Archive for Screaming Memes

Working on it

As seen here:

Just list all the jobs you’ve had in your life, in order. Don’t bust your brain: no durations or details are necessary, and feel free to omit anything that you feel might tend to incriminate you. I’m just curious. And when you’re done, tag another five bloggers you’re curious about.

Nice to know that blogdom, at least, still pays heed to the Fifth Amendment.

That said, I’ve done all of the following:

  • Newspaper carrier
  • Fast-food drone, including burger-griller and taco tucker
  • Personnel clerk
  • Infantryman [more or less contemporaneous with “personnel clerk”]
  • Inventory specialist
  • Accounts-receivable clerk
  • Customer-service specialist
  • Tape librarian
  • Accounts-payable clerk
  • Destroyer of used equipment
  • Telephone order-taker
  • Server operator
  • Website backend management [recently contemporaneous with “server operator”]

I need hardly point out that I was better at some of these than at others. And the order is not always precisely chronological: for one thing, I had two stints at “newspaper carrier,” roughly nine years apart.

My belated Christmas/on-time Boxing Day present: I’m not gonna tag you.

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I want my Dada

Courtesy of the DADA Server:

Your secret name is Stubbed Toe.
The animal which symbolizes you is Beer Thirty.
The color of your soul is Round.
The celebrity you most resemble is Nutmeg.
Your special pain or illness is Hans.
Your most important time of day is platypus.
The shape of your life is twighlight.
And the flavor which identifies you most is hitler.

Possibly even “hitlest.”

On a related subject: how many surrealists does it take to change a light bulb? [Answer: The bicycle’s broken.]

(Suggested by Scribal Terror.)

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Been here, did some of that

Seen at Og’s, and followed up by Andrea and Mark, so I figured I’d give it a shot myself. Items in bold are items I actually have done, with notes where necessary.

  1. Started your own blog [Duh.]
  2. Slept under the stars
  3. Played in a band
  4. Visited Hawaii
  5. Watched a meteor shower
  6. Given more than you can afford to charity
  7. Been to Disneyland [I assume Disney World counts.]
  8. Climbed a mountain [Only if bicycling counts.]
  9. Held a praying mantis
  10. Sang a solo [If karaoke counts.]
  11. Bungee jumped
  12. Visited Paris
  13. Watched a lightning storm at sea (from land)
  14. Taught yourself an art from scratch [If Web work is any sort of art.]
  15. Adopted a child
  16. Had food poisoning
  17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
  18. Grown your own vegetables
  19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
  20. Slept on an overnight train
  21. Had a pillow fight
  22. Hitch hiked
  23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
  24. Built a snow fort
  25. Held a lamb
  26. Gone skinny dipping
  27. Run a Marathon
  28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
  29. Seen a total eclipse
  30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
  31. Hit a home run
  32. Been on a cruise
  33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
  34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors [First generation, anyway.]
  35. Seen an Amish community
  36. Taught yourself a new language
  37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
  38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
  39. Gone rock climbing
  40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
  41. Sung karaoke
  42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
  43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
  44. Visited Africa
  45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
  46. Been transported in an ambulance
  47. Had your portrait painted
  48. Gone deep sea fishing
  49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
  50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
  51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
  52. Kissed in the rain
  53. Played in the mud
  54. Gone to a drive-in theater
  55. Been in a movie
  56. Visited the Great Wall of China
  57. Started a business
  58. Taken a martial arts class
  59. Visited Russia
  60. Served at a soup kitchen
  61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
  62. Gone whale watching
  63. Got flowers for no reason
  64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
  65. Gone sky diving
  66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
  67. Bounced a check
  68. Flown in a helicopter
  69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
  70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
  71. Eaten Caviar
  72. Pieced a quilt
  73. Stood in Times Square
  74. Toured the Everglades
  75. Been fired from a job
  76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
  77. Broken a bone
  78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
  79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
  80. Published a book
  81. Visited the Vatican
  82. Bought a brand new car
  83. Walked in Jerusalem
  84. Had your picture in the newspaper
  85. Read the entire Bible
  86. Visited the White House
  87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating [Well, a squirrel, anyway.]
  88. Had chickenpox
  89. Saved someone’s life
  90. Sat on a jury
  91. Met someone famous
  92. Joined a book club
  93. Lost a loved one
  94. Had a baby [Technically, she had the baby, but it was a joint production.]
  95. Seen the Alamo in person
  96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
  97. Been involved in a law suit
  98. Owned a cell phone
  99. Been stung by a bee
  100. Read an entire book in one day

Some of these seem a lot more mundane than others, which leads me to believe that the person who originally conceived this list was writing up his own list of things in the hope of finding people who had had similar experiences at all levels.

