100 things about me

last update October 2014

This is based on pages I've seen by Bret Holmes and Jessamyn West.
  1. I have a very good memory. Most important, I can remember how I thought and viewed the world when I was a kid. This keeps me sane and maybe dangerous.
  2. My mom said when I was a little kid I could get absorbed for hours in some little thing. Then I had to go to school, from which it took me decades to recover.
  3. I learned to read before I was 3, and before I ever saw a TV.
  4. The first book I read by myself was Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl, at age five. To this day, I have the value system of Mr. Fox. (I didn't like the movie.)
  5. I consider myself at the core of Generation X: I was 2 when Sesame Street started, almost 10 when Star Wars came out, and 15 when MTV got big.
  6. Most of my ancestry is German and Irish/British, but a quarter is French Canadian, which includes some Algonquin and Viking.
  7. I could pass for a quarter American Indian, but it's more like a thirtieth. (It's too complicated to be 1/32nd.) Somehow those genes sneaked through my red-haired grandfather and popped up in me. I was born with a tan.
  8. I was baptized Catholic, and when the priest said "Let all evil spirits now leave him," I burped.
  9. I was born and grew up in Pullman Washington, except ages 4-7, when I was in Rockville Maryland.

  10. I have two BA's, in English lit and Philosophy. They don't mean much to me. Other students said English was an easy major and Philosophy was a hard one, but for me it was the opposite.
  11. I have a lifetime 4.0 grade point average in math classes, from seventh grade to two years beyond calculus. Once on a college physics test I got the only perfect score in a giant lecture hall.
  12. Spelling and grammar are also easy for me.
  13. But even in stuff I'm good at, I'm a slow worker.
  14. I always had an easier time, and got higher grades, on tests than on papers. Every paper I ever wrote for a class was at or below the minimum length.
  15. I think I'm a competent writer and a great editor. If I were a film director, I'd be the only one who made the director's cut shorter. I'd be like, "The studio forced me to put in all this boring filler."
  16. When I'm writing or speaking, I'm always intensely aware of the danger that I'm boring the audience.
  17. I only ever wrote three papers that I really enjoyed, and two of them got me my two lowest grades in college. That's why I didn't go to grad school.
  18. Like most people, I've had nightmares where I was back in college and suddenly remembered that I had completely forgotten about one or two of my classes. I've met a few people who didn't get that nightmare, because they actually did that in college!
  19. The nice thing about going through the school system without ever having status, is I know in my bones that status is not necessary.
  20. I was shocked in the eighth grade when a not-quite-popular girl said she wanted to be popular. Does a Jew want to be a Nazi?
  21. I understand serial killers better than I understand people who shout abuse out car windows.
  22. For me, the 9/11 spectacle was like a near-death experience. It made me loosen up, live for the moment, take more chances, because I could die any time. I don't understand why it had the opposite effect on everyone else.
  23. September 11, 2001 was the day I started going barefoot in the city. Now I go barefoot everywhere I can. I even installed rubber pedals so I can go barefoot on my bicycle.
  24. I converted my bike to a singlespeed before I heard of anyone else doing it. I just noticed that I was riding mostly in the same gear and it would be simpler if I took off the derailleurs.

  25. I love personality tests. In Myers Briggs I'm INTP. Different tests will sometimes put me as J, F, or even E, but never S. My favorite test is this one by Sonja Elen Kisa.
  26. In five factor I'm high Openness, high Conscientiousness, low Extraversion, average Agreeableness, and low Neuroticism. But I think "conscientiousness" blurs different things and should be divided.
  27. In Enneagram I'm 5w4 1w9 3w4 soc/sx, and I'm also high in 7. All odd, no even!
  28. If boredom means feeling bad because I have to pay attention to something uninteresting, I'm easily bored. If boredom means feeling bad because I have nothing to do, I'm never bored.
  29. I would rather have someone secretly watching me, than someone openly demanding my attention.
  30. I don't like to sit still, but if I have more than a few things in my schedule I feel suffocated. So I spend most days moving from one personal project to another.
  31. I don't understand why people crave final answers and certainty. Nobody wants to go into a physical space and stay there for their entire life. They want to move around and see different things. So why do they feel any different about mental spaces?
  32. I've doubted many things about myself, but I have never doubted my sanity. And no, that is not a sign of insanity on any serious list of diagnostic criteria.
  33. I'm messy with full awareness and intention. I see that oat on the floor and I want it to stay there until the floor gets to a level of messiness that interferes with use value.
  34. I enjoy making filthy things somewhat clean. But no farther.
  35. I use only hot water to clean my hair, and I've been cutting it myself since college.
  36. Calling a stranger on the phone frightens me more than speaking in front of a huge audience.
  37. I have never had an overdue library book.
  38. I seem to be the last person in America who has never been charged interest, and as far as I can tell I have no credit rating. That's okay with me: a credit rating is like a ticket to slaveland.
  39. When I'm walking and going around corners, I always feel like my left and right turns have to balance out. For example, if I'm going down a stairwell, I should spin around the other direction on every other landing. As an adult, I overrule this impulse but it still bugs me.

