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Mark Atwood
25 Random things about me
Twenty Five Random Things about me

Rules: Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose more people to be tagged.

1) When I graduated from high school, *everyone* knew me, and I knew only a handful of people. I've gotten slightly better at knowing people I've met, but I have to meet you a couple of times.

2) When I was a kid, I was accepted into the Raleigh Academy, which is a grade 7-12 boarding school for most very upper level gifted and talented students in North Carolina. But I didn't get to go, because my family moved away from the state. I used to really deeply resent that until recently, when I learned that most everyone who went was very much messed up because it had been a "Lord Of The Flies" sort of environment.

3) The last class day of High School, I watched "the fat kid" in my gym class get beaten up by "the tough kid". I went to find the coach, who was nowhere to be found. To this day, I'm still ashamed I didn't try harder to find help, or to step in. A few years ago, I saw a frail man at a bus stop get attacked by a young heavyset thug. Instantly, I was right there in two strides, grabbed the thug by his shoulders, slammed his back up into the wall with his feet dangling, and held him up there until he looked away from me. Later the cops came to get him. My mental image of myself does not all include just how big I am or how strong I can be.

4) I started growing my beard when I was at a remote job site for my first job out of school. The ride from the hotel to the worksite was so early in the morning, I skipped shaving to be able to sleep a few more minutes. After two weeks of that, it was a beard worth keeping. I finally shaved my cheeks years later to play a role in a Murder Mystery dinner. I liked that look so much I kept it.

5) I bleach my left cowlick. Originally, I tried having it dyed red, but it kept washing out after a week, and I preferred this look anyway. When I was a kid, my mom would part my hair to hide my cowlicks.

6) I haven't been able to do sets of pull-ups and push-ups until the last year. Even though I started going to the gym and lifting weights years before that. I think it was mainly a mental block. Doing rock climbing and being inspired by a friend finally broke it.

7) I'm missing my lower canine teeth. They were removed when I was kid on the advice of my orthodontist, because while I had a big mouth, I had bigger teeth. I still have one of them in my jewelry box. Decades later, my wisdom teeth finally erupted, and ruined all that orthodontic work.

8) I mostly wear all black and chinese collars. I don't it because I'm goth or hip. I do it because I can't match colors, and I like the look.

9) My skin is extremely sensitive. I often wear multiple layers of clothing, with a coat on top, just to blunt the sensation of the wind or something else touching my skin. Especially someone else's skin.

10) I wasn't diagnosed as nearsighted until the 3rd grade, when it was caught in a screening done to all students. I remember seeing a health textbook several months before that, that showed the same scene as someone with near sight, far sight, and normal vision would see it. Since the nearsighted image looked most like how I saw the world, I decided that the book was in error, since there was nothing wrong with *my* vision. Of *course* things that are far away are out of focus!

11) I started drinking red wine on the advice of my doctor. I started liking the taste of beer when, on a lark, I ordered a glass of porter at the Amherst Brewing Company pub in the summer of 2007. It was surprisingly good.

12) I have a headache. It's usually pretty mild, but sometimes it can get pretty intense. It's never completely gone away for almost ten years. I’ve seen a bunch of specialists and have had several MRI scans to diagnose it. The doctors have no idea what causes it, so I just live with it.

13) I lived for 3 winters in Alaska. In the summers I saw clear blue sky at midnight, and in the winter I saw stars in the dark sky at noon. I saw the Northern Lights nearly every night. I felt fifty degree below zero air. I mushed a dog team, and I tasted whale blubber and moose heart.

14) I have more friends and lovers than I can believe or think I deserve, but I think I've only "fallen in love" once. I'm still dealing with that.

15) I've often felt like a complete fraud at my work. The things I can do well, don't seem that impressive, and the things I can't do well, or do at all, I'm surrounded by people who appear to do them without effort.

16) Most of my regrets are from memories of things that I didn't do because I was afraid. Mostly I fear failure that causes loss. I think most of my awkwardness in socialization, speech, and action still stem from fears I have not yet cast out.

17) I have a bad habit of interrupting to complete people's sentences for them. It's unmannered and rude, and breaks conversations, and I am trying to stop doing it.

18) My ancestry is old Mormon stock. A member of my family was actually in the Salt Lake Valley the day before the first main wagon party.

19) I have a little bit of Native American ancestry, just enough to have dark straight hair, dark brown eyes, and be able to tan very dark.

20) I have two brothers and two sisters. They all turned out very different, and yet people can tell at a glance that we're related. They're all infernally smart and accomplished, and I've very proud of them all.

21) Some of the best work I've done has been when I've been sick. In college I finished a programmable graphics rendering model while I was too sick to stand. I had to be driven home and put into bed after it was done. The professor later asked if he could use the project as a demo and example for the next year.

