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English: Stack of books in Gould's Book Arcade...

English: Stack of books in Gould’s Book Arcade, Newtown, New South Wales (NSW), Australia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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“Perfect Hobby? Reading books Is Fun, Cheap and Good for You”

This article discusses the variety of benefits that come from reading books, and has a focus on traditional bound books, as opposed to ebooks.

For myself though, I do have a kindle, and I love it!  The initial cost was a little high, but with a battery that is usable for roughly a month between charges, depending on how much I use it or if I read text or listen to audio books.  I do find that there are tons of free or low-cost books available for it.  I also find that I’m more apt to read a book on my Kindle then I would be to go browsing bookshelves looking for a book to read.  Considering I have ADHD and Anxiety disorder, I find that online shopping is more efficient for me but everyone has their own take on that, buying or finding ebooks is fun to me, but then I’m also a gadget junkie so that might be a reason as well.

Going back to the traditional bound books though, I do know that it can be very affordable, especially if you check out used book stores, or even better your local library,  Other places to find books inexpensively could be yard sales, book exchanges, flea markets, and I’m sure there is place I haven’t thought of.  But there are lots of fringe benefits to reading, so check it out and maybe you’ll find out you’ve gained an opportunity to grow a bit 🙂

A little off topic but still might be of interest

I’m into history, have been since I was a kid not real sure why exactly but it has always fascinated me.  Well, over the past couple years I’ve been looking at postcards, some I purchsed others I dream of purchasing and the topis I seem drawn to are local history depicted on postcards or anything depicting images of state hospitals … sometimes these overlap a bit since there is a state hospital in my local area, and recently I’ve been caughtup in studying it’s history.

I know others enjoy collecting postcards, and in light of Allentown State Hospital closing, I was wandering around looking for images of the facility.  this particular link I’m going to include here will take you to a page on a site that sells postcard, I wanted to let folks know I don’t have any affilliation with the site and simply am posting the link because they have a nice pic of Allentown State Hospital that I thought was interesting.

without further delay, here’s the link ….  http://www.cardcow.com/272667/administration-building-allentown-state-hospital-pennsylvania/

The site is called Cardcow, but it’s got tons of neat postcards you can browse through, so if you’re a collector of postcards you might like this site.


Renewing and old interest

Back in 2001 I bought a metal detector, which I used maybe 4 or 5 times tops right off the back and then it found it’s way into my closet.  I recently dug my metal detector out of the closet mainly because of an event being held in my area, it was described as being “day camp for adults”.   get you minds out of the gutter, it’s good clean fun with various things to try out, some I picked include, geocaching, kayaking, archery, metal detecting and a few others.  It boiled down to 4 first choices and 4 alternate choices.  I got to thinking that since I selected metal detecting as one of my choices, maybe I could take my own detector and get some pointers on using it.  At any rate my detector is out of the closet, and I found myself thinking about places I might be able to use it.  Home is out of the question, but I thought maybe the local park might be worth trying.  First thing I had to do was figure out what kind of batteries it needed which I discovered it took 2- 9 volt batteries.  I was relieved that it didn’t require “C” size batteries since those are tough to find, but since it was the little rectangle shaped 9 volt batteries I knew it wasn’t going to be tough to find them.  I got the batteries popped them into the detector and pressed the “On” button the display lit up I heard some beeps and then it settled down, I was in business.  I had good batteries in a seemingly working detector …. good start to say the least.

Well, I had other things to do, so I set the detector next to the front door where I walked past it every time I took my dog out so she could go potty.  Afetr a couple days I thought ok I have ideas of where to use it, maybe it would be good to play around with it and see what I find.  So I ended up going out on a rather cool windy day, it had rained the night before so the ground was soft which made digging easy.  Within about an hour or so, I had found $0.56 some pop tabs, a handfull of candy/gum wrappers, and a fork.  I think it was a bit of beginner’s luck, but I had a blast.  Yeah it was boring at times when the detector I was swinging back and forth was silent, but then it would come to life and beep as I homed in on something.  My detector gives a hint as to what I’m looking for, but there is still an element of surprise since I don’t know if the coin my detector sensed is a penny or a quarter or something entirely different.  So I guess you could say that there is a bit of a thrill of the hunt involved in this.  I’m really enjoying it overall, I can take my dog so we can spend time playing in the park.

