Hobby Jam

What People Do For Fun

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Mike Munter

Mike Munter was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. He graduated high school in 1983 and attended University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) for a couple years before attending trade school.

Later, he got his first full-time job as a PC repair technician and in 1988 became a network technician.

After getting laid off in 1992, he chose a new career and worked for 12 years in minor league baseball for the Bowie Baysox.

He moved to Portland in 2004 and after leaving corporate America for good a few years later, he launched an internet marketing business in 2010. In his spare time, he loves to play chess, spend time with friends, hike, and go to the dog park.

Mike writes for his self-help blog when he has something he feels can help others.

What is your hobby?

Well, I have more than one, but gardening is probably the big one. I have a huge space with three 30′ raised beds and four 45′ raised beds.

I built most of it myself and enjoy all of the work that goes into it. I started gardening big time in 2009.

How did you get started?

I had a small bed next to my house and in 2008 I planted some kale and broccoli and they grew great.

I wanted to grow more food, but didn’t have the space. I had a strong urge to expand, so I told my neighbor in passing and he said, “I know just the place.”

There’s an undeveloped lot adjacent to his house that gets full sun. Technically, it’s city property, but my neighbor was the one who had to mow it and maintain it.

He suggested I garden there, so we made a simple deal: He’d supply the water and I’d handle everything else.

In 2009, we tilled up the 15′ x 30′ area which became the first three beds. Then each year after that, I’d dig a little more and by 2012, I’d built 4 more 45′ beds.

We’ve got a compost area a local landscaper tops off with grass. I’ve had people give me starts or swap seeds and most of the neighbors who walk by pause to say, “Nice garden.”

In 2016, I put in an irrigation system. There’s always something to do in the garden.

Tell us what you love about it.

I like digging in the dirt. I love putting a seed in the ground and having faith it will grow. I like weeding because I like getting to the root cause of things. I like the planning and strategy of “What will I plant this year and where?”

I love the cycle of composting all the spent plants, combined with grass clippings, and leaves my neighbor’s kids toss into the pile each Fall.

I love knowing where my food comes from and it feels good to know a seed I planted in March is providing food for me, my neighbors, and friends.

Above all else, I love to can and preserve what I grow. Having fresh tomato sauce or salsa, jellies, sauerkraut, pickles, and pumpkin on hand is special to me. I grow a lot of hot peppers and can hot sauce I eat every day with breakfast. Friends have said my tomatillo salsa could be sold in stores. A few years ago, I toyed with getting certified to sell “Mike’s Pumpkin Butter.”

I feel a deep sense of connectedness to nature through every step in this process.

What types of things/equipment have you spent money on for your hobby?

Compost, wood, irrigation equipment and seeds.

I used to save seed, but it’s just too much work and takes too long – except for fava beans.

What are some of your favorite places to shop for your hobby?

There’s a place called City Farm near my house in Portland. For a small place, they have everything you need.

I’ve also bought wood, supplies, and seeds at Fred Meyer, Lowe’s, and Home Depot.

Are there any good books for beginners?

Believe it or not, most of what I’ve done has been trial and error. Most things grow with little effort in the Northwest.

One book I still own is Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades, by Steve Solomon.

How has your hobby changed your life?

Every vegetable I hated as a kid, I now love. I’m healthier in both mind and body thanks to gardening.

In the summer, my almost every morning ritual is to walk the garden with my first cup of coffee. I love when friends ask for a tour. I’ve met neighbors I never would’ve known.

It makes me feel good.

What advice do you have for others just starting out?

A lot of people say, “I’d love to have a garden, but I don’t have the space or I don’t have a green thumb.”

Just figure it out. I’ve literally thrown seeds down in early spring and let them go. They grow fine. You can grow in pots if you don’t have room and you can grow plenty of herbs inside your kitchen with little sun.

I encourage people to dismiss the belief, “I don’t have a green thumb,” because I think anyone can grow. It just takes faith – and some fertile soil 🙂

Hal Zimmermann

Hal Zimmermann is a fun loving entrepreneur who has dabbled in a number of business ventures. He is a teacher, writer, and part time philosopher.

“I really enjoy the intersection of work and hobby,” says Hal, “when work becomes play, that is when I believe we are all at our best.”

One of Hal’s businesses has been working on an effective and affordable staking system for tomato cages. He has developed a number of ways to support tomatoes, including using railroad ties and wood-built trellis systems.

“Store bought circular tomato cages just don’t do the job. Most of those cages are flimsy at best and are only 2 or 3 feet high. They can’t support the weight of a fully grown tomato plant. These plants can be 6 feet high and have 30-40 lbs of tomatoes on them,” Hal states. “Under that stress, the store bought cages collapse.”

Hal tried the “Stake A Cage” system, but found that was a short-lived solution.

“This system works okay once you get it setup, but it takes a long time to assemble each cage. If you’re just doing 1 or 2, its okay, but if you’re doing 20 like me, it’s going to take you a few hours to get all the cages built.

“The other problem is the wood stakes rot. Half of the cages I put into place only lasted for one season. So, now I have to buy new stakes and replace all of those.

These days, Hal is working on a better version of the staked cage where the mesh would be welded to a metal rod. “The nice thing is this would be a permanent solution. I’m looking to create something that I can sell as ‘This is the only tomato cage you’ll ever need.’ And I’d offer a lifetime warranty. That’d be a big seller, I think!”

What is your hobby?

Gardening is one of my favorite hobbies. I also enjoy biking and golfing.

How did you get started with this hobby? What inspired you?

Several years ago, I decided I wanted to take more control of my diet. The first year, I grew kale, cucumbers, and had a couple tomato plants. My dream was to get to the point where at least 50% of what I ate came from my garden.

The problem was I needed more room to grow food. My neighbor suggested an emtpy plot of land adjacent to his house, so we made a deal that I would do all the work and he would supply the water. We share all the food.

Tell us what you love about it.

I love the solitude of working in the garden. It might sound silly, but I like being my own boss out there. I plant what I want and get to can a lot of food. Aesthetics are important to me, too. I like to keep things organized. Often, I’m weeding the grass in between my rows because I want to keep things clear and looking nice.

Of course, it is satisfying eating food I’ve grown from seed.

Are there any groups you’re a part of or events that you attend related to your hobby?

I’m not currently part of any groups, but I have been in the past. I joined a neighborhood initiative that was helping to grow food on empty lots in the community where I live. I helped them find their first plot, right across the street from me.

Unfortunately, the leadership of the group was not organized too well and things sort of fell apart after a year.

Have you had to invest in equipment and if so, please share some of the things you’ve bought.

I’ve spent money on wood, compost, irrigation equipment, seeds, and Sluggo, But it is well worth it; I enjoy the work and love knowing I’m putting my own food into my body.

Where do you buy most of your supplies?

I get most of my wood at a local discount wood wholesaler. Hardware and irrigation supplies come from Home Depot and I’ve gotten compost delivered from a few different suppliers.

Are there any good books for beginners?

I purchased the book, “Growing Food West of The Cascades.” It is excellent. It covers all aspects of gardening and goes through each plant, explaining how to cultivate it.

One of my favorite parts of the book as the author’s assessment of the best crops to grow per dollar per square foot. The answer is herbs! They are provide the greatest ROI with the space needed.

How has this changed your life?

I feel better and psychologically, this is very important. Many times, I think how grateful I am for being able to do this and to feed myself from my own toil. Plus, the hobby has filled a lot of time that I would otherwise be screwing around with my computers.

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

I would suggest jumping right in and trying it! A lot of people I’ve met over the years say, “Oh I have a black thumb – everything I plant dies.” Well, I don’t believe anyone has a “black thumb.”

I think you just need to keep trying – it could be bad soil or disease, or maybe bad seed that is preventing you from being successful. Worst case, you could always take a class, but everything I’ve learned in the garden has been through trial and error.

Are there any other hobbies you have?

Yeah, I play softball a couple times a week and really enjoy chess.

