Jesurgislac’s Journal

December 31, 2008

About me

I got this idea from Renaissance Guy. Herewith a list of random items. Comment to let me know what you can identify with.

I purposely kept all my political opinions off this list, or almost all, because that’s something I’m fairly sure we already know about each other if you read here regularly.

1. Learned to read at the age of three and have seldom stopped since.

2. My favourite kind of novels are the sort that include large amounts of expository information in the narrative – Victor Hugo, J. R. R. Tolkien, Robert Graves, Octavia E. Butler, K. J. Parker, C. J. Cherryh.

3. Milk chocolate should be at least 40% cocoa. Dark chocolate should be at least 70% cocoa. White chocolate is not actually chocolate at all.

4. I hardly ever get around to watching a movie when it first comes out. I’m much more likely to watch it 2 years later when it’s on TV or someone loans me a DVD.

5. Though going to the cinema or the theatre with people who want to sit down and talk about it afterwards is a treat.

6. I’m fascinated by ancient writing: by the invention of writing and the development of the concept.

7. I’m fascinated by writing – by the ability to convert thoughts in the head to symbols on the page and vice versa.

8. I eat peanut butter on bread with tomato ketchup.

9. I like Marmite.

10. I’m a lifelong vegetarian, and while I try to be polite about it at all times, i really don’t understand how people can enjoy eating meat.

11. I loathe having a meal with someone who feels they’re entitled to make negative comments about what I – or anyone else at the table – chose to eat.

12. I love making bread.

13. Once Willie Nelson has sung any song, it’s a wonder to me that anyone wants to listen to anyone else sing it.

14. Good dialogue is the single thing most likely to attract me to a new TV series.

15. I’ve only been to one live music event in my adult life (not counting church services with choirs) and I came away thinking that it worth having had the experience of hearing Willie Nelson sing live, but I couldn’t understand people who actually wanted to go to events like that on a regular basis, what with the amount of time spent hanging about, the people in the audience singing along so you can’t hear the person we all paid to hear very well, etc.

16. Wine is better than grapes. Beer is usually a waste of good grain.

17. Very dark rich real ales and beers are totally worth it, though.

18. Amy should have died after she fell through the ice. Beth should have lived to grow up and keep house for Jo, who should have continued to write thrilling stories and never married anyone.

19. People who think Fanny Price should have married Henry Crawford and Edmund Bertram should have married Mary Crawford have really not been paying attention.

20. Russet apples are the best apples there are.

21. But any apple is good except for those big mushy ones, red or yellow.

22. The perfect fruit is a mango.

23. I read XKCD three times a week and always click on random to view some past XKCD when I do.

24. I try to use cloth bags or my backpack instead of plastic bags whenever I go shopping.

25. The arrival of the post used to be an exciting moment. Since e-mail was invented, the paper mail has become less and less interesting, but I remember when the sound of the letters falling through the door was a thrill.

26. I think Shakespeare’s comedies tend to be at least as scary as his tragedies.

27. I prefer cats to dogs, both aesthetically and as pet/companions.

28. But think a well-trained well-behaved dog is a pleasure to see, particularly a working dog.

29. But feel a cat leaping up onto my lap, curling up and purring till it falls asleep, is better than any pack-loyal dog.

30. While ordinarily I manage to separate my feelings about a writer’s political views from my ability to enjoy their writing, Orson Scott Card managed to make himself one big exception over the past four years, speaking as someone who was an enthusiastic fan for over twenty years before 2004. It’s not just that I disagree with him: it’s also that Card seems to be unable to tolerate widespread disagreement with his politics without becoming a jerk.

31. Favourite poets; Marilyn Hacker, Rainer Maria Rilke, Rudyard Kipling. I find this combination as weird as you probably do, but those are genuinely the three I’m most likely to sit down with and read their poems purely for the pleasure of it.

