training for cross-country ski season, and I had no evening commitments or social life, anyway. So I found a “none to run” plan online, ran 3 nights per week, and managed to run 40 minutes without stopping by September. Unfortunately, due to COVID, I didn’t feel comfortable running around the crowded lake trail by my house, which was always my pre-pandemic 5k goal. On Labor Day I randomly tripped over my own feet and skinned up half my body on somebody’s sidewalk, which added an element of self-doubt to the whole endeavor, and now it is dark by 7:00pm (I am not a morning person). Lately I have been spending my late afternoons in the garden or going on walks with my kid instead of running, and on the weekends I’ve been waging an epic grass vs. sidewalk edging battle in the hopes of making snow shoveling easier. I don’t know how to balance my work/parenting/gardening/pandemic/northern hemisphere life with running right now, so I think that hobby is on pause.

My newest hobby is trying to make it through all 6 seasons of the Americans after kid bedtime, which is less healthy than running but a good distraction from current political affairs. I would love for my next hobby to become meal planning and grown-up cooking, now that my vegetable garden has slowly come to a halt and I need a better grocery shopping strategy, but we will see how that works out.
posted by Maarika at 7:26 PM on October 12, 2020 [2 favorites]

So here's another thing. I have more time to read and watch TV and movies and stuff, which is great! But I need some sort of warning system that will tell me when a book or movie has a dead mother situation, because basically every book or movie has a dead mother situation. What the fuck is going on with that? Do people not have any other trauma to process? Am I somehow drawn to the dead mother stuff, even though there is no indication that this, like, mystery featuring a sleuthing archeologist is also going to be a searing portrait of maternal loss? Sheesh.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:13 PM on October 12, 2020 [9 favorites]

AAC, I, too, like to avoid dead mom stories. I find that sometimes Does The Dog Die can warn you about this sort of thing, for popular media.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 8:26 PM on October 12, 2020 [5 favorites]

Maarika, if you want to keep running, I highly recommend the headlamps from BioLite. I am a morning runner, and back when I had to get up earlier to get my run in, it worked really well to light my path so I didn't trip on the uneven sidewalks in my neighborhood.
posted by mogget at 8:44 PM on October 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

Oh, I do art! I also sew but don't have anything particular to show for it. Yesterday I drew this piece to honor Indigenous Peoples' day, and educate about 2 genocidal legislations passed in 1924 in Virginia, my home state.
posted by FirstMateKate at 7:50 AM on October 13, 2020 [2 favorites]

Sugarbomb I've also been knitting for homeless people. Been knitting beanies. Really soothing. Kept me busy while I was sick with Covid and too fatigued to do much else. Lying in my hammock, listening to an audiobook and knitting... Was pretty nice. Jokes on me though because Spring is here and I haven't got round to dropping off the latest batch at the shelter, and the weather is really too warm for beanies now. Guess I'll save them up for next Winter.
posted by Zumbador at 8:29 AM on October 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

Oh and I don't know if it's a hobby but I'm currently reading up everything I can about PET RATS because I'm about to adopt two BABY RATS from a small animal rescue. I am so excited. I have been in a place of feeling I have nothing to look forward to, and am not needed so this is such a good feeling. Oh! And on Sunday I'm going to do the volunteer orientation at a local animal shelter. Hope to start helping them walk dogs etc. Can't wait.
posted by Zumbador at 8:41 AM on October 13, 2020 [8 favorites]

Aw yay ratsies! They're wonderful pets.
posted by brilliantine at 9:44 AM on October 13, 2020 [4 favorites]

I did the whole baking thing for a few months, including getting some sourdough starter from a neighbour and making tons of loaves, but this really dropped off a cliff in July or so.

I am doing so much less reading than pre-pandemic, as I did most of it on my commute and I have been 100% WFH since 13th March or so. This is beginning to drive me mad, so I'm making an effort to read more despite not sitting in an underground train! Not really working yet though.

The other thing that's changed a lot for me is exercise. I finally started running more than once a fortnight and have got a bit hooked, to the point I feel somewhat edgy if I don't get out. I've lost about 19kg from my peak weight and about 15kg since March, and my brain is just reaching the point of accepting that I look different in the mirror. I'm still 5 or so kg above my target, so it'll be interesting to see how I feel and look then - 25 BMI as the target. On my current trajectory, I'll get there in early January, though I suspect Christmas might have something to say about that...
posted by knapah at 1:45 PM on October 13, 2020 [2 favorites]

My main hobbies have been drinking and wearing leggings every day, but in the last couple of months I started doing some serious house reorganizing. I finally accepted that I'm going to be WFH forever, so I turned what was rtha's room into an office space. It faces the street in front of the house and it's really nice to work here. Even nicer to be able to close my work laptop at the end of the day, even if I just walk to the living room and open my personal laptop. Roswell the cat insists on being close to me, so now he has a cat blanket on the desk, next to my laptop, and his new hobby is watching cars go by on the street outside.

