50 Questions

Here are answers to fifty questions about me, for those who are curious or have some time to kill. Originally posted on Facebook on Saturday, 30 January 2010, at 1:05 p.m. (you needed to know that, right?). Revisions added on Tuesday, 16 March 2010, at 6:22 p.m. (or at least, that’s when I looked at my watch). Plus an occasional edit since then . . . and I no longer wear a watch.

1. Were you named after anyone?

My middle name is Dylan, and I’m told I was named after Dylan Thomas, which gave me an awareness of poetry from a young age.


2. When was the last time you cried?

Gee, I think it was while watching American Idol (sigh).


3. Do you like your handwriting?

Yes. I have many kinds of handwriting and printing. People frequently tell me my writing is very neat when I write on a whiteboard.


4. What is your favorite lunch meat?

I have no idea—I’m vegetarian.


5. Do you have kids?

Two—Thomas and Sarah, born in 2003 and 2005. I love their hugs.


6. If you were another person would you be friends with you?

I think so!


7. Do you use sarcasm?

It’s been known to happen, but would YOU notice?


8. Do you still have your tonsils?

No. But the ice cream and ginger ale was good. Would you believe I stayed in the hospital for a night or two back then? These days I think the doctor does the deed from a passing Mercedes.


9. Would you bungee jump?

Definitely. I’d rather spend the money on books or music, though.


10. What is your favorite cereal?

Various kinds of granolas. I like Life cereal, too. After all, my name is Mikey. I’m also a cereal mixer—I rarely have just one type of cereal by itself.


11. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off?

After visiting Japan frequently, I grew tired of untying my shoes when going in and out of every building, so I’ve now graduated to casual slip-ons, except when I’m playing racquetball. Or skiing. But yes, if my shoes have laces, I always untie the shoelaces, and dutifully tuck the laces into the shoes.


13. What is your favorite ice cream?

Pralines and cream, no question. But my preference would be a bowl of good vanilla ice cream with orange soda poured over it (like a root beer float, but more like an orange Creamsicle). Yum.  See question #36.


14. What is the first thing you notice about people?

I can’t help but notice someone’s figure or if they’re physically fit, but that’s more from a distance or a glance. Otherwise, probably a person’s eyes, but never the eye colour. Rather, I notice eye contact, but could rarely tell you what colour a person’s eyes are.


15. Red or yellow?

Red or yellow what? Am I picking a favourite colour between the two? Red I guess. M&Ms? Who edited these questions, anyway?


16. What is your least favorite thing about yourself?

My procrastination. I do like my being detail-oriented. Hey, that period shouldn’t be italicized! Sometimes being detail-oriented is good, like when I’m editing or polishing a project, but sometimes it isn’t good, especially when perfectionism contributes to procrastination and delay. But if only I could cure my procrastination! I think I’ll get to that . . . later. Meanwhile, I console myself with Robert Louis Stevenson’s recommendation: “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds you plant.” Yet I also remember Gary Snyder’s haiku, “After weeks of watching the roof leak / I fixed it tonight / by moving a single board.” The story of my life.


17. Who do you miss the most?

I would have to say my best friend in high school.


18. Do you want everyone to complete this list?

Waste of a question. Next.


19. What color pants and shoes are you wearing?

Right now? Blue jeans. No shoes.


20. What are you listening to right now?

My wife making a smoothie in the kitchen. No music at the moment, but if I were, it would probably be prog or have a guitargasm in it somewhere (great guitar solo).


22. If you were a crayon, what color would you be?

What is this supposed to reveal about a person? Blue, I guess. Is Barbara Walters around the corner, hiding behind a tree, or what?


23. Favorite smell?

Lavender. I still remember the lavender perfume one of my very earliest teenage dates wore when I was a teenager. Ah, Denice . . .


24. Who was the last person you talked to on the phone?

A friend, or maybe my wife?


25. Do you like the person who sent this to you?

I didn’t have anyone send it to me, but if anyone had, I’m sure I would say yes. Gee, too many wasted questions on this list.


