Sunday, July 15, 2007

Random Things About Me -- Part II

I've been tagged again for the 8 random things about me meme. By two people no less: Leslie at The Pedalogue and Donnetta Lee at My Write Hand. Now don't despair, I won't tell you 16 things about me that you never wanted to know. Frankly I find it rather hard to even think about what I'm really like, let alone talk about it.

So folks, for your entertainment, from one to eight, random facts about JMB

1. I'm rather a perfectionist and I'm getting worse as I get older, not better as is generally expected. It's not that I think everything should be just so or in its proper place. I don't live in an overly tidy house or have a perfectly ordered life. But I think that everything I do should be done perfectly. In what I do, I see only the flaws, the things I should have done better. I did suffer a mother who was overly critical, especially of me, but since I did not live with her, nor even in the same country as her, after the age of 24, I can hardly blame her for that, now can I?

2. I go barefooted as much as I can -- always in the house --which means I have to keep the floors clean. Yes, the lady with 75 pairs of shoes would rather be shoeless. I suppose it's from being a child in Australia, although my barefooted-as-a-child husband always wears shoes or slippers. However my daughter, another barefooted aficionado, points to me when her Italian husband complains. Maybe it's in the genes. My Parisian friend always looks down her nose at me if I mention it, I think she considers it quite low class. It probably is, but I don't care.

3. My favourite book is Niccolo Rising by the Scottish novelist, Lady Dorothy Dunnett. I've read it at least eight times, but in fact probably more. I've even read it in Italian. It is the first book in a series of eight historical novels that Lady Dunnett wrote over a period of 14 years, about the life and travels of Nicholas vander Poele, of Bruges and it's set in the fifteenth century. Naturally, as each new volume came out I had to reread every one of the preceding books. Over the years I have tried to convince people to read this author, with limited success. One day soon I'll write a post about it and try to persuade you to give it a whirl. Sadly she died in 2001, but check out her official website. There, you have no excuse.

4. I don't like going to parties very much or being in big social crowds. I often find that conversations become more like contests and it seems to bring out the worst in people as they become more competitive with each other, including me sometimes. I am much better in one on one situations or at small dinner parties with people I know very well. I am relatively social, well certainly in comparison with the old scientist, but just with a small s.

5. I loathe bridge, the card game that is. Yes I did learn to play and played regularly for a few years and I wasn't too bad a player. I was excellent at bidding, average at playing the cards. But coming along nicely. Quite a few years ago, at a dinner party for eight, suddenly the bridge cards came out and we were playing. My partner, a classics professor, was probably an excellent player, but I think he was a little inebriated else why would he have been so rude. He proceeded to criticize my play after every game. Even the ones we won. "Why did you play that card, didn't you know that he had this card?" Blah, blah, blah. Well naturally my mind went a total blank and I couldn't wait for the evening to end. I swore I would never play bridge again and I never have. I always say that Bridge and Badminton bring out the worst in people. Yes, I could tell you some badminton stories too, but I loved it with a passion so I didn't give that up until my body said enough.

6. Whatever happened to my favourite pop singer/songwriter Cat Stevens? Why he converted to Islam and sang no more. He became Yusuf Islam. But when he did sing, he entranced us all with his wonderful songs like Morning has Broken, Moonshadow, Peace Train. Luckily his recordings were converted to CDs and I am still able to enjoy these old favourites. I hear he's been singing again in the last few years at selected venues and I see that he put out a new album in 2006. I'll have to check that out.

7. Well I suppose I should tell you about my favourite film, since that must say something about me. It was made 35 years ago, starred two great actors, had four Oscar nominations and, in my opinion, it is as brilliant today as it was then. I recommend to you, Sleuth, starring Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine, the former exquisitely over the top and the latter very understated in his finest roll.

8. I hate car shopping, so I drive my car till it's dead and I'm forced to buy a new one. My current car is 14 years old and its predecessor died at 18. A Datsun 310, which towards the end didn't have a functional seatbelt for the front passenger so that person had to sit in the back seat. It looked as if the passenger was being chauffeured around in a rusting 18 year old car. Very cool, I don't think. But I only got rid of it because it developed a hole in the gas tank and I was terrified of blowing myself up. Sold to the scrapyard for $60.

