Hobbies

Updated 02/05/17:

As I am not part of the workforce these days, and have no plans to return to it in the forseeable future, I thought I’d instead make a list of my past and present hobbies, and tell you all a little bit about each. To get a more in-depth look at my hobbies, past what I tell you here, go to the site I made specifically to talk about them.

Writing: I’ve been writing since I learned how to form sentences, but the idea of doing it habitually came to me in adolescence. (I wish I remembered the name of the teacher who gave me my first, pocket-sized journal, which I do still have, but I do not. I consider this a little shameful, since she had a huge impact on my life, whether she has any idea or not. I wonder if my old high school would be cooperative in telling me if I paid them a visit.) I’ve dabbled very slightly in fiction, but I mostly write reviews, opinion pieces and what I’d describe as “compulsively oversharing the minute details of my life”. I have also done some time as a music journalist over the years. My first published interview, with the industrial band My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult, was printed in Propaganda Magazine #17 in 1991. The most complete collection of my interviews with musicians resides here for the time being.

Making Music: I also started making music when I was in adolescence, as plenty of folks do. I’ve owned some musical instrument or another for over a quarter century. The process of making music makes me crazier than usual in a great many ways. I’ve never figured out how to steer the lyrics I write to my music away from the aforementioned oversharing, so what I put out there lyrically is extremely raw and personal to me, and difficult to perform in front of audiences on a regular basis. “Hello, Cleveland! I will now spend the next hour singing to you about every bad thing that ever happened to me while you halfheartedly listen, get drunk and try to fuck the person to your left!” is not my idea of a good time. Beyond that, there’s a sort of manic obsessiveness that goes into the craft of arranging, composing and recording music that takes my brain to bad places when I’m actually able to enter that headspace (which has become a lot more difficult as I’ve grown older, due to being somewhat lost on the technological end of things and afraid of falling down the rabbit hole on the creative end). I’m trying to find a healthy way for me to create and perform music, but it is tough for me. To listen to the music I’ve made publicly available for the time being, visit the Music section of this site.

Saving The World: I’m being a bit facetious, yes, but I try to help people out when and where I can, to the degree that I’m able (both in person and online). It can be tough for me, for reasons that I’ve already described above. Nothing will test and help you define the limits of your mental and physical health like helping folks who are in a bad way.

DJing: I love playing records for people. I’m not so good at “playing the hits”, but I really do love creating a vibe, turning people onto new things and just listening socially. I’ve DJed in various settings online (highlight: DJing Kirsty Hawkshaw’s Halloween party in Second Life in 2007) and off (I’ve DJed in Boston, Toronto and New York as well as around New Jersey) for a little over a decade, and when I was younger and they weren’t so spread out and responsible, I always had folks in my house listening to records. I miss that. Come over to my house and listen to records with me.

Listening To Music: even when I’m not doing it in front of an audience of some sort, I still enjoy listening to music. If you’re looking for some very basic, general idea of the kind of thing I listen to frequently and you use Spotify, look no further.

Marrying People: I am an ordained minister of the Universal Life Church (ordained August 6th, 2003), and have performed two legal weddings so far, both in New Jersey (October of 2010 and October of 2012). If you are interested in having me marry you and your partner, please contact me with the details of your upcoming wedding and your location (so I can do research about the legal details involved). References are available upon request.

Video Games: I have enjoyed playing video games for nearly my entire life. I don’t play modern video games so much, but the older stuff, I love and play when I can. In 1997, I created a classic video gaming convention (one of the first large-scale events of its kind) called Electronicon, which was well-received at the time (Soledad O’Brien showed her viewers my very clunky URL on MSNBC’s “The Site”, the night before the convention opened, as their top pick of the weekend, over a movie called “Disney’s Hercules”), but I’m not as involved with video game fandom these days.

Reading: I read online constantly. Offline, I’ve been having trouble finishing books for a while, and haven’t been reading non-comic book fiction very much at all for a long time. I really need a good, comfortable chair to read in, I think.

The Internet: yeah, this place. I arrived here officially in June of 1996, though I’d started getting mentioned 3 years prior on Usenet and had dabbled through other peoples’ accounts, the old Super Nintendo XBand modem and such for a while before that. My first love was IRC (I have friendships that date back to my first month online, through IRC), though I spent time on Usenet, I’ve had a ton of web sites (with my first site launching on December 20th, 1996), and I’ve at least poked my head in to get a look at most things happening online during every step of the Internet’s development since I arrived on it. I spend most of my day online, even when I’m out in the world rather than home.

Second Life: since late 2006, I’ve invested a significant amount of energy in the quasi-failed virtual world platform known as Second Life. I do still own a club called Heck in Second Life, and events happen there from time to time. I also DJ at The Velvet periodically. I was and still am a huge fan of the potential of user-generated virtual world platforms, but the folks managing Second Life have spent years scaring away anyone with vision, imagination and a sense of humor in favor of commerce at all costs, so it’s often tough to reconcile being in SL. If you’re a developer working in virtual world software that would like to impress me with a Second Life-esque application of the technology, please get in touch with me.

Baseball: I’ve been watching baseball on and off since I was a young child, when I first saw Reggie Jackson on television. I love the game of baseball, but I have no love for the business of baseball (or other sports), and I do not currently have a favorite team. In another lifetime, I would’ve been a Brooklyn Dodgers fan. In this one, I was a Yankees fan until they went out of their way to make me not want to be one anymore. Now, I tend to root for individuals instead of teams, though I’ll never say never about finding “my team” again.

Hockey: I love the New York Islanders, though, as is often the case, I’m not so sure about the people making the business decisions behind the Islanders. I came to hockey relatively late in life (this is the first game I ever watched in its entirety), and after watching it, I decided that the Islanders could use a fan. My favorite Islanders to date have been Kyle Okposo, Matt Moulson, Frans Nielsen and Matt Martin. (Notice a pattern there?)

Distance Running: I am a huge fan of marathon running as a spectator sport, and did live coverage of the New York City Marathon on one of my former web sites for 12 years. I am an on-and-off recreational runner, currently off, but I would like to get back to it soon. Completing the New York City Marathon is a life goal of mine.

Action Figures: I collect action figures, and have since I was a young child. These days, it’s narrowed mostly to action figures of DC Comics super-heroes, particularly those manufactured by DC Direct, but I’ve dabbled in a little of everything.

Comic Books: I learned how to read from comic books. I also learned a lot of what I know about science, philosophy, foreign languages and the difference between right and wrong from comic books (or at least by using them as a springboard to other interests and areas of knowledge). They succeeded in educating me, where the public education system in the United States often failed. On the subject of “learning right from wrong” from comic books, I often wish that the people in charge of the business end of comic books had also learned right from wrong from reading comic books, as they’ve done an extraordinary job throughout the years of fucking over brilliant creators like Jack Kirby and Alan Moore to name just two. It’s another area of my life, similar to sports, where I have a hard time reconciling my love for a particular thing and the very unethical business end of that thing.

Trading Cards: baseball brought me to trading cards (I got my first pack of Topps cards in 1980 at a corner store near me, and still have the Rickey Henderson rookie card I pulled out of it), but I’ve collected all sorts of trading cards over the years. I think they’re an amazing form of pop art, and criminally underappreciated as one of the hallmarks of 20th century popular culture. For the past few years, I’ve written a web site about trading cards called Scott Crawford On Cards!.

Travel: I’m not always awesome at it due to aforementioned difficulty in scheduling anything, and I am of limited means, but I do love to travel to new places and familiar ones, see people I don’t always get to see, see interesting things, that jazz. I haven’t left the continent I live on yet (North America), but I’d like to eventually.