Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Geoff Sowrey

Well, this was certainly a learning experience. Last week, I sent out a survey (sent to me by a friend) that lets people know how much they know about you. It’s quite informative. After receiving a couple of responses, I thought I’d compile them. Some are pretty funny, depending on how you know me. Some are very accurate. These are *completely* anonymous (and in random order), so don’t be worried that I might single you out.

I started off with the following lyric:

Run my name through your computer,
Mention me in passing to your college tutor,
Check my records, check my facts,
Check if I’ve paid my income tax,
Roll over ev’rythin’ in my CV,
But you’ll still know nothing ’bout me.

Some of you guessed it right — the author in question is Sting. Specifically, the lyric is from “Nothing ‘Bout Me”, the last track on “Ten Summoner’s Tales” (released 1993).

And so, on with the results! Any comments I supply will appear in ‘[]’ brackets.

1. My name:

The real answer is, duh, “Geoff Sowrey”. Most of the results were correct. There were a few oddities, such as “Geoff Sowery” [note the slight misspelling of the last name] and “Goff Sowrey” [note the *intentional* misspelling of my first name]. But otherwise it’s good.

2. Where did we meet?:

There is obviously no right answer for this one. I met a lot of you in lots of strange and interesting places, such as:

  • High school
  • University of Waterloo, Village Two Residence, South A floor, TV lounge
  • High school. Chris’ and my birthday parties
  • Gah… University of Waterloo, South A.
  • 235 Gordon Street, Guelph, most likely at a party, oui?
  • University of Waterloo (more specific? Umm, camping?)
  • Arkillago [aka Arkipelago]
  • 113 George Street, Toronto, Ontario [aka Arkipelago]

3. Take a stab at my middle name..:

This was a good one. I didn’t realise how few people knew my middle name. It’s fairly uncommon (or at least it was until shows such as “Due South” and “ER” made it a little more mainstream): “Benton”. A couple surveys had correct answers. The rest believed it was one of:

  • Robert
  • propellerhead [??]
  • Son of Worf [more like a nickname from university]
  • Patrick
  • Archibald [this submitter did quickly follow up with the correct name]
  • Edward

4. How long have you known me?:

I’ve known some of you a very long time (some of you receiving this who didn’t do the survey have known me since the moment I was born — Hi Mom! — some of you not quite as long, but almost). The survey respondants gave me a range of between two and 13 years. One answer was fairly specific: “8yrs 2mths 7 days”.

I’m beginning to feel a little older now…

5. How well do you know me?:

Okay, this is totally subjective. How do you determine how well you know someone? You may know someone quite well, and then they move away or go to school. Suddenly, you don’t think you know them as well as you did. Things change…

The respondants were all over the board on this. Some claimed they didn’t know me well at all (which is to be expected) to knowing me quite well. Oddly enough, no-one claimed to know me well enough to say I was “predictable”. I guess that means I’m doing something right for a change…

6. Do I smoke?:

Everyone had the right answer on this. However, I will quote one of them, because I thought it was appropriate: “dear god no”. One of the respondants did have a good point, though: “Don’t think so, then again, you didn’t drink either.”

7. Do I believe in God?:

Okay, here’s a touchy subject if I ever heard it. But I’m not keen on starting any fires that might take time to extinguish, so I’m just going to say: If you don’t know, don’t worry. I don’t get offended easily. But I do have to quote a reply, it’s just too good: “someone has to be held reponsible for creating you”.

8. What was your first impression when you first saw me?:

This was a good one. This is where the true me starts to show through. Okay, you can all stop laughing now…

  • That guy is a looney
  • What’s with the sandals?
  • Son of Worf [just remember me with a beard and long hair]
  • shy, eager to be friendly
  • Loves computers.
  • loud [no comments from the peanut gallery, please]
  • what a spaz!
  • very intelligent person, with a few quirks [a *few*?]
  • looks friendly, not like that scary Justin guy or that shifty little Jim, and he doesn’t smell as bad as that Rob guy.

9. My age?:

My age (current) is 27 years, 4 months, and 9 days. However, I’ll take 27 as the answer. A couple put down 26 [thanks for making me feel a little younger], two put down 28 [close, but no banana], and one thought I was “late gen X” [AIIEEEEEE! I could be as old as 38!].

