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01/13/2003: 100 things meme

It toook me a ridiculously long time to come up with 100 things about me. It was a fun way not to do anything productive during that time, though.

1. My most irrational fear is that something sharp will poke my eye out. I think about that every time I use a needle. I also hate when an ophthalmologist's instrument touches my eyes.

2. From elementary school until nearly the end of high school I refused to wear jeans. I didn't wear dresses either.

3. Apart from underwear I don't own any specifically "female" piece of clothing, though the trousers and jeans I own are cut for women.

4. I don't travel a lot, even though I like traveling. I don't know many areas of Germany, and outside of Germany I've only been to Prague, Paris, Vienna, Northern England, Scotland, Ireland, Western Canada, and some parts of the United States.

5. While I was in Prague the only Czech I learned was the announcement in the tram before the doors close. I still remember the sound, but I don't know how to write it down.

6. I'm an atheist. I already knew that during my confirmation, though when I started the schooling for it I hadn't been sure yet. Ever since, I've felt bad for lying during that ceremony. It was also the first and last time I received Communion.

7. Yet I still feel comforted in churches, at least in old ones.

8. When I was little I used to imagine that I had just dreamed my life so far, would wake up and could start over.

9. The first and so far only time I was threatened with a knife was in elementary school by a classmate.

10. Though I act non-violent towards other people, I employ violent fantasies as an outlet for my anger. I imagine hitting and beating people in a cartoony fashion. Think "Itchy & Scratchy Show".

11. I continued using a pacifier at night for a long time, only finally stopping that habit when I started school.

12. I used to hit myself when I was really angry as a teenager, and very rarely I still follow the impulse to make myself hurt.

13. Since the final exams in high school (and a bit before that) I have a good luck charm which I bring to any exam or important test. It's a small plastic alchemist smurf, the only of my smurfs I kept. I like it because it's related to both science and comics.

14. Once in elementary school I tried to be "like the others". Starting with the attempt to like the then popular hit songs (even then I had no real interest in music). My attempt lasted less than an hour, then I realized it was a stupid idea and decided to stick with "different."

15. As a kid I wanted to be left-handed, even though I'm not. All attempts to train my left hand failed pitifully.

16. I swore myself to never ride a bicycle again in sixth grade after a disastrous bike tour in school, and I've kept that oath so far, even though I've thought about breaking it. Before that day in sixth grade I enjoyed riding my bike very much. The reason for that oath wasn't any kind of accident or injury, btw.

17. The first time I traveled alone was to a comic convention.

18. I've never tried shoplifting, not even as a kid.

19. I went to a program for mathematically gifted children on weekends since sixth grade. I had hoped to fail the tests to keep my free weekends but I didn't. My dad was thrilled, though. To this day I think the people running the program were morons, their declared goal was not only to show the kids "real math" and not the school stuff any of us knew already (the entry test in 6th grade covered 10th grade math) but also to show that math is not as easy as it seemed. That lead to constant frustration for all but maybe two or three in this group spanning several years, especially later on closer to the end of high school. The majority finished the program at the end of high school convinced that math wasn't right for them after all and chose to study anything but mathematics. I learned to play card games though, since basically most just gave up on the maths problems, that none of us could solve (or make headway in solving, not all of this stuff had known solutions) and played games instead. I'm sure mathematics lost at least some great talents through those people's work.

20. I've been reading and collecting comics since elementary school, maybe even longer.

21. I had an imaginary feudal state for my stuffed animals.

22. I didn't learn to read before school, and at first I wasn't very interested in reading books. I preferred listening to audio tapes with stories.

23. My first computer was an Atari 800XL. It was a Christmas present. My parents said they gave it to me (complete with with video games) because I had only asked for board games and books, and they told me they were sure I'd get on their nerves with just books to occupy me (and whining to get others to play board games with me).

24. The first computer I used was a commodore PET32. I was three or four and played moonlanding and a shoot the rabbit game. Those were still on an ASCII display.

25. The only game console I ever owned was a thing with which you could play pong.

26. I had a computer geek phase as a teenager, I bought books about things like the hardware specs of hard disks, and wrote software for my Atari ST. I never took computer courses in school, firmly convinced I'd be even more bored than in normal classes.

27. The program I'm most proud of was a vocabulary trainer (even with a GUI) that had a lot more functionality than the ones you could buy then. The program was called Luzifer and written in GFA-Basic 3.0. In the end I never used it because typing in the vocabulary was too boring.

28. I wanted to learn an instrument when I was in pre-school. My parents send me to a music class for children where we did silly things (at least they seemed silly to me) like listening and emulating weird sounds and banging on a small xylophone. I was not what I had imagined and I quit soon. To this day I don't play any musical instrument.

29. I tried many handicrafts at least once, though I did a few regularly for a time. With varying degrees of success I did crocheting, knitting, weaving, quilting, patchwork, silk painting...

