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One of my favorite things about surfing the web is stumbling upon someone's magnificent obsession.
October 4, 2001 6:51 AM   Subscribe

One of my favorite things about surfing the web is stumbling upon someone's magnificent obsession. In order to qualify as a Magnificent Obsession (M.E.) -- at least according to my definition -- the hobby must strike me as slightly-to-extremely insane while, at the same time, fill me with admiration for the hobbyist's discipline. Some M.E.s are about collecting totally useless data (like the main link above), or like this research into EXIT Sign Coloration; or strange items, like Wal-Mart receipts or air-sickness bags. But my favorite M.E.s are the ones that lead to huge expense and huge amounts of time spent building or fixing wonderful, useless objects -- like planetarium projectors or Lost in Space robots, which "can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $35,000 and vary in detail depending on the abilities and resources made available to the builder. A project like this can take months if not years to complete." Know any other good M.E. links?
posted by grumblebee (80 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
"Ever since I was a little kid I always wanted to have a tree house..."
posted by grumblebee at 6:59 AM on October 4, 2001


well after reading the post, I don't know if I have time to answer..... ;O)

however, funny you ask
posted by Frasermoo at 7:02 AM on October 4, 2001


As long as I can remember, my greatest wish was to have a suit of armor. The wait lasted over twenty years, but the day finally came when I at long last could buckle on a set of my own armor. This page is dedicated to the years of longing I spent, and what I had to go through to get there...
posted by grumblebee at 7:03 AM on October 4, 2001


I think that this site dedicated to BBC Test Cards could just qualify.
posted by astro38 at 7:04 AM on October 4, 2001


It seems arrogant to qualify my obsession as magnificent, but some have called it "slightly insane," and it is undoubtedly useless. I have created the worlds first and only mesh and foam hat collection, on or off the Web. www.meshcap.com.
posted by ubermesh at 7:06 AM on October 4, 2001


Want to learn how to build a sand castle? Like this one...
posted by grumblebee at 7:09 AM on October 4, 2001


This set of webpages (what's a set of webpages? a webchapter?) is intended for anyone who wants to create artificial languages-- for a fantasy or an alien world, as a hobby, as an interlanguage. It presents linguistically sound methods for creating naturalistic languages-- which can be reversed to create non-naturalistic languages. It suggests further reading for those who want to know more, and shortcuts for those who want to know less.
posted by grumblebee at 7:19 AM on October 4, 2001


Hmmm... these may be more weird-personality-related, but you have:

· Skirtman, the male computer programmer who has an obsession with wearing skirts.

· Richard Sandrak, the 8-year-old strongman, whose obsession, or rather, parent's obsession with weightlifting has driven the boy to looking like this.

As a sidenote...just because I'm dumb, can you explain to me why "Magnificent Obsession" is abbreviated by the letters, "M.E.?" Just curious.
posted by Hankins at 7:23 AM on October 4, 2001


No. It's because I'M dumb. It should be M.O., of course! I must have been having an premature senior moment.
posted by grumblebee at 7:25 AM on October 4, 2001


I've always been curious about this guy's collection. As well as this one and this one. They all seem obsessive to me.
posted by Benway at 7:30 AM on October 4, 2001


I think those sandcastles are an exception though - I mean they are really cool.

have i said too much?
posted by Spoon at 7:43 AM on October 4, 2001


There's also the Peter Pan guy,
Martial Arts dude (check his $10K challenge),
Waffle woman.
guy who photographs his pet bunny with all kinds of crap on its head.

Some of these are more weird than have a M.O. This place is a good source of more M.O. people: Web WWWeirdness
posted by Witold at 7:46 AM on October 4, 2001


"...Twenty-five years later, however, he fulfilled his childhood dream on a grand scale, using more than 100,000 green bricks to build a 14-foot-long stegosaurus that now inhabits his Redondo Beach apartment."
posted by grumblebee at 7:47 AM on October 4, 2001


Does a collection of hundreds of pictures of highway signs qualify? Have a look, and I think you'll agree with me that it does.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:48 AM on October 4, 2001


The purpose of a Rube Goldberg Machine is to build the most complicated machine possible to perform a simple everyday task. This is my second Rube Goldberg Machine. The first one poured a can of soda in 35 steps. This one will turn on a blue-light thereby revealing a hidden message in 47 steps. Below the description of my 25 seconds of fame is a complete operation summary, followed by pictures with numbers referring to specific steps in the summary. Just in case you were wondering, it took me over 4 months to build this doozie of a machine!

http://www.y3k.com/rube.html
posted by grumblebee at 7:50 AM on October 4, 2001


I think those sandcastles are an exception though - I mean they are really cool.

