Every half-year here on Blam's Blog so far, I've offered up a retrospective. Six months after things really started, I listed ten posts and a couple of labels that showed off the blog to good effect. On my first anniversary, I switched gears a bit and drew attention to a host of links that had appeared. Eighteen months along, I determined the dozen most popular posts on the blog, through some half-assed algorithm* that mixed page hits with comments and discarded from the results any of the ten posts spotlighted the year before so as not to repeat myself so soon.
[* If only "algorithm" were a word-verification string!
algorithm — n. What Bill Clinton's Vice President tries to display on the dance floor.]
On the occasion of the second anniversary of my very brief first post, I was hoping to do something similar, but the usual troubles — to be bitched about again soon, if I'm able to publish my annual "Slog" — have scratched that plan. What I do have to share and, truth be told, much belatedly so, is a list not about the blog but about myself.
Nearly a year ago, see, one of my blogging buddies (whose blogs I fall behind on constantly) bestowed upon me The Honest Scrap Award. To hear her and others in our online clique who'd passed it around tell it, you're supposed to reveal ten embarrassing things about yourself and then pass the award on to a few friends. I did not do that.
At the time, my keyboard was acting up and other things got in the way. In all honesty, too, which is rather the point of the award, I'm not big on either receiving or imposing those kinds of forced prompts. The friends with blogs who sprang to mind as meriting the award — which is apparently a symbol of writing fearlessly, so I'm certainly flattered — but who hadn't already received it, well, they're even less likely to respond to it than I am. Finally, after reading about the award elsewhere online as I looked around to grab a nice image of the Honest Scrap icon for when/if this post did get published, I discovered that in its most prevalent usage the award is actually to be acknowledged not by posting ten embarrassing things about oneself but merely ten honest things.
So with that interpretation in mind, but not wanting to disappoint those blogging buddies who were actually looking forward to having a giggle at my expense, I jotted down a few odd and potentially surprising facts about myself. Most of them are trivial; a couple are goofy; the last one is on another plane entirely, and must have been on my mind in some other context when I sketched out the list a year ago, but I left it on here because — while I don't usually get overtly socially conscious on the blog — taking it off felt dishonest. Here, then, are Nine Honest and Somewhat Weird Scraps of Information about Blam, Plus One Heartfelt Truth.
1. I crack raw eggs with one hand.
And I don't just mean that I can do it; I learned to open them that way from my mom, and I actually do it better one-handed — a clean break, no bits of shell — than with both hands, because with both hands I have to think about it.
2. I'm fond of warm mayonnaise.
I think this stems from my mother and grandmother making egg salad for quick "dairy" dinners that also consisted of some combination of tuna fish, red potatoes, and my grandfather's preferred mixture of sour cream and cottage cheese. Since the eggs had just been boiled, the egg salad was warm, and so was the mayo. I've found that whenever I'm out and order a heated sandwich prepared with mayonnaise, it reminds me of those dinners.
3. The first time I heard the Rolling Stones song "Beast of Burden" at age 8 or so, I was such a Greek-mythology geek that I thought Mick Jagger was saying "I'll never be your Vestal Virgin."
4. While I rarely go there anymore, I used to frequent a '50s-themed restaurant called Ruby's. Here's an awkward story about one visit:
Despite the fact that the short-skirted waitresses are always recommending the fish taco (really), I almost unfailingly get the Super Burger — usually with a veggie patty, even if I'm not in one of my vegetarian phases, because to offset the generally healthful avocado the Super Burger has double Swiss cheese and comes on grilled Parmesan sourdough, and I'll probably be at least sharing a milkshake to boot. The anecdote that makes all of this relevant to the list at hand? Once I walked in for lunch on a rare occasion when I was wearing a Superman T-shirt out in public, sat down, and started to laugh as the waitress asked for my order. "It's not you," I said. "Um... This is kind-of embarrassing. I just realized what I have on. I, uh, would like the Super Burger."