10. Birthday?:

The correct answer is 16 July 1972 (I will accept July 16 1972, of course). Some responses claimed it was “July” [close enough], “sometime in the summer” [sorry, but Alex Trebek would ask you to be more specific], and “you have one each year” [doesn’t everyone?].

11. Color hair?:

Officially, brown. Every response was correct. Luckily for you folks, I haven’t taken to dying my hair.

Yet.

12. Color eyes?:

Allison tells me they’re green. I always thought they were kinda bluish. I just stared in the mirror. They’re kinda greeny. Heck, *I* don’t know what colour my eyes are. So I really don’t mind that the replies varied from brown to hazel to blue to green. (Yes, there is at least one person who agrees with Allison.)

13. Tall / average / short / fat / average / thin?:

Most of the answers were “average / average”. I guess that was to be expected…

14. Do I have any siblings?:

One. A sister, Cathy. Most were right (although only a couple knew her name), a few got this wrong.

15. (If opposite sex) Have you ever had a crush on me?: (If same sex) Have you ever been jealous of me?:

This was one of the few questions I was hoping for good answers. My ego running wild, I guess. Either way, all but three respondants completely shot me down (thanks, guys). Apparently, I’ve never been the sort to attract others … the nearest I got to others having a crush on me was “officially, no” and “A crush no, but I would say we use to have a close bond”. Only one of the same sex was ever jealous of me. Oh, and there was that one joker who *had* to write: “(Ha, ha, ha, ha!)” [insert sound of ego deflating].

16. Whats one of my favorite thing to do?:

Again, some pretty strange responses here. People have some pretty interesting ideas of what my favourite things are. (Everyone knows it’s bright paper packages tied up with string…) Answers included:

  • Computer stuff
  • bike really long distances once in a while
  • make trouble with Stuart with Chris
  • Play on computer, write, eat ice cream.
  • play Doom
  • eat and imbide Guiness
  • play video games (it used to be Quake…?)
  • Watching/talking/re-enacting Star Wars. [I’m not that bad! Really!]
  • Used to be watch sci fi, hang out with friends, go to Jack Astors, ride your bike, and travel.

*Sigh* The things I used to to … wait a minute, I still do most of those. At least whenever possible.

17. Do you remember one of the first things I said to you?:

This varied for a few people. The most obvious answer was “Hi” or “Hello”. (I have a tendency of saying that when I meet people for the first time.) However, a few of you received quite different first words:

  • “What channel is Animaniacs on?”
  • “I wrote this program to enhance this computer game…”
  • Actually, it was a huge rant about running into Chris on your bike, and getting invited to said birthday party [I was ranting? Me? Rant?]
  • no but I remember a math textbook falling on my head [This is from my high school locker victim, er, partner]

18. What’s my favorite type of music?:

Wow. This one was fun. I knew I was going to get some pretty bizarre answers. For record, everyone was correct on this. It all depends what musical phase you caught me in:

  • Beatles
  • Sting, Sarah [Mclachlan], .. whattya call that?
  • 80’s pop music [okay, what child of the 80’s *didn’t*like that music?]
  • Rock
  • ANY bloody type [Technically, the correct answer]
  • Sting obviously (that should get me the bonus question eh?)
  • skit songs from Monty Python
  • new rock (alternative)
  • you like everything [again, the technically correct answer]

19. What is my best feature?:

If it were possible to blush through email, I would. Many of the answers were quite generous. I should have added a question: “What is my worst feature?” I think that would be just as telling.

  • very sweet and generous person
  • friendly nature and honesty
  • sense of humour
  • loyalty, selflessness
  • Down to earth (wow, that was a surprise!)
  • Allison. (Ha, ha, ha.) [This is the same joker who laughed earlier]
  • friendliness earnestness oops thats two
  • Smile

20. Am I shy or outgoing?

Over the past few years, many people have attempted to tell me what I am. There are those who told me that my hyperness was a cover for my shyness. There are those who told me that I come on too strong. It seems that most people can’t really decide:

  • Outgoing especially when chocolate is consumed
  • both
  • Outgoing
  • shy, becoming more outgoing
  • Outgoing most of the time
  • you think you’re outgoing, but you’re really shy
  • outgone [I take that means I’m past going?]
  • outgoing externally, but internally shy
  • Definitely outgoing

21. Would you say I am funny?:

Generally, this was “yes”. The range basically went from “very” to “maybe just a little” [although I detected an ode of sarcasm on that one].

