Last month I got a slew of Facebook notes that people had tagged me in a note about “25 Random Things About Me”. I didn’t respond right away because I didn’t want to help perpetuate a viral lemming, to use the term a friend of mine applies to all types of chain/spam/forwarded email, since I have done so a couple times in the past to certain people’s annoyance. However, once that very same friend sent me the note, I decided to jump on the band wagon too, albeit after it had left the station and no one cares any more, if I may mix metaphors and Phil Collins lyrics. To freshen up the concept though, I decided to make it a posting to my blog where I could go into a bit more depth on each item. Of course that doesn’t mean I’m not going to tag you back, I just don’t expect you to forward it to anyone else. Not even if someone might die if you don’t pass it along to 25 other people! (Which actually might happen, the way my luck has been going lately. I don’t like the spectre of death noticing me, even peripherally.)
1: Let start somewhat basic. Not quite as basic as what my name is, because if you don’t know that already then you must be on the wrong site and if so, how on earth did you wind up here? (If I do a search on the internet, I can’t even find my own site.) Let’s start with my favorite colors. Yeah, I’m a guy but blue is not my favorite color. It’s my second and eighth favorite color. My very favorite color is emerald green. I have no idea why. I think part of it may be because my birth month jewel is the emerald. Another part of the attraction is that the emerald is cut to reflect light, similar to a diamond, but that also adds variation to the green color so that some parts of the emerald seem light green while others are a darker, more mysterious green that is still somehow optimistic. So when I see an emerald green color, it reminds me of the gemstone. I sort of lump hunter green in with emerald green because no (basically) two-dimensional object like a shirt or piece of paper can exactly capture the facets of a gemstone so hunter green is a close approximation of the dark angles of an emerald. That’s the same reason my second favorite color is midnight blue- it reminds of the moody, dark color of a sapphire although midnight blue is not as optimistic as emerald green. It’s a bit more passionate and troubled. My third favorite color is lilac. It’s like purple, my fourth favorite color, but with a friendlier attitude and I don’t look as pretentiously regal wearing it. Only Prince can pull off purple on a regular basis. Lilac is easier to do.
Next on my list is pastel green, then pastel yellow and then any other pastel, like blue, orange, pink, etc… Pastels remind me of spring, and warmth and Easter and they evoke happy feelings. I’ve never been harmed by anything pastel colored or by anyone wearing pastels whereas basic “boy” blue is a different story. After those comes all the other colors- sunshine yellow, typical blue, bright red, burnt orange, etc… I’m not sure where I stand on black however. That is the absence of color though (or it’s all colors depending on who you ask.) Black looks cool, and I have many black clothes and objects but don’t think I consider it a favorite color per se. I have a different issue with electric pink (and most electric colors are favored over their basic, non-pastel color counterparts) in that it is an enjoyable color, but it isn’t very practical. You shouldn’t buy furniture in that color, electric pink clothes take a lot of coordinating to work well (have you ever seen me wear my pink shoelaces?), and it isn’t an easy color to use as a computer font. So there you have it- more discussion of color than you’ve had since 5th grade art class.
2: Next time you go to see a play or a musical, try playing the Law & Order game like my friends and I do when we see a show. This is what you do: Once you take your seat, open up the show’s “Playbill” and take a look at the cast’s credits. Invariably some of the cast members will list an episode of Law & Order on their performance credits. For instance, from last month’s play A Delicate Balance by Edward Albee, there are six cast members in the production. The first one- Kathleen Chalfant- lists End Game, which she won an Obie Award for, the Broadway appearance of Angels In America, which gave her a Tony Award nomination and then continues on with a whole paragraph of other plays and television appearances including one for Law & Order. The next person lists his credits including his roles on “Law & Order(s)”. The third actor has only one television credit in her list and it’s for Law & Order. No L&O for the fourth person and none for the fifth although he does list a role on Homicide. The sixth did Law & Order and L&O: Criminal Intent. So more than 60% of the cast appeared on a famous cop show. The first play where we were cognizant of this fact, we thought it was an inside joke by the cast but after we started checking and saw that it was in every Playbill, we realized it was a badge of honor to be on the show. That’s when we started making guesses as to how many of the cast members will have it in their bios. It’s an amusing way to spend a few minutes before the curtain goes up. It may be an East coast thing though. I don’t know if any of you West Coast folks can play since Law & Order is set in New York and it’s a lot easier for people here to get to the Big Apple. You all may have to find a different version, like the CSI Game.
3: I often wonder why people who think they are “green” or businesses who try to promote green-ness miss so many opportunities to truly do something about pollution, waste and the environment. Let’s just look at grocery stores as an example. For the last two decades I’ve been miffed about the switch from paper bags to plastic bags. I think the only reason plastic became the standard is because no one could figure out a way to keep the handles on paper bags from tearing off. Don’t plastic bags take several hundred years to decompose, whereas a paper bag is gone in a few years? Or a few seconds if you carry something home in one during a rainstorm? If I want to eat healthy, I’ll get a salad which should be a good thing because it’s an (hopefully) all-natural product but then what do most grocery stores provide for you to put that salad in? Hard plastic containers or Styrofoam, both of which are horrible for the environment. There aren’t any alternatives either because I’m certain that if I tried to bring in my own container or reuse one of theirs, they wouldn’t let me because of some state or federal law worrying about if the container is unsanitary.
Bottled water- another thing I’ve been irritated by for two decades. You pay money for water in a non-biodegradable container. Why not install drinking fountains around town instead? Because the water is bad? Of course it is- you have factories spewing out waste so they can make plastic bottles. Catch 22. All the packaging in grocery stores- plastic. What ever happened to metal or waxed paper? Yeah, I know food would go stale quicker, but that’s a lifestyle choice not an environmental argument. Gift cards? Plastic shopping baskets? Shrinkwrap? Styrofoam trays for fish? Non-local produce trucked in from another country? (Although I really like my Chilean grapes at Safeway so that’s a bit hypocritical of me.) I question how much people are really willing to sacrifice in order to call themselves green. Heck, I still remember years ago when Adam and Michelle were turned away from the newspaper recycling location because they had “too many newspapers already and couldn’t accept anymore.” We aren’t equipped to really go green in a way that makes a difference and even if we were, I’m not sure people would buy into the concept because it would affect their lifestyle too much. Sorry to say it but just buying a hybrid car doesn’t qualify you as being a greenie. You are destroying the forest while saving a tree.
4: I have been to 34 states and 19 countries. Part of that is because I was a military brat and part is because I love to travel and have done a lot of it in the last 8 years. As a kid, I lived in Florida, Michigan, Germany and Virginia, plus often visited my grandparents in Sweden. In the last few years, I’ve done road trips to the Pacific Northwest, the South, the New England states, Texas and rural Virginia plus I did some overseas trips like Iceland, Russia and a Danube River cruise. The states I have not yet been to, either as a passenger in the car with my parents when I was young or as an adult taking a trip, are: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming. The one’s I’m most eager to knock off the pending list are Hawaii, Wyoming, Arizona, Utah and North Dakota because they promise to have some interesting sites once I get there. Of the states I have been, I’m pretty enamored of Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maine and Washington (State). Virginia appeals to me because I love variety in my landscapes. Virginia has a coastline, flat land, hills and mountains. It has temperate weather and you actually experience all four seasons. The cities and towns have variety too- small towns in rural parts and bigger cities like Richmond, Alexandria and DC- which I consider as part of Virginia. Heck, we used to own it in colonial times before it was annexed. This is the same reason I like Pennsylvania- variety of landscape and variety of city sizes although there aren’t as many memories from that state since I haven’t lived there 35 years like I have with Virginia. Maine and Washington State I like because of the rugged terrain. I love forested mountains, cliffs, big hills and all wooded areas. When I retire, I want to live on a wooded mountain about 20 minutes from a big city. There are some other states that I think would like if I had a chance to spend more time exploring different parts of them and seeing more than what I’ve seen so far. These states are New York, California, North Carolina, Michigan and New Hampshire/Vermont (They should just combine the two states, just like Maryland should absorb Delaware).
