Gwnewch y pethau bychain

The first five interviews…

Wow. Still working through all the questions (and sending out questions to people who asked for them). Here’s the first half of various people’s interviews with me

from batyatoon:

1. Why is your LJname “autographed cat”?

I get asked that a lot, and should probably put this story on my webpage. I was at a Flash Girls concert several years ago, and during a re-tuning break, Lorraine Garland mentioned that they were going to pass a hat around after the show, because if they couldn’t raise enough money to pay for their trip home, they’d have to sell their cats. Everyone went “Awwwww.” Emma Bull looked up from her retuning and said “Oh, stop. It’s not like anyone would WANT them.” I replied “Well, maybe if you autographed them.” Much laughter. Later, while exchanging e-mail with Lorraine, I mentioned this conversation and she said “Oh, I remember you! You’re the autographed cat guy”. Seemed as good a nickname as any, and it’s always available when I need a screen name. 🙂

2. What on earth went through your mind the first time I (or whoever it was first) refused to hug you for religious reasons?

The time I remember distinctly wasn’t really the first time, but it was the first time I *forgot*, at OVFF 2001. There was this huge cluster of people who’d just arrived and hugs were being exchanged. I turned and saw you and before I could mentally process “Batya — don’t hug”, I reached out invitingly and you recoiled with a look of actual terror. As you might imagine, this is not the reaction I hope to provoke in a pretty girl upon encountering her. 🙂

I actually do try to keep a mental database of particular friend’s preferences, especially those that sharply differ from my default expectations. So I have it on mental file that you aren’t to be hugged by me, maedbh7 doesn’t particularly like backrubs, telynor doesn’t like chocolate, and filker0 can’t eat anything with fungus or mold. This way I don’t have to constantly be told over and over again.

3. If you could have one super power, what would it be?

I was always enamoured of cosmic-y powers like Captain Marvel’s cosmic awareness. If limited to more mundane powers, the ability of unassisted flight would be cool (especially if it came with the stamina to, say, cross the ocean).

Thinking on it, though, the ability to instantly teleport, at will, to any point in the universe, and take anyone or anything I’m touching with me. *That’s* the power I want. Because almost everyone I love lives too darn far away!

4. Chocolate: milk, dark, white, any of the above, or none of the above?

All chocolate is a goodness. I generally like either dark chocolate, or the really super rich milk chocolate.

5. What book did you last read, and what did you think of it? (Rereading counts.)

The last book I read was Terry Pratchett’s “Witches Abroad”. It was a good solid Discworld book, and a logical follower to “Wyrd Sisters”, which was one of my favourite of the Witch books and I need to reacquire and reread.

The book I read just before that, though, was David Brin’s “Kiln People”, and let me tell you, *that* was one king hell of a read. I don’t recall the last time I was so completely sucked into a science fiction idea and just captivated by all the implications!

from filkerdave:

1) What is your dream guitar?

A couple of years ago, I stopped into a local music shop for a setup job on Fenris, my 12-string Fender acoustic. While the tech was working, I wandered through the store, picking up various interesting looking instruments and playing around with them. And on that day, I fell in love with a Morgan 12-string jumbo. It had the sweetest sound I’d ever heard, and a tactile response that has only been surpassed by *one* guitar I’ve ever played (filker0‘s Adamas 12-string Succubus). So yeah, I want one, preferably with an active pickup installed.

2) What song that you can’t play at all do you most want to be able to play?

There’s a lot of songs that I can’t play, or can’t play as well as I like, just because they require skills I simple haven’t taken time to develop.

Having said that, the song I’d most like to be able to play, and will learn to one day, dammit, is “Space” by Ben Wakeman.

3) What’s the most important song to you today? This should be one that speaks most to you. You needn’t share why if you don’t want to.

Tough one. A lot of songs for me are caught up in moments. Gwen Knighton’s “Ordinary Love” is a song that has become, more than anything, kitanzi and my “our song”, and I’ll forever associate it with the time that Three Weird Sisters played it, especially for us, during their OVFF concert on our first anniversary.

Most important songs to me that I’ve written myself would be “Keep You Closer” and “Love May Yet Survive This Fall”, even if the latter isn’t finished yet.

4) What was the most important song to you 10 years ago? Same conditions as above.

That was another life, and another world, and another person.

