AI: Weird Hobbies


Ever since I was a kid who got sent to bed far earlier than I was actually prepared to sleep, I’ve had a tendency to pick up somewhat nonstandard and ultimately not very useful skills on a whim – I taught myself to juggle one-handed (poorly), while sitting on my bed in the dark using Koosh balls (remember them?); I taught myself to write left-handed, and then in the dinosaur footprint alphabet from Dinotopia and took my class notes in that for a while; I very recently did the same thing with Elvish script (though that’s rather less efficient); I’d memorize ballads and sing them to myself for hours on end, to the eternal irritation of my family… you get the idea.  I have some friends who do the same sorts of things and some more who think I’m just wasting my already-limited time.

Do you have any hobbies/skills you picked up without any real intention of using (or performing) them for something?  What sorts of little games, if any, do you play to keep your mind occupied in the spaces between large projects or other recreation?  How do you decide whether something is worth doing or learning?

The Afternoon Inqueery (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Queereka community. Look for it every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday at 3pm ET.

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  1. I learned D’ni numbers far more than necessary to finish Riven. I tried using this for taking notes in class, but there are just so few numbers that show up in a math curriculum. I also tried to learn the D’ni alphabet from Myst 4, but failed (i.e. got distracted).
    Also I spent the better part of 4 months’ worth of class time in 2001 hand-writing (i.e. pen and paper) a “Hello World!” program in Malbolge, just to see if I could. I didn’t foresee any possible use for this at the time, but it turned out to be good practice for understanding basic symbol-manipulation-based computing and something about von Neumann architecture.

  2. I have a weird set of acquired skills that I got from taking jobs I never planned on having to take. I have a degree in art and one in theatre, but I have written spreadsheets adopted by a multinational company, reupholstered furniture, trained dogs, welded MIG, TIG, oxy-acetylene, and arc. I have a large base of semi-employable skills that I never set out to pick up. Nothing as fun as juggling, though.

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