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THE IMPORTANCE OF HOBBIES
Someone once asked me, “So you basically get paid to be yourself?” I wanted to stab him in the face with a butter knife and scream, “Do you even know the hell that is writing a grant application?!”
Just like other working Americans, I also must have time away from work—even though I work in a creative field. Seeing as how I’m too cheap to pick up a drug habit, I must take on hobbies and interests that give me a semblance of a personal life. And now I share some of my hobbies with you…
DIY (Do-it-Yourself) Culture
In an industrialized world so increasingly dependent on machine manufactured goods and food products, it’s really nice to feel like I have something that is uniquely my own. I sometimes throw “craft parties” in my home to encourage others to be creative with their hands and get in touch with their inner artisan.
Knitting and Crochet
I fell into knitting when creating Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Listening to stories of depression and suicide was very stressful and my escape was to knit up a storm. I managed to crochet and knit over 50 scarves in three months (not the most practical thing when you live in LOS ANGELES). The knitting obsession made its way into Cuckoo’s Nest as a metaphor for unraveling, the never ending, women’s work, obsessive compulsive behavior, spinning a yarn, and spinsters.
I don’t knit as obsessively now but still enjoy the comfort of a strand of yarn between my fingers. I also love that I can make things to keep my friends and family warm.
Knitting gave me a mild case of carpal tunnel. So I took a cue from my friend Teri and started making felt dolls. Lately, it’s been a lot of felt cats (probably because I have this new Cat Lady show on the brain.) I also sew a lot of turtles, dead mice, and fish.
Click here and read about my adventures of being a superstar in lesser circles!
Harold (RIP 1981- 2008)
This is my old car Harold who now lives in car heaven. You may have seen him in the LA Times or Current TV. He was a vegetarian car that ran on vegetable oil. After my Buick Regal was totaled (while parked) by a very drunk and very stupid hit-and-run driver, I used my insurance check to do one more thing to decrease my dependence on fossil fuels. When he was alive, I got a lot of questions (and honks and winks). It helped that he was ostentatious as a mudderfudder. So once and for all, I answer your questions about driving a car that runs on vegetable oil.
The Wong Sans Wheels Chronicles
After Harold died a big firey death on the 405, I was too traumatized to want to own a car again. So I’ve been doing the unthinkable since—living in Los Angeles without a car. There are great benefits to being car less in Los Angeles. It also sucks ass. I tell it like it is here…Car(e) Less in Los Angeles: The Wong Sans Wheels Chronicles
My bike is an old KMart bike (named “Lolita”) that I got for Christmas in the 6th grade. I tricked her out with flowers and Mardi Gras bling. I cried the first time I rode her in LA, finally understanding what it was like to be present in the journey. I couldn’t believe all the streets I had never experienced from outside my car! Parking was so easy! The gas was free! I was getting so svelte. I’ve seen cities like New Orleans, San Antonio, Urbana-Champaign, Manasota Key in Florida, and Chicago by bike.
In my most extreme case of being a bike-aholic, I decided to ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles! I raised almost $3000 for the AIDS Lifecycle to help people living with HIV/AIDS. No, I didn’t do it on the Kmart bike, but a Cannondale Road Warrior. It completely killed my crotch and I was so cranky every night, I could have punched someone out. But I’m so glad I did it. It was like a drug-free, very gay, non-naked Burningman on wheels– I met lots of folks and had a lot of laughs.
Buy Nothing Year — 2007
I used to be a walking Sanford and Son. I’m not a huge shopaholic, but definitely had a knack for accumulation and a lot of clutter in my apartment. So I decided in 2007 to not buy anything new. Specifically—clothes, shoes, accessories, kitchenware, souvenirs, gifts— basically, crap that takes up space and holds me down. A Buy Nothing Year would force me to acquire things I wanted through creating, reconstructing, barter, or gifting.
My friend Colleen said, “That’s basically how I live anyway being broke in New York.”
I am not planning to do a Buy Nothing Year to this extreme again, but think it is a great exercise in understanding impulse buying and finding ways to be more resourceful.