I am the exact opposite of that guy.
Okay, okay, things that people who had no reason to be nice told me I was decent at: writing software and other general computery activities, playing the euphonium, studying, running role-playing games, creating food, showing up on time and waiting patiently, holding up my end of a conversation while actually listening to the other end, remembering relevant quotations from books, films, and songs, and I seem to have a curious knack for finding out about things just in time for that knowledge to be useful.
I like speculative fiction and fantasy, partly because I like stories about amazing things, and partly because I like stories about competent people dealing with big problems. Terry Pratchett, John Scalzi, Neal Stephenson, Lois McMaster Bujold, and Emma Bull tend to do right by me. But I won't turn up my nose at other things, and I've been meaning to drill into Project Gutenberg and load up on some classics. I also read a lot of comics, in many varieties. It pleases my brain to be stimulated with words and pictures at the same time.
I like some dumb fun: Shaolin Soccer and Ong Bak spring to mind. I also like movies that tell stories in interesting ways: Memento and anything by Satoshi Kon. And I like movies that show me lots of strange things: City of Lost Children for instance. I like to read horror stories, but I can't watch horror movies - they're too intense.
I don't watch much television these days, but I do watch the Daily Show because it makes me laugh at things I'd otherwise be crying about. I like to stay informed, so I listen to NPR while I commute, and download podcasts of Fresh Air, On the Media, This American Life, and Radiolab.
Frankly, if it has a beat I can dance to, I'm OK with it. In hip-hop I like Aesop Rock, Atmosphere, and Lyrics Born; in techno, Paul Oakenfold and the Boom Boom Satellites; in rock, the pillows, Zilch, and Queen; in pop, The Beatles (but who doesn't like the Beatles), Imogen Heap, and Jem; in bluegrass, Bela Fleck and Nickel Creek. Just... not abstract sound collage, please.
I will try anything once, and I like most of what I try. I have a limited tolerance for spicy food, though, and I will never like potatoes au gratin.
Here are the six relatively trivial things I assign unusual importance to:
- My smartphone, without which I would become hopelessly lost whenever I went out anywhere new, and with which I am much braver in my travels.
- My multitool, a gift from a dear friend, which I keep with me because I never need it when I have it.
- The internet, eternal wellspring of wonders and distractions.
- A kitchen, in which to cook with more enthusiasm than skill.
- Books, or the means to procure them.
- A friendly ear to listen to the things that boil up from my overheated brain.
Also, Pandora discovered that I like Journey.