25 More Random Things

Upon further review, my previous "25 Random Things" post wasn't really that random, but rather a pretty systematic description of various stages and aspects of my life. Not surprising, if you know me. Here's a list more worthy of the title.

1. The house I lived in from ages zero to three was so close to the University of Washington campus that it is currently owned by the University.

2. My mom tells me I remind her of her dad, who was also skinny with a big nose and into business. He died when I was young, and I increasingly wonder what it would have been like to talk with him as an adult.

3. My only memory of being 4 was wanting to be 5 because my cousin Evelyn was 5. She tells me that when we were that age, we said we wanted to marry each other, because we thought that's what you did when you loved someone. Thankfully, we ended up marrying other people.

4. I knew my times tables up to 10 when I was in kindergarten, which made me somewhat of a freak show at recess, as older friends of mine would take me to their friends and say, "OK, give him any two numbers, and he can multiply them!" In 5th grade, when we would have times tables exercises in class, I would make a special point to slam my pencil down when I was done, so as to let everyone know how quickly I had finished. (This is one of my least favorite stories about me and one of my wife’s most favorite.)

5. I broke my hand playing baseball when I was 10 and missed almost an entire season. In my last at-bat of the last day of the season, I needed one hit to reach .300, and we were playing the easiest team in the league. But the first two pitches sailed over my head. So did the third, but I clubbed it into center field anyway for the hit I needed.

6. I broke the same bone in my hand when I was 20, running into my friend Ceech while we were playing basketball. Ceech was so indestructible that he once slipped on his roller blades and hit a concrete bench at full speed, shins first, and yet walked away with not even a bruise.

7. I was legally blind until I was 14, finally getting glasses and even then only wearing them in the classroom because I was too embarrassed. It wasn't until I got contact lenses at 16 that I walked around with non-blurry vision.

8. When I was 18, I made a tape of rap songs under the name of "MC True." Just to give you a sense of how strange I was at that age, I had one song that was profanity-laced, and one that was all about Jesus.

9. During my freshman year in college, I decided I wanted to go on the "Love Boat," a Taiwanese study tour notorious for hook-ups. By the time my freshman year was over, though, my priorities had changed, and so I decided to pray for other Christians with whom I could stay on the straight and narrow and maybe even have a leavening influence on others. I met one on the plane ride over, he knew of a college classmate of his who was also coming, they ended up rooming with a third Christian, and by the end of the first day, we had become a group of six that ended up meeting each night to pray and encourage one another. It was one of the more memorable missions-oriented trips I have ever been on.

10. I'm very good at packing. One time, I was visiting friends at Cal Berkeley; Penn was done for the year, and Cal was finishing up. My friends were helping a friend of theirs pack her parents' car. As she surveyed the mass of her belongings we had assembled on the sidewalk, she lamented, "I'll never be able to fit everything in our car." My friends all looked at me, and I responded, "Step aside." Fifteen minutes later, we had everything in, with room to spare, and I could've run a four-minute mile right then and there, I was so juiced.

11. My favorite money-saver I learned from my dad growing up was to cut the toothpaste tube open at the very end; you can scrape toothpaste out for a good week before you run out.

12. The advanced Wharton program that I was in encouraged seniors to do a research paper. I had spoken with my advisor about my faith throughout my years at Penn, so when it came time to pick a research topic, he rejected all my ideas and encouraged me to write about the integration of faith in a setting like Wharton. It was the most enjoyable research paper I've ever written.

13. From 1995 to 1997, I would ride my bike to work and change into my business clothes there. When we moved our offices in 1997, the box containing all my ties was somehow misplaced. I had to borrow ties from my housemates for several months before I could get my own tie inventory back up to normal.

14. My first volunteer role at the church I currently attend was as a youth group leader. It was instructive for this sheltered, recent Ivy League grad to mix it up with urban teens. Our activities ran the gamut from Bible studies and youth retreats to football games and college visits. At one point, I accompanied our group to a citywide youth retreat, and slept in the same room with 20 teens; apparently, they practically had a party in our room while I dozed obliviously in my bed.

15. I was scheduled to fly out to Seattle for a conference on September 12, 2001. Needless to say, the flight and the conference got cancelled, which ended up being propitious, as our house was broken into on September 13.

16. In 2004, I attended a rally for George W. Bush in York, PA. There were easily 5000+ people in attendance, and I counted exactly nine other minorities.

17. I've had six internships and two full-time jobs in my life, and save for the first two internships, I have always been able to get to work by foot, bike, or transit.

18. I consider myself relatively smart and well-informed, but here is a partial list of topics I know almost nothing about: medicine, cars, pop music, the Middle East, computers, physics, fashion, and wine.

19. My closest call with one of our kids was when I lost Jada at the aquarium for a good two minutes, at a part of the aquarium that had like three hallways and countless doors. I finally caught up with her at one of the exhibits. A frightening, sobering experience.

20. My favorite "Date Night" thing to do with Amy is walk several miles downtown, eat at a greasy pizza joint, and take the bus home.

21. I make my own yogurt. My dad gives me this yogurt concoction that you just add milk to and let sit overnight. Once you run out, you spoon a few spoonfuls into a new container and start the process all over again. (By the way, it tastes nasty, but who cares when you can add granola, cranberries, blueberries, and raisins.)

22. I subscribe to 50+ magazines, and don't pay for any of them. Most are free trade magazines (Progressive Railroading or American City & County, anyone?), and the rest I use airline miles for.

23. My three things I need to do when I visit a new city are: 1) go for a run (favorites: up and down the hills of San Francisco, along the lakefront in Chicago), 2) ride transit (favorites: NYC, DC), and 3) sample the local food (favorites: 4-way chili in Cincinnati, Primanti Bros in Pittsburgh).

24. When I take my kids to Reading Terminal Market, we always get the same thing: the #1 from Sang Kee Peking Duck and a pink lassi from Nanee's Kitchen.

25. When it comes airlines, electronics, groceries - you name it - I have no brand loyalties. Instead, I go case by case, usually most strongly influenced by price. My one glaring exception is an almost unhealthy allegiance to Asics DS Trainer line of running shoes. I've been wearing them for 8+years now, and at a new pair every five or six months, that's about 20 pairs. Since I found out last month that the newest in the line (the DS Trainer 14's) were out, and that they had gotten good reviews, I've been trying to run more so as to burn through my current pair so I can buy the 14's.
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