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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

The Everything-About-Gund Meme

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

bread and puppet

"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

The Everything-About-Gund Meme

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Seen over at sinneahtes ...

A is for Adulthood…

At what age did you first consider yourself to be an adult?

I've always been more responsible and, hence, trusted with more responsibilities than my peers. At 18, I paid for most of my own expenses; I got my driver's license; I took myself daily to UMBC for my classes. But I suppose I didn't really feel like I'd grown up until I moved out, which was at age 23, after graduation.

At what age did you first drink alcohol?

I tasted and hated beer when I was a kid. (Giving beer to pets and kids seems a national pasttime, doesn't it?) When I was a teenager, I tried and liked tastier brews like Smirnoff's Ice. However, my parents took all of the fun--read: rebellion--out of underaged drinking by offering to buy me anything I wanted and, on special occasions, bringing home something for me without being asked. For example, I was always obsessed with the word chardonnay as a kid, so they bought me chardonnay for New Year's one year when I was most definitely still underaged. All of this meant that I didn't drink much before 21, and I don't recall it as a big deal, so don't remember the exact age when I did. I do remember being about 19 and going to karaoke every week with a group of friends, one of whom's sister waited tables at the restaurant and would serve us. That was fun because it was rebellious! Sitting on the couch with my parents, drinking box wine? Notsomuch ...

At what age did you first move away from home?

See above. Age 23. I was married within a month.

I'm such a square.

B is for Babies…

Does seeing babies make you broody?

Heavens no.

Did you ever babysit as a teenager?

Once. The little sister of my long-time friend was literally obsessed with me. She would talk non-stop about getting to see me whenever it was her mom's turn to drive our carpool. She made me awkward but well-intended presents. I babysat for her once, for two hours. She stayed at my house. I remember watching Bill Nye the Science Guy with her. Her mom paid me $10, which I thought was awesome at the time but now seem fecking cheap.

Home birth or hospital birth?

None of the above, thankyouverymuch. I am happily child-free by choice.

C is for Cars…

Have you passed your driving test and, if so, how old were you when you did?

I passed the written test at age 15 or 16, so that I could take driver's ed with Bobby. However, I didn't get around to the driving test and actually getting my license until one month before my 18th birthday and then only because I was going to university in a month and had to get myself there. I loathed driving then and loathe it now.

If you have a car, what kind is it? If not, what form of transport do you usually use?

I have the sexiest wheels on Town Drunk Road*. I have a '92 Mercury Topaz named Hermes. Hermes is '90s teal. Anyone who lived during the '90s will remember that not-quite-green-not-quite-blue hue that briefly colored everything before fading from the color palette, remembered only on cars like Hermes and waitress uniforms at outdated family restaurants.

Hermes is completely missing one of his back taillights. He has a big old hole in the front bumper. In other words, he has charm. Unfortunately, he is also overheating like mad right now; the last time I drove him, I thought he might actually catch on fire, so I haven't driven him since then. Since Bobby and I share a workplace, we'll probably be selling him soon. :(

* Not the actually name of my street, but the person my street was named after was purportedly the town drunk, so it works.

What habits of other road users annoy you the most?

I'll begin by saying that I am an exceedingly cautious driver, and I don't like driving one bit. I jokingly call myself Officer Caution to make fun of the flip-outedness to which I am prone as a passenger when something scares me. So anything reckless makes me exceedingly unhappy. Cars are weapons! I was looking at accidental death statistics with one of my students the other day (don't ask), and vehicular deaths rate number one! Even as a kid, I remember being exceedingly anxious that someone I cared about was going to die in a car accident.

We went on a field trip yesterday, and one of the TAs drove, and I thought I was going to die as we zipped down the highway at 65 MPH, ten feet away from the car in front of us. If the drive didn't kill me, I thought I might die of anxiety.

D is for Dreaming…

Do you often remember your dreams?

Sometimes but not often.

Do you dream in colour or black and white?


Do you ever have nightmares?

Yes. It's rarely anything that's truly frightening so much as it is the feeling of fear that permeates a scene that's fairly non-threatening. One of the best things about being married, I've learned, is having another body there with me to cuddle up against after a nightmare.

I have turned at least one nightmare into a horror story: Quail (flocked).

E is for Eating…

What food do you refuse to eat?

