"7 things" #3

There was a parlor game going around where someone else picks seven things for you to write about and you do -- short or long, meaningful or random.

Alaric gave me: Pittsburgh, writing, your favorite song, chicken, D&D, knowledge, and al-Andalus.

Pittsburgh: This metro region strikes a good balance for me. It's large enough to have critical mass for the kinds of things I'm interested in, but small enough to not feel overwhelming. It's large enough to have a good variety of high-tech companies, but small enough that I can drive to work in 15-20 minutes. It has parks and tree-lined streets near my house, but I'm a mile away from an interstate ramp. It's possible for ordinary people to buy houses here. We have all four seasons, even if we grumble about summer humidity and winter roads.

Now all that said, I'd prefer to live in the near suburbs (like Edgewood or Swissvale), not inside the limits of the bankrupt, corrupt city. But I can't walk to my synagogue from there, so here I am in Squirrel Hill.

Writing: Writing is how this introvert processes. It's how I work through problems, explore ideas, and reflect on things. You don't see everything I write, by far, but through this public journal I can share a subset, and it tickles me that this aspect of the Internet has allowed me to meet so many interesting people -- here in the safety and comfort of a text-based medium.

Your favorite song: "Favorite" is highly variable; I don't have all-time favorite songs, TV shows, books, movies, comic books, games, foods, etc. My favorite songs touch my emotions or my spirit. Usually the words are primary in this, but a current favorite is a setting of Shalom Aleichem that Debbie Friedman wrote not long before she died and with that it's the melody that's doing it for me. (Though the fact that she changed one word of the traditional text to good effect also caught my attention.)

Chicken: I'm totally chicken about some things that others consider only mildly dangerous. Driving in Boston or LA, for instance -- done both, will never do either again if I can help it. (NYC also makes this list, but my experience there comes from the back seats of cabs.)

As for the food, I enjoy it lots of different ways, but when I'm doing the cooking my favorite is roasting with good seasonings rubbed in. I have an anonymous spice mix called a shwarma mix and it's quite tasty; what's in it I couldn't entirely say and the label's not telling.

D&D: My earliest games were with the "basic" set, aka the blue book, and I'm not sure role-playing had been invented yet. (None of my cohort had heard of the idea, anyway.) My most-recent game was rich in character and story (and flexible with mechanics if it advanced either of those), and was the proximate cause of me signing up for LJ (see "writing").

Knowledge: The most important knowledge to have is how to get knowledge -- how to research, but more importantly how to evaluate and think critically about the ideas and statements you come across, and how to combine things you know into things you don't know yet. I am grateful that my parents passed this value on to me and nurtured my quests for knowledge from an early age. Yes, this sometimes caused (and causes?) problems when I connect unlikely ideas together or ask oddball questions (not all of my teachers have appreciated this trait), but that's just part of learning.

Al-Andalus: This is where my SCA persona is from. (I used to have a viking-age persona; I moved south but stayed in the same time.) I chose it because I wanted an earlier-period persona in a place where Jews weren't persecuted. It's proven challenging to get a handle on what daily life for a Jewish woman then and there would have been like, but my persona is a work in progress. :-)