Reality and Sanity

Random Facts About Me

I got this meme from Sheila O’Malley.

My Favorite Word: Vibrant
My Least Favorite Word: Ecumenical
Noise I love: Breeze through trees
Noise I hate Alarm clocks
What turns me on (spiritually, creatively): A great bebop jazz song in a quiet setting, any writing that inspires growth and understanding
What turns me off: Hypocracy, lying by selectively telling the truth
Profession I would like to attempt: Defensive End, blues musician
Profession I would hate: Anything that involve an office. I HATE office politics.
My favorite curse-word: F**ker
If heaven exists [it does] what would I like to hear God say when I arrive: “Well done, my good and faithful servant! Well done!”

Onto the Facts:

— I have four guitars and one bass. The guitars are a Carvin AE-100 (acoustic-electric hybrid), a Ibanez Artstar electric archtop, a non-descript classical, and a 1938 Epiphone Blackstone archtop. The bass is a Carvin LB70 (their answer to the Fender Jazz Bass.)

— I am a Type 2 Diabetic, suffer from Acid Reflux (this, combined with the diabetes, make eating fruit out of the question), I have Sleep Apnea and have chronic lower back pain.

–None of this stops me from having a physically demanding blue collar job; I am a fabricator-welder that builds door frames for passenger elevators.

–I own hundreds of mp3s, CDs, Cassettes, Records and 8-Track tapes. I have been steadily collecting music since 1976. A certain radio station in town has the slogan “Playing what we want”–that’s why I got started, so I could play what I wanted.

–I own Marvel Comics worth thousands of dollars that I purchased new, but haven’t collected any since 1990.

–I own books on art, music, religion, writing, woodworking, sports and many other subjects, but only a small percentage are fiction.

–I find TV to be annoyingly boring. I used to say I watch NFL games, the baseball postseason and the various Law and Order shows, but now I find my interest in watching any of the Law and Orders has waned.

–I own three pairs of prescription glasses: sunglasses, safety glasses and a pair of multi-focal lenses as my main ones.

–I have never spent time in jail; however, many of my childhood friends have done considerable hard time or died during the commission of a crime.

–I’ve changed careers three times over the last fifteen years: professional photolab technician, graphic artist, welder/fabricator.

–I’ve been married twice; two years for the first, nine years and counting as of May 2007 on the second. No children from either marriage.

–The Bible is not only a great read, but the Word of God.

–I read voraciously: blogs, books and news sites. I need my learning stimulation fix every day, or I get bored. This is probably why TV bores me; if I had cable I’d be watching Discovery, FOx News and NFL games on ESPN.

–I love art if the artist is someone classically trained and inspired by the Old Masters. Most art celebrated in elitist art circles is narcissistic untalented crap, which is why good art instruction books go out of print (Creative Illustration) and bad ones never do (take your pick of about anything in Borders.)

–I believe if someone–anyone–doesn’t get the artist’s intent in two seconds, the artist has failed to make the point intended. That’s why Norman Rockwell remains so popular, even though his stuff is dated: it only takes one look to grasp the situation in the painting.

–The album that got to me, really changed my music listening habits is The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery. When my father died in 1986, he left behind a jazz collection of various compilation albums of which I didn’t know a single tune. I didn’t look at them for nearly 20 years, during which time I discovered Montgomery and the entire genre of bebop. When I moved in 2005, as I was packing up my records, I looked at those old compilations…and realized I knew every tune.

–I love Peanuts and hold great admiration for the late Charles Schultz. When you consider that he drew and lettered every strip that ever appeared over a 50 year period in light of the burnout that many cartoon strip artists experience (Bill Watterson, Michael Jantzen, Garry Trudeau, Berkeley Breathed) his accomplishment is nothing short of astounding.

–I have owned over 25 cars in my lifetime, but only three in the last 20 years.

–I have never watched 24, The Sopranos, or Sex In The City.

–I never voted for Ronald Reagan. In fact, until W won in 2000, no presidential candidate I voted for won.

–Unless I am in a restaurant, I never drink soda anymore.

