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December 20, 2006


Matt has memed me. I must now reveal five things most people don't know about me lest I lose my blogger decoder ring. But because this meme is a bit too pedestrian, I'm going to change it up: So here are five things most people don't know about me, one of which isn't true.

  1. I never meant to be a writer. I wanted to be a political operative and, eventually, a candidate for office. But a stint at the Dean Campaign convinced me I lacked the credulity to pledge enduring support to fallible individuals. Meanwhile, I realized that blogging had created a public record far too long for me to ever seek elected office. Even so, I didn't know what I wanted to be. It was a summer internship at The Washington Monthly that sold me on journalism.
  2. The American Prospect rejected me when I applied for an internship in 2004.
  3. I have an inexplicable adoration for romantic comedies. But I'm finding out it isn't a generalized attraction. I'm specifically into the awkward, fumbling British guy genre, hence my enjoyment of Wimbledon, most of Hugh Grant's ouvre, Coupling, etc. I'm less interested in the John Hughes template, and totally repelled by actual romance movies.
  4. I've a surprising knack for fixing cars. Loved high school auto, found replacing brake pads a meditative experience, and think every engine should be periodically rebuilt. That's the good part about owning a Ford: Plenty of opportunity to fix it.
  5. Though I run with a heavily atheist crowd, I'm a hopeful agnostic. And I wish I had the capability to actually, firmly, believe in God. I've no real idea what's out there, but materialist explanations don't make a whole lot of sense to me. Moreover, I'm convinced that certain people I've met or known have had paranormal experiences and even powers. I don't have any of these things, but I've watched too many otherwise inexplicable events happen to those who do. Sadly, the only conclusion I can draw from such observations is fairly weak -- a generalized confidence that the world is way weirder than we imagine, and too much certainty in any direction in unwarranted.

So there ya go. I tag Neil, Jessica, Chris, Megan, and Ann.

December 20, 2006 | Permalink


Number 4.

Posted by: RN | Dec 20, 2006 11:34:29 AM

1 or 4 isn't true. I think it's #1.

Yeah, #1.

Posted by: Stephen | Dec 20, 2006 11:40:04 AM

Yeah... I don't buy the bit about the cars... Nice try, though.

Posted by: weboy | Dec 20, 2006 11:48:43 AM

I'm guessing #2-- if you graduated in three years, you would have been attending summer school, right?

Posted by: latts | Dec 20, 2006 11:58:05 AM

I'm voting for #2.

Most people don't get what they want right off the bat.

Posted by: Fred Jones | Dec 20, 2006 1:01:04 PM

#2 or #3.

Posted by: fiat lux | Dec 20, 2006 1:11:45 PM

#4. What high school teaches auto mechanics, unless it's a vocational school? Though the observation about Fords is accurate.

Posted by: nolo | Dec 20, 2006 1:22:05 PM

Whether my involvement is true or not, I can assure my high school taught auto.

Posted by: Ezra | Dec 20, 2006 1:26:53 PM

Dang! It's pretty enlightened to teach it as a regular high school course, if you ask me. Knowing the basics of what's going on with a technology we're so dependent on is a Very Good Thing. Had they taught auto mechanics at my high school I'd have taken the course in a heartbeat. As it was, I ended up paying extra to attend adult ed classes at our local JVS.

It's been a while since I've done my own major auto repairs, but I did my first auto engine teardown in 1980, and did all my own work on an amazing array of beaters throughout my extended college experience. If you have the right tools and it's not an emergency, it can be weirdly relaxing. *IF* you have the right tools, that is. And as long as you're not doing it on the street or in a parking lot in the middle of winter.

Posted by: nolo | Dec 20, 2006 1:55:47 PM

3 and 5 are true. It would be too easy to lie about something like #2, so 2 is true. So either 1 or 4 isn't true. Writers aren't associated with fixing cars. So I'd go with #4, but if you like fixing cars then this was a great deception.

Posted by: Joel W | Dec 20, 2006 1:57:12 PM

When do we find out the answer?

Posted by: Stephen | Dec 20, 2006 1:59:22 PM

Well, damn, this is tough.

#1 is true because you've said this before.

#3 seems likely, based on the drooling about Wimbledon recently.

#4 is very suspicious. One doesn't usually get admitted to UC-Anything with Auto Shop on your record.

#5 causes me to have real confusion, because much of that longish graf sounds right on, except the 'hopeful agnostic' part. I've always envisioned you and your family having weak but steady support for some liberal Judiasm position. But I could believe that #5 is true (how could anyone be sure about God/No God since most of the stuff in the universe is dark matter and dark energy that noone can explain?)

The problem with #2 is that it is so factual. Either TAP did/didn't reject you in 04 or you didn't apply. So it isn't any fun to choose this one as false, but I will.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | Dec 20, 2006 2:04:40 PM

Another advantage of not having a blog. I suspect #4 the most too, mainly because I haven't noticed you talking about repairing cars, and because it's very time consuming for someone attached to a computer by a metaphysical umbilical.

Posted by: Sanpete | Dec 20, 2006 2:09:35 PM

I'm going to guess that #5 is the false one. Perhaps the "hopeful agnostic" part is true, but "I'm convinced that certain people I've met or known have had paranormal experiences and even powers"? Unless the occasional delusion or bad trip is paranormal, it's difficult to take "paranormal experiences" seriously and I doubt that you do.

But I could just be projecting my own biases here.

Posted by: Zeno | Dec 20, 2006 2:38:16 PM

This looks fun! I think I'm going to wait until the weekend and do it on your blog, so that I'll get to play with more people.

Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Dec 20, 2006 3:18:25 PM

By the way, I'm going with 4 as the false one.

Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Dec 20, 2006 3:31:17 PM

I'm a writer who fixes his own (and other peoples') cars, and I know what you're saying, so I'll buy what you're selling on #4. I'll say #1 is the false one.

Posted by: Rick | Dec 20, 2006 3:53:26 PM

I go with 4...or 2...or, uh...DAMN YOU KLEIN!

Posted by: Eric the Political Hack | Dec 20, 2006 4:28:41 PM

I guess I have the inverse of your experience, Rick -- 1 comes close to a lot of my experiences (especially the part about blogging disqualifying you from public office) that I buy it.

Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Dec 20, 2006 4:29:53 PM

I think #5 is false. Thoughtful and well-presented and all that, but I'm going to be a contrarian and posit that you're a plain old atheist (not that there's anything wrong with that) - unless you've just convinced yourself otherwise!

Posted by: Emily | Dec 20, 2006 5:15:23 PM

Ezra's already admitted to substantial parts of #s 3 & 5. #2 is too dull to be any fun to make up.

Posted by: Sanpete | Dec 20, 2006 6:05:28 PM

I think your car-fixing knack is false...

Posted by: Jessica | Dec 21, 2006 12:59:54 PM

If #4 isn't the false one, and you make it to Yearly Kos next summer, I will buy the bubbly. I'd say I hope your taste isn't as expensive as mine, but I'm not terribly worried because I know I'm right. It's a female thing.

Posted by: litbrit | Dec 21, 2006 2:08:15 PM

It's a female thing.

I'm in touch with my feminine side. Does that count?

Posted by: Sanpete | Dec 21, 2006 2:15:51 PM

Sanpete, you bet. We've all got both sides, and some middle ground, too.

Anyway, it's been my experience that when a woman says she is certain about something, it's because there is little-to-no chance that she will be proven wrong after she's spent time weighing all the available evidence. We don't like to be wrong, so we only claim certainty when we know the facts will back us up. We're pretty risk-averse that way.

Posted by: litbrit | Dec 21, 2006 2:53:27 PM

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