Tag: memes

10 Books That Had a Major Impact on Me

I haven’t done a meme in a while, so here are the 10 books that had a major impact on me. They are listed in no particular order.

  1. I. Asimov by Isaac Asimov
  2. In Memory Yet Green by Isaac Asimov
  3. In Joy Still Felt by Isaac Asimov
  4. Our Oriental Heritage (book 1 of The Story of Civilization) by Will Durant
  5. On Writing by Stephen King
  6. It by Stephen King
  7. Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
  8. A Man on the Moon by Andrew Chaikin
  9. Beyond Apollo by Barry N. Malzberg
  10. Foundation by Isaac Asimov


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Ten things I’ve done that you probably haven’t

Riffing off John Scalzi‘s and Mary Robinette Kowal‘s posts of a similar vain, here are ten things I’ve done that you probably haven’t:

  1. Piloted an airplane myself with no one else onboard
  2. Worked for the same company for more than 16 years
  3. Driven past Harlan Ellison’s house dozens of times before I ever realized it was his house
  4. Had Ray Bradbury wish me a Merry Christmas at Dangerous Visions in Sherman Oaks
  5. Had a letter to the editor published in the national edition of the New York Times
  6. Lived in the same neighborhood as Mike Farrell (B.J Honeycutt from M*A*S*H)
  7. Interviewed twice for television news, once for a local FOX station in L.A., and once for FOX News Channel
  8. Followed Arnold Schwarzenegger’s airplane in for a landing at Van Nuys airport
  9. Snorkeled with giant sea turtles off the northern shore of K’auai
  10. Had dinner with Robert J. Sawyer, David B. Coe and a bunch of other writers at the very first convention I ever attended

Happy new year!

Meme for a Friday morning: 44 odd things

(Posted via LiveJournal)

44 ODD Things about you! If you opened this, FILL IT OUT! Learn 44 things about your friends, and let them learn 44 things about you! Tag the person that sent it plus others.

  1. Do you like blue cheese? I’m indifferent.
  2. Have you ever been drunk? Yes
  3. Do you own a gun? No
  4. What flavor of Kool Aid was your favorite? I didn’t drink the Kool-Aid (sorry, couldn’t resist).
  5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments? No
  6. What do you think of hot dogs? The ones you get in Central Park are the best
  7. Favorite Christmas movie? White Christmas
  8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? Orange juice
  9. Can you do push ups? Yes.  Currently 60 when I do upper body workouts
  10. What’s your favorite piece of jewelry? My wedding ring, which is also my only piece of jewelry
  11. Favorite hobby? Reading (I would have said writing, but since I get paid to do this now, I consider it more an avocation and less a hobby)
  12. Do you have A.D.D.? No
  13. What’s your favorite shoe? The right one
  14. Middle name? Todd
  15. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment? (1) 12 minutes to lunch; (2) long list of things to do this weekend; (3) come on, come up with  a third one already.
  16. Name 3 drinks you regularly drink? Water, Caffeine-free Coke, Chocolate Milk
  17. Current worry? Will I get all of this work done in time?
  18. Current hate right now? Nothing comes to mind
  19. What do you wish for in the coming year?  A healthy baby boy!
  20. How did you bring in the New Year? Hung out with friends
  21. Where would you like to go? To meetings of the Futurians in the late 1930s.
  22. Three people who will complete this? Eric, Kelly, Ryane
  23. Do you own slippers? Yes
  24. What color shirt are you wearing right now? Blue
  25. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets? Don’t know if I’ve ever slept on them
  26. Can you whistle? Yes
  27. Favorite color? Some shade of green
  28. Would you be a pirate? No
  29. What songs do you sing in the shower? Many, although more often than not, "You Gotta Start off Each Day with a Song", Jimmy Durante style.
  30. Favorite girl’s Name? No particular favorite
  31. Favorite boy’s name? Jamie
  32. What’s in your pocket right now? Left pocket, my "wallet".  Right pocket, my iPhone
  33. Last thing that made you laugh? Something I read
  34. Best bed sheets as a child? I don’t know what this means.
  35. Worst injury you’ve ever had as a child?  Stitches in my head from getting a rock tossed at me
  36. What are your plans for the future? (1) to raise a happy, healthy family; (2) to become a well-known science fiction writer; (3) to retire someday so that I can write full time.
  37. Do you walk around the house naked? No
  38. Who is your loudest friend? Andy
  39. How many dogs do you have? None
  40. Does someone have a crush on you?  My wife might
  41. What is your favorite book?  Fiction: Forward the Foundation; Non-fiction: In Memory Yet Green/In Joy Still Felt.  Really, there are too many to choose from.  The best I can do is point you here.
  42. What is your favorite candy? Necco Wafers
  43. Favorite Sports Team? New York Yankees
  44. What song do you want played at your funeral? "I Love To Laugh" (Marry Poppins edition)

BBC Book List Meme

I’ve been tagged again, this time by rmstraus  via Facebook.  So:

Apparently the BBC reckons most people will have only read 6 of the 100 books here.

