Saturday, April 28, 2007

Five Things You Didn't Know about Me

Well, just when I managed to get through all those various and sundry Selba tags, I got hit by one out of the BLUE by Shlemazl. The challenge this time is to list five things that people who read this site don't know about me. I realize that would be very hard considering there are probably very few things about me that old friends like Snabulus, Pa've, and Seymour don't know, but I'll see what I can do. (I'm posting this here rather than on my blog since I already just posted something there and don't want to distract people from it.)

1. Tobacco has been a part of my life for a long time. I started smoking cigarettes off and on when I was 9 years old at the behest of a friend who lived next door. (He ripped them off from his parents, who were both chain smokers...and he was cruelly punished when he was finally caught, I can tell you! Fortunately, I only got grounded for a week.) Once again, during my junior and senior high school days, I smoked on occasion with certain friends, later switching to chewing tobacco, which I did far more regularly. I started smoking a pipe in my late college days, and I probably enjoyed it the most. In Japan, however, I found pipe tobacco expensive and difficult to find and chewing tobacco totally unavailable, so I went back to cigarettes, only now I smoked them far more regularly than before. Even so, I was never a particularly heavy smoker; at my peak I was smoking only a pack a week. I finally decided I didn't want tobacco to have any kind of hold on me, so I reduced my smoking to once or twice a week and finally more or less quit. Now I only smoke an average of twice a month, usually my pipe (in my car...never at home).

2. Though generally classified as a "leftie", many of my views are actually rather conservative. The last time I took a political alignment test (at the behest of Pa've, who was sure it would prove me to be a total liberal) I came out only a little left of center...officially "slightly less liberal than Bill Clinton". This is mainly due to my views on the environment, foreign policy, taxes, and some forms of social welfare. However, the truth is that I also believe in strong law enforcement with stiff punishment for offenders (and I lean in favor of capital punishment of repeat felons), holding people fully accountable for their actions, clear-cut education with strict school discipline (including swift removal of disruptive offenders from a classroom environment), and a strong national defense. I'm also against neither logging nor hunting as long as both are carried out intelligently. I've been called a "communist" by conservatives. I've also been called a "Bush-loving fascist" by liberals. Whatever. I believe in what makes sense rather than toeing someone else's line.

3. In my college days I vowed never to get a computer. I was actually one of the first in my circle of friends to start playing with computers back in my early high school days. (I think Snabulus was probably the first...or maybe Dewkid.) However, the arrogant attitudes of some of the computer nuts I knew in school (not including Snabulus or Dewkid) began to bother me. As an engineering major (briefly) in college I was even more exposed to annoying cyber-snobs, and I finally got turned off by the whole thing. Once I switched majors from engineering to chemistry I no longer needed to work with computers much, so I gave them a wide berth. Then, at the university, I started hanging out with a group of computer science majors, who introduced me to mainframe computers, UNIX, and the internet. My rapidly-renewing interest quickly crashed, however, when that group turned out to be a bunch of pathetic, backstabbing dorks. After that I refused to touch computers except when I played games on friends' machines...till I finally broke down and bought an IBM (cr)Aptiva running OS/2 Warp in early 1995. I've been a user ever since.

4. I've been a helpless romantic more or less all my life, but was bad at it for most of it. I had my first steady girlfriend when I was in kindergarten, and I continued to chase girls aggressively until the fifth grade, when I suddenly became shy. (Maybe part of it had to do with the fact that the other boys all gave me so much crap for my being so interested in girls...) In high school and college I had a bad habit of going after girls I had no chance with whatsoever while blowing off the ones that were openly interested in me. The few relationships I had in college tended to start for the wrong reasons and ended badly...quite often due to sabotage on the part of my or the girl's friends. I think I was lucky to meet and marry a woman who seems to match me so well in all the right ways while being different from me (indeed my opposite) in all the right ways, too. However, even though I'm loyal to my wife and have never cheated on her, I'm still easily attracted and develop crushes very quickly. I've never been good at controlling my heart, and I don't think I ever will be. Oh, well. As a writer and a musician, that can actually be a very good thing.

