Another five things…

While I was away on vacation, I got tagged by Nick and Stephe, so I guess I have to cough up the Five Things. Ever mindful that one’s identity is established by “the set of things you don’t know about me” (you know, mother’s maiden name, name of first pet, etc.), I am compelled by the Law of Chain Letters to reveal Five Things You Don’t Know About Me.

  1. I grew up in São Paulo, in Villa Buarque — between Avenida Santo Amaro and Parque Ibirapuera. That means I used to be bilingual in English and Brazilian Portuguese — although the Portuguese is a bit rusty now.
  2. The library at the small school I attended did not have a card catalog for the paperback book section. In sixth or seventh grade I undertook a project to type up a card catalog (on my Olivetti manual typewriter) for the paperbacks — two index cards for each book, so they could be located by author or by title. (I had to buy Delicious Library when it came out because the idea of automating the building of a card catalog had a certain nostalgic appeal.) For some reason, I remember wrestling with the question of whether Daphne du Maurier should be filed under “D” or “M”. There is a right answer.
  3. My family and I came to America on a cargo ship, the Burg Sparrenberg, which was carrying raw cocoa and a few passengers. One of the passengers was a firm believer that eye exercises would eliminate the need for spectacles. Alas, I still wear glasses. Perhaps I didn’t do the exercises correctly.
  4. When I was in high school, we used to take the subway down to the McAlpin Hotel on 34th Street for USCF chess tournaments. As black, I would always play the Petroff’s Defense for King’s pawn openings. I favored the Indian defenses for Queen’s pawn openings.
  5. In college, I stopped playing chess and took up Go. I used to hang out at the student center coffee house trolling for games. Eventually, this obsession led me to drop out of school. I did, however, go back the following year and graduate.

Now we get to the hard part. Most of the people I can think of to pass this along to are non-bloggers. Calling them out “bloggishly” as it were, wouldn’t work. So, I’m going to widen the circle by using a generational shift. I have five children over the age of 16. Matthew, Kimberly, Kayla, Sara, and Corey. Tag. You’re it. Five things that your father (and the rest of the world) doesn’t (don’t) know about you. You could even post them to your MySpace account.

And encourage five other people to do the same.