5. I don't play videogames.
I'm not judging anyone and I don't feel holier-than-thou about it, but I don't. At one point, back in my teens, I was a fiend — for my Atari VCS, for arcade consoles — to the point that I subscribed to a couple of magazines. I basically went cold turkey in college, however, just as Game Boy heralded the next wave of the medium, and I can count on one hand the number of times I've played a Sega or Nintendo anything. I guess it's the expense and the time commitment that never got me back into videogames after college, along with the advent of the GUI/hyperlink World-Wide Web aspect of the Internet, which even before the days of high-speed connectivity and YouTube was all the procrastination fodder I ever needed. I'll glom onto a Galaga if I see one, and I'd go nostalgically nuts in a room full of Astro Fighter, Mr. Do, Ms. Pac-Man, Front Line, and Time Pilot, but Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and even Rock Band mean nothing to me.
6. I never really liked Seinfeld.
To some extent the reason was the petty if not mean-spirited tone of the characters that formed the crux of the infamous finale. Mostly, though, I think it was due to the fact that Jerry Seinfeld's awkwardly stagey delivery and the contrived plots exemplified everything that turned (and still turns) me off about traditional sitcoms — that, and the even more essential fact that the show was rarely funny.
7. I'm partial to "pretty" over "gorgeous".
Friends are occasionally confused when I try to explain this, since to an extent the words are synonymous or terms like "gorgeous" and "beautiful" are used as superlatives on the "pretty" spectrum. When it comes to the ladyfolk, though, I tend to find that the women described as "gorgeous" are either heavily dolled up or "exotic" in some way, and I respond much more to the simplicity of your basic, unassumingly fetching face. And "cute" is right up my alley.
8. The appeal of pop singles does not escape me at all, but I've never been big on buying songs in that form.
I'm fairly sure that the first 45 I bought was Steve Martin's "King Tut" and there weren't many after unless they were gifts. Whole albums were much more interesting to own, because you could hear hits on the radio all the time, whereas LPs offered depth and variety (assuming they were any good) as well as lyrics, liner notes, and so forth. This is actually an entry that I almost kept off this list because I might address the subject in its own post down the line, but then I'd have to come up with an alternative.
9. I like to vary my handwriting style when doing crossword puzzles.
I've always looked at those little boxes as a good way to exert discipline in lettering, being a cartoonist and never having had the patience to properly use an Ames guide. Therefore in addition to being a mental exercise, crosswords are a physical one, sometimes taken as a challenge to render the alphabet as cleanly and uniformly as possible, sometimes a ground for experimentation to see how I can pack interesting versions of it into tiny boxes. I realize that out of all the honest scraps on this list, which include mistaking "Beasts of Burden" for "Vestal Virgin" and wearing a Superman T-shirt to order a Super Burger, this might be the geekiest, but it's followed by the oddest entry of all.
10. I believe that sexual orientation should have no bearing on a couple's legal right to marry.
When I call this the oddest entry here, I only mean that it's rather out of place, but as mentioned above I didn't feel right discarding it. Look, I'll be totally honest and say that when I was a kid the thought, let alone the sight, of two men kissing struck me as gross — it still does, in fact, but that doesn't mean I have a right to keep those two men from expressing their affection for one another in any way that I wouldn't object to a heterosexual couple doing the same. And folks who argue about PDA from gay couples that they'd accept from straight ones, let alone argue for legislation that unconscionably restricts equality for their fellow citizens — when in the history of the United States of America, the Constitution has only ever been amended to correct injustices too long ingrained in our society rather than codify new ones — often, ironically, are met by similar language from liberal or libertarian activists, namely that everyone should stay out of everyone else's bedrooms. While that's a nice guideline in terms of rights to privacy, in my mind if you define your relationship solely based on what you do in the bedroom then you're not really talking about the fullness of the kind of relationship that equates to marriage for most people.
Domestic partnerships are about everything from holding hands in the park to holding hands on a hospital gurney to holding hands at your altar of choice. I frankly think that the most rational way to deal with the whole issue would be for the State to only bestow civil unions, period, on homosexual and heterosexual couples alike, and reserve "marriage" for religious and other cultural or personal, private ceremonies, but it's impossible to put that one back in the bag. So as long as we're calling legalized mergers between two people of opposite genders one thing, it's unfair, immoral, and my hope is, one day soon, in fact as well as in concept, un-American to call the same bond between two people of the same gender anything else.
We now return you to the regular natter about tee-vee an' stuff.