So, a certain other geocaching blogger, a certain Geocacher Ken, asked (one might even say challenged) a bunch of other bloggers to participate in something called, aptly enough, the Get To Know Me Challenge (or, as the hashtag states, #gettoknowme, if you’re into that entire Twitter thing). On one level, I think that the visibility of the artist, to an extent, gets in the way of the work. The work should speak for itself, and the virtue or vice of the source should be somewhat irrelevant. Indeed, I think a creator should fade into the background. I can think of more than a few such creators who were horrible people but created great works. On the other hand, who a creator is greatly informs the work itself. For all my high-minded talk about how an author should be invisible behind the work, the very title of this blog presents an integral piece of its author’s identity front and center, looming over the entire enterprise, even at times when it is of little to no bearing to the immediate subject at hand. I guess my point here (and I do have one) is that you have already begun to know me through the work I create and, though I find it strange that you might even want to know more about and feel equally strange opening myself up to others in this way, I accept the challenge. Of course, I could have said that with a couple hundred fewer words, but that’s not exactly who I am, now is it? So, since the savage race hoards and sleeps and feeds and knows not me, let’s answer some questions, shall we?
Where’d you grow up and where do you live now?
I am that rarest of unicorns: I was born and raised in Austin, Texas and live there still. I’ve lived here most of my life, excepting my time in the Army and a blessedly short stint in Longview. Finding someone else who is actually from here creates an almost instant bond, which, as amazing as it might sound to some of you, overshadows even the natural Texan bond. This merely bolsters my belief that Texas is basically Bronze Age Greece: a collection of city-states that don’t like each other, but have far more in common with one another than with anyone else.
Do you have any pets?
No. Some people in this world are animal folk. I’m not one of those people. This is incredibly ironic because my household contains a golden retriever, a terrier mutt, a corgi/german shepherd, a maine coon, and multiple fish. Some days it’s like Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom up in here.
What was your favorite activity as a kid?
I read a lot. And I mean A LOT. While the neighborhood I grew up in is fairly pricey now due to its proximity to downtown, when I was young, it was a little rough. Consequently, I didn’t spend a lot of time outside. It’s not like there were lots of other kids to play with, and, though I had a yard, this is Texas. Outside in the summer has gotten worse over the years, but it still wasn’t anywhere near idyllic then. Air conditioning was highly prized. As a sidenote, I spent a lot of time watching TV, too. And I mean A LOT. <soapbox> A lot of people decry the dangers of too much television and some days I’m with them. That said, that screen can open children up to entire worlds they would have never known. The only real problem is that, in this day and age, it’s more than possible to watch 24 hours a day of crap with no redeeming value. So let the kids watch, but just keep a close eye on what they’re watching. </soapbox>
What was your first car?
A 1968 Dodge Coronet named Natalie (back when I used to name cars). She was a beautiful beast, capable of standing up to a dump truck (seriously. It only marked the fender, but didn’t even scratch the paint) and carting around twenty of my closest friends at once. And, of course, you need to ignore the minor complication that I didn’t have a driver’s license yet. If you ever run into me in real life and remember this, ask me about how I got the greatest ticket in history in College Station…
If you could only watch one movie for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Highlander! It’s the greatest movie ever made! Swordfights in New York City? A Frenchman playing a Scotsman, opposite the world’s most famous Scotsman playing an Egyptian faking being a Spaniard? A soundtrack by one of the best and most famous bands in the world? Clancy Brown?!? What is not to love about this movie? I have literally seen it hundreds of times and it keeps being awesome! That said, even if it’s my favorite movie, it’s actually hardly indicative of my cinematic tastes. One day I’ll get into my top ten, but that’s outside the scope of this question…
What famous person would you like to meet?
This is a complicated question… I’ve met a lot of famous people and it rarely goes well. If I don’t respect them, I’m completely blase about them (Garry Shandling, Sandra Bullock, Phil Anselmo). If I’m a fan, I have to be really careful or I’ll go total fanboy on them (Michael Penn, Neil Gaiman, Mary Lou Lord). More often than not, it just ends up weird (Forrest Whitaker, Keith Urban). I also long ago came to the understanding that most of the people I admire couldn’t care less whether I lived or died. So, to answer the question, I’d totally love to split a six-pack with Elliott Smith, I’d want Billie Holiday to drink me under a table, I’d want Winfield Scott to regale me with tales of Mexico, and I’d want to get into a boxing match with Sir Issac Newton. I’m serious about that last part. I totally want an excuse to punch that guy in the face.
During this “Stay Home” time, what is one thing you’d like to learn how to do?
I should be learning how to play guitar right now. A few years ago a very good friend of mine moved from here to Colorado. He purged his guitar collection and gave me one of them, a cheap stratocaster with a special story behind it. I promised him that I would learn to play it. Well, real life intruded and then I got sidetracked with a new passion… Long story short (too late), that’s what I should do, but, then again, in this age of cholera, should is irrelevant. What we must do is endure. So that is the only thing we have to do. But that said, I sure would like to strum a tune some day…
But for now, that’s the personal portion of our quiz. As for the geocaching portion…