Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Killing the Meme Softly

I wanted to have a bit of fun in between the more serious mood of this "Thinking about Entropy" series that I should finish shortly. Hence, I'm adding my contribution to Arturo's meme. But I am not tagging anybody, because I don't feel like thinking that hard right now about who would actually want to fill this in. I'm not following the rules, so there! >:P

1) What I was doing ten years ago
Engaging in a prolonged, intensive liver workout that happened to coincide with graduate school in physics. More specifically, my friends and I were following the Red Wings Stanley Cup run and consuming prodigious quantities of beer and Mexican martinis (residents of Austin, TX, will recognize the latter).

2) Five [non-work] things on my to-do list:
a. Build our IKEA kitchen table (how has IKEA not made the "Stuff White People Like" list?).
b. Learn Latin, koine Greek, and Thai.
c. Read the New Testament in at least one of those languages.
d. See Elton John in concert on Saturday.
e. Root for the Ducks and Lakers in the playoffs.

3) Things I would do if I were a billonaire
a. Quit my job and hang out with my kids all day.
b. Pay off all of the family debt.
c. Buy a place in Dana Point with an ocean view that is close enough to walk to church.
d. Move my parents, brother, and sisters out to California.
e. Donate some ridiculous amount to my parish, to Catholic charities in Orange County, to the 12th Man Foundation, and to the physics departments at Texas A&M and texas university.

4) Three bad habits:
The Falstaff trifecta: Sloth, gluttony, and drinking.

5) Five places I have visited:
TJ; Montreal; South Bend, Ind.; Ann Arbor, Mich.; Miami, FL

6) Five jobs I’ve had:
Movie theater usher (best kid job ever!); cleanup of construction sites in Louisiana in the summer (best job for convincing you to stay in school); teaching assistant; research assistant; patent attorney. What's weird is that is probably every job I have ever had.

7) Five snacks I enjoy:
At the risk of reinforcing one of my bad habits...
a. Chips and salsa, ideally with a frozen margarita w/ salt and a sangria floater to wash them down.
b. "Mmmm, donuts." My favorite kind is chocolate covered and "custard-filled" in Krispy Kreme parlance. Where I come from, they didn't have Bavarian creme, so we called them "creme filled."
c. Beignets. I had to mention them separately to distinguish them from donuts. I freely confess to being a beignet snob. I can't stand it when someone drops powdered sugar on a sopaipilla and pretends it's a beignet (not that I've got anything against sopaipillas, but come on, people!). And I don't like to eat beignets with inferior coffee.
d. Twix, the only candy with the cookie crunch and the staple of the long workday.
e. Edamame. I had to put that one in just to note that I don't eat only junk food.

8) Five places I’ve lived:
This will look like cheating, but it says "places," not "cities."
a. Louisiana. Spent my whole childhood in Lake Charles with the exceptions of brief stints in Metairie and Houston and summer outings in Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
b. Texas. In descending order of likeability, College Station (aka, Aggieland), Austin, and Dallas.
c. Massachusetts. The one I'd most like to forget. I find it hard to believe that I was a Celtics fan growing up (at least before Rick Pitino turned it into the University of Kentucky at Boston). Since living in Cambridge, I get physically ill at the thought of any pro team from Boston winning anything. Suffice it to say, football and baseball have been pretty painful for me lately. I'm hoping that the Lakers beat the Celts in the finals this year, because that would be the most painful outcome for Boston fans.
d. Manhattan, staying across the street from Battery Park with the missus. It wasn't even a year, but I fell in love with the City. I don't think I will ever have another experience like waking up to sunrise over the Statue of Liberty every day. I can remember how surreal it was when I went looking for the tower of light 9/11 memorial, and it turned out that it was projected from the cinema where we went to see movies several times. But the best part was that we came home with my first child, my little baby daughter.
e. The O.C. I was reminded of how much I love it when I read a post by M.Z. Forrest. He remarked "The story went that one could make more money elsewhere, but the cost of living would be higher. This argument was that things basically equal out. I still think that there is some truth to this, but there are a lot of things that don’t equal out. Trips to Disney World cost the same whether you are from Chicago or Escanaba, MI." I would just point out that trips to Disneyland are a hell of a lot cheaper when you live in Orange County. So are trips to the beach, to Sea World, to the San Diego Zoo, and to L.A. (if you actually wanted to go there for some reason, like a Dodger game). Not to mention that my commute is half what it was in Dallas, and based on the reduction in property taxes and utilities and more favorable lending terms in California, I'm actually paying only slightly more per month for my condo in California. Granted, it's a much smaller space, but in SoCal, you can go outside in absolute comfort pretty much year round, so you needn't spend nearly as much time in the house anyway. The only drawbacks are (1) family is halfway across the country and (2) you never know if Sacramento is going to pass socialized health care, a 50% income tax, or some other nightmarish piece of legislation that will ruin our lives.

OK, that was fun and reminded me why I like life so much. Now I can go back to grim and cheerless esoterica.

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