What were your favorite cartoons growing up?

cartoonsKids today don’t know how good they have it! Yeah yeah, I know that’s the common refrain from us old folks, but there’s a certain grain of truth in it. Right now, Monki and I are having discussions about going to the movies – actually going to a theatre to see a film. She wants to join me in seeing something and I explained that it was different than watching TV at home. There was no pausing, no stopping, no playing – once the film starts, you have to watch it all the way through. Thing is, she doesn’t understand this. It makes no sense to her that you can’t pause to go to the bathroom or rewind and watch a cool scene again. When she was watching something on broadcast television, the idea of a commercial really freaked her out. Continue reading “What were your favorite cartoons growing up?”

What are your favorite plays?

Jaq at National
Standing in front of the National

Let’s talk about theatre.

As I’ve mentioned earlier, I got involved in theatre at a young age. My initial exposure to the performing arts was at the age of 6 when I got the neighborhood kids together and we made a revisionist version of Bambi using my dad’s super8 camera. This was back in the early 70s and it kinda makes me wonder what Monki could do if she were so inclined. I mean she’s 5 now, so a year away and she already knows YouTube and loves doing things with the slow-motion effect on my iPhone so the joys of putting together a piece of film will be a completely foreign thing. Hell, she’s not even interested in going to the cinema because she can’t pause or rewind or anything else. Sure, that may change as she gets older, but it just points out how different her world is from where mine was at her age. Continue reading “What are your favorite plays?”

Did you consider any other careers? How did you choose?

Threading the projectorThe wonderful conceit of this question is in thinking that I have a career to begin with. I mean I guess I do? The question though is what is it? I’m certainly a writer and a professor, but am I something else as well?

Let’s go with the obvious and take both, call it a dual career. So, in that case I’m a writer and teacher…right now. Have I considered others? Of course I have, who hasn’t? But here’s the thing: Before I got here, being a writer and a teacher, I did several other things. Now sure, I’ve talked about some of these particular occupational detours before, but that’s really all they were, detours.  They weren’t really careers.

But they could have been. Continue reading “Did you consider any other careers? How did you choose?”

Did you have a favorite planet as a child?

grand_tour.width-1600A favorite planet? Who has a favorite planet? Well, if you’re a science fiction geek like me, I suppose that’s a fair question. I mean even now, as I write this, I can look up at framed artwork of faux travel posters put out by NASA for various planets in our solar system and further out in the galaxy.

But this question asks about favorite planet as a child and that requires a bit of thinking. Of course, the standard answer would consist of a 1 in 9* choice, right? Sure, we could get a bit more choice in there if we include the planet-like moons of the gas giants, which, if we were to colonize the outer reaches of our solar system, would be where we’d lay down roots. So now the obvious answer would be, say, a 1 out of 15 or so choice, yes? Continue reading “Did you have a favorite planet as a child?”

Did you ever get in trouble at school as a child?

I love this question. The fact that they have to clarify “as a child” makes me wonder how many people got in trouble at school as an adult, which, honestly, could be a whole different kind of trouble than I think they were actually thinking of. But okay, let’s give this one a go.

Getting into trouble in school* was a no-brainer for me. I got in trouble all the time. But I also got myself out of trouble. I was the Ferris Bueller of my friend set. My locker held a treasure trove of hall passes, student requests, and whatever other bits of official documentation I could snag from the desks of secretaries or others in official capacities. Thinking back now, though, I’m struggling to remember more than a few specific incidents.

Continue reading “Did you ever get in trouble at school as a child?”

What would you consider your motto?

752826962-neil-gaiman-sandman-fear-of-fallingI love learning things. No, that’s not my motto, at least not my main one, but it’s still a truth I live by. I have a feeling that while I write this particular response, I’m going to come up with several of these truths, all of which could be considered as mottoes. Anyway, to get back to that opening line. I love learning new stuff. For example, just now while looking up the specific definition of the word “Motto” on Wikipedia, it says that the word itself is derived from the Latin muttum, ‘mutter’, by way of Italian motto, ‘word’, ‘sentence.’

This I did not know. And that’s pretty cool. Continue reading “What would you consider your motto?”

What are some of your favorite ways to spend a Saturday?

saturday-superstitionsAs is my wont these days, I tend to analyze the question a bit before answering. One of the things living in Europe, especially Eastern Europe, has taught me is how America-centric things are. Now granted, I do spend a fair bit of my time looking at and reading things in English, but still, there’s this huge bias about things which would be incredibly easy to do/see/acquire/accomplish were I in the States, but that become incredibly difficult on this side of the Atlantic. Continue reading “What are some of your favorite ways to spend a Saturday?”

What were your friends like in high school?

EdClarkHighI almost skipped this question. What were your friends like in high school? I’m not even sure how to approach this one, considering high school was some 35 or so years ago. Twice as much time has passed since I’ve been there than I was when I was living the experience and thought I would never get out. Weird the places life takes you, huh? Continue reading “What were your friends like in high school?”

What are the top 5 things that you and your spouse have in common?

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Photo by Monki

When you stop and think about what you have in common with anyone, let alone the person you have chosen to spend your life with, it seems like it should be a no-brainer, right?  Here, the question is looking for the “top 5 things” which implies there are at least 6 and probably many more. Of course, after my recent post about the qualities of friendship, this seems like a rather strange topic to me. Continue reading “What are the top 5 things that you and your spouse have in common?”

What qualities do you most value in your friends?

signs-of-a-strong-friendship-1Friendship is such an interesting topic. It seems like there should be a checklist someplace you can go through to decide if someone is a friend or not. I mean when you’re asking yourself what qualities you value in your friends, wouldn’t it make sense to have a list of qualities in general? I did an article once, about online dating services, and in several of them, the participants had to answer extensive questionnaires which were then matched up according to a mystic algorithm and involving the sacrifice of a rubber chicken. Continue reading “What qualities do you most value in your friends?”

How did you celebrate your 21st birthday?

At the time of this writing, I am 53 years old. This means I’ve celebrated my 21st birthday twice at this point, which in turn means the original celebration, way back in 1988, was a long time ago and my memory is going to be faulty at best, revisionist at worst, and most likely completely wrong. Continue reading “How did you celebrate your 21st birthday?”

Who are your favorite artists?

“What is art?”

“I can’t explain it, but I know it when I see it.”

It’s an old joke, to be sure, but it’s kinda true, especially for me. I know very little about art, especially intrinsically. What I mean is that everything I do know, I’ve had to seek out and learn on my own. I have no built-in sense of the technicalities of art beyond the most basics. I think this is partially true because I have no artistic abilities, pretty much at all. When I was directing my short film some 25 years ago, I tried my hand at doing storyboards and they ended up looking like anemic stick figures. Even longer ago than that, I tried to teach myself special effects make-up* (thanks to Tom Savini’s seminal books) and was so excited when the sculpture that took me days to finish looked vaguely like a cat person (which, to be clear, was actually my goal). Continue reading “Who are your favorite artists?”