Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur

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100 Facts About Me

Okay, fine. I've been saying that I have no idea what to say in one of these things, but as I read other peoples' entries, I keep thinking of ideas. So I will succumb to the meme of the moment and try it. (And as I write it, I'm finding that it's kind of fun, if a little scary...)

1) I did not get nearly killed when I was 7, as several of my friends seem to have done. However, I did learn the hard way about why one should wear a bike helmet when I was 15. The concussion wasn't so painful, but the shredded shoulder made it hard to sleep for months.
2) On the injury front, I broke my arm when I was about 10. I had endless fun telling my friends that it was a trampoline accident. I didn't tell all of them that I was folding the trampoline at the time.
3) I got a fiberglass cast, which was new, unusual and cool as anything at the time. It gave me a handy excuse to avoid any summer-camp activity I didn't like, while still allowing me to swim all I wanted.
4) I've always loved to dance. However, I didn't have the nerve to do so very often until getting to college and finding the SCA. I still don't do modern dance nearly as often as I'd like.
5) I like to sing almost as much as I like to dance. I don't do it nearly often enough.
6) I joined the SCA my third day in college, and have been more or less active ever since.
7) I became deputy provost of Fenmere by the end of my first meeting. I became provost a few months later, and was terrible at it.
8) I attended my first science fiction convention (Boskone) in the middle of my freshman year.
9) My most vivid memory of that convention was three of us starting to do a quiet round of "American Pie" in the corner of the mezzanine of the Park Plaza.
10) By the time we finished the song, we'd attracted a crowd of 75 people, and the folks from the film program in the Ballroom came out and complained that they couldn't hear the film.
11) I was one of the first people on the Rialto, the SCA newsgroup; I remember when Master Kobayashi coined the name.
12) I got my Laurel about a year or two too early, largely because of how conspicuous I was online.
13) I am still the principal of the Society of St. Saponaceous, the honorary order of people whose titles get overblown online. This was due to my being used as the example of someone who should have the title "Archduke", for having been King so many times. I didn't have my AoA yet.
14) I met msmemory at an SCA demo; I spent most of the afternoon telling her about the Society.
15) When she first met my grandmother, the first words out of grandma's mouth were, "Oh, goody -- tall genes".
16) None of our relatives gave us a hard time about religion. However, they were always a little disappointed that we're not very interested in having kids.
17) She and I make a remarkably good team, pretty much no matter what the project is.
18) I asked Baron Steffan to sponsor me as a Freemason in my reply to his request to take me as his esquire. (All in email, of course.)
19) I wound up as an officer in my Lodge the month after I was raised. (Detect a pattern?)
20) I hated being Master of the Lodge even more than I hated being provost of Fenmere. Someday, I will remember that I despise administrative jobs.
21) Among my other responsibilities, I am Ritualist for my Masonic Lodge, and have been for a number of years. Everyone in Masonry considers me some kind of deep expert in ritual, when the reality is simply that I have a clue about acting.
22) I joined Eastern Star a few years back, so that I could be Patron of the Chapter while msmemory was Matron.
23) I didn't hate being Patron nearly so much, but that's mostly because she did all the real work.
24) I watch far too much TV, almost all of it SF or fantasy shows of one flavor or another.
25) I was a serious hard-SF fan when I was a teenager. Over the years, I've become fonder of fantasy.
26) I went through really serious Asimov and Niven phases, and always found Clarke intriguing (although sometimes a little hard to get through). I've never really gotten into Heinlein, though.
27) I was a relative latecomer to LARP: my first game wasn't until Alexx had been telling me LARP stories for quite a while. Nonetheless, it's still been almost 15 years since I played my first game, and around ten since I wrote my first.
28) I have gradually realized that I adore writing LARPs, actually far more than I like playing them.
29) Similarly, I have found that I like writing computer games more than I enjoy playing them. Unfortunately, it's almost impossible to be hired in that business unless you are a fanatical player.
30) I look so much like my father that people have seen pictures of him and assumed that we must be related based solely on that.
31) I am friendlier with, and intellectually closer to, my parents than most people I know. However, I've never been quite as emotionally close to them as most folks are. I still don't know if that's a good tradeoff or not.
32) I am practically the definition of the "seeker", with a substantial amount of deep-seated religious conviction, and an intense curiosity about the subject, but with almost none of the dogmatic faith required by almost all religions.
33) On a gut level, I very much believe in magic; on an intellectual level, I mostly don't. I rather enjoy playing mind games with myself on this subject.
34) My family is pretty classically Jewish-secular. My mother's side have mostly tended to be high-holidays Jews. I suspect that my father's parents were explicitly atheists, but they never talked with me about the subject.
35) I thought of myself as an atheist when I was a kid. The more I learned about science, the more religious I got. In some respects, I may well be the most religious member of my family.
36) The low point of my life was 7th grade, when I wound up in a fairly ordinary redneck middle school. The sheer hell of that experience makes everything else look fairly decent by comparison.
37) I went to a semi-experimental prep school for high school. Wretched though my social life was, it was a very positive experience intellectually.
38) I grew up in Princeton. It is likely that only my own nerdishness at the time saved me from becoming a lifelong preppy.
39) My philosophical and political leanings are distinctly Libertarian. I tend to vote Democratic, but only because I despise most Republican politicians so deeply.
40) My deepest philosophical and political principle is that of Balance. I have a deep distrust of radicalism in almost all forms.
41) At the same time, I have even less respect for political cowardice. This leaves me with very few people to vote for. Fortunately, there are many to vote against.
42) I sometimes think that, if I wound up terribly rich by accident, I'd go into politics just to try to create a properly constructed third party. Intellectually, I know this would almost certainly be folly, but the temptation remains.
43) I have a deep-seated belief that essentially all nasty interpersonal politics is due to poor communication. I reflexively tend to stick my nose in when I see this happening, to try to make it better. This isn't always the right thing to do, but it's hard to prevent myself.
44) I am two years older than Dante was at the time that the Divine Comedy is set. That bothers me, obscurely.
45) Sometime in the past few years, I realized that I'm allowed to be a grown-up without being boring. I find that deeply comforting.
46) I can pick up almost any computer language almost instantly. I find it deeply frustrating that I'm horrifically bad at learning human languages.
47) On average, I'm more comfortable hanging around women than men. It took until the end of high school to realize that this is okay. That's part of why high school sucked so much.
48) A few months after moving to Boston for college, I informed my father that I was staying permanently, and wouldn't be coming back except to visit. He told me that this was exactly what he expected me to do, which surprised me, since I certainly hadn't expected it.
49) I haven't moved more than about four miles from Brandeis since then.
50) Until this past summer, I was certain that I would never be able to retire. (My father hasn't yet, and my grandfather found it terribly difficult.) Having spent six months unemployed, I'm now less certain.
51) I am quite a bit more secure about myself socially than I was fifteen years ago. That's still not saying much.
52) I was fairly fat as a kid. At the end of high school, I dropped fifty pounds, and it took 15 years to put them back on again. I'm hoping I can knock thirty of them back off, and keep them off for good.
53) My parents never hassled me about my weight. However, I will always be grateful to my father, who challenged me to match him pound-for-pound when he decided to start getting into shape, and probably saved me from a life of obesity.
54) When I was in high school, I was the classic double-knit nerd. That all got thrown out once I discovered natural fabrics. I'm not sure how I was ever able to stand it.
55) I save the best for last in everything. I save all the icing on the cake until the end, and five pieces of pepperoni for the last bite of pizza. After I get my weekly comic book shipment, I sort it so that the best books are on the bottom. I don't actually know why I do that.
56) I despised Shakespeare until 10th grade, when I sat down and read through the complete works without having a school assignment forcing me to do so. That taught me that almost anything is more fun if you decide to do it for yourself, a lesson that has largely shaped me since then.
57) I have a long-stated ambition to be at least mediocre at every art that the SCA practices. This is probably impossible, but it's good to have a few impossible goals.
58) The part of me that comes from my mother likes being alone a fair amount. The part of me that comes from my father needs to be around people a lot. This requires careful balancing.
59) I had neither my first date, nor my first kiss, until college. High school was very lonely.
60) While I have a deep aesthetic appreciation of the female form (and a stronger libido than I often show), it's a girl's smile that I tend to really fall for. IMO, you can tell everything about someone from their smile and their eyes.
61) I develop crushes very easily and frequently. However, I think I've only really loved five girls over the years. I'm still in love with all of them.
62) I despise telephones. They don't provide the emotional contact of being face-to-face, while not allowing the care in reply that email permits. They are sometimes convenient, but I am finding that I generally prefer IM.
63) I don't mind having any level of responsibility, whether I'm acting as the leader or follower in a situation. But I can't stand ambiguity: I always like to know exactly what my responsibilities are.
64) I have been a programmer all my life, but I consider myself a Craftsman, rather than a Scientist. I learned the craft at my father's knee, served an apprenticeship with him (albeit for only about five years, rather than seven), and still consider the artistry of my code to be as important as its functionality. And when I get deeply into a project, I entirely lose track of time: programming is almost a meditative task for me.
65) Oddly, while I grasp any form of software easily and intuitively, almost any form of hardware (whether mechanical or electronic) is a mystery to me. One of these days, I have to correct that.
66) I am generally pretty easy-going, and like most people. However, I cannot tolerate hypocrisy.
67) I had a cat (with the most common of all cat names, "Cuddles") the entire time I was growing up. She died my senior year of college, at the ripe old age of 18.
