Steuard's Miscellaneous Interests

I have a handful of other interests that don't really deserve their own pages but that are still worth mentioning, so I'll arbitrarily lump them together here.

I don't watch much television, but there have been a few shows over the years that I've enjoyed enough to follow regularly. For example, Babylon 5 was a very well designed science fiction series with a plot that was continuous between episodes, which allowed for substantial character development and actual suspense along the way (there was no guarantee that even major characters would survive an episode, for example). More recently, I've become quite a fan of The West Wing, though I still think that the first season or two were the most inspiring. I watch other things more than occasionally, too (The Simpsons, for example, or Scientific American Frontiers, or the British comedy Coupling).

A related interest is my fondness for anime, Japanese animation. No, I'm not overly excited by giant robots or gratuitous blood and gore, and I find the very thought of the violently sexual anime "genre" disturbing. But the great thing about anime is that there are practically as many genres of it as there are in Hollywood, and good anime can tell stories every bit as deep and interesting as a live action movie or television program. Most of my favorite anime movies were made by Hayao Miyazaki; I like all of his work, but my top choice is almost certainly Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind (his manga or graphic novel version of that story is fantastic as well, easily as good as many traditional novels out there). I'm fond of lighter anime series as well (the original series of Tenchi Muyo and El Hazard come to mind, for example). But I haven't been watching as much of it recently. Way back when I was a kid, I was really fond of The Mysterious Cities of Gold, and after watching it again recently I've written up a guide to essential episodes for anyone wanting the flavor of the show without watching the whole thing.

A group of my friends here in Chicago started a weekly movie night tradition a few years ago, and we've kept it up for rather a long time. We've seen a very wide range of movies, many of them very good, which we nominate and select each week through an overly complicated voting system that I won't try to describe. (For some time, I've run the voting using a Perl script; you can see an example of how the voting page looks if you're interested.) I hadn't seen that many classic movies before, so I've really appreciated this opportunity to fill in my cultural knowledge.

I also enjoy photography, though I'm very much an amateur. Most of the pictures on this website were taken by me (unless I'm in them), either with my Canon SLR or our new Olympus digital camera. Wander around and take a look; I'm hoping to add more pictures eventually. (The rippling background for these pages is adapted from one of my honeymoon pictures.)

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Copyright © 2004 by Steuard Jensen.