  40. I never understood addiction until I got addicted to computer games. Civilization II and Gemcraft have been the most addictive, but nowhere near the most fun.
  41. You know when you have to do something you really dread, like doing your taxes or washing the dishes, and when you finally force yourself to do it, it's like pushing through a wall of pain? When I was getting off Civ 2, I felt like that all the time for three days.
  42. My all time favorite games are Zelda Ocarina of Time, Heroes of Might and Magic II, and Lords of the Realm II, and lately I'm getting into Starsector.
  43. My dream game would be like Lords of the Realm II with the complexity of Dwarf Fortress and the combat of Mount & Blade.
  44. I have never deeply smoked a cigarette, been throw-up drunk, or taken any psychedelic drug. I wouldn't rule out psychedelics if the context was right, but I enjoy expanding my mind without help.
  45. I like the taste of alcohol, but I don't like being drunk. It doesn't make me feel better in any way, and it dulls my mental focus, which is the best thing about being me.
  46. Cannabis sharpens my focus in one way: by allowing me to be fully present in smaller intervals of time. When I'm stoned I can't read because I can't keep track of the context around the individual words, and it's frustrating to have a conversation, but I have a much better ear for music.
  47. About once a week I'll take some hits on a vaporizer and get totally absorbed in music. The best thing that can happen is to hear so much beauty in a song that I'm emotionally overwhelmed.
  48. As a kid I was drawn to pretty melodies. Then in my teens I got into lyrics, and then gradually into many other aspects of music. In my 40's I shifted toward instrumentals, especially post-rock and space rock. But now I'm fascinated with vocal timbre and searching for more singers like Colleen Kinsella of Big Blood.

  49. I was single for most of my life. Looking back, my mistake was to pick out one person at a time and focus narrowly on trying to be with her, instead of broadly observing to quickly notice when someone was into me.
  50. Also, when I'm really into someone it makes me behave in an unattractive way. Paradoxically, I can only be with someone who I'm not afraid to lose.
  51. Also it took me a long time to learn instinctive touching.
  52. If I'd had a long-term girlfriend in my twenties, I would have had no motivation to go to parties and social events. Many of my friends have been women it didn't work out with.
  53. I'm most attracted to bratty difficult women. They're not attracted to me, and this is not something I want to change.
  54. When I was a little kid, I got sexual feelings from two bits on Sesame Street, a cartoon of a girl who fell off a fence into the mud, and a film of a river kayaker who flipped upside down.

  55. I feel the urge to travel, and it's good for me, but while I'm doing it I'm mostly cold, tired, and hungry. The only time I traveled without losing weight, I made an apple pie almost every day.
  56. I've always wanted to travel across North America on foot, with a group of friends, after civilization collapses.
  57. I've taken four giant trips around the USA, two by bus and train and two by car.
  58. Still, when I'm driving a car, I constantly feel like I'm about to crash. Everyone's going much too fast. I think I have good attention and coordination, but slow reflexes.
  59. Being a passenger is OK. I still feel like we're about to crash, but it's not my responsibility.
  60. I drive obsessively for fuel economy. I once got 16mpg going cross-country in a Ryder truck, I've got as high as 50mpg in a 1990 Honda Civic, and I now average 30mpg in a Ford Ranger.
  61. I have zero athletic talent. I didn't learn to throw with my wrist until I was 30 and someone gave me explicit instruction.
  62. But I'm in good shape. I once rode a single-speed bicycle, loaded with all the gear I needed to survive, 100 miles in a day. (Took me a week to recover!)
  63. My legs always get tired before my heart and lungs. I have to run fast to get my heart and lungs tired first.
  64. I am on a path from kid to old dude that does not pass through middle age. I have never had a puffy face or a beer belly, and I never expect to.

