Way more than 25 things

Ported from Facebook:
You know the routine. I’m rather annoyed by things that wreak of chain-letters, but some of these have been really interesting, so do what you will, and I’ll look forward to reading yours if you’re willing to contribute one.

1. I thought I would die or get married by the time I was 30. Neither happened.

As a child I also believed I would grow up and live in Colorado, but never have.

2. I used to have a collection of various ceramic frogs, went to a school with a frog mascot, and once had pet frogs that I didn’t treat very well. I also like the WB cartoon with the singing frog. I never was able to find tadpoles in the wild ponds of Long Island. My mother organized a protest against us dissecting frogs in 6th grade, and I was exceptionally embarrassed and disappointed to miss out upon such a scientific rite-of-passage.

3. I’ve been to every state in the US except Minnesota, North Dakota, and Alaska. I still haven’t been to the continents of Africa, South America, or Antarctica, but have visited countries in all the others. Customs officers studied my drawings of soviet spaceships with serious scrutiny when we left their nation. I was 9 or 10.

4. I once met somebody atop Mount Tamalpais, near San Francisco, who lived two blocks from me on Long Island.

5. I was meditating and doing yoga when 9/11 happened. I still have trouble believing there wasn’t a connection between the two.

6. I once beat the captain of the Jr High wrestling team wrestling, which made him very, very angry. I was anything but a jock then.

7. I learned to box from an encyclopedia, to defend myself from repeated attacks in the locker room in Junior High. It worked.

8. I went to Guitar Making School after High School, and was told I should join the military by the guy who ran it, because it would “make a man out of me.” I recounted this to him 20 years later, and he thought it was very funny. BTW, I didn’t enlist.

9. I still have a radioactive material sticker swiped from a nuclear reactor for me by my high school adviser.

10. As a child I once signed out a stack of programming books from the library that was nearly as tall as I was. I still am only a hack programmer.

11. I think most sports are boring, except maybe soccer and basketball. I used to break out in hives on the football field in Junior High, however we won one of the only high school soccer games I participated in. Our team of hippies was adorned in war paint and I think the other team didn’t know whether to laugh or play ball.

12. At 19 I went to the SUNY Medical library to research the surgery they were going to do when they extracted my wisdom teeth, and was more nervous armed with that knowledge than beforehand. Fortunately I didn’t reach 1 when they asked me to count backwards from 10

13. I may never read all the books I own.

14. I share a birthday with Calvin Klein and Jodie Foster. So what.

I once made huge posters of Jodie and my friends thought I was obsessed with her. Actually i was obsessed with the Canon photo-quality xerox machine we’d gotten at the office and it’s ability to do enormous enlargements, so I made posters of all these great photos from an assortment of magazines, not just her. Although it might be interesting to meet her. I imagine it might be like matter and antimatter colliding.

There is also somebody with my name who is becoming famous for recycling military motor oil. Go ahead. Google me. You know you want to.

15. I once encountered the biggest scorpion I’ve ever seen, my astrological sign, while bicycling down a country road in a torrential rainstorm in West Virginia. I’ve never seen one in the wild since. I bicycled alone from New York to Colorado that summer and throughout Colorado for another month. I was 17.

16. I sometimes suspect that somebody placed a curse on my family and that I’m the last branch on the family tree.

17. My paternal grandmother was a Daughter of the American Revolution.

18. I once had a wild and tumultuous fling with a reluctant debutante. She was ashamed to admit it. I still have her dishes and feel her pain.

19. I’m both afraid to go to (and fascinated by) the idea of visiting Catalina Island because of Arthurian legend and the town named Avalon there. But if I meet a willing Guinevere, I may have no choice. The last Guinevere I met thought I was putting her on when I told her my name.

I also thought it quite odd when my parents got a Toyota “Avalon.”

20. I have a thing for dancers because I honestly experience exhilaration watching them dance. Besides the obvious.

21. I’ve been an insomniac all my life, even before I knew what coffee tasted like.

22. I have personally met most of the living famous people that inspire me. When I’m feeling cynical I believe this has made no difference in my life. When I’m feeling grateful, I realize some nugget from each encounter has enriched my life.

23. I met Larry Hagman in Santa Fe once at a gallery opening for his son-in-law. He went to my high school; after chatting and discovering that i did video work, he asked me to shoot his family and him with his portable video camera (which was as big as a suitcase – this was 1983). At the time I had no idea who Mary Martin, his mother, was and naively videotaped them all. Then he asked me to tape the gallery guests, so I continued shooting for a while, until realizing I’d put the camera into pause when i thought it was recording, so none of the footage had come out. Right as I discovered this, he retrieved the camera, turning it on me to be immortalized on his tape. I was so mortified I couldn’t tell him what had happened. Years later we laughed about the story

24. I began playing double bass in response to a hundred dollar bet from a third grade classmate that I wouldn’t do it. He never paid up, and I’m still lugging the thing around town.