68) My mother vowed never to have pets again, once she no longer had to take care of my cat. She now has six cats and a dog.
69) When I was very, very young, we very, very briefly had a very, very big German Shepherd. Dogs still make me nervous.
70) Somewhere along the line, I became a football fan. I'm still not sure how that happened.
71) I am squicked by mold. I have no idea why.
72) I am also squicked by stinging insects. That one, I do understand. I stepped on a yellowjacket nest during summer camp when I was about 14. There is nothing quite like the experience of standing absolutely still while a nurse picks the still-live and crawling bugs off of you with tweezers.
73) I am painfully, terribly lazy about dealing with problems until they become crises. This accounts for a lot of my crises.
74) This is partly because I am still a lot shyer than most people realize. I can deal with meeting almost anybody in one of my clubs easily: they're family. But cold-calling strangers (car repairmen, plumbers, whatever) is still astonishingly difficult.
75) I have a play almost fully designed, and partly written. It's a full-length Elizabethan comedy, called "The Players". All of the scenes are laid out, and lots of snippets of iambic pentameter are written. However, one character -- the protagonist's girlfriend -- is still inadequately motivated. I suspect I'm procrastinating on fixing that, because then I'll actually have to go to the work of writing the damned thing.
76) I am very good at thinking up, and starting, cool and ambitious projects. I'm not nearly as good at finishing them.
77) I am incredibly bad at keeping secrets. Or, more accurately, I'm fairly good at it, but utterly hate doing so. So I tend to be very open with people, sometimes more than I should be.
78) I don't lie. Ever. Experience has taught me that the results of a lie being discovered are consistently worse than simply getting painful truth out of the way upfront.
79) I try not to fool myself, either. That's sometimes harder.
80) I find it very difficult to express myself emotionally, especially with negative emotions. I am quite empathetic, and feel very strongly, but have no intuition about how to deal with that. What negative expression I do manage is due to intellectual understanding of what is acceptable, and usually requires gathering my nerve for quite a while.
81) On the Myers-Briggs test, I am an INTJ, specifically the subtype that analyzes themselves and reshapes their own surface personality to be what they would like to be. So is Tibicen. Characteristically, she and I have spent a fair amount of time talking about that.
82) I am a media addict of the very worst sort. I am actually drowning in my own media, to such a degree that most of my magazines are several months old before I get around to reading them.
83) My dreams generally aren't about flying, but about jumping enormous distances. I suspect I would be happiest living on the moon.
84) I like brown flavors. I'm not terribly fond of most red flavors. I'm attempting to learn to like green flavors.
85) I am terribly, terribly easy to amuse.
86) I have had many favorite books over the years. But I think my all-time favorite is probably still "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", and its more-obscure sequel, "Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator".
87) I still think that "Vermicious Knids" is the best name for an alien race that anyone has ever come up with.
88) I have extremely good (and expensive) taste in beer, but am relatively plebeian when it comes to wine. My father is exactly the opposite.
89) I adore the taste of scotch, but it screws up my sleep pattern totally. So I have a number of bottles, which I am spending years slowly drinking my way through.
90) At the best of times, I am a terrible insomniac. Careful observation has demonstrated a very strong correlation between that and my other obscure health problems.
91) The other obscure health problems include irritating rashes that crop up without warning essentially anywhere on my body, and occasional mysterious chest pains that the doctors consistently assure me aren't cardiac in nature. (However, this is not entirely reassuring when they appear at 4am.)
92) When I was a teenager, I was diagnosed with Tourette's Syndrome. Fortunately, we consulted a doctor with a clue, who told us that we should not try to treat it, because it was likely to fade with time. That has proven true, but I still have a slight nervous tic (a number of them, actually) when I get tense.
93) There are very, very few foods that I dislike; I've found over the years that I like almost anything that is well-prepared. However, I still consider uni an atrocity.
94) I have become utterly addicted to the works of The Teaching Company, possibly the best way to spend commuting time. I've bought many of their courses on tape and CD.
95) My memory is extraordinarily bad, worse than almost anyone else I know. I have only slight and fragmentary memories of my childhood. I have long suspected that this is a side-effect of the concussion mentioned in item (1).
96) My memory for names is especially awful: it typically takes me months of knowing someone before I start to remember their name. I've become very good at talking to someone extensively without knowing what their name is, but I'm always nervous that I'll be caught.
97) I habitually abuse ellipses.
98) I have enormous artistic appreciation, and almost no artistic skill. That has always disappointed me.
99) I am a natural night owl. Left to my own devices, I'd probably never get up before 11am.
100) This is certainly the most I've ever said about myself in public, and it hasn't been terribly easy. My thanks to my various friends for providing a little peer pressure to open up. Who needs therapy, when you can have LJ?
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