The countries I have been to are: the Bahamas (Nassau), Canada- British Columbia, Canada- Ontario, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Italy, Mexico, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Iceland, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia and Hungary. My favorites have been… all of them. I can’t think of one I wouldn’t want to go back to. Rome is probably tops on my list of places to return to soon, before it gets radically commercialized. That’s part of what I liked about the Danube cruise- I saw places that were still unintentionally quaint. They weren’t commercialized or designed to be quaint. After Rome comes Germany. For a place that is part of my personal background, I don’t know enough about it. Places I want to get to are pretty much everywhere I’ve never been. I’ve only been to three of the seven continents, assuming I can fudge things and consider Russia to be part of Asia. Any place in Europe is a definite visit, Australia and New Zealand absolutely, some places in Asia like China, Hong Kong or Japan, Antarctica yes, parts of Africa, parts of South America, more of Canada and maybe Costa Rica or Mexico in Central America. Anyone interested in going someplace, let me know- as long as your snoring isn’t as bad as my roommates on the Danube trip.
5: I’m a multi-billionaire. Granted, it is in Serbian dinars but I still have money totaling more than a billion units of a currency. While on my Danube River cruise, we stopped in Belgrade. Our guide told us that the currency had been so badly devalued during Serbian-Croatian war that Serbia actually had a 500,000,000,000 note. It has since been phased out of existence but street vendors sell the old notes for about $3 or 3 Euros. Naturally I bought one from an old lady selling them on the corner. I only had a US $20 bill but she could make change. As I left with my bill and my change I realized she had only given me back $14. I almost went back to argue with her but then figured what the heck. I was a billionaire. I could afford to be generous with a street hustler.
6: I’ve been lucky or unlucky about injuring myself, depending on how you look at it. I’ve broken my wrist, but since it happened when I jumped off a moving car, it could have been much worse. I’ve had pencil tips broken off in my hand, I’ve been kicked in the head, had a Lincoln log stuck down my throat, been shot at with a BB gun, been whacked upside the head with a Flying Ginny and simultaneously had mono, anemia and jaundice. These ailments resulted in stitches, medication and tears but nothing worse than that which I would consider a lucky outcome. I’ve also had several food injuries, including my latest which is a soup injury. Suffice to say, styrofoam does not hold up well to lengthy microwaving and I have the blistered skin to prove it. I’ve sliced off part of my thumb with a cheese slicer, lost a tooth to a gummi bear, branded myself pulling a cake out of the oven and choked on rice. That doesn’t even include the remote controls I’ve damaged with spatter from oranges or the amount of liquid I’ve sweated out eating curry and other spicy foods. The food injuries at least had the benefit of occurring while enjoying food, unlike regular injuries, but I wonder what it means when my food injuries almost outnumber my normal personal injuries.
7: Icing is made with sugar. I mean that as a personal statement, not a question of fact. Some people think that the whipped, pseudo-sweet cream some places put on a cake is icing, but it’s not. Icing is sugar. I don’t know what the necessary proportions of sugar, butter and egg are but if I lick the icing off the top of a cupcake and it reminds me of whipped cream, it has been made wrong. Also, icing goes great on any pastry- brownies, cookies, cakes, doughnuts, etc…
8: I started a blog: http://richardsrantingandramblings.blogspot.com/ Check it out if you like. I’d love to hear any feedback or suggestions.
9: I’m a moderate sports guy. I don’t get obsessed with sports because there are too many other activities that are worth engaging in to be spending all my time as a sports spectator. When I do watch, I like seeing tennis & soccer in general, and certain teams in the NFL and NBA. I always watch the tennis Major tournaments and pretty much any other tournament that is televised. I watch MLS soccer (i.e. US teams) and World cup games and qualifiers. If I tried to follow any other soccer league I’d have no time for anything else. I watch all the Utah Jazz NBA games plus whoever is in the playoffs and for the NFL, in the background I’ll watch whatever is on while I’m doing something else. If it is a Colts or Redskins game, I’ll specifically watch them. I love underdogs which is why I root for the Texans and Cardinals, which turned out well this year. I don’t watch hockey (sorry, Trevor) or baseball unless it is the playoffs. I’ll watch Nascar if it is the last 5 laps.
