Anyone who knows me well certainly knows of my rapidly changing interests and hobbies. It began in late high school with an ever-so-short snowboarding addiction. I purchased the required equipment, and made sure I had the high-end of everything. I learned what I could about how to snowboard, as well as the culture surrounding boarding. I went to 'Andes Tower Hills' only a couple of times throughout two winters, and I have not touched my board since. My second high school addiction was cycling and mountain biking. I picked up a summer job at a bike shop doing routine maintenance, and ended up spending $1,500 on a couple of bikes. This passion was much more useful, in that I made many friends, and put on a ton (literally 2000) miles over the year in which it consumed me. I've since had one of the bikes stolen, and sold the other to afford a (single) class at NDSU. I miss it, and will inevitably return to it someday - pending money. Other interests which have taken up much time and capital have been: beer, scotch, travel, coffee, photography, guitars, pianos, speed reading, classic literature,  and probably quite a bit more that my dad could recount...."Hey nick, remember when you wanted to be 'that guy' for like a whole week." I can hear him saying.

 A friend of mine called me 'The Learner' the other day. He's the same way. Always rapidly changing interests, but always gaining enough information for to benefit a future conversation. Why BS your way through a connection if you can actually know what you're talking about? He knows a bit about nearly everything - and most things you'd never expect. I hope to be like that when I'm his age.

I've recently begun trying to use my time as efficiently as possible to achieve said goal - and this has meant an essential elimination of movies and Netflix. I've watched Netflix twice in the past couple of months, and I've seen 4 movies (that I can remember) this year. Dead Poet's Society, The Intern, and Everest - all of which were on an international flight, and The Revenant. I think seeing 'critically acclaimed' films is important to keep social conversations, as well as anything Leonardo Dicaprio puts out. When I have a desire to watch something, I put on a TED talk, or a documentary. There are endless learning opportunities on the interwebs or youtubes that allow me to connect people better than standard movies. I still waste a lot of time, but I'm at least launching an attempt on being more productive.

On to the main purpose of this blog. So, I think the majority of the things that have excited me over the years have been as a result of women's interests. My brain: 'Oh, you like the Black Keys? I've actually never purposely listened to their music, but because you seem wonderful, so I'm going to listen to their entire anthology and learn their music on the piano.' The passions begin with someone else's enjoyment, but they usually end with a new hobby or love of my own. The entire reason I ever listened and learned John Mayer was because of a girl, and now I don't care if any girls like him, because I do, and he's one of 3 man-crushes in which I'm unashamed of.

My most recent love is art. Not art in the musical, or photographic sense, both of which are previous, yet current loves - but the sort of art which is painted on canvas, turned on a wheel, or sculpted with clay. I don't think I've ever understood 'art' in this way, and I've certainly never cared to. In December I traveled to both Paris and Amsterdam without visiting a single museum - something which I entirely regret in retrospect. Museum art has never spoken to me until I recently walked into a gallery downtown and had a drastic change of direction.

It was a new experience, and one I don't think God had allowed me to have until recent. I've been to a couple galleries in my life, but never had any interest. After visiting the gallery, I went home, ordered a art history textbook, and began reading. A wikipedia article on Van Gogh led  to impressionism, which which led to various other artists that captured my interest. This fairly new (to me) idea that an individual piece can encapsulate exactly what was happening in a particular time period really amused me. Styles of painting are each characteristic of different time periods, as well as locations in the world. Learning about art history is also to learn about history itself - and then be able to visit a lasting product of an era. This is probably silly to some, but this has baffled me. Beyond the art holding history within it, learning why someone painted a work is also fascinating. I'm currently somewhat obsessed with the works of Francis Bacon, who died 5 months before I was born. I could go on for a while, but I'm just trying to pen what my experience has been over the past month or two. My new travel destination goals are now galleries all across the world, and I visit the ones in town when I can't travel somewhere. 

And yes, this endeavor was initially because of a girl. Actually, a couple of them - but as usual, this hobby has become my own, and not merely a lack of knowledge that I feel the need to compensate for. I hope this interest lasts far longer than just knowing enough to keep a conversation about it.