John Anderson

John Anderson is a property investor who has invested in properties across Australia. Mr. Anderson lives in the Mornington Peninsula in Australia in a beautiful beachside community with his wife and two children, James and Sophia. Mr. Anderson is the founder of Freedom360, an education company for people who want to successfully invest in property.

What is your hobby?

I love cross-fit which is an intensive gym training program, going to the beach, meditation and walking along the creek near my house.

How did you get started with this hobby? What inspired you?

Tony Robbins says the secret to emotion is motion, so getting into positive states is all about being in motion.

Tell us what you love about it.

I love doing things that have me move around.

Are there any groups you’re a part of or events that you attend related to your hobby?

There are no groups or events that I attends that are related to my hobbies. The things I love to do involve my family and being by myself.

Have you had to invest in equipment and if so, please share some of the things you’ve bought.

There’s an app called “Breathing zone” which helps me do the meditation.

Where do you buy most of your supplies?

I buy most of my supplies from attending various seminars and conferences.

Are there any good books for beginners?

There are lots of good books for beginners involving property investing. A book that got lots of people started is, “Rich Dad Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki.

How has this changed your life?

Rich Dad Poor Dad has changed my life because it’s very much about moving from being self-employed to being a business owner and investor which I am doing currently.

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

Get educated. It is better to learn from other people’s mistakes than your own.

Are there any other hobbies you have?

The other hobby I have is reading. I have hundreds of books on my Kindle and I aim to read a book a week.

Alissa Davis – CreditUpdates.com

Alissa Davis is an executive with CreditUpdates.com, serving in the role of senior vice president of customer satisfaction for the credit reporting and monitoring company. Alissa studied business management and operations as an undergraduate before going on to earn her MBA in corporate social responsibility, and she has since applied the lessons learned through the course of her academic and professional careers to guide her decisions in her current role as an executive with CreditUpdates.com. A deeply committed professional, Alissa is also known among her peers in the industry as one of the most creative and innovative professionals around, particularly when it comes to ensuring customers have access to the best possible service and support as shown through Credit Updates.

What is your hobby?

I have several that I enjoy, but long-distance cycling and mountain biking are my current favorites.

How did you get started with this hobby? What inspired you?

A group of friends had a cycle tour planned and I wanted to tag along. I started training for the tour and haven’t stopped riding since.

Tell us what you love about it.

It’s a great group activity, but it’s also something I enjoy doing on my own as well.

Are there any groups you’re a part of or events that you attend related to your hobby?

No, but I have been meaning to join a local cycling or mountain biking group.

Have you had to invest in equipment and if so, please share some of the things you’ve bought.

Yes, there has been a lot of equipment I’ve had to buy. In addition to a touring bike, I also bought a bike rack, panniers and all sorts of camping gear for touring purposes.

Where do you buy most of your supplies?

I like to look for supplies at second-hand stores, but if not I usually just try REI or our local bicycle shop to find whatever it is I happen to need.

Are there any good books for beginners?

I’ve found that the best way to learn about bike touring or mountain biking is to just chat up the bike mechanics at any local bike shop. They are always interesting individuals and are usually just fountains of information when it comes to riding.

How has this changed your life?

I’ve discovered how different a place can be just by getting there a different way. There have been a lot of places I’d been before, but when I got there by bike it suddenly seemed like an entirely new experience.

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

Bike touring is one of the surest ways to develop truly wonderful and lifelong friendships, so make sure to invite everyone you know to join in or just be willing to chat up anyone you happen to meet along the way.

Are there any other hobbies you have?

I love to play softball on the weekends, so I play in a few different leagues throughout the area.

Danny Loschiavo

An entrepreneur with specific expertise in marketing and web design, Danny Loschiavo is the co-founder of BoldLeads, the immensely popular and effective real estate lead generation company. Danny’s entrepreneurial endeavor has been a boon for real estate agents all over the country, particularly since the family-owned and operated business is capable of streamlining the lead-generation process in a manner that increases the efficiency and effectiveness of agents as they work to build a consistent pipeline of clients. An Arizona State University graduate, Danny has remained in the Phoenix area and continues to oversee the operations of the business he co-founded and the concept he created.

