Yet Another 10 Things I’ve Done That You Probably Have Not

Following on this list, which follows on this one. Not saying you never did any of these things, just that I suspect you probably haven’t. I think the odds are in my favor overall. And if you have done all ten, stop stalking me.

1. Been a couple of feet away from a Shakespeare First Folio

2. Lived directly in front of a Christmas tree farm

3. Had a comedian borrow, with permission, a joke with the intent to use it on The Tonight Show (he was on; he didn’t use it).

4. Swatted a fly off Harrison Ford’s lapel

5. Bottle-fed a calf

6. Watched movies in a press-only theater with Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel

7. Had a meeting with current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

8. Been in a car that crashed, in a not-quite-irony-free fashion, through a cemetery fence

9. Slipped down Neil Gaiman’s stairwell (without injury, my bad, not his)

10. Sung an original song at a friend’s funeral.

Feel free to add your own list in the comments/create a list on your own site and then add a link in the comments.

186 Comments on “Yet Another 10 Things I’ve Done That You Probably Have Not”

  1. I once bottle-fed Harrison Ford in Neil Gaiman’s stairwell while singing a song I composed for Benjamin Netanyahu. So suck on that, Scalzi.

  2. number 10 reminded me of something i read in by Mr.Card. something at the very beginning of that book. Did you have anything to do with that?? :]

  3. 1) Had dinner with Bobby McFerrin in Pittsburgh after his concert there;

    2) Audited one of Friedrich August Hayek’s last symposiums at the Albert-Ludwigs Universität zu Freiburg im Breisgau. Germany (1982);

    3) Spent the day with Chet Baker, the jazz musician, before his Saturday set at the Blue Note in Greenwich Village, making sure he’d actually be there for the set (and yes, I spent the evening there comped);

    4) Was at NATO HQ and was briefed by a Colonel who went on to become the #2 General in NATO;

    5) Was at Schwechat Airport in Vienna when terrorists opened fire at the El-Al check-in;

    6) Met Arthur C. Clarke was I was 13 (and he autographed my paper back “Tales From The Hart”;

    7) Once gave the same economics presentation to 17 companies in 12 days;

    8) Taken the highest-resolution panoramas ever taken from the Top Of The Rock or The Empire State Building (one in excess of 3.4 GP);

    9) Beta-Tester for DOS 5;

    10) Had the largest gall-stone removed at the hospital where it was removed in over 20 years (but it wasn’t the largest they’d ever removed by a large margin!)


  4. 1. Controlled the world’s largest store of antimatter.

    2. Aided a zookeeper in the birth of a baby mountain lion.

    3. Taken a timber wolf for a walk.

    4. Built an immersion of a hypercube into 3D.

    5. Made a hologram of said immersion of the hypercube.

    6. Made an immersion of a Klein bottle for a friend for a birthday present.

    7. Ridden a boat in a cosmic ray telescope.

    8. Prospected for gold.

    9. Received a coconut in the mail as a postcard.

    10. Been mugged by mimes.

  5. So far my vote goes to “Been mugged by mimes.”

    I don’t think I could name 10 things. I could only name one. And the one doesn’t better my reputation so I will leave it unsaid.

  6. 1.) I totally helped birth a calf THEN fed it a bottle.

    2.) I was Lt. Gov of Massachusetts. (I have the radio tapes to PROVE it.)

    3.) I totally made the awesome writer, Brenda Cooper cry.

    4.) I helped stop a reckless driver from crashing into a gas tanker on a filled highway by blocking him in with my car.

    5.) I came in first at Tetris competition when I was 9. (I proceeded to buy a NKotB button and basketball hoop with my prize money. Yikes.)

    6.) I was personally chided by Meatloaf. (The singer not the food.)

    7.) I met Ben Stein at Logan airport, allowed him to cut in front of me and had a conversation about how flying was much more enjoyable when he was younger.

    8.) I did the twist on stage with Chubby Checker.

    9.) Been on the radio with original songs.

    10.) Got stalked by a Penguin.

  7. #1 is actually quite easy if you’ve ever been to Washington DC: the Folger Shakespeare Library has a First Folio on display. (In a glass case, to be sure, but you can still get within feet of it.)

    For my own part, the only ones that come to mind are “seen the northern polar ice cap with my unaided eyes” and “beaten someone with a master rating in a tournament chess game.” (I suppose there’s also “beaten someone in a tournament chess game who has played in the U.S. Chess Championship” but it doesn’t really count because he was a kid at the time.)

  8. I’ll see your “Been a couple of feet away from a Shakespeare First Folio” and raise you a “Held a first edition Chaucer in my gloved hands.”

  9. I can’t think of a full 10 things right now, so I’ll stick with the most exciting thing that’s happened to me.

    I drove three hours to a Lady Gaga concert that I didn’t have tickets for and waited outside the venue for six hours. I ended up meeting her, getting a picture with her and an autograph, and she gave me free tickets to the sold out show.

  10. 1. Seen a piece of ALH84001 (the Martian meteorite that might contain life markers) under an ESM
    2. Climbed Ayers Rock (Uluru)
    3. Swum on the Great Barrier Reef
    4. Accidentally been stepped on by Harry Belafonte, who apologized very graciously
    5. Been in The Daily Show’s staging area, and said ‘Hello’ to Jon Stewart (who is very tall in person, IMO)
    6 Survived a flash flood by climbing out a window one of my colleagues had to break
    7. Was on board HMS Victory on the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar
    8. Hiked the Grand Canyon
    9 Stayed at Volcano House on top of Kilauea, Portmeirion (the Village used for filming the original The Prisoner), and Mont St. Michel; watched the tide pour in across the flats there
    10. Got a behind-the-scenes tour of the Oxford Library and the British Library, including the closed and rare books collections
    11. Raced a yacht from Oahu to Maui in a regatta; sailed a replica of a 18th century frigate

  11. 1: Was in a group called “an pack idiots” by John Delancie when one of my friends asked for his autograph on a “Megadeth” cd.

    2: Shot with a .22 in the upper thigh while hunting with family.

    3: Was hugged by Amber Benson.

    4: Was clinically dead for about 2 minutes as a child after a severe asthma attack. I’m better now.

    5: Photographed the “no photography” sign in Shakespeare’s house.

    6: Got an after-hours tour of the Field Museum from an archeologist.

    7: Ate at Charlie Trotters, ended the night getting White Castle because we weren’t full.

    8: Paid a London cabbie to take us on a three hour ride through the city.

    9: Called a “nice guy with original questions” by Chuck Palahniuk (I swooned)

    10: Was stalked by wolves in the wild. Not a good feeling, I assure you.

  12. Oh goodness. I can’t really top that list but here goes:

    1. Put animals to sleep. As in I worked as a vet tech and was the one to inject them. Not my fondest memory but I tried to make them as comfortable as possible.

    2. Fed and cared for an injured coyote though sadly he did not make it.

    3. Interviewed a number of people including Robert J. Sawyer, Jeff Goldblum, and Jackson Rathbone.

    4. Worked as a mime and stage magician with a member of the Moscow Circus and one of the world’s top balloon artists.

    5. Been featured in Boston magazine.

    6. Opened for Lords of Acid and My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult.

    7. Been in a mental institution. (Hey, I never said it was all pleasant.)

    8. Worn a pink elephant costume to protest the circus and thusly ended up on television.

    9. Been quoted in the NY Times.

    10. Met Kurt Russell at Logan airport. This is worthy of noting because he was the one that approached me. I was dressed rather…interestingly that day and he wanted to know why I was dressed the way I was. And for the record he was a sweetheart.

  13. Hmmm, let’s see:

    1) Got taught writing for an entire university quarter by Kim Stanley Robinson.
    2) Ate hamburgers on the grass with David Brin. (Please note the definite article in that sentence.)
    3) Met Harvey Korman and Maclean Stevenson at a Dodger game.
    4) Saw Robert Reed at the library.
    5) Had a letter read on TV by Sinister Seymour.
    6) Had my picture taken from the air by Francis Gary Powers.
    7) Once mailed someone half a grilled cheese sandwich and a side of fries in a paper plate.
    8) Have my name in the credits (printed material only) of several computer games.
    9) Watched a movie in the same theater as Tom Brokaw.
    10) Was on the campus of Hughes Electronics when a disgruntled employee went on a shooting spree.

  14. I’ve posted previously, but it’s been two years….so as a refresher.

    1- Killed my landlady. (By accident. I gave her a heart attack by the crazy act of GETTING BORN. She got all excited that my mom was going into labour. First funeral I ever attended, day I got out of the hospital. Didn’t find out until I was 12 or 13 though.)

    2 – I’ve been bitten by a 7 foot Burmese python, a five-and-a-half foot Burmese python, and a four foot Columbian boa, as well as countless smaller snakes. All at different times, mind you. The seven footer wrapped itself around my arm and wouldn’t let go, thinking it had the biggest rat it had ever seen. I was all by myself in the petstore at the time. I was fumbling for a screwdriver to pry the snake’s mouth off (You don’t want to pull–hurts you, hurts the snake, bad–what you want to do is either lever the jaw off gently) next to the cash register when a guy wanting to buy feeder goldfish walks in and does a double take. Fortunately, right on his heels, was my boss.

    3- I’ve been bungie jumping twice.

    4- I’ve spent an afternoon with Randy Bachmann (and his daughter) running around Calgary, discussing ribs.

    5- I’ve given a snake a caesarian. Not related to the pet store, but to my father’s OWN herpetological collection–the snake in question was getting eaten by another snake at the time and we were trying to save the eggs. Also related to the herpetological hobbies of dad: I’ve petted a gila monster, held a rattlesnake (using one of those fork things because I’m not stupid), EATEN rattlesnake, fed live baby mice to carnivorous frogs and centipedes and tarantulas, and had my baby photo taken holding one of Dad’s tarantulas. Oh, and at the age of ten, ran my own mouse supply business, selling frozen baby mice to pet stores across the US.

    6 – Fell off a curb while running and broke my right femur and my left clavicle. TWO BONES ON THE OPPOSITE SIDES OF MY BODY!

    7 – Hauled a fetus-in-a-jar around my high school. (I was drawing it for art class.)

    8 – Driven coast-to-coast across the US three times. (Oh, hey, checking from the last time we did this list, I’ve upped my count by one by moving from Boston to Seattle.)

    9 – Bought a one way ticket for another country (okay, it was Canada) with no plans on how to get back to the States, nobody knowing I was coming or going. (This is what happens when you–meaning me–get depressed in the middle of the night–pre-9/11. Do they still let you buy tickets at the counter, while crying and using a money order to pay for a one-way after you’ve figured you don’t have enough money for a return trip?)

  15. Somewhere I (or more likely my parents) have a picture of wee!me in overalls bottle feeding a calf.

    1. Was given a rather large tip by Nichelle Nichols after assisting her all weekend at a con I was volunteering at.

    2. Smoked a substance which shall go unnamed with my brother, given to him by Val Kilmer.

    3. Talked to a guy on the phone who had left a envelope (with ‘Alec’ written on it) in the restroom of the Starbucks I worked at, only to realize when he came to pick it up that it was Stephen Baldwin. The envelope was unsealed and I still kinda wish that I had read the card, morals be damned.

  16. 1. Skipped an art history lecture to have ice cream with Whit Diffie.

    2. Been run off the sidewalk by Stephen Hawking. I have no idea how he got a license to drive that chair.

    Read more…

  17. 1) Rappelled out of a perfectly good helicopter more than once.
    2) Became fairly fluent in Persian Farsi for a time and it wasn’t from mom and dad . .
    3) Barhopping around Georgetown while trying to pick up chicks . . . and carrying a Zither . . .
    4) Took a PE class in England and had basketball (re)taught by a Scotsman: Theerrrrs thrrrree types of passes: the bounce pass, the chest pass, and the overrrrrheed passs . . .
    5) Was in a bar that got teargassed and stayed to watch over the beer.
    6) Was a bouncer in a Country & Western bar.
    7) Sang Monty Python’s Lumberjack song in my College Talent Show.
    8) Had the brakes in my car fail while driving down a canyon in Utah . . .
    9) Gave a seminar on LGBT estate and tax planning.
    10) Had Ray Bradbury switch into some weird Southern accent when he was talking to me.

  18. Yes, the mime mugging does win. Here’s my list:

    1. Saw a baby camel being born in the Shriner’s parking lot in Newport, Delaware.

    2. Sold fish to Joe Biden when I worked at a seafood store in Delaware in the 1970’s.

    3. Ate lunch with Orson Scott Card. He gave me an audio copy of Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird and signed all of my Card books.

    4. Was proposed to by Stephen R. Donaldson (it was a joke, cause I didn’t mind he was smoking a cigar).

    5. Held a first edition Alice in Wonderland in my hands.

    6. Taught an Honors English class at a University even though I never completed my own Bachelor’s degree.

    7. Found an abandoned cemetery in backwoods Virginia with dates as far back as 1750.

    8. Have eaten Alligator meat.

    9. Once purposely shattered 7 (big) mirrors for an art project (included some blood and who knows how many years of bad luck!).

    10. Went swimming on Henry Kissinger’s private beach on St. John.

  19. 1) I sucked on a hardened cookie to try and bite it but when I still found it too hard I tossed it back into the brown paper bag. Davey Jones from The Monkeys took it out of the bag and ate the entire cookie, my slobber and all.

    2) Met Joe Piscopo, Marie Osmond, Big Bird, to name a few.

    3) Lived down the street from Anne Hathaway’s cottage.

    4) Sold my first script to the CBC when I was 15.

    5) Was on MuchMusic’s show in the ’80s doing a skit to Girls Just Want to Have Fun.

    6) While living in Stratford-Upon-Avon, England I didn’t read any Shakespeare or see any of his plays locally; when I returned to Canada I read most of his plays and sonnets and have seen many productions.

    7) My first boyfriend played a part in a show called Catwalk, also co-starring Neve Campbell.

    8) I auditioned and didn’t get a part for a teenager’s show that’s been running for two generations- Degrassi High.

    9) My Uncle is a TV Broadcaster.

    10) My girlfriend from university, whom I’ve lost touch with, does props for many films including The Night at the Museum.

