Sunday, February 01, 2009

Random Biographic Snapshots.

Several of my favorite people are doing this survey. I love things like this. I love the "25 Things About Me" survey going around Facebook right now. There's something appealing about these random lists of questions to me, and I like the way they trigger memories I haven't thought about in years. So I'm doing it.

Feel free to steal this, of course. Also feel free to ignore this entry, if stuff like this gives you hives. I'll be rabbiting on about something else very soon, I'm sure.

What Have I Done.

The rules are simple: bold the items you’ve done; don’t bold items you haven’t.

1. Started your own blog. Ummm...

2. Slept under the stars. Many times, though at some point I realized that looking at stars didn't go well with sleeping. But falling asleep looking at stars is nice, as long as you're comfy and chose to be there. I was also reminded this Christmas about the glow-in-the-dark stars in the guest room in my parents place (it was my sister's bedroom first, then my brother's). My former bedroom still has glow-in-the-dark stars as well, but it's now my Dad's office, so sadly I think they're going to waste. Falling asleep, feverish with shingles, I found the stars on the ceiling very comforting. It doesn't get dark enough in my bedroom here, ever, so while I might be tempted to put stars up, it's not worth it.

3. Played in a band. I strongly suspect this questionaire does not mean high school orchestra, or a string quartet. But I'm bolding it anyway. This is my party.

4. Visited Hawaii. Not yet. On the to-do list.

5. Watched a meteor shower. Every August I can. Though I missed it the last two years. Must make a note of that.

6. Given more than you can afford to charity? Occasionally I thought I might have. But no, it never proved to be true.

7. Been to Disney World / Land. To be honest, meh. Which will cause some very dear friends to disown me.

8. Climbed a mountain. In Vermont, Colorado, Washingon State, Maine, Tennessee, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ireland, England, and Scotland. Some of those mountains would be called big hills in this country, but I broke a sweat, saw some gorgeous places, and created great memories. And I'd say many of the North American ones would count as real mountains too.

9. Held a praying mantis. Way cool.

10. Sang a solo. Once, onstage.

11. Bungee jumped. No interest, for some reason.

12. Visited Paris. On the to-do list.

13. Watched a lightning storm at sea. I saw a lightening storm sweep in off the Atlantic onto the west coast of Ireland once. The rain came in sheets, like it was marching. It was spectacular. I think this question is actually asking if I was at sea during a storm, but this memory is so vivid, I decided to include it. Again, my party.

14. Taught yourself an art from scratch. I love Jeaux's answer; every artist starts from scratch. But I also have benefitted from great teachers, I'll be the first to admit. And sometimes I've learned good thing about acting from people who were talking about something entirely different. If you love your work, whatever it is, you have a lot to teach me.

15. Adopted a child. No, but I've secretly adopted some of my friends' kids.

16. Had food poisoning. I don't know how I've managed to avoid it, but I have.

17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty. I've lived in NYC since '96. Maybe I'll get around to it. What the hell.

18. Grown your own vegetables. I'm counting herbs (basil, sage, marjoram, chives, oregano).

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France. Not the first thing I'd seek out at the Louvre, but I'd definitely want to see it.

20. Slept on an overnight train. As a kid, with my family, heading up to Scotland from London. My younger brother and I had to share a single bunk. I was cranky about it. But waking up in a brand new place was exciting. Never got that sense from overnight flights for some reason. I wonder if sleeping on a boat create the same sense of wonder?

21. Had a pillow fight. Am I the only person who ever went to a sleep-over? Or hell, had a boyfriend?

22. Hitch-hiked. It's legal and somewhat encouraged in Ireland. I found it uneventful.

23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill. Please. Give me a break.

24. Built a snow fort. It's been way too long though.

25. Held a lamb. To-do.

26. Gone skinny dipping. And was arrested for it.

27. Run a marathon. I doubt I ever will. I ran cross country as a kid, and made it my secret aversion therapy for being gay. It didn't cure me of homosexuality, but it sure ruined long distance running for good.

28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice. To do. I want to spend a lot of time in Italy.

29. Seen a total eclipse. Solar and lunar. The last time I watched a lunar eclipse, I was on the phone with Jeff, learning about his engagement to Megan.

30. Watched a sunrise or sunset. Many times, and this fall I even did both in one day. I've got the photos to prove it.

31. Hit a home run. I'm trying to remember if I ever actually managed to connect with the ball at all. I guess I must have hit some foul balls. But no, no home runs.

32. Been on a cruise. Only day cruises, around Manhattan. One was for a wedding (I was best man, and one of my duties was keeping the groom upright in choppy waters), and once for a birthday party.

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person. It was at night, however. Still magnificent.

