James and I met “briefly” on a Vancouver Miata x MiataNW Mount Baker cruise. Since then, we’ve interacted on social media and as a way to get to know him better, I’ve invited him to participate on BIRRY ASKS.
BR: If you had an opportunity to write on a billboard, what would it say?
JH: I feel like that would be really hard to see from the highway. How big is the pen? I'd probably just simply write “my safe word is fruit stripe gum” so the next person up there was like “huh?”
BR: I can see how you could have interpreted that question that way lol. My fault LOL.
BR: What is your spirit animal?
JH: Can you be your own spirit animal? I'm pretty sure it's me. If not… probably a jackass. I'm notoriously stubborn.
BR: What’s your favourite restaurant and what do you recommend there?
JH: This is tough. I eat out a LOT. Part of me swears the best meal I ever had was a burger at LBS in Vegas. Coincidentally it was my last meal as a single man. Locally I'm a brewery guy. Give me a buffalo wrap at Bushnell, a burger at Duvall Tavern, or a Cuban at Red Hook and I'm happy.
BR: My hidden agenda to this question is where I can eat when I travel down in the states.
BR: What were you thinking or sniffing here?
JH: I think this was a Movember progress pic so I was probably trying to find the angle where my nose didn't seem huge. Or maybe I'm still trying to figure out if you can get a tan under fluorescent lighting.
BR: HAHAHAHAHA that's awesome, I actually used to joke about getting a tan under the fluorescent lights at work because I was so far away from the windows. P.S. that stash was the DIRTIEST of them all for November.
BR: So you and I met on a common interest, which are Miatas. What year is your miata and what do you love most about driving a Miata?
JH: Great picture (taken at ORP). This is my 91 that's become my track toy but it doesn't see enough track time. I love how nimble it is and just the raw connected feeling. I strap into a 6 point harness and the Delrin motor mounts make it shake like a massage chair. It's just fun without being fast. I'm also daily driving a 90 right now and it's a wet noodle.
BR: Damn, you're a two Miata owner. Serious love for Miatas.
BR: What do you prefer more, Track Days or Auto x? And why?
JH: Track days hands down. You're out there for a 20 minute session and just racking up laps. You analyze every move and try to figure out your mistakes. Your instructor is giving you feedback and you get a bunch of chances to get right. Way more bang for the buck. I have done a lot more autocross events, and even finished 3rd in the biggest class at Bremerton, but it's not as fun anymore. I also don't drive nearly as hard on the streets. It's amazing how much better pushing the limit in a controlled environment is.
BR: And I definitely agree if you on this, my mind is constantly adjusting from previous mistakes I made on the last lap. I think I said it in my own Q&A but it's almost like meditation, you're so focused when you're on the track.
BR: What purchase of $100 or less has made the most positive impact in your life in the past 6-12 months?
JH: Oh man that's tough. I blow so much money on dumb stuff, lol. I'll say my Brooks running shoes. I set a goal last year to run a 10k and I did it. I HATE running. Everything about it. But… I got the right gear and got it done. And I'd do it again because I'm big into accomplishments. Set goals and achieve them!
BR: Dude, I also hate running... I get sick when I run. Not barfing sick, but I usually get a head cold a couple days after. Goal setting, I approve of that on many level.
BR: Looking through your Instagram, you’re quite the fitness freak. In terms of routines, are you a morning or evening work out guy?
JH: 100% evenings. I've tried every combo of waking up and eating or not and supplementing or not and can't do it. I'm a morning person in general but workouts are evenings for sure. Late mornings on the weekends are possible but only after the right breakfast and a few hour rest.
BR: How many days do you work out during the week? And how long do you spend per day?
JH: Typically 4 days and 1-2 hours. Sometimes I'll have a quick session and others a really long one. And if my body needs a break I may only get in 1-2 days. I took 6 weeks offafter my 10k. Shhhhhh!!!!
BR: Also in case you guys don't know, James has a sick setup of a squat rack that converts into a bench. This is seriously what I'd do if I had the room.
BR: What was the heaviest you ever hit on the scale?
JH: 176. I'm 5’11” so that's not big but I'm long and lanky. I'm currently hoping to get up to about 185 and I'm around 165 now. I fought MMA once and that was at 155.
