:: A couple of queries from Roger:
If you were to live anywhere else, where would you be? What are your favorite 5 or 10 cities?
Call me crazy, but I really like Upstate NY. So I'd be happy in Rochester, and I could probably even live happily in Syracuse. Longtime readers will recall that for a time we did live in Syracuse, from September '02 until April '03. I didn't find that a long enough period living there to really form an impression of the place, but coming from Buffalo Syracuse felt...familiar, and small. Outside of "rush hour", it's possible to drive from one end of the Syracuse "metro area" to the other in less than twenty minutes.
Casting my net wider, I really love the entire Great Lakes region and the Upper Midwest. I could live happily in Chicago, Milwaukee, the Twin Cities (not Great Lakes cities, but on the cusp of the region). And if I had to live abroad, I'd be thrilled to dwell in Toronto.
As a kid we lived for a handful of years in Portland, OR, an area which I loved dearly at the time. However, it's close to twenty-six years since I've been back there, so I don't know. My parents used to comment on how it seemed to them that people in that region had some kind of inferiority complex, in that they'd always say things to my parents like, "Aren't you glad you don't live out east anymore?" But I don't know if that's really the way things are anymore. Having become used to the fact that living in Buffalo, we can take daytrips to so many cool places, I suspect the main problem I'd have with living in Portland again would be that in that part of the country, distances are so much greater, and it becomes a day trip just getting to someplace else. But again, I don't know how much that would bother me. I do know that I'd dearly love to see Portland again, and visit some of the places I remember -- the ones that are still there, anyway. And I'd love to walk the sands of Cannon Beach and gaze upon Haystack Rock again.
I guess I'd just like to be able to travel more.
Valentine's Day: a wonderful opportunity to show love and affection or a capitalist ruse?
A bit of both, I suppose. We're pretty low-key with it in our family (it helps that The Wife's birthday is less than two weeks after Valentine's).
(And here's a small rant: it never bothers me much when stores put Christmas merchandise out on display in early October. But what does irritate me is how Valentines stuff starts showing up on December 21, and how they start rolling out the Easter shit on February 10. Who the hell buys Valentines candy eight weeks before Valentines, and then just keeps it around? Don't retailers get that Valentines shopping is of the "Oh crap whatamIgonnagetforher!" variety?)
You know what is a friggin' ruse, though? If you live outside of my part of the country, you may not have heard of Sweetest Day, which was cooked up by a bunch of candymakers decades ago. It's celebrated almost exactly six months after Valentines Day. Every time Sweetest Day rolls around, I end up thinking of the fake greeting card-company created "Love Day" from The Simpsons.
What's bigger, Wyoming or Colorado?
Colorado, by about sixteen thousand square kilometers. But Wyoming feels bigger, because it's got a lot less stuff in it.
("I thought I was dead once. Turns out I was in Nebraska." - Little Bill from Unforgiven)
If you were forced to give up overalls, what would you wear, and would anyone have the faintest idea who you were?
Khakis, I guess. And shorts. I used to be the kind of guy who wears shorts year round, although in recent years my body's thermostat has set itself to "pants in winter". Oy.
I'd hope people would recognize me! People at work, by definition, rarely see me outside of work, so I suspect I'd look stranger to them in overalls than anything else. If I were to cut the hair, though -- and maybe even shave -- then I'd be well-night unrecognizable. I look at photos of my former short-haired, clean-shaven self, and I think, "Jee-bus, I looked like an idiot."
(Oddly, I don't like regular old blue jeans, and I almost never wear them. I only own two pair. I've never found jeans all that comfortable.)
:: Belladonna also had more than one query:
What piece of writing are you most proud of and why?
The obvious answer is my "Twelve Presidents" story that won the Buffalo News contest a few weeks back, but I'm just not sure. There are a number of stories sitting on my hard drive that haven't appeared anywhere of which I am very fond; I suppose both of those will end up in this space at some point. And The Promised King is the largest-scale thing I've done (using a fairly broad definition of "done", of course, since it's not done).
"Graveyard Waltz" is special to me because it's the first story I ever submitted for publication. It was rejected, of course, but the rejection slip -- my first ever -- at least garnered a brief hand-written note from that particular editor, scrawled in the corner of the form letter. That first rejection slip didn't feel bad at all; in fact, it felt kind of good in a weird way, because it meant that I was in the game. Kind of like the young pitcher who gets his first start in the Majors. Sure, he gives up eight earned runs in two innings and gets yanked as soon as he walks the first two batters in the third, but hey, he's in the Majors.
And there are lots of posts here of which I am quite proud, and it's on the behalf of those posts that I'm always a little frustrated that my traffic here so stubbornly remains exactly where it's been for so long now. A representative example here would be "Diary of a Ring". That post was a lot of fun to write, and yet it came and went with little notice at the time. Alas.
If you could meet any one person, living or dead, who would it be?
The most obvious answer here is Jesus, but since I'm all about eschewing the obvious, I would have loved to spend an evening talking music with Leonard Bernstein.
More answers to come. I think I'm almost done.