Way back in January I did the Interview Meme. As it stood, I still had a bunch of questions to answer, I answered most of them at the time but babalon_93 hit me with five questions that required detailed answers, two of which were stumpers. And it's taken me until now to finally answer the two I found most difficult. All the rest were answered way back in early Feb. I haven't made any changes to my old answers to update them.
So, below the cut, my answers to questions posed by stephiepenguin, arcadiagt5, and babalon_93. If you posed questions for me that I haven't answered here, feel free to repose them and I shall attempt to answer them sometime in the next eight months.
What is the most awesome thing you are looking forward to sharing/have shared with Lex?
Just life, I guess. There's no one thing that stands out - different days bring different things. So sometimes it will be showing him Australia, or reading to him from my favourite books, other times it will be helping him learn about other cultures, or encouraging his own attempts at being creative. And then there's showing him Doctor Who, of course.
Do you feel like there is anything you have lost with Lex's birth, that you regret losing?
There are plenty of things that are lost - time being the biggest one, and a certain amount of freedom to just go and do what I want. But while I might get slightly frustrated or annoyed sometimes, I don't regret having him at all. It's a cliche, but he's totally worth it.
After Dr Who, what is your next biggest fannish love?
That's a hard one. Sort of depends on what we're talking. I'd say Stanislaw Lem's The Cyberiad except that's one book. Bookwise I'd say it's a toss up between the works of Philip K. Dick and Terry Pratchett. Film/TV... probably Blake's Seven.
What is your very favourite thing to cook? (If you don't cook very much, you can answer this is your very favourite thing to eat. Or you can answer it that way anyway, if it so strikes you).
Well, it's not a meal, but I love baking bread. It's just such a basic food staple, and it's satisfying to know I can make that. Plus homemade bread is fun to experiment with. Interestingly, I've had a few people who have the breadmaking machines tell me, in slightly disappointed tones, that my bread is nicer than theirs. I've been lucky, they've gotten my good loaves :)
Are you happy?
No. Can't tell you why, but every time I get asked this, I realise I'm not actually happy. I'm a happy person, but I'm not actually happy, if that makes sense. But on the other hand, I'm not unhappy, either. There is a tendancy of people to think that if you're not happy, you must be miserable. It's not binary, there are levels and shades. I tend to be at my happiest when travelling.
1. What is a classic Dr Who you think everyone should watch?
That's a hard one, as I tend to tailor DW story recommendations to a person's tastes. I think everyone should see the first episode, even if they have no interest in the rest of the story. Beyond that... I think it's a toss up between Carnival of Monsters and City of Death. Both are good stories with interesting ideas that work in different ways, but both the sorts of tales that usually only get told in Doctor Who.
2. Is there a type of food that you don't eat yet that you'd like to try someday?
Plenty. Mainly I want to get comfy with various meats and veggies. And I suspect that seasfood is going to give me issues, as I find the scent off-putting. But I have more interest in the unusual stuff than the ordinary. Apart from wanting to go through a good sampling of native Australian herbs and stuff like bardi grubs, my main list contains crocodile, camel, and a Vietnamese drink (that I actually find rather cruel in preparation, but am still fascinated by) snake's blood in alcohol.
3. What is your favourite thing about Lex?
I love making him laugh, and it's usually pretty easy to do.
4. When will the next 100 days post be up?
Well, there's two that are half written, so hopefully not too long. I really like doing the posts, because they often get people talking and thinking. It's just finding time, brainspace, and inclination. I often have to open myself up with them, and that can be draining. And there's always the fear of using the wrong wording or approaching a subject from a direction that, due to the way I've written it, gets taken the wrong way.
I don't care if people hate me for my opinion, but I do care if they hate me for an opinion I've stated badly, leading to misconceptions about my attitude.
5. Snakes or jelly beans?
Snakes. I find them a good travel snack when you need the energy. Jelly beans probably have the same amounts of sugar, but a more fiddly to eat on the road.
One of the things I love about your blog writing is your openness and honesty. Do you ever have second thoughts about sharing so much of yourself with the general public? If you do, how do you deal with this?
Yep, I have second thoughts. There's plenty of posts where I've wondered if I should be saying what I'm saying in public. But then again, I believe in trying to lead by example. I think the world would work better if people were just open about how they feel about things. It'd undoubtedly be more painful sometimes, but at least there wouldn't be stuff festering away.
