Tag Archives: surveylicious

>That James Lipton Thing

>This has come to my attention courtesy of careybatgirl.

These ten questions originally came from a French series, “Bouillon de Culture” hosted by Bernard Pivot but they’re better known as the questions that James Lipton asks every guest at the end of “Inside the Actor’s Studio.” Here are my answers.

1. What is your favorite word?

Based on usage? Retard. But I really, really like the sound of marsupial. Mmmm… marsupial.

2. What is your least favorite word?

“Chunk” and any derivative of the word chunk (chunky, chunks) with “chaffing” in a close second. Sick.

3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

Creatively: good stationery and/or new tech (like a new pen or laptop)
Spiritually: nature (like being in the woods or at the beach)
Emotionally: new hope where there was no hope (not “new hope” as in “star wars”)

4. What turns you off?

I shut down creatively, spiritually and emotionally when I’m overwhelmed. I have a tendency to just go to bed when life becomes to much and hibernate for awhile.

5. What is your favorite curse word?

Fucktard or assclown.

6. What sound or noise do you love?

My own voice (although when played back from a recording… not so much).

7. What sound or noise do you hate (dislike)?

That fake crying kids do in the grocery store to get their mother to buy them something.

8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

Forensic anthropologist, travel writer.

9. What profession would you not like to do?

Anything that involves poking people with sharp things.

10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

I can’t think of anything specific. I’d just like to hear him crack a joke.

>The hardest thing I’ve ever done (and I probably did it wrong)

>One of my new coworkers (I’ll post soon about my yummy new job) asked if everyone would send their top 10 tracks of all time.

Clearly, he’s a madman.

Who could pick only ten songs? I can hardly settle on ten bands. Ten genres… maybe. This ended up being a difficult exercise. I realised that I couldn’t pick my ten favourites, because some of the stuff I like is a bit inaccessible. The list would also only have four bands and I would probably cry apologetically as I made cuts to the list like a cruel beauty pageant judge when all the contestants are amazing.

After doing some hyperventilative breathing into a paperbag, I decided I would just have to go ahead and choose ten songs; never mind that it was causing me pain akin to sawing off limbs with a rusty ol’ saw. I mean, this guy was looking to expand his musical horizons and I support that.

With sincere apologies to every other amazing song in the universe for the whole of history… these were my top ten recommended tracks:

01. Radiohead – Pyramid Song*
02. Pearl Jam – Given to Fly
03. Sigur Ros – Staralfur
04. The National – Secret Meeting
05. The Tragically Hip – Bobcaygeon**
06. Fleet Foxes – Sun It Rises
07. The Beatles – Blackbird
08. Death Cab for Cutie – I Will Follow You Into the Dark
09. Andrew Bird – Imitosis
10. Reindeer Section – You are my Joy***

That’s the list. And you know what? I did that last Sunday and I wouldn’t send the same list next weekend. There is just too much good music out there… I may have to provide the next ten if he says he likes any of these ones. Mmmmmm…. musiclious.

*I would have chosen “Talk Show Host”… but I wanted to avoid B-sides
**There HAD to be a Canadian track on the list, eh?
***When someone limits you to just ten picks, always include one that secretly hides at least a good dozen artists within the one Scottish super-band name.

2008: Retrospective Musings

Hey hey! So how long has it been since I’ve done a survey-thinger like this? Seriously! Well, Stefanie asked me if I had come across any good ones that we could blog the answers for in light of the year changing. I hadn’t seen a good one, she hadn’t seen a good one, so we made one up. That’s right. We made this one up. You can borrow it if you want.

Other than trying to keep your eyes from glossing over as you read this long-winded blog entry, there is something else you can do while reading this here bad-boy. You see, both Stefanie and I contributed questions. For those of you who know us both (or those of you who think you know me well), try to guess who thought up each question.

1. Name something you could change about the past year.

There were quite a few shit things that happened this year, but I still wouldn’t change any of it. I really do firmly believe that any “mistake”, any “mishap”, any… well… everything actually, becomes an important part of who you are and helps to strengthen who you are becoming. So for that, I wouldn’t change any of it.

