Too Much Information, Dude

Friday, 9:01pm
Reno, NV
“Ewww, gross!” (Expected reaction from my grand-nieces when they’re old enough to read this)

Howdy…

I’ve got 2 quick things for you here…

… one of which I expect you to respond to.

You can choose which one, according to your whims.

But please do respond.

Dammit.

First of Two Items: Let’s get this short commercial announcement out of the way with two brief paragraphs.

There are still a couple of spots left in the last-ever full-weekend Hot Seat Seminar I’m hosting February 21-22 in San Francisco. Yes, I know this is astonishing, but it’s true. First time I haven’t instantly sold-out a Hot Seat event. One guy had to pull out cuz the economy ate his income stream the day after he grabbed a spot. Gruesome. Sign of the times?

Doesn’t matter. If this offer of intense marketing-intervention by a gang of experts — giving you a practical “action plan” to go get rich (after fixing all your problems) — is something you KNOW you should be jumping on… then go here now, read the details, and for God’s sake, grab one of the last spots (before someone less worthy than you does):

www.carlton-workshop.com

Second of Two Items: I just got “tagged” to write 25 Random Things About Myself.

My old pal Michel Fortin took this notorious Facebook tactic, modified it slightly for bloggers, and has sent the little bugger out into the blogosphere.

I just read an article in the New York Times about this “25 things” phenomenon (and how it’s energized the Facebook community)…

… but guess what?

It’s not new.

The tactic of using random, unrelated subjects to reveal something about someone is as old as “do it yourself biographies”. If you’re trying to get Grampa to write his memoirs, but he doesn’t know how to begin…

… then make up a list of random questions to get him started.

Rather than ask him “What was your childhood like?” (which will have him reaching for a slug of rheumatism medicine)…

… you ask him, instead, about the first time he had chocolate ice cream.

That will open a memory storage locker that includes shocking details about his life, which will require him to explain who Uncle Willie was, why they were all at the Grand Canyon in the 1930s, how tough it was driving a rattle-trap Ford across Arizona in June, how much gas cost in the Depression, how a kid experienced the world as it sped toward war, and on and on.

There really is no such thing as a random question. All things interact in the universe, and that intensifies when you add human memory into the mix.

Boy, does it ever intensify.

This particular concept — writing out 25 random things I believe most folks don’t know about me — could become the first chapter of a decent autobiography.

Of course, I’m a long-winded blabbermouth in love with my keyboard, so I could transform ANY subject into something that would fit into a biography. But there you have it.

Good thing I own this blog, and don’t have to please anyone else to keep my job here.

So, with apologies to the folks who thought they invented this process…

… and with a shrug of slight embarrassment because I know the concept is supposed to be full of short little tidbits and factoids (and I’ve gone off with half a novel here)…

… here is my contribution to this cultural sunami of too much information. About moi.

The rules are simple.

I quote Michel here:

Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a post with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you.

At the end, choose five more people to be tagged. You also have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you. To do this, you simply link to their blogs so that they know you responded to their tag. (That’s how I found out I was tagged by Fortin.)

You may include the above rules in your post so that the person being tagged knows them, too. You may also want to tweet your post to notify them on Twitter, too.

Got that? I name five folks at the end whom I have tagged.

However, I’d love to take it a step further:

I want to hear 2 (not 25) things about you in the comments section here. That’s harder — you gotta think “If these 2 things are all someone knows about me… what does that SAY about me?”

Oh, this should stir up some shit, all right.

This could really be fun, guys.

First, though, you gotta slog through MY 25 random things. It’s more than you ever need to know about me.

Let’s begin, shall we?

1. I was born at 4:44pm on a Saturday afternoon in Pomona, California. For some reason, this has seemed significant to me… and no, I haven’t looked into the numerology aspect, but I was interested to learn that Howlin’ Wolf’s “lucky” number was 444. (From the tune “Ain’t Got You”: I got the mojo, and a liquor store, I play the numbers, yeah, 444…) Please alert me if you have insight to this.

2. My father still lives in the same track house he bought in 1948, soon after returning from WWII. I know every square inch of that joint, though it used to be the size of a castle to me, and now the entire layout could fit into my current living and kitchen area. I visit often, and am consumed with memory while there.

3. In fact, every place I’ve lived seems haunted by ghostly images from when I walked the streets. I still have friends in the town where I attended college, and when I visit I can easily slip into a waking reverie rippling with replays of past events… right down to the emotional nuances. I feel like I’m in an ongoing movie 24/7. And this is true of every place I’ve lived (and I been around, let me tell ya).

4. I was stunned to learn, a few years ago, that not everyone has access to a running memory of their life like this. I guess I’ve been writing, in my head, my autobiography since becoming conscious in the crib (yes, I have a vivid memory of being a baby). I don’t see how this skill provides any evolutionary benefit… but I am that guy with near-total emotional/visual/sensory access to memory. Luckily, I’ve lived the kind of life worth reliving once in a while. Otherwise, this would totally suck.

5. I was a late bloomer. My parents wisely waited a year to put me into school — so rather than being the youngest (and most immature) in the class ahead, I was among the oldest in my class… which allowed me to mature at my natural pace, without pressure to start shaving before I actually grew facial hair. Lucky move. I would have been a nervous wreck being the youngest. (Plus, the class ahead of me was full of assholes.)

6. I have a number of attributes that are considered relatively rare: I’m red-green color deficient (not “color blind”, but definitely clueless about what color anything is), something affecting around 3 to 5% of the population. My fingers are double-jointed (I can do some really gross things, like locking my knuckles when giving someone the bird, which always startles them). My first toe is longer than my big toe on each foot. I can pick up stuff with my toes, too (though I think I developed this skill, rather than inherited any prehensile trait). I was born without wisdom teeth. I can curl my tongue. Impressed? You should be.

7. I absolutely stink at singing… but that hasn’t stopped me from doing it in bands from the time I was 15 years old. Mostly I sang back-up and the occasional solo… but for my second mid-life crisis (10 years ago) I formed a 3-piece power rock band, and had to sing around half the material. I did well enough to pack biker bars, and that’s all I cared about. But I still stink at it.

8. Part of the reason it took me so long to get my act together (I was 34 before I got serious about becoming a professional copywriter) is that I have multiple talents above mediocre levels, and pursuing them kept me distracted. I wrote my first novel in the sixth grade. (It was horrible, but a real story with plot, character development, and coherent ending.) By high school, my cartooning was so good I was forcibly given a weekly cartoon strip in the school newspaper (which lasted for two years). I was shy, and actually resented the celebrity that brought. Then the same thing happened in college, and for 2 years I was the staff cartoonist for the school daily. It was hard work. I also played guitar well enough to carry a band, and I’ve been writing pretty damned good pop songs since I was 17. I also played baseball deep into my teens, and thought I wanted to be a jock. (Really bad idea for a guy with my poor eyesight.) I’d be broke today if I had followed any of those professions. I miss cartooning, though.

9. I’m sort of a classic Baby Boomer. Growing up in Southern California, I experienced the best and newest television innovations — from “I Love Lucy” to the McCarthy hearings to American Bandstand to Ed Sullivan — and was in the audience for some Bozo shows. Went to Disneyland the week it opened, and had been there 9 times before it was 4 years old. Bodysurfed at the beaches the Beach Boys sang about, swam in Lake Arrowhead while Hollywood movies were shot there, went to Palm Springs just when Bob Hope discovered it. Lived near the first MacDonald’s and the first In-And-Out Burger. Entered high school during the Summer of Love, went to college during the best part of the Sexual Revolution, and the soundtrack of my youth is now what you’d call Classic Rock (I first made out to Louie, Louie, fell in love to Layla, had my first heartbreak to Fooled Around & Fell In Love). I was a folkie, a square jock, a hippie, a student revolutionary, and I hitchhiked up and down the west coast before horror movies put an end to all that. (I’ll stop — I know I’m boring you.)

10. I grew up less than a block from Route 66, where it ran along what used to be the Spanish Trail, in the oldest settled part of the San Gabriel Valley. In a town called Cucamonga (Shoshone for “running spring”), which was an hour out of Los Angeles, mostly orange groves and grape vineyards and the kind of drive-ins/car-clubs/surfer/rebel-without-a-cause youth culture best depicted in the film American Graffitti.

11. I was almost held back in the 2nd grade, because no one figured out I needed glasses and I never saw anything the teacher wrote on the blackboard. It took another 4 years for it to become obvious (my family all has perfect vision, except me, The Freak), and the evening I left the optomotrist wearing my first pair of glasses, I was literally dumbstruck at my first clear sighting of the full moon rising over the mountains. It is still the most beautiful visual moment of my life.

12. My high school was sexually retarded… and while much of the So Cal area dove into the wild erotic highjinks of the mid-sixties, we mostly bungled our way through fifties-era romantic adventures. Thus, I got very good at kissing and foreplay, while slowly going batshit trying to lose my virginity. However, I now see this was an advantage — easy sex teaches you few skills in creative pleasure. It may sound corny, but foreplay rocks.

13. I grew up without much money… but so did everyone else in my group, so it didn’t impact our ecstacy over living in such abundant times. Even through college, it was unusual for anyone in my generation to own more than a couple dozen records (or a decent stereo). So we learned every note of every song by memory (including the skips, cuz none of us took good care of the vinyl) and obsessed over the scant info available on the album covers. You really could tell a LOT about someone with a quick glance through their record collection — stoner, hip cat, clueless pop geek, mainstream Top 40 fan, folkie, Frank Zappa weirdo, etc.

14. I developed my love of all things rock before I knew I was doing it. My sister is 8 years older than I am, and every afternoon we’d fight over who got to watch TV. I wanted to tune into Engineer Bill’s cartoon show, and sis craved American Bandstand. So we alternated days… and I became an 8-year-old anthropologist gorging on doo-wop and Chuck Berry and Elvis, not quite clear on why it was so enjoyable. (I still have a thang for poodle skirts.)

15. My childhood obsessions went through fairly normal-for-the-times stages: Dinosaurs, the Civil War, science fiction, horror and fantasy-adventure comics (huge Frank Frazetta fan), Mad magazine, surf guitar, the Monkees, cars, girls, bodysurfing and finally, long hair.

16. I entered my senior year of high school as a “good boy” and ended the year getting suspended for refusing to cut my hair, challenging authority at every turn. It was 1970, the height of the anti-war movement.

17. In college, my hair nearly reached my belt. This was a big deal back then, because no one would hire me for anything, cops pulled me over without reason, and the risk of being assaulted by pissed-off social conservatives (which included bikers, frat boys and construction workers) was very, very real. But the chicks dug it, and it meant instant acceptance into the counter-culture. God, we were shallow back then.

18. My favorite color is deep blue… but for some reason, light blue kinda ticks me off. (And I can’t “see” purple, which is Michele’s favorite color, and that pisses her off.)

19. I smoked cigarettes for a decade. Started at 19, trying to cop some of Humphrey Bogart’s mojo, and ended with successive bouts of severe bronchitis that convinced me to stop at 30. I still miss it. But I refuse to get involved with cigars. It’s good to miss vices — it reminds you that you chose living over dying slowly.

20. I am still relatively close to several friends I’ve known since I was 5 years old.

21. I’ve always had close friends, but I’ve also moved around a lot which put some of those friendships on hold. I find it interesting that several people who consider me their best friend live near other people who also consider me their best friend… and they’ve never met. Or, when they do meet, they don’t feel they have anything in common except me. I think, long ago, I developed some kind of ability to be a chameleon, so I could hang out with a vast variety of folks and develop deep friendships.

22. In fact, I’ve often thought of writing an info book on how to be a good friend. There are, it turns out, some good rules for doing this. Most folks are incapable of being a “best” friend with anyone, because of childhood baggage (or narcisism). I know people who I’ll get together with after not seeing or speaking to for a couple of years, and we’ll just pick up where we left off without a hitch. You know you’re with a good friend when the silences are comfortable and enjoyable even when they’re long. (First requirement for a good road dog, by the way.)

23. I have 3 novels in my drawer that just might be kick-ass when I get around to the final edits. I’m in no rush, though. My goal was to write one before I turned 40, and I did. Even had a NY agent shop it for a month, but I pulled it. The joy comes from writing them, not in getting recognition from a publisher or audience. (Yes, I’m weird.)

24. Right now, I own around a dozen electric guitars (including the first one I ever bought), one lap steel, two Martin acoustics (one of them a cool “traveler”), one bass, and four keyboards. Five amps. One PA. A big pile of wah-wah’s and stomp boxes. My favorites: The digital Hammond with virtual Leslie, and the Japanese reissue of the ’62 Telecaster I hot-rodded with a Seymour Duncan Hot Rail bridge pickup and black pickguard. (Rosewood fretboard, standard Tele neck p/u, separate switch for the Hot Rail, Slinky’s, Tweed amp. Yum, yum, yum…)

25. I went a year, in college, without wearing shoes. My feet got so tough, I could walk through snow without problem. Didn’t do it on purpose — I just got used to it, preferred it, and did it. Not sure what this says about me.

There. That wasn’t so hard.

My 5 choices to “tag” are David Garfinkel, Ed Dale, Rich Schefren, Perry Marshall and Stan Dahl (who will use my blog for a guest post, since he refuses to begin his own blog).

That’s all for now, folks.

Stay frosty,

John

P.S. Remember to post your comment with 2 random things about you.

42 Responses to Too Much Information, Dude

  1. I resisted the 25 random things for awhile as well. I found it challenging. In fact truthfully, I think I only really did 23 cuz some were “am I done yet?”

    Anyway, in true Carlton fashion, you make EVERY point interesting. (Mine were a teeny one-liner…no paragraphs.)

    Number 12 was a little TMI for me as a gal but hey, I’m glad you went for it. I would make you blush if I shared some of my random things so we just will leave this piece alone.

    Two things about me you may not know…

    1) When I was practicing massage therapy on a regular basis I could see people’s auras. Can’t anymore and that’s fine by me.

    2) I REALLY want to learn to play the drums. I was in marching band as colorguard in high school and have always loved the drums. (Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters really inspires me as well.)

    But do I want to put the time into it that it would take to even be passable? I don’t know. My son plays guitar like 5 hours a day and is so friggin’ awesome I can’t tell u. But I’m not going to devote that kind of time to drums. Maybe Drum Hero or whatever games they have out now will be enough.

    Finally, I’m sooo excited about your Hot Seat Seminar. I always learn soooo much. See ya in a few!

    LoMo

    John Carlton replies:

    Hi Lorrie. Where’d you publish your 23 random things? These, I gotta see. We need more ammo to tease you at the seminar with.

    And jeez-louise — it’s the blushing stuff we want to hear about!

    John

  2. Linda Abbit says:

    Hi John,

    I just finished writing my own draft on “25 Random Things” about being a family caregiver when your email arrived. It will be posted Monday.

    My two random things:

    1. I am a semi-professional swing dancer. Have competed and performed on a swing team and at various gigs. I wanted to be a ballerina growing up, but my parents wouldn’t let me, so I waited until I was an adult to fulfill that dream in a way.

    2. I am an adopted only child that found out as an adult I have 4 biological siblings (we think — 3 confirmed, 1 not definite yet). Very cool!

    Thanks for sharing your story with us. I’m a classic Baby Boomer in many ways and can relate to much of what you describe.

  3. GREAT list, John…

    We grew up in the same ‘era’ but here in MN we thought EVERYONE in California light years ahead of the world ;-)

    Two random things…

    1. I won a Ford Foundation Award and a Cash prize for a ‘failed’ Science Experiment when I was in 9th grade

    2. When I was 18 I got lost for hours in a vineyard in France leading to a very strange night in a Youth Hostel

    –Mary K

    ¸..· ´¨¨)) -:¦:-
    ¸.·´ .·´¨¨))
    ((¸¸.·´ ..·´ -:¦:-
    -:¦:- ((¸¸.·´* Light

    EXPECT MIRACLES!

  4. Ingrid Cliff says:

    John, your history with biker bars and singing got me thinking.

    It’s funny how growing up the only non-Catholic in a Catholic girls high school will affect you. After mastering the mysteries of when to kneel, do a circle with holy water and understanding rosary beads were not something you wore around your neck to school … I decided my calling was to become a nun.

    After the final bell in year 12, the nuns very sensibly sent me out into the world, telling me to come back in a few years.

    … Of course within six months I was living in sin with a drummer in a very bad heavy metal rock band that played in biker bars, which wasn’t the sort of career path that nuns normally take. Later on I tried being a born again virgin … but it didn’t last.

    Like John I was a bit slow on the uptake in terms of writing. After studying Psychology, Industrial Relations and the History & Philosophy of Science at Uni (doesn’t everyone do triple majors?), I fell into a Human Resource Management/Industrial Relations career … But I couldn’t work out why each role I took on suddenly morphed into writing corporate communications in large government and private sector agencies.

    I knew my time as resident HR expert was drawing to a close when I found myself doing a grievance resolution process with a team who hated another team member eating smelly tuna at their desk for lunch (when all I wanted to do was hit their heads together and tell them to “get the f**** over it”).

    When a copywriting guru friend explained to me in very simple language with lots of ellipses that I could actually get paid to write what I had been giving away for free, the choirs of angels all joined together and sang Hallelujah (the High School imprint lives on!) .

    .. so I hit the resignation button, hot-wired my keyboard into my veins and took up the mantle of pen for hire.

    One last thing – I was never great at maths and counting to two!

    exuberantly yours

    Ingrid

  5. Peter Frank says:

    Hi John,
    Great read again. Baby boomers rock.

    You said only 2 items so here goes.

    1/ I have a very inquiring mind so once I learn the basics of something and get good at it I quickly get boredand start looking for something else to do. I’ve had so many careers I lost count years ago.

    I love writing, producing fine art (the one career I wish I’d kept up) and am currently deep into alternate medicine and all the amazing things discovered and kept from the masses by Big Pharma.

    2/ Met the girl of my dreams when I was sixteen and she was 14. Waited 4 years and then got married. (both inocent virgins – not too sure what to do on our wedding night… got that sorted pretty quick though) Still deeply in love 37 years later.

    Peter

  6. Karen says:

    Random me-thing number one: When I was 22-ish, I left NZ on a carefully planned 6 week skiing vacation in Switzerland… it took me 12 years and over a dozen countries to get home and to this day I have never been to Switzerland.

    Random me-thing number two: When I was 34-ish (yes, finally home from the ‘skiing vacation’) I bought a charming, run-down seven acre farm which became an oasis of refuge and repair for ducks, doves, swans, dogs, cats, rabbits, cows, chickens… and me. We all healed, moved on, left the farm and now I am gratefully, gleefully up-to-my-eyes in living happily ever after. Carpe diem.

    John Carlton replies:

    That ski vacation is a book waiting to be written, Karen. It’s full of adventure, Bronte-type Chick Lit stuff, and life lessons. Crossing the ocean in a sail boat, living in some of the strangest places in so-called “civilization”, meeting famous people… girl, you’ve got a kick-ass screenplay here… when you’re fnally ready to write it.

    There are people out there running around thinking their podunk little experiences qualify as “high adventure” in today’s world. Yeah, right. You’d have their hair standing on end…

    John

  7. hey John,
    …. there really are a million stories in the big city

    Here are two of mine…

    My Mom and Dad decided that we ( my sisters and me ) would be better served by being sent to the colonies.

    I loved it and hated it simultaneously.
    I loved the clean air and utterly stunning scenery of New Zealand but couldn’t stand all the machismo BS that was around in the late 60s…Plus I couldn’t play rugby and I didn’t know who “pinetree Meads” was. Still don’t really and I don’t really give a rats arse for that matter…

    Number two random fact about me….

    I’m smart but like you spent years being distracted by lots of “interesting things” ( sex, drugs and rock and roll ). It’s only been in th elast five years that I discovered I have a passion for teaching and education and have utterly immersed myself in both…

    Bonus random fact…

    I’m happier now than I’ve ever been in 40 odd years and love spending time with Evelyne…

    Never thought I’d meet the woman of my dreams but hey there she was all the time….

    Now…HOW cool is that ?

    I’d ask you to stay frosty but as this is the tropics most frosty substances are for internal consumption…

    How about stay warm everyone…?

    Cheers,

    Michael

  8. Interesting read to get to know you a bit better. As always a fascinating and enigmatic human being :-)

    Two random things about me.

    1) I was the first ever “Other Country National” to work in the Head Quarters of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. This is the reason why a Mexican ended up in Holland. I was supposedly assigned to latin America and ended up in Dubai instead taking care of the Middle East and South Asia (From Bangladesh to Cyprus)

    2) I’m the 221st most travelled person in the world according to mosttraveledpeople.com and that is one of my proudest accomplishments.

    Look forward to having you in Amsterdam some time in the future

    Ernesto

  9. Kat says:

    Aloha,

    I’ve resisted 25 as well…

    You’ve inspired me for 2 though.

    1. I was a varsity fencer in college (UC Santa Cruz) and our rag-tag team slaughtered every team in the state except Stanford. I went to the national championships in the Epee and lost to the Mexican National Champion.

    2. I have a BA in theoretical mathematics – and my passion in college was social psychology. I think this set me on the path to my current passion in neuro-linguistic programming and Ericksonian language patterns.

    Kat

  10. Kevin Rogers says:

    Nice list, John! Once again you’ve redefined the beast.

    I just did my 25 on FB yesterday. One-liners mostly. Whattya expect from a comic?

