Monday, February 15, 2010

Too Diverse In Interests?

Someone I know, though I can't say who, not only because this is a public blog, but also because I have no idea, once said that I was "too diverse in interests". Those of you who know me might agree; after all, do you know anyone else who likes reading science fiction, watching shows on Nickelodeon, and listening to classic rock? However, I would say that my diversity in interests is much better, and much more tolerable, than my interests were when I was much younger. If my interests were the same way they were when I was, say, seven years old, then I think I'd have a lot less friends.
What were my interests like when I was younger? Well, as some might say, I pretty much had a one-track mind. From as far back as I can remember until I was about nine, my obsession either was or had something to do with computers. You could have named any place in the universe, even something as fun as Disney World, and I would have still said that I'd rather be in front of my computer playing games than going to whatever place you named. It didn't matter that I'd played the games a thousand times; it didn't matter how fun the other place might have been; all that mattered was that there was nowhere else I would rather be than glued to that monitor. Pretty much all I could talk about was something computer-related. Even when I stopped obsessing over computers in general, my obsession was a computer game series. I didn't think I was obsessed at the time, but, when I think back to when my third grade teacher told me to stop writing about that computer game series in my journal, I'd have to say I most definitely was.
How did the change come about? Well, it actually started when I entered middle school. As you sixth grade classmates of mine might remember, I was obsessed with two things: Scooby-Doo and Pokémon. Those two things had very little to do with each other, but I still plastered pictures of them all over my binder like they were one and the same. Even when I would get obsessed with other things later on, there were still other unrelated interests, like being obsessed with 80's sitcoms but still playing Super Smash Bros. Melee almost every day and listening to contemporary Christian music from the 90's and 00's. You could say that I grew up, and that might be true; or, it could be that I realized that, if you just focus on one thing, you're missing out on a lot.
So, yes, there's really no common thread between the things that I like. However, I don't see that as a bad thing. Why? Simply because it means that I could strike up a conversation with almost anyone in America about something he/she likes. You don't like Anne Hathaway? Well, then we can talk about Star Trek. You're not a fan of sci-fi? Then, we can talk about iCarly. Don't care for Nickelodeon sitcoms? Let's talk about classic rock, then. Maybe that explains why I've been able to strike up so many friendships with various people; for most people, I like something that they like, too. Honestly, I don't see how someone can be too diverse in interests; is there anyone out there who likes absolutely everything in the universe? Of course not. I may be different from everyone else, but that's part of being autistic. You friends of mine understand that, right?

Friday, February 5, 2010

On Birthdays and Getting Older

For those who don't know, I'll just state it plainly: My birthday is this Wednesday. I'll be turning 22, and I'm hoping that I'll get to do something special to celebrate, like go out to eat. I already know what I want for my birthday, and, unless you're one of my immediate family members, I am not asking you to buy me anything. Still, this time of year gets me thinking about what happened on my previous birthdays: the presents, the celebrations, the fun, and, at one point, the tragedy. I will describe some of those events in this post.
The first birthday I remember with some clarity was my seventh. That was when I got my first Mac, and, man, did I love that thing. So many good things happened to me because I had it. I spent so much time on it playing games, doing homework, typing stories, fooling around with the settings, etc. It was so much fun.
I don't really remember my eighth birthday at all, but I do remember that I got a Magic School Bus CD-ROM game for my ninth birthday, and then another (different) one for my tenth. At that time, my family couldn't have chosen a better gift, because I was a computer addict, and I was obsessed with The MSB. I also got a sleeping bag for my tenth birthday, which was a little big for me, but I grew into it, and an art set.
When I turned 11, I had a Scooby-Doo themed party. I asked all my guests to wear SD shirts, and my mom and I had gone to Target and bought every party item they had with that cartoon dog on it. My brother-in-law brought over CatchPhrase, and we had a good time with that.
On my twelfth birthday, my mom and I had planned to take some friends and go see the movie Snow Day. However, a severe winter storm ended up hitting that day, and we weren't able to do it. I didn't even get to see the movie until a few years later, when my mom bought it on video. I did end up getting Mario Golf for my Game Boy Color, though, as well as an LCD racing game.
My thirteenth birthday was unlike any other. While we did celebrate, I also went and helped my Boy Scout troop sell candy bars to raise money. My brother-in-law told me that it was my day and I didn't have to do it, but I chose to anyway. The presents that year were Hoyle Board Games for my computer and an accessory kit for my GBC.
The only thing I remember about my fourteenth birthday was that I got a night-light set from my sister. All I remember about my fifteenth birthday is that my sister and brother-in-law took me out to Friendly's and that I got Pikmin for my GameCube. I do remember my sixteenth birthday very well, though. I got the ApologetiX album Adam Up on CD, as well as a Hilary Duff magazine, some CD-Rs and a CD labeling set. What I remember the most is that I was listening to one of the songs on Adam Up, and I was laughing so hard, my mom and sister both thought I was crying.
I will never forget my seventeenth birthday, because it was by far the worst birthday I ever had, and is probably the worst one I will ever have. That was the day my oldest sister--not the same one who got me the aforementioned presents--passed away. She was severely disabled, and we knew she probably wouldn't outlive us, but it was still a very sad day. I tried to make the best of it by going out with my aunt, uncle and cousin, yet it didn't make me any happier. Although it was probably insignificant compared to what happened that day, I got the A'X New and Used Hits CD, two GameCube games, and Spider-Man 2 and I, Robot on DVD from my family, as well as an MP3 player from a friend.
Thankfully, my eighteenth birthday was much better. In fact, I still talk about a funny story that started on that day: My sister and my niece were over at my house to celebrate my birthday, and my niece, who was just under a year old at that time, was upset by me blowing out the candles. We immediately decided not to have any candles at my sister's birthday three days later. So, when that came around, my sister, brother-in-law, niece, mom and I were sitting at the table around the cake, and we barely got through the first line of "Happy Birthday" when my niece started crying again. Somehow, she associated that song with candles being blown out, which upset her. My niece spent a few years being afraid of the birthday song. The gifts I got that year were a Sharper Image stereo and a book about the iPod.
On my nineteenth birthday, I got The First Garfield Fat Cat 3 Pack, which I had been wanting for a while. I received Perfect Strangers on DVD for my twentieth, which was interesting because the power went out on my birthday for the first time. Last year, I got money and gift cards to Borders and iTunes from my family, as well as a Star Wars DVD from a friend. Who knows what will happen this year?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Yes, I am a bookworm.