5. The only kind of food that bothers me is sweets. Considering I'm a chocolate fiend (DARK CHOCOLATE!!!!!), I know that can seem surprising, but the fact is that really sugary, sweet food makes me sick. I really have to be in the right mood to eat candy or ice cream, and when we have birthday (or other) cake at home I actually have to force myself to finish it a lot of the time. American food tends to be a lot more sugar-laden than Japanese, so every time I go home to visit I spend at least the first three days with an upset stomach. Today at my school's sports festival I had to eat a strawberry jam-filled roll for a race, I couldn't swallow it except in very small bites (i.e. I lost), and my gut yelled at me afterward.

Okay, that's five. I wonder if any of those surprised Snabbie, Pa've, Dewkid, or Seymour. Oh, well. I'll tag all of them plus anyone else who reads this and hasn't done it already.


Biby Cletus said...

Nice post, its a really cool blog that you have here, keep up the good work, will be back.

Warm Regards

Biby Cletus - Blog

L.c_D said...

Point 1)
What? You smoked since 9 and even in Jr. or Sr. high school? I guess your parents must be the strong smokers and didn’t stop/punish you.
Normally, parents wouldn’t allow teenagers to smoke in my country such as in your era.
Hey, I hope u could quit it, “cigarette smoking is hazardous to the Health”.

Point 4)
{ L.O.L.} What a cuteness and brave Moody. Chasing girls since in kindergarten?!?

Point 5) I like DARK chocolate too!

The Moody Minstrel said...

Biby Cletus
Nice comment, but it seems like a rather form-letter message you've left here, please don't spam, hope I'm wrong and you will be back.

Point 1)
Actually, neither of my parents smoke (though my father did smoke a pipe for a of the reasons I tried it). When I was 9 my friends and I only smoked when no one else was around...and we all wound up getting in trouble (mainly thanks to my older sister opening her mouth when SHE got caught smoking!). I didn't touch tobacco again till I was in junior high, and even then only at parties. I didn't really start using it regularly till I was in college and old enough to buy it myself. But like I said, I don't touch it much anymore. It takes me a year to finish a single pack.

Point 4)
What can I say? ;-)

Point 5)
DARK CHOCOLATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I guess I am surprised you would consider your self somewhat conservative on some issues, but then the issues you mentioned are ones we rarely discuss.

I have taken to chewing tobacco a lot this last year, becuase in the previous year I winded my self obssessing with a pipe, and decided to get my nicotine a safer way. Not that tobacco is by any means safe. I am longing to quit the habit through, but for now, it helps relieve stress.

shlemazl said...

That's a fun post :) I found a few similarities as

- I first smoked when I was 8. Actually it was also when I smoked last. I asked for it and my grandma bought me some cigarettes. I hated smoking ever since.

- I am not far from Clinton on some issues, particular on social ones... No way he could be defined as "left". His main positive legacy is commendable welfare reform, which was 100% right-wing. His foreign policy legacy is not so good (North Korea et al).

- Also had "girlfriends" from the tender age of 4. When I was 8 I was caught in the process of comparing the designs of male and female body with a girl of my age... It was 100% innocent - I did not know about sex until I was 12.

Being caught and told off by my girlfriend's parents was SO embarassing, that I suspended all romantic activities until university.

Don Snabulus said...

I can do mine right now...

1. None
2. Of
3. Your
4. Dang
5. Business

I knew most of these Moody things...but then I've known the dude for close to 30 years. I think we are even friends.

The Moody Minstrel said...

That's what you get for trying to stereotype me like you do everyone else. ;-)

A pipe is actually supposedly safer than chewing tobacco because, unlike cigarette or cigar smoke, its "smoke" is mostly steam, and it delivers a far smaller dose of carcinogens. Chewing tobacco gives you the full dose.

Were you inhaling the pipe smoke?

That's interesting. I guess we're more alike than either of us thought! (Scary, innit? ;-) )

Now, that is definitely a "Don" sort of answer! Good one! I have to say, though, you probably know me better than I know you...probably because I've tended to wear my heart on my sleeve a lot more.

