Archive for February, 2011

25 Things

Sunday, February 27th, 2011


It may be of value to make my first post a list of 25 things that are unique about me, and help understand my personality and background for those who may not be acquainted.  You may remember this as a Facebook  exercise that went around a couple of years ago, but despite my initial hesitation I jumped on the wagon anyway.  So here it is…

1. I come from a family of 8 children. One girl, then 7 straight boys. The house was rarely quiet, and we always found creative ways to have fun. I liked growing up in a large family.

2. I was an “outside boy” growing up in Northern Virginia. As soon as school was over, I would head for the woods behind my house and play for hours in and around the creek. I would love to catch all varieties of snakes, toads, and turtles, and always had aquariums and cages at home with one variety or another in them. Sometimes snakes would get loose in the house, but my mother was very patient. She found a 7 foot mean-tempered Black Rat snake coming out of her bedroom one day after having been lost for weeks. She called the school and I had to run home from school to catch it while she held it at bay with a broom.

3. I have owned many snakes which I did not catch as well. I’ve had a few Boa Constrictor and Pythons, although my favorite was “Julius Squeezer” who I raised from a baby until I had to sell him when he got too big. 12 feet long is a little much for small apartments, plus the cost of rabbits and chickens starts to get high.

4. I love kids, and somehow manage to become a “kid magnet” whenever I go anywhere they might be. From horsey rides to swinging them high in the air, I somehow find ways to forget I’m an adult for a while. I guess the Donald Duck voice I do and physical comedy only adds to the silliness and giggles I can elicit from them. I treasure every moment I can spend with my four children.

5. I sold my plasma over 300 times (twice a week for 4 years) to help pay for college expenses. The payout fluctuated over the years, but it would average to about $15.00 for the hour and a half session. Not much, but still enough to buy some macaroni and cheese.

6. Since Plasma didn’t quite pay the tuition, I also worked while I went to school. My random jobs that I fit around my course schedule included the graveyard shift at a 7-11, early morning custodial work on campus (3AM to 7AM), Portuguese teacher at the Missionary Training Center, and Delivery driver for a vitamin company. Between semesters I worked as a sander / finisher in a woodworking shop, a beast of burden lifting heavy boxes and furniture for a moving company, and a “security host” as a cast member at Disney World.

7. I love motorcycles. I’ve owned big ones and small ones, fast ones and slow ones. I have ridden cross country several times, and ridden to Bike Week in Daytona Beach several times. I’ve ridden well over 200,000 street miles, and might have gone over the posted speed limit at times.

8. I currently own a 600 CC Honda which I use primarily for commuting, and 1300 CC turbo-charged Suzuki Hayabusa which I use primarily for fun. The 300 Horse Power Hayabusa will raise the wheel through the first four gears without using the clutch, and is capable of speeds in excess of 200 MPH. I love the adrenaline rush of a lightning fast acceleration, but of course I have yet to take it over 55 MPH. 🙂

9. I have limited sensation in three fingertips on my left hand. An ill-fated cross-country motorcycle ride from Utah to Virginia led me into Wyoming at the end of April without proper winter or wet weather riding gear. A heavy, wet snowfall froze my hands, knees and feet, and when I finally reached a town where I could stop (100 miles later), I was suffering from hypothermia. It took a year for normal sensation to return in my knees, but my fingers never quite recovered.

10. I was a Mormon missionary in Portugal back in 1988-89. I was originally assigned to Brazil, but screw-ups getting my visa eventually landed me in Portugal. During the visa debacle I served in the Las Vegas mission as well as the Salt Lake City mission. (Yes, they even have missionaries in SLC.) I fell in love with my wife while in Portugal in 1989. I married her 18 years later in 2007.

11. My favorite food is Seafood. Any kind is fine with me, but scallops are my absolute favorite. My least favorite food is Italian with the exception of pizza. I don’t dislike Italian, but it just never gets me as excited as the other choices on the menu. Chinese is second on my list.

12. My favorite movie of all time is Forrest Gump. I know it’s a strange choice, but I love the historical interpretation through the eyes of one who is blissfully ignorant. How different we would interpret and act in the world around us if we had no guile and could keep the innocence of a child. I’m also a hopeless romantic, and get emotional every time I watch the scene where Forrest finally marries the only woman he has ever truly loved. I know what that’s like.

13. I’m a “man-cryer” and frequently wear my emotions on my sleeve. I can cry in movies (see number 12). I can cry reading a book. I often tear up when talking about emotionally charged subjects. I can get a little misty listening to beautiful classical music. I almost always cry when saying goodbyes. I cry when I think about how much I love my wife, how much I love my kids, and how amazingly lucky I am. I used to be horribly embarrassed by it, but not so much anymore. I’m confident in my manhood, but definitely in touch with my feminine side. 🙂

14. I hate cooking. I would much rather do the dishes than cook the meal. Luckily, Christina is an amazing cook and the arrangement works well for us.

15. I was a practical joker in high school. (A very obnoxious one now that I think back on it.) I cleared out the entire Math Department with sulfur gas bombs, set giant live rats free in the school hallway, and put a fetal pig head on the water fountain splash guard. I also had fun with water balloon launchers and was an early adopter of the laser pointer. I had some people chasing that mysterious red dot as predictably as a cat. Fun times.

16. I commute 100 miles a day round-trip from Fairfield to South San Francisco. It would be unbearable if I did it in a car, but on the motorcycle I can split lanes between traffic and save 45 minutes to an hour each way. I once commuted two hours each way between Charles Town, West Virginia and Washington D.C. I could only stand it for three months before I quit that job.

17. I used to own my own business. I was the first Geeks on Call franchise owner in the Washington D.C. market, and first outside of the Hampton Roads, Virginia area where the company is based. I had franchises in Leesburg and Ashburn Virginia for six years, and had hundreds of regular residential and commercial customers. I was once interviewed on NBC channel 4 in D.C. for a several minute long segment that aired on the 11:00PM news. I was also featured on a segment which ran nationally on Tech TV.

18. I have a great memory for trivial details, but forget where I was yesterday. While at times, I wish I could remember things better, it is actually an asset which has helped me be a better person. I forgive and forget easily, and find it almost impossible to carry a long-term grudge. My naivete that others might be the same way has caused me to get smacked down on more than one occasion, but I’m not going to change becuase of it. The glass will always be half full for me.

19. I used to play the piano and drums, but can barely do either now. I took piano lessons for many years and played percussion throughout middle school and high school. Even though I was in the high school music clique, I never catch myself saying, “This one time at band camp…” I was also in the high school concert choir and the show choir as well. The show choir one still baffles me since I can’t dance to save my life. 🙂

20. I graduated from BYU with a degree in History and Secondary Education. I taught briefly at an alternative high school in Provo, Utah, but got a job with a computer reseller in Maryland shortly after graduation. I’ve been in IT ever since.

21. I’ve never seen the Lord of the Rings Movies. I really don’t enjoy the fantasy / sci-fi genre. I’d prefer a historical movie or a biopic any day. I love documentaries and could spend large amounts of time watching the History Channel or Discovery Channel if life didn’t keep interfering. Even though I sound so serious about my viewing choices, I can regress quite easily and enjoy juvenile silliness or mindless potty humor. Why do I laugh so hard everytime I see Dumb and Dumber? I’m so full of contradictions.

22. My favorite activity is spending time with my wife. It doesn’t matter what we are doing, as long as it’s with her. She is my best friend, and I can’t imagine my life without her.

23. My wife and I are both left handed, both from big families, both bad at math, both speak portuguese, both stereotypical Mormon Stake President’s kids, both love to watch movies. We are both forgetful and sometimes absent minded, both both love to crank up the music on the stereo, both love non-fiction books, and both love to discuss anything from politics to religion to hollywood gossip with each other. In short, we share so many common interests and we are so similar that we never get bored with each other.

24. I am generally slow to anger and rarely raise my voice. I try to remain measured and calm at all times, although I slip occasionally and realize I’ve still got a long way to go. My father is the best example of self mastery I know in this area, and his example has been invaluable in my life.

25. I value my true friends and family relationships at this point in my life more than I ever have. In the last couple of years I have seen the difference between true enduring relationships and shallow facades. I realize now more than ever that you cannot even begin to judge another until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes. Even then, seeking to understand is so much better than judgment. Why do so many of us get caught up in the finer points of the law and forget the two great commandments? Love God and Love our neighbor. Our thoughts and actions should conform to this basic formula, or else we are fooling ourselves with our own false piety. I’ve got a long way to go, but I know where I want to be.