Monday, November 21, 2005

Five Questions.

From the wondrous world of Kass Rachel comes the popular LiveJournal "five questions" meme. Basically, someone asks you five interview-type questions, which you then answer in your blog. And, if anyone wants you to ask them five questions, they say so in the comments section. Got it? Good. Here we go...

1) What's fun about newspaper work?

It's hard to narrow it down to just one thing. There's the adrenaline rush of being in a newsroom on deadline, with a group of editors working together to get everything put to bed. There's the satisfaction of seeing your work published the next day (or posted online, what with this being the 21st century and all) and seeing the public's reaction. There's the geeky fun I have sitting in front of a computer and doing a page design, or worrying about textflow, or doing a thousand other nitpicky little things. There's the gossipy, catty fun of learning some big news before everyone else and then being the one to tell the world about it. (Which is a very powerful motivator to those who go into the journalism profession. Don't let them fool you with their explanations of the noble purposes of the press in a free society; we're just a bunch of folks who like to swap gossip over the back fence.) There's the camaraderie of the newsroom, which can be a rollicking fun place, especially when the deadline pressure builds. Plus, with my position having such a tutoring/mentoring component to it, there's the satisfaction of watching the students learn new skills and spread their wings.

2) If you could spend time inside any book or movie universe, which one would you choose and why?

Ah, yes. The all important fandom question. Somehow, I knew you'd get around to asking that. ;-)

I suppose it would be the X-Men universe, which comes from my past as a comics junkie. But only if I could have mutant powers of my own, too.

If not that, then it would probably be the bizarre non sequitur world of Coleman Francis. (Here is poorly-designed tribute page, which really gives the man more artistic credit than he deserves.) The only problem is that I don't like coffee. However, I am caught in the wheels of progress.

3) What has surprised you most about parenting so far?

Well, the stock answer to this question would involve the many hours of lost sleep, the sudden difficulty in keeping a clean house, or the new depths of joy and love you feel every time your children look up at you and simply smile. And all of that is very true. But what surprised me the most is not just how much pee and poop those little bodies can create, but also how heavy a full diaper really is. And, based on that, how hernia-inducing a full diaper pail can be.

4) What books were most formative for you, growing up?

For the sake of completeness, I'm going to use a fairly expansive definition of "growing up" here.

When I was preschool age, my parents didn't have much money to buy me a lot of books, so I had to make do with having the same ones read to me over and over. It was this repetition that helped me teach myself to read early on, and the book I remember most from that period is "Green Eggs and Ham."

Later on, there was this massive 500-page or so Marvel Comics activity book, which featured mazes, coloring pages, word games and other fun stuff based around their characters (circa late-'70s).

By junior high, it was Chris Claremont's stellar run of the X-Men.

Into high school and college, there was a very wide range of stuff, including "Wuthering Heights," "The Sound and the Fury," "Diane Arbus: A Biography" by Patricia Bosworth (along with Arbus' Aperture Monograph), "Fire in the Crucible" by John Briggs, Stephen Hawking's "A Brief History of Time," Shakespeare (especially "Hamlet," "Othello" and "Macbeth"), "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man," two George Orwell novels (the obligatory "1984" and the unheralded "A Clergyman's Daughter"), "Ball Four" by Jim Bouton, bits and pieces of Kierkegaard, Nietschze, Sartre and Camus, plus lots of others I'm forgetting to list right now.

But for all that, I still spent more time in front of the TV than with my nose buried in a book. Don't even get me started on the ways "The Gong Show" has influenced my life, and continues to do so.

5) What's your favorite food and why?

Another tough question, since I pretty much just eat to live, and not the other way around. A gourmet I am not, which is why my list of favorite foods would include pizza (especially with pepperoni and pineapple), candy corn, Hot Tamales, Flaming Hot Cheetos, maraschino cherries or most anything that makes my mouth burn. Outside the realm of junk food, though, my favorites are my grandmother's Fabulous Potatoes (no, she didn't name the recipe that, but yes, they are fabulous), for their prominent part of our family traditions, and Mary Ann's pork chops, for her unique seasoning which produces what I like to call "the crunchy bits."

And with that, I'll shut up now.

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