A Five-point Disclosure

12:52 pm PHT

Ok, so I was tagged by Miguel Paraz with the disclosure meme wherein you share five secrets about yourself. I saw this meme pass through some of the foreign blogs that I read (e.g., Tim Bray and Philipp Lenssen) but I didn’t expect it to reach the top-tier Philippine blogging scene (i.e., Marc and Father Abraham) through the SEO-related blogs.

The only other virulent meme that I let into my blog was the musical baton meme. I was unusually interested in that one that I even created a follow-up post to discuss how the meme had been spreading. I won’t do the same for this meme.  :D

Enough of the meme background. Listed below are my five secrets in no particular order of shockingness. Some of you probably already know one or two of these, but I hope your impression of me won’t change after reading this.  :D

  • Astronomy. Before computer programming, graphic design, and web development, my first love was astronomy. The most expensive present I got from my parents was a 7,000-peso 3-inch Bushnell altazimuth-mounted refracting telescope. It wasn’t Christmas or my birthday or anything; I just asked my dad for a telescope out of the blue and we went out and bought one from a store in Park Square One in Makati. I still have that telescope stashed among my belongings. I so loved astronomy as a kid that one-third of all the books I own are on astronomy. My 7th grade term paper was about the planets of the solar system. Heck, even one of the earliest articles I self-published on the web entitled “Doom in May 2000?” is on astrophysics. I’m still fascinated with the subject but not nearly as much as I used to be.

  • Academic dishonesty. I guess everyone of us has our weak moments. The number of times I cheated in school can probably be counted on one hand and I never cheated in college. I’m smart enough that I don’t need to cheat to get high grades. I still remember the first time I cheated. It was during Math class in third grade. Remember those 10x10 multiplication exercises involving a cardboard with holes and simple multiplication problems above the holes? You place the cardboard on a piece of paper then write down the products through the holes. This way, the cardboard becomes reusable. I remember our class doing this exercise and then we began self-checking our papers. During the checking, one of the products I wrote down was wrong. Since we used pencils, I quickly erased my answer and wrote the correct one. I ended up being the only one in class getting a perfect score (which was important to me because I had the reputation of being a Math genius in school). Sometime after that I realized that the teacher gave the wrong answer and that my original answer was correct. I never did point that mistake out because that would mean that I would have a grade of 99 and that another classmate would get a perfect score.

  • Digits of pi. I can name pi to 20 decimal places: 3.14159265358979323846. Knowing that many number of digits is very much practically useless but I consider it a really nerdy party trick. Hehehe. It’s actually pretty easy; there’s a certain sing-song rhythm to the digits: 3 point (1415) 92 (6535) (8979) (3238) 46. Each of the parenthesized group of digits have a repeated digit in either the odd or even places. It makes memorizing the digits like memorizing the lyrics of a song. If you want to memorize using mnemonics, go read up on Piphilology.  :)

  • Car crash. The worst car crash I had wherein I was at fault was caused by the very old 1-peso sundae promo of Burger King. I can’t remember if it was in 2000 or 2001, but I was driving to U.P. Diliman with a friend along C-5 near Libis when I noticed BK’s sundae promo ads posted on the electric poles. There was a train of cars stopped at the Greenmeadows intersection and through my peripheral vision, I thought that I would clear the left side of the rearmost car, since the left lane was pretty clear. I misjudged the distance because I crashed into the rear-left corner of the rearmost car. And since I was going quite fast, the car I crashed into piled into the taxi in front. Yes, it was that bad.  :( The front-right side of the Sentra I was driving was demolished and the car and taxi had corresponding damages. The experience was definitely something I wouldn’t care to repeat and fortunately, I haven’t had any vehicular accident for the past 5 years.

  • Dengue. I got bitten by dengue twice. Once in January 1999, the other in October 2003. Since there are four major strains of the dengue virus there’s still a chance I could contract it again. It sucks, because I had to be hospitalized both times for about a week. The last one made me postpone my “thesis” defense. One problem with caring for dengue is that your blood needs to be taken every six hours so that the doctor can monitor your platelet count. My arms became pretty sore from the repeated puncturing. Fortunately, it was only during the second time that I had to have a platelet transfusion. Unfortunately, I got an allergic reaction to that transfusion and I was administered a dose of antihistamine.

To continue this meme, I’m tagging Jomer, Drei, Ramil, Imman, and Markku.  :D

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