I have discovered that sex, photography, and building model airplanes have a great deal in common – leaving aside the question of what you do with the tube of glue, the most noticeable thing is that when you find you are doing something that is hard work, expensive, and makes you feel bad….you are doing it wrong.
I don’t decry hard work in the sun, sweating and heaving, with the crack of the overseer’s whip lashing your back. This is how things should be in the retail trade, after all. And there may be a certain amount of whip cracking in the sex business, or so I have been told. But the other two endeavours can be done without pain or sunburn, surely.
Expense attaches itself to everything we do. You can hardly go for a walk in the park without fending off beggars showing you their open sores. As much fun as this is, and you’d be surprised what you can do with a sharpened walking stick, it all adds up to money spent. Trips to the shops are even worse. Stroll through Burlington Arcade as casually as you might, and avert your eye as you will, you find eventually that you are bearing home a diamond bracelet and bang, there’s sixpence gone.
As for feeling bad, this is not as much fun as it used to be. One used to be able to give oneself over to fits of melancholy and either moon about the manse or sit drinking in the study. You could roam the countryside on dark, stormy nights savaging things. Now you are pestered by do-gooders who want to wrest every corpse from your hands and ply you with cups of tea and cheerful memes. God’s Sake, People. Can’t we feel vile without having to feel bad about it.
The answer to all this is to relax the iron grip of ambition and do things for pleasure at a leisurely pace. Do not try to cram avarice, debauchery, and madness all into one afternoon. Take one horrid act at a time – give it several days to play out, and don’t sully the mud with water.
Every so often the internet gives us a simple lesson in life.
Either it shows us simpletons at large – like the current crop of cultists – or it reminds us of the basic principles of social commerce.
I’ve been watching a website for a year now – an advertising vlog produced by a very pleasant fellow in the UK. He deals in the hobby of building plastic models and has done so on a professional basis for decades. He’s part of a small company that manufactures accessories for the hobby and is part owner of a hobby shop. He’s also a very entertaining and knowledgable speaker – his daily shows are a lot of fun to see.
However, he’s adopted the business model of a subscription for the show – some 40 British Pounds per annum. I daresay it is a small fee for some in the UK, but amounts to the same price here in Western Australia as the annual fee for our own modelling club. That’s a hands-on social group that can entertain us 3 days out of 7 every week. Real participation without advertising.
This last year has seen innumerable changes in the presentation of the English chap’s vlog programs, but the latest one is to remove most of them to a paid-only status…leaving just a few crumbs of free viewing. He wishes us to subscribe, and probably needs the money from the subscriptions. But most of us also need it, and simply won’t pay.
It means we won’t be watching…and over time we will forget that we wanted to. We will go off to other – free – experts on the internet for our entertainment. Or we will entertain ourselves in our local clubs.
Monetising something is a temptation for every internet presenter. You see it with news services and the internet versions of some prestigious journals. But it don’t work. We can get much the same for free, and we go for that.
Entice us with bargains for actual goods. Sell hobby supplies, books, decals, or anything else you make. If the goods are valuable we’ll pay to have ’em shipped. But don’t provide free tasters and then a bill for something that is just talk – we can talk amongst ourselves.
Sad to think that we might have become such misers, but there it is.
Please note that I am not writing about the mistakes of others. I am writing about my own blunders.
For blunders there are, in every day I live. I’m not in practice anymore or employed behind a shop counter, so my errors are of less consequence than before. But I am still driving on the roads and living in my own house – and pursuing several hobbies and arts – and being wrong about something, somewhere, is a daily occurrence.
Lord, save me from the road error – there is too little margin for it in today’s high speed world and too few people willing to make allowances for me. Just get me there and back safely, please.
I would also like the occasional helping hand in the kitchen and the Little Workshop. I am ashamed when I burn a dinner or spoil a paint job and I know it is somewhat of a moral failing that I get angry at myself when this happens.
Please calm me down, and get me started clearing up the mess and correcting the error. It’s the only way that I feel I can claw back traction in the day. I realise that the substitute dinner may be less fancy, but please make it at least as nourishing. I know I’ll always look askance at the model airplane with the re-done finish, but please let it be a reasonably decent repair. I’ve seen enough real aircraft that looked battered.
Also please let me have the moral courage to see when something needs to stop or start, and the fortitude to actually do either thing.
Or Hold The Stainless Banner High…*
I’ve been scolded by Facebook for posting a story in my column that deals with scale model building – a story in 8 or more parts. It’s the history of the Royal Ruritanian Army Air Force and Facebook thinks it is spam. And says that it contravenes Facebook community standards.
I have to admit, it doesn’t contain:
a. Sneering memes about an American President or Australian Prime Minister.
b. Thoughts and prayers.
c. Sneering references to thoughts and prayers.
d. Cat videos.
e. Advertisements that have been paid for by businesses based upon my browser history.
f. Games that seek to find out people’s preferences so that the information can be sold to advertisers.