I think a lot of these projects are really cool. M.O.s should be cool. That's the M part of M.O.
posted by grumblebee at 7:52 AM on October 4, 2001


MAybe not a M.O. but a fun site non the less.
posted by bjgeiger at 7:54 AM on October 4, 2001


Another obsession that I saw a few years ago. . .I did an MF search and didn't find anything and nothing about this in the other responses. . .but here is my submission for possibly the most worthless M. E. out there. I'm sure it started tongue in cheek but I suspect that once something like whis gets started, there is no turning back. . .
posted by Danf at 7:54 AM on October 4, 2001


I don't know if this qualifies as a Magnificent Obsession, more like an Exhaustive List, but I stumbled across The Collective Noun page while looking up anagrams on Google.
posted by jazon at 8:05 AM on October 4, 2001


DFB Central: "This is a list that members of the FlushBoy Mailing List have collected over the past decade. It specifies the locations where we have encountered toilet and urinal flush valves manufactured by Coyne and Delany, Inc. (especially, the 'FlushBoy' water saver model inscribed with these words of wisdom: 'Turn To Silence')."
posted by sudama at 8:14 AM on October 4, 2001


But I'm not obsessed with Starbucks, mind you. I'm an "enthusiast". Visiting every Starbucks somehow reminds me of Agrajag's quest to insult every human being on the planet (especially since Starbuckses seem to reproduce more frequently than human beings).

What unsettles me about this site is the photographic proof that this guy has been right around the corner from just about everywhere I've ever lived, and that he stood practically outside my window to photograph the Shepard St (Cambridge) Starbucks in the early morning.
posted by sesquipedalia at 8:20 AM on October 4, 2001


I've been thinking about borrowing a friend's digital camera and putting up a Web site with images of my pipe collection. (I've been smoking tobacco pipes for about 22 years and have >50 pipes.) But fortunately I haven't actually wasted time doing it.
posted by alumshubby at 8:28 AM on October 4, 2001


alumshubby: what tobacco you use? Do you BUY American?or use Eurotrash stuff?
posted by Postroad at 8:33 AM on October 4, 2001


A few I like:
Moist Towelette Collecting

Dr. Pepper and its many clones

and of course, Men Who Look Like Kenny Rogers

I've been thinking about doing a "shoes hanging off power lines" site.
posted by O9scar at 8:43 AM on October 4, 2001


I've become mildly compulsive about yoyos and have got a decent collection started but there are some people out there that have me beat hands down.
Here's one of the better online collections
posted by KnitWit at 8:47 AM on October 4, 2001


eurotrash hehe
posted by h0ney at 8:55 AM on October 4, 2001


This one scares more than a little.
Belly Button Lint
posted by bob bisquick at 8:59 AM on October 4, 2001


Ah yes, the Online Wackos. I believe the Japanese call it "Otaku".

Along the lines of Skirtman and Dick Sandrak, of course there is Randy Constan, winner of a 2001 Webby Award. And let's not forget LizardMan or TigerMan.

As far as M.E.'s (or M.O.'s, whatever) go, how about this collection, or this research project. This woman has paid over $50 for an AOL CD.

There are just so many to catalog, it hurts my brain. (Hmm, perhaps I can start an M.O. of Online Wackos' Web Sites?)
I think the reason so many of us like pages like this, is because they provide a catharsis of sorts. "Hey,I may be crazy, but at least I'm not as bad as THAT guy!"

