50 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Me

I started making this list a while back when others were making them and never got around to finishing it. Nate was doing some work on the blog and saw it saved and said that I should finish it. I have reservations and I’m wondering how many of you are going to be saying “what?!? I’ve been reading financial advice from him?” once you read the list. Somehow I don’t think this list is going to meld well with the image of a personal finance writer. Nate won out, however, so here are some things about me that you probably don’t want to know, but hey, it’s me…

1. I had a Mohawk in college – electric blue.

2. I still had the Mohawk when I attended my father’s second wedding (although I did take the electric blue coloring out)

3. I have jumped into a glacier ice pool naked. It was cold…I mean really, really cold (I haven’t always been the brightest bulb of the bunch)

4. I ran a marathon. I could barely walk for a week afterward. I never plan on running one again.

5. I was a slacker until college and credit my friends there for turning me around. They would have conversations about virtually any subject and all were able to give a quality opinion about whatever the subject was – something that I couldn’t do at the time. I decided that I wanted be able to hold a quality conversation on any subject and that is when I began to enjoy learning.

6. One of the greatest compliments I have ever received after graduating was that I can hold a conversation on any subject.

7. For the “how to do” something class presentation I had to give in high school as a junior, my class presentation was “How to cheat in class and get away with it” I got an A on the presentation, but also landed in the principals office.

8. I wrote a paper in college on the the differences between US and Japanese non verbal behaviour so I had an excuse to travel and visit my best friend who was studying in Japan at the time. A perk of being a Sociology major (although worthless in every other respect).

9. I also wrote a paper on the behavior of people waiting in ski lines which meant I had to go skiing 3 straight weeks (have to study ski lines all over the slope since the ones at the bottom might not give an accurate representation of all of them). Maybe the Sociology major wasn’t such a bad choice after all 😉

10. After sitting on the bench for my high school basketball team for three years, I finally worked my way into a starting position my senior year. I gave it up to go on a two week trip with my dad through Asia over winter vacation (instead of attending mandatory practices). It was one of the toughest decision I had to ever make, but I don’t regret it at all. I still love shooting baskets and it one way that I relax when I get stressed.

11. When I landed in Japan, I didn’t know a word of Japanese. I was promptly shipped out to a small town in the Japanese countryside where nobody spoke a word of English. I spent the next six months with a headache trying to understand what everyone was saying and wondering what I had gotten myself into.

12. Due to my terrible lack of Japanese skills, I mangled the language enough times to write a book about mistakes not to make in Japanese including:

  • Telling the mayor of my town that he was a giant cockroach
  • Telling the women that had babies in town that their babies looked “pitiful” for several months
  • Telling all the students at the junior high school where I taught that I liked to take drugs in my spare time
  • Telling a police officer that my car had broken down and there was a dead body in it.

I think you get the drift that me and the language were in conflict a great deal of the time 😉

13. I played competitive badminton in high school. I did so because I had a crush on one of the girls on the team. I never went out with her, but became one of the better badminton players in our school district.

14. I traveled with my wife for 9 months around the world before we got married. I figured if we were still speaking after that time period traveling, then marriage should be a breeze.

15. My policy is to not eat blue food. It’s just not a natural color for food to be.

16. I’m an insomniac. I usually get to bed around 3:00 AM, but I have mastered the art of taking thirty minute power naps when needed.

17. I have travelled to 30 different countries. My goal is to reach 100.

18. I hate it that many countries no longer stamp your passport. Passport stamps are just plain cool. I sometimes ask if they will give me a stamp if I think they aren’t going to give me one.

19. I was living in the Kobe area of Japan when the Great Hanshin earthquake occurred. I went into downtown a few days later to deliver medicine to my wife’s aunt. It looked like a war zone and it’s something I hope I never have to see again.

20. I have never owned a mobile phone nor do I have any desire to own one.

21. I’ve learned to eat virtually any type of food (except if it is blue, of course) although I have also learned to never ask what I’m eating until after I have finished it.

22. When I have have to teach a class or give a speech, I get physically ill before hand. Once it starts, however, I feel fine.

23. I like being alone, especially when I walk. It gives me time to think.

24. I never go for the closest spot in the parking lot. This drives my wife crazy.

25. I hate driving. The one thing I really miss about Japan was that there was no need to drive anywhere since public transportation was so good.

26. People often have a hard time telling when I’m telling the truth and when I’m joking. My humor tends to be very dry.

27. I would never want to be recognizably famous. Being a foreigner in rural Japan gave me a taste and it sucks.

28. I can easily amuse myself and I often laugh out loud when alone. This drives my wife crazy because it is considered very strange in Japan.

29. I was forced to learn to swim when I was young after almost drowning (I vaguely remember this and it might be my earliest memory). I ended up being a lifeguard and taught swimming lessons for all the summers I was in college.

30. My first job out of college was working for Hallmark Cards. It didn’t take me long to know I didn’t want to spend my life writing greeting cards.

31. I drove a stick shift car 3 hours through the mountains when I had a broken leg (it was in a cast, but the broken leg had to use the clutch) to pick up a friend stranded with a broken hand (long story…)

32. I like money not because of the merchandise it can purchase, but because of the freedom to do the things I want it gives (and I think a lot more people would be happy if they learned that).