    Here’s a couple highlights:

    4. Michael Jordan once weaved his way through a crowded room to shake my hand. (surreal)

    16. Robert DeNiro told me it isn’t cool to name-drop.

    John Carlton replies:

    Nice one, with the built-in irony of the name-dropping story. It’s like an “irony loop”.

    But really, man, sometimes it’s not best to leave them wanting more. When you’re writing stuff that may become part of your legacy (and every writer needs to consider this, cuz what you write stays written), it’s good to go deeper and reveal more of the background story.

    You know, I’ve met guys who were roadies for famous bands, who hung out with famous Hollywood stars, who were deep into areas of life that I crave more info about.

    And it’s frustrating that they can’t tell a freakin’ story to save their life. It all comes down to “You shoulda been there, man”. Well, I WASN’T there, and I’m asking them to relate something about the experiences that resemble a story. And they can’t do it.

    It’s because most of the folks who end up in the Great Adventures of life are extrovert sensation types — they live in the moment, for the adrenaline thrill.

    For writers (like me), that adrenaline is often something to be lived THROUGH… so I can survive and tell the tale.

    Telling the tale is the reason I dived into the situation. If there’s no story to tell, it’s not a satisfying adventure.

    If you can tell a story, then it’s your evolutionary duty to tell it.

    I look forward to hearing more stories from you. You’ve got the chops, man. Now, you need to give yourself permission to let go.

    John

  11. Jeff Baas says:

    Hmm…

    This is the first time I’ve come across the 25 random things idea.

    Interesting.

    My two are:

    1) In contrast to you, John, I started school a year early. And although I was smart enough to stay well ahead of my older classmates academically, I can very much appreciate what you said about being glad to start a year behind your age group. I got into the habit of relying on my intellect to compensate for my lagging social skills — not a good habit to approach life with, especially outside of the classroom.

    Which leads to #2

    I’ve spent the last seven years trying to master the internet business world intellectually and have made just about every mistake imaginable in the process. I’m just now coming around to approach it on the grounds of building relationships and finding that much more profitable.

  12. John Rogers says:

    Your #8 intrigues me, and makes me wonder how many with multiple above average talents eventually end up being self-employed.

    I was tagged a week or so ago on Facebook by a friend from my childhood with this. Here are two.

    1. I lived in tiny little Belden, California for about nine months when I was 13 or 14. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belden,_California There was no TV there, so I spent much of my fishing and exploring the wilderness. I would love to live in a small mountain community like that again.

    12. I’ve ridden a horse across a river deep enough that the horse had to swim a short distance. I haven’t ridden in quite a few years and really don’t care much for horses.

    John Carlton replies:

    The lack of TV for a kid is a definite advantage. Think of all the adventures media-addled kids are missing today. It’s changing the world.

    John

  13. Dude,

    That is so cooool! Your story reminds me of a couple of B-side songs that no one really cares about, but that, when you listen intently and closely, it tells you a lot about the song, the band, and the writer who penned the lyrics, that so many people miss out on.

    Mind you, your 25 were pretty much what I expected them to be, coming from you. Don’t know why. It just felt “John Carlton-ish” to me. (Loved the novel bit and being a late bloomer… I know that intimately, thank you.)

    Dark blue is also my favorite color. The only reason I use light blue on my sites and blog is that the color pulls more (yes, I tested the sucker!). But if you go back into the web archives and take a look at my site circa 97-99, you will see it was dark blue, too.

    As you know, I wrote my 25 things from which I tagged you, at…

    http://www.michelfortin.com/25-random/

    … But I’ll take a stab at giving you two more (I know, “here he goes again!”).

    1. 444, eh? My favorite number is 333. Threes all the way around. Don’t know why, but I like triplets and triads. Seems to be the perfect number, and I like it for its symmetrical beauty and connotation. Everything has a beginning, middle, and end. No rationale or logic, but I guess three makes things balanced and pleasing. (I’m a damn Libra, so I guess I love balance. Or blame it on my Roman Catholic upbringing.)

    2. You’re a baby boomer, but I’m Gen X and definitely a product of the 80′s. Funny though, I played in tons of biker bars, too. But the songs I remember playing in them the most are AC/DC, Priest, Maiden, and Led Zep.

    Best memory I have is, in one dive we played in, we did a much harder rendition of Billy Idol’s “Dancing with Myself,” and this one guy, pretty drunk or stoned, started dancing right in front of the band… yes, all by himself!

    Here’s the kicker, though…

    While the bar was your typical biker bar, where all the barflies either sit at the bar or play pool, and you wouldn’t want to look at any of them for fear they’d retaliate Robert-DeNiro style and use their pool cue for something else, that one pivotal song kicked off the whole crowd dancing from that point on. Almost like magic.

    What was once a cold, dark, moldy, old beer- and puke-smelling tavern turned out to be a hopping and jumping party with a dance floor so packed, you needed an oxygen mask after making your way through the crowd.

    ‘Twas a gas. Thanks for sharing!

    John Carlton replies:

    So my life is a “B” side of a record?

    I’ll take that. LOL.

    Over the years, I’ve done several Rants about my experiences in biker bars. I’m not sure what I learned about life and biz, but I learned something.

    Mostly, it’s just really fun telling the stories. Certain groups know how to party. As a teen, my band played semi-formal dances, weddings, private NY’s Eve parties… and you simply cannot predict which event will go apeshit over dancing and Baccanalian excesses, and which will be boring as hell.

    Except for the biker bars. Even Tuesday nights in a biker bar are rippling with adventure…

    Thanks for tagging me, Michel.

    John

  14. All right…u asked for it. They were on FaceBook. Now suffer thru my 25 random things…..

    Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you.

    1. I love my husband sooooooooo much but there isn’t another human being who can annoy the crap out of me like him.

    2. I secretly want to learn to play the drums.

    3. I get uncomfortable with people gushing about me yet oddly pleased.

    4. I have an immune disorder called myasthenia gravis that sometimes sets me back more than I’d like to admit.

    5. I LOVE horses.

    6. I have Morton’s toe which means my second toe is longer than my big toe.

    7. I hate when people use the word ‘less’ when it should be ‘fewer.’ Thanks a lot Miller Brewing Company. It’s NOT less calories. It’s fewer. When you can count them you use the word fewer.

    8. Basketball is hands down the best sport in the world. (Followed closely by hockey.) Because things can change in an instant just like in life.

    9. Oh yeah, the University of North Carolina Tar Heels are definitely the best college basketball team of all time. (Maybe not but they are pretty awesome.)

    10. I work out with Magic Johnson about once a week or so.

    11. I’m an AMAZING mother to my two young children who are 4 and 2 but very big for their ages and surprisingly in high school.

    12. I read http://www.tmz.com everyday.

    13. (I’m running out of things….) I really love writing.

    14. My favorite goddess is Lakshmi. She’s all about not worrying (which I do too much) and accepting everything will be taken care of.

    15. My 4 year old (okay…18) is coming home soon and I’m so proud of him and his ability to draw. Tomorrow I’m meeting my ex-boyfriend who now writes for King of the Hill and hoping he’ll hook my kid up with an internship.

    16. (Seriously…25 is a LOT of things to write).