I'm not just talking about being open about what one dislikes about one's body, mind, or situation, too many people do nothing but whinge and moan on LJ. But being open about what one likes, even if it's highly personal. I think owning your joys is important. People tend ingore their positives and to only own their misery, and that's what they try to share with the world. Fuck off!
Being so open has actually been rather helpful, too. It forces me to think about my attitudes. If I'm going to make a public statement about hating something, I feel I have to back that up. And it's also meant that people have opened up to me, shared things with me that they haven't shared with anyone else. And that's good, because it's meant those people have finally found someone to talk to. I may not be able to help, but just talking can be cathartic.
And being brutally open means that people know where they stand with me. My LJ voice is my real voice. And I suppose that's the other reason for the openness - I don't want to be censored.
Oh noes! Your life has been turned into a classic 80s film and here comes the montage... is the music playing more likely to be 'footloose' or 'danger zone'? Describe the scene.
I had to download 'Danger Zone,' having never seen Top Gun. Come to think of it, I haven't seen Footloose either, but I know that song. I'd go for 'Footloose' 'cos it's got a boppy energy.
The scene - no dialogue because we've got the soundtrack pumping now. Rapid cuts with Mitch as kind of the mentor character because I have to have Mitch in something like this.
- Outside - Mitch pushing me out the front door, me on my walking stick. I fall over.
- Swimming pool. I'm reluctant to get in, so Mitch throws me in the water.
- Kitchen - Me mixing ingredients in bowl.
- Pool - Me sinking helplessly. Mitch just shakes his head.
- Outside - Mitch helps me up, once I'm standing, he lets go to pick up my walking stick. I fall over.
- Kitchen - Rapidfire cuts of me trying to break eggs and it all going hideously wrong.
- Outside - Continued from previous outside shot. Mitch straightens, and is confused because I don't appear to be next to him any more. Takes a step and falls over me.
- Pool - Mitch chatting up a girl in a bikini. Me in the background drowning. Mitch jumps up as if to save me, calls to lifeguard, then sits back down with girl.
- Kitchen - I put muffins in the oven. Cut to fire engine pulling up and smoke pouring out of the kitchen window.
- Pool - Shot of me almost doing freestyle in water. I glance behind and there's a shark fin coming up behind me. I start trying to swim harder.
- Kitchen - Muffin mix in tray. I go to pick up the tray up, then realise the mix is moving as if alive. I reach out to touch it and one of the globs of mix tries to bite me.
- Outside - Speeded up footage of me hobbling along on my walking stick, a whip striking my back. Close up shot of Mitch shouting at me and whipping me.
- Pool - Me madly swimming with shark fin following on behind. No one else in pool seems bothered.
- Outside - Same as previous out side. Me being hit with whip, close-up of Mitch doing whipping. Cut to wide shot and I'm pulling a rickshaw behind me with Mitch in it, still whipping me.
- Kitchen - A bunch of muffins on a plate. As I turn my back, some of the muffins move towards me, only to stop as I turn back.
- Outside - Me jogging along using walking stick. Mitch following along in car, leaning out window with bullhorn.
- Kitchen - Same as previous kitchen shot. Muffins are mostly off the plate and moving towards me, I turn, they stop.
- Outside - Mitch shouting out car window with bullhorn. Wide shot, I'm now pushing the car into a petrol station.
- Pool - Speeded up footage of me swimming with shark fin behind. No other swimmers seem fussed. I jump out of the pool, turn to look back at the fin, and Mitch straightens up out of the water, wearing the fin on his back. On seeing Mitch, all the other swimmers panic and jump out of the water.
- Lounge room - Me dancing with my little muffin friends dancing around me.
- Outside - Me jogging along. Mitch jogging along. Me. Mitch. Mitch glances behind. Wide shot of park. Mitch comes running through shot from right to left, he's obviously running from me. I come running through behind him, right to left, carrying a cattle prod.
- Lounge room - Mitch and I sitting on the couch, surrounded by sentient, moving muffins. Mitch picks one up and takes a bite. I react with horror. Mitch gives thumbs up obviously liking the taste. I glance at a muffin, then pick it up and take a bite - it's obviously delicious! We both laugh.
- Outside - Wide shot of park. Mitch runs through frame right to left. As he exits frame, I come through, right to left. As I exit frame, there's a beat, and then a herd of muffins come through chasing us. Fade out.
I'd actually rather use 'Girls Just Want To Have Fun' or 'Sons of Steel' for the song than 'Footloose', but there you go.
What panel would you most like to see at a future Swancon?