I love food, and I like most foods. Those I don't eat I avoid primarily for moral/ethical reasons. I have been a vegetarian for 18 years. Those who have put up with me for the past few years know that my feelings on this are complex. I am not opposed to eating animals--quite the opposite. I am a vegetarian currently because it is a comfortable choice for me. I am opposed to industrialized agriculture: factory farming, CAFOs, whatever you want to call them. And industrialized plant foods as well. So this means that I avoid the majority of processed foods as much as possible and any produce that isn't locally produced, except when Bobby and I treat ourselves to fair-trade, organic tropical fruits to support farmers in developing countries who are using sustainable production methods.

I can't think of any food that I completely dislike. There are foods like green beans that I don't like most ways, but there's always one or two ways that I like them that keeps them off the list.

What food would you find almost impossible to give up, even if it made you ill?

Nachos! Nachos are my number-one guilty pleasure food. A couple times per year, Bobby makes a big ol' cookie sheet of nachos with beans, cheese, and any veggies we have in the house, along with a healthy dose of jalapenos and hot sauce. Yumyum.

When you eat out, what type of restaurant do you usually choose?

Depends on what I want. For a quick meal, Salsarita's is my usual choice. Surprisingly, we have a lot of really good restaurants in Carroll County, so it's hard to choice a favorite from among them. For an everyday-occasion place, definitely El Rodeo in Hanover. For a nice, special-occasion place, probably Paradiso, an Italian restaurant in Westminster. Out-of-town ... my goodness, there's too many to list. It's a joke in our family that, no matter where we go, Bobby and I know someplace good to eat.

F is for Family…

Which member of your family are you closest to?

Bobby, of course! He's my best friend and other half.

I'm close with all of my family, though. I consider myself lucky that my family are also my friends.

Do you fight with your siblings, or get along?

My sister and I fought like crazy until I was 13 and she was 11. Then we discovered music and spent the next few years of our lives becoming friends over guitars and MTV. Today, I consider my sister my dearest friend only after Bobby. I miss her fiercely, but when we do get a chance to talk or see each other, it's like no time has passed at all.

I have two sisters-in-law too, both of whom I consider like sisters.

Are there any members of your family you don’t speak to?

Heh. Yeah, the Felagund family is huge and can be high-strung, so there are a bevy of long-standing and half-remembered family conflicts. On my mom's side, we have been estranged for about 15 years from my aunts. They recently contacted me on Facebook, and since I had nothing to do with the original conflict--it was, I'm sadly to say, an argument over my grandmother's paltry estate--I started talking to them. It makes me sad because, right after my grandmother died (and I barely knew her because her husband, my step-grandfather, was a pedophile), my aunts really became involved in my life for the first time ever, and I remember how happy I was during that time. I have this memory of going through my grandmother's old clothes with my Aunt Carol when I was 14 and picking out shirts and sweaters that we thought looked good on me. I'd never had the kind of friendship with my extended family till then, but it was short-lived, I'm sad to say.

On my dad's side, he has one sibling--my aunt--and I am quite content not to speak to her or my uncle. I would like to have some contact with my cousins. My aunt and uncle are, I'm sorry to say, obnoxious and obsessed with money. After my grandmother died, they were in contact with our family until her estate settled. (Grandmothers and estates and family drama seem to be a trend in the House of Felagund.) Unlike my maternal grandmother, this was a pretty considerable estate. After my dad sent the check, he hasn't heard from them since. He tried calling a few times--my grandmother's last wish was that her children try to have a civil relationship--but she was always locked in her office or sick with a migraine.

I generally try to be an understanding and forgiving person. To give an idea why I don't extend that consideration for my dad's sister or her husband: Shortly after Bobby and I started dating, my grandmother set up a brunch, during which Bobby would meet that side of my family for the first time. It was a rainy day, and he spun out while on the Beltway and was involved in an accident. I was, understandably, distraught. We were late for brunch while I waited to hear that he was okay.

Upon my arrival, my aunt quipped that I better marry him, since he had been the reason we late getting started on brunch.

Yeah. Just not the kind of people I want in my life.

G is for Geography…

Do you still live in the town where you were born?

I was born in Baltimore and have never lived in Baltimore. I do still live in Maryland, where I have lived all of my life.

What’s the population of the town where you live?

