25 Random Things About Me

Yes, it’s another Facebook note thingy.  This one’s a bit more insidious – the idea is that you tag your friends, and that means they’re supposed to write one of these things too (because you want to “get to know” them better).  I’ll opt to do it this way instead – If you’re reading this, go ahead and do one.  If you don’t wanna, don’t worry about it.  There, no pressure :>

From the original note:

Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you.

(To do this, go to “notes” under tabs on your profile page, paste these instructions in the body of the note, type your 25 random things, tag 25 people (in the right hand corner of the app) then click publish.)

  1. I was a smoker from the time I was about 20, even after watching my grandfather die from emphysema.  I had quit about a month after I started, but started up again because I wanted an excuse to hang out with a girl at a party, who happened to be a chainsmoker.  I quit again in August 2008 – a bit later than my goal of “when Stephanie gets pregnant” but better than not at all.
  2. My one goal growing up was to be six foot four and 1/4 inches tall, so I could look down on my father.  Instead I named my son after him.
  3. My musical tastes, while quite varied, move in shifts; sometimes it’s rock, sometimes progressive, sometimes funk.  When I’m in a “mood” I tend to stay there for a while – and if I get introduced to a new song/artist/whatever that I can’t get out of my head, I’ll just about listen to it on repeat for a couple months.
  4. I taught myself how to play guitar, because I thought it looked like fun.  Unfortunately my guitars have fallen into disrepair due to improper storage, and I haven’t played in years.  Instead I started teaching myself piano, and will continue to do so once I clean out the room where the keyboard lives.
  5. My neighbor growing up was a very interesting guy, and was into CB radio at one point.  He later started getting involved in amateur radio, and tried to get me into it as well but I never did.  In March of 2004 I took my exam and got licensed, and within a year had moved up to the highest class amateur license.  Yes, I have a radio station at my house (and in my truck, and a handheld radio I occasionally take wherever I go).
  6. I’ve always been interested in computers, since I was about 8 and taught myself to program on the IBM PCjr that my parents bought.  This became an endless source of torment material for people at school, and I often found myself resenting my own intelligence (to the point that I became quite the underachiever in high school).
  7. I have never owned a vehicle in my own name with an automatic transmission, and if I have my way I never will.  Stephanie’s truck (and her car before that) doesn’t count, because it’s hers – though yes, I will drive it if I have to.
  8. My first car was a 1972 AMC Hornet, in a lovely shade of green.  Column manual shift, so a few of the passengers of my car were known to ask why I shifted from drive to reverse and back to drive, all the while going faster (it’s a standard H pattern, turned sideways and on the column.)
  9. I found an artificial intelligence program named “MegaHAL” while in college, and thought it was a lot of fun.  I hacked the program to work with a popular IRC bot (a program that sits in a chat room), and gave the bot its own personality.  I released the code for the public, and until that email address was finally shut down 6 years later I was still getting emails about it (even though others had long since taken up maintenance of the code).  Mine is still named “KupaKawfe”, ’cause everyone needs a cup of coffee.
  10. I have had two “online relationships” in my life.  In one case I drove to the woman’s house (in Tennessee), and in the other case she was planning on flying to NJ (from California) to meet me when I had to call it off.
  11. Speaking of relationships, I had quite the track record of being a good crutch.  I would find women who were abused in some way – physically, emotionally, didn’t matter – and get them back on their feet.  Make them realize they were better than that, they deserved better, and they didn’t have to take any kind of abuse from anyone.  They were so grateful for my help and affection that they took some time to “get to know themselves” before our relationship continued, and the relationship never continued since they started dating someone else.  Fortunately, since I am still friendly with most of my exes, I know that they’re not in abusive relationships now, so maybe that counts for something :>
  12. And on a final relationship note, the relationship I have with my wife is my “second chance”.  I had an opportunity to try to date her before we started dating, but somehow in my drunken stupor I had the foresight to know that had I tried, I would have messed up the relationship and our friendship (I was in no position to try getting into anything “real”).  I lamented this at a bar one night and was taking a pull off a bottle when she said that everyone gets a second chance in life.  I almost had to pay for the bartender’s laundry service.
  13. Bars, that brings me to drinking.  I can’t stand beer.  Never have.  There’s a few beers now and then that I can tolerate, but for the most part I just can’t deal with the taste.  People tell me it’s an aquired thing.  I’d rather aquire a bottle of Jack Daniels.  Or maybe a nice scotch.