32. Allergic to dust/dust mites. Hate housework.

33. Keep favourite t-shirts till they have noticeable holes in them.

34. Prefer growing herbs to flowers.

35. Love the moment on any flight when the air flowing under the wing of the plane pushes the plane upwards away from the ground.

36. Ever since I first understood how the depth of the atmosphere, the angle of light through the atmosphere, and the human eye’s ability to perceive light, is why we perceive sunsets, I’ve appreciated sunsets all the more. Knowing how it works increases my aesthetic appreciation, not only for sunsets but for almost anything.

37. I like scented candles, but not candles whimsically shaped into amusing statues of wax to be destroyed by burning.

38. When reading Little Women I always identified with Jo. When reading Mansfield Park, I always identified with Fanny Price. When reading Ballet Shoes, I always identified with Petrova.

39. I hate all fizzy soft drinks, cola or sodapop or ginger.

40. I prefer still wine to fizzy wine, too.

41. I am an atheist.

42. I have read the Bible from Genesis to Revelations, and re-read most of the more interesting books multiple times in more than one translation.

43. I keep trying to do the same with the Qu’ran, and keep finding it less interesting, though I’m working on achieving a basic familiarity.

44. I don’t like celery.

45. I dislike mint: I still wish it wasn’t the default flavour for toothpastes.

46. Wikipedia annoys me greatly, even when I make use of it.

47. I love dunking a chewy cookie into a hot cup of tea.

48. About the only thing I think I would consider killing myself over is if the alternative were a protracted and painful death.

49. Goldfish are not pets, they are decor.

50. Blueberries are overrated.

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12 Comments »

  1. I identify with you on #4-7, 36, 42, 43, and 49.

    I now identify with you on #48, although I didn’t always, sad to say.

    I partly identify with you on #13 and 15.

    I never thought about #26, but I can identify with you on it after considering it.

    I cannot identify at all with you on #8, 9, 12, 18, 20, 31, 41, 47, or 50.

    Jes writes: I’m surprised we don’t have #42 in common *wg* Re: #26 – yeah, seriously. Not that I don’t enjoy being scared, but…

    Comment by renaissanceguy — December 31, 2008 @ 1:44 pm | Reply

  2. we have an amazing amount of things in common, though i prefer dogs and love fizzy drinks. alcohol is the worst taste in the world to me, the perfect fruit is avocados and goldfish necessitate either lying or explaining death to a small child. i hate them.

    Jes writes: Avocados were meant to be an accompaniment to chilli, not a fruit in their own right! But goldfish, yeah…

    Comment by Personal Failure — December 31, 2008 @ 1:47 pm | Reply

  3. #8, really? and you willingly share this information? Of course, it sounds like some sort of Poor Woman’s Satay, so there is that…

    I was kind of hoping people would respond with what they did identify with, as requested, not with what they didn’t…

    Comment by Cowboy Diva — December 31, 2008 @ 3:44 pm | Reply

  4. #11 & #50.
    But all of it made me laugh; thanks for sharing.

    Down with blueberries!

    Comment by waltzinexile — December 31, 2008 @ 5:55 pm | Reply

  5. Identify with: 5, 7, 12, 14, 25, 35, 42, 43 and 50.

    Goldfish are a snack, at least if you have kids. I love white chocolate, understand and respect why vegetarians find meant repulsive, but still eat it anyway, and while I don’t really care for most American beers (even micro-brews), a good “Hefe-Weizen” from Germany (I like Schneider’s the best) is a real treat.

    Comment by Scott Erb — January 2, 2009 @ 3:06 am | Reply

  6. OK, here goes:

    Comment to let me know what you can identify with.

    1. Learned to read at the age of three and have seldom stopped since.
    Semi-identify: Apparently I didn’t bother to learn until I was 5 or so (causing concern, because my sister learned when she was 3). Then I learned in about a week (“Oh, that’s what they mean by reading”?) and never stopped.

