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Man, this is like coming up with a hundred punchlines, and letting the audience reconstruct the stories. But here goes...

Fifty the First )
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My wife,[livejournal.com profile] rachalvs, has pulled two all-nighters in the last week, so she can hand her boss a big chunk of her dissertation for his review over Christmas break. The stuff isn't due till seven this evening, and I think she finished what she wanted to last night. So today, perhaps she'll be able to sleep till she turns in the stuff later, because usually jacking up her sleep schedule is ...bad.

Pleasant dreams, my love. I get to see you in three days! *bounce bounce*
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I wound up seeing part of a fireworks display I hadn't intended to. Pyrotechnics are neat and all, but I've seen plenty of them already in this lifetime: when I was a kid, we'd go watch the show at the Washington monument every year ... and later, when I lived in California, we could peep over our back fence at the Disneyland set that went off each night at nine-thirty.

So on Wednesday night, I heard them popping, but planned to stay home ...until one of my freelance clients called, wanting to meet me to drop off some artwork. Ordinarily, this would be a ten-minute round trip ...but one of the fireworks shows was being set off in a field exactly on my route, so it took me an hour. Had quite a view on the way over to meet him, but I tried to get back just as they finished, and so caught all the departing traffic.

This reminded me, oddly enough, of the cruisin' folks used to do in Houston during my freshman year of college. Until the cops cracked down on it, folks would drive along Westheimer at 0.8 miles per hour, with their windows down so they could check each other out. Flashbacks of my misspent youth :)
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I may have mentioned that a couple of weeks ago, I won a prize pack from a local radio station. At the time, they told me I was entered in their grand prize drawing for a trip to go see some band play in San Francisco. I seem to have won, but I'll believe it when I see it.

Like this:

As I was clocking out for lunch yesterday, my cell phone rang. I didn't recognize the number, so I didn't pick it up -- but when they failed to leave a message, I called the number back ...and wound up in the switchboard of the radio station's parent company. Eventually, I got transferred around to someone (a promotions droid, I thought, but he may have been the DJ) who told me I should sound a little more excited -- I'd just won their grand prize. If I ended up on the air, I was one of those boring-assed people they really don't like to have win prizes, I think -- more so when I told the guy I'd likely take the cash equivalent rather than the trip.

I was told that someone would be calling me back to make the arrangements (someone, I assume, who would try mightily to talk me into using their trip vouchers rather than actually relieving them of cash). But as of yesterday, no-one's called, so I'll try them back today.

Oh, I forgot to mention: the cash equivalent is a thousand dollars -- exactly what a cow-orker won from another station about the same time I picked up my prize pack, so I guess I'm now leading the office winnings race by a DVD and a couple of pizzas. It's also just about enough to cover the medical expenses for the cat we have in hospice, which is one of the prime reasons I intend to take the money. Another reason is that, while I recognized the name of the band when they told it to me, I've already forgotten it -- and couldn't name one of their songs at the time. But any trip for which I'd be available (weekends only) would be too rushed for me to enjoy myself, even if they agreed to fly Rachal and me in from our different cities.

So it's not that I'm rolling in dough, now; we may just be slightly less hosed than we were last month.

In other good news, Rachal's boss has suggested that she start working on her thesis. So she's on schedule to graduate at the end of this year (crossed fingers).
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1. Are you an innie or an outie?
Innie, buried underneath my pelt.

2. Have you ever worn bell-bottoms?
I ...can't recall. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

3. Have you ever written a song?
I've started to compose one to my wife a couple of times, but not finished it.

4. Can you make change for a dollar right now?
Sure, if you're not fussy about the actual total equalling one hundred cents.

5. Have you ever been in the opposite sex's bathroom?
Yes, but not for any really nefarious purposes.

6. Have you ever smelled your own feet?
Heck, when I was young and flexible I used to bite my toenails. But I've been unable to do that for a couple of decades.

7. Do you like ketchup on or beside your french fries?
Next to. Otherwise I get ketchup all over my fingers.

8. Can you touch your tongue to your nose?
No, or I'd never leave the house. I can, however, flip my tongue over, or roll it into a straw of sorts. But that's not where the big money is :(

9. Have you ever been a boy/girl scout?
Yes, I am an Eagle Scout. I've sent the BSA a protest letter about their silly policies regarding homosexuals, but don't intend to send back my Eagle patch, or anything.