    17. I wear a size 9 shoe though I can fit in an 8 1/2. Shoes rule.

    18. My wardrobe sizes range from 2 to 8.

    19. I have the BEST VA on the planet. And NO she cannot work for you.

    20. My cat loves me to death but she’s really not very friendly to ANYONE ELSE. Funny thing is I prefer my dog. Shhh.

    21. (Is this still going on???) I’m madly in love with Heath Ledger and Daniel Day Lewis. Don’t see much of a future with Heath though.

    22. I’m really a strawberry blonde.

    23. My favorite food is Mexican.

    24. My favorite color is red. DUH

    25. (Thank GOD this is the last one!!!) I have a Claddagh ring as a wedding ring which stands for love, loyalty and friendship. It’s a beautiful sentiment (even if you reread #1)

    John Carlton replies:

    I didn’t know my longer toe thing had a name. I think in some cultures we’d be considered minor gods for this aberration.

    Thanks for sharing this stuff. It IS hard to be both reflective like this, and make it public at the same time. Like walking around naked.

    Still, I’ve never regretted getting to know other people more closely, nor letting them know me.

    John

  15. John Rogers says:

    “6. I have Morton’s toe which means my second toe is longer than my big toe.”

    I didn’t know that condition had a name. I just read about it on Wikipedia, and it pretty much explains all of my foot problems.

    John Carlton replies:

    Amazing what you can learn from a blog, isn’t it, John.

    I have this condition, too, but it hasn’t caused any problems. Of course, I don’t wear shoes very often…

    JC

  16. Hi John,

    Right two things about me

    Hmm

    Not sure I can be that interesting after a run along the waterfront in Sunny Auckland (Auckland does rock, just moved here from the UK)

    aha

    1. At a family dinner in my honour at my French exchange students house in Limoge (France). I stood up and accidentally told the entire French speaking table ‘lets masturbate’. Silence ensued followed much laughter. My French has not really improved much since. I was trying to explain how to stir the dressing into the salad.

    2. I am secretly doing quite well and have not told anyone about it.

    Thanks

    Mark

  17. Ron Reed says:

    No doubt everyone has been hog-tied into the “25 Random” viral mess as some point…

    … but for whatever reason I’ve never been interested in writing one.

    Reading them – absolutely! But not vice versa.

    Weird.

    I suppose it stems from a quote I heard by Robert Greenleaf: “Only speak when what you’re about to say will improve upon the silence.”

    In any event, I’ll contribute 2 for my admission into your 25:

    1.) Living in a small country home located deep within the backwoods of Wisconsin tends to procure an interesting individual. My outlet was creativity, imagination and cascading on wild adventures.

    At age 21, I moved to Central Florida with less than $800 to my name. I was young and free – no kids, no car payment, no mortgage payment, no “girlfriend” payments, etc.

    Hopped on a plane armed with two books: “Think and Grow Rich” and “How To Win Friends and Influence People.” Had no job lined up, no car to get around, no bed to sleep in…

    … oh, and, I did it alone with no sidekick!

    You can only imagine what my mother was thinking.

    However, it’s amazing what happens when a person forces their comfort zone into a water-logged electric chair.

    The success (and story) that pursued was astronomical!

    2.) I, like many other entreprenuerial lunatics who create internet fortunes, play a mean guitar.

    For me, it’s been 12 years since I eyed my first axe in a pawn shop (I’m only 28). Paid $69 bucks for it.

    Hard rock is my preference. Learned my chops from old-school Metallica albums. However, I’m known for going on a wild tangent from time to time. Classical music, blues, jazz, waltz… whatever my A.D.D. is craving at the moment.

    Regardless, I still crank the half-stack up to ear-blistering volumes when the grooves are flying off the fretboard.
    :)

    -Ron Reed

    John Carlton replies:

    For anyone paying attention — those are the same 2 books I recommend to everyone, in every situation… they were essentially to me breaking the code on finding my place in the world, too.

    Thanks for sharing, Ron. I hope your Mom got over her anxiety…

    John

  18. Alex says:

    1. I am one of those people who has trouble having “best friends” so that e-book would definitely be of interest to me.

    2. I also love confessing embarrassing things like that in public for some reason. Another great topic for 25 things is: things you do, that you THINK nobody else does.

  19. Rita Kai says:

    Completely random:

    1) When I was in high school (in Eastern Europe) we had a mandatory military class. I pretty much sucked at it, but my two biggest pitfalls were:
    a) marching
    b) throwing fake grenades.

    So, one day we were graded on throwing those grenades (I am not kidding). I thew one, and it got stuck on a tree. I think it was poplar. I bet, the grenade is still there.

    2) When I was in college, I went on a month-long white water kayaking trip with five other people. During out second week on the river I almost drown on one of the rapids, but my enemy saved me.

    Not random:
    Love your blog, John.

  20. ken ca|houn says:

    Some fascinating “about” tidbits here from everyone, makes for fun reading.

    a couple I can share publicly are:

    1) as a longtime sax and keyboard player, I gigged all over So. Cal. nightclubs for years in R&B, jazz and top-40 cover bands. Coolest gig was playing the Whisky, where the Doors had played… I was the only caucasian guy in a very cool R&B group called “Mystique” and our signature song was “In Her Daddy’s Car” (use your imagination)… we tore it up. My favorite things to play though, are old Sinatra songs & classics on keyboard, and Coltrane/Parker riffs on alto.

    2) I ‘got around’ wayy too much, had as many as 8 girlfriends at once going on, I could build a “quadruple your dating” info product empire that would make Hef blush. well just maybe. Anyways, having a 300zx with a license plate “hiphopz” (with a car that definitely went ‘boom’ with 350watt+ amps etc) and hanging out at clubs in Redondo, Santa Monica, Hermosa and everywhere else was a whole lotta fun in the 80s. Although happily married for a decade now, I still miss clubbing, all nighters and the thrill of the chase, and still like clubs like “Club Tao” in Vegas (Mirage).

    To decadence and fun,

    -k

  21. Kevin Rogers says:

    Good flogging, John.

    How’s this:

    Chicago, 1994—I was a relative newcomer on the Windy City comedy scene, but I’d landed a gig headlining the Improv comedy club about twice a month.

    The show was a cabaret, so I’d share the bill with all kinds of acts; jugglers, magicians, acapella groups, dancers, even the occasional ventriloquist. Sick bunch, ventriloquists.

    Backstage at those shows with dancers running around half naked and singers warming their pipes, I felt a kinship to burlesque era comics like Lenny Bruce and Mort Sahl. The after-party would typically run ‘til sunrise. Good times.

    The cabaret format worked so well, they only interrupted it when a big name comic would roll through for a weekend… and I was often tapped to open the show for those acts.

    When I got the offer to open a string of shows for Chris Rock, I wasn’t impressed.

    I’d seen Chris in NYC a few times—nothing special. His casting on SNL was the bigger punchline than anything he delivered in a sketch. His primary achievement was being known as “Eddie Murphy’s guy”, and I wasn’t the only one wondering what Eddie saw that I didn’t.

    But the Chris Rock that showed up at that week in Chicago was not the Chris Rock from SNL.

    Something had pissed him off … he was clearly out for blood.

    Gone was the goofy Cameo hairstyle, gone was the typical stand-up vocal cadence, gone was the assumption that crowds had to love him because they’d seen him on TV.