Manchester, Maryland: about 3,500, according to the 2010 Census

What kind of neighbourhood do you live in?

I live on the outskirts of the Manchester town limits. It is a suburban neighborhood built in the '70s, so lots of ranchers and split-levels on acre lots with mature trees. Down the hill is the infamous Bob Ward Homes: suburban nightmare with oversized houses butted so close to each other you can probably hear your neighbor fart if the window's open. The only trees are these sad, diminished beings tied to stakes to make them grow straight. Up the hill from us is farmland, which is far preferable, although when they put manure down in the spring? Those few days, you don't want to walk outside!

H is for Hospital…

How many times have you stayed in hospital overnight (apart from when you were born)?

Never, thank goodness.

How many times have you visited A&E (the ER)?

Never, thank goodness.

Have you ever considered a career in medicine?

I seriously contemplated a career in veterinary medicine for many years. In fact, my first major in university was biology and pre-vet. I bought a Merck Veterinary Manual in middle school and tried to teach myself as much as I could. I sent away for information from vet schools then too and used to read the course schedules and dream.

However, I ran into a rather stupid obstacle: I'm blood-injury phobic. I can cowboy up when I need to--like the time Lance cut open his leg and I was home alone--but otherwise get to the point of passing out at the sight of blood. I first realized how much of a problem this would be for me as a vet when, in 12th grade AP Biology, while doing an enzyme lab that required grinding up a piece of liver, I nearly fainted.

I is for Internet…

What year did you first go online?

I remember first seeing the Internet over my friend Lisa's house when I was in 7th or 8th grade. Her dad worked for IBM, and they had good ol' Prodigy on their home computer. We were really into dog training, and she was on some kind of forum or newsgroup for dog training. I didn't know much what it was. I only remember her getting upset because, when she asked for help figuring out why should couldn't train her dog to jump, someone suggested the dog might be overweight! It figures my first exposure to the Internet would involve drama in some way ...

My dad--also a computer geek--got AOL at home a few years later. I didn't use it for years; actually, I wasn't allowed to use it, although my sister knew the password and used to get on when my parents weren't home. We used to fight because she'd want the phone line for the Internet, and I'd want the phone line to talk to Bobby. Yes, those were the days of good ol' dial-up ... My first serious use of the Internet was on a group for an actor I liked when I was in late high school. Then I lost interest until getting involved in the Tolkien fandom about 2004.

What site is your home page?

Ummm ... the Firefox page? I don't have a homepage set; I usually restore a whole bunch of tabs that include Gmail, the SWG, my webhost, and usually Demand Studios.

What do you think of Facebook?

I have a Facebook account and do use it on occasion. It has been nice to find people I've lost touch with over the years.

However, I find Facebook very hard to use. I say this as someone who came up on the cusp of the Information Age and is more than competent online. It seems every time I use Facebook, something has changed, and I can no longer figure out how to ... change my user photo, for example. This took me an insane amount of time to do the other day. I stopped reading my feed when FB made it impossible to show only status updates because 90% of what was coming into my feed was friends' game scores, and I didn't really give a crap who found a Pink Cow in Farmville. I don't see game scores anymore, so I'm guessing that's changed again. Regardless, I am a reluctant Facebook user.

J is for Job…

Describe a typical day at your job (or your school or college)

I get to school at about 8. Bobby lets me into the library--he has the key--and I print out my students' work for the day, which I copy in the staff room. I go back to my room and write my warm-up and objectives on the board.

The kids start coming in for homeroom about 8:15. My TA takes care of attendance and points sheets, so I don't have much to do with the homeroom kids aside from wishing them good morning, no matter how sour their faces. First period starts at 8:30. L is always on time; as for the rest? I've learned not to actually start class till about 9:00 or else I'll end up explaining the same material three or four times as my students straggle in.

Currently, I teach English for four hours straight. Some students have me for all four hours. Others have me for periods 1 and 2 or periods 3 and 4. I try to have an assignment for each two-hour block. If they finish early, they can use the computers in the room. In reality? These guys are here for a reason. Most of them won't stay for their full time. My TA goes to chase them down, but we can't force them to stay. Usually, I have only L for the full four hours because he likes to listen to music and look at clothes on the Internet.

