Monday, May 07, 2007

105 random things about me

I have been double-tagged on this one, by Kim the Kanadienne, and by Lisa. (I have another tagging I'm working on, but it's not coming as fast.)

Near as I can get it, this is to be a list of random things about me. Carla did 100, and it's a great list, much better than mine. Lisa and Kim (linked above) did 7 interesting things... let's see what comes to me. [Afterwards: oh, crud. A lot came to me.]

Why would anyone read this? Can't imagine. Maybe it's like a traffic accident: fascinating, in a horrifying way. Oh, well, here goes:
  1. My wife is the smartest, most amazing woman I know. There seems to be virtually no subject that she doesn't know at least something about. I never feel I've thought a decision through until I hear what she thinks. I've known her a couple of decades, and she still amazes me regularly. And planning trips? No mortal is her equal. She's interesting.
  2. I am the youngest of three children, with my sisters being 10 and 13 years my seniors. (A seminary professor unkindly [but not cruelly] referred to me as a product of "middle-aged carelessness." Though I've been called worse, my late mother assured me that I was deliberate. Or anyway my conception was.)
  3. As a yoot, I was an amateur herpetologist. When I did a talk and a slide-show for our nearest Herpetological Society, I was the youngest who had ever spoken there. In the course of my dabbling with that hobby I had alligator lizards, caimans, tegus, boa constrictors, gopher snakes, red racer snakes, basilisk lizards, and various toads, frogs, and salamanders. Coolest lizard was probably the old-world chameleons (as opposed to the anoles you can buy anywhere), but they were delicate and very hard to keep. I'd take one on my finger into the back yard, point it at a fly sitting on our low wall, and zap!, out would come its long tongue. It was like having a lizard-gun.
  4. I owned a business in my very early teens: Dan Phillips' Flies (motto: "My dry flies float and my wet flies sink"). I tied and sold trout flies, for which business I had to get a state license. It got its kick-start when I was hired to tie flies at the Great Western Sports Exhibit. This was for a booth selling property in the Sierra. I would tie a free fly for anyone, and as the crowd gathered to watch, salesmen would talk to them. Pretty good money; lots of fun. I met the accomplished character actor John Dehner — but, unfortunately, did not realize how many times I'd seen him on TV. Sadly, I was more ambitious than my skills warranted at first (I got better), and did not manage the business well.
  5. I invented two trout-fly patterns that were actually very good, and which I still use in fly-fishing: the Dan Phillips Humpy (a variation on the classic Humpy), and the Red-tailed Alice (named for my mother).
  6. Dry-fly fishing is my favorite form of fishing, though it is also the hardest. (Perhaps that's why it's the most fun?) Watching your fly float along, then seeing it get "hit" by a trout — simply electric.
  7. When I was young, I was a miserable traveler on our family trips to the Sierra, because I just wanted to "get there." I constantly asked "Are we there, yet?" I couldn't wait to start fishing. My poor parents.
  8. When I got to my later teens, and especially after my conversion to Christ, the trip itself became more and more fun. Coming from the Los Angeles area, watching the crowded cities give way to the open, dusty desert; then to the low foothills to the left; then to the high desert with the hills turning to craggy, forested mountains, with ribbons of streams tracing their way down the foothills — just thrilled me.
  9. After my conversion to Christ, I regularly did (and continue to do) what would have been unimaginable to me as a child: go to the Eastern Sierra without fishing gear! I go just for the beauty, the serenity, the time I spend with God. I'd go now, if I could. In fact, I'd move my family there, if I could. And I've tried.
  10. I love clear running water — particularly in the Sierra!
  11. I remember five-cent coffee (at Schat's, in Bishop, California).
  12. I remember thirty-cent per gallon gas, with full service.
  13. I remember the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, and being appalled at all those girls screaming.
  14. First presidential vote: Jimmy Carter. It was a mistake of idealism and naivete. I first began to realize the gravity of my mistake when I saw a picture of him (as the caption read) "accepting the mark of a Hindu worshiper" on his forehead. I can sympathize with folks who vote stupidly; not with those who refuse to admit and learn from it, however.
  15. One difference between Rush Limbaugh and me: I have voted for Ronald Reagan. Twice.
  16. Dang, I'm old.
  17. My father was 49 when I was born, and my mother 39.
  18. A blessing for me that my father had such remarkable health. When he took his last hike with me, he was about eighty years old. Remarkable man.
  19. I didn't really begin to appreciate my father until I was about sixteen years old.
  20. On our first hike together (somewhere around my twelfth year), my father carried my backpack part of the way. On our last, I carried his.
  21. He would have turned 100 last year, if it wasn't for the misdiagnosed and thus mis-treated cancer that took him.
  22. I hate cancer like it was a person, I still tear up at the thought of my father's death, fourteen years later — and I still bitterly miss my father.
  23. In Princess Bride, I tear up at Inigo Montoya's scene with Count Rugen. I picture Rugen as Cancer, and myself as Montoya.
    Inigo Montoya: Offer me everything I ask for.
    Count Rugen: Anything you want.
    Inigo Montoya: I want my father back, you ________.
  24. And yep, I tear up, just writing that.
  25. Not quite following in my father's footsteps, but I was just shy of forty-four when my last was born. Thankfully I too have a very healthy constitution, though I am not in as good shape as my father was.
  26. A tribute I read not too long ago said, "If I were half the man my father was, I'd be twice the man I am." That resonates painfully with me.
  27. First job out of high-school: cooking at Bob's Big Boy in Glendale, California.
  28. I have also been a private investigator. My boss thought I was very good; he said he couldn't wait until I got my first church, since then I could work for him full time. ("How hard can it be to get up and talk for fifteen minutes, once a week?")
  29. I am twice-over a failed MLM-er. I just can't "use" my friends that way — and never had that many friends.
  30. I did hear something useful from a couple who was (by contrast) successful at MLM. They told me something like this: "In conversation, you are always either buying, or selling." In other words, you are telling, or being told; you are persuading, or being persuaded.
  31. My failing in conversation is that I usually am a listener, a "buyer," and not a persuader. (I know, you wouldn't think that by the blogs. But they're primarily monologues, aren't they?) I'm often uncomfortable taking charge of a conversation and aiming it where I want to go. This makes me a terrible salesman, and it isn't great for me as a pastor.
  32. My father was the same! He tried to sell magazines once, and he said his presentation went something like, "You probably don't need another magazine, do you?"
  33. The exception to "usually listener, not persuader" is in preaching, teaching, and writing — but, again, they're primarily monologues, aren't they? Perhaps more to the point: people are there hearing me voluntarily.
  34. None of this to say that I won't debate, or engage in verbal swordplay. I just am very unlikely to initiate it.
  35. To illustrate, one of my great failings in my first senior pastorate was my horrible reluctance to go toe-to-toe. I reasoned that the expository preaching was plain, pointed, and specific, so what could I add to it? If knowing what God said wasn't sufficient, what difference would me initiating an encounter and repeating the same thing in a different setting make? If the person had no sense of needing to hear a given (and already-preached) truth, what could I do?
  36. I have seen the error of my ways. But that hasn't made me like it one milligram more.
  37. Being a responsive listener does, however, result in even strangers telling me some pretty amazing things.
  38. My recurring nightmare as a child: a monster was chasing me. I had the power of making huge, hurtling jumps. I could leap from our porch to the bottom of the hill, then to a distant bus-bench, then on and on. But the monster always kept right up with me, and it never took its eyes off of me, even for a second.
  39. My recurring nightmare as an adult was realizing that I was to teach a seminary class in five minutes, and had nothing prepared.
  40. I have another sort of recurring nightmare that's rather annoying: I very vividly "hear" someone rapping sharply at the door. I awake, startled, check it out. Nothing.
  41. I think white-car drivers are the worst in the world; and white-van or -truck drivers are the worst of the worst. This is a scientific fact. But which the chicken, which the egg? Is it the inability to pick an actual color that makes a bad driver? Do bad drivers pick white cars, or does the car being white cause someone to be a bad driver? I once was forced to drive a white rental car, and towards the end found myself changing lanes without signaling. I never do that. I signal turns on dirt roads! It was the white paint that did it.
  42. Traffic pet-peeve: people who change lanes without signaling. Usually, it's white cars—but by no means exclusively.
  43. Social pet-peeve: people who accept cell phone calls, and engage in conversations, no matter where they are or what they are doing. (Does the White House really need you right now?)
  44. Commercial pet-peeve: checkers who carry on dialogues with fellow-employees when they're supposed to be waiting on you.
  45. Just to tell you: if you ask me out, and then randomly accept a non-urgent call and engage in conversation while I wait, I am likely to leave. I'll be nice enough about it, but if I'm really that uninteresting, there are other things I can do. So if you've tired of my company, there's one way to solve your problem.
  46. I am successful at my job (praise God), and am very grateful for it. But I do not love it.
