Wednesday, April 19, 2006

100 Things about Me

Lists are on the brain lately. Here are 100 completely random things about me. Enjoy. Or not.

One Hundred Things about Me

1. My family and old family friends call me “Thomas.” I didn’t start going by “Tom” until I started grade school.

2. My first nickname was “Heimer.”

3. My mom had a brother and a sister whom I knew pretty well.

4. My mom’s other sister is mentally retarded and lives in a group home in Wisconsin. Her name is Jean Marie and she can’t speak.

5. I used to be 6”3 ½ but now I’m only 6’2” ½.

6. I was accused of being skinny until I was out of college. Then I grew overweight sometime in my early thirties. I had to have been a perfect weight somewhere in the middle, but I didn’t keep track and didn’t appreciate it at the time.

7. I love all animals, but have a very strong bond with cats for some reason.

8. I’ve had glasses since the third grade. I stopped wearing them in fifth grade, and didn’t start wearing them regularly again until I was in college. Now I can’t really function without them.

9. I’d tell you where I was born, but I’m afraid someone might use the information to steal my identity.

10. I lived in Minnesota for eight years.

11. I lived in France for only one year, but I still speak French.

12. I lived in Russia for four months. I don’t speak Russian very well.

13. I speak Norwegian fairly well.

14. I am currently studying Chinese.

15. I’ve never officially studied Spanish, but I can usually figure it out. Our answering machine operating instructions came only in Spanish, but I was able to figure them out.

16. My first and only dog was a basset hound named Amos.

17. I’ve owned seventeen cats over the years. Never more than four at a time, and that was only because my cat Annie had three kittens.

18. I have two brothers and a sister. My oldest brother became mentally ill when I was only eight.

19. I like Jerry Seinfeld and Rachael Ray. I don’t like Ray Romano or Emiril Legasse.

20. I am not legally married.

21. I thought I wanted to have children, but I feel like I waited too long and now it would be too expensive to send them to college.

22. There is almost no food I don’t like.

23. I get annoyed with picky eaters.

24. I get annoyed by a lot of things, which is one of the reasons I started a blog called Five Things I Hate.

25. My lower back goes out sometimes.

26. I enjoy being fit, but going to the gym is really boring to me.

27. I used to like to travel, but now I find it stressful.

28. The person in my family I had the most in common with died in Iraq.

29. I am ashamed of our country right now.

30. I was very religious for a few years as a child when my parents made me go to Sunday school. I grew up as a Lutheran.

31. When the Lutherans began to annoy me, I fell away from the church. I spent a number of years looking for a religion that really spoke to me.

32. I decided I was a Quaker at heart over ten years ago, but have never officially joined a Meeting because I don’t want to commit.

33. I like talking to people about their religious beliefs.

34. I don’t understand fanaticism about professional sports.

35. I’m very picky about the kind of people I like. But once I decide I like someone, it’s very rare for me to change my mind.

36. I don’t know many of my dad’s relatives very well, except for a few of my cousins and one aunt. The ones that I do know well, I really like.

37. I take after my parents in both positive and negative ways.

38. People tend to think I’m smarter than I am. It makes me uncomfortable. Some people think I’m borderline retarded. Sometimes they’re right.

39. I think my brain functions unlike anyone else’s, which makes it difficult for people to understand me.

40. I’m an introvert on the Meyers-Briggs scale.

41. I express myself better in writing than in speaking.

42. My mother-in-law hates me.

43. I’ve enjoyed watching cooking shows since I was a young child.

44. I barely watched TV at all during high school and college. Now I watch too much.

45. I play the piano pretty well, but regret not working harder at it as a child.

46. My favorite color is navy blue.

47. I like the Pacific better than the Atlantic. I like the West coast more than the East coast.

48. If I could live anywhere in the world I would choose Hawaii. Or maybe France.

49. I want another cat really bad, but I don’t want the responsibility of a pet right now.

50. I love Thanksgiving and Christmas.

51. I learned to knit when I was in college, but I thought it was really boring.

52. I’ve never understood why some people can’t read maps. I’ve always just pretended I was small enough to walk on the map I was looking at, and then it all makes sense.

53. My failure to understand why some people can't read maps is one reason why I would not be a good teacher.

54. I hate the Seinfeld episode where they get lost in the parking garage. I love the one where George and Elaine trade places, and the backwards episode.

55. I fell in love with musical theater when my parents took me to see “The Sound of Music” when I was seven. When we got home from the show, I listened to the album repeatedly and memorized the names of all the kids.

56. I’ve never liked the musical “Guys & Dolls” because this guy in my high school who used to be really mean to me sang “Luck be a Lady” in a school revue.

