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A group distraction, presented by nige.


The first instalment of Interview52 is now complete! It started on Friday 18th July 2008 and finished on 13th September 2009. A little later than expected, but we got there.


52 mobloggers from around the world...

Some familiar, some not...

Each will publish a unique self-portrait, accompanied by a short interview.

Candid portrait meets candid interview.

The Rules

Every Friday the next interviewee in line will publish a new portrait and interview, consisting of their answers to the ten questions they have been given.

After they have published, the interviewee will then become the interviewer. They will be responsible for finding the next participant, as well as compiling the questions that this next person in line will answer. Interviewers can change as many or as few questions as they like, but they should change at least one before passing them on to the next lucky punter.

Thats it! Simple. More detailed instructions will be given to each interviewee as and when they are approached, so fear not.

The interviewees so far









Jig along



Laszlo Q. V. St-J. Xalieri








Jane Doe



Spiderbaby / Freakdog




George w/Blue Eyes






















Strange Little Girl




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caught between the cupboard and syllables

(viewed 4155 times)
1. Where does this find you? Tell us the story of how you got there.

well I was born here and was fortunate enough to be brought up here amongst the sea, streams and standing stones. later my family moved here, splintered off to here and finally ended up here. when I left home I went here then here then spent a glorious five years here. a job opportunity led me back up here, where I now live. I feel a mild sense of alienation from all of these places, and a vague feeling of patriotism to at least one of them. mark all the points on a map then join them up and they make the sign of a skewed, inverted pentogram or something.

2. Why do you Moblog? How do you use the site?

I was introduced to the website by someone years ago. I used it aimlessly at first, taking pictures of little things that interested me. then one evening I was bored and frustrated so I decided to put together a fifty part series (plus prologue) to express just how I felt. I realised after that that a moblog is a powerful tool that can be bent and moulded to your own meaning. it can be used to express anything from personal battleaxes to sincere sentiments. then I got kind of bored of the website for a while and took two and a half years out before coming back to document personal stories, fabulous things I've seen and monkeys. my moblog is neither a record of my life nor an exhaustive catalogue of my personal interests, it's merely an occasional creative outlet for minor fascinations.

3. Why billion?

I think it comes from a fascination with how numbers look in their written form. certain numbers when expressed with letters, like fifty one, thirteen and five four nine look beautiful on the written page. billion is one of those special numbers in that it is numerically very large - 1,000,000,000 - but can be represented with just seven letters, or sometimes two (bn) or sometimes one (b). it's similar to the way you can refer to yourself with a single letter ("I") when really you are referring to many, many much larger things - your thoughts, feelings, personality, physical presence and all of what those things entail. I deliberately don't put a capital letter at the start of "billion" to emphasise how simple the word is when related to what it represents. not a big fan of capitalisation. I tend not to think of billion as a big number like 1,000,000,000 but rather think of it as 7 (bil + lio + n = 3 + 3 + 1 = 7).

this must all sound a little weird.

4. What wish is, as of yet, unfulfilled?

learn to play drums...visit every continent... become a father... kiss the blarney stone... convert to buddhism... master the game of chess... freejump off ayers rock... spend time with eddie izzard... convert to sikhism... build my own boat... rid myself of stupidity... impress friends with card tricks... discover a new particle... laugh in the face of adversity... convert to judaism... fix that crack in the bathroom... become an expert on wine... direct my own feature length film... cook excellently... swing from trees... lift the stone of destiny... convert to atheism. when I think of the number of wishes I haven't yet fulfilled versus the ones that I already have, I feel as if I have my whole life ahead of me :)

5. What little known fact about yourself would reveal something about your character that you think is important?


hmm... the obvious internal contradiction of this question is that as soon as I reveal a "little known fact", it suddenly ceases to be just that (depending on how many people actually take the time to read this blurb, and frankly I wouldn't blame them if they didn't). does that imply then that when one exposes an important fact about one's character to a wider public it suddenly ceases to be important and factual, but rather an unimportant falsehood? who knows? does it actually matter? and who really cares?

I dream of flying. I've heard this is fairly common, but when it happens to me I often become aware that I'm dreaming mid-flight (or flying mid-dream) and so manage to enter the dream, take control of my improbably realised propulsion through the air, and carry on doing so for as long as the dream will warrant. this, again, may be a common experience amongst people who dream, but I have no way of knowing as I can never really experience other people's dreams. flying without the aid of a vehicle I think of as the pinnacle of imagined pleasure. whether this shows an infantile rebuke of physical reality or a simple yearning for scientific impossibilities is up for debate. I'm willing to accept that either situation may be equally true or indeed false.

6. What smells evoke strong memories for you?

you mean from childhood? well I guess they would be peat, coal, sea air, stinky ditches, goats, chimney smoke, damp moss and tangerines. in adulthood they would be marijuana, lamb curry, dry ice, polluted rivers, carpets of rented accomodation and other, more sensually satisfying things which I probably shouldn't mention.

