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February 6, 2009

Twenty-Five Random Things About You
Posted by Patrick at 01:05 PM *

Rules: Once you’ve been tagged, make up 25 facts, habits, goals, philosophical principles, recipes, shell scripts, sestinas, web comics, stained glass windows, or rotating bow ties. At the end, choose 25 people to “tag,” which is to say, draw on with cans of spray paint. When you have finished your “tags,” “Twitter” the results to your “Facebook” and run away.

1. You’ve been to Alaska twice, but you’ve never visited any state in New England.

2. The sight of potatos with “eyes” creeps you out.

3. Once, on an hours-delayed red-eye flight home, you met the Reverend Jesse Jackson. He was much taller than you expected.

4. When you were small, your uncle worked for the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, causing you to imagine that all the grocery-store products marked “Reg. Penna. Dept. Agric.” had been personally inspected by him.

5. You love hot water, and would conduct your entire professional life from the bath if you could get away with it.

6. In college, your father played the bassoon.

7. Like George Orwell, you can’t stand the smell of cooking cabbage.

8. You’re a smart, thrifty clothing shopper; you love helping friends upgrade their wardrobes. Given everything else about your personality, nobody expects this, but it’s true.

9. Once, while setting up outdoor lights for a lawn party, you and a friend once managed to give yourselves the kind of bruising electric shock that leaves you briefly paralyzed and stunned. You pretended it wasn’t a big deal, but for the rest of the evening, everything you tried to eat or drink promptly came back up. Since the party was being hosted by your boss, you covered. But even before then, you always hated dealing with electrical equipment.

10. For several years, as a child, you were allergic to eggs. Eventually the allergy went completely away; nobody knows why.

11. You like math and you don’t see why anybody finds it hard.

12. Riding a bicyle, now, that’s hard. You have a long, funny riff about this in which you explain that nobody really rides a bicycle and that it’s all actually an optical illusion pulled off with wires and mirrors.

13. You remember when the cartoons in the New Yorker were funny.

14. You carry a smartphone, but as an act of secret rebellion, you turn it off every chance you get.

15. You like moving house, particularly the part about getting rid of old, outdated, no-longer-useful personal effects.

16. You tend to get behind on laundry. Sometimes you wear the same pair of socks two days in a row.

17. You’ll watch anything with Eleanor Bron in it. You own multiple copies, in multiple formats, of Help!, the original Bedazzled, and the 1979 Doctor Who serial “City of Death.”

18. Despite your bad luck with electricity, you’re a pretty good home carpenter.

19. You took piano lessons as in your teens. You got pretty good, but as an adult you don’t own any kind of keyboard instrument and you have no desire to.

20. You’ve been mistakenly arrested for shoplifting—twice. You were completely innocent both times, but you don’t talk about it because people don’t believe you.

21. On the other hand, there’s that much worse crime you got away with scot-free. You don’t talk about that one, either.

22. Patchy hair loss runs in your family, affecting both males and females. You keep thinking you should shave your head before it kicks in.

23. You’re tired of your best friend’s blog.

24. You were an extra in the 1973 Jack Nicholson vehicle The Last Detail.

25. You like airports. One bright morning, you’ll fly away.

[Tagged: Abi Sutherland, Kevin Maroney, Xopher, Elisa Peimer, Linkmeister, Beth Meacham, Neil Gaiman, Robert Rossney, Boris Johnson, Henry Farrell, Paul Krugman, Nouriel Roubini, Stephen Maturin, Mary Dell, Joe Biden, Edmund Wilson, St. John of the Cross, Silvio Berlusconi, Ian M. “Biff” Banks, the guy who yells about 9/11 in Union Square, Mr. Boston, Mr. Clean, Mr. Norrell, Norman Mailer, Maxwell Taylor, that’s the hand I use, well, never mind]

Comments on Twenty-Five Random Things About You:
#1 ::: Raph ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2009, 01:36 PM:

A simple desultory philippic, eh?

#2 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2009, 01:38 PM:

When you were small, your uncle worked for the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, causing you to imagine that all the grocery-store products marked “Reg. Penna. Dept. Agric.” had been personally inspected by him.

i once loved a girl who lived on a moshav (like a kibbutz but less marxist) which grew (still grows) bell peppers for export. whenever i see bell peppers labeled "israel" in grocery produce aisles, i pretend she picked them.

what, this isn't a place for actual random facts about ourselves? sorry.

#3 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2009, 01:45 PM:

No, no, please continue. Don't forget to "tag" your friends! I have spray paint!

#4 ::: Cat Meadors ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2009, 01:50 PM:

Apparently Patrick missed his calling as a horoscope writer. (Four of those are completely true about me, and only four would be entirely out of the realm of possibility.)

#5 ::: Stevey-Boy ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2009, 02:03 PM:

What? A whole hour and Boris Johnson hasn't commented. It's not like he can get out his front door and do something else.

#6 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2009, 02:07 PM:

I'm confused. Are these supposed to be real or fictional? Or both?

#8 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2009, 02:19 PM:

Good lord, that's the first and only time I'll ever be mentioned in the same sentence as most of those august personages, unless somebody says "What's HE doing there?"

#9 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2009, 02:25 PM:

I once sat behind the last human who walked on the Moon.

#10 ::: Bob Rossney ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2009, 02:29 PM:

I suspect this is my fault, since I tagged Patrick in the first place.

#11 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2009, 02:33 PM:

Doesn't the sight of potatoes with eyes creep everyone out? And isn't the world divided into those for whom #5 is true, and those for whom the water would have to be ice cold? I know which side I'm on.

#12 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2009, 02:34 PM:

Well, you and several others. That darn St. John of the Cross! He passes on every silly internet meme.

#13 ::: rm ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2009, 02:37 PM:

Those for whom . . . You mean the zombies? Ice-cold water rehydrates shrunken tissue nicely, but hot water tends to encourage unsightly decomposition.

#14 ::: Ambar ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2009, 02:43 PM:

I'll steal 11, 13, 16, and 21, and add:

I got to sing backup on a friend's studio recording. I adored the experience and am trying to figure out how to get to do more of it.

#15 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2009, 02:55 PM:

A bum tried to set me on fire once. He thought I was his friend, and apologized when he saw I wasn't.

#16 ::: Joshua Farber ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2009, 03:04 PM:

It's not the eyes that bother me. It's the way they follow me around the room. Creepy.

#17 ::: Pat Kight ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2009, 03:08 PM:

I daresay almost everyone who reads this will recognize at least one of those (5, 8, 12, 16, 25 before flying became such a royal PITA) and say, "well, of course. But how did he know?"

It will, of course, become another FaceBook "meme." Bet on it.

#18 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2009, 03:10 PM:

Now, Patrick, I have seen you ride a bicycle. I still have the very bicycle you rode; I was on it this very evening.

(Maybe it doesn't count because you were in a foreign country?)

And yes, I will do one and post it everywhere. EVERYWHERE, I tell you!

#19 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2009, 03:12 PM:

#19, I took accordion lessons in elementary school, and I own a mostly-untried electronic keyboard now. I switched to guitars when I was 17 and still own two, a Hofner acoustic and a Rickenbacker electric.

#22, I'm nearly to the shaved head thing myself, although my mother thinks I should start with getting rid of the mustache before going any further.

#20 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2009, 03:13 PM:

Done, although I think you have to be logged in to FB to see it, so I xposted to my LJ.

I had thus far ignored the taggers, but your version is more fun, and besides, I can't ignore this "" paint all over my pants.

#21 ::: Connie H. ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2009, 03:43 PM:

I find that the eyes that clams have in their lips (hundreds of them, in fact) to be far creepier.

#22 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2009, 03:45 PM:

Wow, # 3 is true, except that it was on the street and it was Ed Koch.

#5: Not with a MacBook, alas. That would be stressful.

#23 ::: sdn ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2009, 03:54 PM:

is this the bright lights, big city version of this meme?

#24 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2009, 04:07 PM:

Brooks (7): Thanks. That clears it up nicely.

(And it's 'Mary Aileen', please. Thank you.)

#25 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2009, 04:23 PM:

I think Serge is a really great guy and I need to reply to an email from him from a month ago but I'm a bad bad bad person who does not deserve his friendship. But I hope to get to it this evening.

There. That's random, and even TRUE.

And I'll take #21 from PNH's list. That might be true too. Or not.

#26 ::: Lois Fundis ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2009, 04:27 PM:

When you were young and your heart was an open book, you used to say, "Live and let live." (You know you did. You know you did. You know you did.)

#27 ::: Lois Fundis ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2009, 04:34 PM:

4. When you were small, your uncle worked for the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, causing you to imagine that all the grocery-store products marked "Reg. Penna. Dept. Agric." had been personally inspected by him.

One of my sisters who lives in Pa. (75% of my sisters do*) used to bake pies at home and sell them through a local convenience store. The Pa. Dept. of Agriculture sent someone to her home to inspect her kitchen! She said they did a very thorough job, too.

*I have four sisters. The other one lives in Kansas. Or to put it another way, my parents had six children, half of whom still live in Pa. (I live in West Virginia and our brother is in Montana, although he's planning to move to Texas.)

#28 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2009, 04:53 PM:

I'll see #11 (but not #12 -- riding a bike is easier than a lot of math!), and raise you this:

I once participated in a really elaborate April Fool's prank. I had to call up a reporter in Tupelo, MS and pretend to be the publicist for a country music singer and give him a hard time about a less-than-glowing review of said singer's concert. My co-conspirator said that the look on his face when she said "April Fool!" was worth every bit of the effort that went into setting it up.