    2. My favourite kind of novels are the sort that include large amounts of expository information in the narrative – Victor Hugo, J. R. R. Tolkien, Robert Graves, Octavia E. Butler, K. J. Parker, C. J. Cherryh.
    Agree, though I don’t know all of these authors.

    3. Milk chocolate should be at least 40% cocoa. Dark chocolate should be at least 70% cocoa. White chocolate is not actually chocolate at all.
    Pretty much agree, though I’ll drop to 60% for dark.

    4. I hardly ever get around to watching a movie when it first comes out. I’m much more likely to watch it 2 years later when it’s on TV or someone loans me a DVD.
    Identify, largely, though when circumstances permit, I do enjoy a “first-run” movie.

    5. Though going to the cinema or the theatre with people who want to sit down and talk about it afterwards is a treat.
    Of course.

    6. I’m fascinated by ancient writing: by the invention of writing and the development of the concept.
    Interested, but not really “fascinated.”

    7. I’m fascinated by writing – by the ability to convert thoughts in the head to symbols on the page and vice versa.
    If you broaden this to *language*, rather than just writing, I’m with you. The greater mystery is putting “thoughts” into “words” (or do we even have thoughts without words), rather than devising a code for recording/remembering/sending words without speech. Although the latter is also pretty neat.

    8. I eat peanut butter on bread with tomato ketchup.
    YES! You and me alone against the universe, Jes! (Though to be honest I haven’t eaten this in years.)

    9. I like Marmite.
    I tolerate it, in small doses. Have you tried Vegemite?

    10. I’m a lifelong vegetarian, and while I try to be polite about it at all times, i really don’t understand how people can enjoy eating meat.
    No.

    Still – at least partial identification on 9 of the first 10. More to follow!

    Comment by dr ngo — January 2, 2009 @ 6:14 am | Reply

  7. Continuing.

    11. I loathe having a meal with someone who feels they’re entitled to make negative comments about what I – or anyone else at the table – chose to eat.
    For me, I’d say “dislike” rather than the stronger “loathe.” Otherwise, fine.

    12. I love making bread.
    Not I, though I’ve heard it’s soothing and all.

    13. Once Willie Nelson has sung any song, it’s a wonder to me that anyone wants to listen to anyone else sing it.
    Disagree, not because I don’t love Willie, but because he’s *so* distinctive that “variant” (non-Willie) versions can be excellent in their own right.

    14. Good dialogue is the single thing most likely to attract me to a new TV series.
    Probably true, though I’m not sure I’ve ever analyzed it that closely.

    15. I’ve only been to one live music event in my adult life (not counting church services with choirs) and I came away thinking that it worth having had the experience of hearing Willie Nelson sing live, but I couldn’t understand people who actually wanted to go to events like that on a regular basis, what with the amount of time spent hanging about, the people in the audience singing along so you can’t hear the person we all paid to hear very well, etc.
    Well, here you’re on your own, Jes. Literally.

    16. Wine is better than grapes. Beer is usually a waste of good grain.
    Right about wine; wrong about some beer. So make that a 75% agreement.

    17. Very dark rich real ales and beers are totally worth it, though.
    True, but there are also some excellent pilsners and other not “very dark” malt beverages.

    18. Amy should have died after she fell through the ice. Beth should have lived to grow up and keep house for Jo, who should have continued to write thrilling stories and never married anyone.
    Pass.

    19. People who think Fanny Price should have married Henry Crawford and Edmund Bertram should have married Mary Crawford have really not been paying attention.
    Pass again.

    20. Russet apples are the best apples there are.
    Pass once more.

    21. But any apple is good except for those big mushy ones, red or yellow.
    Pretty much agree. Have you ever had the huge Japanese apples that come in their own little white plastic nettings?

    22. The perfect fruit is a mango.
    The perfect fruit is a PHILIPPINE mango. (Fixed that for you.)

    23. I read XKCD three times a week and always click on random to view some past XKCD when I do.
    Yes to the reading, but inconsistent on randomizing.