2. Name a goal/aspiration that you achieved this year.

In 2008? Nothing. I set up goals and promptly ignore them over and over again. I wonder if it would be more effective if I simply set a goal not to set any more goals?

3. What was your scariest moment in 2008?

I’ve had more than my share of money scares this year. I hope like hell that I find some work early in January and figure out how to make it through a month without eating dog food (figuratively, moms!) for the last week.

4. Invent a new boy band name.


5. Which reality TV show would you like to be on?

The only reality TV show I have even considered being on (or for that matter, that I have even bothered to watch) is Amazing Race.

6. Which month was your favourite and why?

I think I have to say September – I had the month off from work and much more importantly – my moms was here for a visit!

7. What world event impacted you the most and why?

I’m going to be bold here and say that none of them have really impacted me all that harshly. I know, I know – I’m unemployed and supposedly there is something wrong with the economy. But I don’t think the credit crunch is really effecting me that strongly.

8. Name a goal/aspiration that you didn’t achieve this year.

All of them.

9. What book(s) in your life have you not finished?

There aren’t that many – I’ll push hard through a book no matter how much I hate it (like War & Peace – aurgh!) But there was no way on God’s green earth I was going to finish “Interview with a Vampire”. Worst book ever.

10. What would be the grossest gum flavour ever?

Any sort of meat-flavoured gum would be pretty sick. EW!

11. What’s your favourite board game? Which one do you hate the most?

Hmmm… I really liked to play Nightmare and I’ve always liked Risk. I don’t hate Pictionary but I’m not allowed to play it anymore for health and safety reasons.

12. What’s the best new food that you tried in 2008?

If I’m not going to cop out and mention alcohol again, I’m going to have to really think about this. I did like Tyran’s homemade bread (and I’m not just saying that ’cause he asked for the address for the blog – it really is fantastic).

13. Invent a new use for Spam.

First, I’m just thinking back to question 10 – wouldn’t Spam flavoured gum be the sickest flavour ever? Double-ew! Okay, a new use for Spam… how about slicing it, frying it until it is hard and black and using the slices for coasters?

14. Name something you’d like to see happen in 2009.

First and foremost: I’d like to see me get a decent job.

15. Are you any good at telling jokes? What’s your favourite one?

I’m actually pretty crap at telling jokes. But my favourite one goes like this:

There’s this guy who doesn’t have any plans for a Saturday night so he decides to just relax at home with some vids and some snacks. So he heads to the store to pick up a few things. While he’s there, in addition to the Coke and chips, he picks up a half-dozen eggs, a litre of milk, a loaf of bread and a package of sliced cheese. He gets in the check out line when he notices that the cashier is extremely hot. He preens a bit and tries to look cool when it is finally his turn. The girl rings through his purchases, looks at them, looks at him, looks at them and looks at him again and says, “You’re single, aren’t you?”

The guy kind of laughs a bit and says, “That’s amazing…. how could you tell?”

And the cashier answered, “Because you’re fucking ugly.”

16. Describe your most exciting moment in 2008.

Again, I think it would be when my moms got here. I was so freaking excited to see her!!

17. Name a book that impacted you this year.

Oh, this year? Um… okay, I shouldn’t admit this but “The Book Thief” did make me cry.

18. What death impacted you this year?

I’ve sort of answered this one before as well, and the answer is not any one death.

19. If you were a tree, what kind would you be and why?

I’d be a palm tree so I could hang out at the beach all day.

20. Would you rather have horns or a tail? (assuming you HAD to pick one!)

I’d probably pick a tail. It would be like having a tattoo somewhere that you could hide it. Although I suppose a tail would be hard to hide on the beach. And it could depend on what kind of tail. I wouldn’t want a bunny tail or a dog tail. Or a rat tail. I can’t imagine what sort of tail would really look okay, now that I’m really thinking about it.

21. What’s the cheesiest love song ever written that you secretly love?

In the Still of the Night by Five Satins.

22. Who was the strangest person you met this year?

This has been one of the mildest years to date for meeting “strange” people. I’ve witnessed a few in the pubs, but can’t really have claimed to have “met” them this year. Crapsticks! I wish I had a good story for this question. 😦

23. Name your best new music/band find of the year.

Oh! So many good ones! I’m hoping this isn’t just meaning albums that came out this year – because I’m going to read this that I can count previous stuff that I only found this year. Here we go: Fleet Foxes, Newton Faulker, Saxon Shore (just found them this weekend), Bon Iver, TV on the Radio, Hot Chip, Vampire Weekend, Andrew Bird, The Avalanches (a re-discovery), and I’m sure I’m not remembering a bunch. My new favourite live act is Sigur Ros. A band that moved from “they are pretty rad” to “they are one of my favourite bands” was The National.

24. What’s the coolest place that you visited or the coolest thing that you saw this year?

The inside of Westminster Abbey was very cool. Sigur Ros live was bone-shattering cool. It is just cool that Miller and I went to Portugal.

25. If you had a pirate ship, what would you name it and what would adorn the prow of it?

I would name it Turbo Trouble and there would be a squirrel on the prow. An angry squirrel. A wrathful squirrel.

26. If you could wake up tomorrow and be fluent in any second language, which would you choose and why?

Assuming that I could translate from my new second language into English, I would choose an extinct language so we could properly study and record it. Also, so I could swear at people without them noticing.

27. Why doesn’t Batman dance anymore?

Because Batman isn’t nearly as cool as he used to be, which is a shame.

Pure West.

28. What was one of your most cherished toys as a child?

My Raggedy Anne doll that my moms got from a lady at my Grandma’s hospital.

29. If you have kids will you encourage them to believe in Santa? What about the Easter Bunny? Jesus?

I definitely feel as though I will encourage them to believe in Santa and the Easter Bunny because… well, because those things make Christmas and Easter fun. But Jesus? I don’t know. I’m not going to tell them that Jesus isn’t real. I won’t try to keep him a secret. But I don’t know if I can “encourage” them to believe. Which is weird, if you think about it.

30. Choose one colour to delete from existence and justify picking that one.

Pink. Definitely pink. But only one specific (and lurid) shade of pink that I will always associate with my ex-boss’s lipstick. *Shudder*

31. Name a favourite new word or phrase from 2008.


32. What’s a slightly embarrassing movie that you have to confess that you secretly enjoyed?

Heh heh. Dirty Dancing.

33. What’s a new goal or aspiration that was developed this year?

As in, a new goal or aspiration that I haven’t had before? I don’t think that has happened. I mean… I was busy re-hashing all the previous goals and aspirations that I haven’t accomplished before this year.

34. If you could choose any man on the planet (dead or alive) to have snogged on NYE, who would it be?

I need to explain something about this question. Yes, it was my question. But it was Stefanie who “improved” it by asking “Any? Dead or alive?”
I don’t know why she would want to add dead dudes to her list, but who am I to judge? Personally I would have appreciated it if Ewan McGregor was available on NYE for some snogging. Now there’s a hunk of man-yummy!

Yes please!

35. Best new beer of 2008.
I’ve tried so many new lovely beers over the year and I have no idea what most of them are called. Bless British pubs!

36. If you could erase one person from history (not kill them, just delete them, their actions, etc) who would you choose and why?

Again, I wouldn’t. This is like the first question. You can’t possibly foresee what eliminating something from the past might do to the future. No matter how bad, or evil (or boring) someone has been, I wouldn’t erase anyone.

37. Pick your own Groundhog Day of 2008.

This sounds really sad, but there wasn’t a single day in 2008 that I would want to live through over and over again. Actually, I can’t think of a single day in my life that I’d want to necessarily live over and over again. Certain moments – yes. Entire days? No.

38. Write an 11th Commandment.

Play nice. All of you.

