Everything you never knew you wanted to know about me

This post is going to break records as the longest post in the entire blog. I just spent my entire lunch break writing it. If I had looked at the number of questions ahead of time, I might not have done it, but I have now, so I guess you get to fall asleep standing up while reading it (if you’re standing up).

What did you want to be when you were a kid?I wanted to run a hot dog van. I think the main reasoning behind it was because I really, really liked hot dogs. I had all the prices of food from the supermarket figured out and everything. I also thought I would live in the van (this was based on the observation that the ice cream van had no obvious doors, so that guy must have lived in his van).

Which “Friends” character do you relate to the most?Although I’ve seen a few episodes of Friends, I never really watched it that much – so this is kind of difficult for me. I’m guessing most guys would want to say Chandler, but I’m going to say Ross, because I’m a colossal nerd.

Do you like your name? Why?I didn’t have a name for quite a while when I was born – I spent the first month or so of my life in hospital because they were worried I had hydrocephalus. Turns out the guys in my family just have big heads. I don’t mind my name – although people rarely spell it correctly. It’s pretty amusing that it’s biblical in origin, given that I don’t believe in any of that.

Are you a messy or clean person?I’m becoming tidier as I get older. I don’t know if this is a reaction to living in chaos (we have three daughters, all of whom have either already arrived, or are entering their teenage years). I tend to look after the kitchen at home, and guess what – it’s the tidiest place in the house. My other half is the most insanely untidy person I’ve ever met.

How tall are you?I am about 6’3″. When I was in my early 20s I was 6’4″. I’m already getting smaller. Being tall is a blessing and a curse. I can reach high things, and can see over crowds, but I can’t fit in bus seats, or the cheap seats at the theatre. I’m lucky that while being tall, I still have a fairly athletic build and my posture is pretty good. How tall were you when you were ten?I was tall enough that the teacher often asked me to sit down properly at story time, even though I already was.

What is your guilty pleasure?Entire family bags of peanut M&Ms. I can’t eat them all the time, because the whole “law of diminishing returns” thing built into your brain makes me feel sick for a few days at the thought of eating them, but then I kind of forget, and see them on offer in the supermarket, and damn… whole bag gone while watching YouTube.

What are you saving money for right now?I don’t really save any money. We have a join account (that I often refer to as the hole in the ground) – everything we earn goes into it. We just try to get by as best we can, and pay our bills.

How many Pringles can you eat at once?I’ve never tried putting more than one in my mouth at a time. That makes me boring, right? I will admit to kind of liking the first pringle you eat, but then hating them because they just taste of this reconstituted potato mush after that. Would much rather have tortilla chips.

Tea or coffee?Coffee. I drink tea too, but coffee. All the coffee. I’m rapidly coming to the conclusion that I’ve become immune to the effects of caffeine. If I don’t drink coffee I don’t get headaches, and if I do drink it, it doesn’t keep me awake at all. If I drink too much instant coffee at work it makes me feel sick. You needed to know that, didn’t you.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?Introvert, I guess. Unless in a group situation, I will actively avoid people. I was incredibly shy when I was little, and a part of me still is. The internet has been a lifesaver for me. The crazy thing is, I often travel around the country and teach technical stuff to rooms full of business people. Somehow I can do that, but I stress out like a crazy person for the day or two beforehand.

What is your Halloween costume this year?Probably the same as last year – a wizard costume that my other half picked up as an afterthought from the supermarket. It looked pretty impressive, but not very “dark”, so the other parents I found myself child-minding during the trick-or-treating last year started calling me “Abraham”.

Sweet or salty?Both. I used to hate salt popcorn, but in recent years have started eating 50/50, and actually prefer it over sweet popcorn now. I guess that’s an age thing.

