Thursday, May 22, 2008

Thursday thirteen: Happy Birthday Michael!

After I did a Thursday Thirteen for Madalyn's birthday...I thought it would be fun to do one for my hubby. But...since they take so long...wouldn't it just be better if he did it himself? And I could give myself a small vacation from blogging. So...I gave him an write a list of 13 things about himself...and he had over a month to complete it. And then, he actually did it! He turned his assignment into me on Tuesday. He wrote it as if I wrote it. Referring to himself in the third person. And I thought I might tweak it. You know, add editorial comments, insert my strange sense of humor and observation into it. But, nahhh. I'll let you all enjoy his list in all of its logical, rational, geeky glory:

1. He’s a Geek Well, he’s not a total geek (some of other numbers on this list contradict a “total geek”), but a lot of the elements are there. Being an engineer, he’s well versed in math and science. He’s good with computers and most electronics. He likes a lot of the ‘geek movies’ (Monty Python, Brazil, Mel Brooks movies, Lord of the Rings trilogy, Pi, Blade Runner, and other Sci-Fi movies) and ‘geek TV shows’ (The Simpsons, South Park, Mythbusters, Doctor Who…), ‘geek music’ (see #2), and will periodically quote any of the aforementioned media. The start-up sound for his PC at work is the sound of the Tardis taking off (you may be a geek if you recognize this sound).

2. Music No, Michael does not play any instruments… but he does love to listen to music. He owns over 1000 CD’s and has a paid subscription to Napster, which allows him to listen to his choice of over 6 million songs on the PC… in the car… on his MP3 player… while at work… He listens to a wide variety of music, including modern rock, classic rock, classical, new age, (classic) jazz, new age, alt.-country, and some forms of music many people would characterize as simply “noise”. A portion of what he listens to substantiate #1 on the list (Decemberists, Arcade Fire, They Might be Giants, Rush…). Michael, not surprisingly, is also full of useless music trivia knowledge.

3. Beer: July 1st, 2004. This was a happy day in Michael’s life, as this is the date Georgia changed it’s archaic beer laws to permit the sale of “high gravity” beer. Michael loves beer – GOOD beer. He is an admitted ‘beer-geek’. He doesn’t drink for the alcohol, he just loves a great tasting beer. We go to a local bar (smoke-free as per Georgia law) for Trivia contest every week, which Michael really enjoys since they also happen to have one of the largest beer selections in the Southeast (over 140 draft beer varieties and at least as many bottled varieties). At this bar—and at a another bar—he is a member of each bar’s Passport Club, whereupon the bar keeps track of each different variety of beer the patron drinks. At our local bar, Michael has already surpassed the number needed to receive his “personalized 20 oz. dimpled mug” and is on his way to a “personalized goblet” for Tier II.

At Christmas, we each make out a Christmas List to make the gift buying easier. 90% of Michael’s list every year consists of CD titles and specific beer varieties. None of the mass-produced domestic beers for Michael (who will often choose soft drinks over Budweiser, Miller, or anything ‘light’), only microbrews and imports are good enough for this beer geek. Coffee oatmeal stout, India pale ale, imperial pilsner, cask-conditioned unfiltered ale, Belgian tripel ale, and barley wine (yes, this is a beer), are just a handful of the beer varieties that Michael enjoys. Here is a picture of one of his favorite shirts – it is the “Beeriodic Table”. It has the structure of the Periodic Table of the Elements with symbols for each beer style, and is organized by the characteristics of each style. Something a beer lover and a geek (see #1) would love:

4. Going to Concerts: This is separate from #2, because Michael insists that live music is a totally different experience from listening to a CD. We live near Atlanta, which has a large number of music venues from the small bars with stages that hold just a few hundred patrons, to various sized amphitheaters, to the medium and large sized arenas. With all the music varieties that Michael listens to (see #2), it’s easy to find artists playing live in Atlanta. He enjoys the small shows with $10 ticket prices (for bands most people have never heard of) as much as many of the major acts who charge $60+ for the cheap seats. And he enjoys going to concerts as much now as he ever has. With some of the shows he’s gone to, he may be one of the oldest people in the audience – but this doesn’t faze him in the least.

