Happy 27th birthday to the Nintendo Entertainment System! On this day in 1985, the NES debuted in North America and paved the way for video gaming as we know it in 2012.

Last March I spent an embarrassingly large amount of my tax return investing in a refurbished NES, controllers and exactly 130 cleaned games (for now). It’s absolutely awesome. Since everything is essentially “like new,” the games play on their first insertion and my non-digital TV is the perfect monitor for the system.

So happy 27th, NES! I owe you a large chunk of my geekdom.

Also celebrating their birthday today is my Dad. He’s a great man and he has never done wrong to me — he’s the one true role model in my life and I strive to emulate him on a daily basis.

I sent him a Halloween card for his birthday this year, something I’ve never done before (which is surprising, all things considered). I bought stamps while at the post office and went with a Christmas theme, so to fit with the card and orange envelope, I made Rudolph and the gang a pack of vampire deer. Too bad my Dad is farsighted and likely won’t notice.

Happy 56th birthday, Dad! I owe you all the credit for making me the opinionated, thick-skinned, one woman man I am today.