  20. After compilling my list I realize that a most of them are unique because they hinge on the inconvenience of others:

    1. Helped to locate Mohammad Ali’s bags after the airline I was working for lost them on a flight between LA and Las Vegas.
    2. Had to tell Chuck Yeager his flight was cancelled (same airline)
    3. Had former President Gerald Ford ask if he was in my way (his flight had been cancelled by another airline and he was re-routed on the one I worked for – Secret Service had him in the ops room until the flight was boarded)
    4. Crawled into the hold of a 737 to find a misrouted-wedding dress – yes, that airline is no longer in business, go figure.
    5. Was the designated driver for two male friends out for a wild evening. Ended up reading my biology homework while parked beneath a street lamp in the lot of the Mustang Ranch. Hey, I was in college and it meant a free meal.
    6. Extracted DNA from a form of bacteria that lives in extremely high salt concentrations. Not this is a particularly hard thing to do, put a sample in sterile water and let osmosis do its thing, still it was pretty cool in a totally geeky sort of way.
    7. Most recently, convinced a notable author to give me an ARC of his latest novel (and wow, is it good!)

  21. 1. Got taught in a class by a Nobel laureate. (Abdus Salam, at Imperial College, London).
    2. Was a major-party candidate in an election for my nation’s legislature.
    3. Played (American) football for my university.
    4. Literally walked into the (now, not then) Prime Minister of my country. He wasn’t looking where he was going and apologised.

    There are probably others from my years in politics – getting very drunk at the expense of someone who would later be the leader of a Europe-wide political party and in the company of the then leader of a UK political party, for example,

    Oh and one I know is unique: proposed a motion of no confidence in the leader of my own political party.

  22. 1) As a master helmsman, I steered the USS El Paso LKA 117 through the Panama Canal (under direction of the canal pilot of course).
    2) Hopped on a train, hobo style, and rode from Norfolk VA to Crewe VA and had to hitchhike back due to a lack of funds (not ot mention brain cells) in order to make Monday morning muster.
    3) Carried my oldest son from the birthing room to the nursery, washed him and diapered him in between there (under direction of nurses of course), all the while wondering “What the hell do I do now”? (I’ve been improvising ever since then)

  23. 1. When I was 15 I was seduced by a lovely 23 year old woman.

    2. Ran from the cops several times and have never been caught.

    3. While fishing drunk in Florida we successfully ran from the Coast Gaurd after being told to stop.

    4. When I was 18, I was mugged in Cancun and was then offered free sex by a prostitute, turned down said prostitute.

    5. Met Wanda Sykes after smoking a doobie, she noticed.

    6. Smoked pot with Artimus Pyle ( drummer of Lynyrd Skynyrd )

    7. Was in a wreck due to a faulty tire, I was paralyzed as a result.

    8. At 22 I became a pilot through a scholarship for disabled pilot training.

    9. At 23 I flew a 1000 mile barnstorming tour to raise money for the scholarship.

    10. Went tornado chasing at night and actually saw the tornado. Not recommended, we couldnt see the thing until the lightning from the storm backlit it. We were far too close for comfort.

  24. 1) Had my toons featured as “supplementary material” on the website of a mathematics conference.

    2) Said “I wish it would be thirty below” in September, and meant it. (-30 C = -22 F) Also, eaten ice cream outside when it was thirty below.

    3) Been taught the proper use of a drinking bottle in a field burial.

    4) Been sent on a wild goose chase for some machine gun blank firing adaptors.

    5) Been ordered off the airwaves by an irate lieutenant. (It was, admittedly, both my fault and reservist training.)

    6) Performed to a crowd of graduating high-schoolers, with full presence of mind and forethought, a musical number of my own making called (in Finnish) “We Have Arrived To Conquer Your World (Take Us To Your Leader)” (i.e. “Olemme tulleet valloittamaan maailmanne (viekää meidät johtajanne luo!)”), despite having no musical or lyrical aptitude, or any ear for rhythm, whatsoever. (There was, however, a friend with a guitar, and an “I’ll do it if you do!” dynamic.)

    7) Participated in a long jumping contest wearing rainboots.

    8) Been paid to play-act a delusional alkie-junkie begging for a fiver; and then been, being a prissy absolute absolutist, congratulated on the impressive accuracy of my performance.

    9) Ridden a lawnmower over graves.

    10) Illustrated a high school classwork poster on the origins of Islam with cartoons; humorous, crude and self-drawn. Which seems kind of funny now, considering.

    That’s all I can think of off the top of my head. Clearly other people meet a lot more famous people than I do.

  25. 1) had Jack Dagger throw flaming knives in my backyard.
    2) convinced shop clerks on Bourbon Street that a friend of mine was Nicholas Cage.
    3) flown fifty miles for a milkshake. It was a good milkshake.
    4) handled an original Clementine Hunter.
    5) watched cowboys riding horses on a downtown street in a city of millions just because it was a pretty Sunday for a stroll.
    6) pumped gas while dressed as a pirate.
    7) skated with Dorothy Hamill. Admittedly, I was simply one part of a sea of cherubs who decorated the ice while she swirled around us, but she was awesome!
    8) produced a film and had it stolen on the same day. Never leave your film canister sitting on a park bench.
    9) watched 4th of July fireworks on a beach in Maui.
    10) marched behind the Budweiser clydesdales while trying to play the horn in a parade. It’s hard to look straight ahead at the drum major while avoiding horse muffins.

  26. Nothing as good as being mugged by mimes, but here are some highlights and lowlights that probably have not happen to you.

    1. Spoke at my favorite author’s funeral.

    2. Was attacked by a goose when I was four (I won’t mention where it attacked).

    3. Held a piece of the Wold Newton Meteorite in my gloved hands while getting a private tour of the Natural History Museum in London.

    4. Was called up on stage by a magician in front of a couple of thousand people when I was eight.

    5. Was yelled at by Gunther Gebel-Williams for trying to park under the Omni in Atlanta (the circus took over the whole underground parking area).

    6. When I was ten Maurice Sendak drew a picture, and signed it, for me because I didn’t have a book for him to sign.

    7. In eight grade fell and broke my left arm one night at a skating rink, stayed and skated for about 3 hours, didn’t go to the hospital until the next day.

    8. In ninth grade fell off a tire swing and broke my left arm. Rode my bike home and didn’t go to the hospital until the next day.

    9. Fell out of the back of a parked pickup truck and broke my left arm 30 minutes before taking two final exams in college. Took the tests, then went to the hospital, but at least I went the same day.

    10. The FIRST time I went to a John Scalzi book signing he stared at me for a few seconds…and then said I looked familiar.

  27. Last March I set out to do something awesome every day for a year, and blog it all. I’m still going strong. Some highlights include:

    1. Coke and mentos rocket (that was an accident, but we filmed it flying 25 feet high).

    2. Frolic in a fountain (the video is suspiciously popular).

    3. Cat in a fishbowl (with the lid on).

    4. Reverse burglary (break in and leave something there).

    5. Marshmallow gun(s).

    6. Dance in a supermarket (I took friends for that one).

    7. Write a love letter in chalk on a wall (damn thing still won’t come off).

    8. Elaborate prank.

    9. Give away a fortnight’s income.

    10. Leave an octopus in a public place.

    All but #1 have links at

    All the videos (including #1) are on YouTube if you search for “Daily Awesomeness”.

    Louise Curtis

  28. Yeah, I’ll bite..

    1) I did a 3D re-creation of the first, hand-written folios of Alice’s Adventures Under Ground (published as “Alice in Wonderland). Bunch of other books too, but that’s the closest to your folios.

    2) Climbed Sydney Harbour Bridge as a thunderstorm broke.

    3) Taken a military aircraft through a stall-turn over the cooling towers of a power station. Legally. At age 13.

    4) Eaten Marmite-flavoured chocolate.

    5) Shared 3D graphics war-stories with people who worked on the original TRON just because I was wearing a “Flynn’s Arcade” t-shirt.

    6) Threatened a bestselling speculative fiction author with a green ink augmented teabagging and gotten him to laugh about it. Quite proud of that one. ;)

    7) Gotten a piece of my art hung proudly in the study of another SF author’s study when it’s of his own work.

    8) Had dinner cooked for me by the guy who designed the visual effects for Babylon 5.

    OK, I’ve stroked my own ego enough, someone else’s go…

  29. 1) I once told Francis Crick what to do. (Ok, if I let on that the instruction was “2 please” it’s less impressive.)

    2) I once had a cop hold me at gunpoint.

    3) I was twice outside for over an hour when the temperature was below -40F) and once when the windchill exceeded -100F.

    4) Once in a fit of nerves I inadvertently insulted Bruce Sterling.

    5) I was Tom Anderson’s friend before it was cool.

    6) I once had the FBI listen in to my phone call.

    7) I once saw the Northern Lights under the influence of…stuff…

    8) I once watched multiple thunderstorms from a mountain top.

    9) I was once thanked in a scholarly paper on the magnetosphere.

    10) Was edited by Steven Levy. (Note: not 100% sure it’s the same Steven Levy.)

  30. Since so few posted links, I repeat myself here:

    1) Stood inside The Great Pyramid At Giza.

    2) Walked in the shadow of the Parthenon

    3) With ram and body, battered down the doors to suspect’s homes.

    4) Learned two languages foreign to me

    5) Fired a drum-fed Thompson submachinegun till dry, reloaded and done it again

    6) Arrested a murderer, for murder

    7) Drank where Lenin did while in exile.

    8) Been paid for something I wrote, and had said material published.

    9) Had Walter Payton put his arm about my shoulders

    10) Saved a life

    More oddness:

  31. (1) Hiked across the island of Rarotonga by myself.

    (2) Flown solo from Palmyra, PA to Wilmington, DE and back in a Cessna.

    (3) Watched the film APOLLO 13…on a screen in the original NASA mission control room…in Gene Kranz’s chair.

    (4) Invented my own language. (Olu fa pithanoa ennisoa ayamoira dor…)

    (5) Danced onstage with an Ethiopian pop star in Debark, and stuffed bills into her dress (as instructed).

    (6) Acted a principal role in a TV reality show pilot that’s never aired.

    (7) Interviewed Bill Nye the Science Guy for public radio.

    (8) Sneezed in a petri dish and then grew it for a year in my dorm room.

    (9) Participated in a two-day, two-night sit-in at the Wellesley administrative offices to protest the lack of South Asian faculty.

    (10) Was told, in November 2004 by the Election Board of my conservative home county, that they “never received” my voter registration packet, either by mail or by email…and, being told icily “You’re going to have to do whatever you’re going to have to do,” took three buses home over twelve hours to make it in time to vote.

    …I’ll stop there :)

  32. Uh… I had a half-size reprint of Shakespear’s First Folio, from 1863. I gave it to a girl I really liked. She invited me to her wedding a year later and that was the last I’ve ever seen of her.

    Had breakfast with Anne McCaffrey and Bob Forward. I was dressed in SCA armor with a tailed tux coat over it. Only convention I’ve ever been to; was dragged there by a girl I liked who needed a ride. As soon as we got there, she disappeared and since I didn’t know the room we were supposed to stay in, I slept in a chair in a conference room. That morning, I got a note at the front desk that she’d found a ride home. Was the last I’ve ever seen of her.

    Hitchhiked up the coast highway from Monterey to Mendocino. Was in the military and had just washed out of Russian Language school. Had some time to kill. met this really cool girl in SF but once we got to Mendocino, she met some friends and that was the last I’ve ever seen of her.

    I’ve rolled a ’72 RS Nova, both sideways and end-to-end, after a tire blew out on I90. I ended up with a scratch on my left little finger.

    Asked wife to marry me on our first date. She said yes after a few seconds thought. Been together almost 12 years now.

  33. 1. Was asked to administer to coup de grace and then helped a bunch of Guarani Indians butcher, barbeque and eat a cow.
    2. Got two South American porcupine quills in my nipple (nearly passed out from the pain extracting them).
    3. Used my Russian and Spanish to help Polish border guards question an Italian kiwi fruit farmer about his travel plans.
    4. Saw living stromatolites.
    5. Saw a grizzly bear kill an elk.
    6. Translated some Russian science fiction screen plays into English for an Academy Award -winning special effects artist.
    6.5 Got to hold one of said artist’s Oscars.
    7. Sat alone, watching the stars from the site of the Viking settlement at L’Anse-aux-Meadows, Newfoundland.
    8. Was the first person with curly hair a Navajo preschooler had ever seen. (‘Funny, your hair’s got curls, like on a sheep!’)
    9. Had Paul McCartney give me the ‘nudge, nudge, wink, wink’ when he caught me oggling his wife’s beautiful assistant.
    10. Stood inside the burial chamber of an ancient Egyptian pyramid.

  34. 1. Been patted on the head by George Montgomery.
    2. Hiked to the campground at Mesa Verde National Park between midnight and 5 a.m.
    3. Led tours at Mesa Verde National Park, which means that I got to go into the backcountry during training.
    4. Been insulted 3 days ago by Harlan Ellison.
    5. Played the baritone in a night-time Ullr Fest parade in Breckenridge where my wet lips froze (briefly) to my mouthpiece.
    6. Sang Christmas carols in harmony with my dad on an Acapulco hillside in 1972.
    7. Met Leonard Falcone, who told me the Colorado mountains reminded him of the Alps.
    8. Held 2 of only 28 copies of Don Quixote published in the Americas, dated 1608 and 1616.
    9. Got locked into the bell tower in Taxco, Mexico.
    10. Gave birth to 3 children via natural childbirth. (I realize that this is more commonplace than the others, but really, did you do that? Some can say yes).

  35. Had part of a fusion reactor (section of stainless steel RF heating antenna) hanging in my front yard as a work of art, 20 years ago. Sorry no pic’s mom lost them all a long time ago.

  36. It’s probably too much sugar from Holiday cookies, but I’ve been trying to “scan” your list to the theme song from “Phineaus and Ferb”..”Swatting a fly off Han Solo’s label, giving a monkey a shower” (well Harrison Ford doesn’t scan in as well.) Thank you for giving me even more to fuss over today…(it doesn’t take much these days)

  37. 1) Performed on stage at the Guthrie theater in Minneapolis at W00tstock with John Scalzi (there were some others on stage, but who can recall).

