So I watched the meme go from Janyne to Anne to James to Henrietta – and learned a bunch of new things about my colleagues, which I immensely enjoyed reading, that is until scrolling through Retta’s and realizing that one of the 5 she tagged was me. Gulp.

Of course, I have to be a little different, and a little more verbose, so I’m about to shun the list, and embrace the narrative. You’ve been warned.

Ten Years On

At first, I wanted to write something that wasn’t work related. 7 years out of high school, 2 years out of college. To be sure I had something going besides work, right?. Nope. My whole schedule revolved around my job then – which was at the time being one of a small group of “the”, “Windows NT guys” in the central academic computing group for NC State. Part of a three member team that created the first central Windows NT-based labs at the University just a few months prior (there’d been a bunch of Windows 95 labs in some of the colleges before us). I was a Windows (NT) advocate through and through. An outlook user, a Windows Programmer, and part of the lightning rod for a philosophical computing battle going on at the University. It certainly was a interesting experience for one’s first major (multi-month/multi-year) project. The success and failure of it still influences my work today.

A Favorite Snack Story

I’m a carbohydrate addict. I’m not much for sweets. But put some crackers or breads in front of me – and they won’t last long. Dessert at Cracker Barrel is a buttermilk biscuit with just a little jelly.

One snack I miss, that’s so low on the radar that there’s not even a Wikipedia entry for it was the Nabisco Doo Dads product. Nabisco killed it when they bought it from whomever had it before – I assume because it competed with their Chex franchise – or they got tired of buying peanuts from third-parties or something. It was like Chex-mix, only better.

To do or not to do, what was the question?

I’m not a big lists person. I don’t write much of anything down, because as soon as I do, I forget it. So when it comes to “todos” if I make a to-do list, not only will I forget everything on it, but I’ll misplace the list. And I have worked in such an interrupt-driven manner for so many years (such is the life of most IT-oriented folks) – that making a general to-do list is always trouble. Because inevitably, something is going to happen that day to turn the to-do list on its head.

I do have general goals, of which I’ll relay one. At some point in the not-so-near future I’m going to go learn Spanish again (I had no foreign language requirement in college, so all I’ve had is two years of high-school Spanish, from which I only vaguely remember things like the days of the week, and numbers up to twenty). Not the european Spanish, but some dialect that’s spoken within Mexico or Central America.

I haven’t quite figured out how I’ll do this yet. I have inexpensive access to a single course a semester, so I could do some online thing through NC State – or I could go down the road to the local Community college. Or I could buy some books and software. Or I could do it in a much more “put my education where my mouth is” and do it in some social networking way. I have a pretty decent memory for vocabulary, and reading/writing is something I could probably adapt to without too much difficulty. My Achilles heel is listening and speaking. I figure the absolute best way to learn it is to listen to Hispanic radio stations and watch Hispanic soap operas. No, really. (My darling wife laughed at me a fair amount when I told her this 🙂 )

If I were a billionaire…

I don’t think I’d stop working. But I would switch careers. I’d probably be helping my wife run the horse rescue farm that she’d like to have if we were billionaires. There’s a part of me that would love to go to law school, and spend my time fighting for causes that I believe in. I’m not sure though, I don’t think I could really handle the law. The law isn’t binary. And while I can “shades of gray” with the best of them, I would have a lot of trouble in the legal system.

So, I’d help out with the farm, and become a photojournalist, and fund scholarships and create endowments for things I believed in.

A job you wouldn’t have expected me to have had

Most everything that I’ve ever done that has really paid the bills has been technology related – ever since I was a Freshman in college. But I did spend one summer working security for concerts at the local outdoor Amphitheatre. I worked a lot of backstage. I met David Crosby’s wife, and was backstage for Reba McEntire, and Metallica (or AC/DC – it all kinda blurred together). It was an interesting experience, but way too much time for what it paid, especially when I got paid a lot more working overtime replacing a bunch of RS-232 and LocalTalk cables with thin-wire ethernet, and some new-fangled thing called “twisted-pair” everywhere. To this day, I’m not a big fan of live concerts, maybe because I spent too many way too hot North Carolina summer days preventing too many drunk concert goers from doing stupid things to their fellow concert-goers.

A place that I lived that wasn’t North Carolina

I spent 5 months in Dallas, Texas. In the summer and what the calendar said was “fall”. Most of what I saw was traffic, and concrete, and the inside of the Marriott Residence Inn. It formed about the worst impression of Texas imaginable – that thankfully was erased several years later on a trip with a friend where I got to see the hill country, and San Antonio.

A few of my favorite random things

It surprises almost every one that meets me, but I owned a Harley for a year. I didn’t keep it because it was definitely not the most comfortable motorcycle to ride for more than a hour or two, and I didn’t have really anybody else to ride with (motorcycles are definitely a social oriented activity) and it didn’t really fit the budget for the amount of enjoyment I wasn’t getting out of it. Maybe one day again I’ll get a more comfortable bike. The part I enjoyed the most was taking scenic backroads trips all around the central NC area on it. I don’t think much matches a motorcycle for doing that.

I’ve written about this before, but in college, for a semester, I wrote a humor column for the NCSU student newspaper. I didn’t really keep it up, because I just couldn’t come up with that many ideas. But it’s one of those things that I both get incredibly happy about, and get incredibly anxious about. Anxious because I worry a lot about what other people think about them, and happy about because I absolutely love the thought of making somebody else laugh with things that I find funny myself. There’s part of me that would love to be Dave Barry, but the stress would probably kill me.

And…. tagged?

I think everyone that I know that I read (and that reads this) that would do one of these has already been tagged, or they’d roll their eyes completely – or they don’t blog, instead, spending time in youtube, or twitter, or other places. So I’m going to cop-out and “blanket tag” all 6.5 of my estimated blog readers (funny how that matches the number from my college column. There’s probably like 2.5 people that I haven’t the foggiest that read this, or even if they have a blog. If that’s you – you’re tagged 🙂

(thanks to Retta for doing this – I really enjoyed reading hers and the others, and taking a trip down memory lane myself putting this together).