1. What's your favorite Dr. Seuss book?
Fox in Socks, I guess.
2. If you could live in any home on a television series, what would it be?
Serenity, on Firefly. (Yes, the ship is a home.)
3. What's the longest you've gone without sleep?
Probably eighteen to twenty hours, tops. I never pulled an actual all-nighter in college, unless staying up until nearly 6:00 am counts. The Wife (then The Girlfriend) and I drove all night to move her stuff from Iowa to WNY back in 1994, but we took shifts sleeping.
4. What's your favorite Barry Manilow song?
"I Write the Songs". Seconded by "Copacabana". It scares me to think that I actually have a favorite Barry Manilow song.
5. Who's your favorite Muppet?
Animal. Or the stoner from "Mahna mahna". Love those guys!
6. What's the habit you're proudest of breaking?
Hmmmmm...maybe my habit of not trying to write at least a line or two every day? Not that it's helping out much, but still....
7. What's your favorite website?
This one, duh!
8. What's your favorite school supply?
Pens. Nice pens. Fountain pens, actually. I have about fifteen cool fountain pens. I don't use 'em enough, but fountain pens are all kinds of cool.
9. Who's your favorite TV attorney?
The guy who defends James T. Kirk in the original Star Trek episode "Court Martial". It's a really cool episode, even if the ending is a bit contrived.
10. What was your most recent trip of more than 50 miles?
Going to Pittsburgh on Easter weekend.
11. What's the best bargain you've ever found at a garage sale or junk shop?
Hmmmmm. "Bargain" in this sense seems to me to indicate something you really wanted and got cheaply, as opposed to price versus actual value. When garage-saleing a few years ago, I picked up a lovely serving plate and matching serving bowl that have a lovely pattern: black rim with a single pink blossom on one side. It looks quite Asian to my eye.
The Library Book Sales always thrill, too; I document these each time I go (they're quarterly -- in fact, the next is coming up in a couple of weeks). There was one where it turned out someone had unloaded a large cache of old science fiction stuff. That one resulted in a full box!
12. Where were you on September 11, 2001?
I was on my way to work when the planes hit. When I got in my car, the first had already struck and no one was sure if this was an attack or something horrible gone awry on a plane. In fact, I first heard "a plane crashed into the WTC" and I thought that some idiot in a Cessna had screwed up. I was in the drive-through at Tim Horton's, picking up a bagel, when the second plane hit. My immediate thought was one of utter confusion: "How does this happen twice? Was this...oh my God, this was intentional."
When I got to work, the radio was already on and everyone was shocked. A while later the third plane hit the Pentagon. The next few hours were as surreal a day as I've ever spent in a job. There were radio reports of several more missing planes; then one plane; then a plane that the USAF had shot down. At one point a report came through of a car bomb detonating outside the State Department in Washington, DC. And in the midst of all that, the most horrific announcement of all: the first of the two towers of the WTC had collapsed.
The vagaries of that job -- telesales, calling pharmacies to sell generic liquid medications -- never seemed more unimportant than on that day. Which was sad, because I remember having a really good sales day that day. I found it awfully hard to give a crap, though.
At some point on that day, I scrawled out "9-11-01 Remember" on a post-it note and stuck it to my computer. I still have that post-it note in my stuff, somewhere 'round here, along with the copy of the Buffalo News I bought the next day. I made sure to keep that post-it when I cleaned out my desk on firing day.
13. What's your favorite tree?
When we moved into our house in 1981, which is the house my parents still live in, the house sat on a very large parcel of land that had no trees on it. None. There was a tree line/hedge row on one side of the land, and on the other, but there were no trees whatsoever anywhere near the house. My parents spent a lot of effort (and, I expect, money) over the next couple of years buying trees and planting them. There is now an enormous weeping willow in the front yard, some impressively tall pines, and one pine that I asked for when we stopped at a garden center just a few months in. We planted that tree outside my bedroom window, where it grows still. That tree is now so big that it actually had to be cut back so my parents could use their front door to, you know, get in and out of the house! That tree is awesome, man.
There's also a wonderful tree down the road from their house that isn't particularly unique in itself, but it's by itself in someone's yard and every fall its leaves turn a spectacular red that makes it look from afar like the entire tree is aflame.
14. What's the most interesting biography you've read?
I should read more biographies...but Jacques Barzun's bio of Hector Berlioz is an amazing read.
15. What do you order when you eat Chinese food?
As much as I adore Chinese food and love many dishes...I tend to default to General Tso's. Or I'll get Sesame chicken, which is just General Tso's without the chili peppers and with sesame seeds tossed on. Once in a while, Kung Pao. But hey! Last time out, I got pepper steak!
I should get Mu Shu Pork one of these days. It just tends to be very messy, though.
16. What's the best costume you've ever worn?
My mother made me a Captain Marvel suit when I was in kindergarten and was enthralled with All Things SHAZAM!.
More creatively, in college, there was a party one night in the music department which was themed "Dress as your favorite musician". So I, having been told that I looked like our school's oboe teacher, threw on what he usually wore -- a tie-less shirt, blazer, and five-o'clock shadow -- and went as him. Got rave reviews. I wonder if anyone ever told him about that?
17. What's your least favorite word?
For some weird reason, about ten years ago, all of a sudden everybody was using the word "copacetic". And hey, if someone tells me my work is copacetic, great and thanks and all, but the word itself just sounds like an unpleasant medical condition.
"Will he live, Doctor?"
"I don't know, Agnes. He's gone...copacetic."
18. If you had to be named after one of the 50 states, which would it be?
I'd want to be Even Newer York.
