Sunday, March 18, 2007

Interview Memed

Eli from MultiMedium posted an opt-in interview meme. How it works is, you leave a comment and ask me to interview you, and I ask you five questions. You then post them and your answers on your blog, and away we go. So here are the five questions Eli asked me, in blue:

Interrobang (In)FAQ

1) Why Interrobang for a handle?

Ages ago, and by "ages," I mean about ten years ago now (woah), I got my own Slashdot account. Knowing Slashdot, I had to have a sufficiently geeky, gender-neutral handle. Since I'm not a coder (I'm a coder's symbiont), a lot of the usual Slashdotiana didn't apply to me. So I chose the name of an obscurely funky newfangled punctuation mark. The rest is history -- about ten years' worth.

2) Describe your dream vacation.

I'm currently avaricious to go to England and meet up (again) with someone special, but I'm also set on the idea of going to Eilat in Israel and staying at the Dan Eilat Hotel (I dig that swimming pool), hanging out with whichever of my friends wants to show up, and speaking some French, since I'm given to understand that many French-speaking people go to Eilat. Maybe I can pass myself off as a French Jew... (*snerk* With my Quebecoise accent?! Not bloody likely.) And yes, I'm precisely perverse enough to want to to go Israel and speak French. I'll probably speak some Hebrew too, but if I have to operate in a language other than English, French is a good safe fallback for me, especially for stuff like dealing with my massive, catastrophic food allergies.

3) Describe your dream job.

I'm pretty much doing it. I'm a consulting technical writer, and I currently work for a small software company, writing help files and doing a smidge of QA/User Acceptance Testing.

4) What is the biggest or best difference between Canada and the U.S. (aside from not having a homicidal maniac in charge)?

Don't be too sure Harper isn't a homicidal maniac; he probably just hides it better than Bush does. Anyway, I'd have to say the biggest single difference is our attitude towards government. Americans seem to have a sort of willful blindness against the actual nuts-and-bolts functioning of government, insisting that the government doesn't actually do anything for anyone (many of them seem to have arrived at this belief because they think the government passes bad laws, despite legislation and administration being two almost completely separate functions of government, often handled by completely different types of government, that is, municipal or state versus federal, for instance). Canadians, on the other hand, not only believe that the government does things (and beneficial things at that), but expects the government to fix things that go wrong at a societal level.

One can see the reflections of this differing set of beliefs in every aspect of society, from the presence or absence of sidewalks, land allocation at the municipal level, public transit, and so on, to healthcare and social assistance programmes, to the differing levels of public participation (voter turnout).

5) What is your favorite material possession?

Definitely my Toshiba Tecra 9100 laptop, Isaac, on which I am writing this. (All my computers have names; we're heavily networked here Chez Geek.)

Thanks very much to Eli for interviewing me.

Note: Edited to delink the photograph of the Eilat Dan hotel, on the grounds that I was generating traffic static.


Anonymous Eli said...

All my computers have names; we're heavily networked here Chez Geek.

Oh dear.

On the other hand, I *did* name my two biggest hard drive partitions after an obscure Richard Kiel character named Chinook Pete...

5:09 PM  
Blogger Interrobang said...

It gets worse: My computers are all named after speculative fiction authors. I have Stephen [King], my desktop machine, since he's middle-aged but still robust, and the biggest; Harlan [Ellison], my cranky old Linux box (always a bit out of the mainstream), and Isaac [Bashevis Singer -- fooled you, bet you thought I was gonna say "Asimov," didn't you?!], my laptop, who is the most elegant. I'm hypothetically supposed to be getting an old server from work, and I think I'm going to call it "DelRay."

6:34 PM  
Anonymous Eli said...

I have Stephen [King], my desktop machine, since he's middle-aged but still robust,

So what happens if you get a new machine and name it after some young author, and the PC gets old long before the author does?

8:59 PM  
Blogger Interrobang said...

I'm not likely to name machines after young authors, first of all, and secondly, I'll burn that bridge when I come to it. I think if I took a machine out of commission, I'd probably just name its replacement the same thing.

10:26 PM  
Blogger Anne Johnson said...

I used to work for a series called Contemporary Authors, where we did encyclopedia entries on writers. When we updated or completed the entries, we would send them to the authors for review, hoping to hear back from them with additional information, etc.

One of my buddies did Harlan Ellison. Apparently Ellison didn't like what my buddy wrote, because Ellison called our office and called my buddy a "bug fucker."

Ever after that, whenever my buddy's birthday came around, I'd leave a toy insect on his desk and write, "Happy birthday from Harlan Ellison."

If your computer was that cranky, no wonder you got new ones!

4:35 PM  
Blogger Interrobang said...

It's funny, because when I had a back-and-forth with Ellison about ten years ago now or so, he was really...I won't say nice, exactly, but he was definitely fair, and certainly not cranky. He came off as highly opinionated, but I'm not going to throw stones at people for being highly opinionated. (BWA-ha-ha-ha!!) On the other hand, he also came off as desperately wanting to do the right thing.

If he called me a "bug fucker," I'd probably call him something right back, preferably equally as creative, and then laugh. Then if he sent me toy bugs, I'd make a display case for them and send him photographs. I'd also include a note telling him that when he died, I planned to auction them off to his fans.

Everything I know about being evil I learnt from Harlan Ellison, why d'you ask? *evilgrin*

4:16 AM  
Blogger Interrobang said...

Excuse me, I misread your comments. I do know he has a history of mailing people slightly weird things, as in the time that he sent the Comptroller of a publishing house a whole bunch of bricks. That was the stunt that culminated in the dead gopher and the recipe for dead gopher stew.

I should know better than to comment at this hour of the night.

The original "Harlan" computer was significantly less cranky than his second incarnation, which was a piece of junk. If I ever find the guy who put it together for me (and took $750 from my boss to do it) and used spare parts and crap he had sitting around, I'm going to smack his pasty overstuffed face.

The new Harlan uses the case from the old original Harlan (which was the first computer I ever bought, and had a good case) and some of the innards, but also some of the innards from the second Harlan (the POS one). So you could argue that this one is already Harlan III. In any case, he's a genuine Frankenbox. Computers are weird like that, though.

On the other hand, Isaac is just elegant and I love him to pieces (probably literally, considering that I've had to have his keyboard and CD-R drive replaced already, and I've only had him for about three years).

4:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


4:03 AM  

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