#29 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2009, 05:52 PM:

The funny part is I once had an uncle who was a grocery-store product marked "Reg Penna Dept Agric".

Actually, I don't know if everyone's getting the obscure pun Patrick is making in item #4. "Reg Serdar Dept Argiç" being, of course, the Armenian gov't agency responsible for distributing tinned pork products. Back in the mid-'90s it was involved in a well-known scandal involving turkey.

#30 ::: beth meacham ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2009, 06:37 PM:

Damn! That fluorescent spray paint gets all over everything.

25. You have one degree of separation from the weather underground.

#31 ::: Pamela Dean ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2009, 06:46 PM:

Golly, what have you got on Stephen Maturin? (Other than, apparently, paint.)


#32 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2009, 08:24 PM:

The version I got said "25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you". The first one I wrote was.

I used to get annoyed about people misusing the word random, but I'm just about okay with the colloquial use now.

I seem to have got to 15 things before running out of ideas.

#33 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2009, 08:26 PM:

Actually, only one of those 25 items is true of me. Hint: the same one is also true of Teresa.

Another (and not the same one) is true of Hugo-winning science fiction author Robert Charles Wilson.

#34 ::: kate ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2009, 09:13 PM:

@avram -- Well, and Serdar Argic = Usenet kook, yes? Or... spam related, somehow... oh, wait, that's the joke. Er. Ignore me.

#35 ::: ADM ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2009, 09:37 PM:

Mary Dell's on FB?

#36 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2009, 10:10 PM:

I'm impressed by people who can come up with twenty-five random things about themselves. I'm not sure there even are twenty-five things about me, random or otherwise.

#37 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2009, 10:10 PM:

Avram @#29: "Reg Serdar Dept Argiç" being, of course, the Armenian gov't agency responsible for distributing tinned pork products. Back in the mid-'90s it was involved in a well-known scandal involving turkey.

Another black mark on Turkey-Armenian relations.

#38 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2009, 10:13 PM:

ADM @#35: She is indeed! She wonders if Another Damned Medievalist is on FB.

#39 ::: Mary Lou Klecha ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2009, 11:20 PM:

beth meacham @ 30: I took a class during my last semester of college from the guy who helped start up the weather underground.

I got a C-, probably largely because I failed to turn in the folklore project.

#40 ::: Mary Lou Klecha ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2009, 11:22 PM:

And I fail at formatting links correctly. Weather Undergound.

#41 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2009, 11:38 PM:

It just clicked in my brain tonight that I am one degree of separation from Ken Burns, the Civil War documentary guy. *boggle*

#42 ::: Eileen Gunn ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2009, 12:48 AM:

OMG, PNH, thank you for reminding me about Eleanor Bron. (Does that mean I'm a 17?)

#43 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2009, 01:29 AM:

We could buy fortune cookies in wholesale lots and stimulate the economy, and have everyone tagged do the same. Which begs the question, "Is it a pyramid scheme if nobody gets buried under it?"

#44 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2009, 01:45 AM:

Rather than make everyone try to figure out which of 25 things might be true (and the statute of of limitations is long since expired).:

Rutger Hauer and I were once in cahoots in the commission of a crime.

#45 ::: Stephen ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2009, 04:06 AM:

I know this is out of place in this forum, but:

Does anyone find it strange that these "tags" or "memes" (funny, I remember when they were called "chain letters") are perfectly acceptable in the blogosphere, but were considered to be perpetuated by time-wasting internet vandals back in the days when email ruled supreme for communications?

#46 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2009, 09:29 AM:

Strange? A little. But you go to a blog when you want and can always skip the post and not comment, and it's generally agreed that a blogger can be as trivial and silly as they like (although a sudden change from a long series of serious and weighty posts to trivia is usually frowned on).

Email on the other hand is a letter to you personally that requires concentration and a response. You're being made to look at it and have to deal with it in some way.

In reality they're both unsolicited and silly things that turn up on your screen. But the expectations of what you have to do with it is different.

Me @32 I meant to say last night that this links in with #11. Except that I do understand why people find math hard hard, which is just as well as I've recently started tutoring maths.

#47 ::: Adam Lipkin ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2009, 10:07 AM:

I thought that the McSweeny's take on this meme was good, but this post is nothing short of brilliant.

Also, The Last Detail is a movie that really does belong in everyone's DVD library. As I was 1 at the time it was released, I suspect I was not an extra in it, although I probably wouldn't remember if I was.

#48 ::: Adam Lipkin ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2009, 10:11 AM:

Stephen @45 Not strange at all. Email is intrusive, and junk/meme emails keep me from stuff that requires attention. Blogs (even when using an RSS reader) are not; I have to seek them out, which implies I already have some free time, and one expects there to be something less than a 100% signal-to-noise ration on blogs (given that one person's signal is always another person's noise), so skipping/skimming posts is the norm.