    2) Discussed physics with Billy Crudup – who would play Dr. Manhattan in Watchmen.

    3) Drove four Nobel Laureates and the Amazing Randi in my first car (though not at the same time, alas).

    4) Made a contribution to the solution of a physics problem first identified in the 1870’s.

    5) Been acknowledged in a book of poetry and a comic book for physics consultations.

    6) Appeared in a special feature on a DVD.

    7) Been within a few feet of ten Guttenberg Bibles (though not at the same time, alas).

    8) Stood in Nite Owl’s Owl Ship Archie when it was a large plywood form.

    9) Within months of receiving my driver’s license, drove in a single week in San Francisco down Lombard Street and in NYC on the BQE.

    10) got tenure.

  38. Let’s see. I have:

    1) kept a pet Shetland pony, who was permitted to come into the house.

    2) briefly, used a cottonmouth snake as a whip.

    3) been a fundamentalist evangelist at the age of 10.

    4) held a pair of Civil-War era slave shackles.

    5) managed to temporarily trap myself in: a castle dungeon, an open grave, Cairnpapple Burial Mound, and a passage grave.

    6) delivered a foal.

    7) danced in the ceremony commemorating The Year of the World’s Indigenous People at the UN in Geneva, Switzerland.

    8) trick-or-treated as Dolly Parton when I was 12 (unwillingly).

    9) have been attacked by a shark. . . on dry land.

    10) watched falcons hatching in Thoor Ballylee.

  39. Okay, okay, you are pretty cool! When I was 11 I nearly died on my birthday. Obviously, we all know the outcome. Same age, same country, Spain. 1973? Saw Ordenez in a bullfight in Ronda. He gave me an ear. This is an honour. Put it in my back pockey and forgot about it. Next day, I met Orsen Welles. I waltzed up to him and said, “No wine shall be sold before its time. Spoke for half an hour. 4 days later my parents smell, a, stench. The bulls eye. Apparently, I went native, at age 11. End of story. For now.

  40. Prompted Harlan Ellison from the front row when he forgot his lines.

    Been characters in Robert Anton Wilson novels; had Bob Shea inscribe a book, ” . . . who helped enlighten the author.”

    Listened to a guy named Craig who had just moved from the East Coast to the West Coast talk about thinking up a project so a few people would get to know who he was.

    Gotten from Pokra Nepal to Varanasi in one day.

    Ridden a bicycle down Mount Agung from Besakih to the beach (Bali). Been the only person on the beach at Nusa Dua for the afternoon.

    Gotten a hitchhiking ride in Australia that went for two weeks.

    Found an 11th Britannica in a thrift store for 25 cents a volume

    Knew Joe Mantegna and Arlene Vrhel when they were taking their clothes off.

    Gone through El Al security in Tehran.

  41. Of course no one gets tenure anymore. The whole point of an exclusive club is to pull the rope ladder up after you once you are safely inside!

    It helps to be much older than you appear.

    For that – it helps to have a portrait that gets uglier by the day up in the attic!



  42. 1. Brought a drag queen to high school and performed 80s funk with said drag queen to an astonished audience.

    2. Made love in an abandoned greenhouse in Wales.

    3. Shared a stage with James Brown in Paris (opened for him) during which time an orange-handled straight razor was hurled at the stage.

    4. Enabled an autistic kid to speak on cue for the first time by imitating James Brown.

    5. Been whistled at by a member of Aerosmith.

    6. Buried a double-lobed placenta.

    7. Been in a functioning Masonic temple in Oklahoma.

    8. Gotten the hairy eyeball from Allen Ginsberg.

    9. Been inside John Cleese’s London home, wherein I saw a library of marketing books and later, was treated to him pretending to cry in despair over his ex-wife.

    10. Performed in jukebox musical for David Copperfield, Claudia Schiffer and a thousand other folks.

  43. While reading these, I only came up with 7 of my own.

    1) I once drank mate using a bombilla (think of it as a straw with a filter in the end) that I made out of a pen’s body and some wires from a notebook, because I had forgotten the real one. Best mate I ever had
    2) Saw a piece of a glacier fall about 1km through the south wall of the Aconcagua, while standing about 1,5 km of it (after hiking up there)
    3) Had to un hang my mom from the shower in a “suicide attempt”, and in the same day had to take her to a mental institution. (she got better)
    4) I was there in the recording of three live albums.
    5) Got detained by the police (along with about 20 other people) for playing drums in a park. Appeared in the major national newspaper after that too.
    6) Being a native spanish speaker and secondary english speker, was the interpreter between an person sepaking only english and a french canadian who spoke a little spanish.
    7) My parents broke up, and my dad moved away. Now, only a couple of years later he still lives in another apartment, but he and my mom are dating.

  44. Here’s 10 things I bet you haven’t done, either. But you could. So get on that.

    1) Eaten two cans of WalMart brand Spaghetti-Os, straight out of the can, within a half hour of each other.
    2) Eaten an entire box of Swiss Cake Rolls in a 24-hour time period.
    3) Thrown up on your significant other during makeouts because you were that drunk.
    4) Been chastised by a Greek organization for hogging the beer funnel.
    5) Gone 24 hours eating nothing but Ramen.
    6) Drank Vault with an Airbourne in it for dinner exclusively for a week. (Dinner of champions, man.)
    7) Made yourself vomit with your significant other’s toothbrush because you were that drunk.
    8) Eaten nothing but Pringles in a 24-hour time period.
    9) Written 40 pages of academic writing in a 24-hour time period.
    10) Wrestled a polar bear while eating bacon and vomiting (because you were that drunk).

    When you complete these tasks, let me know and I’ll be duly impressed.

  45. Okay, you’ve got me beat on those. My only claims to fame (so far):

    –Helped George Harrison pick out some world cds at the store I worked at and had an interesting conversation about music with him.

    –Saved Pat Morita from certain paper towel avalanche doom.

    –Served comedian Steven Wright a frappe, who then asked what the difference between a frappe and a milkshake was.

    –Managed to get Siouxsie Sioux & Budgie (as the Creatures at the time) to laugh heartily when I asked if that was a voodoo doll of Robert Smith in their “Peek-a-Boo” video or just me.

    –Managed to swerve around a stupid giant deer jumping in front of me on an unplowed snowy road at 5:30am and get back into the right lane with no injury or wipeout whatsoever–with a full cup of coffee in my left hand, unspilled.

    –Held a pristine, unwrapped copy of the butcher cover of The Beatles’ Yesterday and Today in my hands (it was for sale for about $1800), just to say I did. ;-)

  46. 1 Was half of a team that designed and built from scratch a relay logic network that could play tic tac toe (when 15 years old).

    2 Skinny-dipped in Walden Pond. I figured Thoreau would approve.

    3 Was one of the two finalists in a Cootie tournament which was broadcast play-by-play on a commercial radio station.

    4 Built and played a Theremin.

    5 Invented soap that does not get smaller and chewing gum that does not get harder.

    6 Had to escape from my house in the night due to flooding. Twice.

    7 Been baptized in the Jordan River.

    8 Been called on the phone by someone who told me he got my name and phone number from an inmate in the state prison. Twice.

    9 Memorized the vocal score of Orff’s Carmina Burana.

    10 Been guest DJ on a popular radio station.

  47. 1) Hiked all 2,000 miles of the Appalachian Trail.

    2) Followed a kangaroo with a joey in its pouch down the sidewalk.

    3) Spent an unauthorized night camping on a Welsh farmer’s land.

    4) Attended a political rally in a full clown costume.

    5) Been given a backstage tour of the Shubert theater on Broadway by a cast member after the show.

    6) Called 911 over a Thanksgiving turkey overdose.

    7) Driven across the entire length of the United States solo, in one trip.

    8) Scuba dived on the Great Barrier Reef.

    9) Eaten an authentic Slovenian horse burger.

    10) Hypnotized a person in an attempt to help her quit smoking.

  48. I’ve done 1, 2, and 5… though there was a tree farm in front of and directly next to where I grew up, not exactly behind (the one behind had gone to forest already).

  49. 1 – Touched the Rosetta Stone.
    2 – Was asked by Charlie Hunter to move so he could make a pool shot without hitting me with his cue. He was very nice about it and said he wouldn’t have bothered ask but it was for the winning shot. And I WAS in the way. :)
    3 – Seen Robyn Hitchcock perform on 3 continents.
    4 – Accidentally bumped into Nancy Pelosi’s security escort at a movie screening.
    5 – Rode the same F car down Market Street in San Francisco as George Takei.
    6 – Visited Alcatraz on the same day as Michael Cera, on my birthday.
    7 – Had my hair cut while sitting in the chair next to the actor who played the judge on the local show called “Traffic Court”. Hey, I was 10 and it was very exciting.
    8 – Had police officer walk up to my car and question me about some stolen beer while I was giving my order at a Jack in the Box drive through. After a brief conversation he figured out I wasn’t the guy and let me get me order.
    9 – Stood next to Robin Williams while we were both shopping for video games at Virgin Megastore.
    10 – Smoked pot with a member of Ducks Breath Mystery Theatre.

  50. 1. Ran down a mountain nude (cross country runners, go figure).

    2. Slept on top of Longs Peak (14,000+ feet).

    3. Slept in a 16th century French castle.

    4. Had breakfast at the Champ de Mars, lunch at the Palace of Versailles, and dinner at the Eiffel Tower, all on the same day which just so happened to be my 4th wedding anniversary.

    5. Juggled with The Passing Zone.

    6. Had a needle put into my eye while I was awake and conscious.

    7. Am the son of the milkman (I kid you not).

    8. Bought a house without my wife seeing it until the papers were signed.

    9. Bottle fed lambs (who I later ate).

    10. Had John Scalzi promise he would never forget my name and a year later, he DIDN’T forget my name!

  51. 1. Had the lights go out … while standing in King Tut’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings.

    2. Lived in a country while it was under martial law. (Turkey – was on the wrong end of an assault rifle too while there, when a soldier noticed my mom’s jeans were undone and used it to gesture to us.)

    3. Enjoyed a picnic within the stones at Stonehenge.

    4. Randomly ran into Monty Python’s Michael Palin at Harrod’s, where he was doing a signing for a book of limericks he had written. (He signed my quickly procured copy as from “Bounder of Adventure” after I commented that was one of my favourite Python sketches.)

    5. Visited the Lipperzaner horses in their stable in Vienna (it would be nearly 30 years later before I actually saw them perform).

    6. Been on the receiving end of quite a rant from Marion Zimmer Bradley at Magnum Opus Con in the mid-’80s. She was apparently unhappy with her treatment at the hands of her daughter and chose me as an outlet for venting. Why? I’ll never know.

    7. Attended a political fundraiser picnic as former Secretary of State Dean Rusk’s guest. (I never actually met him, although I saw him a few times outside his campus office. For reasons I’ve long since forgotten, he paid for my friend and I to go to a fundraiser in 1986. I met Sam Nunn there and told him I’d intern for him one day, which I never did manage, alas.)

    8. Climbed Mt. Mihara on Izu Oshima island, an active volcano featured in both the original Ringu movie and two recent Godzilla movies.
    9. Attended an Eid al-Adha sacrifice, marking the one and only time I’ve seen a ram slaughtered.

    10. Attended a private talk (for less than 30 of us) with Jimmy Carter at the Carter Library. Shook his hand afterward. Still kicking myself that I didn’t get anything signed.

  52. Not sure I have ten but I’ll try, am rightfully proud of some of these:
    1. Benn shot in the head at point blank range without noticing. I was busy at the time trying to kill the would-be mugger. No, I didn’t manage that, I ran out of gas and had to drop his limp, reduced to a vegetable but still breathing body on the pavement and rest for a while. Then it occurred to me that I should seek help before I finished bleeding to death, which was REALLY hard to do. I was getting dizzy, I kept having to stop and throw up (NOT funny, I assure you) and started having problems remembering why I was walking. I knew there was something important I was supposed to be doing, if only I could remember what it was… I did manage to stumble into a convenience store, scaring the girl behind the counter so much she wet herself. (I got a copy of the police report and went back to thank her for helping to save my life. She told me, that’s how I know) I had lost so much blood that my shoes were full and running over, making little “squishy, squishy” sounds as I walked and leaving footprints in blood. At the hospital they had to explain to me, over and over again, that I had been shot. “Lie still, you’ve been shot. Huh? What are you talking about?” Wash, Rinse, Repeat. Over and over again. I’m told concussions can be like that. You lose the ability to make memories for a while, so no matter what anyone says to you, you promptly forget it.
    2. Going to the police station, three days after I was shot in the head, to get my car back. The nice policeman opened my folder, read some of the papers, and suddenly said, in a LOUD, clear voice, “He was shot in the HEAD three days ago.” Dead quite in the room suddenly, and Every. Single. Person. turned and stared at me. I could NOT help it, I got up, Bowed, and sat back down. It was awesome!
    3. Got through a car vs bicycle accident as a pre-schooler with only a broken leg. Okay, it was a VERY broken leg but still. How broken? They came out and trie dto break the news gently to my parents that it might be necessary to amputate. Mom had to PHYSICALLY RESTRAINED when she tried to claw the man’s eyes out. Go Mom!. It took several surgeries and some metal parts had to be used but I got better. Still have two feet and can walk and everything.
    4. Slid down a bannister standing up in my sock feet at a relative’s house. Flew through the air and hit a table hard enough to break a collar bone at the end, I was going so fast.
    5. Survived being beaten by my father until I could not move. Oh, okay, I was still breathing and I could blink, and both of those technically count as moving but you know what I mean. (Yes I had an abusive childhood. NO, I don’t want to talk about it, it’s none of your business)
    6. Stood on the roof of a car, while a friend drove it down the highway at 60 miles an hour. My life would have been a small price to pay for the pleasure of seeing my friends look at me with shock and awe. Hey, I was a teenager.
    7. escaped from the police by pulling my hand through the handcuff. I don’t think the policeman put the cuff on correctly. There was a whole bunch of us kids, all running about, throwing things and screaming. The cop who caught me attached on cuff to me and the other to the bicycle rack. I pulled loose and ran away. Yay me, lol.

    That’s all I can think of right now, but I think it’s a pretty good list.