I find it surprising that I’ve done roughly a third of them — and not surprising that most people seem to have done more than that.

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The Big Five and me

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Detached or something

I saw this at Nina’s and for some reason thought I had to try it for myself. Here’s the premise:

The scale you completed is the Experiences in Close Relationships Scale, created by Brennan, Clark, and Shaver (1998). The scale is a measure of an individual’s “attachment style” in romantic relationships. It yields scores on two dimensions of attachment that together explain a lot of the variability in how people relate to their romantic partners. The first dimension is called attachment-related Anxiety and it represents the extent to which an individual is secure vs. insecure about whether his/her partner will be available and responsive to his/her needs. A high score on attachment anxiety suggests that a person is afraid of rejection and abandonment. The second dimension is called attachment-related Avoidance and it represents the extent to which an individual is uncomfortable being close to others vs. secure and comfortable with depending on others. A high score on avoidance suggests that a person likes to keep his/her distance in romantic relationships and strongly dislikes depending on a romantic partner.

The reason why we are interested in romantic attachment is because several recent studies show a connection between moral values and attachment, as well as between political ideology and attachment. These studies however have produced conflicting results, and we hope to shed some light on the controversy.

The graph below shows your scores on attachment avoidance and attachment anxiety as they compare to those of the average liberal and the average conservative who have taken this survey on our website. Scores range from 1 to 7 and higher numbers indicate more attachment avoidance and anxiety. Your score is shown in green. The score of the average Liberal survey respondent is shown in blue and that of the average Conservative respondent is in red.

The difference in scores between Liberals and Conservatives, judging by the table, is fairly insignificant, though there are rather a lot more Liberal respondents, which I suspect is due to a greater fondness on the left for filing out surveys of this type. At any rate, I’m quite a bit more anxious than either.

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Lacking spectacle

Terry has requested half a dozen “unspectacular things” about me, which shouldn’t be difficult, inasmuch as I tend toward the dull end of the spectrum anyway. Let’s see what comes up:

  1. The last time I owned a car with a stick shift was 1995; still, every time I approach an intersection, my right arm goes for the gear lever. Old habits die hard, if they die at all.
  2. I’ve had the same set of flatware (undistinguished stainless) for twenty-six years; I think I’ve lost one fork during that time.
  3. I have two functioning wristwatches: an early-80s clunker, which I wear, and an up-to-date model which checks in with an atomic time signal every morning, which I don’t wear because (1) it’s way too chunky and (2) despite its daily corrections it keeps really lousy time.
  4. I’ve bought four copies of the Beach Boys album Pet Sounds since its 1966 release; several other albums on my shelf are in their third incarnation.
  5. In the manner of a Doting Dad, I once schlepped the kids all the way to the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. Unlike most such dads, I did this while the kids were in their twenties.
  6. I’ve had a Bluetooth headset for about a year. I think I’ve used it once.

To be any drabber, I’d have to have worked at Accountemps. Which, incidentally, I have.

Addendum: Someone on Tumblr has a photograph of a watch essentially identical to the one I’m wearing.

Further addendum: Which photo apparently I linked to last year sometime. So much for my memory.

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A real guy

Your result for The Bem Sex Role Inventory Test…


You scored 57% masculinity and 30% femininity!

You scored high on masculinity and low on femininity. You have a traditionally masculine personality.

Take The Bem Sex Role Inventory Test at HelloQuizzy

(Via this real girl.)

