Every week, Cee Neuner puts out a set of questions for bloggers to answer. These are usually simple, fun, and made to get to know each other and to get the writing juices flowing within us.
Are you a hugger or a non-hugger?
I’m definitely a hugger, but I have my limits on it. Hugging helps to relieve stress and induce good feelings inside. I feel I need one every once in a while just to rekindle the spirit within me and shake off the lonely feelings. The last real good hug I had was from my father, which is probably the best thing that could come between us and strengthen somewhat shaky and distant bonds. On the other hand, I need my space and respect other’s spaces as well. It would be creepy to just walk up to a random person on the street and offer them a warm embrace.
What is your favorite toppings on pizza?
Sausage, pineapple, pepperoni, olives, just to name the usual suspects…the list could go on though. If you want to know my least favorite toppings, it would have to be anchovies or sardines – I’m never had either of those on any “normal” pizza and I can guess that they have no rightful place in my land.
The absurd Frankenstein pizza below looks rather delicious:
If you were the original designer of one existing corporate logo, which one would you select?
The Nike swoosh is one of those logos that just speaks to you. And you can fit it on almost anything such as clothes, shoes, and backpacks and not forget what it means. I love its simplicity and enduring brand power. It’s also fun to draw on notebook covers. To be the designer of this is to have bragging rights to the God of all logos.
So strong and positive.
Complete this sentence: Where I can seek my solace is…
my family, where else? They’re the only ones who can really feel my sadness and give me encouragement. They are my safety net to fall back on when it feels like I am hitting a wall and have no where to turn to.
I suppose I don’t have to answer the bonus question, because I really don’t have anything for it for this time. Well, I guess I’m looking forward to getting over this ear infection I have really soon am grateful that I have people who can drive me to the doctor to get it checked out.
The other fine Tuesday I was a little misinformed About something that was said Across the hall of my dorm I heard an excited freshman ask “Do you want to eat, Stevie?” But of course there are no commas where I come from So this sounded a little creepy It also being my name So the time to flee came
I suppose I’ve had an on again off again relationship with the semicolon; it really comes in handy when two thoughts are similar and there’s no need for two separate sentences. I have become a natural at using it and have improved my writing in great ways. This little mark that is a comma with a period over it used to baffle me, but it is now truly embraced. Me and semicolon starting dating a few years ago and have shared a couple of interesting sentences under candlelight together, many of them making me look highly intelligent and scholarly. I chuckle a little whenever I employ the use of this weird mark – it barely gets any spotlight and is not particularly loved by novice writers. It gets a chance to shine in poetry though.
Now, the exclamation point is one mark I have generally shied away from. I use it very sparingly in writing, because the overuse of it tends to make the passage come off as silly and immature, and I DON’T WANT TO LOOK LIKE I’M YELLING! I think of the exclamation point as a period with a tall hat on, like a bishop. My general rule is that it should not be used more than five times, one or two times in a paragraph, but that of course is objectionable.
“Cling to your rope! As the ship wrestles with her ferocious waves…and sends brave men crying for their mommy!”
F. Scott Fitzgerald stated his thoughts on overuse of the mark:
Cut out all these exclamation points…An exclamation point is like laughing at your own joke.
Me and the full stop or period go a long ways back…way, way back. It’s the one mark that can’t be ignored and is basically the cornerstone of all punctuation. If there wasn’t any such thing as a period, sentences would never end or we’d have to find a more unconventional way to show the ends of sentences, such as creating every sentence on a new line, though there are ways now of using emoji but only in the informal world of Twitter and Facebook – and that would just make blogs and everything else look like the websites of children.
The comma is also an important part of everyday writing, the difference between telling you want to eat someone and telling you want to eat with someone.
Do you like my clever pun on the word “punctuate” in the title? Like the saying “I eat punks like you for breakfast”?
We all have strange relationships with punctuation — do you overuse exclamation marks? Do you avoid semicolons like the plague? What type of punctuation could you never live without? Tell us all about your punctuation quirks!
I definitely like to say that I’m not like my dad, who is so square he could be pass as a building. Stuck in his ways, unable to do anything new. His clothes have stayed the same, his haircut has stayed the same. He was in the marching band; I wasn’t. He had a dog as a kid; I’ve had nothing but a clowder of cats.