Alas, I could no longer find the girl who catalogued and dressed herself up in every conceivable variation of Sailor Moon characters. And Lisa Marshel's Holly Hobbie Page appears down. I always wonder what happens when an Online Wacko eventually goes offline. Do they find themselves a S.O. (significant other?) Do they just wake up one day and realize, "um, yeah, that was kind of nutty?" Do they move onto another M.O.?
posted by Fofer at 9:11 AM on October 4, 2001


That one about people looking for flushvalves manufactured by Coyne and Delany: That's Delany as in Dana Delany, an actress certainly herself worthy of obsession. Her grandfather invented the valve.

Before you unseal the restraining order, I saw it on Conan.

Also, this site has a great list of magnificent obsession links. (Apparently the term is not original to grumblebee. Although nice try with the abbrev.)
posted by luser at 9:11 AM on October 4, 2001


That one about people looking for flushvalves manufactured by Coyne and Delany: That's Delany as in Dana Delany, an actress certainly herself worthy of obsession. Her grandfather invented the valve.

Before you unseal the restraining order, I saw it on Conan.

Also, this site has a great list of magnificent obsession links. (Apparently the term is not original to grumblebee. Although nice try with the abbrev.)
posted by luser at 9:11 AM on October 4, 2001


Sorry, that link is here
posted by luser at 9:13 AM on October 4, 2001


I"m just going to post, and post and post. Don't try to stop me

Christ.
posted by luser at 9:14 AM on October 4, 2001


How about that dude that turned his apartment into the Star Trek Enterprise? (Link no longer active.)
posted by Fofer at 9:24 AM on October 4, 2001


I think Cardhouse and its collection of Candy Cigarettes is purty damn cool.

oh and Tanks and Bubblegum
posted by Kafkaesque at 9:27 AM on October 4, 2001


Musn't forget Project: Denny's!

They may lack the scale to qualify as truly magnificent, but I think BEAM robotics - making robot critters out of recycled electronics - is worth a mention. I have to admit, it strikes me as more cool than weird, to the point that I'm thinking of learning how to solder just to give it a try.
posted by gamera at 9:47 AM on October 4, 2001


I think this may be my favorite thread of all time. Keep that wacky crap a-comin'!
posted by ColdChef at 9:51 AM on October 4, 2001


awesome thread. Here's my contribution:

http://www.designmaker.com/vacuums/collector/forum.htm

It's a forum run by this guy who is an avid collector of vacuum cleaners. Before I stumbled across this (looking to buy a used vacuum), I had no idea anyone anywhere had this much knowledge about vacuum cleaners.
posted by jeb at 10:23 AM on October 4, 2001


i guess i qualify with my rather pointless collections of concert and movie ticket stubs.

someday i will start taking pictures of my favorite interstate phenomena: those long streamers of broken cassette tape that show up along the sides of interstates.
posted by grabbingsand at 10:23 AM on October 4, 2001


A Gemco grand reunion.
posted by eyeballkid at 10:26 AM on October 4, 2001


Jim Bishop has spent over 32 years building his castle in Colorado out of found rocks and with only his bare hands.
posted by Vek at 10:30 AM on October 4, 2001


That's a PERFECT M.O., Vek.
posted by grumblebee at 10:36 AM on October 4, 2001


THE MOTHERLOAD: http://www.owencounty.org/tour/barnhouse.htm

"Jim Pendleton is the Dr. Frankenstein of house building, and the Barn House is his Creature....

"The Barn House contains 41 rooms, 15 stairways and 15 walking decks. There are secret passages and tunnels, peepholes, a room with 688 hats, a prayer alcove, and a "quickie" room (where a "man and woman can do their business."). Jim recommends that visitors sun themselves in the nude on his sun decks. He has continued building for the last twenty-five years -- his wife left him, and his son and daughter have moved away.

"January 2001: Jim Pendleton is reported to be out of prison, though the fate of the Barn House is uncertain"
posted by grumblebee at 10:41 AM on October 4, 2001


Has anyone mentioned Dr. Toast yet? My favorite haiku from the page:

Angry toastless man
Malfunctioning appliance
Senseless killing spree

posted by adampsyche at 10:41 AM on October 4, 2001


Has anyone mentioned Dr. Toast yet? My favorite haiku from the page:

Angry toastless man
Malfunctioning appliance
Senseless killing spree

posted by adampsyche at 10:41 AM on October 4, 2001


damn! my first double post!
posted by adampsyche at 10:41 AM on October 4, 2001


OMG! See the yellow sidebar here: http://www.roadsideamerica.com/map/ca.html
posted by grumblebee at 10:45 AM on October 4, 2001


Perhaps the most famous M.O.: http://www.winchestermysteryhouse.com/
posted by grumblebee at 10:46 AM on October 4, 2001


grabbingsand, that cassette thing is a great idea!

