Miscellaneous Rumbles

Obsession

1

This pandemic has given rise to an interesting phenomenon I’ve noticed about myself. Do you remember Mr. Toad, from the “Wind in the Willows” book? He was beset with uncontrolled manias about things. I have a tendency to become very interested in certain topics for certain amount of time and then leave them to go on to other topics. These topics could also be called obsessions or manias. This can get rather expensive if not tempered with some common sense and it can be a major time suck (not a problem during the shut down).

I officially retired in January and then a couple months later this Covid came in so I’ve been in a unique situation that it didn’t much alter my monetary situation. I’ve been saying that this shutdown has not changed my life much, but ...

In March I got obsessed with doing something with all of these spare parts I had lying around. I did a bunch of research and built myself a Tele and a Strat.

In April through May I decided that what I really need is a completely battery powered PA system so my little acoustic duo could take down to the river or to a park and play a gig (not thinking that that was unlikely). I even complimented this rig with a Smicz battery powered tube amp and a pedal board made up of pedals with 9 volt batteries. I soon went off this frenzy and sold the Smicz to Ethan, who knows what to do with it and I’m left with a nice Fishman Loudbox Charge, so, maybe it will be useful one day.

In June and July, my mania took a turn toward the manly. I decided (at 66 years old, mind you) to learn to ride a motorcycle so I did much research and took a Safety course, dropped a small Harley on my leg and moved on to the next enthusiasm...

the August / September obsession, ending my three year lease (6 months early) on my SUV and researching and buying a Mini Cooper. This turned out to be a good (fun) move (though I’m still in the honeymoon period). It is, without any doubt, shagadellic.

There have been, in between major manias, some smaller infatuations, a Dyna Duo Jet (completing a ten year long fancy), a pedal or two and much guitar playing.

Good or bad, these are projects that would be unlikely if the shut down hadn’t happened, at least not so quickly.

2

Well you are organized about it -- not rushing into everything at once, watching the dollars, plus you are doing stuff outside the guitar scene. Sounds like a good plan.

Although I pulled the career plug 2 yrs earlier than planned, glad I got the gov stuff up and running before the shutdown.

I just get in trouble w/ Demented Project$ that don't either meet expectations or the need for said project ended about when the project was complete.

3

Bob, I'm an obsessive guy too. If something sparks my interest, I either go 'all the way and then some', or I don't go there at all. I don't seem to have any middle ground. I typically go so far as to be the local expert on a given obsession. I'll study everything I can get my hands on, to the inth degree, and spew it out with encyclopedic dryness, to anyone who'll listen (I drive my wife crazy).

Like you, I jump into something, and go balls to the wall, until something else grabs my attention. I make an instant 180° turn around, and head into an entirely new direction.

These obsessions of mine can be repeating too, often with several years to a decade in between. Fortunately, they don't involve self destructive behavior (any more). I went down the alcohol hole, and was blessed to be able to put that to rest twenty five years ago. That's one I can't allow to repeat under any circumstances. It's in the 'not at all' catagory, and needs to remain there.

So, Bob, you're not the only one who has this type of behavior, I have it, as do several of my siblings. There were six of us (five now), and it was half and half. Our mother was totally that way too, so perhaps it's genetic.

4

In my case it seems to be related to my retirement and the pandemic. Once I get used to a stress free, deadline free and a boss/client free life, I will channel this ambitiousness into something useful, fulfilling and/or fun.

5

In my case it seems to be related to my retirement and the pandemic. Once I get used to a stress free, deadline free and a boss/client free life, I will channel this ambitiousness into something useful, fulfilling and/or fun.

– Bob Howard

It's been this way all my life, Bob, but it got much worse after retirement. I fully retired, early, three years ago (health issues), and I'm having a hard time finding balance. I do have fun with my obsessions, but I always end up spending a lot more money than necessary.

My income has not been affected by the pandemic, nor has my wife's. We feel so lucky that this is the case for us, and so badly for those who it is affecting. She is a social worker (medical), and she was working from home three fourths of the time anyway. I have my Army retirement plus VA and SSD. I'd trade it all for good health in a heartbeat.

6

I can somewhat relate, Bob. My problem is that I'm interested in everything all the time. Not enough hours in life.

