100 Odd glimpses into my life

After doing recent memes I was reminded of a blog post I did back in 2004, listing 100 random facts about myself. I’ve decided it’s time to generate another such list, because eight facts just wasn’t enough. I will probably repeat items from the 2004 list (and the truly bored are invited to compare the two and see how much overlap there is), but I’m okay with that.

1. I got my first cat when I was very young (like 5 or six). She was a calico. I named her Jeffy.
2. Jeffy used to sleep under my covers with me. She loved to curl up by my feet. In fact, that’s where she had her first litter of kittens. In the middle of the night. I woke up, noticed a funny feeling by my toes, and screamed for Mom and dad.
3. My parents decided to move me out to the couch in the family room so Jeffy and her babies could have the bed to themselves. Jeffy wasn’t interested, and actually started carrying her kittens out to the couch so they’d still be with me. Mom and Dad eventually moved the cats to a small box. Jeffy finally decided this was an acceptable alternative.
4. Precious is the third cat I’ve had since Jeffy passed away. Precious is also the first cat that I’ve allowed to sleep under the covers with me since “the kitten incident.”
5. I have a thing for tri-color cats. This is probably due to my love of Jeffy. I even did some web research to find out exactly why male tri-color cats are so rare.
6. Last month, I actually met a male calico cat. He’s mostly white with some patches of orange. He has a single patch of black hair on his one cheek. If it wasn’t obvious that his owner adored him, I probably would’ve offered to by him on the spot. I’ve always wanted to own a male calico cat just because of how rare they are. (And the fact that they’re actually genetic freaks just makes the idea all that much more attractive.)
7. At various points in my life, I wanted to be preacher and a lawyer. I mainly wanted to be a lawyer because of a classroom visit to the county courthouse during junior high. The whole legal system fascinated me.
8. That’s probably why the various Law & Order shows are still my favorite shows.
9. On my father’s side of the family, I am one of six male cousins. In contrast our generation has nine females.
10. My cousin Amy and my cousin Jolene are also cousins to each other. However, they are related to each other through different grandparents than the ones they are related to me through. If that doesn’t make sense to you, don’t feel bad. We practically had to draw a graph to help my brother-in-law understand it.
11. I hated science in schools due to the labs. I could handle the theoretical side just fine. But when it came time to do an experiment, I just had all kinds of problems.
12. In biology, the only thing we ever dissected was an earthworm. And I let the girl I was partnered with do all the work. I found the whole thing creepy and disgusting.
13. I’ve always been jealous of my friends with artistic abilities. I’m just no good at drawing or painting.
14. I’ve also discovered that artistic people are inherently sexy. I remember getting all hot and bothered watching one of my college budies do charcoal drawing. And before that evening, I had no interest in him whatsoever. Go figure.
15. The earliest creative writing project I can remember working on was an essay for eighth grade English. It was a story about a sentient house and its thoughts about the activities of its occupants. As of four years ago, I still had it stashed in a closet. I may have thrown it out since then, though.
16. My junior year in college, I discovered that apparently, there was an informal benchmark for how hard a math test was based on how long it took me to take it. Apparently, when someone asked another classmate how hard a certain Abstract Algebra test was, said classmate apparently responded with, “Let’s put it this way: Jarred Harris took the whole class period to finish it.” I’m told the person who asked the questions reacted to the answer with an “ohhhhh.”
17. I didn’t have the heart to tell the person who relayed the story to me that the only reason I took so long to complete the test was because it involved a great deal of writing, which I’m slow at. Beyond that, I didn’t find that particular test any more difficult than the other tests we had in that class.
18. Last time I checked my typing abilities, I clocked in at around 60wpm after corrections. I would’ve clocked in faster, but the program I was testing against expected single spaces after sentences and I kept doing double spaces. (After all, that’s how I learned.)
19. I’ve never actually taken a typing course, but taught myself touch typing. I doing it properly for the most part, except I usually hit the number six with my left index finger. (For those of you who don’t touch type, you’re supposed to use the right index finger.) There are a few other things I do that aren’t technically right.
20. When I was twelve, I used to type in long programs out of the back of the old Commodore magazine to run them on a used VIC-20 my father bought me at a rummage sale. If you don’t know what a VIC-20 is or who Commodore is, you probably didn’t get involved with computers until after they started using graphical user interfaces. That and there’s a good chance you don’t remember when they used to sell leaded gas, either.
21. Actually, I only barely remember leaded gas, myself.
22. I also barely remember when gas was under $1 per gallon.
23. Originally when I graduated from college, I was looking to move to the Philly area. It would’ve put me about an hour from my sister and her family.
24. At one point, I was in an online relationship with someone from the UK. I was seriously considering moving there before he called it off.
