100 Things About Me
1. I am a Minnesotan by birth, born in St. Paul in 1973.
2. Although I have an incurable wanderlust and currently live in Reno, Nevada, the place I think of as home is Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where my parents live.
3. I am very close to my brother and two sisters despite the fact that we live in far-flung places—Maureen lives in Atlanta with her family, Daniel lives in Boston and Katy in Los Angeles.
4. I have gone to Catholic school for every year of education from first grade through law school, with the lone exception of my freshman year of high school.
5. I went to college at Spring Hill in Mobile, Alabama. I majored in English and History, partly because I find those subjects interesting, but mostly because I have a certain talent for b.s.
6. The high school I graduated from, St. Bernard Prep, is located at and administered by a monastery of Benedictine monks in the hills of northern Alabama. I was second in my class of 16 people. And to answer the question I know you're pondering: Yes, we had girls.
7. I can remember the day I fell in love with the mountains of the Western United States: May 9, 1994. On my way to a college internship in Denver I had driven all night across the Texas Panhandle, cut across the northeast corner of New Mexico and saw the Colorado Rockies for the first time. I had never imagined such a place could exist.
8. On weekends I work at a farm in Silver Springs, Nevada. I don’t get paid; I only get free food in return for my labor, and most of the food I end up giving away. I just love the work.
9. It is my greatest dream in life to own a small farm or ranch in a place that still feels wild, backed up against the mountains, hopefully with a decent trout stream running through it.
10. I think snowboarding is the closest human beings will ever come to knowing what it feels like to fly.
11. My mother wants her and me to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, and honestly I can’t wait to give it a try; it’s just that $5,000 price tag for the trip that’s keeping me back. That’s $5,000 a piece.
12. Most of the cars I own end up with unusual names. The Kurgan and Azrael are two former examples. My current car, a 1997 Suzuki Sport, is called Grond, Hammer of the Underworld.
13. I have been to forty seven of the fifty states; the only ones I’m missing are Maine, Vermont and Hawaii.
14. I’m a third-generation Cubs fan, but neither I, nor my Mother, nor my Grandfather has ever seen the Cubs win the World Series.
15. The best summer of my life was 1996, when I worked as a National Park Service Volunteer in Yellowstone.
16. I also volunteered to work on weekends during the summer of 2003 in North Cascades National Park; mostly because Jack Kerouac once did the same thing (read The Dharma Bums to find out about that).
17. Since we’re on the subject of National Parks, I’ve always wanted to write a book about visiting all of American’s National Parks, including the really remote ones in Alaska. If anyone else writes a book like this before I do, YOU STOLE MY IDEA!
18. I play the guitar, but have been frustrated for years by the fact that I haven’t really gotten any better since I was about 14.
19. When I briefly worked as a prosecutor in Klickitat County, Washington in 2000-2001, one of my duties was acting as county coroner (yes, coroner) for one week of every month. And no, I have absolutely no medical training.
20. I get a big kick out of the old TV show Bonanza.
21. In Law School I was a member of the Canadian Law Caucus despite never having been to that country during my adult life up to that point.
22. Although there are a lot of places I haven’t been, I can say with absolute certainty that the coolest city in the world is San Francisco, California.
23. I took out all my student loans through Wells Fargo Bank because I thought their stagecoach looked cool.
24. The most interesting place I have ever gotten lost is on the Yukon-Kuskokwim River Delta in the Alaskan Bush.
25. I never visited Disneyland until last Christmas, when I was 31 years old. I don’t think I missed much all those years.
26. My favorite tree is the Ponderosa Pine. I’m not sure what it says about me that I have a favorite tree.
27. I secretly enjoy old Country music like Johnny Cash or Willie Nelson, music from when Country still had a certain outsider subversiveness to it. New Country music makes me want to gag.
28. I once spent a night in a gutter in New Orleans. This will probably come as a surprise to my parents. Then again, it may not.
29. I have a raspberry bush growing on the balcony of my 8th floor studio apartment in downtown Reno. I think it symbolizes something, but I haven’t figured out exactly what yet.