1) Look at the list and put an x after those you have read.
2) Add a + to the ones you LOVE.
3) Star * those you plan on reading.
4) Tally your total at the bottom.

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien X
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling X
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee X
6 The Bible X
7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell X
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare X
15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien X
17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger X
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger X

20 Middlemarch – George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell [*]
22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald X
23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams X
26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck X
29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll X

30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
34 Emma – Jane Austen
35 Persuasion – Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis X
37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne X
41 Animal Farm – George Orwell X
42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown X

43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood X
49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding X

50 Atonement – Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel
52 Dune – Frank Herbert X
53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon X
57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens  X
58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley X
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon X

60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck X
62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold X
65 Count of Monte Cristo – Aleandre Dumas X
66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville [ * ]
71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
72 Dracula – Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson [ * ]
75 Ulysses – James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath X
77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal – Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession – AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens X
82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White X
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom X
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle X

90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Eupery X
93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
94 Watership Down – Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers – Aleandre Dumas X
98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare X

99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

Total Read: 35
Total Read and LOVED: 13
Plan on reading: 3

The bucket list

I got tagged, so here it is:

The Bucket List. Place an X by all the things you’ve done and remove the X from the ones you have not, then tag your friends (including me).

(To do this [in Facebook], go to “notes” under tabs on your profile page, paste these instructions in the body of the note, do the list and tag 25 people (in the right hand corner of the app) then click publish.) If you don’t see the Tag people in the upper right hand corner you are in the wrong place.)

After the list is a set of footnotes briefly describing some of the more interesting ones.  Footnotes are coded to the number next to the item in the list.

Things you have done during your lifetime:

(X) Gone on a blind date
(X) Donated Blood
(X) Skipped school
(X) Watched someone die – does an animal count?
(X) Been to Canada (1)
(X) Been to Mexico (2)
(X) Been to Florida (3)
(X) Been to Hawaii (4)
(X) Been on a plane
(X) Been on a helicopter
(X) Flown a plane (5)
(X) Been lost
(X) Gone to Washington, DC
( ) Hugged a homeless person
(X) Swam in the ocean
( ) Swam with Stingrays
(X) Been sailing in the ocean
( ) Cried yourself to sleep
(X) Played cops and robbers
( ) Recently colored with crayons
( ) Ran a marathon
(X) Sang Karaoke
( ) Volunteered at a soup kitchen
(X) Paid for a meal with coins only (6)
( ) Been to the top of the St. Louis Arch
( ) Seen the Northern Lights
( ) Been Parasailing
(X) Been on TV (7)
(X) Done something you told yourself you wouldn’t
(X) Made prank phone calls (8)
( ) Been down Bourbon Street in New Orleans
(X) Laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose
(X) Fed an elephant (9)
(X) Caught a snowflake on your tongue
(X) Fired a gun (10)
(X) Danced in the rain
(X) Been to the Opera
(X) Written a letter to Santa Claus
( ) Serenaded someone
(X) Seen a U.S.President in person (11)
(X) Been kissed under the mistletoe
( ) Watched the sunrise with someone
( ) Driven a race car
(X) Been to a National Museum
(X) Been to a Wax Museum
(X) Eaten caviar
(X) Blown bubbles
(X) Gone ice-skating
(X) Gone to the movies
( ) Been deep sea fishing
( ) Driven across the United States
( ) Been in a hot air balloon
( ) Been sky diving
( ) Gone snowmobiling
( ) Lived in more than one country
(X) Lay down outside at night and admired the stars while listening to the crickets
(X) Seen a falling star and made a wish
( ) Enjoyed the beauty of Old Faithful Geyser
(X) Seen the Grand Canyon
(x) Seen the Statue of Liberty
( ) Gone to the top of Seattle Space Needle
(X) Been on a cruise (12)
(X) Traveled by train (13)
( ) Traveled by motorcycle
(X) Been horse back riding
(X) Ridden on a San Francisco cable car (14)
(X) Been to Disneyland OR Disney World
(X) Been in a rain forest (15)
(X) Seen whales in the ocean
( ) Been to Niagara Falls
(X) Ridden on an elephant (16)
( ) Swam with dolphins
(X) Been to the Olympics (17)
( ) Walked on the Great Wall of China
( ) Saw and heard a glacier calf
( ) Been spinnaker flying
( ) Been water-skiing
( ) Been snow-skiing
(X) Been to Westminster Abbey (18)
( ) Been to the Louvre
(X) Swam in the Mediterranean (19)
(X) Been to a Major League Baseball game (20)
(X) Been to a National Football League game
( ) Swam with sharks
( ) Been White Water Rafting
(X) Written a book or screen play (short stories) (21)


