20 Questions Tuesday: 171 - Chris Burnham

It is Tuesday again, and I am ready to post this bad boy... today I am posting to both the blogspot site and the new and shiny tumblr site... it is shiny... so so shiny. Get ready folks, I am porting over to tumblr...

I belong to a comic book artists forum called Ten Ton Studios. If you go through my archives you might see some of the work that I have posted there. Anyhooo.... one of the “officers” over there is a fellow by the name of Chris Burnham. He is one of the most detailed pencillers I have ever seen. His lines are chock full of potential energy that you can almost see them vibrate off the page. He is technically precise, while allowing himself to be almost whimsical with some of his shapes.

I asked him if he had any books to plug and he suggested (his words, not mine)Officer Downe: Bigger Better Bastard Edition - an oversized hardcover edition of last year's sold out critical smash, complete with all new art & backup features” as well as Batman, Inc.: Leviathan Strikes #1. Both of these books are slotted to come out in December of 2011. Officer Downe on December 7th (hmmm 70 years ofter the attack on Pearl Harbor? Coincidence? I think not) and Batman, Inc coming out later that month.

Enough of the jibber jabber! On to the questions:

So when I was in high school, I was quite un-abashedly a comic book geek and a nerdy nerd from Old Nerdtowne... Question 1: How would you have classified yourself in High School and looking back, how would you classify your high school self now?
High school... I'd say that I was an upwardly mobile nerd. I had a pretty solid squadron of fellow nerdy types but I mixed pretty well with everyone else. I went to a really small private school - my graduating class was something like 54 people - so everyone got to know everyone else pretty well. Which has its pluses and minuses... Sidebar: in 7th 8th and 9th grade I was a SUPER dweeb and a real late bloomer (I'm 6'3" now, but at the beginning of freshman year I was shorter than my mom, who is 5'4"), and I feel like that nerdy rep followed me through the last three years of high school. Or perhaps it was all in my head and I was the only one who thought I was still a nerdy little twerp. Heh... my junior year I went away to Spain for the fall semester, and became a pretty popular dude with a really attractive girlfriend. (Hi, Leah!) That school was really eclectic and weird... the popular kids were all writers & musicians rather than lacrosse players, so I think I fit in a little better there and it gave me a new chance to figure out how a new group of people would perceive me. ANYHOW, when I came back to Pittsburgh I have a very specific memory of a couple of girls I'd gone to school with for the last four years giving me a "Whoa, look at Chris Burnham all grown up" look... but then I immediately launched into a discussion about the markets in Spain selling bull testicles and skinned rabbits, and they snapped right back to "What the fuck is wrong with that dude?" Haha. Bitches.
 Looking back, I definitely could have dated a lot more girls... I think the key is actually talking to them rather than creepily leering at them from across the lunchroom. Who knew? But then again, if I were a swinging dick stud in high school, maybe I would have knocked up my girlfriend and had to work in the plant to feed my family and never been able to follow my dreams & draw comics for a living. And I've got a great lady, to boot (Hi, Erin!), so I guess it's worked out pretty well.

I see that you have answered questions like this before. This 20 Questions should go really well... So Question 2: So people's art evolves over time, it is part of the artistic process. Art should grow and change, sometimes gradually and sometimes radically. For me, one of my earliest shifts occured when Walt Simonson took over X-Factor way back in the day. The angularity of his lines and the chunky spot blacks that he uses to denote soft rounded objects was incredible. Can you think back to anytime when your work has had one of these radical alterations, and if so, what do you think was the catalyst for that evolution?
I can think of two big style shifts. When I was first trying to break in around ten years ago I was trying out a bunch of different styles... from a Jim Starlin / John Buscema sort of thing to trying to be John Totleben to Katsuhiro Otomo, without much success. Granted, I was doing a terrible job of marketing myself... if I would have put my stuff on Penciljack at that point I'm sure my career would have taken a drastically different turn. Anyhow, when I moved here to Chicago I started developing this character, Valentine, with my roommate Nathan Allen. He was a pulpy spy-smasher sort of character and I thought that trying to do an open linework David Lloyd sort of thing would be perfect. I tried the style on one little sketch, saw that it worked, and jumped right into inking the story! We printed up 1,000 copies of this 14-page ashcan and gave them to everyone. I started getting work based on that, and for the next few years I worked pretty exclusively in a David Lloyd/Milton Caniff/Jean Paul Leon sort of style. Heavy black brushwork, not much detail.

A few years later I read an article about Richard Starkings starting up Elephantmen. I'd given him the Valentine ashcan, he really liked it, and we'd kept in occasional email contact. So out of the blue I emailed him to ask if I could do an Elephantmen backup. He agreed, and as I was flipping through Ladronn's Hip Flask artwork to look for reference and inspiration I became taken with the idea of applying some Milton Caniffish shadows to Ladronnish linework. It worked pretty well and my career took off with Elephantmen leading to Nixon's Pals to Fear Agent to X-Men to Marvel Mystery... And it's been a much more subtle growth since then... adding in some Darrow for Officer Downe and then mixing in some Quitely for Batman.

That was some significant sequential art name dropping going on there. Truth be told, I am going to need to spend a good day just looking for these references. Clearly some of them I know off the top of my head, but others are a bit more obscure. Question 3: How would you describe your style to someone who is not versed in the nuances of sequential art and its artists?
Oh, jeez... hopefully it comes across as detailed art with dynamic compositions and clear storytelling. I dunno! I certainly draw the shit out of backgrounds and people getting killed in horrible ways.

Boy! Howdy! You do know how to off some people in bizarre ways... always well-done, but Bi-Zarre. Question 4: Your work seems to be almost made for Bat-stories, is there a character or book out there that you dream of regularly drawing?
I'd love to try my hand at the New Gods, who seem to be alive and kicking again. I wouldn't want to draw Kalibak or Desaad, tho... Kirby killed those guys himself and I think they should stay dead.

I dunno, maybe do Challengers of the Unknown as kindof a Tom Strong or Planetary sort of thing? Or the Fantastic Four? Or adapt Thor's Journey to Utgard somehow?

So, you have a near encyclopedic knowledge of all things sequential art and/or comic book-ish. This means, that you must pretty much eat, drink, sleep, and breathe comic books. Which leads to my Question 5: when you are not drawing/reading/signing/etc... comic books, what do you do? Your vocation is my hobby, so what are your hobbies, what does a Chris Burnham do during his down time? (was that Inside the Actors’ Studio enough of a question?)

Heh. I suppose I don't really have one at the moment. Yikes! I listen to a lot of forensic shows... I've seen/listened to just about every episode of Unsolved Mysteries, Cold Case Files, Forensic Files, Disappeared, Dateline, 48 Hours, The First 48, Crime 360, all that shit. Disappeared is the best show of its kind ever. Discovery ID. Live it!

Kids, if you're ever arrested for anything, shut up and get a lawyer! The cops ain't got shit on you!

(Also, don't commit any crimes)

Question 6: Do you see any of your love for forensic procedural shows creeping into your books or, worse yet, your daily life? For example, Wow, Honey, if I were mad at you, this ditch would be a perfect place to hide your blood drained body. I could dump a 50 pound bag of lye on it and the remains would be nigh unrecognizable... Please pass the salt.
Hmm... The more of these shows I watch, the more I'm convinced that the only way to get away with murder is to kill a random stranger... and where would be the fun in that? Err... what I mean to say is killing is wrong, kids!

I CAN recall one night after I'd gone on a serious forensic binge, and I could not sleep... my brain was stuck on murder mode and I seriously could not think of anything for more than 5 seconds before my brain spun it around to murder or prison. It was absolutely terrible.

Question 7: Do you think that the abundance of these forensic dramas is ruining actual prosecution’s cases because the level of technology in actual crime labs is no where near the fake level of technology shown in the shows? Do you think that juries are looking for more definitive evidence that is only available in TV shows?
Um, I think you're misunderstanding what I'm watching. Forensic Files, Dateline, 48 Hours, etc are all documentary shows - actual crimes, interviews with the victims, police, reporters etc... I don't think I've ever actually seen an episode of CSI.