BR: I will remember to never insult you James "The Notoriously Stubborn" Hobson.
BR: On your IG feed, you use the tag, #whole30, can you tell me more about that tag?
JH: Whole30 is a diet in the “what I eat” everyday sense, not the trying to lose weight definition. It's similar to paleo but even more strict. My wife and I are doing our second Whole30 now. The idea is that if you change your habits for 30 days they will last much longer. I've found that I should be eating more protein and less fat so it won't last much longer for me, but some recipes may still get the hashtag.
R: Interesting, I'm going to flag this as a follow up question as a potential for a part 2. Keyword: Ketosis (look into it).
BR: Switching tracks, you and I share another commonality and that is the cubicle life. How long have you served in your cubicle and what do you do for work? And do you enjoy what you do for work?
I had my 10 year anniversary last year. I was call center at first but I cut that leash about 8 years ago. I'm a project manager for Ethernet circuits so essentially I liaise between the customer, sales, engineering, operations, etc. and make sure everyone gets their job done.
BR: Very nice, another follow up question for a possible part two, thoughts on managing people.
BR: I know when I get bored at work, I dream about what i would love to do instead of being in a cubicle, what would you want to do besides your current job?
I love being outside. I almost got hired on with public utilities as a linesman. That would have been awesome. I also have my degree in criminal justice and pursued that a while back. A job with a fast car and a gun? Sign me up!! I really have the mentality that I can do anything I put my mind to so who knows...
BR: Fast car and a gun reminds me of Twisted Metal or the Fast and the Furious franchise. Oh I know, they have a lot of drive by shootings here in Vancouver, perhaps they're hiring ;)
BR: Another thing we have common is that we’re both married, are kids in the future outlook? And why?
JH: Yep, married for almost 8 years. We've decided not to have kids. I have way too many toys and hobbies to buy for myself and we decided it wasn't for us. We've always said that's open ended and could change but it's highly unlikely.
BR: I totally agree with you on this point. Kids aren't for everyone and depending on your values, kids are not a mandatory point in life. I myself have too many hobbies and toys, but more so my wife in terms of kid toys. Follow up question for next time, what do you say when people drill you on kids?
BR: On the topic of family, you have two dogs (assumed from photo), what do you love the most about raising dogs and did you have them since puppies?
JH: Yep, we have a pair of fur kids in our home. Norris (on the left, the black one) has been around since birth. My wife works at a veterinarian and his mom was dumped as a pregnant stray. I was against a puppy as he was our third dog at the time but I couldn't imagine life without him now. He's getting to be an old man and it's sad. :( On the right is Dee, (the white one). She's 11000% insane. We got her at about 2 years old and she was a trained bird dog but was gun shy so she couldn't hunt. Her owner was awesome and he was friends with the owner and main doctor where my wife worked at the time and wanted a good home for her. She was so shy and timid but it turned out she had Adisons disease. Once we got her meds right she came out of her shell. Now she howls and tap dances around the house. Nobody guesses she's an old lady.
You can probably tell that my dogs are my favorite. More about them than the Miata, lol.
BR: That's awesome, our dogs stories are similar as well. Mona, we had her since she was a puppy and Bear we adopted him when he was 3. What's also neat is that your wife works at a Vet office which I admire because animals have no voice and they sometimes need our support. Both my wife and I strongly believe in rescuing/adopting animals rather than purchasing them from pet stores/breeders/puppy mills.
BR: Last question, what advice would you give to your 20 year old self? And what were you doing when you were 20, still in school or working already?
JH: Oh man. 20 year old me was an asshole. I couldn't find the right line between confidence and cockiness. I hurt some people and was a jerk so much. But… I also met my wife. I'm not the sappy type but I wouldn't change that. So advice… just be nice and be humble. Maybe change your major, lol. I was in college full time and mostly only worked summers but dabbled in some retail too.
I hope you guys enjoyed reading and learning about James as much as I did. I want to thank James for taking the time and answering my questions. He was a real trooper about it even with the more personal questions. I'm looking forward to a part two of this with James and perhaps a different format. Just a note to anyone that has read down to here, the goal is to work towards an audio or video format. So stay tuned and let me know what you think of this feature. You can also reach me @BirryRam on Twitter, IG, FB, or in the comments below.
Have a wonderful day!