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Introduction to Meme

Unlike my friend Brian, who writes his blog when he really should be sleeping, I tend to value a good night’s sleep well above many other seemingly worthwhile endeavors. Which is why I often find myself unfamiliar with concepts that other bloggers have long mastered.

One of those concepts is Internet Meme. And Brian tagged me with one of those in a recent entry.

Well, a challenge is a challenge, so here goes nothing…

The Meme of Five process starts with five blogs that have already done it. I am supposed to discard the top entry from the list and add myself at the bottom:

Electronic Cerebrectomy
Byzantium’s Shores: The Occasional Meditations of an Overalls-clad Hippie
Simple Tricks and Nonsense
I Should Be Sleeping
Burlaki on the Thames

I should then select five of my blogging friends to tag (for those not paying attention, this is why it is called Meme of Five). Jason Bennion, who tagged Brian, was only able to come up with four. Brian had to limit himself to two. And now that it’s my turn, I can’t even do that many.

See, I cannot tag Brian back. Besides the obvious fact that he already went through the exercise, for all I know, a tag back could be a serious breach of blogging etiquette which may lead to reprimands from Party… er, blogging community elders and tons of negative publicity… Oh, wait, beyond close friends and family, my blog is virtually unknown! Bad publicity would be just as good as good one, and infinitely better than absence of any publicity, as it were…

Sorry, went on a tangent there… Cannot tag Brian. But besides him, I know of only one blogger whom I would be comfortable to pass this on to, my old friend Serge Volinrok Kornilov. He writes his blog in Russian and has a bunch of Russian-speaking blog connections. So I’ll take credit for taking this meme internationally and use it as an excuse for my otherwise puny contribution to its noble cause. A-ha!

My main task is to truthfully answer a set of casual questions. Here they are.

What were you doing ten years ago?

If I had access to my pre-digital-age photo albums (which are safely stored at my parents’ house in New Jersey), I would be able to confirm it, but I think that right about mid-July 1997 the three of us – Kimmy was certainly not even planned yet – plus my parents and my younger brother all piled into a rented Dodge Grand Caravan and drove to Cape Cod for a week of vacation. I was far from a sophisticated world traveller that I am today, then. Trips to Martha’s Vineyard and Provincetown were all the sightseeing that we did. The rest was idle relaxation, with a couple of reasonably hot days at the beach, and nightly barbecues – thanks, Mom!

I also just started work at Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette at that point, a move that I agonized over for quite a while, but which in hindsight turned out to be invaluable for my career. I was a bit stressed, to say the least, so my successfully negotiated pre-planned vacations were a big deal…

What were you doing one year ago?

Most likely, sitting in Brian’s office and either putting finishing touches on a project that we were both involved with or venting about the drawn-out negotiations for my London transfer…

Five snacks you enjoy

1) Cheese
2) Grapes, cherries, tangerines, apples, plums, peaches (before you start thinking of me as some fruit-and-berry nut, the question was which snacks I enjoy, not which snacks I frequently have…)
3) Tostitos with various kinds of dip
4) Pringles potato chips (steal them from my kids, occasionally)
5) I am not really big on snacks

Five songs to which you know all the lyrics

Puh-leeze!!! As many of my friends can attest from experience, I know probably a couple of thousand songs in Russian (and not too shy about belting them out). My English-language repertoire is not as extensive, but at the very minimum it contains 50 or so Beatles’ songs… Let’s say:

1) Hotel California – Eagles
2) Love Me Tender – Elvis
3) Maxwell’s Silver Hammer – Beatles
4) In The Army Now – Status Quo
5) Can’t Smile Without You – Barry Manilow (guilty as charged!)

I also know a bunch of songs in Italian and French…

Five things you would do if you were a billionaire

Brian, I will have to plagiarize. You pretty much stated my plan, with tweaks so minimal as to be virtually indistinguishable. Is it truly plagiarism if I had been thinking about this plan since I was an adolescent?

1) Setup college funds for every single child in the family (nieces, nephews, cousins, etc.) and for many close friends’ children as well.
2) Build the nicest house I can think of, then build my parents, in-laws, and siblings the nicest houses they can think of. Figuring out exactly what to do for my in-laws in Russia would be an interesting challenge.
3) Modern-day Grand Tour: Visit every single place in the world that I ever wanted to see – in style. First-class airfare, posh accommodations, no expense spared for guides, hard-to-get-in attractions, etc. For periods of time when I am not sightseeing, fly in any willing friend or relative at no cost to them for idle kicking back.
4) Put the remaining ~$900+M in T-bills. At the current rate of 5%, I think I could survive on $45 million per year, tax free.
5) See how much of those $45 million I’d need to keep the entire family comfortable, and spend the rest on worthy causes…

Five bad habits

1) I eat and drink without much concern for consequences – and often come to regret it fairly soon.
2) I talk about starting to exercise but never do it.
3) I am an obsessive perfectionist.
4) I unnecessarily raise my voice when talking about something that I strongly feel about.
5) Other than that, I am an angel.

Five things you like doing

1) Horsing around with my kids (much harder these days with an almost teenage daughter – thankfully, Kimmy still finds it to be fun).
2) Hanging around with a group of friends, with wine and guitar necessarily figuring at some point.
3) Working on one of my hobbies (family travel videos and diaries, guitar, blogging)
4) Reading (although lately, I have been on a steady limited diet of a couple of periodicals and an occasional fantasy novel – nothing to brag about)
5) Following sports (unfortunately, an old injury no longer allows me to, or I would have said “playing soccer”, instead).

Five things you would never wear again

My lovely spouse has always had full control of my clothing. The side effect is that I rarely distinctly recall what I was wearing at any given point in time. Therefore, it is practically impossible for me to answer this question properly.

1) Shorts (which I have not worn since I was a little kid – I have this aesthetic problem with exposed hairy legs in a non-beach environment)
2) Non-skiing hats (I simply hate the feeling of a hat on my head – but of course I would prefer that feeling to having my ears fall off while inexpertly sliding down Mont Tremblant)
3) Contact lenses (not ever; and hey, the question did not specify “clothes”)
4) Briefs (am I getting to intimate for your comfort?)
5) Diapers (plagiarizing Brian again – I am out of ideas).

Whew, I’m done. My hat – which I don’t wear – is off to you if you actually read through all of this, but I thank you for allowing me to open my soul to you :>>

1 Comment

  1. Brian Greenberg

    Well done, Ilya. And congrats on taking the meme international. I promise not to do this too often…

    Oh, and by the way, I’m still working on that project that you & I put “finishing touches” on last year. 🙂

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