10: Mormor, my grandmother in Sweden, died last month. She hadn’t been feeling well and was staying in bed a lot. At one point, she was talking to my mom and told her she felt too weak to get up and go to the bathroom. That’s when my mom insisted that she call an ambulance and go to a hospital. Surprisingly, she did that even though she had always been a bit of a “rugged individualist”, to use an American expression. My mom called to tell me this and then a few days later called to say that Mormor was getting better, that she was feeling a lot stronger. A few days after that, she called and said that Mormor had died. That really took me by surprise. Mormor had always been there for me. She was part of my mental foundation. Even if I didn’t see her on a daily basis, I knew she was there in Sweden thinking of me. It made me feel good knowing that. Some of my most cherished memories are traveling to Sweden and looking at the airport waiting area and seeing Mormor and Morfar up in the observation area waiting for us to get thru customs. In the last dozen years, after Morfar had passed away, Mom and I would go visit and take the train into town rather than have Mormor come get us. Still, as we walked down the street towards her apartment, I would look at her kitchen window and see her standing there, keeping an eye out for us. She was waiting because she was excited to see us. It was so nice knowing that there was always somebody waiting for me, with unconditional love and acceptance. No matter what, Mormor loved me and I could count on her being there for me whenever I looked for her. Now she won’t be there anymore. She won’t see me this spring, when I had planned to visit with Mom. She won’t see me 40 pounds lighter than before. She won’t get to see my sister’s son in person- her first great grandson. She won’t see me get married or have kids either. She won’t even see the next spring season, which always made her happy. She liked the nicer weather and growing some flowers in her garden or her window box. I’m not going to get any more wonderful Christmas cards from her. No more birthday cards with some money inside the envelope. No more trips to Falkoping, no more home cooked Swedish meals, no more black & white checkerboard cookies, no more beautifully decorated rooms, no more Christmas morning phone calls. No more Morfar, no more Mormor. The world just got a lot lonelier.
11: I have a Slurpee addiction but I’ve mostly weaned myself off of it by creating and following a Slurpee 12-step program.
12: I want to lose 16.5 pounds. Within the last two years, I’ve lost 45 pounds altogether and then sort of leveled off around 175 pounds. Since the beginning of February though I’ve gained back eight of those pounds. I don’t think it had any connection to Mormor passing away (although I didn’t do much in Sweden except pack up her belongings and eat stuff that was bad for me). It’s more that in the last couple of months I’ve been succumbing to my main weaknesses- sugar and bread. I can feel the fat accumulating again. My jawline is becoming less defined, I can pinch extra flesh on my hips and thighs and I’m feeling more sluggish. That’s why I want to get start dropping weight again, get back on a healthy eating cycle and start exercising more often. My preliminary goal is to hit 160 pounds and then level off at 165 and stay there for good. Sugar and sweet products will be hard to give up now that I’ve been indulging again (like with my kick in Sweden with the gummi/pectin raspberry racecars) but it’s doable if I can shake off the habit and stay sugarless for a week or two. Bread will be the tough one though. I’m always in the mood for bread. Bread is my favorite food. I’ll keep trying though. I have at least started a new rule about bread- don’t waste calories with bad bread. If I’m going to be bad and eat bread, it has to be good. No Wonderbread type bread, no soggy sandwiches, no mediocre breadbaskets. I’m hoping by summer, I will have achieved my goal. Wish me luck (and hide the M&Ms.)
13: I have an absurd fear of zombies. Unlike a UFO encounter, no one you know has ever claimed to see the undead walking around trying to eat them. Not even the National Enquirer has tried to claim they are out there. So I know they don’t really exist, yet I’m still terrified of them. As a kid, I used to be scared of the normal things- monsters in the closest, vampires, crazy burglars, escaped murderers. I didn’t even really pay attention to zombies until the 1980’s when a wave of remakes and sequels started popping up. By that time, I was watching television and going to movie theatres so I saw all the ads and previews for things like the remake of “Night Of The Living Dead” and especially “Return Of The Living Dead”. Seeing the decomposing creatures shuffling towards me on screen and muttering something about eating my brains totally freaked me out. Yes, they were slow and easily avoided, unlike say a werewolf, but they were relentless. You could wait until daylight and be safe from Dracula but not with these things. They are always there- you didn’t dare rest or relax your guard for a second. And they liked to congregate so what was only one annoying, easily handled creature in the morning becomes a dangerous horde by nightfall. Plus by this time I was aware of how much I hated irrational thought. I dislike being around people who were guided solely by their id or who refuse to listen to reasonable explanations and logical arguments. Doesn’t that sound exactly like someone who’s undead? All they do is look to sate their appetites and they won’t be swayed by anything you say, unless you say it “metaphorically”, like with a shotgun blast to their head.
