Random Facts About Me – May 2013

I haven’t done a true Random Facts post in a while, so let’s mix things up a bit, shall we?

  1. Despite being surrounded by people knowledgeable in a variety of areas, I very rarely ask for advice on anything. My pride and stubbornness deserve part of the blame, but much of it lies somewhere else: I can’t help but feel obligated to take someone’s advice if I ask for it, and I haven’t figured out a way to gracefully reject that advice without feeling guilty. So it feels like asking for advice paints me into a corner. So I just don’t do it.
  2. On a related note, I tend not to tell everyone about my problems partly because I don’t want people trying to solve them. Unsolicited advice is one of my pet peeves.
  3. On another related note, I’m a bit of a control freak when it comes to my own life. I like being the “captain of my soul,” as the poet said. But I hate being in charge of other people and imposing my will on them. That’s the main reason I have so little interest in leadership positions. That’s also one of the main reasons that parenthood is so frustrating for me. I enjoy playing with the boys, teaching them, talking with them about their day, and encouraging them. I hate trying to get them to do things. They are just as stubborn as I am, and it sucks having to butt heads with them over and over again. Maybe that’s why being a grandparent is more fun than being a parent. You get the fun stuff without the moral obligation to mold them into good people.
  4. Heavy whipping cream is my favorite thing to add to my coffee. It’s fun to pour in a bit, watch it sink to the bottom, and watch it reappear on the surface. It you do it gently, little dots of cream appear on top rather than a big swirl, a bit like bubbles from a tiny scuba diver.
  5. Right now, my plan is to dispatch for Southwest until I’m about 65 (31 more years), retire with Jenny, and turn into my Aunt Kathy’s parents. They divide their time between relaxing, doing family stuff, and traveling. They do all sorts of amazing trips, sometimes picking up great last-minute deals since they have so much flexibility. I might volunteer somewhere as well. I’ll need something productive to do to avoid driving myself crazy.
  6. When I was a teenager, I went through a “purge the evil music from my collection” phase and destroyed my two Nine Inch Nails CDs. I lost some good music that way.
  7. Part of me wants to update the heck out of our house. The other part wants to use that money to pay it off sooner and move. Lately, Option 1 has been winning. I love the idea of taking something old and worn out and making it new.
  8. Some people like to work out to upbeat music for motivation. I don’t like to run or bike with music, but I do listen when I do cardio at the gym. I (strangely?) prefer relaxing music like smooth jazz, Yanni, or Sarah McLachlan. Mellow music helps me relax and feel like I’m not working as hard as I really am.
  9. When I’m working, I generally eat the same thing for breakfast (cereal) and my work meal (bagel, banana, yogurt, and something else like a protein bar). So the only meal that changes much is dinner with the family. I like not having to think too hard about my food.
  10. I shave my head every couple of weeks at most. I don’t trust a regular razor, so I use electric clippers with no guard, which means I always look a little fuzzy rather than looking like a cue ball.

Random Facts About Me for May 2012

It’s been a while, so here are ten more random facts about me:

  1. I’m glad I went to Baylor (sic ’em!). There are many reasons I chose Baylor. One of the primary ones was its Christian atmosphere. My other top choice was Rice, a small liberal arts college with a secular and quirky culture. At the time I was deciding on schools, I debated (among other things) whether I wanted to be surrounded by Christians who I assumed would support my faith or surrounded by mostly nonChristian students and professors who would challenge my faith. It never occurred to me that Baylor would challenge my faith like it did or that Rice actually had quite a few Christians. I wonder what, if anything, would have been different if I’d spent those four years in Houston. Would my faith have emerged stronger or weaker? Would I have dated my high school girlfriend across hundreds of miles during college or broken up with her? Would I have chosen the same career path and gotten the job that I did?
  2. I love football, both college and pro, but I feel a bit guilty for supporting it due to the growing pile of evidence about football-related head injuries. As a fan, I’m part of the problem. However, with growing awareness comes growing support for changes to the game to make it safer for the players, so I have a bit of hope.
  3. Although as an Irving native, I’ve always supported the Dallas Cowboys, I will support the Redskins as long as RG3 is their quarterback. Yes, even head-to-head.
  4. I’ve tried a few burrito joints. I rank them thus: 1) Chipotle 2) Planet Burrito 3) Freebirds
  5. I still miss singing in a choir. I’m not a great soloist, but I seemed to do OK singing with lots of other people. Once the boys get older, I might look into rejoining a local community choir. Perhaps my old choir (The Irving Chorale) or my friend Randie’s choir (Schola Cantorum) might give me a break if they’re hard-up for baritone types. For singing purposes, my favorite styles are classical and gospel. Some musicals are great as well, such as Les Mis or Phantom. Just don’t make me try to dance and sing simultaneously. Something’s gotta give.
  6. At work we’ve been negotiating a new contract for about 2 1/2 years now. We seem to be nearing the end of the process, and speculation abounds that we’ll get a nice raise from the deal. If so, I won’t have to work day or afternoon shifts for overtime anymore, just midnights when I want to make some extra cash. That will make both Mrs. Box and me very happy.
  7. The contract negotiating process has given me a new appreciation for labor unions in general. There are always at least two sides to any discussion, and neither one is always right. Sometimes unions make bad choices. Sometimes management makes bad choices. Sometimes they work together and find a viable compromise.
  8. I am very proud of my wife. While she has her bachelor’s degree and could simply stay home with the kids until they are grown, she decided to go back to school to become a nurse. Just completing the nursing pre-reqs has taken a lot of work, but she’s cranking them out and maintaining a 4.0 while raising two active boys. After Monday, she’ll only have one more class to go (microbiology this fall) before she applies for nursing school for next fall.
  9. I get mad (internally, of course!) whenever I see a dog running around off-leash in my neighborhood or at a park. Two reasons: 1) I don’t know or trust the dog, and if he decides to attack me or my kids, the owner has no way to stop him. 2) Most cities around here have a leash law, and the owner is ignoring it.
  10. My all-time favorite musician is probably Sarah McLachlan. Jenny got me tickets to see her at AAC a few years back, and she put on a fantastic show. If she ever comes back to Dallas, I’ll probably go again.

Random Facts About Me – November 2011 Edition

Hi, my name is Andy, and this is my blog. Yeah, it’s been a while. Been a busy but good week with three different Thanksgivings and various other stuff. I figure it’s about time to cook up some more random facts, so here goes:

  1. I’m a big fan of the Coen brothers’ films, particularly No Country for Old Men and The Big Lebowski. I just watched their excellent remake of True Grit. I don’t quite have the right words to explain their films’ appeal. They just feel like high-quality, well-made films. Their dialog in particular is always sharp. Somehow it’s much more interesting than the conversations you hear every day, yet it still sounds realistic.
  2. I worked a party as a DJ once. It was my sister’s birthday party, maybe age 12 or 13. I brought my home stereo, which had decent-sized speakers for home use but didn’t quite have the power for a dance party in a large room. One of her friends came over to warn me that one of my speakers was about to blow out.
  3. I went to Baylor as a conservative Republican with a very conservative take on Christianity. I graduated from Baylor as a fairly apolitical agnostic. Now I’m mostly a liberal Democrat with a progressive view of Christianity. Life is funny, isn’t it?
  4. I want to go see Lady Gaga in concert the next time she comes to town. My wife won’t go with me. Although she likes some of her music, she says Gaga is too odd for her.
  5. My bicycle crosstraining is working well. I ran seven miles on Thursday with no knee pain. I sure felt it afterward in my quads, though.
  6. It makes me self-conscious (more so than normal, I mean) to be with my kids around other people. My kids always divert my attention when I’m with them because I’m trying to think about what they need and want and how I should respond. If other people are around, I’m thinking about those things PLUS what the other people think about the situation – do they approve of what I’m doing? Am I being too strict? Too lenient? Am I teaching them good manners and handling disputes well and keeping them from hurting themselves or breaking other people’s stuff? I suspect most parents do this to some degree, although maybe not to the extent that I do. So if I seem stressed or distracted around you when I’m with my kids, it’s because I am. Now you know why. And it’s not your fault, so please don’t take it personally.
  7. I fiddled around with a guitar a while back. It was actually my mother-in-law’s guitar because she’s cool like that. I learned a few chords, including a modified version of the main one from the Black Crowes’ “She Talks to Angels”. I realized quickly that I lacked the discipline and motivation to work hard enough to become a good guitar player. The experience gave me a deeper appreciation for the Slashes and Eddie Van Halens of the world who do work hard enough to play well.
  8. It still feels a bit weird to be the dad driving his wife and kids to see the family for Thanksgiving, especially when we go up 287 to Wichita Falls.
  9. I’ve been interviewed on the local news twice. The first time was in 2002 or 2003 for a story about mail theft in apartment complexes. Our apartment put gigantic padlocks on the mailboxes as a deterrent. The second was in 2005 or 2006 for a story about the gas well down the street from our first house. Both times the reporter seemed to want me to be really concerned about the situation in question, but I wasn’t. It almost seemed like she was trying to invent a story. I didn’t have good answers, but they aired my segment anyway. I’ve pretty much decided that the next time a reporter asks if he/she can ask me a few questions on camera, the answer will be no.
  10. If I had to go back to school for another degree, I’d probably get a bachelor’s in either meteorology or economics.