    He prowled the stage like a caged tiger. His material was raw in both subject and substance—a sign that he was truly building a show, not just getting though them.

    I was surprised to find myself in the balcony after my sets laughing hard, and marveling at how bravely he would totally re-approach material from show to show.

    See, comics live for the “sure thing”—a joke that you keep in the chamber like a silver bullet should the crowd take an ugly turn. And once you’ve developed such a joke you don’t mess with it…

    …unless you’re blindly determined to be great.

    George Carlin would famously melt down his silver bullet jokes—just to see what else he could make from them. So what if the crowd or the critics starting shooting in the middle of it. I can hear his response as clearly as if he was sitting next to me: Fuck ‘em!

    Same with Bill Hicks, Richard Pryor, and now, it was becoming obvious: Chris Rock.

    (A year and a half later he released his breakout HBO special, Bring The Pain and with that special and every one since his name would be permanently etched into the exclusive list of comic greats who refused to take the safe route.)

    But, backstage Chris was quiet, reserved, and painfully shy. Every night he would sit in the manager’s office with his friend and collaborator, eating fried chicken from a Styrofoam box and listening to the show on a small speaker on the desk.

    “How were they?” he’d ask as I came off the stage to cheers. Performers waiting to go on stage don’t trust the cheers they hear in the showroom. They need to hear it from the guy who caused them.

    “How were they?” really means, “how were you?” Did you honestly kill, or just sneak one by?

    “They’re hot tonight… best crowd yet.” I said and wished him luck.

    “Hey…” Chris called out as I headed off, “d’yu hear?”

    “What’s that?”

    “Jordan’s coming to the ten o’clock.”

    “No shit.” I asked.

    “Would a brothu lie about Michael Jordan?”

    In 1994 Michael Jordan was not only the most famous athlete, but one the most famous people in the world.

    The Bulls had just completed their first “Threepeat” of back-to-back-to-back championships. Jordan was MVP in all 3 series and had held the NBA scoring title for seven years – a record that’s never been touched.

    No One had ever shot like Jordan. No One had ever floated trough air like Jordan. No One had lifted a team (and a league) like Jordan. And No One had ever moved product like Jordan.

    Add it up and in the early nineties you could not walk through any city, town, village or slum on planet Earth without the people there knowing all about Michael Jordan and seeing his famous Nike Air logo and 23 jerseys on men, women and children alike.

    He was more famous than any leader or tyrant or rock star that ever lived…

    …and he was coming to the next show.

    After Chris told me the news that Jordan would attend, I ran to the newsstand and bought a Time magazine. A few days earlier I had read their feature about his retirement and the murder of his father. A story that shocked the world.

    During my set I could think of nothing but Mike being in the balcony. I’d do a joke, get a laugh and think: I wonder if Jordan is laughing. I couldn’t help it. I’d seen him enter the club with his wife, along with famed Chicago Bears linebacker Richard Dent and his wife…

    Jordan seemed to glide instead of walk…

    …and his aura was visible.

    The normally empty backstage was packed with staff and audience members who’d somehow found their way in to get a glimpse at “his Airness”.

    Mike came bursting into the room through the kitchen doors like a mafia Don… followed by Rock, Dent and their smiling wives.

    I’ll never forget Michael Jordan looking across the room, spotting me, and putting his enormously long arm in the air for the greeting. He said something about how funny I was. I wasn’t sure how to return the compliment to a guy in the midst of leaving a sport he redefined – for a roster spot on a AA baseball team.

    “Thanks, man. Glad you came.” was all I could muster. Then I did the thing that haunts me to this day. I pulled out the magazine and asked him to sign it for me…instantly dropping my rank in his eyes from talented entertainer to common fan.

    I knew it was a mistake the second I did it. The door was open for any conversation I wanted to have with him, and I had just slammed it shut by choosing the same one he is forced to have with strangers every day.

    The shame of it.

    I ended up giving that autograph to a friend whose kids would get a thrill from it. I was glad to get it out of my site. No dollar value placed on it could ever be worth more than the harsh lesson I learned that day.

    See, I know now why I sabotaged that moment. It was more than just a bad split-second decision in a dramatic social situation…

    The truth is… I didn’t feel worthy of Michael Jordan’s attention – and especially his admiration. I was viewing him as a superstar instead of a person.

    I should have spoken to the Michael Jordan I could relate to…

    The one who grew up poor in North Carolina, who was cut from his varsity basketball team for being “too short”, who was “freezed out” by teammates at his first NBA All Star game. The one fumbling through an awkward career change. The one who had recently lost a parent.

    But I wasn’t looking for his human traits. I was caught up in his aura. Too Busy looking for what was more than human about him.

    I don’t make that mistake anymore.

    Don’t get me wrong… I still believe in seeking out people to admire, even call them “heroes” sometime. But when I meet a famous person (whether they’re universally admired – or only famous in my mind) I remember that they are just people. And no matter how high their pedestal, there’s always common ground between us.

    Celebrity is manufactured in the mind of the fan. When you meet someone you admire, do yourself a favor and forget their resume. Pretend you’ve never heard of them. Be yourself.

    If Michael Jordan wants to be your fan for a minute…let him.


    John Carlton replies:

    Killer stuff, Kevin.

    Good, solid writing. I would have put at least a parenthetical comment backing up the claim that ventriloquists are “sick” — of course, you see how this can lead to trouble when you’re trying to be brief with stories. What you’ve got here — a single night, really — can be let out to full novel-length. Or at least a full on rant. The lessons are thick, the observations profound, the set up (behind the scenes of a world most people will never get a taste of) rippling with adventure.

    Just really freakin’ good writing here.

    Thanks, man.

    John

  22. Bill says:

    1.
    When I was about twelve years old, I burned down a neighbor’s backyard storage shack after one of my “playing-with-matches” binges. I lit an old stack of newspapers that was stored inside, then let it burn for a few seconds before blowing it completely out (so I thought).

    A couple of hours later, my brother came running upstairs to our bedroom eagerly wanting to tell me about a fire out back. After I hurried to the window, I looked down and saw my neighbor’s silhouette frantically running around the outside of the engulfed shack, looking for a way to get in and save whatever he could, to no avail.

    To this day whenever I think about it, I can still feel the tidal wave of guilt I felt at that exact moment. I never played with matches again (although I am an expert campfire starter).

    ———–

    2.
    I never did like cats, but there was this one…

    There was a stray cat that had a litter underneath an old storage shed at the place where I worked. Four coworkers each took a kitten, but there was one left behind. As I got closer to it, I noticed that its eyes were crusted shut and it was wheezing slightly as it breathed. My coworkers (postal workers, by the way) left this one behind, I suppose, because it was “damaged goods”.

    I took it to the vet and he gave me a small supply of medicine that was supposed to clear up her infection. For three nights I let this small creature sleep on my chest. Because she couldn’t see anything, she would constantly meow if I put her on the floor by herself. But she was calm if she could feel me touching her. I left her in my apartment during the days when I went to work. (All of those wheezing meows must have pissed off the neighbors).

    After a few days of that, I found another coworker who agreed to take care of this sick kitten. The infection never cleared up though, and a couple of days after I had given her away, she passed in her sleep.

    So I guess I didn’t save her after all. But I tried.

