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Saturday, February 14, 2009
Scourge of Facebook: 25 Random Things
On Facebook, there's a thing going around where instead of filling out a questionnaire form with your preferences (that's SO MySpace), you just write 25 random things about yourself.
I like the free-form nature, but I resisted it as long as I could when I got the sense that people were getting really annoyed being tagged by their friends.
But every 25-list I've read from friends has been completely fascinating and awesome. So I could resist it no longer. Here's what I wrote on Facebook:
25 Random Things. Late to the party, but brought extra chips
Yes, I gave in. It's the one night this week I don't have something to write, edit, watch or play. Everyone in the house is asleep and I'm not tired. So, inspired by my friends who have posted truly surprising and cool things, here's 25 unique/random/weird things about me that you probably don't already know:
1. While in high school at a Dept. of Defense American school in Germany, I got in the worst trouble I've ever gotten for participating in an underground newspaper with two good friends (Hi, Karl! Hi, Nate!). We almost got sued and it was the maddest I think my parents have ever been with me. The upshot was the story of it helped me get a journalism scholarship in college.
2. Besides the obvious (proposing, choosing to have a baby), the five decisions that had the most impact on my future were: choosing to go to OU for college; asking the owners of Television Without Pity (then "MightyBigTV") to let me write for them; buying my first house when I wasn't sure I could afford it; accepting an internship in Austin; writing my first short story when I was 13.
3. I've never gotten or wanted a tattoo, but I had to have one now, the only thing I'd think to get is something with my daughter's name.
4. I will spend several times more energy researching a tech purchase (TV, laptop, etc..) than a car or even a house purchase.
5. For probably the first 16-18 years of my life, I thought Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead was from my dad's hometown. My dad's hometown was not anywhere near California. Turns out he just knew a dude growing up named Jerry Garcia. Except this guy didn't get ice cream named after him.
6. I had definite plans to have my first novel published by the time I was 17. When that didn't work out, I think I sort of put the idea aside for good, subconsciously.
7. I did have a literary agent and a contract and everything when I was around 23, referred to me by an older woman I briefly dated. I started two novels and just ran out of steam and got distracted. My fault, completely. It's been seven or eight years since I've spoken to that agent or looked at that contract.
8. Funniest thing that's happened so far on my NPR/All Things Considered gigs: Michele Norris told me, over the headphones I was wearing and an ISDN connection, that she noticed in the script my initials were "O.G." "You're like the Original Gangsta," she told me. You kind of had to hear it with her distinct voice.
9. Celebrities I interviewed in college: Ice-T, Barry Williams from "Brady Bunch," Robert Bork. Bork and I had surprisingly little to talk about.
10. The famous civil liberties attorney William Kunstler let me interview him in advance of an OU appearance. The front-page headline referred to him as a "D.A." (which does NOT stand for "defense attorney.") He joked about the slight in his speech and later autographed the article, "Omar, how could you do this to me?" Later, he let me interview him for a flag burning article for The Tulsa World when I was an intern there. It impressed my editors. I was sad to hear about his passing because he was so kind to me and generous with his time.
11. I once suggested in an editor's meeting at my college paper that we send a photographer to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. My editor friends have never let me forget that one.
12. At one point, my wife and I had simply decided we weren't having kids. It was a very logical and firm decision that we later changed our minds about. I can't imagine life without Lilly now.
13. I rarely write about my wife online. It's not that I don't want to write about her. Early in our dating, she was very freaked out by the idea that I kept an online journal and that I might write about her and she told me to just leave her out of it. The years since have not softened her views about online oversharing.
14. My first car was an '82 Buick Skylark (beige) that I paid $1,500 for. It was comically large, but had a roomy front seat. (Just one big seat.)
15. I often believe that I'm the hardest-working lazy person I know.
16. Facebook, for all its faults and ridiculousness, has online-reunited me with some very special people that I thought I had lost contact with for good. So it's can't be all bad.
17. I do not believe I'd have ever made a good visual artist, but I do believe I had some real musical talent I never explored. I was tops in my middle school violin class until I got bored and distracted.
18. I am loyal to jobs and gigs almost to a fault. I've worked on projects and in groups for years longer than I should have because I didn't know how to say no or to disengage.
19. Flying to Toronto to see Radiohead back in 2000 was one of the best money-spending decisions I've ever made. So was seeing Bjork in a concert hall in Chicago in 2001.
20. I was one of two National Merit Scholars in my high school class. The other went on to Stanford and has had a great career in sports broadcasting. We still keep in touch.
21. Besides laptops, the only new desktop computer I've ever bought myself was with college scholarship money, freshman year (and was itself cobbled together for me at a local computer shop, a 486 machine). I've been continually upgrading that same computer in some form or fashion for the last 15 1/2 years.
22. As I get older, I get increasingly impatient with people who don't have their shit together. When I turned 30, I started freaking out about how disorganized my life was. The whole "Getting Things Done" system really did change my life for the better and hit me at just the right time. I wish I'd had that book five years sooner.
23. My favorite comedians seem to be the ones that other people hate with a passion or don't think are that funny. I wish I could explain why I admire Norm McDonald, Gilbert Gottfried and Eugene Mirman as much as I do.
24. I once spent $1,000 (when I was too broke to be spending that kind of money) on a dating service. It was the WORST money I've ever spent and I've spent some pretty bad money. I was lonely and sad and lacking confidence at the time. Not that there's anything wrong with dating services. At least the ones that aren't completely worthless like this one was. It just made me feel worse about myself.
25. I flew a blimp once. True story. I've got pictures to prove it:
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Employee venting; worst Smallville ever
The segment for NPR this week was a subject I was already pretty familiar with from having done a Statesman story in December -- it was about places on the Web where employees vent, usually anonymously, about their jobs.
It went pretty well, I thought given the segment ended up a little short and a reported piece that was supposed to be paired with it fell through at the last minute.
My last Smallville TWOP recap for a few weeks was the supposed last appearance of Lana Lang and, oh yeah, the worst episode I've ever recapped in eight seasons. I ended up knocking out about 9,000 words, which generally only happens when there's a lot to complain about. It really was a terrible hour of TV.
Love Is A Many Squandered Thing -- Lana's ruination of Smallville is finally complete: she gets to ride off toward the sunset with her new superpowers while Clark is left to mope about the girl who got away for the rest of his life after Lana becomes a walking piece of Kryptonite. Oliver kills Lex, or a weak facsimile thereof. And somehow, eight seasons in, this manages to be the worst episode ever of the show.
Edited to add: The recap has been Dugg.
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