10. Have you ever broken a mirror?
I don't think so...

11. Have you ever put your tongue on a frozen pole?
No, my wife is Czech, not Polish. But I never did that, even when I lived in Maryland before I'd seen _A Christmas Story_.

12. What is your biggest pet peeve?
Willful ignorance.

13. Do you slurp your drink after its gone?
Heck, I slurp even while the cup is full.

14. Have you ever blown bubbles in your milk?
I'm doing it now :) My mom still has the little plastic cups with the straws built into the sides ...the straws are nearly gone from my gnawing on them as a child.

15. Would you rather eat a Big Mac or a Whopper?
It depends on my mood; they're both a pretty good 99-cent sandwich. But Fuddrucker's and White Castle make the best burgers, I think.

16. Have you ever gone skinny-dipping?
Well, I've swum naked, but I can't refer to myself skinny- anything with a straight face. (And that section of my leg between knee and ankle isn't a calf on me, it's a cow).

17. When you are at the grocery store, do you ask for paper or plastic?
Plastic. I currently use the bags to pick up dog poop, and if I use paper, I can't warm my hands with it on cold mornings...

18. True or False: You would rather eat steak than pizza.
False, almost all of the time, although dragging pieces of steak through mashed potatoes is ver' nice. And cold pizza is as good as warm.

19. Did you have a baby blanket?
Probably, although not that I recall. The last real comfort woobie I remember as a child was a Raggedy Andy doll made by my paternal grandmother. I slept with it (and a nightlight) for a couple of nights after reading a scary ghost story in fifth grade.

20. Have you ever tried to cut your own hair?
Sort of. In elementary school, I recall snipping my bangs with blunt scissors -- I thought if I only took off a little, my parents wouldn't notice. I was hoist by my own petard, however, when I snipped a little off ...over a dozen times. And a year or so ago, I shaved my head bald, but that shouldn't count as hairstyling, I suppose.

21. Have you ever sleepwalked?
Not to my knowledge. I'm told that I snore, however, and I've sleeptalked occasionally.

22. Have you ever had a birthday party at McDonalds?
No, but I'm tempted to. I used to work at Mickey-D's, and their birthday cakes are damn good.

23. Can you flip your eye-lids up?
Well, if I use my fingers, I can.

24. Are you double jointed?
Depends on how you define the term. I can do some weird things with my fingers.

25. If you could be any age, what would you be?
My current age. I'm anjoying the ride.

26. Have you ever gotten gum stuck in your hair?
What, my own gum? I don't think so. Got a bunch of rum squirted on my favorite white fedora during the thunderstorm in _Rocky Horror_ during college, though.

27. Have you ever thrown-up after a roller coaster ride?
No. The closest I've come to getting motion sick at a carnival was in one of those rooms which spins so fast that you stick to the walls. And I almost blacked out on the Titan rollercoaster, here at Six Flags in Dallas.

28. What is your dream car?
Something small with comfortable seats. I don't care what it looks like.

29. What is your favourite cartoon of all time? Strip? Television?
Calvin & Hobbes. "The Simpsons".

30. Would you go swimming in shallow waters where, one year earlier, a shark had attacked a child?

31. How many cavities do you have?
I think the current score is two cavities, three fillings. One of my teeth grew in with a hole already in it, so I can't be accused of contributory negligence :)

32. Have you ever eaten a dog biscuit?
No ...am I missing out?

33. If you were in a car sinking in a lake, which would you do first: unbuckle your seat belt or open your window?
Open my window to equalize the pressure.

34. Have you ever ridden in an ambulance?

35. Can you pick something up with your toes?
What, like a woman in a bar? I can only manage a pencil.

36. How many remote controls do you have in your house?
At the moment, I'm sleeping on a friend's couch. There are two remotes currently in use (TV and VCR), but I've got two or three more in storage somewhere.