I've also been flexing my plumbing and house maintenance skills - fixed 2 leaky toilets and one leaky sink and installed 2 bidets. Slowly upgrading a bunch of kitchen stuff. I pushed the kitchen table against the wall, since no one's coming over for dinner anytime soon, and it makes the whole room feel a lot bigger. Still no good at cooking for one person; I either make a large pot of something and try to finish it before it goes bad, or subsist on cottage cheese and a handful of nuts. I'm pretty sure there's some middle ground?

My other pandemic time suck has been playing the Wizards Unite mobile game, but I'm reaching the end of what is possible to do (maxed out levels, etc.) and new stuff in the game is making it less fun. Not sure if I want to go back to Pokemon Go or check out this newfangled Animal Crossing thing.

This weekend is my birthday and between covid, wildfires, current politics, my sister's cancer, etc. everything pretty much sucks. I'm going to have a birthday zoom call to connect with people and crowdsource a little joy for the day. Msg me if you want to call in.
posted by gingerbeer at 1:48 PM on October 13, 2020 [9 favorites]

Archery! I took a class 25+ years ago in college and have dabbled over the years. When the pandemic set in, we bought recurve bows and arrows for me, my wife, and my daughter, and hit the range once a week. Our local range has a normal practice range plus a couple of walking courses, with 25 or so targets at different lengths and configurations.

A naturally distanced hobby! Recommend.
posted by Kafkaesque at 6:18 PM on October 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

Over 20 years ago a friend turned me onto Metafilter. And after I joined and despite a soft beware not to tarry, Metafilter became a sort of hobby...bad idea so by 2002, GYOB perhaps doable. So we set up the framework, format and color, for a blog. I was going to call it 'Implivium'. I wanted blue, like water blue. When a beta was up I said gently:
"lti looks like I'm selling plumbing supplies"

that silence. OWW, anger a friend, or just plain screw up but never, ever, EVER piss off your webmaster. Like yelling at sand casles with no one but waves in echo. I mention this because of a mutual love of ephemeral.
Mine paper, his digital and he found some of that old code. Almost 30 years of knowing a person is still an amazing thing that begs me ask what a hobby is, to me.
When you see time go by and the past cannot be bulldozed fast enough to reach that point were present is not pasts future but a late evening, pull into the driveway, say goodnight to the kids, sit at the middle terminal, start typing.
The day fades, war doesn't whisper in something that broach's ethos, belief vs. reality. Illusion with no semantic becoming something other then ourselves. Here, in this fragment lies what can hardly be uncompressed fast enough for times present to times future. Through 5 wars, 3 pandemics, riots, unrest, Eco decline, the city we lived in disappear during our weekly drives. And even the 59076 detached stories, subplot, and contextual narrative cannot do, cannot tell its own story as with most places in time So for the present I hobby nature and frames and boxes. like when my grandmother would knit and listen to Mahler 50 years ago.

on the hi-fi.
posted by clavdivs at 6:35 PM on October 13, 2020 [2 favorites]

I'm thinking of selling plumbing supplies as a hobby.
posted by Dean_Paxton at 7:01 PM on October 13, 2020 [4 favorites]

(he was right, btw...)
posted by Dean_Paxton at 7:02 PM on October 13, 2020

it's like...flipper blue.
posted by clavdivs at 7:08 PM on October 13, 2020 [2 favorites]

I'm a bit nervous about going out and about any more than I have to right now

Greg_Ace if you want to start playing Ingress, I'll be happy to go hack portals with you. I've left the house maybe ten times since mid-March and it's a great way to get out and walk around. Pro-tip if you go after nine or ten PM no one else is around. Also, I've taken some great photos on these walks.

I've moved so often in my life that the back of my mind is constantly itching to get rid of most of the shit that I've been hauling around through 30+ moves since I was born. During this time of intense isolation I've been making slow but sweeping purges. It's taken me awhile to figure out my taxonomy* for sorting stuff but I think I've got it. I now have a collection of paper bags on my hearth: trash, donate, recycle and shred and just having them there is motivational. I've upped my anti-depressants a bit and that energy helps too. So does looking at real estate listings for tiny apartments in expensive cities.