30. I’m one of those people who like to nitpick about historical inaccuracies in movies and on TV.
31. Despite the fact that it is a cartoon, I think The Simpsons has been the smartest and best-written show on television for the better part of two decades.
32. I own literally dozens upon dozens of T-shirts, but only about six functional pairs of pants.
33. I am helplessly addicted to diet soda.
34. I could probably survive eating nothing but chicken wings. In fact, I may have actually done that for weeks at a time in the past, but I wasn’t really paying attention.
35. One of my most prized possessions is a map of the Florida Keys that I got at Earnest Hemingway’s old house in Key West.
36. I love backpacking, but am secretly terrified of bears and often cannot get to sleep outdoors in bear country.
37. Grond (my car) has only one bumper-sticker on it; it contains the words “I like my beer cold, my music loud and my state WILD” next to an outline of the state of Nevada.
38. Although I have owned a DVD player for over three years, in that period of time I have bought only ten DVDs and three of those are the Lord of the Rings movies.
39.I own about seven hats that I never wear.
40. I dislike the trend in TV commercials toward being weird for weirdness’ sake. Think the Quizno’s Sponge Monkeys or that guy in the plastic Burger King mask. And yes, I get that I remember them so they accomplished their mission. I still don't like them.
41. A bullfighter’s sword that my mother brought back from Spain in the 1960’s hangs on my wall.
42. I will often cruise the web for real estate listings for farms and ranches that I could not possibly afford to buy if I lived to be 1000 years old.
43. I am very, very, VERY upset about the fact that I am slowly losing my hair. But not so upset that I will buy Rogaine.
44. The most beautiful place I have ever seen in my life is an unspoiled Mediterranean beach in Morocco. A close second is Avalanche Lake in Glacier National Park, Montana on a sunny, green day after a spring snowstorm in the higher elevations.
45. I am constantly embarrassed by my lack of knowledge about fixing cars.
46. I know how to clean and gut fish with an Ulu.
47. Someday I would really like to see the Aurora Borealis.
48. I wear Teva sandals even when it is much too cold to do so.
49. I almost became a journalist once, but then I decided that if I were going to pick a career where no one liked you and you lived a stress-filled, miserable existence, I might as well make money at it. So I went to Law School.
50. I liked wine and wine tasting long before Sideways made it cool.
51. I love sports, and I lettered in three sports in high school. Despite this, I can’t stand parents who can find nothing better to push their children into excelling at than some silly game. I live for the day when parents get just as excited about a child’s interest in chemistry or music.
52. I think the best smell in the world is the way the pine trees smell in the deep forests of the Pacific Northwest.
53. The best ice cream I have ever tasted was at a little two-story shop in Antigua, Guatemala called Dona Luisa’s.
54. I have passed two State Bar Exams, in Washington and Nevada. On both occasions I had to overcome a traumatic event on the last day of the test—a magnitude 6.8 earthquake in Seattle in 2001, and having my car broken into in Las Vegas just last February.
55. I used to be a Trekkie, until I realized how truly sad that was.
56. I run for a half an hour at least three and usually four times a week, despite the fact that I absolutely hate running.
57. My favorite poem is “Ulysses” by Alfred Lord Tennyson.
58. I like to make fun of soccer, but only because my brother is such a huge soccer fan.
59. I intentionally will not buy a Playstation or an X-Box, because I know I would never see sunlight again.
60. I don’t get reality TV, but I love a good documentary.
61. When I was a kid, I actually cried when I found out professional wrestling was fake. Okay, “choreographed”, whatever.
62. I’m absolutely dying to get satellite radio installed in my car so I can stop checking out books on tape every time I go on a long trip.
63. I like almost every product made from tomatoes (i.e. ketchup, marinara sauce, tomato soup, etc.) but cannot stand to eat tomatoes themselves.
64. It still makes me mad that Phil Hartman was murdered back in 1998.
65. Women never noticed me until I was about 27 years old. This is something of a mystery to me since as nearly as I can tell I have not changed in any significant way, other than simply getting older.
66. I absolutely cannot remember the name of anyone I meet . I can remember every detail about a person—what their favorite color is, where their parents met, what they minored in during college—but I simply cannot remember first names.
