Level 50 Geek

If anything about my life is at critical mass for describing who I am as a person, my overall geekiness is the closest. Ask me a question about almost anything science or science-fiction related, and I may talk for an hour or more straight, stopping only to wake you from the information-induced (or boredom-induced…) coma so that I can either keep talking or apologize for talking too much, which evidently also requires more talking. In any case, I figured with the start of the semester only a handful of hours away, I figured an inventory of my geekiness would be in order.

Fortran and Python
I’ve always loved programming since my first forays into it back in high school with my TI-84+ Silver calculator. It’s just so cool to write something that causes a machine to do things for you! While yes, those early programs were almost all games, the fact is that I could manipulate text to display whatever I wanted on the screen. I haven’t lost that feeling, and in some cases that feeling has grown. Right now, the language I’m most comfortable with is Python, just because I’ve been using it for almost four years now pretty consistently. Second place would be Fortran, since I’ve been quickly learning it for my senior thesis work, but that’s a great language too. Plus, knowing both won’t hurt when I move on to grad school.

Science Fiction
I’ve had a strange relationship with science fiction. As a kid, I loved Star Wars and Jurassic Park and Space Cases, drew spaceships and aliens and planets all of the time, played games like Outpost 2 and Sid Meyer’s Alpha Centauri and Starcraft, read space-themed Choose Your Own Adventures and other space-related books, and wanted to be an astronaut. I just never thought of all that as science fiction, or related it with that genre that I had sort of heard about but never thought about what it meant. That was my life (loving sci-fi without calling it such) until my junior year of high school when my then-girlfriend sort of slapped some sense into me. I started reading more sci-fi, “discovered” Ben Bova and Orson Scott Card, watched Stargate SG-1 followed closely by Battlestar Galactica, and immersed myself more into the genre. Even then, and now to some extent, I was behind the game. A month ago I hadn’t seen a single episode of Firefly, but I own both the series and Serenity and it holds the Number-Two spot (tied with Warehouse 13) on favorite sci-fi series. In any case, I could go and list every bit of sci-fi that I love, although that would be a post on its own!

I also wrote a short novella set in the Warhammer 40K universe. Check it out!

School and Education
At this point in my life, the only holiday that rivals birthdays and Christmas is “Back to School Shopping.” Buying textbooks, pens, pencils, notebooks, and everything else I need is just so much fun! This year, when one of my roommates told me that he was buying his books tomorrow, I immediately asked if I could go with him, then I couldn’t sleep that night since I was so busy thinking about the cool books I’d be buying for the upcoming semester. I’ve even already started flipping through one of them (my Numerical Analysis text, although this is more due to my senior thesis work). This semester, I have four classes, my senior thesis, and working as a Physics LA in Lyman Briggs, and I couldn’t be happier.

Board and Video Games
I’ve been playing RISK almost my whole life, and recently have played Axis & Allies primarily with my little brother. Both of those games are really enjoyable, although my favorite plastic-and-dice game has to be Warhammer 40K. I’ve been playing that for a decade, am a prominent member of the online community revolving around my chosen race, and I love painting the actual models (…and enter 40 Year Old Virgin jokes…). Past those tabletop games and the game that I’ve been working on (which has stalled due to other constraints), I love video games, but I must also express a small caveat with that. I love older games for the most part, with only a handful of more recent titles that I’ve really enjoyed. Part of that is not actually owning a gaming system of my own (the Wii I got for my birthday a handful of years ago turned into a family possession), but the other half is that I really enjoy the older games. I have versions of Pokémon and Zelda and Mario and Kirby and the original Final Fantasy, among others, on my computer, and I still have my old GameBoy Color with a few old games. There’s just something about those older games that I just love so much…

…such as their chiptune soundtracks. One of my roommates introduced me to Pulse Blast, a very talented chiptune composer who is unfortunately no longer active, but from the first time I heard one of his songs (We Share the Same Sky), I knew that this was music I’d enjoy. More recently, I found Anamanaguchi, who also did some songs for Scott Pilgrim plus the soundtrack for the game, but past that I haven’t listened to many chiptune artists. I also enjoy the insanely geeky songs, like Kill Dash Nine, Mandelbrot Set, and the Large Hadron Rap, by an MSU alum, just because they appeal to my inner geekiness.

What also should be mentioned in this section is that my current ringtone and message tone are from the original Pokémon (intro theme and pick up item, respectively), which I had just switched from music from the Zelda series (Hyrule theme and “Link finds a secret!” respectively).

While I could theoretically go on and on about this, what I have down so far is a pretty good introduction to who I am as a person, especially with regards to what nerdy stuff I like. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to watch some BSG before WH13 comes on.

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