25. My parents surprised me several years ago when New York was originally considering its law to allow women to go topless wherever a man was permitted to do so. They were both perfectly fine with it.
26. I never saw Jesus Christ Superstar until I was 22.
27. I saw a live performance of Sweeney Todd at Mansfield University back when I was in high school. I found the experience so incredible, it’s still my favorite musical.
28. One year in drama club, I insisted on trying out for a specific part in the play we planned to do that year simply because the drama club instructor said I probably wouldn’t be good at the part. I grabbed a copy of the script and set out to prove her wrong. I got the part, but the production was canceled due to various problems. But I had won the instructor over so much that she admitted after one of the rehearsals that she was waiting for the British accent to come rolling off my tongue. (The part was a snobby butler.)
29. My senior year in high school, the actor for a medium sized part in that years musical production became sick. The teacher asked me to step in and try to learn the part the week before the first show just in case the original actor didn’t get better in time.
30. The teacher commented that I played the part better my first rehearsal than the original actor had so far. Unfortunately for me, the original actor got better. The teacher really wanted to keep me in anyway, but her conscience won out in the end.
31. I actually don’t like musicals. While I’m a pretty good singer, the thought of singing in a musical scares me for some reason. In fact, had the part I was asked to fill in for had any singing parts, I probably would’ve refused.
32. In college, I went from acting onstage to being part of the occasional stage crew.
33. In ninth grade, my chorus teacher absolutely loved me. It had something to do with the fact that I had a decent voice and that my voice hadn’t changed yet. There were songs that year where the entire tenor section depended on me to hit certain notes.
34. That chorus teacher planned on having me try out for district chorus in tenth grade. He figured with a little work after summer break, I’d be a sure thing. Unfortunately, at the end of my ninth grade year, the school district decided to transfer. The new chorus teacher (who had taught at our school in prior years) didn’t seem as interested. She had her select people she liked to work with and she tended to focus on them.
35. Near the end of my senior year, that chorus teacher caught me in the hall and told me she was “disappointed” I had never tried out for district chorus. I had the urge to point out to her that I never heard her once announce tryouts or offer to help anyone who was interested. I chickened out, however. I think that’s because I was angry enough at her audacity to say that after the fact that I was afraid what I’d actually end up saying.
36. My favorite subject in school was computer programming (big surprise). And yet, I never took it until eleventh grade.
37. The computer teacher allowed me to skip the Computer Programming II class and jump right to the AP class my senior year.
38. The folks that do the AP testing actually lost my test booklet for the compsci class. So my college only got my score, but never saw my work. This created a quandry when it came time for them to decide how much credit to give me for the class. Finally, they agreed to let me get credit for the first semester programming course, provided I learned C on my own.
39. I also tested out of Calc I. The head of the Mathematics department considered giving me credit for Calc II as well based on my test results. In the end, he decided to make me take that class for “acclimation purposes.”
40. When I was younger, we’d spend a weekend at a cabin by the pond. The cabin was actually owned by the daughter of one of Mom’s patients at the time. She normally rented out use of the cabin, but would offer to let us stay there for free one weekend a year as a “gift” for Mom’s help in taking care of her father.
41. I used to read in the car to pass time on long trips. On one trip to Virginia, I read Treasure Island.
42. I had hated that book the year prior to that trip when we were required to read it for class. For some reason, the fastest way to make me hate a book was to make it required for a class. But if I found a copy of the same book during the summer, I usually adored it.
43. My first exposure to computers was in seventh grade. It was playing with LOGO on an Apple IIe. I still get nostalgiac whenever I think of “pen up” and other turtle commands.
44. I remember playing with a very old Spirograph set growing up. I don’t know when my parents got it, but all of my memories of it involve it being in a semi-faded box that was barely held together with tape on the corners. In fact, the box was mostly flat.
45. For a brief period in high school, I tried my hand at painting. I did pretty good with outdoor pictures. But that’s mostly because it’s not that hard to create green fuzzy blobs on a canvas and call them trees.
46. Part of the reason I’m so bad at art is that I’m such a perfectionist. If it isn’t “just right,” it isn’t good enough.
47. Strangely enough, I’m less critical of other people’s artwork. I’m much more willing to overlook the minor little flaws.
48. My one cousin’s husband (at the time, they were just dating) and I used to have a friendly insult war going on. It was fun to try and find new and creative insults. Plus it drove my mother nuts.
49. When I was little, I was afraid to go to sleep at night. I had this strang fear that an axe-wielding maniac would break into my beadroom and chop my head off. I have no idea where I even got the idea.
50. I used to buy my father a coffee mug every year for Christmas. That tradition went on for over a decade. I found out as an adult that he was severely disappointed the year I broke the tradition. I finally stopped because it got increasingly difficult to find new mugs. That and I think I started feeling silly and unoriginal doing it every year.