22. Am I a rebel or do I follow all the rules?

This one was nearly as polarised as #20 — I obviously put across some very different vibes to people.

  • Rules, unless you are hanging around Chris.
  • rebel but in an off the wall way
  • Well, you don’t follow ALL the rules, so “rebel” it is.
  • a little of both
  • Middle of the road
  • rebel
  • follow the rules (in general)
  • you think you’re a rebel, but you follow the rules, pretty much to a ‘t’ [Ouch! That’s gonna leave a mark…]

23. Any special talents?:

How do you define a “special talent”? I never thought of myself having a talent — I can’t act, I can’t draw (at least without the aid of a computer), I can’t sing (most of you know that). Okay, I can write (most of you know that) … but write well? That’s another issue. The respondants thought I had a few interesting abilities:

  • “out of box analytical thinking” is not your average skill…
  • excellent writer, great imagination
  • story telling – in great detail
  • many. being a great friend amongst them. Computer knowledge too.
  • Prolific writing, belching
  • geez, i dunno – other than programming?
  • Playing baseball in flip-flops [when did I do this??]
  • too many to list. certainly not a couch potato
  • Never-ending energy

24. Would you consider me a friend?:

As a rule, I don’t make enemies. I don’t like them. So I generally make (and try my best to keep) friends. It’s not easy … particularly when most of them live outside the province. Most replies seem to agree with me on that. A few expressed concerns that perhaps the friendship is waning a little due to the march of time, but I think friendship continues beyond that. If you’re receiving this email, it’s because of one of two reasons:

a) You’re family (or about to be family). b) You’re a friend.

25. Would you call me preppy, slutty, a homie ,average, sporty, punk, hippie, glam, nerdy, snobby, or something else?:

Wow. Some really crazy answers here. I’ll let them speak for themselves:

  • You are something else alright. You never remained the same for long periods of time.
  • wackey, understanding, talented and more.
  • smartypants
  • Hmm, I’ll choose “hippie.”
  • average [two people thought this]
  • Edgy (when playing Doom with Scott lurking about the house). [The Scott in question is from University.]
  • hippie with a touch of nerdy
  • dog gone nutty

26. Have you ever seen me cry?:

Not many people have seen me cry. Those of you who have probably know me better than anyone else.

27. If there were one good nickname for me, what would it be?

Ah yes, the ubiquitous nickname. I’ve had a lot of these in the course of my life. I wish I’d recorded them all — it would be interesting to see how my nicknames evolved as I got older. At the moment, my nicknames appear to include:

  • Grapes [my old boss gave me this … still don’t know why]
  • Goff
  • Ge-off [pronounced “gee-off”]
  • Son of Worf [although I haven’t really gone by this in a while]
  • Pepe Gonzales [??]
  • Han Solo [I feel like a scruffy nerfherder…]
  • Propellerhead
  • Celery [wow — that’s one I haven’t heard since I was a kid!]
  • Macgyver [Yes, like the TV show — I got that from my dad, although he wasn’t in the survey]

Seeing Spirit of the West at the Commodore Ballroom

Sometimes I wish we celebrated American holidays. At least then we’d have one more Hallmark Holiday(tm) between Hallowe’en and Christmas. As it stands, we now have a two-month Christmas season. Don’t fool yourselves, folks — Christmas won’t end until almost New Year’s. Although at least this year, the Ol’ Ball Drop will have a little more significance than usual … assuming the lights don’t go out.

At any rate, Christmas arrived in the malls November 1. Yick. Allison and I can’t go for walks without seeing Christmas lights everywhere. It’s actually sickening. We were flabbergasted that lights were appearing shortly after Hallowe’en (at least give us a couple weeks, eh?) — then we saw the Christmas tree in the neighbouring apartment building.

Then, of course, there are the commercials. Endless festive, Prozac-infused spots urging us to run up those credit card bills to buy gifts for those millions of people on our gift-giving lists. I haven’t even got to the Christmas cards yet!

So why all the bitterness? I had to do my Christmas shopping this weekend. It’s a new record for me — I have *never* shopped this early. It’s not really relaxing … there’s still all the stress of wading through all the junk to find that special something for those special people I won’t see this year.

