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: 124 - Interview with Capt McArmypants

In accordance with the idea that I should attempt something new this year with the blog, I have decided to turn 20 Questions Tuesday on its ear from time to time and become the questioner and ask one of my loyal (not you fickle bastards who come and go as you please) readers/questioneers 20 Questions loosely surrounding a topic of my choosing.

This week Capt McArmypants has received the dubious inaugural honor of being asked some stupid questions. And for him I have chosen the topic of memories.

A little background to my association with the mediocre captain. He and I have known of each other since kindergarten. It was there that my allergy to chocolate allowed me to have orange cream-sicles (sp?) instead of crappy chocolate ice cream. that is where he started to hate me. It was not until 7th grade that I got back in his good graces. Since then we have been best friends. He is more family now than friend. He is Little Man's uncle and should have been the best man at my wedding, but that is a story for another day.

On to the questions:

1. In the Broadway musical Cats there is a song called “Memory” but only one verse of the song is actually about Memory. What’s up with that?
I have observed that people only pay attention to the first part of any communication. People are lazy, but their minds are even lazier. I mean why learn the content when ... and since no one is still reading. I just wanted to say that I never cared for The Godfather or anything written by Tolstoy. Citizen Kane is over-hyped and similarly Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance must have a different versions, because the version I read SUCKED!! Furthermore, I would like it noted that the Oscars have been absolute nonsensical crap since the early 60's and that people still watch them gives me little hope for the future. Finally for the record, I think people who revere Che Guevara and/or wear T-shirts with his visage on them (NOT to be ironic) are uninformed morons!!!! Also, sometimes I cry because I had a dog named Chewy once and she had one ear that pointed straight up like a fennec fox and one ear that flapped over like a hound dog. She was adorable, she died about a decade ago and I miss her....whew well it certainly is good to get that off my chest. Also. SRH I have never forgiven you for recommending that I see Red Scorpion.

2. Ummmm.... That was odd. Really? You have never forgiven me for recommending "Red Scorpion?" It has Dolph Lundgren in it as well as some fat character actor... what is not to love? PS. Shorter answers please. The 5 people who read my blog don't want stream of consciousness novellas.
O.K. in all fairness it does have Dolph Lundgren in it. How can you not respect a guy who can say "He's not human. He's like a piece of iron." and not crack up. Of course I never saw the outtakes on Rocky IV, but even if he did it once, I have to give him the mad props.

3. Since this is supposed to be about memories, what is your favorite memory of food?
Er... I forget. No wait!!! Red Onions.

4. Why Red Onions? is that a veiled jab at "Red Scorpion" again? I was 15! Gimme a break!
Do you mean why scientifically? or why Personally? Furthermore, the fact that I can remember with such ....uh... intensity your recommendation of Red Scorpion 20 years ago is a testament to the effectiveness of Red Onions.

5. I mean "why personally" do you consider Red Onions your favorite food memory? I will choose to ignore your slams on Red Scorpion.
Mainly because you can't sauté Blackberries. believe me I have tried. Also, red onions have an added antihistamine effect so it clears AND de-oxidizes......mmm anti-oxidizing.

6. Aren't anti-oxidants supposed to be good for memory? Did you like how I brought it back on topic? I am a master interviewer!
Yes. I subscribe to the theory that anti-oxidant content is what makes it a "brain food" My favorite 2 high in anti-oxident content foods are black berries and red onions. However, I gave 1st place to Red Onions because of the sautéability and the antihistamine effect that seems to make me a little sharper short term. and you are a master interviewer! I however am a terrible interviewee. Unless you change your stance on the whole stream of consciousness novella then I am the best interviewee ever!!! Did I mention my contempt for Che Guevara T-shirts?

7. Why do you hate the Che T-shirt so much? Please answer this question in the form of a memory (true or otherwise)
Ahh yes I REMEMBER the day. I am a slow man (often out of the loop on Pop Culture) , I had seen the face for years, but in Spring 2001 I saw a fellow law student wearing a I...Che T-shirt, but this one actually said "Che" on it. That was the first time I realized that the Goatee Face guy on all those T-shirts was supposed to represent Che Guevara (yes swift as eagles I am). I thought to myself. Che was a brutal fascist of the highest order. He sent hit squads out to kill people who deserted his cause. This guy was Robspierre on crack. I mean hello CASTRO thought he was too radical!!!! Then I thought does the wearer of this T-shirt support pogroms and the murder of people with differing ideologies? So I asked him. Turns out he was just a moron (which I assure you is very uncommon in my profession). Anyway, I don't hate the T-shirt. It just annoys me as it is a reminder that people are lazier, but their minds are even lazier. ....ahem. How does Dr. Phil have a TV show!! ....Did you know that Stalin was just voted 3rd most popular leaders of Russia ever?

8. What is the first thing you remember when you wake up?
Sadly, the first thing that pops into my head is the page number of the last page I read before I went to sleep. This is followed with some bits of the dream from the night before. Then I remember I am not a child and I have a job and HAVE to get up. It all takes about 10 seconds

9. So what was the last page you read and of what did you read?
Page 88, Some book on alternate house building (Alternatives like: using solar or making a house from Adobe.) So far all I have learned is that we have a pretty good thing going with our traditional model.

