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I guess I just like liking things

It’s my 42nd birthday today, so I thought I’d take what that number portends and talk a little about my favorite things I’m a fan of. I don’t have the energy (or memory!) I once did to memorize all kinds of facts and figures, so my participation these days is more passive. At the same time I think I can appreciate things more now because I understand them better.

I tried putting these into some kind of order, but it’s not really that kind of list (translation: I couldn’t do it). So here are some of my favorite things:

1. Star Trek – If I was able to sort these, this would be at the top of my list. My history with Trek goes so far back and I’ve been able to enjoy so many things related to it. My first (and only until later this month) fan convention was a Star Trek convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, some time in 1987 or 88. I got see Mark Lenard and Grace Lee Whitney and I bought a T-shirt and a baseball cap with Spock ears attached that I used to wear while sitting on the bench in baseball. My coach pretty much hated me.

2. Q*bert – I’m not sure what else I could say about Q*bert. The most surprising thing, probably, is that I’m not really very good at the game.

3. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – I discovered these guys when I was in 7th or 8th grade. My Senior year of high school I had all four figures dangling from the ceiling of my locker in an action tableau. That same year my girlfriend gave me a trade paperback of the first Turtles comics in my Easter basket. I still have that book, I still have those figures, and two days ago I bought another Lego kit that had Leonardo in it.

4. Batman – It wasn’t until news started coming out about the 1989 movie that I really started getting into Batman. I’d seen the show and read a few comics, sure, but the movie is what really got me started. From there it was The Dark Knight Returns and on and on, and now any time someone finds a funny picture related to Batman in some way, I get sent it 3-5 times on Facebook because I’m that “Batman guy” that most people in my friend circle know.

5. Videogames – Yes, I’m aware that Q*bert is a videogame. But this is more about the culture and the systems and the history.  My first gaming machine was a Commodore 64. My first console was a Sega Genesis. The last time I counted, I came up with 20+ consoles that I’ve owned at one point or another. My favorite series of all time is Tomb Raider, but I’ve come to love Mass Effect and Assassin’s Creed and a thousand other games on top of that.

6. Joss Whedon – I watched his stuff all out of order, and I still haven’t watched some of it, but I know enough now that if something comes out with his name attached, I want to see it. Firefly was my first intro, then Buffy, then Angel, then the Avengers, and now Agents of SHIELD, and I don’t get how anyone who ever watched any Whedon stuff ever was so put off by the beginning of Agents of SHIELD. First there’s the groundwork, then there’s the fireworks. Come on. Honestly, I’ve had to catch myself rolling my eyes at the “oh, finally it’s watchable” people, because I feel like they don’t deserve to enjoy it because I’ve enjoyed it from the outset. When I realize I’m starting to think that way I shake my head and call myself a hipster dork.

7. LEGO – I keep buying sets, but I rarely put them together. It’s weird, but I have to be in the exact right mood. Part of it is that I don’t know what to do with the assembled kits afterwards. I don’t really have room to display them, nor do I really want to?  I’m not sure. The basement display area in The LEGO Movie did look pretty cool… Some kits I want to assemble once but don’t want to buy. There’s a $139 Millennium Falcon kit that looks like all kinds of fun to put together, but I don’t want to spend that much on it. I need to, like, borrow it from someone.

8. Muppets – The Muppets are kind of like my happy place. I have so many good feelings and memories associated with them. My nickname in high school was “Muppet” because a Senior thought a Freshman me looked like one, and I couldn’t have been happier, even though I knew Muppets were goofy-looking.

9. Comedy – Who doesn’t like to laugh, right? But it’s more than that for me. I love watching a stand-up comic and understanding what he’s doing, how he’s leading to a punchline, or what makes that particular thing funny. I’ve performed stand-up twice, once that went over pretty well and once that bombed like you wouldn’t believe in front of 800+ people. I’m currently part of an improv group and I love doing that, too, but I dream of some day finally getting a whole stand-up act together and performing it.

10. Scrabble – My mom played this all the time with other ladies in the church when I was growing up, but it wasn’t until I got to college that I really started to appreciate it. I only like it if people are playing by the exact rules, though. I love words and seeing new places for them, and I love that I’m never really playing against anyone but me.

11. Weird Al – He certainly could fit under the “comedy” heading up there, but he’s his own thing. I’ve written lyrics to a couple of parody songs (and even recorded one), but I don’t grasp it the way he does. He’s a style chameleon, and I’m pretty sure he’s a genius. He makes what he does look easy, but it sure isn’t.

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