In honor of the swine flu I think it’s time for one of those viral memes which in this case spontaneously emerged without anybody tagging me. If you feel like being tagged, consider yourself infected. Alternatively, if you are on my blog roll, consider yourself tagged. I think these are occasionally fun as they reveal another side just when you thought you already knew everything.

  1. I think that we, unfortunately, live in “interesting times“.
  2. I can not stand when people are looking over my shoulder when I’m working. I hear it’s bad Feng Shui or something. I wonder how much productivity is lost on a national basis by cubicles arranged so that people have their back against the door.
  3. In high school, before the internet became popular, I ran a BBS called The Epicenter of The Universe. That was back when 2400 baud was still considered fast, 100 kilobytes was a big file, and a 120MB hard drive was a major investment.
  4. I got killer swing ball skills. When I was a kid I used to fantasize about tournaments and so on. Never found one though.
  5. I used to play Magic The Gathering (around revised, 4th, Fallen Empires, just before Ice Age). I still have all my cards. My main deck was based on a combination of discard, the rack, and pestilence.
  6. I’m not keeping track but I have probably read more than a thousand books so far. I spend as much time reading as the average person spends watching TV. I mostly read non-fiction, fiction with complex character development, and biographies/essays from interesting thinkers. It’s pretty much the fastest way to get more experience than what can otherwise be compressed into an expected life-span of 93 years.
  7. I was never a teenager. I think I passed straight from childhood to old age. I seem to have a lot in common with cynical old elite engineer types.
  8. I have forgotten how to whistle.
  9. I still watch The Ultimate Fighter. More training sessions, less house, please!
  10. I think I can truly say that I am not afraid to die, at all. The few close calls I have had has happened with a strange detachment. Maybe they weren’t sufficiently close.
  11. I am not a religious person. In terms of religions, I probably have most in common with buddhism. It would, however, be more accurate to say that I am a philosophical person in which case I mostly believe in stoicism.
  12. I am very bad at recognizing faces. I have almost walked past my wife when she showed up in an unexpected place. I am on the other hand very very good at recognizing patterns in numbers.
  13. I have started two sole proprietorships and worked in three different countries in six different fields.
  14. I am not shy. I am introverted. This means that random banter does not energize or interest me the way it does an extrovert. It means that I process information to a greater depth than extroverts and that information overload taxes me because I sift through everything. It means that content-free information, such as small talk, bores me. It means that I have more to say on a given subject than an extrovert of the same “strength”.
  15. When they hear me speak, foreigners think I’m American and Americans think I’m Dutch.
  16. The largest number of people I have given a talk to at any one point was around 300.
  17. I have completed Tie Fighter on the hardest level.
  18. I have a weakness for Islay whiskys and cheap red wine. My favorite Islay is Talisker (around $55/bottle if you can find it) followed by Laphroaig (around $30/bottle at Trader Joes, $50/bottle elsewhere). I have approximately $500 worth of whisky in my collection which I go through very very slowly; around $25 worth/year. And no, I do not count that as part of my net worth :-P My favorite cheap red wine is Oak Leaf Cabernet Sauvignon from Walmart at $2.97. Another good one is Paul Masson Burgundy at $3.99 for 1.0L.
  19. I like “angry chick” music.
  20. Whenever we watch Big Bang Theory and Sheldon does something idiosyncratic DW looks at me and smiles knowingly. Grrrr :-P
  21. I published over 25 scientific papers with over half of them first-authored (that’s a rather high ratio) before I stopped my career
  22. During my sophomore year of high school, my English teacher predicted I would become a journalist due to the way I wrote my essays. I thought he was way off: I was going to be a scientist, so he suggested maybe “technical writer”, but what did he know. Note to E_: Apparently you were right after all.
  23. I like my food “dry” and spicy (extra hot).
  24. I think traveling should be about the journey rather than the destination. From this perspective modern tourism is all the same. Shuttle to airport, get on plane, shuttle to hotel, eat at restaurant, buy souvenirs, see tourist attraction, reverse. This bores me.
  25. My real life persona is more laid back than my blogging persona.