  53. I had an amateur comic borrow an entire LiveJournal post of mine without permission for an open-mike night, and he bragged about it on my LJ afterward.

  54. I’m with Judy. Will we get another thread where we can ask for clarification? Because I for one would love to know what Siskel/Ebert were like at the movies, did they whisper, was it obvious if they liked the movie or not, did they have rapt attention, or were they glancing at the screen with that detached yet intense look you see from judges at music festivals and probably the Olympics for that matter?

  55. Okay, two more:
    8. Doing the dishes with a broken arm, and having the bone come out through the skin while drying a plate with a

    hand towel. Being really, REALLY upset because now when I got home from the hospital I was going to have to

    do the dishes over again, since they were now covered in blood. (I didn’t really, Mom did them for me while I was

    asleep from the pain meds. Thanks Mom.)
    9. Being woken up in the middle of the night by my next door neighbor, who was screaming and hysterical

    because she was having her baby. They are really, really poor and have no phone and no car. At the time I was

    having some medical problems and was taking both heavy duty sleep drugs AND pain killers (Don’t look at me

    like that, it was all prescribed by a doctor). She went right ahead and had her baby, right there, on the floor in my

    living room. I managed to do my bit, sacrificing a shoelace to tie the cord in two places and remembering to

    sterilize my pocketknife before I cut the cord(I’d read about that bit somewhere). If you’ve never played this

    game, the amount of blood and mess is unreal. The paramedics arrived and carried the new mom and baby away.

    Attracted by the lights and the siren, the next door neighbor from the other side showed up, in jammies, bathrobe,

    and (Honest to God!) bunny slippers.
    Stout hearted lady, she took charge, cleaned up the mess, chased me into the bathroom, told me to pass out my

    clothes and take a shower, tucked me into bed, then took my clothes home and washed them, brought them back

    and left them on the kitchen table, neatly folded, with a note on top telling me that Mother and baby were well,

    everything was fine, and everyone was very grateful for my help, especially considering my drugged into a coma

    state at the time.

  56. OK, I’ll bite:

    Fought a forest fire
    Washed corpses
    Lived in a log cabin without electricity or plumbing
    Won a literary prize
    Crossed the Atlantic on a passenger liner
    Worked as an orderly in a mental hospital
    Pointed a loaded gun at a dangerous man with the intent to shoot him
    Written speeches for political leaders and CEOs of billion-dollar corporations
    Been clothed by Red Cross disaster relief

  57. I’ll notice how different my perception of what’s singular differs from that of many posters. I’ve been aimed at by the police (we didn’t realize they were asking our old car to stop), i’ve been in the wrong side of tear gas more than once and I have been under martial law more than once. But I don’t think that’s something “you probably haven’t done” because it is (was? we hope so) not uncommon in my country.

    I could also say that I ate a cow’s kidney, intestines, udder and pancreas, but that’s regular in our barbecues (mmmm mollejas! *drool*)

    By the way, we actively rejected the last attempt at martial law exactly 9 years ago today. I raise a glass to the memory of the 20+ killed that day.

  58. I have been a few feet from a Shakespeare first folio. And while I have never bottle fed a calf, one once tried to eat me, which is why I feel no guilt about eating beef.

  59. Been to the British Museum and dimly remember a Shakespeare First Folio but don’t remember if I was within two feet of it. I did have a long conversation with Arthur C. Clarke about ‘2001 A Space Odyssey’ after a lecture he gave at Ohio Wesleyan in the 70’s. So take that, sci-fi breath.

  60. 1) Sold books to both Margaret Atwood (Handmaid’s Tale) and Wayson Choy (Jade Peony) in the same week. I was also tipped $5 by Choy for carrying a box of books back to where he was staying for him. Sweet guy.

    2) Had a newborn foal die in my arms. Not a good day.

    3) Taught a young horse to back up. More difficult than you might think.

    4) Been a woman in the ‘men’s only’ area of a monastery.

    5) Had both a 1987 Chevy Impala and a 1986 Plymouth Horizon air born.

    6) Walked away (quietly and quickly) from a black bear in the middle of the night.

    7) Rented Justin Beiber and his mother several videos (not proud of that)

    8) Rubbed a dying man’s feet to keep them warm… And consciously know that if that was my finest hour, that it was enough.

    9) Played ‘urban golf’ under the cover of darkness with Tim Bits (doughnut holes).

    10) Been told by Ron Jeremy that I have a nice chest, told him off for it, and the apologized to him when I happened to meet him by chance a year later.

  61. Touched a baby White Rhinoceros (and been photographed with same) while its mom was grazing unrestrained nearby.

  62. 1: Discovered a topless photo of myself on a Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras float because a friend worked at a camera shop where the photographer took the film for developing.

    2: Took nude photographs of all my friends (I don’t have many)

    3: Hitchhiked around Australia in under 2 years

    4: Wrote out the lyrics to all David Bowie albums from vinyl in 3 days… with some chemical assistance.

    5: Jelly wrestled for cash in Perth

    6: Beat up a man (quite badly) that attacked me in an alley (I think I was more surprised than he was)

    7: Interviewed 2 of my favourite people separately on the same day (Neal Stephenson and Terry Pratchett)

    8: Got attacked by cows while hunting for mushrooms then threatened with a rifle by the farmer.

    9: Stayed in the rooms that Mao Tse-tung used to live in, in Shanghai

    10: Kissed Garry Gary Beers bassist for INXS in the 80s and in the 00s

  63. 1) washed and stimulated a squirrel’s butt and private bits.

    2) sang Up On The Roof while being up on the roof while holding an umbrella.

    3) drove by Tiger Wood’s mansion the day after the infamous car incident.

    4) gave a copy of my book to the Prime Minister of Malaysia.

    5) walked barefoot on coals for Deepavali.

    6) participated in a six-day long Indian wedding/feast that included a dancing bear.

    7) had my finger in somebody else’s boil.

    8) given 1000 copies of my own book for my birthday (I know, I have a strange friend. He said he got them from someone who buys remainders).

    9) and yup, touched, gaped at, and handled 1000 copies of my own book,

    10) am currently reroofing a house whose original roof I installed 20 years ago (dammit, I was so certain I wouldn’t be back….)

    OK, will link from my site! Always fun to read everyone else’s list!

  64. 1) Have the telegram Eleanor Roosevelt sent my father re: my birth
    2) Sung in a concert headlined by Arthur Fiedler, got to hear him snark about the choral work (well deserved)
    3) Hitchhiked from Boston to California and back when I was 17 (1971)
    4) Had my living room room floor washed by Anne McCaffrey
    5) Answered a phone call from Captain Crunch (it was for a roommate)
    6) Played Spacewar on a PDP-1 (the first interactive graphical computer game), and knew the writer
    7) Bicycled around the IJselmeer
    8) Gone to the theatre with Neil Gaiman
    9) Fallen into a glacial crevasse (on rope, thankfully — unrestrained falls into crevasses are less survivable than avalanches)
    10) Been homeless

  65. Just curious, but with the fly on Harrison Ford’s lapel, did the fly swat first or did you?

  66. You have some very interesting readers, John. Very.

    Shot in the head? WTF, over?

    Stimulating squirrel anus?

    I note that many of the odd things share a common thread of cops… Not sure what to make of that.

  67. 1. Spent over 24 hours cleaning and reconstructing a saber-toothed cat’s saber tooth while I worked at the La Brea Tar Pits.

    2. Heard Julie Andrews swear like a sailor.

    3. Had Matt Groening do a doodle for me.

    4. Set off fireworks in time to a symphony orchestra playing O Fortuna from Carmina Burana (EPIC!!)

    5. Lived under the 405/10 interchange in LA.

    6. Lived in LA for two years without a car.

    7. Almost drowned by an overzealous curator trying to protect snow plover nests by chasing my friend and I into the ocean during a storm. He apparently valued bird’s lives over human lives.

    8. Went to 8 different schools before I was 21.

    9. Lived 200ft from the Pacific Ocean (with an ocean view).

    10. Had one of my heros say I was one of her heros now.

  68. Re 1. Does a first Quarto count? And I actually assisted in the conservation of it, so I got to touch it with latex gloved hands. And my uncle had a dairy, so I’ve done #5 quite a bit.

    How about – got shot at by striking miners while watching lookout for the fire investigator (who as my father) who was investigating the arson burning of a mine foreman’s house; drank whiskey with Lee Marvin in a nowhere town in Wyoming, under age; sang to Queen Elizabeth of England when she stopped by my podunk little Wyoming home town to visit distant relatives; discovered a cache of raptor fossils in the Wyoming mountains; found an uncut sapphire on the ground while hiking; did the polka with the first chair violin from the Oslo Symphony Orchestra;

  69. 10. Sung an original song at a friend’s funeral.

    I’ve come close to this. I’ve sung an original song at a friend’s wedding.

    Other weird stuff I’ve done:

    1. Made Stephen King choke on his lunch. I was interviewing him for a story and he was eating a Subway sandwich. I made a joke that made him laugh and in doing so, he inhaled a jalapeno pepper. He coughed for a few minutes, then asked why I was trying to kill him.

    2. Related: you know the story “Chattery Teeth” in Nightmares and Dreamscapes? I’ve seen the actual Chattery Teeth in his office. Yes, they are as creepy as you imagine.

    3. I am in the video for the song “Rumpshaker.” In the far background, but in the video nonetheless.

    4. Scenes from the (terrible) movie “Flight of the Intruder” were filmed at the house of a friend. While they were filming a scene over and over again, my friends and I managed to sneak into the catering area and ate to our hearts content.

    5. Met John Glenn. He is awesome. He had just made a speech and was scheduled to attend an event with political and local leaders. He was slightly late for the event, but on his way out of the building, was stopped by a little boy who asked him what it was like to “fly in space.” Glenn knelt down and talked to this little boy for 5-6 minutes, then took a picture with the kid. I can still see the look on that kid’s face – he’ll remember that moment for his entire life.

    6. While out to eat at a nice restaurant with my very pregnant wife, a member of Aerosmith came up to our table. No joke: he raised a glass to us, and said something like “Rock and roll is great, but what you’re about to experience is even better.”

    7. While writing a story for a newspaper, played wheelchair football with a local team.

    8. Shook the hand of the woman who called out Joe McCarthy with her “Declaration of Conscience” speech.

    9. Saw a performance by the Rock Bottom Remainders. I’ve seen Dave Barry play “Gloria” and Stephen King and Warren Zevon jam out on “Werewolves of London.” In the same performance, watched Amy Tan march across the stage in thigh-high boots and a whip during “These Boots Were Made for Walking.”

    10. Was once forced to bribe Russian customs officials while trying to get donated medical supplies into the country.

  70. My list:
    1. Interviewed Harry Chapin in a motel room.
    2. Had Warren Norwood tell me I was wasting my talent.
    3. Pissed off Bob Asprin.
    4. Got a thank you note from Wendy Pini telling me I “got it” when I reviewed the first appearance of Elfquest. (The comic debuted in Fantasy Quarterly. Not sure where my copy is now.)
    5. TED Klein and Kristine Kathryn Rusch rejected the same story with handwritten notes. (Klein wanted to see anything else I had. I had nothing.)
    6. Called an unoriginal asshole by The Comics Journal.
    7. Had a panic attack on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland.
    8. Directed the stoner’s father from Dazed and Confused in a corporate video.
    9. Roommates for three years with a professional birthday clown.
    10. Lectured by Raymond Feist on FidoNet.

  71. 1. Been a co-auther on a peer-reviewed scientific paper. (details if you want them, John)
    2. Said more than one line, on camera in a Hollywood movie.
    3. Been a graduate student (OK, maybe not so impressive; but since it’s mathematics it is).
    4. Shook hands, and had some small-talk with Liam Neeson (and we weren’t in a receiving crowd)
    5. Eaten dinner at the home of Phil Knight (more than once) with him and his family.
    6. Graduated with Phil Knight’s son.
    7. Got tutored by Senator Ron Wyden (my Dad shared an office with him as he was running for office. The guy has good writing skills)
    8. Asked John D. Watson a question. Which he answered and said “that’s a good question” (OK, he was trying to be supportive to an undergrad in science)
    9. Solved a protein structure using x-ray diffraction technique.
    10. Pissed-off John Scalzi ;)

  72. 1. let Robert de Niro touch a naked mole rat

    2. spent the US bicentennial in Poland

    3. picked up poison dart frogs with my bare hands

    4. quit a tenured assistant professorship to work at a zoo

    5. had an article I wrote on Yahoo News Most Emailed Stories

    I could fill this list out with more weird animal things but I think that’s enough.

  73. I am not entirely sure, but on september 10, I believe I was on one of the planes that was hijacked on sseptember 11.

  74. I loved reading these. I had to respond with something, but I guess I am not all that interesting.

    1. My husband and I are both Jeopardy! champions.

    2. The ONLY time I have ever been sick on a plane I was sitting next to Matthew Broderick.

    3. I have touched the Rosetta Stone and stuck my fingers in the crack on the Liberty Bell. I know there are other things I have touched that were not supposed to be touched, but I can’t think at the moment what they are.

    4. My company was begged for by a group of Parisian youths on the Champs Elyses on Bastille Day 1989, but I was 15 and with my parents, so I couldn’t indulge them.

    5. I have been mistaken for a docent/zoologist/historian at Colonial Williamsburg, the National Zoo, the National Museum of Natural History, the National Air and Space Museum, the Miami Metrozoo, the LA Zoo, the Griffith Observatory, Kennedy Space Center, etc. etc. etc. (hence the Jeopardy champ thing, I suppose).

    6. I had dinner with Itzhak Perlman, and he encouraged me to continue playing viola. He was very nice, but I play violin now. Sorry, Itzhak.

    7. I am thanked in the acknowledgments section of a book about sexual pleasure for women.

    8. I went on vacation to recover from a difficult emotional time, and came down with pneumonia. It was as close as I have ever come to death, doubled the length of my vacation, and got me fired from my job, causing another emotional situation, requiring an additional vacation.

    9. I have also survived near-strangulation. I guess that’s not really all that uncommon as I thought it was. 18 years later, I can finally wear necklaces again, though.

    10. I have literally run into the governor of my state at two separate Pogues concerts. He is a big fan, which is awesomeness in itself.