10. Speaking of houses… what is the oddest memory of your childhood home?
hmm at the bottom of the steps there was a knot in the wood panelling that looked kinda like a profile of Elvis.

11. Is that your favorite memory of Elvis?
I REMEMBER I saw this one Elvis movie about 25 years ago where he plays a Carnie and these two "toughs" give him a hard time about driving a Japanese motorcyle and then there is a fight and he beats them up using SIMPLY AWEFUL!!!! karate chops (like they detracted from his acting ability type bad). Anyway, then he is asked where he learned that stuff and he says something like. "It comes with the bike." Everynow and then it just pops into my head and I chuckle a little.......

12. What is your favorite mnemonic device? Pneumatic device?
My favorite is my first. I read something in the library that was a mnemonic device for the metric system in 4th grade and slowly I forgot all the words and replaced them ad hoc to make this bizarre nonsensical mnemonic.

Karen Had Dyed My Dress Creme Maroon.

To forestall your next question. I have no idea, but I think Karen is from the original mnemonic.

My favorite Pneumatic device is of course the Bolt Gun. Just because I often wonder how something like that gets invented. I imagine the "Chocolate/Peanut Butter" scenarios are surreal.

13. Anything especially memorable for you in the past 4 years? And damn you for taking my follow up question away. Damn you to hell.
If I take your question correctly, I spent a year in Afghanistan. I don't imagine I will forget that anytime soon. Mainly because if I missed anything on one day, I had a day exactly like it to catch up. Followed by another day just like that....and so on.

14. So, for you, monotony is memorable?
Tragically for me, EVERYTHING is memorable. I have been working on that, but right now I can still tell you a little too much about the 3 people who got off the Metro with me this morning.

15. What is your favorite memory of me?
Skipping the sappy and/or profound, my absolute favorite memory would be you sweeping a large amount of spilled cat litter into the A/C vent in your old apartment. It was the done with such contented apathy and economy of motion. Truly a thing of beauty. Like a Mentos commercial only slower in pace.

16. Favorite memory from college?
One of my favorite memories for college would be when I filled out a scantron for a final exam without reading the questions to prove that the teacher had taught us nothing, that the class was useless and that none of it really mattered. I turned in the test in the first 10 minutes of a 3 hour exam. It is not a favorite memory because I made an A in the class, or because I think I demonstrated what nonsense this class was, or because only 3 people in the class made a higher score than me, or because when I stood up as started walking towards the Prof there was an actual gasp from several other students (You would have thought I was heading out to face Liberty Valance.) but because I can look back on that day and be both amused by my behavior AND simultaneously want to go back in time and bitchslap some sense into me. .....mmmm bitter sweet.

17. I would have gone with the “Benzene? Great, just what we need more Benzene!” comment during your internship interview, but I was unaware of your 10 minute final story so it would not have been all that informed of a decision. Favorite memory from High School?
Other than the general simultaneous ease and fullness of life, if you want a specific memory, then a personal favorite would be that time we walked out of Pizza Hut and the line getting out of the parking lot was not moving so I just drove over the concrete barrier in the Chevette. I mean was that car powered by stupidity or what?!

18. In your esteemed and informed opinion, does stupidity affect memory?
Esteemed and informed...quite. Yes it does. I have always seen stupidity as not using the brain power you were given. When you get lazy in your thoughts, you are far more likely just to accept someone else's recollection or conclusions.

19. Do you use multiple log-in names and individual passwords on your various computer/internet log ins or do you use the same one as much as possible only altering if they make you so you don’t fill your memory with password gibberish?
I use a combo of both I alter only when forced for commercial and personal stuff and gibber away for Government. The Government uses long passwords with multiple symbols and case changes required. I have them all memorized with various "pneumatic" devices. My minds is filled with password gibberish. This is not the norm sadly. I could probably walk through the building at 5:01collecting post-its on monitors and have about 20 passwords tonight. You would think someone would try and fix that. In fact, the last 10 audits (All publicly available) (Did I mention people are stupid?....hmmm I thought I did.) have said our Fed and State systems are inadequate for any serious cyber attack, but until some attacking foreign power brings it all down around us I guess we will ignore the problem and claim ignorance later. (GOD I hope it is a foreign power and not a bunch of bored middle school students. That is going to be sooo embarrassing.)

20. Anything emblazoned on your memory from this interview?
I was surprised how hard it was to come up with stuff from High school. Actually accessing that stuff was harder than I would have thought.

To recap:
Hope you enjoyed the interview
Hey, ladies, Capt McArmypants is single…
And clearly crazy…
So avoid him if you can
We will be back to our regularly scheduled 20 Questions Tuesday format next week
Q is having some difficulty with jet-lag
Therefore Wifey and SRH are having difficulty with jet-lag
Clearly, SRH is also having difficulty with first person pronouns
Yes, yes he is
I took the trash out today
It was smelly
Hopefully it will make the house less smelly
Not listening to anything but the commercial jingles in my head