L.C_D said...

I haven’t comment enough to your interesting post that attracted me to here.
Still refer to the point 4) the last 43 words:
*ahem* & *sigh*

Swinebread said...

I'm Glad I never got into the Chew thing

Dean Wormer said...

I started smoking a pipe in my late college days, and I probably enjoyed it the most.

A lot of people picked up a pipe in college but few stuffed it with tobacco.

Leilouta said...

"However, even though I'm loyal to my wife and have never cheated on her, I'm still easily attracted and develop crushes very quickly."

I hope your wife doesn't know about your blog :P

Don Snabulus said...

I wear my heart in my back pocket where I used to keep my chaw until I quit in 1998.


The Moody Minstrel said...

Hey...honesty is the best policy, right? (But please refer to my reply to Leilouta, below.)

I think most of our circle of friends got into the chaw thing in our late high school days (and I think it was Snabulus that got us started...dang you to HECK, Snabulus! ;-)). We then started getting back off it while in college. It's hard to say whether I'd still be doing it or not if it were available in Japan, but I was never more than a one dip a day person to begin with.

Why did we do it? Probably for the same reason people drink coffee. It's both a picker-upper and a social lubricant.

Dean Wormer
Surprisingly enough, being a left-leaning artist/writer/musician, I never really had much interest in the stuff most people around me were putting in pipes in college. I often wondered why.

My wife has been a chronic technophobe until very recently, when she started surfing the internet to track down her students' blog activities. I still think I'm safe, but...if I suddenly start typing in a high-pitched font, you'll know why. ;-)

Don Snabulus
I guess that's two up on a lot of us!

Pandabonium said...

1) Now THAT surprised me. Good on you to reduce it from a dangerous addiction to a Hobbit-like enjoyment.

2) Didn't fool me here. I've seen you as a middle of the road conservative from the get-go. (that isn't a judgment one way or another, just an observation).

3) Not too surprised here, but also not surprised that once you decided to use computers you did so well.

4) Welcome to the club.

5) Didn't know that, but kind of a neutral issue.

So, as someone who has only known you a few years, and without much contact at that, I found this post of interest. We make a lot of assumptions about people with little real facts, so a post like this offers insight into that whole process.

Knew, didn't know - whatever. I'm glad I know you and that you've shared this with us.

DewKid said...

I must say, that #3 and #5 surprised me most. I don't know if you know this Moody, but it was partially your interest in the Commodore Pet computers in the high school computer lab that inspired me to learn how to program computers (which is now my career). I remember a little program (of many) that you wrote in BASIC, that showed a Star Trek Enterprise ship getting hit by a meteor (poke and peek anyone?). I think I probably wrote that same program about a dozen times, in about a dozen incarnations, because I thought that was so dang nifty. In fact, I based my very first game on the Pet on that concept: you had to pilot a ship through a randomly generated meteor field.

Interestingly, it is in that same computer lab that I met the Colorman, and was put to the floor at knife-point to push a dime with my nose. (true story)

I suppose I should know about #5, but I guess I never noticed. With my Mountain Dew habit, I didn't much notice what anyone else was eating/drinking, as long as MY cup was full! :-)

Anonymous said...

THE COLORMAN made you do a dime nudge???

I wonder where he is now...

The Moody Minstrel said...

Strangely enough, soft drinks still don't seem to bother me so much, which is good since they finally started selling Cherry Coke in Japan. I still enjoy quaffing root beer once in a while. It's just sugary food that can make my stomach go bat-shiat.

Yes, I remember your introduction to the Colorman very well. But wasn't it his fat buddy who actually came up with the idea of you doing the dime nudge? Didn't the Colorman just hold the knife?

No one knows what happened to him. One of his better friends tried to call him after not hearing from him for a couple of years, and when he answered he reportedly said, "Look, I haven't had my phone disconnected yet, but please don't call me again. My name isn't [the Colorman] anymore."

We all figured he finally purged himself of the Colorman demon (who still haunts the universe) and now is lying incognito in case it tries to possess him again.