37. Have you ever fallen asleep in school?
Yep. I had a high school physics class right after lunch, with my seat against one wall in the back. On top of this recipe for slumber, the class topics were ...less than interesting. So one day found me face down on my desk ...I don't think I was snoring. The instructor, reasonably enough, figured he'd teach me a lesson -- so he called my name, woke me up, and asked me to solve the equation on the board. I opened my eyes ... raised my head ... gave the correct answer ... and put my head back down. I still owe that man an apology :>

38. How many times have you flown in an airplane in the last year?
Um, half a dozen? Over a hundred times in my lifetime, I'm sure.

39. How many foreign countries have you visited?
Ten, I think. Mexico, plus a trip around the Mediterranean when I was eleven or twelve. Like the Statue of Liberty, the Sphinx is smaller than it looks in photographs.

40. If you were out of shape, would you compete in a triathlon if you were somehow guaranteed to win a big, gaudy medal?
What do you mean, *if* I was out of shape? I wouldn't do it for a medal, but would for a big pot of money.

41. Would you rather be rich and unhappy, or poor and happy?
Poor and happy. Is this a rhetorical question?

42. If you fell into quicksand, would you try to swim or try to float?
Try to float, and roll out of it. I think the alternative would be "fail to swim".

43. At what age did you first try to drive a car?
My dad used to let me steer from his lap when I was too small to reach the pedals. But I didn't take driver's ed till I was a senior in high school.

44. Do you ask for directions when you are lost?

45. Have you ever had a Mexican jumping bean?
Yes, when I was a kid.

46. Are you more like Cinderella or Alice in Wonderland?
Alice in Wonderland. I prefer being a weird magnet.

47. Would you rather have an ant farm with no ants or a box of crayons with broken points?
Broken crayons. One can make kewl collages with broken crayons. Collages made with ants don't have quite the color variation.

48. Do you prefer light or dark bread?
That depends on what I'm doing with it. Light bread for sandwiches, dark bread for the gruel I make with soup.

49. Do you prefer scrambled or fried eggs?
Sunny-side up, with home fries and pork chops to drag through the egg yolks.

50. Have you ever been in a car that ran out of gas?
Yes, once. I was on my way to work, and acquired a mighty incentive to not let that happen again.

51. Do you talk in your sleep?
Apparently I have the occasional lucid conversation in my sleep, with no recollection of it afterward.

52. Would you rather shovel show or mow the lawn?
Shovel. After shoveling the snow, I get to drink hot chocolate in front of a fire. After mowing the lawn, I get to itch, until I take a shower.

53. Would you rather be bitten by a poisonous snake or constricted by a python?
Are we talking about to-the-death, or just to-the-pain? Actually my answer's the same for either: bitten.

54. Have you ever played in the rain?
Oh, yes. And I love to follow lightning storms.

55. Which do you think is more dangerous: an angry bear or a hungry white shark?
I would guess a shark, although I'd rather be attacked by a bear, given the choice.

56. Would you climb a very high tree to save a kitten?
I've already climbed a somewhat high tree to do just that. When Ratlet (the cat that's currently in hospice) was a kitten, he had to check out the trees at every new place we moved to, so he could confirm that this batch didn't have a "down" button either.

57. Can you tell the difference between a crocodile and an alligator?
I believe so. Don't crocs have little pieces of khaki stuck between their teeth?

58. Do you drink Pepsi or coke?
Depends on what I'm eating. Mostly Pepsi (when I'm not drinking Code Red, the One True Hummingbird Food), but Coke is better suited to fried chicken.

59. What's your favourite number?
I don't really have one.

60. If you were a car, would you be an SUV or a sports car?
I'd be a four-cylinder something.

61. Have you ever accidentally taken something from a hotel?
Yes, one of those magnetic door keys.

62. Would you blow your nose at the dinner table?
Since I rarely eat at the dinner table, uh, no.

63. Have you ever slipped in the bathtub?
In the bathtub, yes. And more amusingly, on the tile floor of the bathroom during my honeymoon, so I had to go back to work limping with my injured back, to the great amusement of my co-workers.

64. Do you use regular or deodorant soap?
I just throw myself against rocks in the stream when I'm doing my laundry. What is this ...soap... you speak of?

