For Groundhog Day 2016, Facebook’s “On This Day” app showed me a note I posted on February 2, 2009. I’ve decided to share it here, unedited (though I want to) and add some 2016 updates in blue italics:
1. I am a geek – no surprise there. I am fascinated by gadgets, technology, you name it, though I don’t set enough time aside to follow up on those interests. And despite the uber-geek in me, I haven’t made the switch to Linux.
[2016: Now I also like Steampunk…not a big leap there. But still no Linux. One challenging techno-problem came from replacing the battery in my son’s iPod Touch: 27 steps down and 26 back with the micro-est soldering I have ever done…I messed up the screen, but it still worked. Love to hate on CrApple.]
2. I am a coffee snob. I grind my dark roast beans and use an Aeropress for the absolute best coffee. I drink it black unless I’m either making a latte or out in the world and all they have is Bunn-made engine cleaning fluid. I’m not a connoisseur; I don’t like to spend $30 per pound, though I wonder if that would make a difference. I’d love to try to roast my own, but that’s a bit over the top.
[2016: Still haven’t roasted my own. My current go-to is an organic Sumatra dark roast from Costco…$16/lb. And I got a new Aeropress in December 2015 because it turns out that the one I was using for 12 years was not BPA-free, though their lab tests showed no leeching.]
3. I have ADD (ADHD without the H?). We discovered that when we were diagnosing our son. I just learned to cope on my own over the years (lots of coffee), but it helps sometimes in a job that has a lot of things going on at once.
[2016: The research keeps shifting. Now I don’t know. Nah. I know.]
4. I miss the military. Seems strange, but it was a part of my life for so long. Miss it, but I’m glad I’m not in it anymore.
[2016: I still miss it, but not as much; mostly when the Fire Rescue Specialists take it on themselves to renovate part of a station or mess with the thermostats. That’s brings the sailor mouth out of me.]
5. I can’t speak any languages other than English. Tried. Brain just doesn’t hold it. Makes me really appreciate those who speak English as second language because I can’t speak theirs.
[2016: I took a Spanish course last year. My pronunciation is apparently very good. My memory for it isn’t.]
6. Perhaps related, I seem to have a disconnect when it comes to music lyrics – I don’t hear them unless I concentrate. I can listen to a song for 20 years and suddenly think, “Hey, I just realized what Tone Loc’s saying in Wild Thing.” Probably why I like classical so much.
[2016: Classical is almost always what I listen to in the car. Sometimes NPR. Mostly classical.]
7. I’m still in love with my wife after 23 years; she’s the wisest person I know. I wouldn’t be where I am without her. And I’m immensely proud of all our sons.
[2016: It’ll be 30 years for us this March and every day is a great day. She’s still the one. And now I have daughters and grandchildren to be proud of with our family growing.]
8. I used to be a music bigot – only liked rock. Over the years, I’ve learned to appreciate all kinds of music; I just don’t consider country or rap, well, music.
[2016: Still don’t. But I’ve added DJ for DFW Homeschool Teen Dances to my body of work, and have learned to listen to a lot outside my comfort zone. Sometimes the requests make my ears bleed…think electronic dance music/dubstep…]
9. I’m not religious and haven’t been for a long time. It never made sense and when I finally admitted to myself (after lots of research) that it never could make sense, I accepted free will and reason as my “guides.”
[2016: The “free will” thing was a leftover. Something that intuitively obvious shouldn’t need a special label, so… it’s not part of my vocabulary any more. Even if Kahneman is right. I’ve probably read more about religion – not just Christianity…flavors of Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism – and more of their own books than most practitioners. I am a humanist.]
10. I like books – we have more than 5,000. Yes, I’ve heard of libraries, but I like to own books I like.
[2016: Well…there’s a bit of sad irony there in re-reading that bullet. More than 5,800 were lost to smoke damage from a fire on July 31st, 2013. All but 19 that I managed to salvage (one of those is with a friend in St. Louis now), and a couple of boxes of pre-school books that were in the farthest attic, are gone. I’ve replaced some, but too many were irreplaceable. Several hundred had my margin notes. But I still like books.]