What is your hobby?

I am still sort of new to it, but I’ve recently tried to expand my skills with baked goods.

How did you get started with this hobby? What inspired you?

My mom makes the most unbelievable banana bread, so I wanted to make and share her recipe with as many people as possible.

Tell us what you love about it.

I like being able to share what I’ve made with others whenever possible. It’s amazing how such a small gesture can really brighten someone’s day.

Are there any groups you’re a part of or events that you attend related to your hobby?

My mom and I have really bonded over baking together, and I still have so much more to learn from her before I can even begin to consider groups or events.

Have you had to invest in equipment and if so, please share some of the things you’ve bought.

Yes, but only the most basic equipment. If I ever need any advanced equipment, it’s just easier to take a trip to visit my mom to borrow whatever I might need. I did recently buy an antique food mixer that works surprisingly well.

Where do you buy most of your supplies?

I try to bake mostly from scratch, so I can find just about everything I need from the grocery store. Every once in a while I’ll head to one of the baking supply stores in the area if I need something special.

Are there any good books for beginners?

For cupcakes, brownies or other baking staples, “The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook” is a great choice for any beginner.

How has this changed your life?

In order to remain fit while having baking as a hobby, you have to either give away most of what you bake or increase the amount of physical activity you do. I try to do both, which I believe is entirely beneficial.

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

It’s best to commit to learning the basics before moving on to anything else.

Are there any other hobbies you have?

I like to go hiking and rock climbing, and Phoenix is a really great place for both.

Michele Frazier

Michele Frazier HobbyjamMichele Frazier, educational consultant and life coach for children, has been in the educational service for well over 20 years with experience in relationships and mentorship allowing her to succeed in her newly founded mentorship program. Ms. Frazier started the educational mentorship program with the end goal of lifting up the lives and school performance of children who are enrolled. For the last decade, Ms. Frazier has spent the majority of her time catering to the academic needs of her students while working on ways to expand her mentorship program to other areas of the country due to her educational and mentor service becoming rapidly popular and widely in demand.

 

What is your hobby?

My hobby is what you wouldn’t expect from an educational coach. I enjoy making matchstick houses.

How did you get started with this hobby? What inspired you?

I remember seeing a matchstick house as a young girl. It was one my grandpa had made just for me. I took to it many years later.

Tell us what you love about it.

Building these little houses made of match sticks is comforting. It’s as if my grandpa is with me helping me build them.

Are there any groups you’re a part of or events that you attend related to your hobby?

If there are groups for this time consuming hobby, I have never heard of them.

Have you had to invest in equipment and if so, please share some of the things you’ve bought.

When I run out of sticks I absolutely must have more!

Where do you buy most of your supplies?

Thankfully I can find what I need just about anywhere. Even a local dollar store.

Are there any good books for beginners?

I never found any beginner books, but then again I never looked for any either..

How has this changed your life?

It brings me peace and helps my creativity flourish. When I am being creative, I am happy.

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

If you are easily angered and have no patience, this isn’t an activity for you.

Are there any other hobbies you have?

Other than collecting phone numbers for clients, this is all I do!

Ian Leaf

Ian Leaf, of Dublin, founder of “Ian Leaf Fraud Watcher” is a renowned consumer advocate who has dedicated the entirety of his professional career to eradicating fraudulent behavior from the marketplace and ensuring consumers are aware of the pitfalls of tax fraud as well as consumer fraud. With the help of Ian Andrews, funding for several recent endeavors created by Ian Leaf, HFC expert, has enabled the widespread implementation of some of the most sophisticated fraud prevention strategies ever developed.