I don't really have an educated opinion on the so-called CSI effect. I've never been on a jury and I don't have any evidence on whether or not it actually exists. Sounds plausible, I guess, but if a prosecutor isn't able to convince a jury that the defendant belongs behind bars, then he hasn't done his job properly, right? Reasonable doubt and all that. I do know that eyewitness testimony is horseshit and people give false confessions all the time... I think juries should be far more skeptical of that kind of evidence than they are.

Oh, man, how about that Cameron Todd Willingham case? I've seen his story on three or four of my shows and every time it gets my blood boiling. Really seems like Texas executed an innocent man. State-sanctioned murder, if you ask me.

No, I got that you were looking at the real deal, I was curious, since I imagined you have seen some of the procedural forensic dramas, if you thought that the fantasy versus the reality could be tainting a jury’s conclusion of “reasonable doubts.” I think the more documentarian shows that one finds on A&E, the Science Channel, Discovery, etc... show more realism than the dramas. I think it would be really interesting to see a drama that dealt with reality in a crime drama. That being said, I am not sure I would want to watch a lab tech titrate some chemical to get a precipitate to put into a mass spectrometer... Maybe the dramas have it right for the entertainment value.

There are too many death penalty cases where post execution, the person was exonerated by newer techniques and new details. It really is state-sanctioned murder. seriously states, you are better than that, don’t stoop to their level.

So, I was good in chemistry in high school, but I hated it as a subject. seriously, I was a badass at stoichiometry, but I hated the shit. Question 8: Any school topics, high school or college, that you were good at, but could not stand?
Hmm.... I'm fairly certain that while many people on death row have been freed, I don't think anyone who has actually been executed has been legally exonerated after the fact. Independent examinations point to a lot of innocent people being executed, but I don't think any courts have come out to put a legal stamp on approval on those investigations.

This might sounds douchey, but I was really good at school (Summa Cum Laude, motherfucker!) and didn't really like much of it. I guess I liked math all the way up through Algebra and Geometry, to the point where I wanted to be an engineer. But trigonometry and calculus beat it out of me. I was able to memorize all the right formulas etc, but I never really understood or enjoyed what I was doing, despite being good enough to get a 5 on the BC Calculus AP test (5 is the highest score on the APs, by the way). Perfect score on the math half of the SATs, too. I was seriously so good at algebra and geometry that the questions might as well have been 2+2.

Most of that knowledge is gone, tho. I'll do some basic algebra to figure out panel dimensions if I'm doing something tricky like wanting 4 panels in a row that get smaller and smaller at a uniform rate, but that's about it. I was trying to do some basic subtraction a year or two ago (like, 1,153 - 827 sort of thing) and totally forgot how to borrow and carry. Ha! Comics will rot your brains, kids!

I majored in mother fucking math, jackass, I got your math theory right here. I, however, only got a 4 on the AP Calc test, so bask in your AP glory, mister, but fear my ε - δ definition of limits knowledge. I still got set theory chops and I remember some of my Calc... I have, however forgotten all my LaPlace Transform info, and my advanced diffy-q knowledge I have forgotten more math.... I think it would take another 4 years of courses to get back to my mathematics fighting weight.

Question 9: One of my favorite questions coming up: I was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, moved to Montgomery, Alabama, then to Birmingham, Alabama, went to college in Kent, Ohio and settled in Columbus, Ohio.... What is your geographic story?
Haha! No sets for me, and I have no idea what those goofy squiggles mean. You win, Scotto!

I was born in Connecticut (no city for you, identity thieves!); lived in Avon CT until I was 7; moved to Sewickley (suburb of Pittsburgh), PA; went to college in Washington, DC; lived in Pittsburgh for one more year; moved to New Haven, CT for a year; and have been in Chicago, IL for the last 9 years.

Question 10: Which of those places resonates as your “home-town?”

I went back a few weeks ago for the first time in over two years. I really miss it. The roads are so much fun to drive on & our woods are so awesome. My brother and I found a few caches of vines that would have made for some awesome swinging if we had a solid afternoon to get them cut and the runways cleared. Next year!

Question 11: Since comic books are relatively geography-less and you can pretty much do your job anywhere there is computers, scanners, and the Internets, what is keeping you in the Windy City?
The people. I've got two great circles of friends here, based around The House Theatre of Chicago (the theater company I did design work and illustration for seven years), and the Chicago comic book community. Plus a bunch of other buddies I've picked up at random jobs, parties, etc. It'd be tough to leave all of them.

Friends will do that to you. It is nice to have a large local cadre of friends to draw on... or so I am told. I tend to find more community online than in real life. There are some people I have never met that I call friends. Which leads me to ask. Question 12: How has the blossoming of social media and social networks affected your interactions with people or your life in general?
Hmmm... well, I certainly waste more time on Twitter now that I'm on Twitter! It's cool to keep in casual touch with comics buddies who I normally only see two or three times a year, and those casual interactions pay off when we get to see each other in person at cons. And it's a nice ego boost when some pro I think is awesome starts following me before I start following them. I thought I was really hot shit when Ilya Salkind friended me on Facebook... until I realized that he's friends with almost everyone in the industry. Still, being fake friends with the producer of Superman is awesome!

I guess I'm developing a halfway decent fanbase. I'm closing in on 2,500 Twitter followers... (@theBurnham) hopefully that'll translate into increased sales of the new Officer Downe hardcover, but who knows? I certainly follow a bunch of people whose comics I don't regularly buy. Too much shit out there to read everything, but I like to know what people are working on, if only to avoid overly awkward conversation when I see them in person.

There's only thing worse than the despair in someone's eyes when you've never heard of their project is their despair when they've never heard of yours!

Seriously, if you can get your 2500 followers to send you $20, you could pocket $50k (before taxes or expenses). You should make that request of your followers and see if you can just live off them like that friend who is “just gonna stay on your couch for a few weeks until I can find a place.”

Question 13: Since this is Q13, do you have any superstitions? A certain way you have to have your materials laid out before you can start working on a page, you have to circle the bed three times before you can lay down to sleep (like some kind of family pet), NO WIRE HANGERS!!!!.. You know some kind of superstition? Anything?
Ha! I should do a 50/50 Twitter raffle! Winner takes half the pot, Burnham's Home for Wayward Comic Artists takes the other. Genius!

I'm sure I've some lingering superstition somewhere, but I really don't have much patience for that stuff. If it doesn't actually exist, why waste your time on it? (says the guy who makes his living drawing fictional characters. hmmmm...)

I guess I'll knock on wood, but I treat it more as a reminder to not take anything for granted. Plus I think it's funny to say "Knock on, err.. particle board" or whatever non-wood substance is at hand.

Yeah, when I stopped playing sports is when I lost my belief in the superstitions. The ritual of putting on the sporting vestments was VERY superstitious, but since then I can’t think of anything superstitious either.
Question 14: So, other than Walking the Room, are there any other podcasts that you listen to?
Oh, man... a bunch. Going down my iTunes list, the ones I'm actively listening to are...
The Economist
Jordan, Jesse GO!
Judge John Hodgman
My Brother, My Brother and Me
NPR: Planet Money
The Skeptic's Guide to the Universe
The Tobolowsky Files
This American Life
You Look Nice Today

and the occasional comic podcast when the interviewee sounds interesting... War Rocket Ajax, Word Balloon, iFanboy, Around Comics.

I listen to, or have listened to many of these, so looking at it that is about maybe 20 hours of padcasts a week, correct? If you like Walking the Room, might I suggest subscribing to Never Not Funny with Jimmy Pardo. It is not as sad and pathetic and a bit more whimsical.

One of my mantras in life is “Funny over nice.” Often if there is a nugget of funny in a situation, I will try to mine the funny prior to showing any significant compassion. Question 15: Do you have any personal mantras?
I used to listen to Never Not Funny. If memory serves, I thought the free content was annoyingly shilly and rather than upgrading to the $ version I stopped listening altogether. I do think those guys are funny, but the show always shut off just as it was getting good, and it started to feel like thy were purposefully doing a shitty job at the beginning to make me pay for the good stuff.

Personal mantras...

