Celine JeanJean has nominated me for a Liebster award, which she describes as ‘a way to give a shout-out to fellow bloggers new to the blogosphere.’ Part of this involves asking questions of the nominee(s), so here are my answers to her questions:
1.Can you fake any accents?
For protective camouflage, I used to fake a Kentucky accent sometimes. (It’s amazing, the things some people think are valid reason to issue death threats. And no, I’m not joking. On more than one occasion, someone threatened to kill me because they didn’t like my accent. I’m so happy to be away from that part of the country…)
People used to tell me that I sound very English. I think this is simply the result of me enunciating more clearly than they’re accustomed to, though. I’ve also been told that I sound “Southern” when I’m particularly sleep-deprived, because I lose the clear enunciation and sort of lop the corners off the sharper consonants.
Now that I live in a different part of the US (I live in New Mexico now), maybe the few people I talk to ascribe my accent to me being from “back east” rather than thinking I’m from England.
2. Do you remember your dreams? If yes, are they in color or black and white?
Some of my most remembered dreams have been in color, but with limited palette. There was what I always think of as “the orange dream” (it was actually shades of burnt orange and rust and gold and rich ruddy brown, but that was my subconscious making a really, really bad pun, and I refuse to encourage it), which was a precognition about an event that happened several years later… There was one all in dark, muted blues which featured zombies. And zombie dogs. I had not yet gotten rid of my secondhand cynophobia when I had that dream, but I don’t think that had anything to do with it. It was a scary dream in which the zombie dogs were eating the zombies. (If anyone who writes zombie stories wants to use this concept, feel free. I have no use for it. *shudder*)
Sometimes I dream about reading. I can actually read the words on the page in my dream, and sometimes I’m able to remember enough upon waking that I can scribble a few notes to remind myself later because sometimes what I read in my dream is a story I’ve written — in my dream. (I also do this with music, which is weird because I’m not a musician. Not that I write down what I hear afterward, but sometimes I can replay a tune in my head several times to remember it.)
3. If you could meet anybody living or dead, who would it be?
This is not a fair question…
4. Have you ever milked a cow?
Yes, but only once. On the other hand, I have often done other ‘farm life’ things. Like raise chickens and collect eggs. And grow vegetables. And bale hay. And help someone weigh dozens of young goats and put ear tags on them. (Is it wrong that I got the owner of those goats to name a trio of them after characters from The Chronicles of Amber? The momma goat was named Clarissa, so when she had triplets — two males and a female — I suggested they be named Brand, Bleys, and Fiona, after the children of Clarissa in those novels. Their owner, not knowing the source of the names, thought it was a good suggestion… And thus do I mess with mundanes who hate sci-fi/fantasy, by tricking them into naming their pets/farm animals after sci-fi/fantasy characters all unawares.) I’ve also helped harvest potatoes, which is an unpleasant experience. Someone needs to explain to the world that “not living on a farm right now” does not equal “city slicker who doesn’t know which end of a chicken the eggs come out of.”
5. Do you believe in Bigfoot?
I don’t ‘believe in Bigfoot’ the way some people mean that, but yes, I do believe in the possibility that members of genus Gigantopithecus have survived into the modern era. And according to my twin, many anthropologists believe it’s even likely that Gigantopithecus is still around.
[responding to Celine’s comments about having big feet] I’m 6’5″ (196 cm), and my feet are in proportion with the rest of me. Shoe stores don’t often carry my size, because so few customers need it. *shakes head* And when I do find shoes that fit, they’re either sneakers (that’s “trainers” in UK English, I believe) or work boots. Ugly raw-tan work boots with heavy lug soles — not exactly the sort of thing one can wear with business-casual clothes, y’know?
6. What is your favourite sport/activity/hobby besides blogging or writing?
Reading is high on the list, obviously. (A writer who doesn’t read is like a skinny cook — don’t trust ’em!) I enjoy hiking, although I can’t do that nearly as much as I’d like. (Being physically disabled sucks. Seriously.) A few years ago, I got to go hiking on the ridge trails on the Sandia Crest north of Albuquerque, plus several other places in the area. I look forward to doing it again sometime.
