89 random things about me

Over on Facebook, there’s been a thing going around called 25 random things about me. Inspired by Pim posting hers, I thought I’d do the same.

Except I got carried away, editing and adding a few more.

1. When I started my blog, I wished I have done it anonymously so I could really say what I wanted to say. Now I’m glad I didn’t, because I can actually say what I want to say, and stand behind it, too.

2. Whenever someone who smokes shrugs and says to me, “I don’t care. When it’s time for me to die, it’s time for me to die”, I wonder if they’ll say the same thing when their larynx is removed and they’ll have to say that through a hole in their throat.

3. I am very proud of all the Americans who started small-batch chocolate companies. I think it’s one of our proudest achievements and sums up the best qualities of America.

4. When people ask me how do I stay so thin, it seems like common sense that the answer is because I do the opposite of what people do who become fat.

5. If I have cookies around, I will eat at least one first thing in the morning, before breakfast.

6. I think Flickr is the best-conceived, and best-used, site on the internet. I hope it never changes.

7. I hate being served breakfast. Especially in fancy hotels. I’d rather stay in a dump than face a lavish hotel breakfast and fawning waiters in the morning.

8. I wish I could talk more dirt on my blog but I’m wary of offending people.

9. I wish people were less-concerned about what is “the best.”

10. If I could better in France, I would write my blog in French as well, but my written French isn’t good enough and I’m still smarting from the nasty messages I’ve gotten when I’ve misplace an accent or used the wrong preposition.

11. I’m glad that people in Paris seem to like me. It’s nice to defy the perception that the French are anti-American.

12. I can’t decide if I want to live in France for the rest of my life.

13. I think it’s odd that people say I’m “lucky” to live in Paris. Luck would have involved winning an airplane ticket and a free apartment. (I don’t need a plane ticket anymore, but if anyone knows anything about an apartment lottery, please let me know.)

14. For the life of me, I can’t get my head around all the vocabulary for French banking terms.

15. I really, really want to be able to get American television in Paris. I miss mindless entertainment sometimes. I’m still not able to get Hulu to work for me in spite of installing a location blocker.

16. I think people in America are out of their minds who are against universal health care.

17. I’m afraid to open my mail, because most of it is stuff I don’t want to deal with. Like the bill for my health insurance.

18. I think professional lobbying in America should be illegal. It’s so obviously not fair that the folks and corporations with the most money have so much influence over public policy.

19. I pretty much stopped eating fish because of the devastation fishing has done to the planet.

20. I really miss eating sushi.

21. I rarely buy organic produce.

22. I really don’t like whipped cream and always prefer ice cream.

23. I’m so lactose intolerant that my parents wanted to rush me to the emergency room several times before I knew about it, but I think all those people that are lactose intolerant who panic about consuming a few spoonfuls of ice cream are overcautious.

24. I don’t like things that are terribly sweet. (Except the Chez Panisse Almond Tart.)

25. I don’t care at all about percentages of dark chocolate and wish everyone would stop caring about them as well.

26. One of my life goals is to sit down with the ladies of The View.

27. My second goal in life is to tell off that blond shrew on the program.

28. I’m sorry to say that I do wish the worst on someone: Anne Coulter.

29. I love Asian food so much I wonder why I’m not living in Japan or Korea.

30. I love how Koreans stir their food for five minutes before they eat it.

31. It’s funny that the French are so happy that Barack Obama was elected as President of America, but why when I ask them if they think a minority could be elected as President of France next, they look as though I told them the Martians will be landing in five minutes and turning us all into green croissants.

32. It drives me ape sh-t that there aren’t any minorities reading the news on French television. (Okay, someone pointed out to me on Facebook that there is, indeed, one.)

33. If only Ronald Reagan had mobilized the country during the beginning of the AIDS crisis with the same ferocity that he did when seven people died from tainted Tylenol during the same time period, I’d have a slightly better opinion of him as a leader.

34. I got the same feeling watching George W. Bush leave after the Obama inauguration that I did when OJ Simpson got to just walk out of the courtroom, scott-free, the first time.