5. Food: Michael loves to eat. Since puberty, he has had the metabolism of a 300 lb+ football player, but the physique of an average person. Dieters hate to see the amount of food he eats at some meals for his size. He seeks quality as much as he does quantity when eating. While he is not a picky eater, he does really prefer the “really good stuff”. For instance, Michael likes potato chips. He doesn’t get excited over plain Lays chips or ‘normal’ flavors like barbecue or sour cream & onion. But he loves his gourmet kettle-cooked chips in flavors like “Spicy Thai,” “Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper,” “Tuscan Three Cheese,” “Island Jerk,” and “Death Valley Chipotle”. And Michael likes hot sauce, but he’s not satisfied with just plain Tabasco sauce. He insists on having at least 5 or 6 hot sauce varieties at home, since apparently some foods are paired well with a cayenne and vinegar based sauce, while others might require a Vidalia Onion-Peach hot sauce. Any kind of chocolate is good right? He’ll eat M&M’s or Hershey’s milk chocolate like most people but not get very excited over it. But if dark chocolate by Scharffenberger or Belgian dark chocolate truffles are nearby, you can’t keep him away.

Ask him the question “Where do you want to go out to eat?” and you’d better be prepared to choose among a list of restaurants in the area with eclectic cuisine selections, most of which he hasn’t even tried yet. His favorite is Five Seasons in Atlanta, which, as a brew-pub, not only serves excellent food, but also brews some of the best beer in the state. Still, he’s not a picky eater… just don’t ever suggest eating at McDonald’s to him.

6. Smart shopper: Michael considers himself a very smart shopper and doesn’t like to pay more than he has to for anything. This reluctance to spend money helps to keep #3 - #5 in check rather nicely. He insists on doing the bulk of the grocery shopping to ensure he gets the most out of the coupons he clips weekly — and most grocery shops entail stops at two grocery stores (practically across the street from each other) to ensure he gets the good sale prices from each store. And some items he will only buy in bulk in Sam’s.

And this shopping acumen isn’t limited to groceries. He feels the need to research any purchase where he thinks he can get a better product for a better price. When we needed a new cordless phone with multiple handsets, for example, I couldn’t just go down to the store and buy one… he had to research reviews on, and others to find the best phone in our price range. We rarely end up with the cheapest product; but between coupons, discounts, or just shopping around he makes sure we usually get the best price for what we buy.

7. Thrill seeker: Michael loves things that are fast, high, scary, etc. He loved going skydiving while in college (though is not allowed to do so now). He loves roller coasters and other thrill rides (the bigger, higher, faster, and more intense the better). Some people insist his brain is “wired backwards”, as skydiving, thrill rides, and fast things in general have always had a calming effect on him. Michael relishes the opportunity to get his daughters involved in his thrill seeking. When Katie was tall enough to ride the biggest coasters at Six Flags, he talked her into riding many of them with him (until she discovered that she doesn’t like “loops”). On our trips to Disney, he was able to convince the girls to ride the “intense version” of Mission Space at EPCOT with him (this is the spacecraft motion-simulator ride that is built as part of a giant centrifuge). And while in Belize on our cruise, he and the girls went zip-lining across the jungle while over 200 feet above the jungle floor.

8. Environmentally conscious: Spending a lot of time outdoors growing up, including many years as a Boy Scout (where he attained the rank of Eagle Scout), has given Michael an appreciation of nature in general. He will recycle or re-use just about anything that can be recycled… even to the point of stopping coworkers before they throw an aluminum can in the trash to remind them there is a recycling bin for that. (and yes, he does recycle all those beer bottles from #3) He usually doesn’t miss the opportunity for conservation of energy, water, or other resources.

