25 Random Things About Me
This is a meme that blazing through Facebook; you write 25 random things about you and tag 25 other people to do it themselves. Usually these are short, 1-sentence items, but, hey, I blog; I can’t just do a quick list.
For your information, here’s what I wrote:
Personal note: This is probably longer than the usual response to this meme. I’m like that (and it’s one of the 25 items below).
I’m a Christian, I love Jesus, and I don’t apologize for it. I won’t beat you over the head with it, but I certainly won’t hide it, either. If you ask, I’ll answer.
The way I met my wife Susan is one of those small-world stories. While working at a summer camp after my senior year of high school, I met her sister, Joy, who was also a counselor. She was going to be a senior at the same college I would be a freshman at; Asbury College. So I got to know her to find out more about Asbury. Then, my senior year, as I was bringing my sister to the school (her freshman year) I saw Susan and though, “I either know her, or someone related to her.” They looked very much alike. Separately, I got to know a guy named Kevin who was also a freshman and was taking computer classes (as was I). Turned out that Susan and he went to the same missionary boarding school in Malaysia (Dalat International School).
My first car was a 1976 Dodge Coronet Crestwood station wagon, which was already rather old by the time I purchased it in 1983 from Zikakus Chevrolet (Ithaca, NY). It was so big, I named it the Battlestar Galactica. Its size came in handy, from carting a carload for camp staff breaks, to hauling all the luggage back to school after a van accident at an Asbury College SASF retreat, to hauling everything I owned in the world to my first job in Atlanta, GA. Sometimes, in order to start it, I had to take the air filter cover off, put something in the “butterfly” flap to keep it open (like a stick), and then it would crank up. Susan and I went on our honeymoon in it because the Ford Escort I had purchased in Atlanta was stolen shortly before the wedding. More and more started going out on it (power steering pump, radiator) that, in 1987, I finally gave it to the auto mechanic who’d worked on it for so long so he could scrap it for parts.
My first computer was an HP150 Touchscreen PC that I bought in 1984. No, you most likely have never heard of it. I immediately bought Borland Turbo Pascal 2.0 for it. (If you’re a programmer, you might have heard of that.) Hewlett-Packard does list that model in its Virtual Museum. Yes, I still have it in our storage room.
When it was just Susan and I, before kids, we would sometimes go camping, often with other family. As the kids came along, we continued to do that, even bringing along a crib for when we had babies in the tent. The kids have really enjoyed it, and we’ve camped in many places including the Great Smokey Mountains, which was wonderful. The thing about me is, I’m not a huge camping fan. Now, when we decide to go camping, I’m in, and do my best to make it a great experience, and enjoy many parts of it myself, especially the sounds. But overall I’d prefer a hotel. With a shower.
I love Mountain Dew. I even drink diet Dew (in fact, most of the time these days). I like most of the variations of it, except for the Baha Breeze nastiness they serve exclusively a Taco Bell (which is my favorite fast food place). I wasn’t thrilled with the orange version, and the grape was so-so. But I love Code Red, and really enjoyed the recent (2008/2009) trio of flavors they introduced for people to vote on. I’m glad the Voltage flavor won, but any of them would have suited me just fine. I love Mountain Dew.
I enjoy writing about what I think. (Hence, the length of this piece.) I wrote a number of guest articles for my alma mater’s weekly paper, the Asbury Collegian. That led to writing the (very) occasional essay and posting it on my website, which was followed by blogging. (Actually, some of my “essays” turned out to be mini-blogs, when you think about it.) That led to joining a Christian group blog. This was followed by being a contributor to a podcast.
I was mentioned in a UPI article on blogging in January of 2003. In it I’m quoted as saying, “I wouldn’t mind having a little influence, but not to the point that I would feel like I would have to write something every day. I’m not that prolific.” I’ve pretty much become that prolific, though if I miss a few days here and there, I don’t sweat it.
I’m the Anti-Toolman. Tim “The Toolman” Taylor wouldn’t let me near his show. I do what I can because I must, but I don’t enjoy it at all. I hate buying a tool that I will never use again, and I’ve had to do that a few times. It once took me three tries to get the right sizing for a simple pull-down shade for a bedroom window. (Fortunately, Home Depot is very customer-friendly.) The kicker is, I married a woman whose father built his own house in the interior of what is now Papua, Indonesia.
I was born in New York City, and since then have lived in (or in the suburbs of) Portland (Maine), Manchester (Connecticut), Long Island (New York), Syracuse (New York), Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania) and Cleveland (Ohio); all before graduating High School. My parents were ministers with The Salvation Army, and they move their clergy around as needed.
Speaking of that, The Salvation Army is the church I grew up in. Yes, it is indeed a church, whose social services are an expression of their love for God (who said to take care of the needy). No, neither I nor my parents are converted drunks. Yes, I did play my horn on street corner meetings (“open air meetings” in Army parlance). No, we never played “Bringing in the Sheaves” during an open air.