  14. I like using my brain, and would rather do that than something that requires no thought.  Every night before going to sleep I play a few games of sudoku on a hand-held game I picked up.  I’d rather play a video game than watch TV more often than not, unless the TV show somehow makes me think (either because it’s educational or has plot twists that keep you wondering) or it makes me laugh.  Playing a game – such as a strategy game – makes you think about your next moves, instead of sitting there and waiting for the next scene to be spit out at you.
  15. I don’t run Windows, and have not agreed to a Microsoft End User License Agreement since 1997.  My wife maintains her own computer (running XP), my parents take care of theirs, etc.  I run a Linux server in the basement hooked to the house network (acts as the router as well), and have Macs for just about everything else – mostly because I like the UNIX tools available at my disposal.  If that means nothing to you, don’t worry – just don’t ask me to fix your computer, I’ll tell you to ask Stephanie to do it since she’s the experienced Windows admin :>
  16. I’m pretty handy around the house.  The only time I’ve called for outside professional help is when dealing with sewage lines – a drain I had to run from PVC into cast iron for a utility sink in the basement, and a blockage in the trap in the main sewer line.  I’ve done my own minor construction, finishing work, woodwork, electrical, plumbing, gas lines, HVAC maintenance (oil burner, new tank & oil lines), poured a concrete pad for the grills in the back yard, and built my own workbench.  However, like those sewer lines, I know when to call a professional – or at least some backup assistance – instead of trying to plow through and be a hero.
  17. My grandmother used to tell me I had an ear for music, and hinted that I have perfect pitch.  I don’t know about that, but I do know that I can’t sight read music.  I started to teach myself, but I keep finding it easier to just listen to the music and play what I hear.  Scary part is that I tend to play it right, too (or at least know when I’m playing it wrong, which is just as important.)
  18. I used to never like meeting people.  I later found that I have a built-in ability to make that easier: I’m a wicked smartass.  I can usually crack a joke or two, and that gets introductions out of the way quickly enough.  This is probably why I don’t like playing online games as much, because my wily ways don’t work on people I can’t see and who can’t hear me.  So I tend not to play online games unless I already know someone else there, as a bit of a comfort zone.
  19. I may be late to events, I may be forgetful of details sometimes, but if I call you a friend then I will drop whatever I’m doing at a moment’s notice to help you if you desperately need it.  On at least two occasions this was put to the test, and I’d like to think I passed (one friend needed a place to stay when she split up with her husband, and another needed a ride when the person he was with thought he was sober enough to drive; both in the wee hours of the morning and my only question was where the person was so I could get to them.)
  20. When I went to Burlington County College, I had a stint on the radio station there (88.9, WBZC-FM Pemberton – A Voice for Burlington County).  I loved doing it, when I was in control of the format.  My show was then called “The Spirit of Radio” (after the Rush song from Permanent Waves) and I played classic rock.  Called myself the “resident longhair on-the-air” and had guest spots on other people’s shows too – the Pete Palma program on Wednesday nights, and the Gagliarchives on Saturday nights.  Tom’s still doing his show there, and I still miss being on the air – so much that if the pay was comparable, I’d change careers in a heartbeat.
  21. While I went to Rowan University for a degree in computer science, I never received that degree.  I took all of the CS classes offered except for two (robotics and AI), and only maybe 2-3 general education requirements.  It was the “English 101″s and “Philosophy 203″s that made me drop out.
  22. I’m not at all ashamed of my gray hairs (especially the ones in the goatee).  I’ve earned them, damnit.
  23. Conversely, I have stress-induced eczema.  It’s worst on my leg right now, which is why I haven’t worn shorts in a couple years.  Occasionally it gets worse on my arms – such as when I was going through settlement on the house, and leading up to my son’s birth.
  24. I think my favorite pet would be a raccoon.  I don’t know why, but I just find them devilishly cuddly.  Unfortunately I hear they’re downright nasty buggers, so I just feed them marshmallows when I can.
  25. If it wasn’t for the fact that I’d probably rarely see my family, I’d be perfectly happy with a second- or third-shift job.  I think better at night, I’m more awake no matter how much sleep I’ve had or not had previously, and the only time I’m clear headed in the morning is when I’m still awake for it.

Well, that’s it.  Of course, I read this and compare it to some of the others I’ve read recently, and think I should add a “26. I’m overly verbose – tending to use very large words, and lots of them, when just a few diminutive ones would suffice.”

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