Random Facts About Me for June 2011

Ten more…can I dig up ten more??

  1. I loved Beavis and Butt-head as a kid. For a while my hair looked like Butt-head’s, brown and brushed straight back (don’t ask). I can do the voice, too. Maybe I sound like him all the time, who knows? “Uhhhh…Southwest 182, this is like, Dispatch, so you have to, like, do what I say or something. Divert to uh, Dallas, like, now and stuff. Huh-huh.” “Yeah, yeah, that would be cool!” “No, it isn’t, buttmonkey. Diverting sucks. Don’t make me kick your ass! Uhhhh…wait a minute. Is this thing still on?”
  2. After riding a bike all the time as a kid, I took a break as a teenager until my last two years of college. Then I borrowed my dad’s bike and rode it to and from class so I didn’t have to hunt for a parking space every day. Playing Frogger with the cars was a bit nerveracking. Seeing a CareFlite-level wreck between a cyclist and a car in 2004 turned me off from riding for a while. Now I’m getting back into it for fitness purposes, riding Dad’s old mountain bike and trying to avoid traffic.
  3. I have trouble understanding how Christianity and patriotism got tied together in many people’s minds. Both are fine things, but I don’t think one should require the other.
  4. As probably a freshman in high school, I partied in the mosh pit at a Stone Temple Pilots concert wearing a black 99.1 Z-Rock tank top. It was awesome. Less awesome was my decision to wear sandals into said mosh pit.
  5. I predict an Obama victory in the next presidential election. The Republican party seems too fractured and is leaning too far to the right to win the independent voters like me. Overall, I think he’s done a decent job, although I wish he’d been more aggressive in pulling out of Afghanistan, supporting gay rights, and fighting the urge to borrow so much money trying to fix the recession.
  6. I struggle with the concept of war. When is war justified, and when is it not? Some wars, such as World War II, seem like no-brainers to me – some people are so evil that they must be stopped by any means necessary. Other wars, such as Iraq and Afghanistan, seem much less clear-cut. When does a war become too costly in terms of money, lives, effort, and resources to be worthwhile? And what does the Bible say about war? In the Gospels, Jesus tells us to turn the other cheek and to love our enemies. But Revelation paints Jesus as a mighty warrior returning to earth on a warhorse and brandishing a sword, ready to judge the world. Which is the right path for a government in 2011?
  7. I am not a fan of fake boobs, butts, lips, noses, etc. unless they were made necessary because of injury or disease. Just shake what yo’ momma gave ya.
  8. When I’m working, I normally go to sleep around 7:30-8:00am and sleep until 3:00pm. I leave my phone on in case of emergencies, but please do not call me during those hours. It’s sometimes hard to go back to sleep if I talk to someone and make my brain work.
  9. At work I have maybe 5 bad days a year, and some of those are bad because of a single problem flight. That seems like a pretty good ratio to me.
  10. Lately I’ve been attempting to be less judgmental and more live-and-let-live. I’m happier for it.

