Interview Meme

Gacked from Greg:

If you want to be interviewed:
1. Leave me a comment to that effect.
2. I respond by asking you five personal questions.
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

And Greg’s questions to me:

1. Have you taken legal means to be just “JC,” or do you rely on people respecting your privacy about it?

This depends on your definition of legal means. I guess the answer is definitely yes at this point. I got married. πŸ™‚ A name change comes free of charge with a marriage. πŸ™‚ However, if you’d asked me a year ago, it’d have been more questionable. I never got a court order, and my birth certificate still shows (showed?) my birth name. A court order often also allows you to request a modified birth certificate, and that’s really what most people consider a legal name change. That’s not what I did. I did another process. I had originally investigated and planned for the court order method. I waited until 2000 (instead of late ’96 when I turned 18) because a court order requires a court visit, which is easiest when you aren’t out of state at college most of the year. Also, the court process in most states requires a significant amount of in-state paperwork first. For example, in Illinois, you have to run an ad in a local newspaper for six weeks that declares your intent to change your name. You also have to file some paperwork before and after the ad is run. I’ll also say that the process varies by state, and it’s incredibly difficult to do in South Carolina, medium difficulty in Illinois, and not at all difficult in California. Given this, I also wanted to hold off given that it was likely I’d be moving to an easier state than SC after college. However, once I did the research again in 2000, I found out that you can change your name to an initialization or an accepted shortened form (e.g., Billy instead of William) with the Social Security office without going through the typical court order process for a name change. All you have to do is offer up an identity document showing the old name (such as your birth certificate) and an identity document showing your new name. Normally, the latter is hard to get until you either get a court order or have already gotten the Social Security change, but in Illinois, the DMV will print just about any name you want on your driver’s license. πŸ™‚ Yay for IL!

2. How was your adjustment moving from SC and New Orleans to Illinois?

It was actually pretty much fine. Thanks to the internet, I met people pretty easily. That’s how I found the Illinois Board Stiffs, aka the Thursday night gaming group at the Plus. I also joined Mensa not long after moving to IL, which helped me meet people…and got me started doing rallies, which helped me meet more people (including my husband eventually). Weather-wise, I was fortunate enough to end up in a job that allowed me to work from home as much as I needed to during that first year. The first few snowy days, I stayed home. I got forced to drive in the snow on a day that it snowed while I was at work; I hadn’t realized how stupid it was to stay at the office when many others were leaving at midday to avoid driving in the weather. My normal 15 minute commute took an hour, but it was also extremely fun and rewarding. After that, I didn’t fear the little snows, and I felt like a pro at predicting the right time to leave to avoid the major snows. I also gradually established a full winter wardrobe and subsequently discovered that I love coats and sweaters!

3. Because it applies so well, I’m going to steal wholesale Mark’s question to me: What are the most and least positive aspects of your current parental setup?

The most positive aspect is that I don’t have to worry about any of my parents living alone. Especially as I get older, I’m very very happy that they have each other still. The least positive aspect is that I worry about their individual and collective happiness. That may seem in contrast with the previous statement, but it’s not. It’s easy to sacrifice personal happiness for safety, security, or any one of a myriad of things, and it’s hard for me to tell from the outside (and also as The Kid) whether there’s true happiness on all fronts. I can’t imagine the situation would persist if there weren’t. Nonetheless, I’m not sure that I, for my own selfish reasons, would change things if I could (see first statement of this paragraph).

The medium positive aspect, and quite honestly the most frequently occurring aspect, is having to explain the situation to others and dealing with the subsequent reactions (which have been sometimes positive and sometimes negative). I don’t really care if people disapprove, but it’s just so damn hard to explain, and I also get really sick of people giving me incredulous looks and/or acting like I just said my parents live in a tree and speak the language of squirrels. It also sucks that it’s very hard to find people to talk to when I am having my own personal emotional troubles over it. It’s so unusual that there’s not a support group for it, and quite frankly, even people who are accepting don’t really understand, and I end up spending a fair amount of time just explaining…to the point that I just don’t bother.

4. What would you have done if engineering wasn’t your thing?

Easy…law school. I’ve been “almost there” so many times anyways, and believe me, if I was having trouble finding work or I was seeing myself have problems with my current job, I’d be in law school in a heartbeat. I wouldn’t mind making a career out of writing or editing either, but I like money, and writing/editing isn’t a solid moneymaker for most. I loved every single one of my English Dept. classes in college. I took so many elective English courses that I was almost a double major; I just refused to take the 100-level boring basic courses that would have finished me out. Instead, I took 400 and 600 level courses on fun topics like Women’s Literature through the 18th Century, a whole semester on Milton, 3 semesters of Shakespeare, Modern Irish Literature…it was awesome. Those classes were my refuge after a long day of programming and number crunching in my core curriculum, and I got straight A’s in them, too.

5. You and Scott seem to be very much into each others’ hobbies. What does he like that you have no interest in, and vice versa? (skip the vice-versa bit if you’d rather not draw him into it; i’m not interviewing him, after all…)

He likes politics. During the election, he wouldn’t let me change the TV off of CNN. During Katrina and the aftermath, it was CNN all the time. If there’s any major political event, the TV is on CNN. Drives me nuts. I have a much more peripheral interest in that sort of thing. I’m far more into blogging and writing than he is, as is made very obvious when you look at his LJ. πŸ™‚ There’s also degrees of shared interest. For example, he’s into the advantage gambling to the point where I consider it his second job. I’m into it more for fun that happens to be profitable, or simply as a thing to do with him. I had a phase where I was equally into it, but that has dissipated. I do miss video poker though. It was something you could get lost in, like a meditation. I like going to see movies on opening weekend; he prefers renting DVDs. I read much more voraciously than he does. I love to shop, and he doesn’t…but that works out well for us because I shop for him, which relieves me from feeling shopping-guilt and relieves him from the burden of shopping.

There’s also things where we may share an interest for awhile and then one or both of us fade away from it. Rallying and Orienteering come to mind. It is true that if one of us stops doing something, the other generally follows or at least becomes far less active in whatever the thing is. Scott stopped doing orienteering after I lost interest in it, and I stopped doing rallying after Scott lost interest in it.