Wednesday, July 27, 2005

100 Things About Me

Eh, this is the meme that catches up with every blogger sooner or later. I've dodged it long enough, so here we go...
  1. I was born in Madison, Wisconsin.
  2. I grew up in a small town north of Madison.
  3. I've lived in Wisconsin, Iowa, Washington, Illinois, and North Carolina.
  4. I am hopelessly left-handed.
  5. Except when I'm using a phone, calculator, or baseball bat.
  6. I have one brother, three years younger than me.
  7. My brother and I have almost never fought or argued.
  8. I'm a mix of English, Welsh, Norwegian, German, and Scottish.
  9. Starting at age 13, I created a complete and detailed language of my own.
  10. At age 17, I wrote a book in my language.
  11. I grew to 5 foot 7 by age 14; then, in my early 20s, I grew another half inch.
  12. My right little finger is a quarter of an inch longer than my left little finger.
  13. I was thin on into my 20s; since then, my weight has been up and down.
  14. I could easily stand to lose 50 or 60 pounds.
  15. My eyes are smoky blue with a sunburst of brown around the pupil.
  16. I've had a beard most of my adult life.
  17. I've always been pleased that I don't have one of the Twenty Standard Faces.
  18. My favorite color is red.
  19. Talk about synaesthesia, I've always known which color each day of the week is.
  20. I will not eat bananas. Never, since age 8.
  21. Pineapple and coconut are close behind.
  22. I'm about as musical as a fencepost.
  23. I'm known to listen to rock music, from the mid 60s up through the early to mid 80s.
  24. My favorite rock group is the Beatles.
  25. When I was a kid, I used to get north and south mixed up in my head.
  26. When I was a kid, I knew all about the planets and moons in the solar system, the way some people know baseball statistics.
  27. My favorite dinosaur is either Ankylosaurus or Triceratops.
  28. I collect slide rules, and in many ways I prefer them to calculators.
  29. My first exposure to computers came in the late 1970s.
  30. When I bought my first home computer in 1989, I considered the DOS command line a marvel of responsiveness and user-friendliness.
  31. At one time, I was quite good at coding in Borland Turbo PASCAL.
  32. Nowadays my computer is a Lenovo ThinkPad T61.
  33. I use Linux on my computer: Mandriva 2010.0 Mageia 1, to be exact.
  34. "Linux? So is your desktop KDE or GNOME?" Neither: I use Fluxbox.
  35. I originally set out to be a mathematician.
  36. I spent three years as a teaching assistant in the math department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
  37. But a long-standing fascination with theology and the Church Fathers kept growing upon me.
  38. So I snatched my master's degree on the way out the door, and went off to seminary.
  39. I am an ordained Presbyterian minister.
  40. I also have dual standing in the United Church of Christ.
  41. Over the years, I've served in seven congregations in five different parishes.
  42. I did my Ph.D. in the Graduate Program in Religion at Duke University.
  43. I think I might make a good perpetual graduate student.
  44. I spent my 20s and 30s like Huck Finn, avoiding anything that smacked of long-term personal or professional commitment.
  45. In my first 25 years out of high school, I moved 25 times, only twice staying at an address for longer than two years.
  46. I have always been single.
  47. When I was younger, being in the singular number used to bother me.
  48. At this late date, I'm not unalterably opposed to marriage, if I should meet the right woman.
  49. But I'm also quite aware of how accustomed I am to living my day-to-day life at my own independent pace.
  50. I am incurably religious: you would never succeed in making an atheist, agnostic, or secularist out of me: I simply don't have that in my temperament.
  51. Mysticism and I have a joint history going back more than 20 years, but I'm reluctant to discuss it publicly.
  52. If people do ask me about mysticism and meditation, I've been known to recommend a book entitled The Cloud of Unknowing.
  53. In philosophical terms, I'm a critical realist and a Peircean pragmaticist; not that I've ever met anyone outside of a philosophy department who knows what the hell that means. ;-)
  54. I think the Cartesian subject/object split has been an unqualified disaster for modern Western culture.
  55. At one time in my life, I neither owned nor could afford a bed; so for nearly a year I slept on a rubber mat on the floor.
  56. I never owned a color TV until age 43.
  57. I hardly ever watch TV.
