Facts about your family:
I have a mom and a dad. (It comes as a huge shock to some people who think I’m so great as to be celestial in nature, but, I assure you, I’m an ordinary human.) I have an older sister who teaches at an elementary school, a younger sister who’s in seventh grade, a little brother who died of cystic fibrosis when he was 3 and I was 5, and a 2-year-old brother.
Why did I choose to attend The University of Texas at Austin?
It’s better than all the other universities. I guess I should probably be more specific. The opportunities at a big university like UT are far more abundant than at a smaller one. If I decide to change majors (not likely, I’m a huge English nerd and it’s my love and my life), I can do that with no trouble. I can take the most obscure and awesome classes (The Search for Extraterrestrial Life, Invented Languages, Fencing. Cool.), have free membership to a great gym (I’ve been meaning to go there one of these days, I swear I will). I meet crazy new people every day at UT (including Russian grad students from Moscow University named Andrey who have awesome accents and play the piano really well). It’s obscene how easy it is to meet new people here. Everyone is friendly beyond reason. The campus is beautiful, and I often find myself stopping while walking between classes just to watch the squirrels. The fact that it is in the heart of Austin (arguably the greatest and most interesting city ever built. Rome? Whatever.) definitely does not dampen the experience.
What do you want to do when you graduate from the university?
I intend to teach high school English and write books (of the fiction variety) that I will hopefully get published. I’ll probably get my master’s degree at some point, but not immediately after graduating.
If you had to choose one thing about yourself to share with the university’s Web audience, what would it be?
I may seem arrogant and pretentious and what have you, and I’d be lying if I said those words didn’t accurately describe me, but I’m soft at heart. I even complimented someone besides myself once, true story.
Who are your heroes?
Jimmy Bowling, Jennifer Isgitt and Winn Skinner. You may be wondering who these people are, and rightfully so. Allow me to explain. They’re teachers, and yes, I know, at this point I can physically hear groans emanating from my monitor. Ryan is so lame, that’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. Be quiet you, it’s the truth. As long as teachers like them exist, I refuse to believe America’s education system is in as bad of shape as most tend to believe. They are inspiring, brilliant, their empathy with their students is uncanny to the point of being frightening, and most of all, they refused to put up with my idiocy. I’m sure they refused to put up with other people’s antics as well, but I’m too busy wrapped up in my own little world to notice things like that. There’s nothing so kind and merciful a teacher can do as pointing out that you’re making yourself look stupid.
If you could travel to one spot anywhere in the world, where would you want to visit?
It’d be pretty hard to pick between England and Australia, I’m a sucker for accents, but I’d probably settle on Australia because the climate is superb and, from what I understand, the women are beautiful.
What are your current favorite books? What books would you recommend to someone you just met?
As far as literature goes, my favorite book is definitely “To Kill a Mockingbird,” just because the characters, namely Atticus, are so well-crafted. For fun I highly recommend “The Dark Tower” series by Stephen King. It’s seven books long and by the end the books are more or less the size of the Bible, but every page is freaking epic. I fancy myself a writer, not a professional by any means, but a writer nonetheless. When I even think about coming up with any kind of legitimate ending to a series that ridiculously long, I cringe. But Stephen King crafted, in my opinion, the best ending to any series of books ever written. If you’re not into reading 4,500 or so pages of sheer awesome (which is understandable I suppose), “Fade” by Kyle Mills is amazing. Despite what he may say on his Web site about how great Tom Clancy is, Kyle Mills makes him and every other suspense author out there look like a child with “Fade.”
What pushes your buttons? What are your pet peeves?
People who write “your” instead of “you’re.” I’m an English major, I’m obligated to be annoyed by things like that. Other than that, acronyms and shortcuts in general vex me to no end. “I think u r totly kewl n stuff man, lets go 2 c a show sumtym k?” When I see things like that, I honestly consider gouging out my own eyes, or eviscerating myself. Then I realize it would be the height of selfishness for me to deprive the world of someone so great as myself.
What are your favorite Web sites? Why?
Penny Arcade is a favorite of mine because I’m a nerd who likes video games and finds comics about them to be hilarious. Facebook is a given. I’m a little ashamed to find joy in something the vulgar masses do, too, but even my English teacher was pressuring me to get one, and I must admit, I probably spend more time on Facebook than I do studying. YTMND and The Best Page in the Universe have some comedy gold as long as you aren’t offended very easily. There are a ton more I could list, but I think that about covers the bare necessities.
