34 things about me, as an introduction

I’ve been inspired by Ashley, Jenny, and Sarah’s blog posts about themselves that I feel the need to write more about myself, especially as an introduction to many of the new people I am meeting during this point of my life. I’m not quite ready to talk about some of life’s lessons and the emotions that I have gone through the way they did, but these are fun stories and things that help define me. Chosing 32 items like Sarah did was an attractive idea (it is 2^5, after all, and as a programmer that is significant to me), but I kept going and decided to stop at 34, my current age:

  1. I was born with 7 fingers on each hand and 6 toes on each foot. The extra digits were removed in 3 surgeries between the ages of 18 months and 2 years old, so I don’t remember them. My parents say they were fully functional and formed as the others. If I have read some news reports right, I probably could have been in the Guinness Book of World Records for the most fingers and toes.

  2. My first steps were not until I was 22 months old, and they were not walking, but running. I have valgus of the ankles which makes it hard for me to put weight on my feet and this wasn’t discovered until that time. I was fitted with orthotics at that time and when my mother set me down after putting them on, I took off running.

  3. I have had at least 16 major surgeries (I don’t think I’m forgetting any) in my life, with my first at six weeks old and the most recent being this last December. The most significant to me is my kidney transplant that I had 2 years ago.

  4. The donor of my transplant kidney is my (now former) mother-in-law. She’s an amazing woman and to this day still tells me she never regrets it for a moment.

  5. Because of my kidney transplant and issues relating to that, I currently am taking 27 pills a day. It changes from week to week, depending on what my needs are. I’ve heard plenty of jokes about my pharmacy when people see all of my pill bottles. The last time I had to spend some time in the hospital, I was the one on my wing that had the most medication — even more than the 90 year olds.

  6. I discovered four years ago that I have retinitis pigmentosa and that I was slowly losing my vision. It has progressed enough that I have trouble seeing at night and can no longer drive at night. The specialist that I’ve been to says I could likely be completely blind in about a decade.

  7. I am only 4’6″ and probably have been that height since I was 15 or so. I am the only one in my family (immediate and extended) like this. My older brother is 6’4″ and my younger sister is 5’10″. It was very weird for me in college when one of my good friends was shorter than me.

  8. I have always joked about having a “token tall person” to take with me shopping to reach the things that I cannot. In college, one of my good friends was 4’11″ and she was my token tall person for a while. My ex-wife was 4’10″ and was the tall one in our relationship as well. I doubt they ever thought they would be useful for their great height.

  9. I was so oblivious to and had given up on dating that when my ex-wife asked me on our first date, I didn’t even realize she was asking me out. I’m pretty sure I even said, “Wait, did you just ask me on a date?” Whoops.

  10. I had football jersey #90 in high school. I did. I really didn’t play, I just spent all of my time with the members of the team and they made me an honorary member at the end of the season my Senior year.

  11. Very much like my father (and, from my memories of him, my grandfather), when I find something that works for me, I stick with it. My Dad (and my grandfather) dressed in the same style (and often brand) of clothing as long as I remember. He only drives one brand of truck. He has mostly only driven one brand of car. Me? I have worn the same type of shoe (Dr. Marten’s) almost every single day since I was 19. Of the four cars I have owned and been the primary driver of, the first two were Chevy Cavaliers and the next two are both Honda Civics.

  12. Even though many in my extended family (including my grandfather) were and are gifted horsemen, the last time I was on a horse, I lasted barely longer than 8 seconds. My feet didn’t reach the stirrups (see point #7) and as the horse was trotting, it was hard not to let them hit the horse’s side. It thought I was telling it to go faster. It went faster, I was bouncing up and down. I eventually was holding onto the saddle horn with all my might and hanging off the side of the horse. Then I was on the ground. Papa would have been proud, though.

  13. Falling and hitting my head seems to be a common theme in my life. In second grade, I was bumped by a classmate and fell and hit my head on the corner of the platform they made for my desk. In third grade, I fell off the top of the tallest slide in the playground at school. I remember climbing up the ladder to the slide and then being at home, in bed, and my parents looking down at me.

  14. I have been in five car wrecks as a driver (and one as a passenger as an infant). Two were my fault, and the other three were not my fault or unavoidable given the situation.

  15. I am an epic napper. I’ve been known to sleep in the craziest places and in the craziest conditions. My freshman year of college, I fell asleep at the super bowl party my campus residence hall put on. Often through the last couple years of college, I would fall asleep with loud music blaring out from my computer. There was something comforting about that. I did that a bit in the last year during my time off of work to deal with health issues.

  16. I grew up in a small town in the middle of nowhere Idaho. I was used to knowing about everyone and I think that translated into me being more open in college and making many more friends.

  17. Some of the people I consider to be my best friends I have never met in person. I have been interacting with people online since 1994 and there are some people I’ve been talking with now for at least a dozen years, and one friend I first met online in 1995. Some I have later met, but most I only know them but my interactions with them on IRC, Twitter, etc.

