Thursday, June 03, 2004

100 Things About Me

All the other bloggers are doing it. I’m just following the herd.

I updated this list on 1/19/07 to mark a pretty big life-changing event.

1. I was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
2. Aside from college (30 miles away) and four faraway summer jobs during college, I lived there until I moved to Chicago at the age of 32.
3. My parents are still married (to each other), and I have a younger sister who’s married with two uncommonly photogenic children.
4. I am in one of those blissfully happy relationships—the kind that probably makes other people want to throw heavy objects at us.
5. My boyfriend and I own a condo together and plan to get married whether or not the government and other curiously interested parties think it’s OK.
6. I used to get upset about gay-marriage inequality on a theoretical level. Now that it affects me directly, it makes me so angry I want to hurt people.
7. Fortunately, my boyfriend is so incredibly awesome I can never stay angry about anything for more than a couple minutes.
8. See what I mean about item #4?
9. Before this one, I had one long-term relationship (3 1/2 years) and two short-term relationships (9 months each).
10. The breakup parts were never fun, but I’m still friends with all of my exes.
11. I love pets, but I’m more a cat person than a dog person.
12. Mostly because cats are self-pooping and self-cleaning.
13. I’ve had three cats: Patches (who lived to be 19), Ester and Emma.
14. I am currently catless.
15. I first started noticing other boys early in grade school.
16. I thought those weird feelings I had inside were just jealousy from thinking the other boys were cuter than I was.
17. When I finally hit puberty, I realized what those feelings REALLY were.
18. I came out to my family July 5, 1984. I had just finished my sophomore year of high school.
19. Things were NOT good in our little Republican household for quite a while after that.
20. But my family is pretty awesome and quickly unlearned all the stupid prejudices they had been taught by our hyper-religious society.
21. I’m mostly Norwegian with a bit of German and Swedish thrown in.
22. My family celebrates only the Norwegian part of our heritage.
23. I grew up Lutheran, but I knew early on that my true religion was None of the Above.
24. I do not understand why people think they need mythology—especially a divisive, solipsistic, culturally destructive mythology—to live happy, moral, altruistic lives.
25. I find so many inherent flaws in the idea of religion that I have a hard time respecting people who embrace it with unbridled enthusiasm or who talk about it like it’s something real.
26. I feel the same way about astrology.
27. I don’t consider myself an atheist, because atheism seems obsessed with the existence of a god as well. I simply don’t believe and I totally don’t care
28. Of course, I’m often forced to care when religious people try to enforce their religious opinions on me.
29. In 1988, I lost five friends in two plane crashes and my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer.
30. One of those friends was murdered by the December 21 terrorist bomb that blew Pan Am flight 103 out of the sky over Lockerbie, Scotland.
31. I’d never really had an opinion on the death penalty until then. Now I’m a huge fan.
32. I studied the piano from second grade until I was in college.
33. I’ve taken tons of dance classes, and I’m still a pretty good tapper.
34. My voice is trained more for musical theater and opera than for pop music.
35. Actually, I suck as a pop singer. There is no danger I’ll appear on American Idol.
36. I’m a HUGE and unrepentant show-tune queen.
37. So is my boyfriend. Even more than I am. Way more than I am.
38. I sang and danced and played the piano in theme park shows all four summers I was in college.
39. Since college, I’ve done a ton of singing and dancing and choreographing in non-professional shows and theaters and choruses.
40. I still kinda wish I’d pursued a career on the stage.
41. But then I look at my actor friends who are living job-to-job in their 30s and 40s and I’m glad I found a more stable career.
42. I have a degree in literature of the Northern European Renaissance and most of a minor in Spanish. And I made a very short-lived stab at a master’s degree in history.
43. I got a job as an advertising copywriter when I got out of college just to pay the bills.
44. I’m still here. And I neither love nor hate it.
45. But I must be good at it because my stuff keeps winning awards.
46. Now I’m an associate creative director at a cool little ad agency. I like the job a lot, but it can be pretty exhausting.
47. I was a skinny, 155-lb scarecrow all through high school and college.
48. Tired of being ignored by the guys I was attracted to, I joined a gym after I graduated, and I’ve been lifting weights 5 days a week since then.
49. I peaked at 205 lbs when I lived in Iowa and had a highly motivated lifting partner and nothing better to do than work out.
50. Now that I live in Chicago and have a ton of stuff to distract me, I’m holding my weight at 195 lbs.
51. By the time I was 25, I’d developed stubborn little love handles that in my mind were HUGE.
52. They bugged me so much, I had the little fuckers sucked out in December 2004.
53. I thought it was no big deal, but a few friends and blog readers got outright angry at me for it.
54. I don’t think the surgery made much of a difference, though, and today I tell everyone who’s considering plastic surgery that it’s a huge waste of time and money.
55. I started running in 1994, and even though I never really liked it I somehow got kind of addicted to it.
56. So far I’ve done two triathlons, two half marathons and three marathons. I’m currently training to run the Chicago and New York marathons back-to-back in 2007.
57. I’ve probably taken five sick days my entire adult life.
58. I haven’t thrown up since I got food poisoning on my 23rd birthday.
59. I was born with my tongue connected to the bottom of my mouth and behind my bottom teeth, and I had to have surgery at birth and again in junior high school to correct it.
60. Just talking about it still makes the end of my tongue tingle. In a bad way.
61. I broke my arm roughhousing with my cousin when I was in 5th grade, but I’ve never had a broken bone since.
62. I had my tonsils out when I was in 1st grade, my wisdom teeth out when I was in high school, and LASIK and lipo in 2004.
63. Other than that I’ve never been operated on or hospitalized.
64. All my life I’ve gotten sweaty, panicky and physically ill in crowded social settings like classrooms or bars or parties.
65. For me, talking to strangers was more terrifying than jumping off a building or being chased by lunatics with giant knives.
66. After seeing a therapist in 2003 and getting diagnosed with a social anxiety disorder, I at least had something with a name I could fight, and I made great headway in overcoming the problem on my own.
67. But I still wasn’t better, so I saw a hardcore therapist for four months at the beginning of 2006 and now I finally feel like I’ve escaped from my prison.
68. I’m having way too much fun walking up to strangers and starting conversations. Just like normal people.
69. I am extremely loyal to my friends and family and would never say or do anything to hurt them.
70. But if you do something malicious or hateful or staggeringly immature to me or anyone I care about, you will have almost no chance of regaining my respect or friendship.
71. I don’t smoke or take party drugs, and I never have.
72. I never drank alcohol until 2006.
73. Now I drink only in extreme moderation (really only just to be social with all these strangers I’m no longer afraid of), and I still don’t particularly enjoy it.
74. I will never understand why people need to get wasted or be in a drug-induced fog to have a good time. Life is amazing enough without the help of chemicals.
75. I have a tattoo of Mickey Mouse on my left ankle.
76. I have a tattoo of my first marathon date and time on my lower back.
77. I have a tattoo of a tiger (a ferocious tiger who’s not afraid to use his claws or his biting sarcasm) crawling up my abs.
78. I want two more tattoos: on the inside of my right bicep and maybe something on my right hip and buttcheek.
79. In fact, my boyfriend and I are talking about getting matching hip/buttcheek tattoos. Probably of our initials, which are identical.
80. I also want one of those used-to-be-trendy tribal armband tattoos, but I think my body has only a few good years left on it where the tat wouldn’t look silly and a little delusional.
81. I got my nipples pierced kind of on a dare on May 1, 1999.
82. One of the piercings fell out in 2004. When I couldn’t get it back in, I decided it was time to take them both out and return my nipples to their natural state.
83. I’ve been skydiving seven times.
84. I’d do it again, but now that I’m an uncle, dangerous things like skydiving have lost their appeal.
85. Being an uncle has also made me more emotional. I’ve suddenly started tearing up over the most benign things. Like Kodak commercials. Or the National Anthem.
86. I’ve always been a sucker for patriotic stuff, though.
87. One of my biggest pet peeves is people who don’t look where they’re going. I’ve been known to get in their way so they bump into me, and then I wait patiently for them to apologize. I look at this as a public service.
88. I also hate partisan politics. My opinions do NOT fall neatly within approved Democratic or Republican platforms, and I find it hard to believe anybody else’s do, either.
89. My favorite color is blue.
90. I have a wide array of superpowers. For instance: I can tie a bowtie.
91. Also: I can drive a stick shift.
92. One more: I can fold a fitted sheet.
93. I won’t buy something until I have the cash to pay for it.
94. I rarely buy things (from salad dressing to clothes to furniture) that aren’t on sale.
95. I don’t mind stopping back and “visiting” things until they go on sale, either. It’s like a game to me.
96. I don’t consider myself to be a picky eater, but other people probably think I am.
97. I don’t like seafood, nuts, coconut, coffee, pickles, asparagus, red onions, canned peas, melon or dark chocolate.
98. But I like tuna salad with pickle relish in it.
99. I eat peanut butter and jelly almost every day.
100. Creamy Jif. Whole-grain bread. Any kind of jelly.


