One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other

You know how you always get those photocopied letters at Christmas, the sole purpose of which is that Mrs. Neighbor From Two Decades Ago can tell you all about how Totally Creepy Jake just had a cameo in a Robin Williams movie where he met Julia Roberts' younger sister, with whom he is now going steady, and that Antisocial Laura is now not only a renowned neurosurgeon and the new face of L'Oreal BUT IS ALSO STILL IN THE TENTH GRADE? And you know how every time you get one, you think a) god, these children look like axe murderers, and b) there is no way in hell I'm ever doing one of these? And then one Christmas you find yourself thinking, "well, I would like to catch up with all those people who haven't seen me since 1986, just to let them know that I don't have those FEATHERED BANGS anymore," and then the next thing you know, you're sending out one of these photocopied letters yourself? And you're starting it with something like "I don't normally do things like this, but....."

Well, one of the things I never thought I would do is one of these "meme" things that whizz around the Internet. This is mainly because I thought no-one would ever "tag" me for one, but also because I couldn't quite believe that anyone would really be that interested in knowing three or four or six or eight specialized facts about me. I mean, maybe if I was a hybrid of Britney Spears and the guy who invented Tivo, sure, that could be kind of enlightening, but me? I couldn't imagine that answering questions about myself would be anything short of mind-numbingly boring for anyone else.

But then I was tagged last week for a meme by The Amalah. And when The Amalah asks you if you would like to do the meme, you do the meme. It's kind of like the law, I think. So now I am doing the meme. And that is why I am now presenting to you the Six Weird Things About Me That Have Hitherto Not Been Talked About On My Site.

Except I am terrifically worried about boring you with my answers, and that is why I have included a TWIST! It's like a gameshow! I have included with my answers something that isn't really true. It is an imposter answer! And if you are so inclined, I invite you to guess which one it is. I have no idea whether one is allowed to just change the rules of the meme willy-nilly like this, but I am doing it anyway, so that a) you will not accuse me of just answering a meme because I am too lazy to write about anything else (I'm not lazy! I'm making a twist!) and b) there will actually be something vaguely interesting for me to talk about.

Apparently, I am also supposed to ask six other people to partake in this little exercise, but I am uncertain as to whether anyone will actually take me up on it. Regardless, I am passing on the Official Meme Baton to the following:

1) Gallaudet of Iowadrift
2) Emily of Not That You Asked
3) Nancy of But Slenderly
4) Mir of Woulda Coulda Shoulda
5) Either Dutch or Wood of Sweet Juniper, or both of them if that isn't totally cheating
6) Miss Doxie of Miss Doxie

And so! Without further ado! Here are the Six Weird Things About Me That Have Hitherto Not Been Talked About On My Site, One of Which Is Not True At All, But Be Careful, Because There Is Kind Of A Twist To The Twist And So Things Are Really Not As Obvious As You Might Think:

1) I am 98% sure that I had SARS before SARS became a big deal. I was horribly sick when I was in Singapore in late December 2002, right before SARS was all over the news and people were wearing Michael Jackson masks. I had arrived on a flight that had stopped in Hong Kong, which is where most of the first cases were reported, and I had every single sympton in the book. Apart from the dying, of course. At the time, I thought I just had the most awful case of flu in the world, but a few months after I got better, the whole thing spread, and then we all started hearing about its symptoms. At that point, my mother became convinced that I'd had SARS. She also advised me to keep as quiet as possible about the fact that I was possibly the one to bring it into Singapore from Hong Kong.

2) Until I was 22, I had a mole above my lip, on the right. I'd like to say it was Cindy Crawford-esque, but if it was Cindy Crawford-esque, I probably wouldn't have had it removed, which I did in October 2002. My dermatologist's name was Howard Stern and I liked him immensely. But when I went to my first consultation at his office and I had to stop by reception afterwards to schedule an appointment, I smiled at the girl behind the desk and said, "Hi, I need to make an appointment with Dr. Stern for a couple of weeks from now," and she said "is it for your acne?" And there was a brief pause where I went over this incredible bit of rudeness in my head, and then I said "I DON'T HAVE ACNE!" And she said "Oh, I just..." and I said, "NO, IT'S FOR MY MOLE!" And then a few more seconds went by and I said, "wait, DO I have acne?" And she said "just tell me when you need your appointment." And for the record, SHE totally had acne.