"The hard part is over. Here comes the hard part." At the moment I'm doing it, I feel like each and every stage (of the creative process, or learning, or growing up, or whatever) is the most difficult thing in the world and am looking forward to the next stage, which I'm sure will be a cakewalk by comparison. It never is.

And some storytelling ones I learned from my film professor, Dr. Thiel.

"Get inside the action." "Realize is not a verb." "If I didn't see the handkerchief, there's no handkerchief."

I have always loved Pardo. I dig his stand-up and have for a while, and his payment scheme is not too bad for me, but I couldn’t afford all the podcasts I listen to if they all had that model. I think the 20 minute free version of NNF was always a commercial for the full version.

I adopted my wife’s family mantra, “Don’t let the fuckers get you down.” And until recently, I have been letting the fuckers get me down, but I am working on that.

We are closing in on the end of the interview, so thanks for sticking with me so far (interviewee and reader) Question 16: Who is the coolest person you have met? Not necessarily the most well-known, just the coolest, and I hope it is not someone well-known.. That makes for better radio.
Ummm... Natasha Henstridge's husband Darius was pretty cool. I assumed he was a 40-ish European billionaire prince or something, but it turns out he's just a 30-something millionaire pop star... Kinda disappointing in retrospect.

Honestly, the coolest person I can recall meeting was this 10-year old kid at a comic convention a year or two ago. This kid was just so self-assured, casually inquisitive and well-adjusted... seriously the most socially capable human being I've ever met and he was only 10. That dude is going to be the president of the universe.

Question 17: Any questions that I should have asked you?
Q: What's the awesomest shit ever?

A: Getter Robo. Nearly all of it is available as free scanlations at

Shit is super fun. Brilliantly mindless entertainment. Most of the anime versions are pretty cool, but the manga is tippity top.

And you provided a link. You are the awesomest!

Question 18: Any questions that you want to ask me?
You've been a Ten Tonner for quite awhile... how'd you get involved? Confession: for some reason I used to think you were Jason Baroody's girlfriend!

Okay, the confession was completely unnecessary, because deep down aren’t we all Jason Baroody’s girlfriends?

Maybe 5 years ago I started remembering how much I loved to draw. I was in a dead end job that was not taxing me creatively and I started to frequent the comic books section of The Drawing Board. I started drawing again over there in little baby steps. I was a lurker for a while because I hadn’t picked up a pencil for drawing a good long while. In college I was only a few courses away from a studio art minor with a focus on pen and ink. And then I stopped drawing for 10+ years and lost most of my ability. After lurking I started contributing there. Over there I was only mmmpig.

That forum is a great forum, but it was a little bit too sunny for me. Very little solid criticism and more of a “you can do it, keep trying, way to go” vibe. I was always impressed with the work Baroody was posting there and most of what he was posting there was associated with some kind of Sketch Challenge thingy. 4 yrs ago I followed him back here and devoured the art all of you were throwing up, and as I read the threads I realized that this was a much better community for me. Crits at TT are solid and never unprofessional. The banter is way more vulgar and snarky and a bunch less cream-puff and sunshiney. So I stayed and slowly I have been trying to recover the drawing skills that I let get too rusty.

So my goal now is to win a Ten Ton Sketch Challenge

Question 19: How can people see your work in person and online?
Is this a subtle dig at me for never updating my website or posting art? ;)

I've got a slightly out of date portfolio at chrisburnham.com and I'm fairly active on Twitter where my handle is @TheBurnham. I'm on Facebook but don't really do anything on it other than look at pictures of my niece and nephew. And of course I'm on Ten Ton.

Convention season is over for the year, so other than bumping into me at Dark Tower Comics or Challengers Comics & Conversation (both here in sunny Chicago), I think the next chance for people to see me in person will be the Emerald City show in March and C2E2 in April.

In the meantime, the Officer Downe: Bigger Better Bastard Edition comes out on December 7th (pre-order yours today, kids!), and what was originally going to be Batman Inc #10 comes out, um, eventually! Hang in there, kitty cat, it's gonna be great!

I want to thank you profusely for taking so much time with me. Especially since this interview will be seen by at most 31 people. I got juice... I got juice. Since this is the last question, let's make it retrospective. Question 20: Did you come away with anything particularly interesting from this set of 20 questions? Learn anything about yourself through answering the questions? and/or did you at least enjoy this long drawn out process?
It's always fun to answer questions I haven't been asked before. Thanks!

Holy Shit! Amaziballs! This was an amazingly fun. Thanks so damn much, Chris!

To recap:
Wifey is out of town until Sunday evening
Sweet Jeebus and all that is Holly! That is a long time away from now!
This weekend is Mid-Ohio Comic Con!
I will be at table 1024 with the amazing Brett Wood
Sitting next to William Grapes and Matt Horak
There will be drawings
Spaghetti for dinner?
The kids will like it
Me? not so much... I am kind of tired of the spaghetti
Not sure that I will partake of the pasta meal
So, who likes the tumblr?
That’s who
Have a great weekend everyone

20 Questions Tuesday: 159 - Interview with Duane Rollins

One of the things that I have decided to do since I "re-branded" the blog to be 20 Questions Tuesday is to interview people from these here series of tubes that I find interesting. The first such person of note is Duane Rollins from the award winning Canadian soccer football blog the 24th Minute. He is 1 of the 3.5 people who are on the pod-cast called "It's Called Football," and that is where I first was introduced to his work. He is an avid footie follower and a superfan for both Toronto FC from the MLS and Manchester City from the English Premier League. He is a very pragmatic analyst of Canadian football and a strong supporter of the MLS brand.

All this being said, he has, in some small circles, been branded as a soccer hooligan, and has had a tazer shoved into his back by the Columbus Police at a Columbus Crew game. He is no fan for the Front Office of the Columbus Crew (who is?) and the enemy of many a person on the BigSoccer boards.

A warning though. For those of you readers who are not interested in soccer, let me make it clear, this is soccer heavy... really soccer heavy. In fact I would say that it is almost all about soccer.

...And without further ado... 20 Questions with Duane Rollins:

I had the lovely occasion to see Man U lose to Everton for the 1985 Charity Shield just before going to the Bobby Charlton School of Soccer. That experience put American sports in perspective for me which leads me to question 1...
1. Have you been to a Man City game at Eastlands and, if so, how does that atmosphere differ from a typical North American sporting event?
Sadly, I have not made Eastlands. All of my European trips have been in the summer, during the closed season. In my mind the difference between the atmosphere at a NA sporting event and in Europe isn't as big as you think. Money has forced the average fan out of stadiums at the highest level and changes to the security in and around the games have made things far more subdued than you would have seen back in 1985. I think the true football fan experience can be found in the lower leagues now (just as you find the true soul of hockey in Canada in Major Junior rinks and the true soul of (gridiron) football in the U.S. is on a Texas high school field).

Interesting, I was amazed at how an entire stadium could chant and sing something other than "Bullshit." Chanting Bullshit for a bad call and the "wave" are about the only thing that the entirety of an American stadium can do. So, I know the answer to this one, but my "legion" of readers may not know it
2. Why is your blog titled "The 24th Minute?"
The short answer is that it was the minute that Toronto FC scored it's first ever goal in MLS. The longer answer is that I felt that was the moment that Canadian soccer turned the corner and truly became part of the mainstream. The reaction of the crowd with the seat cushions flying onto the field told me that people actually cared about this team. It's hard to remember now, but in the lead-up to TFC's first season there were a lot of people that suggested that it wouldn't work. After Danny Dichio scored at 23:13, no one made those arguments.