So, yes, my columns do not conform to Facebook community standards. If they did I should be deeply ashamed.
I wonder if Facebook is ever deeply ashamed…?
* I was listening to the old Civil War song of this name…but I can’t be sure if the lyrics mentioned ” stainless ” or ” brainless “… which would explain a great deal about the current problem.
That’s about all the hobbies one person can handle at any one time. Keeping in mind the formula that says a half hour per day ( 3.5 hrs per week ) you have to figure that the tri-hobbyist will be carving 10.5 hours out of what might be a working or family week. This amounts to 546 hours per year and that’s a lot of time.
Also you have to account for the expenditure. Taking a simply complex hobby as an example – model airplane building – you could figure about $ 20 a week on the average for a steady adult – $ 30 for the wild-eyed enthusiast. $ 1000 to $ 1500 per year plus the storage space needed. Of course there are far dearer hobbies and far deeper purses to support them, but even a small expenditure adds up, year by year.
Multiply that by three hobbies and see where you are. You are carefully hiding the bank statements and credit card demands from the spouse and looking to see if you could sell one of the pets or children to support next year’s hobby conference…that’s where you are. Embezzlers who pilfer company funds to support a gambling habit look good beside you…
When you choose your hobbies ( As opposed to the occasions when they choose you. ) you can either pick ones that seem to flow into each other and combine your efforts or you can go for three disparate things. I cannot say which approach is best. You may get a force-multiplication effect for your money if all three things are related, but then you need to look at it to see if they are indeed three separate things.
If you spend your time and money in three separate directions you’ll necessarily have a smaller footprint on each strand but it may be a clearer one – and the differences in the activities may refresh you more. We cannot drink one thing for every meal – we must needs rotate between cider, beer, and wine. Which can be a hobby.
Note that the cheapest hobby so far – if you disregard the price of the computer – has been internet writing. So far I have not paid the WordPress people anything – though that may change if I reorganise my columns into one with divisions.
I used to glory in not paying Adobe any more money for the image editing programs but have come to realise that a little yearly expense does bring a world of benefits.
The cry of the moment is the desirability of becoming an Instagram influencer. But I suspect this – as I suspect most aspects of modern computer life. The suspicion is that the whole circus has passed Instagram by and is way off down the road doing far cooler things to far hotter people. Or vice versa.
I was once accused of being an influencer by a representative of a wholesale camera firm who thought he was not getting enough coverage for his products in my commercial column. He insinuated that another firm had bought me with a free camera. In reality they alerted me to their products with the freebie and I went and spent a vast amount of money on their goods out of my own pocket. Any reports I made were genuine. And as far as pressuring people into following me, the customers have the minds of cats, not sheep. They rarely purr, are not herdable, and occasionally throw up in your shoe.
But back to Instagram. I was cozened into subscribing to it by someone who likes to show off on it and wanted another viewer. I’ve added a few other contacts and a couple of artists and cartoonists and find it a pleasant light browse while dinner is cooking…but not such a vital artistic service as to cause me to allow the soup to boil dry. I do like the colourful art, but I wouldn’t buy anything because of it. And I really don’t think others would either.
Oh, they’ll buy from paper flyers loaded into the post box. They’ll buy from shopping channels that endlessly bombard them with simple instructions. They’ll buy from door-to-door sales cons and Royal Show spruikers. They’ll buy from Harvey Norman. But I don’t think they’ll buy because I’ve posted toy airplane pictures on Instagram.
* Or should that be an influenza-er. Come here and I’ll sneeze on you.
Yeah, I am. And I have learned to be damned careful where I look.
Recently a friend on Facebook shared a small essay about doing things for fun – as opposed to doing them for money. My mind, being what it is, instantly linked up the concept to the title and it all went downhill from there. But I thoroughly agree with the original essay – there is a limited time and a place for monetization of our lives – and an increasing pressure to judge everything we do by the standards of the cashbook and journal. But there is an equal time and place for it all to be done for love.
We stand in danger of becoming Jacob Marley in our spare time.
These essays I write are for fun – I find them so, even if you may not. I do not expect to be paid for them, as payment comes as soon as the words hit the screen. It is in the form of pleasure and satisfaction…and I do not need to do double-entry bookkeeping to appreciate that.
I have had hobbies that earned money – and I pursued them diligently enough for years. In the end the money that they brought has evaporated, as all money does, and the only thing left is a sense of satisfaction or otherwise when I think back on the times spent sewing, developing, shooting, drawing, or whatever. I could equally have this final pleasure if no money had been sought. Indeed, it may have given me more time to seek pleasure, rather than profit.
Well, I learned. I now build model aircraft, take photos, and write to please me. I share some of this and if you are pleased as well, good times are rolling. But they do not need to roll with an on-line shop, etsy, or business model. They have other wheels to run on.