I am a bit late (surprise!) but here are my answers to another round of Blogger Insider interview questions. This session had me paired with Kristina Pardue of pardueduran.com. Her answers to my questions are here.
- You have a lot of things going on with your site — what section of it do you focus on the most? What brings you the most feedback?
My main page gets the most attention really. That’s where I post most of my thoughts. The more specific sub-pages tend to be read less frequently and it’s less often that I have something that falls so obviously into one of the categories – Hemingway, Programming / Code, Sports – that I don’t just post it to my main page. I get the most feedback from my main page, too. The Hemingway site gets the most traffic, but readers hardly ever comment on the essays there.
- You set up a site for your mother … does she really think you are a geek like she says?
No, she doesn’t think I’m a geek. My mom loves me to death and I love her. Most of the ‘web’ work that I do seems to be sort of overwhelming to her. I don’t think she really understands my ‘blog’. I know that she reads it every now and then, but, surprisingly, she is not a frequent visitor. Mom likes to talk to me on the phone!
- Does your mother live near you? What about other family members? Do any other family members blog, or engage in web-based activities? What do they think of your work?
My mom and my little sister live in Gainesville, Florida. My grandmother, uncle and aunt and their children live in Port Orange, Florida. My dad and half-sister live in Rhode Island. My half-brother lives in Massachusetts. My other grandmother lives in Boston. I have quite a few other family members spread across the country, but I’m the only one in California. (Well, that’s not quite true. I have a grandfather in Chula Vista, CA, but we hardly ever communicate.) My dad gets very geeky every now and again and will go into a flurry of commenting on my blog. I created a blog for him, but he posts as frequently there as my mom does to her blog (read: never!). He’s a salesman but has somehow morphed into “the database guy” at his company. I think he kind of considers computers to be really, really complicated typewriters, though. He’s gotten pretty handy with them, but I don’t think he really likes them. All of my family thinks that there is some sort of great future in computers and technology, and that somehow I’m involved with that bright future, but I don’t think any of them really “get” what I do. It’s okay, though. They love me.
- What is your day-job? (you write software? What does that mean? What kind…? etc.)
Right now I’m actually unemployed. Sort of. I do some consulting. I’m sort of a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to computers. I can do anything from database design and maintenance to creating enterprise-level desktop applications. I consider myself a web guy, but I usually end up helping people upsize legacy apps to newer back ends.
- What do you like about Hemingway’s writing? Who are your other favorite authors?
Hemingway was a brilliant author because he said so much while writing so little. He was able to convey in just a few words what most writers waste pages explaining. One of my favorite Hemingway lines is, “The war seemed as far away as the football games of someone else’s college.” I liked that he wrote concisely and could still create vivid images. My other favorite authors are Robert B. Parker (the detective / mystery writer) and P.J. O’Rourke. I was a Stephen King fan many years ago, but I sort of stopped reading him at some point. And I love Douglas Adams.
- If Hemingway and Bukowski were both in a brawl, who would win? (Both in their prime, and in a neutral setting–say, Houston or Kansas City.)
I’m sorry to say that I don’t know who Bukowski is. I should research right now and learn, but … He would probably win. I don’t think Hemingway was ever a very good pugilist. I could be wrong, of course. I often am.
- Who is your favorite painter, paintings, genre…?
That’s an interesting question. I suppose it says more that I can’t even begin to form an opinion on painters enough to rank any as favorites. I really like Monet and van Gogh, but I suppose those are ‘stock’ painters that anyone could say they like. I’ve never been one to really look at a painting and admire it beyond, “Hey, that’s cool.” I certainly appreciate beauty and art, but being such a dismal failure at creativity myself I tend to drown in words and numbers as a way to conceal my insecurity. Maybe.
- Name one film or play that best sums up life.
Oof. That’s a real tough one. I don’t know that I could do that. I would say Raiders of the Lost Ark, but really it’s just the one scene … Indy is getting ready to go after the Ark and Marcus is telling him to be careful because of its potential theological power. Indy says, “I don’t believe in magic, a lotta superstitious hocus-pocus. I’m talkin’ about the archaeological find of the century and you’re talkin’ about the boogeyman. Besides: You know I’m always prepared.” (Or something very similar to that.) There’s something in there about respect for the unknown and, for lack of a better explanation, “God”, and a desire to learn and explore and still have the self-confidence to trust that everything will be okay as long as you are logical and prepared. I don’t know. I guess I’m rambling. Adventure. Alternatively there’s a line in The Empire Strikes Back when Yoda says about Luke, “Never his mind on where he was, what he was doing!” which I’ve always liked. Away in the clouds. The Force. “The Force” would be the best way to sum up life. Maybe.
- Other than gator activity, what kind of sports are you most into?
I’m a huge football fan. I’ll watch Boise State play Wyoming at three in the morning if I can find it on ESPN2. I love the Red Sox, but even at 28 I’m already pretty burned out on their … Red Sox-ness.
- Have you ever hunted for your food? What is your absolute favorite dish?
No, I’ve never done that. Interesting. I’ve never even considered it. I’m sure I’d be okay if trapped on an island or deep in the forest – Lord of the Flies and all that. (I was a Boy Scout!) My favorite dish is lobster and steamed clams and there’s not much “hunting” involved in getting them, so I’m not too worried. Steak would be my other favorite dish and, again, I have confidence that I could bring down a cow if I was forced into the situation.
- Do you prefer whisky or vodka, or do you abstain? Do you get into trouble?
I like whisky more than vodka and beer more than both. I should abstain, but I do not. I often do not. In fact I am a non-abstainer of epic proportions. Yes. I have been known to get into quite a lot of trouble, and I’ll leave it at that.
- What has been your toughest job?
Loading freight for Old Dominion Freight Lines in Swansea, MA. I worked 6-day, 80-hour weeks for my first two summers of college. It was hell. But it was a manly, tough, sweaty, dirty hell. It was back-breaking (literally) labor. I worked the third shift, midnight to nine, ten, eleven in the morning. This country is run by people who are on their job at three in the morning.
- The confrontation from which you have learned the most is…?
I’m not very confrontational. I don’t think I could give you an honest answer here because I hardly ever find myself in a situation that I would consider confrontational. Sorry …
- Please point out a problem or troublesome aspect of my website (thank you).
Your web site loads very slowly on my machine. I think that your index file is falsely inflated by all the white space in your code. I like the layout, although it seems to be designed specifically for 800 resolution monitors. (I say that because it’s all scrunched up on the left.) I wish you had an “about” page or some part of your site where I could learn more about the person *behind* the site, aside from the answers to your Blogger Insider questions. Note that I think that that was an excellent interview question! I’m going to have to use that one myself in the future. Great idea!
- Are you of the live-and-let-live type, or do you prefer a sarcastic approach? Please describe.
Another great question! I’m very sarcastic. I think that I had a problem with passive-aggressiveness, but I like to think that I’ve gotten a lot better about it. I’m not really the live-and-let-live type, that’s for sure. I will always speak my mind, no matter how empty it is.
- Bonus question: What do you do that makes you most happy / brings you the most pleasure day-to-day?
I’d have to say that interactions like this one are the most fun. I love my web site because it allows me to meet and talk with people – like this interview – on a pretty regular basis. If I had my druthers (I don’t want anyone else’s!) I would be on stage or screen all the time, begging the universe to pay attention to me. But although on some level it’s all rooted in profound insecurity, I like to imagine that it’s really because I love meeting new people and learning how others see
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