    11. I flew on 17 round-trip flights before I was 1 year old (my dad worked for Eastern Airlines). I have also “flown” a jumbo jet when I was about 5 years old (sitting on the “real” pilot’s lap).

    12. I went up the Empire State Building and the World Trade Center on the same day when I was 6.

    13. I saw Anwar Sadat and Ronald Reagan shake hands and smile and wave on the White House steps on August 6, 1981, about 2 months before Sadat was assassinated. It was a total fluke that we were in DC for half a day driving back from summer vacation, and happened to witness the 5 minute event.

    14. Belgian customs agents almost refused us entry to their lovely country because my dad’s passport photo was so bad it didn’t really look much like him. They accepted the rest of our pleas on his behalf, and we entered the country.

    I guess that’s all for now. This was fun. More than 10, but I believe that’s just fine.

  75. Darn, one more, sorry.

    I played in the back-up orchestra for Bob from Sesame Street in a live stage show. Had to mention Bob.

  76. This topic has me thinking about the ten coolest things that I have done versus the ten coolest-sounding things that I’ve done. Not even close to the same list.


  77. 1) Walked off the roof of the student union at the University of North Carolina.
    2) Asked a Coast Guard helicopter pilot the best way to bring his chopper down with a sniper rifle (and gotten a detailed answer).
    3) Gotten drunk with a former member of the Atlanta Rhythm Section.
    4) Narrowly escaped an ass-chewing by Harlan Ellison.
    5) Been lectured on the difference between the concepts of malum in se and malum prohibitum by G. Gordon Liddy.

  78. I’ll see your “Been a couple of feet away from a Shakespeare First Folio” and raise you a “Held a first edition Chaucer in my gloved hands.”

    I’ll trump that by a few hundred years with “have touched a medieval arabic alchemical text dated around the tenth century, with my bare finger”.

    I’ve also seen a Maori chief in his pajamas, had a satirical piece I wrote used in lobbying the US Congress, and saved the life of a six year old when I was only 12.

  79. 7) Turned to someone in a courtroom and asked, in reference to a lawyer arguing a motion “When the hell did they start letting teenagers practice law?” and being told in hushed tones, “Man, that’s John Edwards.”

  80. I’m a space geek so I think Monica wins with #38 #3, not so much for what it is (although that’s too cool for words) but for what it implies about her access.

    1. Touched a sign marking the end of the Pan American Highway in Argentina.

    2. Set off a metal detector at an airport in Switzerland. In 1970. With the underwires in my bra.

    3. Stood at the back of Notre Dame Cathedral during a service.

    4. Went through the Panama Canal. Watched ships go through the Panama Canal by moonlight, from a vantage point just beside the locks. On the same day.

    5. Said a prayer for a terminally ill friend in the ruins of the Temple of Hera at old Olympia. I was totally alone on a very early spring day when no one was visiting the World Heritage site except our group of 96 people, the rest of whom had already scattered to the winds.

    6. Signed the guest book at Government House in Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands.

    7. Saw a total solar eclipse with a duration of just under four minutes. Went half way around the world for three weeks in Greece & Turkey. The trip was totally worth the broken foot.

    8. On a surreal morning in Ireland, the mayor of Derry introduced our small private group of American tourists to the head of Sinn Fein. We were at city hall to meet the mayor on what turned out to be the day they put out the book of condolences for John Paul II.

    9. Provided inspiration photographs to a NYT bestselling author and had the book dedicated to me.

    10. Held best friend’s hand while she died at home of cancer.

  81. Ohhh, this is fun.

    1. Opened for Eddie Rabbit (with my college jazz band) at a political rally for George Bush (the first one) – not my choice or political preference, by the way. But oh, I love a rainy night!

    2. Won a literary prize for a Christmas story/homage to Dylan Thomas.

    3. Had one of my poems completely trashed by Martin Espada in Robert Frost’s barn in Franconia, NH – good for developing thick writer’s skin, actually.

    4. Had to deliver the news to my dad that his dad had died – we were in the midst of building a loft in my college dorm room – my grandfather had been out-of-state and they had to call the college, then find me to relay the news.

    5. Had to bribe a border guard to avoid being trapped in no-man’s land between Serbia and Bosnia due to a small dispute over some paperwork – or lack thereof.

    6. Been the only person NOT to get sick after a kiwi barbecue in Nelson on the South Island. What was in that homemade pizza!?

    7. Paid to play alto saxophone at a Lithuanian concert at the Rosemont Horizon (now the Allstate Arena) in Chicago.

    8. Thanked in the Preface of books on real estate and environmental law.

    9. Watched cases of “the new Beaujolais” be dropped from a helicopter onto the beach at a resort on Amelia Island, FL, during a reception at my nonprofit employer’s annual conference. Those were the days of extravagance, eh.

    10. Exist because a servant on the Mayflower DIDN”T DIE. I’m descended from a servant who had to be rescued, then went on to marry the daughter of one of the businessmen on the Mayflower.

  82. 1. Stood in the burial chamber of an ancient Egyptian pyramid not located at Giza (no one-upmanship here, uh-uh :)
    2. Watched the sun rise from the top of Mount Sinai
    3. excavated an Early Bronze Age burial
    4. lived and worked on an actively erupting volcano
    5. had a metal plate screwed into my left arm
    6. visited Angkor Wat a decade before Tomb Raider was made
    6.5 thankfully, heard only distant rocket fire while at Angkor
    7. walked through the Potala Palace
    8. lived next door to the house where the Manson Family hosed off the blood from the Tate murder.
    9. cruised up the Peruvian Amazon
    10. visited the Bezeklik Thousand Buddha caves in the Flaming Mountains of the Taklamakan Desert.

  83. 1. Flipped 44 individual pennies one after another and all came up tails. Probability: 1 in 17,592,186,044,416 chance.

    2. Watched a rocket dance: rise, hover, move laterally and then land (DC-X).

    3. Chatted with Clyde Tombaugh several times a week while we both collected our mail.

    4. Sang backup on “I Wanna Know What Love Is” for Foreigner during one concert.

    5. Had lightning strike 5 feet in front of me.

    6. Took Greg Benford to tour his old neighborhood and his old high school 50 years after he graduated.

    7. Watched Larry Niven bellydance in public.

    8. Watched Spider Robinson become the first ever author to attend a SF convention panel with no pants on, and no one knew until he stood up at the end.

    9. Lead over 3000 people in acapella singing. Twice.

    10. Applied a brief burst of cryogenic liquid oxygen to the buttocks of a farm goat in order to encourage it to leave a delivery van.

  84. Wow, ready some of these lists is a bit intimidating. Gotta up my game.

    1-Very nearly got Harlan Ellison to sign his name as ‘Zorro’ on a book he was autographing for me (the crossed out ‘Z’ makes me smile every time I see it)

    2-Met Rod Steward while I was dressed as Kid Creole.

    3-Got out of a ticket (well, I was the passenger) after LACon III by telling the cop how we had just been seeing Buzz Aldrin talk, and how he was *awesome*

    4-Spontaneously made up a story (um, okay lied) in order to get into into the building which Fritz Leiber wrote Our Lady of Darkness.

    5-Been part of a Best in Show Wondercon masquerade entry (albeit as a warm body for someone else’s costume)

    6-Caught my almost-boyfriend cheating on me… with me. (it was an BBS chatroom thing)

    7-Assisted a veterinarian during spaying surgeries.

    8-Been the only member under 18 on the board of a charity. (A small, local animal shelter, but I was terribly proud)

    9-Worked the ticket booth at a burlesque show.

    10-Had art in a Hugo-nominated fanzine.

  85. 1. Been hugged by the entire 1972 Turkish Olympic Wrestling team.
    2. Been on a commercial airplane when it caught fire (nobody hurt, we landed in a hurry and got met by a fire truck).
    3. Slept overnight in the aforementioned plane after the fire was put out.
    4. Taken martial arts lessons from Stephen Segal’s bodyguard.
    5. Dissected the hippocampus out of 72 mice in four hours.
    6. Slept overnight in a car in a blizzard with an African Gray Parrot, a Moluccan cockatoo, and a Golden Retriever.
    7. Had an elderly German dude mistake me for a Nazi and try to strangle me.
    8. Got booted out of a college freshman English class for answering two questions correctly (the first question was a normal class question. The second one was “What school did you graduate from? to which the answer was “Wellesley College” rather than the high school he was expecting. Hey – I went where the bursar put me.)
    9. Hand sewed my own wedding dress.
    10. Sang a Christmas offertory a capella on ten minutes notice.

  86. I decided my 1st list wasn’t enough (hard to beat getting mugged by mimes):

    1. Pranked a VAX sysadmin by rigging over 100 accounts to automatically start calculating Pi using a program written in interpreted BASIC.

    2. Had a sailplane dump its balast on me while it was flying 100 feet overhead.

    3. Sang a gospel song to my dying Mother.

    4. Spent two weeks in the Milan Carabinieri (Italian National Police) compound, thankfully as a consultant.

    5. Sat in a meeting with a Carabinieri Captain who was #1 on the Italian Mob’s hit list and watched him play with his stiletto to unnerve us.

    6. Wrote a whitepaper that paved the way for Spaceport America.

    7. Pegged a running possum with a thrown Louiville Slugger from 20 feet away.

    8. Broke both my upper and lower jaw falling off of a girl’s banana seat bike.

    9. Was asked to pursue a Master’s in Philosophy after writing a paper in 4 hours right before it was due, for a class on the philosophy of Bertrand Russell.

    10. Left a post high-school graduation party to wait at a set time for timetravellers across the state line, only to find out later that we forgot about the time zone change between the states.

  87. 1. Had a group of people sing “Happy Birthday” to me outside of Mawson’s Hut, Commonwealth Bay, ANTARCTICA.

    2. A baby gorilla grabbed my leg as he ambled past In the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. He looked up at me and tentatively reached out to touch the hairless ape.

    3. Swam with Humpback whales, Tonga.

    4. Swam with whale sharks off Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia.

    5. Ate a guinea pig in Peru.

    6. Took a beating on more than one occasion (stitches involved) when I was a night club doorman.

    7. Drove half way around Australia (14000km) in 23 days.

    8. Was DJ in an inner city night club for a number of years.

    9. Was a contestant on a TV game show, Sale Of The Century.

    10. Broke up a fight on the street and disarmed the guy who pulled a knife (easy, he wasn’t interested in sticking me with it but I probably shouldn’t do that again).

    This was fun. I think I’ll blog the details.

  88. 1. Have tire tracks up the side of my face as a result of being run over by a car

    2. Have five wisdom teeth removed

    3. Have my train, carrying all my luggage, leave without me in the middle of Siberia (I don’t speak Russian and no one spoke English)

    4. Go bowling in Pyongyang

    5. Perform a one-step cut-and-paste on a piece of a bacterial genome

    6. Go scuba diving to explore the wreckage from the 1281 storm that gave birth to the term kamikaze

    7. Obtain dan rankings in both Karate-Do Shotokai and iaido

    8. Visit at least three major tourist sites in all the prefectures in Kyushu in one week, traveling only by hitchhiking

    9. Shake hands with James Watson, thank him profusely, and then be angrily waved away

    10. Eaten raw jellyfish

  89. 1. Helped birth a foal and then bottlefed it when I was 10.

    2. Had a kickass brain surgery and then asked for the missing piece bronzed for a necklace(they denied my request, the bastards).

    3. Testified in the Indiana State Senate when I was 13, the testimony helping pass an insurance reform law mandating coverage for children with autism/psychological issues.

    4. Stood in a pit area during the Indy 500(kind of lackluster) with Goose from Top Gun.

    5. A creepy anecdote involving being a cheery kid at a concentration camp(to be fair I was 2 and I didn’t know that Dachau was a *bad place* as it was just a place without immediate horror.)

    6. Is in the photo album of an Indian(the country) family as the “gringo baby” at the Tower of Pisa.

    7. Bummed 40 cigarettes in a 4 hour period.

    8. Pet a Wallaby that wandered out of the enclosure at the zoo as a kid.

    9. Interviewed Temple Grandin for a piece in an alt weekly.

    10. and then without incriminating myself to this day!

  90. Balls, I forgot you actually use html on your comments. Imagine that 10 says things about redacted text.

  91. In 1982 the Titanic Historical Society had a convention in Philadelphia. I attended and ended up in the hotel bar the evening before the convention started. Also present at the table were Eva Hart and Ruth Blanchard (Titanic survivors) and Charlie Haas (then president of the THS). I have a menu from the convention dinner signed by the survivors that were present along with Walter Lord (wrote ‘A Night to Remember’).

    I think Charlie is still alive but all the others are now gone.

  92. First of all I too have bottlefed the calf =) but here is my list:

    1) Helped to raise squirrel baby for few week before his/hers mom took him/her back, it did involve bottlefeeding also.
    2) have jumped down from balcony (it was in the first floor and nothing happened but still)
    3) I’ve had dog jaws around my neck (didn’t bite but it felt kind of spooky)
    4) have tree climbed around sprucefence, in a matte of tree to tree style (it was about 100m long treefence)
    5) have been kicked to my heel by horse (no idea how he managed to do that but still happened)
    6) managed to tear ligament from my knee and I didn’t even fall down or anything and ride my back home after that..
    7) in one day managed to go swimming in 5 different beaches when I was about 12 years old.. And we ride our bikes to these different beaches..
    8) have jumped down from roof to snow blanket, several times.

    okey, nothing else comes to my mind =)

  93. Hahaha. Love the post. Even more the fact that it so quickly feels like it has deteriorated into a skit from SNL. I’ll have to give mine some thought and post it on my blog. At the moment I feel entirely boring!

  94. I’ve only done one thing on your list – bet most farm kids have too. And I can only come up with two things that maybe no one else has done: I raised a raccoon who was orphaned when his mother was killed on the road by our house. And I dismantled some traps set by EnCon to capture some beavers who were building a dam in an area that the neighbors complained about. The beavers stayed and eventually moved on of their own accord.

    All in all, after reading your list, John, and those of your readers, – wow! Some REALLY interesting people read your always informative, entertaining blog!

  95. #1 – Dog sledded a beaver trap line in Ontario.

