Random Things I Like

It’s been a while since I last updated my blog.  Unfortunately I’ve been at a complete loss for things to write about.  There are several drafts for posts, but none of them are really coming together the way I had hoped.  I started thinking about things that I liked hoping that a blog idea would emerge…it didn’t.  So instead, I’ll just list the things I came up with in no particular order.

1.  The Last Starfighter.  Having just purchased a blue-ray player, I was pleasantly surprised when I was in Half-Price Books and realized they sold used blu-ray discs.

My wife doesn’t understand my obsession for this movie.  Growing up, my parents didn’t understand it either. I’m sure I caused many headaches as a child when I wouldn’t just quote the movie, I would recite it word-for-word from the first scene to the end.  A couple of tidbits about the movie.  First, there’s a little robot in the movie called a HERO-1.  My dad’s office had one of these for educational purposes and I was fortunate enough to be able to use it when I went with him to the office on weekends.  I thought it was totally cool when it showed up in the movie (I knew a movie star!).  Second, the geek in me likes the fact that Wil Wheaton appears in the movie (for about 10 seconds, but still).  And finally, what kid doesn’t dream about saving the universe?

2.  Merlin Video Game.  This game was a life-saver for me on car trips.  One of our annual trips as a child was to visit relatives in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  Since we would drive (and it was roughly a 15 hour drive) there was plenty of time to kill.  It had six different games built into the unit.  I’ll let the commercial speak for it’s total awesomeness.  

3.  Pinky and the Brain.  My kids Yakko, Wakko and Dot got their nicknames from the animated TV show Animaniacs.  Pinky and the Brain started as part of Animaniacs and due to their wide popularity were spun-off into their own show.  In a nut-shell, Pinky and the Brain are two genetically altered lab mice that every night launch an elaborate plan to take over the world.  It’s available on DVD (and yes we own them all).

Brain:  “Pinky, are you pondering what I’m pondering?”
Pinky:  “I think so, Brain.  But if they called them ‘Sad Meals’ kids wouldn’t buy them.”

4.  Top Ten lists. During college I enjoyed watching Letterman.  Of course that was back when he was still on NBC, but I digress.  One of the most enjoyable things about the show was the Top Ten list.  I thought they were down-right witty.  The fact that the home office was in Wahoo, NE didn’t hurt matters any, either.  I created a couple of my own Top Ten lists.  One version was to support my write-in campaign for Letterman for student body president (he almost forced a run-off election).  The others came during grad school when a friend had his own late-night show on the campus TV station.  I wanted to contribute to the show so I volunteered to do the top ten list.  The TV show is also where I met my wife, so it HAD to be one of the random things I like.

5.  Peanut Butter Balls. You can check out the recipe and blog post about them here.  It’s something that I only make during the holidays but they are by far my favorite treat.

6. The Lion King. I enjoy Disney movies and one of my all-time favorites is The Lion King.  (Although a point of clarification, as there are several Pixar films that I would rank higher on my list of animated films, I consider Pixar movies to be separate from Disney).

My best friend was the manager of a Toys R Us and gave me this banner that used to hang on the side of the building.  As you can see from the photo, it was bigger than my parent’s house.  During a training event for the National Association for Campus Activities it’s also the movie they showed to us during a private screening at the movie theater so there are other memories that are tied to the movie.  There are other little-known tidbits that I find humorous such as James Earl Jones (the voice of Mufasa) and Madge Sinclair (the voice of Sarabi) also playing the King and Queen in the 1988 film ‘Coming to America.’

7.  Apple Computers.  I grew up with Apple computers.

I’m not positive but I’m pretty sure our first computer was an Apple II+ (and it may still be in the basement of my parents house). That was followed by a couple of Macintosh computers and an early Apple Powerbook.  Then came the “dark period” when I started using PC-based machines due to work.  However, once my wife was introduced to the iPhone, we’re back to being an Apple family including the MacBook I’m using now to post this blog.

8.  Tennis.  I’ve never been confused for an athlete, but I do enjoy playing tennis.  In high school it was the one sport where I was comfortable playing and was good enough to be competitive.  I was fortunate to have parents (ok, my mom) that were willing to get up at the crack of dawn each week to drive me to tennis lessons 60 miles away.  Unfortunately, I enjoyed the act of playing tennis much more than winning at tennis.  There were several times where I let my opponent back in the match because I kept rallies going rather than putting them away.  Nobody on the team seemed too concerned about my win-loss record.  Mainly because my mom would bake the team chocolate chip cookies for each match.  Win or lose there were always cookies.  Not only did I enjoy playing, but I also enjoyed teaching tennis and volunteered with the girl’s tennis team to help instruct the students who had never played the game before.

9.  Husker Football.  Growing up in Nebraska, you’re either a fan of Nebraska Football or you’re not from Nebraska.  I had a t-shirt as a child that had a picture of goal posts and a football with wings that said “Nebraska State Bird.”  That pretty much covers how the state views the Cornhuskers.  As one of the dominant programs in the old Big Eight, it was easy to root for them since more often than not they were on the winning end.  I suppose Husker fans had been spoiled by 33 consecutive years of at least 9-win seasons.   There were also the moments of heartbreak during that streak when “Sooner Magic” would would crush the spirits of the state and send Oklahoma to the Orange Bowl instead of Nebraska.  Through it all (even the periods of poor play) the fans of Nebraska have sold out Memorial Stadium every game since November 3, 1962.

10.  Mount Rushmore. Seriously, it’s carved out of rock…on the side of a mountain.  How someone had the vision and then the ability to realize that vision is truly amazing to me.  It’s a remarkable achievement.  The only downside is that it’s built in the middle of nowhere.  Fortunately, my wife and I made the trip and included another stop to Carhenge in Nebraska.  It also brought us several memorable moments such as when she tried to get out of the car to pet a buffalo (no, they’re not just like fluffy cows) and when we saw a tornado in western Wyoming which made the entire trip one of my favorite vacations, ever.


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