57. My high school was really, really homophobic.

58. I was really mean as a kid, sometimes.

59. Some close friends of our family died when their house burned down when I was eleven. I’ve been scared of fires ever since. Occasionally, during stressful periods of my life, I wake up in the middle of the night and think the house is burning down.

60. One time when I was twenty-five, there was a real fire in my apartment building in the middle of the night when I was sleeping. When I woke up to the smell of smoke and the sound of the alarms, I was so disoriented that I panicked and busted a living room window with my bare hands. Then I had to go to the emergency room. I still have small scars on my hands & wrists.

61. I once dated a guy who grew up on the Isle of Man. I called him my Manx, tailless boyfriend. He thought I was annoying.

62. I almost never forward mass emails, but I don’t mind getting them.

63. One of my best friends from high school became a Mormon and doesn’t really talk to me much any more.

64. I’ve never been arrested.

65. I think cheap Mexican food is best in California. All my Californian friends who have lived anywhere else agree with me on this.

66. I wish smoking weren’t unhealthy.

67. I’ve always thought life should be like a musical. At crucial moments, people should spontaneously burst into song with background music and everything.

68. I’m not really claustrophobic, but I’m terrified of escalators.

69. I really liked college.

70. I liked high school too, but less than college.

71. I wish I had thought harder about career choices when I was younger.

72. My favorite female prototypes from TV are Mary Tyler Moore and Samantha Stevens. I can’t think of any favorite male prototypes.

73. 2005 was the worst year of my life, seconded only by seventh grade.

74. I have never lost my sweet tooth.

75. I had my tonsils out when I was seven. I always wonder if I’m supposed to list that on medical questionnaires when they ask if you’ve ever had surgery. I usually do, but then feel stupid about it.

76. I try never to lie, partly because I think it’s wrong, and partly because I’m really bad at it.

77. I wholly subscribe to Miss Manners’ theories on modern etiquette.

78. I once had a professional job where I worked some days and some nights. I really liked that kind of schedule.

79. I once worked as a cocktail waiter. I liked that too because it was easy, paid fairly well, and allowed me to have my days free which was nice in the summer. And I never had to pay for alcohol.

80. Now when I drink I mainly do it at home because I prefer to make my own cocktails. And, I can’t stand paying $8.00 for something I can make for about twenty-five cents.

81. I like it when people look in our refrigerator without asking, just to see what we have.

82. I want to move somewhere once and for all, and then stay there.

83. I have about four people I could conceivably call a “best friend.” It would be nice if there were only one and then we could just be best friends, but then what would I say to the other three? Plus, all my “best friends” have people of their own vying for the title as well.

84. I believe we never really leave grade school. See above.

85. I’m not incredibly picky about restaurant service, but I do want my drink served before my meal. I have a policy of not ordering my food before I have my drink in hand, but sometimes I forget and often live to regret it.

86. I like to say “yes” whenever possible. I don’t like “no” people. But I also don’t like it when people say “yes” when they have no intention or ability to follow through.

87. I get mad but rarely hold a grudge.

88. I spend a lot of time regretting things from the past. I keep meaning to stop that.

89. Some people tell me I’m a nice guy, but I don’t always believe they really mean it. How could they, when I feel so mean inside sometimes?

90. I work better independently than as part of a team.

91. I’ve written about twenty pop songs in my life, most of which I’m not satisfied with.

92. I love going to the movies. I would go twice a week the rest of my life if I could manage it.

93. I want to live somewhere very rural, but am afraid I would not be accepted anywhere but in a large city.

94. George gave me tap dancing lessons as a gift once. It was one of my favorite gifts ever.

95. Not many people understand me, but the few who do really like me.

96. If I woke up as a female one morning, I would have no idea what to wear.

97. I used to work with this woman who was really giddy and hyper. I adored her, but everyone else thought she was annoying.

98. I think Cate Blanchett should have won the Best Actress Oscar for “Elizabeth.”

99. I once bleached my hair stark white and wore it that way for about six months. I really liked it, but no one else did.

100. My next list will be my top 100 favorite foods.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Coaster Punchman: The Internet's Hidden Horror

In this morning's New York Times, I read the following words:

"Cyberstalking is the hidden horror of the Internet."

I'm speechless.

Well, almost.

Back when I was a kid (like in 1996) "cyberstalking" just meant looking up shit about people. Plugging someone's name into Yahoo! or Google or something. I was a great cyberstalker. I once cyberstalked myself, and located a copy of a memo I had written to the tech support department of UCLA's law school. (They had posted it on their intranet and somehow one of the search engines found its way there.) An example of a great find!

In addition to all the free shit on the Internet, I work for a major online information provider, which gives me even wider access to all sorts of personal shit about people. It's great!

