Given the amount of time I’ve been poking at this list, I can hardly call them “random” things. Given my feeling about the pressures involved in “tagging” people, I’m skipping that part, but please feel free to post your own such list if it sounds like fun. Dunno where this started, I’ve been seeing it more on Facebook than on Livejournal, but it gets around.
- I always kind of enjoyed school. Highschool was probably helped
because I was getting seriously involved in photography, and learning
to program computers and then getting a job doing it for Carleton when
I was 15, so I was kept fairly busy. It may have helped that I was
bigger than most people through most of this; though I did not notice
people around me being picked on physically much at all.
- Everything I’ve ever been paid for doing, I learned on my own.
(Software development, photography, handgun self-defense training;
that last required certification courses as well). This is not to say
that people didn’t help me, teach me things, at various times, of
course, and I also learned huge amounts from various books. Perhaps a
better phrase is “outside of class”. I’ve even taken some courses on
programming, after I’d been doing it for more than 5 years.
- After an evaluation by a school psychologist, I was started into
school a year early.
- Every girl-friend I’ve had after I got into SF fandom I either found
in SF fandom, or dragged into SF fandom at least to the point of
attending a convention. It doesn’t appear to have stuck with any of
the ones I dragged in, however.
- I almost had a second major in film in college. I took lots of production courses, the screen-writing course, and some analysis courses. Since then I’ve worked on the video coverage of the 1976 Worldcon in Kansas City, and Will Shetterly’s attempt at making a 16mm feature film of Emma’s War for the Oaks. I was assistant camera operator, and second-unit director and camera operator for some of the fight sequences.
- I have made three Atlantic crossings by ship. The return trip from
the first one was by propellor-driven airplane. I don’t remember
where-all we stopped to refuel. (This was in 1959).
- I have never had or trained for a pilot’s license or a ham radio
- I thought about ways to construct plastic Lenses (ala Doc Smith) in
shop class, but was aware that without the Arisians to guarantee the
integrity of the wearers (and augment their powers), they wouldn’t be
- My favorite math class in college would have to be the Foundations of
Math course I took. We were told that foundations specialists had the
highest insanity rate of all job categories. I wonder if that
included chess players?
- The first computer I programmed was an IBM 1620. It had 20,000 decimal digits of magnetic core memory, but no disk
- I applied to two colleges, and got into both. I went to Carleton; the
other one was Stanford. I was never worried about getting into
Carleton; I wrote software for their admissions office, so their
applicant pool was my test data, and I knew where I stood compared to
the other people they accepted.
- I first got a driver’s license when I was 22. This was fairly shortly
before I bought my first car.
- I had no religious upgringing. My father did some traveling to
lecture on agnosticism in the 1960s. If any of my grandparents had
religious beliefs, they never mentioned them to me, and I never saw
them go to church or anything. (However, my closest grandparent was
1500 miles away.)
- My current house has been continuously online via broadband of some
sort since 1996 (originally, via ISDN). The house before that was in
a neighborhood that never did get ISDN, so I couldn’t have a
connection there, so instead I had a co-located server at GoFast.net
(which was a swap for my being their Usenet news admin).
- I am the heir to the Dyer Baronetcy (of Tottenham), created in 1678
(the current baronet is a distinguished mathematician, Peter
Swinnerton-Dyer). This will not be record-setting, but I’m a big enough excursion from the direct line of descent to be somewhat notable. I’ve tested a couple of places that offered to tell me what my coat of arms was, and none of them have noticed.
- I have about 70,000 image files, nearly all of images I took myself,
on my home file-server. (There are multiple copies, often three, of
all the GOOD images, and often two even of the mediocre ones if it’s
included in my snapshot album.)
- I had something of a run-in with my 9th grade shop teacher because he
couldn’t understand the algebra I used to transform the formula for
board-feet that he gave us. Which I had learned in 8th grade algebra.
- I have attended every Minicon held since I started going to them, in
1973. I haven’t found pictures from the first couple, though, and may
not even have any. I’ve probably worked on every one since the third
at least a little bit (I’ve gone as far as being chairman or on the
exec for a few, and Pamela and I were guests at one).
- I own a 5-foot flexible 5/8″ drill bit.
- I discovered spicy Chinese food at the Village Wok in 1975, and
shortly took to cooking it myself. Jumbo Gai Ding! And my favorite,
ginger onion beef! Mrs. Chiang’s Szechuan Cookbook is my
favorite book on the topic.
- I got seduced into eating raw fish by the tuna sashimi appetizer at
Legal Seafoods (mmmm, tuna and soy and wasabi!). I eventually
progressed to eating a wider variety of raw fish, with rice, at Shiro
in Berlin MA, while we were living out there. They appear to still be in
- I have not had any living grandparents since 1983. The last one was
my English grandfather.
- I was once asked by the teacher who ran the highschool computer lab
if I’d given any help to one student on the homework assignment (I
wasn’t in the course myself). Turns out our prime numbers program was
half as many lines of code as anybody elses. (There was no reason I
shouldn’t give moderate help on homework assignments; I did quite a
lot of informal tutoring in math and computer programming in
- I’ve been actively involved in science fiction fandom since attending
my first convention in 1972 (the Worldcon in LA). I’ve been in apas,
been a club officer, and worked on conventions. I’ve contributed
photos to some fanzines, but haven’t published articles or published
my own fanzine. I also gave Minn-StF its domain name and first web
- I’ve flown in a Comet, a VC-10, a Caravelle, a 707, a DC-8, Lockheed Constellation, and I believe an Electra, and of course many DC-3s, and many more modern airplanes. I haven’t yet ridden in a Boeing 777 or any of the bigger Airbus planes.