30. When I renovated my apartment I replaced some of the power lines, sockets and light switches myself. I also connected my kitchen sink, put wallpaper on, painted walls, window frames, radiators and put in a new carpet.

31. Nowadays I'm somewhat confident in my manual skills (see above), however while I grew up (for no reason that is apparent to me when looking back) my parents (and to some extent my siblings) constantly told me I was clumsy, even gave me a nickname to that effect. ("Tüffelchen" a diminutive of "Tüffel" which in the dialect spoken here means a slow, clumsy person, "klutz" I guess comes close - literally it also means potato - the adjective "tüffelig" was also frequently applied to me.)

32. I painted a pillar in my kitchen with an M.C. Escher pattern. I made a mistake with the color scheme in the middle of the pillar, but most people only notice when I point the error out to them.

33. After childhood I've cried in the company of others only twice that I can remember, and one time of that was my mother's funeral.

34. I used to gnaw at the wood of my bed as a kid, well after toddler age too.

35. The first book I remember being read to was "Es war einmal ein Mann" by James Krüss. I loved that book and knew the text by heart.

36. I missed my first school day, because I was infected with scarlet fever. It was doubly frustrating because unlike the neighbor's kid, who had infected me, I wasn't even ill, I was just carrying the disease, and was thus isolated.

37. The only other serious children's disease I had was measles. I didn't get chickenpox, mumps, or whooping cough, even though as usual all of these were around at my kindergarten and school at one time or another as well.

38. When I was little I wanted to be an inventor. I used to look for junk parts in our apartment to built fantasy machines and robots, and was continually disappointed that there weren't many metal scraps.

39. I taught myself to calligraph a number of different Latin alphabets. I also practiced Tolkien's Elvish letters.

40. I've never been Tolkien fan enough to learn any Elvish language though.

41. I know how to assemble complicated straw stars as Christmas ornaments.

42. I've always wanted a hammock (I still do actually), but I don't have walls sturdy enough to hold one, or really enough space.

43. I used to collect stamps with Disney motives.

44. Each time I've tried to watch Alien so far I fell asleep.

45. I once had a comic in a public exhibition as part of a youth project. That is also the only of my comics published in a magazine distributed to regular book and comic stores. I never got the originals back after the exhibition though.

46. My mother told me once that she would have aborted me, if the only doctor she knew to perform (then illegal) abortions hadn't been on a skiing holiday. I wish my mother had never told me that.

47. The most money I've spent at once in a comic shop were about $1200.

48. I weighed only 1505g when I was born.

49. I'm not very interested in music. For example, I don't recognize many songs, not even when they are well known and popular.

50. My parents let me watch horror movies with them when I was a little kid. I used to bury my head in a cushion to cover my eyes during the gruesome parts and asked them whether I could look again already. I loved it, though one movie with a walking mummy hand killing people really creeped me out.

51. The only foreign language I speak fluently is English. I know some French and Spanish. I think I forgot most of the Latin I knew.

52. The book that changed my attitude on reading was "Das Königreich Merletanien". I was eight or nine at the time.

53. Still I'm not a voracious reader.

54. The first book I read in English voluntarily was LOTR. I read it with my German copy next to me though, because it was far easier to look up all the words I didn't know yet in the German translation, than in the dictionary. It didn't help that the bilingual dictionary I used for school at the time didn't contain a lot of the words anyway.

55. The only time I've read something longer by Hemingway was when I was forced to do so in school. It was The Snows of Kilimanjaro and I was bored out of my mind. I also told the English teacher that.

56. I have a deep seated aversion against any declarations of literary canon. I rambled about that at length previously in this blog.

57. The worst experience in my freshman year in college was a walk at night without flashlights through a swampy area. That was during a "get-to-know-each-other" weekend. I was up to the knees in mud, and I wasn't even totally drunk like a lot of the others. But the worst thing was that I hadn't packed a spare pair of shoes (I hadn't expected this lunacy) and had to listen to my mother's smug "I told you so" later.

58. The first time I surfed the WWW was when my sister allowed me to use her computer at the university. I don't remember when that was exactly, maybe 1994, but I was fascinated by the Mosaic browser. My only experience with the Internet before that was newsgroups, where I used to look for infos on comics when I had the chance.

59. I've used the Internet at least semi-regularly since 1995.

60. As a kid I saw on tv how Cola would dissolve meat and remove rust from metal. I decided not to drink Cola from then on, even through previously I used to drink a lot of it. Actually I almost stopped drinking soft drinks entirely. At first my mother didn't believe I would be able to simply stop drinking the stuff, but I still quit without any relapses.

61. We used to have pastries and danishes for breakfast. Because of the healthy living lectures in school I wanted to eat muesli instead. My parents mocked me for eating "bird food." My mother still bought me muesli though.

62. I've been a vegetarian since I was 17, and as far as I'm aware (and I try to check labels and such) I've never lapsed into eating anything made with meat or fish once after I made that decision.