22) When I find a song that resonates my emotions in some way, I listen to it over and over again. The genre can be classical, show tunes, a commercial jingle, or the trashiest of modern popular music. Some songs just touch me deeply.

23) About 5 years ago, I threw out all the industrially perfumed name-brand dish soap, laundry soap, shower products, and toothpaste in my home, and started washing my clothes only with hippy unscented laundry soup, washing my body with Dr Bronner, and brushing my teeth with baking soda. After I few weeks I was intensely aware of the industrial perfume scent in my sweat. A few more weeks later, that cleared, and my senses of taste and smell got *much* more sensitive, for good and ill. I now use some lightly scented Lush products, and Tom's of Maine toothpaste, but still the Dr Bronner and the unscented laundry soap.

24) A few days before I moved from Salt Lake City to Boston, one of my cats was hit by a car. I was devastated during the hard work and upheaval of moving and driving across the continent, and the complete change of living context. Then, several years ago, another one of my cats died of kidney failure at an emergency vet clinic over the winter holiday. I had brought her to Utah with me for the trip, and the stress of travel is probably what had pulled the rug out from under her. Again, I was devastated. That was a long long drive back home.

25) I moved to Seattle in June 1999, under duress. But when I drove over Lake Washington for the first time, made the turn from I90W to I5N, saw the skyline appear in front of me, and saw the green and the vines every where, I feel in love with the city. When you live here long enough, you can forget just how green it is here. I've lived here longer than I've lived anywhere else.
8 comments or Leave a comment
superfangrrl From: superfangrrl Date: February 4th, 2009 02:29 am (UTC) (Link)
in response to 19, I am 1/8 native american (my great grandma was full blooded Seminole). And I have brown slightly wavey hair with blue eyes :) And I tan easily (i love that part).
docorion From: docorion Date: February 4th, 2009 02:41 am (UTC) (Link)
Huh; I thought I was the only one who did #22.

I would launder my stuff in unscented product, but I have my laundry done by the nice Chinese/Portuguese dropoff laudromat on the corner, and so I use whatever they do. But I stopped using commercial soap years ago, and now use JR Liggett shampoo and some combination of Dr. Bronner and whatever soap catches my fancy at Whole Paycheck. I've used Tom's toothpaste since I met sionnagh; I actually started just before I met her.

I still need to visit you in Seattle. Really. I have no excuse.
mauser From: mauser Date: February 4th, 2009 07:36 am (UTC) (Link)
I can really identify with 15. When I wrote good code, I was really good, but often I never had a really good idea of the big picture of the projects I was working on. But I couldn't believe the guys who were supposed to be better than me who would screw up Boolean expressions... And then there are the guys who can hack out something useful in one sitting.
cinema_babe From: cinema_babe Date: February 4th, 2009 11:42 am (UTC) (Link)
I do #22 all the time, I've done it since I was a kid. Someone once posited that it may be a form of self hypnosis and/or a way of managing stress.

As for #8, yup, I can pull any three pieces out of my closet and I look well matched.

This was pretty interesting!
awfief From: awfief Date: February 4th, 2009 02:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
#15 -- that's because you work in a very talented place. Just remember that these people you deem as smart want YOUR code for a reason.

#17 -- me too. My whole family does that actually.

#23 -- there are lightly scented LUSH products? I like sniffies and I can barely stand going into LUSH! Plus, LUSH is like Ben n' Jerry's to me -- everything has 12 ingredients and I'm all gaga over all but 1 or 2, which ruins the whole thing for me. :(
fallenpegasus From: fallenpegasus Date: February 4th, 2009 10:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
I use the American Cream hair conditioner. It's a strong conditioner, scented with vanilla. Between that and the Almond Dr Bronner, I've been described as smelling like pound cake.
cinema_babe From: cinema_babe Date: February 5th, 2009 12:10 am (UTC) (Link)
Dear fallenpegasus

My imagination just ran away with itself; you sound delicious.

A Friendly Random Internet Stranger
hipgnosis6 From: hipgnosis6 Date: February 4th, 2009 06:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
I won't respond to each # here - I'd have to respond to ALL of them, as most if not all of them remind me uncannily of myself, but perhaps especially #1. I was shocked to be voted "most recognizable" by my graduating class, considering I spend most of my high school career desperately struggling to make even a few friends.

Instead I'd like to simply thank you - for being willing to make a post that is so personal, and for reminding me how many similarities people can have despite other major differences. This is especially true since you stand almost diametrically opposed to me in political views, although I never consider that to be a problem. (I've said it before and I'll repeat it now - it's nice to have someone around who presents a different and often fresh perspective on things.)

I will comment further on one more item - #25. I just came back to Seattle after ten months in Chicago, having never been away from the northwest for a significant period of time. I'm glad to be home, too. My time away gave me new perspective on how amazing the Seattle area is.
8 comments or Leave a comment