Picking up a meme started by "Scribe LA" over at Borderline Inappropriate and then carried on by "Scott the Reader" at Alligators In A Helicopter, here are 50 Things About Me:
50. I grew up on a farm in a rural section of Harris County (Houston TX), disappearing every summer into the wilds of the creek bottom in an existence far closer to something out of Huck Finn than ever appreciated at the time.
49. I have never had broken a bone.
48. Among the pets I've tended in my life are: an armadillo, a quail, a cottontail rabbit, a squirrel, chickens, ducks, dogs, cats, horses, fish, cattle, one pig, and a wolf dog named (wait for it) "Wolfie."
47. I've never been waterskiing, and I hate snow skiing. (I hate all cold weather)
46. I started college at the US Air Force Academy, going through basic training at USAFA before deciding/realizing that this was a major mistake. I lost 21 pounds in the seven and a half weeks I was there.
45. I flunked out of my freshman year at Texas A&M when I decided all my aerospace engineering classes were too boring to bother with. I changed majors (to English) and then made some extra spending money for a while tutoring the engineering and physics classmates in those classes I'd flunked out of the year before. Eventually I finished college as a Hisory major at UH (on the Dean's List, as in stark contrast to A&M there was little else to do at UH except go to class and study).
44. I once took a year off from college to work on a construction site (building the Compaq Computer world HQ and manufacturing complex). I worked 55 hours a week (in a hardhat!), was usually the only white guy visible on the job site, and would spend my lunch break eating in the shade beneath a dozer or crane as I read most all of Hemingway's novels that year.
43. I know how to fly a plane, but I never took lessons or bothered with pursuing my license. I have been an airplane freak since I was 3 years old. My younger brother, meanwhile, spent ten years in the Navy as the navigator and then tactical officer on P3 Orion anti-submarine planes.
42. In high school, I was voted "Most Honorable," received the awards for top student in Math, Science, *and* History (first-ever three-subject recipient), but did NOT win for English. I also won a "Best Buns" award.
41. I have never been in a fight in my life (unless you count the 312 knock down drag-outs I had with my brother while growing up).
40. I have a ridiculously good recall of trivia, quotes, and useless information.
39. I once threw a softball 103.5 yards in competition, good enough for (then) #2 all time at A&M.
38. I have launched bottle-rockets at a handicapped college student who was urinating in a Methodist church parking lot in downtown Charlotte, North Caroline, and then later bought him a beer at what I still regard as "The Worst Strip Club In The Universe". (How bad was it? SO bad that mid-way through the evening I found myself fleeing in circles around a pool table as a toothless black stripper chased me, screaming "gimme a dolla!")
37. I'm surprisingly good with tools and carpentry. I've hired out to build porches, barns, cabinets and bunk beds.
36. For nearly a full year my parents separated, I barely spoke a word to anyone in school. The counselors were worried about me. later, when our high school guidance counselor asked me what i wanted to be as an adult, I told him "twins." He never liked me much after that.
35. I grew up in a 100-year old farmhouse on a 120 acrs of range land and cornfields, surrounded by horses and cattle, and used to go riding almost every day after school. Then I was thrown by a horse, my foot caught caught in the stirrup, and the horse dragged me 200 yards across a pasture as my head bounced along inches from his rear hooves. I've never enjoyed horses since.
34. I do the vast majority of the cooking in our family. I'm very good. I briefly considered chef school many many years ago.
33. My first paying gig as a writer came 30 years ago when a local businessman paid me 20 bucks to design, write and hand letter a Christmas card for his carpet and flooring company.
32. I was once pursued by witches through the streets of the French Quarter in New Orleans. [I'd stolen a voodoo flag from their little stand. I was drunk. The witches were male. This was on a Spring Break trip. The next day I found a 50 dollar bill on the trail in the campground where we were crashing. The day after that I found a stack of free drink coupons as we entered a night club in Florida. I claimed that this was karma for "doing The Lord's Work." My buddies burned the flag as I slept one night.]