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I wouldn’t have believed it either

Your result for The Perception Personality Image Test…

NBPS – The Idealist

Nature, Background, Big Picture, and Shape

You perceive the world with particular attention to nature. You focus on the hidden treasures of life (the background) and how that fits into the larger picture. You are also particularly drawn towards the shapes around you. Because of the value you place on nature, you tend to find comfort in more subdued settings and find energy in solitude. You like to ponder ideas and imagine the many possibilities of your life without worrying about the details or specifics. You are in tune with all that is around you and understand your life as part of a larger whole. You prefer a structured environment within which to live and you like things to be predictable.

The Perception Personality Types:


Take The Perception Personality Image Test at HelloQuizzy

(Poached from Melessa. There is a statistically non-zero chance that you may have already seen this on MySpace.)

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This canna be true

I am a

What Flower
Are You?


“You stand up for what you believe in, even if it gets in the way of what other people think. You are proud of yourself and your accomplishments and you enjoy letting people know that.”

(Transplanted from Kay’s Thinking Cap.)

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We got your diffusion right here

Let’s see how far this goes. It seems to have started around here.

So far as I can tell, if someone Spreads It from this point, it will show up here; I presume I left some sort of trace at Outside the Beltway.

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How would yours look?

I swiped this from Jennifer Harvey at Thursday Drive. It requires a little work, but not so much, and the results can be amazing.

How it’s done:

  • Answer each of the questions below.
  • Surf over to Flickr (set up an account if you don’t have one — it’s quick and easy) and type your answers (one at a time) into the search bar.
  • From the choice of pictures shown only on the front page, click on the one that moves you.
  • Once the page with your picture opens, copy the URL.
  • Surf over to the Mosaic Maker, set up your mosaic, and paste your URLs.
  • Click “Create!”

Here are the questions:

  1. What is your first name?
  2. What is your favorite food?
  3. What high school did you attend?
  4. What is your favorite color?
  5. Who is your celebrity crush?
  6. What is your favorite drink?
  7. Where would you go on your dream vacation?
  8. What is your favorite dessert?
  9. What do you want to be when you grow up?
  10. What do you love most in life?
  11. Choose one word to describe you.
  12. Your Flickr name?

You won’t get exact hits all the time, or even most of the time, but that doesn’t matter so much: what you want is something that sums you up, and if there’s an occasional departure from literal truth, well, who’s going to complain? Not me.

Here’s mine (click here for a larger version):


Photo credits:

  1. Charles by night
  2. Spaghetti junction . .
  3. The Vigorous Church at Fulbourn
  4. green spar
  5. Pleasantville
  6. return for refund.
  7. Ponte vecchio
  8. homemade berry ice cream
  9. Hey Unknown! (I want to go there with you)
  10. The girl from Ipanema
  11. Ooh look down there — a camera!
  12. 100_3407

Some photographers have asked that their photos be withheld from the Mosaic Maker site; I lost one of my originals. It’s easy to swap in a new one, though.

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Why they called it a Depression


As a 1930s husband, I am

Take the test!

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Life in half a dozen words

Rachel dares, and I respond:

Photo by Michael Sarver

“Perhaps it wasn’t meant to be.”

(Photograph by Michael Sarver.)

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A text message to the universe

A few days ago Lynn put out a list of Things She’d Like To Say to a million visitors to her site, and it’s a very good list, worth the multiple paragraphs.

But suppose you don’t have the time or the space to come up with multiple paragraphs. What’s left is this meme from Broadcasting Brain:

The name of this meme is “the one thing that I MUST say to the entire world.”

It’s very simple: you have up to 150 characters to say a message to the world.

In other words, you have to boil down a whole lot of philosophy to the size of a text message. For those of us for whom text bloat is an ongoing reality, this could prove to be exceedingly difficult. Besides which, I’m assuming spaces between words count against the total.


The mind begins to perish at the exact moment its owner becomes incurious: no matter how much you think you know, you will always have more to learn.

I got this from Writer Chick. Feel free to pass it on.

