I Will Not Be Mocked
Some Obsessions

July 18, 1999

As some of you (OK, probably most of you) already know, Chuck has a new obsession.

With his new obsession come the attendant toys, piling up around here at a truly astronomical rate. His wish list is growing. His range of topics for discussion narrowing. (He specifically said last night that I couldn't say that this is all he talks about anymore. This is a much nicer way of saying the same thing. Don't you think?)

This is not the first time. It won't be the last.

A few of his past obsessions and the process:

1. Flying. All he talked about for months. He wanted to learn to fly. Moonies, Cessna's, Piper Cubs. He could extoll the virtues and pitfalls of them all.

The man could identify a plane 5 miles in the sky when all I could see was something that looked like a gnat.

Mileage, operating expenses, range, seating capacity, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

He would log on to some game that let you fly WWII planes. He would go at it for hours. He even got rudder pedals and a steering wheel for his computer so he could simulate better.

He got magazines. He was on mailing lists. He looked into flying lessons. He knew how many hours of this you needed for that, how long classroom lessons were. He even went out for a test flight at Van Nuys Airport.

All that's stopping him from doing this is the money. As soon has he'd got $5000 extra dollars he'll be off and flying.

2. Building Stuff. Chuck wanted to build stuff a la Norm from the New Yankee Workshop.

Now Norm is a Master Carpenter. I swear, if the man needs toothpicks he fells an oak and goes from there. And as further testament to this man's skills, he has more power tools then my local Home Depot, knows how to use them, and still has all his fingers.

While Chuck has many talents, he does not necessarily have the patience required to do this sort of thing. But obsession #2 was off and running.

All he needed was a table saw. OK, here comes Christmas and Chuck gets a table saw. Then, "If I had a router I could build an addition to the house." He actually said that. Well, he got a router and bits.

He watched Norm. He cruised the internet for interesting plans and drawings of things he could build. He bought magazines. He joined mailing lists. He may have even bought some lumber. I think he built something but I can't think of what it is.

It was all he talked about. I'm still waiting for my blanket chest.

3. The latest, Photography.

I will admit I'm happier about this one then the previous two. The chances of losing life or limb are exponentially lower--unless of course he takes this to the limit and decides to become a war correspondent.

Now we have camera bodies, lenses, books, and what not.

I'm waiting for the first magazine to make its way into the house. I'm certain he's on mailing lists. He's got e-Bay book marked and regularly combs the auction lists for stuff he critically needs. He's been through the Recycler looking for enlargers. He wants to convert our guest bathroom into a darkroom.

(This is better than the original plan of converting part of the garage into a darkroom I suppose, although he would have gotten to build stuff and then do photography--two, two, two obsessions in one.)

He's still re-learning how to do this and do it well. The thing is, he's a bit slow and a lot impatient.

He's favorite subject seems to be Zoe in the pool. A good idea but . . . he needs her to be still while he focuses, gets the aperture stuff right, the light meter (whatever it all is), and have you ever tried to get a three year old to stay still in a swimming pool? They're slippery like seals and about as patient as angry wasps. "Put the camera down daddy," rang from the pool yesterday.

Then there were the hummingbirds. They just would not stay still long enough for him to focus. Imagine that.

All this to say the man has passion. He gets interested in something and dives into it, body and soul. He reads, he learns, he immerses himself in it.

While sometimes it gets a little tiresome and mind-boggling to those of us less interested then he, at least he has passion.

Until next time. . .