“‘Does anything excite you these days as a 12 year old?’ Being alone without brothers coming up.”

Any big plans for break? Well, we had some but then grandparents got sick. So now, no. What were the plans?  Go down to Missouri and hang out with family. Were you excited by these plans?  No. So are you excited to be home? Not really, but more excited. Does anything excite you these days as a 12 year old? Being alone without brothers coming up. Will your brothers be able to make it, do you think? Probably not. Why not? Severe weather warnings. Have you been out on the severe roads or what do you know about the severe weather? I don't even think we've left. Nope. We've been hunkered in haven't we?  Yeah.

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“She’s putting her neck out there a little bit, giving me the soup and everything.”

"Is there anyone in your life who has been particularly generous to you? What did they give you? One of our team members is extremely grateful for all the time her teachers gave her when she was in school." Mmm. Nice. I mean these days - I mean outside family, most the relationships I have are - you know, there's something in it for everybody. I guess my stepmom jumps to mind. I got sick. This was a while ago, probably like a year ago, but I got sick and like I live alone. So, you know, it's me cooped up with my Gatorade and chicken soup and whatever, and she stopped by and dropped off like kind of a care package with, you know, more Gatorade, more chicken soup, and a couple other nice things. I don't - I don't remember exactly. And that was particularly tough because she is scared of covid and getting sick and everything. And even though like I was vaccinated, she was vaccinated, she's still paranoid about getting sick, and I don't think it was covid that I had. I think I - I don't remember, it was just flu or cold or something. But it just meant a lot. You know, she's putting her neck out there a little bit, giving me the soup and everything. So I appreciate the gesture, for sure.

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“He literally gave us the clock off his wall.”

"Has there ever been someone who's been overly generous to me?" And absolutely there has. Probably around five years ago, I found out that there is a very old family business on the west coast in Oregon that shares my last name, and it's the oldest family-run business in the state. And so during one of our road trips, my girlfriend and I decided to stop by this family-owned business that shares our name, just to say hello. I don't have an extremely common last name. And so when I find things that bear my last name, it feels really special and unique. And, you know, when I'm on the road, I have I think more courage to put myself out there. I don't think I would stop by a random place in which I don't know anyone locally, very often, to just pop in and say hello on my own behalf, but that's what I did here. And my expectation would be that the people at this business would be like, "Oh, that's an interesting coincidence, same last name. Pretty neat man. Oh, well, okay. Thanks for coming in. Feel free to take a picture of our sign on the way out if you want." But as it turns out the owner of this business, he was this amazing human being, the most - one of the most affable people I've ever met in my life. He embraced me like I was family from day one, and really if we're being technical, as I've discovered, everyone with my last name traces back to the original man with our last name who arrived in New Amsterdam, essentially close to the start of America as we know it. So, he, the owner of this business, immediately adopted me as family, informally speaking, and he took the time out of his day to give me a full tour of the business to, you know, sit us down in the office and just talk about life, like we had known each other for years. We talked basketball. He started just pulling things off of his wall to give us. He literally gave us the clock off his wall. And because he knew we had been on the road, we were road tripping across America, he took us to his warehouse and just said basically, "What do you want?" And we're like, "We can't"…

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“The glitter lamp is actually, in my mind, better than a Christmas tree.”

I came home Sunday afternoon from having heard the wonderful Cantata, and I decided that I was going to decorate my home just a little bit for Christmas. This is the first time that I have decorated this home in a Christmas theme. I live by myself except for my service dog, so the decorating is really mainly for my pleasure. Several years ago, I went to a Christmas party where the attendants were asked to bring a white elephant gift. A white elephant gift is defined as an object that is not broken, that works the way it's supposed to, but it is something that is of no use or no interest to the person who owns it. So, we each took a white elephant gift wrapped up in holiday paper and placed it under the Christmas tree. And then during the party, numbers were drawn. And the person who got number one was the first person that was allowed to go up to the Christmas tree and pick a gift out. And when my turn came, I picked out a box and when I opened it up, I discovered I had a neon glitter lamp. It reminds me of a lava lamp that someone gave my parents at Christmastime long ago. The lava lamp when plugged into the wall and heated up, produced globules that bubbled up and traveled around within the lamp. And the lamp, that particular lamp, I remember as being blue. This is not a lava lamp that I got at the party. It's a neon glitter lamp. And the color is green, and that's good because green is a Christmas color. So, I rearranged the furniture just a little bit in the living room, and I placed the neon glitter lamp in front of a window and every night at sundown, I turn the lava light on and I open the blinds of the window, so that I can sit in the living room and contemplate the glitter as it floats up and down within the lamp. The transparent glass allows me to see the glitter flowing around, and anybody driving by my house can look over at the front window in my living room and see the lamp too. The glitter lamp is actually, in my mind, better than a Christmas tree because I don't have to worry about it drying out and dropping needles onto…

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“… Just as we were entering the kitchen, we witnessed the quesadilla burst into flames.”