51. I went to two different Carmen concerts. I loved the first one. The second one, which I attended shortly after coming out to myself, I was much less impressed. That’s when I realized he was more a showman than a musician.
52. I think I annoyed more than one friend when I shared my revelation about Carmen. Though a few admitted I was absolutely right, if reluctantly.
53. In junior high, I was elected to student council. That year, the student council took a trip to Niagara Falls. We rode the Maid of the Mist, at at the Skyline Towers restaurant, and went to Marineland. It was the first time I’d been out of the country.
54. The laws about crossing the Canadian border had changed since the last time our teacher had been there. When the bus got to customs, an official came on and asked her for our birth certificates. She didn’t know we needed them, and hadn’t told us to bring them. She explained this to the official, who was apparently feeling generous that day. He settled for her asking us all if we were U.S. citizens. Her expression let us know we’d all better say yes (which we were). The tension on her face during the whole incident was plain as day, though.
55. I also made two trips to Washington DC while in school, with one trip also involving a visit to Baltimore. During the first trip, we mostly just wandered through the various museums. I didn’t see any of the monuments or memorials until the second trip.
56. While we were at the Baltimore Aquarium on the second trip, two of our chaperones actually walked out of the Friendly’s restaurant that was there with about a dozen of us kids in tow. The waitress was not living up to the restaurants’ name, and both chaperones took it as a strong indication that she didn’t want our business. So they agreed to take it elsewhere and save her the hassle.
57. My first exposure to Monty Python was watching “The Holy Grail” alone. That was a mistake. I thought it was a stupid movie until I got talking about it with friends. It’s the kind of humor that has to be shared to truly appreciate it, I think.
58. My favorite Disney animation growing up was probably “The Fox and the Hound.” The ending made me cry, though.
59. My favorite animated movie now would probably be “Princess Mononoke.”
60. My favorite live movie is “The Princess Bride.”
61. There was a period in my life where I managed to watch “Mary Poppins” once a month. I’m not sure what possessed various channels to play it that regularly at the time. It went on for six months, I think.
62. One year, I stayed up until after midnight on Christmas Eve. I found a recording of a theatrical production of “A Christmas Carol” on PBS. The simplicity of the play and the lack of movie-like special effects intrigued me. In some ways, I don’t think I’ve seen a better rendition of the classic.
63. My all-time favorite variation on the “Christmas Carol” theme would be, of course, “Scrooged.”
64. As a rule, I’m not really in favor of sexual experimentation. I think it usually ends up in someone getting hurt.
65. I’m not against the death penalty, though I generally feel it should be reserved for repeat violent offenders. In those cases, I don’t see it so much as punishing the criminal as permanently removing them from society for the protection of the innocent.
66. In general, I think the criminal justice system is messed up. I don’t believe that justice is about punishing evildoers. Also, I’m not convinced that rehabilitation of criminals is always possible or desirable. However, I have yet to conceive of a different model I feel would be even remotely effective. I do, however, think that true justice needs to focus more on helping those affected by crime put their lives back together as best as they can. After all, to me, justice is about trying to make things right again. In that sense, I suppose I tend to see the civil justice system as a better source of real justice when applied properly.
67. I hate driving. If I lived someplace with reasonable mass transit, I’d seriously consider leaving my car parked in front of my house 99% of the time.
68. Some days, I really think I could be happy as a housewife. Then I remember I’d actually have to clean the house then.
69. My sophomore year in college, I ended up doing a semsester-long research project on outcomes based education. The project actually caused me to change my opinion on the topic. I originally thought it was the bane of the educational system. After learning what it was really about rather than how it got presented by most conservative watchdog groups, I came to appreciate it.
70. I have never understood why anyone likes Rush Limbaugh. Even if you agree with his views (and there was a time when I did), he’s still an obnoxious loudmouth with no social graces to speak of.
71. Back when I was in my early twenties, I was a member of a Telnet-based Christian BBS. I was out about my sexual orientation (and my conversion to Paganism when that eventually came along). I was actually pretty good friends with the administration.
72. However, there was one person on the BBS that would always try to convince me to repent of my sinful ways (you know, making out with another guy, which I hadn’t even done yet) every time he saw me online.
73. One day, when said guy started sending me messages, I decided I had had enough and took control of the conversation. I chose the initial topic of conversation and never gave him a real chance to bring it the discussion back around to my sexual orientation. It was actually kind of funny, because I got the impression he didn’t know how to react. There he was all ready to go into our usual argument and we were discussing our lives and whatnot.
74. One of my all-time favorite candy bars growing up was Mr. Goodbar. While Hershey bars usually came with almonds, Mr. Goodbar had peanuts.
75. My other all-time favorite candy bar growing up what Whatchamacallit. I just liked the name. I guess the advertisers succeeded with that one.