35. I think it’s funny that people think I don’t like living in France, because why would I live here if I didn’t?

36. I don’t get angry at nasty messages and comments. On the contrary, I feel sorry for the people who write them because I assume they treat everyone in their life like that.

37. Snark can be funny, mean never is.

38. I’m so sarcastic, I find myself using too many ; ) online so people don’t think I’m being mean.

39. It’s funny that I got bad grades in high school for my writing but I’ve published four books.

40. I love all the stuff I’ve learned from my commenters.

41. I wonder what would happen if we gave the same amount of the attention we give to iPhones to stopping the genocide in Darfur?

42. I have no idea why strangers write and want to get together with me. I’m actually not all that interesting.

43. I think being an inconsiderate neighbor is one of the worst character flaws of all and tells a lot about a person.

44. If one more person asks me why I moved to Paris I’m going to scream.

45. Aside from the food blogger that I have a crush on, I have a crush on the spouse of another food blogger.

46. I can’t figure out why in America, most of my friends were men.

47. I can’t figure out why in France, almost all my friends are women.

48. I’d like to have more men friends.

49. I don’t think I’ll ever use that jar of candied clementines in my refrigerator.

50. I would love to see my abs but I don’t think that’s ever going to happen.

51. I stopped caring what people thought about me some time between three and six years ago. It’s been pretty great ever since.

52. I don’t like to pick on television chefs and I think people should give them a break since it’s very hard to make a living in this business.

53. I’ve never made a recipe by Alice Medrich that didn’t come out perfect.

54. I think it’s odd that people say they can’t go to yoga classes because they’re not flexible. That’s like saying you can’t take piano lessons because you can’t play the piano.

55. I have a first-degree black belt in karate and a second-degree black belt in aikido. I guess I should tout is more, but it’s not something I did to boast about.

56. I hate when people ask me if I could kill someone. If confronted with a fight, I’d run away.

57. I was mugged once at knifepoint by a drug-crazed dude in my car in San Francisco and gladly gave him my wallet. When people asked why I didn’t fight him off, I explained that it wasn’t worth $41 to get my throat slashed.

58. Someone once told me I was too nice and wouldn’t get ahead because of that.

59. I’ve had six piercings.

60. I’ve saved, and probably still have, every plastic container I’ve ever used in my life

61. At least a few times a week, when I get into bed, I think about how incredibly thankful I am to have a warm place and a roof to sleep under. And I think about those who don’t, who are outside.

62. I’d rather have a sex change operation without anesthesia than be stuck in an economy-class airplane seat for eight hours.

63. When people ask me, “How often do you go back to the states?” I’m going to refer them to #62.

64. I’m really glad I discovered what a difference good olive oil and salt make.

65. I’m amazed at people who can tell the difference between all those different kinds of fancy teas because I can’t. Like, at all.

66. I once took a comprehensive series of psychological tests and the psychologist told me she’d never seen anyone solve the puzzles or find the solutions so quickly. She didn’t tell me whether that meant I was highly-intelligent or completely crazy, though.

67. According to IQ charts, I’m considered “Moderately” gifted.

68. If I’m so damned smart, how come I can’t figure out Movable Type?

69. It drives me crazy when people don’t load the dishwasher correctly.

70. My best friend for a long time was incredibly good-looking with an amazing body, so much so that people were always hitting on him and he got pretty much whatever he wanted. But I was never jealous because he was such a mess on the inside.

71. I’m the least-jealous person in the world.

72. I worry way, way too much about things. It is my worst quality. I hate it.

73. I just can’t get all that excited about Greek-style yogurt.

74. I never wanted to eat at Alinea until this week. Now I really want to but I live too far away.

75. I always thought it’d be great to have a best friend who’s a huge celebrity.

76. I always wanted to have a television show, not because I wanted to be on television, but because it would give me a chance to interview and feature some of my favorite cooks.

77. I wish every cup of coffee that passed my lips was perfect and I can’t understand when coffee isn’t properly prepared since I don’t know anyone that likes bad coffee.

78. I understand why people dislike Starbucks but I also remember too well the sheer impossibility of finding even a halfway-decent cup of coffee if you were traveling or stuck in the middle of nowhere.

79. 25% of my job is washing dishes.

80. Washing dishes is least-favorite part of my job.

81. Putting the dishes away is my second least-favorite part of my job.

82. I don’t know how he does it, but I think George Clooney seems like a really good guy. I’d be really disappointed if I met him and found out he wasn’t.

83. I wish I saw Funny Girl on Broadway with Barbra Streisand way back when.

84. At €130 a pop, Romain is going to have to be content that I’m not going to see Liza Minelli in June.

85. I really think that Larry King is an alien sent here to do weird experiments on us, like erasing our ability to think.

86. I agree with Laurie Anderson that Dolly Parton doesn’t really want to ‘go back to the country.’

87. I think it’s odd that people want to know how long I’m going to be living where I’m living. I didn’t realize that other people planned out the rest of their lives.

88. If I had one wish, it would be to be able to sing really well.

89. I have amazingly good intuition and I’m always right when I trust it.


  • David, I am coming to Paris from San Francisco in October and I will do all of your dishes for the two weeks that I will be there if you will cook me just one meal in your apartment. I love doing dishes. I will be close by on Rue de Turenne.

  • Jennie: Unfortunately I don’t think the dishes in my sink can wait until October!

    You must be a mom. I had a good friend who helped me in San Francisco who didn’t mind doing dishes at all: “I have two kids. I do dishes all day,” she’d say…

  • Re: #11–
    I’ve known some of my French friends to make a point of telling me how unlike other Americans I am, as though it were quite a compliment. Has this ever happened to you?

  • Thanks for the post, I enjoyed it!

    re 14, I feel the same way. I think it’s another language.

    and 15, about tv, have you tried utorrent? It’s my lifesaver….

  • …and now we like you even better :-)

  • I’m living in Paris right now and I need my American TV show fix too! Here’s a website I use:


    It uses Megavideo instead. If it asks if you want to download or sign up for anything, just say no or cancel and it’ll take you to your episode.

  • Um – eating cookies before breakfast is NOT the opposite of what fat people do. Believe me, I know! ; – )

  • #79 – #81 reminds me of why I don’t quilt: my quilting friends tell me it’s 25% ironing. I sometimes think of food-writing as an outlet I should explore, but the possibility that doing it well would involve washing more dishes? My reaction is evidence that I am meant to be a consumer, not a creator in this realm.

    Thanks for revealing all that. What a pitch-perfect list.

  • This was such a fun read. I totally feel you on #8, #28 (Coulter is THE DEVIL), #51 (I can’t wait until the day comes for me….seriously. How did you do it?) and #72 (related directly, for me, to #51).


  • You’re good. Real good. This takes tiiiime. And the ability to share with others!

  • you should totally move to Korea! Now if only someone could pay for your first class flight there…

    funny list of stuff!

  • In reference to #15…

    I am an American living in Paris and have similarly found myself missing American television. “Hulu” has also not proven to work very well for me either, however, my brother recently told me about an amazing website that offers almost EVERY American television program you might be craving. The website is called,


    I just finished catching up on the current season of “Top Chef.” Hope this is helpful…


  • you’re hilarious. and I’m glad you took the time to note all these things down. I really enjoyed reading them. Also, if I am ever in Paris, I will gladly wash and put away your dishes for you (well, in exchange for food). I find the activity oddly calming.

  • Interesting entry. There is a lot in this entry that I can relate to. For some reason, I don’t know why, I thought you were more conservative.

    Regarding nr.8; I wouldn’t be so scared, as long as you’re fair, funny and self-deprecating, you can get away with a lot.

  • Some other lovely TV streaming sites are:

    I hope one of these works for you!

  • I could not agree more about number 9. It makes me down-right itchy when people discuss “the best” way to prepare something or “the best” yogurt and so on.
    But then I am the person who enjoys a marshmallows that is just this side of burnt.
    Too much is subjective.

  • You had me at #5. The same applies with cake.

  • I have so far refused to sign up for Facebook, but I’m really enjoying some of these lists – what a fun way to get to know someone! Cheers to you for bucking trends, thinking and doing what you want, and still being nice to people. I’ve been a fan for a while; you can now call me a devotee.

  • David,

    I really enjoy your blog.

    You have helped renew my love of baking. I, too hate the dishes part, and it drive me crazy when my dishwasher isn’t loaded correctly (or the dishes aren’t put away correctly).

    Since I am diabetic, this blog also makes my husband very happy, because he gets to eat everything I make!

    I strongly believe in the being a good neighbor. I try so hard. It’s just such a shame when other people don’t show the same courtesy.

    Your list is fantastic. Thank you for sharing with us!

  • I think this post made my day, literally. I smiled at #72 because unfortunately, I share this quality too.

  • My goodness you did so well to get your list up to 89!

    I’m a 72 as well. Sometimes I try not to worry, then worry more in case I’ve missed something that really needs worring about, anxious no doubt ;)

  • Re: #69, loading the dishwasher

    The Atlantic’s December 2008 Word Fugitives column proposes some words for people who feel the need to rearrange dishes in a dishwasher. Some are “redishtribution,” “dishorderly conduct,” “redishtricting,” “dishrespect,” or “dish jockeying.” The winner of the contest: “Marlaine Lockheed, of Prince­ton, N.J., sent in an exclamation instead of a noun as requested. But still. Lockheed earns top honors for Hi-ho, Silverware! It’s the Load Arranger!.”

    (I definitely am afflicted by this. I’ll even send things through another cycle if I think they were put in the wrong place.)

  • Hi David:

    Re: #88

    I was just in Paris for a voice masterclass with one of the most gifted teachers ever in a bottle or can (http://www.liberatedvoice.com/). I travelled from Canada to work with her there. The next time she’s in Paris I can let you know…maybe you could have a session with her. It’s like going to the gym for your throat. I am a professional singer, but not everone that works with her is, so you’d fit right in.

  • Freaky how many things we share….I flipped at the aikido one as we have the same level! Re-dishwashing: I’ll let you borrow my spouse for a little while. He looks more like Gere than Clooney but he does my dishes as well as they would if they did :)

  • Great random thought on IPhones on Darfur. Why is that? If you ever get tired of living in Paris-I will swap you homes.

  • I have been an expat for most of the last eleven years, and have spent my time overseas between Singapore, Hong Kong, and Australia. The food you get in Asian restaurants in western countries is just the tip of the iceberg; there is SO much more. If you really love it you should move out here, the best cooks are unwilling to leave.

  • 61. At least a few times a week, when I get into bed, I think about how incredibly thankful I am to have a warm place and a roof to sleep under. And I think about those who don’t, who are outside.
    I LOVE that one and need to remember it more often.

    80. Washing dishes is (MOST)-favorite part of my job.
    I don’t mind putting them away either, as long as they’re someone else’s dishes.

    57. I was mugged once
    I was shot once…
    Once was enough.

    Thanks David for this!!!

  • If and when you figure out anything about #14, I’d love advice! I just opened up mine and my head is #$%^&*. Plus, it’s been 10 days since I made my 1st deposit – balance STILL says 0,00

    #62 – really???? I’ve never flown first class – afraid to if it means that I will develop same attitude as you have!

    Want to meet for banh mi in the 13th?

  • Re #15, what location blocker do you use? I use the premium edition from http://www.hidemyip.com and it works like a charm. With the premium edition, you can choose where you want your ip address to be based, so you can choose a US one when you want to watch shows on Hulu, or a UK one if you had a hankering for BBCi downloads, for example. Bonne Chance!

  • #27, #28 I am in total agreement. Check out this blog I’ve just recently found: margaretandhelen.wordpress.com. They are quite amusing.

  • Great list, I am doing mine now as well. Though it’s scattered on a few computers right now. =)

  • I love you blog and look forward to checking it several times a week. And I have always wanted to meet you.