There was this one time where my - I was a very young adult and my friend, we would've been like what, 19? 19, 20. Somewhere around in there. And my parents had gone, I think they'd gone on a cruise actually. And we were living in this very old, this semi-derelict farmhouse, maybe that's too strong. But I mean, you could see into the basement from the first floor 'cause there were holes here and there in the floor, just like one or two, and they were very small holes, but you could see into the basement. And there - the fan vent in the bathroom, like, didn't have any kind of face plate on it on the outside, and starlings nested in the fan housing every year. It was kind of nice, you would hear the baby birds in the spring, and you couldn't use the fan in the bathroom for a while. And by the time we left the house, it also had this problem where every time it rained, those of us who lived in the - who had bedrooms in the top floor, I would have to - it was usually me - we would have to wake up and batten down the hatches, because the windows didn't work right, and water would come in the windows. So you had to check and make sure the windows were holding, and if they weren't, you had to bust out the packing tape and re-packing tape the windows to keep all the water out and away from the electrical outlets. So anyway, we were in this house. Oh also, they did finally - the institution that owned the house - we were in staff housing in this place, if you can even imagine. But they did finally remodel the house, and discovered that it was insulated with newspapers from, oh, I don't remember, it was somewhere between the 40s and the 60s. So you knew when it had been, like, worked on the last time. It was insulated with bat poop and newspaper, which is to say that it was a tinderbox of a place. It also didn't have any subflooring. Like the hardwood floor had just been laid directly on the cross beams without any like solid subflooring, which is probably one of the reasons why you could see into the basement from the first floor…

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“The most overhyped place I’ve ever been to might be… Harry Potter World at Universal Studios.”

The most overhyped place I've ever been to might be the, like, Harry Potter World at Universal Studios. It's not that it wasn't good or anything. It's just, you know. I mean, I was there in summer and so it was hot and stuff but like, you don't really feel like - or you didn't, I mean I didn't back then. This was like gosh, this was before I had kids so it was like between 10 and 15 years ago. But you know, I didn't really feel like I was in Hogsmeade, and I didn't really feel like I was in Ollivander's, or whatever. The fake snow did not cool me down, you know? And we had to stand in line forever for like the main ride. We're - most of the line is like in Hogwarts or whatever. So it's not terrible, but you're still just standing there, and then the ride made me so sick. Like, it was one of those things where it's like four people in a - you know, strapped in a whatever. You can't really see what the ride looks like because it's all dark but you're hanging, and then moving all around, so it's like there's some sort of screen that makes you feel like you're supposed to be flying on a broomstick or whatever. And so you have no point of reference. It's dark except for the lit up screen. You're being moved all around. And again not being able to see like the ground or the wall or the ceiling or anything. That was just way too much for my motion sickness. And so like about five seconds into the ride, I had to close my eyes because it was like, "Okay, if I do not close my eyes, I will throw up," and even then I was still sick when we got off, like I don't think I could ride anything else for the rest of the day. I was there with a friend, and we were there for a couple days luckily, but I was just like, "And that's it for me." So it was like, a little disappointing and I think the whole thing was a bit overhyped because if you were there by yourself, and it was magical or something, but there's crowds, it's hot, you're sweaty. I'm motion sickness - or motion sick. So, yeah,…

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“I’m proud of myself to say that I was able to spring to action and catch my dad…”

Just a few weekends ago, I was playing - I was at my dad's house with my younger brother who's 24. And my dad was playing a new virtual reality game on the Oculus Quest, and it was a shooting game where you shoot these video game characters, but they also shoot at you. And when you're playing a two-dimensional game on your television, whatever. But when you have bullets coming at you in a VR world, even if they're cartoon bullets that are moving at, you know, almost in slow motion. Not quite slow motion. It can spook you, when you twist your head around in this virtual world, and you see something coming to you, and you have to bob your head very quickly to avoid getting hit. My dad was doing really well in that round, and then he got hit with one of those moments where he turned his head, and there was something coming at him, so he bobbed his head quickly and began to lose his balance, and he's 72. So he started stumbling and bumbling backward toward our glass window. Um, our glass door window, and our giant flat screen TV, so I had to be - actually it's a moderately sized - I'm sorry. It's just a small stupid detail. I was like painting this picture of us having this, like, this movie screen. Our standard sized flat screen TV, and I don't know, my brother kinda just sat and watched it because that's what happens sometimes when you watch something happen in a pinch. You're like, "Okay, this is happening, doesn't look good." And I'm proud of myself to say that I was able to spring to action, and catch my dad just before he potentially smashed through our back door window. And who knows what could've happened after that. That dude is on blood thinners, so he would've bled like crazy, like it could've been like a seriously terrible thing. So that'd be my most recent responding to stressful situation. I'll pat myself on the back.

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“I walked back in the room, and she’s like “The site’s down.””

Note: Some language has been edited out of the transcript that has not been edited out of the audio.  "Has there ever been a time where you were able to stay calm in a high stress situation? What happened and how'd you respond? One of our team members had their car spin out on black ice, but they avoided an accident because they stayed calm and didn't try to overcorrect the car." Damn. I'm really glad that that had - that worked out for you, team member. Stay calm in a high stress situation. Again, at work - so I'm a software developer. And I was doing a deployment, this was maybe a month or two ago. And it was low risk, it was just purely a front-end change, wasn't supposed to change anything about the data model or anything, and I deployed. It takes us like five to eight minutes to deploy. And it was fine. It completed, and there was a small data change that I had to make. I made it. I asked my teammate to verify that it looked good, 'cause I was collaborating with her on that deployment. I walked out of the room to get coffee, and I was back in, you know, less than two minutes. And I walked back in the room, and she's like "The site's down." I was like "What?" And I just looked at her screen and it was just a white screen. I was like "F***." I was like “Oh man,” and then... So then it's basically firefighting, like “What did I do? How can I get this back up?” And thankfully, we did have sort of a rollback strategy that I utilized within five minutes, if not within three minutes. So the downtime was minimal, and there were no complaints from customers about it. But yeah, I was - I just kinda get in the zone, kinda just blinders. Like I just see the screen, and the environment just melts away. And then after that. Like, after I got the site back up, I was like just a huge sigh of relief, like my heart was pounding. I was like, “I gotta take a walk, just to calm down, clear my head.” And as it turns out, I don't think it was my fault per se, that the site went down. I deployed during the day which we try…

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“I had gone horseback riding.”

"Has there ever been a time you were able to stay calm in a high stress situation? What happened? And how did you respond? One of our team members had their car spin out on black ice, but they avoided an accident because they stayed calm and didn't try to overcorrect the car." I don't know. I am not a very good, like, stay calm under a lot of stress person. I'm trying to think of a time maybe. My examples would not be good because I don't really stay calm in high stress situations, at all. I have emotional breakdowns, and so this is not a good question for me to answer. One thing that maybe could come up is when I was in girl scouts. I was in fourth or fifth grade. I don't - I think it was in the summer in between fourth and fifth grade. And I had gone horseback riding, in my past. But I was very, very afraid of horses. I don't remember why I was afraid of horses, but I was really, really afraid. Oh, yeah, 'cause I had actually witnessed somebody get bucked off a horse. And so I was like really, really scared. And so I told my group leader, "Can I please have the best horse? Like, if you can. I'm extremely afraid of horses. I haven't been on one since I witnessed somebody get bucked off like, you know, blah blah blah blah." And she was like "Okay!" And then she never got me the best horse. In fact, I got the worst horse, and so they were like, "Oh, nothing has ever gone wrong. All horses are good horses." And guess what happened? About, let's say, a tenth of a mile into our like three or four mile ride, my horse, instead of going and following all the other horses and going in like a path into the woods, veers right and goes into like onto a weird trail, and it starts galloping. And I am not kidding, it started to gallop. And it went into like super high grass and it started jumping up, trying to buck me off. And I was holding on with all my might, and then soon, my best friend's horse followed, and her horse ran to like the top of a hill, and I was like - my horse was still…

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“And he gently talked me out of it.”

I'm not one to generally go with the brand new fad because it seems like a great idea. I kinda like people to, you know, work at it and shake it out a little bit before I get involved, you know. Some of these, some of these things they just don't last, you know. Like leisure suits. You probably don't remember leisure suits. I almost bought one back in the seventies, I think it was. But, fortunately, the gentleman who was running the men's haberdashery here, who has since been deceased, very well knew his, his - he knew his work. And he gently talked me out of it. He said, “You don't - you really want one of those? You know, that's kind of a fad and how about a nice sport coat and slack combo instead? Which is a classic and, you know, it'll be a classic forever and there's a reason why they're classics.” You know, and so he kinda, kind of like I said gently directed me in that, in that direction. So that was a, that was a - almost, almost missed out and that was a close one.

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