#49 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2009, 10:28 AM:

Stephen @ 45:

A lot of the difference is volition: most of us decide which blogs, if any, to look at, whereas email comes to us. It's easier for someone to decide not to look at a friend or relative's Facebook or LJ page than to delete that person's email unread. Add that a lot of people send most or all of their email with either no subject line, or no informative one ("Hi, Mom" or "Read this" or "News," where the last could be a relative being hospitalized, a comment on government policy, or the sort of thing that turns up in "News of the Weird").

I tend not to read blogs that are entirely or mostly quizzes. That doesn't mean I'll ignore email from the same person, or not answer their comments to my LiveJournal.

#50 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2009, 10:41 AM:

there is one handshake-intermediary between me and Margaret Thatcher.

There are two intermediaries between me and Adolf Hitler, Neil Armstrong, or Mikhail Gorbachev.

And on the Langford diagram, there are two intermediaries between me and William S. Burroughs.

#51 ::: Stephen Maturin ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2009, 04:25 PM:

1. No ho entenc, but I'm quite sure that if I can grasp the concept of a lee shore, I can get the hang of this.

2... God's love, there's a Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris...

#52 ::: rams ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2009, 06:03 PM:

#17 -- Not the movie of Women in Love? She's the Ottoline Morrel character, and a joy.

#53 ::: rams ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2009, 06:15 PM:

And two handshakes between me and Lincoln. But I'm a straight shot to The Yarn Harlot -- bring it.

#54 ::: Suzanne ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2009, 06:25 PM:

When I was a kid, my parents' house was infested with shrews. A few years ago, to my astonishment and delight, I had a small population of treefrogs take up residence in my own house for the winter.

Actually, I've enjoyed the 25 things meme on Facebook because it's told me things about an awful lot of people, most of which had nothing to do with the facts themselves. In particular: who is actually interesting (vs. sadly tedious), and which of my friends are actually capable of counting sequentially from 1 to 25 without skipping or repeating numbers (not all of them, it seems.)

#55 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2009, 06:45 PM:

rams, 53: Are you Our Lady Rams of the Comments? My word.

#56 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2009, 07:42 PM:

Patrick, you clearly missed your calling as an Onion horoscope writer.

(Is it just me that finds it an annoying misuse of the term that people call these things "memes"?)

#57 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2009, 08:23 PM:

(Is it just me that finds it an annoying misuse of the term that people call these things "memes"?)

What annoys me is people saying things like "you must fill it in to keep the meme going" and "I've had to give up spreading the meme" as though because it's a meme you have to keep it "alive". It's a darwinian meme-space; if it won't self-perpetuate just let it go! And you can keep archive copies* so it's not lost.

* Which one day some memepunk kid will stumble upon and cross-breed with the latest conceptual tools out of the philosophical workshops of North Africa to create some kind of world dominating supermeme to which we will be enslaved, and keep opneing books to page 55 while worshipping Rick Astley with chants of "All your base belong to us".

#58 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2009, 09:03 PM:

Okay, I just had the first truly annoying thing pop up on Facebook. Someone on my friendslist joined a group called "The Snowball Experiment" and sent me an invitation. When I read the group page, I was appalled. The stated purpose of the group is "to contact every single person on Facebook," and they want you to join the group and send an invitation to everyone on your friendslist; it's the exact same paradigm as "forward this e-mail to everyone you know," and I refuse to do it! They even had the standard guilt-trip crap about breaking the chain, although not in exactly those words.

I sat there for a minute thinking to myself, I can't be the only person on Facebook who has this reaction to that kind of crap, and then hit Ignore on the invitation. If she asks me about it, I'll explain as politely as I can why I think this is a Really Bad Idea, probably started by a relative newbie.

The 25 Things meme doesn't bother me because I don't have to read them if I don't want to. But this? Was ANNOYING.

#59 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2009, 10:31 PM:

Charlie Stross:

there is one handshake-intermediary between me and Margaret Thatcher.

Based on what I remember of Thatcher's policies as reported over here, I suggest you wash that hand might be catching.

#60 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2009, 05:11 AM:

Bruce @59: I blame it for the eczema that haunted me for years afterwards.

#61 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2009, 05:52 AM:

Charlie, I can't quite match that, but my mother knew Arthur C. Clarke's physics teacher.

#62 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2009, 02:18 PM:

1. You have a number of vivid childhood memories that you know could not possibly have happened the way you remember them.

2. You loved peanut butter as a child, but stopped eating it forever on your 13th birthday, and can't remember why. Nowadays the smell of it makes you feel sick.

