reprinted from Facebook for those of you that think it's the devil

I AM SHEEP (or 25 Things)

Rules [modified for future madlibbing]: Once you've been [verb], you are supposed to [verb] a [noun] with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about [you]. At the end, choose [number] [noun] to be [verb]. You have to [verb] the [proper noun] who [verb] you. If [noun] [verb] [direct object], it's because I want to know more about you. [Also, bored.]

1. I am half-Mexican (the left half), but I have not identified myself as such on any unofficial government forms since sixth grade--when I attempted to fill in half of the "Caucasian" circle and half of the "Hispanic" circle on a standardized test. My teacher protested. Instead, I filled in "Other" and wrote "American." I now use my race only in socially awkward situations when someone tells me I wouldn't understand the plight of minorities because I'm white.

2. My "Star Wars" collection is absurdly large and absurdly nerdy, filling two rooms of my house. It will, hopefully, pay for something less nerdy in the future. Like an Edward Tufte sculpture.

3. I have, undoubtedly, been in love--and plan to be again.

4. Before spring break 2008, I was drunk only one other time in my life. I was nine. My mother used to drink vodka and cranberry--moreso straight vodka with a splash of red coloring. Coming home from t-ball one day (4b. I used to play t-ball and baseball.), I saw my mother's red-colored vodka and mistook it for virgin cranberry juice. I downed it. I had to sit down for a while. (4c. I do not like vodka to this day.)

5. Like John Scott, I'm told at least daily that I look like Ashton Kutcher. (5b. That was a lie.) (5c. I have been told, at various points in my life, that I look like: Wayne Knight or Newman from "Seinfeld," Pavarotti, and the professor from "Sliders.") (5d. I have no idea what these people have in common.)

6. I have no pet peeves--only absolute moral imperatives.

7. My first dog was a pug named Simon. It was the first and only time I remember crying because of a Christmas present.

8. I seriously considered dropping out of school after my sophomore year of college, having been convinced by existential philosophers, politicians, and our culture that life was meaningless. I cannot be sure, but "Atlas Shrugged" may have literally saved my life.

9. A corollary to number 8--that deserves it's own number, nonetheless--is that I firmly believe that I'm the most important person in my life and that my happiness, derived from my rational self-interest, is the meaning of life.

10. If JML's fantasies came true and we could all travel in time, I would not want to meet my high school self--nor would any of you. I pity those who have. Looking back, my goal in high school was not to learn or engage in any sort of rational thought or present any solutions of my own, but to make everyone's arguments look bad. Basically, I was on my way to a PhD in a modern philosophy program.

11. I am often incredibly quick to decide whether or not I will like you or want to be your friend. Remarkably, I'm right a great majority of the time. I have only been REALLY wrong once. My bad, ARM.

12. I am a member of a social fraternity. Our values are music-based, but we are not honorary or professional. Yeah, I'm a frat guy. Wanna fight about it?

14. I have an irrational fear of spiders and the number 13.

15. Nature has no appeal to me except as resources for production. It never has. Lakes do not make me sigh; mountains do not make me weep; the sky does not make me feel small. In high school, I started a "Pave the Earth" campaign to increase the availability of parking at my favorite store, my temple, my Mecca: Walmart.

16. After getting to know people, they often tell me that upon our first meeting they had two distinctly different thoughts: A) My voice is much higher than they expected. B) I scared them. Yes, I sing tenor--always have. The choir director at my church told me I was going to grow up to "sing a lovely baritone." When my voice changed, I gained fewer than three steps to the bottom of my range. (16b. I would trade any of my talents to sing bass or play jazz piano.) For whatever reason, though, my piercing tenor voice does not make me any less intimidating. I work hard to tone down the intimidation factor, but it may come from the fact that:

17. I am terrible at small talk. It's a "skill" I've only recently tried to learn, having previously disregarded it as useless. Nonetheless, I'm still at a loss for how to start a conversation with someone I don't know. I'd just so much rather talk about politics, religion, philosophy, current affairs, or pop culture.

18. Several people have told me that I'm the "smartest person" they know. I often reply, "You need to get out more." Confidence can be mistaken for intelligence if done right. Not that I would do such a thing...

19. I was never a confident person. I am now. In most matters. (19a. I'm incredibly confident when I'm teaching.)

20. I cannot be true friends with someone who does not believe in the primacy of reality. I can "get along" with them. I can work with them. I can even be acquaintances. But I cannot invest time and energy into people who believe we live in the Matrix.

21. There are at least three people I could not tag in this note because they do not have Facebook. Can you guess which three? (21b. No, you can't.)

22. I was a terrible, but clever, child. Evidence: A) I once shouted, "Where's my G-D Coke?" at a waitress. When she brought it, I decided I wanted to take it home with me, so I poured it in my mother's purse. B) My mother once scolded me for not finishing my spaghetti. She said, "There are starving children in Africa that would love to have this food." I got up from the table with my plate and proceeded to pour it into an envelope. I told her, "Send it to them." C) Upon seeing a black man for the first time, I started pointing in the middle of White Castle and rather loudly exclaiming, "Look, mom! A chocolate man! He's made of chocolate!" We immediately left.

23. I love you all, but to be completely honest, there is only one person tagged in this note that I would like to know more about per the "rules" of this note game. Fight amongst yourselves. (23b. I love inciting riots.) (23c. Among my friends.)

24. My favorite food ever: Gyros. A close second would have to be homemade tamales. [See number 1.] (24b. One of my close friends in high school used to call me "refried bean" because I was half Mexican.)

25. I'm often reluctant to consider "things" that are "popular." I'm skeptical of anything new. In fact, I did not even consider doing one of these "25 Things" until I saw Danny Rowland's. He gets a free tag for the inspiration. Knowing him, he'll be elated.

26. [Don't freak out that I'm on number 26. See number 13.] Some of the best advice I've ever been given is to live my life without regrets. From the time I received that advice on, I've done so to the best of my ability. And it has been glorious.



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