Rules: Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you.
(Except that I'm not gonna tag here. Do it, don't do it, it's up to you.)
1. I owe much of who I am today, by God's grace, to the ministry of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, both at the University of Michigan and its campground, Cedar Campus. I learned how to make my faith an everyday practical experience, lead meetings effectively, serve others selflessly, and how to apply the same analytic skills I use every day to matters of faith.
2. My secret wish is to be a musical theater star. I only got to be in one musical and play in high school, because I wasn't in the right circles to figure it out. So, because of seniority, I ended up with the "non-singing" role in the senior musical. I did one musical in college (before I hooked up with IVCF). My longing for theater may explain why I went into teaching.
3. I married the only woman I ever dated, or kissed. And we didn't start dating until I was in graduate school for three years.
4. I thoroughly enjoy watching The West Wing. Not that I agree with the politics --- far from it. But the writing is incredibly sharp and crisp and thoughtful. I think the style of writing has inspired much of my public speaking in recent years.
5. I play piano. My training through high school was classical. I don't do much classical stuff anymore. But I've been in the worship band at church for the last eight years or so ... and have learned an amazing amount even in the last five years ... about how a band works, and how to worship while playing an instrument.
6. I never know how to answer the question "Are you an only child?" My sister, three years younger than I, died suddenly and unexpectedly when I was a sophomore in college. So I didn't grow up as an only child ... but I have no sister today.
7. Related to (6.) ... Cindy died on December 5. Ever since then, Advent has always lost a bit of its childhood amazement and wonder. (Being a University professor who has to grade final projects and exams near Christmas doesn't help much, either.) I try to get it back every year, but it never seems to work. It's not that I grieve for her every year. But I feel like her death deflated a large balloon, and I've never known how to re-inflate it.
8. I am fairly mechanically inept. I wish I wasn't.
9. I mostly fail at rest. I have been in motion for so long that I don't know how to simply sit and ... well, be.
10. I struggle with knowing what role academic research should play in my life. The research that I did as a graduate student, and afterwards, is mostly dead ... because I've been interested in other things. And I still imagine the disapproval of my advisor when he looks at my (lack of) work.
11. I got into blogging because I Googled myself and found one of my student's blogs, talking about me. (Luckily, he said nice things.)
12. My favorite radio program / podcast is Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me (NPR). It can get me ROTFLOL more than anything else.
13. My Achilles heel is anything that makes me feel inadequate. Nothing can send me into depression faster.
14. The "vision thing" is hard for me. Organizing a plan to enact a vision is much more my style.
15. I enjoy travel ... mainly, because when I'm in an airport, or sitting in a hotel room, I'm free of all the ordinary stuff that bogs me down.
16. At the same time, I'm not adventurous. When I go to a conference, or on a business trip, I'm just as likely to stay in my hotel rather than venture out and see the world.
17. The few times I've traveled in Europe, I've loved the food. Particularly ... authentic Italian pizza, which is far healthier for you than the greasy American version.
18. Speaking of which ... anchovies on pizza are awesome. Wish I could get them more often.
19. I feel incredibly at home in the CS community ... in particular, the annual SIGCSE conference, and the annual AP Computer Science reading. Those are my people. (Which is also perhaps why my research interests are waning ... when I'm in those communities, I feel like an outsider.)
20. The Internet still continues to amaze me. I was in graduate school in CS when the web "happened" ... and I'm still amazed at how this toy developed by Swiss physicists to swap datasets became this fundamental part of our society.
21. I subscribe to the newspaper, but all that I do today is let them stack up in a pile. This bothers me, because I'm a data hog. But I can't seem to find the time or the place to actually, you know, read them.
22. If I couldn't teach at Kettering, and Broadway turned me down, I've often wondered what it would be like to teach at one of the service academies. I have a distant admiration for those unique institutions, and wonder what it would be like to teach at West Point, or Annapolis, or the Air Force Academy.
23. I sang in the top-level choir in high school ... and have longed for that experience again. Tight musical harmony still makes me salivate ... especially acapella harmony. (Incidentally, I sing bass.)
24. I used to be a morning person. Then I got married, and I was still a morning person. Then I had kids ... and now I'm just plain sleep-deprived.
25. The greatest thrill for me is the word "finished". The paper is written, the exams are graded, the program works, the game is completed, the house is clean ... whatever. "Finished" is a beautiful word.