    I did not know about your strongly-held political views until now. And you know what, I still like you just as much if not more. As a conservative, im not sure if you would consider being my friend. if I reading your 89 things correctly. i wish you would. If fact, Im not sure if Im even welcome to read you blog.
    We can all be friends, pastry chefs and bakers together regardless of political views. Furthermore, we can all have interesting ideas about baking and public policy.

    I promise, we are not all shrews. I know that libs are kind, great people full of passion and ideas. The saddest outcome of the last few years is the view that the other side is mean if not evil.

    I hope we can still be blog friends.

  • 64. I’m really glad I discovered what a difference good olive oil and salt make.

    –Amazing, isn’t it?

  • I had to smile at #60.

    About ten years ago, when I was off at work, my husband was home helping a woodworker remove all of our kitchen cabinet doors and drawer fronts for refinishing. In the cabinets were all of the plastic containers I’d ever met. Of course, the collection included receptacles in every conceivable size with its lid mate. My husband, thinking it was absolutely ridiculous that I had so many containers, threw out 75% of my collection. By the time I had discovered this gross transgression, it was too late. To this day, I feel that hot flash of anger whenever I’m digging around looking for the perfect container (which I know I once had).

  • Re no. 42: David, I really enjoyed meeting you and am grateful for the opportunity. You are not “lucky” to live in Paris, you are courageous. It was neat to meet a person who could do that, and in addition I wrote in my journal that talking to you was like spending time with a friend. Don’t sell yourself short–you’re pretty intriguing.

  • no. 88 made me think ah tht’s right, David really is a good guy cos we both wish for the same thing how could he not be (so maybe that’s how clooney does it too, plus the humour – self-deprecating at times). and then just when i start to wonder whether you really are as good a person as my mind cracks you out to be, 89 certainly works to your favour. :)

    Anyway, perhaps you could start singing lessons is the point. Maybe an instructor who also has a sense of humour might help. I just did the same, and I expect I will find myself screeching, hideously out of control because of all the pent up singing energy that has been willfully swallowed back down my throat all these years to save myself and others from embarrassment. But then again I figure at least I don’t have to learn from scratch like I did the piano..I mean, I can hum decently. I’m sure you can too. nice blog btw, it’s my latest form of entertainment while I await gainful employment. i’m almost done leafing through your stuff…and erm i’m leaving a comment to say thanks for the fun stuff you’ve written about. gosh and I don’t even bake/cook. so clearly there’s something here for everyone.

  • #64 is so true! I’m sorry about your lactose intolerance though, it must be very difficult in France!

  • i loved #2, it made me laugh out loud. thanks.

  • #55 was particularly interesting – do you still practice Aikido?

  • Re #4: “When people ask me how do I stay so thin, it seems like common sense that the answer is because I do the opposite of what people do who become fat.”

    Thousands — nay, millions — of fat people who are dieting, starving, exercising, and beating themselves up emotionally right now certainly wish this statement were true.

    As Gary Taubes points out in his excellent “Good Calories, Bad Calories,” if plumpness were merely a matter of willpower — of eating less and exercising more, say — we wouldn’t have so many difficulties with obesity.

    But the mysteries of who gets fat and who doesn’t — and who stays fat and who doesn’t — are such that even the health experts out there are still reduced to saying, essentially, that if you’re fat, it’s your own fault. Not exactly a great public-health prescription.

  • Caroline: I am constantly asked why people in France are so much thinner than Americans and I never know how to respond. As mentioned above, since it’s a faq, if there’s a good answer out there, I’m anxious to hear it.

    (My cardiologist here told me that we Americans were just genetically pre-dispositioned to be fat, but I’m not sure I agree.)

    Regarding chefs, there was an interesting article in the LA Times Chefs Share Their Fitness Secrets. And I can relate; when I left the restaurant business, I had to make a very concerted effort to lose about twenty extra pounds that I gained, which I did by radically changing the way I ate and lived, and exercising. I don’t work out anymore like that, per se, I avoid eating junk food (…um…well most of the time) and do yoga 3 times a week, plus walk and ride a bike as much as possible.