No one panel comes to mind. I'd like to see Doctor Who panels run by the next generation of DW fans. It's a five day convention most of the time, so I don't see any reason why there can't be an old-school Dw panel with us old buggers on it, and a new series panel with the folks that have come on baord with Eccleston and Tennant.
Actually, I suppose that is a panel.
Something like a Geoffrey Robertson's hypertheticals, or similar.
I think there is a place for panels that recommend films/tv shows/books/authors, etc. but you need the right people on it, and the number of stuff being recommended needs to by limited to five or so. Long lists of stuff are useless and boring. Better to have five or six things that have been discussed beforehand by the panelists and have time to discuss them well.
What are your thoughts on masculinity in Australia as it is now, and what are your hopes for Lex's generation in gender terms?
It's interesting. There's still a perception that you can't be a tough, solid Aussie man, and show softer emotions. But I've worked with out and out macho blokes who obviously loved their kids and wives. The biggest issue was they couldn't say it without feeling silly in some way. I used to get teased at the abattoirs if I said I loved my girlfriend, but I didn't let it stop me - to me it meant I was stronger than the guys who couldn't, more of a 'man' because I wsn't afriad of what they thought.
I think musculinity, like femininity, is improved by allowing oneself the ability to accept those states as fluid, with shades of grey between the two extremes. There's nothing wrong with being a masculine guy, so long as you're not acting in ways that limit the freedoms of others. And I think males in Australia are slowly learning that, with some improvement each generation. That said, I think they would learn it quicker with better education. Though even the best education has trouble sticking without the help of the homelife echoing it.
It also has to be noted however, that no matter how good the education and homelife, testosterone does affect how males act. There's a strong need to prove yourself, to others and yourself. And to say it's silly or unneccessy is to ignore that a huge chunk of that behaviour is purely biological. If one is to say that they should just stop being aggressive/competative, then one should also say that women should stop being cranky due to PMS - it's ignoring the hormonal factor.
Regarding Lex's generation - There's still an overly strong gender bias in favour of guys. That said, I think it is slowly changing, and real social change takes time. It's a bit like teaching someone to improve their fitness - making them go for a twenty km run without building up their physical strength and a corresponding mental change, they are only likely to resent it, and stop at the first opportunity. Teach them the benefits of physical fitness from a young age, without making it a chore, you'll have someone much more likely to continue with it. I'm expecting things to have improved by the time Lex is in his twenties, but there will still be a way to go.
I look at Lex and he's a big, strong kid, who is developing quickly. I could easily see him becoming something of a bully as he quickly realises that he can take what he wants. Whether he will head in those directions or not, it's hard to say - most small kids go through a stage to taking the things they want off others, etc. But the education he'll be receiving at home is that boys and girls are equals, that some behaviours are not acceptable, and that it's okay to be yourself, so long as that doen't stop another from the freedom to be theirself.
And he's going to be brought up with his mum as the breadwinner, and his father as a man who is proud and happy to be a home dad, and who does things like baking bread, etc. So in gender terms, I hope that there will be a greater level of understanding that most men and women are capable of doing the same jobs, but that there are differences between the genders that need to be taken account of.
When you become prime minister of Australia, what will be your first act/change?
See, I tend to take these sorts of things fairly seriously, so if it were to happen there'd be a lot of stuff I'd be thinking about changing. A lot of it would be long term stuff, too.
Off the top of my head, I'd want to see something set up whereby arrable land can no longer be used for housing, except for farmhouses on farmland, of course. So there'd be inititives and incentives for businesses and people to move out of the suburbs and move further inland.
I'd want to see a major increase in public transport infrastructure Australia wide. New train lines, tram lines, bus routes, whatever worked. Need be, start constructing more underground routes for the trains.
Harder water restrictions in the cities, with more water being piped out to farmland. Our farmers in some areas are getting roughly 4% of their yearly water quota, meanwhile people are still allowed o water their gardens a few times a week.
Maybe something to help improve literacy, like giving parents a rebate come tax-time on books brought for their children through the year.
Incentives for networks to create shows that have solid input by indigenous people. They wouldn't be forced to make such shows, but would get tax breaks on them if they did.
Major prison sentences for race-related crimes like bashings, with 'double-penalities' for anything done on the Australia Day weekend.
I could go on all night, but I think I'll stop there. For those that are curious, the two questions that stumped me were the Swancon one, and the Prime Minister one. No, honestly. You waited eight months for me to answer those two! Suffer!