Banazîr the Jedi Hobbit (banazir) wrote,
Banazîr the Jedi Hobbit

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The Interview Meme


This great meme comes to me from the ultra-teunciferous deire, who in turn got it from suricattus.
She wrote the questions below for me.
Let me know if you would like questions from me and I'll reply with them here.

How this meme works:
1 - Leave a comment, saying you want to be interviewed.
2 - I will respond; I'll ask you five questions.
3 - You'll update your journal with my five questions, and your five answers.
4 - You'll include this explanation.
5 - You'll ask other people five questions when they want to be interviewed.

1. What did you name the first computer you named?
Wow, good question.
My first computers were:

  • A TI-994a (purchased on Sat 01 Oct 1983, returned on Mon 03 Oct 1983 - no name

  • An Atari 800 (purchased on Mon 03 Oct 1983, kept through 1985) - no name

  • A 512 Mac (fall 1985 - 1986) - no name

  • A Mac Plus (fall 1986 - 1988) - no name

  • A Mac SE (summer 1988 - 1998) - no name

  • A CompuAdd 286-12 AT PC running DOS 6.x (winter 1988 - 1994) - no name

  • A generic 486-33 Windows 3.0 system later upgraded to a 486-100 (winter 1991 - 1996) - no name

So... that takes me all the way to the Knowledge-Based Systems Group that I worked for when I was at the University of Illinois Beckman Institute. At the time, we had just started a project with U.S. Office of Naval Research (ONR). Our undergrad sysadmin had one computer named Zeus that he took care of for me, Ole Jakob Mengshoel, and Surya Ramachandran.
Digression: I couldn't find any current home page for Surya, but wow, this hiring notice takes me back...
So to answer the question: Surya, Ole, and I got three Dell P5-120 desktop systems and had the chance to name them as we saw fit. We decided to go with seafaring commanders of the Trojan War because of the pre-extant classical Greco-Roman theme and our newly-introduced naval theme. Our choices were: Odysseus (Surya's system, which became the KBS Windows file server name through at least 2000), Aeneas (Ole's system, which changed names from Aeneas to Ajax to Ares), and my system: Agamemnon.

2. If you could have one concrete thing in the world, without taking it from anyone else, what would you want?
Hmm... "a new NSF grant" is my usual answer (it's like a Wand of Wishing in NetHack ;-)) but tonight I'll say te****. :o)

3. What facet of your favorite language most draws you?
Gosh, what is my favorite language?

  • Conlang: Sindarin, because it is accessible but beautiful, both in the elegant orthography of Tengwar and the liquid tones of the spoken language. I also relish the exotic flavor of Elvish numerals.

  • Personal conlang: Fraponais (Nippono-French), bonsuru desu ka, parusuku sei mian.

  • Real natural language: English - now this is a tough one, as I speak Mandarin Chinese fluently but cannot read more than 100 characters and cannot write more than a dozen. I speak French poorly, but can read and write at about a 4th-5th grade level. So, I would say I love "English" for its eclectic vocabulary (Germanic influenced by many, many Greek and Latin root words and loan words from Frankish, Hindi, and even non-PIE languages including Hebrew and Chinese).

4. If you could live in a book universe, which would you pick, besides Tolkien or Star Wars?
Aww! :-/ ;-)
Easy-peasy: Julian May's Galactic Milieu, especially pre-Rebellion. I'm a sucker for international peace and harmony with a hint of Teilhardian unanimization and transhumanism, green aliens, and political intrigue. I'm actually cheating, because "pre-Rebellion" allows for the possibility to escape to the primordial Pliocene environs.
Well, OK, perhaps not so easy-peasy. Simmons's Ouster startrees and Dyson spheres are also attractive. It would depend on whether it was before or after the advent of the Pax. I'm not sure I'd want to be a Hegemony citizen. (After the end of The Rise of Endymion would be a good time to be alive.)

5. How did you overcome being leery of dogs?
I like this question.
I forced myself to stop running when I read that some dogs and other chasing animals could chemically detect fear and, in any case, oriented toward those who displayed flight behavior. I reached this decision when I was 11 but didn't read Dune and Herbert's Litany Against Fear for another two years. By the age of 13, I was quite friendly with most large dogs, even Dobermans of the type that chased me all over my parent's back yard in Woodlawn, MD when I was 3.

I should mention that when I was a first grader at Arlington Baptist, I had friends who grew up on a farm and kept a friendly little dog whom they fed ham scraps. He was so happy to get them that even then I couldn't resist feeding him, and that was probably what started to cure my fear of dogs.

6. Why do you want to be a hobbit? Or, what’s the best part of being a hobbit? (can substitute for 5 if desired)
I was going to write a long response to this as ldymlissa did, but let me first cite The Banazir FAQ and my first Jedi hobbit thread.
Because I am a tronkie, I will answer both parts of question #6.
6a: This is a fantastic question! I want to be a hobbit, and indeed I am a hobbit, because I come from people who:

  • are risk-averse

  • have a penchant for enjoying simple pleasures and appreciate an "agrarian, pastoral lifestyle" (as Sean Astin put it)

  • believe in personal humility, respect for one's elders and ancestors, and affinity for one's roots, including genealogies

  • love food and place a high premium on always having access to food of high quality

  • have strong family ties and believe in domestic tranquility as a both a basis of honor and a foundation of society

  • love simple, sweet music without pretension

  • tend to be somewhat short of stature (though there are exceptions, especially among the nutritionally well-endowed)

  • like underground dwellings

The first three points are more important than the last three. The appreciation of good cooking is so quintessentially Chinese, as any Chinese person can tell you, that I have to put it on the bubble. I really do think a lot of Chinese people are hobbits.
6b: Another excellent question. I think the best part of being a hobbit is that fewer people are reluctant to see you as a friend - they suppose you have a good sense of family and friendship, gusto for life, and levity. Which, after all, is the point. :-)

Thanks, deire and ldymlissa. It was nice to get to know you better from your interviews, and I hope this one was somewhat illustrative for you.


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