7. What is your favourite personal possession and why?

the answer to this question, without any shadow of a doubt, is my hat. the story goes like this...

many years ago I lived with a young fella who used to sport this very fetching hat. we left the house at roughly the same time and headed off in two different directions. I discovered some time later that his hat had got mixed up with my things (I did not steal it) and so I've claimed it as my own until he asks for it back. no word as yet. boy have I done a lot of things in this hat. I travelled the length of europe in this hat. I've been to the coolest clubs in this hat. I've swam in the ocean in this hat. I've worn this hat to every gig I've played. on a now-scuppered memory card from my old mobile I had many many pictures of many many people wearing my hat in many many different places. I bloody love my hat, man. I can't express how much it means to me.

8. If you could be a superhero what powers would you have? How would you use them?

what, you mean apart from being able to fly? well, I think most of the successful superhero characters were created by people who, through no fault of their own, felt excluded from the life around them. so with this in mind I'd like to say that my superhero power would be divine perspective. I'd like to see inside the minds of the superhero creators, feel what they felt when they made these wonderful characters who could fly, see in the dark, use super strength etc. turn the super power back on the creator. by natural extension I'd like to be able to see inside the minds of historical figures - darwin, einstein, hitler, aristotle, shakespeare and kubrick would be first on the list. I want to see inside everyone's mind to understand them. and I really, really, really want to fly.

9. What event changed you forever?

damaging my hearing! it happened about a year and a half ago after a series of exposures to loud amplified sound, a period of deep anxiety and an ill-fated flight which left the hearing on my left side permanently distorted. I also hear a lot of sounds in my head that aren't really there (tinnitus) but other than that I can hear as normal. the importance of hearing protection can't be over-emphasised as many venues with amplified sound are poorly equipped and badly engineered. a pair of foam or plastic ear plugs cost as little as 75p from a local chemist and could spell the difference between comfortable listening and permanent damage. serious musicians should consider investing in a pair of custom-made elacins. the benefit of hindsight can be a real bitch sometimes.

10. What do you think your job was in your previous life? Tell us why...

I don't believe in these kinds of things.

Posted by billion

12th Dec 2008, 02:48   | tags:,comments (19)

Interview 52 - PJ

(viewed 2408 times)
Where does this find you? Tell us the story of how you got there.

I live in a small suburb just outside Aberdeen, and am about to head into the city where I work as a design lecturer at the college there. Been here 17 years, originally studying here after moving from a very small town (although it claims to be a city!) in the North East of Scotland called Elgin. I’d lived there around ten years and previous to that had lived in Middlesbrough and Inverness as a child.
I arrived at this job after working as a graphic designer for various companies and then deciding it wasn’t challenging me enough. I now work between lecturing and studying for my masters.

Why do you Moblog? How do you use the site? Why PrincessJun?

I originally moblogged after hearing about it on a tech programme and thought it would be a great way for my friends to keep up with our holiday to Tokyo. This was in 2006. I’d blogged on other sites previous to this and hadn’t really got anything from it, and on some occasions found it a miserable experience, so was wary of actually getting involved in the moblog community initially. However the more I posted the more I realized it was a really nice online group and have ‘met’ some great people and am thoroughly enjoying it! I now find myself looking at stuff and thinking that it would be good to moblog it, and it has even been responsible for me buying my digi SLR recently, as I was inspired by some of the other shots I have seen. I mostly use it to keep friends and family up to date as they are all over the place, Canada, Australia, US, and various parts of the UK, but also to be part of the moblog community.

PrincessJun is the name of my favourite character from the Japanese cartoon from the 70’s/80’s ‘Battle of the Planets’ (or ‘Gatchaman’ in Japan). I was obsessed as a kid, and was really chuffed one Christmas when one of my presents was the Battle of the Planets annual, and as anyone who visits my blog will know, I also love anything Japanese!

What was your childhood obsession? What happened to it?

Keeping a diary. I kept one for 7 years non-stop and then as I got into my mid-to-late teens discovered boys and then college life, which subsequently took up most of my time, and stopped writing in it!

What 3 things would you bring with you on to a deserted island?

Can I bring my partner?! - If not, then my camera, sketchbook (I’ll use my finger dipped in berry juice to draw, or a burnt bit of wood as a makeshift charcoal stick) and sunblock (I have fair skin….)

Feeling or thinking? Discuss.
Hmmm, as in which came first? – I think they are both connected, as for what I am currently feeling and thinking? Glad it’s Friday and happy that there are now only two weeks left of this term!

What keeps tripping you up even though you think you have learnt to avoid it?

The inability to ask for help – I try hard to not be so independent and not do everything on my own - taking complete responsibility for every problem, small or large, but it’s difficult and I trip up every now and again!

What little known fact about yourself would reveal something about your character that you think is important?

I can cry incredibly easily at any old emotional moment in a film or programme – but only when watching on my own.

What makes you smile? What makes you frown?