    #2 – Changed the clutch in a ’69 VW Beetle by myself. This requires removing and reinstalling the engine. I used a sheet of plywood and 2 jacks. (I was and still am a scrawny 115 lbs).

    #3 – Wrote my first code in ’74 on a PDP-8. Toggled the bootstrap on the console so it would load the OS from paper tape.

    #4 – Seen Bauhaus twice, Peter Murphy solo twice.

    #5 – Saw the teapot given me by my Grandmother on display at the Royal Ontario Museum (I still have mine).

    #6 – Came to Canada on an Ocean liner.

    #7 – Turned down a chance to meet the Pope so I could go to the Sistine chapel instead.

  96. The best thing about reading these lists is that you start by thinking, “I haven’t done anything interesting,” and end by realizing, “Actually, I have.”

    1. Routinely used a nuclear reactor in the centre of a major city (and carried radioactive baking soda across campus).

    2. Been asked directions in every major city I’ve visited as an adult, from Honolulu to Paris to New Delhi.

    3. Driven solo across North America twice.

    4. Been told that I was smart by a Nobel Laureate (I was a grad student at the time).

    5. Walked into an underground party at 3 am while visiting East Berlin and met four people I knew.

    6. Was a technical reviewer for a bestselling book.

    7. Been inside the Great Pyramid of Giza.

    8. Had sea lions come and frolic with me while scuba diving in Monterey Bay.

    9. Followed a band from a Monday night residency at a tiny club to Top 40 success.

    10. Been inside the entomological collections area on the research floor of the American Museum of Natural History in NYC (and a curator showed me a Colletes inaequalis tongue under a microscope)

  97. 1. Enjoyed a full tour of an uranium mine and transformation plant.
    2. Served in the private security of His Holiness the Dalai-Lama for about 10 minutes.
    3. Entered a high security zone haphazardly and found myself joyfully waved at by G.W. Bush when he was the President.
    4. Was the only male, and only westerner, to travel in a bus packed with Tibetan nuns on pilgrimage.
    5. Was invited to speak in front of the EU Commission.
    6. Passed 11 exams on the same day and succeeded at all.
    7. Impersonated a hobbit at the first LARP of Europe ever. I was 12 and there were no rules whatsoever.
    8. Roamed my city, on a kick-ass patrol, with a ninja sword at night, when I was 16.
    9. Was playing D&D at the age of 8.
    10. Been playing a western politician in a Bollywood movie.

  98. This has been huge fun to read. Why can’t the rest of the internet be like this? Here are my humble additions (with apologies for all the parentheses):

    (1) I was deliberately dropped by my classmates during a “trust” exercise in high school. I know, I know, build a bridge, move on…

    (2) Was Tim Powers’ official stalker at a Perth SF con.

    (3) Stroked a white tiger for 15 minutes on my 15th wedding anniversary.

    (4) Saw the head of Fat Cat (local children’s TV show character) on a props room shelf at a TV station. I refuse to recover.

    (5) Got paid to tell jokes in public in the (once) largest theatre space in the southern hemisphere. It’s all right, I got better. (It wasn’t the main stage, but it was in the same building.)

    (6) Jelly wrestled with a doctor (on a strictly amateur basis) to celebrate the NYE millenium 1999-2000. Was incapacitated by laughter and subsequently pinned like a bug, complete with waving limbs.

    (7) Misplaced a state minister for education on a phone system. He’s probably still on hold 15 years later.

    (8) Asked Sir David Attenborough an awkward question about sound effects in The Private Life of Plants. “Ah,” he said. “Ah.”

    (9) Is descended from the person who owned the company that installed the telephone systems on the Titanic.

    (10) Was in a Christmas pagent in the 70’s dressed as a daisy, marching behind the Snoopy and The Red Baron float. Somewhere ahead of that there were horses.

  99. – Slept in a room with about 20 Tammar Wallabies (admittedly, the wallabies were all in hessian bags and I was on the top bunk, but I was having visions of some escaping, and then what?)

    – Found a highly venemous snake in my bed and my first thought was, “Someone grab a camera!”

    – Been up to my thighs in (non man-made) mud.

    – Cannon netted migratory waders.

  100. 1: Made a lame Android joke while talking to Brent Spiner (okay, probably not unique, but he started it…)
    2: Jousted on unicycles.
    3: Duct taped an eleven year old boy to the wall in an elementary school with his mothers permission.
    4: Worked professionally as a mad scientist.
    5: Dissected a pillow to find out what made it soft. (I was like 5 or something)
    6: ALMOST got kicked out of Denny’s at 2 AM for playing Saber Dance on water glasses.
    7: Got into a golf cart accident in a regional amusement park.
    8: Had a tree fall on me sending me to the hospital in an ambulance where I made a joke when one of a trauma room full of doctors put his finger in my rectum.
    9: Punished my 7 year old by taking the bookshelf out of his room. (he cried for an hour)
    10: Been yelled at for ‘killing her Clifford’ when my 5 year old daughter threw her imaginary pet dog out the window while I was driving on the freeway.

  101. in a head on collision on a highway and thrown from the vehicle (no seatbelt) and resulted in no broken bones and one stitch. (yes i wear my seatbelt now)

    rode in a helicopter which crashed after it dropped me off.

    i dont think ive ever run into anyone famous, but I wouldnt trade my guardian angel for nothing.

  102. Fun stuff!

    ~ Had my scalp split open with an ax.

    ~ Received a turkey balloon made from a rubber glove by a doctor who looked like The Real American Hero after getting my split scalp stitched up.

    ~ Saw a meteor shower over northern lights from an airplane.

    ~ Had a doctor praise the homogeneity of my breasts during an exam.

    ~ Hiked along Purnululu ( aka The Bungle Bungles)

  103. Oh, I should say that I got to introduce Gov. Howard Dean to a gathered crowd of supporters and press outside of the DNC headquarters in Washington, DC just before he gave a speech inside declaring he “represented the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party” in early 2004.

  104. Kaytie: “Had a doctor praise the homogeneity of my breasts during an exam.” – Pics or it didn’t happen.

  105. #69 Wizardbear It’s cool that you helped with a delivery. Good work! That is probably the most impressive entry here. Observing a child being born is something I would like to do, although I would hope not under such scary circumstances. (I’ve done it as a participant, naturally.) However, I’d like to note that one should not cut the cord in an emergency delivery. Just make sure the babe is breathing (you might have to massage her or wipe her nose), pop her on Mom’s tum, and wrap them both up to keep warm. There is no urgent need to cut the cord at all. If the placenta is delivered while you wait, that can go in right in the whole Mom/baby burrito, but hopefully the ambulance will arrive by then.

  106. Just a few, most from my very misbegotten youth.

    1. Fought an ostrich. (I won, by decision.)
    2. Allowed myself to be locked into a 1940s era Post Office bank-style, iron-doored vault, in the dark, to see if I could escape before the oxygen ran out. (I don’t recommend the activity, though it is a huge incentive to learn how to solve a combination lock. Took me 15 minutes and one bent paperclip. I blame Richard Feynman.)
    3. Been attacked by a police dog, and taunted it during the attack.
    4. Published Stephen King.
    5. Been excommunicated — on a technicality. Never did receive the official paperwork.
    6. Made a mime yelp with pain. (I hate mimes.)
    7. Took my ACT in high school while utterly, senselessly drunk, at 8:00 ayem, and scored a 33.

  107. 1/ Been a consultant (indirectly) for SG:SG1. Unlike Scalzi I was not paid, it was a favour for my brother.

    2/ Cycled through India (Delhi to Bombay to be precise).

    3/ Outwitted bandits in India (see 2/)

    4/ Bought a carpet in Turkey without cash, just haggled and traded goods I had for it.

    5/ Never lost a checked bag – ever!

    6/ Married my wife. Y’all git, this one is mine.

    7/ Crossed the Tropic of Cancer on bicycle (India is racking up the points).

    8/ Been a mime. It’s a soul deadening way to busk.

    9/ Been inconvenienced by the Queen Mother’s security detail.

    10/ Escorted off the Gallipoli battlefield by armed military guards. In truth they were shaking down my guide, but I felt responsible somehow – automatic weapons will do that to you.

  108. I love these lists. Being mugged by mimes definitely cannot be topped, I giggle just trying to picture it. Haven’t done anything on John’s list, but here’s mine.

    1. Driven down a road while it was being bombed.
    2. Wondered if I had really made the smart decision when the last Americans were evacuated and I stayed behind.
    3. Compared and contrasted “Ode to a Grecian Urn” and “Tintern Abbey” with a leader of an insurgent group, turned out he wrote his master’s thesis on Romantic poets and people in his organization just didn’t appreciate their work. And you thought High School English would never come in handy.
    4. Been given the nicest table at the hottest restaurant in town on Valentine’s day at the last minute because I was weirdly famous for a brief moment in that town.
    5. Talked my way into a country where the government really doesn’t like Americans showing up without a visa.
    6. Attended a wedding with the oligarchy of Panama.
    7. Climbed the walls of a fortress allegedly built by Alexander the Great before he invaded India.
    8. Been detained, briefly, by Hezbollah. Was released after they googled me.
    9. Flipped over a car while driving in an Irish gravel quarry. On purpose. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
    10. Paid my rent by playing poker.

  109. 1. Swam in the Black Volta river in Burkina Faso, realised later they had crocodiles in there
    2. Chased a bear in Nepal with as only companion a guide with a machete
    3. Rode a chopper in Idaho with a big white teddy stapped on the back.

  110. OK, I’ll play:

    1. Got dealt a winning poker hand that matched the serial numbers on a dollar bill I’d looked at earlier that day.
    2. Won a giant chocolate Easter egg by guessing the number of jelly beans in a jar.
    3. Helped Ornette Coleman repair his violin during a gig.
    4. Interviewed Asimov, Clarke, and Heinlein (among others).
    5. Auctioned off Gardner Dozois’ boxer shorts.
    6. Played a gig in the Chateau at Lake Louise.
    7. Got a misdelivered package meant for Charles Addams.
    8. Saw the green flash.
    9. Played Charlie Byrd’s banjo.
    10. Was bitten by a shrew.

  111. 1) Spent a week in Canyonlands National Park with my wife and son.

    2) Planned, targeted, executed, and analyzed high resolution pictures of Mars.

    3) Walked through, hiked across, and sledded on a glacier on Jungfraujoch, in Switzerland.

    4) Hiked across six miles of undulating, glass-covered hills to use a telescope to observe active lava 2 meters away. Cooked dinner with the active lava as my heat source.

    5) Planned and analyzed images of active volcanoes on another planet’s moon.

    6) Bottle-fed, raised, slaughtered, salted, smoked, cooked, and ate a sow.

    7) Privately toured the aerospace storage area of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

    8) Handled rocks from the Moon, Mars, and various asteroids.

    9) Rebuilt various engines, from a single-cylinder motorcycle to a small block V8.

    10) Body surfed in the Tasman sea. In July. In boxers. At 7:00 AM.

  112. 1. Jabbed my baby sister in the thigh with a diaper pin on purpose while changing her. I was mad at my witch of a mother for sticking me with a child at age 11. Still I’m not proud of it.
    2. Had an 80 lb alpha wolf grab me by the throat and lived to tell about it.
    3. Won the $1000 prize in one of those poetry contests where you pay to get your poem published — really. Gave it (mostly) all away.
    4. Had Town & Country bite on my first ever magazine pitch.
    5. Drove a beat up Cadillac El Dorado with chrome plated cowhorns on the hood.
    6. Fled for my life from some psycho stalker while driving said El Dorado down twisty turny lonely back roads for over 20 miles. Finally escaped him by making a u-ey up on 2 wheels.
    7. Coached my sister (yes the stuck baby) on the scene in a fight with this bitch bully while she wore my shit-kickers. God, she did me proud. She was 17, I was 28 and married.
    8. Drove around with FUDUBYA on my license plate during the build-up to the Iraq war.
    9. Had the U.S. Attorney General’s Office back me in a fight with XM Satellite Radio over $55.
    10. Visited and petted Secretariat 6 weeks before he was put down. Greatest horse since Man O’ War.

  113. 1) Bottle fed an African Lion cub
    2) Water skied from Long Beach, CA to Catalina Island during January.
    3) Got pulled from the path of a fast moving vehicle by Brad Pitt in Pasadena.
    4) Filled a sand castle pail full of booze and walked through Downtown Disney in Orlando singing “The Drunken Sailor’s Diddy” to the amusement of, well, me.

  114. Stoic: No pictures on this family site (goodness!) but the female nurse who was in the exam room with me as insurance against impropriety will back me up.

    ~ I have never seen a mime in person. I wouldn’t have thought that meant much, but in this crowd?

  115. 1. I drank a beer with Barack Obama
    2. I smoked a cigar with Mel Schwartz, winner of the 1988 Nobel Prize in Physics.
    3. I told a US Senator he was in my seat and that I would need it back.
    4. I walked into a drug deal in Belize involving $50K+ in cash and the Belize park ranger.
    5. I set type and worked a letter press on my own by age 6.
    6. I sat next to the King and Queen of Tonga on an airplane.

  116. @136 Mapomi: The Garber Facility tour was very cool. I stubbed my tow on an ASAT missile.

  117. Ten things you probably never have done:

    1) Hold part ownership of a flying B-17 bomber.

    2) Written software in more than 40 different programming languages.

    3) Conducted personalized tours of Lewis and Clark caverns. At Midnight. During the off season. (They lock it now.)

    4) Been recorded by the KGB.

    5) Lived in a haunted house. (Don’t know that I believe in ghosts, but there was *something* there.)

    6) Been propositioned by a security guard at National Gallery of Art. (Here? In front of Rembrandt?!)

    7) Stopped at the only stop light on Interstate 90 between Boston and Seattle. (They finally bypassed it.)

    8) Purposely wrote an infinte loop in software and got pay raises for it. (My stupid boss thought cpu use equals productivity. Live to serve.)

    9) Threw coins into the swimming pool of the Sands hotel/casino in Las Vegas, from the the roof of the hotel. (They lock them things down a little tighter these days.)

    10) Got free drinks for an evening from a bartender whose life had been saved in Algeria by British Marines, because my buddy and I had been goofing around using a very lame-ass fake British accent.