  58. I own about 3000 books.
  59. I've always had a lot of books, though as recently as 10 years ago I could still fit them all in one room.
  60. Until the past several years, my "non-jettisonable" non-book possessions could have been fit into the space beneath a kitchen table.
  61. It sometimes bothers me when I see the quantity of things I've acquired in recent years.
  62. It sometimes bothers me that I don't have time to read more books.
  63. Listening to the radio has always felt to me somehow like tapping into some alternate dimension of reality.
  64. I'm especially fascinated with listening to shortwave radio.
  65. Classical board games and card games too have always felt to me like being in contact with some alternate level of reality.
  66. In my high school years I turned out my own homemade Shogi (Japanese chess) set.
  67. I also turned out sets for Tamerlane's chess, the Courier game, Chinese chess, Edgar Rice Burroughs' game of Jetan, etc.
  68. In my college years, I created a board game called the Quintuple Arcana, which was extremely complex and quite unlike any game you've ever heard of.
  69. When I was a kid, I was afraid of thunderstorms; nowadays I usually sleep right through them.
  70. I snore. Loudly.
  71. Since I reached voting age, I've voted in every Presidential election.
  72. I've always considered myself a political conservative of some sort.
  73. Running into the political Left in college transformed me from an Eisenhower conservative into a more hard-nosed National Review conservative.
  74. I agree with the remark, "Libertarianism sounds like a cool idea, until you meet some actual libertarians."
  75. I'd almost say the same about social conservatism, especially in its more unctuously religious manifestations.
  76. I think the free market is the greatest epistemic instrument ever devised, though it's no measure of what's good or beautiful.
  77. To me, conservatism is all about the complexity, the intractability, the more-than-just-rational depths of culture and polis; that, plus a Burkean attachment to fertile, adaptable tradition.
  78. I'm a great fan of individualism, long as the individual is rooted and not rootless.
  79. When I was in my early 20s, I had hair down to the bottom of my shoulder blades.
  80. My great-great-grandfather jumped ship in Virginia in 1840, and immediately changed his last name from Chamberlain to Burgess.
  81. The tradition handed down is that he was an illegitimate son of an English nobleman.
  82. I once owned a bright red 1970 Ford Torino.
  83. I've read Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn countless times.
  84. Another of my favorite books is Boswell's Life of Johnson.
  85. In first grade, a friend and I invented a 27th letter of the alphabet.
  86. I live far out into the countryside, on a gravel road.
  87. When people get too pushy, a circuit breaker trips inside me, and I just stop taking them seriously.
  88. I laugh whenever I hear anyone call something a "makeover": talk about overused idea of the decade!
  89. In high school I ran in track and crosscountry.
  90. The summer I turned 40, I suffered a midlife crisis and ran away 2000 miles to Seattle for six weeks.
  91. Crazy thing to do, but it did lead circuitously to long-term personal change for the better.
  92. I never saw the world in 3D until I had eye surgery at age 7.
  93. I have glasses, but I never wear them except behind the wheel or in the movie theater.
  94. I wear blue jeans seven days a week— yes, including under my robe on Sunday morning.
  95. House plants or garden, I do not have a green thumb.
  96. There have been a dozen or so incidents in my life which were so mortifying, that even decades later they still pop into my mind at least once a week.
  97. My mind has always been a kaleidoscopic torrent of surreal imagery: think Salvador Dali music video on fast forward.
  98. Pepsi or Coke? Neither, my favorite pop is RC Cola.
  99. My favorite beer is either Point Special or Leinenkugel's.
  100. Once in high school a friend flipped a nickel and told me to call it in the air, "heads" or "tails." Just to be contrary, I called "rims." The nickel landed and came to rest, standing upright on its rim. Most implausible thing that ever happened to me.


Blogger Dean Esmay said...

Listening to the radio has always felt to me somehow like tapping into some alternate dimension of reality.

Me too.

Blogs have almost the same effect.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005 8:58:00 PM  

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