MODERN HOBBIES FOR THE MODERN MAN

Show us a man with no hobbies and I will show you a man-child holding an X-Box controller. I could careless that you can play as Han Solo in the new “Star Wars Battlefront.” You’re all growns up now so a life of leisure is a terrible thing to waste… unless you can play as Lando Calrissian, now that’s dope. Seriously, the great Oscar Wilde, who was basically the Kanye of his day, once said that “cultivated leisure is the aim of man.” Hobbies add balance to your life. If naps are like mental blow jobs, a hobby is like tantric sex with your soul. Hobbies allow you to recharge the body, mind and spirit. The list of leisure activities I’ve compiled aren’t your dad’s hobbies so keep the fishing rod in the garage and the home-brew kit in the cupboard. These are modern pastimes for a new generation of men raised on technology, sustainability and instant gratification so gear up and head out.

DRONE FLYING

If you’re feeling the need for speed and will never be a Top Gun you can fly the next best thing. Drones aren’t just for dropping bombs on bad guys anymore as Rotorcross aka FPV (First Person Video) drone racing, is not only a thing, but THE next big thing in the racing world. A display headset (think blacked out snowboarding goggles) puts you in the (virtual) pilot seat of a racing drone by displaying a live stream flight feed via high-definition cameras attached to the drones you’re controlling. With speeds reaching upwards of 50 MPH and race courses in challenging outdoor environments (forests, parks, jungles), the out-of-this-world experience has been compared to the speeder bikes Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia ride in that famous chase scene in “Return of the Jedi.” Joining a sanctioned league or licensed flying club is advised as the FAA has been cracking down on the sport’s explosion, which now includes sponsorship deals and $100k racing prize money.

PODCASTING

As kids wanted to be “like Mike,” now as adults we want to be “like Bill” as in Simmons, the sports blogger who became a household brand by ranting about sports and pop culture. We tell ourselves (and the nearest drunk at the bar) that we could wax poetic about hypothetical NBA trades and ’80s cult movies and now we actually can with podcasts. Sure, it may seem like everyone has a podcast now, but everyone is not you. There’s still time to find your voice. Just figure out a theme and stick to a format. A niche subject is a smart idea because you can’t compete with the numerous true crime, money investment or “Walking Dead” podcasts so find something that you can be or are the expert at, whether it be interviews with border collie owners or a weekly re-capper of Adult Swim’s “Rick and Morty.” Word to the wise, try to be more informative than funny. Listeners are downloading your show because they want to hear smart, fun and informative stories, opinions and advice on a particular subject. Getting started will cost you no more than $400, but don’t cut corners on the mic, headphones and recording software because even if your content is good, no one’s going to bother listening if the quality of the sound sucks.

VINYL COLLECTING

A majority of today’s vinyl collectors fall into two groups: They’re either revivalists resurrecting old school, second-generation collections that have been handed down or newbie aficionados who dig anything retro. You can tell the difference by thumbing through their living room collections to see if they have an Englebert Humperdinck record (definitely their mom’s). No matter how you start, you probably will never finish as vinyl collecting can be an addicting, expensive and time-sucking hobby. Any collector will tell you (and they will, trust us) that there’s no greater joy than digging through a crate of records and finding a rare classic in a dusty record store or garage sale. Whether it be the warmer analog sound quality or the simple fact that you can hold a record album in your hand, there is an unsung sentimentality that comes with vinyl, a personal connection between musician and listener that is weak with CD’s and non-existent in the modern era of streaming. That is why vinyl will never go the way of the cassette tape because modern artists such as Tame Impala and Run the Jewels love the hobby as much as the collectors, often putting out limited edition vinyl editions themselves. A few insider tips before you get started. If you’re looking for something specific, online shops like Soundstage Direct, Amoeba, Amazon (new releases) and Ebay (for rare finds) are a great way to build up collections. Also, don’t blow your wad on records and go cheap on audio equipment to play it on, especially speakers and headphones.

COFFEE ROASTING

Coffee is like wine for the daytime. They both have complex flavors and distinct aromas that you appreciate even more when you know the “where, what and why” behind them. If you scoop your beans from a Folgers can, coffee roasting probably isn’t for you, but for those of us who can taste and smell the difference between an Ethiopian Yirgacheffe and a Colombian La Morelia it is caffeine worship at its highest form. Like all good leisurely activities, you get what you put into roasting coffee as it can be as exacting and technical as you want it to be. At its most basic form, you’re heating up green (un-roasted) beans and turning them brown. Thus, you can go cowboy-style and simply heat them in a skillet over a burning fire or go all Juan Valdez with it by purchasing professional roasting equipment. For connoisseurs who live for the smell of brewed coffee, there is no finer coffee aroma than when you roast the beans. DIY roasting is also more economical (raw coffee beans are 50–75% cheaper and last longer so you can buy in bulk), plus your less likely to fuck it up than that home-brew batch you cooked up last summer that smelled like cat shit.


This article originally appeared on Unhemmed www.combatgent.com/live