This week's Blogging Challenge is "Ten Unusual Things About Me".
This is actually going to be kind of tricky, because I feel like a lot of the things I want to list are things that used to be unusual about me. I have this lurking (slightly depressing) feeling that over about the last ten years I've given up a lot of interesting stuff and become very boring. I mean, I'm not the most boring person on Earth -- that at least would be interesting in its own right -- but just sort of middle-of-the-road, trying-to-get-through-the-day boring. But enough feeling sorry for myself; let's do this thing. Ten interesting things about me, Past And Present edition...
1. I have never broken a bone. Well, not any of my own, anyway.
2. I once drove a frozen, severed goat's head wrapped in newspapers from Stephenville, TX to Dallas, TX. It's about a two hour drive, and I spent the entire time in absolute terror of getting pulled over and having to explain.
3. Interesting Thing #1 is even more impressive given the amount of time I have spent in precarious positions high above the ground. I don't do as much climbing now (in my mid-forties) as I used to do, but I was a climber and my boys are too.
4. Interesting Thing #1 is also impressive given that I once fell off a cliff. If you're wondering if this was a direct result of Interesting Thing #3, well... the answer is yes. I was doing a bit of ill-advised climbing and my hands slipped off. Fortunately, there was water below me. Even more fortunately, it was deep enough.
5. I have also done a lot of spelunking (caving), and even taken the boys on a bit of it. I'm not sure exactly how unusual this is, but I think it's uncommon enough as a hobby to count; it certainly makes it hard to watch most Hollywood movies involving things-that-are-supposed-to-be-caves-but-clearly-aren't-because-the-people-building-the-sets-didn't-do-their-research. (There's probably a German word for that, which wouldn't require all those hyphens.) But my introduction to caving (and the approach I still use today) is pretty Old School, which is to say that it doesn't involve a lot of safety equipment. You have to have at least three people in a group to enter the cave, and everybody has to have multiple light sources, but that's about it. The lack of helmets tends to freak out spelunkers with a more modern approach.
6. I have a knack for semi-accidentally scaring the heck out of people, or at least making them very nervous. I was the guy the campus cops knew by name back in college. (Like, "We had a report of a suspicious person outside the girls' dorm and... oh, it's you." Me: "I was just waiting for my girlfriend!" Officer: "We know.") I'd say I don't give off that sort of vibe as much anymore, but... I haven't really lost my touch.
7. I used to do a lot of tabletop roleplaying, and recently I've gotten back into it. I am now running a Fifth Edition Dungeons and Dragons campaign for the boys and several of their friends. It's going really well.
8. In my family, we build things out of cardboard. My father (the engineer) is exceptionally good at it -- he did Firstborn's Halloween costume a couple of years ago -- but I've managed a bit myself. (I was going to add a link to a cardboard castle that I made to reduce a glowing ball to night-light levels of light, but after thirty minutes of looking I cannot find that post...)
9. I used to do a fair amount of martial arts, along with researching (and collecting) edged weapons: swords mostly, but also spears, polearms, and suchlike. I'm so far out of training now that going back to martial arts would be essentially starting from scratch, but it still informs the way I write fight scenes. And at one point, somebody on a Wheel Of Time fan-fiction/roleplaying site asked me for advice about finding a martial art that would let him learn to use a sword but would still be acceptable to his mother; given the family situation he described, I suggested he look around for Aikido. And two years later, I got a nice email from him that explained that he and his friend had just made Brown Belt, and thanked me for helping them get started. I'm still proud of that.
10. I'm an atheist. Honestly, this is probably the least interesting thing on this list -- I mean, what do you say after "I just can't seem to connect with religious beliefs"? -- but one of the other big things I'm proud of is having started a Facebook group for Christian Parents of Atheist or Agnostic children. My co-founder is an author of Christian fiction, and I think the group has done some real good for a lot of its members -- not changing the fate of nations, but helping people who need it, even if it's just letting them know that they aren't alone and it isn't just them. I'm not real active anymore, but early on I did my best to just sort of translate: like, "This particular argument isn't going to be very productive, because your child probably sees the situation more like this."
Huh. Maybe I'm more interesting than I thought I was. I have to say, I'm really looking forward to reading through other people's responses to this prompt.