I wouldn't call organizing a hobby, but of the thousand or so projects that roll through my brain every day, I've had the most success with this one.

* for example:
irrelevant cables
2014 let's never do this again
i made this
general interesting stuff
envelopes (why do i have so many envelopes?)
posted by bendy at 9:07 PM on October 13, 2020 [2 favorites]

Eyebrows McGee: Bass is so much awesomer than guitar. Source: 29 years of playing bass.

When I was 20 I dated a guy for awhile who was 31 (in retrospect how creepy was that guy?) and he was always hipper-than-thou, punker-than-thou, cooler-than-thou which is why I thought I loved him. He did turn me on to San Francisco and a bunch of great bands though.

One of the things he said that sticks out to me is, "babes always play bass" - he was specifically referring to Kim Gordon. But I eventually learned that bassists can't be categorized by gender and I just want to be this bassist: McClusky: To Hell With Good Intentions. I'm a babe, it's my calling.
posted by bendy at 9:36 PM on October 13, 2020 [3 favorites]


My household eagerly awaits Thursday’s in the US, when a new Taskmaster episode is posted to YouTube. We usually make it an “event night” and make a pizza or save special beer for it. And if one of us is working and stressed we may save it for another day so we can properly savor it. We just don’t have anything like it on US tv. We also like 8 out of 10 cats, countdown, etc. but haven’t found good sources for those besides searching your tube for random postings and want to avoid VPNs.

We signed up for a meat CSA in April, when it became clear that meat was going to have a massive shortage in our city. That’s forced us to come up with new things to cook besides pasta. We’re finally tackling the pork belly in the freezer tonight and as someone who doesn’t like fatty meat (I know, I know, it’s the best part) I’m not looking forward to it. Honestly, cooking has been a huge new “hobby” in that I didn’t really cook before because I traveled 3 weeks of the month. So this has really forced me to do a lot of household adulting things that I’ve put off. I have learned that I like making bread and doughs (fresh pizza dough FTW), but still don’t really enjoy cooking so much. I think maybe it’s time to buy a food processor. My crappy $20 old blender literally was smoking after making pesto last week and I had to throw it away.

I already gardened before this, but I was able to spent a ton of time on it this year and it really paid off. I had already ordered seeds in January to start plants indoors for the first time. It was cool, but I learned that it’s probably not worth the time and effort for me—maybe if I had a house or a greenhouse. So my hobby over the summer has been getting rid of the fungus gnats that growing so much inside my apartment has caused.

I’m up to I’d guess close to 70 books this year. Easy when you’re self employed and a huge part of your business has dropped off. All escapism to some extent, but I started reading some straight up romance novels which is new. Usually I’m super into tv, but I can’t be bothered now which is odd. The big projects I gave myself at the start of the pandemic (re-learn Spanish, design/build my work website, and consistently exercise) have not happened at all. I had guilt around it for the first few months but am over it. It was so rainy, then so hot that I didn’t bike as much as usual. Living in a vintage apartment building with people above and below means I can’t do any sort of impact exercise without disturbing someone and that leads to my biggest new hobby... complaining about the neighbors. “She’s vacuuming again!? Those kids won’t shut up! I can’t believe they’re having people over! Where are they going so early!? They’re fighting again, etc.” I’m very tired of living in an apartment.
posted by Bunglegirl at 7:18 AM on October 14, 2020 [2 favorites]

I’m very tired of living in an apartment.

I live below a very nice woman, but either her young child is made out of lead and concrete, or she holds regular elephant-ballet classes. And I still can't bring myself to practice saxophone in my apartment.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:15 AM on October 14, 2020 [6 favorites]

I live below a very nice woman, but either her young child is made out of lead and concrete, or she holds regular elephant-ballet classes. And I still can't bring myself to practice saxophone in my apartment.

Our upstairs neighbours were basically replicating this video for a few nights in September. My partner and I could only laugh about it, as it was so ludicrous.
posted by knapah at 9:35 AM on October 14, 2020 [4 favorites]

I went back to the dollhouse hobby I had as a kid. I have a big old dollhouse that I built when I was 16 sitting in my mom's basement, and I have been building furniture and making tiny art and books for it. It's very calming and I even started an Instagram for my work and am thinking of starting to sell some of it.
posted by elvissa at 1:28 PM on October 14, 2020 [8 favorites]

I really wanted to continue learning the ukulele during this period, but I have some pretty nasty thumb pain (which should have been rectified surgically in May, alas), so that has put a damper on my musical studies.