9. Offbeat humor: In addition some of the examples in #1, Michael enjoys TV shows where the humor isn’t exactly mainstream. Some of his favorite shows are critically acclaimed, but lack(ed) viewers (Arrested Development, Reaper), while others are (were) just “different” (Newhart, My Name is Earl, The Office). The same goes for movies, where a small sample of his most liked include Harold & Maude, Adaptation (& most other Charlie Kaufman movies), any Christopher Guest mockumentary, Fargo (& most Coen brothers comedies), Thank You for Smoking, and Grosse Pointe Blank. Website favorites include The Onion and Stuff White People Like. His favorite comedian of all time is Bill Hicks. And this offbeat humor extends beyond just watching TV’s and movies. For period of time, one of his hobbies was baiting Nigerian scammers (see this link if you’re unfamiliar with this pastime). Where he works, this humor has confused his coworkers at times. For example: if an employee attends a meeting talking like a pirate when no one else in the meeting has ever heard of Talk Like a Pirate Day it comes across as quite strange. Ditto for Talk like a Physicist Day this past March 14th (that’s 3.14). Yes, Michael actually suggested in an informal meeting on 3/14 that mysterious production problems in his plant were caused by “tiny, vibrating one-dimensional strings."

10. Sports fan: This may seem to contradict #1 on this list, but Michael is a sports fan. Every year, he follows NCAA basketball (especially “March Madness”), NCAA football (especially his alma mater Georgia Tech), Major League baseball – where the Atlanta Braves are his team (win or lose), and various other sports. He also follows World Cup Soccer every 4 years. With few exceptions, he attends at least one Braves game every season. The exception came in 1994 - 95. He and several friends had a baseball road-trip planned in 1994 to see 7 MLB games in 6 days in Chicago (the first game against the Braves), St. Louis, and Cincinnati. Ten days before leaving, baseball went on strike. Over the years, he has attended college and/or pro sporting events for baseball, football, basketball, soccer (indoor & outdoor), hockey (major and minor league), and volleyball.
11. Active: Michael has always found a way to stay physically active over the years. He has had a membership at Bally’s gym since 1994 and still works out a couple of days each week. He plays softball for our church team and his work team… and even tried to play for the local bar team (the one mentioned in #3) He has plans to start playing soccer soon too.

12. Health conscious: Recently, Michael found out that he has inherited his father’s cholesterol problem. Though the level is not terribly high, he does have to watch what he eats more closely. He was already physically active (#11) and ate healthy food most of the time, but now has to bring the healthy diet up a notch. Luckily for him, moderate alcohol consumption and moderate consumption of dark chocolate are GOOD for the heart and health in general. And his favorite brand of potato chips (see #5) is trans-fat free and made with oils that are high in mono-unsaturated fat, so he can eat potato chips that are actually heart-healthy. With no need for weight loss, he can concentrate on foods that are good for the heart. Sometimes this gets difficult when his wife if fond of making desserts like this.

13. Just a big kid: With the sports mentioned in #11, it may seem like Michael is a competitive athlete. This is not at all the case. He just likes to go outside and play. Many times Katie and Madalyn say they’re happy to have a Dad who is “like a 12-year old kid”. Although he is a fast runner for his age—and a kid a heart— Michael sometimes needs reminders that at his age he can get hurt much more easily than he used to… and that healing from injuries also takes much longer now. It's always funny until someone gets hurt. Then it's just hilarious.

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Teri said...

You could substitute my husband in most all of the things Michael likes and is good at...except the music trivia. That's my department. Oh, and I also LOVE Arcade Fire. Happy birthday, Michael! And GO BRAVES!!!! We'll be at two games this weekend!!

The Rock Chick said...

Your husband is a lot like my husband! As soon as I saw The Mythbusters logo, I knew that! My hubby never misses and episode and he sips his favorite beer while watching.