Other than friends, family and partner who can all make me do both, probably just getting time to be creative, either on the computer or with paints, pens, pencils etc - things that make me frown are people who are rude and the frustration of being beaten every time at various wii and playstation games by my other half!

What event changed you forever?

Probably being pretty ill in my early twenties and then getting through it – I came out the other side a much happier more focused person.

What do you think your job was in your previous life? Tell us why...

Hmmm…… I would love to think it was as a great artist, but if the laws of reincarnation are observed and you come back with a little more knowledge each time then I must have been the village idiot….. :D

Posted by Nic

5th Dec 2008, 09:07   comments (15)

Interview 52: 'Untitled.'

(viewed 2265 times)
1. Where does this find you? Tell us the story of how you got there.
In my study in a Victorian terrace in a Midland UK town that has more waterways than Venice. I’ve lived in lots of towns but this place makes it easier to do stuff I want to do – be a cyclist, hold an academic position and be at home a lot to see my kids.

The UK isn’t my country. I grew up in NZ. One day met a woman visiting my home town on a working holiday from the UK. She wanted a light and casual holiday romance. We’re now married, have two kids and own a house together. Best laid plans, eh Ruth?

2. Why do you Moblog? How do you use the site?
A few years ago, I thought I’d share my photos with folks back home. It turned out that Mobloggers were more active online than my 20th century friends and family. Mobloggers checked in regularly, commented, rewarded me with highlights and added me to their pool of friends. After a while I found myself logging on every day and thinking ‘that’s one for Moblog’ when I took photos. The community seduced me and co-opted my intentions. As soon as my family find a cheap deprogrammer, I’ll be free.

I use Moblog self consciously as a record of stuff that happens and an outlet for a hobby that was always been very personal. It also provides a space for idle interests like the ‘Lost Notes’ blog. Most of all, I just like the people here and enjoy looking in and commenting on their lives … like a peeping Tom using an intercom.

3. What's your favourite subject to talk about? Why?
I had worked in ‘learning’ related jobs for about 12 years without it ever occurring to me that perhaps this is really what I’m really about (I’d originally trained as a community psychologist, you see). Once I clicked that understanding learning is what really interests me, I didn’t change how I spent my time, except I started to do it with more love. Actually, that’s not quite true. I now spend large chunks of my spare time working on a PhD on the topic too.

Learning is an easy topic to talk about. I’m basically interested in how people grow to meet the challenges in their lives. Learning without teaching. I’m sure you can talk to me about that … I’ll soon be a doctor.

5. What's your most vivid memory from childhood?
The childhood memories I go back to are the ones that don’t operate according to adult logic. Peeping around the living room door on Christmas morning to see a huge sack by the tree. I thought that Santa had accidentally left all his deliveries behind and this was going to be the best Christmas ever. It was a big tent.

Skipping out of school with friends to see a kid who wasn’t allowed outside at all because he’d just been circumcised. He stuck it out the window for us to see.

Believing my brother saw a ghost in my Dad’s overall’s when they were hanging on the clothes line. I mean really ... haunted overalls?

Watching a marionette show at our local shopping centre which finished with a puppet striptease. The underwear was like something I had never seen – all clips and wires and belts and pulleys and socks that went all the way up your legs. Mum explained the complex mechanics of women’s underwear to me. I never quite understood it and concluded that women are a strange species indeed if they need all that under their clothes.

6. What is your biggest fear?
Sometimes I get myself into some real messes – stranded in Wellington, lost in Seoul, left penniless because of poor planning a few times when I was a student, capsized off the Coromandel coast, crashed my car through inattention … these I can laugh at now and think that a little adventure doesn’t go amiss in anyone’s life. Even so, it would be awful if some how I drew my children into a dangerous situation of my own dozy making simply because I wasn’t concentrating.

7. A picture or a thousand words?
Ah now, I looked into this. We do a lot of publishing at work. We pay around £300 per photo. The same place will pay £2,400 for 15,000 words knowing that it will take about 20 days work. Making the adjustments that works out at £1599.99 for a thousand words which you could write in a couple of days versus £300 for a picture. Even if you sold a picture a day, a thousand words comes out on top.

8. Tell us about the most heroic act you've ever performed.
I wonder if this counts - for ten years I volunteered for a community counselling agency in NZ. I started when the service was run by just 14 students, all volunteers, working out of a church cupboard. We built the agency up until it was 100 strong with a number of paid staff and permanent offices. My volunteer involvement was a huge priority in my life and eventually I became the director of one of the branches. That admin stuff was okay but the most important thing I suppose was being there at 3.00 in the morning to listen to someone considering ending their life. It feels funny to call that heroism because it cost me nothing but it was pretty important to some of the people I talked with.

9. Tell us about your most embarrassing moment.
Sometimes I say stupid things usually when I’m not being genuine … or when I’m being inappropriately genuine.