For Ian Leaf, tax fraud is an issue that requires a consistent and exacting approach, which is why he has recently introduced a number of new organizations designed to supplement the efforts currently being employed. With the additions of “Ian Leaf Tax Fraud Prevention,” “Ian Leaf Fraudster Detection Services,” and “Ian Andrews Fraudster Resolution Program,” both Leaf and Andrews hope to enable consumers to enjoy total peace of mind in circumstances that may have previously caused concern due to the possibility of fraud.

What is your hobby?

Living in Southern California, I have the good fortune of being able to cycle on a year-round basis.

How did you get started with this hobby? What inspired you?

I have several friends who cycle as well, and since it’s quite common to see other riders out on the road each day it is easy to feel a sense of motivation and excitement for the day’s ride.

Tell us what you love about it.

The views of the Pacific Ocean from Highway 1 are best viewed from the seat of a bicycle, and it’s an absolutely wonderful feeling to eat a big breakfast following a long Sunday ride.

Are there any groups you’re a part of or events that you attend related to your hobby?

Yes, there are several riding groups I am a part of, and each group includes riders of varying skill levels.

Have you had to invest in equipment and if so, please share some of the things you’ve bought.

I didn’t think I would need much more than a road bike, but I’ve also bought riding gloves, cycling shorts, clip-in riding shoes and a whole host of other supplies.

Where do you buy most of your supplies?

One of the riders in my regular riding group owns a local bike shop, so I go there whenever I need anything.

Are there any good books for beginners?

“The Bicycle Repair Book,” by Rob Van der Plas. It is so critical for a rider to know how to fix their bike out on the road, so this book is great for beginning riders.

How has this changed your life?

It’s given me a new perspective on how to view the world and how to travel through it. I’ve cycled several places aboard such as New Zealand and Switzerland. The views while cycling are unbeatable.

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

I’ll share the advice that was shared with me by my friend from the bike shop: “Ride it like you stole it…then bring it back in for a tune-up.”

Are there any other hobbies you have?

I love to swim in the Pacific as much as I am able and love to travel. My next trip is to the United Kingdom for a long holiday and to visit some family.

Scott Groza

As the co-founder of the Groza Learning Center, Scott Groza has succeeded in creating and providing access to an academic environment that is both rigorous and enjoyable for each and every individual student, thereby ensuring all students are able to achieve their individual academic goals. The longtime resident of California has long been an advocate for greater accessibility to highly personalized educational programs in which students are able to enjoy tremendous academic growth in an efficient and productive manner. Scott has devoted his career to academia, and he is immensely proud of what his students at the Groza Learning Center have accomplished since its founding in 2006.

What is your hobby?

Anything that falls under the umbrella of the visual arts has brought me a great deal of personal joy over the years, and I particularly enjoy photography.

How did you get started with this hobby? What inspired you?

I’ve always felt keenly aware of the fact that regular engagement in creative pursuits is a critical component of growth, so I began trying my hand at all kinds of endeavors that would satisfy my creative side.

Tell us what you love about it.

It’s not something that comes naturally to me, so having to constantly work on refining my skills and succeeding in doing so brings me a great sense of pride.

Are there any groups you’re a part of or events that you attend related to your hobby?

It’s mostly a personal pursuit, yet I’m fortunate to have friends and colleagues willing to lend a hand or provide guidance from time to time.

Have you had to invest in equipment and if so, please share some of the things you’ve bought.

Over the years I have accumulated a fair amount of equipment, but my most recent purchase was photo editing software.

Where do you buy most of your supplies?

I go to Amazon.com for basically everything, so I also find most of what I need for my photography pursuits there.

Are there any good books for beginners?

There are a number of wonderful books, but I think most beginners would be best served by first taking a class for a more hands-on experience.

How has this changed your life?

A creative outlet is something everyone should have, especially since it helps you realize the importance of enjoying the process just as much as the outcome.

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

My advice to others is simple: Enjoy what you create and be careful to avoid being overly self-critical.

Are there any other hobbies you have?

Living in Southern California, I am fortunate that the weather is entirely conducive to a whole host of year-round outdoor activities. I particularly enjoy hiking and beach-going, followed by a refueling a great restaurant on the Westside.