    That was twelve years ago. I still think about that yellow kitten every once in a while.

    John Carlton replies:

    Good for you, Bill. Small acts of kindness leave large ripples in life. There are lessons from your actions you’ll continue to learn and grow from for years to come. Sometimes the micro is more powerful than the macro — meaning, what we do on a small scale influences things more than the “big stuff”, like war.

    Heady stuff.

    Thanks for sharing.

    John

  23. Cam Forbes says:

    Hey John,

    Just stumbled by while I procrastinated on writing a new draft of my sales letter. Thought you might have some blogging words of wisdom and instead found this.

    ..and I just learned a lot about you.

    Don’t think I’ll be able to make SF, but if you ever decided to do one down here in So Cal, lemme know.

    My 2 things:

    1) I was born in Long Beach, CA and have lived in 19 different cities in my 37 years on this earth… attended 3 different Elementary schools, 2 Junior Highs and 2 High Schools… and still turned out okay (I think).

    2) I have a brand-new set of very nice golf clubs (Cobra FP irons, Ping G3 driver, etc) that I got a year ago. I haven’t used them yet.

    Around the same time I got a new MacBook Pro which I have used every day since I got it. (Umm… Priorities?)

    Anyway, great stopping by. Talk to you soon….

    -Cam

  24. Craig Woolven says:

    John,

    2 random things………mmmmm……….

    1) Unlike you, I was sent to school “early” and came out of the school system 12 years later knowing a lot of scholastic stuff but totally clueless about life, people, business, relationships and finances. On the plus side, being young and small I got picked on a lot which made me toughen up, grow some attitude and be my own man.

    2) I once attended a function announcing a market stock placement to raise funds to build a bridge from Indonesia to Singapore.

    Keep em coming John.

    Craig

  25. John,

    1. I’ve got a pretty good memory too, I can almost always remember what year something happened and what time of year it was. Not as good as yours, but…

    There’s this NLP exercise where someone asks you to describe your mental timeline as you imagine it in relation to your body. It’s really interesting to do this with a group of people because everybody describes it differently.

    For me the future stretches out in front of me ahead and slightly to the right. The present intersects on the left side of my face and goes back over my left shoulder as you go to the past.

    For my wife, the future is a clear line ahead of her but as soon as it goes into the past it blows into a million pieces.

    She has a hard time remembering stuff, and can rarely remember exactly when something was.

    2. Months of the year are laid out on a circle for me, like slices of pie, with January 1 at the 12 o’clock position. The year goes around in a circle. A picture I got from my 2nd grade classroom display on the wall, which had everybody’s birthday on it.

    Months each have their own color. August is a deep orange. July is light blue. May is red.

    Letters and numbers have colors too. 2 is orange. 7 is dark brown. Q is red. S is yellow.

    Associating things like that with colors and textures is called Synesthesia and about 5% of people perceive the world that way.

    So there’s two things about me. 25 more, thanks to John tagging me, at http://www.perrymarshall.com/25-random-things/

    I’m feeling rather frosty today.

    Perry Marshall

  26. Kris Mills says:

    John,

    Thank you for sharing so much about yourself and for the opportunity you have given for others to share.

    My two random things relate to how we often write our own destinies at an early age.

    1. When I was a little girl I decided that when I grew up and got married I would have two children. Having said that, I only wanted to be fat and pregnant once so those children would be twins (even though I didn’t have a family history of twins).

    What happened? Yes, I did have two children and surprisingly they are twins, conceived without IVF.

    2. When I was little I also decided I wanted two different types of careers …

    First – I wanted to be a writer but because (in my belief system at the time) authors starved, I would go into advertising instead.

    The trouble was, I didn’t want to go to university and gain a qualification because that would have meant three additional years of study without earning money. Instead, I figured I would just walk into an advertising job without experience or qualifications (crazy … huh)

    Second – as a ten year old I also wanted to either be a witch or Wonder Woman so I would have magical powers and save lives (even though I didn’t have any special other-worldly gifts at the time).

    As it turns out, I did manage to walk into an advertising job without experience or qualifications (in a very competitive market) and have now been a freelance direct response copywriter and marketer for 17 years.

    As for the “witch with magical powers” ambition, that in a sense has come true too. I now have a variety of psychic gifts which, interestingly, are also very beneficial abilities for a writer and marketer to have.

    And the “Wonder Woman” bit … incredibly, (in a “do my bit for humanity” kind of way) I’ve just entered that chapter of my life now. Go figure.

    Take Care,

    Kris (Kristina) Mills

  27. Jeff Walker says:

    John,

    Great stuff… so I suppose I owe you two of my 25…

    16. I have floated down the Colorado river through the Grand Canyon. It’s the trip of a lifetime, and I’ve done it five times. These were all “private” trips – self-outfitted without any guides, where we figure it out on our own. I rowed my raft four times, and paddled it once in a kayak. The longest trip was 21 days, the shortest was 16 days.

    19. I’ve loved punk rock since I first heard the London Calling album by the Clash. But I have to admit, I never thought it would be an interest I would end up sharing with my son.

    - Jeff

  28. mividalogo says:

    Hi John,

    Great read. I also have the longer second toe, the memories from an infant prior to speech, and the wondrous experience of getting glasses and seeing what trees really looked like. Who knew there was so much detail I was missing!

    In reference to the time 4:44, I did some research in numerology and came up with the following meaning:
    Creative and playful, this is a good number for artists, musicians, and young people. Lacks focus and direction, yet inspiring, motivating, and original. A “popular” number that tends to attract others. Particularly good for authors and song writers. Not good for ambitious and goal-oriented people.
    There are also a growing number of people convinced that times like 4:44 or 5:55 or 11:11 and the like are moments when you are connecting with the superconscience, angels, or whatever you view as a/the higher power. Some people refer to it as a wink from the universe. Just some fodder for you to think on.

    As far as my two random facts, I’m going to base mine on the random bad pick up lines I’ve experienced since my divorce. I could probably fill a book with them, but I will limit it to two. The first was a guy who came into my shop in the guise of purchasing from me. After inquiring about his line of work (it was pertinent to the sales discussion), he reached into his pocket and his hand came out wearing an eyeball ring and he was making his hand talk to me ventriloquist style. I burst into involuntary laughter at him because it was so ridiculous; embarrassed for both of us. The joke was on me though, because the laughter merely encouraged him. I was trapped in my own shop for the next 30 or so minutes while he produced different props and cheap jokes, that might have impressed me had I been about 6 and at a birthday party, but in my shop, it was just plain sad.

    Just when I thought he was done and the torment over, he switched to phase two, oh dear GAWD NO, not balloon animals! He made me a teddy bear in a heart and a flower, or something. At one point I was actually wondering if it would be bad form of me to leave my own shop with him in there. I kept looking at the door, wanting to escape, all the while thinking, no one will ever believe this! I had these visions of my grabbing a pin and killing the balloon before he could create more, but I restrained myself because he seemed so sincere. When what seemed like an eternity finally ended, he asked me to dinner. I felt almost guilty turning him down after all that effort, but I felt like I’d already given so much of my life! I was given the balloons and the eyeball ring as lovely parting gifts! Seriously.