34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors. Like a lot of Americans, I'm basically a mongrel, with a fairly detailed genealogy on my mother's side, and virtually no information on my dad's. So, yeah, probably, but not that we really knew for sure. Ireland, Wales, Scotland, England, definitely. If we ever find out what American Indian tribe my great-grandfather belonged to, I'd love to learn more about that. My mom grew up on a farm that had been in her mother's family for over 100 years. We went back to visit every summer when I was a kid. So that sort of feels like family ground.

35. Been to an Amish community. And I spent a lot of my youth explaining to my schoolmates the difference between Amish and Quaker.

36. Taught yourself a new language.First time I tried to learn Irish was as a kid, with a book and records. It didn't go well.

37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied. Often. Knock wood.

38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person.

39. Gone rock climbing.

40. Seen Michelangelo’s David. To do. While I'm in Florence I will want to see the Caravaggios.

41. Sung karaoke. Only twice. Chains of Love (Erasure) at a gay wedding, and Only the Good Die Young (Billy Joel) at a friend's birthday party in a bar. I did not distinguish myself either time, but you know, points for tryin'.

42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt. All of Yellowstone is a BIG to-do.

43. Bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant. No, but I'm rather enamoured of this idea now, for some reason. Has anyone ever done this?

44. Visited Africa. I'd like to start with Morocco, I think.

45. Walked on a beach by moonlight. Many times. I've also gone skinny dipping alone by moonlight. Hope my mother never reads this.

46. Been transported in an ambulance. Knock wood.

47. Had your portrait painted. Oh so many times. I've lost count. Nor do I presently know the whereabouts of any of those portraits.

48. Gone deep sea fishing. I've no interest in fishing, but would love to take a trip by boat.

49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person. Not the first thing I'd do in Italy, but I'd probably stop by.

50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Not the first thing I'd do in Paris, but I'd probably stop by.

51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling. Well, snorkeling yes, but does that really count? Another to-do.

52. Kissed in the rain. ... Not that I can remember. And I think I would remember. Sigh.

53. Played in the mud. Been way too long for this too.

54. Gone to a drive-in theater. The last one I can remember is Breaking Away.

55. Been in a movie. I'd done background work on Georgia, Taxi, a Beautiful Mind, and a few episodes of the TV show Ed. I've only seen A Beautiful Mind, so I don't know if I'm actually visible in any of the other stuff. My sister says she saw me in one episode of Ed. Someday I hope to have a more interesting answer to this question.

56. Visited the Great Wall of China. To-do.

57. Started a business. Self-employed as an actor, mask-maker, and artist model, so technically yes.

58. Taken a martial arts class. Strictly speaking yes, since Tai Chi is considered a martial art. My dad likes to point out that it would only work if the opponent also agrees to move in slo-mo.

59. Visited Russia. Pretty far down the to-do list, to be honest.

60. Served at a soup kitchen.

61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies.

62. Gone whale watching. Once in Provincetown, and once in Jersey.

63. Gotten flowers for no reason. Always a nice surprise.

64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma. I'm not actually supposed to, having had sex with at least one man since 1977. We'll see.

65. Gone sky diving. While bungee jumping holds no appeal, I think I'd like to try this at least once. Maybe doing it in tandem with an experienced person will be enough to satisfy my curiosity.

66. Visited a Nazi concentration camp. I wonder if I could handle it? I

67. Bounced a check. Three times in 24 years.

68. Flown in a helicopter. Meh. I wouldn't turn down a chance, but, meh.

69. Saved a favorite childhood toy. Unless we're counting books.

70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial. I thought the architect had an amazing sense of theatre. A very specific mood gets conjured.

71. Eaten caviar. But I prefer salmon roe.

72. Pieced a quilt. No, but I did choose the colors and pattern for a quilt that my Mom made, then she and my sister used left-over pieces from that quilt to piece a second one. I have both quilts.

73. Stood in Times Square. I've turned into one of those assholes who gets annoyed at all the tourists blocking my way when I am trying to walk. So yes, I'm sure I've actually come to a complete halt at least once in Times Square.

74. Toured the Everglades. I'd have to go in the winter, because hot humid weather turns me into a lump.

75. Been fired from a job. Wow. I don't think I ever have. And I've had some big fights with bosses. I've quit more than one job after less than six months, but in every case, I was the employee who lasted longest in that position.

76. Seen the changing of the guard in London. First time I remember was at age seven, which is probably just about the perfect age for this.

77. Broken a bone. Knock wood.

78. Been on a speeding motorcycle. I don't think he was observing the speed limit, but I couldn't really tell you.

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person. BIG to-do. MUST Do. Need to get on that.

80. Published a book.

81. Visited the Vatican. I think it's entirely possible I might go to Rome.. and skip this entirely. Never having been Catholic, it doesn't really hold any big magic for me. But then there is the Sistine Chapel, of course. Oh, what the hell. Let's not be snotty. I'd drop by.