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Bolstering my shelf-esteem

Swiped from Fillyjonk, this premise (the explanation apparently originated elsewhere):

What we have here is the top 106 books most often marked as “unread” by LibraryThing’s users. As in, they sit on the shelf to make you look smart or well-rounded. Bold the ones you’ve read, underline the ones you read for school, italicize the ones you started but didn’t finish.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Anna Karenina
Crime and Punishment
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Wuthering Heights
The Silmarillion
Life of Pi: a novel
The Name of the Rose
Don Quixote
Moby Dick
Madame Bovary
The Odyssey
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre
The Tale of Two Cities
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies
War and Peace
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveler’s Wife
The Iliad
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations
American Gods
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Atlas Shrugged
Reading Lolita in Tehran: a memoir in books
Memoirs of a Geisha
Wicked: the life and times of the wicked witch of the West
The Canterbury Tales
The Historian: a novel
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World
The Fountainhead (note 1)
Foucault’s Pendulum
The Count of Monte Cristo
A Clockwork Orange
Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible : a novel
Angels & Demons
The Inferno (and Purgatory and Paradise) (note 2)
The Satanic Verses
Sense and Sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Oliver Twist
Gulliver’s Travels
Les Misérables
The Corrections
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The Prince
The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes: a memoir
The God of Small Things
A People’s History of the United States: 1492-present
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake: a novel
Collapse: how societies choose to fail or succeed
Cloud Atlas
The Confusion
Northanger Abbey
The Catcher in the Rye
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Freakonomics: a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: an inquiry into values
The Aeneid
Watership Down
Gravity’s Rainbow
The Hobbit
In Cold Blood: a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences
White Teeth
Treasure Island
David Copperfield (note 3)
The Three Musketeers


  • How I finished Atlas Shrugged and not this is amazing.
  • With apologies to Jim Steinman and/or Meat Loaf, one out of three ain’t good.
  • This is David Copperfield with two Ps by Charles Dickens, not David Coperfield with one P by Edmund Wells.

And I could swear I’ve read Emma, but I can’t remember where I picked it up, so I left it off.

Update: First paragraph redone to clarify credits.

Comments (11)

Say it isn’t so

You mean to tell me that all those highly-scientific blog quizzes aren’t really scientific?

Holy substitution cipher, Batman!

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A meme for a Monday evening

Oh, I’m sorry: that’s supposed to be “a meme for a mundane evening.”

Favorite laundry detergent: The new Purex 2x concentrate in the white bottle. It’s cheap, it’s not loaded up with dyes and scents, and half the prescribed amount works just fine.

Favorite item used for an unintended purpose: Misburned CD-Rs and DVDs, often derided as “coasters,” get used as actual coasters around here.

Favorite way to buy music: Nothing quite compares with finding an actual record at an actual record store.

How clean is your car? Inside, very; outside, less so.

How clean is your apartment/house/room? Relatively hygienic, though more than a little cluttered.

How clean is your office? Relatively filthy, though more than a little cluttered.

Favorite weekly free time: Varies with the week, but usually it happens on Saturday.

Is there a word, phrase, or gesture that is identifiably yours? I start more sentences with “Not that” than anyone else I’ve ever seen. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Most effective medicine for one (or more) of your ailments: My superexpensive blood-pressure meds work far better than I’d hoped, although I pay through the nose for this efficiency, as it offends the cost-cutters who run all the drug programs these days.

A favorite thing you try to sell/push/encourage your friends to try: Woot.

Favorite new (or new-to-you) thing: Legal downloadable music without DRM.

This is open to anyone who’d like to play along; I swiped it from Terry.

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Missed me by this much

You Belong in 1954

You’re fun loving, romantic, and more than a little innocent. See you at the drive in!

What Year Do You Belong In?

(Via the very contemporary Rachel.)

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Oh, fudge

The Blog-O-Cuss Meter - Do you cuss a lot in your blog or website?
Created by OnePlusYou – Free Online Dating

“Sometimes they say shoot. But they can’t kid me, man.” — George Carlin

(Via the angelic Tamara K.)

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We both know what’s been going on

“It’s a bit spooky, innit?”

So saith Rick Astley, on the phenomenon of “Rickrolling”.

You wouldn’t get this from any other guy.