And I agree, CDs, Mp3, etc. are nothing like hearing music live! I don't care how loud you turn it up! :)

Happy TT! (It's my birthday, too!)

Unknown said...

Happy Birthday. what a good sport to play along. Happy T13!

Angie's Spot said...

Happy Birthday to Michael! What a great list! And I love Rush too! Tom Sawyer rocks.

Laura Paxton said...

That is a GREAT idea...getting him to guest-post for his own tribute!! Brilliant!!

Happy Birthday to him, and Happy T-13!

pussreboots said...

Happy birthday to Michael. Happy TT to you.

Firefly Mom said...

Great idea to get your hubby to do your work for ya. I'd love to do the same, but mine would conveniently "forget" immediately after I made a request.

According to #1, I am also a geek as I know *exactly* what the Tardis taking off sounds like. Though "my" Mike would argue that I'm more Freak than Geek.

Skeller said...

happy birthday to Michael :-) And Kat, I hope you enjoyed your day off!

Tiffany said...

A man who loves Arrested Development and Newhart, you my dear, have a keeper! "Best in Show" might be one of my favorite movies. Ever.

Keys to the Magic Travel said...

Thanks all for your comments. You have no idea as to how hard it was to keep the editorial comments to myself :-) - especially as most of his things describing himself are the antithesis to me. Like active and health conscious :-) And the challenges of living with someone with the metabolism and eating habits of a 13 year old boy is frustrating beyond belief.

But...he's absolutely a keeper :-)

Debbie said...

Happy Birthday, Mr. Kat! Oh I mean Michael. You wrote a great piece on yourself and it was fun getting to know you. Today is also my 8 year old daughter's birthday...I should have had her guest blog as well! Hope your day was a good one. Don't I sound like a greeting card?

Heather said...

I, too, love Monty Python and we TOTALLY celebrate Talk Like a Pirate Day in our house. Who wouldn't want to??

Dancing Queen said...

Sending many more wishes for years to come!!

Enjoy celebrating on this long Memorial Day weekend!

The Joye of Teaching said...

It is so neat to read about your hubby. I think most people think they are "geeks". Well, at least all the people that I know. Geeks Rule!

Rhea said...

I loved learning more about Mr. Sunshine and Lemonade himself. Great idea, Kat, to have him write the post! I love it.

I learned he has an extensive music collection, a tremendous palatte for food and beer and a great sense of humor! Thanks for sharing! And, Happy Birthday to Michael!

The Joye of Teaching said...

Kat--I just tagged you for a meme over on my blog. You can go over and see the "rules". It's an easy one. :) Happy Saturday!

Lula! said...

Your husband rocks. He and I can be friends, because I am a beer geek of the highest level and I LOVE LOVE LOVE Harold & Maude. I'll just keep my love of all things UGA to myself. 'Til the big game Thanksgiving weekend. I'm just sayin'.

Enjoyed reading this post. Oh, and Rush rocks, too. Who doesn't love Rush?

Anonymous said...

Okay!! I'm in love with Michael!! This was such an awesome post... I feel like I've known him for years. Happy Birthday Michael!! He needs to read "Love is a Mix Tape" for sure. :) ~Jill

jennifersusan said...

If I wasn't sure before, I am now. Your husband would definately fit in with my husband in so many ways. Of course everyone under our roof is geeky to an extent. We sit around and watch Dr.Who as a family, so how geeky is that? AND..we used to play D&D as a family. I lead such a strange life.
Happy Belated Birthday!

Nissa said...

Are we married to the same Michael? :) Oh wait, yours went to GT, mine to Auburn. Whew. I thought hubby was living a double life! lol

Happy belated birthday to your Michael- sorry I've taken so long to get caught up with your blog! I still heart you!

Unknown said...

Hmmm... I think Perhaps Michael & Mr. B could really like each other....