Six weird things -- 12/21/06

Bev tagged me with this meme -- List six weird things about you -- and then I'm supposed to tag six more people to do it -- but Bev only tagged three of us and then threw the challenge open to anyone else who wanted to try it. So I'm not going to tag anyone individually, just offer it up to anyone who wants to try it...

Six weird things about me...

1. My left ear has a Darwin's Point
This is also sometimes known as Darwin's tubercle. This does not mean that I am part Vulcan. That just about exhausts my knowledge of the topic. I do not have it on my right ear.

According to the limited amount of information I've been able to find on the Internet, this may happen in both ears or in just one ear. It is supposed to be a dominant trait (not having it is recessive).

Don't ask me to work out one of those genetic charts on this. I took biology a long time ago. How long ago? Well, when I took it, living creatures seemed to be divided into the animal and vegetable kingdoms (no, Linnaeus was not my bio teacher) but when my daughter was in middle school and brought home her biology text book I looked through it, thinking that I might help her study -- only to discover that there were now six kingdoms.

2. I have a weird memory.
For example, the other day Nancy and I were talking and somehow the concept of moving through time to the exact current point in time worked its way into our rambling "how was your day" conversation and I thought of Stephen King's The Langoliers (where an airplane somehow gets ahead of the immediate moment of time and lands at an empty airport but the current moment is approaching as quickly as dawn but ahead of it the Langoliers are coming, cleaning things up and readying the world for the approach of the present moment).... except, of course, I could not recall the title of the darned thing... but I could easily recall a critic (writing in one of the monthly science fiction magazine) back around 1987 writing an overall discussion of King where he complained that King was so financially successful for publishers that he was no longer edited well, that he tended to make factual errors (such as technical details about what model car had what carbonator -- and I thought that was not sloppy editing, it was just that you couldn't expect a copy editor to catch something like that) -- and I had read this review in a fast food restaurant at a rest stop on I-81 taking a break from driving from Binghamton to Philidelphia to take a data base course while I was working for Bendix Aerospace -- and I think the piece was written by Algis Budrys -- and I am really chagrined about not being able to remember the title of The Langoliers, but that I also can't remember if the article appeared in F&SF or Analog. This amuses Nancy no end that I can recall totally useless bits of information but if she asks me to pick up some things she needs for baking when I go on a supermarket trip I will carefully write it down on paper... and then leave the house with that shopping list still on the kitchen table.

3. I can make my eyes cross... and I can wiggle my ears.

Such talent!

And I can hold out my fingers and open a V like that from left to right across my hand -- and back -- both hands at once -- and do it quickly.

4. I am a batch processor.
Nancy told me that once, years ago, and I immediately realized that she was right. She says she can see my interrupt-handler routine being called. (Yes, we do tend to have conversations using computer-speak.) I always thought I was a procrastinator (and I guess what I do... and don't do.... has that effect) but it's just that I don't handle state change very well. Jim at rest tends to stay at rest and Jim in motion tends to stay in motion. I work hard, very hard, sometimes obsessively so... For example, at the start of 1996, faced with an overwhelmingly huge task and insufficient time and resources, I worked every single day from January 2nd until most of the way through February, 70 hour week followed 70 hour week (with one in there that topped 80 hours). I tend to focus intensely on whatever I'm doing and find it difficult to stop. I don't usually work much more than 45 or so hours of actual work each week most of the time, but if I sit down in the evening just to check something out at nine o'clock, I'm likely to pull myself away fromt the computer at one a.m. with my eyes teary with eye strain.

This gives me a problem with doing things like getting in my workout time. These days I'm usually working in my home office (going to the company office about once a month) and sometime between 11:00 and 11:30 Tiger will come looking for his lunch -- so I'll open a can of cat food for him and at that point I should stop work and go out for a run or down in the basement on the exercise bike or treadmill or lift weights or something -- but I'll want to get just one more thing done -- and the next thing I know it's mid-afternoon and I'll decide to work out at five o'clock -- but the next thing you know it'll be six or six-thirty and if I do my workout then it'll be 8:30 before we have dinner (which actually isn't bad in June or July when that's around sunset but is a little bit too bright-lights-big-city for out here in South County. Yes, that's why I'm constantly fighting my weight -- I work hard for several weeks and loose five or ten pounds but then I disrupt my training and put it back on.

5. I can remember things from very early childhood.
Most people I've met seem to have problems remembering much of anything from before they started school. I can remember things from before I was three. You might say that when you are that young you have no concept of time and calendars, etc., so how can you know... Well, I remember being on a subway train -- I was kind of worried because my mother had explained we were going on a train that was in a tunnel underground beneath the streets and at one point I was looking out the window of the subway car and there were lights flashing past overhead in the tunnel and they looked like street lights to me and I put that together with what she had said about being beneath the street and I thought that meant that I was looking up and somehow seeing through the street and seeing the street lights and that didn't make sense to me, I couldn't figure out how I could be seeing through the street but I finally just wrote it off as being yet another of the things adults said that didn't make sense to me.
That happened while my father was overseas in the World War II and my mother had taken me from Kingston, NY, by train to New York City and then to Hoboken, New Jersey, to visit my grandmother (my father's mother). That was sometime in 1944. I was born in April of 1943 so I was at most a year and a half old.

(But half the time I have to hunt for my car keys.)

6. I have a Christmas tree with a drinking problem.
Instead of water it insists on chugging down Captain Morgan Spiced Run by the bottle...

Here is photographic evidence of this alcoholic depravity....

Anyone looking at the tree could see that it is so lit that it glows in the dark....
Okay, actually, Jill saw me filling up this empty bottle with water to pour into the tree stand's water basin... so she grabbed some red and some yellow food coloring and added it to the water... and then grabbed the camera and said she had to get pictures for me to put on my Web page.

Blasts from the past -- entries for this date from previous years:

This is my Holidailies entry for December 21
A brief introduction....
A brief introduction to anyone who wanders in here for the first time from the Holidailies site -- I'm a middle-aged (*cough* okay, 63, but I don't look a day over 62 ) guy who lives in Rhode Island with my wife Nancy (a middle-school math teacher), daughter Gillian ("Jill" -- 24 yr old college student), son Jeremy (21 yr old college student), and Tiger (senior citizen cat). Eldest child Adam lives in New York City with his wife Leah and our grandson Sam. I'm a former programmer/systems analyst who got into doing software training and currently works from home doing quality assurance and editing on course material for both classroom courses and Web-based training courses. I've been writing this online journal since 1996. (If you read some of the archived entries, until a couple of years ago I used fake names for the kids -- "Sean" = Jeremy and "Jennifer" = Gillian)

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