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Party on, kitteh

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Advancing mediocrity for five decades

I used to joke that I was a Bard with a -2 Charisma, which existence doth not inspire. Neither does this, particularly:

I Am A: Neutral Good Human Cleric (6th Level)

Ability Scores:
Strength  –  11
Dexterity  –  11
Constitution  –  11
Intelligence  –  16
Wisdom  –  13
Charisma  –  9

Neutral Good A neutral good character does the best that a good person can do. He is devoted to helping others. He works with kings and magistrates but does not feel beholden to them. Neutral good is the best alignment you can be because it means doing what is good without bias for or against order. However, neutral good can be a dangerous alignment because it advances mediocrity by limiting the actions of the truly capable.

Humans are the most adaptable of the common races. Short generations and a penchant for migration and conquest have made them physically diverse as well. Humans are often unorthodox in their dress, sporting unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, and the like.

Clerics act as intermediaries between the earthly and the divine (or infernal) worlds. A good cleric helps those in need, while an evil cleric seeks to spread his patron’s vision of evil across the world. All clerics can heal wounds and bring people back from the brink of death, and powerful clerics can even raise the dead. Likewise, all clerics have authority over undead creatures, and they can turn away or even destroy these creatures. Clerics are trained in the use of simple weapons, and can use all forms of armor and shields without penalty, since armor does not interfere with the casting of divine spells. In addition to his normal complement of spells, every cleric chooses to focus on two of his deity’s domains. These domains grants the cleric special powers, and give him access to spells that he might otherwise never learn. A cleric’s Wisdom score should be high, since this determines the maximum spell level that he can cast.

Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)

(Found at Dodgeblogium.)

Comments (6)

I’d add a shelf for these

I will, of course, buy anything with Writer Chick’s name on it, and for that matter, here are a baker’s dozen other tomes I would happily buy if someone had the temerity to write them:

  1. Lawn Care for the Lazy
  2. Historical Stock Market Prices, 2020 [2009 edition]
  3. Catch-33: The Saga of President Minderbinder
  4. The In-Sink-Erator Guide to Biodiesel
  5. Let’s Move New Orleans to Minnesota!
  6. Fred Thompson’s Dating Tips
  7. How Tim Blair Beat Cancer
  8. Crush That Libido Once and For All
  9. How to Be Decisive — Or Should You?
  10. Giuliani’s 9/11 Handbook, Volume 12
  11. A Connecticut Yankee in King Solomon’s Mines
  12. How to Get People to Pay You Not to Blog
  13. The Case for Sterilizing Britney Spears

For some reason, I couldn’t add these to my Amazon Wish List.

Comments (4)

This meme is useless without pictures

This one sounds simple, ends up less so. The idea: create a fake band and their first album. Here’s how it works:

    The first article title on the page is the name of your band.
    The last four words of the very last quote is the title of your album.
    The third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

I admit to having fudged a bit on the last item. Not wishing to step on some photographer’s copyright, I took the third photo in the current list with a suitable Creative Commons license.

Anyway, here’s the Wikipedia entry, here’s the quote (from its own page), and this is the original photo. Behold:

Noel Park album

Not available on iTunes.

(Via Hawthorn Mineart.)

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Privilege has its rankness

I’ve seen this at I See Invisible People and at The Motley Oklahoman, and I figure I’d give it a shot.

Premise: bold each of the statements that applies.

Original source: The list is based on an exercise developed by Will Barratt, Meagan Cahill, Angie Carlen, Minnette Huck, Drew Lurker, Stacy Ploskonka at Illinois State University. The exercise developers ask that if you participate in this blog game, you acknowledge their copyright.

So acknowledged. Here we go:

Father went to college
Father finished college
Mother went to college
Mother finished college
Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor
Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers
Had more than 50 books in your childhood home
Had more than 500 books in your childhood home
Were read children’s books by a parent
Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18
Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18
The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively
Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18
Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your college costs
Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs
Went to a private high school
Went to summer camp
Had a private tutor before you turned 18
Family vacations involved staying at hotels
Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18
Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them
There was original art in your house when you were a child
Had a phone in your room before you turned 18
You and your family lived in a single family house
Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left home
You had your own room as a child
Participated in an SAT/ACT prep course
Had your own TV in your room in High School
Owned a mutual fund or IRA in High School or College
Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16
Went on a cruise with your family
Went on more than one cruise with your family
Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up
You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family

Notes: Most of my college costs were covered by a scholarship; there were five kids, so a room to one’s own was something that existed only in dreams; I was the oldest, so there were no hand-me-downs available; I once calculated the volume of the oil drum out back, but I never looked into the price of filling it up.