After class, I have lunch, then an hour-long club. I am with Bobby and the reading specialist in the Gardening Club. We go and water the plants in the garden, then have activities back in the classroom. The kids leave at 2:15.

At that point, I start my planning for the next day. I currently spend a mere two hours planning per day. Once the fall program starts, I will teach five classes in, thank goodness, 43-minute blocks. I'm not sure how that will affect planning. On the one hand, I have to plan for all four grades. On the other, a 43-minute class is incredibly short, and with these guys, I doubt I'll ever get much done.

What did you want to be when you were a kid – are you doing it now?

I wanted to be an entomologist when I was a kid ... so no! How a wannabe entomologist ended up teaching troubled boys with special needs ... the mind boggles. It's been quite a journey!

Sometimes, I do wish I'd pursued natural science. I was even on the cusp of going back to school for marine biology a few years ago, but the schedule didn't work out, then life happened and ... I have so many ambitions in life. I know I'll never meet them all; I just want to enjoy as much as I can. Right now, I feel really good to know that all the passion I feel for this world may help pull someone out of a dark place.

How do you travel to your job / school / college?

Bobby and I drive together. It's about a 45-minute drive without traffic. With traffic?? *wubbles*

K is for Kitchen…

Do you enjoy cooking?

I love cooking. I always thought I'd hate it, but after working for some years as a cook and kitchen manager, I discovered that there's room for a lot of creativity, which I find fun. And cooking for groups, which I love, is an intellectual challenge too: How to take limited resources and make them work in the most efficient manner possible. I have been out of the kitchen since early winter because of my internship and am just now getting back to helping Bobby on a regular basis and making meals occasionally to give him a night off.

If a few friends were coming over for dinner tonight, what would you cook them?

It would depend. Like I said above, I love cooking for groups. Bobby and I, when we bought our house, said that we wanted people to feel welcome and comfortable in our home at all times. Part of that is that we enjoy feeding people very well! Some of our friends have started hinting for invitations when they know one of "our" holidays is coming around.

I like to go all-out when cooking for others. We usually have three or four courses. We try to include a mixture of old favorites and new recipes for everyone to try.

What snack foods do you always have in the house?

Because of our unusual beliefs about food, we don't have many snacks in the house. We have a good supply of fruits--fresh at this time of year, canned during the off-season--and usually keep blue corn tortilla chips and a whole-grain pretzel snack I like called Sticks and Twigs. (Which my dad claims taste like actual wood, but I like them.) People always come over and bring cakes and other desserts, but we usually bring them in for our students the next day.

L is for Looks…

Are you happy with your weight?

I am. I'm heavier than I was a few years ago, but I like my curves. If I'm dissatisfied with anything, it's that I'm out of shape. When I was a cook, I used to be able to hold my own against any man in the kitchen when it came to lifting. As a skater, I could skate for hours without becoming winded. The last few years of doing sedentary work and spending so much time online for school has caused me to lose a lot of my strength and endurance, which I don't like.

Would you ever consider plastic surgery and if so, what for?

Never. I'm blood-injury phobic. I'd have to be dying or in extreme pain before I'd let anyone cut into my body. The thought alone of most plastic surgery procedures seriously grosses me out.

Name three things you like about your body, and three you dislike.

I like my bright blue eyes, my waist-length hair, and my figure.

I dislike my feet's bunions and bone spurs, which make me generally miserable. I dislike the single hair that grows on my chin and is a bitch to pull out. I dislike my hip, which after hurting it skating years ago, still bothers me on occasion.

M is for Modern Life…

Do you like to have the latest gadgets as soon as they come out?

Not at all. I find the need for the next great thing to be disturbing on many levels. For one, it is a waste of valuable resources, both to produce new items (since most discarded items are not recycled so we have to constantly procure new materials, often through dubious mining operations in developing nations) and in disposing the "old" items. Secondly, the constant need to consume in order to look cool or with-it keeps people in debt and therefore dependent on creditors and jobs that they loathe. I fail to see how a person identifies themselves as free when she's paying a mortgage, two car payments, and multiple credit cards racked up with the latest gadgets and gizmos and has no plan to free herself from any of the above.

I am typing this on a 10-year-old laptop and still love listening to my iPod that Bobby bought for me the first year iPods were available. So yeah, not caring about the next great gadget.

If you had to give up the internet or your mobile phone for a week, which one would you choose?

