Friday, February 20, 2009

25 things

[There's a Facebook meme going around at the moment. J--- G----- (J---'s wife, not J----) "tagged" me in a sufficiently nondemanding way that I felt like answering. I thought you might enjoy a copy. Transcript follows. -M.]

Request: Twenty-five hitherto-unknown facts

I would like to know twenty-five new things about you. If you're Julie, you have already sent me a list and are done. If you're not Julie, I really wish you would follow in her footsteps. As proof of my earnestness, I have written a list for you (on the theory that the Golden Rule isn't always wrong) but you don't necessarily need to read it as long as you write one of your own. I wouldn't be tagging you on this note if I didn't think you were more interesting than I am.

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



1.) I like to do crazy dares, like challenging my cousin Sophie to beat me to the end of the Book of Mormon and the loser has to eat a cockroach. It turns out I won, but we couldn't find a cockroach so we found some crazy beetle-thing instead and she ate it. Then I got curious and ate one too.
2.) As alluded to in #1, curiosity is my fatal flaw. I sometimes ignore the potential downside to a thing like, say, squirting alcohol in your eye (downside: could go blind) out of curiosity over some other aspect (hypothesis: it will cure a missionary's red-eye just like an antibiotic would, only faster).
3.) I'm impatient and I hate changing my mind. I do my best to figure out what opinions I'm going to converge on eventually (whether a year from now or a hundred) and converge on it NOW, even before I have the data that will eventually lead me to hold that opinion.
4.) I like straight brown hair best, followed by straight blond hair. I don't generally go for red hair, unless it belongs to Megan Follows.
5.) I hate shaving. Well, that's not quite true, I just hate the necessity of shaving, i.e. the fact that my head and face grow scratchy little hairs constantly.
6.) However, I like everything else about being a guy. I sometimes wonder what it's like to be six inches shorter than everyone else--the closest I can come is to imagine being in a world where everybody is seven feet tall and you have to look up at their chins, which must hurt your neck--but of course I don't actually have that problem, do I? [smug look] PLUS, as a guy, my spouse will be a girl. Girls get stuck getting married to guys. It's good to be male.
7.) I run experiments on myself. For example, I've been known to spend an entire Sunday blindfolded to see what it's like to be blind (scary, and everything takes much longer, and rooms feel bigger).
8.) In connection with #2, #3, and #7, I also have contingency plans for things that will never happen. For example, I pretty much know how I would react to the trauma of prison rape, and I've tried to incorporate the lessons learned into my real life. It never hurts to be prepared.
9.) My closest friend is a notional entity who also doesn't quite exist. I try, though, to guess what she would say if she did. Sometimes she's wrong, but other times she's absolutely brilliant. Or would be, if... you know, English doesn't handle the concept of notional entities very well.
10.) Moving on to lighter stuff, I was born in California and mostly grew up in Washington.
11.) I hate mushrooms, tomatoes, and olives.
12.) I love dairy products! On my mission in the Philippines, where they don't really drink milk or eat most kinds of cheese, my aunt Annie once sent me a present of American cash and I decadently chose to splurge on "expensive" cream cheese from the big American-style supermarket. Mmmmm, delicious.
13.) Did I mention I have a terrific family? They are wonderful and spoil me way too much.
14.) The summer before last I was in a stake production of /Pirates of Penzance/ as the Pirate King. I've also played Motel the Tailor in /Fiddler On the Roof/ and minor roles in /Tom Jones/ and /Tartuffe/. I'm not much of an actor but I'm an okay singer as long as it's not too complex.
15.) Colors: my favorite color is blue, but my favorite colors for clothing are black, grey, and white. At least if I picture the clothing hanging on a rack somewhere--my mental picture of clothing often forgets to take the person who will be wearing it into account. If I do remember to picture myself wearing the clothing, I tend more towards primary colors, especially red, since I have a reddish complexion. I have no idea if this aesthetically correct or not, I just like the way it looks on me.
16.) I have eleven fingers. Look, 10-9-8-7-6 on my right hand, plus five more on my left hand makes eleven.
17.) I wore a plain gold band on my left hand for some years as a reminder of certain commitments I have made. My roommate Justin referred to it as the "One Ring of Power" and would always try to snatch it from me. Eventually it was cut from my hand in battle and lost in the depths of a lake, which I thought a fitting end for it so I didn't look too hard.
18.) I have never kissed a girl on the lips. A fact which exasperates certain of my family members to no end. That exasperation might be sufficient payoff in itself even if I didn't have other reasons. ;)
19.) I took piano lessons for something like nine years as a kid. I never got any good--I learned a bunch of pieces but none of them really stuck after I moved on to different pieces, and I always sounded mechanical and clunky. Also, none of my teachers ever gave me a satisfactory explanation for why 6-8 time was different from 3-4 time, let alone why the key of C-major is different from the key of A-minor or how it's possible for the vibration ratios between different keys to be in simple fractions. (Years later, my roommate Justin did explain it--it turns out that the keys on a piano are NOT in simple ratios, they're a sort of exponential average that's pretty close to the proper simple fractions, for any two keys on the piano. Google "tempered scale." On a non-tempered scale, like an orchestra, A-minor is different from C-major because the notes have a different base--middle C in A-minor is actually a different NOTE than in C-major. That's why orchestras are always re-tuning their instruments for different keys. A tempered-scale instrument like a piano is sort of a compromise that sounds reasonably good in any key.)
20.) I hate slugs and snails and frogs and squishy little gross creatures like that.
21.) I have eaten alligator meat. As I recall, it was pretty good. For some reason, calamari doesn't gross me out even though maybe squid *ought* to remind me of slugs and gross little creatures. Maybe it's because it's fried.
22.) My third-favorite book is probably /Lucifer's Hammer/ by Niven and Pournelle. I don't know what my favorite and second-favorite books are yet. (See point #3.)
23.) I have never owned a pet. My sister Carly did occasionally have gerbils, which would always eventually eat each other. At the time I thought that was pretty horrifying but now I think it's funny.
24.) I have never broken a bone. One of my own bones, that is. I have broken the bones of other creatures.
25.) Cannibalistic chickens give me the creeps. They don't seem to care that what they're eating is a piece of fried chicken.

"The presentation or 'gift' of the Holy Ghost simply confers upon a man the right to receive at any time, when he is worthy of it and desires it, the power and light of truth of the Holy Ghost, although he may often be left to his own spirit and judgment." --Joseph F. Smith (manual, p. 69)

"Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

"The presentation or 'gift' of the Holy Ghost simply confers upon a man the right to receive at any time, when he is worthy of it and desires it, the power and light of truth of the Holy Ghost, although he may often be left to his own spirit and judgment." --Joseph F. Smith (manual, p. 69)

"Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

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