Five Things You Don’t Know About Me…

 By Shamus Jan 24, 2007 19 comments

…and probably don’t want to.

A meme, eh? Just the thing for a day like today, when the sum total of what I got is nuthin’. Still, this is a little tricky, because I have the most “insteresting” ones already listed on the About Me page. So now I need five more.

Okay, five stuffs you don’t know about me:

  1. I have almost no sense of smell.  In my formative years, I had severe allergies and my nose was always running.  Because of this (I suspect) my sense of smell was greatly retarded.  Once in a while I’ll catch a whiff of something, but mis-identify the odor by a mile. My wife and I have these sorts of conversations all the time:

    ME: Hey, did somebody burn some toast?

    WIFE: No, but I just used Lysol and sprayed the trash cans.

    ME: (sniff sniff)  Oh yeah.  That must be it.

    I don’t know how to explain this. Yes, I know the two smells are different. I have no idea why I’ll smell one thing and think it’s something else. Sometimes it works in my favor (bad stuff smells nice) sometimes it works against me (good stuff smells bad) sometime it doesn’t work at all (what do you mean? You can’t smell that, Shamus? How could you miss it?) and sometimes it works as it should. I can’t identify any pattern to this. Most of the time I smell nothing. That’s just the way it is.

  2. I live the life of a shut-in. I work from home, and I usually don’t like going out. I’ve gone for weeks at a stretch without leaving the house, pretty much without noticing. Once in a while someone will ask me, “When was the last time you went outside?” Sometimes I can’t come up with an answer, and I’ll realize that I need to get out of the house just to see if any new building or roads have been built since the last time I drove. I also don’t listen to the radio (not even in the car) and I never watch TV, so the intersnizzle is pretty much my only link to the outside world.
  3. I’ve wanted to program computers since I was ten. I always had a facination with computer games (arcade games, Atari, Pong) and once I saw that you could program them (you could buy a tiny keyboard and a “Basic” cartridge for the Atari 2600) I became obsessed with the idea. I would feel ill – kind of anxious and sick to the stomach – when I thought about the fact that this thing was going on and I was missing out. It took me a few years to get my hands on what I wanted, but it eventually worked itself out.

    And now that I program computers for a living, I find I enjoy writing more than programming. I haven’t tried it professionally, but the grass over there sure is green.

  4. I can pull my right wrist out of joint at will. I had an accident on a swing as a teenager that really screwed up my wrist. It was a pretty stupid blunder so I didn’t make a big deal about it and tried to downplay the injury. I never went to a doctor or had it looked it. It took a long time to heal. Now I can tug on my right hand and yank it out of place. My hand slides down and a little back towards the forearm, and you can see all the tendons on the back of my hand stick out.

    It makes a nasty popping sound when I snap it back into place.

    See, now that is something you really didn’t want to know.

  5. I was very unpopular in High School. I sort of have a reputation now as a humorous person, but in High School I had a repellant and cringe-inducing sense of humor. I didn’t know how to relate to people. Once I graduated and started knocking around in the real world I started to grow up for real. It happened very fast. In High School I was a “loser” acording to normal social calculus. I went from that to being very popular and pretty much universally respected in Business School. It was very strange, and it took me a while to figure out how much of it was a change in environment and how much was a change in me. It was a little of both.

Jay posted the lineage of this meme. I thought it was really interesting, so I’ll do the same. The history goes: Susan Wu » Raph Koster » Broken Toys » Mythical Blog » MMODig » Gaming Bitch » World IV » Jay Barnson » Me.

LATER: I’m supposed to tag others. Um. If this looks like fun, then consider yourself “Tagged”. Get to it.

19Just 19 comments.


  1. Telas says:

    Whoah on the wrist thing. My wife’s a physical therapist – I’ll ask her if there’s anything dangerous there. I do know that one of the hazards of a subluxion/dislocation is nerve damage. Not good for the hand of a writer/programmer.

    As for going outside, get a dog if you can. They force you to go outside to walk them. :-D And a dog teaches forgiveness and acceptance better than anything or anyone else.

    And yeah, I had the major flaw “painful (to others) sense of humor” as a young’un. I don’t know what got me over it, but I think it was having friends tell me, “Why would you want to say that? It’s not funny.” I guess we hire therapists these days, instead of having abrasively honest friends…

  2. Shamus says:

    Thing #6 about me:

    I’m very allergic to animals.

    I mean, I’m allergic to ones with fur or feathers. I suppose I could get a pet lizzard, but I don’t think you take those for a walk.

  3. SpaceBumby says:

    I don’t have a sense of smell either. It’s partly for the reason you cite and partly genetic–my grandmother has barely any sense of smell either. You can ask Jay what a benefit that is at game nights when his dog has eaten something she shouldn’t. I can tell the room is stinky because everyone else passes out. :)

  4. HiddenBek says:

    Hey Shamus. I’m a long time listener, first time caller.

    Could you give us a better idea of what you actually *do* as a programmer? No need to get into NDA violating specifics or anything, but are you C systems guy? A big enterprisy Java developer? Do you mostly deal with business problems, or technical problems? How does the reality compare to what that anxious 10 year old envisioned?

    10 point Bonus Question: What sorts of things would you be working on if you didn’t have to, like, pay the bills and stuff?

  5. Thad says:

    No sense of smell? Considering that the ‘flavour’ of most food is in the aroma, I’m suspecting you don’t have many fantastic food experiences…

  6. Shamus says:

    HiddenBek: I work as Senior Programmer at Activeworlds, Inc. The most public thing we do (but not what I’ve been working on lately) is software that runs 3d chat worlds / shared building environments.

