liebster award

Steve Green at The Twisted Quill won the Liebster Award recently, and very well-deserved too! Steve is a brilliant writer who always seems to package big vistas of meaning into small packages of flash fiction.

The Liebster is an award that's meant to be passed on, and Steve was kind enough to include me in his list. So now it's my turn.

I know some of the people in my list have already received it recently, but if that's the case for you, please consider yourself re-awarded — and please use the comments here to link to your award post if you feel so inclined (don't blame you if you don't want to re-do the lists — there's a certain amount of writing with these things!).

There are rules to accepting the award:
1. You post 11 random facts about yourself.
2. You need to answer the 11 questions your presenter gave you.
3. You pass the award on to 11 other bloggers.
4. You compose 11 new questions for your recipients.

Here goes:

Eleven Random Facts About Me

I have never paid a cable TV bill in my life, mostly because I've never had cable TV. My parents had it, but by the time they got more than just basic service, I wasn't really watching TV anymore except for the odd film or music video show. I didn't have a TV set at all between the ages of 18 and 30. Although I somehow wound up owning a VCR, DVD player, and TV set, they are all gifts and/or hand-me-downs from various family members. I do like some shows, but I tend to watch them in either short (YouTube clips) or long (DVD) sessions. Now that I've not been a regular watcher for enough years, I can see and hear the "invisible conventions" very distinctly. TV seems to assume you're already a TV watcher, which I guess makes sense, but also makes it a very strange experience to watch if you're not.

Okay, I have a DIY blog, so it's not terribly random that I knit. The random part is that I'm a past member of the organisation team for the TTC Knit-A-Long, a car-free event that promotes DIY attitude and encourages people to think outside the (big) box (store). We go from yarn shop to yarn shop throughout Toronto, all on public transit and all very publicly knitting. One person knitting on a streetcar is one thing. Forty people sitting together and knitting on a streetcar is something else again.

I really, really, really hate chocolate cake. This has gotten awkward more than once when someone buys me some for my birthday and is all proud of themselves for giving me a treat.

Now that I'm writing random facts about food... I'm allergic to coffee. Not caffeine, but coffee. Even if I buy one for a friend and get some drips on my hand while I'm carrying it to them, I can have a reaction -- the skin the coffee touches will get tingly and will stay that way long after I soap it off. This only started in my early 30s, and has led me to have a lot of sympathy for people with more deadly food reactions. People will say things like, "Oh no worries, we have decaf" or "Just have some to be polite, will you?". Sigh. Okay, no more about food.

The colour black
I almost always wear black clothing, but my apartment is decorated in bright colours. I even buy deliberately mismatched bath towels so that all the towels set out at any given time are all different hues. Sometimes when people see my apartment for the first time I get told I should dress like I decorate, but I don't think I'll be wearing bull's-eye polka dots in primaries any time soon.

The circus
When I was a kid we lived in the country, and our neighbours "two doors" up ("two doors" being something like a kilometre because all the properties were larger than in town) owned a circus. I waited for the school bus with their youngest son. He didn't talk about the family business very much -- everyone in the area knew about it, so it wasn't that big a deal -- but one morning he mentioned his father was tending a sick lion at the house. He explained they had locked pens for keeping ill animals in, because his father insisted on caring for them himself -- he was proud of the circus's standards for the welfare of their animals. We listened, and sure enough we could hear the lion roaring. He said it always roared in the morning before his father fed it.

Museums and art galleries
Museums and art galleries are my favourite places to hang out on vacations and on weekends. Most of the photos from my recent trip to New York City were taken inside MoMA and the Met. When I went to Amsterdam by myself a few years ago, I picked my hotel according to how close to Museumplein it was.

Ciphers and alphabets
I like learning about secret codes and different alphabets. I write my grocery lists out in the Elder Futhark to keep in practice.

Everyone in my family likes taking photographs; my favourites to take are still lifes and landscapes. Some of my father's photos are in the Canadian National Exhibition archive.