Anonymous said...

Um..., Just how long did it take you to compile this list? Just wondering.

Jake said...

I've been putzing around with it for a couple months. It finally grew to 100 today, so I posted it.


Anonymous said...

Good. Because I'm thinking 'if he spent two days holed up in his office pounding this out I don't know if I can read his Blog anymore'..., Keep up the good work.

myke said...

Great blog, man. And just for the record, I badly want to skydive but I think I'd have to do it tandem at first just to get the jitters out of the way.

Jake said...

Tandem is much easier (only about 15 minutes of training vs three or four hours) and MUCH more fun (about twice the altitude). But much more expensive too.

Then again, there's nothing quite like the feeling of hanging all alone in space having just conquered your fears and admiring the world spread out beneath you as your reward.

I recommend doing both.

Megan said...

I think we'd be friends. :)

katielady said...

You have a very interesting blog, and the list is great. Too bad you live in Chicago, I'd love to argue with you about religion. In a deeply philosophical kind of way, more like a discussion. One of my favorites. But, I live in New York, so too bad. Keep writing, it's great! And, I eat bologna and cheese sandwiches every day, that my husband lovingly makes for me, because he's the sweetest thing in the world! Mayo AND Gulden's spicy mustard on wheat! ;)

Kevdogg said...

I love the idea of a tattoo to commemorate your marathon. I wanted to get one after my first marathon. My idea was simple: on my right shoulder
blade, the profile of a stick man running with the
number 26.2 underneath. In my head, the stick figure
kind of looked like the AOL guy... and that's why
I didn't get it. But I figured for each marathon
I ran, I could have a tick-mark tattooed on underneath
the 26.2. But that's a great idea. I think you should go for it.

OH!! And until I read your 100 list, I thought I was
the only one who mistaked his gayness for being jealous
that other boys were better looking than me. I was a
chunky kid and thought if I got buff, I would look
like the guys I'm jealous of and be attracked to women.
However, I didn't figure out how wrong I was until I was 21, buff, and still attracted to those darn buff
bodies on other guys.

Great blog!!

Todd said...

This is fascinating stuff. You are most definately a charming and curious fellow, and I like what I've read!

Louise said...

A little self awareness is a good thing I think. It probably makes you a better dinner guest than the completely self-righteous. All the best to you!