67. I love watching Book TV on C-Span 2 on the weekend. Yes, I’m just that big of a nerd.
68. If I skip going to the gym for more than two days, I start to feel like a human slug.
69. If I had unlimited resources at my disposal, I would buy a summer vacation home in Jackson Hole, Wyoming (also useful for snowboarding purposes) and a winter home in Costa Rica.
70. Religion usually seems pretty silly to me, but I do respect Faith, which is a completely different thing. To me Religion is clinging desperately to some arbitrary dogma, while Faith is about letting go and trusting that things will work out.
71. Thomas Jefferson is my favorite of the Founding Fathers.
72. I have a habit of driving into the country for no particular purpose. This can be a bad thing when gas costs about $2.30 a gallon, as it currently does where I live.
73. I think the most perfect river in the world is the Clark Fork in Montana, especially the portion near the Idaho border.
74. I would dearly love to find a way to write for a living. Then again, so would just about every one of the other 8 million bloggers on Earth.
75. Although I am a lawyer, nothing makes me lunge for the TV remote control faster than the sight of lawyers talking to a reporter. This goes double for any lawyer involved with a celebrity trial.
76. Many people think I’m a cynic, but they’re wrong. I’m actually pretty optimistic about how things will work out in the long run.
77. If there is one subject I wish I had the capability to understand better, it would be theoretical physics.
78. Whenever I’m in Chicago I always try to visit the Field Museum of Natural History, both because it is a fascinating museum and because it contains so many fond memories from my childhood.
79. I have two great weaknesses as an attorney. One is the fact that I have too great a desire for everyone to like me. The other is my tendency to be able to see a controversy from all side rather than from the absolutist position of a zealous partisan advocate.
80. One of my greatest regrets is that I have not traveled more outside the United States.
81. I am mildly allergic to just about everything.
82. A part of me is very sad that there are very few (if any) blank spots left on the map.
83. I would very much like to have children someday.
84. If I ever do have children, two things I hope are that they learn are to play a musical instrument and to speak a foreign language.
85. I love the idea of raising Bison. Don’t ask me why, I just do.
86. I loathe the very concept of fast food and avoid it whenever possible. That being said, I have a shameful weakness for McDonald’s breakfast burritos.
87. I have now lived in Nevada long enough to actually enjoy the sound of slot machines.
88. One entire wall of my studio apartment is glass, and this window/wall partially faces high rise vacation condos across the street. The result of this is that my home life is lived in a fishbowl for anyone in that building who cares to watch, at least so long as I don’t close my blinds. I used to be very shy about this, but in the last year I have grown very accustomed to the idea.
89. I once turned down a great job offer in Guam because they didn’t pay moving expenses. I still can’t help wondering what might have been from time to time.
90. The first album I ever purchased was Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet, circa 1987.
91. No matter how hard I try, I just can’t seem to like coffee.
92. I feel that the worst thing about living so far west is the fact that I have seen my two-year-old niece Kira only three times.
93. In college my nickname was “C.J.” It was a name given to me by a friend but I never found out why.
94. For some strange reason I enjoy watching my favorite movies dubbed into foreign languages, even when I don’t understand those languages.
95. My first paying job was as a “Sandwich Engineer” at Subway when I was 16. I was fired for not making sandwiches fast enough. Getting fired was a horrible experience that I am still able to use to motivate myself to this very day.
96. Some books that changed the way I think are: Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath; Edward Abbey’s Desert Solitaire; Joseph Campbell’s Myths to Live By; Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises; Yann Martel’s Life of Pi; Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac.
97. I have very little patience for people who insist on believing in urban myths, people who tell me I should get involved in multi-level marketing, or people who think that God has a political affiliation.
98. I have a way of surprising people by eating foods that I find in nature. It has often struck me as strange that many people now feel queasy about eating a fish taken directly from a river or wild berries from the field, yet they unquestioningly trust giant agribusiness corporations to provide safe food at the grocery store.
99. I feel strangely guilty when I don't respond to magazine re-subscription notices.
100. I seriously underestimated how hard this list would be to finish.