I'll bet Rap figured that I wouldn't respond, given that it's taken a few days, but here goes!
2. I learned Esperanto in college. My Spanish instructor got bored one day and gave us a demo of Esperanto (an artificial language invented in 1887 by a Polish oculist named Zamenhof), and a group of us petitioned UWM (that being the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee) to run an Esperanto class. We won, I learned. Fun. Fluency in three months ... and I've forgotten almost all of it since.
3. Folk who know me -- mostly not here on LJ -- do know this one. I sing. I'm a dark dramatic soprano, mostly mezzo these days, with Broadway power. I never studied voice until I was in my 30's. If I were to sing opera, my role would be Tosca. I'll sing anything from Broadway show tunes to Celtic to folk to rock and metal. There's a soundtrack running nonstop in my head.
4. When I was 10, I wrote to Gene Roddenberry asking how someone could write for Star Trek. (This was when the original series was airing for the very first time.) I was floored when he wrote back, not talking down to a child, but explaining that you needed to have an agent in order to write for television, and encouraging me to write my own stories for a while, saying that writing what I knew would develop my talent. I will always love that man for that letter. And I will never stop writing.
5. I took a few days off work and went to a cattle call audition for openings in both the Broadway and touring companies of Les Miserables in the mid-1990's. Almost 800 of us showed up at the Jackie Gleason Theatre in Florida, totally overwhelming the company folk. To get through the crowd, they called us up onto the stage ten at a time, scanned our head shots and resumes, asked a few of us (those who looked something like what they wanted) questions like, "What's your top note? What song were you planning to audtion with?" Sometimes, they picked out someone and told them to come back some hours later to sing. They told the rest of us, "Thank you very much," which is stage-speak for "Get the heck off my stage, you're wasting my time." I got the "sorry, nice try, goodbye" bit, but the whole experience was a delightful one, and I'm glad I took the chance even though I never got the opportunity to sing a note. I still wonder what I would have done if they'd actually wanted me. My boss said he was willing to let me take a year's sabbatical, and I think I would have ...
6. I took eight years of piano lessons starting in third grade, which coincidentally was the same year I got glasses. I'm a crappy pianist and won't play for anyone but myself. My piano is a pre-war mahogany Steinway upright, which was a gift from my uncle John. It had belonged to his wife, who had died years earlier. When he learned that I was going to school before classes started, getting the key from the nuns and opening the school building in order to practice, he had a fit because Eva's piano was sitting unplayed. We got the piano for the cost of shipping it from Chicago to Milwaukee. When I bought my house in Virginia many years later, I brought it home to me.
7. I started to learn to fly in 1994. I had to put the learning on hold (I don't learn well in broken snatches of time), but I have 17 hours in my logbook for when I start again. That will likely not be until I retire, unless I manage to find a time before that when I can take off for four weeks, go somewhere the weather is pretty consistently good, and fly every day until I get my ticket. But I still want to learn to fly. Airplanes are joy. An airplane sitting in a museum is sad, because it wishes it could fly again.
8. I come by my love for a certain black Impala quite honestly. There was a 1967 Chevy in my life, starting in 1967. Admittedly, it was a fire-engine-red Bel Air station wagon rather than a black Impala, but that front end looks so right. Big Red was my father's pride and joy, and the first road tripping car I really remember. I used to lie in the way back (our name for the back cargo area) with my sisters when Dad took the family on vacation, making real the slogan, "See the USA in your Chevrolet; America is asking you to call!" It was over 20 years old and had seen most of the country by the time Dad finally gave it up, after his mechanic told him he could see through the car's frame (Wisconsin road salt can do a number on old steel ...). I miss it still.
9. Speaking of Big Red ... I'm a former smuggler. When I was a child in Wisconsin, colored oleomargarine was banned from the state, which wanted to protect its dairy industry. The only margarine you could buy was white and looked like lard, and came with a color packet that you could squeeze into it to dye it yellow. Yech. We used to drive down into Illinois to visit my uncle John, and whenever we did, we took orders from the neighbors for yellow margarine and bought it by the case in cheesy stores near the state line on our way back home. We'd smuggle it back across the state line in our innocent family car, hidden in the trunk below the floor of the way back. (Big Red didn't have a third seat -- just a cargo area, with a trunk where the seat would have folded down.) The State Patrol used to stake out the state line watching for oleo smugglers (yes, it was illegal!), but they never stopped us, because we never just nipped across the state line and back. We were masters of misdirection, since we spent a few hours visiting down in Chicago before we headed back to Wisconsin.
10. I name my cars and other key inanimate things around me, and always have. My first car was a 1973 Ford Pinto named Suerte, which means "luck" in Spanish. I named him well; he was rear-ended three times and never blew up, despite 1973 being one of the years associated with chancy gas tanks in Pintos! The next one was a 1984 Renault Encore hatchback that insisted on being called Arienrhod despite being masculine. A family friend needed a tool-hauling car after his old station wagon was stolen, so I swapped cars with my Mom, giving her Arienrhod to give to Mike and taking the 1988 Buick Century known as Beauty that Mom had inherited from another friend. When my sister bought her first Harley and decided to give up her car, a 1993 Oldsmobile 88, I sold Beauty at a cut price to an underpaid teacher who needed a car and got the Olds, naming him Condor for the way he effortlessly sailed over highway. And when the brake lines on the Olds went in January 2005, after a rash of other repairs, I donated him to charity and bought my current love, a 2004 Chrysler Sebring convertible most appropriately named Skywise. I hope to have Skywise for a long, long time, and lots and lots of lovely miles. I totally understand Dean's passion for the Impala!
Whew! That wound up running a lot longer than I intended! And I'm not certain I'm going to tag a bunch of other folk with it; if everyone gets as long-winded as I did, this could be drastic!
Anyway, now you know a lot of useless things about me ...