What are your favorite foods?
Cheesecake and blueberries are my all-time favorites. Blueberry cheesecake is the pinnacle of the cooking craft in my opinion. I eat Lucky Charms when I want to balance out my diet with some whole grain. Ravioli, fajitas and Pollo de Castilian are also rather good. In case you’re wondering what Pollo de Castilian is, it’s something I had never experienced or even thought of before I came to college. It’s basically a chicken breast covered in some kind of sauce, some spices or whatever, and (most important) bacon. Bacon + x = x to the power of awesome. It’s a mathematical formula I came up with myself.
What music are you listening to?
My music tastes are pretty random, but if you ask my roommate he’ll tell you all I listen to is matchbox twenty because out of all the songs on my play list the two matchbox twenty songs I have always seem to play. Stop giving me grief. I like it, OK! To name a few other things I like: most of The Beatles’ music, The Who, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Queen, Johnny Cash, The Presidents of the United States of America, Stephen Lynch, Marvin Gaye, Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, Kansas, The White Stripes, old Green Day, Breaking Benjamin and Sublime.
What are your all-time favorite movies? Why?
“Gladiator” because it manages to have totally awesome fight scenes with blood and gore and still have a message behind it (not that I know what that was, but it sure seemed like it), “Pirates of the Caribbean” (I love me some Johnny), “Aladdin” (You can take me to a whole new world any day, Aladdin), and “Fox and the Hound.” (So what if I cry at the end? Why can’t they just be friends?)
Who are your favorite artists?
Honestly, I’m not all that big into art. I’ve never really been a very visual person. I just really love words. If you consider poetry a form of art (which I do) then I really enjoy Frank O’Hara, Taylor Mali and Robert Frost.
What are your favorite academic subjects? What are you interested in studying in the future?
Well, I’m an English major soÖEnglish. I’m not sure if you can separate English and creative writing, but I’m also really interested in that. I find linguistics pretty fascinating. Planning and/or thinking about the future is not one of my strong points, so I can’t go into more detail than that.
What’s your favorite spot on campus?
I really like the South Mall because it’s got lots of trees and is an awesome place to just hang out. I guess you could study there, too, but, seriously, who does that? And yes, that was a rhetorical question, so don’t tell me “Wait, Ryan, I study there all the time!” I don’t want to hear about how I’m lazy and everyone but me studies a lot, just let me pretend. A lesser known spot I really like is the grassy hill kind of by the football stadium. I’ve only been there once, but it was really fun and I’ll probably go back soon. Basically, you just roll down the hill over and over until you vomit. It’s awesome.
Where are your favorite places to go in Austin? What are your favorite things to do in Austin?
A surprisingly cheap and endlessly entertaining thing to do is go to Pita Pit on the drag and wave at people from the window as they walk by. Sometimes people will give you funny looks, sometimes they smile and wave back, and sometimes you get lucky and they look behind themselves because they think you’re waving at someone else and it’s hilarious. Sometimes a random person will even come in and talk to you for a while, and you usually see a few people you know, too. There are also always concerts and comedy shows going on. I went to a book signing to get my copy of “The Alphabet of Manliness” at the beginning of the year, and I saw Michael Ian Black at an excellent comedy show on Sixth Street.
What are your favorite free-time activities?
Besides waving at people from the Pita Pit window and rolling down hills, I read, play video games, watch movies, do homework and think about going to the gym until I decide to do it later. I also get a good deal of napping done. I play Apples to Apples with my friends .(It’s probably the best game ever created. Anything that can describe Rosa Parks as delicious or Helen Keller as touchy-feely is OK in my book).
Other interesting facts about you:
I’m in the process of writing a book, and no I won’t tell you what it’s about. Maybe it’s not “about” anything. Man, that question is irritating. I should’ve put it in my pet peeves. Anyway, to fill in any gaps I may have missed or that you didn’t catch on to: I’m ridiculously intelligent, ruggedly good-looking, charismatic, witty, athletic and generally amazing. Out of all my outstanding traits, however, the one that describes me the best is humble.