Last week, I posted a list of 25 Random Things About Me. It's been the hottest time-waster du jour over at Facebook - so hot, in fact, that I have since produced a sequel! Enjoy!
1. I once interviewed Ben Affleck on the deck of an aircraft carrier in Hawaii, at the World Premiere of "Pearl Harbor", but my career highlight was covering Hurricane Floyd in 1999. I reported through the storm in Wilmington, NC, which was an adrenaline high, but then got caught while driving home, when high water closed I-95 - and I was stranded for three days!
2. I love my car - a 1997 Honda Civic that I bought new. It has 110,000 miles on it, and I aim to put another 100,000 on it, or perhaps give it to my son, who turns 16 in another year. The car has been paid off for 8 years and gets nearly 30 miles to the gallon. The only downside - no CD player - cassette only. Am I the only person left making mix tapes???
3. I plan to have my ashes scattered in the Seven Seas Lagoon at Walt Disney World. My wife meant it as a joke when she suggested it about 15 years ago, but I took her seriously. Now it's the plan. You're all invited!
4. I have really enjoyed reconnecting with so many people on Facebook. I've especially enjoyed trading daily banter with people who I largely knew only by name or by face back in high school, but whom I was not particularly friends with. I now regret not knowing you "back in the day". You know who you are!
5. Facebook, for me, is turning into "Six Degrees of Sue Raider-Kobren". Since joining Facebook, I have learned that Sue - who I went to Jr. high and high school with - worked as a teenager with a woman who I later hired at WMAL (Joan Doniger) and who has since become one of my closest friends. Sue and I have also learned - through Facebook - that our sons not only go to the same camp, but that they also were in "West Side Story" together at camp last summer!
6. My oldest friend (the oldest friend who I never fell out of contact with) is someone I met in my freshman year of college at Syracuse. We sang in choir together, and he introduced me to my future wife, who was his childhood friend. Jon was in our wedding, and is the Godfather of our oldest son. He also has a VERY cool life today. He's co-executive producer of "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit", and he's living the "life" in L.A.
7. You might have noticed by now - My brand of sarcastic humor sometimes crosses the obnoxious line. I regret when this happens.
8. As a result of number 7, I tend to care too much about pleasing people to compensate for being obnoxious - which, I suppose, is - in itself - obnoxious. Well - at least you've been warned!
9. There are a few people whose Facebook friendship requests I have ignored that I now regret ignoring, and I may just have to go back and "friend" them myself.
10. I love to vacation with my wife and kids, but I have been to Las Vegas alone several times and had a perfectly wonderful time all by myself!
11. With the exception of about 2 months in 1996, I have never worked a "9 to 5" schedule in my entire career, and the reason I stopped that "9 to 5" schedule in '96 was because I couldn't stand the traffic! For the most part, I've worked approximately 5 am - 2 pm, and I've loved it! No traffic, and the stores are empty when I get off work!
12. My relationship with my father is classic Harry Chapin. Just read the lyrics to "Cat and the Cradle", and you'll see what I mean. And I don't know how to fix it.
13. I was stopped once by a cop for speeding on the Big Island of Hawaii. When he looked at my license, he asked me what high school I went to, and I told him "Springbrook". He told me he went to "Richard Montgomery". Turns out Alex the Big Island cop was from Rockville. I did not get a ticket. LOVE that aloha spirit!
14. I enjoy planning vacations more than I enjoy going on them. I can be pretty obsessive. Last summer, before the missus and I went to Las Vegas, I managed to cut the cost of our rental car in half, simply by re-booking it 7 times in the last month before the trip. (There's a tip for future reference - always check on rental car prices, even after you've booked - they often fall!)
15. I used to take public education for granted until my wife became a school teacher. She works harder than anyone I know - and she spends hundreds (sometimes thousands) of dollars a year on her classroom for materials that neither the county nor the parents are paying for. You want to make your kids' teacher happy? Give her a Staples gift card!
16. I love Broadway musicals - and I'll go anywhere to see them! I saw a high school version of "Les Miz" last spring that knocked my socks off!
17. I don't consider myself to be particularly "green" or an environmentalist. I'm certainly NOT a vegan or vegetarian, and all of my shoes are leather. But I am, for some strange reason, anti-fur, much to my wife's occasional consternation. I just don't see, in this day and age with a big range of other attractive and warm materials available, the need to raise animals just so their fur can be harvested.
18. I spent about a year in high school being what was then commonly known as a "Jesus freak". I made new born-again friends, went to prayer meetings before school, went to Young Life meetings at night and tried to toe the line for Jesus. Ultimately, it didn't take, BUT it did do two vitally important things. First - it helped me cope with my mother's death. And second - it gave me a spiritual awareness and education that has stayed with me my entire life.
19. My "desert island" food is Ledo Pizza. My "desert island" movie is "Blazing Saddles". My desert island book is "The Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook". I'm a pragmatist at heart.
20. Time to brag on my son, Brad. He is smart to a fault. He can get straight A's in school without trying, and that's his biggest downfall. The kid doesn't think he has to try, and he'll turn a slam dunk A into an almost-B because he'll ace the final exam, but forget to turn in half of his homework.
21. My Monopoly rules include keeping 500 bucks in the middle of the game board, to be won whenever someone lands on free parking.
22. Earlier this year, I discovered that the one cassette tape of music I owned from my college choir days had dissolved to mud. So I hunted down about 35 of my former college choirmates, launched a website for them, and invited them to send me their music. Now I have copies of every song I ever sang in college - and thanks to the website (http://www.hendrickschapelchoiralumni.com/), so do all of my choir friends!
23. I haven't really done it in several years, but one of my favorite summer pastimes is finding a spot on a boardwalk bench in Ocean City or Rehoboth, and watch people walk by. There's million stories on the boardwalk - most of them seemingly wrapped around teenage lust.
24. When I was in high school, I worked as an usher at the Roth Silver Spring theatre in downtown Silver Spring. It was the perfect high school job... Free movies, all the popcorn and soda you could down, and time between the shows to do homework! I also got about 15 of my friends jobs there - including at least a couple of my Facebook friends!
25. I've worked construction, I've covered hurricanes, and I've swept popcorn and soda off of rugs. But the hardest job I ever had was working at Hecht's in the domestics department. Standing on your feet and folding towels for hours on end is painful and tedious. And the after Thanksgiving sales? Fuggedaboudit!
This concludes this tour of the inside of my navel. My time is up. I thank you for yours!