I’m Humbled (Imagine that!)

Many millennium ago when the Earth was forming and I was young, I trained to be a machinist.  Since I worked in a production environment, much of the training occurred on the job and was taught by my peers, the machinists I worked with.

Ernie was one of those machinists and doing the job to his expectations was a daunting task.  He was an ex-marine and his philosophy was that the job could be done two ways—wrong or right.  Anything less than perfect was wrong.

Eventually, after suitable training, I moved to the night shift.  Since Ernie worked the daylight shift and ran the same machines that I did, he had an opportunity to see each one of my mistakes up close and personal.  Ernie wasn’t reticent about letting me know about my shortcomings.

The folks in management were always happy with my performance.  I got things done on time, the parts I made were always good and my production levels met their expectations.  Ernie had a different view.  He focused on the details that could easily be missed by someone who was only looking at the end result.  What Ernie knew from years of doing the job was that, if you get the little things right, the big things take care of themselves.

One day, I had a particularly difficult job to do on my machine.  At the end of my shift, the supervisor stopped by to check on my progress and when he saw that I’d not only completed setting up the machine but also made a dozen parts, he was pleased and told me so.  I went home that day feeling pretty good.   When I came in the next day I found a note taped to my toolbox.  It was in Ernie’s handwriting and it said simply, “Outstanding.”

Ernie was my peer and he had an intimate understanding of the effort and skill necessary to do the job.  When he put his personal stamp of approval on my work it meant more to me than a hundred pats on the back by a supervisor.  I thanked him, but I should have gone a step further and told him how important his gesture of approval was to me.

A couple of weeks ago, Vee, a fellow blogger from the Emerald Isle who writes the The Verbal Spew Review, nominated my blog for the Liebster Award.  Thank you, Vee, for that act of recognition.  It means a lot to me, especially since it comes from someone who does such a stellar job with her own blog.


Most bloggers create as a hobby.  We have real jobs and real lives that demand our time.  Somewhere amongst that, we find a few moments to share a piece of ourselves with the world using our blog as a tool.  It’s not easy to do a good job so when a peer, who understands what it takes, recognizes your efforts, it’s important and special.

When someone is nominated for the Liebster, they have two options:

  • Enjoy the nomination but go no further with it.
  • Accept the nomination and complete several tasks to pass it on.

There’s a lot of writing involved with accepting the nomination and a lot of bloggers elect to forego the acceptance process.  I completely understand that, but I’ve opted to accept.  The requirements for acceptance are:

1. Post the Liebster Award graphic on your site.
2. Thank the blogger who nominated your blog.
3. The nominee is asked to write 11 facts about themselves.
4. Answer the 11 questions from the post of the person who nominated them.
5. The nominee will nominate 5-11 other blogs.  The caveat is that the nominated blogs have less than 200 followers.
6. The nominee will then create 11 questions of their own for their nominated bloggers to answer in their Liebster post.

I’ve already posted the graphic and thanked Vee, so let’s move on with the rest.

Eleven Facts about Me

  1. My single favorite food is pizza – pepperoni, sausage, black olives, green peppers, hot peppers, mushrooms, extra cheese and a double layer of anchovies.
  2. I once derailed a train.  It was completely by accident and no laws were broken, but it is an entertaining story.
  3. I have two granddaughters and a grandson.  One will win a Nobel Prize, one will win a Pulitzer, and one will be the first human to travel faster than light.  Stay tuned to find out which is which.
  4. I have full motion control of my ears.  I can move them any direction in unison or by themselves.  I taught that skill to my daughter when she was five.
  5. When I was young, I had an impressive comic collection, including Adventure Comics #300 which was the inaugural issue of the “Legion of Super-Heroes” and The Amazing Spider-Man #1.  My mom threw them all away when she was cleaning my room while I was in college.
  6. I drive a black Ranger pickup named Robbie.
  7. I love romantic comedies (don’t tell my wife that or I’ll never see another sci-fi flick)
  8. I really want to have an English Bulldog someday.
  9. I’m not all that politically correct when talking to people.  I had an employer once who proactively scheduled me for “Effective Interpersonal Communications” classes every two years.  Apparently, with me, the effectiveness has a two year shelf life.
  10. The first computer I programmed was an IBM 1130 “mini-computer” when I was a freshman engineering student.  I had my computer access revoked twice in the first year for “inappropriate use of data processing services or equipment.”
  11. My wife and I have shared our home with eight high school exchange students over the years.   More’s the pity, but none of them have been from Ireland.