For about fifteen years, this fear of zombies slowly built up as new movies kept coming out. It went from being a non-existent fear to an all-consuming one, if you’ll pardon the pun. Sometime in the mid 1990’s, I decided to confront my fear head-on. I would watch a couple of zombie movies so I could see how ridiculous they were and how unbelievable the creatures were. Big mistake. It scared the crap out of me even more. Since then if I walk around the house in the dark, I don’t watch out for Freddy Kruguer or Jason, I listen for moaning noises or the tell-tell sound of shuffling feet. Resident Evil is the one that pushed me over the edge. It moved me from passive fear to active engagement in the absurdity. That’s when I started watching every zombie movie I came across, so I could learn how to protect myself. When I look out the window, I make sure there are no corpses staggering around before I go outside. If I pass a doorway, I look to see who, or what, is in the room. I always make sure my door is locked behind me as soon as I go inside. I look in the shower and closets before going to bed. When I drive to work in the morning, I scope out the houses and buildings around me to see which ones look secure in case I have to quickly take shelter in the event of a zombie attack. Do they have high walls? Are there defendable points of entry? Are the windows narrow and high up? Is there food nearby? Are there likely to be lots of (undead) people nearby right away or will I have time to prepare? Is there a gun store or sporting goods shop in the vicinity? That’s why this fear is absurd. It affects how I view my surroundings even though I know it is ridiculous to think this way. On the plus side, I no longer worry about vampires, werewolves or escaped mental patients. I’m not sure that’s a good trade-off but it is too late to do anything about it now. I wish I could go back to the normal fears I had as a kid, like snakes, ghosts and Bigfoot. Oh, and if you get a concussion or bodily injury in my vicinity, I would suggest you don’t moan and shuffle in my direction looking for assistance. I’m likely to cut your head off, just as a preventative measure.
14: I always root for the underdog. I identify with the underdog, the loser, the person with something to prove. I won’t get into any psychological examinations about why this may be, but you would probably be safe in assuming I’ve always considered myself an underdog. Mostly though, it just makes for a more interesting experience. How many of you watch the Superbowl whole-heartedly when the score is 30-7 at halftime? Would Britney Spears’ comeback be as interesting to the world if she hadn’t totally screwed up her life? Would Rocky (or even Rudy) be as heart-warming a movie if the character succeeded right away? My friend John watched the first MLS soccer championship and counts it as one of the best sports experiences he’s ever seen. They staged a late game come-from-behind win that was electrifying. When I watched tennis back in the early 1990’s, I never rooted for Jim Courier because he always won, methodically grinding out win after win. Then Pete Sampras started doing the same thing but was more arrogant about it so there was no way I could root for him. That’s why I like Andre Agassi. He provided some competition for Sampras, brought him down to earth. Plus, Agassi learned about humility when he went from a top ten world-ranking to the 200’s. He was written off for two or three years and then decided to pull himself together. He played Challenger events, which is like Roger Clemens playing AA-League baseball. Andre then worked his way back into the top ten and went on to win more Grand Slam titles after he turned thirty then he did during the sports' “peak” age of the mid 20’s. I eventually started rooting for Courier once he lost a step and had to fight for wins, which he did in a dramatic fashion, especially for Davis Cup matches. You can also understand why I currently prefer Rafael Nadal to Roger Federer and I love seeing the Yankees lose. Being the underdog keeps you honest and makes you work on improving your skills.
