January 25th, 2007
helloheather has disseminated The Interview Meme.
Rules are as follows: You comment on this entry requesting an interview. I respond with five questions. The questions will theoretically be tailored to you based on what I know of you (or want to know). You copy and paste those questions into your own journal, and write the answers, along with these rules. Anyone wanting an interview from you continues the game by requesting an interview from you.
1. Why all the black?
There are a number of reasons. The largest one (and if you think I haven't considered the possibility of pie-charting this out...don't worry, part of the reason for this meme is to get to know each other better) is the least overtly obvious: I'm colorblind. Not completely--I don't see in black/white/grey like some poor bastards do--but it's still fairly profound. For example, I have a lot of difficulty telling blue and purple apart. We first found out it was a problem when I was about 3 and I complimented my grandfather on his nice green shoes (which were, of course, actually brown). Sometimes--not often, but occasionally--I have problems with red and green (yes, I can tell stoplights apart--the green of stoplights is a very specific color I really don't remember having seen anywhere else)1. To bring it back around to your question, though, when your entire wardrobe is one color--especially when it's as fundamental a color as black--you don't have to worry about whether your clothes clash when you leave the house (years and years and years ago, I tried to go to school in a purple shirt and green pants, thinking they were blue and brown--luckily, my mom caught me before I walked out the door). The next biggest reason is an attempt to conceal the whole "fat guy" thing, which I'd say...has a minor degree of success, I suppose. It also makes clothes shopping (a task I loathe) WAY easier--if it doesn't pass the "is it black?" test, it doesn't even get considered, so things happen a lot faster there. And the final big reason sort of ties into your next question: black's rather severe. In the U.S. it's culturally encoded with all sorts of connotations that I'm sure you don't have to think hard to call to mind. I find it effective to use those inherent connotations to my advantage.
2. I think you're really interesting and smart, but you intimidate me in person. Should I be intimidated? Why or why not?
Oy. No, but...
Here's the thing--and here's the big confession that I may never repeat out loud again2--in fact, I think it's the secret everyone carries around but never says out loud: every statement and every action I make in public is that of a character I'm playing. He's a lot like me, true, but he's not me. I can even often tell when I'm slipping into character vs. when I'm actually being myself--I get a little louder, and mouthier, and I'm trying a little harder to make sure someone's having fun. It's bloody exhausting, becuase I'm constantly putting pressure on myself to be "on". Anyway, if I come off as scary, or abrasive, or intimidating, or whatever, I'm sorry. I don't know why I do it any more, but I know I can't stop. Actually, that's not true: in thinking about it, I do know why I do it. This goes back to the questions Bilal and Cubby asked previously. Since virtually all my interaction with people has been through this character--let's call him Big John--I believe that it's Big John that people like, and not me (or at least how I see the actuality of myself). As a result, it's Big John that I give to people because I'm scared/convinced they're going to not like nonBig John.
So to recap: please don't be intimidated, I'm sorry if you are, but it's what I think people expect from me.
By the way, this is TOTALLY the question that I had to chew and chew and chew on which is why I took so long to post this.
3. Do you cook?
I cook a little bit. I spent way too much time when I was young watching cooking shows on PBS, so I know a lot of the techniques (or at least I think I do). I bake, primarily--I'm a big fan of desserts. What I can't do is create new ideas from whole cloth--I'm an assiduous recipe follower (which is why I like Cooking for Engineers so much). But I stole my mom's recipe for cheesecake and now...it'll make you weep, it will.
4. Of the many (I am sure) creative outlets you've pursued in your life, what (in retrospect) has been the most rewarding?
Don't be so sure. I don't consider myself to be terribly creative most of the time. Micro-scale, sure, I can maybe put together a sentence in a way that's a little unlike everyone else, but I don't usually consider myself "big idea" creative. I will say I approached my co-host with the concept for Harvey & Bob, and I'm having an amount of fun WAY over the legal limit with that.
5. I know I've been told this before, but I can't remember the answer. How did you meet somebodystrange? Did you enjoy his company right away, because dude, I SO did not. (Ha ha Dave, hope you're reading this.)
Freshman Orientation at Valpo, summer '95. I don't recall the exact circumstances of the event, but one night there was some sort of open-mic/talent show thing. Mr. David got onstage and, with a guitar of unknown (by me) origin, did a pretty damned good version of "Weird Al" Yankovic's "Generic Blues" (Sample lyric: I got the blues so bad/kinda wish I was dead/Maybe I'll blow my brains out, Mama/Or maybe I'll just go bowling instead.) This, I thought, is someone I should know. So after he came offstage, I complimented him on his taste. Two months later, as I'm moving into Alumni Hall, who do I find is directly across the hall? And it all kind of snowballed from there.
Hell, he tells the story better.
1I'd like to take this opportunity to tell you to have Nathan tested for colorblindness when he's older and knows his shapes and numbers. If there's no history of it in your (specifically yours, not Rob's) family, the risk is very very low, but it can't hurt. Colorblindness is basically little more than annoyance (though it does disqualify you for certain jobs and--I believe--military service), but knowing is better than not.
2As a co-worker once said to me, "Child, I never repeat gossip so you'd better listen up the first time".
Do you suppose the severity of the condition is also inherited? My dad's case is very minor, limited to just a couple shades that he can't distinguish from one another.
It's quite possible. I know that mine is worse than most. If your dad's isn't too bad, than it's unlikely Nathan will end up (as I have) choosing most of his wardrobe from the "Morticians 'n' Marilyn Manson" collection.