–I patronize several restaurants that are owned and operated by eco-green liberals because instead of whining that other restaurants don’t cater to them and try to get a court order to force them to do so, they created their own business model that cater to that market.

–I have no problem with women earning more than me or having positions of authority over me as long as they earned their rate of pay and status legitimately by educating themselves, hard work and perseverance.

–Because of their physiological makeup, I do not believe women in general should be foot soldiers. Any woman that can pass the tests a man has to should obviously be allowed to serve in that capacity. But because of a woman’s physiological makeup, I do believe they make better pilots (better endurance, faster reflexes.) In a time of war (like right now) the military should use its personnel to its best advantage, placing people where they can best succeed.

–I have never purchased a lottery ticket.

–I didn’t discover the C. S. Lewis Narnia books till I was over 30.

–I am the youngest of three kids.

–I have no sisters.

–Outside of my immediate family, who I rarely see besides my mother, I have only briefly met any relatives on my mother’s side, that last meeting over 30 years ago.

–On my father’s side, one brief meeting around the time of his funeral.

–Of the three women I have had serious relationships with, none of them ever met my father.

–I was a church guitarist, until two different music directors–about two years apart–showed me such disrespect that I quit. I still do pick up the guitars, but not in front of a congregation, only at home.

–I was an unsuccessful wrestler in high school, which is a nice way of saying I was a fish (I got pinned a lot.)

–I’m the only guy I know of that started a high school track season in the shot put and discus and finished it running the 100, 200, 800 relay and 1600 relay.

–There was a time when I lifted six days a week at Bally’s and a professional bodybuilder’s gym, and I did step-aerobics three days a week in the hardest class Bally’s offered–by a woman that could outlast Denise Austin on her best day.

–I can look at two to ten seconds of any episode of the original Star Trek series and instantly identify it. Most times two is all it takes; when I do identify it, I call out “That one!”

–While watching an NFL game, when a kickoff occurs, I’ll make a sound effect for the kick, the ball flying through the air, and the return man’s catch. If the return man starts running, I will sing the bass line to Raymond Scott’s Powerhouse, adding the melody if the return man passes the kick coverage and the kicker. I had lots of fun with Devin Hester during the 2006 season. I do this unless the return man is Pacman Jones, in which I make the Pac-Man “wokka-wokka” sound as he runs. Unfortunately, there’ll be no “wokka-wokka” sound effect in 2007, since Jones is suspended the entire season for conduct unbecoming a NFL professional.

–I hate office politics with a hot, hot, hate.

–I’m for the death penalty, as long as the current appeal process is in place.

–I’m a guy, so I love hardware stores that carry a full selection of power tools.

–I want a shirt that says “My Other Shirt is a Welding Jacket.”

–There was a time when Prince’s 1999 was the only album I played.

–I am among the minority that likes both the David Lee Roth and the Sammy Hagar periods of Van Halen.

–I love this country and the opportunity it has given me to be what I want to be.

–I rarely take liquor because I like to always think clearly.

–Except for a brief time in college where I took up smoking a pipe (using pipe tobacco, not peyote, marijuana or crack) I have always been a non-smoker in a family surrounded by smokers.

–There was a time when I golfed once a week, until I realized I was wasting my money because I played so atrociously without any hint of improvement. Actually I did improve…I went from looking like a man putting up a tent in a windstorm to looking like a golfer…without obtaining a better score.

–There was a time when I would only listen to Panorama by The Cars…their worst album.

–I’ve ridden on mass transit in any form only twice in the last 15 years.

–I’ve never ridden on any form of light rail. In fact, I’ve never ridden on a train.

–I’ve flown roundtrip three times on commercial aircraft, in 1972, in 1984 and in 1999. The last time was so unpleasant I swore never to fly again…and that was before the Department of Homeland Security made airports ridiculous.

–I have never flown in a small aircraft, helicopter or balloon.

–If it weren’t for the insistence of my wife, I wouldn’t celebrate my birthday. A coworker once said to me, “You don’t want to celebrate you life?” My reply is that I do celebrate y life–every day–by living it.

–I’m a big fan of Milwaukee power tools, Snap-On ratchets and Irwin Vice-Grips.