Cell phone. This wouldn't be a sacrifice at all. I'm honestly not even sure where mine is right now, and I'm sure it's out of charge. I don't like talking on the phone, and I don't like people to be able to reach me no matter where I am. I need some space, thank you! I don't understand the people who, for example, spring $50 for a concert ticket and then spend most of the concert texting and updating Facebook about how great the concert is when they've really not seen or heard more than a few minutes of it.

I do like the Internet because it lets me connect with people who share my unusual interests and viewpoints.

What piece of modern technology do you have absolutely no need for and no intention of buying?

Fancy cell phones. I have no desire to text or update Facebook from the bathroom of a pub where I'm seeing a show. I do not want to be able to check my email or the SWG when I'm trying to live the part of my life that doesn't involve those things. Again, I need my space or else what I do online becomes a chore rather than the joy that it is. I've not been wooed by apps; Bobby's stargazing app was cool at first but, know what? My star maps work just as well. I don't want to be playing games or surfing the web when there's a world out there, if I'd just look up and out at it.

N is for Numbers…

Can you remember your home and mobile phone numbers without looking them up?

I don't have a home phone. After a year of having my cell number, I've finally learned it.

Have you ever forgotten an important PIN or password?

With all of the passwords I have for various websites, groups, and services, yes, I forget them quite often. I rely quite heavily on my computer remembering my passwords for me. My website comods will attest that I frequently lock myself out of our web server when, for whatever reason, my computer doesn't remember the password.

How are your maths skills?

They used to be quite good but are suffering from disuse. Unlike my language skills, my math skills don't come naturally, so I have to practice to keep them sharp. Working as a statistician accomplished this for many years. Now, I might have to figure out a tip on a restaurant bill.

O is for Opportunities…

Are there any opportunities you’ve missed in life, that you regret?

Not really. I have the philosophy that my feet will find their road. When I was young, my mom always told me never to close doors to different possibilities, and I think I've done well with that and with following my heart, to sound cliche and corny for a moment.

One thing I would have liked to do, in retrospect, was study abroad. When I was in university, I was young and in love and couldn't bear the thought of leaving my beloved for a week much less a whole semester. I do wish I'd given that more consideration, however. I'm hoping before I'm too far into middle age that I might be able to teach abroad for at least a few months.

If you were given the money, and time off work, to travel the world for a year, would you do it? If so, who would you go with?

Hell yeah! I'd take Bobby, of course.

If you had the opportunity to meet any famous person (of any kind – film star, writer, sportsman, politician, etc) and they were obliged to answer whatever questions you asked them honestly, who would you choose and what would you ask?

I always find this kind of question almost impossible to answer. I have no more desire to speak to a "famous" person than I do to anyone. We all put on our pants the same way each morning.

If I had to choose, I'd probably talk to Obama. And I'd probably get my students to write the questions.

P is for Personality…

Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?

I self-identify as an outgoing introvert. I wasn't always that way: I used to be a hide-behind-my-hands shy introvert. I've spent the last fourteen years or so of life training myself to become outgoing, but I'm still an introvert.

People frequently misunderstand introversion/extroversion as synonymous with shy/outgoing. I prefer to classify myself based on my reaction to sensory stimuli. Being overwhelmed with sensory stimuli literally makes me crazy. I mean, I go nuts, like a caged animal trying to get away. My brain feels itchy. I can tolerate a fairly heavy degree, but once I've had enough, I've had the fuck enough. Because of this, I don't like spending long stretches of time in cities. I don't like crowds. I don't like unrelenting noise. If I go too long without spending a long stretch of time in the garden or the nature center or some other natural locale, I become depressed and anxious. I need my alone time. If I have to entertain another person non-stop, I start to go crazy.

Like I said, it takes a lot to get there, but once I'm there? Holy hand grenades.

Are you spontaneous, or do you prefer to plan things in advance?

I'd say I'm midway between the two. I like to have a certain amount of information going into a situation. I like to have directions when going someplace new, for example. I like to have a list of attractions or restaurants when going on vacation.

At the same time, I don't like to be confined to a schedule. Some of the best restaurants Bobby and I have found, for example, we found by accident.