    24. I try to use cloth bags or my backpack instead of plastic bags whenever I go shopping.
    In principle, yes. In practice, rarely.

    25. The arrival of the post used to be an exciting moment. Since e-mail was invented, the paper mail has become less and less interesting, but I remember when the sound of the letters falling through the door was a thrill.
    Indeed.

    Only about half on the next fifteen, I fear, depending on how you count the waffling ones. Perhaps we’re not soulmates after all. (Sigh.)

    … and onward to the next installment.

    Comment by dr ngo — January 2, 2009 @ 6:24 am | Reply

  8. dr ngo, part iii:

    26. I think Shakespeare’s comedies tend to be at least as scary as his tragedies.
    I understand this perspective, but I wouldn’t say I identify with it.

    27. I prefer cats to dogs, both aesthetically and as pet/companions.
    Pass.

    28. But think a well-trained well-behaved dog is a pleasure to see, particularly a working dog.
    Pass.

    29. But feel a cat leaping up onto my lap, curling up and purring till it falls asleep, is better than any pack-loyal dog.
    Pass.

    30. While ordinarily I manage to separate my feelings about a writer’s political views from my ability to enjoy their writing, Orson Scott Card managed to make himself one big exception over the past four years, speaking as someone who was an enthusiastic fan for over twenty years before 2004. It’s not just that I disagree with him: it’s also that Card seems to be unable to tolerate widespread disagreement with his politics without becoming a jerk.
    Pass, though I suspect I’d agree if I ever read OSC.

    31. Favourite poets; Marilyn Hacker, Rainer Maria Rilke, Rudyard Kipling. I find this combination as weird as you probably do, but those are genuinely the three I’m most likely to sit down with and read their poems purely for the pleasure of it.
    Kipling, e.e. cummings, and ? (I don’t read much poetry nowadays). Count that 1/3 of a match.

    32. Allergic to dust/dust mites. Hate housework.
    I don’t need no steenkin’ allergy to hate housework! (But basically: yes.)

    33. Keep favourite t-shirts till they have noticeable holes in them.
    I bet some of mine are older than some of yours! (One at least dates from 1970-71, I believe.)

    34. Prefer growing herbs to flowers.
    Pass.

    35. Love the moment on any flight when the air flowing under the wing of the plane pushes the plane upwards away from the ground.
    Not really – I’m conscious of my wife’s nails digging into my hand as she desperately helps lift the plane off the ground. Absent her, it’s pretty cool, though. So make it another partial.

    36. Ever since I first understood how the depth of the atmosphere, the angle of light through the atmosphere, and the human eye’s ability to perceive light, is why we perceive sunsets, I’ve appreciated sunsets all the more. Knowing how it works increases my aesthetic appreciation, not only for sunsets but for almost anything.
    I don’t particularly make this connection, so: No.

    37. I like scented candles, but not candles whimsically shaped into amusing statues of wax to be destroyed by burning.
    Pass.

    38. When reading Little Women I always identified with Jo. When reading Mansfield Park, I always identified with Fanny Price. When reading Ballet Shoes, I always identified with Petrova.
    Pass.

    39. I hate all fizzy soft drinks, cola or sodapop or ginger.
    Disagree with the generality, though I like but few, and then mostly as mixers: Bitter Lemon (almost impossible to get in the USA!) and Jamaica’s Strong Ginger Brew.

    40. I prefer still wine to fizzy wine, too.
    Depends on the quality of the bubbly . . .

    41. I am an atheist.
    Me, too.

    42. I have read the Bible from Genesis to Revelations, and re-read most of the more interesting books multiple times in more than one translation.
    Yes and no – I did all of my reading early, KJV and sometimes RSV or NEB, but then put it aside, some 40+ years ago, and now only dip into it occasionally. Another partial.

