8 things and tag round 2

My friend Jake at OracleAppsLab tagged me today and it’s high time I get back on the blog saddle anyway, so thanks for giving me a reason to get (re)started. Of the universe of people he could have chosen, I’m honored to be among the 8 “chosen ones” for this first round.

I thought Jake’s 8 things about himself were pretty interesting. You know how when you talk to someone on the phone and immediately start creating a mental image of them? Later, you finally get to have a meeting in person and find out you were waaaayyyy off? As anyone that has met me or seen me knows, I’m not a particularly vain person. If it weren’t for the fact that I try to make a living and others generally judge me based on my appearance, I’d wear cutoffs swimming trunks (I am a diver as you’ll learn in a moment) and t-shirts with funny, almost inappropriate sayings on them all the time. I once asked my grandfather how old I had to be in order to stop caring whether my fly is open (note that most people won’t tell an “old person” when their fly is open). He said 62, not sure why, but he’s the authority on such things. If you ever saw him, you’d know.

Anyway, to delight your imaginations and give you many more reasons to change your mental image of my persona, here are 8 things about me.

  1. My entire family attended all of my high school functions. My dad was the high school principal and I had to leave my date at prom, homecoming…pretty much all functions for about 15 minutes to get a family photo taken. In between functions, just trying to get everyone to forget that you’re the principal’s kid was a full time job.
  2. I can operate pretty much every piece of machinery found on a grain farm from planter to cultivator to combine. From the time I was 12 until college, I worked all summer and weekends in the fall and spring as the sole farmhand for 2500 acres of corn and soybeans. Great tan, kept in shape, made some cash, and learned a lot about mechanical things too. Sometimes, I still yearn to work a weekend or two in the fall when harvest starts. There’s a funny story about getting followed by an unmarked sheriff’s deputy car while driving the pickup back to the farm (I was 13 at the time and not driving legally). Turns out, my boss’ brother was the sheriff who was just stopping by for a visit…I almost soiled myself.
  3. I was a crew trainer at McDonald’s when I was 16. Only those that have experienced it can attest to the permanent smell of recon onions and pickles that sticks around for 2-3 days after you work a shift on the grill. I made the biscuits (at 4:30am) back when McDonald’s used to make fresh biscuits in every location. They’re shipped in frozen now–fresh was better. Also note that if you ever saw a McRib before they covered it in that sauce, you’d never eat one again.
  4. I’m a scuba diver. After 6 years of wanting to learn, I finally got around to it (delay due to children) this year. I am currently a PADI Advanced Open Water Diver and am working on my Rescue Diver certification as soon as it thaws out in Illinois. I keep my scuba diving page here up-to-date…mostly.
  5. One of my favorite times in life was working as an Assistant Stage Manager at Illinois State University. As part of the student stage hands crew, I got to work on setting up and tearing down roadshows that came through Bloomington-Normal, Illinois on their tours. I worked on shows for Travis Tritt, Marty Stuart, Megadeth, Extreme, Stone Temple Pilots, Toad the Wet Sprocket, the launch of the Smashing Pumpkins world tour, Buddy Guy (awesome), Harry Belafonte, Bill Cosby, Gallagher, and a bunch of others I can’t remember. I used to mix sound for some local bands too. Unforuntely, I was only there two years, but getting paid to hang out back stage is pretty cool, even if only for a little while. (I was at Illinois State for 2 years before transferring to UIUC where I graduated 2.5 years later.)
  6. My brother is an orthopedic surgeon. Those are the guys that bring drills, screws, pins, plates, and fake joints into an operating room. Weird stuff. I’ve learned that when he wants to show me pictures of the place he went last weekend, I have to be prepared for the accidental picture of some dude’s broken femur to be “accidentally” stuck in the middle of the stack. I think he just does it to test my constitution–he secretly remembers all those times I beat him up when we were younger. Mom always told me that someday he’d be bigger than me…(and he is that too, but has kindly chosen photographic torture instead). Regardless of our past, I’m very proud of him.
  7. My wife is a (great, goes without saying really) writer. I suspect like all great writers, she writes many things that she immediately throws away claiming that it isn’t worthy of reading. If there is an opposite to my work, creative fiction writing is probably about as close as it can get. She doesn’t get much time to work on writing due to taking care of Kids 2.0 (including updating their website) and House 3.0 (this is our 3rd ownership experience). She’s wonderful and her strengths complement all my weaknesses perfectly. Plus, she’s one helluva cook! 🙂
  8. I like to travel. Well, not constantly, but I’d rather buy a trip to some interesting place than to buy a “thing” for myself. I enjoy the occasional travel for work. Unfortunately, it usually comes in batches (gone for a month, home for a month) which is tiring and stressful for my family, but I generally enjoy going to new places. With the New Web, I am especially enjoying my ability to find people in the places I go and (at least try to) connect with them. Since I’ve recently added diving to my hobby list (there’s one on the list, diving), and I live in Chicagoland, travel will become more important as the diving in and around where I live is only truly fun for a few months in the summer. After that, it’s tolerable, but I digress…

So, there you have them, 8 things about me. I know, some are really about other people, but they are people that define me, so that’s why they’re on the list. Now for the fun part–8 people to tag for the next round.

I hereby officially tag the following individuals: Jeremy Schneider, Lewis Cunningham, Billy Cripe, Chris Muir, Charles Schultz, Mogens Nørgaard (a.k.a. Moans Nogood), Mark Rittman, and Alex Gorbachev. I’ll be emailing or tweeting you shortly to let you know you’ve been tagged!