I believe I have totally exhausted this meme. I did get rather carried away, I think. I hesitate to pass this on, but feel free to use the idea if you feel so inclined.


Postscript: Recently I have been granted the Schmoozer Award by two different bloggers, the first being Moof over at All Blogged Up: a Moof's Tale. Now she's a medblog reader like me and she has been given this very nice compliment by a fellow blogger: Moof is kind of a Den Mother for the entire Blogosphere. Not only is she very techie but she's very kind and helpful to everyone. The other person, Josie from All in Good Time, is a Vancouver blog friend, although we have never met. I think you could say that Josie is den mother for her very loyal group of visitors, with whom she interacts in a very charming playful way.

Thank you ladies for this award.

I stole this definition of schmooze from Josie because it included the etymology which I found interesting.

Schmooze: etymology: Yiddish shmuesn, intransitive verb : to converse informally : CHAT; also : to chat in a friendly and persuasive manner... transitive verb : to engage in schmoozing.

I have to say that this word has always had a rather poor connotation for me, making me think of a salesman, sucking up to a prospect in order to make a sale. So I really like the above definition, it makes me feel much better about the word and consequently the award. Please forgive me it I don't pass it on ladies, I know you'll understand.

That's all for now with the blog things. Regular programming will resume soon with Kyoto.


Ruth D~ said...

Hello! I tracked you down by following the trail Leslie left when she tagged me. I'm glad I did. As for Cat Stevens . . . I didn't know he'd disappeared, but I can hear "moonshadow" clear as a bell. Moonshadow, moonshadow . . .

Josie said...

JMB, you're not going to believe this, but I was singing "Morning has Broken" yesterday morning while I was making my coffee. I love that song. Cat Stevens was on the "Live Earth" concerts a couple of weeks ago. If you click on this link, you will see the video of him singing "Peace Train". He looks very different, and his name is Yusuf Islam now, but he still sounds the same. A lot of his music is on YouTube, either under the name Cat Stevens or Yusuf Islam.

Peace Train

BTW, I think going barefoot is great...!

Sienna said...

Bare feet me too! (Although not at the minute, hail, snow and frost).

Cat Stevens I found at my piano teacher's....Mrs Rogers had all these music sheets of everything and everyone, I was allowed to pick out some to learn and practise on the piano, after great thought and consideration I went for all the Cat Stevens music she had...all very professionally based upon he was the most handsome man I had ever seen...(old enough to be my father!)...and then I fell in love with his music too. :)

His music is so good to play, Morning Has Broken, Father and Son, just two of my favorite songs of his.

His birthday is coming up, (21-07-48)he is the day before Mick Jagger (22-07-43)

The koalas are doing really well in Grampians, JMB, bushfires took their toll last year, but it's all protected and the animals have a great home, when there is no drought and fire.

Love the shadow pics, so soulfull (I think I just invented that as a word :) )


jmb said...

Hi Ruth,
Thanks for dropping by. Well Cat Stevens disappeared for more than 20 years but it seems he's back again.
I dropped by and left you a comment.

jmb said...

Hi Josie,
Isn't that a coincidence. I don't believe that Yusuf was on Live Earth concert and I missed it. Well I only watched for 20 minutes.
I'll hustle over there now and check it out.

jmb said...

Hi Sienna,
Do you think this barefoot thing is really an Australian thing?
You can play all that wonderful Cat Stevens' music? You are lucky. Yes Father and Son, I forgot that one.
I didn't realize he is almost 60 now, he looks pretty good for that.
Great about the koalas in your region, you always hear how their habitat is shrinking and they are in trouble.

RUTH said...