82. Bought a brand new car. I've yet to own a car, period.

83. Walked in Jerusalem. The whole middle east fascinates and terrifies me.

84. Had your picture in the newspaper. A few times. And see answer #91

85. Read the entire Bible. Very little of it, actually, so the fact that I seem familiar with it at all tells me how much it saturates my culture. I consider my biblical knowledge the result of a process I call cultural osmosis.

86. Visited the White House.

87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating. Someday I will see if I can kill a chicken, and if I can't, then I will give up all meat entirely for a second time. I've been a vegan, a vegetarian, and at this point I only eat seafood and poultry. But oh how I do love them...

88. Had chickenpox. Just got over shingles, in fact. I'm still not clear on how one distinguishes chickenpox from shingles. Several people I know have had chickenpox more than once. So it's not just that we call it chickenpox the first time and shingles ever after. Anyone able to clarify this for me?

89. Saved someone’s life. Not that I know of.

90. Sat on a jury. I've yet to make it past voire dire.

91. Met someone famous. Okay, the name-dropping I most often am tempted to do includes:
Denise Levertov. She asked my dad to be her literary executor because of a chapter he wrote on her in his book, and she ended up becoming a close friend of the family.

Paul Giamatti. He and I worked at the same theatre in Seattle, had many mutual friends, and I did one play with him. I even have a newspaper clipping with photo of the two of us together to prove it. He's a kind, wonderful, rather shy guy whom we all seemed to know was going to be very successful. I can't claim we were ever close.

Andre Gregory. I modeled for him three times when he was taking private lessons in drawing. Charming man.

Tatum O'Neal. I was her dog walker for about a year. In the random department, Kyra Sedgewick once stopped me on the street to ask for some advice regarding her new puppy.

92. Joined a book club.

93. Lost a loved one. I'm 42 years old. Come on.

94. Had a baby.

95. Seen the Alamo in person. Not sure this is on my to-do list.

96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake. See above. Though I've driven through Utah, and was struck by the grandeur of the place. I wouldn't mind seeing the buttes again.

97. Been involved in a lawsuit. Knock wood.

98. Owned a cell phone. I fought it for a while, but am happy to have one now.

99. Been stung by a bee. Last time was this past August.

In doing this questionaire, I've noticed some things.

1. I think I want to do some traveling... I need to figure out a way to get someone to pay me to take trips. Other than North America (in patches), Ireland and the UK, I've not seen much of the world. Of course I also want to go back to many of my favorite places as well. So, time to do some traveling.

2. I think that kissing-in-the-rain thing has me more upset than it should. But it's not like I can add it to the to-do list. That one has to happen organically. Sigh.

3. It was just as interesting for me to note which things I haven't done that I have little to no interest in doing.

4. It's also made me wonder what kind of list I might generate myself.


EB said...

Hmmm. Yes, interesting. It would make a difference to be completing it as an English person (ie still living in England), and also it's.... it's all about Doing. But lots of the things are small and beautiful, so maybe I'm just being picky.

My big problem is with the Mona Lisa effect. I remember the huge crowd of people in front of it, and the security, and how much smaller it was than I expected. It was the only disappointing thing I saw in Paris. The very opposite of an objet trouve. So much so that when I was in Florence I didn't go to the Uffizi, and I enjoyed the city the more for that I think.

Jeaux said...

I never do memes, but this one was long enough to be interesting, and had a nice mix of touchstones.

So far, you're the only one who's taken it a bit further, and thought about its overall meaning. "It was just as interesting for me to note which things I haven't done that I have little to no interest in doing." Geez. Wish I'd thought of that. Very wise, mon ami.

Sooo-this-is-me said...

What about kissing while it is snowing, does that count! ;)

Marta Rose said...

for what it's worth, i don't think i've ever kissed in the rain either...

Birdie said...

#26: Details, please. And I would pay to see a Tai Chi smackdown.

Greg said...

These lists are always amusing and I like what you've done with this one. I think I'll steal it at some point, especially since there's so little duplication with that big 100 list of old, recently revisited.

3. If it doesn't include school band or orchestra, then its not a very well-rounded question.

5. I love August for this.

21. Are boyfriends supposed to have pillow fights? Hmmm...I had no idea.

26. (Birdie, shame on you - I think there's a whole blog post about the incident!)

96. Funny. I didn't figure you for a butte man.

; )

David said...

I loved this. It's a lot of work, though.

Birdie said...

What? Where? And how did I miss it?

Patrick said...

Oop, sorry Birdie, I feel like I tell that story so much that I'm afraid of boring people with it. I blogged about it at
which as you see was over two years ago, so it's not surprising you wouldn't have read it.

Butch said...

This one took some time and a bit of thought to put together. One of these days.