8 Random Things About Me


I have been auto-tagged by Matt over at Matt-Speak with a Meme called "8 Random Things About Me". Actually, Matt was tagged, but he hasn't tagged anyone in return because he doesn't believe he knows enough bloggers to tag yet, so I'm auto-tagging myself to help Matt out a bit! ;-) For someone knew to Memes and tagging, Matt has an awesome philosophy. Matt says:
This is my first tag so I will do my best to uphold the tradition with honor, or in this case, with humility since I have to talk about myself. But how in the world do you decide which eight things about yourself, after spending a lifetime developing these characteristics, to list in such an exercise? I suppose they should be things that you would want other people to know about you, things that most closely describe the person you have become, and why. But, then, which things you decide to list will help people who do not know you well form their perception of you, so do you list eight funny things, or eight intellectual things, or a mixture of the two? I suppose our personalities are made up of many different character traits, so perhaps a hodgepodge of items would do the most to describe one's self to an unknowing audience.
I think Matt's a pretty smart guy, don't you?
Here are the rules:

* Each player starts with 8 random facts/habits about themselves.
* People who are tagged, write a blog post about their own 8 random things, and post these rules.
* At the end of your post you need to tag 8 people and include their names.
* Don’t forget to leave them a comment and tell them they’ve been tagged, and to read your blog post.
* Go ahead and follow the rules if you want to, I normally don't perpetuate tags. But please, feel free to auto-tag yourself if this is something you'd like to post about.


  1. I love whitewater rafting. They say that if you choose a job you love, you'll never work a day in your life. Actually, that was "Aristotle" who said that, not "They." Who is "they" anyway? I don't know. No matter. Anyway, I've had a lot of jobs: I worked in a public library for 17 years, I coached high school debate, I was a General Manager of a 21 screen mega-plex as well as Ryan's and a senior manager in several other restaurant concepts, most recently Applebee's. But when I had the chance to go to work for a rafting company, it was a like a dream come true. Reasonable hours, great play, physical exercise in the course of a day's work, travel opportunities, and all the stress of a fast-paced life and an hour-long commute one way melted away here in the mountains of western North Carolina.

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  3. I absolutely, wholeheartedly, and unabashedly love ABBA! ABBA is the greatest thing that happened to music since The Beatles. I can fill a whole year's worth of posts about ABBA if I wanted to, but to spare you, I won't. But did you know that the 7th highest grossing movie of 1977 (Star Wars was the highest) was ABBA: The Movie which documented their 1977 concert tour in Australia? I bet you didn't, because until recently the movie had never been released in the United States. That's right, #7 in the world without US Ticket Sales. Pretty impressive. There are many reasons why I love ABBA, but mostly it's because when I was a kid growing up in the '70s, my parents divorced. It was ugly. That's when I retreated in music. More than anything else, ABBA's song Knowing Me, Knowing You which came out at the time my parent's divorce was taking place in 1977, was a 4 minute and 2 second encapsulation of what was happening in my life.
    It's no coincidence that Fleetwood Mac's Rumours and ABBA's The Album thus became the first two albums I ever bought. Twenty-one years later, this paid off big time because when my brother Paul went to see Mamma Mia! with his wife April in Chicago, Paul realized that he knew all the words to the songs. Ah ha!

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  5. Baskin Robbins Mint Chocolate Chip is my favorite ice cream. Goes back to weekly one hour summer night outings with my brothers and Grandparents just to get ice cream. In metro-Detroit, it was Baskin Robbins. In Charlevoix, it was Dairy Queen.

