get to know your author

I recently stumbled over the Proust Questionnaire and thought it might provide an interesting way to do an author interview.

Your favorite virtue – honesty.

Your favorite qualities in a man – bravery.

Your favorite qualities in a woman – virtue.

Your chief characteristic – a thin sugary veneer of arrogance over a deep chocolatey center of guilt over how little I’ve accomplished with my life.

What you appreciate the most in your friends – their ability to tolerate me.

Your main fault – lack of self discipline.

Your favorite occupation – I’m torn between “solving programming problems” and “cleaning and organizing”. Having inherited a corporation full of really ugly code four years ago, I guess I can say that I’m blessed that my day job lives at the intersection of these two!

Your idea of happinessAnnual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six. Also: a fire in the hearth, a dog in the lap, a book in hand, a coffee at the elbow, and family around and underfoot.

Your idea of misery Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery. Also: Technical debt.

If not yourself, who would you be? – I find it impossible to contemplate being anyone else.

Where would you like to live? – The moon. The asteroid belt. Any place without government.

Your favorite color and flower – I’m a big fan of bright colors, especially when applied to indoor walls. Flower? White rose.

Your favorite prose authors – mainstream fiction: T C Boyle. genre: Heinlein, Niven, Ian Banks, Alastair Reynolds, Lev Grossman, China Mieville.

Your favorite poets – I’m sorry, I couldn’t hear the question over the sound of the deep fryer. Would you like anything else with your order?

Your favorite heroes in fiction – Those who fight for freedom.

Your favorite heroines in fictionLisa Nelson. Young Hazel Stone.

Your favorite painters and composersAlphonse Mucha. Bouguereau . Moebius. When it comes to art, though, my tastes run more to architecture ( Greene and Greene, Antoni Gaudi, Frank Lloyd Wright, etc.) and furniture (Darryl Peart, Sam Maloof) and turned forms ( Richard Raffan)

Your heroes in real life – Thomas Jefferson, though flawed.

Your favorite heroines in real lifeSophie Scholl.

What characters in history do you most dislike – Hitler. Stalin. Lenin. Marx. FDR. Lincoln. All those who thought that human lives were worth less than their maniacal quest for power and centralization.

Your heroines in World historySophie Scholl.

Your favorite food and drink – Home cured bacon. Sushi. Slow cooked short ribs with a soy sugar glaze. Sweet potatoes with rum and maple syrup. Kaladi Brothers Coffee with half and half and splenda. New York style pizza with pepperoni, onion, garlic powder and crushed red pepper. A crisp green salad with home made blue cheese dressing with good quality cheese, a touch of rice wine vinegar, and lots of crushed black pepper. Tacos on fresh-from-the-griddle home-made tortillas.

Your favorite names – Stupid question. Moving on…

What I hate the most – Those who use force. I.e. anyone in government.

The military event I admire the most – Lexington and Concord. D-Day. Agincourt. Cannae.

The reform I admire the most – The Bill of Rights: the perfect culmination of the Enlightenment, and a binding (well, sort of…) set of constraints on the power of government to use force against not just hereditary nobles (like the Magna Carta), but against any person.

The natural talent I’d like to be gifted with – self discipline.

How I wish to die – I was asked this once before, in the middle of a week long class in Vermont where we built a timber frame house. My answer then was “in a blood soaked shoot-out with a hooker, a pimp, and six cops.” This earned me several odd looks…and one kid who literally fell down laughing and couldn’t breath for a minute. That answer is no more true today than it was then, but I’m sticking with it.

What is your present state of mind – Determined to conquer the to-do list ahead.

For what fault have you most toleration? – I am famously intolerant of anything other than robotic German perfection. This is why it is so difficult to spend any time around me.

Your favorite motto “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.” What’s that? You say that’s not a motto? OK, fine. I’m leaving then. …and I’ll tell you why.

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