For some reason, I've always remembered this: an episode of The Dukes of Hazzard where the villain was a femme fatale of sorts named Alabama. And the show's narrator sagely informed us: "You should never trust a woman named after a state." I think of that every time I meet some poor kid named Dakota.
19. Who's your favorite bear?
The grizzly that stalks Tristan Ludlow (Brad Pitt) throughout the 70+ years of his life in Legends of the Fall. That's some bear.
20. Describe something that's happened to you for which you have no explanation.
You're reading this blog! Don't you have anything better to do?
21. If you could travel anywhere in Africa, where would it be?
I'd love to see the Pyramids in Egypt. And I'd love to see how many hours it would take me to work up the guts to jump into Devil's Pool.
22. What did you have for lunch yesterday?
Leftover tacos from a couple of nights before.
23. Where do you go for advice?
Depends. Sometimes I post a question on Facebook or here. Or I ask someone in person, usually at work, whom I know to be knowledgeable in the area I'm looking for. Or I type a question into Google. Or I just plow on ahead and try to come up with my own answer.
24. Which do you use more often, the dictionary or the thesaurus?
Dictionary, mainly for spelling. I don't use the thesaurus all that often, but when I need it, it's invaluable.
25. Have you ever been snorkeling? Scuba diving?
Snorkeling, but only in a synthetic reef thing at Disney World. I had a good time, but The Wife did not. She kicked with her feet and struck a piece of fake coral, ripping the toenail out of her big toe. This was Day Two of our vacation. I spent the rest of it pushing her around in a wheelchair at the Disney parks. But at least we didn't have to wait in line for rides.
26. Have you ever been stung by a bee?
Sure. Hasn't everybody?
27. What's the sickest you've ever been?
Had the flu in late 1996. That's the only time I have ever called off work because I was sick. It came and went fairly quickly, but man, was that ever unpleasant.
28. What's your favorite form of exercise?
Walking/hiking, and bicycling.
29. What's your favorite Cyndi Lauper song?
"Time After Time".
30. What did you do for your 13th birthday?
I have no idea whatsoever.
31. Are you afraid of heights?
Not especially, although in some contexts I'd probably be freaked out. I'd love to go in Toronto's CN Tower and stand on the glass floor. I'm not sure I'd ever voluntarily jump out of a perfectly good airplane that wasn't in the process of spiraling downward toward its doom.
32. Have you ever taken dance lessons?
No. I wouldn't mind. Dancing looks fun.
33. What's your favorite newspaper?
By default, since it's the only one I read with any regularity, the Buffalo News.
34. What's your favorite Broadway / West End musical?
Without ever having seen it, Les Miserables.
35. What's the most memorable class you've ever taken?
Oh, wow. I've taken a lot of great classes. Oriental Thought. Philosophy of Religion. Epistemology. Foundations of Science. Shakespeare. Poli Sci 101.
36. What's your favorite knock-knock joke?
OK, I don't really know any offhand, so I'm going to Google some and pick the one I like best. Hang out here a moment....
[insert filler music]
All right, here it is:
Orange you glad I didn't say banana ?
I suppose it's true, then: "Knock Knock" jokes, without exception, suck.
37. What's your least favorite commercial?
Those of you who don't live in the Buffalo Niagara region won't have been tormented with these ads. I won't soil my beautiful, beautiful blog by embedding the video, so, if you must -- and I can't urge you strongly enough not to -- well, watch. Don't say I didn't warn you.
38. If you could go to Disney World with any celebrity alive today, who would it be?
Sarah Palin. So I could chain her to one of the "It's A Small World" boats and make her ride it for the rest of her life.
39. Do you prefer baths or showers?
Showers. Hot tubs are nifty, though.
40. What's your favourite newspaper comic strip?
Get Fuzzy. I read that and Pearls Before Swine daily. (OK, I also read Funky Winkerbean, but I read that one more for the slow-motion-car-wreck thing it has going on these days.)
41. What's your favorite breakfast food?
Waffles! Or pancakes. French toast is acceptable. And sometimes you just want a nice omelet. But mainly, waffles.
42. Who's your favarite game show host?
Phil Keoghan of The Amazing Race. I also never really appreciated Survivor's Jeff Probst until just this recently concluded season; he's always seemed OK and workmanlike, but he really is quite perceptive about stuff, and in the live finale, he did a really good job with the interviews, forcing answers to questions and deflecting some of Russell's nonsensical replies.
Of game show hosts of the more traditional sort, I always enjoyed Bob Barker.
43. If you could have a super power, what would it be?
Flight. But Superman-style flight, not something like Angel of the X-Men. No big-ass wings for me!
44. Do you like guacamole?
It's OK. I'm not a huge fan, but I don't dislike it, either.
45. Have you ever been in a food fight?
Nope, unless being an occasional target for edible missiles counts.
46. Name five songs to which you know all the lyrics.
"Every Which Way But Loose" (Eddie Rabbitt); "Love's Been Good to Me" (Rod McKuen); "Hey Jude" (some poof from Liverpool);
47. What's your favorite infomercial?
I never, ever, ever watch informercials. Ever. I really don't like them at all.
48. What's the longest you've ever waited in line?
Hmmmm...I don't remember, really. Probably some line for a popular ride at an amusement park. Those can be ridiculously long.
49. What's on the cover of your address book or day planner?
Nothing. It's a small checkbook-sized thing in a checkbook-like cover. I got it for two bucks somewhere, intending to actually use it for once.
And yet, I don't.
50. Have you ever taken a picture in one of those little booths?
Nope. Sounds fun, though!