WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW? Dark Sister by Graham Joyce. I liked his uncommonly twisted _Tooth Fairy_, but so far this one doesn't have me as interested. Both main characters are schmucks.
WHAT'S ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? Other than the mouse? At work I have a vintage Guinness ad; at home it's a Strange Days promo. 'You know you want it'
FAVORITE BOARD GAME? I haven't played it recently, but Hills Rise Wild! still ranks up there. I have fond memories of Talisman as well. I'm not bad at Scrabble & Upwords, either.
FAVORITE MAGAZINE? Nowadays, Scientific American and the Skeptical Inquirer are the only ones I subscribe to. In my formative late teen years, the National Lampoon was the best. magazine. ever.
Too bad it went down the toilet.
FAVORITE SMELLS? pumpkin pie, Indian food.
LEAST FAVORITE SMELLS? The dense funk behind the Beta Theta Pi house on Gayley. I lived in the apartment building next door. Refuse, stale beer and less mentionable substances just collected in a little moat behind the building. It was so bad that Rebecca and I invented the 'Beta Stink Scale' by which we measured all unpleasant odors.
Number two on the list was the dead rat I had to pick up and throw away. Little buggies had gotten to it, and I was so close to tossing my cookies from the piercing stink of it.
Number three on the list was a stockyard we drove by on the highway one day. I don't know what they fed those cows, but it smelled of bovine flatulence for miles. You didn't want to breathe, but you couldn't hold your breath that long.
Honorable mention is the entire city of Gary, Indiana, which is entirely permeated by a sulfurous stench from the steelworks. You could drive along the freeway and smell it for miles.
FAVORITE SOUNDS? 4th movement of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon album, and the THX promo with the pulsating pink-mauve visuals. All three can consistently make the malenky little hairs on the back of my plot stand endwise, oh my brothers.
LEAST FAVORITE SOUNDS? car alarms.
WORST FEELING IN THE WORLD? When you realize you are going to throw up... it's only a matter of time.
WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU THINK OF WHEN YOU WAKE UP IN THE MORNING?
I am incapable of rational thought at that moment.
FAVORITE COLOR? In no particular order: Deep Purple, Midnight Blue, charcoal grey, black.
FUTURE CHILD'S NAME? Never likely to become necessary, but here's some names I like:
Boys: Dirk, Ian, Otto, Hieronymous
Girls: Jennifer/Guinevere, Victoria, Amaranth
WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT IN LIFE?
"The cosmos contains nothing of greater importance for the negligible
atoms called human beings than the condition of being elegantly amused."
-- HP Lovecraft, letter to Elizabeth Toldridge 9/3/29
FAVORITE FOODS? Spicy food of all nationalities: Give me jalapeno vindaloo kung pao habanero curry. Mole sauce. Italian reds. Pretzels & tortilla chips. Pizza. Hard tasty cheeses (as opposed to soft stinky cheeses).
CHOCOLATE OR VANILLA? Chocolate
DO YOU LIKE TO DRIVE FAST? I don't particularly enjoy it, but I certainly exceed the speed limit on roads I know. I'm much more conservative when I don't know where the hell I am.
I don't speed as much as I used to, now that my car has developed a strange shaking in the front end at high speeds. Note to self, get new car.
DO YOU HAVE STUFFED ANIMALS? Cthulhu! and an octopus! And a Klingon Targ. And some sesame street characters I got in cereal boxes. I wonder if Beth Brewer still has the Big Bird I gave her? [and that Megan birdnapped for a while]
ROLLER COASTERS - COOL OR SCARY? Cool. Definitely cool, though some of the most extreme ones aren't really all that enjoyable for me.
STORMS - COOL OR SCARY? Cool. Even when Mom and I hunkered in the cellar in Wisconsin, listening to reports of tornados a mile from our house, it was all cool.
WHAT WAS YOUR 1ST CAR? 1988 Nissan Sentra. Black, like my heart. Old and falling apart, like the rest of me. I still drive it, but its days are numbered.
IF YOU COULD MEET ONE PERSON DEAD OR ALIVE, WHO WOULD IT BE? I've often thought about the fantasy dinner party where you could invite all sorts of people. I'd have Jesus (hope he doesn't get pissed that we don't say grace) and Socrates and Galileo and Mark Twain and HL Mencken and Lovecraft and Bertie Russell and the Shelleys and George Carlin and oh, I could go on for hours listing people.
FAVORITE ALCOHOLIC DRINK? Mojitos, margaritas, cosmopolitans, vodka martinis, zombies.
DO YOU EAT THE STEMS OF BROCCOLI? I try to. But sometimes you get a serving that's all stem and no florets. That pisses me off, and I don't always choke it all down.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SNAPPLE? The pink lemonade is too sweet, so I guess I like the Strawberry Kiwi, but I wish the taste were stronger.
IF YOU COULD HAVE ANY JOB YOU WANTED WHAT WOULD IT BE? A writer. Fiction, essays, reviews.... Anything as long as it paid enough to live on.