I have often thought of doing that with abandoned shoes by the side of the road. Besides the obvious public good that could be accomplished by giving these shoes to the needy, think of the excitement of the road-shoe collector who finds one Reebok by the side of the road in Utah, only to find its exact match in Nebraska!

I would also like to interrogate the people who throw shoes out of moving vehicles to find out exactly what is on their mind at the moment of footwear-ejection.

A sad and beautiful world indeed!
posted by Kafkaesque at 10:46 AM on October 4, 2001


Mark Thomas, besides being an amusing fellow, has a collection of pictures of pipes, things he's found and a bunch of punchlines (no jokes). Plus, you can page him.
posted by haqspan at 10:46 AM on October 4, 2001


Someone may find this one useful: Yossie's Handcuff Collection
posted by bjgeiger at 10:58 AM on October 4, 2001


"Carl Piermarini decided to build a full scale working replica ofThe Time Machine prop as seen in the 1960 MGM George Pal Production of THE TIME MACHINE." [NOTE: GREAT PHOTOS ON SITE!]

"If someone would have told me that I would spend 5 years completing this project, I may have never attempted it. But I am very glad that I did. The main reason is twofold. First I have proven to myself that I can accomplish anything, and I do mean anything... that I set my mind to, no matter how difficult or foreign to my understanding and skills. Secondly, I have met many very talented, dedicated artists, prop makers, historians, archivists and sci-fi fans with whom I would have never gotten a chance to converse with or meet." -- Carl Piermarini
posted by grumblebee at 11:00 AM on October 4, 2001


I know several people that are deffinately Atari M.O.'s or love console video games, but the greatest of all are the various chip M.O's out there.

Wow. People get obsessive.
posted by Benway at 11:23 AM on October 4, 2001


I don't have a site up yet because...well, just because. But a recent M.O. of mine has been......

building replicas (small, desktop-sized) of game show sets.
From the 70's.

The first one was The Big Showdown (ABC, host: Jim Peck, ran briefly in 1975 - 76).

Current project: Now You See It (CBS, host: Jack Narz, ran about 1975 - 1976 as well. NYSI was also the only game show (so far) to have a theme written for it by an award-winning composer ("Chump Change" by Quincy Jones)).

Go figure.
posted by ebarker at 11:41 AM on October 4, 2001


You've GOT to get those online, ebarker!
posted by grumblebee at 11:48 AM on October 4, 2001


ebarker: I demand that you place your collection online. Not "request" but "demand". The penalties for failure are severe, and generally involve a life sentence in my huge Antarctic nickel-smelting facilities.
posted by aramaic at 12:01 PM on October 4, 2001


This is an EXCELLENT thread. Here's a site that offers a combination of M.O.'s and weird people. It's a must-see.
posted by byort at 12:05 PM on October 4, 2001


This guy's macintosh based mp3 player in his Pathfinder wins for me. Some have said that my blog that chronicles the dead animals that our cats and dogs bring in through the dog-door is a bit obsessive too.
posted by machaus at 12:10 PM on October 4, 2001


It's kind of fun to watch what comes through the queue over at memepool.
posted by alumshubby at 12:33 PM on October 4, 2001


The Electric Pole Shrine 2000 is here---
http://longneck.bizland.com/poles.htm
Boy, I hope this works---this is the first time I've had something you folk haven't .
posted by realjanetkagan at 1:00 PM on October 4, 2001


*sigh* Sorry about that. If somebody would point me to a tutorial, I promise I learn how to do this.
posted by realjanetkagan at 1:02 PM on October 4, 2001