Original Comments:

Erin wrote (on 07/01/09):

Funny someone asked me the other day who I would take on the Amazing Race… my answer… you!

>Mental Flossing: What did you learn last year?


1. What’s the most interesting book or article you read in 2008?

This one is hard to answer, not because I didn’t read any, but because I read so many great articles this year. Unfortunately for my personal productivity, I discovered Google Reader and how to subscribe to RSS feeds in 2008. The good news is that I read more news. The bad news is that I don’t really have time for much else.

I did read Malcolm Gladwell’s new book “Outliers: The Story of Success” and I’m highly recommending it to y’all. In fact, I recommend all of his books (don’t worry, there are only three).

I also went to a cool bookstore this year: Blackwell’s in Oxford. There are three miles of shelving in the basement alone. So much booky-goodness!

2. What’s the best food you tried for the first time in 2008?

Does alcohol count as food? Of course it does! Gosia introduced me to Zubrowska (Bison Grass Vodka) and apple juice (a drink called, Wikipedia just taught me, “tatanka” or “szarlotka” in Polish or a “frisky bison” in UK English) . Pretty freaking tasty. Other than that, nothing is really standing out for me. As far as culinary adventures go… this year was 100 times tamer than last year’s adventures on Wangfujing Street in Beijing.

Beijing China - Fall 2007 (107)

3. What prominent figure’s death upset you the most in 2008?

Who died in 2008? I’m gonna have to look this one up… bloody hell! You can learn everything on Wikipedia! Okay, going through the list now…

Wow. World lost a lot of “prominent” people in 2008. I didn’t really hear about nary a one of them (although I do remember reading about both Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and Heath Ledger) so I can’t really say I was upset by any of them. The last time a prominent figure died where I was honestly at all upset was Kurt Vonnegut Jr. in 2007 (and before that, Hunter S. Thompson in 2005).

A sketch by Vonnegut

4. What’s the most unexpected way the economic crisis affected you in 2008?

I think it would have to be how hard it has been for me to find another job. I’ve never had to struggle to even get in the door this much. And let me tell you how it feels, boys and girls. It feels like complete and absolute sweaty donkey balls. I don’t support fighting to find work.

5. What’s a new hobby you picked up in 2008?

You know… I don’t think I have picked up a new one. Unless you want to count “hanging out in English pubs” as a “new” “hobby”.

6. When you look back at 2008 five years from now, what will be the first thing that comes to mind?

That I could love being in London so much, yet be so miserably unhappy most of the time. It is the weirdest thing.

7. What’s your “Week-After-Christmas Resolution” (something you vow to start doing next Friday, but can give up on January 1st)?

On Friday, 26 December, I vow to start emailing/writing to at least one person each day.

Original Comments:

Holly wrote (on 20/12/08):
That I could love being in London so much, yet be so miserably unhappy most of the time.
— It’s strange, that is also how I felt. I loved the city so much, but my work situation was frequently difficult.

Carey wrote (on 21/12/08):
I like the new blog colours.
and I relate to number 6.

Jodi-Wan Kenobi wrote (on 21/12/08):
I’m glad you like it, Carebear. I thought about moving the blog over to either Blogger or WordPress so I can have my own url… but then thought no one but you, Hoolicia and my moms reads the damned thing anyway. And you know… we should probably leave it like that. 😉 So I just updated the colours so I could feel like I had a new blog.

>Mental Flossing

>Just so you guys know, I have to alter these questions a little so they make sense. Most normal people aren’t using these as triggers for blog writing, they are answering them in the comments of the site I pinch them from.

1. What was your favorite children’s book as a kid? Any really great books or authors most people haven’t discovered?

The books I remember the most are the classics that my moms bought for me and my brother… amongst them were Heidi, Seven Cousins, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, Beautiful Joe, Black Beauty, Tom Sawyer and a couple of others. I read all of Ronald Dahl, Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume. When I was really young I liked “The Monster at the End of this Book” (it has Grover in it and it is very, very funny). “A Wrinkle in Time” is a fantastic children’s book that I think more people should read, and as an adult one of my favourite books is “The Little Prince”. Oh, I also like the Harry Potter books, but I suppose I really shouldn’t admit to that…

2. Do you have any random questions you’d like to see answered?

Do ducks’ feet get cold when they are swimming in a pond in the winter? If not, why not? And if so, how the freak can they stand it?

