or, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk

I am a Statistic, by Demetri Martin

   June 28th, 2011 Brian Herzog

This is a Book coverA friend of mine is reading This is a Book, by Demetri Martin, and shared the passage below with me.

I know it's a humor book, but I found one of the comments only marginally funny. Well, not that it was unfunny, but moreso that I have just always sort of taken it for granted.

The line I'm talking about is the fourth one up from the bottom on the page below. As a friend of mine from college used to say, "I am the norm; everyone else is just a deviation from me."

Also, the boomerang one is funny.

page from This is a Book

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A Brian By Any Other Name

   September 3rd, 2009 Brian Herzog

Did you read recently about MIT's Personas tool, that visualizes what the internet knows about you? The profile for my name looks like this (click for bigger):

Brian Herzog's Profile

Interesting, but what does it mean? I'm not quite sure. Especially when I realized it grouped all Brian Herzogs together.

Which reminded me there's more than one Brian Herzog out there. Of course, there's lots of us on MySpace, Facebook and LinkedIn (but not me on the first two), and I'm following all the Brian Herzogs on Twitter, just to see what I was up to.

Occasionally I look myself up on WhitePages to remember past addresses I've had, and recently (?) they added a neat national name distribution map, to show where I am most densely populated (I'm the only me in MA). ZabaSearch links to a compilation of my past addresses - well, some of them, and some listed weren't mine (I know this is their business, but I was surprised to see it - it must come from Post Office Change Of Address forms?).

In the spirit of Me or Not Me?, I started pulling together all of the Me Brian Herzog information out there at herzogbr.net. Also, here's a few Not Me Brian Herzogs:

And finally, here's a few other name-related/internet-profile bits and bobs:

Give it a try - find out how much can be found about you and not yous.

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2009 Begins with 99 Things

   January 1st, 2009 Brian Herzog

Route 99 signI rarely me-too these sorts of thing, but since I also don't do new year's resolutions*, I thought this might be a good first post for 2009:


Things you’ve already done: bold
Things you want to do: italicize
Things you haven’t done and don’t want to - plain font

1. Started your own blog.
I've been doing this for about two years, but my first website dates to about 1996.

2. Slept under the stars.

3. Played in a band.
But only sort of. I was an official member of the imaginary band No Rhythm No Talent in college, but I did also learn enough bass guitar to actually play in front of people. Twice.

4. Visited Hawaii.

5. Watched a meteor shower.

6. Given more than you can afford to charity.
I do give money, but I'm not too keen on the "more than you can afford" part - that sounds counter-productive.

7. Been to Disneyland/world.
My family took a vacation every summer together while I was growing up, and one year we went to Disney World in Florida. The things I remember most are the Hall of Presidents, Space Mountain, and the fountains where tubes of water jumped from one hole to another.

8. Climbed a mountain.
The tallest mountain I've hiked is Mount Katahdin. I started up Mount Washington once, but too late in the day to make the summit. Probably the highest I've ever been hiking up Bear Creek Canyon to the falls, above Telluride, CO.

9. Held a praying mantis.

10. Sang a solo.
Never in public.

11. Bungee jumped.
I've had the opportunity, but this is one of those things that would be fun to do, but not fun enough to seek out and pay for.

12. Visited Paris.
I'd like to go to a lot of places in Europe, and Paris is somewhere on that list.

13. Watched a lightning storm at sea.
Both the Atlantic Ocean and Lake Erie, and Lake Erie was far more dramatic.

14. Taught yourself an art from scratch.
I'm going to avoid the whole art v. craft discussion, and just lay claim to recently teaching myself how to cane chairs.

15. Adopted a child.

16. Had food poisoning.
Courtesy of myself, I might add.

17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty.
Kind of like Paris and bungee jumping - I'd do it if I had the opportunity, but I'm not sure how short the line would have to be.

18. Grown your own vegetables.
I'd love to be self-sufficient, but have never had much success with agriculture.

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France.
See #12

20. Slept on an overnight train.
When I was in Great Britain, I took a sleeper from Inverness to London. It was one of the most enjoyable uncomfortable nights of my life.

21. Had a pillow fight.

22. Hitch hiked.
Also when I was in Great Britain, except I was in Ireland at the time.

23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill.
That's the best time, as George Carlin says.

24. Built a snow fort.
Many times - luckily for my brothers and me, there were a couple other kids on our street, and we all liked playing outside.

