8 Random Things! Woo!

Wherein "8 Random Things" roughly translates to
"Something of a meandering novella. With livestock..."

So literally -- LITERALLY -- seven weeks ago today, a very fancypants marketing/tech/sales professional named David Dalka pinged me.

If you take a moment and go visit his site, you will notice that he is a professional, like for real.

[I am too, I suppose, but one would NEVER imagine that from this site. Because I do things like draw pictures of bagels and my butt and chart liquor ratios.

I did, once, briefly entertain the notion of starting a marcom-related blog (because I swear, I do actually know grown-up job stuff), except the idea just exhausted me. I would feel compelled to like, NOT ramble and NOT swear and NOT talk about boozing it up. Instead, I'd have to...oh, I dunno...make points or something. BO-RING. La la laaaa.]

So I'm not sure if David's hoping that I will respond with something like, um, "insight" or a topic related to something actually "important," but hopefully he knows better. (Hi, David!)

Okay but first I have to play by the rules.

This whole tag thing seems to have come from yet ANOTHER serious bloggy guy named Paul Ruppert. (See his super-serious post here.)

For those of you not clicking on his link, let's just say that his blog focuses on the newest trends in Mobile Technology.


(Hi, Paul! I have a pink phone! I chose it because it's pink! Sorry!)

Regardless, here are the rules of the 8 Random Things game, directly from Paul's blog but perhaps with some commentary (shocking):
  1. We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.
    Totally rocking rule number 1!

  2. Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
    Wait, "habits"? Really? Like do you mean "highly effective" ones, or like, "I bite my nails" ones? Hmmm...

  3. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
    I see where this is going...

  4. At the end of your blog post, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
    Do we know why Paul has a thing for the number 8?

  5. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.
    Oh, don't you worry!

So here we go. With the 8 things and all.

Random Thing #1

I was once licked by an ox.

Now, I know there was no way you could have predicted that sentence, and so there you go. My next seven things may not be that great or interesting, but who cares? Because that is the best opening ever.

So I was ten years old, and my family decided to do something all New England-y and holiday spirit-like, so we drove upstate to go to some "authentic" Christmas tree farm.

Families drive for miles to do this sort of thing. You pay some fee, and then you and a bunch of other families pile onto a huge, tractor-drawn wagon cart and drive out to a field of trees that were grown specifically for this purpose. You then walk around the trees and pick the one you want and say to the guy, "that one." And then he cuts and tags it and you take the wagon back to the parking lot and your dad spends the next 45 minutes figuring out how to get the tree onto the roof of your car. Meanwhile, the kids wander around and drink cider.

I was doing just that when I wandered on over to the couple of oxen that were behind a not-so-high fence. And because I was ten and the oxen seemed docile, I did what all ten-year-old girls do: I petted them. I just put my hand on one of the ox's heads, gently. And for whatever reason -- maybe I smelled like ox food, I don't know -- it stuck its ENORMOUS tongue out and licked my jacket, from my midsection on up.

I was rather shocked, but it didn't happen SO quickly that I jumped or screamed or anything. I was surprised, sure. But also...flattered? I mean, how IS one supposed to feel after being licked by an ox?

Random Thing #2

I once served as a runner for a Czechoslovakian bluegrass band.

You know, I was wondering when I should bring this up.

I could -- and probably will -- make this into a much longer post, because it warrants it. But the gist is that ever year, my hometown had (still has) an Oyster Festival. I have heard that it's grown to be quite an amazing event, but back when I was in grade school, it was mostly ridiculous. More on this later.

When I was in the high school marching band (and come to think of it, I have not written nearly enough on this godforsaken topic, either), we raised money each year by working at the Festival. And for whatever reason, one year, my job assignment was to be a runner (aka "assistant" aka "gopher") for one of the festival's musical acts.

The act was "featured" on something like Stage E, waaaaaay over by the water somewhere I didn't even realize the Fairgrounds stretched to. And their prime performance time was like, 11 a.m. on Sunday, the last day of the Festival.

But there I was, running around fetching coffee and helping with sound checks (Sound Czechs? HAHAHAHA!) and, ultimately, watching their show. With about 11 other people.

Did you know that there exists an accordion you can play with your mouth?

Not just "random" but "educational" too, huh? Aren't you so glad you're reading?