  47. Leaving aside the joys of marriage and family, and the joy of knowing Christ, I am happiest when I am preparing for or delivering a sermon, or any Bible-related talk. The process of sermon preparation and delivery makes me feel alive, makes my heart sing.
  48. Afterwards, however, I'm nearly useless for awhile. (My dear wife might challenge the "nearly," and not unkindly.)
  49. I have almost never turned down an invitation to preach.
  50. The only refusal I remember making was a matter of principle — and, even then, I did it very unhappily and with extreme reluctance.
  51. I have also been happiest in the Bishop/Mammoth Lakes area—except that I always have to leave! (What's up with that?)
  52. My conversion to Christ was academically revolutionary to me. Before, I was a whimsical student, meaning I only studied what interested me. I had no discipline whatever. C's, D's, incompletes accompanied a few A's and B's in the subjects that did interest me. The thought of college horrified me, primarily to see people chained to books instead of having fun with their friends.
  53. After Christ saved me, all that changed. It began instantaneously, but it took time. Studying the Bible, itself, was the first new discipline. Then Greek.
  54. The result was that I did the Talbot Theological Seminary M.Div. three-year program in 2.5 years, with a written thesis, and a GPA of 3.94. That's to the glory of God.
  55. I probably made a mistake in not following that up by pursuing a doctorate. The thought of the money was just too staggering, and I wanted to get out and do. And do, I did. But not well.
  56. Starting to work out the providential implications of that, though, and thinking of my children and all, is a ticket to insanity. So, I am where I am by God's will.
  57. I have twice had the experience of teaching the same exact class, with the first time being terrific fun, and the second time a miserable chore. It taught me what dramatic difference class make-up and dynamics can make.
  58. Example: Introduction to Hebrew. First time I taught it was a blast, believe it or not. hard, but a blast. So I was jazzed for the second go-around: I knew my stuff better, had worked out the kinks -- and I got this bunch of whiny, excuse-making, unmotivated students, that just brought me right down to the ground. Maybe only a few of them were really that way, but you know the saying about a little leaven. Same material, better teaching -- totally different experience! (Ditto teaching a class in Microsoft Word in a secular school.)
  59. I had parakeets as a child, and taught them to say "Pretty bird," and "Good grief, Charlie Brown!" They learned a lot more.
  60. Now I have cats — which I used to hate.
  61. I earned a green belt in karate at age 50, while suffering from kidney stones.
  62. Early in marriage and parenting, I regularly took "Daddy days" — going off alone for most of a Saturday to pray, read, walk around. Now I'm so domesticated that I very seldom do this... but I do do it, and when I do, it is good for me.
  63. Again, leaving aside hopes for my marriage and family, my greatest desire in life is to return to full time ministry of the Word. The older I get, the more intense my desire to feel I've even come close to doing what I should with what God has given me... which I'm nowhere near feeling.
  64. Odd favorite food I can never eat (unless I want to go back to weighing 4500 pounds): toasted crackers made into a peanut-butter "sandwich" and jammed into a large glass full of chocolate chip ice cream.
  65. Not-so-odd favorite food I can never eat for the same reason: huge sourdough roll baked to where the crust is hard and the inside steamy-hot, slathered with mayonnaise, piled high with cold-cuts on a bed of lettuce and crowned with olives and a bit of mustard. Mm-mm.
  66. I have my late mother to thank (under God) for the fact that I love to read, speak well, and am usually a precise speller. And I do thank her.
  67. My sense of humor is a mix of my parents', who had a dry wit and a fun sense of the absurd.
  68. Here's a classic my-dadism. He liked to tell of the cream the doctor gave him to put on his face, for treating skin which (as I recall) was pre-cancerous. The instructions said that after a few days, parts of his skin would turn bright-red, as if burnt. This did indeed happen. But the instructions also said that, after a few more days, he would "look just fine." He said he was happy to read that, because he'd never looked "just fine" in all his life. But alas, he was disappointed; afterwards, he looked just like he did before.
  69. I have seen Chicago in concert a bunch of times: twice at the Hollywood Bowl, once at the Inglewood Forum, two or three times at the Greek Theater, twice at Caesar's in Lake Tahoe, and other times as well.
  70. Once, Chicago bass player Jason Scheff extraordinarily graciously met my family after a concert, which thrilled my daughter as a 12th birthday present. Very nice man.
  71. Very tangentially and years earlier, one lady at my first church expressed the concern that, if the office of pastor were given too much power, I might have "the Chicagoes" come and perform. Which, in a desert town of 4000, would have been a nice trick. (I actually did dream about that, but I don't think she knew it.)