3. Several of the women on your mother's side of the family have been to prison.

4. You have a birthmark, hidden by any reasonably modest clothing, in the shape of a spider with one leg missing.

5. Your first pet was a rat named Cunegonda.

6. You bake, but never cook. Ovens hold no mysteries for you, but stoves scare you.

7. You like to wear very formal clothing with raggedy underwear. When you wear jeans, your underwear is always in perfect condition.

8. Sometimes, when you're upset, you draw huge flowcharts that diagram no process you've ever heard of, with notations in a language even you don't know. You do think 'Sr' means "Yes" and 'Mh' means "No," but it could be the other way around.

9. You sometimes smoke, but never when you're alone, only in company.

10. You drink gin & tonics when you go out, but at home only drink wine.

11. Your favorite food is tempeh with Vietnamese fish sauce.

12. You like to watch explosions, but when you hear one but can't see it you get upset.

13. You once wrote an entire sonnet using only the letters in 'My chemistry teacher is smart but not wise.'

14. Oddly enough, you really liked your chemistry teacher.

15. In fourth grade, you came home every day after school and sat inside your closet to read. It got too hot to do that in June, and you never started again the following fall.

16. One time you ate FOUR McDonald's Happy Meals on a dare. You lost them 20 minutes later.

17. Live clowns don't frighten you, but pictures of them do, even the same ones.

18. You once told your parents you wanted to be a Roman Catholic Priest, but you grew out of it, to their immense relief.

19. When you were nine you had the names of all the major dinosaurs memorized. You've forgotten most of them now, however.

20. Your half of the class brushed with Crest.

21. You spent your 18th birthday alone at the amusement park, riding the roller coaster over and over. When you got home, you had dozens of messages on your vmail wishing you happy birthday and asking where the heck you'd been all day. The next day your friends threw you a surprise party.

22. Your favorite flower is Jack-in-the-Pulpit.

23. You've never told anyone what happened that night in the Yearbook office. The other person who was there has always acted like they didn't remember it, which is fine with you.

24. One chilly November night, you stood on a hilltop near where you lived, and said the word 'furnace' over and over. When you went home you couldn't remember what it meant, though fortunately you remembered again in the morning.

25. You once found one of those cheap "good luck" tokens, printed with the words 'OR TO BE BE NOT'. You still have it.

#63 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2009, 02:55 PM:

In case you also want to read McSweeney's take on these lists after seeing Adam Lipkin mention it at #47, here's the link: Rod Blagojevich Writes 25 Things About Himself on Facebook.
I agree that there's a difference in a "chain" in email versus blogs. I hate it when people email me chain letters, yet I've really enjoyed reading these lists, in both LJ and FB. Part of it is that email chains usually require you to expose one friend's email to another, which I'm not going to do. When I posted my list, I also changed the boilerplate at the top to say that if you're tagged, don't consider this any sort of requirement to actually post something.

#64 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2009, 02:57 PM:

Oh, and when I talked about how I've enjoyed these lists in #63, I in no way meant to imply that they shouldn't be mocked! I'm enjoying this thread very much.

#65 ::: Orange Blossom ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2009, 05:13 PM:

Whr's th n tht sys, " stnd n hgh nd thrw dwn lghtnng blts t ths mrtls wh dsgr wth m r my fvrt nhbtnts f Mkng Lght"


#66 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2009, 05:33 PM:

Lee @ 58, I have a general policy of ignoring all Facebook applications regardless of what they are. I just do not see a point. I recommend this policy to one and all; it makes my Facebook life a lot easier. (Since we're Facebook friends, if you ever do invite me to an application and I ignore it, it is nothing personal.)

janetl @ 63-64, I've quite liked most of the lists of 25 from my friends too, and also like this thread. I think it's because in both cases, people have done interesting things with it.

#67 ::: Xopher sees no reason why "Orange Blossom" should keep its vowels ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2009, 06:17 PM:

First-time commenter; rude as hell; should be sent there.

#68 ::: Xopher clarifies ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2009, 06:36 PM:

I mean the comment should be sent there, of course...not pronouncing eternal damnation for trolling Making Light!

#69 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2009, 07:19 PM:

12. You like to watch explosions, but when you hear one but can't see it you get upset.

I have that one.

As it happens, I know the reason; a chemical plant had an explosion a mile or so away when I was less than a year old and slammed shut a door with windows in. Slamming this door was something my parents had agreed not to do (as they were concerned that the glass might break or fall out or something) but the door was regularly slammed anyway. The mysterious slamming of the door casued an argument between my parents, which upset me, which caused a greater argument until they noticed the plume of smoke coming up from behind the row of houses behind.

Later the IRA blew up the bottlebank next to the cemetery, half a mile from the flat I was living in, which rattled the windows and caused my flatmates to be late home as the police blocked off all the streets in that direction; they were late coming from that direction and a bomb had gone off - we were somewhat concerned. But I think it's the one when I was 1 rather than when I was 20 that effected me more.