76. My all time favorite ice cream flavor growing up was peanut butter cup. Then I switched over to peanut butter fudge when it came out in my area.
77. My first boyfriend and I met online. We originally hated each other and spent the first two days fighting. Then we found out his sister was my best friend at the time. Things went from there. And of course, the relationship and our time in each other’s lives ended much like it started.
78. In my early twenties, I ended up driving home from Dayton Ohio on about an hour of sleep. I had gone out dancing the whole night and then to Denny’s figuring I could sleep on the ride home. Then I found out that the other person who was supposed to drive was too ill to drive.
79. I went to Toronto Pride back in 2003. It was nice to be around that many other gay and bisexual people. Though my host was going through some friendship issues, which kind of put a bit of a damper on the whole experience.
80. My sister was the “little backslider” when we were in high school, whereas I was the devout (and often annoying) “Jesus Freak.” It’s funny how our roles have practically reversed (though she’s not quite as annoying now as I probably was then).
81. I loved “Waiting for Godot” when I read it my junior year in college. Much to my friends’ disbelief, I felt there was a lesson in it there that Christians could really benefit from considering. (It’s that whole “why are we waiting on God when there are things we could be doing ourselves?” thing.)
82. I was part of a puppet and clown ministry team in college. One time, while I was doing a puppet skit, my script went scattering across the floor. I had to do the second half of the skit (we had about two minutes left) from memory. Fortunately, it was our “signature puppet skit,” so I had the general idea memorized. Fortunately, James was playing the part of the narrator. Had it been some of our other members, they might not have been able to recover from my less-than perfect recitation of my lines.
83. One time, when I was clowning, my pants fell down in the middle of a skit. Fortunately, I had baggy shorts on underneath. Also, I was fortunate that I had white facepaint on so no one could see me blush.
84. The one thing I miss about Christianity is working with my old church’s youth group. Yes, you heard that right. There was a time when I was allowed to warp the fragile minds of Christian youth.
85. The only thing that annoys me about my Christian background is that 99% of the songs I know by heart are old Sunday School songs and they still run through my head from time to time.
86. After graduating college, I couldn’t find a programming job right away. So to pay bills, I took a temporary job as the nighttime computer operator at a bank. Basically, my job was to babysit the mainframe all night in case it blew up. I also sorted checks for part of the night and separated and sorted reports that got printed. It was a dull job, but it paid the bills. And I had the best boss in the world.
87. When my first boyfriend and I broke up, I went into a pretty serious depression for a couple of years. I quit paying bills, and my insurance company canceled my car insurance as a result. That’s quite possibly the most expensive mistake I have made in my life. I hope I never make another one like it.
88. The two times I replaced an engine in a car I owned, I had to replace the replacement engine. The first time was with the Ford Ranger my grandfather gave me my senior year in college. The block cracked and we searched for a used engine. When we found and installed one, we discovered it also had a crack in it. So we had to find another one and go through the process again.
89. The second car I went through the process with was my old Saturn. I actually took that to the dealership so they could do the work. They couldn’t find a used engine, so we had to order a factory rebuilt engine. It cost an arm and a leg. Then about two weeks later, we discovered the factory didn’t get one of the bearing tightened properly, so it broke loose. So Saturn had to put in another engine at their expense.
90. As I think about it, I realize that both cars also had transmission problems after the second engine replacement. Moral of the story? I’m through replacing engines. If it goes, I’m just replacing the whole car.
91. My favorite drink in the whole wide world is a pina colada. I originally got introduced to them at Knoeble’s Grove in PA. Of course, they only served the nonalcoholic version there. It’s even better with Rum.
92. I have been to Starwood once and I never plan on going again. Unless a speaker or musician will be there that I desparately want to see.
93. Diana Paxson is one of the few people I would considering going in order to see again. Especially if it involved an opportunity to take her oracular seidh workshop.
94. I would also go to see Castalia in concert.
95. But truth be told, I much preferred the Pagan conferences held by Pagan Federation Canada in Ontario. I wish they’d organize them again.
96. I would love to give up my job and focus on blogging and my writing. But short of hitting the lottery or marrying a rich boy, I don’t think it’s likely to happen.
97. I used to be a major Star Trek fan. I even collected all the technical manuals they released and everything. Then I got into Babylon 5, which I think was much better.
98. Strangly, while I like Stargate: SG-1, I just never got hooked on it.
99. I didn’t watch Firefly until it came out on DVD, and then only after I saw the movie, Serenity. FoX was stupid for canceling it.
100. I think “Rocky Horror Picture Show” is the biggest waste of film ever. Attending a live show and watching all the craziness that goes on in the audience is amusing. But the movie itself is about as valuable as a bag of day old farts.

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