Twenty Questions on my Thirtieth Birthday

Yesterday was December 21, the shortest day of the year.

Today is December 22, and the days lengthen.

The ancients called this day Sol Invictus, or “The Unconquered Sun”.

Also on this day, I was born.

Birthday Time 2015

Every year since I moved from Pennsylvania, Mom calls me at 7:15 in the morning on my birthday because that’s when I was born.

This year was no exception, and it was wonderful.

I was going to make a pun about being the Unconquered Son, but some might view that as borderline heresy/blasphemy.

However, I’m ready for those people. Thanks to Monty Python, I always expect the Spanish Inquisition.

Monty Python Spanish Inquisition Quote

Anyway, now that my mother is officially “old” according to her, I thought I’d do a little self-examination and answer twenty questions about myself.

1. What are some nicknames you’ve acquired over the years?

JP, James, General, PJ

Please note that my listing of these names should not be construed as a blanket invitation to use these names.

Never, ever, under any circumstances should the names “JP” or “PJ” be used.

I will rise from the dead and haunt you, exacting my revenge until the end of your days. And then I’ll continue my persecution in the afterlife.

Just don’t do it.

Only one person in the world may call me “James”; I’ll simply correct the rest of you.

Anyone and everyone may call me “General” but I’ll probably question why you’re calling me that as the nickname was given by a certain group of friends in college.

2. What are you favorite colors?

My favorite colors are black and green.

For those who say black is not a color, we should talk sometime.

3. Do you have a favorite bird and/or animal?

I like the pre-feathered velociraptors, wolves (but not as much as when I was in high school), and cats – yes, Smokey has converted me from a dog person to a cat person.

4. Is there a creature that intrigues you, but also freaks you out a little?

Spiders, and let’s leave it at that.

5. How old do you really feel?

I’ve often been told I’m an old man trapped in a young man’s body, so I can honestly say my age is growing into my attitude (or something like that).

Mr Tom and I think alike on many things, and he’s 97.

My father-in-law and I also enjoy many of the same things, and he’s in his mid-50s.

Have I answered the question? I really can’t tell.

6. Do you have a song you struggle to admit you love?

No, I’m very honest about the music I love, hate, or love to hate.

7. Are there any film(s) you’ve seen more than 10 times?

The Godfather Trilogy

They’re all good; I don’t care about public opinion regarding Part III.

Jurassic Park, Jurassic Park: The Lost World, and Jurassic Park III

Again, I like them all.

A Christmas Story

The Hogfather

I’m certain there’s more, but I feel these are probably the important ones.

8. Is there a planet and/or star system you feel resonates with you?

Pluto and Betelgeuse

9. Is there a food and/or beverage you just can’t stand?

shrimp, Brussels sprouts, iced coffee (coffee over ice; I like other cold, coffee-based drinks just fine)

10. What personal trait(s) you can only apologize for?

My inability to read social cues.

11. Personal traits you will never apologize for?

I feel this question is best answered with a picture:

Birthday Shirt 2015

I received this shirt as a birthday present from a friend who also shares a December 22nd birthday.

We know the struggle, and the struggle is real.

12. Say you were in a position of power; what one thing would you remove from society?

What position of power are we talking about, exactly?

I’ll assume President of the United States (since that’s (a) the country in which I live and (b) the position that would allow me to affect societal change in some way).

Oh, I can only remove one thing?

That’s tough . . . how about . . .

ignorant voting.

Good thing you didn’t ask me how.

13. Now, what one thing would you add to society?

Fully-funded libraries

14. Country you’d like to visit before you kick the bucket?

Deutschland (aka Germany)

15. What one thing would you like to learn to do even if you think it’s impossible?

Draw; right now, my stick figures have advanced-stage leprosy.

16. What word(s) do you say far too often?

As a teacher, I find myself saying “focus” all too often.

Outside the classroom, I probably say “Well, actually” far too much.

17. Is there a sound you really like?

Coffee brewing

18. What number(s) do you feel connected to?


19. What super-power would you like to have?

I’d like to be able to read minds when I choose to.

None of this “read everyone’s mind all the time so the world never shuts up and I go crazy from all the inaudible noise” mess. I want to be able to turn it on/off, too.

This would solve that “social cues” problem I mentioned earlier.

20. Name one book/text you would recommend to your peers:

I’m going to name two, because it’s my birthday.

Dante’s Divine Comedy

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury


Something else you want me to answer or know more about?

Let me know in the comments!


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