3) On Christmas Day when I was six or seven, my parents took us camping in the desert between Dubai and Abu Dhabi. We went with two or three other families, and we all piled into these old Landrovers and drove and drove and drove, until we were right in the middle of the desert. Then we set up tents in the dunes, and spent the rest of the day climbing right up to the top of them and rolling all the way down, before cooking a huge Christmas dinner in the evening, after which my mother called my grandma in England on what was probably The World's First Cellphone to wish her a Happy Christmas from the middle of the desert. The next day, one of the men got bitten by a scorpion, which had made its way into his sleeping bag. Apart from the scorpion thing, I think it was probably one of the best Christmases I've ever had.

4) When I was seventeen, I was a contender in the Coney Island Hot Dog Eating Competition. I had a special t-shirt made and everything, but I was beaten out of the first round by a girl called Amanda Sidebottom. She pronounced it "SIDDay-Bott-Tome."

5) During my first year at university in London, I had a brief gig with the college TV station, during which I interviewed two Canadian bands. One was Our Lady Peace, who I actually quite liked at the time, and whose lead singer I am not ashamed to say I flirted with. He gave me a free ticket to the concert that evening, which I promptly lost on the Tube. The other was one-hit wonder Len, whose sole song "If You Steal My Sunshine" is a hideous, vapid ditty that will get into your head and never leave, and whose lead singer signed my interview sheet with the words "you are pretty damn cute." He spelled one of the words wrong, but I don't remember which. I think it might have been "are."

6) This afternoon, after swallowing half a Valium for courage, I walked into my boss's office and resigned from my job so I'd be able to travel around Southeast Asia for six months. This might be the silliest thing I've ever done in my life. Or it might be wonderful.

Apr 18, 2006

#6 is true! #6 is true! And GOOD FOR YOU! Not stupid, but great and wonderful and am jealous, but yet, totally happy and excited for you.

Apr 18, 2006

If number six is true, I'm happy for you but scared for me - if you're even considering taking a sabbatical from writing this, whose blog will I stalk every day?

For the record, I thought it was number 3.

Apr 18, 2006

For reals? I was going to guess #4 because no way is that some person's last name.

If #6 is true - congrats! and I'm so jealous because you get to travel for six whole months.

Apr 18, 2006

I'm hoping 4 isn't true, since it gave me a queasy feeling. And I'm hoping 6 IS because how marvelous would that be! And Sean is truly free as of this week, yes?

And I say Dutch and Wood should both do it. I can say this because I don't have to! And because I want to read their answers.

Also, that Len song makes me want to bite people. Then again, so does most of what Our Lady Peace has recorded. Or maybe it's just that Raine looks really agitated when he sings, and I am feeding off his intensity.

I think he is happier now, though. He has two kids with Chantal Kreviazuk named Rowan and Lucca.

And that's the end of my useless trivia.

Apr 18, 2006

2's true, 3 would be a really weird lie, 5 sounds right (I can remember interviews, flirting, even the mis-spelling is ringing bells), I hope 6 is true...

That leaves 1 and 4. Hmmm. I find it hard to believe you're SARS survivor, but then my mum almost certainly had TB when she was four (and recovered on her own), so it's possible.

And remembering the immaculate construction and consistently elegant consumption of your ham, cream cheese and cucumber sandwiches, the hot dog thing sounds most dubious. Especially as it features a rival straight out of the home counties. 4's the lie.
I think.

Apr 18, 2006

Wow, not even I know which one is a lie but I think its the Coney Island thing, even though I know you've told me about Siddday-Bot-Tome! Because then I told you about how I met a girl called Ashley Butliner, and they called her name and she said no actually its Buttel-eener, but oh it wasn't.

Apr 18, 2006

please let #4 be the lie - you seem too elegant to have been in an eating contest. and #6 sounds scary and yet amazing!

Liberal Banana
Apr 18, 2006

If 6 is true, then I am going to be insanely jealous of you. That is so awesome!! And I'm going to guess #4 is the lie as well, based on your other friends' comments. Do tell!

Apr 18, 2006

I think the lie was that your dermatologist was not named Howard Stern. His name was Howard Sidebottom. The girl you were up against in the eating competition was Amanda Stern.

Apr 18, 2006

Okay, now we are all dying to know the absolute truth about number 6. Spill. it. now.

Thespian Libby
Apr 18, 2006

Yippee for you!!!!

Apr 18, 2006


(Also you are the second person to tag me and I just don't think I'm all that interesting. But I'll try to think of something.)

