10 Geeky Things to Be Thankful For, 2011 Edition

Hacking the Holidays


Photo by di_the_huntress on Flickr; used under Creative Commons Attribution license.

Just the fact that you’re reading this means that, if we’re serious about it, you have things to be thankful for — to whatever higher power you believe in or simply to the universe in general. But you probably didn’t come here wanting to be serious, so we’ll let you deal with such things on your own.

No matter how rough things are for you, you almost surely have some things in your life that make you feel lucky. Whether or not you believe in a deity or deities to whom to give thanks for the good things in your life, it can be good to take a little time out to consider how much you have that makes you happy.

It’s all well and good to list things like your family, your friends, a steady job (if you’re fortunate enough to have one), having a roof over your head, etc. But there’s more. Here’s my list of geeky things I’m thankful for this (American) Thanksgiving Day:

1. The Hobbit films, even as you read this being made in New Zealand by Peter Jackson and his terrific cast and crew. It’s going to be hard waiting for them — we still have a bit more than a year until the first part hits theaters, and another year after that until the second part does. The two-part adaptation is going to have sky-high expectations to live up to, but there’s no reason to think it will fail.

2. The Muppets are back in movie theaters, 12 years after their last feature film and 27 years after their last really good one. (Even if you’re among those who count The Muppet Christmas Carol among the Muppets’ good films, it’s been 19 years.) And it’s a film that’s good enough it might just kick start the resurgence of the franchise.

3. Game of Thrones on HBO is a far better adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series than almost any of the series’ fans could have expected. I only hope they can keep up the quality for long enough to at least approach adapting the whole series … assuming Martin ever actually concludes it.

4. Caffeine. I shudder to think how my productivity both here on GeekDad and in my day job would suffer were I to be deprived of this marvelous chemical. I am somewhat in awe of people who — whether for religious reasons, health reasons, or by choice — manage to get by without it, and particularly parents.

5. Bacon. I keep hoping that scientists will find a health benefit to it, the way they have with coffee, red wine, and chocolate.

6. Warehouse 13 hasn’t been cancelled … yet. Stargate Universe was cut down in its prime and Eureka is on its way out, but at least Syfy is keeping one of its good science fiction shows around. For now, anyway.

7. Phineas and Ferb. I couldn’t be happier about the way this show’s popularity has skyrocketed. It wasn’t so long ago that I would tell people about this smart, funny cartoon show that celebrates creativity and is as much aimed at adults as kids, and they would have no idea what I was talking about. But now I see at least two or three Perry the Platypus t-shirts every time I go to the mall. And I’m frankly amazed at how well they’ve managed to keep the show fresh even into its third season (with a fourth in the works).

8. ThinkGeek. I could so easily spend all my money there, which may not be a thing to be entirely thankful for, but it’s a certainty the geek world is a better place for the awesome stuff they sell.

9. Kickstarter. It’s obviously not just for geeks, but it has enabled and continues to enable some very creative games, graphic novels, and movies (among many other kinds of projects) to be made that otherwise would never have made it out of the planning stages.

10. MythBusters. Season after season, the show manages to produce science that is both entertaining and accessible to mainstream adult audiences and kids. Every time I turn it on I wish there had been something like it on TV when I was a kid — but at least I get to enjoy it now, and to enjoy my kids watching it.

So, what are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

[The introduction to this article was previously published on GeekDad on Thanksgiving 2010.]

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