65. Have you ever locked yourself out of the house?
Yes, and a friend of mine climbed through a second-story window to let us in.

66. Would you rather make your living as a singing cowboy or as one of the Simpsons voices?
One of the Simpsons. Maybe I could help animate them?

67. If you could invite any movie star to your home for dinner, who would it be?
Does James Cameron count, or are you just talking about actors? Susan Sarandon, otherwise -- she sounds interesting, on top of me lusting after her.

68. Have you ever made a semi truck honk?
Yep, that was a frequent hobby as a kid.

69. Which would you rather live with: a huge nose or crossed eyes?
Huge nose. I'm a graphic artist, and would give up the use of all but one arm to keep my sight.

70. Would you hang out with someone your best friend didn't like?
Probably, but it would depend on the reasons for the dislike.

71. Would you hang out with someone your best friend liked, but you didn't like?
Perhaps, but not in the face of active antagonism.

72. Have you ever returned a gift?

73. Would you give someone else a gift that had been given to you?
Yes, theoretically.

74. If you could attend an Olympic Event, what would it be?
I *have* attended a couple of them, including some track events that would probably be at the top of my list. Otherwise, figure skating.

75. How many pairs of shoes do you own?
Eight or ten. But only three of them are in active rotation; the rest are in storage.

76. If your grandmother gave you a gift that you already have, would you tell her?
Probably not. But I would notify my parents that one of their dead mothers was unexpectedly still kicking.

77. Do you sing in the car?
Certainly. Sometimes with the radio, other times by myself. It sounds much better in my head than it apparently does to the rest of the world, but I enjoy it.

78. Would you rather jump into a dumpster or into a vat of honey?
Dumpster. Or is that DumpsTER (tm)? Honey sounds like a serious pain to wash off.

79. What is your favourite breed of dog?
Boxer. They're patient, and not too high-strung. Least favorite: any sort of yappy little ankle-biters.

80. Would you donate money to feed starving animals in the winter?
I doubt it.

81. If you were a bicycle, would you be a stingray or a mountain bike?
One of those dopey ones with a banana seat and Y-shaped handlebars, the kind you brake by reversing the pedals.

82. What is your least favourite fruit?
Tangerines. They're tasty, but too messy to be worth eating.

83. What kind of fruit have you never had?
I can't think of one.

84. If you won a $5,000 shopping spree to any store, which store would you pick?
Best Buy, or CompUSA.

85. What brand sports apparel do you wear the most?
Um, the last time I think any name appeared on my clothing, it was my own, sewn into the waistband.

86. How many letters will/did I earn in my high school career?
I actually earned a letter in track, but not till my senior year -- I barely qualified under the point system, and they didn't offer varsity band at my school.

87. Among your friends, who could you arm wrestle and beat?
It would be ungentlemanly of me to speculate.

88. If you had to choose, what branch of the military would you be in?
Army. I applied to West Point as a high school senior.

89. Would you ever parachute out of a plane?
Only if I was offered enough money, or the plane was on fire.

90. What do you think is your best feature?
My eyes. I'm told I have a rather expressive face. Non-physical feature? Sense of humor.

91. If you were to win a Grammy, what kind of music would it be for?

92. What is your favorite season?
Winter, but it's a close call.

93. How many members do you have in your immediate family?
Five. One wife, two sisters, two parents.

94. Which of the five senses is most important to you?
Sight, easily.

95. Would you be a more successful painter or singer?
Painter. Painter, painter, painter. No, sing- yeah, painter.

96. Have you ever ridden a tortoise?
I seem to recall riding one as a kid, but may be thinking of a sculpture instead.

97. How many years will/did you end up going to college?
About five years so far, but may take more classes later.

98. Have you ever had surgery?
Yes. Pyloric stenosis repair as an infant, then wisdom teeth and tooth fillings. Assorted stitches here and there, if you want to count those.

99. Would you rather be a professional figure skater or professional football player?
Figure skater. That sport agreed with me as a child much more than my brief touch-football career.

100. What do you like to collect?
Nothing irreplacable, nor anything that requires maintenance (like rare comic books). Otherwise, just about any kind of media.

September 2016



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