Fellow blogger Julia who I met alongside the LAX runway when we both went there to see the humonstrous new Airbus A380 historically come to town back in March (who knew my YouTube clip of the landing would garner more than 11,000 views!) has tagged me with a meme that she in turn was tagged with last month, the rules of which are as follows:

  1. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
  2. People who are tagged, write a blog post about their own eight random things, and post these rules.
  3. At the end of your post you need to tag eight people and include their names
  4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment and tell them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

Meme party pooper though I may be, I’m going to ignore the last two rules as I never move a meme beyond me to anyone specific, instead choosing the much safer route of inviting any readers to pick up the ball and run with it if they so desire and then link post a comment linking me to it. So with that here’s my eight random/facts, habits, and anything else that comes to mind:

1. When I sit working at a computer I have to have a sharpened pencil behind my left ear. Rarely do I actually write with it. Most often whenever I take a break from typing I’ll grab it and drum it on the desk or twirl it in my fingers for a few seconds or gently poke the pencil point against my fingers before re-docking it on my ear.

This is not a life-long habit. It developed after I quit smoking 10 years ago I think as something of a substitute tactile stimulation that replaced the cigarettes.

2. Speaking of aural issues, I’m not sure if it’s a structural issue with my lobes or I’m just going deaf, but when riding a bike generally at anything greater than 10 miles per hour that movement is enough to generate a windsound across my ears that blocks out most conversation delivered at normal speaking levels. As most people I ride with don’t yell when they ride I have to ask them to repeat themselves.

And no, I don’t have to have a sharpened pencil behind my left ear when I ride.

3. On the bike tip, for a lot of the shorter or local rides a lot of people I cruise with can just hop on their bikes and go. Not me. Whether I’m riding five miles or 50, before I saddle up I make sure I’m packing with the following (in no real order): first-aid kit, innertube patch kit, two spare innertubes, tire irons, spare chain, flashlight, knife, pepper spray, writing pen, notepad, camera, spare camera battery, lip balm, jacket, bandana, gloves, helmet, pump, multi-tool, chain tool, socket wrench, full water bottle, energy bar(s), hand wipes, MTA fare tokens, lock, cell phone, wallet, whistle, necklace with dogtag and lucky travel mojo. Optionals: flask of Drambuie and a Motorola walkabout radio.

4. Following in the footsteps of Julia’s literary-related answers, the first book I ever read was Richard Bach’s “Jonathan Livingston Seagull.” I was in third grade. Like Julia I too was 13 when I read Stephen King’s “The Shining.” I no longer read much by him but “The Shining” will always be on my all-time favorites list.

5. When I was a really young kid I thought I was related to Dodgers pitching legend Sandy Koufax because we were both left-handed.

6. I was glad Earl won in the recently concluded season of “Survivor” but I never forgave him for killing a snake in one of the early episodes who was bisected for the crimes of being venomous and within striking distance to unnerved Earl’s machete.

7. I remember all too fondly and forelornly when television was filled with shows crafted by things called “writers” who used their “imaginations” to “create” interesting “plots” filled with “characters” that were given life by “actors” who moved them through a series of humorous and/or dramatic events. Now I sadly and more often find crack television like the above-mentioned “Survivor” and “American Idol” and “The Next Big Thing” and “So You Think You Can Dance” and “Hell’s Kitchen” and “The Next Top Model,” some of which I find myself increasingly and shamefully addicted.

8. When I do any type of extended manual labor such as yard work (today) or moving my fingernails are always sore and tender to the touch afterward. Am I alone in this affliction?