Saturday, June 1, 2013

Week the Twenty-First: Question Week

After a brief lapse due to an insane amount of work, it's time once again for an Introvert Social Hour post! It's Saturday so today will be the current week's topic: It's question week, the week when we answer real questions from real ner... well, from real people, at least. Let's get started!
I'll warn you now that this is sure to be a super long post. Feel free to scan the bold print and read only the answers that interest you. I'll start with some questions that I stole from the others simply because I found them interesting.

Wow, I look weird here. Maybe because it was like 2 am?
1. What was your first impression of the vlogbrothers? I discovered vlogbrothers via Charlie McDonnell, who mentioned something about them (I can't remember what, specifically) in one of his videos. I was curious and looked it up. I've watched so many videos so many times that I'm not sure what the first one was. I know it was Hank and he was funny, but it wasn't a song. I know it was summer 2007 but it had nothing to do with "AccioDeathly Hallows". I've looked at the videos from that summer and my best guess is maybe "June21: Gotta Get Outside!".

Edit: I looked at the dates again and I think I'm wrong. The first video I saw of Charlie was "How to get featured on YouTube", and that was posted on June 27, 2007. I know I didn't see a vlogbrothers video until several days later and I'm pretty sure the one I watched had been posted that day. On second analysis, I'm thinking maybe it was "July 6: Ooooooops". I don't know for sure; my memory is terrible. Maybe it was later than that, but I feel sure it wasn't primarily about punishments and it was before the goth video, so (if I'm remembering correctly) that narrows it down pretty well.

Ahhh, much better here.
My first impression was that Hank was both funny and intellectually interesting and I wanted to know more. I went to the channel and watched a few random videos, and a few days later watched all of them. It seemed like a huge chore at the time, watching OVER 100 VIDEOS to catch up! I feel sorry for people who want to catch up now. It's truly a herculean task these days. Anyway... yeah. My biggest impression was that they were simultaneously funny and intellectual, and that mix is like crack to me. I was hopelessly hooked right from the start.

(Ugh, even after all that, there's still a lot more to this story, like John's books, Ze Frank, getting to know real nerdfighters, and much more. I've written about various aspects of it in different places, but maybe I'll have to bring it all together at some point.)

2. What's your guilty pleasure food? Two of them, really: PopTarts and Lucky Charms. Pizza is my very favorite thing in the world, but it can be done healthfully. I like some other fast foods and snack foods pretty well too, but I don't go crazy for most of them. And I'm actually much more of a savory snack person than a sweet snack person overall, but most of them can be done reasonably healthfully too: plain popcorn, baked chips, stuff like that. The only things I love so much that it's a little embarrassing, and that have zero redeeming qualities, are PopTarts (especially the brown sugar and cinnamon ones, but I love them all) and Lucky Charms (or, possibly even better, Marshmallow Mateys. Mmmmmm...)

My heaven
3. If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why? I'm not entirely sure. I know it'd be somewhere in the continental United States where there's plenty of water around and plenty of rain but it doesn't get terribly hot in the summer (which rules out the Gulf coast) or terribly cold in the winter (which rules out the Great Lakes). I've thought a lot about both Seattle and San Diego, but there are drawbacks to both. I adore San Francisco, but (1) insane cost of living and (2) earthquakes, so no. Hawaii is perfect climate-wise, but I don't want to be that isolated (see #7 below) from so much stuff that I love. I'm open to suggestions here.

4. Sort of a combination of a couple of stolen questions, with my own twist added: How and why did you become a teacher? I started out planning to be a doctor. That's all I wanted to be from the time I was four years old and it's what I focused on throughout high school and college/university. After I got my bachelors degree I was accepted to medical school and went for two years. But over time I realized that the medical lifestyle is far more stressful than I had imagined. Obviously I knew it would be very hard but it completely knocked me for a loop both physically and psychologically, so I eventually gave it up. (There's a long story on this one too, but that's a different post.)
Me pretending to be a responsible adult
After that I worked in a municipal water treatment lab and loved it, but when I decided to get married I knew I'd be moving to a tiny town where no such job existed. As I tried to figure out what I would do, I mentioned my quest to my co-workers, and a few weeks later one of them told me about an opportunity she'd seen in the newspaper. (Side note: newspaper, lol) There was a program being offered to give people with degrees in math and science a fast track to teacher certification. I'd sworn all my life that I'd never be a teacher because I saw what they went through and how little respect they received, but at that point I was desperate so I looked into it. Long story slightly shorter, I did the program and got a job in the town where I was moving and I've been doing it (more or less) ever since.

5. Do you have a current creative project? I have several if you count writing, but I have a big one that's more traditionally "creative". I've been drawing this for my husband for some time now. (It's in Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico, where he grew up.) I don't have a current picture of the project and frankly I'm too lazy/busy to get all the stuff out and take one now, but I promise to post one when it's finished.

6. What do you want to learn to cook? Yorkshire puddings. I'm fascinated by them and want to make some but I've just never gotten around to it. Some day.