Update, 8 pm: The estimable John Scalzi sees a problem with the methodology in use here:

[F]or probably any person, there are things on this list meant to signify privilege that don’t, or are meant to exclude privilege that could be signs of substantial privilege — just ask the boarding school student driving dad’s old Beemer to the vacation house by the shore while his middle-class friends are stuck in an SAT review session. For nearly all of the “privilege markers” in this exercise, one can come up with excellent reasons why they are not an issue of privilege or class at all.

Which means that for the purposes of this exercise — showing indicators of privilege and class — this list is not actually useful, and indeed counter-productive. In this exercise, it’s entirely possible for someone of a lower social class to appear more “privileged” than someone who is of the “rich and snooty” class. This doesn’t create awareness of privilege; it does, however, create awareness of the essential lameness of this particular exercise.

“Privilege” itself is a buzzword these days, and should be approached warily in any event. Maybe I should say simply that I was damn lucky to get what I did when I did.

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Well, it’s seasonal, anyway

As requested by Bareheaded in Biloxi:

  1. Wrapping or gift bags?
    No preference, really, although I have noticed that the people who do wrap for me do a bang-up job of it, preserving this presumably-lost art.
  2. Real or artificial tree?
    My current tree is a genuine fake, but it looks vaguely real if you don’t look too closely.
  3. When do you put up the tree?
    First weekend in December.
  4. When do you take the tree down?
    26th of December at 12:01 am.
  5. Do you like eggnog?
    Not particularly.
  6. Favorite gift received as a child?
    Hard to say. There weren’t that many, but pretty much everything I got, even a pair of socks, was appreciated — because there were times when we were lucky to get that.
  7. Do you have a nativity scene?
    No. I think I was ruined on these by the parental units scolding me for not closing the door properly: “Jesus! Were you born in a barn or something?”
  8. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
    Not applicable. See #6.
  9. Mail or e-mail Christmas cards?
    No preference: it’s the thought that counts, not whether you spent 41 cents on postage. (Although I did appreciate the photo of Jay and Deb’s brood.)
  10. Favorite Christmas movie?
    Miracle on 34th Street.
  11. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
    About three minutes after the tree goes up (see #3).
  12. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
    I’m okay with just about anything, actually. Regular reader and old friend wamprat sends over the World’s Finest Fruitcake this time of year: that’s not a slogan, that’s an assessment of quality.
  13. Clear lights or colored on the tree?
    This year it’s clear; last year it was colored. Next year, who knows?
  14. Favorite Christmas song?
    I’m going with “Silent Night,” simply because I like the idea of peacefulness, especially given the nasty, frenetic winters we’ve had here. (It’s snowing as I type.)
  15. Travel at Christmas or stay home?
    I’m at an age now where I’d just as soon stay home, and should anyone come to visit, well, that’s just dandy.
  16. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?
    Including Bruce and Marvin, too.
  17. Angel on the tree top or a star?
    Having once precipitated a crisis with an angel and a mischievous elf on a corporate tree, I stick to stars.
  18. Open the presents Christmas Eve or Christmas Morning?
    I wait until the morning.
  19. Most annoying thing about this time of year?
    “This time of year” now begins around the 26th of October.
  20. Do you decorate your tree in any specific theme or color?
    No specific theme; it’s whatever I can find from last year plus any new stuff.
  21. What do you leave for Santa?
    Coca-Cola and polar-bear repellent.
  22. Least favorite holiday song?
    José Feliciano’s “Felix Navidad,” not because of any intrinsic faults but because it’s so horribly overplayed.
  23. Favorite ornament?
    The one I get next year.

And now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go hang up a pair of these and see if Santa will fill them up with something suitable.

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Back issues of time

If I could save time in a bottle … I’d need at least a Jeroboam, I think. The following was swiped from Writer Chick:

1. If you could pause your aging process, at what age would you choose do to it? (Meaning you would not live forever, but live for 90 or so years at whatever age you chose).