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  7. I have never broken a bone in my body, and it's my mother's fault. I was a very picky eater when I was a kid. Mom used to make horrible food like stuffed tomatoes with couscous, salads with taboulli, casseroles with mushrooms in it, and all other dishes with peas in a white sauce and broccoli. Blechh! (I love all this stuff now by the way, except the mushrooms.) So for dinner, I would eat these gaint bowls of cereal with lots of calcium-rich milk. Consequently, my bones became really strong. And this sucked! Two years ago I was playing softball and fell on my shoulder. I separated it. 3rd Degree. Pretty darn bad. The irony is, I could have just as easily broken my collar bone, and if I had, it would have hurt more and took longer to heal, but when bones break, they heal back even stronger than they were prior to the break, or so "they" say. But because of all the cereal I ate growing up, with milk, my collar bone was just way too strong. It wouldn't give, so my shoulder ligaments had to. 3rd Degree Separation--much worse than the separations you hear about football players getting. Theirs are usually minor 1st degree ones that heal back just fine. I've got a permanent bump now on my left shoulder, I can't do push-ups or dips or lift a lot of weight over my head. But I've never broken a bone!

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  9. I was in a rollover car accident on a lonely Alaskan Highway in the middle of January at 6 am when it was 35 below zero outside. (The above photo shows the skidmarks on the highway and the tracks in the snow my rental car made as I left the road and knew I was about to die--but contrary to what "they" say, I never saw my life pass before my eyes.) Didn't get a scratch. The site of the accident was two miles away from the ONLY towing facility on the entire 300+ mile highway between Fairbanks and Anchorage. And less than 60 seconds after the accident, an off-duty police officer (James Brown--real name, I'm not kidding) from the University of Alaska Fairbanks pulled right over besides me to make sure I was okay, helped me, drove me to the next town to get to a phone because the guy at the towing facility wasn't there (he was at home in bed asleep--go figure), then he drove me back to the towing facility where AJ took over. Trust me on this, James Brown wasn't the only angel watching over me that day.

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  11. I like to go to movies alone. No, it's true. As much as I enjoy dates, and the company of others, the fact is, when you go to a movie with your friends, your mother, your father, your grandmother, your date, whatever, you have to compromise and be badgered. There's the incessant talking, there's the "I don't want to sit that close, let's go to the back row" from your father, there's the "I don't want to sit in the back row, let's move closer" from your date, there's the falling asleep of your mother or grandmother, there's the "Oh, would you go get me a drink," halfway through the movie right in the critical scene and you have to get up and not only miss the scene, but disturb everyone else getting in and out of your seat because you're sitting in the middle of the row, etc, etc, etc....

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  13. Whenever I go out to eat I ask for a glass of water with TONS of lemon. And I mean TONS. If a server brings back one puny wedge attached to my glass after I asked for TONS of lemon, like the server NOT PAYING ATTENTION at the Cracker Barrell yesterday morning, the server has lost half of his or her tip right there because I know that no matter what, this server just doesn't get it and my dining experience is in jeopardy. I like lemon. I like just a little bit of water with my lemon-flavored citric acid. It's not that I need the Vitamin C to ward off scurvy or anything dramatic like that, but that's the way it is. It's genetic. My brothers take a ton of lemon in their water and iced tea as well. I eat lemons straight. Don't try and play a prank on us by putting some kind of sour tasting substance in our food, it's not worth your time. We'd never notice it.

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  15. Finally, I'm a Sagittarius with a Scorpio Ascendant. Do you know what that means? "THEY" say that the Ascendant--the constellation that is on the horizon at the time of your birth is just as influential in your personality as your sun sign--or the constellation that the sun is in when you are born. Sagitarians are the nicest, most easy going people around and Scorpios have a sharp tongue and know how to use it and Sagitarians have no tact and say what they mean. What do you think that means for me? Sagittarius is a FIRE sign. Scorpio is a WATER sign. Fire and Water extinguish each other for God's sake! It's like Jekyl and Hyde. I'm an internal contradiction.

    Fortunately, I'm very passionate (FIRE) about WATER (whitewater rafting.) But I'm telling you, on any given day, you never know what's going to come out of my mouth, the friendly Jovial Sagittarian words, or the bitter, sour-lemon acidic and acerbic words of the Scorpio. I'm telling you, life with me is never boring.

Thanks for reading.

Oh, and I love Giant Sequoias! The first picture in this post is me in front of the largest living thing on earth, the General Sherman Giant Sequoia Tree in Sequoia National Park.