10. What would your biography be called, who would write it, and who would play you in the film?
Jack Kerouac wrote so lovingly of his friends and he made them seem so creative, wild and sexy. I’d like him to have a crack at my biography except that he’s dead and if he wasn’t, he’d be drunk. Even so, his books had such a huge impact on me when I was 18 that it would be like dinner with Jesus to be the subject of his writing.

I’d like a young Noah Taylor to play me. He’s got a nice energy to him. But for the life of me I don’t know what the title would be. Maybe ‘Untitled’. I always have trouble with titles.

Posted by taniwha

28th Nov 2008, 09:24   comments (20)

Love spring!

(viewed 2297 times)
1. Where does this find you? Tell us the story of how you got there.
This find me in Buenos Aires, Argentina, working as tourist guide.
I was born in Gualeguaychu, a very beautiful town located at 240 km from Buenos Aires, (on way to Cataratas falls).
I'm the youngest of 7 children. My mom died when I was 3, and I was adopted by an amaizing couple, and moved to Buenos Aires city.
When I finished highschool, I studied Tourism and started traveling arround my country and I lived almost a year in Foz do Iguazu (south of Brazil) when I was 23. There I met my father's son, and when I got pregnant I came back to Buenos Aires, where my son was born.
Then, I was 24, and I had to search for a permanent job. I started working as manager assistant at a Biotechnology lab, and was working there for 12 years Was very hard changing beautiful sceneries for an static view through a window, and the freedom of going from one place to another for the routine schedule of a full-time job at an office, but was a great experience and I met there not only my best friends, but also love. (perhaps the fact that my couple was my chief is a cliche, but still romantic).
Last year I resigned to that permanent job, and returned to tourism activity as tourist guide in this wonderful city of Buenos Aires. As I live in a 3rd world non economically stable country, and as any fortune-teller notified me about the mundial crisis of this year, probably mine was almost a kamikaze decision, but I'm still happy to try!

2. Why do you Moblog? How do you use the site?
Despite the fact that these days I don?t have enough time for Moblog, I love to be in contact with people of different countries and love photography.
And at moblog I found great people and terrific photographers.

3. What's your least favourite subject to talk about? Why?
Definitively financial stuff... they are boring, and I believe that accounters made of financial stuff something so complicated in order to justify their jobs.
When somebody try to explain me something related to financial's, my mind starts to travel arround (to all the nice places that I could visit if my financial?s were better!).

5. What's your most vivid memory from childhood?
I have lot of beautiful memories from childhood, let me tell you two related to perfumes:
-the smell of the lime trees on the back street of my home, where I used to meet my friends to play, or going arround.
-the picture of my mom in the kitchen, with the curlers in her hair, preparing every saturday evening the exquisite tomato sauce for "la pasta del domingo"...

6. What is your biggest fear?
Fear of heights.
I really want to try with parachuting in order to face my fear... (is it crazy?)

7. A picture or a thousand words?
A picture
One picture can tell us lot of things that thousand words can not describe...

8. What's wrong with the world today?
the politicians...

9. If you had ultimate control, how would you fix it?
I would force the politicians to live as the person who had the worst living situation on the earth.
Like this, they would make an effort to improve and transform it into a decent living situation.

10. Tell us a secret, something only you know
Mmhh... Do you believe me if I tell you that I don?t have any secret? (jeje)...
Well, I?m destroying this secret by sharing with you: last week I ate a chocolate that my son had bought for dessert, and I told him that was the dog (Sorry son! I love chocolates).

Posted by CHESO

20th Nov 2008, 02:29   comments (15)

Who'd be even interested?

(viewed 2358 times)
1. Where does this find you? Tell us the story of how you got there.

Zevenaar, the Netherlands, Latitude: 51°55'40.45"N 6° 3'48.94"E (to be annoyingly precise)

How did I get here? Ahem, are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin . . . .
(where's everybody gone?)
Born in Singapore in 1963, baby Martin was an inquisitive little fellow. Let me tell you about the time he . . . . . .
Wha? Skip a bit? Well ok then, if I must . . . . . . .
. . . . . then I left the army and settled in Holland with my Dutch girlfriend (now ex-wife and mother of my two sons). That was in 1987, an interesting period, let me tell you about the time I . . . . . .
Wha? . . . . Skip? . . . . More?
Well ok, quick summary then:
Moving house, making plastic bottles on the night shift, getting married, learning to speak Dutch, moving house (again), driving, driving, driving, driving (I’ve been driving large goods vehicles all over Europe for the last 21 years), driving, becoming a father (twice), nearly killing myself on two wheels (or rather, off two wheels), getting divorced after 15 years, moving house, meeting Anja, falling headoverheels (who’d’ve thought it? We're talking poetry-writing, permanent-inane-grin-wearing stuff here), “The Gran” dying, Mum & Dad emigrating to Australia to join my Sister, moving house, discovering Moblog, slowly coming to terms that I should be doing more with my time here, and then thoroughly kicking the arse out of it by shooting off in eight different directions at once without a clue how to achieve what I'm trying to achieve but enjoying climbing up this incredibly steep learning-curve as I go.