15: I was in ROTC. All four years of school, I had to wear a camouflage outfit twice a week. I didn’t mind that part actually, nor did I mind the classroom stuff or most of the field exercises. What I disliked was the forced discipline. If a superior told me to do something, I would do it. I didn’t want to have to say “Sir, yes sir!” before doing it though. I felt ridiculous saluting people. I don’t want to sing Army songs while jogging. Standing at attention is very uncomfortable. Requiring my boots to be super shiny is silly, especially since during actual combat, you don’t want shiny surfaces giving away your position to enemy troops. Also, if you know my fondness for sleep, you can guess what I thought about the early morning P.T. sessions.
16: “Yeah, no”. A few years back, I noticed the prevalence of this phrase. I really wonder how it came into existence, because it is an absolute contradiction and makes no sense. Yet, you hear it all the time. If I asked someone “Did you like that movie?” and they didn’t like the movie, why would they start their response with “Yeah, no.” before explaining that “It kinda sucked. It wasn't very funny and I didn’t like the person who played the main character.” Clearly they didn’t like the movie and the answer to my question is assuredly “No.” Have people gotten so unwilling to say anything negative that they start any possible criticism with a positive sounding “Yeah” to salve the sensibilities of the recipient? I never hear anyone say “No, yeah.” It’s always the reverse. I thought no meant no. Doesn’t putting a yeah in front of it weaken the integrity of the word? What if I only hear the yeah part and I start doing something you didn’t want done? If I utter a phrase like “Would you like me to hit you with a hammer?” you probably should not let the word “Yeah” escape your lips for some time. Listen next time people are talking and see how often you hear this. I even heard it on TV last night, which means someone wrote that into a script deliberately. I’m amused and confused by how much I hear this contradiction in everyday conversation. (And I’ve even said it myself, although I chastise myself immediately after doing so- “Yeah, no- you shouldn’t be saying that. It’s, like, bad grammar, you know?”)
17: Along the same lines (I get annoyed by lots of things these days), have you ever gotten an email and seen this message: “In order to protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.”? Our spam blocker at work does it to messages all the time and it always irks me because it has nothing to do with privacy. Privacy is about being left to yourself and keeping other people from knowing things about you. What the spam filter did is protect my sensibilities, my delicate nature, from potentially obscene or disgusting pictures. I think Outlook is using the word “privacy” because they can’t think of a better metaphor for “filthy smut”. The only reasonable argument I can think of in Outlook’s favor is if someone is actually getting an email at work with embarrassing pictures. In that case, they wouldn’t want it to be seen by their co-workers but if that’s what they are up to, shouldn’t they get embarrassed by the computer, just on general principle? Besides if Outlook really wanted to protect me, it would have stopped all those George Bush jokes from coming my way in the last 5 years.
18: I’ve been playing a lot of poker. Texas Hold’Em specifically. Generally two or three times a week, at a local bar. It’s free to play and if I win that night I get a gift certificate for the bar/restaurant. Every three or four months, I play at John’s house when he does a barbecue/poker night. I’ve even started playing for money once or twice a month. Nothing big, but I do it since the players are usually better and less stupid when cash is involved.
19: I love competition but I hate to lose, so I resist doing things I don’t think I can do well.
20: My favorite movie stars are: (Women) Sandra Bullock, Marisa Tomei, Reese Witherspoon and Deborah Foreman and (Men) Harrison Ford, Ben Stiller, Bruce Willis and Clive Owen. You might be thinking “Deborah who?” Well, she’s the girl from My Chauffeur, Waxwork and April Fool’s Day. Still nothing? She was also in Valley Girl. Now you can say “Oh, yeah. But she hasn’t done anything in twenty years, has she?” No she hasn’t but that’s how much I like her. Her old movies are better than any new movie from Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce or Nicole Kidman.
My 10 favorite movies from last year were: 10) Forgetting Sarah Marshall; 9) Quantum Of Solace; 8) Slumdog Millionaire; 7) Tell No One; 6) Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist; 5) Wall-E; 4) Dark Knight; 3) Sex & the City; 2) Tropic Thunder; 1) Iron Man. The worst movies, or at least the ones that made me feel like I wasted my money, were The Spirit, Four Christmases, Burn After Reading, Transporter 3, Made Of Honor, Harold & Kumar Escape Guantanamo, You Don’t Mess With The Zohan and Max Payne. I don’t know if this list says anything about my taste in movies or rather the state of the movie business. Draw your own conclusions.