I know that sounds like a cop-out, but it really is true. I just went and looked up what was on the radio in 1992 and 1993, and I can vividly remember a lot of those songs, but I just cannot seem to access the emotional content of my brain at that time. A couple years past that time, I might have picked Pink Floyd’s “Time” as being particularly appropriate, but I’m not sure I was quite that far down yet.

5) Can you think of any crime serious enough that you would deny someone music as a punishment? (Not necessarily permanently, but, say, for 1 year? 2?

Not really. Considering that music is, at many times, a nearly spiritual thing for me, I would consider the deprivation of music cruel and unusual punishment.

For that matter, as a musician, the question is sort of nonsensical. You can take away all my instruments and all my albums, and you still haven’t taken music away from me. As long as I’m alive and conscious and capable of thought and voice, I have music with me always.

from cadhla:

1. How has filk changed your life?

In the most positive and direct way, it connected me to a vast network of wonderful people that I now consider my family. If it wasn’t for the filk community, it’s highly unlikely that I would have met and gotten together with my lifepartner, and I wouldn’t have many of the happy memories that I do of the last few years.

2. If you had to give up books or music, which would it be?

Oh, ouch. Both are such an integral part of my being, I don’t think I can imagine what it would mean to be without either.

3. What do you want people to know about you?

I have a very dry and often subtle sense of humor. Sometimes I say things that are not intended to be taken at face value.

4. Do you believe in true love?

Absolutely. More to the point, I believe in love. I believe that love is the ultimate unlimited resource. I believe that the love we give returns to us amplified. I believe that nothing is more important in our life than love. I believe that love sustains us through our darkest nights and our greatest challenges.

In the end, I don’t just believe that love is the most important thing. Love is the only thing that matters.

5. Puppies, pie or puppy-pie?

Silly puppy! *hug* Ok lady, I love you, bye-bye!

from tigerbright:

1. In your life, have you ever gotten the monkey’s paw? What did you do with it?

I keep wanting to be a smartass and answer this by saying “Yes, when I was handed a W.W. Jacobs collection. I read it.”

To be honest, I can’t think of anything that qualifies, really.

2. How have you made a silk purse out of a sow’s ear?

I’m relentlessly optomistic, and forever making the best of things. My ex used to accuse me of having unrealistic opinions of the world because I never thought it was nearly as horrible as she did, but honestly, we have the power to shape the world around us. We can’t necessarily change the objective facts of the matter, but we have total control over how we react to it and deal with it. We choose to become angry at it or to be depressed about it or to be happy or not. It’s all in our power.

There’s a quote in my quotes file on the subject, from the late comedian Bill Hicks:

“The world is like a ride in an amusement park. And when you choose to go on
it, you think that it’s real because that’s how powerful our minds can be. It
goes up and down and round and round. It has many thrills and chills and is very
brightly coloured, and it’s fun. For a while. Some people have been on the
ride for a long time and begin to question: Is this real or is this just a
ride? And others have remembered and they come back to us and say ‘Hey, don’t
ever be afraid, because…It’s just a ride’. We can change it anytime we want
to. No effort, just a choice. No job, no money, no savings, just a choice
right now. Between Fear and Love. It’s just a ride folks….”
–Bill Hicks

3. Have you ever had to make Hobson’s Choice, and how did it turn out?

The thing offered, or nothing at all. In one sense, we do this every day, don’t we? I’m trying to think of a time when such a choice was presented to me where it was actually significant, but nothing’s quite coming to mind.

4. What is your personal brass ring?

Comfortable stability, in all senses. Financially, emotionally, physically.

from fleetfootmike:

1) Do you think the existence of a filk IRC channel creates a clique of the people who are willing to use it? [ 😉 ]

In the sense that it’s a self selecting group of people united by common interests, yes. But I think that when most people say clique, they’re always talking about Someone Else, Who Won’t Let ME Join.

Since #filkhaven actively encourages everyone to join in the fun, I don’t think it has the kind of exclusivity that most people are expecting when they say the word “clique”. I know some people have had different
experiences, and I’m sorry for that, but we strive to be as open as we can be.

2) What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received about your music?
Perhaps the *best* piece of advice was from Bill Sutton, when he said “I think you should actually play that thing”, and got me over my anxiety of actually playing in front of other people for the first time.

Generally, it was advice I got from several other people who basically convinced me that it was more important to try and express whatever it
was in the song that made it speak to me than to try and make it note perfect. I don’t think I’ll ever be a *great* musician, but if I can communicate with music the feelings in the song that I feel when I hear and play it, then that’s not a bad thing.