11. I regret three things (that I’m willing to share) – two are selling my TR-6 and not taking the PE. The former for the reasons I sold it, which were moot soon after (girlfriend hated it …and then me.) The latter, because while I don’t need credentials to prove my worth, it’s still hanging out there as something not done. The third? Voting for Ronald Reagan in 1980 instead of John Anderson because I didn’t think John had a chance. I never told anyone before – too embarrassed.
[2016: I took the PE in 2010 after studying for four months, and passed the first time – in a discipline different than my degrees. It was easier to learn civil engineering than it was to relearn mechanical. So one less (public) regret.]
12. Of all the medals I received in the Navy, I am most proud of my second Good Conduct Medal, because that means I did more than 8 years enlisted.
13. Chick flicks are okay. I don’t understand any guy who’s threatened by them. Oh, I like scifi, action, thrillers, dramas, (well-written) comedies and more too. Gore…not. Apparently I’m also one of the few that doesn’t think Jim Carrey or Steve Carell is funny.
[2016: I think Steve Carell made me laugh a couple of years ago.]
14. I hate heat. Yeah, I live in Texas. But then so does my wife and I really like being with her!
[2016: In 2013, a few months before the fire, we converted our pool to a pond. I’m much happier now. Some of the $0.20 comets are now about 8 inches long!]
15. I used to program IBM and Univac mainframe computers in assembly code. I also wrote code for cutting edge virtual reality work at UConn, but passed on continuing because I wasn’t into hardware. Always wonder where that would have led.
16. I went 21 years before owning a king-size bed. And I really like high thread count sheets. It’s the small things (or big things when you count the bed).
[2016: Kind of liking microfiber sheets now. The bed back then was a Sleep Number. Now we have a Tempur-Pedic. Some days I think the old one was better. Some days I think this one, which is good because it’s the one we have.]
17. A senior officer at a mandatory fun social gathering once bought me a “Black”. As in Johnny Walker Black. I drink espresso and that is better than “Black”. When he wasn’t looking, I poured it in his glass, and he never noticed.
18. I’ve been profiled. I flew back to DC in December 2001 for a meeting. At each stop my luggage was searched and at JFK, they called several (Arabic sounding) names to see the gate agent before boarding, but waved me through when they looked at me.
19. Food is not important to me. I sometimes forget to eat, then don’t draw the connection when I’m light headed.
[2016: To be sure, I do like good tasting food.]
20. Chocolate, however, is another story. And the absolute best chocolate in the world is See’s. There is no discussion.
[2016: I should qualify that…the best commercially available. We’ve found some awesome chocolates made here in the metroplex, Dude, Sweet Chocolate being one of the very best.]
21. I hate the word “tolerance” when used in its social context. It implies superiority and most people don’t see that.
[2016: It’s worse now.]
22. Pet peeve – ATM machines, PIN numbers and the like. I just have a knack for picking up multiple double %*#@&^ redundancies .
[2016: add inappropriate apostophe’s]
23. On the way to Mardi Gras in 1985, I got pulled over by Gulfport MS police after waiting three hours in a parking lot for my buddy Chad’s (now bro-in-law) girlfriend. They gave me a breathalyzer that came up 0.00. Chad gave me a hard time for “sir’ing him a lot”. I told him: Yankee accent, Connecticut plates, Navy haircut in the deepest South you can get (right on the water of the Gulf) – no way I was going to be anything but “sir’ing him.”
24. I just missed meeting Pete Townsend, Roger Daltry and John Entwhistle of The Who when they stopped in at the McDonalds I was working at in 1980. I was on my break in the back, and the girl up front was too shocked to think to get me.
25. I once drove more than 135 mph in that TR-6 from #13 (mine didn’t look as good as the one in the pic). Top down and no roll bar – youth can be so stupid.
[2016: one of the edits I wanted…it should read #11. Must have shuffled them around back in 2009. I couldn’t underline “more than” either. As the original FB note embedded photo was only 7 kb, I’ll share this to show what I was talking about. Sadly…not me. Of course, I’d only be able to drive it with the top down when the weather is right in Texas. But I sure would drive it both days! Maybe even sort of fast.]