Eight things

June 1, 2007

For the biblioblogosphere’s latest meme, bloggers list eight “random” things about themselves. Before I start with my own list, I would like to mention that the best “randomness” more or less expects people to make connections between things that seem disconnected (as in the case of this AOL customer search history). The works of the Monty Python troupe immediately come to mind. Judging from their humour, they all seem like pretty sharp guys, and I don’t think they just threw things together in their skits and films just for the sake of doing so. However, I have come across a few fans who try aping Python’s “randomness,” but the results come across as depressingly superficial since their random acts are generally apropos of nothing.

Now that I have irritated a few stoners and slackers who think I have something sticking up my “bum,” here’s a list of eight random things about myself. Actually, my list consists of eight somewhat odd and unusual things that seem most likely to puzzle and amaze those who think they know what The Pragmatic Librarian is all about:

    1. I have a horizontal scar across the bridge of my nose. However, it didn’t involve some misguided attempt at emulating Hemmingwayesque or Palahniukian machismo. Around the age of 18 months, I managed to pull a dining room chair on me, and it scraped some skin off my nose. My mother somehow managed to patch the skin back in place. Photographs from around that time show a rather unhappy near-toddler with a purplish line across his nose. After 33 years, it looks a lot less ghastly.

    2. Others say that I sound just fine, but what I hear on audio recordings jars with the quasi-mellifluous tone I hear internally. I have tried finessing my voice to sound somewhat like James Mason, though I know well enough not to try a full-on British accent. No matter what I do, I seem stuck with the same Midwestern nasal honk that makes me shy away from hearing recordings of myself. (Lately, I’ve developed this theory that the accident mentioned above contributed to my voice, but my older brother has a similar sound.) Oddly enough, my French teacher in high school said that I had the best French accent she had heard from a student in years.

    3. If I ever have an opportunity to visit a city in Europe, my first choices would consist of Berlin and Vienna. This should come as no surprise to anyone who knows my cultural proclivities, but probably unusual for those who would list the usual suspects as first choices (London, Paris, Rome, etc.).

    4. I have multiple versions of many of my favorite works in classical music and opera. One or two versions sometimes suffice (Sinopoli’s spacious account of Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana, Bernstein’s earthy rendering of Bizet’s Carmen), but not for all composers. Enter the Mahler, Strauss, and Wagner sections of my CD collection or iTunes account, and you may just have a rough time getting out.

    5. For those of you who perceive me as a man of refined tastes, I will mention a few caveats. Around the age of 11 and 12, I developed an affinity for giant monster slugfests from Japan, as well as pro-wrestling; the latter included the WWF, as well as the no-budget WWA broadcasts out of Toledo (under the title Bruiser Bedlam). All this wore off after a few years as I got interested in things like classical music, and as I worked on changing my “image” to seem more appealing to the ladies. (That didn’t work until many years later.) Still, I have bemused memories of those days. As for Godzilla, Diane’s only experience with him was the 1998 US-made version, which she despised. I told her that the oversized iguana didn’t have the same grandeur and personality as the “real deal” from Japan, so we’ll probably screen one or two of the better Big-G movies sometime. Even today, I still meander into less-than-refined stuff, including old episodes of the animated quixotic misadventures of a certain dimwitted adolescent duo from Highland, Texas.

    6. I have a weakness for chips (potato, tortilla, etc.). For that reason, we rarely have chips in the house. I get a small bag of organic potato chips every so often for the pantry for “emergencies,” but that’s pretty much it. As for fruit, I have yet to develop a liking. I find most of them rather bitter, and they can take about as long to eat as a regular meal. When I do eat fruits, I usually find myself scrunching my face because of the taste. However, I do like a few fruits, such as Fuji apples and grapes. I sometimes forget to eat them, but our dog loves grapes, so I have fed those to her so that they don’t end up fermenting in the fridge. Unfortunately, I recently found out that grapes aren’t all that good for dogs, so I refrain from doing that now (and we’re really careful with onions and chocolate, of course).

    7. Although I currently have a strong sense of neatness and order in my surroundings, my room was a huge mess when I was a kid. Various film and television action figures (as well as their vehicles) populated my floor, closet, and even my dresser. I would set up elaborate confrontations between heroes and villains, especially in my reimaginings of Star Wars. Since one could never have enough Stormtroopers, I would recruit members of Cobra (from the G.I. Joe animated series) to enhance the Imperial military’s numbers. At various times, certain areas of the house would double as villainous lairs, including the dining room table and the main bathroom. For the latter, the sink doubled as a carnivorous sealife pool for bungling minions (enter my Indiana Jones figure as James Bond). Never did I use my parents’ room as an evil lair, however, which would have prompted a visit to the shrink.

    8. I have two nieces who will turn 14 and 11 this month. Unfortunately, other than a few pictures and some video from several years ago, I have never seen them. The details of why remain unimportant (I’m not entirely sure myself), but I hope that Diane and I will have a chance to meet them someday. In the meantime, I at least have their picture on my desk, just as a reminder.

Looks like I’ve done my part for this meme. Now it’s your turn, if you have a blog and haven’t written eight things about yourself already.

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