3. What’s the farthest you ever walked?

I’m assuming this means in one go. I don’t know. There have been a few times where I’ve walked for hours and hours through cities just touring around.

4. Do you have any favorite sites to find great stories?

Not particularly. I use Google Reader to catch up on all sorts of stories though. I find blogs that catch my eye and keep up with them.

5. What not-yet-released movie are you most excited about?

I’m so behind on movies that I don’t even know what’s coming up. I should probably get myself a TV. I never know what is going on anymore.

>Brain Flossing


1. What was your first Halloween costume?

I’m not 100% sure on this one… but I seem to remember pictures of me dressed up like a train engineer and I would have been very young. The first costume I remember picking on my own was Count from Sesame Street. But I had to wear my winter coat over my costume because it was cold and I remember being pretty pissed off about that. I mean, really… the Count doesn’t wear a pink puffy coat!

2. How are the trick-or-treaters in your neighborhood?

This year I only caught glimpses of trick-or-treaters as I left my house to go to a party. Even if I was sitting at home (which I very nearly did this year), my flat is at the back of the house and I wouldn’t have dealt with the little monsters anyway.

3. Speaking of treats, what’s your single favorite kind of candy?

If we aren’t including any sort of chocolate – and I don’t think we should… it should be in its own category – then I would have to say Red Hot Feet, which I’ve not seen (or tasted!) in a million years. Give or take a couple of decades.

4. Speaking of tricks, what’s the most memorable prank you ever pulled on someone (doesn’t have to be Halloween related).

I believe I made my brother eat cat poo once. Not a lot! Just a taste. He probably doesn’t remember it being as funny as I do.

Original Comments:

Carey wrote (on 15/11/08):
you should floss more

>Thanks to mental flossing…

>Hi. Remember a long time ago when I used to do “Friday Feasts”, the list of five random questions that I rarely got around to answering on Friday but at least I would blog nearly once a week when they were around? I quit when they started repeating, but I may have found something else worth answering. But first: A confession.

I’m addicted to Google Reader and all the bloggy, articley goodness it delivers right to me every day. I usually end up with more than two hundred articles, daily. I didn’t read any on Friday this week, and after going through about a zillion of them… I still have 176 to go. Of course I don’t read all of them – I skim them and read all the ones that catch my eye.

One of the blogs being zipped to my GReader is Mental Floss. It is pretty random, which is why I like it. That’s where I’m getting these new questions from. I don’t know how often they come out, or if I’ll always feel like answering them, but here we go.

Before we start: My unread count on GReader just jumped to 178.

Mental Flossing

1. What’s your proudest video game accomplishment?

The first thing that came to mind isn’t really a video game accomplishment… but it still makes me happy for some reason. No one, in the history of mankind, has been able to beat Super Mario Bros (yah, the first one) in my presence. I don’t think it is possible. I’ve never seen it done.

2. Of all the biographies you’ve ever read, what’s your favorite?

I don’t think I’ve ever read a biography, to tell you the truth. “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius” by David Eggers is a fictional autobiography though and one of the most kick-ass books I’ve ever read. If I ever write a book, I want it to be like that one.

3. So, what’s for lunch today?

Um, I had popcorn. I’m bad.

4. With the proximity of the ‘Reply’ and ‘Reply All’ buttons on most email programs, there’s no shortage of stories about email disasters. What’s the most regrettable email incident you’ve witnessed (or caused)?

I can’t think of any disasters that those particular buttons have caused. I have witnessed a highly “regrettable email incident” (involving a hacked email account and then some hurt feelings) but out of respect for the poor bastard that had to live through it… I’m leaving out the details.