Personal

Michael Stobb and family in Yosemite National Park

I live in Merced with my wife and son. We have one large dog (a rescued ex-racing greyhound) and two large, lazy cats. I have many hobbies that come and go, some of my current ones are listed below. If I ever have half an hour of free time, I would probably spend it reading a book.

Ukulele

One of the most common regrets of adults is that they never learned to play an instrument. If you feel this way, I heartily recommend picking up a ukulele! They are quite affordable (the intro level Oscar Schmidt at amazon is only about $50) and with just 4 strings, they are both fairly easy to start playing and still difficult to master!

If you want to learn more, I found these resources useful for starting out:

Woodworking

Making something useful with your own bare hands is always a treat. While woodworking as a hobby can easily become expensive (oh, how I dream of purchasing very large power tools...), the basics can usually be picked up cheaply at garage sales and your local discount tool store (i.e., Harbor Freight). For a truly meditative experience, try to use only old fashioned hand-tools. They make the experience much quieter (except if your banging away on a chisel) and cheaper to start. For a series of excellent videos on the subject, see Paul Seller's blog and YouTube channel linked below. He's been making furniture for over 50 years and has forgotten more about the subject than I will ever know:

Rescue Greyhounds

If you're thinking about getting a dog, I recommend looking into greyhound rescue. They are neat, healthy dogs with generally friendly personalities and calm demeanors. Surprisingly, they make excellent inside/apartment dogs.

Check out the links below to read more about it: