100 Things About Me

I saw an article like this on another blog somewhere, and enjoyed reading it, even though I didn’t know the guy who wrote it, so I stole his idea.

Here are 100 things that you may or may not have known about me.

1. My favourite brand of beer is Rickards Red. I like Sleeman’s Honey Brown as well. I generally prefer darker coloured beers over light ones.

2. Boxers. Thanks for asking.

3. I got 98% in grade 12 math. There were at least four other people with 98%, and two with 99% that year.

4. I love to drive – which is good, considering my 130 km-a-day commute.

5. I took four years of German in high school, and still have a German poem memorized. It begins “Es sitzt ein Vogel auf dem Leim…”.

6. The three greatest days in my life, bar none, were my wedding day, and the days my sons were born.

7. I’m the webmaster of three different web sites: www.perrow.ca (my family’s web site), www.nllpool.com (a lacrosse pool I’m running), and www.stelcoball.com (my Wednesday night softball league).
Update: As of spring 2006, stelcoball.com is gone, but I’m now the webmaster of www.deiterslove.com, a site dedicated to the memory of a little boy named Deiter Rombouts, the late son of a friend of mine, who passed away at the age of 6 months while waiting for an organ transplant.
Another update: As of spring 2010, deiterslove.com is also gone. I don’t know when it lapsed, but I hadn’t done anything on the site in a few years.

8. I designed and implemented the first police computer system in the world that electronically submitted fingerprints to the FBI. It was done for the Boston Police Department when I was an employee of Comnetix Computer Systems back in 1994.

9. During testing, I accidentally used that system to submit a colleague’s actual fingerprints to the FBI under the name “Elroy Jetson”. The superintendant of the Boston Police had to get a court order requesting to have the record removed from the FBI database.

10. I prefer Coke over Pepsi. If I ask for a Coke in a restaurant and the waiter asks if I want Pepsi instead, I’ll get a 7-Up or root beer. If I order a Coke and they bring me Pepsi instead without telling me, the tip decreases (not because it’s Pepsi, but because they brought me something I didn’t ask for).

11. I have no particular political leanings. I can never keep the different parties (liberal/conservative, democrat/republican, etc.) straight. I can never even remember which ones are considered “left wing” and which ones are “right wing”. At election time, however, I make every effort to be an informed voter, by reading up on each of the candidates.

12. I had laser eye surgery in May of 2000. One of the best things I’ve ever done. I now have 20:15 vision (i.e. better than 20:20).

13. I know at least seven computer languages very well: C, C++, Objective-C, Java, PHP, Perl, and Python.

14. I have a Perrow family tree that goes back about eight generations, and the most popular male name is “Samson”.

15. Pro-life, but not militant about it. I don’t have a problem with abortion in cases of rape, incest, or when the pregnancy will endanger the mother, but I don’t want to see it used as a form of birth control.

16. Huge Leafs fan. As they say, I bleed blue and white.

17. McDonalds over Burger King, Subway over Mr. Sub (but Quiznos over both), tea (Earl Gray if you have it) over coffee, emacs over vi (though I’m happy with either). Coke over Pepsi as I said above, but strangely, Diet Pepsi over Diet Coke.

18. I love sushi, Chinese food, and Indian food.

19. I have all seven seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation on DVD. At one point, given almost any episode title, I could describe the episode. I’ve forgotten most of them now.

20. My first real date was in second year university. I dated a grand total of two girls before I started dating Gail in 1992.

21. I don’t like guns. I also don’t like hunting or fishing for sport.

22. Pet peeve: People who litter, or throw cigarettes out the car window. That’s why there’s an ashtray in the car, buddy.

23. I was at the Faith No More / Metallica / Guns ‘n Roses concert in Montreal in 1992 that turned into a riot. Metallica cut their set short after James Hetfield got burned by some pyrotechnics, and then, after a 2 1/2 hour delay, Guns ‘n Roses took the stage, but then simply left after about 45 minutes. Gail and I had left by that point – GNR was kind of boring (compared to Metallica), and Blue Rodeo was playing a free concert across the street from our hotel. We didn’t even know about the riot until the next morning.

24. Definitely Mary-Ann.

25. I intensely dislike people who drive too slow in the left lane (or middle lane when there are three), turn or change lanes without signalling, tailgate, etc. I’ve been known to honk or, ahem, otherwise indicate my displeasure to people who do these things.

26. I don’t agree with circumcision. It’s painful for the child and completely pointless. The most common argument for this procedure is that it prevents infections, but with proper cleaning technique (which my sons had learned by the age of 3), this can be avoided. As my family doctor put it, people get ingrown toenails every year, but nobody advocates removing them at birth.

27. I share a birthday (July 30) with Henry Ford, Paul Anka, Kate Bush, and Arnold Schwarzeneggar.

28. I think Babe Ruth was the most dominant baseball player ever. In 1927, he hit 60 home runs (in only 154 games), a record that stood until Roger Maris hit 61 (in 162 games) 34 years later. In that same year, Ruth’s teammate Lou Gehrig hit 47 homers, and the player who finished third hit only 18. No other team in the American League hit more than Ruth’s 60 homers, and only three National League teams hit more.

29. I think Wayne Gretzky was the most dominant hockey player ever. In the history of the NHL, only three players have ever had 100 assists in a season. Mario Lemieux and Bobby Orr each did it once. Wayne Gretzky did it eleven times.

30. I’m not losing my hair, but I don’t think I’d care if I did. I’m getting lots of gray ones, and they don’t bother me much. What bothers me is that my eyebrows are getting bushy.

31. I’m a “devout” atheist. I do not believe in God, or any other “supreme being” of any kind.

32. I don’t agree with the whole “the public has a right to know” thing spun by the press. There are some things that the general public simply does not have any right to know about.

33. My wife is the love of my life, and after 18 years of marriage, I still love her more than anything.

34. I also love my kids more than anything. Ryan is like a little me, and Nicholas is like a little Ryan. We’ve often told people that we had the same kid twice. Watching them grow and learn new things is just the most amazing thing.

35. I believe tobacco is a much greater risk to the health of the general public than marijuana. Taxes on tobacco should be raised, and marijuana should be legalized. I think that smoking in a car with a child in it should be illegal. All of the “smokers have rights too” people would hate me for that, but tough-o.

36. Professional athletes who make millions a year and then cry about anything money-related really piss me off. This particularly includes NBA player Latrell Sprewell, who turned down a contract extension because it wasn’t enough money, saying something about “having to feed his family”. Meanwhile, he made something like $17 million the previous year. Bite me, buddy.

37. I have no problem with gay marriage.

38. I’m a huge Toronto Maple Leaf and Toronto Rock fan, but I can’t say I’m a real hockey or lacrosse fan, in that I don’t particularly care about non-NHL hockey or non-NLL lacrosse. Most of the players in the OLA are NLL players, but I just can’t get interested in it, despite the fact that the Brampton team plays their home games closer to Waterdown than the Rock do, and the tickets are cheaper.

39. I had a mullet in university (when mullets were cool). When I finally got my hair cut, it was over 20 inches long.

40. In high school, I had the nickname “Max”. My initials are GP, so people started calling me “guinea pig”, and then my French teacher mentioned that she had a guinea pig named Max. I didn’t like the guinea pig name, but Max was OK.

41. The Perrow family name is French in origin, and comes from the name “Le Pirou”, not “Perreault”. My family left France at least eight generations ago. BTW, it’s pronounced Perrow, not Perrow.

42. I have a Bachelor of Math in computer science with a minor in combinatorics and optimization from the University of Waterloo, and a Master of Science in computer science from the University of Western Ontario.

43. Other than my one ski day per year, and playing in the snow with my kids (toboganning, snowmen, etc.), I could live quite happily never seeing snow again. But I kind of live in the wrong country for that.

44. My father was born in Scotland. My mother was born in Birmingham, England, but moved to Scotland when she was about eight. They moved to Canada in 1961, and after over 40 years here, they still talk about “going home” when they travel to Scotland.

45. I have a US social security number, because I worked for Microsoft in Redmond, Washington on a co-op term in 1991. I have no idea where my social security card is.

46. I love “cream” drinks – Bailey’s or Kahlua and milk. I bought some coconut rum cream on my honeymoon in Jamaica, and that was really good with milk too.

47. I have an intense fear of drowning. It’s probably why I’m not that great a swimmer – I panic too easily.

48. I’m not nearly as patient with my kids as I should be.

49. For three years in high school, I had a huge crush on a girl named Fiona. We became good friends, but I never had the guts to ask her out, and I haven’t seen her since 1988. It’s been almost 20 years, but I still think about her sometimes and wonder…. (Having said that, see #33 again.)

50. All the companies that I’ve ever worked for in my life: O’Tooles (Pickering), Payless Drug Emporium (Pickering), IBM (Scarborough, Markham, and Don Mills), Sears Canada (Toronto), Microsoft (Redmond, WA), Corel (Ottawa), University of Western Ontario (London), Comnetix Computer Systems (Mississauga), SAP / Sybase (Waterloo).

51. I love trivia, especially weird things that most people don’t know. Did you know that Tim Allen once served time in prison for armed robbery? Did you know that Charlie Sheen’s real name is Carlos Estevez? Did you know that the keys on a keyboard are arranged the way they are to keep people from typing too fast and jamming typewriters?

52. I generally tip 15%, rounding down for unfriendly or rude waiters, or at buffets, where the waiter has to do less work. I round up for better service. Telling me how impressed you were with my well-behaved kids (even if they weren’t), or how cute and adorable they are is a cheap way to get a bigger tip, but it generally works with me — unless you’ve ignored my kids the whole meal and then suddenly compliment them when you bring the bill.

53. My first concert ever was in the summer of 1975. I went to see The Captain and Tennille at the CNE with my parents and sister. My first concert of my choosing was Styx (also at the CNE) in the summer of 1983 – I went with my dad. My first concert without either of my parents was Saga at Maple Leaf Gardens in early 1984, closely followed by Rush about a month later. Actually, it might have been Rush and then Saga; I’m not sure of the order.

54. I have a Yamaha acoustic guitar, a candy-apple red Fender Squire electric guitar, and a Peavey amp. I don’t play nearly as often as I’d like to. I took guitar lessons for a couple of years, and played more often, but still not as often as I should have. I stopped the lessons when I got sick in 2010 and never started again.

55. All the cars I’ve ever owned: 1988 Chevy Cavalier Z24, 1996 Pontiac Grand Prix, 1997 Saturn SL1 (lease), 2004 Pontiac Sunfire.

56. I can’t park worth a damn. Update: I’m actually not bad at parking in general. I can’t parallel park worth a damn.

57. I believe in capital punishment, but only for things like 1st-degree murder, torture, cop-killing, child molestation, stuff like that. Also, to prevent innocent people from being executed, the standard of proof must be higher than “beyond a reasonable doubt”. November 2013 update: I’ve changed my mind on this. I’m not sure what changed, but the thought of the government deciding that someone should be put to death seems barbaric to me now.

58. I love to fly. In 2004, I went flying in a little Katana plane with a buddy from work who’s a pilot. We flew from Kitchener over Hamilton to Niagara Falls and back – that was extremely cool.

59. I have no patience with people who don’t think for themselves. People who say homosexuality is wrong solely because the Bible says it’s wrong, but don’t think twice about working on Sunday, eating shellfish, or wearing clothes made of more than one fabric (all of which the Bible says are wrong), and wouldn’t think of selling their daughters into slavery (which the Bible encourages) really bug me. A quote I saw somewhere: “Remember that the Bible was written by the same people who thought the Earth was flat.” (It turns out that that was wrong too – people have known that the Earth is round for thousands of years)

60. I once went from 188 pounds to 163 pounds in 4 months. I now hover around 170-175 pounds, and I’m perfectly happy with that weight. I wouldn’t mind if the weight was differently distributed, though. Update: I went up to about 178 in early 2006, and started doing the Weight Watchers program. I went down to 160, and as of now (July 2006), I’ve been between 160 and 165 for almost a year.

61. I have never tried illegal drugs of any kind, nor have I smoked tobacco. I can recognize the smell of marijuana from numerous concerts I’ve been to.

62. I love music. I almost always have some song running through my head (right now it’s “100 Miles” by Vanessa Carleton, because I heard it in the car this morning), and I own over 450 CDs.

63. I was born 9 days after man first walked on the moon.

64. I once bid $45 for a digital camera at an online auction, and was all excited about it, only to find after I won it that it took pictures measured in kilopixels, not megapixels. And a small number of kilopixels, too. Caveat emptor.

65. I was arrested once, for violating the “Retail Business Holidays Act”. Back when Sunday shopping was illegal in Ontario, I worked in a store that was open on a Sunday when it wasn’t supposed to be. They arrested all the employees and charged the store. Usually, the store agrees to pay the fine if the charges against the employees are dropped, but the crown screwed up. I had to go to court about 2 years later, at which time the charges were dropped.

66. I believe that Josh Sanderson should have been the MVP of the 2002 NLL Championship game in Albany, despite being on the losing team.

67. I think I would have been a pretty good drummer. I have a good musical ear, and pretty good rhythm, and I can count to four repeatedly. My parents didn’t want me playing drums though, so I bought a guitar instead.

68. Joe Satriani is about the best guitar player I’ve ever heard. Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan are right up there too. Steve Vai is good, but a little too weird for my taste, and he’s cocky as hell. I hate that. Les Claypool of Primus gets the nod over Geddy Lee for bass, and Neil Peart of Rush is far and away the best drummer in rock.

69. I have a heavy beard. I can go from clean-shaven to Commander Riker in about three weeks. However, I generally only shave every other day because (a) I’m lazy, and (b) my job doesn’t require it.

70. I’m a Star Wars geek. I own three copies of the first trilogy on VHS, and on DVD too. I couldn’t begin to count the number of times I’ve seen the first trilogy, though not so much the second. Jar Jar Binks ruined The Phantom Menace, though I still liked it. Attack of the Clones was good as well, but the story got a little confusing.

71. I love const. When writing a C++ class, I make as many methods and parameters const as possible. I’ve been known to go back and update existing functions to mark parameters as const, and then change all the code that calls those functions as well.

72. I hate spiders. Hate ’em, hate ’em, hate ’em.

73. I am a strong supporter of organ donation. A little girl I know had four organs transplanted at the age of six months, and she’s now a healthy and happy 8-year-old. Make sure you have a signed organ donor card – I do! Update: Sarah is now sixteen!

74. My first computer was a Commodore VIC-20, with 3.5 KB of usable memory for program and data. By way of comparison, the text of this blog entry is about 6 times that.

75. My sister and I went to a babysitter before and after school when we were kids. One of them was a Mrs. Cox. Years later, her daughter Tammy married hockey player Gary Roberts. That’s about as close as I’ve come to a “brush with fame”.

76. Another pet peeve: people who own big-ass trucks or SUV’s and (a) complain about gas prices, or (b) take up two parking spots because they don’t know how to park their rig. (Then again, see #56.)

77. I don’t believe in fate. Nothing is predestined. I don’t like the idea that all of my decisions have already been made for me.

78. My maternal grandfather was blinded in an accident. The only one of his six children that he ever saw was my mother.

79. I have no tattoos, nor are either of my ears pierced. I’ve considered both at various times, but never followed through.

80. I’m a big proponent of standards-based web design. My web sites are all designed with CSS, not tables, for layout.

81. I play softball on Wednesday nights in the summer. I’m generally a singles-and-doubles hitter, with 3 or 4 home runs a year. Last year, I hit two home runs in the same game once. I swear I’m not on ‘roids, but I’m not here to talk about the past. Update: I don’t play in the Stelco league anymore; now I play in a league in Waterloo. Further update: In 2009, the Waterloo league folded and I started playing in a 35+ league in Waterdown.

82. I helped implement the HTTP server inside the Adaptive Server Anywhere database engine. Sybase has applied for a patent for this technology, and my name is one of four names on the patent application.

83. I’m right-handed, but I golf left, bat left, play hockey and lacrosse left, and wear my watch on my right arm.

84. Brett Hull’s foot was in the crease – the goal should not have counted.

85. One of my biggest regrets is that I didn’t keep up with my piano lessons. In 1981 (when I was 11), I was beginning grade 5 in the Royal Conservatory of Music curriculum, but then we moved, and I didn’t bother anymore. Now I can play a C scale (no sharps or flats), and that’s about it.

86. I don’t usually mind looking at pictures of myself, but I don’t like seeing myself on video or hearing my recorded voice. I sometimes think that if I ever met myself (through some sort of Star Trek-ian time travel), I’d find myself really annoying.

87. Sexiest women in show biz: Halle Berry and Nicole Kidman. Drew Barrymore was mucho hot in Charlie’s Angels. Catherine Zeta-Jones is usually quite beautiful, but was downright stunning in The Terminal. Un-sexiest women in show biz: Paris Hilton (why is she even famous, other than her name?), Pamela Anderson.

88. I was once caught shoplifting some candy in a Shoppers Drug Mart when I was about 12. About 6 years later, I caught a kid shoplifting candy in the drug store where I worked, took him to the back, and called the manager. We let him go without calling the police, but his mother thanked me. My co-workers called me “supercop” for a while after that.

89. I love accents. I can imitate a few, and I can even tell the difference between some different types of English accents (Cockney, Manchester, Yorkshire). I’m always impressed by actors who do different accents in different movies — Brad Pitt and Colin Farrell are particularly good at it. Kevin Costner and Sean Connery are not.

90. I’m fiercely patriotic. I love this country and being Canadian. If it wasn’t so freakin’ cold in the winter, it would be the perfect place in the world. (And yes, I realize that there are many parts of Canada that are far colder than where I live.) I’m also very proud of my Scottish heritage.

91. I have no problem with the designated hitter rule. What’s so great about having a 90% guaranteed strikeout every nine batters? However, I’m less impressed with people who make a career of only being a designated hitter, like Edgar Martinez. He was a great hitter, but hitting is only a part of baseball.

92. I find it funny how people use computers in TV shows and movies. You can type in a query, in plain English, like “find all people in New York City named ‘Sanchez’ with dark hair”. Then, when searching through a database of millions of people, it shows a picture of each person as it searches. This is, quite literally, millions of times slower than simply searching the database without displaying anything. Then after this exhaustive search (which takes either 3 seconds or 6 hours, depending on what the plot requires), it comes up with 6 hits.

93. My favourite cities that I’ve visited are Vancouver, Edinburgh, and Paris.

94. I have never gone skydiving, hang gliding, bungee jumping, or any other “extreme” sport. I can possibly see myself skydiving, and I think hang gliding would be quite cool, but it’ll be a snowy day in the Sahara when I go bungee jumping. You can call me chicken if you like, you’re absolutely right.

95. I used to listen to Q107 in Toronto all the time, but stopped when they started having Howard Stern in the morning. He was dropped from Q107 a couple of years ago, but I still don’t listen to Q. Update: I’ve started listening to Q once again.

96. One of my goals when I started writing software (well, not really a goal, but something I thought would be cool) was to see some software in a store that I had written. It’s never happened. The stuff I did at Comnetix was custom, and the stuff I did at Corel and the stuff I’m currently doing at iAnywhere is not really aimed at your average consumer. You don’t go to Future Shop or Wal-Mart and buy a relational database management system.

97. I went to an allergist once to see what I was allergic to. Nothing I didn’t alreay know – cats and various pollens. The date of the appointment was September 11, 2001.

98. The only U.S. states west of Tennesee that I’ve been to are California and Washington. The only states east of Tennesee that I haven’t been to are Alabama, Delaware, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. Update: As of October 2005, I’ve been to Nevada and Arizona as well.

99. My middle name is Scott, as is my son Ryan’s. That’s as close as I came to naming my kids after me. I don’t mind the name Graeme (I prefer it to Graham), but I don’t like it enough to give it to my kid.

100. It took me about a week to write this list, and I really enjoyed doing it!

October 2005: #98
December 2006: #60, #81, #95
July 2007: #17, #54, #60, #73
November 2013: Several.

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