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Working, Desk

[Meme] Ten Things

The 'Ten Things I've Done That You Probably Haven't' meme.

1) Lived through a plane crash.

2) Eschewed the 'Lazer Maya' show done on the side of Chichen Itza's Grand Castillo in favor of watching the stars from the rooftop of an ancient Mayan building over in the Old City with some local archaeologists.

3) Been the on-call computer person in high school for Bill Gates' neighbor at the time (who was, in a twist I still find amusing to this day, a devout Mac user).

4) Written an entire science fiction novel at age 8. (No, it wasn't published, yes, I still have it -- my mother found it when we were cleaning up the house -- and no, you can't read it. I didn't say it was a /good/ science fiction novel.)

5) Known a good friend of your father's, a calm and quiet man, who after having been a friend of the family for years simply snaps and makes an attempt to kill a rival lawyer.

6) Met multiple Revolutionary War ghosts, in the same building, with others present.

7) Designed and built a robotic snail in jr. high school. (I still have him. His name is Escargot.)

8) Along with your best friend, filled a hollow imitation Barbie doll with magnesium powder, dressed her in a bathing suit, and laid her out on a little beach set before setting her on fire. (We were 11. We told bewildered passers-by that 'Charbie' was suffering from UV exposure, and reminded them to wear their sunscreen. Have I mentioned that I was an odd child?)

9) Practiced another language solely to read a set of fantasy novels which no one had (irritatingly) bothered to translate.

10) Created a spur-of-the-moment, somewhat haphazard fictional world, and had it be so successful that even years later the old tabletop group pressures to have the campaign restarted. (And wins.)


Okay, number 1 is way impressive. Is there a story to go with that?
Yeah. When I was twelve, I went to Japan as an exchange student, to live with my exchange family in Osaka. We left from Seattle at unholy-o-clock in the morning, flying to LAX to catch our plane to Narita International. So we were supposed to leave LAX at like 8am or so. Bwa ha ha...

We get on the plane, and have to wait a while to taxi out. When we finally DO, we suddenly stop. The pilot comes on the loudspeaker, and announces, "Well, folks, I don't want to alarm you, but every warning light just went on up here in the cockpit. So we're going to just taxi back to the terminal and let them take a look."

We sat at the terminal (still on the plane) for about 3 hours. Finally, the pilot announces, "They say it was just an electrical short, so we're going to get on our way." We start out, get down the runway, and then come to a stop. "Well, folks, all the warnings are on again, and I'd rather we checked this once more."

We taxi back. We're unloaded from the plane so that we can do bathroom breaks, find food, etc. We're in the terminal for five hours while they look over the plane. Finally, we get back on. Pilot says, "Well, they went over the plane with a fine-toothed comb, and insist there's nothing wrong. So here we go again." We start down the runway, stop, and the pilot announces, "Well, all the warning lights are on, but the technicians insist there's nothing wrong, and that we'd better get back on schedule. So I figure, what the hell, third time's the charm, right?" And we start down the runway.

And we take off.

And at about 180 feet up, the engines die, and the plane smacks down on the tarmac hard enough to throw us around inside. Yelps, screams of surprise, and so on. Pilot jerks the plane hard to one side and gets us more or less righted, though blows out a tire. Comes on the loudspeaker, "Well, folks... that was the wrong call. We're going to just unload you all right here, and we'll get you a new plane tomorrow, and you'll be staying at the LAX Hilton tonight courtesy of the airline!"

My parents just about had a heart attack; they were figuring out where I'd be over the Atlantic, and suddenly they get a phonecall from me in Los Angeles going, "Hi, mom, hi, dad! No, we didn't get there. Our plane crashed!"

This is also why I have categorically refused to fly United since I was twelve.


I mean, I loathe flying. If there's a train that goes there, I'm on that instead (statistics be damned), but you've actually got a real reason to avoid flying.

Re: Wow.

I still fly, but I really hate it. I always make myself sick with stress before I fly, and I am generally pale and tense during takeoffs. Mid-flight, I'm usually okay, but takeoffs... I just do not do well with.

On the other hand, I tell myself that you very rarely hear about people being in /two/ plane crashes, so I'm statistically pretty safe, right?

Re: Wow.

Yeah, but, statistics don't apply to individuals.

Uh. Never mind. Forget I typed that.

Still. That's kind of a cool story.

(The best I could come up with when I went was barfing my guts out when I finally got off the plane touched asphalt at Tokyo international airport. For 13 whole hours on the flight over I was fine. And then we landed.)
Well, other than the 'pressure to have campaign restarted', I've done number 10. Once the WoW craze fades, I think I might have that pressure part covered too. :)