31. Once upon a time I could speak, read, and write reasonably well in French. I've also taken several years of German and Spanish, and know a smattering of words in Czech (my grandfather spoke Czech-only until age 3)
30. For a year, I wore a full beard.
29. I separated my right shoulder while body surfing in Acapulco 25 years ago. I never told anyone. To this day that shoulder hangs 2 inches lower than the uninjured one, and it sounds like celery being crunched when I rotate that shoulder through a full range of motion.
28. I have a mild competitive streak (my friends are laughing).
27. There are seven Apple Macintosh computers in my house (four of which still draw some degree of use). Since 1985 my total time using non-Apple PCs totals something like 2 hours.
26. In high school, I once taught my senior year advanced "Trig and Mathematical Analysis Class" for a week. The subject? "Matrix Convolution" What do I recall/retain of that subject? The title. Nothing else.
25. I was the goalie for a six-time A&M intramural champion waterpolo team. Innertube water polo. My career in the sport largely evaporated after college.
24. I have been online under some variation of the same username since 1989.
23. For a 10-year stretch running from junior high through high school and college, I was the stage director for the annual scholarship beauty contest in my hometown. Yes, I used this position to pick up chicks, including one girl who went on to become Miss Texas, as well as three others who eventually were top 10 finishers in the state pageant. Call me shallow, but I like gorgeous women.
22. I have four kids, but I don't post many specific details of them online.
21. I hate to dance. I'm not bad at it—I just hate doing it. It just feels ridiculous.
20. I do not wear black. The tuxedo at my wedding might be the last black clothing I wore.
19. At three different points in my life my hair has been shaved to boot-camp stubble length. At two other points my hair has been long enough to tie back in a ponytail. I usually just wear a baseball cap (but always an actual team cap-- never a commemorative or promotional cap).
18. I'm very good at accents and dialects. I once convinced a substitute teacher that I was an exchange student from Poland (who did not speak English)
17. Few things infuriate me more than effusive insincere praise and familiarity.
16. I am notoriously bad in a canoe.
15. I've never been hospitalized. Yet.
14. I once swam naked in a swamp filled with wild alligators. I did not know there were alligators in the swamp when I stripped and entered the water, but when I saw an 8-foot gator swim past me ten feet away, I figured it out.
13. On the Myers-Briggs personality test, I have always typed as an ENTP. I have always been both amused and a little disturbed at how textbook I am to this particular personality description.
12. I wear cargo shorts and t-shirts 90% of the time, and seldom wear shoes unless I have to. Fashion bores me.
11. I detest golf and everything connected to it. I detest golfers maybe most of all. I love disc golf.
10. I'm now a fat out of shape suburban dad, but I'm still a surprisingly good athlete I love football and basketball, but baseball surpasses all sports in my passion and appreciation. Baseball provides perfect metaphors for basically every moment and aspect of life.
9. I am a Texan and ferociously pugnaciously defiantly proud of that.
8. I am an Aggie and even more pugnaciously defiantly proud of that.
7. I hate all things burnt orange. (One year, one of my sons played youth basketball, and as luck would have it he was assigned to the "longhorns" team. While I served as assistant coach, attending every practice and game, I refused to wear the team jersey or coaches shirt, opting for a white t-shirt instead. The son told me that if I needed to step down as a coach, he'd understand. "It's the longhorns, dad. You don't wear burnt orange.")
6. In a game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Forces of Hell, I'd be the guy in the stands wearing a "GO SATAN" shirt and being asked to please keep the cheering to a reasonable volume.
5. I have to have coffee every morning or my mood and productivity for the day are totally shot.
4. I drink about a half gallon of iced tea per day (decaf)
3. I quite enjoy beer.
2. Three different unrelated people over the years have said that in a previous life I must have been Alexander the Great. I'm not entirely sure upon what this odd claims is based.
1. My all-time favorite, hands-down no-doubt favorite-ever movie is Lawrence of Arabia. Among others I'd have to pack for any extended deep-space journeys: Casablanca, North By Northwest, Rear Window, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Godfather, The Maltese Falcon, MASH, The Searchers, The Sting, The Princess Bride, Chinatown, Pirates of the Caribbean (COTBP), Bull Durham, Leone's "Man With No Name" trilogy, and The Big Lebowski.
Everything else... well, that's just details.