    Matt: No, I tried to start up again here in Paris but the school near me was a bit too ‘intense’ and I couldn’t keep up!

    Ellen: Since cheese has little (or no) lactose, it’s not a problem. And lactose intolerants can drink some milk, and I do enjoy ice cream and milk in my café au lait. But I don’t drink 8 ounce glasses of milk anymore.

    Betty: Oddly, when I moved to Paris, some friends who live in London were telling me that they brought back empty plastic yogurt containers from the states. While that’s a bit extreme, I did bring over a few choice piece of Tupperware…which I guard with my life! : )

  • you are sooooooo funny! i love #13 because people say the same thing to me about being “lucky” to work in Sicily.

    and please talk more dirt on your blog!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i hope we meet someday!!!

  • When I lived in France, the French routinely asked me why Americans were so fat. They also asked me if Americans ate hamburgers every day and if every American carried a gun.

    I didn’t have a good answer either, apart from holding up myself as an obvious refutation of the stereotype — I’m not obese, I don’t eat a hamburger every day, and I don’t pack a pistol. But inevitably the response I’d get would be a flock of French folk sagely nodding their heads and saying, “Thank you for confirming what I’ve always heard about Americans and their problems with food and violence.”

    The moral here? When people get ideas stuck in their heads — saturated fat is bad for you, French people are always skinny, whatever — it’s very, very difficult to dislodge those ideas in favor of more accurate ones. (Not all the French are skinny, of course. But we like to think they are.)

    And I’m sorry your cardiologist brushed off Americans as genetically predispositioned to get fat. Ouch!

  • hi david, i am always happy and curious about your next post and the fact that i may either drool, laugh or want to throw on an apron and decide that maybe i’m really not that bad in the kitchen. then i remember that yes, i really am that bad.

    just wanted you to know that i posted about you and your site, on my design blog. i also own a small chocolate boutique located on cape cod, massachusetts. we carry fine chocolate from many parts of the globe as well as from many chocolatiers within the states. so….of course, i love reading about your thoughts on chocolate and sort of live vicariously through you!

  • I think I am a bit late with this comment but still hope you will see it. Love your blog by the way and am hoping to start my own cooking blog some day soon.

    I live in Holland and my Texan friend shared this website for American TV.
    If you sign up for a VIP membership, which costs 10 or 20 $, you can get pretty much any show, any season. Look at the episodes listed for the EU server. Playing the shows in real Player works best. Hope you like them.

  • Hi,
    I really agree with you with number 41 every now and then I take my dads iphone and hide it away from him while he is having dinner he has never not even once forgotten about it befor he leaves the table . It drives me crazy when I choose a movie for him and he is starring at the iphone the whole way I am even surprised that he is still looking at it while sienfield is on I mean that is his favourite show .
    When he first bought it he was easy on me he let me play arounf it , text a few messages to my freinds and play sudoku on it. It has now been a few months scince he bought the iphone and he won’t let me touch it and when I do he always asks for it back in 5 minutes.
    Are you this obbsesed with your iphone if you have one?

  • It is very hard to find to find a blog where people talk about their favourite cooks and recipe I can see you like cooking or food I love mediterian food and japanese i lived in japan for 5 years and we lived just across a rice field and a farm yard I remeber when we moved back to Australia I ate an apple and orange and I took one bite of the apple and orange and I refused to eat it tasted really bad I don’t understand why it was so poor quality probably because we get hardly any rain. This is just my opinion but organic food taste so much better you can tell the difference In Japan it was basically impossible to find food that wasn’t in season when i went to london They had bags full of salad or chopped apples and in those bags were some sort of air that kept them fresh a day after they are open they turn off.
    My brother and dad think cooking is a choir they say I cooked yesterday but then my dad says no remeber i cooked curry for dinner last night it dissapoints me that people take cooking as a choir.

  • It would be worth the hell of 62 to get to 74 if you haven’t already. Just finished eating there. GO!