    43. I keep trying to do the same with the Qu’ran, and keep finding it less interesting, though I’m working on achieving a basic familiarity.
    Not I. I mean I don’t object to it, I just don’t care enough to try.

    44. I don’t like celery.
    Foolish girl.

    45. I dislike mint: I still wish it wasn’t the default flavour for toothpastes.
    There are many mints, some tastier (or less objectionable) than others. “Default” never tastes good, however.

    46. Wikipedia annoys me greatly, even when I make use of it.
    Why? I find it both convenient and amusing. What’s to be irked about.

    47. I love dunking a chewy cookie into a hot cup of tea.
    That’s just strange. Use coffee.

    48. About the only thing I think I would consider killing myself over is if the alternative were a protracted and painful death.
    Makes sense to me.

    49. Goldfish are not pets, they are decor.
    I agree, not that I’ve ever really thought about it.

    50. Blueberries are overrated.
    No they’re not. AND they’re good for you.

    It’s hard to make an exact count, but it appears that, including partials, I still identify with only about ten of your last 25. I sense, Jes, that you and I are gradually drifting apart. What a sad story! If only it were set to words by Rudyard Kipling and then sung by Willie Nelson!!

    Comment by dr ngo — January 2, 2009 @ 6:40 am | Reply

  9. dr ngo, phase iii – or iii-b, if my previous version of this is eventually regurgitated from the ether to which it apparently was consigned.

    26. I think Shakespeare’s comedies tend to be at least as scary as his tragedies.
    I understand this opinion, but do not identify with it.

    27. I prefer cats to dogs, both aesthetically and as pet/companions.
    Pass.

    28. But think a well-trained well-behaved dog is a pleasure to see, particularly a working dog.
    Pass.

    29. But feel a cat leaping up onto my lap, curling up and purring till it falls asleep, is better than any pack-loyal dog.
    I get along fine with cats – I feel no more loyalty to them then they do to me. So sometimes they sleep in my lap. Fine. I just don’t go all atwitter over it.

    30. While ordinarily I manage to separate my feelings about a writer’s political views from my ability to enjoy their writing, Orson Scott Card managed to make himself one big exception over the past four years, speaking as someone who was an enthusiastic fan for over twenty years before 2004. It’s not just that I disagree with him: it’s also that Card seems to be unable to tolerate widespread disagreement with his politics without becoming a jerk.
    I suspect I would agree if I read OSC, but as I don’t: Pass.

    31. Favourite poets; Marilyn Hacker, Rainer Maria Rilke, Rudyard Kipling. I find this combination as weird as you probably do, but those are genuinely the three I’m most likely to sit down with and read their poems purely for the pleasure of it.
    Back when I actually read poetry, I might have included Kipling (in a list headed by e.e. cummings), but not the others. So make it a partial match.

    32. Allergic to dust/dust mites. Hate housework.
    I don’t need no steenkin’ allergy to make me hate housework! Otherwise agreed.

    33. Keep favourite t-shirts till they have noticeable holes in them.
    I bet some of mine are older than yours – at least one dates to ca. 1970-71.

    34. Prefer growing herbs to flowers.
    Pass.

    35. Love the moment on any flight when the air flowing under the wing of the plane pushes the plane upwards away from the ground.
    I might, but am usually distracted by my wife’s fingernails digging into my hand as she physically *wills* the plane off the ground.

    36. Ever since I first understood how the depth of the atmosphere, the angle of light through the atmosphere, and the human eye’s ability to perceive light, is why we perceive sunsets, I’ve appreciated sunsets all the more. Knowing how it works increases my aesthetic appreciation, not only for sunsets but for almost anything.
    I have the knowledge and the appreciation, but no linkage.

    37. I like scented candles, but not candles whimsically shaped into amusing statues of wax to be destroyed by burning.
    I like fire. (Like Ernie Jenkins, of “Child’s Christmas in Wales”) I’m not particular as to form.