The highlight of the show was their amazing, truly unforgettable rendition of, "Wake Up Little Susie." I don't know why this was part of their repertoire, but it was. Or rather, "Vake Up, Leetle Soo-oo-zie!" was.

Random Thing #3

As a child, I was deathly afraid of yaks.

You're probably thinking I'm making this up, what with the bizarre assortment of livestock in this post already, but I am not.

As a small girl, I was really, really scared of yaks. My mom did her best to try and figure out where my yack-phobia came from, as there were precious few yaks roaming around in Darien, Connecticut. Alas, it remained a mystery. And so my poor mom was saddled with the challenging task of trying to convince her toddler that her fears were completely unfounded. But a frightened three-year-old is a frightened three-year-old, and no amount of "but yaks are nice" or "Tibet is very, very far away" would do the trick.

So my mom went to the store and bought some anti-Yak spray. Because she was ingenious. And as it turned out, the spray was TOTALLY more convincing than that stupid Tibetan argument.

Years and years later, I was flipping through channels and was stopped dead in my tracks. Sesame Street! There was a feature on the letter "Y" and the little cartoon was all about "Y is for Yak" and it all came flooding back. It had been that stupid cartoon that had scared the bejeezus out of me.

For the purposes of this blog post, then, I went to the internets to try and find a clip of the old cartoon. (Dear Google: That is why I was searching for "Y is for Yak," in case you were wondering.) Except OH MY GOD. Instead of the OLD Y/Yak cartoon, they have UPDATED it. And now it is like, eleventeen times more terrifying than it ever was!

Go see for yourself, the terror that is ANIMATED YAK!

(Wow. We are only on #3.)

Random Thing #4

My parents (and I) were once blacklisted by the only cab company in Newark, Delaware.

Invisible Internet Friends, I could not make this stuff up if I tried.

Again, this one factoid deserves its own blog post, because -- from start to finish -- the one trip my parents and I took to Delaware should have served as a red flag GLARING RED BEACON that I should never, ever set foot in that state again. Instead, I actually attended a whole semester there, at the University of Delaware, home of the fighting blue hen.

Yes, really.

In the history of Truly Bad Decisions I Have Made, somewhere up there with permed bangs and "I think this chicken is still good," was my decision to attend UD. I still get anxious thinking about it.

A few weeks before the semester started, they hosted a weekend for freshmen and their parents. We went. It was disastrous for many reasons. We didn't rent a car, for one. And then after dinner AT THE MALL we called a cab to come bring us to the hotel, except it was late. And then later. And then later. And my father -- not exactly known for his patience -- called the cab company and yelled at them, explaining that we were stranded. And they apologized but said there was nothing they could do. Swearing may have ensued. The cab company eventually hung up on my father. And it was only after this happened that we learned that no other cab company serves the area we were in.

Luckily, the kind assistant manager of the Disney Store (see: Random Thing #5) noticed us looking stranded, and offered us a ride back to the hotel. We had no choice but to accept.

The next day, when we needed a ride from the hotel back to the University, the cab dispatcher would not send a car for us because, we discovered, the Sammises had been blacklisted. I had to call back and USE A FAKE NAME to get a cab to come.

And by the way? It's pronounced New-ARK, Delaware, and not NEW-erk, like the one in NJ. Which is way better.

Random Thing #5

I spent a year working at The Disney Store.

I started on Sunday, November 1, 1992. I was a senior in high school. I remember the day because it turns out that the "holiday" season begins in The Disney Store on November 1. And the holiday music they played was on a shortened repeat cycle of about 30 minutes. Which meant that if you work an 8-hour shift, you will hear the same Christmas carols 16 times.


But you know, truth be told: I actually enjoyed my time there, because I have always been a Disney fan. Also, my boyfriend worked there with me. (He was adorable and totally straight. So cute!)

But I will say that any rumors you have heard about working there are true -- it was a very demanding part-time job. And there is a "Disney Way" for everything, right down to how we looked: We had to wear the costume, which included a skirt that you HAD to pair with nylons, AND white ankle socks AND white sneakers. You couldn't have your fingernails be longer than 1/4" past your fingers. No visible tattoos. No earrings that dangled. No scrunchies (it was '92; this was problematic). No elaborate makeup, such as black under-eye eyeliner or red lipstick.


Random Thing #6

I won a national writing contest when I was 11. (And have not been published since.)

At the time, I thought it was a life-changing experience, one preparing me for a life of fame and fortune as a writer (oops).

I found out about the contest through my Language Arts teacher, Miss Wallerstein, in 6th grade. Since I had already determined that I would be a writer when I grew up, I figured I may as well enter the contest.

The contest was held by Shoe Tree Magazine, which as far as I* can tell is no longer in existence. I also have no idea how wide its circulation was or many kids entered the contest with me. For all I know I could have been chosen among all both entries.

My story was called, "Just Another Sunday Morning." See, I'd waited until the last possible day before the entry was due (because nothing ever changes), and then wrote the only thing I could think of. It ended up being about that day in my life, and was intended to be funny and autobiographical (because nothing ever changes). (Oh, that Blogger would've existed in 1986.)

I do find it amusing that the story I wrote at age 11 may very well be the ONLY story I ever publish. That'd make me like, the Kriss Kross of the literary world. Except even LESS famous.

Sigh. Moving on.

Random Thing #7

I am surprisingly talented at remembering jingles (ads and tv themes, for example) that I never meant to learn in the first place. Also I can spot C-level actors in varying capacities like nobody's business.

I don't know if this makes me talented or crazy (well yes, I do know), but these are the sorts of things that my brain does do, totally of its own volition. Instead of remembering which way to turn outside my apartment door or what my locker combination at the gym is, I can sing the Velveeta Cheese song from 1985.

There's no single cheese like Velveeta!
Cuz Velveeta is more than one single cheese!

Like Colby, Swiss and Cheddar,

Blended all "togeddar,"

That's the creamy taste that melts with ease...

And then I do the even more useless thing, which is point out random almost-actors from one lame acting vehicle as they appear in another lame acting vehicle.

Oh, look! See that guy? That guy in the Home Depot commercial holding his wife's purse next to the paint samples? He was also one of those background dancers in that stupid soup commercial a couple years ago. He was also the doorman in one of the Sex and the City episodes, but he didn't have any lines.

This does not mean, in any way, that I will ever know or remember their names.

I have also noticed that this "skill" has not made me rich.

Random Thing #8

I have always had a fascination with Marilyn Monroe.

My grandfather was the editor of Photoplay Magazine.

What's amazing is that I didn't realize this latter fact until I was older, and what it meant. My grandfather was smack-dab in the middle of Hollywood's Golden Age. He actually met Miss Monroe (more than once) and had the honor of presenting her with -- or perhaps she had the honor of receiving? -- the Photoplay centerfold of the year award. I have a video clip of it. Utterly mind-blowing!

And yet ANOTHER piece of information that should and will be its own post.

I haven't found any decent information online about the history of Photoplay Magazine, or else I'd link to it here. But basically, Photoplay was the People Magazine of several decades earlier. And my grandfather, Fred Sammis (who himself was a writer and photographer), worked his way to being. The. Editor.

Which means that now, my family has dozens of AMAZING pictures of my grandfather with Hollywood icons. (They were his day job, you know?)

I will include many more when I actually write that post, but for now, here's a taste:

Fred & Judy. Crazy!


I can't believe you made it through that nearly insufferable post. Congrats.


This is the part of the blog entry where I am to declare who I am tagging. And I would, except I always feel kind of bad about doing it. I love getting memes/tags myself (even if it takes me upwards of 3 months to finish them), but I'm not sure that YOU feel that way.


If you wanna take on the "8 Random Things" task, please let me know and I will devote a post all to you.

And then I will say: YAY! Your Turns!!!

And also I'm sorry this was so long. Thanks for hanging in...

*I = Google


  1. Ooooooh! Me! Pick me!

    It'll give me something else to write about besides, "This is how far I have gotten with my stupid novel."

    Except mine won't be nearly as interesting as yours.

  2. Oh, and I can't guarantee that eight people actually read my blog any more to be tagged in turn, because all I ever write about these days is how far I have gotten with my stupid novel.

  3. I remember a lot of those random factoids! In fact, I was just reminiscing about the ox licking incident yesterday... no joke.
    BTW, I have started to blog a bit - well, sorta, on my MySpace Page.