That's what I thought cyberstalking was all about. Plugging someone's name into the Internet. Seeing what you can find.

Apparently, the folks at would beg to differ. According to these folks,
cyberstalking now involves "relentlessly pursuing his/her victim online" and is "likely to include some form of offline attack as well." According to its executive director, is made up of "a network of 9,000 volunteers who patrol the Web and assist victims of cyberstalking, child pornography and other online ills."

Well, isn't that just great.

I may be a sick fuck, but I'm certainly no child molester. is to cyberstalking what the religious right is to Christianity. These people took a lovely, perfectly harmless word and attached all sorts of ugly meanings to it.

This saddens me. Now I have to change my Blogspot profile. From this day forward, Coaster Punchman can no longer be a cyberstalker. From now on, I will be known as a cyberdetective.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

I take my cues from pop culture

I've decided it's really best to make all important religious, philosophical and general life decisions by what you see in the movies, on TV, and by what you read in books of fiction.

I used to be ashamed to admit it, but I've lived most of my life like that already. The only difference is now I'm no longer embarrassed. Why be embarrassed? Life's too short. If it works, stick with it.

Just a few examples:

  • Emma Thompson played a depressed character in the movie Carrington. She spent at least half of the film getting upset by something her boyfriend said, and then rolling over in bed and just staring, depressed, into space. I was depressed at the time I saw this movie, and decided at the time that I was going to follow her model of depressed behavior. Roll over in bed and stare into space. The only problem is, her character shot herself at the end of the film. I'm not planning on imitating that. But I've done a lot of rolling over & staring over the past decade. Sometimes to the exclusion of many other things. But rolling over in bed is fun! I recommend it to those of you who have not tried it.
  • I was obsessed with Shannen Doherty's character Brenda Walsh on 90210. Like me, she moved from Minnesota to California. Like me, she was often both crabby and misunderstood by her friends. So at one point, I decided to emulate Brenda in all ways. Once I even forced a boyfriend to choose between me & Kelly, and then lived to regret it. Yes, I suppose I could have chosen to emulate Brandon, but at the time I felt he was just too much to live up to.
  • My latest decision is that I have decided to take everything I read about Jesus Christ in The DaVinci Code as fact. I could research some of the issues in the book just to make sure there's enough of a foundation there, but that would require too much effort. I really think it's best just to find a story you think sounds nice, and go with that one, come rain or come shine. Millions of Mormons did it with Joseph Smith and the gold plates - why can't I? (DaVinci Code = fun read, by the way.)

Big salad + Easter treats

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Georgio's Pizza

eeling bad for me that we didn't get Lulu's Pizza that fateful day in New Haven (see March archives for details) . . . George tonight became "Georgio" (his word, not mine) and made me a New Haven pizza at home.

He bought pizza crust dough from Cangiano's, the old classic Italian grocer in the neighborhood.

I am fat. But happy.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Five things you hate

Gentle readers,

The world is full of bile. I hold most of it myself, but I get tired sometimes and need some help. I was thinking that it would be nice if the blogosphere had at least one place people could deposit their bile when they need to. That way, it won't always end up in my lap.

So, I started a new blog to hold in the bile of the world. You can send your bile to me in groups of five. Five people, places and/or things that make you want to hurl. You can email them to me at

Then, your list will be posted on

Since I started the bile-blog last week, I have had postings by miscellaneous bloggers. It's time to get the word out.

Send me your bile. Then have your friends send me their bile. Then visit 5 Things I Hate regularly and see if you can guess which list belongs to whom.

It's fun! The whole family can play!

note: If something on your list is openly racist, I will edit it. One random blogger wanted me to list that he hated N**gers. Um, no.

But you may note that a lot of people hate religion. I'm letting those postings pass, because there's no First Amendment in Coaster Punchman's World or any of its subsidiaries. People get to be mad about religion if they want. Those of us who are religious can just pray for their depraved souls, and then everything will work out fine.

Thanks for playing!

Just a note to remind you....

Don't forget about our old friend, the boring blogger. She really is starting to sound like she needs help. I wonder if she has a job?

Sunday, April 09, 2006

How sick am I, anyway?

I'm not as sick in the head as I thought I might be. But there's always room for improvement!

I'll have to read more about my "moderate" case of histrionic disorder. I wonder if it affects my ability to accept my enchiladas being thrown out?

I also didn't realize I had OCD. I think it might only apply to when "Not Without My Daughter" or a Meredith Baxter CMTVM (cheesy made-for-tv movie) appears on Lifetime, and I am unable to look away. That, and junk food.