That was a pretty amazing sight seeing all the cushions on the field. I have yet to make the Toronto trip for a TFC v Crew game, but it is on the list of things I would like to do. I grew up playing soccer at a moderately high level in 1980's Alabama, a hotbed for American football, so..
3. What drew you to soccer? I imagine there were other sports with much stronger systems to steal your attention
I grew up just outside of Belleville, Ont., which is a small city in Eastern Ontario right smack in the middle of hockey country (the city's junior hockey team -- the Bulls -- is hugely successful and an obsession there). Hockey was a major part of my life -- playing, refereeing and watching -- in my childhood and teens. However, I was always drawn to all sports and especially sports that involved Canada playing (I'm a big Olympics guy as well). So, I obviously was drawn to watching on TV that faithful day in 1985 when Canada made its first and only World Cup by beating Honduras in St. John's, Newfoundland. Even at a young age, I understood that being one of the 24 teams playing in a World Cup was probably more significant than being the best hockey country on earth. So, I was hooked. In later years I started to learn more about my British heritage (family in Bristol) and it was from there that my interest in English football and Man City came to be.

4. Speaking of the Olympics, what is the most unusual Olympic Event that you find yourself unable to miss?
The most unusual Olympic event is a tough one to define, but rhythmic gymnastics and trampoline are a little outside my understanding of what spot is. In the winter games, I find Nordic combined to be a bit bizarre -- who thinks of combining cross-country skiing and ski jumping? Doesn't make any sense to me. That said, I love Olympic sport and one of the reasons I do is because it exposes me to a lot of sports that I might not normally see (I'm always, for instance, upset that they don't show handball on North American TV). In terms of what I never miss, in the summer games I am a huge track fan, especially the sprints. It's my position that the men's 100m is the greatest single sporting event of any four year period. In the winter games, I grew up as a huge ski racing fan and especially as a fan of the men's downhill. So, that's a can't miss. But, basically there is only one Olympic event that I won't give a chance to -- figure skating. I appreciate that the participants are great athletes, but any sport that requires the participants to get their make-up just right loses me a bit.

Well said about the figure-skating. Costume should not matter.
5. Other than watching footie and your Olympic watching, what hobbies do you claim?
I also do a little music writing and have always been very interested in rock, especially what some would call alternative rick, music. Although I don't get out to see shows as much as I would like I feel privileged to have seen a lot of great acts through the years (Rage Against the Machine on the same day as Tool and Alice in Chains back in '93 was a particular highlight, as was almost getting kicked out of a Ramones show in '94 for getting on the stage (I was 2-inches from Joey, God rest his soul. And in my defence I was pushed up -- and I might have been a little drunk...)). But, beyond the big names (massive Oasis and U2 fan as well) I love to see Canadian indie music (a shout out to Celtic-punk legends The Mahones here, along with my favourite band of all time The Lowest of the Low). I also play a lot of the sim video game Football Manager, but I'm not proud of that...(even the game that won the UEFA Cup with Lombard-Papa TFC of Hungary -- Ok, I'm a little proud of that...).

Interesting... You should write the intro and outro to "It's Called Football" before you get into copyright trouble with U2, BTW.
6. What instruments do you play? and what is your favorite.
I only play the "ears." No talent, just appreciation. In terms of a favourite sound...wow, that's a tough one. I suppose that if I could be a rock star I'd want to be on vocals -- my need for attention would be appeased.

7. So if there were a movie of your life, what would you want the title to be?
Since I value originality and independence I'd want something that reflects that. How about Not Typical: The Duane Rollins Story. However, if it were to actually happen it will likely be called The Duane Rollins Story: A Case Study in Procrastination or "No really, honey, I'm on the Internet doing research, I swear to God".

I really like "The Duane Rollins Story: A Case Study in Procrastination." That has a nice ring to it.
8. Place the regulars (including yourself) from "It's Called Football" in the roles from Gilligan's Island... and go:
Rycroft is the professor, Knight the Skipper, Squizz is Gilligan and I'm...Ginger. I did wear a dress on air remember.

I saw the dress episode and the other images, and you, sir, are no Ginger. Mrs Howell maybe, but Ginger? Crazy talk there, just plain crazy talk. The rest is acceptable, but I would have also accepted Knight as Mr Howell and you as Skipper.
9. Most podcasts inevitably digress into talking about food. So far I have not seen "It's Called Football" do that. I am impressed that you and your cohorts tend to stay dogmatically on topic. That being said, I KNOW that there is a large amount of pent up food talk within you. So... What is your favorite restaurant in the greater Toronto area?
There are too many great restaurants in Toronto to pinpoint just one, so I'm going to go outside the GTA. Canada's best restaurant and the best Mexican north of, well, Mexico is in Fredericton, New Brunswick. El Burrito Loco. Ammmmazing.

I'll take it! Ask for "in the metro area" and get "in the Country?" That is a win in my book.
10. What are your weekly/daily/hourly Internet reads?
I live on the soccer boards -- BigSoccer, the TFC U-Sector and Red Patch and the Canadian Voyageur's. That's where I get a lot of my leads (no, I don't take what's written there as gospel, but rather use them to see what people are talking about). So those are hourly reads. I read a lot of City blogs -- The Lonesome Death of Roy Carroll is my favourite -- as well, although not as much as the TFC, MLS and Canadian boards. And, I try to read American blogs like Match Fit USA at least once a day. I also keep an eye out to see if Archer, or his his mini-me equivalent Fake Sigi, has defamed me that day.

11. How much crap do you have to sift through to get ANYTHING worth while from BigSoccer?
A lot and very little. If you were to go in blind you would be overwhelmed by the site, but once you've been on for a while (I've been a poster since Jan. 2003 and I read for about a year before that) you start to know what posters are worth reading and which ones aren't. I mostly read MLS News and Analysis, which tends to be a little more highbrow than, say, MLS: General. The Rivals forum makes my head hurt, although I have friends that swear it's the most cathartic thing ever.

I imagine it is much like any other reference institution. Without a librarian worth their salt, a Library is only a place with lots of books in it.
12. So, after the nasty over-response to the minor dust up at Crew Stadium (god they need a stadium naming sponsor or at least name it Lamar Field or something like that) you have stated that you will not travel to a Crew game due to the threat of tazing. Any chance that you would head to a Crew game in Columbus?
There is a better than average change that I will be at Crew Stadium. There is no chance that the TFC supporter's groups will organize a trip down this year (unless it's in the playoffs). It's also inaccurate to suggest that it's a boycott, although there was some talk of that in the early days after the March trip last year. The issue that the groups have is that they feel that the Crew front office failed to take any security measures whatsoever, despite efforts from the leaders of the Toronto trip to work with them to ensure a safe trip for all. No one is justifying the actions of a few Toronto supporters that crossed the line last year, but it is worth pointing out that there were only three arrests made that day at Crew Stadium and only one was a TFC supporter. The other two arrests were people that lived in Columbus, according to public police reports.

Anyone who was on the ground that day will tell you that the reaction of police was way over the top. In my case, I had the tazer shoved in my ribs because I was attempting to videotape police interaction with other Toronto fans. There were police cars screaming through the parking lot at high speeds to deal with an altercation that could have easily been avoided if Crew Stadium security had just held back the Toronto fans for about 15 minutes and stopped fans that were clearly wearing Hudson Street Hooligans t-shirts from gathering at the bottom of the stairs that the TFC supporters had to use to leave. All issues the TFC supporters groups attempted to alert the Crew front office to.

Yeah the Crew front office really botched that one, big time. That and the reaction of the police was comically over zealous. There are more violence/crime/arrests due to OSU away game outcomes. Next time you make it to C-bus, flash me and email and I will raise a pint with you somewhere friendly... Hell, I'll even buy.
13. Do you play soccer, and if so, what position do you play. I was a kickass fullback and stopper/sweeper back in the day.
Yep. I was a full-back for quite a few years as a kid before being switched up to a winger position (I used to run track as a kid and had some speed). Outdoors I usually play up front now, but I've actually been playing a bit of goal indoors lately as a way to prolong how long I can play competitively (as competitively as a beer league provides, anyway). My biggest regret is that I never received any proper coaching as a kid. I learned the game by watching it.

I am of the opinion that the stronger MLS sides would be able to survive in the Football League Championship of England if they were able to stay healthy. That is a big "if" because MLS sides have no depth to speak of. As a caveat, I feel like I need to spell this out more specifically. They would not be pushing themselves into the Prem, but surviving in the mid-low areas of the table.
14. What is your opinion on my opinion?
In a perfect, video game world, the top MLS teams would, in my opinion, finish near midtable in the CCC. I base that on looking at the type of players that come from England to MLS and how they do while here. To use Toronto examples, you see a player like Carl Robinson come over and fit right in. Robinson was a mid-table CCC player. Jim Brennan and Danny Dichio are two other examples. A League One player, Ali Gerba, didn't do so well last year...

