versatile blogger

Today Nels gave me and others the “Versatile Blogger Award”:

I haven’t looked into the “history” or background of this award, but I’m rather fond of the name: it implies flexibility and blogging for a variety of purposes (and from a variety of positions). And of course, I’m thinking about the sexual connotations of “versatile” here as well.

Thanks, Nels! According to the protocols of this award/meme, I’m supposed to write about seven details of myself that you won’t be able to discover by reading about me online (I suppose this means in any forum online?). And, like Nels, this is difficult for me, because I share a lot online in various places. Largely, I think I’ll draw back to my childhood and early adulthood.

1. I grew up with a blue heeler named Billie Joe, a sweet dog who remained, for as long as I could remember, chained to her dog house except when we’d let her go to play. While we had other dogs who would roam about freely, Billie Joe remained chained up, which I never really understood (it was just “how it was”), but I think had to do with her roaming nature. I think my parents were afraid she’d just roam away if she were left unchained. Billie Joe was sweet, but under-appreciated. I think a lot revolved around her for me, without me really being aware of it—more symbolically than anything, perhaps. One of my worst nightmares when I was a kid (my brother’s face slowly squeezing into nothingness) was set right beside her dog-house. When I was a freshman in high school, I came home from basketball practice late every night—and since it was winter, it was always after dark. I’d come home, exhausted, and not veture outside. It was a whole month before I knew that Billie Joe had passed away, because I was so busy and my parents never told me. My parents have some sort of rugged farm attitude toward pets: they didn’t tell me for a while after the two house cats we had when I was teenagers died either (I was out in Oregon).

2. You can probably find this somewhere online (haha), but when I was in high school I started wearing baggy clothes, as was the style for disaffected kids in the 1990s (though my peers and I, being in southern Iowa, were a few years behind the fad, probably). I refused to wear a belt, though, so my pants sagged quite a bit. One day (fall 1998), a friend tried to de-pants me in the school hallway, and I successfully evaded her attack by holding onto my pants. In the clear, I kept walking, until another friend de-pantsed me, and my boxers went with them. The whole hallway saw me half-naked, and I scuttled into an empty room—empty except for the woman in her 30s or 40s laughing at me. Embarrassing moment, for sure, but I took it in stride, laughed it off, and wrote about it in my application letter to the Freshmen Honors program at Iowa State.

3. My first email address was (I think that’s how it was spelled). I had been using my parents’ email, but then suspected that they were reading my emails, and switched over. I think I had friends using Deseretmail, which I think was a religious site, and I was obsessed with ska music. The site went down a few years later, but it was my first webmail experience.

4. My parents gave very boring names to animals: Billy Joe and Red (dogs), Boots, Yellow, Tuffy (cats). I thought I was oh-so-clever when we got a new cat when I was a young teenager and I named him “Who.” I thought the Abbot and Castello schtick “Who’s on First” was hilarious, and tried to recreate the conversation “What’s your cat’s name?”…”Who” as many times as possible.

5. When I first got a cell phone (one of my parents’ phones when I went off to college) I detested the idea of being able to called at any time, and simply left it in my dorm room all the time. That changed sometime around my junior year of college, but I was definitely anti-constant-contact ten years ago, which is quite a bit different from now: hey just text me, tweet at me, email me, facebook message me, etc. (Though now I rather hate talking on the phone.)

6. The first time I remember being hit (besides in fights with little brothers) was my senior year of high school. We were playing roller hockey in our high school parking lot, and a bunch of drunk high school students kept driving through the parking lot. Here it was (in my mind at the time): straightedge punks vs. drunken hicks. Of course, none of my clique wanted to fight, and the only punches were: they attacked Tyler and drove off, and then when they came at me, my best friend at the time (Logan, a big guy) stood between me and someone else, and when that guy swung at me (glancing my ear), Logan swung once and knocked him to the floor. Billy retaliated by putting Minor Threat lyrics into people’s lockers the next day of school, and I wound up turning to pacifist passages in the Bible. I view this as one of the turning points in my life toward pacifism, oddly enough.

7. One more animal story: When I was a kid, one of our donkeys got struck by lightning while our cousins were visiting. At least, that’s how I remember it. I thought it was totally freaky!

And now, onward to my seven awardees!
1) Debbie, because I imagine her response would be delightful
2) Matt: May you produce text and then finish your dissertation!
3) Dana, whom I adore (and whose blog I adore)!
4) ML, who is doing the Peace Corps in the DR
5) Daisy, for her kitties!
6) Robin, who generally blogs about awesome tech stuff
and 7) Dawn, who rocks!

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4 Responses to versatile blogger

  1. DanaCK says:

    Squeee! Thanks, Michael! I enjoyed looking at all the other blogs and am really pleased to be included with some very cool people.

    Also: This gives me another reason to finish the post I have been working on for three weeks. Oy!

  2. Pingback: Apparently I’m versatile? « Matt Weiss Online

  3. Dawn says:

    You know, this just popped up in my google alerts. Only 4 years later!

    I’m sure I missed this because I was knee deep in some crazy doctorate thing, or being sick (as I was for the first 2 years of my doctorate).

    But thank you belatedly. It’s nice that you considered me. 🙂

  4. Michael says:

    4 years — wow! 🙂 Thanks for the comment, Dawn! (and isn’t it good to be past the doctorate thing?)

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