I hate wearing shoes; so much happier in bare feet and am hopeless at social gatherings when conversations turn to the "mine's bigger than yours" mode.

ipanema said...

that's interesting indeed! well, I'm not sure what the French will say about this rich country I'm in right now because we take off our our shoes before entering somebody else's or one's own house. we go barefoot. so all those designer footwears are left outside. :)

In my country, we wear slippers at home. But we always have bedroom slippers. One we can't wear going to the kitchen or to the living room. I don't know but I like it. Now, i am barefoot whereever I go in the house, apart from the kitchen and the bathroom of course.

Oh, love Cat Stevens! :)

Lord Straf-Bilderberg said...

...I don't like going to parties very much or being in big social crowds...

I'm with you there.

moof said...

JMB! We share a few traits. :o)

I'm a barefoot aficionado too. Like yourself, always in the house, and as much as I can outside. When I leave for camp on August 6th, I probably won't have shoes on my feet again until October, unless I have to drive someplace.

Also - I've missed Cat Stevens too. Moonshadow and Morning Has Broken, in particular, have a lot of memories for me.

Crowds - although I do OK in a crowd, I prefer a quiet one on one. About the verbal competitiveness, it's not something I see very often, but I've noticed that certain group "configurations" cause that sort of thing far more than others.

About the word Schmooze ... it had always had a negative connotation for me too, but I liked the definition I saw on FD's blog ... and I like that one you've found, too. I think that those who started this particular award did so with the best of intentions. I gave out the award to those that come across as the warmest, and who foster a sense of community - rather than those who are simply chatty (or as Vijay put it, Gossips! ;o)

Ellee said...

These tags are a pain, this is one of the more interesting ones. I love going barefoot too, it seems we all do.

Janice Thomson said...

I cracked right up when reading you like to be barefoot - you the lady with 75 pairs of shoes! But I understand as I go barefoot a lot too.
I'm with you on the party/crowds one fact so much so I enjoy being alone most the time.
I agree that Michael Caine is a top notch actor and highly under-rated in many of his movies.
Thanks for this wee personal look into the life of JMB.

Ian Lidster said...

I think you and I would get along very well. I too go barefoot whenever I can, hate parties, love the film Sleuth (but I think Chinatown surpasses it by a nudge), and I used to be a perfectionist until I became 'perfect' (ha), and you were also chosen for your award by Moof, one of my favorite bloggers. What could be better.
Cheers, and congratulations,

Voyager said...

I enjoyed reading your eight random things. Hats (or shoes) off to an amusing and interesting post.

lady macleod said...


We all knew you were fascinating and schmooze worthy, now it is confirmed.

I'm not sure what you would do with your barefoot habit down here - we have "outside shoes", "party shoes", "house shoes (that you can not wear outside)", "lunch shoes", "gym shoes", "hammam shoes", "shower shoes".... I suppose you could just line them up with your 75 pair. I even have a pair of red sparkley shoes I bought in Fez!

That book series sounds just up my alley. I am going to check them out next I am in the west.

I am with you on the small dinner parties, the only way to go.

Wonderful to learn more about one of my favorite bloggers. Thank you for sharing and congratulations on your award.

jmb said...

Hi Ruth,
I am surprised how many people are supporting my shoeless position. I don't feel quite so low class now.

jmb said...

Hi ipanema,
That's wonderful, you take off your shoes in Brunei, so everyone is wandering around in shoes or stockings. I would love it there obviously.
Cultural differences are wonderful aren't they? But we adapt to wherever we are to respect them.
Thanks for the story of footwear in those places.

jmb said...

Hi Lord Jim,

I guess we both got shortchanged on the social gene. Not a great loss, in my opinion. I'd rather read. However I do like to network every now and again, but in small groups.

jmb said...

Hi Moof,
We do seem to have a lot in common.

I would like to be more social and comfortable in crowds and at parties but I am not. I like the idea of them but not the reality. Well we are who we are.
Thanks again for the award, I think we all took the nicest connotation from the word and went with that.
Vijay did "like" the gossip idea, though didn't he?

jmb said...

You're right Ellee, they are a pain, but I rather like this one too. Especially reading about other people. Coming up with something for oneself is a little more difficult.

jmb said...