  72. I was a drummer in my teen years, because I so liked Danny Seraphine's style.
  73. Though I am about 35 years out of practice, I actually sat in on the drums with the musicians at church, April 29. It was the greatest fun I've had in awhile. My wife says I was good. I say I played it safe. It was bad for me spiritually, though. The next fifteen minutes, I kept re-living it, and thinking about what I should have done differently. "Oh wait -- they're praying!"
  74. I have also played guitar, and did a concert at my first senior-pastor church with a friend who (by contrast) was a superb guitarist.
  75. Only other secular concert I remember paying to see was Brian Setzer.
  76. First color TV show I saw: the birth of Pebbles on The Flintstones, at a neighbor's house. How red her hair was!
  77. I remember when remote controls were attached to TV sets by a cord.
  78. I remember when remote controls were like metal tuning-fork thingies, instead of electronic.
  79. I remember when TV repairmen came to the house, with their case full of cool instruments.
  80. For that matter, I remember when doctors made house-calls. My parents had to call the doctor more than once, for my rather severe childhood asthma. My dad said I had blue lips. Treatment at the time, I believe, was a shot of adrenalin.
  81. I have mostly outgrown my asthma, thank God.
  82. I have known someone who died of an asthma attack. As a child, I didn't know it was that serious. Which was probably good.
  83. I remember when asthma inhalers first came out. What a dramatic difference.
  84. I corresponded a few times with the late, internationally-known scholar F. F. Bruce. Very nice man.
  85. I corresponded, once, with William Hendriksen. Not so nice.
  86. I interviewed the late Philip Edgecumbe Hughes for the Talbot school paper, of which I was the editor. Very nice man.
  87. I got chewed out once in public by the late Charles Lee Feinberg. He didn't much like my review of Walvoord: a Tribute. (The fact that I had earlier given a glowing review of his own Festschrift, and contrasted it favorably with Walvoord's [calling the former "A Fistful of Scholars," and the latter "For a Few Scholars More"], didn't make any impression on him.)
  88. Feinberg also berated me in class for my insistence on reading "Yahweh" as "Yahweh" instead of 'adonay, saying that that is what liberals do. Amazing scholar, good writer.
  89. I met S. Lewis Johnson once, after hearing him speak. Great privilege.
  90. Several surgeries, but no broken bones.
  91. My oldest son Matthew and I share the same birthday, September 23. We also are alone in our family in our love for seafood. (Jonathan may be coming along.) Years ago, Matt and I started the tradition of going out together for a special seafood birthday dinner. This year he'll be married and away at college, and I expect his absence at our special dinner to hit me pretty hard.
  92. Greatest pastoral God-given grace: communicating the Word to a group of people.
  93. Greatest pastoral weakness: initiating one-on-one contacts, particularly if they are likely to be confrontive. (I'm perfectly comfortable with responding and getting deep into conversation, even with strangers; it's the feeling of barging in unwelcomed that I shrink from.)
  94. Had a call-in radio show for awhile.
  95. I've been slandered publicly and intensely. Can't say I recommend it; never be a ride at Disneyland.
  96. I am an atypical male in that I have no problem asking directions. My disaffection for being lost or late far outweighs any reluctance to ask.
  97. One of my most bitter (not-too-personal) disappointments: a well-known scholar was writing the Word Commentary volume on Proverbs. He asked for a copy of my Master's thesis, "The Sovereignty of Yahweh in the Book of Proverbs: an Exercise in Theological Exegesis." He intended to cite and use it in his commentary. I watched and watched for it for years. This was my big chance; I was very excited. Then, after long waiting, this man told me he would no longer be doing that volume. I've seen Proverbs scholarship swing around to where my thesis was in 1983 on some things... but I think my contribution stayed unnoticed on the shelf at Biola. And in that scholar's library.
  98. I am a convert to homeschooling, having been quite opposed to it previously. My wife was there well before me.
  99. Farthest journey: Scotland. Loved every day of it, want to go back, treasured memory, wish I could talk that way! Fly-fished there, one day.
  100. Far places (on earth) I'd like to go: Israel, and New Zealand. We've pretty much back-burnered Israel, while we have dependents.
  101. One specific thing I'd like to accomplish before I die: get published.
  102. I just don't think making fools out of people is funny. The success of movies and TV shows with that as a premise, worries me.
  103. One of my happiest pastoral/paternal memories: baptizing my son Matthew, at his request.
  104. I have had a brush with death on a flight to Indiana. Interesting on many levels, not all of them happy.
  105. Greatest aspiration: to see Jesus in His glory, to be with Him, to be conformed to His likeness by His sovereign grace. Nothing gets better than that.
Whew. Sorry. Now it's others' turn:

Tags (as long or short as you like—or don't do it at all, I know you're all busy):


Kim said...

It's clear that you have put a lot of work into this. I like the variety you have in your list, and it really reveals a lot about who you are as a person.

I promise that if Buggy and I ever have the good fortune to meet you, we will have our cell phones turned off.

ann said...

Very impressive, Dan. Fly-fishing and all. Especially your love for your father...

Now about those white cars... Someone I really appreciate drives a white minivan...

candy said...

Very cool to get to know some of these things about you.

I personally like all the Sierra references of course.

You could move to Reno like the rest of California. :)

candy said...

BTW...the problem you have with white cars, we have with California drivers.

LeeC said...

Bobs on Glenoaks Dan? If so I am about a 30 minute walk from there.

DJP said...

No, Lee. The original Bob's, on Colorado -- one of the last working drive-INs. Now a stupid mini-mall.

LeeC said...

Ah yes.

My dad used to drive us there from San Dimas to show us it. Shame its gone.

The Burbank one is still going strong though and still has its drive in.

Stefan Ewing said...

#41: the white paint reflects sunlight into the driver's eyes with blinding intensity, thus hampering vision and probably also affecting critical thinking ability. QED.

But alas, it seems that in my part of the world, signal-less turners drive a veritable rainbow of vehicles.

Stefan Ewing said...

Oh, and #70: You must have raised your daughter right if she's into Chicago.