7

I’ve been spending too much time on the iPad.

8

Oh boy! Finally a (virtually) local chapter of OA. Can I join?

Here's a board I call Quantum Fuzz.

9

And here's Fuzzingularity.

I can switch between the boards in series, or run them in parallel, in mono or stereo. Switcher/mixer/loopers on both (and the patch bay on the second one) mean that all pedals are not in the signal chain at once - and the switching between the boards means that neither board is in the chain when unneeded.

(Even I will admit fuzz is sometimes not necessary.)

10

Best of all, between the two of them I got all but five of my fuzz pedals on boards!

And thanks to velcro and judicious cable lengths (or, rather, finally judicious after hard lessons in too-obsessive cable neatness), any of the alternates can be swapped in at whim.

(And, in fact, a couple of the current alternates are among my favorites. Not that they aren't all my favorites.)

11

Welcome, Proteus, to the program.

The first step is to admit that you are an obsessive.

Step two: enjoy it.

Step three: ignore the detractors.

12

Oh I do this all the time. I've just been through digging out the old Pentax, buying a few rolls of Ilford fp4 and seeing if I could still take a decent photograph. Well I think I can (just about, on a good day) but I no longer have the patience for the developing and printing -- paddling around in trays of dev and print liquids has certainly lost its charm.

So now I'm in the process of roping in a couple of pals to see what sort of recordings we can make 'au naturelle' -- just inexpensive pressure zone mics, two acoustic guitars and acoustic bass and recording the room straight 'down the horn' onto tape.

Then providing I don't succumb to either this damn covid virus or my next dollop of cancer treatment, for a winter project I might exhume some O scale model railway stuff from the cupboard and see if some sort of ultra- compact layout can't be squeezed in somewhere. Oh, and there's a box set of Charlie Parker cds to work through and a mandolin and lap steel to learn how to play.

Gotta keep on keepin' on.

13

What I love about this chance at a second childhood (however long it lasts) is that I get to play with virtually all the same toys (sometimes in new incarnations) I loved the first time around - only this time with the conviction of a lifetime's worth of experience that they are every bit as fun as I first thought.

Guitar stuff to play with, music to hear and make, bikes to ride, science and sci-fi to absorb, and I'm good.

14

Yep. My only job now is to make Bob happy.

15

What I love about this chance at a second childhood (however long it lasts) is that I get to play with virtually all the same toys (sometimes in new incarnations) I loved the first time around - only this time with the conviction of a lifetime's worth of experience that they are every bit as fun as I first thought.

Guitar stuff to play with, music to hear and make, bikes to ride, science and sci-fi to absorb, and I'm good.

– Proteus

Hey that board needs a 1967 Lafayatte Fuzz Sound.

I generally have to clear the decks of failed experiment$, demented project$, etc. that should have never seen the light of day, etc. before I can start something new. it's a way to cope.

16

I also do the obsession thing...but my wife will only tolerate one at a time. Thankfully when I do happen to "get involved" in something, it tends to last for years, instead of weeks. When I start buying magazines on any subject, my wife knows that "something is about to happen".

17

Hey that board needs a 1967 Lafayatte Fuzz Sound.

Oops! I inadvertently left one out of the picture.

18

I got on the OC Musicliner Special at nineteen (though signs were there much earlier). I ain't never gotten off. I don't see the need to start worryin' about it now.

19

On the other hand I AM rather concerned about Proteus!

20

Hmm... 33 and counting. Ever wondered what it would sound like to hit them all at once?

Then again,maybe that's best left for another day.

21

Here ya go, for when you run out of room on your board.

22

I have an odd obsession, my yard. I have roughly two thirds of an acre of lake front. Most of which is trees and rocks. I have been going nuts clearing land. I have a lawn tractor with a small trailer, a shovel and rake and an electric chain saw. I have removed over 100 trees so far. Moved 32 tons of berm to repair my leaking septic system and moved 15 cubic yards of topsoil to expand usable yard space with another 30 cubic yards to be delivered. I have nightmares about running out of dirt.

I spend my weekends breaking boulders with a hammer and chisel and shoveling soil. I hurt all over. My property is looking great and I'm in better shape than I have been in years. My wife can't decide if I'm dedicated or crazy.


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