Favorite social media?Hard to say. I’ve been a member of most places, and still am a member of most places. I’m kind of ambivalent about it all really. I like Tumblr because of what it could be, but get frustrated about the same thing. I keep Facebook at arms length. I like Twitter, and wish I knew more people that actively used it. I wanted Google+ to do well, but it didn’t. I sometimes post to Instagram, but forget to read comments. I guess my favourite social media is this blog – but it’s not very social…Who is the last person you kissed?My eldest daughter, on the cheek while saying goodnight the night before last. I’ve gone to bed before my other half the last two nights, and been asleep by the time she appeared.

What is your favorite breakfast?I very rarely eat breakfast – my mornings are usually taken up with making packed lunches and breakfasts for the kids. Some mornings it’s an achievement if I even make myself a hot drink. On a weekend I will often grab a slice of toast with strawberry jam on it for breakfast.

When is your birthday?March 3rd, 1973. That makes me 42 years old for at least another few weeks. I am the answer to life, the universe, and everything at the moment.

When did you start your blog?I started my blog in the late 1990s, but I only have records going back to 2003. In the early days I wrote articles on a website called “Thought Cafe” (that I built, along with several thousand other people), and ended up writing one of the early blogging scripts used all over the internet – I was kind of famous for five minutes back then. I’ve hosted my forgettable words all over the place over the years – WordPress, Blogger, MySpace, Vox, LiveJournal, TypePad, MoveableType, Posterous, Posthaven, Ghost… you name it – I’ve been there. I use Squarespace these days because I’m fed up of tinkering.

What is your opinion on the Kardashians?I’m sure they are lovely people, but I tend to avoid them, and all of the tabloid journalism that targets that part of popular culture. I think I’m right in saying at this point that they are famous for being famous? I really don’t get that.

How would you describe your style?Please excuse me while I compose myself. I’m sitting at my desk at work in a Christmas sweater that I bought in the cheapest clothes shop in town, cargo pants, and boots. I have a zero maintainance haircut (on purpose). I really don’t have a “style”…What color is your hair?Brown. As noted above – cut into a zero maintainance hair cut. The day after I got it cut I bothered putting wax in it, but since then I really haven’t been bothered.

What color socks are you wearing?Grey, knitted socks. I think my other half knitted them last year for some kind of online competition (where you race to knit something before somebody else? – I think she’s mad).

What is your dream job?I would love to be a writer, but only to write about what I wanted to write about. I know – that’s not a job at all. Maybe I’ll win the lottery, and can then fool around doing whatever I want – buy a Macbook, and sit in Starbucks writing about the people walking past. I’m sure rich people find endless ways to amuse themselves that we have no clue about.

You never know – maybe if I get gazillions of people reading this little corner of the internet, I’ll make enough (read:some) money from it, and can retire (har har).

Dogs or cats?We always had dogs and cats in the house when I was young – Golden Retrievers when I was little, and then Newfoundlands in the years before I left home. I remember huge black cat called “Sooty” that got run over, and an ancient chocolate box cat that died of old age called “Boozy” – she took to shitting in my room when she got really old. My other half hates dogs, but loves cats, and given that we have three kids, we now of course have tree cats – identical ginger brothers called Sam, Tom, and George.

What makes you weird?Probably that I write a blog. I don’t know anybody else in the “real world” that writes a personal blog. I’m guessing those that discover the blog suddenly become very circumspect, and try to avoid involving themselves with me, lest they become immortalised in the gibberish.

Celebrity crush?Umm? Maybe Tori Amos, or Gillian Anderson, or Kate Winslet ? Stephanie Seymour is beautiful.

Opinion on cigarettes?Both of my parents smoke. All of my grandparents smoked. All of my grandparents are dead. I have never smoked, and I will never smoke. My other half doesn’t smoke. Actually, I can’t think of any of my friends or co-workers that smoke either (actually – that’s a lie – there is one smoker that I know of). Privately, I think people that smoke are unbelievable idiots.

Do you want children/how many?We adopted three children in February 2008 after several years trying, and several failed attempts at IVF (the story was recorded in this blog, back in the day – if you go searching in the archive you’ll find it). So yeah – always wanted children. Never really thought about “how many”. Three is just about manageable – but two parents and three kids introduces all sorts of interesting situations.3 favorite boy names?I have no idea. Can I cheat, and just write the names of our cats? Sam, George, and Tom ?3 favorite girl names?I’m going to cheat, and go with our daughters – Laura, Natalie, and Katie.

