This is frequent IBA commenter, and Vlad Tepes contributor, Jdamn's contribution:
I have been tagged by Pasto because I wanted to subject Shiva to the Filthy Blog Cootie Meme Bug Thing, so I guess I get what I deserve. My random 8 things are:
1) My last name means nothing. It's an Ellis Island name whose folk etymology is something to the effect of: "We're called this so people know that we're not thatJewish, so please treat us more nicely than the Germans and the Spanish before them." We know we're originally from Spain because we're Sepphardic, not Askenazi. It's actually very American for that reason. My family might be the only Jews from Kentucky but the biggest hospital in Louisville is Jewish Hospital so I get the sense that we might not be. I don't have any roots in Kentucky anymore, though. We're all in Indiana and on the East Coast, except for my sister.
2) I broke my back when I was sixteen. My friend drove us into a ditch and I fractured it 4 places. They were all hairline fractures so it wasn't that bad. When it happened I thought I was just going to take it easy for the rest of the weekend. I was out of my brace a couple of weeks early, too. I still have back problems but I probably would have gotten hurt worse being even stupider had that not happened to me. All sixteen years-olds should break their backs. I honestly recommend it. This fact surprises people when they find out about it because I waited tables forever and I was known for schlepping seemingly impossibly heavy stuff on a tray, comparable to my size, and I'm pretty physically active. I am the human barometer now.
3) I had experimental eye surgery when I was 2. I couldn't make both of my eyes face straight forward at the same time. YOu would never know I was googly-eyed to look at my baby photos, though, because my dad is a fantastic photographer and they took a ton of pictures amounting to way more than the 12 albums of baby pics my mother put together just of me. I'm the oldest child, obviously. The surgery was a success but I have no depth perception. I didn't know about my lack of depth perception until my mom told me when I was 12. It doesn't affect my life at all except that I can't wear contacts that actually work but I don't care because I look better in glasses. I look all hazy without them. If I'm not focusing one of them will wander off and freak people out. I also have my own idiosyncratic way of shooting hoops which amounts to bad form but I'm not bad, really.
4) I won a bunch of spelling bees. I never really tried, either. Just something I was always good at. I won at least second place in every one I entered except when I was in 1st grade, when I came in 3rd, but I beat the 2nd grader.
5) I'm an awesome cook but I'm a terrible baker. Cooking is art but baking is a science. I am no scientist. I make good chocolate cookies, though, every holiday season, so I ended up getting stuck with that 2-day-long chore. I learned to cook from watching my stepmom, my grandma, my dad, the Food Network, and from working in restaurants forever. My Italian mother could burn water. She was no help in that department. It's a good thing I have a gift for cooking because I loooove to eat. I'm a very tiny, scrawny, small-boned chick, but I eat like a linebacker. I amaze everyone with the massive quantities I can put away, including myself at times. We all thought I would outgrow that, but no, and I'm fast approaching middle age. I like really good and really bad food, and little in-between. By 'good' I mean both in terms of quality and nutritional value. Food should be top-knotch or fried, basically.
6) I've been a vegetarian since I was 12. I just decided I couldn't eat animals anymore, so I stopped. It wasn't something I put a lot of thought into, just something I knew it was time for. It pissed off my parents but then my little sister became a vegetarian too. I never really liked meat anyway. I have terrible memories of being forced to eat steak and pork chops as a kid. Makes me sick just thinking about it. I missed hot dogs for a few weeks, but after that I stopped thinking of meat as food. That was how I got into cooking: being on my own culinarily. No regrets.
7) I love crazy weather. We have every kind of insane, extreme weather in Indiana and I love all of it except heat waves. I like terrible storms that shake the house and make the sky turn 10 different colors in 20 minutes. I rode my bike while it was hailing 6 weeks ago. It was actually sunny when I left for class ten minutes prior. That's the kind of weather we have in Indiana. I'll ride my bike in anything but ice, and that one day last winter when they closed the university for the first time in 20 years because there was so much snow and it was so cold that salt did nothing for the streets. School was open the day before but I was not about to get on a bus in that weather and riding my bike proved impossible. I tried. I used to drive around the neighborhood very close to the sidewalk to get the snow to dissipate faster so I could rollerblade. I've been known to rollerblade while snow is coming down. My town flooded last summer, too. That was a great storm. I ain't afraid of a little weather. Bring it, Mother Nature.
8) I'm a huge Neil Diamond fan. I was raised on that stuff. I've seen in concert him 5 times, 4 of them with my mom. He's still great and he still looks amazing. He still has pretty much the same band as he had when I first saw him 23 years ago. I prefer Linda Press to Babs on "You Don't Bring Me Flowers." She's less nasal and her voice sounds better with Neil's. She still looks amazing, too. My mom is fanantical and has files of concert fliers and videos of Neil but I know that she's never listened to '12 Songs,'which I bought her a few years ago. My favorite songs of his are 'I've Got the Feeling,' which requires a big band and sounds terrible when I play it on my guitar and sing along, 'Girl, You'll be a Woman Soon,' 'Shilo,' and 'Delirious Love,' the Brian Wilson version.
Not that I'm a nerd or anything.
I hereby tag Shiva, Creeping Sharia, and Barenakedislam.