Anime

The Geeky Childhood Tag!

Introduction

INSKIDEE over at Inskime nominated me for The Geeky Childhood Tag in early December 2019. At first I was alarmed: How did they know I was a geek in my childhood? Is there some kind of dossier that was recently released? Why was I not informed? Then I realized that it was kinda self-evident, so I relaxed.

Do check out Inskidee’s site. There’re a lot of interesting reviews and analysis, like Talking about Cautious Hero and Comedy + Why It’s Funny.

Keiko from Keiko’s Anime Blog also nominated me for this tag, a little later in the same month! Please check out Keiko’s site, too — also lots of enjoyable posts and analysis. In particular, check out the Anime Advent 2019 – Day 24 post. I always like to see references to the first anime in that post!

According to Tiger Anime (who tagged Inskidee), Michelle at A Geek Girl’s Guide came up with the tag. So, credit where credit’s due!

No Rules?

Apparently, there are no rules. But because I like to at least have a sketch of where I’m going, I’ll make up these two rules just for myself:

  1. I will answer the questions asked
  2. I will nominate about 5 other bloggers. Or so.

Also, there’s apparently already a tradition with this tag that we keep the original questions for the next nominees. I think I can do that!

What’s going to be a little tough is linking some of my answers back to anime, given that it’s the point of this blog. I mean, my childhood rather predates anime in the USA…

Questions and Answers

Where did your geek come from? Parents? Siblings? Destiny?

I grew up on a farm, which on one hand sounds as far from geekdom as you can get. On the other hand, my whole family loved to tinker, and that was my introduction to geekery. By the time I was in Junior High (so, around 13 years old), I was routinely trying to repair radios and televisions. Best of all, they often worked when I was finished!

I’ve always linked that technological inquisitiveness with my love of science fiction. I also dimly, dimly remember the grainy and fuzzy images from Apollo 11 when it landed on the moon. I was just short of 7 years old.

So I’d say my geek comes from a combination of nurture and nature!

The First Geeky Thing You Got Into

A few years ago, my wife found a newly released kit that was almost identical to the original. I have yet to assemble it! A full time job’ll do that to you, especially when combined with an anime site!

Models, specifically a model of Star Trek’s USS Enterprise (like this one still for sale at Amazon), were the first geeky thing I got into. It was a fancy model kit. It had wheat-grain lights you could put in the warp nacelles and saucer section. Had I assembled it correctly, it would have looked amazing.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get it together right. Still, I never gave up. I kept building other models, like Leif Ericson (still one of my favorites — even though it’s hokey!). It had lights, too. I still remember how cool I thought the engines looked when I turned the lights on. The red plastic glowed just like how I imagined an engine would.

Of course, the more I learned about science, the less it looked realistic. Cool is still cool, though!

AMT re-released the model as a glow-in-the-dark “Mystery Ship.” I liked the original better!

This probably accounts for my affection for science fiction anime like Knights of Sidonia.

Favorite TV Show as a Kid

I built a model of the Seaview years ago. Still have it! It was hard to dust the cat hairs off it for this picture! And the AirPods in the background? Every bit as realistic as a monster as some of the “sea-creatures” from the series!

You probably guessed Star Trek (original series), didn’t you? And you’d be mostly right! The reason you wouldn’t be completely right is that there was a series I liked before Star Trek. That series was Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.

I still remember thinking how “future” it was when the announcer would say, “Voyage, to the bottom of the sea! In color!”

Ah, those were the days. And no, I would not go back for anything!

Interesting Crow family trivia: Apparently, one of my Great Aunts on my dad’s site actually dated Richard Basehart. Apparently, he was quite a nice man!

Favorite Movie as a Kid

The first movie I can remember as a favorite was Disney’s Darby O’Gill and the Little People. I don’t remember much about it, except that it stirred my imagination. That, and it gave me nightmares (see “A Character That Scared You As a Kid,” below).

Favorite Video Game as a Kid

No disrespect intended for any other platform, but I just prefer the PC for the variety. Plus, I can re-play ancient games like the original Doom or Duke Nukem 3D. Looking at this Steam screen cap… I didn’t realize it’d been so long since I tried to play Akiba’s Trip: Undead & Undressed…

I remember it like it was yesterday. Okay, a little longer ago than yesterday, but I still remember it! It was the day my parents decided they’d give Pong a try. If you check out this Wikipedia article about Pong, you can see a photo of the Sears home console for Pong. That’s the one we had. I was probably 13 when we plugged it in.

I’ve played almost every major video game console since! Though now I strongly prefer the PC. After all, how many other platforms let you play S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shadow of Chernobyl and Akiba’s Trip: Undead & Undressed?

Favorite Book as a Kid

It’s probably a toss-up between Lords of the Starship by Mark S. Geston and The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien. The former probably accounts for my tastes in science fiction, which trend towards military science fiction and space opera. That book’s mix of science fiction elements and fantasy elements, combined with a decaying ancient civilization, were just amazing to young me.

What can I say about Tolkien that hasn’t been said before? I’ll just say an aunt on my mom’s side bought the book as an “offbeat” work I might enjoy. Boy, was she right!

Favorite Memory as a Kid

This is a tough one. I have a lot of pleasant memories; I don’t have a ton of negative ones. But for one to stick out? It might have been in my freshman year in high school. Does that count as a kid? Heck, right now, anyone under 25 looks like a kid to me…

This isn’t exactly it. The stream was smaller. I was higher up. One shore opened to fallow fields. But the color scheme and apparent temperature are spot on. Original image source is here.

