- Conventions: I like science fiction, but I don't go to many conventions. Conventions don't really interest me. In part, that's because I'm far too stuffy about certain things. I have been to conventions, but I don't go out of my way for them.
The last one I can say I enjoyed was one at which I met James Doohan in Greenville, SC.
- Filk: I write music, but I don't write filk. See Conventions. Also, I'm not really a "joiner", and filk seems to me to be a thing for joiners. Also, far too much of the filk I've heard is "sung to the tune of", and with some notable exceptions for parody, I'm completely not-fond of songs that are "sung to the tune of" anything.
I've written songs that could be considered both filk and "sung to the tune of". For instance, The Twelve Days of the Campaign. I don't do it often, and it is not a preferred form for me. I pick the genre as an aspect of a song; I don't write songs to conform to a genre unless I've been challenged to.
- Performing music: When I say my hobby is "music", I mean I really enjoy composing music. For me there's a tiny moment of disappointment when I hear someone mention "music" as a hobby with the meaning of listening. And while I enjoy listening to music occasionally, I don't do it as a rule because it interferes with composing. Most of the time my car radio is off, and when it isn't it's tuned to a talk station.
I do perform my songs, but only because nobody else will, and it's faster than writing them down. I like composing music, but I'm not the sort who can stand in front of a group with an attitude of "look at me, I'm going to entertain you!" In print it's a different thing entirely. I don't mind putting on a curmudgeonly persona for blog posts here, for instance... but I can think of no more tedious and mind-numbingly boring profession than going in front of audience after audience and playing the same set of songs over and over, night after night. I have nothing but respect for the people who can.
I think that wouldn't mind a bit if William Hoover and I were the Boyce and Hart behind somebody else's Monkees. But actually performing, or consistently putting in the work to polish recordings...? Nah. This is a hobby, not a career.
- Acting: Just about everything I said about music goes for acting as well. I do it, and have done for years, and I'm pretty good at it; but it's not out of love for acting. I do community theater for the creative aspects (everything we do locally is original and unique), but by the time the tenth performance is nigh I'm ready to be done with it. I just couldn't do a long run.
- SCA: Since the mid-1980s I've had people tell me how much I'd enjoy the Society for Creative Anachronism, but my idea of "enjoying" it is in a voyeuristic, "oh, look at what they're doing" sort of way.
Honestly, I can think of no better era to live in than the one in which I have lived. I started in a world where, other than radios, electronics were all but untouched by the general populace. I grew into computers, and they grew with me, so I have an understanding of my profession that eludes many people who were born later. I have been fortunate to have seen the inception of a science-fiction dreams, and done my small part to help it along. At the same time, I grew up with rotary phones, having done farm work and ridden horses. I've pumped drinking water from a well not because it was a fun novelty, but because that's where the water was. And I've dug my share of latrines on the farm. I have no desire to experience an age much earlier than that (though Victorian England sometimes beckons, and I love low-tech solutions over high-tech). I certainly have no desire to "experience" a feudal political system.
- Talk Politics: This one's often a shocker, because I do it a lot, particularly here. But often when I do it, it's as a response rather than something I'm initiating. The plain fact is that as much as I don't like to talk politics, I like it even less when someone else is doing it badly. So I respond. I gravitate to libertarian ideals because to me the ideal political environment would be one where everybody minded their own business and weren't dicks to each other; and the ideal political structure would enforce that and only that.
In all my years I have never heard a convincing argument from anyone whatsoever, no matter how highly placed, that would convince me of their right to intrude on my freedoms or my responsibility for the success or failure of another person's independent exercise of his own freedoms. Charity is charity only when freely offered; otherwise it is theft. Assistance is only assistance when unforced; otherwise it is enslavement. As I do not support theft or slavery, my politics are libertarian. Having heard all the failed arguments, when I hear you repeat them in an attempt to convince me that theft is not theft and slavery is not slavery, you sound like a mindless parrot and reinforce my opinion.
- Talk Religion: Again, often a shocker, because I do it. While I am personally religious, I'm not evangelistic. My religion matches my politics, with heavy reliance on the Golden Rule. There are so many religions in the world that most, if not all, of them are probably wrong about a great many things. I don't exclude my own religion from that probability. And more than one is probably right about some very important things. It seems to me important that we put great stock in the Big Message and not sweat the small stuff. The more detailed we get, the more likely it is that we're wrong. In general, it seems to me that as easy as it would be for an omnipotent and omniscient God to appear in a blaze of Glory and dispel all need for faith, there must be something unique and precious about Free Will that transcends everything else; otherwise he'd do it, often. Why is evil allowed to exist? Because our choices are real and unfettered. And if there is no God, then our choices are still real and unfettered, and Free Will is unique and precious because it's all we have.
So it seems to me that both the devout and the faithless should make their choices as if they actually matter in the here and now... because they do, regardless. I'm perfectly content to discuss what I believe without trying to convince you that what I believe is correct. You've made your own choices, and if God is content to allow that, then I'd be a colossal dick if I were to impose my decision about what I believe about what I was taught on you. Sadly, all too often when I'm discussing religion with others, whether they be religious, or spiritual, or atheist, that's exactly what they want to do. Screw that. I am not content to have you impose your beliefs on me. I don't care who you are. If you're human, you are no more competent than I am to know the will of God. Conversing at length with people who think they are is tedious.
In general, I don't give a rat's behind about what anybody believes, but I do have two exceptions to that. First, the Universe is real. Physics are real. If you think God created the Universe, then surely the rules governing His Creation must have singular importance; and if your religion is completely at odds with science, which exists solely to objectively discover those rules; then there must be something wrong with your religion. The words of men are subject to interpretation and corruption, but Physics is Physics... there is no arguing with it. Second, I think Scientology is a bullshit invention from a hack science fiction author who expressly intended to bilk people out of their money. I think it is phenomenally successful at that. It is also phenomenally dangerous, as it is, I believe, scientifically unsound and destructive to the human intellect. As an "owner's manual for the human mind" I find Dianetics to be an abject failure. None of L.Ron Hubbard's other texts or recorded statements strike me as being any better. I have a special disdain for Scientologists that far exceeds my capacity for tolerance. While they have the legal right to spout bullshit, I have the legal right to call them on it.Huh. So what DO I like to do?
Well, I program... that's my job. So I have to keep up with technology. I like to spend time with my family, though my kids are as independent as I am. My wife doesn't understand that. My mother did. I think a lot about religion and philosophy, and keep well-read, particularly on other religions. I don't watch network television, but I do watch some shows on-line, mostly science fiction. I enjoy an occasional debate as a logical exercise. I write music when I feel like it, and even write lyrics when I feel like it, but mostly set music to someone else's words. I like puzzles of a sort. I like puns. I invent things for my own use. A great deal of my time is spent reading. I have so many books that if I were on house arrest for the rest of my life I could keep myself quite busy for the next thirty or so years. And occasionally I pontificate on a series of blogs that few people read, with no purpose but my own amusement. Most of what I write is reactive because I know that at least someone is interested in those topics.