(My Dad only has one eye, as he lost one to a firework as a child; as a result of his example I'm perfectly happy to enjoy firewoks, but from a safe distance, which tends to be about twice as far from where they're being set off as most of the people watching)

#70 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2009, 09:24 PM:

Sometimes you wear the same pair of socks two days in a row.

Only two days? That's nothing!


A friend of mine has a "laundry dress," which is always the last piece of clean clothing left in his closet, and, thus, it is what he wears when does laundry. I have to admire the efficacy of this system, though I don't find it personally workable.

#71 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2009, 09:59 PM:

Xopher, #67, first-time name, if not commenter.

#72 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2009, 11:12 PM:

Caroline, #66: I poked at a couple, and didn't like the results I got. (AKA I hit one of those "click anywhere on the message box and it installs" virus things, which fortunately I was paranoid enough to recognize even though it was using a different message than the usual one.) At this point, I'm in 100% agreement with you -- Facebook apps are, if not actively evil, at the very least to be avoided.

#73 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2009, 11:15 PM:

Um, just to make it clear -- what my friend sent me wasn't an app, it was an invitation to join a Facebook group. Not the same thing, and group pages appear to be harmless. It was the idea behind this particular group that pissed me off.

#74 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2009, 02:59 AM:

Charlie Stross@50: I think you mean Langdon rather than Langford?

#75 ::: Cat Meadors ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2009, 09:13 AM:

I like reading people's 25 things lists as well; maybe my friends are just more interesting than the friends of EVERY SINGLE Life/Arts/Style commentator in every newspaper in the country who's decided to do a piece on how terrible the phenomenon is in the last week.

(Hm, or maybe all their friends are other newspaper writers, and there's a secret "If you've been tagged, write a feature for your paper about how stupid and annoying the 25 things list is for your outlet! Bonus points if you're syndicated!" thing going around. I do think most of the articles are pretty funny, but am a little perplexed by there being so very many of them all of a sudden.)

Re: the snowball thing - meh. I've got a facebook friend who sends me 3-4 invitations to various bits of crap (causes/groups/apps) every day, and I've learned that hitting "ignore" really isn't a problem. I guess I can see where they're coming from - not interesting to me, but the whole interconnectedness idea is interesting in a human sort of way, and I can see being taken by the idea of everyone on FB being part of some larger brotherhood of... something, I dunno, lost the thread, but still. I'd just ignore them.

Oh, and if it gets annoying, you can block all invitations from a particular user, and for apps, you can set it to ignore all invitations, or permanently block a particular app. I dunno if you can do the same with groups, but it might be worth looking into. (I don't use most of these features, because... well, the multi-thing sender is one of those people we all try to keep an eye on so we can alert one of her local friends if necessary.)

Hm, maybe that's part of why chain letters are more annoying in email than on something like FB - the idea of FB is that it's supposed to be social networking in a group way, and this is a way groups of people have of being social with each other, like doing Cosmo quizzes at slumber parties when you're 14. If you've come to the party, there's an implication that you're going to participate in the activities. Email is more like someone calling you on the phone and requesting that you take a Cosmo quiz, and... well, who does that?

#76 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2009, 12:48 PM:

Btw, only one of the things on my list is true of me. Several others are partially true (like I have a cheapass good-luck token I got years ago, but that's not what it says and I didn't just find it on the ground).

Am I the only one who thought we were supposed to make up our own lists, in response to being spraypainted by Patrick? (That St. John of the Cross isn't very cooperative on his best day, so I didn't expect it from him.)

#77 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2009, 04:09 PM:

Mary Dell @20: Done, although I think you have to be logged in to FB to see it, so I xposted to my LJ.

This would then be the xpost factoids we've all heard about?

#78 ::: spoonfork ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2009, 04:45 PM:

(creeping out of lurkdom)

Hey! I used to play the bassoon! What a small world, and how few opportunities in it share that information . . .

But that's probably just as well . . .

(creeping back into the shadows)

#79 ::: spoonfork ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2009, 04:46 PM:

(delurking again)

#78: TO share. Drat.

#80 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2009, 04:51 PM:

Connie H. @#21:

I find that the eyes that clams have in their lips (hundreds of them, in fact) to be far creepier.

And now so do I.

"You never close your eyes anymore when I kiss your lips..."

#81 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2009, 09:04 PM:

Mary Dell, #80: I SO did not need that mental image! (Nor the earworm, for that matter...)

#82 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2009, 12:16 AM:

spoonfork, #78, I played bassoon, too, but secondary to oboe & English horn.

Xopher, I haven't had a lot of time lately, so I'm not doing any of these meme thingies.

#83 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2009, 09:21 AM:

spoonfork @ #79:

I notice that you didn't specify, the second time, that you were returning to lurkerdom. Does that mean you're going to hang around for a while?