The world also revolves around him, as far as he’s concerned. Getting mad at pedestrians for crossing the street, flipping the bird at a driver who cuts him off, and then proceeding to put on a “I hate the world” look for the rest of the day. He also doesn’t know when to not text, sending one about his work schedule every week, sometimes in the middle of the night. It’s the same thing and I don’t really care. He’s been listening to the same music for as long as I’ve known him, the oldies station going back to when it wasn’t known as the oldies station, but something like “new wave” or “new rock”. Flipping through the stations and coming across a catchy Katy Perry or Maroon 5 song, I know it won’t stay on there long. And, flip, I’m right.
On the bright side, he loves hockey and has been going for the Red Wings ever since they were called the Dead Wings. I remember when he used to tape the games on a VCR (sad nostalgic tear), getting it programmed to automatically record the primetime game on the channel, while he was away at work. He would watch the game later, with a bowl of sherbet in his lap and usually shirtless with a hairy dad body, now enjoying having the power to speed through commercials and get to the good parts of the game. As a little kid I would sit down on the couch and observe the game, he occasionally shouting out a random swear word, yelling at the TV everytime a call didn’t go the Wings way. I didn’t have much interest in sports back then like I do now but I tried to watch and understand the meaning of the game, getting that these red suited guys skating up and down the ice and crashing into other players, trying to put a little black rock into a net, was a very special thing to my dad. He still love the Wings to this day, now going down to the Michigan Theatre to see them compete in the playoffs. 24 straight years now, every year since my birth. They don’t always win but they sure put up a fight. I’m not a big fan of hockey like him though. I love football; he only watches it occasionally.
I have realized I’ve inherited some of his self-centered attitude. I do think about myself a lot and am very private with my thoughts. We both can be quieter than a calm sea at times and go off into a corner with no one realizing we’re there. We’re both highly intelligent and have a way with crunching the numbers and strategizing, especially with board games like Clue. He’s very crafty at that game and has a religious passion for it but I’ve since caught up to him in skill after years of trying to figure the game and his sneaky strategy out (some cheating probably involved). He is a good father though who has been through some tough situations in his life, like having to have artificial hips implanted and not being able to enjoy the freedoms of running and excessive celebrations, in fear of misplacing his hip plates and possibly having to be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Which would only add to his pleasure of having people seek pity for him.
My mom, on the other hand, can be a bit of a dim lightbulb. She has a limited education and can say some derogatory things without knowing exactly what’s she saying. She is also absentminded and always forgetting something: wallet, keys, charger cord, driver’s license, library card, credit cards. I like to joke that she would forget her head if it wasn’t screwed on tightly. She not very good with vehicles either, every car she’s owned being broken down and the victim of wear and tear as well as a chronic messiness of bills, wrappers, cans, bills, bottles, crumbs, bills, candy canes, and more papers.
If there is one thing we have in common, it is probably our forgetfulness. I have left behind a couple of possessions in my lifetime and am always misplacing things like my wallet, phone, and those tiny memory cards that like to flip across the room and land in oblivion, being found a year later when things are being moved around. The charger cord extension for my Handycam was left behind in a hotel room last December, forcing me to charge it by plugging it into the computer with its short cord. I’ve gotten along nicely so far, having used the camera to take shots of full moons, the blood moon coming up in a couple days.
There are some similarities between me and my folks, such as the way we look (people are always saying my dad and I look alike) but I like to have some separation in terms of personality and style, even staying away from getting into the same jobs, just to say that I am my own unique person. I love my parents, but sometimes they can do the stupidest and most embarrassing things (please don’t pick your nose, dad, and touch the chips we share) that make me want to never totally end up like them. A good way to be, I say.
Of the people who are close to you, who is the person most unlike you? What makes it possible for you to get along?