OMG! That Mac Pathfinder thing is incredible. I looked all over the site, but I can't find anywhere how much his system cost. Wow. He's my new hero.
posted by ColdChef at 1:10 PM on October 4, 2001


realjanetkagan, you have to write HTML tags to make hyperlinks:

Click here for Yahoo

produces this:

Click here for Yahoo
posted by grumblebee at 1:18 PM on October 4, 2001


Aargh! What I meant was:

realjanetkagan, you have to write HTML tags to make hyperlinks:

[a href="http://www.yahoo.com"]Click here for Yahoo[/a]

produces this:

Click here for Yahoo

(except you have to substitute greater and less than signs for the open & close brackets, above)
posted by grumblebee at 1:22 PM on October 4, 2001


Thanks, grumblebee!
Wish me luck & here you go for
Sewers of the World, Unite!
It's an art project but it's also a magnificent obsession & I love it.
posted by realjanetkagan at 2:06 PM on October 4, 2001


Look, I have to commit autobloggatio here, which everybody else is doing anyway. Who else catalogues every red-haired man he sees?

I ask you.
posted by joeclark at 2:55 PM on October 4, 2001


joeclark---What, no pictures??? I adore red-heads myself & I envy all my red-headed cousins. Consider putting up pictures & I'll send you some.
posted by realjanetkagan at 3:13 PM on October 4, 2001


Speaking of cars, Bryan's Toyota Crown Page is a favourite of mine. 'The photos were taken opportunistically of vehicles parked conveniently to the reach of my digital camera...'
posted by rory at 4:36 PM on October 4, 2001


This thread, by the way, has single-handedly (threadedly?) restored my faith in MeFi. Bravo.
posted by rory at 4:50 PM on October 4, 2001


Sorry, I don't have a link, but I'm reminded of a "Sally Jessy Raphael" show I saw I don't know how long ago when I was home sick with pneumonia. The topic was "people with strange hobbies", and this one man had dedicated his life to achieving one million on his adding machine by methodically adding 1+1+1+1+1 etc. Every night, after he came home from work, he'd sit and add 1+1+1+1+1 for a few hours on his adding machine, and he had vowed he wouldn't stop until he hit one million.
posted by Oriole Adams at 4:51 PM on October 4, 2001


Disturbing auction items.
posted by swift at 6:09 PM on October 4, 2001


ummm, disturbing auction items is too weird for words...
hatching monkey?
posted by goneill at 10:05 PM on October 4, 2001


This thread rocks.
posted by mmm at 7:11 AM on October 5, 2001


firehydrant pictures! Check out the decorated ones---too funny. Oh, and send them photos of hydrants they don't have....
posted by realjanetkagan at 9:16 AM on October 5, 2001


There's an embarrassment of riches here already, but please let me add the Unofficial Burger Chef Homepage, "For those who loved and miss one of the America's greatest burger franchises."

What makes this arguably magnificent is the cri de coeur, Is It Closing Time?, in which the dedicated soul who's been running this tribute confesses he may have to give it up.
posted by BT at 9:19 AM on October 5, 2001


Aww, dammit. That second link should be to this.

Note to self: check ALL links in preview...
posted by BT at 9:22 AM on October 5, 2001


I'm sorry if this has been posted before, but surely the GREATEST exponent of the MO art has to be Jack Hall with his incredible collection of musical instruments made out of matchsticks.

I mean, folks honestly, this was truly a lifelong obsession of some note!
posted by Duug at 2:07 PM on October 5, 2001


Two German Sites:
Banana Stickers
and paper hankerchiefs.
posted by ronsens at 7:05 PM on October 5, 2001


Don't forget the "Disney Tattoo Guy" (over 1,000 Disney tattoos).
posted by misterioso at 12:42 AM on October 6, 2001


A friend has insisted that somebody has to post this, so it might as well be me: Belt-Sander Drag Racing. Go horns versus hamster!
posted by rory at 3:26 PM on October 6, 2001


The site with the "...guy who photographs his pet bunny with all kinds of crap on its head" made my day. It feels good to laugh that hard, especially these days. Scary thing is I think he's my soulmate--I've got a few snaps of my cat with things balanced on her head. Now I'm freaking...
posted by Kato at 11:49 PM on October 7, 2001


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