–There is no such thing as having too many tools.

–I hate being micromanaged, which is why I detest ISO9000, the ultimate in micromanagement.

–My brother was a welder, my father-in-law is a welder, my brother-in-law (wife’s brother) is a welder, so I had to become a welder too…peer pressure.

–My grade schools, high school, and a post-secondary school are all defunct.

–By the seventh grade, my use-of-sources skills were off-the-charts unmeasurable, which explains why I have aced every open-book test I’ve ever taken.

–My I.Q. has been measured at 140 with special aptitude in detecting patterns and the ability to rotate the view of objects in my head, a necessity for drawing, painting and blueprint reading.

–I was flaming liberal before becoming a conservative; the Rodney King fiasco was the turning point.

–Even though I am now a conservative, I am still an eco-green in some aspects (biodegradeable soaps and cleaners, recycling, organic foods and remdies)

–There was a time when I fished every weekend the entire season, out on thelake catching panfish while listening to ballgames on the trusty transistor radio.

I haven’t been fishing in over 20 years.

–I prefer Miller welders. Are they better than Lincoln? Depends on when you buy.

–A true story (names are changed to protect the guilty from embarassment):

I was on the way to attend my friend John’s sister’s wedding reception, and the original plan was for me to pick up John’s girlfriend Martha on the way, and she would give me directions on how to get there. However, John changed plans without telling me, as I found out when I showed up at Martha’s house. John had already picked up hours earlier.

I had to search for the place after getting directions from a gas station, since Martha’s mother didn’t know where it was located. (Yes, ladies, I really did stop for directions.) When I arrived at the reception, before I could berate John for the non-communication, he asked, “Where’s Jane?”

Now there were two changed arrangements he failed to tell me: he was picking up Martha, and I was to pick up Jane.

So back to my car I went.

I pulled out of the parking lot, cursing John under my breath. I merged onto the interstate, racing several miles over the speed limit, in a hurry to collect Jane and return to the reception, since they were just starting to serve dinner.

Then it happened.

From under the hood of my car a sudden “BOOM!” thundered, coupled with a neon-blue flash. White smoke billowed from the seam where the hood met the fenders, causing me to cough and choke momentarily. First thought that ran through my mind was “Oh no, I’ve blown the engine!” But the car kept on running, so I kept on driving. Fast.

I sped up the exit that brought me close to Jane’s home. I slowed to make a right turn, the engine started to sputter and run rough. I had to give it a little gas to keep it from stalling. Fortunately I didn’t have to wait long; I made the turn and sped along to Jane’s street. I slowed again to make a right turn, and again I had to give it gas to prevent a stall.

I found Jane’s home, parked in front, and shut off the car. I popped the hood latch and raised the hood to see exactly what had blown on the engine. The sight that greeted my eyes startled me.

It wasn’t the engine at all. My battery had exploded!

Various-sized chunks of the top and sides of my battery were scattered across the top of the engine. Acid that hadn’t evaporated from hitting the hot engine surface chewed into my hoses. The bottom third of the battery, along with the interior plates, still sat in the battery compartment. The whole scene looked as though someone had taken confetti and some larger pieces of blue and white paper and sprinkled it all over the engine.

I shut the hood. I didn’t have the expertise to determine why the battery blew up, and time was very short as I was very late to pick up Jane because of John’s non-communication. I explained to Jane and her mother what had happened, so Jane’s mother drove us to the reception. The rest of the evening was uneventful (compared to a battery explosion.) We all had fun (although Jane and I missed out on dinner…arrgh) danced the night away, and John drove me home for all my trouble.

So why did my battery explode?

A guy I knew that worked at a battery manufacturer said immediately the voltage regulator had gone bad. He sold me one of his company’s batteries (got a discount!) and gave me a ride to my car so I could clean up the mess and replace the battery and hoses. Two days later I rode my bike to my car with a new voltage regulator in hand, and after replacing the old one, fired up my car and drove away with my bike stowed in the back seat.

To this day, out of everyone I’ve met and talked to about this, I am the only one I know that has had a car battery explode in a running car.

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