Profile

My Curriculum Vitae is uploaded to LinkedIn: <https://www.linkedin.com/in/merchantdavid>.


What is in your iPod?
I have a very wide range of tastes across many genres and cultures.

What do you read?
Most anything. About books, I agree with Mr. Sagan:

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I also agree with George R.R. Martin’s Tyrion Lannister, from A Song of Fire and Ice:

“A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.”

I am the one who teaches A Christmas Carol.monk2007sm2My favorite fiction genres are medieval (especially the Old English Period, like Beowulf, The Canterbury Tales, and Marie de France’s Lais), Shakespeare, science fiction, and steampunk. I will read most anything, fiction or non-fiction, related to Mars (the planet, not the candy bar).

I also like reading novelizations of, or stories inspired by, my favorite video games. For example, the novelizations of the Biohazard and Resident Evil games (and movies) are rather good, as are the Biohazard Marhawa Desire manga series by Naoki Serizawa.

My favorite non-fiction genres are astronomy/physics, medieval history, theology (world), video game design, and writing.

What shows and movies do you watch?
A wide range, including foreign films, anime, fantasy, horror, science fiction, and science and history documentaries.

With science fiction, I even watch the bad stuff (Plan 9, for example), which is one reason why I am a fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Though Santa Claus Conquers the Martians was a watching-once-was-two-times-too-much kind of movie. So terrible. My favorite science fiction are too many to list. I would be hard pressed to decide what would be my top 5 or 10 as there are so many strong contenders.

My favorite fantasy films include Conan the Barbarian (the Arnold ones),  The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings. For comedy, I just love the humor in Monty Python and The Holy Grail, The Princess Bride,  and The Producers (the musical version).

I am a long-time vampire move and TV show (Buffy!) aficionado. I have also fallen victim to deadites and zombies; I have watched the Resident Evil movies, for instance, more often than I care to admit, as well as The Evil Dead with Bruce Campbell.

Other movies and shows: my wife has got me into mystery and detective shows like Columbo, Father Brown, New Tricks, Miss Fisher, Miss Marple, Poirot, and Sherlock.  I watch almost any adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, and the story of Joan of Arc. As for sports, it needs to be a local team (LA Tech Bulldogs) or Olympic sports (gymnastics, skating, diving) for me to be interested, though I have watched a NASCAR race from time to time.

March 2008: Curtain call, The Conjunction of Comedia and Errata, adapted from Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors. I played Dr. Pinch.

Curtain call for RCT’s 2008 production The Conjunction of Comedia & Errata (adapted from Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors). I played Dr. Pinch.

The RCT's 2007 production of The Odd Couple. I played Vinnie.

The RCT’s 2007 production of The Odd Couple. I played Vinnie.

I am also a fan of live theater. So much so, I have decided to work on a master’s degree in theater here at Tech.

Ruston Community Theater (RCT), www.rctruston.org/, puts on excellent plays each year at the Dixie Theater, downtown Ruston.

Louisiana Tech’s theater department, www.latechuniversitytheatre.com/, also puts on excellent plays each year. Check out both schedules and make it a point to see a live play this year. Also, they have open auditions—no experience necessary. I have acted on stage in the past, mostly for RCT, but it has been awhile.  one plan to keep busy is to pursue a MA in Theater.

Video games?
Been playing since the days of Pong. I was addicted to Pac-Man when I first went to college. I tend to like RPGs, especially dungeon crawlers, am I am a big fan of Mass Effect. Old favorites: NeverWinter Nights, Might & Magic,  and Ultima (the original series, not the MMORPG). I loved Dragon Age: Origins. Other games I am found of playing are American McGee’s Alice, Pillars of Eternity, the Sacred series, and Skyrim. As much as I am a fan of Resident Evil, the later games have been pretty much “meh”; I really wanted to like those games. Lately, I have developed in interest in modding–nothing ready to upload to the public yet, though.

Where have you traveled?

At the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. April 1986.

Italy: At the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. April 1986.

Me in my liderhosen

Germany: In my liderhosen, 1964.

I am an Army brat, and ex-U.S. Navy sailor; consequently, I have lived in or visited many parts of the world.

At the time I joined the Navy, they had the slogan “Join the Navy and see the world”—I forgot that 70 percent of the world is covered by water. I saw a lot of water, cruising the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic Ocean (including above the arctic circle), Norwegian fjords, and, most often, the Mediterranean Sea. OK, we did pull into port many times, and out to sea I saw whales playing in our ship’s wake, dolphins escorting us into port, giant sea turtles swimming along side, giant icebergs, as well as some ethereal times when out at in the middle of the ocean a dense, insulating, almost other worldly fog would envelope the ship.

Me with samurai reenactors, 29 August 2010.

Japan: With samurai reenactors, 29 August 2010.

Born in America., almost eight of my first nine years were spent growing up in Germany. I have had a several extended stays in Japan. Other countries I have visited (not just passed through): England, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Mexico, and Spain.

In the U.S., I have lived in California, Florida (including being stationed at Key West one summer), Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia, and have visited most of the rest. 

While I envy people who grew up in one area most or all of their lives, travel does help you learn more about your own country, as well as about the world, and yourself.

Other hobbies?

Shakespeare and Star Trek talk, 2009

2008 LA Tech Shakespeare Birthday celebration.

Vegetable gardening, solving crostics, astronomy, writing, and drawing. I am relearning the flute and trying to learn the Theremin as it fits in with my love of classic Sci-Fi movies—but mercy, that is one difficult instrument to learn. Also, I am trying to learn Japanese.

I also usually give a talk regarding Shakespearean influences on and references in science fiction at the annual LA Tech Shakespeare Birthday Celebration  (with the occasional Shakespeare influences in the Lord of the Rings talk) held in the Shakespeare Garden (GTMH courtyard).

The Shakespeare Birthday Celebration is an all day event with sword fights, Shakespearean insults, puppet plays, poetry readings, and a variety of short talks covering the wide range of influence Shakespeare has on every story telling media. Held every April, if you are in the area, it is worth checking out.

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