2. Why do you Moblog? How do you use the site?

Why not? There's no law against it! I'm an adult, it's just a piece of harmless fun, I'm not doing any harm! Please don't take it away from me, please, I'll be a good boy!
*pulls self together*
I was looking for a blog-site for a while and stumbled upon MoblogUK. I’m away from home during the week, on the road in the truck, and thought it would be a good way of letting the “home front” know what I come up against while I’m away. Primarily directed at my partner, Anja, but also as a way of keeping in touch with my sons, Nick (now 16) & Mike (now 14), who I see every other weekend and my parents and sister in Western Australia.
Moblog for me has grown into a very important part of my life, I've met a lot of wonderful people, incredibly interesting and inspiring characters, from whom I've learned a great deal, and to whom I'll always be very grateful.

3. What's your least favourite subject to talk about? Why?

Quantum physics, string theory and the nature of time.

I forced myself to read Stephen J. Hawking's “The Universe In A Nutshell” cover to cover once. I read and re-read it line after line, paragraph after repeated paragraph, page after coffee stained page until I got to the end, closed the book and went “nope, sorry, haven’t a clue what you’re on about there Stevie-boy”.
So if you "ask me one on quantum physics" you'll totally shut me up (a tip, if you're stuck in a lift with me after a couple of pints).

4. What song means the most to you and why?

Stairway to Heaven, Led Zepp.
Maybe cliche, don't care.
As far as I'm concerned the greatest song ever written and ever performed. I could play it most of the way through at one stage, on the guitar, pretty competently. Fingers have gone a bit rusty these days. It makes the hairs on my forearms stand right up, still.

5. What's your most vivid memory from childhood?

The freedom, generally, we enjoyed. Going outside right after breakfast and staying out all day, rain, snow, whatever, we (my sister and I with the rest of the "gang") would walk for miles and miles, building, climbing, getting mucky, cold and wet. Then getting into a too-hot bath and your skin would ache because you were so chilled through to the bone.
Then tucking in to a plate of beanz-on-toast-with-an-egg-on-top like it was a banquette.

6. Are humans fundamentally good?

Well I am,
I hope,
and virtually everybody I know is, so from my point of view, yes they are, mostly.
(With the odd exception of course, I mean Peter Sutcliffe was a bit of a twat.)

7. A picture or a thousand words?

Oh a picture, every time, perhaps accompanied by a few words, but “a thousand”? that’s rabbiting on a bit, IMO, he said, rabbiting on.
I'm rubbish with words, bit of a problem with dyxslecxia (see?) as a kid, still stumble a bit here and there, computers help, and predictive text.
I can knock up a half decent picture for you though.

8. What's wrong with the world today?

Not enough rabbits.

9. If you had ultimate control, how would you fix it?

Breed millions of those great big Dutch long-eared "Thumpers", they're so cute, how could you go out and start a war if you had a great big floppy pet rabbit outside you had to look after every day?

10. What is "the greatest thing you'll ever learn"?

Well I’ll not have learned it yet now would I?
But the greatest thing I've learned so far is that "Red Dwarf" is probably the best series ever to have been seen on tv,
and never to sign up for anything Nige dreams up on Moblog, it'll cost you hours and hours of your time, tons of soul-searching and significant hair loss. (he said, putting his name down for the next scheme).

X, Jxl

Posted by JokerXL

13th Nov 2008, 15:29   comments (12)

ArkAngel - In search of the Simple Pleasures...

(viewed 3169 times)
1. Where does this find you? Tell us the story of how you got there.

I'm on a train going to the Sheffield Documentary Festival to talk on
the subject of Non-linear Narrative and do a Show'n'Tell of my work
in the area. I'm focusing on Osama Loves ( which
is a participative journey narrative - think Dave Gorman meets A Long
Way Down with a bit of Pete McCarthy thrown in for good measure - and
Sexperience ( which uses anecdote/first-hand
experience to provide sex education beyond the easy answers of self-
help manuals. Someone Twittered me this week to tell me that if you
Google "sex" at the moment Sexperience comes up #2 of 680,000,000
returns. I missed the train I was supposed to get because I was
having a meeting with Antony Gormley and I was in no hurry to leave
his studio - it's not every day I get to meet a true artist of his
calibre. Even took a sneaky pic for Moblog (

2. Why do you moblog? How do you use the site?

Much though I love telling stories with words (, I
love even more telling them through still pictures. My Moblog is
called Simple Pleasures because it strives to capture in images the
day-to-day things that for me make life worth living - and living
well. Sometimes I list the Simple Pleasures represented in the image
- most of the time I let the pictures do the talking.

3. What's your least favorite subject to talk about? Why?

Money and finance. It's so dull, I can't work up any enthusiasm for
it. My wife once asked me would I mind if our older son (only a
toddler at the time) turned out to be gay - I said as long as he
doesn't turn out to be an accountant I'm happy for him to be whatever
he wants to be.