Favourite plant?When I started going out with my other half, she visited my apartment for the first time, and then immediately took me shopping to buy plants. I ended up with several Yucca plants, and a huge Cheese plant, because apparently they are easy to look after. So I’m going to say Cheese plant.

Favorite form of art?I like drawing. Always have done – since I was little. I used to tag along with my Mum while she cleaned for my grandparents, and would often find myself sitting at the dining room table with a few scraps of paper and a pen. It would keep me happy for hours. I eventually went to college and spent the better part of two years drawing people, but since then have hardly done anything. Predictably, when people see me draw anything it draws attention to me – which I don’t really like (particularly now we have the kids, because it makes them feel like shit). I once went to a night class to force me back into drawing, and one of the older, established members looked over my shoulder, and told anybody that would listen that he was going to go home and shoot himself.

In recent years I have grown to adore comic book artwork.

What is your shoe size?12 in UK sizes – so 13 in the USA, and 45 in Europe.

Money or brains?Money. Maybe both. This is difficult. I know a lot of very intelligent people that have either done nothing with their potential, or rely on family funds to survive. I have always valued hard work over intelligence, because people who work hard (and earn the money from working hard) value things more.

What color looks best on you?Umm… you did read what I wrote about personal style, right?What is a weird phase you went through when you were younger?I can’t ever remember being that weird. Maybe the really weird kids don’t realise how weird they are though?Favorite brand of shampoo+conditioner?You can tell this list of questions is really directed at women, can’t you. Back when I had long hair (yes, I had long hair once upon a time), I used to go through gallons of expensive shampoo and conditioner each week. It was a nightmare. These days I just pick up whatever looks vaguely shampoo-like in the shower each morning (remember – zero maintainance hair cut).

Favorite pizza toppings?Chicken, Cheese, Barbecue Sauce, Sausage… I love pizza. It’s the ultimate lazy food. I usually buy it from the supermarket, given that it costs about 75% less than Dominos, and tastes pretty much the same.

Opinions on veganism?I think people should be free to do what they want, within reason – and choosing what you want to eat seems reasonable enough. Personally, I think we have sharp teeth in our head for a reason. We evolved to be omnivorous, so I’m going to eat everything.

Favorite book of all time?Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline. It’s a love letter to pop culture of the 1980s,  and crosses through an awful lot of my most cherished memories. Steven Spielberg is making the movie right now. If you haven’t read it, you really need to.

Favorite actor?Richard Dreyfus knocked it out of the park in Mr Holland’s Opus. Robin Williams did likewise in Good Will Hunting (the “your move sport” speech is wonderful). Ed Harris is great in everything. Ewen MacGregor is brilliant too.

Favorite actress? Kate Winslet. No question. She was unbelievable in Little Children.

Favorite dessert?Who doesn’t love sticky toffee pudding ?Favorite food?Pizza. By quite some distance.

Last text you sent?A message to my other half while in the street at the weekend – I bumped into our middle daughter’s rugby coach, who told me that training might be off at the weekend for her – I told my other half as much (he was right, too).

Last person you called?My other half, last night before leaving the office. I always call home to see if I need to pick anything up on the way from the supermarket. Last night I bought bread, packed lunch stuff for the kids, and cookies. We ate the cookies late last night while binge watching “Mozart in the Jungle”.

What is your favorite place to shop?The second hand video game store. Or maybe the stationary store.

Favorite model?Ummm… if you had asked me this question 20 years ago I would have reeled off the names of all the famous models of the time – Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, and so on. The only model (actually ex-model) I really see photos of these days are Stephanie Seymour – but I guess that’s because I might have looked her up (cough).

What language do you want to learn?Can I be really geeky, and name a computer language? I want to learn “Go”, the language Google invented a few years ago. It’s supposed to be really good. I know. I’ll shut up now.

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