  18. I am a very touchy-feely kind of person and love hugs. In college, I was well known around campus and nearly every girl I knew would give me a hug when I saw her. My roommates were always confused at how I did that.

  19. Until recently, I’m as apolitical as they come and not really one to be in the spotlight. But, in college, I ran for the office of Academic Vice President of the university student government. My slogan was “Life is short, so is Travis.” I didn’t make it past the primaries, but I got a significant number of write-in votes (which is interesting because the final race was won by 2 votes).

  20. During the last couple of years of college, a very significant part of my life was country swing dancing. I think I often surprised people because I could easily dance with girls anywhere from around my height to even six feet tall (that is, if the girl trusted me to lead).

  21. I took piano lessons for around 9 years. I hated practicing, but found I was good at sight reading. The last few years of lessons, I literally would sight read a piece and pass it off with the teacher. I still play in church, but I’m certainly not as talented as I should be for playing this long.

  22. I absolutely love loud music. I love to feel the bass. I love to feel the music in my bones, in my heart. I’ve always got the music cranked in my car, and when I’m home alone, I have the music turned up loud. It doesn’t matter what it is — from hard rock, to pop, to classical symphonies, I have it cranked.

  23. I absolutely love music in general. It really does speak to my soul. I think some of my music choices would surprise those who don’t know me outside of certain aspects of my life. Eminem, Green Day, and some other alternative and hard rock bands are typical on my playlists. At times, certain music has just spoke to me, and I have grasped onto it and will forever listen to it. A lot of times, my love of music becomes even greater as I learn the stories behind the songs or about the artists.

  24. My all-time favorite band is Creed. I think the thing that actually got me interested in them as a band was watching the VH1 “Behind the Music” special on them. (I love that show. There’s something about the cliched “Rise, then fall, then re-ascension of such-and-such pop artist” in that narrator’s voice that fascinates me.) There was something about Scott Stapp’s story that I identified with and I actually listened to the lyrics. It just touched me and for a period of a few years, I know I listened to every song they had released thus far every day at least once. I’ve been to two of their concerts, and got to meet them 2 years ago. I was able to tell them how much their music helped me through much of the rough times of my life.

  25. Even though I know very little Spanish, I love listening to two Latin Pop artists — Mana and Shakira. I had many friends in college that spoke Spanish and it was from them that I learned to enjoy that music.

  26. In contrast to some of my music choices, I actually absolutely love shows for children and teens. When I’ve spent time in the hospital and have had not much else other than watching TV to do, I’ve spent most of my time watching Nickelodean and the Disney Channel. My cousin’s 2 year old was amazed when I knew who Perry the Platypus was that was on his shirt.

  27. My all-time favorite TV show is probably Charmed. Like many other things in my life, I think I must have randomly saw an episode that struck some cord with me emotionally (and, of course, it definitely helped that the sisters are extremely attractive) that I became obsessed with the show. I didn’t start watching until probably the 6th season, and now have all of the episodes. Now, I follow Alyssa, Holly, and Rose on Twitter and now I’m even a bigger fan as I see their personalities and genuineness.

  28. As much as there are certain TV show I love, and as much as I love having access to the Internet, the 2 years I lived alone in my own apartment after first moving to Austin, I did not have TV or Internet at home. Since moving in with my current roommate, I haven’t had cable, and once again I find that I haven’t missed it.

  29. For the longest time, I absolutely swore up and down I would never have a cell phone. I thought my sister and my father were just tied to work 24/7 because of their phones and I absolutely did not (and still don’t) want that. I ate my words though when I couldn’t resist the siren song of an awesome gadget and have been hooked ever since.

  30. Within probably a three-month span towards the end of 1999, I started using three technologies that have significantly affected my career and the way I use a computer. It was the Debian Linux distribution, the Python programming language, and the Emacs text editor.

  31. As a child, I was obsessed with astronomy, ancient history (particularly of ancient Egypt), and the paranormal (I read books on UFOs, Bigfoot, mythical creatures, etc). It has only been recently that I’ve regained that interest and admitted it.

  32. As an adult, that obsession has spread to things like yoga, vegetarianism and veganism, alternative medicine, mindfulness and meditation, etc. It is definitely far from the path of what I was exposed to growing up.

  33. A recent new obsession has been psychology and neuroscience. I’m fascinated by the human brain and how it works and how plastic it is and things can change. It has helped me understand the circumstances of my life and helps give me hope for the future.

  34. One of my greatest weaknesses is how much I like programmer fuel aka Mt. Dew. Especially when I work somewhere that offers soda for the employees, it is hard to not drink it all the time. Something ironic was that I was given a t-shirt with the Mt. Dew logo on it that I wore home from the hospital when I was released after having my kidney transplant. Whoops.

I hope that helps you get to know me a little better and you don’t think I’m too weird. :)


In two previous posts, I wrote about ideas that resonate with me and also this state of being that I got into while driving my new car. ...… Continue reading

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