Hobbies and Interests

In addition to the hobbies and interests I've discussed elsewhere on this website, and for which I've written separate websites:

... there are several areas in which I do a considerable amount of reading:

  • Nutrition, health maintenance, and aging
  • Artificial general intelligence and cognitive science

I haven't had much time for hobbies, and most of my "hobbies" are work related, but here's what I do when I take a break from work, especially when my hands, wrists and arms get tired from typing...

I read a lot. Books from the bookstore, but moreso just Google internet, especially Wikipedia, mousing around. I read at night before going to sleep.

Maybe this doesn't really qualify as a hobby, but I enjoy people-watching, such as at shopping malls where I enjoy a tea or coffee at the kiosks, or at pubs though I rarely drink alcohol. I like just watching diverse kinds of people and imagining their lives and personalities.

Likewise, I enjoy exploring. When I drive somewhere, I like to take a different route, especially if I'm not pressed for time or on a tight schedule. Map reading comes easy to me, whether it be hiking with topographic maps or driving with road maps. However, I usually just glance at a map in advance, then don't look at it again, just keeping my orientation of north-south-east-west and heading in the right direction. I enjoy just getting lost, too. There are lots of places to sit and do people-watching and community-viewing, such as outdoor street food kiosks here in Thailand.

I take cheap flights out to adjacent countries a few times per year for short breaks of a few days at a time. This is actually necessary, not an option. My visa to Thailand requires that I either (1) get a longterm visa by doing a lot of paperwork, keeping a lot of money in the bank, visiting immigration, and/or paying a lawyer, or else (2) exit and re-enter every 3 months. It's easier and actually cheaper to do the latter. I don't keep money lying around in my personal bank account (required for longterm "type-O" visa based on marriage), because I re-invest it in my business. Extending my "type-B" business visa requires considerable paperwork and expense. Also, I like the excuse to pull me out of my box every 3 months for a break. All I need to do is step over the border and back, but I may as well stay there and look around a little while there. I've already done all the cheap bus/train border runs, so I fly to other countries, which usually costs around $200 round trip for airfare, and hotels are available for $10 to $20 per night, so travel is not too expensive a hobby. I don't go see the tourist attractions. I just watch the people and do ordinary things in ordinary places. These are very enjoyed times.

I enjoy walking, and never get tired. (Notably, I ran and often raced marathons as a teenager, so I seem to have a natural endurance.) I can lose myself for a long time on walks.

Since I've finally got a decent camera, I enjoy taking photos around Bangkok, though I'm always thinking about the work or website applications of the photos. However, I don't take many photos while on vacation. I don't like stopping from enjoying things to take a photo. When I travel with other people, I don't take many photos, and I don't like people who always want to take photos rather than just enjoy things. I will take an occasional snap, but nothing special. I also don't like it when people ask me to smile for a photo. I like to just be me, and have photos of how I normally am, not forced but just relaxed. (It is conventional in American culture to ask people to smile.)

I don't watch much TV, but when I do, I watch selected programs on Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, National Geographic, History Channel, CNN and BBC (especially when cooking), and occasionally channel flip thru various foreign soaps -- Thai, Chinese, Japanese, French, Australian, music videos. Foreign news, too, when I can devote my visual attention to it since I can't understand the languages. I don't watch many movies at all, either on TV or at the theatre. They really bore me. I also can't bear to watch violence and it irritates me, as do crass mass-market sexy music videos and things like that. Most of TV is trash in my opinion, and I quickly lose interest and look for alternative entertainment. It is really dismaying to see what shows are most popular. I understand why, and it really reflects the nature of the masses.

As I've gotten older, my interest in politics has diminished a lot. It reflects the lowest common denominator of human nature, for the most part, not the highest. My faith in governments, as well as most human organizations in general, has diminished a lot from my idealistic youth, based on experience working in government and various organizations. The scientific community is the one which I have the most confidence in and affinity towards. It has always been that way, but increasingly so over time. I also enjoy working with engineers and some kinds of business people.

Making money was NOT a big motivator for me for most of my life, nor has it been for my wife, but as nobody else has chipped in to help on my many projects, and the main way I get work done is by paying people, making money has become a priority. I really need good business partners who to work with along these lines. I also need investment money and strategic partners to get some of my good business plans off the ground. Unfortunately, I waste too much time making money for survival, including the work in the trenches, which detracts a whole lot from my other work for this generation.

The world is awash in money. I see it every day. The reason good things don't happen is NOT because there isn't enough money going around, it's because not many people are willing to spend money for the greater good rather than for their own selfish interests. It is human nature. I come out supporting my own humanistic projects almost entirely out of my own pocket.




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