Random Facts about Me for March 2011

Ten more. Count ’em off!

  1. I have disproportionately large calves. I got them from my dad. So did my sister. We’re cool like that.
  2. My job could become obsolete someday. Even today, software exists that can automate most of my duties. That’s a weird feeling.
  3. I think smart women are extremely sexy. My wife is a science nerd, and I love her for it. She currently has a 101 average in her chemistry class.
  4. Ditto for women who work out. Sports bras are hot.
  5. I generally dislike being in leadership positions. I would much rather follow and serve than lead. However, it seems that most other people feel the same way, so sometimes I end up leading simply because a leader is needed and no one else wants the job.
  6. Someday, once I have more time and disposable income, I might try flipping houses, possibly in the lower end of the market. I like the idea of transforming old, broken houses into appealing ones and helping to revitalize neighborhoods.
  7. I want a solar-powered hot tub for our backyard. They actually exist, but it’s not as simple as it might sound.
  8. As a teenager, I published a couple of stories/articles in a Christian teen magazine called Straight. They earned me $30-40 apiece. Although the magazine’s name probably referred to “the straight and narrow” rather than sexual orientation, its publisher eventually changed the name to Encounter.
  9. I want my next commuter car to be all-electric. If my Fit can last at least 10 years, it’ll be about 2017 when I go shopping. By then, electrics should be cheaper, better, and more common. Perhaps by then, they’ll finally have a hybrid minivan on the market, too.
  10. Parenthood is great, but it has also given me a new appreciation for the simple pleasure of a quiet meal in the company of adults.

10 Random Facts for January 2011

Apparently these lists are a hit, so I’ll dig up some more random facts about myself. Let’s see…

  1. I’ve only done actual karaoke twice, two songs at a karaoke Christmas party for work. I started with “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” by The Charlie Daniels Band and finished with “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns and Roses. My voice isn’t exactly a rock and roll voice, but it was fun anyway. For me, at least.
  2. When I talk in a female voice (don’t ask), I inexplicably pick up a bad Southern belle accent.
  3. When it comes to household chores, vacuuming is probably my favorite. I want one of those fancy Dyson vacuums. Dishes and laundry are OK. Mopping and sweeping are annoying. Yard work and dusting are probably my least favorite.
  4. I’ve worked in the same department doing the same thing for nearly 6 years. A few of the details have changed, such as new airports and policies and my added role as a trainer, but otherwise it’s the same. I’ve probably planned at least 60,000 flights during that time.
  5. I prefer Reddi-Wip over whipped cream. It’s low-calorie, portable, convenient, and delicious.
  6. I once played tennis on a court next to Jon Bon Jovi. He was in town for a concert and staying at the Four Seasons. My doubles partner was a member at the Four Seasons sports club. When Bon Jovi decided to take a tennis lesson on one of the indoor courts, we snagged the court next to him and played for a while until he was finished. Then we ambushed him and got an autograph. I think he was slightly annoyed but chose to be nice anyway.
  7. My first car was a gold and white 1971 Chevelle Malibu. It was my mom’s first car, and she kept it all those years. I drove it for a couple of years and then handed the keys to my sister. After she got a new car, my mom sold the Chevelle to her brother, who tricked it out and still owns it today.
  8. I own a grand total of two CDs that contain country music: Kenny Rogers’ greatest hits and a compilation album that includes the aforementioned “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”.
  9. For breakfast almost every day, I eat a bowl of cereal and drink orange juice and coffee. The cereal is a mix of generic Frosted Mini-Wheats and Kashi. Brenden calls the Frosted Mini-Wheats “big cereal” and often wants a few pieces.
  10. For my overnight meal at work, unless I have leftovers to eat, I generally bring a bagel, banana, and cup of yogurt. My evening meal with the family is the only one that varies consistently. Strange as it might sound, I’m OK with that. It saves me from having to think hard about what to eat for breakfast and dinner.