I remember taking a trail hiking class in university for a PE credit. The instructor couldn't go on a particular hike, so he appointed one of the hikers to lead the group. This guy was a man on a mission! He had a goal and, dammit, we were getting there and fast! He kept getting pissed at Bobby and me because we were falling behind. We like to explore side trails or interesting things that we find. That's how we roll. I don't go to the woods to blaze through with my eyes pointed ahead of me. We ended up in an argument with him and basically told him to fuck off.

That kind of illustrates my philosophy in general: I like knowing the trail is there to get me home, but I like to mosey and lollygag until I feel I've truly experienced the place. When Bobby and I visit a new city, we frequently walk everywhere we can because we end up feeling like we've really gotten to know that city.

Do you tend to look at the big picture, or the little details?>

Look at my writing or my artwork. I'm very detail-oriented.

Q is for Quarrels…

Do you tend to bear a grudge, or forgive and forget?

I do not hold grudges. When I call it quits with a person, it's to protect my own mental health. There are precious few people with whom I have no interest in interacting with ever again. I'm prone to forgiveness, but my memory is long, and I do not forget. Those few with whom I have no interest in interacting are generally those who were forgiven once but persisted in their objectionable behavior.

Have you ever got into a physical fight with someone?

Not since I was about 13 years old and gouged my sister's arm with my fingernails ... :^S

Is there anyone you’re not speaking to because of something they said or did?

There are people whom I avoid and with whom I've cut off ties. I don't know that I would refuse to speak to them if, say, I ran into them out in the world. I've just decided that the emotional drain they were for me was too much and cut them from my life.

There are other people whom I find objectionable generally in beliefs or behavior and whom I'm content generally to ignore. Those I will treat politely if I must, but I try to avoid contact with them as much as possible.

R is for Romance…

Have you ever tried internet dating?

I met my husband when I was 14. I don't think Internet dating existed yet.

So no.

What was your worst ever date?

Since Bobby and I started dating so young, I don't really have one. My boyfriend before Bobby was pretty unpleasant to be around. He used to pet me on the head like an animal and other such over-sentimental nonsense. Hence we were only together a short while before Bobby and I started dating!

Do you like romantic gestures like candlelit dinners or getting flowers?

Not really. Those things are symbolic but thoughtless gestures. It's like giving a gift card: a nice gesture but a depersonalized one. I am moved by thoughtful gestures that tell me the person (Bobby, in this case) was thinking of me and not merely conforming to "traditions" often driven by corporations like Hallmark or DeBeers. For example, Bobby bought me my first ice cream maker as a Christmas gift one year because he knew I wanted to start an ice cream shop someday. He made me a beautiful picture frame from materials found around our yard and garden for Yule last year. Those things were personal and meaningful.

S is for Sports…

Did you enjoy school Physical Education/Gym classes?

Hell no. I hated PE. My elementary school PE teacher was an emotional bully that I blame for many of the self-esteem issues that I spent much of my adolescence fighting. My misery in his class made me detest playing most sports. (He's also a major reason why I decided to become a teacher because every kind, fair teacher like me displaces one asshat like him!)

Do you play any sports or do any regular exercise?

See above comment about sports. :) I don't currently do anything formal and regular. I mow the grass once per week or so with our reel lawnmower which, believe me, is good exercise. Bobby and I go walking or hiking pretty regularly, and we canoe or kayak when we can. In the winter, we snowshoe when we can.

I used to rollerskate regularly and need to get back into that.

Do you enjoy watching any sports live or on TV?

I enjoy watching most major sports live, although I've never been to a live basketball game. I like live baseball, football, soccer, and hockey. I like all of those on television, too, to a lesser extent. Football I do really like on television, although I generally choose not to watch it for a variety of personal and practical reasons.

T is for TV…

What TV show do you never miss?

I don't watch TV. We don't have cable or satellite, so we only get local channels. Most shows I find insipid. If I like a show (like The Tudors), I watch it on DVD.

If you could have a guest role in any show, what would it be and what type of character would you play?

Ummm ... since I'm not aware of any current shows, I find this impossible to answer!

If you had to go a week without TV, would you find it easy or hard?

Easy, obviously. Welcome to my life.

U is for the US…

Which US states have you visited?

I've been in the following states, although those with an asterisk I only passed through on my way to somewhere else: Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington DC, West Virginia, North Carolina*, South Carolina*, Georgia*, Florida, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut*, and Massachusetts. I've also been to Puerto Rico.