My thoughts exactly. It is like we were separated at birth... at least MLS opinion-wise.
15. Provided that the Collective Bargaining Agreement is finalized and the MLS owners and MLS players are all happy-go-lucky with each other, which team do you see being the surprise team of the year?
That depends on what you mean by surprise. If it's a positive surprise I have a hunch about Colorado finally getting it right. They've been close to the playoffs for a few years and with the fire power they have up front, I could see them breaking through. In terms of a negative surprise, I can't get past the idea that this will be a slip back season for Houston. They were able to move DeRo last year because they had Holden waiting. Now...

Personally I think RBNY is going to be the "surprise" this season but only because anything they do will be better than last season.
16. Worse name Real Salt Lake or Red Bull New York?
It's not close. Salt Lake is the worst name in the history of sport because it makes the league look amateur and ignorant of the sport's history. Red Bulls is just corporate pandering. Whatever. It's 2010, that's just the way the world works. But, SLC named its team the same way that you would name a house league team -- after a famous team that you have no history with. The only difference is that instead of 4-year-olds chasing butterflies playing under the name, you have Kyle Beckerman's hair. SLC's name actually makes me angry it's so bad. And, you'll note I never used it. I refuse to.

I never understood why they didn't just go alphabet soup on Salt Lake City. They should have been FCSLC or SLCFC. It is like our soccer football minds were separated at birth.
17. Who is your dream interview for The 24th Minute? For It's Called Football?
Wow, that's a tough one. Actually, we've been really fortunate in getting many of the top names in the sport here in Canada -- interviewing Craig Forrest and Jason deVos were real highlights for me as those were players I really enjoyed watching. If TFC signs Paul Dickov (he's been on trial), I would absolutely be thrilled to have a chat with him about the late 90s at City and that famous game at Wembley where he scored in the 94th minute to erase a 2-0 deficit in the League One playoff (if City had lost that game, God knows what would have happened...). But, that's the blue in me.

But, if I had to make a list of three dream interviews for ICF for this season (balancing both the excitement of the interview and the exposure it would provide the show) they would be 1) - Don Garber, 2) - Bob Foose and 3) - Mo Johnston

The caveat of that list is that I would want to do the interview after each had consumed at least 5 glasses of wine.

I don't see those happening if they have been imbibing, but I would love to hear Foose and Garber off the record. Mo is a much more Toronto centric interview, and one day he might give you some sound bites, but I doubt much more than sound bites. All three of those potential interviewees are very politic in their delivery. I am not sure that the IFC crew would be able to put them off their game enough to get non talking point answers.
18. Who has been the most fun to interview so far. And let me be clear, by interview I mean someone who is really an "interview" and not a frequent guest.
Another tough one to answer because there have been so many good ones and because what's good for a TFC audience might not be as good for a non-Toronto audience.

That said, the last Julian de Guzman interview we did had a lot of really good stuff in it for the hardcore fan. We got him to talk a lot about his time in La Liga and some of the financial issues over there. Plus, he's a DP. Surprisingly, the DeRo interview we did earlier this month was solid too. To be honest we weren't expecting Dwayne to give us much.

But, if I had to pick one it would be the Jimmy Conrad interview from December. Jimmy is a funny guy and his personality really came through. However, he also gave us a lot of info on the CBA that has since become common knowledge but at the time was less talked about.

I have a request into Mr Conrad as well for a 20 Questions Tuesday spot, but I have heard nary a word back. Actually those three interviews you mentioned were also three of my favs of yours as well. Each for different reasons.

I guess it is time to turn the tables a bit.
19. Since we have been email chatting for 3 days now, are there any questions you have for me?
Sure. As a Columbus fan,what does the Crew front office need to do to get more than the 2-3,000 hardcore to care about that team? Winning didn't do it. Is it even possible?

In my honest opinion, there are a few different things that the front office needs to do to get butts in the seats.

Firstly, there is no local marketing to speak of. It has been years since I have heard a Crew radio spot unless it was for the play-offs. When McBride and Martino were on the team they would do some local radio shows... of course the team was abysmal at the time, but more in the local public consciousness. Make themselves heard.

Secondly, the team should not be counting on ticket sales to be their primary profit margin. That is the beauty of owing their own stadium. The revenue from ancillary sales at the stadium should be the driving force of their revenue and not ticket sales. Drop the ticket price for student ID's and get the OSU (within walking distance) crowd in there. They are hungry and thirsty because they are college students and are willing to pay a premium for nachos and beverages. Drop day of game ticket prices as well. Start with the upper deck seats and sell into the lower bowl. You start filling the stadium and more people will want to be there.

Thirdly, clearly they are not enticing people enough with their ticket packages right now. Drop the season ticket prices until they start to get some people in the seats. Get people in the stands and make it seem like a scarce resource. Then people will WANT to be there. I don't think that the front office has done due diligence in determining where the proper price point is for their tickets. If tickets were $5 cheaper and they got 1000 more people a game would that offset? I don't know, but I am afraid that neither do they.

If the average ticket price is 25 but they only get 14k people in the stands it looks empty and they have only gotten $35000 in ticket sales for the game. Figure out what price would get you 20k consistently and increase the price of your drinks by $0.15 or something like that. Your stadium looks full and you make the same amount of money. I feel that the office is too worried about looking like they are not a "premium entertainment" market like the Blue Jackets where a family of 4 can easily spend $300 for an evening, and therefore increase their ticket price to seem more premium. At this point it should be about getting people's butts in the seats at whatever price.

Fourthly, it seems trivial but do something with the parking situation. Currently it is a swamp. Pave it/gravel it/ do something with it. It is a deterrent to people going to the game. I know this anecdotally from multiple people I used to work with. They stated that they did not want to take their sedan into that morass because they wouldn't be able to get out and many a folk who lived in their suburb wouldn't go for the same reason.

Those are my prescriptions for getting more people into the games. I know there are some faults with my line of thinking, but I have not seen a serious effort from the front office to get more butts in the seats and it needs to happen.

So in conclusion...
20. Anything emblazoned on your memory from this interview?
Just, and this is going to come off as a little trite, how unifying this sport can be for fans in the U.S. and Canada. It's like a little secret society, with it's own customs and language. Even though we're, supposedly, from two rival cities, and two different countries, we can instantly start a conversation that is easy and understandable to both of us.

I've experienced that whenever I travel in MLS. In Chicago last October, for instance, I had people approach me to thank me for coming and I even had one guy from the Section 8 tailgate call out my name as I passed by to tell me that he liked the show. I have friends from all over North American because of MLS. I'm not sure it's the same way in other places in the world.

That's one of the main issues I have with Bill Archer and his ilk. He/they are dividers, determined to put a wedge between Canadian and American fans and to paint Toronto fans in the worst possible way. Yes, there is legitimate rivalry and there are those that take things way too seriously, but, at the root, most fans of MLS teams understand that we're all in it together and that we need to stick together to grow the sport.

To recap:
I will probably garner some negative comments from Mr Rollins' detractors
Oh well,
I enjoy these interviews
One problem with interviewing a freelance writer is that they write a bunch and quickly
Long 20 Questions Tuesday today
but worth it if you like North American soccer
Listening to the interns talk about six sigma stuff
Interns... sheesh

20 Questions Tuesday: 133 - Riley Interviewing Me (the revenge)

Sure it has been a while since I posted, but this unemployment thing is really getting in the way of having a schedule. That is something I will be attempting to take care of when I get back home from Sunny San Jose, California. There needs to be a bit of the regimen to my life, if I am ever going to get anything done.

Anyhoo… This week’s installment of 20 Questions Tuesday is the second part in the home and away series of interviews with Riley from All Rileyed Up. The first installment saw me giving her the 3rd degree with my blistering questions concerning Highlnder: The Series.

This time around Riley has given me the “old what for,” and turned the tables. It seems the hunter has become the hunted.