  65. I have not yet had any condition where I needed medical attention to survive.
  66. I got my wisdom teeth when I was 16. They fit in my mouth nicely. I use them for chewing. I almost have room behind them for four more.
  67. I can lick my left elbow. It's because of a funny left shoulder socket -- my tongue is pretty short.
  68. I have thick leg hair and almost no chest hair. As you would expect, my legs seldom feel cold and my chest often does, even under many layers.
  69. I like to sleep in a cold room with a lot of blankets and my feet sticking out to radiate excess heat. I get really cold around midnight, really hot around 4am, and cold again at sunrise.
  70. I think of meditation like walking a tightrope. I can't really do it but after years of practice I can sometimes take a few steps. It's a good way to fall asleep, and it's made me more aware of my mental states.
  71. My favorite trick for falling asleep is to count wishes.
  72. I'm a light sleeper, yet I can sleep through light and background noise. The one thing I can't sleep through is intelligible words.
  73. I try to be horizontal for ten hours every night. Between this, and not drinking coffee, I'm wide awake as soon as I get out of bed.

  74. I'm into all kinds of woo-woo stuff. After many years of studying UFO's, my serious position is that they're a hoax by fairies.
  75. My favorite paranormal author is John Keel, and George Hansen's "The Trickster and the Paranormal" was a recent big influence.
  76. If I could have any super power, I'd like to be able to shift among alternate worlds, just like in a Roger Zelazny novel.
  77. In college I was obsessed with Emily Bronte, and to this day, if I could go back in time and meet one famous person, it would be her. People think Wuthering Heights is about romantic love, but really it's about how the human spirit has been destroyed and twisted by modernity.
  78. I would also like to meet Charles Fort and Ivan Illich. I think 90% of my ideas can be derived from those two guys.
  79. I like to sing while I'm driving. My favorites are "I Know It's True But I'm Sorry To Say" by the Violent Femmes, and "Sunday Morning Coming Down" by Johnny Cash.
  80. My favorite colors are in the red-orange-yellow range, plus black. But I end up with a lot of blue and green stuff because of good deals.
  81. In my early 20's I wrote a lot of poetry, and I ended up with one great one and one pretty good one.
  82. My favorite poet is Swinburne. My two favorite lines are by Wallace Stevens, "We live in an old chaos of the sun", and e.e. cummings, "the earth tinily whirls, while daisies grow".
  83. My favorite vegetable is the avocado, which is technically a fruit. My favorite true vegetable is the artichoke.
  84. My favorite fruits are tart cherries and peaches.
  85. I like the taste of meat drippings better than anything else.
  86. I have made well over a thousand pies from scratch, mostly apple.
  87. Sometimes I look at recipes for proportions or ideas, but I never follow them exactly, not even the first time.
  88. I do lots of fermentation, including kefir, kombucha, mead, sourdough, and sauerkraut.
  89. At home I drink from a thermos of body temperature water. If I have to drink cold water I get dehydrated.
  90. Once a painting made me cry, one of Monet's Wheatstacks. This raises the most profound question I can think of: how can a painting of wheatstacks affect a person more powerfully than actual wheatstacks?
  91. The first concert I ever went to was Gordon Lightfoot, and I think he was staring at me.
  92. My favorite writers of my generation are Joss Whedon and Philip Reeve.
  93. I don't like Star Trek. I know it's a quality show but it's too clean. For similar reasons, I hate the metric system, fusion power, and Esperanto.

  94. I've never had any kind of transcendent or religious experience, but I've had some good synchronicity.
  95. I'm sure that when I was a kid, the song "White Rabbit" had the line "Feed your head" three times at the end, and now it's only two.
  96. The closest I've had to a transcendent experience was the first time I saw The Matrix, when Neo woke up in the vat on the tower.
  97. Two other movies put me in a mental space afterwards where the world seemed unspeakably wonderful and anything I wanted to do seemed possible. This feeling lasted about half an hour before it went away. You'll never guess: Point Break and Groundhog Day.
  98. When I was about 15, I had the same idea as The Matrix for a science fiction story: A guy figures out by close observation that this world is simulated, and he manages to wake up, and he's in a kind of bunker, and he comes out to the grassy fields of an unpopulated North America, full of more bunkers of people in the simulated world.
  99. A friend once told me that I look at the world as if I've never seen it before. I thought, that's a nice compliment... Wait! I never have seen it before!
  100. I feel like I've only been in this world for a few hours, barely enough time to figure it out, and I have only a few minutes left. They say life is a bird flying through a house. To me, leaving the house means the opening of consciousness beyond the walls of the self.