3) When did you first realise you should have been born English?

Oh, since I was very young. I’ve always been fascinated with English history and culture. It probably comes from watching far too much Doctor Who at an early age. 🙂

I’m still tempted at times to look into the logistics of actually moving over there. Help me find a job if I do? *G*

4) If you could go back in time ten years, what one piece of advice would you give your younger self?

“It isn’t going to get any better. Cut your losses.”

Of course, saying that, I realize that if I hadn’t gone through the last ten years, I wouldn’t be the person I am now, and I might not be connected to the people that I am now. And that would be a shame.

5) What one piece of software do you think would most improve Linux as a desktop system for you?

Hrm. A year ago, I’d have said “A decent X-windows Email client”, but Evolution is actually meeting my needs on that lately. I wouldn’t mind having a proper multi-chat program (such as Trillian on Windows systems).

All in all, I’m pretty happy with linux as a desktop system, but then I’ve been using unix systems for 15 years.

from the_magician:

1. They’ve made a Broadway musical of your life (so far!) and they’ve invited you to sing the big number at the end of the first act. What’s it called, and can you quote some of the lyrics?

Well, let’s see. Most musicals have two acts. The first act should end at a pivotal moment, when the hero (me) realizes that the situation he is in is probably unresolvable (his relationship) and is contemplating how things got so bad and what is probably going to happen soon. The song is titled “Staring Into Space”:

“And I’ve known for a while it’s not a question of if
It’s only a question of when
And I think it’s a shame that somebody must lose
For someone else to win
Even when you look at me, you never see my face
And I don’t ever look at you, I’m staring into space”

2. They realise they’ve made a mistake cancelling Buffy, but they need one *really good* storyline to bring it back for an extra season. You have to come up with that storyline. (remember we haven’t seen the last episode over here yet, so try not to spoil if possible!)

Well, the problem there is that as much as I loved Buffy, I think it WAS the right thing to do to end it, and I liked the ending they wrote (although I thought the season meandered a bit getting there). The **mistake** was in cancelling Firefly (goes into sputtering fits) Sorry about that, I guess i’m not over it still.

3. What one change would you make to Georgia in general, or to where you are in particular to make it better?

I’d probably make it not quiet so hot in the summer and a bit colder in the winters. I don’t want feet and feet of snow, but I’d like to have one or two really proper snowfalls every year.

4. 5 points more IQ, 20lbs less weight, 1″ wherever you think it matters <grin!>, 10k dollars, Pentium 5 5Ghz PC (or equivalent mac), lifetime free 1Mb ISP access, 50k donation to your local hospital. Pick *two* and explain why.

If that 1MB ISP access includes a small subnet of static IPs, then I’d take that and the 10k dollars. The 10K dollars would make a nice start on my savings goals, and the ISP line would let me locally host all the online projects that I’m involved with.

5. At various points in your life you probably had dreams of doing some particular job (other than the one you were doing then), such as a comic artist or full time musician or architect or spaceman or priest or working backstage at the Moulin Rouge … tell us about some of those “dream” jobs and whether you think you’d have been happy if any of those dreams had come true.

When I was a kid, I dreamed of being either a full time musician or an actor. The only thing stopping me from the first was any real sense of musical talent (it wasn’t until I was 28 and had come close to dying once that I realized that if I wanted to actually play music, I should stop waiting for someday and DO it.) I spent five years doing amateur theatre as a teenager, but I didn’t have the drive to starve for it that would have been required to actually pursue it.

If those dreams had come true, yeah, i think I would have a chance at being happy. As good a a chance as anyone gets, really.


The Shower Interview meme


The Autographed Cat Interviews, Part Two


  1. re: multi msg program, there is one out there for linux that works, uses it on his machine….

  2. You decide to come and live over here and I’ll spend *days* helping you find a job (and make sure it is near Ipswich).

  3. Twins separated at birth??

    It’s funny how similar we are in basic outlook! You can probably tell from the duo name Ed and I use “Hopeful Romantics” that I’m definitely an optimist. Your comments about ‘if you hadn’t lived through it you wouldn’t be the person you are right now’ also sounds like something I’ve said a lot. Hmmm -- if and I are twins separated at birth maybe you and I are too!? Wow. Let’s see -- this could get complicated -- Judith Hayman is my identical cousin…

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