  4. The nachos at the Deer Park tavern are worth an entire semester at U of D. I'm just saying.

  5. And I'll do it. Especially because your ox story reminded me that a llama once ate my ponytail.

  6. I had a work related call with Kristy recently and mentioned that I enjoyed her blog. After a heartfelt thank you and general chit-chat, she asked me if I had a blog.

    "uh, no..I don't write"

    [This is because I'm a consultant. We don't actually DO things. We only tell other people how THEY should do them.]

    However, once she found out I didn't have a blog, the whole conversation became awkward. I felt pushed down the social ladder, like Hanson fans or people who play Warcraft.

    Today I realize I can't even join the blog pyramid scheme!

    maybe I need a blog consultant.


  7. I have never been licked by an ox, but I was once sucked by a goose.

    This is by far the most entertaining random facts post I have ever read.

  8. j - You're so cute! (I can say that here, I think. Right?) I'm sorry if I made you feel awkward -- though I do think that blogging is fun and everyone should do it. It's just always a fine line for me to walk, in that I work for an organization that's all pro-blogging except pretty much my whole blog is screaming "look how unprofessional I am!" But as long as those wireframes still work for you, I think we're good. :)

  9. I loved your random things. :) You now have me combing my mental files for any unusual encounters with livestock...

    Um, seeing as my blog is on life support and very nearly abandoned, I guess a meme might just make me write something. I'm game! But probably won't get to it till next week. 'Cause you know...busy.

    BYW - Those random and bizare wedding dreams you warned me about a long time ago have started. How did you know?

  10. Kristy,

    I'm game - - my blog is also on 'life support' and fading fast - - I need a bit of a 'push' to get back into the swing of writing! :-)

  11. Ooo so serious guy here, Paul Ruppert. Really love your blog and your unhindered writing style. Compared to your Yak post, mine fit on the back of a matchbook. Great insightful stuff. You've got a great following too, since your post drove 20 visits to my "serious blog." Tip of the hat to you for that.
    I write for a differnet purpose. Pink phones are good.

  12. I'd love to be on the receiving end of a meme from youyou. A friend of mine links to your blog and I've spent the last couple of months getting acquainted with you (isn't it funny how reading someone's blog can totally make you feel like you know them? uh, not in a stalker sort of way or anything!). Keep up the great writing. I have a feeling that you will be published for something other than your award-winning Sunday essay.

  13. New-Ark. I mean, that's how it's spelled, right?

    But then, I was born and raised there. Didn't attend UofD, though.

    It's actually an excellent place to live. Mostly because you never have to take the cabs. But I hear UD's cafeteria food sucks, so you were probably right not to go there. Oh, and the high cancer rate. But otherwise, I love it to bits and little pieces.

  14. Do you need another to make 8? I've been lurking here for a bit and really enjoy your writing. (Yes, I'm kissing up.) I've never been tagged for anything and would love to join in on the meme. (Now I'm going for the pity vote.) Please don't make me beg.

  15. I'm only on nummer 3 or 4. I looked at your Yak video, and the original (on the sidebar) brought back the same vivid horrifically scary memories.

    What were those crackheads thinking??

    The original yak bit:

    /off to read the rest

  16. Your yak thing reminds me of my son. He saw an elephant's trunk come out of Oscar's trash can and wiggle around and became deathly afraid of elephants. It took a couple years to get him to accept elephants again. Damn Sesame Street.

  17. Your knack for remembering ads? I've got it too! My friends have so kindly nicknamed me "Jingles" to go along with it. Not to mention, I swear the little girl who was in the Goldfish and McDonalds commercial, is also the same girl I used to teach swim lessons too. (No, I'm not completely crazy, I do remember her talking about going on auditions). We should make a game show for people like us-we'll make millions! Great entry!

  18. Way fun Kristy! I've known other people with the knack for jingles and such, but girl, you gotta hold the golden ring on remembering C actors and all their appearances. Congrats on that!

  19. So your grandfather was editor of Photoplay. Fascinating! I bring it up because I do a blog on Hollywood history, and have come across the magazine on microfilm at the Library of Congress, in the Motion Picture & Television Reading Room. I'm running some of the stories from it on my all-time favorite actress, Carole Lombard (the blog is called "Carole & Co."). If you want to see the entry about Photoplay, go to


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