It's time to change the scenery here. I've been tagged, which takes care of the decision-making portion of this post. I've also been impugned by one Trinamick (that's a rare photo I'm sure she wouldn't want published. Ha! to that). So, on with the completion of a thing started last week. I'm so on top of things. So, I shall call this: An Octet Of Things 1. I was a spelling bee champion at my school in 7th grade. I got eliminated in the regionals, but had all kinds of dorky fun getting there. Nobody was more surprised than I when I won my classroom, then school. I studied at my friend Mark's house, but I seem to remember overdosing on orange pop and Oreos, and playing with all kinds of strange toys from the 50's including wooden telescoping boxing gloves much more than studying. 2. I've been on 4 cross-country bike tours. First was Grand Haven to Mackinac Island, MI; next Rochester NY to Bar Harbor ME; then Jackson Hole WY through the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone; finally, Eugene OR to San Francisco CA. Between age 13 and 16, I put a couple thousand miles on the ol' Schwinn. We would take a bus to our starting point, then bike about 35-60 miles each day to camp. The bus would leapfrog us, carrying the kitchen and tents. Some of my best photos are from those times. I managed to collide with something on each trip (another biker, ground, tree, or car). Fortunately it never happened during the many times I was inches from a several-hundred-foot dropoff. 3. I'm getting a motorcycle this weekend. I hope to get it to run (it's, uh, in my price range). It will be my primary mode of transport since Marlon went all corkscrewwy on me. I had one once before (when I was 18): a Suzuki 3-cylinder POS that I got for $50. It had a gas leak, bald tires, loose chain, and no license or insurance. I plan to be a wee bit more responsible this time around. I hope to get a 4-wheeler before the snow flies again, which should be some time after September. 4. I've never asked a girl out on a date, since being turned down for my Homecoming dance in 9th grade. Oh sure, I've been on plenty of dates. But it was either mutually agreed or initiated by the girl. I told Boy this story on the occasion of his having 5 dates to homecoming. His reply? "Sucks to be you." I think I'm over it. 5. I've never gone 2 weeks without work since landing my first Real Job at a car wash at 16 years old. It took me a while to settle into a career path, and there sure was some wandering. But even in one of the worst economies in the country, I've always managed to find work. 6. Related to #5, I tried entrepreneuring 3 different times, which certainly has its ups and downs. Freedom and limitless possibility come with long hours, no health insurance, and all the responsibility. The first was a cleaning business, which was wildly successful. Mrs. Spiffy cleaned houses for extra cash when the kiddos were young, and I began helping her out. We picked up an office to clean, and then another... soon we were earning a week's pay each night. I quit my day job, hired a flotilla of part time cleaners, and became a Businessman. Four years later, when two of our crew leaders quit on the same night, it fell to me to keep the accounts rolling. I managed for a couple weeks. Until one day, when I woke up in the afternoon and realized I hate cleaning. Truly hate it. So, we liquidated. From then on I vowed to do what I enjoy. So far, so good. 7. As a yoot, I always wanted to be an astronaut, pilot, or locomotive engineer. Didn't matter, I just wanted to be at the controls of a big, powerful, expensive machine. Gave up on astronauting when I realized I needed better grades than I ever got, and the pilot program is still in my future. I get my jollies when I can in construction equipment - I have operated backhoes, bobcats, cranes, bulldozers, skytracks, and forklifts. Wouldn't think I'd like doing that full time every day, but it's fun once in a while. 8. I'm not a big sports fan. I'll watch about 4 football games each year on purpose: Michigan/ Michigan State, Michigan/ Ohio State, the Superbowl, and the Lions' annual Thanksgiving loss. I like going to live games, but when people talk sports around me I usually nod, smile, and shuffle off to look at my Star Trek Action Figure collection. Or something. OK, now you know a thing or two that you might not heretofore have known. Here's the Plus One: I received a gift fish last night, quite unexpectedly. No, I didn't look it in the mouth. It's a very pretty Betta with a flowing iridescent tail, in a new bowl with a bright yellow plastic cactus. BTW, my fish is much prettier than the one linked. It needs a name. Won't you help?