To answer your question, I am water and my dad is oil and my uncle would be blood since we are the closest out of everyone in our family. My dad and I are so unlike each other in many ways; he’s quite a negative person around people and doesn’t always get along while I am friendly with everyone and always am happy about life. My dad gets pissed off whenever someone cuts in front of him or he isn’t first for something while I just shrug it off and don’t take stuff like it too seriously. My uncle is the same as I – we are pretty laid back and don’t like to cause too much commotion or be the center of attention. The obvious differences between dad and I continue with him being able to drive and I merely a passenger; him having artificial hips and his growth being stunted while I grew to my full potential height (it seems I have gotten shorter though); he being a square peg that couldn’t fit into a circular hole, his hair always cut and short, his clothes always the same, his tastes in life as old as the 1960s, while I am more well-rounded and take a bite out of everything at the buffet table whether it be fashion sense, art, music, television, movies, sports, politics, you name it. But at least he got a new car and got rid of his old blue van of 14 years, giving it to my sister Liz. My dad is what you call a ham and egger, working 9 to 5, living a pretty cut and dry life without any creative edge to it while I am completely the opposite; my life is full of adventure and exploration, trying to find something that rings best with who I am and what I can latch onto most easily. I’m always exploring new opportunities while my dad seems to stuck in a black and white world where one thing is right and another is wrong – there is nothing in between. My father of 23 years also has some racial discrimination in himself but I had not realized it until recently this year when a few ugly words came out of his mouth being aimed at a couple of African-Americans he had a strange encounter with. He’s also been known to flip the bird a couple of times while I wouldn’t even have the guts to do such a thing.
My dad and I get along pretty well; there really isn’t anything wrong with our relationship, we are just more concealed and distant in likes and interests. We both are into football though he always tends to be on the outs about everything from the teams playing, the scores, or the nature of the game itself (no close game is over until the clock hits zero!). We get along because we don’t fight or argue and stick to ourselves most of the time. I don’t believe there ever was a time I yelled at my dad for something though I am not one to yell at anyone at all. I think the glue that keeps us together is our mutual understanding of one another – we accept one another for what we are even if it means not always being on the same page. The viscosity or density that separates the relationship of oil and water between us is not that thick and we do meet in the middle of the Venn diagram once in a while.
A lively group discussion, an intimate tête-à-tête, an inner monologue — in your view, when it comes to a good conversation, what’s the ideal number of people?
As a guy born with Asperger’s, having any conversation takes a little bit of a push and some needed inspiration; I’m just so used to living in a confined shell that breaking out of that comfort zone can be stressful. The best conversation I can handle is one to two people at most and then after that it starts getting muddled and confusing. The biggest discussion I had with more than two people was fairly watered down and uneventful and I felt rather uncomfortable sharing some thoughts of mine. On the other hand, one on one discussions follow one train of thought, not multiple train tracks coming from multiple directions and they go further for me because of the continuing build of rapport and trust. One on one conversations are more serious and thoughtful than multiple person talks. Ideas get across more coherently instead of being lost in translation.
It was not until about the eleventh grade that conversation became more easier for me and I was not so intimidated by it – though I still am afraid to even talk on Skype, Hangouts, or any other video chat. I met a good, albeit crazy, friend named Josh and we seemed to hit it off from day one and never looked back. He began the spark that took me away from the notion that conversation was pointless and futile and made me realize that having friends was the key to living a well-balanced life. Josh was so full of energy and excitement; me, a mellow, calm, cool, and collected person but he managed to pull me out of that persona – for at least one year.
My uncle Jack is the one I am extremely comfortable having unrestricted conversations with. Our subjects are usually on football, food, or other people in general that we disagree with. The thing is, I sometimes leave him hanging and don’t add anything new unless asked, occupying myself with stuff I’m more interested in such as my computer, but that has been a thing I’ve been forcing myself to change.
I wouldn’t call myself the catalyst to any conversation…I’m more of the jump on board the train when it starts going at a fine pace kind of guy.
I have a very small circle of friends. So small, that I’m not even sure there is a circle at all; it might just be people scattered about aimlessly. Not too many new people get in or even stay in it. Only the people I trust very well and can relate to me with unbiased views manage to get a coveted seat in the circle. You might say my circle has nepotism in it – favoring one’s relatives or friends and giving them preferential treatment. There is no application or set of questions to get into my “circle”. You just have to fit in naturally.
After brooding over this a while, I believe there really is no single question I could come up with that would determine whether or not I could be friends with someone. Simply because I can easily tell if someone will be a good friend to me by just looking at them (at least in the physical world – not online). If the person remained kind and loyal to me over a certain period of time, I would eventually come to accept them as my friend. It would be rather easy to see that a friendship wouldn’t work if that person and I just did not get along at all on anything. If there is no harmony or controlled chaos (yes, that is contradictory), then a friendship is highly unlikely.