(Five minutes later...) OK, STOP THE PRESSES! I just read about my "moderate" case of histrionic disorder, and they tell me I sometimes dress provocatively to seek attention! I have never done that! I am always tastefully and immaculately dressed, and appropriately for the occasion at hand, I might add!

I demand a recount!

(Unless maybe they're referring to that one time George and I were cited for "improper attire" at Jones Beach....)

Paranoid Disorder:Low
Schizoid Disorder:Low
Schizotypal Disorder:Moderate
Antisocial Disorder:Low
Borderline Disorder:Low
Histrionic Disorder:Moderate
Narcissistic Disorder:Low
Avoidant Disorder:Low
Dependent Disorder:Low
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder:High

-- Personality Disorder Test - Take It! --
-- Personality Disorders --

Random Blog of the Week: One-Legged Old Fat Man

One day in 1990, Mindy June, KC and I were all home sick from work on the same day. I had thrown a dinner party a few nights prior, and one of the guests had an infectious streptococcus which he or she gave to all the other dinner guests. Bon appetit!

Anyway, since we were all sick, we decided to hang out together, watch movies and eat comfort food. Mindy's choice for a video rental was, inexplicably, a really stupid movie which she described as being "about a peg-legged violinist starring Kristi MacNichol."

It turns out that Kristi's character was not, in fact, a peg-legged violinist, but rather a flutist with a club foot. But I digress.

This stupid movie became part of our standard film repertoire. And, because we are generally not very nice people, we often find ourselves laughing about poor Kristi and her peg-leg. Imagine my delight, then, when I recently ran across this blog entitled "One-Legged Old Fat Man."

Our new friend, the one-legged old fat man, apparently decided that there needed to be a blog devoted to reporting the weather in northern Florida. After all, as he so succinctly states in his profile, "weather is something everyone talks about, but nobody does anything about."

I'm with you, one-legged old fat man. I promise, from this day forward, that I will turn only to you whenever I encounter a need involving the weather in north Florida. Thank you for tending to this for us.

Diary of Not a Rice Person: Progress in Cantonese

I have completed five classes so far. I'm going to have to take pictures of the school for you so that you can see what I'm talking about. On Thursday, the school decided to let two additional students enroll in my class, crowding our broom-closet sized classroom to six students and a teacher.

I walked in with a hot cup of coffee, which I had so proudly ordered, in Chinese, from the bakery next door. (If it had been a Chinese bakery, the counter clerk might have been impressed.) Anyway, to put down my bag, take off my coat, sit down and avoid scalding my classmates with hot coffee took about 6 minutes of detailed orchestration in which I had to be aided by two other students.

I thought about going out to the office to complain to Johnny, but I've decided to stop being a bitch for about five minutes, lest I develop a reputation. I sat down and just dealt with it.

Luckily, the two new students decided, halfway through the class, that we were too far ahead for them to catch up with us, so they left. Maybe this was my reward for not acting like a bitch.

We have finally moved beyond the bizarre phrases I discussed a few entries back, and have actually started to learn something useful. (Of course, I still committed most of the bizarre phrases to memory anyway. You never know when you might need to request three small bowls of tripe.)

I now regularly use my Cantonese in our neighborhood, where one can often see many Asians out walking around. I'm enjoying a fair amount of success. The other day I encountered a Cantonese family, and we enjoyed the following exchange:

Me: You all to be not to be China Person yes?

Them: To be! (Unintelligible)

Me: I not to be China Person! I to be America Person!

Them: (Unintelligible, and giggling)

Me: Good bye!

Them: (Giggling)

I am SO going to kick ass in China when we visit!

Even so, I have no idea how people deal with this language. It seems like there are only about twenty different words total, and they all mean different things depending on how you say them. For example, the word for Sir, even said with the exact same tone or inflection, can mean any of the following (and this is directly, verbatim, from my textbook):

To give birth to a baby child

To suffer from or to cause some sort of disease such as cancer or boils



Unfamiliar with

No wonder my mother-in-law is such an unhappy person!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Been on a laptop vaca

Gentle readers,
Sorry for the lack of updates after my recent spate of blog spasmodes. Work's been busy, and last weekend I was on a laptop-vacation (a whole weekend without my laptop!)

In all fairness, I have recently updated our American Idolatry site, so check that out if you're a fan, or if you just like my general snarkiness. And let's face it, if you're still reading me by this point, you're a fan of the snark. I don't have much else to offer the world, unfortunately.

In other news, I have received a small avalanche of private email acknowledging that I was the wronged party in the War of Enchiladas. You are kind and diplomatic folk, wisely endeavoring to stay out of this little hornet's nest between George and me. Not to worry, I will honor your presumed request to remain anonymous. At least until the next coup de grace is needed . . .