4. Now that the worst is over, what's your favorite, and why?

Music. I love it. Can't sing or play but it's central to my life. I'm
into art of all kinds but music is special in the way it by-passes
the intellect and goes straight to the heart (and cahones, if you buy
the Carlos Santana line - which I do). As Walter Pater said: All art
aspires to the condition of music.

5. What's your most vivid memory from your childhood days? Paint us a

Sharing Saturday mornings with my best friend every weekend from
shortly after starting secondary school. The routine was up to town
(central London from the suburbs) for a long Space Invaders session
in some dodgy old arcade; Foyles and various other bookshops for
browsing and judicious purchases; Forbidden Planet for comics; a bit
of a wander; then back out to the burbs for a tennis or table tennis
session; rounding off the day nicely at a local cinema (there were a
good half dozen within walking distance - now all flats or gyms or
razed to the ground). Very happy, carefree days punctuated with
Simple Pleasures.

6. What is the best purpose to which media -- any form of communication
media, from clay tablets up through radio, magazines, books, movies,
television, et cetera -- has ever been put?

Love letters.

7. How important is the visual element to presenting a feature to the
What if you were the only audience?

I'm a very visually oriented person, so hugely important, though not
always moving pictures - often a still image captures the essence
better. The technical 'quality' of the image is not critical - in the
same way Polaroids have a magical immediacy (as does Super 8) so can
mobile phone shots. That said, the cameras in phones are getting so
good I guess that aspect of moblogging is on its way out - shame in
as far as having a distinction between regular camera and phone
camera added a touch of the Polaroid-magic to the activity.

8. In your view, what's wrong with the world today?

People lose sight of the Simple Pleasures and what is truly of value.

9. If you had ultimate control, how would you fix it?

I would call in George Benson (in the absence of Nat King Cole) and
have him wander the Earth on a neverending tour singing Nature Boy to
each and every one of us:
"The greatest thing
You'll ever learn
Is just to love
And be loved in return"

10. Ask yourself -- and answer -- the question we most obviously left

Q. What's the best track of all time?
A. Flamenco Sketches by Miles Davis (on Kind of Blue)

I'm going to have it at my funeral (on the way out - the way in track
is Acknowledgement by John Coltrane from A Love Supreme). I was
introduced to the record at college by Adam Barker, a former
Commissioning Editor at Channel 4, back then room-mate to David
Baddiel. So my first encounter with it was as a circle of black vinyl in a 500 year old room, 144 square inches of intense Miles with that far from square tie and cool blue suit beside the record player - a scene I can still picture vividly in my mind's eye. I love the track because it brings with it great tranquility.

Posted by arkangel

7th Nov 2008, 21:23   | tags:,,comments (21)

Hand-Eye-Semiote Coordination

(viewed 2936 times)
1. Where does this find you? Tell us the story of how you got there.

I'm a 40-year-old writer, technological infrastructure expert and business consultant who lives in the pound of real estate closest to Atlanta's heart, in USA's Georgia. After a childhood in a small town (not counting two years spent on a US army base in Japan) and then a stint out in the woods, I escaped to the nearest city of two million people and stuck there. Now it's up to five million....

Back in the late '80s I attended the Georgia Institute of Technology, apparently in pursuit of an education instead of a degree. After five years the scholarships ran out and I found myself in the computer industry by default (I'd been studying chemistry and psychology. What the hell happened?)

Somewhere before the turn of the century, I remembered how much I enjoyed writing in school. I started a journal, took a dare to write a poem a day for a month, took another dare to write a short novel in a month. The novel was published--like, on paper and everything, and not by myself or a close friend--along with some nonfiction and a handful of short stories. Now I write whenever I can, and I'm a partner in a couple of intriguing projects, including a two-man publishing house. For money, however, I've worked for small print shops, software developers, multinational corporations, universities, and, lately, as a business manager and consultant for operations partially owned by a small investment bank.

Also, I'm coming up on my third wedding anniversary in March. She brought three kids to the family, but I've none of my own. It's a sadness, but one I can live with.

2. How do you use? Moblog? Tell us about your moblog history and habits.

For all that I'm undeniably a wordy bastard, I think in pictures, in shapes, in textures, in sounds, and in feelings. If I didn't talk to people every couple of days, if I were to go a week or two without reading, I'd probably forget words altogether and never miss them. A quick snapshot or two, either from my phone or a low-end automatic digital camera, properly framed, is worth a couple of pages of notes. Also, I write very slowly. (Typing is another thing entirely, but people snicker when you get out the folding keyboard that feeds my phone in public. Guess how I'm writing this now.)

When TextAmerica revealed that they thought they owned every shot I posted to their site, I quickly switched over to Moblog. The previous version of Moblog revealed your user number in your URLs in the address bar of your browser. I'm #306, so I've been with the site for a while.

I really like the social aspect of the site, where you find people who interest you or whose (quite literal) perspectives are fascinating and follow them through the situations they feel need documenting. I wish I had more time to spend in touch, to comment on what moves me or makes me smile. The little time I can pry free from work's grasp isn't enough.

