Published: 06/17/2020

Are you a developer? Do you do your full time job then go home only to sit in front of another screen to build code for another 3-6 hours? Does your weekend revolve around Netflix, syfy channel, eating, coding and sleeping? If so, you NEED a new hobby.

Computers as a hobby suck

The irony, I’m sitting at my computer 10 pm at night writing this post. Outside of blogging, research and general time wasters (facebook, reddit and hacker news), using the computer as your hobby sucks. Video games? They suck. Playstation / xbox / wii ? What are we 10 years old? They were great when you didn’t have any stuff to do, deadlines didn’t matter; now they’re a complete waste of your life.

Using a computer for your entertain is generally a bad idea, why? Let’s start with numero uno; you work 8-12 hours a day MOSTLY in front of your screen. This is bad enough for your eyes, ass and general well being; then you add 3-6 hours of coding, gaming or other hobby and now you’re at 15-18 hours a day in front of a screen. Mom, sorry for the language, but A FUCKING screen. Really? 18 hours of your life? Get off your ass and go do something more fun, productive and interesting. The computer will be there tomorrow. Mind you, this is a guy that has built has life and career for nearly the last 2 decades working with computers. Computers are great but remember they’re just dumb little machines that will delete themselves if you do sudo rm -rf / if you tell it to.

The next reason is that it’s really bad for your health. Your body was designed to consume calories from something other then a can and a plastic bag. Your heart and soul craves human contact, even if your head gets in the way. Your wife, parents, sibilings, friends all need attention; your computer does not care about you. Your body needs to get up and move, more then to get a coke, it needs to stretch and function.

what are my hobbies?

I’m sort of an interesting creature, one weekend I’m desiring pampering: massages, hair and toes done and the next I’m under my car drenched in sweat trying to fix a problem. This weekend was a car weekend. I woke up egar to work on my brake system. This is the first time on my Subaru and first solo brake job. I awoke early, 7 am. Then by 8 I was originized and had the car jacked up.

I spent the day with my wife and 10 month old baby hanging out in the garage then in the other car back into the garage. It was an awesome day.

Hobbies that aren’t technical are great because it exercises different parts of your brain and body. In the case of working on my car, I’m working all my muscles, patience and my language filter; my mind is thinking about problems in the physical space. Not to mention I’m hot, sweaty and drinking a ton of water.

This is good because I’m in a chair most of my life: it gives me a different perspective.

Here’s a list of some of my hobbies:

  1. Spending time with my family, I have a beautiful wife and little baby boy that deserve my attention.
  2. Reading. I read 4-5 books a month.
  3. Cooking and eating. I have a new char broil grill that my wife got me for my first fathers day; I love grill lines, steak and boy does this thing get hot; over 750 degrees in about 10 minutes….
  4. Fixing cars
  5. Hacking on an idea for a few hours (once in a while)
  6. Skiing and hanging out with friends

squirrel moment, lets talk about my car

jacked car

What’s a car have to do with development? Everything actually. That is my Subaru Impreza 2015 on jack stands (they hold the car up), a hydraulic jack and with the front wheel off. Why am I doing this? Well, I follow Mr. Money Mustache thus I believe that paying some guy $2000 to give me new brakes, AC, power steering and fluids is a bad idea.

Lets talk about the econmics. Yes I can make really amazing money as a developer; but unless I develop my own product, I’m capped at 40 hours a week of billable hours. That sounds amazing, but if I want to increase my income, I have to either: Invest (stocks, real estate), sell content, sell a product or service, or freelance through more web development. But the 8-10 hours I do something major for my car does something else: It works my body and saves my wallet.

Here’s the cost breakdown for my services this weekened:

Item My Cost Mechanics Cost Savings
Brake Pads for front and back $60 $200 for the front, $200 for the back $340
Rotors on all 4 wheels $100 $400 $300
Fix AC not working $30 $90 to look at it, then $150 to add AC coolant $210
Brake Fluid Flush $8 $150 $142
Power Steering Flush $10 $150 $140
Lug Stud Replacement $3 $200 $197

As you can see by doing SIMPLE maintence, I saved about $1300 this weekend. It cost me less then $300 in parts to fix these things; disclaimer, I did need to buy some new tools because Harbor Freight recalled their jacks and I decided not to chance it by dying under the car this weekend.

Why did I get into cars? I wanted to learn how to play with giant legos. I figure I have a degree; I’m an engineer, it can’t be that hard! While, actually there is a bit of a yes and no to it; it’s not hard, but it is hard work. The methods are the same for brakes and oil changes and other services, but the labor, the phyiscal lifting is different per project. Where you find a bolt or what size or where can be different. Like my Subaru does not have a screw in the back rotor to hold it on, my Honda did requiring a special $8 tool. Now my Honda DOES NOT have a screw in it’s rotor to take 2 fing hours to remove….

Do you want to get into cars? Check out Chris Fix and Scotty Kilmer on YouTube.