IF YOU COULD DYE YOUR HAIR ANY COLOR? Blue, perhaps. Maybe hot pink. Silver?
Like tattoos and piercings, I doubt I'll ever try it, though. For one night at a live game, it's fine, but I dunno about longer-term.
IS THE GLASS HALF EMPTY OR HALF FULL? Both.
FAVORITE MOVIES? Too many to list. Amadeus, Lawrence of Arabia, Bridge on the River Kwai, The Thin Man, The Maltese Falcon, Auntie Mame, Life of Brian, Blade Runner, John Carpenter's The Thing, Alien, The Fifth Element, The Blues Brothers, Delicatessen, City of Lost Children, Amelie, Brazil, the Advocate, The Wicker Man, The Third Man, Terminator 1 & 2, Cemetery Man, the Resurrected, Reanimator, The Big Lebowski, Edward Scissorhands, Heathers, Nightmare Before Christmas, Tank Girl, Real Genius, Goldfinger, the Princess Bride, When Harry Met Sally, This is Spinal Tap, Throw Momma from the Train, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The 39 Steps, The Lady Vanishes, Tampopo, Seven Samurai...
WORST MOVIES? Eight Legged Freaks, Instituta Benjamenta. I better stop before I traumatize myself.
FIRST TIME YOU SAW STAR WARS; THEATER, DRIVE-IN OR VIDEO? Theater, baby, in its initial release. Woo-fucking-hoo! Keep yer stupid old Special Editions, Lucas. Give me the originals!
WHAT'S THE GREATEST NUMBER OF TIMES YOU'VE GONE TO THE THEATER TO SEE A PARTICULAR MOVIE, AND WHAT WAS IT?
Hmmm.... Good question. I don't see many movies more than once in the theater. Recently I saw The Two Towers twice, which has a certain alliterative and numerological charm. If I had to guess, I'd say Empire Strikes Back.
WHAT MOVIE SCENE CAN YOU RECITE BY HEART? Monty Python and the Holy Grail, more or less in its entirety.
"You really can't dust for vomit."
"What you do not smell is iocaine powder."
"Professor of archeology, expert on the occult, and how does one say it? Obtainer of rare antiquities."
"I love you."/"I know."
"You are obviously not a golfer."
"There's something you're going to have to understand. Compared to you, most people have the I.Q. of a carrot. We're different than most people, Mitch . . . better."
The list goes on and on.
DO YOU TYPE WITH YOUR FINGERS ON THE RIGHT KEYS? Mostly, but the middle fingers of my right hand drift upward a bit, so that they hover over the vowels up there.
WHAT'S UNDER YOUR BED? During the daytime, the cat. After the move, I don't think there's anything down there.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE NUMBER? 9
FAVORITE SPORT TO WATCH? Football, except when my favorite team loses the Superbowl. Curses!
WHAT WAS THE NAME OF YOUR FIRST GRADE TEACHER? Miss Yee. She was pretty, she helped us make wontons and taught us to say Gong Yay Fat Choi.
WHO WAS YOUR FAVORITE TEACHER? Elementary school, maybe Miss Avedano (3rd/4th grade) she had a kooky side that appealed to me.
Junior High, Mrs. Cooper, who taught the Mythology class and had sf and fantasy books on her bookshelf. She liked to tell the story about the guy with the axe she found sleeping in the backseat of her car.
High school is a tough call. Perhaps a five-way tie between:
Mr. Kennan, who was very bright and showed me a hint of what the study of history is really like, rather than mere lists of names and dates.
Mr. Chandler, who taught Chem and AP Chem. Great guy, full of mild humor and love of science.
Mrs. Taylor, AP English. I can still hear her saying, "You're so cynical!" She said it a lot, as I recall.
Frau Little, German. Lots of fun times in German class for four years.
Mr. James "Bud" Hilleary, Math: Such an oddball. The 'Mr. Giese' of my high school. Grey and bearded, mumbly-mouthed and reputed to have gotten his nickname from lighting up the occasional blunt. He took us to the math competitions where I made it into the top ten twice, but he will forever live in my memory For this:
In class, he saw me ignoring him as I tried to help Tracy Austin who sat behind me and to my left. Instead of yelling at me, he asked me what I was up to. I told him I was helping her with synthetic division (or whatever the hell it was) and he told me to take her outside. The class was taught in one of those temporary 'mobile' trailer/rooms, so the door opened onto a little landing and some steps in the sunshine.
So for a half hour, I got to sit in the sun next to Tracy and help teach her math. Pretty, blond, blue-eyed, freckled and musical.... too bad I was such a painfully shy nerd.
College, Too many good professors to describe them all: Susan Curtiss, Norton Wise, Seth Putterman, Peccei, Cornwall, Abers, and that nutty bio guy who liked to say, "Your Friend, the Liver".
SAY ONE NICE THING ABOUT THE PERSON WHO SENT THIS TO YOU: Mel is a thoughtful gift-giver, a rare skill in these dark ages.
Bonus: Mel has a simple mind that works in slowmotion.