Wow. Planet Olin is awesome. I'll cave to the meme.

20 things you probably don't know

20. I was on the verge of going to art school three years ago. I've actually got an IM conversation recorded in which I tell a friend "Oh, I'm pretty sure I'm going to a liberal arts school - there's no way I could actually study math, or science, or anything like that..."

19. I was born with perfect hearing, but traded it off in order to survive a bout of pneumonia at age 2. It took three more years for my parents to realize I couldn't hear high frequencies any more. They then worried that I would fall behind.

18. I had a sign language interpreter from 3rd to 8th grade. Despite this, I can still not carry on a fluent conversation in ASL.

17. There are only three things I wish I could hear. Consonants (in spelling bees, I had to continually ask for definitions and whether words were plural or singular, since I can't hear the 's' at the end of plural words), the melodies in flute concertos, and birds. I don't mind playing the right hand of the piano by sight - I transpose it down an octave the first few times I practice, and then things are fine.

Right, so enough talking about my ears.

16. My parents speak English, Tagalog, Fookien, and Mandarin to each other at home. Trouble is they speak them all at the same time. Consequently, I speak... English.

15. As a small child, I once asked Santa Claus for a precalculus textbook for Christmas. By the end of January, I had finished reading it.

14. My favorite Filipino dish is diniguan, or "Pork blood soup," which sounds gross but tastes wonderful. (My family immigrated from China to the Philippines, then from there to the US.)

13. There's a betting pool among my high school friends as to when I will have my first boyfriend and my first beer. Answers range from "freshman year at college" to "never." Currently, "never" is in the lead.

12. However, Tesch and I pulled an April Fools prank on my high school buddies our first year at Olin, wherein we managed to convince the folks back home in IL that I was dating him, thereby massively freaking them out. It was wonderful.

11. I have never TA'd a class beyond the middle school level in which all my students were younger than I was at the time (I have been a TA since high school).

10. I have a small brother. His name is Jason and he's 2.5 years younger. He hasn't actually been smaller than me since he was nine or so.

9. When I was in middle school, I was convinced for some reason that I would never live past the age of 19. I hope I was wrong.

8. My mother is a retired dentist. To her chagrin, I have had more cavities and dental work than any other child in my extended family. (To be fair, the extended bout of pneumonia left the enamel of my then-developing adult teeth severely weakened.)

7. My father works for a medical supply company. He once dressed up as Captain Electrode to make a presentation to his sales reps. I have a photo of him next to my brother and myself as children, striking a noble pose dressed in a mask, a cape, and a gigantic thunderbolt insignia.

6. I once tried to use cold cream to condition my hair because the ad copy on all the shampoo bottles was telling me that "moisturizing" was good. It took several rinses with dishwashing detergent to get it all out. More than ten years later, I am still extremely skeptical of beauty products. (Then there was the time I shaved my forehead because I'd heard that women shaved but couldn't figure out what they shaved...)

5. My laptop used to have a painting of a phoenix on it. Then it collided with a falling desk backstage during a play.

4. Before we got a closed-captioned television, I used to sneak downstairs at 6:30am every morning to watch TV. I muted the sound and lipread the actors so I wouldn't wake my parents.

3. Until I was 15, I had no idea that you could learn to program computers; I thought it was highly specialized work that required a PhD or something (my family wasn't incredibly computer-literate).

2. When I was 12, I told my mother that when I got married (if I got married), it wasn't going to be in a dress. White tennis shoes, white t-shirt, jeans - and no flowers. At this point, my father encouraged me to become a nun (I was raised Catholic).

1. I once spray-painted my sneakers black so I wouldn't have to wear dress shoes to a dance.