  118. 1. Gone backstage at a Cirque du Soliel show and hug out with some of the cast.
    2. Been scuba diving and had the air run out when I was 50 feet down because the guide who was taking our group forgot to check how I was doing
    3. Been to a topless show in Las Vegas because I was interested in the halftime act (Anthony Gatto – greatest juggler in the world).

  119. 1) found a gold nugget

    2) been set on fire (with gasoline)

    3) owned and installed Microsoft Windows version 1.0

    4) was a winning contestant on “The Dating Game” (TV show with Chuck Woolery)

    5) danced with Corey Haim

    6) rode a motorcycle for 20 miles sitting on a surfboard

    7) lawfully performed the polka in front of thousands at the Rose Bowl

    8) received an offer of $5000 for sex (serious)

    9) was reported as “in too dangerous a location” to be rescued by the coast guard

    10) received a wink from Ben Stein (of Ben Stein’s Money)

    11) surfed in-the-tube with a dolphin (eyeball to eyeball) in the wave

  120. Had dinner with Billy Connolly.

    Handled private letters written by Sir Walter Scott and a lock of his hair preserved in a tiny casket that had both been in the private possession of a family for a very long time.

    Interviewed Grant Morrison at his home just before he got famous, surrounded by rescued cats.

    Hung out in an artist’s commune in Berlin located in a building half bombed-out since World War 2.

    Chipped chunks off the remaining parts of the Berlin Wall for souvenirs just two months after it fell.

    Hung out in a bar with The Who, in the late Seventies.

    Had a short script produced and filmed by the BBC.

    …okay, that’s not ten. But it’s not too bad.

  121. 1. Got SARS; survived it.

    2. Asked doctor in hospital jokingly, “Hey, doc, am I gonna live?” Doctor responds, seriously, “I don’t want to give you any false hope.”

    3. Before I was admitted to hospital, I was waiting in an urgent care waiting room, barely breathing, until somebody helpfully pointed out to the staff that I was turning blue.

    4. Sold a short story to a hardcover anthology that took more than fifteen years to get finally published in a different hardcover anthology.

    5. I only found out about said publishing by randomly finding the book one day in my local library.

    6. Story got reprinted in another anthology. While I waited for news about if it was ever coming out, I found it in the bookstore one day.

    7. After an interview with him, James Earl Jones was gracious enough to sign a photo for me to give to my younger brother (a huge “Conan” fan) that said “Contemplate this on the Tree of Woe,” then of his own volition he added: “and may the Force be with you.”

    8. Saw a documentary about jazz at the Playboy Mansion in Hefner’s study with him sitting on a couch in front of me.

    9. Was given a few inebriated words of approval by a departing Harry Dean Stanton at the afterparty for Madonna’s “Truth Or Dare.”

    10. Saw Stevie Ray Vaughan play at a civic center about the size of a small high school gym.

  122. Met the Dalai Lama [in a small group],

    Spent the day with David Halberstam [back in college].

    Had dinner with Joseph Heller [college].

    Worked for est/Werner Erhard.

    Kidnapped by Rotary Club members in Sri Lanka.

    Met OJ Simpson [USC, 1968].

  123. 1) Drove from the Bay Area to Mojave, California, saw the SpaceShipOne launch that first crossed the 100 kilometer limit into space, drove back, wrote an article on it and sold it to a local paper.

    2) Found myself in a locked room with a man having a psychotic episode.

    3) Hiked across Halemaumau Crater on Kilauea without incident, but was almost gassed the next day when looking at a volcanic vent next to a road. Hint: If you smell chlorine and the person next to you with asthma starts coughing, ABORT THE MISSION.

    4) Been in Death Valley while it was raining.

    5) Been present (i.e. within 20 miles or so of the epicenter) at both the 1989 Loma Prieta and 1994 Northridge earthquakes.

    6) Bumped my head on the doorway to Casanova’s prison cell in Venice right after the guide told us how Casanova had that same problem.

    7) Used a urinal next to astronaut Story Musgrave…sigh, yes he was using a different one at the time.

    8) Held a piece of ore out of a 5000-year old copper mine in England with one of the tools they used (a bird bone) still stuck in it.

    9) Got a pencil in the eye point-first (it got better) when a fellow third grader decided tying one end to a string and whirling it around would be cool. The worst part was having to wear an eyepatch for two days and not being able to read.

    10) Saw Hans Bethe give a talk on supernovas when he was 91. Dude knew his stuff.

  124. 1. Delivered some babies- over 200 that I was the primary midwife for. Most born in birth centers but a few homebirths

    2. Dated a former garage band punk rock guitarist JJ Rassler, formerly of DMZ and The Queers. Vowed never to date a musician again. Vowed never to date a man twice my age again.

  125. 1) Made a lifesized paper mache pink flamingo.
    2) Installed nuclear weapons on aircraft.
    3) Started college as a music major, graduated with nuclear engineering.
    4) Have had progeny born in the 80’s, 90’s, 00’s and expect more this decade.
    5) Sold first story ever submitted (professional market).
    6) Was the subject of an investigation instigated by the governor of California.
    7) Dislocated a thumb on a trampoline.
    8) Seen (and felt) a shuttle launch.
    9) Watched my wife ask the nice man at the groundbreaking ceremony in Oahu what he does: he was the governor of HI.
    10)Once put four quarters in a slot machine and won enough to buy lunch.

  126. Well, have a short list so here goes…

    1. Watched dog sled races on the Erie Canal.

    2. Was tear-gassed at an Elton John concert.

    3. Took Charlie Daniels shopping for violin bows and discussed the merits of the styles and manufacturere with him.

    4. Was a driver in Queen Sophia of Spain’s motorcade for a day during the 1996 Para-Olympics in Atlanta. Btw, she’s gracious and charming and was worried about us drivers when she stopped at various venues, it was brutally hot and she was concerned we’d get heat stroke if we waited outside at the cars.

    5. Nearly ran over Bob Dylan with a golf cart while driving through the backstage areamof an outdoor arena. He was amused.

    6. Had Robert Beltran hold the door open for me at DragonCon this year while I reset a doorstop (to a skybridge entrance) that had been kicked loose in the crush of people

  127. 1. Kissed by a bear on the mouth (and had it slip me the tongue).

    2. Done a naked, overnight solo, in the winter, at the top of a mountain.

    3. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, 8 times.

    4. Shaken hands with Prince Philip (and realized I must not be on any RCMP watch lists).

    5. Broken into a Spanish castle in the dead of night.

    6. Broken into an Elvis Fan Club in the dead of night (in Paris).

    7. Spent an afternoon with Dr. Rudy Rucker, driving around Toronto and discussing Chaos Theory.

    8. Handed the bone from a raccoon penis around my classroom and asked them to guess what it was.

    9. Made a radiation detector go off as I walked through it after taking a tour of a nuclear power facility. (“Oh, I’m sure it’s nothing,” they quickly said.)

    10. Saved someone’s life using the Heimlich manoeuvre.

  128. I’ve really enjoyed this thread and thought I might try my own:

    Was actually at Woodstock (which kinda counts as one by itself) and smoked a joint with Grace Slick and the Airplane … also, actually punched a guy that was flipping out and was interviewed by the CBC a few years ago about it (they were putting a 30 year tribute together)… sadly, I left before Jimi Hendrix played… for the full story, go to this link:

    Went to the University of Hawaii (turned on\dropped out) in ’68… while there, walked a half-mile out in barracuda infested waters @ Waikiki Beach… held a fighting cock in the ring of a real cockfight and almost got arrested… actually, there are too many crazy tales from that visit to list here so, go here:

    When I was 20, I dated a 26 yr old teacher from a city 50 miles from where I lived. On the weekends she was a stripper and didn’t want to date local guys. I thought I died and went to heaven!

    I got to chat backstage with BB King when I was a bandboy for a group that played before him at a concert @ Cornell University

    Went to my draft physical while tripping on LSD (after watching Arlo Guthrie in Alice’s restaurant) … had a special meeting with the psychologist after I filled out all the forms as if I was I gay, lesbian psychotic woman, then failed the eye test and got a 4F

    Had my picture taken with an 80 yr old, toothless “gladiator” at the Colosseum in Rome… man, he was funny as shit!

    Almost got arrested by the Vatican security force for approaching one of the Pope’s high-ranking cardinals to get a pair of rosary beads blessed (they were for my mother)…

    I was on an old train in Italy and had an urgent “call from mother nature”. Upon entering the “privy”, I took a moment to look into the “john” and I could actually see the railroad ties going by!! After a few seconds of amazement, I decided “hey, what the hell… when in Rome, do as the Romans do”. Just as I sat down, the train entered a station and the door to the “restroom” automatically locked (it seems they don’t like the idea of people leaving things on the tracks in such obvious places). I tried to hold back, but, try as I might, I just couldn’t…. uuuummmm, so as not to gross anyone out too much, I’ll just leave the rest up to your own lurid imaginations….

    As I ponder what else to post here, I find literally hundreds of “weird and strange” events that have happened to me in my life. I doubt that many have done the same things and there’s probably quite a few nobody would want to do, but, hey, it has been one hell of a trip….

  129. 1. Been within a few centimetres of a Shakespeare First Folio, the original hand-drawn ms. of Alice’s Adventures Underground, a draft of the original lyrics for ‘Yesterday’ (originally ‘Scrambled Eggs’), and the diaries of Scott of the Antarctic and George III’s doctor, all on the same day (British Museum, before they were moved to the British Library).
    2. Seen a blackboard written on by Einstein, and Alexander Fleming’s penicillum-contaminated petri dish (Ashmolean, Oxford).
    3. Handled the type specimen for Triceratops.
    4. Bottle-fed a lamb and hand-fed a dolphin (not on the same day).
    5. Had a story illustrated by Shaun Tan.
    6. Worked with an actress who went on to play Harrison Ford’s (character’s) lover.
    7. Carried original artwork from The Dark Knight Returns out of Harlan Ellison’s guest bathroom so I could use the shower.
    8. Been mistaken for a waxwork in Madame Tussaud’s.
    9. Walked across the Alps from Switzerland to France.
    10. Looked over the flight surgeon’s shoulder while the space shuttle was making an earlier-than-scheduled re-entry.

  130. #1. I shot a horse once.

    No big deal, I know a horse is a really big target, but I did do it very well.

    I was called out to help a guy with an injured animal, and I found the guy, and a horse with severe leg injuries in a fifty acre, heavily timbered paddock with no yard. We could not get within thirty metres of that unhandled horse. Upon discussion, it turned out the owner didn’t want the horse, and didn’t want to spend any money on it at all. Seeing it had been injured, he’d come out there with the express idea of shooting it, but found lacked the courage to do so.

    He pulled an old, rusty, single-shot, iron sighted 22 rifle out of his truck. I knew I couldn’t spend all day chasing his horse, and did not want to leave it suffering. I was smart enough not to trust the old rifle sights, so I walked off, found a blank tree trunk, and I put two shots at a mark from 30 metres range. The impact point was about 2 inches to the left, and about an inch higher than my aiming point.

    There is only one way to to kill a horse with such a small round, the shot must be put into a spot marked by an imaginary cross from each eye to each ear, right in the middle of the forehead. We walked through the scrub until we found the horse again, and I approached carefully until he lifted his head to look at me, ready to move off again. Standing, I picked my aiming point and fired, and he went down instantly. I was millimetre perfect.

    That was thirty years ago, but I sometimes remember it and stop and think about the ridiculous confidence that was a part of youth.

    (…. and, um, sorry about it being a bit gloomy, there is something awful about killing a horse…)

    #2. I saved a man from drowning once.

    I was paddling a kayak along a muddy fast flowing river. Some noisy drunken fools were swimming from one side to the other, when one started to lag and go under. He shouted to his friends for help, they stopped and looked back, but then just kept swimming. I paddled as hard as I could in his direction, as all the other swimmers went silent, heads down and swimming to the far bank, away from their coughing, flailing, spluttering “friend”. I got there in time, and can still remember his terrified face as he grabbed the bow of the kayak in a bear hug. I remember it was very slow hard work paddling the rest of the way across with him clinging grimly on the bow. When I finally got to the bank, none of his friends were in sight. He stood up, turned his back and walked away up a little track. I called out, “Are you OK?!” He turned his head and called over his shoulder. “Yeah! Are you?”, and turned away and kept walking.

  131. 1.Thrown gladioli into an audience for Dame Edna Everage
    2.Walked around Ayers Rock by myself (aged 14).
    3.Been stood up for a dinner date by Dolph Lundgren
    4.Sat next to a billionaire in the back of a taxi and hoped he wouldn’t strike up a conversation with me.
    5.Fed a baby water buffalo powdered milk out of my hand
    6.Asked a guest speaker at a bankers’ lunch a question that undermined the whole reason he got his IMHO dubious Nobel Prize some years later.
    7.Ran a university college for several months while all the “grown ups” disappeared on vacation or finished their contracts.
    8. Had Mick Jagger ask me for a lolly.
    9. Found a huge bug in a Windows release that delayed it shipping by a day.
    10. Received an email apology from Stephen Fry.

  132. I can only come up with six offhand, and none of them beat the mugged-by-mimes thing.

    Took Hal Clement to dinner.

    Prepared and ate a variety of insects. (Mealworms taste like Doritos, which has always worried me a little.)

    Accidentally tripped George Takei with a broadsword.

    Dissected a shark and made earrings from the lenses in its eyes.

    Hand-made the costumes for my entire wedding party (we were married on Halloween).

    Was Disneyland’s first Webmaster.

  133. 1. Sang NY NY without a lyrics sheet in front of all my coworkers, boss and boss’ boss and his boss too and did a good job of it.
    2. Got rescued by an egyption life guard while drowning in Dubai
    3. I saw a blues concert in tuscany, was the only person who shouted “Freebird”
    4. Got lost in the Capitol building and wandered into the ‘no public’ areas, finally got the exit pointed out by an irate staffer.
    5. I went to the sistene chapel 3 times in one day.
    6 I saw it raining fire in the sky on a mountain top outside santa fe
    7. Set the record for most time in the bathroom on a transatlantic flight (9 hours of a 10 hour flight, the german word for immodium is immodium luckily)
    8. Translated between a german airport worker and a vietnamese traveler.
    9. worked on an oil rig that got shot at by los farc in Colombia, played football with the soldiers guarding the rig.
    10 helped drill the deepest well in the gulf of mexico

  134. 1. Met with the Hamas government’s Minister of Tourism in Palestine.

