Monday, October 7, 2013

I'm old, square and round...

Just migrating a few old Facebook posts to this location. This updated "25 Things About Me" was from the early days of social media, when we were all getting to know each other.

1. I always wanted to be a writer, even when I was an engineering major at NC State.

2. I’ve published three books and thousands of stories, but will never consider myself a REAL writer until I finish my novel. I have neither started it, nor do I have an idea for it. I’ve worked for two newspapers, three magazines and one publishing company that have either folded, gone out of business or are in bankruptcy. I guess I don’t have a magic touch.

3. I am disorganized, messy and unkempt, and I don’t want to change.

4. I’ve been to 41 states and 21 countries. I love to travel, but hate getting there. Elizabeth says no one, most especially her, could stand to be on “The Amazing Race” with me.

5. I once smuggled blank typing paper and women’s panty hose into the Soviet Union.

6. I was robbed two of the first three times I went to New Orleans for the Jazz Festival. The first time was during a Neville Brothers concert at Tipitina’s and the second time was while I was on stage playing the washboard with the house band at the Maple Leaf Bar.

7. I was on a transcontinental Delta flight once that was canceled because of cockroach infestation in the airplane cabin. I tipped off the newspaper in Atlanta about it, and it was the lead story in the local section the next day.

8. When Kerri Strug hit her one-legged vault at the 1996 Olympics to secure the gold medal, I was sitting beside Mary Lou Retton and just behind Nadia Comaneci and Bart Connor. I hugged Mary Lou, then interviewed her. That event was perhaps the coolest thing I ever got to cover as a sportswriter.

9. Since 2005, I have selected all the Heisman Trophy voters (19) for the state of North Carolina. I have voted for the Heisman nearly 20 times, and two of my first-place votes were for Philip Rivers of NC State (2003) and Jeff Blake of East Carolina (1991).

10. North Carolina basketball player Mahktar Ndiaye once threatened to kick my ass in the middle of a post-game press conference at the ACC Tournament in Greensboro.

11. Jim Valvano once told me I was a horsesh** reporter working for a horsesh** newspaper who would never go anywhere in this g**damned business.

12. I am a horrible athlete who loves to watch and participate in sports. Baseball is my favorite spectator sport to watch, golf and snow skiing are my favorite participatory sports.

13. All of favorite teams – my high school, my college, my favorite professional baseball, football and hockey teams – wear red. I refuse to have a favorite NBA team.

14. I once made a 15 on the par-3 sixth hole at Pinehurst No. 2, without taking a penalty stroke. The next time I played the course, I made a birdie on the same hole. I also made a 15 on a hole at Augusta National.

15. I nearly died of exposure in the North Sea near an island off the coast of Norway while trying to learn to windsurf from Norwegian teenagers who barely spoke English. Tip: If you are going to learn something semi-dangerous, do it in your native language.

16. I have only taken one sick day from work since starting my first fulltime job in December 1987.

17. God has tempted me in many ways, and I haven’t always resisted. But there are few things I can say I am ashamed of. I don’t want to die with regrets.

18. In the eighth, ninth and 10th grades I was in the marching band and on the football team. I played the tuba and center.

19. My first date with Elizabeth was to see “The Big River,” the musical adaptation of my favorite novel “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain. I love the theater and have a soft spot for musicals. I took one of those online quizzes and discovered I have seen 75 of the top 100 musical movies ever made.

20. I love being around and with people, engaging in conversation and sharing stories. But I always leave a room thinking people are glad to see me go.

21. From about 2000-2006, primarily because of work-induced stress, I did not sleep for more than three hours at a time.

22. I love being from Cat Square, NC. Population: 44. I have an aunt and cousins who live in Dirty Ankle, N.C. I always wanted to write a datelined story from Shit Britches Creek, N.C.

23. My cousin traced our family history back to Germany. The first Peeler (then spelled Bieller) landed in Philadelphia on the cargo ship Robert and Alice in 1738, and moved to North Carolina shortly thereafter. My branch of the Peelers served in the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and World War II. My great, great, great, greatgrandfather James Peeler of Cleveland County survived the Civil War, but died from alcohol poisoning after being bitten on the butt by a venomous snake while relieving himself in the woods.

24. I wish my mom had gotten to meet my two sons, Michael and Benjamin. She would have loved being with them.

25. I believe my wife is an angel on earth for loving and living with me.

26. I always write too long.