    38. When reading Little Women I always identified with Jo. When reading Mansfield Park, I always identified with Fanny Price. When reading Ballet Shoes, I always identified with Petrova.
    Pass.

    39. I hate all fizzy soft drinks, cola or sodapop or ginger.
    Most are oversweet and crapulous, but a good (British) Bitter Lemon – all but impossible to get in the USA – or a Jamaican Strong Ginger Brew are worth getting into. And excellent mixers! (For tequila and dark rum, respectively.)

    40. I prefer still wine to fizzy wine, too.
    Depends on the quality of the bubbly.

    41. I am an atheist.
    As am I.

    42. I have read the Bible from Genesis to Revelations, and re-read most of the more interesting books multiple times in more than one translation.
    I read it all (KJV, with some supplementary RSV and NEB) more than 40 years ago, then gave it up except for the odd dipping in.

    43. I keep trying to do the same with the Qu’ran, and keep finding it less interesting, though I’m working on achieving a basic familiarity.
    I lack your dedication to this task, admirable though it may be.

    44. I don’t like celery.
    Foolish girl!

    45. I dislike mint: I still wish it wasn’t the default flavour for toothpastes.
    There are many mints (spearmint, peppermint, &c.) and some of them are quite spritely in tea, ice cream, etc. “Default” anything doesn’t taste that good, IMHO.

    46. Wikipedia annoys me greatly, even when I make use of it.
    Why? I find it convenient and amusing – what makes it irksome to you.

    47. I love dunking a chewy cookie into a hot cup of tea.
    Rather than coffee?

    48. About the only thing I think I would consider killing myself over is if the alternative were a protracted and painful death.
    That makes sense, but one doesn’t really know until one gets there (wherever “there” may be).

    49. Goldfish are not pets, they are decor.
    I suppose I would think that if I thought about it at all.

    50. Blueberries are overrated.
    No they aren’t. AND they’re good for you.

    Alas, this latter half of your “random items” may have proved the undoing of a once-promising relationship. It’s hard to make an exact count, what with all the partials and waffling, but I think I identify with only about a third of these.

    I suppose I’d better come out with it: Jes, we seem to be drifting apart.

    If only Kipling could write a sad ballad about it, and then Willie Nelson could sing it. At least some good would come of this ill-fated fling . . .

    Comment by dr ngo — January 2, 2009 @ 7:36 am | Reply

  10. I have twice submitted my detailed comments on items #26-50 and both times my posts have simply disappeared into the void. If Jes cares enough, perhaps she can check into the mechanisms of acceptance/rejection/whatever and see if either or both still lurk(s) somewhere out there.

    If not, not. It’s only about an hour out of my life, which otherwise I would probably have wasted in sleeping.

    Comment by dr ngo — January 2, 2009 @ 7:41 am | Reply

  11. Sorry – for some reason, comments 8 and 9 went to the spam queue. 😦 I apologise for this.

    (I have a default setting of first-time commenters have to be moderated, because it’s the most labour-saving way of keeping spambots off my blog. But I don’t know why the spam filter picked up on 8 and 9, and let through 7 and 10.)

    Comment by jesurgislac — January 2, 2009 @ 12:18 pm | Reply

  12. “I was kind of hoping people would respond with what they did identify with, as requested, not with what they didn’t…”

    I did not intend to be obnoxious, especially in light of your #11 (at least, more than is typical…).

    In truth, there is very little of your list I identify with, and certainly would not think to include them on my list of 50 (which truly I am neither disciplined nor introspective enough to complete). I appreciate the list, however, because it allows me to think about other people’s perspectives. The Phantom Tollbooth aside, it is sometimes helpful to be reminded of differences with others so that the similarities are more precious.

    If nothing else, I have the image of catsup and peanut butter to reflect on when I think I cannot reach a point of commonality with someone with whom I am in conflict. Not a bad thing.

    Comment by Cowboy Diva — January 2, 2009 @ 9:41 pm | Reply


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