    The second guy seemed nice enough. I wasn’t interested though and I was trying to get rid of him. I made some comment about buying a motorcycle and he instantly said we should wear matching shirts. Since I found him so annoying, I said, “Mine will say if you can read this the bi#$h fell off, and yours will say Bi#$h.” He was undeterred. He said, “No my shirt should say “Stud Puppy” and yours can say “Puppy Handler”.

    Well by then I lost it. I said, “Puppy Handler?! What the heck does that mean, you’re going to hump my leg and then pee on the floor?”

    Anyway, those are my two random contributions.

    Hoping for thaw!
    mividalogo

  29. Kaye says:

    1) My family lived in and rented out rooms in a boarding house across the street from Disneyland in the exact spot where the Anaheim Convention Center was built. I saw the collie Lassie (one from the TV show) do tricks at the ribbon-cutting ceremony to ‘burn down our house’ and build the convention center.

    2) A few years later we drove into So. California in our old beat-up white Ford van–after 1500 miles or so on the road (Dad liked to drive straight through) without a radio (or a clue) to see my grandparents in Lynwood at the peak of the Watts riots.

  30. Kaye says:

    Cont’d #XXXI

    Oh, yeah. 2) …”We drove into So. California from Montana–where we were living and owned property.”

    Gees, my first write-up was washed away.

  31. I love the idea of 25 random things. I did it socially on Facebook a few weeks back, but your post has inspired me to incorporate it into a business blog. Thanks for the idea.

    Random #1
    In 1975, while moving from Ohio to Southern California, my family’s moving van was stolen leaving us with nothing when we arrived. I wore donated clothes for a long time. It builds character.

    Random #2
    I love my life, but if I thought when I was 15 that I’d be doing now what I’m doing, I probably would have jumped off a bridge. It’s all a matter of experience and perspective.

    Jonathan Aluzas
    http://www.arenafitness.com

  32. Ryan Healy says:

    John,

    Great list, man.

    Since you asked: “The numeric value of ‘Holy Place’ and ‘Sanctuary’ in Hebrew is 444.” (According to Stephen Jones.)

    Michel tagged me, too. Here are two from my list at:
    http://www.ryanhealy.com/25-random-things-about-me/

    6. My wedding day was on 9/11/99 — two years before 9/11 happened.

    12. Back in 1998, I made $10 an hour installing wire closet shelving in new homes. I can’t tell you how many times people joked about me “coming out of the closet.” Unpleasant side effect of working in real, literal closets 10 hours a day.

    Ryan

  33. Bryan says:

    Hi John,

    Great list.

    Here are two from my list:

    17. At 15 years old I was arrested for manufacturing and selling fake id’s…the funny part: I got the idea from an episode of Saved By The Bell…and didn’t realize what I was doing was so bad…until the cops showed up…thanks again Zack, Kelly, and Slater.

    25. I dropped out of college at 24 on my way to accounting degree…parents were very upset (both are college graduates)…and were going to show me by cutting off my funds…3 months later with no job they began to wonder was I doing something “illegal”…nope…wrote my first ebook and sales letter and was making a nice little income…to support my lavish lifestyle of going to the local college bars every weekend…miss the simple life.

  34. Jed Rose says:

    The order in which the “random” facts are written is quite telling about a person I think. Very interesting memory lane.

  35. I can tell you what I learned about the number 444, but first I need to tell you how I learned it. Cause you’re going to think it’s stupid and silly if I don’t (and maybe even stupider and sillier when I do).

    Not long after I left my husband (a rough time, financially and emotionally), I kept seeing the number 222 everywhere. On my microwave oven, on license plates, etc. At first I thought, oh, it’s just a coincidence. But it happened so often that I wondered if it meant something.

    Well, I don’t play the lottery, and I decided that if it was a message, someone up there would need to translate it for me. Otherwise it meant nothing. And until then, I would just let it go.

    Not long afterward, I came across a book on – do not laugh!!! – angels. And this book said that numbers like 111, 222, etc., are messages from the angels.

    Of course I bought the book. 222 meant to me that I was on the right track – that I would be okay.

    Here’s the excerpt for 444: The angels are surrounding you now, reassuring you of their love and help. Don’t worry because the angels’ help is nearby.

    Now, there’s one more thing about the story that I thought was pretty interesting. Some months later, I got an offer for affordable housing. I had to change my phone number. I got this really nice woman on the phone who said she would give me an easy number so that my then-7-year-old son could remember it easily.

    Then she said, “Oh, a good number popped up right away.” The last four digits: 5444

    That’s why I’m janet444 in my email address and in forums.

    Anyway, I think it’s a good sign that you were born at 4:44. I believe the angels are with all of us, but maybe you got a little more attention from them? ;-)

    Janet

  36. Romeo Blais says:

    ah, my life. Hmmm. Let’s take a peak.

    First – I was 15 years old back in 92′ when i received Lawrence Tabaks sales letter in the mail for his book “How To Fatten Your Wallet”. Changed my life. I was introduced to the “Prince of Prints” world. Still got the blue copy framed.

    Second – came up in 93′ with an all natural solution for Acne. Was gonna bottle it. Trashed idea. When PROACTIVE came along… I was fuming!

    Third – I threw my 20′s away by partying and having fun. Good news: During my drunkeness…I studied every good ad I came across till I was 34(got something in common with John, here…)
    I would call myself a MASTER, but John would tell me to stop crying.

    Fourth- I was arrested by the Secret Secret in 2004. I’ve been living off the banking system since I was 16. Another Frank Abagnale. A good 14 year run.
    My mistake and downfall: I got involved with an idiot. They (feds) only knew of the “last” thing I did. So, only got 14 months at Fort Devens in Massachuetts(spelling?)
    The feds swiped all my ads, sales letters and books- even a original copy of Boron letters, John Caples, and Robert Collier and Claude Hopkins. Sons of Bitches.

    Fifth- I’m a member of Mensa and Triple 9 society. My IQ is 158

    Sixth – I’m now 34 and about to embark on a major Direct mail campaign for a self help book.

  37. I appreciate with your beautiful blog, and thanks for share your experience here

  38. Aloha John,
    You list was very interesting. Here are two from my, yet to write, list.
    1. Rode waves for P.E. from 5th grade to 12th, being home-schooled in Hawaii.
    2. Married my first girlfriend, Mariana, after a 5 year long distance relationship with her. Her in Brazil and me in Hawaii.

  39. Dining Food Drinks Coupons Daily Specials…

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  40. Liz says:

    I’m one of those people that never likes to think about ‘me’ or post personal things about me, I think it’s because I find myself boring and can’t figure out why anyone would care, but since you asked :-)

    1. God sent me a miracle at 24, my hubby. Why did I get so lucky?
    2. I hate when people write learnt instead of learned.

  41. Ben says:

    Let’s pump some life into this post! I chose 2 entertaining ones:

    Random 1. Growing up, I always hung around people older than me… which had some weird consequences: I started smoking at 8 (cigarettes – other stuff followed when I was 11), but decided to quit when I was 13.

    Random 2. I decided to be a biologist and travel the world (doing research) when I was 13… as far as I remember that is my first strong “career decision”…
    … Unfortunately I didn’t get a monkey as a pet though… But luckily National Geographic Channel was around and I watched everything I could on the behavior of monkeys (It took me some years to realize humans are an equally interesting species to observe – your blog is helping me realize that even more…)

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