Speaking of that, I play trombone and other brass instruments as required. I helped out in my son’s homeschool marching band playing trumpet (cornet, technically) while in the stands. (No, I didn’t march. I did that in high school. I paid my dues.)
We currently attend the Lilburn Alliance Church (Christian & Missionary Alliance denomination). My wife’s parents, as noted before, were missionaries for 30 years with the CMA in what is now Papua, Indonesia, which figured into our attending LAC. Fred Hartley is an absolutely fantastic preacher, and you can download his sermons from the website.
We visited Papua (then Irian Jaya) for Christmas & New Years in 1986, about a year after we got married. Pictures of the place do it absolutely no justice. I enjoyed it immensely.
We have been homeschooling our kids up until high school. Alpha Omega’s “Switched On Schoolhouse” was our curriculum of choice (since the computer does the vast majority of the grading) until Susan started running “LAC Homeschool Classes”. That’s a group of independent teachers offering classes at LAC for homeschool students.
I don’t like spoilers. I like to be surprised at movie twists and endings. I realize that there will be times when I am spoiled about something (like the recent casting of the next Doctor Who), but I’m OK with it. I just don’t seek it out and will avoid it when possible.
My siblings and I all have the same initials; DEP. We never had monogrammed things as kids.
I like strategy games. Growing up, my favorites games were old Avalon Hill “Bookcase Games” like “Rise and Decline of the Third Reich”. A group of friends and I would play this over a weekend, where one turn for the Allies, one turn for the Axis and a 10 minute diplomacy/strategy break would take 1 hour. I especially like AH’s “Kingmaker”. This does not mean I’m some sort of history buff (that’s Susan’s territory), but I enjoy the games; the strategy and the human elements, even in a computer game. I still have those old board games, and occasionally pull them out, but my family is mostly a card-game sort of crowd. My kids, however, do enjoy more strategy-type games. Current favorite: Killer Bunnies. Yeah, technically it is a card game, but this ain’t Spades or Hearts, lemme tell you.
Currently on my MP3 player: The Electric Light Orchestra (big fan from way back), Michael W. Smith (big fan since his first album), ABBA, England Dan & John Ford Coley and lots of podcasts. Also like a lot of the Christian Pop (OK, OK, “Contemporary Christian Music”) out these days. I was very happy when Atlanta finally got a Christian music station, and quickly got my kids into it.
When at college, I took the introduction radio course so I could spin disks on the college radio station, WACW (5 watts of pure POWER wired directly into The Grill and maybe, if the weather was good, to your actual radio). I always wanted to be the morning show guy after a few years of listening to Jack Bogut on KDKA in Pittsburgh. Yeah, only 6 or 7 songs an hour, but that guy was an entertainer. One year when I worked at a summer camp in New York, instead of having someone play the Reveille bugle call in the morning, I would do a 5 minute “morning show”. I shamelessly stole some of Bogut’s material. (The camp staff that would normally take turns having to get up to play the Reveille recording was more than happy to allow me to do this.) If this whole computer fad ever wears out, I want to be a DJ. Or a call-in talk show host.
I’m a fan of science fiction & fantasy. Since I don’t do much personal reading, my fandom consists mostly of TV and movies. I seem to have passed it on to my kids, who read much more than I ever did. Our current favorite is “Doctor Who”.
Speaking of that, while I’m more a movies than books, I would read to my wife early in our marriage and now to my kids. These days, we mostly do it during the summer, as reading during the school years gets broken up with things like homework and busy weekends, and you lose track of the plot. We’ve read short stories like The Magic Garden, and A Dog of Flanders, but have also read The Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings, and historical fiction like The Cat of Bubastes. (We had to finish the whole thing before we’d let them see the movie. Hey, get your own “movie” in your head before letting Hollywood put theirs in there.) Most recently read the books in the Eragon series (Eragon & Eldest) and Inkheart. (The Eragon movie was pitiful, but the Inkheart one was very good.) My favorite moments reading to the kids, when I knew it hit them, was the tear drop from my oldest at the end of A Dog of Flanders, and the consternation they all felt when Frodo appeared to die in The Return of the King.
I have Multiple Sclerosis, which first hit in July of 1986, 9 months after I got married. Different parts of me have gone numb because of it (one time, the whole left side of my body), but fortunately I have the kind that comes and goes. The only lingering affect is mild numbness in my hands, which is a little annoying since computer programming requires typing. (I can still touch type, but my error rate has gone up a bit.) Also, my legs give out after about 1/2 mile of walking.
If I was served Mexican food every day for a month, I wouldn’t complain.
I appreciate living through historic events (e.g. the first Africa-American president), even though some of those events are horrific (e.g. 9/11). Some of my favorite places to visit are historic sites (Washington, DC, colonial Williamsburg), even though I don’t remember much history.
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