Discerning Questions that Vee Asked

1. “What is your very first childhood memory?” – My first memory is standing on the curb in front of our house trying to decide whether or not I could make it across the street and back before the big truck coming down the street made it to me.  I was two years old at the time and I clearly remember thinking that I could.  I must have been right.

2. You’ve hit the big-time. You’ve just won the Nobel Peace Prize. You’ve won the lottery. You’ve gained fame by ruthlessly pursuing the monsters that kidnapped a family member. You’ve been put in jail because you’re just too damn good-looking and the safety of singletons everywhere is threatened by your freedom. They’re making a movie about you. Who plays you, why, and what is the movie called? – Kevin Costner.  We both have gray hair and say “bite me” with the same inflection and intensity.  Chara’s Promise.

3. “It’s midnight and you’re hungry. What is your go-to snack?” – If I’m not on a diet, it’s vanilla ice cream, caramel topping and a healthy dose of whip cream.  If I am on a diet it’s a handful of baby carrots.

4. “The old hypothetical dinner party conundrum. You can invite any four people, alive or dead, famous or not, to a dinner party. Who do you invite and why?” – Thomas Jefferson, because I really want to know what they had in mind when they wrote the Second Amendment.  Isaac Asimov, because his books created my early love of science fiction.  Lisa Randall, because I spend half of my life researching physics on Wikipedia and I have some serious questions about string theory.  Ashley Judd, because she’s intelligent, articulate, passionate and not hard to look at. (which makes her a lot like my wife. :))

5. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” – I want to own a Dairy Queen.  Everyone smiles when they’re at Dairy Queen.

6. “What do you do to unwind after a tough day?” – Pull out the Battlestar Galactica DVDs and realize that life could be worse.

7. “If you could be an animal for a day what animal would you be?” – A fire breathing dragon.  I have a long hit list and twenty-four hours isn’t much time.  Speed and fire power are crucial.


8. “Do you have a guilty, secret pleasure that you think you probably shouldn’t? Like Reality TV, or Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen? Tell me!” – Interspersed amongst my collection of science fiction books is a rather complete collection of paranormal fantasy novels.  I’m particularly fond of Kim Harrison, Laurell K. Hamilton, and Cheyenne McCray.

9. “There has been an “atmospheric phenomenon” and you wake up with a superpower. You can make yourself invisible at whim. Who do you spy on, and why?” – My wife reads this blog.  I can’t answer that question for obvious reasons.

10. “I’m sure you have a lovely name, but if you could change it to anything, what name would you choose?” – Clark Kent

11. “Star Wars or Star Trek? If neither, you’d better have a damn good reason.” – Oh you silly girl, Star Trek of course.  Deep Space Nine to be specific.  (Thank God the choice wasn’t Star Trek or Firefly)

That’s it for today.  Next time, my nominees and my questions for them.

See ya

P.S.   That “Free Book” link is still enticingly sitting at the top of the page.  Just sayin’.


Filed under writing

4 responses to “I’m Humbled (Imagine that!)

  1. I’m sorry, much to my shame I’m only now getting the opportunity to read through your wonderful answers in full! Really enjoyed them, cheers JF.

    Oh and Fact #4 always impresses me. I can do the same thing, but with my nostrils. I’m about to do Answer #6 now. It’s been one of those weeks, time for some BSG while I wait for the realisation that it could be much, much worse to dawn. At least we’re not being turfed off our planet by Cylons, am I right.

    • You most certainly are correct. Although there might be a certain cathartic release attached to slipping into a viper, opening up the throttle and training the cannons on someone who was making your life miserable.

      (Not that I’ve ever had that thought :))

      I hope your weekend is better than your week was!

      • You paint a tempting picture. Well, it’s 7pm here, which means it’s well after beer o’clock. The weekend is looking up already. Have a good one and thanks again for the answers!

  2. tigermom2

    Congratulations! It made me smile and even chuckle
    a time or two

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