7. Where would you like to travel? I'm kind of a baby about traveling. First, I hate flying. Wait, that's not accurate. I don't mind flying; I hate airports and airlines and everything associated with them, so I avoid flying as much as possible. (This prejudice is reinforced by the fact that I LOVE driving and I'd do it 24/7 if I could. I like trains a lot too. Not as much as driving, but it's still a lot better than flying. Pity there are so few train routes available in the US. I hate buses and would rather fly than do that.) I'd fly to go somewhere if I had to, but I wouldn't enjoy it and I'd be a lot happier once I got back out of that world. Second, I don't particularly enjoy traveling in places where I can't get along easily in English or Spanish. It's not that I don't love other languages; I love languages quite possibly more than anyone I know. I'm just very shy and I get scared and stressed that I won't be able to express myself well enough to get help if I need it. (See? I said I was a big baby!)
So with all of that (and some other stuff) in mind, the first place I'd like to go is Australia, partly because it's cool, but mostly because I have friends there that I desperately owe a visit. I want to drive from one end of southern Canada to the other, like maybe from somewhere in Nova Scotia to Vancouver. I definitely want to see all of the UK, and I'd love to tour all of western Europe, but I'd want someone with me who was more comfortable with the language situation than I am. I'd like to visit the last few US states that I haven't seen (Alaska and part of New England) and wander around the parts of Mexico that I haven't seen (though some of that is pretty dangerous these days so I'm not sure when it'll happen). After that, I'd just continue driving all over North America as much as possible. Other than that? Meh, I'm good.

8. Is Jill the only Jew you know? No. No, she's not. Just sayin'.

And now on to questions that were actually addressed to me:

9. What are your top five desert island albums? Aaaaagggghhhh! This is by far the hardest question I got. Only FIVE?! Ok, I'm gonna have to cheat and use compilation albums. In no particular order: The Essential Billy Joel, The Sunset Tree by the Mountain Goats, eMOTIVe by A Perfect Circle, Love Songs & Negotiations by Paul Simon, and Elephant by the White Stripes. Ugh, I literally felt faint while I was trying to choose those. Whew.

10. Where have you lived and when/why/etc? I was born and raised in northern West Virginia. To be specific, I was born in Clarksburg and lived in Philippi. I did spend about 18 months when I was 2-3 years old in Denton, Texas, where my father was doing some academic work, but other than that I only lived in Philippi. Then in the '70s my father got a job in Odessa, Texas, and I went to junior high school, high school, and college in Odessa. When I started medical school in the early '90s I moved about 120 miles to Lubbock, Texas. I've already mentioned that I left Lubbock when I married, and I've lived in the same tiny town in West Texas (which shall remain nameless on the open internet, but I'm happy to tell you if I actually know you) ever since.

11. A two-parter: Why did you decide to become an editor? and How does one become an editor? To be honest, I didn't "decide" to become an editor. I started in college editing my classmates' papers for them because I was good at it and they knew it. After I graduated, I continued editing college students' papers for several years just by word of mouth. I loved doing it but never dreamed of making a living at it (mostly because back then I was still on the whole doctor track). That died out somewhat while I was in med school and a few years afterward, but shortly after the internet came into my life (1995) I discovered that there were people all over it looking for homework help and editing of term papers and so forth. I started working via email and was lucky enough to get some fantastic clients who were both in a position to help me out and eager to do it. Little by little my business grew and I now edit everything from high school essays to websites to books and I love every bit of it. If I could make a full time living at it, I absolutely would.

Whiiiiich brings us to the second part. How does one become an editor? Unfortunately, I haven't gotten very far beyond an online presence, part of which was hard work and part of which was dumb luck (see above). As for being an actual, full-time editor in a real, honest to goodness company? I have no idea. Well... that's not entirely true. I've actually been offered two rather high prestige editing jobs, but one wanted me to move to Austin and the other wanted me in San Antonio and at that point in my life it wasn't possible to make such a move. (And, if the truth be told, those were both dumb luck too. I didn't seek them out at all.) If I didn't live in a tiny town that's hundreds of miles from all the universities and big companies, I'd probably have a good shot at a decent job and I'd be able to share more information. Maybe some day. A girl's gotta dream.

12. What would you tell your 20 year old self? Hmmm, you know what? This is a great question that deserves more than a paragraph of an answer, so I'm gonna save it for later. You get a whole blog post on this one. Soon, if at all possible.

More heaven
13. Can I send you some of the rain we're having here? YES PLEASE. I will take all rain from all parties, at least until we get enough. (It'll take a while). When you see the flare go up, you'll know it's enough and you can stop sending it. Until then, BRING IT ON, SUCKAS.

14. And finally, from my lovely niece: If you could have discovered any two laws or theories, which ones would they have been? I dunno, man. I mean, I'm just happy they've been discovered. I guess maybe relativity would be cool because then I could be awesomely eccentric and everyone would love me anyway, plus I'd be super insanely smart. Win-win. As for one that hasn't yet been discovered, I think everyone who knows me very well will be able to guess that one. I want a way to never sleep and yet remain healthy. That would make me one happy, happy girl. Either that, or zero-calorie pizza that still tastes and feels exactly the same. Whatever.

I hope I've answered all your questions. If not, leave some here and I'll address them on our next question week. Also remember that you can always leave any sort of questions or comments below. I'd love to hear from you! And if you're interested in such things you can also find me on Twitter.

Thanks again for reading! If you've somehow landed here from some other source and haven't seen the videos that go along with this post, they are: 

Jill, Kristina, Frieda & Amy

And that's it from me on this Saturday. Best wishes! <3

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