Those Things That We Do
Hobbies, Sports, Bar-room Brawls
Sarah and I have a wide range of hobbies that we do together. And, of course, these things change over time. When we first started really hanging out, before we were dating, we would go on what I later started calling long walks (the name being tongue-in-cheek based on the The Long Walk by Bachman) around the UAH campus. They would take an hour or more and we would get out and just talk about a number of topics (one of the biggest being various aspects of "The Summer of Hell"). We never walked that fast, and would often stop and just chat for a bit, so I doubt that we really got any health benefits from them. That was never really the point, of course. The point was not even that we were getting alone time, per se, we just really needed to get out and not worry about all the little problems that can come along when you've been through a rough spot and are sitting around the house at night with nothing better to do.
I remember as humid, warm, relaxing and full of spider webs. At this time, I was designated the "in front guy", and have been ever since. Once we moved to Fontainbleu Terrace, we never quite got back the same vibe we had back then. The walking simply isn't as good around here. I wrote some stuff about the "long walks" back with DLS #24.
Shortly after we started dating, a common date for us to head over to Target or to Starbucks and to order some sort of drink (almost always ICEEs or Frapuccinos) and then play Gin and hang out for an hour or more just sipping away. This was a quite regular occurence for us at the time, probably two or three times a week. The total "date", which we took to calling an ICEE date never cost us more than $5-$10. It was cheap and went on for awhile and we enjoyed it a lot back then. We have since stopped shopping at the big box nationwide chains and franchises, so we do not really have a way to emulate that any more. It does actually make me kind of sad. Plus, I really like ICEEs.
In those two early activites, the walking and the game playing morphed into two of our "Big Four" hobbies. I use the term to describe the four basic hobbies that we do together, almost exclusively together, and regularly.
Sarah and I hike regularly, with our common spot being Monte Sano State Park with some hikes on the Land Trust below it. We started this back around November 2007, pretty much on a whim. Our first big hike was Black Friday 2007, when we went hiking in a quirky protest against everyone's mass shopping hysteria. Our friend Kerry went with us and we wandered around for six hours or so and got massively exhausted. It was great.
Since then we aim to get up to Monte Sano about once every other week at the least, and are happy to get more in when available. We take friends on hikes, as well, though after the last couple of times I have decided that taking friends on long hikes that complete exhaust them probably isn't the best way of handling the whole thing because they almost never want to go back after that.
When we first started hiking, we tended to over prepare and get psyched up for it, but we have started calming down and just going up and relaxing. Our overall goals is to go on multiple day hikes sometime in the next couple of years, and to learn all the local foliage and fauna.
Our favorite trails are Panther Knob, Stone Cuts, Mountain Mist, McKay Hollow, and Cold Springs.
We first got into tennis when we stopped by the Neighborhood Thrift Store and I bought us a pair of old, wooden, heavy tennis rackets. We tried it once or twice, with a couple of cheap, yellow balls and barely could serve, volley or return. We gave up and dropped the whole thing, for a bit. We came back to it towards the end of 2007, about the time that we started hiking, and tried again with the same wooden rackets but some new balls. We had a lot of trouble at first, being essentially unable to serve all that well and being unable to return all that often, but we just stuck it out. Somehow, back at that time, we would have to regularly spend and hour or two on what was only about eight games total. I suppose we chased balls a lot, or something.
Since then, we have improved. I would say greatly but that would imply that we are good. We are not good, but we have become fair. We have gotten down the basics of scrambling around, and how to hit in different ways to change the spin, and how to serve in slightly different patterns to keep the opponent at bay, and feinting and all sorts of stuff.
We generally play by what I guess you could call Doug and Sarah Tennis rules, or have morphed into playing by them. These rules are kind of standard, with most changes being house rules that take the stress down so that we can focus on having a better time and just getting our run on for an hour.
A bit of an open-ended word, but I mean it in most of the senses it can be meant. We like to play RPGs (role-playing games for the non-geek crowd). We like to play board games (especially Settlers of Catan, which Sarah finally played against me and my friend Allen recently and liked it). We like to play both special deck card games (Zombie Fluxx and Munchkin, for instance) and standard deck card games (Gin). We play quite a few games.
We also play slightly different types of games on our lonesome, but I'll talk about them elsewhere.
Part of our love of playing games come from my parents, who would play checkers or rummy together as a way to spend time without it having to be all about the convesation or other things. It could be relaxing, mentally challening, but still be sort of loafish at the same time.
And part of it is that we just like being creative and the like. Many of the games we play allow that to come through.
With maybe the regulat exception of Mythbusters, Dirty Jobs, How It's Made, Sarah and I watch a tiny amount of actual TV. Something we do watch, though, is DVD box sets. I think we started it with Scrubs season 1. It came out and I picked it up to get Sarah into the show (she had watched some of season 4 and liked it). It could have been The Family GuyIt was just kind of cool to sit down and watch a series when we had time to watch it, and to watch it as many episodes as we wanted to watch in a row. We could relax, pause it when we wanted to, stop if we wanted to, fast forward. No commercials. It stuck with us.
I remember it reaching something of a peak around the time we were watching some Dickens inspired mini-series (maybe Great Expectations or Oliver Twist) via DVD and then added to that Gankutsuou and some other series. And so we had three series to choose from and could mix them up as we saw fit. This is when it really drove home to us how much preferable this way was to the standard way of getting new shows.
Besides Scrubs, the only other American shows that have clicked with us in the box-set way are Arrested Development and Firefly, both of which we watched religiously and got kind of upset by the cancellations (which is why I rarely watch Fox, anymore). We do tend to watch a lot of anime this way (Neon Genesis Evangelion being something of a "highlight", and Zombie Loan and Fullmetal Alchemist being more recent loves). And British comedies: Red Dwarf, The IT Crowd and Keeping Up Appearances.
If you like watching TV with your family but tend to be unable or, like us, unwilling to bend your schedule to the networks' concerns, give this a whirl.