Monday, February 09, 2009

Yes, it's the annoying twenty-five things facebook thing

Everybody's probably sick of this little craze, but what the hell--I did it due to peer pressure, so I might as well stick it here to be preserved forever until the world ends or the internets blow up, whichever comes first. It's certainly not the worst thing I've ever written.

1. My big toes are double-jointed, something which serves no practical purpose but DOES freak people out. Come to think of it, I guess that's a practical purpose.

2. TV show that I'm embarrassed to admit being a fan of, because it really kind of sucks: That 70s Show.

3. I like classic arcade games, but there's only one I've played obsessively enough to get good at. Not great, but good enough for government work. The point is, if we were playing Berzerk head-to-head, you would almost certainly lose, unless you're secretly some sort of ringer. Any other game, and all bets are off.

4. Band that most people love but that I can't stand: U2.

5. Over the course of my MA program, I lost somewhere in the area of fifty pounds. It turns out that regular exercise and limited but permanent dietary alterations will do that.

6. I'm immune to the effects of poison ivy, as are my dad and my brothers. It's useful for hiking. Whether this applies also to the Batman villain Poison Ivy, I couldn't say. But it seems like a good bet!

7. I think I might be becoming lactose intolerant, but cutting out cheese is just NOT HAPPENING, unless a doctor tells me point blank, stop eating cheese or you will die. And even then it's gonna require a serious moment of introspection.

8. Over the course of my wasted youth, I read 100+ Dragonlance/Forgotten Realms novels (and let's not leave out the minor, largely-forgotten lines, like Dark Sun, Spelljammer, and Ravenloft). What's strange about that is that, leaving aside all issues of literary merit and judging them purely in terms of escapist adventure stories, the vast majority of these were still just terrible, BORING books. And yet, I persisted, reading through the pain. What the hell was wrong with me?

9. It was an embarrassingly long time before I was willing to read non-genre, capital-L Literary Novels that weren't actually assigned to me. The first one was Zola's Nana. That was after my junior year of college. I think I've more than made up for that deficiency by now, however.

10. I'm a diehard Philadelphia Eagles fan. Let's face it: anyone can be a fan of a team (like the Steelers) that actually wins championships now and then. Likewise, it would be easy to be a Lions fan--you'd become resigned pretty quickly. But to support a team that ALWAYS holds out the tantalizing possibility of great things and then ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS goes on to break your heart--that takes moral fortitude.

11. I'm semi-obssessive about the duck (ie, Donald, Scrooge, HDL, etc) comics of Carl Barks from the forties, fifties, and sixties. For this reason, I have a bumper sticker that will only not be completely inscrutable to fellow Barksophiles. If you are one and you see it, honk!

12. Speaking of cartoon ducks, I'm also morbidly fascinated with the terrible right-wing comic strip Mallard Fillmore. It's not just that it's politically misguided; it's that pound for pound, it's easily the most incompetently-written and drawn strip in papers today, easily beating out the bad legacy strips. And yet it's the only comic I faithfully read every day. Go figure.

13. Whenever I learn that someone I know is having a kid, my secret first reaction is always, REALLY? You think it's really a prudent idea to bring more people into the world? NOT THAT I'M NOT HAPPY FOR YOU, and I'll grant that there's at least a CHANCE that they won't grow up in a world where the living envy the dead, but is that really a good bet? Of course, it's very possible that someday I'll have children myself. And then look like a big fat hypocrite. But there you have it.

14. Children's book that terrified me senseless when I was small: The BFG, by Roald Dahl. Dude--it's about EVIL GIANTS who REACH INTO KIDS' ROOMS AT NIGHT and FUCKING EAT THEM, CRUNCHING THEIR BONES and GULPING DOWN THEIR BLOOD. Sure, they all get captured in the end, but is Dahl necessarily a reliable narrator? I had a number of hallucinatory, waking nightmares over this.

15. Two contemporary authors who, in spite of all the fact that they're an established part of the literary canon and seemingly everyone else loves them, I think are fucking awful: Cormac McCarthy and Don Delillo. Don't even get me started.

16. The only time I've ever been cruel to animals was when I was small and a few times a friend and I played a game called "worm doctor." I cringe to think back on that. Anyway, now I try my best to always rescue worms stranded on the pavement after rain. Hopefully doing that consistently will restore some karmic balance.

17. When I was in elementary school, I was pretty good at geography--good enough to win the school geography bee three or four times, anyway. Never moved on, however, because have you SEEN the kinds of qualifying questions they asked? Quick--what's the only kingdom in Oceania? What kind of freakish children know these things?

18. I'm actually a little bit embarrassed to voice such a...conventional opinion, but I really do think that The Wire is the best thing that ever was or will be on TV.

19. I had what we would now call a blog well before the idea was in vogue. It was just a crappy geocities page, but it had exactly the same format--dated entries featuring my thoughts on random topics. Then I realized that it was becoming so large and unwieldy that the stuff on the bottom was getting eaten. That was frustrating. So now I have a real blog (with twenty-six readers daily, I might add!), which is much more convenient. Is it as GOOD? That's an open question. The old one's actually still out there, if you care enough to search for it.

20. When I was small, I collected Koosh Balls. I had probably somewhere close to two hundred of them, all different. And I gave them names, though at a certain point those started to get a little vague. I still have them, but it turns out that that kind of rubber does not like dry air, so a lot of the more venerable ones are in a pretty sorry state. The point is, I could tell you more about Koosh taxonomy, which was fairly involved, than almost anyone else in the world. Seriously--just ask me! You'll never get me to shut up about it!

21. Throughout my teenage years and on through college, I was a big anglophile, especially as far as music went. It it wasn't from the British Isles, I was not interested. I'm not quite sure where this came from. Not that there weren't a lot of good cultural products to choose from, but it was still pretty myopic. I think this started to fade when I was forced to admit to myself that Tom Waits was (and is) fucking awesome.

22. I have beaten Final Fantasy Legend many many MANY times. Many. With all sorts of parties. There is nothing I can't tell you about that game.

23. Even though my living space invariably becomes covered with a thick coating of books and papers, I'm strangely obsessive about organizing my music. Every song on my computer HAS to follow exactly the right protocols in terms of capitalization, and if I realize I've made some sort of mistake, it must be instantly corrected, even if that means waiting FOREVER for itunes to load because the damn thing's full to bursting.

24. Song that sends chills down my spine every time: Bowie's "Rock and Roll Suicide."

25. I have other things that I really ought to be doing right now, but instead I've been working very hard to ensure that most of these are at least minimally interesting. So you'd better appreciate them.


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