About

Who Am I?

I am Geoff Kratz. I have two other blogs, one on business and technology, and one on sports and automobiles. Why another blog? Because the audience for these topics may be different from the other blogs I have.

So who am I? By trade, I am a computer scientist. I spend a lot of my time and energy building technology for capital markets, mobile apps for smartphones and tablets, and otherwise coming up with new business ideas. I have a fascination with transportation and machinery. Cars, trucks, boats, planes, spaceships. I like all of them. As a result, I like to travel. I have been fortunate to see many places in this world, courtesy of my job, and I expect to see many more. I like some sports, but I wouldn’t call myself a jock.

But I also like the arts, or at least a portion of them. I enjoy a variety of music, books, movies, TV shows and video games. They provide me with entertainment, inspiration, relaxation and enlightenment. That is what this blog is about.

I will be upfront and make it clear that my blog contains opinion. I try to support my assertions with fact, but I also try to distinguish between the facts and my opinions. I am not a journalist. This blog is not “news” and it is not “reporting”. I don’t apply the rigour that professional reporters and journalists apply (or at least are supposed to apply) to their work. These are my thoughts, ideas and opinions. I make no claim that they are rational, logical or even coherent. I know I have biases and blindspots.

What I Like

To understand what biases are going to come into play in this blog, it is probably useful to know what I like when it comes to various forms of entertainment and art. The best way I can think of to illustrate what I like (and don’t like) is to list those artistic endeavours that I would surround myself, if limitations were imposed. Many people like to use “desert island lists”, the metaphor is that you create a list of the things you would want if you were stranded on a desert island. Since I am something of an iconoclast, I am going to take a different approach: what if I had to live in an RV? Okay, not as isolating as a desert island, but still limiting. What are the 12 things in each category I would want with me in my small, portable lodging?

Wait a minute. Twelve? Yup. Twelve. Because “10” is too limiting (and way too conventional) and I want a break from any number that is a power of 2.

Music

Let’s start with music. I’m not going to list 12 albums. I’m going to list 12 artists and albums, and be allowed their complete works. Maybe that’s too easy, but I find it more satisfying, considering that we aren’t really limited to vinyl or plastic & mylar discs anymore. Imagine an iPod with limited space. What 12 artists or albums would I want along for the ride? Yes, the list is numbered, and no it isn’t in any particular order.

  1. The Beatles
  2. The Moody Blues
  3. Phil Collins
  4. Electric Light Orchestra
  5. Carrie Underwood
  6. Brooks & Dunn
  7. Jeff Wayne’s War Of the Worlds
  8. Blue Rodeo
  9. Billy Joel
  10. George Harrison
  11. Five Miles Out – Mike Oldfield
  12. The Barenaked Ladies

I am going to allow myself 24 additional, specific songs. Why? Because I can, and because it helps make a more complete picture.

  1. American Pie – Don Maclean
  2. Armageddon – Prism
  3. O Pretty Woman – Roy Orbison
  4. Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay – Otis Redding
  5. One Headlight – The Wallflowers
  6. Movin’ On – Merle Haggard
  7. Sound of Silence – Simon and Garfunkle
  8. Stuck In The Middle With You – Stealers Wheel
  9. Hotel California – The Eagles
  10. Eine Kleine Nachtmusik – Mozart
  11. Classical Gas – Mason Williams
  12. The Entertainer – Scott Joplin
  13. The Lonely Bull – Herb Alpert
  14. Albert Flasher – The Guess Who
  15. Concerto in G Minor – Vivaldi
  16. White Christmas – Bing Crosby
  17. Sympathy For The Devil – The Rolling Stones
  18. Driving My Life Away – Eddie Rabbit
  19. East Bound And Down – Jerry Reed
  20. Smuggler’s Blues – Glenn Frey
  21. Orinoco Flow – Enya
  22. Life Is A Highway – Tom Cochrane
  23. Lunatic Fringe – Red Rider
  24. Spirit of Radio – Rush

So, now my RV has a soundtrack. But what about reading?

Books

For reading, I will assume I have to have printed books. No Kindle for me! (seriously, I use Kindle on my iPad all the time now). Again, I’m going to allow myself some latitude, some leeway. Here are 12 books or book series that I would want with me.

  1. The Lord of the Rings trilogy  – J.R.R. Tolkien
  2. The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant The Unbeliever series – Stephen. R. Donaldson
  3. A Man Of His Word series – Dave Duncan
  4. The Hitchhiker 6-book “trilogy” – Douglass Adams
  5. The Civil War: A Narrative – Shelby Foote
  6. A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
  7. The Complete Calvin and Hobbes – Bill Waterston
  8. Bloom County (basically all of them) – Berkeley Breathed
  9. The Dark Tower series – Stephen King
  10. The complete Sherlock Holmes series – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  11. The Pillars of the Earth – Ken Follett
  12. The Jack Ryan series  – Tom Clancy

Now that I have something to read and music to listen to, time to visit the visual arts.

Movies

As with books, I am prepared to give myself some latitude and allow series of movies, not just single films. Assume I have an iPod Touch with a lot (and I mean a lot) of storage just for movies. Here is what I would want in that library.

  1. The complete Star Wars saga (all 6 episodes)
  2. The complete series of James Bond
  3. Yellow Submarine
  4. The Lord of the Rings trilogy
  5. Casablanca
  6. The Wizard of Oz
  7. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
  8. The complete Back To The Future series
  9. Both Tron movies
  10. The Polar Express
  11. It’s A Wonderful Life
  12. The first 3 Indiana Jones movies

That’s great, I have something for when I want a longer story. But what about when I want something shorter? Let’s turn our attention to the small screen.

Television Shows

Again, I will indulge myself and pick entire TV series, including all seasons. Again, another iPod Touch with a ton of space.

  1. Futurama
  2. Corner Gas
  3. Big Bang Theory
  4. Miami Vice
  5. The Prisoner
  6. The BBC “Walking with…” series (Dinosaurs, Beasts, Cavemen)
  7. The Sopranos
  8. Battlestar Galactic (the re-imagined series, not the 80’s version, and including the Caprica prequel series)
  9. Star Trek (the original series)
  10. Star Wars: The Clone Wars
  11. The complete Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies collection
  12. How The Grinch Stole Christmas

Now that I have things to watch, what about stuff to play. Next, I turn my attention to video games.

Video Games

Video games is a little trickier, because I like to play games on 4 platforms: the Playstation 3, the Playstation Portable, Mac and the iPad. In some cases, again, I’m allowing myself a series of games.

  1. The Star Wars: Force Unleashed series for PS3
  2. The Assassin’s Creed series for PS3
  3. Infinity Blade (I and II) for iPad
  4. Angry Birds (original and Space) for iPad
  5. Civilization V for Mac
  6. Atari’s Greatest Hits for iPad
  7. Dark Meadow for iPad
  8. The Sims 3 for Mac
  9. Star Wars: Renegade Squadron for PSP
  10. Bally’s Pinball Arcade for PSP
  11. Lego Star Wars for PS3
  12. Solitaire for iPad (any one will do)

That’s Who I Am

At least, that’s who I am in terms of what interests me for entertainment. Certainly heavier on science fiction and fantasy, to be sure. But these lists should give some insight into my preferences, and therefore my biases as this blog grows and evolves.

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