  7. Shamus says:

    Thad: I do tend to favor foods with lots of spice and a strong smell, probably for just that reason. My favorite is Mexican.

  8. Shamus says:

    HiddenBek: If I didn’t have to pay the bills, I would most likely be making an indie game on my own, or looking for a like-minded team of indie developers to sign on with.

    Barring that, I’d write (another) novel. Only a good one this time.

  9. Paul says:

    Google adsense is trying to sell me scented candles on this post.
    Ha!

  10. Christopher Weuve says:

    Might I suggest that you run both your wrist and your sense of smell by a doctor? My mother-in-law lost her sense of smell over time, and didn’t think anything of it. The answer turned out to be “malignant brain tumor.”

    That’s probably not what’s going on with you — your explanation makes perfect sense to me. But I’m not a doctor.

    chrisw

  11. Skeeve the Impossible says:

    Malignant brain tumor,subluxion/dislocation is nerve damage. Are you people trying to give Shamus an unplanned bowel movement.
    Oh and Shamus you didn’t tell them about your frail brittle skeleton that breaks if you lift more than 5 pounds.
    HAW! HAW!

  12. Antiquated Tory says:

    Re writing, the grass is not altogether greener; you can make a decent living doing what you do. A good friend of mine is a professional writer, and while he is able to support himself he is very lucky. He stays atop market developments in writing and they’re very depressing. Rates paid for short stories, for example, have stayed flat in absolute terms since the mid-60s. A person back then could get by on publishing one story every month or two; no more. And the average income earned from writing by published writers in the US a few years ago was around $5000.
    On the other hand, have you considered technical writing? You can certainly write and you have a programming background, which is a very rare combination. It’s what I do and I have no technical background at all. I’m just a native English writer who was in the right place at the right time, with decent writing skills and no shame about asking engineers stupid questions. Anyway, I digress; the top of the field is certainly occupied by those writers with deep technical
    knowledge.

    On other matters, did you find that playing pencil-and-paper RPGs was useful in developing social skills? I too was a High School loser–’pariah’ might be a better word–and I entered University with a severely retarded set of social skills. Gaming was the first arena in which I was able to get on with other people and the first place I made friends. In fact the only friend I still have from undergrad days I made through gaming.

  13. The only thing I find really shocking is that you went to business school. What the heck man?

  14. Telas says:

    B-school is excellent prep for almost anything. It teaches critical thinking, social skills, organization, teamwork, planning, marketing (in the broad sense), and accountability. All of these skills are useful in any aspect of life, although admittedly not all B-school grads remember their lessons.

    And Shamus? Sorry about the allergies; my dogs have been some of the better parts of my life.

  15. Patrick says:

    5 Things about my brother he doesn’t want you too know.

    1. He wasn’t just a nerd in school, he was THE nerd. I mean the one who defined the stereotype for all other nerds. Ever seen one of those characters from a John Hughes movie and thought:
    “That is waaaay to dorky. no one could be this completly unaware of how much they totally suck.”
    Well…. those characters were based on my Shamus…and even at that Mr. Hughes made them slightly cooler. Seriously…. I’m not even kidding.

    2. Despite #1, whenever we went to church camp, he was THE pimp. Seriously, I’m not even kidding. I know what you’re thinking, it was church camp, how hard could it be…blah blah blah. But within 10 minutes of being at camp, or any other social enviornment outside of Butler PA for that matter, my dork/nerd/spaz/ social neophyte of a brother had the most virtuous of teenage girls ready to do the nasty. He was a totally different person. Instead of shy, clumsy and socially akward he was Austin friggin Powers. I am at a loss to explain this.

    3. Shamus was almost named ‘Moonbeam’ due to the fact our father was a huge Frank Zappa fan.

    4. He has ‘roid rage. Not steroids of the weight-lifting, gym rat ttpye but more of the pharmacuetical kind. The type that help you deal with the severe allegies he’s had since a kid. These ” roid rages” usually mamfest themselves during time of great stress ( I.E. when he’s gettin his ass handed to him by a computer game. See http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=882 for examples )
    The closet next to his computer is a grave yard of mice, keyboards and other computer hardware that had the audacity to be present when some assclown from Obsidian software churns out another piece of s*$t sequeal. However, I must point out that only recently has the number of confirmed keyboard kills exceeded the number of Atari joysticks he went through in the 80′s.
    5. If left to his own volition, his diet would consist strictly of stove top, combos ( pizzaria flavor mostly), potato chips with some weird fried rice with half a pound of curry powder cooked in (he isn’t kidding when he says his sense of smell is fried folks) and generic soda. Fortunatly his wife occasionally reminds him that the food pryamid has more than one block, and grease isn’t one of them. As a bonus feature she can occasionally get him to change his t-shirt.

    that is all…

  16. mom says:

    I want to assure everyone that #3 in Patrick’s list is NOT true. Wasn’t even suggested. This was one of his dad’s amusing, colorful, fictitious anecdotes I guess. Don’t get me started.

  17. Telas says:

    Holy…. 8O You can kill Atari joysticks? 8O I though they were constructed by The Ancients using Technology Lost To The Ages and stuff… Wow.

  18. [...] you haven’t done this consider yourself tagged. Hubby just did it as well, through a different list of sites entirely. Previous in Memes: Thankful [...]

  19. “I suppose I could get a pet lizzard, but I don’t think you take those for a walk.”

    You can. In College, my fraternity had a pet iguana. We were able to purchace a harness and leash for it. We could walk our Iguana. Granted, if it gets out, its pretty much gone. We only walked it inside. We didn’t trust the harness.

    M.

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