Which part of the US would you most like to visit in the future?

The Southwest.

Which part of the US would you most like to live in?

I'm happy where I am. I like our moderate weather here in Maryland (at least, the part of Maryland where we live). I also feel a strong attachment to my native soil. I was built of this soil and want to go back to it someday.

V is for Vice…

What do you think is your worst habit?

That's hard to say. I don't feel impaired by any of my habits. I bite my fingers. That's a bad habit. Sometimes I bite them so much that I bleed and have to bandage them to get myself to stop.

Do you like to get drunk?

No. I've only been drunk-to-the-point-of-feeling-out-of-control once, when playing Captain Morgan roulette with some friends at my sis-in-law's 16th birthday in the basement at Bobby's parents' house. I don't like feeling out of control, so I've never done that again. Now I've been pretty freaking buzzed since then, but I wouldn't say it's ever anything I actively seek out to do.

Do you smoke, or have you ever?

I do not and have never tried it. I watched my beloved Uncle Wodie die of brain hemorrhages related to smoking when I was 14 years old. He was so addicted that, even as the cigarettes were killing him, he was searching old ashtrays for butts to smoke. Any attraction to smoking went out the door after watching that. Visiting his hospital room the night he died is one of my worst memories. I'm tearing up now just thinking about it.

I want to kick the collective ass of young people who take up smoking. Yes, I'm breaking my personal rule about not being judgmental. You have to be a pretty big fucking tool to knowingly risk your life and commit a portion of your income to a known-addicting habit so that you can look cool because Big Tobacco told you to.

W is for Weather…

What’s your perfect temperature?

Between 70 and 85F. (21 and 29C.)

What type of weather do you hate the most?

Cold weather without snow. I like snow because 1) I'm a teacher, so I get a day off, 2) it means snowshoeing, which is fun as all get-out, and 3) it's pretty. Cold weather I don't like. At all. I become miserable to the point of physical pain, and I also tend to become dysthymic in the winter, which is no fun.

Has your life ever been affected by severe weather (flooding, tornado, hurricane, etc)?

Not in any major way. We had an exciting morning at school when I was student teaching, huddling in the hallways because Carroll County was under a tornado warning. The sky looked evil and a funnel touched down in northern Baltimore County, not far from here and near the farm where we buy our meat and dairy, but we never got anything in Manchester, thank goodness. That's been my closest call with a tornado.

On my 18th birthday, in honor of my becoming an adult, Mother Nature threw me a tropical storm, Floyd, that knocked out the power at my parents' home for eight days. That was an interesting experience, especially since my parents are on well water, so no power = no water. We ran a hose from the pool to flush the toilet and begged showers off my grandmother and Bobby's family. My neighbor eventually got back her power, and she let us run an extension cord, so we had a lamp, toaster over, and television and thought we had it made!

X is for X-Men…

What mutant super-power would you most like to have?

I'd love to be able to fly because it seems like it'd be fun, expedient, and I think I'd look cool with wings!

Do you like reading comics?

I can't say that I don't because I've really never given comics a try. The only comic I ever read was Peanuts; I used to get collections out from the library when I was a kid and think I've read every strip published. I've never read a comic book.

Do you like superhero movies?

Depends. When the characters and story are good, I do enjoy them. I really enjoyed Thor, which surprised the heck out of me, and the previews for Captain America look fun. When the movie is just a special-effects spectacle, I'm not impressed.

Y is for Youth Culture

Do you keep up with the latest music, films and fashion?

Not really, and I probably should now that I'm teaching. I need to read Twilight, for example. *ties a noose for myself* I have the excuse that my current students aren't really into "youth culture" either, and I can't even fake an interest in gangsta rap and the other things they like. I'm usually aware of what's cool but don't really have the time or energy to do much beyond that.

What modern stars do you think are over-rated?

I honestly don't keep up with pop culture enough to be able to say.

What music and fashion do you remember from your teenage years?

I started in middle school during the era of Seattle grunge. I remember my friend Lisa, who was a year older than me and seemed so cool and so precocious, telling me before I started 6th grade that I'd have to decide if I wanted to be a grit or a yo. I was like, "WTF is a grit or a yo?!?" That was scary! I felt completely unprepared to make that kind of weighty decision with my lack of information! Luckily, Lisa exaggerated the necessity of this decision to a good degree, and I actually made it through middle school without becoming a grit or a yo, and at my nerdy high school, those kinds of things didn't matter. And no one self-identified as a grit or a yo by that point anyway.