On to the questions!
1. Why did you start blogging?
I started as a way to get back into something that took creativity. My job at the time had just beaten me down again for wanting to attempt something that was innovative. I needed to re-awaken the creative side of me and create an outlet for that creativity

2. Did it work?
I think that it did work pretty well. It was not the creative outlet that I think I was looking for, but it did springboard me into a few online communities that have allowed me to stretch and grow creatively. So blogging has been my gateway drug to creativity.

3. What kinds of online communities? Writing ones? Graphic art ones? Something else?
Primarily artistic communities. The main one was "The Drawing Board" which brought me into a move appropriate for me artistic community at "Ten Ton Studios." The issue with The Drawing Board was that it could not handle sarcasm terribly well and Ten Ton seems to be made from it.

4. Ah, sarcasm. Also known as the lowest form
of wit. Would you agree or disagree?
pfft! Sarcasm is one of the highest forms of wit, if done correctly. The problem is all the talentless hacks out there using sarcasm like a formulaic shotgun. I blame this on the whole "not" phenomenon.

5. Who do you think is to blame for starting the "not" phenomenon? Wayne's World?
More specifically Mike Meyers

6. So do you dislike Mike Myers in general or just hold the "not" thing against him?
I don't think I had anything specifically against Mike Meyers until he recently started making the same movie over and over and over and over and over... If he were able to create some new humor instead of dragging out the same set of jokes and pratfalls I think I would hold considerably less against him.

7. Did you see Love Guru?
I think I saw "enough" from the previews.

8. I imagine you made the right choice by avo
iding it. I watched about the first 20 minutes before throwing in the towel. My husband thought it was funny though. But enough about Mike Myers. Are there any other SNL cast members/alum who you harbor ill will towards for impacting American pop culture in a negative way? (Personally, I'm not fond of those MacGruber commercials. And though it's not a cool thing to say right now, I've had enough of Tina Fey too.)
I have never quite understood the mass appeal of Adam Sandler

9. Personally, I'm part of the mass appeal. Adam
Sandler is funny (or at any rate, used to be). He also appears to be a generally nice guy. I think if I was famous like him, I would totally put my circle of friends in all my movies. If you were going to make a movie, which of your friends and/or celebrities would be in it?
I do not want to suggest that Adam Sandler doesn't do some funny stuff, but the overwhelming adulation for him is a bit confusing. Hmmmm... If I were in a movie who would accompany me... it would have to be an epic movie with an ensemble cast of thousands

Friends: Wifey, Capt McArmypants, Dr B Dawg, Lord Pithy,
Celebs: Andy Richter, Most of the Muppets, Jack Black, Jim Gaffigan, Bruce Campbell, Nancy Travis, Lucy Liu (Little Man has a cute l
ittle crush on her because she was Viper in Kung Fu Panda), and throw in a swimsuit model.

10. I'm going to overlook the fact that I have not been inlcuded (don't give me that "but I said cast of thousands" argument) in favor of this question: Um, why Nancy Travis?

ummm... ah... Next question please

11. Wow. Now I'm fully intrigued. You should have just lied and said something like "I really loved Three Men and a Little Lady." Speaking of which, what did you ever make of that rumor that there was a ghost in Three Men and a Baby?
Sadly, my crush on Ms Travis started with, oddly enough, "So I married an Ax Murderer," which is the funniest Mike Meyers movie because it is all new material in that one. As for the ghost in Three Men and a Baby? I have seen the stills and the frame by frame stuff and honestly I find that it is inconclusive. I have not heard what anyone thinks of that since HD and digital came to the forefront. I would love to see what shows up with better scrutiny now.

12. Best line in "So I Married an Axe Murderer?"
Now, that was offside now, wasnnit? He'll be cryin' himself to sleep tonight on his huge pilla.

13. Excellent choice. On to other questions, did you celebrate Easter?
We had a nice meal with family and the kids each got a basket, but that was about it.

14. What would you say is the best use for leftover hard-boiled eggs?
Cobb Salad?

15. I just finished my second egg salad sandwich of the day and may have filled my egg quota for the day. So perhaps cobb salad tomorrow. Do you know why they call it Cobb salad?
I am only guessing here, but I suppose the first person to create the salad had the last name of Cobb. It seems that Wikipedia agrees with this guess.

16. What a boring origin. I was hoping for something wild and exciting, perhaps involving a train wreck or underground elves, dare I hope both? That sounds like the kind of question I would send you for your 20 questions. Speaking of which, I don't think I've ever asked you -- how did you come up with the idea of a 20 Questions Tuesday?
It started with not being able to come up with topics for posts, so I would scour the internets looking for questionnaires and such. Most of the early ones ended up being 20 questions long. Much like the game 20 Questions. I started doing it more often and then I started asking people I knew for 5 random questions a piece. Then I came up with topics for the questions because the people complained loudly about how hard it was to come up with 5 random questions. Then I made it a regular feature and thus 20 Questions Tuesday was born. So it shall be written, so it shall be done.

17. Are there any particular 20 Question Tuesday posts you are especially fond/proud of?
Hmmm... I honestly do not have a great gauge on what works with the 20QTues and what doesn't. I have really been enjoying the interviews. Those are fun. Either me interviewing or being interviewed. The ones about the family are fine ones as well, but if I were pressed to think of a particular one of the 132 20QTues's that I have done, am not sure I could come up with anything concrete.

18. Wow, that was a very roundabout way of saying no. I guess that's how it feels when people ask me to pick a favorite something or other. Have you ever considered interviewing a yeti hunter, and if so, what would you ask such a person?
I have tried to stay away from any actual cryptozoologists, mainly because I do not want to seem belittle the work that is being done by the actual scientist cryptozoologists and I do not want to interact with the crackpot bat-shit crazy cryptozoologists, what would I ask? So have you bagged a yeti... you know what I mean, *wink* *wink* *nudge* *nudge*

19. Imho, I think that would be an excellent question to ask an actual scientist. Scientists have senses of humor too, you know (not to mention an appreciation for Monty Python references). On to your other enemy, The Hippo -- I was at the library today and saw they had put out stacks of poem-in-your-pocket cards (likely to celebrate National Poetry Month). One of the poems was "The Hippo," and went like this:

"A Head or Tail -- which does he lack?
I think his Forward's coming back!
He lives on Carrots, Leeks and Hay;
He starts to yawn -- it takes All Day --

Some time I think I'll live that way."

--Theodore Roethke, "I am! Said the Lamb"

Any thoughts on this?
It burns

20. We are at question 20. For all my interviews, the last question is the same: anything else you'd like to say? (if you don't like that question, the alternate option is this: who is Wifey's Nancy Travis and how do you feel you measure in comparison?)
I think the burning fire of all consuming hate that I have towards the hippo is a good note to end on.

To recap:
Schedule will equal good
The 10 lbs I lost after losing my job have found their way back
And not in a good way
I am in San Jose until Friday
So if you are in San Jose, drop me a line via the email thingy
Maybe we could sit at a café or something and my un-employed self could watch you spend money on something as discretionary as a latte
Typing this while the kids are sleeping
Therefore I am not listening to anything
It may only be 11pm on Monday evening in San Jose, but it is Tuesday in Columbus!

20 Questions Tuesday: 132 - Interview with Riley (Interviews)

For this installment of 20 Questions Tuesday I am interviewing the much sought after Riley from All Rileyed Up. I started reading her blog about 3 years ago and have watched it transform a few times. Her irreverence knows few bounds, and her posts and comments smell distinctly of sarcasm. Riley is one of the few denizens of the net that I would really like to get to know more. She and I have never met, yet I think our paths have crossed rather closely a few times. I have always loved her questions that she has for me, and now I am looking forward to her answers. For the topic of this interview (I decided to make it a recursive loop the kind of which only Star Trek excells) I have chosen "Interviews."

On to the questions:

1. How many interviews have you given since you started blo
In my incredibly busy 3-year blogging span, I've managed to get one other blogger interested in interviewing me. And now you. I'
m taking the internet by storm, I tell you.