Having gone through protracted periods of foolishness, ignorance and general iron-rod-up-one’s-assedness over the years, I think I’d like to freeze the clock at the week after I turned 50, a time when I felt that I’d turned over several new leaves and that I’d reached a point where I could shelve most of my ongoing fears.

2. At what age did you (or will you) consider yourself to be an adult?

I still wonder sometimes. But I’m thinking thirty-four, if only because that year contained the largest number of iterations of “Grow up, you jerk,” and I did manage to survive it.

3. What do you think will be your most annoying trait when you’re a senior?

I have no intention of being annoying as a senior. Now get the hell off my lawn.

4. How does your current life compare with where you thought you’d be at this point when you were young?

It really doesn’t at all, for the simple reason that roughly from ages 15 through 45 I figured I had maybe five years left, tops, and therefore projecting any sort of future seemed a futile, even delusional act. I can say that this isn’t quite the life I might have chosen for myself, but it’s not all that bad.

5. When would you like to retire? What do you see yourself doing with your life after retirement?

In the absence of a huge Powerball check, I can’t see any circumstances under which I’d get to retire; had I the option, I think I’d basically carry on the way I do now, except for more World Tours. Few things re-energize body and mind quite as effectively as hitting the road. (And few things tire out body and mind quite so thoroughly after a couple of weeks, which proves that there is balance in nature.)

Pick this up if you’d like.

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It’s all academic

Nina has requested the following:

Devise a list of 5-10 courses you would take to improve your life. It’s more fun to be in classes with friends, so include one class from the person who tagged you that you’d also like to take.

Actually, having time to take 5 to 10 courses would in and of itself improve my life, but there are obvious areas where I need to brush up my skills — or, in some cases, find enough skills for the brush to reach. The next couple of semesters should look something like this:

  • Business 812: Knowing What To Shred, And When
    A check from the insurance company should not be on this list.
  • Nutrition 1tsp: How To Persuade Someone Else’s Girlfriend That You Can Actually Cook
    Requires lab: Not Every Meal Should Incorporate Cream Of Mushroom Soup.
  • Nutrition 82/2: Passing Up The Second Plate Of Spaghetti
    To hear the doctor tell it, I should pass up the first plate instead.
  • Plumbing 5/8: Repairing Things More Complicated Than Toilet Flapper Valves
    This is not to say that I would like to be able to, oh, replace a water heater, but I’d just as soon not feel as though I’m at the mercy of the guy (or girl) with the big wrench.
  • Psychology 4Q2: Anger Management for Management
    No, wait, I should be teaching this one.
  • Psychology I2I: How To Disengage Yourself From Unproductive Bullshit
    Also on Nina’s list. I suspect this will take more than a single semester.
  • Botany 500: Predicting Which Plants Will Die Before Spring
    Requires 421: Not Killing Them In The First Place.
  • Media 559: How To Vent Less In Your Blog
    Also on Nina’s list. I do it here instead.
  • Auto Mechanics 427: Knowing At Least As Much As The Service Manager
    Which is important if you’d prefer not to write large checks on a regular basis.
  • Women’s Studies 101: Introduction
    Because obviously I don’t know a damn thing about that half of the human race.

I suspect I’ll get five people to do this even if I don’t call them out by name.

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The answers

These are the songs from the MP3 shuffle meme ten days or so ago. Most of them were guessed, which I find either gratifying (I did this well) or disturbing (my tastes are too predictable).

