Weekly Geek Challenge #4

Last week I began taking part in Weekly Geeks, a fun website where each week a new challenge is posted. Everyone is invited to link their answers to the site where you can then go and peruse dozens of different takes on the various questions and challenges. Both Hagelrat and I participated in Challenge #3 over at UN:BOUND, where the topic was about classic literature.

This week's challenge asks us to write about our hobbies outside of reading and blogging (what? there's more to life than huddling in the dark with only the icy glow of the your LCD monitor to warm your lonely soul? Say it ain't so!). Questions followed by answers below:

1) What are you passionate about besides reading and blogging? For example, are you crafty (knitting, woodworking, scrapbooking, model building)? Do you cook? Into gaming (computer or board)? Sports (player or spectator)? Photography? Maybe you like geocaching, rock climbing? Or love attending events like renaissance fairs, concerts? Music? Dancing? You get the idea.

Tell us why you're passionate about it.  Post photos of what you've made or of yourself doing whatever it is you love doing.

Lots of things (or "too many things" as my wife likes to say).  but because photographic evidence is required, I'll focus on one very general passion that has had a life-long impact on me: music.

Since I was 8 years old my life has been supplied with a constant soundtrack born out of love, discovery, and necessity.  It started at my neighbor Michael's house, listening to "Don't You Want Me" by The Human League and "Cars" by Gary Numan on a tape he made off the radio.  Soon after I made my first musical purchases (on vinyl, no less): Freeze Frame by the J. Giles Band and Sports by Huey Lewis & the News.  When my parent began fighting continuously the music changed with it, the shelf on my wall soon displaying Iron Maiden, The Scorpions and Ozzy Osbourne.  Lengthy air guitar solos commenced in front of the mirror by the glow of my ultra-violet light, using either an old tennis racquet or a flag pole to double for a Fender Stratocaster.

High school was a galvanizing time, musically speaking, and the friendships made during that time opened my ears to an entire world of music that was at once both dizzying in its scope and exquisite in its intimacy - physical as well as emotional, as I began to realize that this was something I could not only listen to, but also learn to do.  Suddenly the magic behind Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze," Eric Clapton's wah-pedal on "White Room," and even the opening melody line in Miles Davis' "E.S.P" became all the more palpable because I knew the notes, could replicate them and give them my own signature with enough practice.

All of those early experiences mark the beginning of a trend that continued to this day.  Music has that ability to instantly transport me emotionally to a specific time and place, whether I'm listening to it or playing it.  Every time I hear The Cure's "One More Time" I can see myself leaning against the window of the school bus on a rainy morning, thinking about my latest crush.  I can't hear Billie Holiday's "The Very Thought of You" without remembering my wedding day, and the first dance with my wife.  Or the last dance, to Ben Folds' "The Luckiest."

Or even Iron Maiden's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" without reliving those wonderful moments in my childhood bedroom, black-light on and a tennis racquet in my hand.  I'm sure I was screaming my lungs out, too, and killing my mother's last pebble of sanity in the bargain.

Every moment of my life is scored.  When those moments come together with family, it's pretty wonderful.  So below are two pictures taken right before my brother was set to move across the country.  My wife was (very) pregnant with my son, but that didn't stop us from looking like total dorks and loving every minute of it:

Question #2 is about sites or other references to get people involved with your passion, but really...I'd prefer to just point you to wherever you keep your music library, find something you haven't listened to in forvever, turn it on, and see where it takes you.

Question #3 asks me to link to a few other posters that I found interesting.  So here's a link to my blogging friend Dave over at The Cubicle Reverend, who talks about his recent embracing of CBS' The Big Bang Theory.

After checking through some of the other links, I decided to also link to Strumpet's post for a couple of reasons:

  1. Her name is strumpet.  I sheepishly admit that's what made me click on the link in the first place.
  2. She immediately though of a cause she was passionate about, as opposed to a hobby or interest, which is pretty damned noble and cool.
  3. HOWEVER...that didn't stop her from posting about her passion for World of Warcraft.  That game is permeating every corner of this planet, I tell you!

And that's my contribution to the Weekly Geeks Challenge for this week!