Hi Janice,
It does seem like an oxymoron, doesn't it? Barefooted with 75 pairs of shoes. I think I am looking for the perfectly comfortable pair but don't often find them. Not totally true, because I have been known to buy some shoes in two different colours if they work out well.

jmb said...

Hi Ian,
I think we have enough here for the barefooted club. I have many potential members in my comment section today.
Chinatown I don't feel so strongly about. They are very different films so it's hard for me to judge which is better, I just prefer Sleuth.
I'm glad to hear that you are perfect so I shouldn't give up yet.

jmb said...

Thanks voyager, why don't you do the eight random things post. I would like to hear more about you too.

patterns of ink said...

"Moonshadow" That's the title I was trying to think of just now in a comment at Josie's. I think that's my favorite.
Hey, I wanted to give you an update on our Westie.
We brought him home the night before my daughter's wedding. He is doing better after his OD on Advil. He has not been quite as "peppy" since the ordeal. He is sleeping beside me as I type, but things turned out well.

jmb said...

Hi Lady Mac,
Well it seems you are well shod in Morocco. Shower shoes, what kind of showers do you have? Hammam shoes? I'll have to google this to find out what they are.
I'm surprised that you haven't found Dorothy Dunnett before. I'm sure you would enjoy these books.
Shall we have dinner some time, a small intimate group at one of those restaurants you recommend there?

jmb said...

Hi Patterns of Ink,
I'm so glad that your little Westie is OK. I hope he gets his peppiness back soon, it was an awful ordeal for him and for you too.
Thanks for letting me know.

leslie said...

Well, I never walk around barefoot because I like my feet to be smooth and I broke my little toe once when I banged it on the corner of a table. Man, that was painful!!! I do like wearing flip flops or sandaly shoes,though, because I like to show off my pretty toenails that I get painted every month or so a colour according to the season or holiday time. Having a pedicure is my one special little thing I enjoy doing for myself.

jmb said...

Hi Leslie,
I can see why you avoid bare feet after that experience. Although I have banged my feet on the furniture too.
I love to get a pedicure too and I don't do it often enough. Wear your sandals and show off those twinkly toes.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Interesting, jmb. I've still got my Cat Stevens vinyls. Do post about Dorothy Dunnet - I haven't read her although I like historical fiction. Like the bit about going barefoot! Congrats on the award x 2. That's a nice word - schmooze.

jmb said...

I got rid of all my vinyl records because I don't have a turntable any more, but I did replace most of my Cat Stevens with CDs.
I did write a bit about Dorothy Dunnett when I first started blogging, but did not write reviews of the books.

Bookwoman said...

My daughter (age 19) is a huge fan of DD books. She's read both the Niccolo and Lymond series. I have not. She's been reading tons of the classics lately and comparing the movie versions when she's done. She wants to be a librarian and is first working on an English degree.
I might have to try the DD series again. Fans truly love her writing!
(Daughter's -

annulla said...

Cat Stevens vanished from public view for many years because he retired from music when he became a Muslim.

Furthermore, his comments regarding the Ayatollah's fatwah against Salman Rushdie (for writing the Satanic Verses) were widely misinterpreted, causing a fierce backlash where his songs and albums were banned by many radio stations and other venues.

Although he has always been outspoken in his opposition to terrorism, and vehemently spoke out against the September 11, 2001 attacks, US Homeland Security placed him on a "no-fly" list. When he arrived in 2004, he was refused entry and deported back to the UK. There, with the help of the British government, he was able to get his name removed from the list.

In 2006, inspired by his adult son, himself a musician, Yusuf/Cat returned to pop music with a new album called The Other Cup. I suggest you try it; as a long-time fan, you'll probably love it.

By the way, you can catch up with The Artist Formerly Known as Cat at this own Web Site: Cat Stevens Official Web site

jmb said...

Hi bookwoman,
I think we've met before when I posted about dunnetworks and my love for Dorothy Dunnett's work. I'll come by again to see what you are up to.

jmb said...

Hi annulla,
thanks for dropping by. I did check out all this recently but didn't add it to the post which was already long. I should have added the link to his website so I will edit the post to do that.
I enjoyed checking out your site too.