  1. The Four Seasons, “Save It for Me”
  2. Rosanne Cash, “Seven Year Ache”
  3. Fontella Bass, “Rescue Me” (a song often redone)
  4. Thomas Dolby, “She Blinded Me with Science”
  5. Len Barry, “1-2-3”
  6. The Cars, “My Best Friend’s Girl”
  7. Lee Dorsey, “Holy Cow” (a song often redone)
  8. Julian Lennon, “Valotte”
  9. The Beach Boys, “California Girls”
  10. Rod Stewart, “You Wear It Well”
  11. The Outsiders, “Time Won’t Let Me”
  12. Thompson Twins, “Hold Me Now”
  13. Clarence Carter, “Too Weak to Fight”
  14. Hanson, “MMMBop”
  15. The Chi-Lites, “Have You Seen Her”
  16. Stevie Wonder, “Sir Duke”
  17. Nick Lowe, “Cruel to Be Kind”
  18. T. Rex, “Bang a Gong (Get It On)”
  19. Robert Knight, “Everlasting Love” (a song often redone)
  20. Tears for Fears, “Head over Heels”
  21. Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, “I Love Rock and Roll” (which was actually a remake)
  22. The American Breed, “Bend Me, Shape Me” (likewise)
  23. The Rolling Stones, “Time Is on My Side” (ditto)
  24. Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, “I Wonder What She’s Doing Tonight”
  25. Black Sabbath, “Paranoid”
  26. King Crimson, “21st Century Schizoid Man”

Thanks to all who played and to those who spread it around to their own sites — and thanks to Michele, from whom I swiped it.

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Words to live by

This is another of those MP3 shuffle memes, but it’s from Michele, so you know it’s extraordinary:

Put your MP3 player on shuffle, write down the first lines of the first twenty-five songs that come up, and then have people guess which songs they are.

Conditions: This is the player in question; it contains 776 songs, mostly Sixties/Seventies stuff, with a smattering of Eighties. I have altered the premise slightly, in that if the title is given away in the first two lines, I provide the next two lines.

  1. I know you’re feelin’ blue / ‘Cause I feel blue like you
  2. You act like you were just born tonight / Face down in a memory but feelin’ all right
  3. ‘Cause I’m lonely and I’m blue / I need you and your love too
  4. It’s poetry in motion, when she turned her eyes to me / As deep as any ocean, as sweet as any harmony
  5. Come on, let’s fall in love / It’s easy (it’s so easy), like taking candy from a baby
  6. You’re always dancing down the street with your suede blue eyes / And every new boy that you meet, he doesn’t know the real surprise
  7. I get weak, I can’t eat / Since you walked out on me
  8. Sitting on the doorstep of the house I can’t afford / I can feel you there
  9. Well, East Coast girls are hip, I really dig those styles they wear / And the Southern girls with the way they talk, they knock me out when I’m down there
  10. I had nothing to do on this hot afternoon but to settle down and write you a line / I been meaning to phone ya, but from Minnesota, hell, it’s been a very long time
  11. I can’t wait forever even though you want me to / I can’t wait forever to know if you’ll be true
  12. I have a picture, pinned to my wall / An image of you and of me and we’re laughing, we’re loving it all
  13. There is something, baby, about you, that’s really attracting me, yeah / And your sweet love, darling, really got a hold on me
  14. You have so many relationships in this life, only one or two will last / You go through all the pain and strife, then you turn your back and they’re gone so fast
  15. One month ago today, I was happy as a lark / But now I go for walks, to the movies, maybe to the park
  16. Music is a world within itself with a language we all understand / With an equal opportunity for all to sing, dance and clap their hands
  17. Oh, I can’t take another heartache / Though you say you’re my friend, I’m at my wits’ end
  18. Well you’re dirty and sweet, clad in black, don’t look back and I love you / You’re dirty and sweet, oh yeah
  19. Hearts go astray leaving hurt when they go / I went away just when you, you needed me so
  20. I wanted to be with you alone and talk about the weather / But traditions I can trace against the child in your face won’t escape my attention
  21. I saw him dancin’ there by the record machine / I knew he musta been about seventeen
  22. You are all the woman I need, and baby you know it / You can make this beggar a king, a clown or a poet
  23. Now you always say that you want to be free / But you’ll come running back (said you would baby), you’ll come running back (like I told you so many times before), you’ll come running back to me
  24. If I had told her that I loved her she would have stayed ’til who knows when / But I guess she couldn’t understand it when I said I wanna be your friend
  25. Finished with my woman ’cause she couldn’t help me with my mind / People think I’m insane because I am frowning all the time
  26. [Bonus track]  Cat’s foot iron claw / Neuro-surgeons scream for more / At paranoia’s poison door

Any transcription errors are, of course, my fault.

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