7. What would your response be if a new friend proved to you that you aren’t human?
What do you mean, if? I mean, does being genetically engineered in a mad scientist’s lab count? ‘Cause I already know about that, and a lot of other people know it, too. *weird grin* I think that, given how much I deal with related topics in my fiction, I would handle the news rather well. Meaning that I wouldn’t have all sorts of angst about not being human and worrying that it means there’s something wrong with me. In fact, I’d probably consider it good news. I’d worry, though, about who else knows. (As I said, I deal with this a lot in my fiction.) My phobia of actor Michael Cavanaugh would probably come back, because one character he played has long been a sort of symbol to me of the ‘threats to nonhuman people living in modern America’ or whatever. (He played George Fox, the antagonist in the television series Starman, a sequel to the movie by the same title. I watched the television series when I was a young teenager, and I was quite afraid of Fox…) What I wouldn’t do is assume that being nonhuman equals having special powers. (Um… Wait. You mean it does? Does the reverse also hold true, that having special abilities equals being nonhuman? ‘Cause, y’know, there’s that whole precog-and-empath thing… even if it is nearly useless.) I would look for other people like me. I would stop making weird jokes on the Internet about having been created in a mad scientist’s lab, because it’s all fine when it’s only a joke, but if it was real, I’d be too worried that someone would believe me. Unless I knew that me making such jokes would make it less likely that anyone would figure things out, in which case I’d keep doing it. I’d find out what kinds of things most people wrongly assume nonhumans have to avoid, and I’d deliberately seek out those things. Most people think, for whatever silly reason, that nonhumans can’t eat chocolate? I’d make a point of eating a lot of chocolate, and being seen doing so. Everyone assumes that nonhumans always wear too-bright colors? Nothing but muted tones for me, then. (Yeah, I know — I do that already. Shhh.)
8. What is your favorite mythical creature without human attributes?
I like dragons. Also chimeras. I’d say that the phoenix is my favorite, though. Go figure. (Have a character in a few stories whose family name is — when translated into English — Greyphoenix.)
9. Any guilty pleasures?
I drink a lot of coffee and tea. (Right at this moment, as I’m working on typing answers to these questions, I’m on my third cup of tea today. There has not yet been any FOOD today, despite it being half past 3 in the afternoon.) I don’t do it for the caffeine, either, and I’ve been told that that’s weird.
I was into binge-watching favorite television series before it became a thing. “Full immersion,” we called it — the only way to watch Stargate: SG-1. Or Dark Angel. Or Quantum Leap — not that I can get my clone to watch that, too, but I do understand why he doesn’t like it. (Too many potentially embarrassing moments. Neither of us deals well with that in any show/movie.) Or John Doe (which got cancelled after one season, damnit!), or Grimm, or Star Trek: Enterprise.
And… I haven’t done it in years, but I used to be an avid gamer. And by that I mean that I played old-fashioned tabletop RPGs. One year at university, I spent almost all of my free time gaming. I loved it, because my friends and I were creating this wonderful story as a group effort, making it all up as we went along. *sigh* Alas, I have not been able to find anyone to game with in a long time. Especially good would be to find a gaming group where I didn’t have to be in charge. (I hate having to herd unfocused players, getting them to pay attention and play their characters as they wrote ’em and for gods’ sakes stop just sitting there waiting for the GM to tell them what to do… and then not doing that, either. Plus, I like humor but dislike gamers who treat everything like one big joke. I cannot and will not run a campaign for players who want to turn it into a Three Stooges routine.)
10. Are there any movies you are looking forward to seeing which premiere in 2014?
Glad you asked… Yesterday I saw a trailer for Interstellar. Looks like it’ll be a great movie, plus apparently the main character is a fellow Murphist: “Murphy’s Law doesn’t mean something bad will happen. It means anything can happen.” I’m really, really pleased to see that this philosophy is catching on. And in a Christopher Nolan movie, no less!
I also want to see the new X-Men movie. (Perhaps Kitty Pryde has a larger role in this one? We share a fondness for a certain sci-fi novel, Kitty and I — at least according to a couple issues of a comic book.) I’ve never been much into reading comic books, but I do like movies based on them.
I’m sure there are other movies I want to see, but I have a mind like a steel sieve, so I can’t remember them right now.
11. What is your favourite book and why?
I cannot pick just one, and I refuse to try.
A few of the books I love:
Falcon, by Emma Bull. (Y’know, the one Kitty likes, too. *grin* Although, as far as I can tell, she read the original version of the story, not the revised one that got published.)
The entire Vorkosigan series, by Lois McMaster Bujold. (Terrence Cee and Arde Mayhew — maybe you’ve seen characters similar to these guys elsewhere. Imagine Terrence wearing gold contact lenses, if that helps. Also, I wish Ms. Bujold would hurry up and write something that lets us know if Miles’ stepson ever becomes a Jumpship pilot. Because information overload.)
The Chronicles of Amber, by Roger Zelazny. (And no, I have not read those dreadful things by that Betancourt guy. I never will. I will, however, say very harsh things to and about people who get in my face and try to tell me that I should read them. What is legal is not always right, and when an author says ‘I don’t want anyone writing so-called sequels to my novels after I’m gone,’ and someone does anyway, that’s wrong. Neil should have hit him, that’s all I’m sayin.’)
(Like Celine, I sometimes blog with feline supervision. My cat Ashley made sure I took frequent breaks from typing this post to play fetch with her. She even followed the rules this time.)
Next, I’ll nominate other bloggers for this award, and make up questions to ask them. I’ll deal with that in another post, because I don’t have a ready list of people to nominate, nor do I have any questions ready.