Apr 18, 2006

Wait. Will you be blogging while you are pursuing number 6? Because I will get horribly depressed if you do not. You make things so interesting, including starting a post about a meme with the whole thing about Christmas letters.

Um, choose one which is the twist? I'm going to go with 4 as well.

Apr 18, 2006

Oh my god if you got to eat hot dogs for money?

I don't know if I can ever EVER speak to you again.

Apr 18, 2006

And I mean that because I would do anything to eat hot dogs for money.

Also, I will honor your request. Because I have nothing else to write about these days. But also because I love you.

Apr 18, 2006

I'm so hoping that #6 is true because that sounds amazing! I have no idea what your lie is, when will you tell us?

Apr 18, 2006

Whahooo! Oh, good for you, brave girl! (I'm assuming that No. 6 is true because I would need at least half a valium to deliver that news. It just has the ring of truth...)

So, although I dearly love the name Sidebottom (it sticks in your head doesn't it? Sidday-bott-Tome, sidday-Bott-Tome, sidday-bott-TOME!), I can't peg you as a hot dog inhalation contender. No. 4 -- untrue!

I too will honor your request, though my six can't begin to compare to SIX MONTHS IN SOUTHEAST ASIA, you stinkpot.

Apr 18, 2006

I was voting for the Howard Stern thing until I remembered that my wife's first OB/GYN was named John Holmes -- so anything is possible in the 'ironically-named doctor' category. And yes, I accompanied her to every.single.appointment. You can never be too safe...

I reconsidered and chose the hot dog story because you don't seem like the type to suck down 20 weiners in a 5 minute timespan -- but hey, you never know.

I too, hope that is number 6 and that a hearty congrats is in order despite the raging jealousy. The twist is that you didn't quit, you just are just taking some time off.

The twist on the twist is that it wasn't a valium that you swallowed but the same blue pill that Neo swallowed that caused you to wake up to the reality that you really live in a trailer in rural Oklahoma, have 3 kids (each exactly nine months apart) and a husband who owns every piece of Dale Earnhardt memorabelia known to man.

In that case we all feel for you. Welcome to the club!

Apr 18, 2006

They all seem so plausible! And if No. 6 is true, and I think it is, or at least I wish it could be true for me, Wheeeeeee!! I'm so envious! Is this why Sean also quit his job? Is he coming with you? What will happen to your apartment? AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, THE HOT PINK KITCHENAID?

Heather B
Apr 18, 2006

I did #3, but not on Christmas and in Morocco, but the same with the Landovers and scorpions and being out in the middle of the desert. And #6 is the coolest thing I've ever heard of and I'm jealous of the trip and the valium.

Apr 18, 2006

I don't really understand this. Is it something to do with myspace? I don't really understand that either.

I always think I'm quite up with the modern world whenever I find myself talking to say, my Nan, but then I read things like this and realise that I don't have any idea what's going on. Ah well. I'll be in my room sorting my tapes out...

Apr 18, 2006

Seriously. When are you telling us? When? WHEN? I can't stand it any longer!

Apr 18, 2006

I think it's 4 by the way. No one would attempt to pronounce their surname like that. Surely...?

Apr 18, 2006

Wow, I hope number 6 isn't the lie (it has to be 4, right? please let it be 4.). Details, details!

Apr 18, 2006

#2 is false. We've seen pictures of you when you were a kid.

Apr 18, 2006

Its got to be #2 or #4. Will you both be blogging from SE Asia? Yeah! Can't wait!

Apr 19, 2006

This is by far the most interesting Six Things meme I've read. Looking forward to the reveal!

Apr 19, 2006

Oh! Your #5 has coaxed me out of lurking! If you really got to flirt with Raine Maida, I am intensely jealous, as I have been MADLY in love with him since I was nine years old (that's umm, 11 years)...No, really.

But I lean toward #6 as Mr. Slinsky's site said something about Southeast Asia.

Apr 19, 2006

OMG! I hope #6 isn't the lie, because it's a wonderful thing to do, and you're at absolutely the only bloody time in life when you can do it. Believe me -- for all I love my husband and kids, I dream of making such a move, only it's out of the question when you're sweetly but completely encumbered, as I am. DO IT. Jobs are a dime a dozen, but someday when you're settled down with kids, you'll be able to say "Yes, damn it. I DID THAT."

Can't wait to hear the next update. Did I mention your RSS isn't working? Fuckity fuck fuck. I have SO much trouble remembering to check blogs with no feed!

