Tuesday, January 27, 2009
25 Things About Me
1. Like my wife, I read constantly. I haven't gone without a book to read for several years. I buy them faster than I can read them.
2. Although I read constantly, I read very slowly; roughly at a talking pace with a lot of rereading to make sure I catch important details.
3. Despite having grown up with a family of sports fans, I despise watching sports. I hate the sound of a crowd, I hate the monotony and repetitiveness of most sports, and I hate how obsessive so many people become about them (often to the exclusion of more important things).
4. I dislike crowds, especially when they consist of strangers. At places like the mall, I become anxious, tense, and slightly disoriented. I've had similar experiences at parties with friends when the room became too loud and crowded. One advantage of working in the Idaho desert is that it's wide open and quiet.
5. At about the age of 18 I learned how to fly. I got as far as flying solo before college interrupted my lessons.
6. When I was young I wanted to be an astronaut. Later I wanted to be a pilot. In high school my poor eyesight dissuaded me from trying to become a pilot, so I decided to design aircraft instead. I wanted to become an aerospace engineer, but BYU didn't have an aerospace engineering program, so I went into mechanical engineering. Now I work with nuclear power.
7. I was one of two valedictorians in my high school. The salutatorian's graduation speech was better than mine or the other valedictorian's.
8. In my senior year I was captain of our high school's academic league (think of it as group Jeopardy!). It was in academic league that I really got to the know the girl that became my wife.
9. I hold a B.S. and an M.S. in mechanical engineering from BYU. As a graduate student I specialized in heat transfer and fluid mechanics. I have co-authored three peer-reviewed articles on gas turbines that were published by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers; two of the articles won Best Technical Paper Awards in 2006.
10. I enjoy learning new things about a wide variety of subjects such as history, archaeology, paleontology, languages, science, religion, etc. Since there's no practical limit to how much information the human mind can hold, I don't believe there's any such thing as useless knowledge. Learning is an end in and of itself.
11. I have had a driver's license for almost 13 years and have a spotless driving record; I have never received a parking ticket or a moving violation, nor have I ever been pulled over.
12. While in high school I went on a whirlwind tour of Europe with a group of students. We hit Edinburgh (Scotland), London, Paris, Cologne, and Amsterdam. For me the highlights of the trip were Edinburgh Castle, the Tower of London, Westminster Abby, and Notre Dame.
13. I was a B+ math student until I entered calculus. For some reason, calculus made more sense than any other math class I had taken and I brought my math grade up to an A.
14. I hate having dirt, grease, or grime on my hands and often can't go for more than an hour or so without washing them. I have been this way since at least the age of three. I was never a good Boy Scout (I had barely reached Tenderfoot by the time I turned 18), because I couldn't tolerate being unable to wash my hands while camping (I didn't like all the hiking, either).
15. I am politically conservative and have been since I was a young teenager. Growing up in southern California, it was usually me versus the rest of the class during any debate in history or government class.
16. I like snakes and would love to have one as a pet, but my wife (like my mother before her) absolutely forbids it.
17. I hate dogs. They're noisy, smelly, and troublesome. Plus I'm allergic to them (they make my throat close up).
18. I have suffered from frequent headaches since at least the age of four. I have them about four days out of each week.
19. I love studying World War II history, especially about the air war. I own numerous books on the subject, have visited museums and air shows showcasing WWII-era planes, and I've flown in a World War II-era B-24 bomber.
20. I unconsciously adopt the mannerisms of people with whom I interact on a regular basis. This includes facial expressions, ways of speaking, the use of certain words and phrases, etc.
21. Although a religious person who reads frequently on the subject, I can't appreciate a lot of the sentimentality that you often find in religious literature. I would rather read a scholarly paper by a BYU professor analyzing a scriptural passage than any of the myriad inspirational books that are so popular with Mormons.
22. I listen to unconventional music. For the most part I listen to movie scores (particularly those by John Williams, Danny Elfman, James Newton Howard, or Hans Zimmer). When I feel like something more upbeat I listen to They Might Be Giants (they did Istanbul Not Constantinople) or "Weird Al" Yankovic. Only within the past few years did I start listening to country.
23. Although I tend to dislike noise, I don't like silence either. I will always have either music playing in the background or the TV will be on.
24. Since junior high school I have admitted that, by all standard and accepted measures, I am a nerd. It was funny to see the look on other kids faces when they called me a nerd and I openly and proudly admitted it. It completely destroyed the effectiveness of their teasing so most just gave up.
25. If a conversation interests me, I am able to pick it up where it was left off... even if several hours or even a day has passed since the conversation ended. It drives my wife nuts.