Photography, right! I've known my friend Cathy Cheshin since we took drama class together in university. She's an art photographer, musician, Hallowe'en enthusiast, and maker of things both wonderful and strange -- like miniature, poisonous cakes. She doesn't have a blog, which is why I'm mentioning her on this list instead of the blog roll, but she is on Twitter. I blogged about her debut photo exhibit.

As I'm writing this last entry, I'm listening to Tom Waits' Mule Variations. Probably I will listen to The Pale Fountains' Pacific Street after that, or maybe Ghost Sonata by Tuxedomoon. So now you know.

Answers to Steve's Eleven Questions

If you could come back in another life as an animal, which one would you choose to be?
One of my friends' cats.

Have you ever owned one of those cars that whatever “Could” go wrong with it, “Did” go wrong?
I only got my first car when I was 32, but that first one would fit that description. My "favourite" breakdown was when it quit in the middle of a very rainy morning rush hour while I was taking it to the garage for service. The tow truck drive was less than two kilometres.

Do you believe in other world life forms?
Absolutely. The universe is too big for this particular kind of chemical process to happen just once.

If you had to spend a year on a desert island with just one celebrity for company, who would you choose?
Um, one that knew about surviving on desert islands, which narrows it down quite a bit. How much research did Tom Hanks do for Castaway? Let's say Dieter Dengler, the man who survived a POW camp in Kampuchea. Werner Herzog made two films about him: the documentary Little Dieter Wants to Fly, and the fictional retelling Rescue Dawn, which stars Christian Bale. I believe Dengler's passed away since the films came out, but hey, it's a hypothetical.

Which band or entertainer would you most like to see in a live performance?
Either Laurie Anderson or Sigur Rós.

If you could alter just one physical aspect of yourself, what would it be?
I'd like to be the weight I was before I started dieting. That may sound backwards, but I'm living proof diets make you gain weight.

I have been told I am a Jack Russell, which breed of dog would you say you share characteristics with?
Definitely a German Shepherd.

If you could choose any make or model of car to own for free, which model would you have?
Lit Motors' C-1, which is sort of in between a car and a motorcycle -- it has two wheels, but the driver sits in an enclosed space with car-like doors. It's a gyro-stabilised, electrically-powered vehicle that has stayed upright even in crash tests where pickup trucks have hit it sideways.

Which do you prefer, the quiet of the countryside, or the hustle-bustle of the city?
I prefer a quiet corner of a city. I live in a neighbourhood that is less than ten kilometres from downtown, but has its own high street and has a small-town feel. We also have several big parks and a bird sanctuary, so one doesn't have to go far to experience some "countryside".

Do you have a favourite colour and number? And do you know why?
My favourite colour is purple, which is good because it suits me. I love orange too, but have a hard time finding shades I can wear. My favourite number is probably 12, because it's a very convenient number for knitter's math. It has a lot of factors, which makes it easy to form patterns with, and it just happens to often be the difference between one size and the next when making socks and sweaters.

What is your favourite film and book?
Eeesh... that changes by the day. There is so much good stuff out there! Today probably Local Hero or Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy are my favourite films. The Night Circus is probably my favourite book du jour.

The nominees!

These are in no particular order. Thanks to everyone in the list for the chance to read what you write.

The questions

I tried to aim for "random." Unfortunately, I think I may have succeeded.
  1. Chocolate or vanilla?
  2. Tea or coffee?
  3. What colour is Thursday (and why)?
  4. What's the first thing you remember?
  5. If a stranger were to open your fridge door and look in right now, what would be the first thing they noticed?
  6. What made you decide to start writing a blog? 
  7. If your home got featured in a house & home sort of magazine, how would you describe your decorating style?
  8. What was the last book you read that you recommended to other people, and why?
  9. What's your idea of the perfect Sunday?
  10. Socks or barefoot?
  11. What's next?