3. Do you remember learning how to swim or ride a bike? Tell us about a childhood experience learning a new physical skill.

I just learned to swim just a few years ago. Learning to drive a car with a manual transmission happened last year. For as much of my childhood as I spent on a bike, I must have learned how to ride fairly early. Odds are one of the several (seven? eight?) concussions my bike conspired to give me knocked the relevant memories out of my head. Much of my bicycle-riding predates helmet laws.

I do remember when I was maybe six (this was in Japan), after the training wheels had been taken off, riding along a sidewalk next to a chainlink fence, trying to hold onto the fencing while I rolled along in order to not fall over, gradually discovering that the faster I went, the more like a cheese grater the fencing behaved.

I was never much of an athlete as far as competitive sports were concerned, but I enjoyed going fast. Being small for my age and getting picked on a lot made me a phenomenal sprinter, and if you didn't have a motor, you weren't catching me on my bike.

4. Which of your five senses is most acute or the least acute? How does this affect you?

Sometimes it bothers me how we try to distill the dozens, maybe hundreds, of senses we have into five, and trust me when I say I'm not resorting to the supernatural. We directly sense with our skin, in addition to touch/skin contact, changes in temperature. We have embedded organs in our skulls that detect changes in accelerating forces. As a side-effect of cranial construction, we can detect subtle changes in air pressure completely unrelated to sound. Specialized areas in our brains process information we receive into whole second-order senses in the same way that vision is a collective of red-green/blue-yellow/light-dark senses mapped to a pair of correllated two-dimensional arrays. Perceptions of quantity and quality and threat require a good deal less cranial hardware and processing, yet hardly rate a mention And empathy seems so much like magic, but modern science has isolated genes that cripple and enhance it.

As a student of humanity, I feel my most important senses are empathy, a quite physical, quite mechanical and visceral sense of humor, and a very related sense of consistency--a feeling of whether known facts and experiences and derived conclusions agree or disagree. No matter how the rest of my senses deteriorate with age, I won't consider myself ready to die until these senses fall silent.

5. What was your childhood obsession? What happened to it?

We've discussed the bicycle. After more than twenty years without riding one, I rode one a few weeks ago for ten miles. It's amazing how much I feel I've been missing by living someplace where cycling is downright dangerous.

I also used to build more with my hands. I used to draw and paint. I used to sing, too. But stringing words together has become, unexpectedly, far more powerful to me, like a flyspeck's weight on the end of an infinitely long lever. The feeling of traction I get from writing, the sense of gears meshing, is much more rewarding than in any other form of expression I used to employ.

I do miss the bike, though. And I miss building toys I could hold in my hands and make go vroom.

6. What little known fact about yourself would reveal something about your character that you think is important?

As a child I was intrigued that just about every culture had a tradition of practical magic, either medicine or sorcery or witchcraft or prayer for supernatural intercession or similar. I read voraciously about them all--everything I could find that had been translated into English, in any case. I was looking for commonalities. I was looking for a general truth I could distill into a way to have a larger impact on my own circumstances, a way to exert more control over my own life. I discovered the true life-changing sorcery was science.

My interest in science and its practical applications in terms of communication and psychology and technology are a direct outgrowth of that childhood need to establish my own territory, to expand it, and to defend it. Quite a lot of what makes me tick can be extrapolated from that fact.

7. What is your favourite form of fiction, and why? What is your favourite form on non-fiction?

I'm a fan of the speculative arts. I troll the bookstore ghettoes, reading blurbs and back covers, looking for clever twists on the world outside the window. I like peeping through the keyholes of the universe next door to see if there's anything in there worth stealing. I follow the works of favorite (historical and present, mainstream and marginalized) authors who have learned the trick of lending me their glasses. For reasons you can possibly deduce from what I've already said here, I like comics and graphic novels and movies that render these works more readily visible.

Unsurprisingly, I look for exactly the same stuff from my nonfiction. Cutting-edge science is, in every way, just as much fiction as anything else I love to read, possibly true this week, probably false next week, but perpetually valuable in terms of insight and process and perspective. I love how there's an underlying math that governs all the sciences, from cosmology to particle physics to sociology to economics to ecology to politics, and once you grasp that math you can understand all of it.

I feel like maybe I'm less than a tenth of the way there, but there's nothing like the feeling you can actually get there eventually, if you live long enough.

Consider the answer to this question to cover both reading and writing.

8. Where have you already travelled, and where would you like to go next?

I mentioned spending two years of early childhood in Japan. The sense of perspective that left me, that foreigner's grasp of what the locals think of as normal, did a significant amount of (eventually quite positive) damage to my development. I've always wanted more, but the opportunities to travel have been rare. My savings and investments, not that I ever had much, were all wiped out by, well, recent events of global significance.