63. My mother acted as if I made this choice just to personally annoy her, but in truth I had been really convinced by the pro-veganism literature my brother had given to me.

64. I don't manage to be consequent enough to eat vegan, even though I believe ethically that it would be the right choice.

65. I was 16 the first time I tried to keep a diary, but my success to write down entries with any semblance of regularity is spotty at best.

66. I am not afraid of dentists, not even treatments like root canals. The dentist I went to as a kid didn't use local anesthesia, so drilling sometimes hurt a lot. I'm not sure whether the reasoning was that the pain would be an incentive to clean your teeth better, but still I like my current dentist's approach that treatment shouldn't hurt much better.

67. The most excruciating tooth ache I had so far was when one of my teeth (it had a filling) broke into two after I bit on a firm piece of whole grain bread.

68. I don't really like the sound of my voice.

69. Still I do volunteer work in a non-commercial community radio, sometimes also talking on air.

70. My best friend in the equivalent of junior high school in the US had her own pony. I never rode on it even though she offered because I was intimidated by horses.

71. I like to cook and bake.

72. I feel that I should go more demonstrations, but I'm a coward and I worry about the water cannons, the armored tanks, the police clubs, being arrested, or hurt. Police in riot gear beating their clubs against their shields are successful in intimidating me.

73. When I was little my sister used to read "John Sinclair" pulp horror novels to me. I loved that.

74. I've never worn any makeup except as part of a costume.

75. I don't have any tattoos or piercings.

76. Shibusashirazu is one of the relatively few music groups I've seen live. I really like them.

77. So far the Feynman lectures are the only physics books that made me laugh while reading them.

78. I use emacs not vi.

79. I forgot most of the programming languages I learned. Mostly because even though I always had fun learning them, I rarely have a true need to write programs myself. Still I know bits of Basic, Pascal, C, Perl, and PHP.

80. I used to have lots of plants. Now I only have one. The others did not die in my care however.

81. The movie that depresses me most is "It's a Wonderful Life".

82. On the walls in my apartment hang four comic themed posters, three framed pieces of original comic artwork, two movie posters, and one collage I made in high school.

83. The magnets on my fridge are mostly Bone motives (the comic, not like bone-shaped or something). But I also have one 3D head of Tigger and one rainbow-colored ribbon magnet.

84. I'm a member of four associations. I'm board member in two of them, in both instances not because I was keen on becoming part of the board, but because too few of the others were willing.

85. So far all my pets have been rodents.

86. My coordination for simultaneous complex movements isn't very good. I think that is the reason I sucked in the Jazz Dance course I had to take in school. (Don't ask, it was the least awful option of the non-team sport part of the sports requirement.)

87. The first fanfiction I've read was TS gen, The Spirit Guide Series by Nightowl. Looking back it's really not a fabulous story, but I recognized from that moment that I would like the concept of fanfic. That was in the spring of 1998.

88. I also wrote my first LoC then, thanking Nightowl for her fabulous site and for introducing me to the world of fanfic.

89. I had been on a Due South list briefly in 1995 (on DSOUTH-L), but I didn't have internet access of my own, and the traffic was too high to handle just with occasional visits to my brother (and his computer), so I left that list quickly.

90. I dislike the taste of ginger. Small quantities in curries and such are okay though.

91. For quite some time I refused to get an answering machine, because I hated to talk to these myself. Now I'm annoyed when people don't have one and can't be reached easily. I take this as further proof of my capabilities for hypocrisy.

92. When I could choose part of the topics I wanted to be quizzed about during my final German oral exam in high school I chose feminist linguistics. I have no idea why not more students tried to choose topics the teachers knew almost nothing about. I was more competent than those who were testing me and it was less work to prepare for than the mandatory part, which of course the teachers knew by heart. (My mandatory topic was Brecht's and Dürrenmatt's theories on drama.)

93. I like to prepare oral presentations on a subject for courses and such. I hate really writing the papers.

94. During college I developed a fear of exams that I never knew in school. I think in part that is because in school I never really had to work for anything. I was mostly bored and could get excellent grades with minimal work. That wasn't a good preparation for college.

95. I rarely drink alcohol. I refused it even during the celebration at the end of high school, when the teachers had drinks with their students.

96. I made my sister an origami Noah's Arc once. To be honest, not so much the Arc as lots of pairs of various animals.

97. As a kid I hung out with my older brother quite a lot. For example he let me stay when he repaired his motorcycle and explained the parts to me.

98. In high school I was offered to skip a grade, but refused. I liked my classmates, also it sounded like a lot of work.

99. I've only cheated once in school. It was in elementary school and IIRC we were supposed to put in "greater than", "lesser than" sign between numbers and equations, but I had forgotten which symbol was great which lesser. I helped others to cheat more often though.

100. I let snails race as a kid. They are faster than one thinks.

Posted by RatC @ 01:01 AM CET
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