Recently, however, I have acquired a whetstone, and have been learning to sharpen my knives! The process is very soothing, I can clearly see how much I am improving, and bonus - really sharp knives for all the cooking we are doing!
posted by blurker at 1:30 PM on October 14, 2020 [4 favorites]

I've never been a quilter, but late 2019 I decided I would make a quilted blanket for my bed to use up a lot of Thinsulate I had sitting around. It was a monotonous job, but I found when the pandemic hit it was all I wanted to do for awhile.

Otherwise, during the pandemic, I've made a dress and matching purse for my grandniece, a dress and purse and a pullover and matching tam for my friend's daughter, an owl pillow for my mother, and 31 masks (5 for me, 16 for sale, 10 to give to various members of my family). I've made a fair isle pullover, a striped cotton pullover, and a receipt folder, and a Christmas centrepiece for me.

I've recently made a necklace and earring set for my grandniece that I haven't got around to posting about yet. And I'm currently knitting a Christmas afghan and cushion set for my sister and sewing a tartan dress for me.

Another thing I'm doing for the fun of it is using a stack of 19 blank CDs I had sitting around for ages to make myself some CDs. I work better when I don't have the computer on (and for that matter feel better in general if I don't go online), but I do like to listen to music when I'm working. I haven't bought any new CDs in years with money being so tight, and my modest CD collection has gone a little stale. I've burned seven CDs so far. Besides doing some of my favourite albums, I've been doing some mix CDs. I just made a two-CD compilation of 37 of my favourite love songs, and I'm working on another I'm going to call "Anthems", composed of songs that inspire/energize me. After that I want to do two Halloween CDs (one of eerie, haunting instrumental music, and one of Halloween pop songs), one of Christmas music, and another of songs about being alone. I make simple liner notes and covers for each CD case as well.

I've done some genealogical research too. Some of the things I've learned have blown my mind. We always thought my family immigrated from the British Isles to Canada, but while that's mostly the case, it turned out that there was one branch of the family that was American Loyalist. Exploring that branch was a real mind-bender, because I found out that a) I have Puritan ancestry, b) my 8th great-grandparents, John Norman and Mary Ropes Norman, lived in Salem, Massachusetts during the witch trials in 1692, and c) I'm very possibly a direct descendant of Saer de Quincy, first Earl of Winchester and one of the 25 barons who signed the Magna Carta in 1215. My dad is very interested in the family genealogy, and I thought he would find all this cool, but all he did when I told him was ask me how it is that I can find out about people so far back but can't find out any more about our patrilineal line than the name and birthdate of his Scottish-born 2nd great grandfather. All I could tell him was that sometimes the information is available for some people, and not for others.

Another thing that I put quite a bit of time into this year was doing an X-Files rewatch on FanFare. There was a handful of us involved in that, and it was pretty satisfying -- like being part of a little social club.
posted by orange swan at 3:01 PM on October 14, 2020 [4 favorites]

[Whoops, accidentally posted the same post twice.]
posted by orange swan at 3:16 PM on October 14, 2020

My work has been incredibly busy and with having had the kids at home for six months, I only had energy to get more into kdramas. Omg I am done with western tv (except for Schitts Creek which I haven't finished yet).
posted by biggreenplant at 3:18 PM on October 14, 2020 [2 favorites]

There's 39 uses of the term 'bass' in this post (40 now), and I'd just like to give a big shoutout to the ThereIsNoMefiBassCabal!
Keep sucking (or not) on your 4- or 5- or 6- (7?) strings!
Keep the low end low and the pocket tight, my amigxs!
posted by signal at 6:52 AM on October 15, 2020 [3 favorites]

Fairly new for me is: fossil hunting! I am lucky enough to have several places within easy driving distance to find fossils; my new obsession has been sharks teeth. All I need is old sneakers to protect my feet (there's always glass in streams), and a kids sand sifter pan. I've had a blast all summer.
Of course, now it's fall and the water is too chilly, so it's back to bird watching for me!
posted by annieb at 10:52 AM on October 15, 2020 [3 favorites]

I eat, read books, play slide guitar and take pictures of clouds. Now that I am trapped inside all too often due to Covid concerns, not to mention the weather, making posts here has become a one index finger hobby.
posted by y2karl at 7:04 PM on October 17, 2020 [3 favorites]

making posts here has become a one index finger hobby

what about the slide guitar.
posted by clavdivs at 4:36 PM on October 21, 2020 [1 favorite]

Well, playing guitar does take two hands with right hand thumb, index and middle fingers for picking and left hand thumb anchored on the neck, index and middle for fretting and slide on the little finger -- so one plus eight.
posted by y2karl at 4:51 AM on October 25, 2020 [1 favorite]

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