Thanks for reading even more.

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tashabud said...

A very interesting read. Would it be nice if for some reason, the waitresses or waiters in your favorite restaurants could read your post? They'll know for sure to serve you lots of lemons on your next visits to their dining establishments.

Sorry to hear of your parents' divorce. It sounds like you're still deeply affected by it. 1977. Yes, this is also a monumental year for me, for a different reason. This is the year my husband and I got married. We celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary last year by going to Las Vegas to see the show Mama Mia. You could say we're pretty nuts about ABBA, too.

May 19, 2008 9:39 AM
Ladynred said...

It's nice to know something about you. I love the ABBA and the Titanic too
Cooking and Baking

May 19, 2008 5:29 PM
Matt said...

Matt - pretty interesting read. I'm glad you auto-tagged yourself. I started to tag you and a couple of others but I wasn't sure if I didn't tag all 8 if I should tag any. Anyway, I have also stood, staring up in awe at the General Sherman. That thing is awesome, as is the entire Sequoia National Forest. One of my favorite places in the world, along with The Saguaro National Park in Arizona. Though not as impressive as the Sequoias, the Saguaros are incredible in their own right. Ever been there?

I must say we have different musical tastes (well, I don't know all of your musical tastes) but I am all over the board with music. I grew up on Journey and all those great seventies rock bands, but I love old sixties hits, and I ADORE Motown music and am even a big country music fan, among others. I can't say I was ever an ABBA fan, but I sure had a major-league crush on Stevie Nicks growing up.

Oh, and I understand your points about going to the movies alone, but I refuse to go to the movies alone. I won't go no matter how bad I want to see a movie if I can't find anyone to go.

Anyway, great post. I hope others will auto-tag themselves so we can learn about them, as well. Talk to you soon.

May 19, 2008 10:31 PM
Matthew S. Urdan said...

All, thanks for stopping by to read this rather long-winded post and to find out more about the "inner-me"!

Tasha, yeah, I wish servers everywhere could read the guests' minds. I think service for everyone would greatly improve and for those servers that just don't have a clue, they'd leave the restaurant business quickly, in tears, but with some serious lessons learned. As for my parents divorce, it's over 30 years ago. But you're not human if you're not affected by it. ABBA and music in general was my coping mechanism, but I'm not depressed when I listen to ABBA, the music transcends all that. But thanks for your comments, really. Most of the world is NUTS about ABBA, and Mamma Mia! is pure fun--a great night out on any occasion, especially a celebratory one like a 30th anniversary!

Ladynred, I saw Titanic 11 times in the theater. I'm a hopeless romantic at heart, I guess.

Matt, I've never felt more humble in my life than standing next to the General Sherman Tree. Those trees are not only the largest things on the planet, but also among the oldest. Try contemplating having a conversation with someone who is 3000 years old. Consider what we've learned in our life times. It's nothing compared to what those Giant Sequoias have seen. If only they could talk. I have been to Saguaro National Park. Very impressive, definitely.

Our musical tastes are closer than you think. Escape is one of my favorite albums. I'm from Detroit, so guess how I feel about MOTOWN! I've always had a crush on Stevie Nicks, Olivia, the ABBA women, Ann and Nancy Wilson from Heart, Rindy Ross from Quarterflash...I don't buy a lot of music anymore, but I have over 1300 CDs...everything from ABBA to Zamfir and ZZ Top with a lot of Classical, Country in between. The only music I really don't listen to is rap, hip hop, and heavy metal (always with some exceptions though).

Your movie-going habits seem a little contradictory--you want to see a movie badly, but don't have anyone to go with you, so you deprive yourself? Why? I don't think there's a stigma out there about going to a movie by oneself.


May 20, 2008 11:57 AM
Anonymous said...

I'm a Leo with Scorpio ascendant so I have the fire/water thing going too. I figure the water either puts out the fire completely or the fire makes boiling water. I'm not sure which it is. Either way its not an easy way to be.

May 21, 2008 10:30 AM

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