Thursday, September 20, 2012

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

That's me, with Carl Sandburg (sort of).
Newcomers to this blog might sometimes suspect that its owner is a victim of multiple personality disorder, but the Virago is merely an enthusiast about many things. Just in case you were wondering, here are six of my very favorite things, any of which might turn up in a blog post at any time.

1) Literature - If you trust the evidence of a collection of framed diplomas, I am really a PhD in English literature, which might explain the piles of books stuffed into every nook and cranny of the family residence. I taught college English courses for more than 15 years, and I now have a head full of poetry, theory, and strong opinions about the proper use of the comma. There's also a dissertation lying around here somewhere - it's about British nationhood and late 18th-century courtship novels. The blog occasionally delves into literary topics, and the blogger occasionally nurses delusions of becoming a great novelist.

You can never watch enough movies!
2) Movies - Literature and film go together like chocolate and peanut butter, and I'm a big fan of both combinations. Classic movies take the spotlight because they're just cooler and more entertaining to watch. I like classic movies so much that I wrote a book about them, which I would very much like for people who aren't related to me to buy (I'd like for all of my relatives to buy copies, too, just so they know). I started teaching film units in my college courses around 1995, and now I teach lifetime learning courses about classic film at my local library, for a great program called LearningQUEST. The only thing better than watching a great classic movie is sharing it with other people!

My club does an annual show at a local toy store.
3) Popular Culture - The first two obsessions have oozed naturally into the third, where literature and film make their influence on society felt. I love all kinds of popular culture, from Muppets to Joss Whedon to comic books, and I write about all of those things from time to time. With my frequent partner in crime, Anissa Graham, I have edited two books about Jim Henson's creations and contributed to a third anthology about modern culture's perspectives on Sherlock Holmes. We have about half a dozen ideas for future books, which is crazy because we both have quite enough to do already, but popular culture studies is just too much fun to resist.

4) LEGO - Yes, I am an AFOL, an Adult Fan of LEGO. I belong to a very active local adult club, and we build huge LEGO towns for shows a couple of times a year. I post about LEGO here sometimes because I like to talk about the hobby and share my LEGO photography, which often recreates scenes from favorite things 1, 2, and 3. See? They all go together. Really.

It's gorgeous at Grand Canyon National Park!
5) National Parks - For the last several years I have been in love with the National Park Service. I drag my family on elaborate road trips designed solely to hit the most national park sites in the shortest amount of time. I am a shameless promoter of the NPS and its fantastic programs. When the national park turns out to have a classic movie or literary connection, so much the better.

6) Homeschooling - I have been teaching my daughter at home since 4th grade, when the WORST TEACHER EVER made our lives so miserable we had to do something to protect our kid. I ought to be grateful to that awful woman because it has turned out to be a great experience, and I have lots of time to introduce my daughter to passions 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. The Kid, as I call her on Twitter, is my constant companion, and I find her responses to what she reads and watches very illuminating.

We make special trips to pinball museums and arcades.
I also love other things, like pinball, video games, cupcakes, chap hop, and theme parks. I reserve the right to tell you about them at any time. The world is full of awesome things! I feel it's my duty to share them. Feel free to send me comments to tell me about your passions, too, especially when they dovetail with mine. 

Now you can't say you weren't warned when the next blog post turns out to be an analysis of the cultural fad for cupcakes, or a LEGO recreation of the The Birds, or a photo-filled travelogue about a weeklong field trip with the Kid to Death Valley. Nine out of ten posts tend to be about classic movies, but you never know when I might get excited about one of my other passions and have to share!