Darren Pawski 

Perth, Western Australia native Darren Pawski has spent nearly 30 years serving in critical positions of leadership while working in the finance industry. With previous experience that includes essential roles with the region’s most respected financial institutions, Darren has long been a key contributor able to draw on a vast and varied skill set. In his current role as the managing director of Synergy Financial Solutions, Darren provides his exceptional professional insight and expertise to clients of the boutique financial services firm. An avid distance runner who has traveled to over 40 countries, Darren enjoys being able to explore new places with nothing more than his own two feet.

What is your hobby?

I’ve always found a great deal of solace through long-distance running, and it’s something I have been doing for nearly all my life.

How did you get started with this hobby? What inspired you?

I had some friends who entered a local road race, so I decided I’d like to give competitive distance running a try. I did well enough that I was inspired to join and compete on the cross country team.

Tell us what you love about it.

I love that I don’t need to bring anything other than a pair of running shoes to be able to head out on a run wherever I happen to be, and I have been able to experience some of the most spectacular scenery while out on a run in places all over the world.

Are there any groups you’re a part of or events that you attend related to your hobby?

There is a local running club that gets together for a long run every weekend, so whenever I’m in town I like to meet up with them.

Have you had to invest in equipment and if so, please share some of the things you’ve bought.

I change out my shoes about every 200 to 300 miles, and I have quite a few pairs of flats I wear for racing.

Where do you buy most of your supplies?

There’s a local store in town that specializes in running supplies, so I typically head there whenever there is something I happen to need.

Are there any good books for beginners?

“Once a Runner,” by John L. Parker is by far the best book every written about serious distance running. It takes a tremendous act of will to avoid heading straight for the track after reading any passage in that book.

How has this changed your life?

I’ve been able to get to know places more intimately than even some of the locals simply because of running. I’ve run everywhere from the Dipsea Trail in Northern California to the Waiatarua Circuit in New Zealand, and some of the vistas I’ve experienced during these runs have been nothing short of remarkable.

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

It’s so easy to try to do too much, too soon. Take it slowly at first and listen to your body.

Are there any other hobbies you have?

I love to travel, and I visited over 40 countries and hope to visit many more in the coming years.

Luigi Wewege

Luigi Wewege is the president and CEO of Vivier Group and is also a managing partner with Palmetto Global Ventures, bringing years of professional and academic experience to these critical leadership roles. With a strong background in international business, finance and management, Mr. Wewege has been a key component in the success of these ventures, both of which are clearly poised to enjoy extensive growth in the years to come. Mr. Wewegeearned his MBA from the MIB School of Business and Management in Trieste, Italy, where he developed a sincere interest in the culinary arts that has since become a passion that often occupies those rare occasions in which he has an adequate amount of time free from his professional responsibilities.

 

What is your hobby?

I spend much of my free time learning how to prepare authentic Italian cuisine.

How did you get started with this hobby? What inspired you?

I was living in Italy and pursuing my MBA, and I simply could not pass up the opportunity to learn how to prepare the meals I had been enjoying during my time there.

Tell us what you love about it.

It’s just so much more rewarding to share a meal with others that you have made from scratch.

Are there any groups you’re a part of or events that you attend related to your hobby?

No, I hardly have the time needed to prepare an authentic meal.

Have you had to invest in equipment and if so, please share some of the things you’ve bought.

I’d always been interested in cooking, so I was quite fortunate that I already had most of the equipment I needed.

Where do you buy most of your supplies?

There is an Italian deli not far from my home, so I go there to get all of the ingredients I can’t prepare from scratch.

Are there any good books for beginners?

The Classic Italian Cookbook has some great recipes, but anyone who is serious about Italian cooking should really spend some time in Italy to learn firsthand from a true expert.

How has this changed your life?

It’s just nice to be able to make a home-cooked meal for my friends and family.

 

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?
There is no better experience than the hands-on experience you can find in Italy, so I think anyone interested in this hobby should really commit to traveling abroad.

Are there any other hobbies you have?

I played golf in college, and I try to play as often as I am able.