February 1st, 2009 (10:30 pm)
current mood: tired
OK, I've been tagged so many times now that I'm going to provide the requisite list just to make all y'all be quiet about it.
1. I'm not going to tag anyone with this meme because I just don't like putting people on the spot.
2. I have thrown myself out of an airplane on more than one occasion. Free fall is overrated in my opinion, but parachuting rocks.
3. You know those 9" cardiac needles you see on TV? I've been on the receiving end of one while fully conscious. It doesn't actually hurt that much, but trying to remain completely motionless so that the surgeon stabbing you in the chest can stab you just so is really very unpleasant.
4. I have been to the Great Wall in China, as well as the Forbidden City.
5. I won an award from the American Legion in Junior High for an essay I wrote on the theme of "What's Wrong with America Today". I believe I said political apathy.
6. The fastest I have ever driven a vehicle is 117 mph. The vehicle in question was a Honda CB400 motorcycle. I was impressed it could actually make it to that speed.
7. I was in Los Angeles in for the Sylmar quake, San Francisco for the Loma Prieta quake, living in the East Bay hills for the Oakland Hills fire, and at an airport in New York preparing to fly to Washington DC on 9/11. Standing next to me during meteor showers is not recommended.
8. I spent the late 1980s trying to be a science fiction author in San Francisco. I drew enough rejection slips to realize that this was not the wisest career choice I could have made.
9. Having grown up in Southern California, I still think snow falling right where I live is so cool that I don't particularly mind having to shovel it. That being said, I have now lived in snow country long enough to be very grateful for the invention of the snow blower.
10. I have stood on the Great Cairn of Knocknarea in County Sligo watching the sun go down towards the Atlantic. I've stood on the banks of the Hudson River on a mid-Winter night watching the Northern Lights. But for sheer, jaw-dropping awe induced by seeing nature at its most beautiful, neither one compares to being in the high country in Glacier Park in Montana.
11. The coldest weather I've experienced is -28 degrees Fahrenheit (-45 with wind chill) in the Adirondacks. The hottest weather I've experienced is 114 degrees, rock hounding in the Mojave desert.
12. I am a reasonably decent cook, although I am much more at home on the stove top than in the oven. I like the ability to taste and tweak as cooking progresses. As far as stove top cooking goes, custard is my nemesis.
13. As mentioned elsewhere in this meme, I met my wife while mocking our fellow undergraduates in astronomy class for their professed lack of interest in cosmology, and proceeded to impress her with my knowledge of how the dome of our class's observatory could serve as an acoustic mirror to reflect sound efficiently from one side to the other. Yes, we are tremendous nerds. How did you guess?
14. New York is the most magnificent city I've ever been in, with London a close second. San Francisco is the most beautiful city I've ever been in, with Edinburgh a close second.
15. The hardest part of an academic lifestyle is that you go where the job is, which unfortunately all too often means leaving where the friends are.
16. I dropped out of U. C. Berkeley as an undergraduate. I tried to get readmitted as a graduate student without having finished an undergraduate degree on the strength of a 2400 GRE score. I met personally with the Dean of the Graduate College to plead my case, who informed me that anyone smart enough to get a 2400 on the GRE should have no problems at all finishing a year of undergraduate education in order to pursue a graduate degree.
17. I decided against having kids while still in high school. I haven't changed my mind yet.
18. I make a mean Sazerac, and a pretty fair Paez.
19. I am not the Jerome McDonough responsible for "Juvie," "Alky," "Addict" and "It's so so sad when an elf goes bad." You can feel free to stop writing me for help in staging a production of one of Mr. McDonough's plays.
20. I have been at two concerts that were released as albums: John Denver at the Universal Amphitheater ("An Evening with John Denver") and Chuck Mangione at the Hollywood Bowl (logically enough, "Chuck Mangione: Live at the Hollywood Bowl").
21. I have an excessive fondness for Broadway musicals from the 1950s and 60s which I appear to have inherited from my dad. If you need to know some of the lyrics from Irma La Douce or Kiss Me, Kate, I'm your man.
22. I have an unfortunate tendency to start unconsciously mimicking the accent and speech patterns of those around me. Worse yet, the accents get filed in my head and tend to intermittently resurface. I got a lot of curious looks from my dorm mates in college after I spent the summer working with a bunch of people from York, Edinburgh, Leeds and London, as well as questions as to why I kept saying 'pissed' when I meant 'drunk.'
23. The MOA2 project was responsible for my first trip to New York (a good thing), my meeting Bob DeCandido for the first time (a great thing), and my heading up the METS initiative. Two out of three and all that.
24. I am not particularly fond of public speaking, which is definitely a drawback for an academic.
25. I doubt that I deserve the good luck I had in meeting my partner, and in making the friends I've got, but I'll take it.