  1. To Montreal when I was about 15.
  2. Ensenada, as part of a cruise.
  3. Many times.
  4. Twice, but always to Kuai’i.
  5. Got my private pilot license on April 3, 2000.
  6. Often in college.
  7. Twice, news interviews for work.
  8. Last time I remember doing this was at AJ’s house in high school.
  9. At the Bronx zoo.
  10. A BB gun
  11. Barack Obama came to one of our softball games when our team played Illinois.  (We play in the Senate softball league).  Of course, it was before he was President…
  12. Once in the Mediterranean and once to Central and South America.
  13. All the time, but the longest trip was from Los Angeles to Seattle.
  14. With my sister.
  15. In Costa Rica.
  16. At the Bronx zoo
  17. The 1984 summer games in L.A.  I was at a diving event.
  18. Whoa!
  19. While in Greece.
  20. Although I’m a Yankees fan, I had season tickets to the Baltimore Orioles for 5 years.
  21. I sold my first professional short story to Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show and it appeared in the July 2007 issue.

25 things about me

[Via LiveJournal so I can kill two birds with one stone]

kruppenheimer  (a.k.a Linky Lisa) and Monica tagged me and since everyone’s doin’ it, here’s mine.  Facebooker’s, do one yourself, tag me and 24 other people.

  1. I am an FAA-licensed pilot.
  2. I am a professional science fiction writer (1 pro credit; associate member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America) 
  3. I have a degree in political science, but have never worked in that field.
  4. I have worked for the same company for over 14 years–ever since graduating from college.
  5. Although I was born in 1972, I consider myself a "depression baby".
  6. I cried in front of Newton’s grave in Westminster Abbey.
  7. I’m a huge Bing Crosby fan; I know more than 200 of his songs by heart; I love his movies.
  8. My favorite actress is Grace Kelly.
  9. I’ve been interviewed on television news twice:  once on the local FOX network in Los Angeles; and again on the FOX News Network a while later.  I’ve seen the first interview, but never the second.
  10. I’ve often daydreamed of doing a walk-in audition for a movie or TV show.
  11. I always vote the straight Democratic ticket, even though rationally that’s sometime silly.
  12. I know varying amounts of Spanish, Hebrew, Yiddish, Italian, Latin and Greek.
  13. I am in no way superstitious.
  14. I was once superstitious about reading the safety information card on airplanes.  I thought if I read the card, I’d be perfectly safe.  I finally stopped reading the card.  So far, so good.
  15. I never drank while in college.
  16. Everyone I know always seems more grown up, savvy and mature than I do.
  17. I’ve read Isaac Asimov’s 3-volume autobiography 14 times.
  18. I can, on rare occasion, be an intellectual snob.
  19. At work, my nickname is "Sam", after Sam Seaborn, a character from The West Wing.
  20. I am easily annoyed by people who don’t follow the rules of the road.
  21. I used to be a really anxiousperson, but have since learned to control it.
  22. I am constantly thankful for whatever chance in the universe has seen fit to provide me with so many good friends.
  23. I never learned to type touch.  I taught myself to do it and can type close to 90 words per minute, but if you watch me closely, youll see that I don’t do it quite right.
  24. I never cared about learning how to spell.  Not ever.  I still don’t.
  25. Although I’m going to be a Dad soon, I can still remember clearly back to when I was about 3 years old; and I still think of myself as a kid.  It makes this whole parenthood thing seem that much more remarkable to me

Page 56 meme

Via ianrandalstrock (and since I happen to have a book nearby):

* Grab the nearest book.
* Open the book to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
* Don’t dig for your favorite book, the cool book, or the intellectual one: pick the CLOSEST.

Here’s mine:

Quinn could hold his own in that department.

My three uniques

Via scottedelman:

* Post 3 things you’ve done that you believe nobody else on your Friends list has done.
* If anybody responds with “I’ve done that,” add another thing.

My three things:

1. Got my private pilot license. I got my license back on April 3, 2000. I passed my written, oral and practical tests all on the first attempt.

2. Had lunch with a Mercury astronaut.. In the summer of 2001, while visiting the Kennedy Space Center for the first time, I had lunch with Scott Carpenter.

3. Have read Isaac Asimov’s autobiographies (In Memory Yet Green, In Joy Still Felt, and I. Asimov) every April for the last 14 or 15 years.

How about you?

If you were stuck on a desert island…

…for twenty years and all you had for entertainment were the complete works of ten authors, who would those authors be. (I came across this interesting question on Phil Farmer’s website.)

My answers, in alphabetical order:

  1. Isaac Asimov
  2. Alfred Bester
  3. Ray Bradbury
  4. Arthur C. Clarke
  5. Will Durant
  6. Harlan Ellison
  7. Barry N. Malzberg
  8. Carl Sagan
  9. John Steinbeck
  10. Mark Twain

Fortunately, for me, this list would prove to be on the order of 800-900 books, ranging the gamut from literature, science fiction, history, science, etc.

What would your list be?

61 things girls don’t know

I found this on my little cousin’s MySpace page and I thought it was really funny because it appears to be written from the point of view of someone who is a relatively young teenager. And besides, as a guy I felt that some of these 61 things needed to be either confirmed or debunked based on my own experience.

61 things girls don’t know