Apr 19, 2006

I heard that Len song on XM radio the other day, and I JUST got it out of my head. Thanks, Holly.

Oh, and--if #6 is NOT the truth, then you need to MAKE IT BE. Do it! And take your iBook!

Apr 19, 2006

Another Brit expat here and i once encountered a Sidebottom, pronounced just like that. Who do you think you're kidding? It just draws more attention to your weirdo name and makes us think you might have a weird deformity under your school uniform whereby your bum is kind of twisted to the side.

Come on, I can't be the only person who had that weird mental picture, can I?

But yeah, that's the fake one. Never in the US. They boring up even their lovely French Canadian surnames here. Dube pronounced doobie, for example. Can't imagine wilful imaginitive distorting of a name in that way.


Apr 19, 2006

Man, lot of weirds there

RockStar Mommy
Apr 19, 2006

It better not be #6 or else I'm never coming to this site ever again! (Totally lying. I'll just keep sitting here hitting refresh, refresh, refresh, refresh!)

Apr 19, 2006

Breaking news: Amalah also just quit her editing job...

Either it's Psych Out Your Readers Week, or great minds think alike.

Apr 19, 2006

waiting and refreshing!

Apr 19, 2006

Yeah. "Steal My Sunshine" has been on endless repeat in my head, too, since I read this. Which is irritating, yes, but it could be worse.

It could be "It's a Small World After All."

Oh, crap.

Apr 19, 2006

Also, if you HAVE quit your job and are about to travel the world, then I am insanely jealous. And despairing, just a little, because we look nothing alike and I have no chance whatsoever of switching identities with you.

Apr 19, 2006

Hooray for number six! Hooray for number six! It had better be true! And if it is true, then I'm voting for the Coney Island hot-dog eating contest being the twist(ed) one.

Also, I have only been tagged with one meme before, and am now all atwitter. Whatever shall I reveal?

Aren't you impressed by how well I am managing my PATHOLOGICAL JEALOUSY about your SE Asia trip!??!?!

Apr 19, 2006

It's either 4 or 6 that is the twist. All the others are too detailed to be untrue. I hope for you that 6 is true. Traveling around SE Asia for months on end sounds so much better than eating hot dogs and being beaten by someone who cannot even pronounce her own name!

Irony Queen
Apr 19, 2006

OMG between you and Amalah, the Suspense to Know More Details About Strangers' Lives Than I'm Really Entitled To is KILLING ME!!!!!!!!!!

(ahem. *composes herself.*)

Please, do confirm or deny the rumors of your impending departure. And don't leave out any of the juicy details. Please?

Apr 19, 2006

For the love of all things good and holy!

Alright, who wants to coordinate the search parties? I will contact the local authorities. Let's stay sharp people.

Where in the World is Holly Burns?

Apr 19, 2006

How long can this tease go on?

Apr 19, 2006

Just wanted to say that you have a great blog site. I enjoy reading it!

Apr 19, 2006

I am delightfully glutted having just spent the last hour catching up on your blog (2 weeks away traipsing around the globe meant I had about 8 to read in a row).

My first thoughts here were that the hotdog thing was bogus....and then that the camping in the desert eating roast turkey was a bit of a turkey. But your sister would know that one was a lie and she didn't mention it. SO I am back to the hotdog thing. Although I don't remember seeing a mole in previous photos...but the story about the acne is so good I can't allow it to be a lie.

Er, yeah, so that was a bit involved. Sorry I'll blame the jet lag.

If number 6 is true (can it be with Sean about to launch his new business, interning and all that jazz?) may as well pop over to New Zealand while you're in the area and meet up with me in Taupo. I'll consider it a date....

Apr 20, 2006

That acne thing happened to me once too. I went to my primary care doctor for my yearly physical so that I could play sports in school. I got my weight and blood pressure taken, and on my way out the door, the doctor said "would you like me to write you a prescription for that acne?" I was taken so off-guard, and then I was offended, like my acne was really THAT BAD?? (it was). I said no, because I was so surprised and offended, but I totally should have said yes. Now I'm on Rx meds and god, they are wonderful. Death to adult acne.

Nothing But Bonfires
Apr 20, 2006

But the worst part is, I didn't even HAVE acne! I swear. I asked the dermatologist the next time I saw him -- since the receptionist seemed to think I required an appointment ESPECIALLY FOR IT -- and he was like, "um, you don't have any acne."

I like to think that maybe I got that receptionist fired.