Closer to home meme -- 01/14/11

Well, after having a couple of entries with sort of a snow theme, we then got hit this week by a storm that dumped somewhere around ten or twelve inches of snow on us, but I am not writing an entry about that. Mostly I have been so busy with work activities this week that I am totally exhausted, both physically and mentally. In fact, my brain is so tired that rather than making it break new ground, I'm going to grab a meme that Bev (Funny the World) did yesterday (she got it from someone else who got it from someone else who got it from Samantha of Saturday 9 (a site dedicated to coming up with a nine question meme every Saturday).

1. Where did you grow up? Where do you consider home?

I grew up in Kingston, NY and considered that to be home until after I had graduated from college. I lived most of my life in New York State, either in the mid-Hudson area or in the Binghamton area. However, I moved to Rhode Island in October of 1995 and I consider that to be home now.

2. If you could paint your car any color with no loss in value, what color would it be?

I have only painted one car -- the first one I owned. Yes, I am talking about that old VW Beetle. It was originally sort of a beige color, but the paint was fading away badly in places, especially on the roof. So I painted it -- flat black -- with a couple of cans of flat black spray enamel ($1.95 a can, if I recall). A friend and I taped over the windows and chrome and just sprayed. Other than that time, I cannot recall ever wanting to change the color of a car.

3. What do you think comes after death?

I dunno. But please feel free to ask me again afterwards.

4. Name a TV show that should NOT be renewed for another season.

Why would I care about the cancellation of a television program that I don't watch? I do want them to continue to produce new episodes of Mad Men and Caprica (both of which we watch via DVD from Netflix) and True Blood and Boardwalk Empire (both of which we like enough that when they are on we actually make a point of watching them "live") and Castle and Parenthood (both of which we watch via our cable company's "on demand" option). That's about it for our television watching other than Netflix movies and the weekday morning news and weather on channel 10 Providence. So, I want them to continue the programs I like and I have no opinion on any others.

5. If you could have a free subscription to any online service, which would you like to have?

I started to type HBO, I guess because the previous question had me thinking in terms of television (but I already do have it) but assuming "online" refers to the Internet, then I would like to have my cable Internet service for free. My employer used to reimburse me for most of the cost because I work from home (thus saving them a considerable chunk of change in not having to provide me with office space and all of the related overhead costs) and then one day they decided that just about everybody now had high speed Internet connections anyway, so they could save themselves fifty bucks per month for each of the many tens of thousands of employees in the U.S. who work from home.

6. Where did you think you'd be at the age you are now?

Retired. (Well, I think it used to be that you were sort of forced to retire at 65 but fortunately that is no longer true.) My current plan is to retire in about two and a half years from now (that is, sometime around my 70th birthday).

7. What did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a scientist -- especially a rocket scientist. I strayed from the sciences into the verdant fields of the liberal arts but I eventually did come to get a master's degree in systems sciences and spent a fair amount of time as a software engineer. Never did get to launch a rocket into space, though. (But if I had a spare couple hundred grand around, I suppose I could buy a ticket from Virgin Galactic.)

8. If you were to suddenly become famous, and were forced to change names, what would you choose as your stage name?

Why would I be forced to change my name? I would not want to change my name. I could understand using a pen name -- some writers, for example, might use a pen name for books that are in a different genre than their usual works (sort of a branding thing) but other than that, I cannot see any reason to change my name.

9. What is the first book that you can remember reading by yourself as a child?

Well, if a comic book qualifies, then the first "book" I can remember reading all by myself as a child was when I was Kindergarten age and was in the hospital for a tonsillectomy. I had a comic book (perhaps purchased for me by my parents) and my father was reading it to me when visiting hours were over and my parents had to leave. I then proceeded to look at the comic book and I read by myself -- including a short story that was just text, no pictures) and when I had finished I was shocked to realize that I had read and understood the whole thing. I was so accustomed to "reading" the books that were read to me on a regular basis that I guess my parents had assumed that I was repeating the words from rote memory rather than actually reading -- and I had never stopped to realize that I actually could read until this incident with the comic book. I had always assumed that it was a Mystery in Space comic (a favorite of mine as a kid and one that usually did have a text-only short story in most issues) but a bit of Internet searching just now shows that it first published in 1951, three years later than my reading adventure. Perhaps it was an issue of Planet comics?

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