26. Favorite sports to watch?

Skiing (not ski racing so much, though) and soccer. I used to like watching Racquetball Online TV sometimes, but now watch a lot of racquetball on YouTube instead. And the usual football and baseball in season, though not rabidly. I find that basketball doesn’t engage me. Basketball could drop off the face of the earth, and it wouldn’t bother me (I don’t dislike it, I just don’t really care).


27. Eye color?

Green or hazel, depending on the light.


28. Hair color?

Brown. Until it turned grey, anyway.


29. Do you wear contacts?

Nope, nor glasses. [Update: I now need reading glasses.]


30. Favorite food?

Cheese and white chocolate, just not at the same time. I’m fond of potatoes, too, in most forms, especially a good baked potato. And who doesn’t like a good pizza, eh? And pasta.


31. Scary movies or happy endings?

Scary movies practically never actually scare me. I’m a sucker for happy endings.


32. Last movie you watched?

No Country for Old Men (on DVD).


33. What color shirt are you wearing?

Brown polo shirt with white stripes.


34. Summer or winter?

Winter. I’m a skier (former instructor and patroller), although I don’t get out nearly as much as I’d like to since the kids arrived. For fun things to do with the kids, though, summer wins out.


35. Hugs or kisses?

What? You have to choose? Or are we talking about Hershey’s? Still don’t want to choose just one.


36. Favorite dessert?

Pecan pie, with a rich vanilla ice cream. Oh, and I love vanilla ice cream with orange soda poured on top. Like a root beer float, only way better. See question #13.


37. Most likely to respond?

See next question.


38. Least likely to respond?

See previous question. Such wasted questions!


39. What book are you reading now?

The seventh book in the Harry Potter series. Also a few haiku books and journals, and a book on the Zen of Alice in Wonderland. Just finished reading The Anthologist by Nicholson Baker, which I highly recommend, except for his misunderstandings of haiku.


40. What is on your mouse pad?

My mouse! Duh. Actually, I don't have a mouse pad. Who needs mouse pads anymore? Current mouse technology don’t need no stinking mouse pads. Full disclosure: I’m the technical writer and editor behind the documentation for all Microsoft mice and keyboard products. Yup, that’s me.


41. What did you watch on TV last night?

Didn’t. When I do watch TV, it’s usually late-night TV (give me Jay Leno over Conan and Letterman any day), shows I’ve recorded on the digital video recorder (like Law & Order), or on-demand TV (go Comcast!). [Update: These days, with streaming services, I rarely watch live TV anymore.]


42. Favorite sound(s)?

Guitar solos (don’t get me started).


43. Rolling Stones or Beatles?

Beatles, by far. But the Stones have a bunch of great songs too.


44. What is the farthest you have been from home?

More than forty countries, on all continents except South America and Antarctica, north and south hemispheres. No idea which place would have been farthest from home. Home moved around, too: Watford, England; Kumasi, Ghana; Manly, Australia; Winnipeg, Manitoba; and then various other places in Canada and the United States (mostly west coast). And now Sammamish, Washington, where I’ve lived longer than anywhere else.


45. Do you have a special talent?

Like, a hidden talent? I once wanted to set a world record for bouncing a ping-pong ball in the air—while alternating hits in front of me and behind my back. I could do thousands in a row when I practiced (tremendous exercise for the midsection, like doing tons of sit-ups). I can still do this pretty well. Also wanted to set a record for the longest time playing racquetball nonstop. But Guinness changed their rules to stop tracking endurance records like that.


47. Whose answers are you looking forward to getting back?

I practically never forward things like this to others. Puh-lease, better questions!


48. How did you meet your spouse/significant other?

Online, talking about New Zealand, way back in 1997. Our first date was on Valentine’s Day, 1998 (we visited Pigeon Point lighthouse on the California coast).


49. Is the cup half full or half empty?

Half full. Which is to say, Im an optimist. But seriously, the top half is empty, the bottom half is full. Does that make me a realist?


50. If you could sit down to dinner with five people who would you choose?

Well, narrowing it down to people who have died, I would choose my grandparents (all deceased), E. E. Cummings, Lewis Carroll, M. C. Escher, Bashō, Shiki, and I know I could add a hundred more. Living people would have to include Martin Gardner, Raymond Smullyan, John Langdon, Scott Kim, Glen Baxter, Douglas Hofstadter, Rick Beato . . . [some of these are now deceased]