1. I was born in 1968. My earliest memory is watching Walter Cronkite playing with a model rocket as he explained the first moon landing.
2. My earliest memory of my father is an association of a necktie with the concept of a thousand dollars.
3. When I was a child, I wept at the thought of being unable to meaningfully communicate with my dog, a cocker spaniel named Colleen.
4. I was hyperactive as a kid - on Ritalin, the whole bit - and I was teased mercilessly because of my lack of impulse control.
5. My mother explained my relation to the world by telling the story of how, when other kids were riding down the slide, I'd try to convince them to do something far more interesting. She often reminisced about how frustrated I was that they only wanted to wait in line, ride down the slide, and wait again.
6. My mother taught me that the key to understanding my family's emphasis on self-reliance is to study the isolated, craggy shores of Scotland. [I did in 2011.]
7. When I was a kid, I wanted to be an aeronautical engineer, but I got turned off by the math.
8. The kindest thing my mother ever did for me is this: When we walked out of a showing of The Right Stuff, I asked her, "Mom, do I have the 'right stuff'?" Without blinking an eye, she answered, "yes."
9. At the age of 16, I was almost killed when I rode my bike into the path of an oncoming car. In a feat of unexplainable gymnastics, I somehow turned perfectly perpendicular from my path onto the road and didn't get a scratch. Assuming I had expended my supply of good fortune, I always presumed thereafter that I'd die exactly 16 years later. Turning 32 was a little strange for me. Living afterward has been strange, too.
10. I won a fight in high school once, but I'm more proud of the day in which I talked myself out of one, even as a crowd of onlookers were hungry for blood.
11. In the Navy, I once almost got turned into hamburger by the intake of an A-6 Intruder.
12. One of my biggest regrets is not going to Berlin to see the Wall come down in 1989, even though I lived relatively nearby in Spain.
13. I married my high school sweetheart (though, technically, we first knew each other in middle school).
14. Every major mistake I've made in life is due to impatience - most of my achievements, too.
15. I cried like a baby in grad school when I got caught claiming to have read a book that I'd only skimmed. That day, I committed to never overstate my accomplishments again.
16. Everything I learned about doing my job as a college professor came from work as a Navy broadcaster and college forensics competitor. Thinking on my feet, working under deadline, and synthesizing coherent wholes from disparate parts is what I do for a living.
17. Every few weeks I quietly recite the Gettysburg Address to myself.
18. The biggest lesson I've learned in the past ten years is a bit sad: Friends who are friendly at their convenience are best reclassified as "acquaintances."
19. I get easily stressed by unordered social situations.
20. I'm awful at remembering names and faces: a frustrating skill-deficit for a professor.
21. I find it increasingly difficult to suppress my annoyance at people who walk around with their heads down while sending text messages. That's a bad thing, walking around a college campus with a scowl.
22. My favorite activities involve long distance driving. Photographing old motels, diners, and neon signs is a passion of mine. But the freedom of an open horizon is what I love most of all about the highway.
23. It's a cliche, I know, but I want to see Paris. I can't believe I haven't gone yet. [I finally did in 2011.]
24. I'm so happy that Jenny and I share a vision of
25. I'm agnostic, but I still pray.