2. Two interviews in 3 years is not bad. So far, with 1 gigantic interview under your belt, what would you say is the best part about being interviewed?
Can I say that the comments to the interview were very exciting? I hate to sound like the kind of person who just REALLY wants other people to lik
e her, but I gotta be me.

3. Who would be your ultimate interviewee/interviewer?
Are we talking anyone anywhere, time period and lan
guage barriers notwithstanding? Genghis Kahn. Preferably over a meal of turkey legs, you know those big kinds that you can buy at carnivals and festivals that look like you can use them as a weapon once you're done eating them?

4. Is that choice because of Genghis or because of the turkey legs?
Genghis, of course. I just threw in the turkey legs for his benefit. I think if he visited the twenty-first century, he would really like this food option at fairs (a close second being the deep-fried Twinkie).

5. Why hasn't fried-food-on-a-stick become more of an American cul
tural mainstay beyond at fairs and carnivals?
Fairs and carnivals usually only come to an area once or twice a year, and that's really all a human body should sustain of fried food on a stick. Could yo
u imagine the obesity problem in this country if we had the fried food on a stick option ALL the time? I shudder to think. Or jiggle, as the case may be.

6. Speaking of the obesity problem in the US, what is your favorite decadent food? Mine is, as most faithful readers know (hello to the both
of you), Vanilla Bean Cheesecake.
I'm not much of a cheesecake person. That's the one decadent treat I could alway
s easily pass in. But pinpointing my favorite decadent food is really a difficult thing to do. You may as well ask me what is the worst outift Tori Spelling ever wore in the entire span of 90210 -- TOO MANY CHOICES. Or, since you probably didn't watch 90210, asking me who was the best bad immortal to ever fight Duncan MacLeod. I just don't know if I could choose. I could definitely choose the most irritating immortal, though: Richie. I can't stand him! Although the episode with Joan Jett hitting on him was funny. Um, where were we? Decadent treats? Maybe Girl Scout Thin Mints.

7. and you are in the thick of the Girl Scout Season as well... Ac
kI hated the villain played by the lead singer from the Fine Young Cannibals. Anyhoo... what is your tv distraction du jour, since Highlander the series has been off the air for years now?
Thanks to the wonders of Netflix, Highlander the Series lives on. In fact, it is also through the wonders of Netflix that I can watch any TV
because I stopped getting TV service in 2005. I'm a season behind, but I currently watch Smallville, Entourage, Lost, and Flight of the Conchords. (editors note: You can Google these your damn selves)

8. What made you decide to stop "getting TV service in 2005?" Next to Mt Dew, TV is my opiate.
It seemed like a lot of extra money to watch things I can eventuall
y rent on DVD. The only thing I miss is the occasional football game, Saturday Night Live, and the Oscars, so I invite myself to other people's houses and watch it on their TV.

9. Back to the subject matter. When giving interviews do you try to answer as truthfully as possible and damn the personal consequences or do you hedge a bit to protect the feelings and thoughts of others?
I try to do a little of both, depending on the question, but really, how else am I to answer the question? "As truthfully as possible" is so subjective.

My feelings on truth could best be summed up by this excerpt from Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar:
Dimitri: So, Tasso, you seem to be one of those guys who thinks there is no absolute truth, that all truth is relative.
Tasso: Right.
Dimitri: Are you sure of that?
Tasso: Absolutely.

10. So do you think I am Hot? I am pretty sure I will have a better answer to the previous question by how you answer this one.
As I understand it, the temperature in Columbus is in th
e 40s today (Friday the 20th -the editor), which is my idea of freezing, so I think you're cold.

Interesting answer. 11. So sometimes in an interview, you feel that obfuscation and avoidance are necessary?

I don't know what obfuscation means. Please use smaller words.

12. Well-played, Riley, well-played indeed.

Thank you.

13. I know from my experience that I get a great deal of satisfaction answering 20 Questions Tuesday questions in the most obtuse yet technically correct manner. What gives you the most satisfaction when answering a question?

I derive a lot of satisfaction from referencing movie quotes as part of my answer. I don't appear to have done that in this interview thus far, which leaves me no choice but to say I demand satisfaction! I love that lin
e. It's from Barry Lyndon.

14. In that case... Do you feel lucky, punk? Do ya?

I was trying to think up some cheeky answer. but much like the villains being faced down by Clint Eastwood, my mind has gone blank.

15. I am sure you would have been super intimidated if you saw my steely gaze as well. Favorite movie quote?
Didn't my answer to the favorite decadent food question make it obvious that I am incapable of pinpointing ultimate favorite things? I cannot choose. In a
ddition to every line in The Princess Bride, I'm rather fond of the way Mr. T growls out "Prediction? Pain." and I often say "I dig that about you!" a la Cuba Gooding Jr in Jerry Maguire and "It's a sweater!" from Three Amigos. I could go on (and on and on) but for the sake of post length and keeping things swear-free, I'll limit myself to these.

I was fairly sure that you would not be able to boil it down to one favorit
e quote, which leads me to... 16. Do you have a problem with decisiveness, such that you can not reduce a universe of options to one finite answer?
Um, I don't know... let me get back to you on that once I've had some time to think about it...

17. List 5 bloggers you would like to interview.

Again with the specifics!!!! Let's see, I just asked Edj at Planet Nomad if I could interview her, and I'm stoked she said yes. I think I could also have fun with Our Little Tonginnator, Steph at Red Clay Diaries, This Eclectic Life, and Whee! All the Way Home. I believe you can find them all on my sidebar. (editors note: So visit her blog, already!)

18. What subjects (without going into the whys and hows and whos and such) are strictly off-limits in an interview... maybe this should have been my first question?
You could always lie and put this question first and pretend like you asked me that as question number one. I won't tell. As for the answer, n
o subject is always off limits (see my answer on absolutes), although I don't like having to defend my dislike of yogurt. Or Highlander.

19. Your love of Highlander, or dislike of Highlander? as a follow up: Duncan or Connor?
Sorry, I should have said "Or my love of Highlander." Duncan all the w
ay. Not to say that I don't like Connor, and was sad to see him die, but Duncan was by far more entertaining and ridiculous.

20. Will you be posting this on your blog as well and is there anything emblazoned in your memory from this interview?
I will be a posting a link to this on my blog so that people have to visit yours to read it, and hopefully enjoy other posts by you as well, such as your threats to the yeti and hippo. Emblazoned in my memory are the following things: 1) I like Highlander 2) Obfuscate and 3) I'm indecisive.


To Recap:
Thanks so much, Riley!
I have much to do tonight since I have been fighting off a nasty headache all day
Hello, Fluffy. Been a while, hasn’t it?
Listening to Joss Stone sing Some Kind of Wonderful
Reading the The Shepard Kings by Judith Tarr

20 Questions Tuesday: 127 - Interview with Lsig

This week I have done the second of my hopefully on-going series of interviews on 20 Questions Tuesday.

For this installment of the weekly show I bring to you oft questioner, lsig. She is known by many names one of which is nqllisi on LiVEJOURNAL. Her blog can be found here.

Lsig and I have known each other since college. She was dating my roommate and was just a simple pleasure to have hanging around in the apartment. In many ways ksig and Wifey and lsig and I are technically better matched than the current couplings, but I think that is why we four have always gotten along so well.

Anyway, the topic of this interview is loosely based around Traffic and Trafficking.
On to the questions!

1. If you had the opportunity to smuggle fresh fruit into Canada, wouldn't you? Canadians want fresh fruit too, right?
It is my understanding Canadians only want maple syrup and beer. And pie. I know a Canadian who really likes pie. She likes Skittles, too.

2. Skittle pie? That sounds horrendous.
I didn't say I liked it- I'm not Canadian.

3. What would it take for you to become Canadian? Everyone has their price, Lsig. Everyone.
Well, they'd have to cough up some fresh fruit.

4. Some fresh plums from Chili and you are singing "Oh Canada?" Where is your loyalty?
I still support the perpetually losing Cleveland sport
s teams, despite having moved away from northeast Ohio nearly a decade ago. I am the very definition of loyalty.