Based upon my experiences with making friends, I know a good friendship consists of two or more people complementing each other, not exactly being alike but offering something that makes the others constantly improve by evolving ideas and bringing new things to the table. Friendly competitions among the group push each other to new levels that strengthen each person’s knowledge and ingenuity. There are arguments, but eventually everyone agrees on a consensus. A bad friendship doesn’t do that. It involves one another constantly competing with each other and never coming to any agreements, with eventual ideas wilting or only being half-baked.
But you still insist I come up with a question and an appropriate answer to it. Well, it was tough to come up with a selective question because I’ve never needed one in the past but I guess that question would be:
“Can you be similar to me in interests and thoughts, but not too similar that neither of us ever get anywhere or advance each other in terms of knowledge and success?”
And the potential answer from potential friend, after some ponderous thought:
“Well, I’m not sure if both of those parameters can be met perfectly but yes, I’m sure we have many things in common that will put us in harmony but also conflicting viewpoints that will constantly make us want to compete with each other and improve each other’s status. In other words, if I do or say something that you don’t completely go by, we could settle our differences with a little bit of friendly fire, trying to make each other understand that one’s views and decisions are his and are no right or better than others. By having these friendly arguments, we push each other to become better; to refocus our life goals and be better prepared to take on any interpersonal challenge that comes our way. It is a good way to bring up new ideas and decide if they are a good fit or not. Like fusing two elements together, our thoughts and ideas can combine to form something new and remarkable that will benefit both of us and possibly other people”.
Because without a little competition in a friendship, nothing new or exciting can ever come out of it. It will be constantly stuck in neutral, never evolving to allow each other to ascend new heights and become the person they always wanted to be. The answer to my question is not a definitive one and does not have to be that long. I just simply have to know, either in the person’s voice or their body language, that they have the will and motivation to do something interesting and eventful while also pushing me to challenge myself and step out of my comfort zone. Think about how many companies, such as Apple, or bands, such as U2, would have never reached the success they are at right now, if not for a little bit of fighting and disagreeing over things. There has to be that edge that pushes a friendship or partnership past its limits to be able to explore new possibilities.
If I had only met my father just today, I don’t know what I would say to him. Would I shake his hand or give him an awkward hug? Casually greet him with uncertainty or shout with joy at how excited I was to finally see him? For one thing, I know his outlook on me would be totally different than what is has been. He wouldn’t know about my faults and would be less likely to judge me. I believe there would be more conversation and not so much of that ‘icy wall’ between us. We might be willing to share more of our well kept secrets than we normally would have if I had known him for my entire life since it would not be so embarrassing.
On the other hand, it might be harder to relate to him because we both have difficulty starting conversations and having anything interesting to talk about. Our relationship would be rather awkward at first but eventually I believe we could be great friends, just on a less intimate level. I know I would be calling him by his first name for a while because there wouldn’t be that commanding respect between us right away and I could know him on a more personal level. That would be quite appropriate for a relationship in the early stages of development; a newly seeded plant sprouting up from the ground for the first time; a pillow still fluffy and fresh; a brand new book just opened with pages that feel like air and ink as crisp as night.
My dad would likely want to do more fun things with me, more father-son activities such as going to sporting events, fishing, or even nights out on the town. He does have artificial hips and can’t do a whole lot of strenuous work but he could at least try to go more places with me and participate in certain activities, knowing that he is trying to be a good father. I believe there would be more of a will to get to know each other and not just forcing it. There wouldn’t be any grudges between us, other than the fact that I had not known him until now.
It would be shocking at first to know that we share some of the same traits both mentally and physically. Other than hating the fact that I have things in common with my dad that are not quite up to par with what other people believe are ‘normal’, I would embrace these things because a connection would be formed between us. There is a bit of love between us right now, but if I had only just met him today I believe that would be amplified. I would want to spend as much time as possible with my father to make up for all the lost time that we could have spent together. It would be more mutual and honest; we wouldn’t hold anything back; the relationship would not be stunted and crippled like it is now but would grow into a tall, healthy, and impressive looking redwood. That would mean more than anything to me.