02 February 2007

5 Things Meme

I've been tagged by Big Heathen Mike at Mike's Weekly Skeptic Rant to do the "5 interesting things about you" meme that's been making the rounds. I'll try to live up to his lofty list, so here it goes:

1. I used to be a competitive swimmer in my youth. I did that for about 8 years, with all the stuff that high level competitive swimming entails. Ie. early morning practices, reeking of chlorine all day, and Speedos.

Scarring thing: I still wear Speedos now. Not usually on the outside, mind you - I have more sense than that. I usually wear them underneath my trunks. As I told someone from my department at university (and her boyfriend, also a competitive swimmer, agreed) once you're used to that level of support, there's no going back.

So how was I? I was a backstroker and, when I was 14, I was 13th in the province in my age category. That's not bad. However, my small town team of only about 40 swimmers managed to produce two other swimmers who each went to the Commonwealth Games - both of them backstrokers - making me look a lot crappier than I actually was.

2. Like fellow taggee of the meme, Paul, I had braces as a kid. Wore them for 2.5 years. Hurt like hell whenever they were adjusted. My already complete lack of a social life as a kid was amplified into a mind-boggling trough of geekdom. No regrets though. Remember that classic Simpson's episode with the nuclear workers striking about Burns's attempt to remove their dental plan? Remember the simulation of Lisa if she didn't get braces? Yeah, that was me.

3. I love little fluffy dogs. The stupider looking and the smaller, the better. It doesn't really matter the breed. And I'll also accept miniature dachshunds. My wife calls me a "girly boy" because of it, but so what? They make me happy. However, I would never consider buying one. I like variety in my little dogs, and I'm far to busy to look after a little useless thing that isn't related by blood. Also, dogs are axpensive. I'll just continue to live vicariously through other people's dogs.

4. I'm half asian-half generic white guy. I also grew up in an area with practically no asian people around, so half asians were real oddities.

There is a weird possibility in this heritage though. My mom, who's asian, is mostly Chinese, but her family immigrated to Indonesia generations ago, in one case marrying into the local tribe of Dayaks. The Dayaks were notorious headhunter. My dad, who's white, has some Dutch ancestry. The Dutch colonized Indonesia. You do the math - We have no proof of anything happening, but there is a chance that some of my ancestors could have been killed by some of my other ancestors.

5. I'll probably post something about this in the near future, but my first job out of university was to design shit tanks. I shit you not. I don't mean little tiny septic tanks; I mean big, honking tanks that are part of sewage treatment plants. The largest tanks I've designed were over 30 m (~100 ft) in diameter and 10 m (~30 ft) tall in the case of the aerobic digester tanks (the ones that let the solids, ie. bacteria from your poop, burn themselves out and become inert), or 65 m (~210 ft) by 56 m (~185 ft) in the case of the aeration tanks (these provide oxygen to the microorganisms in the liquid waste stream to destroy any nasties in there).

Fortunately, I've moved on to other design projects since. It got a little annoying visiting with other grads of my program and hearing "I'm designing bridges," or "I'm designing parking garages," when I have to respond with "I'm designing shit tanks."

Ok, that's it, I'm done. I hope the Speedo thing didn't scar anybody too much. Thanks to Mike for tagging me. I would tag someone else, but I see that practically everyone else whose blogs I frequent have already gotten this meme. Oh well. If anybody wants, they can link their list of 5 things in the comments.



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