Stefan Ewing said...

Sorry, sorry, sorry: just one more.

A vision of Chicago playing in the desert sounds very Isaiah-like. Was this a message from God? (I'm only half joking.)

Trinian said...

Strong indeed! I've been to the Burbank Bob's several times for dinner and it always seemed to be packed to bursting with customers.

Wrist-mounted lizards... Genius! Now, no power in the 'verse will be able to stop me!

Rebekah said...

Very interesting list! The Princess Bride has to be one of the best movies for great quotes. And I'm not sure anyone in my town knows how to use their turn signal, white car or not. Ugh.

Stefan Ewing said...

It seems that some drivers think they're somehow conserving energy by avoiding using their signals as much as necessary--like the bulbs will last longer the less often they're used, or the battery will last longer, or they use infinitesimally less gas. That's the only explanation I can think of.

Rebekah said...

Doing our part to fight global warming, one neglected turn signal at a time.....

Sorry. I couldn't resist. I'll resume my lurking status now.

Chris said...

When I first saw that "Chris" up there, I thought it was me, but there seems to be a different blog linked to it. :)

BTW - Doing a backpacking trip last week in June at May Lake in Yosemite. Won't be fishing though... but I'm still pumped!

4given said...

I drive a 15 passenger WHITE van. I have only run into one mailbox, I use my turn signals... and people get out of my way. Maybe it's because they see a blonde driving. :-D

Princess Bride is my favorite movie to quote... You made me cry DJP. And the one about your dad carrying your gear on the first trip and you carrying his on your last... very precious memory. Thank you for allowing us a peek into the window into your heart. Your love for the Lord and His Word shines through.

Craig Schwarze said...

Thanks for the tag - I've done my list now. Didn't quite put as much effort in as you did...

joey said...

You were supposed to be this colossus, this great legendary thing...and yet he gains! (I'm just going to have to find a new giant thats all)

Connie said...

Regarding white vehicles, ah-hem.

I shared your thoughts with my 17 yr. old "learning to drive but not in a big hurry" daughter, who suggested that white vehicles are just easier to see. So, there!

BTW, while living in Dallas the "rule of the road" was--don't use your signal to change lanes cause that only invites the other drivers to speed up and BLOCK you! It was pathetic!!

Enjoyed the read, nice to know my brothers and sisters-in-Christ a bit better!

striving... said...

I read the first 50 and now it is time to feed the kiddos. I was going to tag you too, but after seeing this, I think you have been tagged enough, plus I did not know if you would be interested. Your love for your father is AWESOME, sounds like he was a marvelous(sp) man. I will come finish reading after school.

mark pierson said...

Some similarities:

Converted 1973 (you, Feb., me, Apr.)

Loved Chicago! "Beginnings" and "I've Been Searching So Long".

Thanks for sharing.

DJP said...

Ah; then that makes me at least two months more mature than you!


Family Blogs said...

Hi Dan
#17-22 really touched me. I lost my own father 2.5 years ago (when I was 27), and the fact of you sharing your continued sense of struggle 14 years on is a real help.
Great to get a little insight into your life.

FX Turk said...

I only got a third of the way through. You're lucky you learned to respect your father when you were 16. I was almost 30 before I knew how to respect mine.

As for MLM, that maxim "In conversation, you are always either buying, or selling" is far more, um, slippery than you have considered. The MLM point there is not about give-and-take: it's about getting or getting taken, or as the ferenghi say, exploiting or getting exploited.

Your conscience is right, and the MLMers are wrong.

DJP said...

I only got a third of the way through....

Yeah, thanks, Frank.

Me too.

Kevin Stilley said...

I have made a copy to examine for potential blackmail purposes if the need ever arises.

~Mark said...

Wow, ambitious post! Some revealing stuff there brother, that's brave. It took me days just to decide what to put in my "25" things, but I guess with such a high number it gets easier.

I'll have to try this once I relaunch my personal blog.