5. Speaking of Cleveland sports teams. That Lebron is something else, isn't he?
If by "something else," you mean "Lsig's imaginary boyfriend", then yes. Yes, he is.

6. Why haven't you started following more local sports franchises. You left the greater Cleveland area almost 10 years ago. One would think you would start identifying yourself more geographically with the DC area franchises by now.
Well, aside from the whole "loyalty" thing, the Redskins
and Wizards haven't been that great in the time we've been here. The Nationals were fun to root for when they first started, and as a National League team they don't conflict with the Indians for my affection, but we haven't been able to watch many games because of a television rights war going on here. Mostly, though, it's a loyalty thing.

7. Who really introduced you to the fan side of Cleveland sports. Granted I understand that when someone grows up near Cleveland they ate enmeshed intrinsically to the sports franchises up there, but usually there is some person who guides the young into becoming the true fans that the Cleveland area breeds.
My mother loves the Browns and the Indians, so we always had sports on at home. That said, I didn't watch sports myself with any regularity until I started dating KSig. He is certainly the reason I now watch ESPN every night in lieu of the actual news.

8. In many ways, isn't sports news more relevant than global geo-political news?
It is certainly easier to engage with it emotionally. I am equally unlikely to be able to influence the outcome of the next Cavs game and the progress of a genocidal regime somewhere around the world, but it feels a good deal nicer to worry about LeBron's bicep.

9. Back to the idea of traffic. How far is your commute to your job? Should you be envious of me because I have no commute, or should I be enviou
s of you since I have no job?
My commute is generally between 18 and 22 minutes, with an added 6 to 8 minutes to drop off the Siglette. I currently live in one of the two worst traffic areas in the country, so I am ridiculously lucky when it comes to commute times. You should be jealous of me, for this and myriad other reasons. I'm tremendously cool and interestin

10. Is there a perfect commute window for you such that if you leave 5 minutes earlier or later it takes 15 minutes longer to get where you are going?
Yes, if I leave more than 5 minutes late, I am late by at least fifteen minutes. Of course, on any given day the traffic can be randomly bad even if I leave right on time, so it's always a fun adventure. Fortunately, everyone who works here is in the same boat so no one is too scrupulous about exactly when you walk in.

11. Do you ever bring fruit to the Canadians who work in your office? I know
there are Canadians there. Canadians are everywhere, and they act just like polite Americans, so you can't tell who they are... unless there is some hockey on TV.
Oh, maybe offering some fresh fruit would be a way to lure them out of hiding... I must consider this further.

12. Ever thought about selling that kid of yours? I mean really we have all thought about selling our kids, right? Heh, heh, I’m not alone is this, right?
I haven't really considered selling her...but there have been mom
ents when I'd have happily given her away for free. KSig, on the other hand, had a starting bid and a Buy it Now price selected for Ebay.

13. It is the ad write-up that you have to watch out for. If the kid is so great, why are you selling? What do you think the key selling features are for the Siglette?
This teeny wonder is in like-new condition. With big blue eyes, ten fingers and ten toes, and four, yes four original teeth, this little girl is good for all of your peek-a-boo needs. Perfect for picking up every crumb, string, or piece of lint on your carpet, the 2008 model of the Siglette has three speeds- walking, crawling, and sleep. Never worry about losing a family member under blankets a
gain- she'll find whoever is hiding! Need help taking off your glasses or the hat on your head? She has you covered!

14. Are you afraid that anyone you know might want to make the eBay purchase? I know a few who would click "Buy it Now" if Little Man or Q came up for bid.
There are a few people- most of them with some variation of the word "Grandma" in their name.

15. Speaking of "Grandma," is being away from family a blessing or a curse? I know where I fall on this issue.

Being far from my family is more of a curse. Shall we leave it at that?
Left at that, it is. It is odd, being away from my family is a blessing.

16. How often do you make the trip "back home?"
Around three times a year, before the Siglette- once in the summer, onc
e around the holidays, and then usually a long weekend by myself at some point, for a holiday or a family reunion, that sort of thing. We'll see how it shakes out now that we have spawned; the family there would certainly like us to come more often, but travel is decidedly more difficult. I suppose it will probably average out to about the same, 2 - 3 times per year.

17. How often does family travel to you?
For the first eight years that we lived here, we'd
have family visiting once or twice a year. In the last 11 months, strangely enough, we've been visited 9 or 10 times. Weird.

18. Is it for the fruit? They may be secretly Canadian?
Heaven forbid! We wouldn't want a rumour like that to get oot. Out! I mean out.

19. Will you be posting this interview on your blog as well?
That's a good idea. It'll be nice to show my blog readers how famous I am.

20. Anything emblazoned on your memory about this interview?
Something about fruity Canadians?

To recap:
Still applying myself like glue
I have a pretty hideous headache at the moment
It is purely weather related
Stupid weather
For some reason this 60 degree shift has messed with my sinuses
Why hello, Fluffy
So you have the Cavs over the Pacers tonight, I see
Listening to All Better Now by Earl Greyhound

20 Questions Tuesday: 88 - Sparky's Day

This week’s 20 Questions Tuesday is a bit of a departure from the norm. Today I will be interviewed by one of my typical questioneers. The questioner in question is Sparky, a co-worker of mine. Well, kind of a co-worker. I haven’t actually done any work with her, but she works for the same company in the same building.

Sparky, if you are ready…

On to the questions:
1. What do you like best about your job?
I have a super flexible work schedule that allows me to do handle sick kid time and other emergency “don’t go into work” stuff very easily. That helps a ton when you have a food allergic asthmatic kid.

2. What is the best piece of work/project you've ever done?
Hmmm… this is an interesting question. I have a hard time choosing anything that I have done at my place of employment so far. It seems that none of the projects I have worked on have been built. Um… I would have to go with the inking and coloring that I did for last week’s Ten Ton Studios’ No-Prize Sketch Challenge. It will be the featured piece for this week’s Digital Thursday.

3. What is your dream job?
I believe being independently wealthy would do for me. It would do very well indeed. I would philanthopize….

4. If you could wear anything you wanted to work everyday, what would it be?
Shorts. I abhor long pants. I have very sensitive knees due to removing most of the skin there whilst having a soccer career as a kid.

5. What was your first job?
I sold NordicTracks in a NordicTrack store in a mall.

6. What is the best piece of advice you've ever received?
"Don’t let the fuckers get you down."

7. If someone who knows you well had to describe you in one word, what would it be?

8. Whom do you admire?

9. What keeps you awake at night?

10. What is the first thing you think when you wake up?
Curse you day.

11. Tell me about how and when you and Wifey came to the decision to combine your surnames.
Well, I figured that if she had to go through the pain of changing last names, I should as well. She was planning on combining last names and I surprised her with my offer to change my name as well.

12. What do you find most challenging about being a bi-racial family?
Explaining why some people don’t like our family or why some people are staring at us. Luckily, that is not something we have had to do much. Columbus, Ohio is surprisingly replete with inter-racial families.

13. Finish this phrase - People assume _______________ about me, and they're wrong.
I will modify this phrase as I see fit.

Some people assume that I care about what they are saying, and they are wrong.

The "about me" is redundant and repetitive.

14. What is your #1 pet peeve?
I am sooo not answering this question knowing some of my readers. I am not giving that kind of weakness away to those people.

15. What frustrates me most these days is.....
Lack of professional fulfillment.

16. What delights me most these days is...
Little Man’s giggles

17. What books are on your bedside table?
Right now? Good Night Moon

18. What would the five-year-old version of you say about your life now?
Wow, you are old.

19. What are you better at than anyone else?
Sometimes I am “in the zone,” so to speak, with the puns. When I am on… I am unbeatable. I know, one would think there would be a pun there… and yet.

20. What's the best thing about being a father?
It is not about being the father, it is about loving the child.

To recap:
Tomorrow is Wednesday
Just an FYI to all of you out there
I just got my review for last year’s “work”
I am still employed
That makes me happy
Was #20 just a bit too sappy?
It was?
Deal with it folks
We had to get a boatload of bathroom stuff yesterday
Thanks to Mim for doing Little Man’s bed-time ritual
Listening to In My Tree by Pearl Jam from No Code