I’d been reading Lord of the Rings again. I did that a lot. I was also practicing for track. Since I was a distance runner, I’d run at lot on the roads in my community. We were surrounded by farms, and many of them had streams running through them. I was a mile or two northeast of my house when I decided to check out a woods just off the road. The trees ended abruptly as the ground dropped away to the stream, about 15 or 20 meters below. It was the tail end of winter, and the leaves hadn’t come out yet. But the chill was fading. As I stood there, the sun peeked out from behind some ragged clouds. Fallow fields stretched away in front of me, and the dark woods were behind me. It felt like I’d stepped out of Mirkwood or something!

It’s funny how moments like that stay with you, isn’t it?

A Character You Looked Up To as a Kid

I’m going to have to go conventional here, but I’m going to be a bit of a rebel at the same time and name two characters. They’re kind of a yin/yang pair (well, this is an anime site, so I’ll say Inyo). They were James T. Kirk and Spock from the original Star Trek.

Kirk was utterly fearless. He was also a lot smarter than later caricatures gave him credit for. He was smart enough to know when to rely on his subordinates, and he was utterly devoted to his crew and ship. I admire those traits.

Spock wasn’t exactly the opposite (so maybe my yin/yang isn’t a perfect metaphor), but he was more methodical. He was rational even when everything around him was collapsing into chaos. And like a ton of others, I admired how he handled his inner conflicts. He was a great role model.

A Character That Scared You as a Kid

The sound effects really helped this scene. So did the actor Albert Sharpe, who really looked like he was terrified by the banshee. Capture from the Disney+ stream.

Remember my first favorite movie? It contained the character that scared me quite a lot as a kit. It was the Banshee from Darby O’Gill and the Little People. Granted, the special effects don’t hold up that well. By today’s standards, they were anything but scary. But given the movie was made in 1959, and I probably saw it when I was like 5 years old, I can see why the little me would have been apprehensive about it!

Grabbing the screen shot from Disney+ reminded me that Sean O’Connery was in that movie. I’d forgotten all about that!

A Movie That Scared You as a Kid

One of the little monster dudes shut off the light while the wife was taking a shower. Very rude little monster dude! Capture from the YouTube clip.

You might expect me to say Darby O’Gill again. Heck, I expected it! But the movie as a whole didn’t scare me. There was one movie that must have struck me at an impressionable time, because looking back (and trying to find a screen cap!), it was decidedly not scary.

The movie was 1973’s Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark. I can’t find it streaming anywhere (legally), but there is a clip on YouTube. You can see it here. You can get a sense of its production values. Which weren’t great. But little me found the movie very scary!

Nominees

Here are some folks who I think would have great answers for this tag:

Thanks to Inskidee for re-listing the questions. Here they are lifted directly from the nominating post:

  • Where did your geek come from? Parents? Siblings? Destiny?
  • The First Geeky Thing You Got Into
  • Favorite TV Show as a Kid
  • Favorite Movie as a Kid
  • Favorite Video Game as a Kid
  • Favorite Book as a Kid
  • Favorite Memory as a Kid
  • A Character You Looked Up To as a Kid
  • A Character That Scared You as a Kid
  • A Movie That Scared You as a Kid

Thanks for reading!

Did any of my answers trigger any dormant memories? Did you build any of the model kits I mentioned? Let me know in the comments!

14 thoughts on “The Geeky Childhood Tag!

  1. Thanks for the tag. Gives me an excuse to bring this one back from the void after the relaunch. Also, I’ve never played or even seen “Akiba’s Trip: Undead & Undressed”, but I feel like I would like it and that I should mention that “It would appear that you too are a man of culture!”

  2. Sometimes I need to interview kids who are in their late teens or early 20s, and I agree. They all look like kids to me. Though I will say they are far more with it then I was at that age. 🙂

    1. Oh, man, how did I forget about the Wild Wild West? I used to think of James West as the _other_ Kirk! I guess I don’t spend as much time thinking about that series — the more recent movie’s plot kinda put a damper on it! Still, now that you reminded me, I do remember watching that series. They weren’t exactly Kirk and Spock, but James West and Artemus Gordon had a similar vibe, didn’t they?

    1. After Star Trek:TOS was cancelled, I remember how hard it was to find it in syndication — at least in my area. When could find it, the episodes were often badly cut to fit into unusual time slots. It’s really amazing to consider how much more accessible television shows and movies have become in the last 40 or 50 years!

    1. Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it.

      Tolkien actually helped me run distance — remember in the Two Towers when Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli pursued the orcs? Even though it was fictional, it was inspirational to me.

      Wow, I was simple then! Okay, _more_ simple…

  3. Thank you for answering! Geez, knowing how jittery and easily scared of horror I was as a child, I have no doubt Don’t be Afraid of the Dark would’ve kept me awake at night…

    1. “Geez, knowing how jittery and easily scared of horror I was as a child, I have no doubt Don’t be Afraid of the Dark would’ve kept me awake at night…”

      Whew! Thanks heavens you understand!

      I was a bit worried I would be subjected to endless scorn. I mean, the movie hasn’t held up well at all! But the early 1970s was a very different time!

      1. Oh yeah, looking at a movie like Don’t be Afraid of the Dark through a 2020 horror or new perspective would make it seem much worse than it probably was at the time. The genre has changed quite a lot.

        Thankfully, lil ol me had no idea of the difference between newer and older! Anything that went “Boo!” Was spine chilling (funny thing is I love the horror genre now…)

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