25. I was the only entering-9th grader in a Music and Art Camp at Kansas University, on a full art scholarship. I innocently made a plasticene sculpture so phallic that everyone except the kind-hearted aging ceramics teacher burst out giggling. I also played at my first nightclub that summer, with some big band horn players from Thad Jones, Stan Kenton, or Count Basie’s band. I went to my first rock concert, Peter Frampton, Gary Wright, and Santana, with my dad that summer. The next day the papers reported, “riot at rock concert.” My dad said he’d never seen such a large, well-behaved group of kids in his life, and never took any further write-ups too seriously.

26. I was at the Grateful Dead show at Meadowlands where people died falling off the top of the stadium. I got trapped in a stampede of people rushing the gate, between two fences, and had to just “go with the flow” to avoid getting trampled. It wasn’t fun. Grateful “Dead” indeed.

27. At the Woodstock Freedom Fest, in ’94, I played for one of the biggest audiences I’ve encountered. I couldn’t hear a note I was playing, didn’t know the songs, and have no idea how I sounded. I was also playing keyboard, which isn’t my main instrument. Somebody somewhere has that performance on videotape.

28. The most exhilarating performance I was in was after Kundalini White Tantric Yoga in New Mexico, with Guru Singh, with 2500 people who’d been doing Sat Kriya for three hours, causing it to thunderstorm on the shelter we were in – and not anywhere around the rest of the land. The energy was amazing.

29. I also was at a performance with the classical NYC choir I sang in, of an African piece called, “In Praise of Rain” that caused a thunderstorm outside. The performers and audience were awestruck because we didn’t understand a word we were singing.

30. I once listened to Ravel’s complete “Daphnis et Chloe” on a walkman while reading the score amidst the Massachusetts fall foliage in the “horse caves” of Mount Norwottock. It was almost more spectacular than seeing it live.

31. I love to go to the free morning rehearsals of the LA Phil at the Hollywood Bowl, and have had some more peak musical experiences of my life there amidst all the retired folk.

32. I sometimes wonder if there’s a karmic payback for all the music I copied onto cassette in college.

33. I can name drop as well as any musician, but try not to unless it seems necessary to keep the conversation going.

34. I was arrested twice at Disney World for hitch-hiking out of Disney underage. The second time they took me to a run-away home because they couldn’t reach my parents on the phone again. They let me go and told me I’d just get brought back if I was hassled again.

35. While a young hippie, I once got stuck hitch-hiking in Indianapolis for over three hours without a ride on the beltway. A guy finally pulled up; I jumped in, and realized he had his pants open and the car wreaked of cologne. I put my sign (“NYC”) between us and asked him if he’d ever been “saved.” I then proceeded to fabricate a story of how I’d once been screwed up on drugs and had found Jesus. He, in turn, proceeded to quote bible verses for the rest of the trip and dropped me off a couple of hundred miles down the freeway, with my head spinning, and otherwise “without incident.”

36. I was sexually propositioned by an Indian town car driver en route to the hospital my father was dying at from JFK. The driver was mad when I gave him a small tip and didn’t accept his proposition.

37. I was held at gunpoint and knife-point on two different occasions when hitch-hiking through Hartford, CT. The first was a stoned “joke” although the gun was real and I could see the bullets in the chambers – the second was the real deal, and the thugs were caught and I brought them to court but couldn’t win anything. I still can’t listen to Boston’s “More Than A Feeling” because it was playing in the car and reminds me of the incident.

38. In high school, I used to run with the deer in the Vermont woods. I never caught up with them, but they seemed amused.

39. I once slept on a mountain road that was newly cut near Garberville, CA, en route to a ranch/school in the mountains that I would subsequently attend. When we later drove to town, the road had been paved and named, “Arthur Road.” I kid you not


I still had to check Google maps just to make sure!

40. I harbor a strong suspicion that most people don’t have strong beliefs of their own, but simply adopt those of the social circles they hang out in. Hence I’m somewhat cynical and distrustful of politics and all organized forms of belief and religion.

41. I value creativity, honesty, integrity, and beauty more than fame, wealth, and success. This isn’t necessarily a good thing. A Buddhist who runs a cult and organic clothing store in Santa Fe told me – as Christie Brinkley was buying jewelry from him – that I should meditate on why I’m not ready to be famous.

42. I strongly suspect God is something we experience while enjoying music – or perhaps dance, theater, or maybe even visual art. Not so sure about TV.

43. I had to quit wearing contact lenses when I moved to LA.

44. I secretly cook my raw food recipes.

45. I usually don’t do my laundry until i run out of socks.

46. I’m numerically challenged. 46 is the new 25.

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