So how does this relate to this blog, well I guess it’s one of those things that I found I had an interest in that by renewing it, not only do I get to do something fun, but it is something that gets me out of the house, depending on the weather I might get to enjoy the sunshine, and being as my weight is an issue, it is an activity that gets me moving around which is always a good thing when trying to lose some pounds.  I just have a low end detector, but it’s one of those things I wasn’t sure if I would like it or not when I bought it so I didn’t want to spend a lot for it.  I think in the last 3 times I’ve been out, I probably found just over $1 in spare change, and I have a warm fuzzy feeling because I found a couple really sharp scraps of metal in a sandbox that kids play in that I was able to remove and make things a little safer for the kids.  I also decided to keep the pop tabs I find and once I get a bunch of them, I’m going to take them to McDonalds and turn them in for them to use to help fund the Ronald McDonald House.   I guess you could say that this is a hobby that while it is boring at times, it does have potential to help not only myself, but others as well.

An estimate of what I paid for equipment to do this ….

Detector was between $80 and $100

hand trowel cost between $1 and $3

Carabeaner type key clips x2 $2 to $4

Plastic grocery bag  – Free?

The way I carry my stuff is that I use on clip through the handle of the trowel so I can clip it to my belt loop or backpack.  The second clip is used the same as the first but for carrying my plastic bag. The bag is used to carry the items I find in until I get home and can clean them up to check them out closer.

I would like to get a detector that has a headphonejack because my current one has a speaker with no volume control which means it has one setting in terms of loudness and that is something that I think if I wasn’t the one swinging the detector, I would probably be annoyed by the sounds.   So I try to pick times when the park is quieter to go use my detector, and if it starts getting more populated I usually head home.

In general though I find my mood has been better and I’m sleeping better as well since I started playing with my detector.  So it’s one of my nerdy hobbies, but it does offer some mental health benefits which is why I opted to share it with folks here.  It’s a hobby that can be done by just about anyone ant any age, and for folks like me who aren’t big on crowds, it’s a great way to get out of the house without having to go into crowded places.  Once in awhile someone will ask me what I’m doing and when I tell them I’m just seeing what kinds of metal objects I can find they generally shrug and walk away.  If I happen to have found something I’ll show them what I have found just so they know I’m really doing something.  So there is a bit of socialization involved, but for the most part it’s an solo kind of hobby.

Will I get rich doing this?  Doubtful, but I think the benefits of walking around outside for a couple hours or more will pay off in it’s own way even if it isn’t in gold and silver.  🙂

“Festival would boost mental health: Good hobbies object of idea for street fest”

I thought this was an interesting project that may be taking place in Warren, PA.  there are plans to try and put together a festival that focuses on mental health but instead of focusing directly on it, they are talking about good mental health through positive hobbies as a way to promote mental health awareness month.  Below is the article as it was found in the Warren Times Observer on February 1, 2008 ….

Festival would boost mental health: Good hobbies object of idea for street fest


Gary Lester, executive director of Family Services of Warren County, plans to promote the awareness of mental health by putting the focus on healthy hobbies. His plan involves having a event that resembles a street performer festival and would feature musicians, jugglers,artists and dancers.

“I could envision a corner with rappers,” he said.

Chris Cheronis of the Warren Main Street program called it a “buskers festival.” Buskers is an old British term for street performers, she said.The Warren Main Street program will be collaborating with Family Services and the Warren County Summer School on the project. Lester would also like to see many social clubs get involved to promote their programs.

“This is an opportunity for artists to showcase their talent in a very casual setting,” Cheronis said. “If we get a tourism draw, that is an added bonus.”

Cheronis said the festival would be a kick-off for the Art Attack, the art in the park series, and will be bring a “urban-esque” feel to the downtown.

Lester got the idea for a street performer festival from his travels around the country. He witnessed a similar event in Cambridge, Mass., and thought, “We can do that in downtown Warren.”

The motivation behind planning the festival is promoting mentally healthy activities while building confidence in the young artists of Warren County.

“Mental illness is usually the focus,” he admitted. “The concept started when I wanted to be a crusader for mental health,”

For Lester, mental health is like physical health. There are proactive measures to ward off mental issues. It is similar to how people use exercise and a healthy diet to prevent physical illnesses.

Lester said the festival feeds into the five basic needs, a concept accredited to his mentor, Dr. Willam Glasser.

The five basic needs are survival, freedom, love and belonging, power and fun. A street performer festival obviously fulfills the need for “fun.”

“We’re not keying in on the desirability of these activities,” he added.

The idea of creating mental health through positive activity is unconventional. “This is a real idealistic concept,” said Lester.

“If you are not a happy person, you need to go out and do something,” he added.

The hope is that the event will illuminate the “simple concept” of striving to be mentally healthy, Lester said. He would like the promotion of mental health at the same status of quit smoking campaigns or breast cancer research.

While he doesn’t have a working title for project, Lester said, “There is almost a slogan of ‘Warren is mentally healthy.’” The idea is still in its very early stages; the projected date is June 27.

Section: News Date Posted: 2/1/2008

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