Thursday, April 19, 2012

Encyclopedia of Me - R (Mark)

Renaissance: I'm not a great scholar of the Renaissance Period, but I'd like to consider myself to be somewhat of a Renaissance Man. Maybe it's just a way to say "Jack of all trades and master of none," but I'm going to put a big old positive spin on it. I enjoy music, whether it be listening to it, playing it, or writing it; I can cook fairly well; I can do basic sewing tasks; I like most sports and played 4 of them well enough to letter in high school; I have decent artistic abilities, even if I'll never paint the Sistine Chapel or sculpt anything resembling David. I'd love to think that I have a lot of other varied talents, and maybe even some new ones waiting to be discovered.

Reading: My only regret with reading is that I really discovered how much I enjoy it later in life. As a kid I read a fair amount, but not as much as I'd like to now. At 21 I was commuting between 1 1/2 and 2 hours into San Francisco to clerk at a law office. Between the bus and BART rides I found myself with a lot of time to read so I read a lot of Hemmingway (love his writing), I caught up on Tom Clancy's novels, tackled Les Miserables, and read a whole lot of other books. Ever since then I find that I enjoy reading a lot.

Ripken: Growing up I always was, and I am still now, a huge baseball fan. As I've mentioned at times before, the Giants are my team, and many of their players were and still are my favorites. One non-Giant that I really loved to watch, though, was Cal Ripken, Jr. of the Baltimore Orioles. Besides being an incredibly nice guy and excellent role model, he was a great shortstop. Being a shortstop myself I spent a lot of time trying to copy his style of play, especially considering that he was a bit atypical for the position at 6' 5" when at the time diminutive players like Ozzie Smith were the norm. Incidentally, I named my newest Webkinz, little Oriole, Ripken.

Relativity: Going along with the whole Renaissance thing, I like nerdy stuff. For some reason I can really geek out on physics. Ever since high school physics Einstein and relativity have really been fascinating to me. I've read multiple books by Steven Hawking and am in the middle of another interesting book on relativity and string theory, which I read little by little, by Brian Greene called The Elegant Universe. I always feel like I get to the point where I almost understand what they're saying, so maybe someday I'll get it completely. My friends on "The Big Bang Theory" should be able to help.

Rowling, J.K.: Besides penning one of the most influential book series we're likely to see in our lifetimes, she has a story worthy of a writer. As a family we watched a biopic that Lifetime put out a number of years ago. If even half of it is accurate this is one incredible woman. Plus, her storytelling is second to none. I loved reading the early books, one after the other, like I'd discovered some rare treasure; and then I loved listening to the audio books as a family. Both Stacy and I are eagerly anticipating her newest book coming out in September. I'm sure nearly 500 pages will feel shorter than ever. Somewhere in her vault of fan mail there is a small set of stories that complete volumes 8, 9, and 10 of the Harry Potter series, written by a very young and aspiring writer. I hope J.K. Rowling gets a chance to read Thing 1's stories someday.

Reason: The older I get the less I like dealing with irrational thought. No matter the subject, timing, speaker, or whatever, I feel like it wastes my time. And before I stop making sense, I will leave it at that.


Boquinha said...

Wow, what a great list of "R" subjects! Thing 2's favorite position is shortstop, too - must be in the genes. I LOVE that you are a Renaissance Man. In my opinion, THAT is a true man (and I intend to write a nerdy post about it). Reason -- so with you on that. I love that we're on the same page. Great minds and all of that . . . :)

Emily Foley said...

I can't handle Hemingway, but Dave loves him too. I also love J.K. Rowling. I want to write a nerdy fan mail letter and tell her how incredible she is but I feel weird about it, being an adult and all. I'm a little nervous about her novel coming out, worried that it won't live up to my expectations or that it will have bad language or sex that I don't find appealing in literature. Crossing my fingers that it will be as amazing as we all expect.

Siths and Jedis said...

I think you're a Renaissance Man, keep up the good work. :E

Dave Johnson said...

I never knew you were that into physics! That's one of those "wish I understood it more" subjects for me, so maybe I'll put it on my list when I'm done with Trig.

I hear you on the baseball thing. As derisive as I am about football, I really enjoy a good baseball game, though I've never had a favorite team (a concept that baffles me given that the players and coaches continually change). Still and yet, it's far more engaging to me than any other sport, and I probably would have continued playing into high school if I hadn't been distracted by other things at that age. *ahem*

You really are a Renaissance man in the true sense of the phrase. Not many left in the world. Stay strong, brother!

Jimmy said...

I wrote a poem once.

If that's good enough for me to consider myself a Renaissance Man, then certainly you're over qualified in my book.

I saw Cal hit a homerun in Baltimore his last season. One of those moments where I felt lucky to be alive.

Dave said...

I bet you could do a sculpture of me. I'm quite round so it should be easy

J Fo said...

Greg is the same way with reading. He didn't realize how much he liked it until he was in college. I like to think that I "converted" him to it, but really it was Mr. Steinbeck.

I try, but I just can not get into baseball! I remember Ripkin because I have a brother named Cal. :)

Miss you guys!

Dr. Mark said...

Stacy - I look forward to your "nerdy post."

Emily - Write the letter. We understand that she has what must be an enormous vault of fan letters that she hopes to read someday. Thing 1 has a series of stories waiting to be discovered in there somewhere.

Siths - Thanks for the encouraging words.

Dave J - When I finally had someone show me how calculus and physics went together it blew my mind. It's one non-fiction/scientific area where I can get lost in a book, as long as the writing is engaging.

Jimmy - Good enough in my book. I am jealous of your Ripken experience. In 2007 we were in the middle of being poor and starting our business, but I still wish I'd thought to make the relatively short trek to Cooperstown to see Cal Ripken and Kirby Puckett be inducted into the Hall of Fame. They were two of my favorites to watch play, even if Puckett turned out to be a bit of a jerk.

Dave - I'll get to work on it right away.

Jess - I guess it only takes one good author to get someone going. I'm sure your love of reading made him feel better about Mr. Steinbeck.