Coyote Mercury

words, birds and whatever else by James Brush

25 Things

I got tagged by my friend Melanie on Facebook with the 25 Things meme. I’m posting it here too because, well, dammit, I like my blog more.

For those who may not know, the meme rules state you should write 25 random things about yourself and then tag 25 people. I won’t tag anyone here. Just the 25 things…

1. The only time my parents let one of us (kids) name a family pet was when I named the canary Thomas. I recently asked my mom why we all lost naming privileges after that, and she told me it was because the bird’s full name was Saint Thomas Episcopal Church. We changed his name to Thomasina when he laid an egg.

2. I write a lot more poetry than anything else and I share very little of it. I’m going to change that this year.

3. My favorite place in the world is the high desert country of northern Arizona and New Mexico. The landscapes, the ruins, the mountains, rock, the cacti all just speak to me.

4. The longest I ever worked for one organization is six years. That was my old school district. I quit to go work for The Man in 2005. I took some tests did some career counseling only to learn that I am best suited to being a writer or a teacher. Go figure. I went back to teaching after 6 months.

5. I listen to the Grateful Dead more than anything else. I even drove from Austin to DC to see them at RFK Stadium because I was certain Jerry was going to die. He died two months later. They closed with “Black Muddy River.” It was beautiful.

6. I can spend hours happily playing feedback and noise on my electric guitar, peeling the paint from the walls and creating howling storms of noise, drone and dissonance. It’s good that I enjoy this so well since I can barely play what the humans refer to as music.

7. I grew up on Winnie-the-Pooh. He was my hero, inspiration and friend. I still have my Pooh-bear, living safely on a shelf in my closet where I see him every day (and where the dogs can’t see him).

8. Chile rellenos, mole enchiladas, Kim Phung’s tofu-lemongrass-vermicelli, waffles, cupcakes, and very hoppy ales could be my basic diet. I wouldn’t live long, but it would be a short happy life.

9. I much prefer the journey. That’s one reason I really don’t like flying. You get cheated out of the journey. Give me long highways in the middle of the desert or twisty roads through the mountains every time.

10. My first concert was Verbal Assault, Fugazi (on their first tour), Operation Ivy and G.O.D. (Guaranteed Overnight Delivery) at The Rocket in Providence, Rhode Island. I think my ears are still ringing.

11. Despite having gone to film school twice and worked on film sets for 4 years, I really don’t like movies that much. They’re okay, but very low on my list of priorities, interests and things to do.

12. I couldn’t care less about celebrities. I don’t even know who they are.

13. My favorite books are Don Quixote, One Hundred Years of Solitude, VALIS, Blue Highways, Lord of the Rings, The Sibley Guide to Birds, and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

14. I never yell. Rachel says she’s never heard me yell in 14 years. The only time I can remember yelling (as an adult) is the time I yelled at my students during my first year of teaching. It’s the most unprofessional thing I’ve ever done.

15. I tend to obsess over things including things I enjoy doing. I have to keep that in mind and make an effort not to obsess. The things I obsess over never last. This is why I am very hesitant to set goals related to things I enjoy.

16. I love cycling. I do it more for meditation than exercise, but I love a good 20 miles or so to just clear things out. I’ve done 2 MS 150s and they were both enlightening. Sometimes I like to try to see how many bird species I can ID without stopping. 20 in 20 miles is my record. I don’t do this often. See #15.

17. I woke up in an emergency room in Colorado once. My friends who were there tell me I had been skiing. I suppose I believe them because I don’t know how else I could have gotten there.

18. Many years ago, I was on a train between Chicago and Austin. Watching the industrial wastelands of the Midwest roll by, I wanted to capture it somehow. I couldn’t afford film so I started writing. I never stopped.

19. Our cat, Simon, has decided he is my cat. I’ve never had a cat choose me before. I feel a little bad about this since Rachel is the one who found him.

20. Two of my teeth are perfectly reversed. First molar and incisor on the left side. I bite my lip a lot because of the this. Whenever I see a new dental tech, they always comment and one even took a picture once. I doubt this mutation will get me a spot with the X-Men, but my application hasn’t been denied yet.

21. I typically have to see something to believe it. This makes religion complicated. Doubting Thomas was always my favorite saint.

22. I’ve read The Bible, Tao te Ching, Bhagavad Gita and a bunch of others. There is wisdom to be found in all of them.

23. I pretty much hated vegetables until shortly after marrying Rachel. Now, I eat a mostly vegetarian diet. I really don’t like eating meat that much anymore, and when I do, I refuse to throw any of it away.

24. I knocked my front teeth out as a young kid and so had no front teeth for many years. This made corn on the cob a drag and so I hated corn until I was a married adult. See #24.

25. I love spicy foods. I can even eat raw habaneros. It’s not that it isn’t painful; it’s that I like the pain.


26. I am liberal because of my upbringing. I grew up in the socialist utopia that is overseas military bases; I grew up in churches that focused on the lessons of the Sermon on the Mount rather than the nonsense in Leviticus about homosexuals, witches and shellfish; and I was in Boy Scouts most of my life which taught me to respect and want to preserve the natural world and keep it wild.

27. The smartest thing I ever did was ask Rachel to marry me.

So. That’s that. I’m not tagging anyone in the blogsphere, but feel free to play along if you like.


  1. Thanks for sharing so many random and personal details, James. I can relate with #12 (although I do know who some of them are, I find that I know less and less of them as time goes on). I can also relate with #14, in that my husband never yells. The only time I’ve heard him yell is when one of our dogs was about ready to kill one of our cats.

  2. That was great to read! #10 brought back memories of Fugazi at Liberty Lunch in the early 90’s. My friend snuck in by bringing a veggie sandwich to the back entrance exclaiming Ian MacKaye had ordered it.

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