Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later: I've been tagged to participate in one of those web memes.
When tagged, you must link to the person who tagged you, then post the rules before your list, and list eight random things about yourself. At the end of the post, you must tag and link to eight other people.
Well. I'm not going to do that last part, the tagging of eight other people. I'm just not. You can't make me, even if you use the word "must." So there. But I'll play ball on the eight things part of it:
1. I took Russian as my language in college. Certain random words and phrases have stuck with me (e.g. У меня болит голова, I have a headache, or Летом ежи танцуют на ноге, In the summer, the hedgehogs dance in their burrows1), but I've forgotten a good 90% of whatever I knew originally, which is sad. I also still remember the general forms of things, so I can tell, for example, whether something in a movie that is supposed to be an adjective really is, but that's about as far as it goes.
2. My 34th birthday was a couple weeks ago.
3. I used to have pet box turtles, though I'm not sure of the precise years: from somewhere in grade school up through high school, and then I got a couple more that were very short lived (which was only partly my fault; I accept more or less full responsibility for the high school ones) while in college.
4. I've kept a daily journal since February 6, 1987, and not only that, but I also give each day a numerical rating according to how good it was: 0 is a super-awesome kick-ass day, 1 is just nice, 2 is normal, 3 kinda sucked, and 4 was a catastrophe. There are then a group of interconnected and complex spreadsheets and calculations that go along with that. My worst year (so far): 1997. Best: 2002. 2007 so far is pretty solidly in the middle of the pack, slightly toward the bad end.2 This is one of those things that got started out of idle curiosity and then eventually became self-perpetuating. Occasionally it's useful to have a written record of everything, but the two main things I've learned from journaling are: 1) This, too, shall pass, whether you want it to or not, and 2) Foreshadowing is something that happens in fiction, but it does not happen in everyday life. Omens and premonitions and prophecies are absolutely worthless when it comes to predicting anything important, and are not to be relied upon. Gut feelings about people, on the other hand, do tend to be somewhat useful.
5. I dislike most forms of cheese, though mozzarella on pizza, lasagna, etc. is okay. Macaroni & cheese, cheesecake, Swiss cheese, or Cheetos, are borderline cases. Cheeseburgers, cottage cheese, American cheese, cheese-flavored crackers, and all soft cheeses are utterly out of the question. Why? I do not know. I used to eat sliced American cheese when I was a kid: I don't remember any bad experiences particularly, but somewhere along the line, cheese and I parted ways.
6. I'm a big fan of Joss Whedon (creator of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Angel," "Firefly," and the upcoming – assuming this writers' strike thing ever gets settled – "Dollhouse."). While I don't buy the comics or go to the conventions or anything like that, I buy the DVDs3 and some of the more serious books about the shows and know certain episodes more or less by heart. I'm also big into "Battlestar Galactica" lately, and either have bought, or will be buying, all the DVDs there, though a lot of the later half of season three made me really uneasy about the direction the show's headed.
7. My most life-threatening incident so far: I had a ruptured appendix when I was 14 that led to me spending eight days in the hospital. It's been long enough ago that I don't remember it all that well, but I know it hurt a lot, and I know I was fond of Demerol.
8. I was living in Waco, TX during the assault on the Branch Davidian compound there, and am only two degrees of separation from David Koresh. (Only one degree of separation from Amo Bishop Roden, who I've met several times, though it'd be a stretch to say I ever had a conversation with her, exactly. It's complicated.)
Cathedral of Christ the Savior, Moscow: Alex Zelenko, found at Wikipedia article for Russia.
Hedgehog: by Olaf1541 at the Wikipedia article for hedgehog.
Birthday cake: photo by Fir0002, at Wikipedia entry for "birthday."
Box turtle: from the US Fish and Wildlife Service, found at Wikipedia entry for Terrapene (the genus to which box turtles belong).
Cheese: Wikipedia entry for cheese. Taken by Wikipedia user "Neutrality."
Buffy the Vampire Slayer screenshot: from Wikipedia entry for "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," which Wikipedia tells me probably falls under fair use. The image is, in any case, owned by 20th Century Fox.
Appendix: Plate from Gray's Anatomy (the book, not the TV show) via the Wikipedia entry for vermiform appendix.
Branch Davidian compound: from http://www.geocities.com/northstarzone/WACO1.html, original source unknown. My use of this photo does not mean that I endorse, or even necessarily follow, the arguments or theories presented on said page, or his characterization of David Koresh (who was not a sweet-ol' cuddly God-lovin' teddy bear) in particular. I certainly don't endorse the overblown and somewhat hysterical prose. That said, I think the author and I would agree that the relationship between the U.S. government and its people was not good in 1993 and has not been moving in a helpful direction since then, and regardless of who is elected in 2008, there's no indication that matters are going to be getting better any time particularly soon. Though some of our options are clearly less helpful than others.
1 Disclaimer: may not be precisely correct Russian. It's been a long time. But it's at least very close.
2 The full sequence, from best to worst: 2002, 2003, 1990, 2001, 1994, 2004, 2000, 1991, 1995, 1992, 1993, 1988, 2007 (to-date), 1998, 1989, 1999, 1996, 2005, 1987, 2006, 1997. My best month is, on average, February. Worst: December.
3 Except for "Buffy" season seven, which was so miserable that I refuse to acknowledge it happened.