    2. Hunted bushbuck in the former Zaire.

    3. Ceased going to my local cafe after being informed someone was going to be murdered there. (And if I knew about it in advance, then the local authorities certainly did, too. Such was life in Palermo back then.)

    4. Made a cross-country road trip, L.A. to Florida, with my 83-year-old grandfather.

    5. Slept in the home of a British lord.

    6. Worked for an English earl.

    7. Signed the British Secrets Act. (I could tell you why, but then I’d have to kill you.)

    8. Appeared topless on the cover of a tabloid. (I was two years old at the time.)

    9. Grew up at a dog kennel.

    10. Crossed Africa overland, from the shore of northern Morocco to the Cape of Good Hope.

  135. Nothing great:

    Been on Wake Island (stopped over on our way from our base in Hawaii to our base in Japan for fuel)

    Held the record for the highest price paid for a Star Wars “Birthday” poster for many many years. ($2200, it’s still on my wall)

    Made all four Disney parks in just under one year (when there were only four) (Tokyo in July, Disneyland and Walt Disney World in January and then Paris when I got out of the Navy in June)

    Stood in the Ginza on one side of the world and Red Square on the other

    Got picked to go up on stage during Penn and Teller’s Bullet Catch bit (was up there and researched it and STILL can’t figure it out!!)

    Was a volunteer firefighter

    Was having dinner at Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant in Claridge’s in London when he came out of the kitchen to check on something with his staff (only really great because my dad had just finished telling me that guys like him never really cooked at the restaurants under their names)

    Recognized by John Scalzi after only having met him once :)

  136. I’ve lived ON a Christmas tree farm. Ha! And I’ve bottle-fed a tiny, scrawny lamb who lived in the oven. Now, THAT was something!

  137. 1. Memorized the military phonetic alphabet to pass the time while observing testing in a Minuteman Launch Control Facility.

    2. Watched fireworks from a castle turret with bagpipers playing right behind me. (This is why I have multiple sets of Etymotic earplugs in my possession.)

    3. Was told by Harlan Ellison that I was cute.

    4. Had a limerick made up for me by Isaac Asimov. (He rhymed “Vicki” with “quickie.”)

    5. Sat up all night listening to music on the campgrounds at the Woody Guthrie Festival.

    6. Made out with the projectionist in the projectionist booth *while the movie was running*.

    7. Caught my heel in the steps coming out of a private jet and fell on my ass on the tarmac right in front of the (very cute) driver who’d been sent to pick us up at the airport. (le *sigh*)

    8. Took a graduate level physics class from a Nobel prize winner.

    9. Signed off on the receipt and certification paperwork for all imaging-related components of the WF/PC-II.

    10. Cut my hand on a coiled razor beam dump inside a tokamak. (Ow.)

    She who dies with the most good stories, wins. *g*

  138. 1. Swam with dolphins in the Indian Ocean. Swam like hell back to shore when my travelling companions started yelling that they saw sharks! (Turned out they couldn’t recognize dolphin fins.)

    2. Stood on the Great Wall of China in December (bloody cold).

    3. Hiked through opium fields in Thailand.

    4. Hiked to Anapurna, the second highest peak in the Himalaya, in Nepal.

    5. Studied Japanese for three years in Japan.

    6. Went skinny dipping in a volcanic lake in Hokkaido, Japan.

  139. 1. Was on the Dateline NBC episode with all the controversy (SUV’s exploding when they get hit from the side)
    2. Have held a human heart
    3. Have held a million dollars cash.
    4. Have had a conversation with a man whose heart was not beating. (Just not a very long one)

    I could probably come up with 6 more but those are the biggies.

  140. Following the truth&dare challenge above and the great and wild responses in the 170 comments here and elsewhere, I decided to have a go at this as well.

    * 1) been told by an active head of government that I will be a great politician one day

    * 2) have shared wine with a) a former SS officer and b) a former KZ (concentration camp) prisoner, and c) with the former head of German-US relations (when he wasn’t yet), while d) sharing a tea with a former cellmate of a convicted terrorist and e) drinking a root beer with a decorated Vietnam veteran.

    (

  141. So fun reading everyone’s lists! Makes me want to sit down with everyone around a big fire and listen to stories…

    I can think of 8 for now…I may come back and add two more if they occur to me.

    1. Been pursued by a tank on a practice army battlefield. We were in an RV and took a wrong turn.

    2. Ridden in the stagecoach during a Wild West show re-enactment of the shootout at the OK Corral.

    3. Taken the left track on Disneyland’s Space Mountain (trust me, it’s not a good thing if you have to take the left track)

    4. Snacked on Doritos Nacho flavored chips dipped in crunchy peanut butter. And I wasn’t pregnant.

    5. Had my windshield cracked by a kitchen knife that was left in the windshield wiper well. At work.

    6. Three days later, my rear window was shattered by a flying rock on the freeway…hit it at just the right angle. At least it made for just one trip out by the glass company, eh?

    7. Survived a near drowning at age 4, a wild ride in the open bed of a pickup truck with a very drunk driver at the wheel (age 5), and waking my mom up from her nap because the kitchen was on fire (age 6)

    8. Ate cereal at the kitchen table with Lonnie Turner’s girlfriend, Sasha, while he and my dad talked business in his garage. Lonnie Turner was a bassist and lyricist for The Steve Miller Band

  142. 1. Had Steve Martin think I was stalking him.

    Really, that’s about the most random I can think of, so I’ll leave it there.

  143. !: Been part of a ‘live tableau’ of dickensian madams on stage in an alternative burlesque style version of ‘A Christmas Carol’.

    2: Invited two men over to make love in my bed, then sat and sipped wine while watching them from about one meter away.

    3: Taken a stroll on the – only about 1 meter wide – unfenced upper edge of the viaduct Pont du Gard in Southern France. That’s a drop of 49 meters.

    4: Retrieved a Kalaha marble from deep down the oesophagus of a small dog (when I was about six y.o.). Half of my arm was in there.

    5: Solo belly-danced barefoot at a Moroccan wedding, surrounded by people cheering and applauding.

    6: Found out during heart surgery (local anaesthetic only) that I have sensory nerves inside my heart… According to the surgeon, people don’t have sensory nerves inside their hearts. The doctors present were stunned.

    7: Bathed fully clothed in a fountain in a city in Italy, then stopped for icecream at a café and walked all the way back to the hotel absolutely soaking wet.

    8: Washed the feet of an old woman who was completely alone and screaming with pain (and perhaps sorrow) in a tiny cottage in Greece. My boyfriend and I heard her from outside on the road when we walked by, and had to find out what was happening.

    9: Pulled a drunk man from the water after he’d fallen from the quay and gotten a huge hole in his head from hitting it on the railing of the boat on which I was making love to a viking jewellery smith. (How’s that for a sentence?)

    10: Clearly felt a ghost, or whatever it was that I couldn’t see, sort of playing leapfrog on my thighs. Like a person jumping over my legs, placing his hands – with the full weight of his body – on the uppermost parts of the fronts of my thighs for a split second.

  144. Ten more:

    1: Appeared on screen (in a TV drama series) with Jesper Christensen – the actor who played Mr. White in “Casino Royale” and “Quantum of Solace”.

    2: Danced on tables in an Irish pub while the Scottish lead singer of the band took pictures up his kilt with my camera.

    3: Have received the following gifts from people I’ve never met: a camera, a Skype phone, a tiny glass bird accompanied by a magnifying glass, a scarf, a CD, a children’s book and a home-printed book of poetry (both given to me by the author/illustrator), and a lithograph.

    4: Have modelled for a number of professional artists (photos and sketches) as well as amateurs, sometimes in the nude.

    5: Translated a case file on an asylum seeker for a relief organisation, whereupon the translation was sent to UN’s Human Rights Council. As a result, the woman in question was granted a special residence permit – after having lived in a camp for seven years, during which she attempted suicide several times out of sheer desperation over her situation.

    6: Got – along with my sister – the ‘heart’ sign, thumbs up, several big smiles, and a goodbye wave from Paul Simon. (It was clear that it was ONLY for her and me, as nobody stood close to us – it was a scattered crowd – and no one but us showed much enthusiasm. He probably also noticed us because we appeared to be the only ones in the audience under 40. Besides, the heart sign mirrored my sister’s.)

    7: Got – along with my sister – a blown kiss and a big smile from David Bowie as a reaction to the both of us waving to him excitedly while he was peeping out from off stage during a break. (It was clear that it was ONLY for her and me, as we were standing in the far left side of the crowd, meters away from the rest of the audience, and we were the only ones who noticed him standing there.)

    8: Was spoken to directly by Dave Gahan during a solo concert of his, and was shown in close-up on the big screen next to the stage for a long time – both undoubtedly because I was by far the most enthusiastic-appearing person in the scattered audience. :)

    9: Ran from the scene of a shooting (still going on) to avoid being shot.

    10: When I was part of a medical research project, I twice had a full body scan image come out not showing my right hand – which had been resting on my thigh during the scan. The thigh beneath it was there on the screen, so it wasn’t a ‘hole’ in the image. The seasoned radiologist who performed the scan couldn’t explain it, and had never seen anything like it – except once with my sister, who also participated in the project.

  145. Aaaaaaand ten more:

    1: Had breakfast in France, lunch in Monaco, and dinner in Italy – all on the same day.

    2: Held a desperate sheep while its lambs were loaded onto the truck to be taken to the slaughterhouse. I hated it.

    3: Had sex involving a white wine bottle with my boyfriend in the bushes on a cemetery in broad daylight.

    4: Split up (after ten years together), with a wonderful man who’ll inherit the equivalent of about 3-4 million dollars when his mother passes.

    5: Came very close to dying from internal bleeding when one of my fallopian tubes burst due to medical negligence.

    6: Have a book signed in 1935 by Karen Blixen (alias Isak Dinesen), one of Denmark’s most famous authors.

    7: Have a book signed by Anne Rice – coincidentally to someone with the same first name as me (a name which I believe is exceedingly rare among Americans/Brits, and isn’t all that common in my country (Denmark) either).

    8: Was thoroughly deceived by a group of perhaps up to ten people (all I know for sure is that there has to have been more than one) whom I met on the internet, and broke down completely when I found out that the relationship(s) I’d had with them was/were based on a big web of extreme lies. I still don’t know who or exactly how many they were, how they pulled it off, or why they did it. They ended up calling me things like “Satan’s daughter”. I never did anything to harm them in any way. In other words, they’re absolute psychos.

    9: Was offered a free hair transplant by a doctor just because he liked me a lot, and felt sorry for me because of my clinical depression.

    10: Was put in a pillory in Salem, Massachusetts (the town where the famous and horrible witch hunt on which Arthur Miller based his play “The Crucible” took place).

  146. #1— Another place you can get that close to a First Folio is Ashland, Oregon. They hold the viewings once a month, I believe, and yes, you pay just for that. Cool nonetheless.

  147. Oh, and I know you haven’t danced a can-can on stage while pregnant.

    I’m pretty sure on that one.

  148. One more because damnit this is fun:

    My driving instructor was a former member of Hitler Youth (in his youth). He had a heart attack before I finished all my lessons (I’m assured that I was not personally responsible). His replacement was from Iran and did not believe that women should drive. He made me nervous.

  149. Aaannd the weirdness continues/stacks up:

    1. Bought my shetland pony at the age of two at a livestock auction.(parents, either Don’t take children to auctions or hold their hands)
    2.Was hit on the head by Half a frozen pig-the rafter broke, and I was holding it; oddly enough that didn’t make me a vegetarian.
    3. Shot at 2400 screaming confederate soldiers-ok, it was civil war reenactment, but have you ever drank beer with your enemies after shooting at them for an hour?
    4.. yelled down a growling rottweiler in order to get to jury duty-do NOT try this one, people.
    5.Lectured my neighbor about him not killing any more goats in front of my 5 year old daughter. (had some of the cabrito later, like the aforementioned pork it was delicious.)
    6.Ran IN to a burning barn to save a neighbor’s favorite tractor. Got it out only to learn a tank of gasoline was directly ouside. traveled 90 feet in 2-3 seconds. Was told by a friend that I have teams of guardian angels. (doesn’t everyone?)
    7. Proposed to my now wife under a full moon in a horse-drawn carriage in front of a 100 year old limestone courthouse. Blood was pounding too loudly through my body to hear her say “Yes”.
    8.Wrote a poem for my daughter on the day she was born.
    9.Told my dysfunctional father off at the age of 19 and Lived to tell of it.
    10.Sold groceries to Charlie Pride in Omaha. He was gracious and very polite.

  150. Late, as usual.
    I have:
    1 been on a college scholars bowl team with 3 people who would earn PhD’s. (yes, we won)
    2 learned Russian for a year while in the US Army.
    3 explained to an auditorium full of graduate students and professors how to run the triple option (on a white board).
    4 turned down a job with an unnamed government agency to work for Taco Bell/Pepsico.
    5 was a lifeguard one summer and a bouncer the next.
    6 formatted hard drives and installed Windows and Office on 25 computers in high school lab, from one set of floppy disks.
    7 done sports radio play-by-play for five different sports.
    8 started a pro-pay online science fiction magazine from scratch.
    9 been married for 24 years.
    10 fallen, fully clothed, into the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico

  151. 1. Moved to Germany twice and to Oklahoma twice.
    2. Crossed the Atlantic in an airplane 58 times.
    3. Sang a capella on the streets of Zurich, Switzerland, and on the Charles Bridge in Prague, Czech Republic.
    4. Petted a tarantula in spite of severe arachnophobia.
    5. Fractured my tailbone twice.
    6. Completed more than 80 oil paintings.
    7. Learned English and German fluently and achieved proficiency in French and Koine Greek.
    8. Stood atop a scaffolding to paint a church building.
    9. Viewed Dead Sea Scrolls: Psalms 31 and 33 from Cave 4, A.D. 50.
    10. Accidentally went mountain-climbing in the Alps without any gear.

    Posted here:

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