You see, I’m not going to Ontario for Christmas this year. I’m staying here. Last year, Allison spent a Sowrey Christmas. This year, it’s my turn to experience a Collins Christmas. I’m looking forward to it … if I can get through all the sales first.

It started on Saturday. Allison and I darted out to Pacific Centre Mall to see what things were available for our hard-earned dollars. It’s not a great mall, especially since Eaton’s closed. (I have to say, it’s a sad, disturbing feeling to look through the glass doors at the now-empty, once-proud anchor of Canadian commerce.)

The Saturday run was mostly to see what was available, although we did find an excellent selection for one part of my family (sorry folks, no hints). We spotted two other good possibilities, but the mall closed before we could act on those impulses.

It was then off to our evening entertainment. We had to activities to choose from: See Kevin Smith’s new celluloid tour-de-force, Dogma, or see a local band. The band went on at 10:00pm, which coincidentally was the same time the movie started. We opted for trying to get in to see the band, and then seeing the movie if all else failed.

We arrived to find very few scalpers (one of whom was disguised as someone looking for tickets, as not to give away his shadier motives). Initial prices were $40. We went for dinner. When we returned, the ticket prices had jumped to $50. We went into a nearby bookstore. When we came back, the prices had returned to $40. We were aiming for $30.

It’s a tricky game, dealing with scalpers. Most of them aren’t terribly bright, nor are they patient. Having been through the University of Waterloo, patience is something I have in abundance. Despite the chilly weather (and me without my jacket) and the rain, neither Allison or I were willing to budge on the price.

The tickets were originally $22.50. A scalping company, known as Ticketmaster, added an additional $5 to the price. We were being nice by offering a profit of $2.50 per ticket. And when the rain started to fall heavily, the scalpers agreed. $30 apiece. No movie for us…

We had tickets to enter a Vancouver legend — the Fabulous Commodore Ballroom. This was, until a few years ago, the best place to see any live music performance. Then it closed down, and Vancouver was cursed with having no venue for good bands. Then the House of Blues came in with a bucket of money. Earlier this year, the doors swung open again.

Wow.

It’s a venue like no other. Art deco stylings — very 1930’s. The room is huge — easily the size of an Olympic-size hockey rink … squared. And then there’s the floor…

Rumour had it that the original floor had something like 12 feet of horse hair under it for springiness. Apparently, it was wood rot (they found this during renovation). The new floor is in much better shape … but just as springy. I’m not kidding, either — you can literally be knocked from your feet in a mosh pit if you bounce out of beat with the rest of the crowd. The vibration can be felt in the entire room. If an earthquake were to hit, you’d probably never know.

Allison and I stole up to the front of the dance floor, taking positions roughly in the middle of the barricade between the crowd and the stage. Front row seating, or rather, standing.

The first band was from Toronto, the name of which I now forget. They were good. Obviously, not good enough for me to remember their name, but still good.

By the time the featured act took the stage, Allison and I were trapped against the barricade, desperately trying to hold our position against all the people trying to force us out. But we held … it was the best place to get a close look at Spirit of the West.

We stayed up at the front for four songs … until some crowd-surfing moron landed on Allison’s head. We took a hasty exit before one of us got seriously injured. (John Mann, lead singer for SotW, later threatened to refund crowd-surfer’s tickets and eject them from the premises for making his “guests” leave the front — he was referring to us and a few others.)

Four words: “Home For A Rest”.

This is perhaps one of SotW’s most popular songs (after “Save This House”). You could barely hear John over the audience. *Everyone* was singing. (The only concert experience that beat this was listening to 40,000 of my closest friends singing along to The Tragically Hip.)

About a dozen songs, a spirited rendition of “I Got You, Babe” and two encores later, Allison and I ducked out before the tide crushed us.

I resumed shopping the next day, considerably less bitter than the day before. This was a chance for me to rush around and get the bulk of my family shopping complete. I have to ship the stuff sometime this week, if I’m not mistaken. Aside from a hefty batch of Cheezies (don’t worry Mom, I haven’t forgotten this time), I’m done.

So I’m a little less testy about the whole Christmas thing now. Maybe it’s because I’ve got part of my shopping done. Either that, or I just haven’t noticed the 5,000,000 lights erected since last night…