21: I like sharing music with people. I listen to a lot of music and I know other people don’t, even if they want to so I try to recommend things I think they might like. I can’t imagine going through life without music, much like I don’t understand people who don’t like to read. Other people have introduced me to songs and bands I’ve loved, so I feel an obligation to pass along the experience. I know that just because I like something is no guarantee others will like it too (You mean you don’t like disco or industrial music? Really?) but when they do, it’s such a cool experience. You’ve given someone else a happy feeling, something they enjoyed. What could be better than that? Music is the perfect medium for sharing because it can be absorbed quickly. A book recommendation takes a lot longer to get through and if they hate the book you suggested, you’ve used up several/many hours of their time. I’m still amazed that someone didn’t like the Bernie Rhodenbarr series I suggested. I mean, they love Janet Evanovich so how could they not like a series about a literate, pithy burglar? Was there not enough slapstick for their taste? Of course, they also disliked Fargo, which someone else at work recommended to them so who knows what’s wrong with their mental wiring. That brings up another category- movies- that are harder to recommend. Movies cost so much to make that the studios are forced to spend lots of money on advertising to get a large audience to see it so they can recoup their costs. With such a big marketing and promotional push behind it, it is hard for someone not to be aware of a movie so the recommendation is unnecessary- people already know if they are interested in a certain movie. It’s harder to discover a great, hidden gem of a movie. A movie would have to bomb at the box office and disappear quickly yet still be really good. How often does that happen? Office Space naturally springs to mind, which has been an automatic recommendation of mine ever since John and I were two of the twelve people who saw the movies in the theater. So if you want recommendations, I’m happy to oblige. Let me know generally what you like though, so I don’t recommend Fargo to someone who thinks a great movie is something starring Kevin James as a mall cop or a WWE wrestler as an action star.
22: Motorcycles scare me. Conceptually and in reality. So do roller coasters, although for a different reason. If you are riding a motorcycle on the highway, you need to be alert at all times, watching out for other vehicles and perfectly judging the road conditions in inclement weather. If you misjudge anything or get distracted even briefly, you lose control and turn into hamburger, as my Dad likes to say. What is your reward for all this risk? You get to your destination with bugs on your clothes. The absolute downside is death. At least in the NFL or NASCAR, where you also risk bodily injury during your efforts, there is a monetary reward. With motorcycles, nothing. A convertible car has most of the same benefits of riding a motorcycle and lot fewer dangers. Roller coasters bother me because the whole object of the ride is to simulate falling through the sky. You get taken up in the air and then plummeted earthward. For amusement. Normally that’s a bad things- no one gets off a plane that had massive turbulence or altitude drops and says “That was exciting. I hope it happens next time I’m on a plane.” On a coaster, you have no control over the descent and occasionally riders have been beheaded by faulty equipment. Explain the fun part of that to me (and I repeat- occasionally riders have been beheaded.) I know I’m probably a bit more risk adverse than some people but any recreational activity that significantly increases my risk of death is hard to enjoy. It the same reason I don’t do drugs.
23: Not married, no kids. I want both. I’m not sure if it hasn’t happened yet because of my ineptitude at dating or the fact that I’m basically unlovable.
24: I like food combos that seem weird to other people. As a kid (okay and all through college too) I would eat licorice dipped in frosting and people would give me weird looks. When I mention that shrimp goes good on pizza, nobody else seems to agree. Fried cheese should be dipped in ranch dressing, not marinara. Fruit flavored yogurt and Bugles go great together. Pickles actually taste good in grilled cheese sandwiches. Pear ice cream is a flavor that needs to be introduced to the U.S. Surely I’m not the only one who feels foods should be experimented with and mixed together? I’m certain that’s how fondue was invented and how else do you explain the idea of fusion cuisine? Stop giving me that funny look!
25: I’m usually laconic and succinct unless I’m writing, then I’m verbose, effusive and just can’t stop. I’m not sure which is the better state of being. At least for now though, I’m going to shut up.