25. Held a lamb.
I've never held a newborn lamb, but I have sheared a sheep. Does that count?

26. Gone skinny dipping.

27. Run a marathon.
While growing up, running was always punishment in the sports I played. The longest race I've run is a 5K, and I came in fourth to last - but I wasn't in the least bit tired, so that's good.

28. Ridden a gondola in Venice.
This is higher on my list than Paris.

29. Seen a total eclipse.
I know I've seen partial eclipses, but I'm not sure about a total.

30. Watched a sunrise or sunset.
Oddly, more sunrises than sunsets.

31. Hit a home run.

32. Been on a cruise.

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person.
Growing up in Northern Ohio, Niagara Falls was within easy driving distance, and my family went their many times. Also, I really like the show Wonderfalls.

34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors.

35. Seen an Amish community.
Again, growing up in Northern Ohio affords a person many diverse opportunities.

36. Taught yourself a new language.

37.Had enough money to be truly satisfied.
It comes and goes.

38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person.
I'll do this on the same trip as #28.

39. Gone rock climbing.
Indoor and outdoor.

40. Seen Michelangelo’s David in person.
See #38.

41. Sung Karaoke.
No way.

42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt.

43. Bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant.

44. Visited Africa.

45. Walked on a beach by moonlight.

46. Been transported in an ambulance.

47. Had your portrait painted.
But I have had my caricature drawn, and it's still hanging in my parents' basement.

48. Gone deep sea fishing.

49. Seen the Sistine chapel in person.
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
See #12

51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling.

52. Kissed in the rain.

53. Played in the mud.

54. Gone to a drive-in theater.
Although not nearly enough.

55. Been in a movie.
I've been in both movies and television.

56. Visited the Great Wall of China.

57. Started a business.
I often think this would be a good idea, partly just to have a cool office space somewhere, but realistically probably not.

58. Taken a martial arts class.

59. Visited Russia.

60. Served at a soup kitchen.
My grandmother used to volunteer in a soup kitchen, and sometimes I'd go with her.

61. Sold Girl Scout cookies.
No, but I have bought many.

62. Gone whale watching.

63. Gotten flowers for no reason.

64. Donated blood.
I've also fainted after giving blood - I had forgotten to eat that day. Last time I made that mistake.

65. Gone sky diving.
I'm more interested in this than bungee jumping.

66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp.

67. Bounced a check.

68. Flown in a helicopter.

69. Saved a favorite childhood toy.
Luckily I come from a family of collectors, so I get to play with some of my favorite childhood toys with my nieces and nephews.

70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial.
I think all Americans should visit Washington, D.C. at least once.

71. Eaten Caviar.

72. Pieced a quilt.

73. Stood in Times Square.

74. Toured the Everglades.
I planned on doing this when I was in FL in 9/08, but unfortunately, a couple hurricanes were there at the same time and I had to change my plans.

75. Been fired from a job.
Not really, but I have had a mutually-agreed parting.

76. Seen the Changing of the Guard in London.

77. Broken a bone.
I have both had broken bones, and broken the bones of others.

78. Been on a speeding motorcycle.
Yes, and without wearing a helmet.

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person.
I know I've been italicizing all the travel items on this list, but this one is high on my list of places to see.

80. Published a book.

81. Visited the Vatican.

82. Bought a brand new car.

83. Walked in Jerusalem.

84. Had your picture in the newspaper.
I still have an album of these things in my parents' house.

85. Read the entire Bible.
Not all in one go, but growing up in Catholic school meant lots of reading.

86. Visited the White House.

87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.
I have if fish count, and I think they do.

88. Had chickenpox.

89. Saved someone’s life.

90. Sat on a jury.
This is something I have never been called to do - perhaps because I move around so much. I think it'd be interesting, and I don't understand why so many people try to avoid it.

91. Met someone famous.

92. Joined a book club.
I suppose it's odd that, being a librarian, I've never done this. But I'm okay with it.

93. Lost a loved one.
Grandparents and great-grandparents.

94. Had a baby.
I'm still not sure about this one.

95. Seen the Alamo in person.

96. Swum in the Great Salt Lake.

97. Been involved in a law suit.
Well, I was threatened with a lawsuit, but it never materialized.

98. Owned a cell phone.
This is one of my tech-nos.

99. Been stung by a bee.

For anyone who actually made it this far, there you go - happy new year.

*I don't make New Year's resolutions, but if I did, my resolution for 2009 would be to not go to movie theaters that don't pop their own popcorn.

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