But plaid shirts were cool then, which was good, as when my Uncle Wodie died, I inherited all of his, which served the dual purpose of letting me establish a modicum (a very small modicum, trust me!) of coolness while getting to remember him at the same time. I honestly don't remember any other trends beyond that, probably because I didn't partake in them. In 7th grade, my friend Mandi made the proclamation that I dressed like a hippie, and I've pretty much stuck with that since then. Plaid worked with my existing couture, so I went with it; after that, I pretty much did my own thing.

Z is for Zoology…

What domestic animal would you never have as a pet?

I honestly don't get the appeal of small animals like guinea pigs, hamsters, and ferrets. I can't imagine enjoying that kind of pet at all.

What animal would you most like to see in the wild?

Probably zebras. I used to be obsessed with zebras and still like them a lot. I would still like to scuba dive with sharks.

What wildlife do you typically see in your area?

We live in an interesting overlap where we see wildlife from both the coast and the Appalachians, although more of the latter. (We can see the Appalachians from the bottom of our street but need to drive an hour to get to the Bay.) We have white-tailed deer, rabbits, groundhogs, gray and red squirrels, chipmunks, opossums, raccoons, and foxes common in our area. Less common but present are black bears, bobcats, and coyotes. We have a variety of reptiles, amphibians, birds, and arthropods.

This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!

  • so there are a bevy of long-standing and half-remembered family conflicts.

    Oh, this made me laugh. One of my uncles was round the other day, and we were laughing about this. One of his brothers is feuding with the other (long-standing and separated by the English Channel now.) And my sister isn't talking to one of them either, then perhaps some of my cousins are not talking to one of the uncles out of loyalty to their fathers...I always forget and talk to every-one.

    That's such a good meme. You are also a really nice person.

    • That seems to be the nature of family conflicts! I can't even really remember what happened with my mom's side of the family except that it had to do with my grandmother's estate. I wonder if they remember sometimes!
  • Being overwhelmed with sensory stimuli literally makes me crazy.

    Ditto. I basically go into "fight or flee" mode.

    And if you do decide to read Twilight, good luck…

    (I think I may do this. It's looks like fun.)
    • It was fun! Although it took three days of working on it off and on to finish it ...

      I'm not expecting to enjoy Twilight. I'll probably get the books out of the library. I've seen them at Goodwill for $2.62 each but can't even bring myself to spend that much on them.
  • Good Grief! That was almost a biography rather than a meme!!!

    I spotted a number of statements I could "Me Too" on your list. Plaid shirts - YUP, welcome to my fashion world!
    • It took three days of working on it off and on to finish! So yeah ... mini-biography more than meme. :)

      Plaid shirts are coming back into style, if my MVHS students were any indication--you're on the cutting edge of fashion, Chagan! :D
      • 3 days to write a mini-bio! Well, I can understand that. I admit to enjoying the mini-bio and wonder about the folks who come up with these memes. Are they bored, nosy or just slightly out of sync with the world that they want to know all these facts about folks.

        "Cutting edge of Fashion"....snicker...I rather doubt that unless you're referring to standard working wear for AG folks. More like I'm on the cutting edge of the fabric!

        • Yeah, I become on the cutting edge of fashion only when the same ol' jazz I've been wearing for the past ten years rolls around to being cool again. ;)
  • I think I'll need to do that meme... it sounds like fun, even though I don't know if I'll find the time to do so.

    BTW, I read the three of the Twilight books and I have to admit that while the first two quite bored me to death I felt a little ashamed for mankind when I read the third... (I also wrote an angry post on doing one's research properly considering the Italy part in book no. 2 which I never published somehow...). I still have to go and borrow no. 4 from the library, but I am always a little afraid someone who knows me will see me doing so... ;) (The movies are worse though.)
    • It was a fun--if long!--meme. :) Let me know if you do it, please?

      I would have no interest at all in Twilight if it wasn't for the fact that my students might ... although it just occurred to me that I teach all boys now. Not likely to read Twilight--looks like I have a reprieve for the time being! :D
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