I've been a large number of places I could get to by driving. That's good for numerous lessons in subtle, subtle differences. A three-week trip to the Big Island of Hawai'i was priceless. Islands fascinate me. The pressures Darwin noted governing speciation apply to cultures as well as finches. We won't have much longer to study that, given the speed of development of cheap global communication and travel.

I really want to spend a month with every culture on Earth before I get old enough to feel the hardships. When I'm done with that, I want to live and teach on the moon for a while. (That ought to be about right for the prospective timeline.) Then I want to retire to a tropical island.

9. What (or who) would you most like to photograph?

I think of the pictures I take as puzzle pieces. Individually they may or may not have their own merits, but aggregately they are little pins pegged into a huge map, conveying little clues toward the big picture--sometimes with their flaws as much as with their little successes.

I want to take little pictures of the rest of the big picture. I want to take pictures of things from angles that most people would miss. I want to take pictures of people while they're completely unaware and blithely unselfconscious and contrast those shots with ones where they know you're there and have a camera. Those contrasts reveal the most critical parts of people.

10. If you were a God and had a chance to issue as many as ten commandments to humanity, what would they be?

I don't think I'd have to go for as many as ten.

People aren't wallets. People aren't votes. People aren't toys or tools. People aren't livestock. People aren't game to hunt and kill and eat--or stuff and mount on the wall. People aren't mines to hollow out bucketfull by bucketfull or fields to plow and till and tend and harvest. People aren't forests to cut down and burn. People aren't fish to net. Every last person who has ever lived or will ever live is worth just as much as you. If you feel you're never going to grasp this fact, I ask you on behalf of everyone, as kindly as possible, to please leave.

For your own good, I recommend you review your definition of person to make sure it is sufficiently broad.

Also, speaking as your hypothetical God, I have to admit I never finished the place. If there's something you think needs fiixing, feel free to do it yourself. I left all the necessary tools around here someplace.


Posted by Laszlo Q. V. St-J. Xalieri

24th Oct 2008, 05:02   | tags:comments (38)

Late Bloomer

(viewed 2463 times)
1. Where does this find you? Tell us the story of how you got there.

This finds me luxuriating in retirement. I now have the time to be able to explore not only all sorts of new things but also to be able to go back and reinvestigate old places and ideas. In my artwork, the challenge is finding the right balance between stimulating novelty and comfortable familiarity. I'm most enjoying the paths not previously chosen that turn out to be indirect routes into well known, but hardly exhausted, territory.
When I stepped out of the house the other morning, I noticed that this lily was flowering again, late in the season, and stopped to photograph it. Afterwards, it occurred to me that I could use it as a "self-portrait" for this interview, not because I think of myself as blossoming, but because I love the feeling of getting another chance.
I live in Montreal. I came to Canada from the United States in 1966 to go to university and have never thought of leaving.

2. Why do you moblog?

I think it was Jack Kerouac who said that "An artist's job is to subjectify the objective and objectify the subjective." Photographing our day to day lives and sharing our images as Mobloggers helps us to do it.

3. Where do you go to my lovely, when you're alone in your head?

I don't know where I go, but I do know how I get there. I get there through physical activity, walking for example, or yoga, or even something like knitting. As a sculptor, the physical work, which I enjoy (usually), is a means to explore space kinesthetically. I like to work with my hands. I'm a tinkerer at heart, and I enjoy working on all the different aspects of my work, whether theoretical or practical. That's part of the explanation for my username, Factotum.

4. What is that one random item you have hoarded away that you can't bear to throw away for nostalgia purposes and what is the story behind it?

Hahaha. Caine, who posed these questions, knows that my collecting and hoarding borders on the pathological. I'd claim that there's nothing random; everything is saved for a reason :)

5. What would your biography be called, who would write it, and who would play you in the film?

Well, Michael Holroyd is my favourite biographer. I've had a really interesting life even if I'm not particularly interesting as an individual person, and I think he'd be able to capture that. Let me skip ahead to question 7 and recommend Holroyd's Basil Street Blues, a biography of his parents and family, as well as his biography of Lytton Strachey.

6. Who has been an inspiration to you? Why?

The earliest people who dug clay out a stream and made something out of it, or drew in the sand with a stick.

7. What is one of your favourite books, and why?

I think many Mobloggers would really enjoy Maira Kalman's The Principles of Uncertainty.

8. What was your childhood obsession? What happened to it?

Reading was a childhood obsession, and it has continued unabated. I still love kids lit and picture books! I seem to be reading a lot of non-fiction these days, especially history and "literary journalism".

9. What (or who) would you most like to photograph?

How about the cave paintings at Lascaux or Chauvet? Or, even better, some other unexplored cave.

10. What and where is your most favourite place?

I like being outdoors,even in the city, and prefer my landscapes on the slightly rugged and bleak side. I love Cape Cod in the winter, and I thoroughly enjoyed traipsing across the Yorkshire moors with Viv and Swamprose. My favourite indoor places are museums and library stacks.

Posted by Factotum

17th Oct 2008, 02:03   comments (10)