What's your position on puns?

#84 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2009, 10:53 AM:

Yeah spoonfork, stick around. Making a minor error on your very first post means you're, like, DESTINED to be a regular poster!

#85 ::: spoonfork ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2009, 11:09 AM:

Secondary?? No, really I'm impressed, Marilee--my ombechure was never right for the higher double reeds--made my ears pop. But I could play a mean contrabassoon once upon a time . . . though that's pretty much the only way it can be played.

Paul, I was going to wait to see if I was slapped down for trying to play with the clever people, first.

My usual position on puns is in the corner, rocking gently with my fingers in my ears, but that's just applause to the little buggers, isn't it?

#86 ::: spoonfork ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2009, 12:26 PM:


Thanks, Xopher--minor mistakes are my specialty.

I just hope I won't display my innate (yet over-practiced) talent for hopping on one foot with the other lodged firmly in my mouth. Great at parties, bad for commenting.

#87 ::: Fishwood Loach ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2009, 01:40 PM:

I used to play bassoon also, and briefly, oboe.

I quit, believe it or not, when the youth orchestra I had been in for 2 years had so many *talented bassoonists try out in my 3rd year that it was clear if I got a seat at all it would be out of pity.

Rare that any ensemble has an excess of bassoons.

I had a t-shirt with a picture of a baboon playing bassoon, with bananas raining from the sky.

I still like the *idea* of being a bassoon player, enough that if a really cheap bassoon more or less fell into my lap I would start taking lessons again.

*much more talented than I was! I liked to joke that both the oboe and bassoon, well played, sound amazing, but as I played them, the oboe sounded like a goose being strangled, and the bassoon, a cow.

#88 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2009, 03:51 PM:

Hey, it takes talent to strangle a cow.

Re: Eleanor Bron--my children hit a wall of disbelief, when they were small, trying to compass the fact that Ahme from Help was the same person as Miss Minchin from the Cuaron version of A Little Princess, only, thirty years removed. I think it bothered them more than seeing pictures of me when I was young.

#89 ::: spoonfork ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2009, 04:02 PM:

I was in a bassoon ensemble in college. There were eight of us (as I remember), and we would play the Peter Gunn and Hitchcock themes, the Sorceror's Apprentice, various cello arrangements, etc. at faculty functions.
I wish Apocolyptica had been around back then to give us inspiration--we would have rocked

My Heckel is still stashed in a relatively safe place, but so far the idea of playing again is more attractive than the action. T this point, it's more a fantasy of being at the symphony and having someone ask if there's a bassoonist in the house. "Why, yes! I'm a bassoonist!"

Mom called my early playing the Attack of the Lovesick Moose, which I thought was kind of harsh considering she made me switch over from the flute in the first place. . .

#90 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2009, 04:15 PM:

My brother also switched from flute to bassoon, via oboe. When he was learning the oboe, he discovered that, if played just wrong, it sounds exactly like bagpipes, only quieter.

He was much fonder of this discovery than I was.

#91 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2009, 04:36 PM:

spoonfork @ 86:

Really, don't worry about it. We've all screwed the pooch here now and again. I have a habit of getting excited, sticking my foot in my mouth, and pulling the trigger.

#92 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2009, 04:48 PM:

#91: You did this while screwing the pooch?

Have you thought about a circus act?

#93 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2009, 04:56 PM:

Stefan: It's called... the GOP!

#94 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2009, 06:38 PM:

There was once a Peanuts strip which had Charlie Brown saying something like "I feel like such a bassoon," and Linus gently responding "That's buffoon, Charlie Brown."

#95 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2009, 06:47 PM:

Mary Aileen @ 90... My brother also switched from flute to bassoon, via oboe

Did you know that the French word for 'oboe' is 'hautbois', which is pronounced 'obwa', and translates back into English as 'high wood'?

#96 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2009, 08:44 PM:

Serge (95): I do now! Dido Twite's* father plays a 'hautboy', which I eventually figured out was the same thing as an oboe.

*Joan Aiken, Black Hearts in Battersea, and following

#97 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2009, 08:47 PM:

Mary Aileen @ 96... Glad I could be of service, Ma'am!

#98 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2009, 10:36 PM:

I was a musician at a young age and learned to play all orchestral instruments, but I started on clarinet. When we were transferred to the Pentagon and it became clear to the former Marine Band Director that I was going to be first chair clarinet*, he handed me an oboe and told me it fingered like the top half of the clarinet. That's where I started picking up instruments, but I made All State Orchestra honors with oboe and English horn. And yes, Serge, I also know that English horn is actually cor d'anglais.

*I think he couldn't stand the idea of a girl as first chair.

#99 ::: John Dallman ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2009, 08:04 AM:

Meme automation:

BBspot has this one covered.

#100 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2009, 11:01 AM:

And 'bassoon' is 'fagotte' in Italian, presumably because it looks like a bundle of sticks.