33. When I ski, I use a monoski (single ski like a snowboard, but regular ski bindings pointing straight ahead like skis)

34. I am one of the few white males I know that has seen both subtle and overt racism directed directly at him. I think everyone should feel that once (but only once) and I think the world would be a lot more tolerant place.

35. One of the most profound points of wisdom came from a six year old girl who looked up at me and said “You’re tall. You must see the world much differently from me.” It made me realize that two people in the exact same room can see something completely different depending on what they focus on and their perspective.

36. I am a man and I can ask for directions when lost.

37. I had a machine gun pointing at me for an hour over bumpy roads in Guatemala (the gun was in between the legs of a soldier who leaned it in my direction and promptly fell asleep). I prayed the whole time that the safety was on and haven’t been more scared in my life…

38. I’ve seen a jaguar in the wild (not an easy feat) and have swum with dolphins in the open ocean. I want to go to Africa to see the wildlife there before I (or they) die.

39. I spent my senior year in high school wearing one black shoe and one white shoe to school for no other reason besides it didn’t make sense to anyone else.

40. I’m totally bummed that I lack artistic talent.

41. I paid for a good portion of college education with baseball cards – probably the first entrepreneurial experience I had which started in jr. high school. I never thought of it that way then. I just had fun doing it.

42. Even though I warn people to be very careful when loaning money to family and friends, I loaned my best friend from college a large sum at one point. It was one of the best decisions I made.

43. I love to people watch.

44. When people ask me the question “what animal would you like to be?” I always answer “a sponge.” I don’t remember exactly why I decided on a sponge, but one time when I was in jr. high school I sat down and decided to come up with an answer to that question and that was the answer I came up with (the reasons to the question “why?” that inevitably comes have changed over the years). I have used it automatically ever since and it always catches people by surprise.

45. I took my date to the Golden Gate Bridge, walked to the center, set up a folding table and chairs and had sparkling cider, cheese and cracker (wasn’t brave enough to try champagne) before our senior prom. Great memory, but we froze our butts off.

46. I have participated in a Rocky Horror Show lip sinc contest before.

47. I sleep on the floor when I travel (beds seem to be too soft most of the time).

48. I work much more efficiently when there is some type of background noise like the radio.

49. I’m more disappointed going to sleep than waking up because I know there isn’t enough time to do all the things that I want to do.

50. My goal is to be writing this blog from exotic locations all over the world within the next 3 years.

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15 Responses to 50 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Me

  1. Mike says:

    Except for the blue mohawk I can relate to many things on your list.

  2. I absolutely adored this list!

  3. SCapitalist says:

    Great post. I like #50. I hope you achieve your goal. I would love to do the same!

  4. Wins says:

    Hey, my first job out of college was with Hallmark Cards too! (But it’s in Hong Kong)

    It’s weird but i really feel like i know you just from reading this blog. Are you from the Bay Area? I just came back in may and am in search for some new friends :)

  5. mapgirl says:

    Hi Jeffrey! I really liked this list. I don’t know when you did the redesign, but I think it looks fantastic!

    The sponge answer is great. I think it must take people by surprise to remember that sponges are living creatures.

    I also ask for a stamp if I don’t think they’ll give me one. But I haven’t gone anywhere in a long time where I would need a passport.

  6. twins15 says:

    I also played basketball in high school… that would have been an incredibly tough decision!

  7. pfadvice says:

    I also played basketball in high school that would have been an incredibly tough decision!

    It was an incredibly difficult one and I don’t think I slept for a week while I tried to decide. The coach later told me that in 25 years he coached, I was the only person to ever quit – great coach. Still don’t regret it though. It’s where I learned my love of travel.

  8. Jeremy says:

    Haha, I just had to laugh at this one:

    24. I never go for the closest spot in the parking lot. This drives my wife crazy.

    I do the same thing and it drives my wife insane! But really, what reason is there to try to get a close spot? You end up spending all of your time sitting in a jam of cars waiting to get a close spot when you could have easily parked about 50 feet away and walked into the store already.

    Then when you want to leave, you are out of the way of most of the people who are all trying to get spots, so exiting is a breeze.

    Not to mention, we can all use a little extra exercise!

  9. vsjhoc says:

    Jeffrey – Thanks for sharing your personal info in the on-line world where many people hide and relish their anonymity.

    You’ve had an interesting life. It’s always refreshing to meet people who took the paths less taken.

  10. >>>35. One of the most profound points of wisdom came from a six year old girl who looked up at me and said “You’re tall. You must see the world much differently from me.

  11. This was quite enjoyable! What a great way to learn more about each other in the blogosphere! It also appears you were quiet a clever chap throughout school! I was more one of those straight and narrow types (even to this day) who only on occasion strays beyond the lines. I should learn a thing or two from this list! :)

  12. Dawn says:

    LOL on the blue food and the magled language.

    You didn’t happen to have a dog in the backseat with a neck cone on as well did you?

    I’m impressed – 30 countries!

    See, it’s comments about baseball cards and college education that make news and everyone thinks they can do it… way to go!

  13. Kim says:

    HAHAHA! This was a great list!

    And I made the same “kawaisou” mistake ^^;;

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