I've mentioned before, both on this blog and Facebook, that I am a volunteer at my local library. I have been volunteering there for about eleven months. I've met some great people, and it's really been quite fun. In fact, I think volunteering there has made books a hobby of mine, more than they used to be. I will explain all that and more in this post.
I'd like to say that I've always liked books. It's somewhat true; I could read all by myself before I was even in kindergarten, and I went to the public and school libraries pretty frequently as a child. I checked out some fiction, but I also read a lot of non-fiction about dinosaurs, computers, space travel...whatever interested me at the time. However, during part of my rebellious teenage years, I didn't like reading as much. During my time in middle school, I spent much more time going on the Internet, watching television, listening to the same songs a million times, or playing Game Boy Color or GameCube than I did reading. Even when I did read, it mostly wasn't for fun. We were assigned some books to read, and I read them, and there was the Accelerated Reader program that required reading and affected our grades the last two years of middle school, and I took part in that, but the only book I remember reading for no other reason than I just wanted to was A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L'Engle, which was the sequel to a book I was required to read. I also didn't read too much during the first two years of high school, either. My mom probably never expected me to like reading again...but, believe it or not, a yard sale in my neighborhood changed all that. Some guy there was selling a box full of Star Wars novels. I'd seen all the movies, and I liked them, and the books were cheap, so, I bought a couple. The only SW literature I'd read previously was the novelization of Attack of the Clones and one or two juvenile chapter books, so I wasn't sure what to expect. Well, when I started reading the first novel, I was BLOWN AWAY! It was better than the movies! I started checking the library, bookstores and other yard sales for more SW books, and reading those also led to me finding other book series that were really good, too, including Harry Potter, Alex Rider, Maximum Ride, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Acorna, and Star Trek.
When I started volunteering at the library, I found out about things the library had that I hadn't known about before. One such thing was Inter-Library Loan, where one library gets items--books, music CDs, audiobooks, DVDs/VHS tapes, etc.--from other libraries. Using that system has saved me a lot of money, because if the library hadn't been able to get those items, I probably would have had to rent/buy them, which would have cost a lot.
I've been wanting to say this since I started this post, so, here it is: I think I've spent more time in the past year doing things involving books--reading them, reading about them online, reviewing them using LivingSocial, talking about them, shelving/organizing them both at the library and at home, buying them from library sales/yard sales/used bookstores/etc., processing them to be discarded--than I have spent doing anything else besides sleeping and maybe Facebooking. You may think that's a bad thing, but I say, there are too many people of my generation who hardly if ever read, and I'm sure that there are people who know them and wish they would read more. Well, if you want a well-read college-age person, look no further than yours truly. Plus, volunteering at the library is a service to the community, and the library has helped me immensely through the years, so why shouldn't I give back?
Any comments?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Classic Sitcoms, Science Fiction Novels, and Obscure Songs

Yes, the three things I mentioned in the title have something in common. What, you ask? They're things that I really enjoy, yet most people, including a good part of my friends, seem to dislike them, to say the least. I'm not necessarily obsessed with any of those three things; I think my friends would probably say I was obsessed with celebrity crushes, finding a girlfriend, my past, and/or Facebook. Still, they are pretty high on my list of favorite things, despite what popular opinion of them is.
What's also funny is that many things that are popular with people, especially those the same age and gender as me, are things I couldn't care less about. For example, people all over the country are gearing up for the Super Bowl this Sunday. Yet, despite being a college-age human male, I have never been able to understand any sports, let alone football. Most sports--and I know the opinion of what is a sport and what isn't varies greatly from person to person, as evidenced in my high school--have all these complicated rules that I probably couldn't even begin to understand. Then, there's the problem of what team I root for. I've known a lot of Philadelphia Eagles fans, from an entire family that lived on my block in the 90's to two teachers at my high school, so maybe I'd root for that team. Yet, based on where I'm from, which I am not revealing on here, I should be rooting for another team, or, that's what the football fanatics say. I really have no idea, and, if a team had an even somewhat bad season, I'd probably drop them in a flash. All it took was part of that abysmal movie Campus Confidential for me to stop crushing on Christy Carlson Romano, even though I'd liked her for over two years.
You know what, though? I really don't care. I'm allowed to like and dislike whatever I want. So, if I choose to like reading Star Trek novels, watching Mork & Mindy, and playing "Cotton-Eye Joe" by Rednex over and over, but am not a fan of any sports team, hardcore metal music, or MySpace, what's wrong with that? No one, and I mean no one, should be forced to like something. If you like watching football as much as you can, go ahead and do it! I'm not going to say you shouldn't. I could say that certain sports fans take their devotion to their team(s) too far, but, when it comes to being too devoted to things, I'm probably more guilty than anyone else I know. Different people like different things. That may sound cliché, but it's still true. I'll like what I want to like, and you, whoever you are, whether you're my friend or my enemy, can like whatever you want to like. You people agree, right?