Interestingly, a friend told me (one fall in high school) that while he was away at summer music camp two of the bassoonists, both male, were caught in bed together when they should have been at rehearsal. They were sent home in disgrace (this was the 1970s), and I never met them, but I bet I could almost write their intial flirtation.

#101 ::: spoonfork ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2009, 11:20 AM:


Yes. And wasn't it just a treat (In the mid to late 'eighties) to have the student assistant call out the score parts for a Vivaldi arrangement in high school band? Loudly? Without translating? One could only roll one's eyes in red-faced dignity and hope that the Lord of the Trombonists back there would choke on his own glee.

Ahem . . sorry . . . flashback . . .

#102 ::: Fishwood Loach ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2009, 11:22 AM:

Oddly, I also started on flute and transitioned to bassoon via oboe.

@88 Marilee: It may take talent to strangle a cow, but it's easy to make a bassoon sound like a strangling cow.

The most difficult music I ever played on the bassoon was supposed to sound like a coyote. Unfortunately, it was a solo with literally the entire rest of the orchestra silent. (the opening line of Copland's "Billy the Kid")

#103 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2009, 07:01 AM:

The bassoon was number two on my childhood list of "coolest instruments ever" (cymbals were number one). Unfortunately, my parents' list of "musical instruments our children will play" had one entry: piano. That said, I'm glad they made me take piano lessons, if only because I learned to read music.

Going back to "25 random things", I enjoy reading them too, especially when they're written by people I haven't spoken to in a while.

There's a "secret names" list going around on Facebook that I find more worrying, as it looks like a deliberate data-mining thing. The note asks you to generate your "Jedi name" and "spy name" and whatnot using your middle name, mother's maiden name, first pet's name, the name of the street where you lived as a kid.

Is it just me, or do these look suspiciously like the answers to the preset "secret questions" for password retrieval on plenty of sites?

#104 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2009, 10:40 AM:

Pendrift @ 103:

It does look suspiciously like that. However, some of the original Star Wars/Jedi name recipes often also used things like part of your mother's maiden name and your hometown.

The fact that this one hits pretty much all the common ones, though, makes me wary.

#105 ::: Sarah S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2009, 11:17 AM:

Stefan Jones @92

There already is one. It's called The Aristocrats.

#106 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2009, 11:19 AM:


I'm familiar with the old secret-name recipes. They don't have me on my guard - evildoers can't really do much with the first three letters of the name of the neighbor's dog.

This one builds up, though - from the first letter, to the first three letters, to the full name spelled backwards. Ditto for pet names and residences. (It starts out with the hometown then moves on to the street where you lived, where the pavement tended to be wobbly under your lover's feet.) Social engineering much?

#107 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2009, 11:24 AM:

Pendrift, #103: I hadn't thought about that, but it's true -- someone who answered all those questions would be giving a lot of information that's likely to be in use elsewhere. Even if it's not deliberate data-mining, that's probably a bad idea.

#108 ::: arkizzle ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2009, 09:07 PM:

"14. You carry a smartphone, but as an act of secret rebellion, you turn it off every chance you get."

I know this guy!

#109 ::: peri lyons ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2009, 12:03 AM:

One wonders, "when did I write this?" Why?...well, gosh-
I worship Eleanor Bron, especially the "happy Darling?" sketch from "A Poke In The Eye With Sharp Stick"; I did, in fact, have the exact "escape from near death re: electric shock and subsequent involuntary bulimia" episode; I may or may not about to become[tagged late write] Norman Mailer's daughter-in-law (the odd are fairly good right now, as I seem to have become engaged to his youngest son by a process involving equal parts infatuation and entropy); I am attempting to overcome a near-crippling partiality to [tagged writer] Mr. Gaiman, and,frankly, not succeeding that all well; and all in all?.. congratulations on a brilliant post. -next time ou annex m life for a facebook post, please send money and/or compensation beforehand, Thanks!

#110 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2009, 05:05 AM:

Count yourself lucky your life has been posted on Making Light, peri lyons. My life has been parodied by The Onion several times, most notably here. Parody is protected speech so do I see one thin dime? No I do not.

#111 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2009, 07:34 PM:

Bruce Cohen at #43:
I momentarily misread that as using fortune cookies to simulate the economy. I was imagining that reading lots of cookie fortunes as a way of making economic predictions was what you were suggesting here.

#112 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2009, 08:58 PM:

Erik Nelson @ 111

Why not? Using fortune cookies just has to be more accurate than using economists.

#113 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2009, 10:26 AM:

The fortune cookies we get at our local place always include lottery numbers. I presume that if you won, you'd be able to be a one-person stimulus package.

#115 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2009, 10:57 AM:

You'd still be a 110-person stimulus package. *And* spread across multiple states.

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