More interview questions

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1. What was it like studying at Miskatonic University? You’ll have noticed from my user info that I studied there twenty-five years before I was born, so you’ll forgive me if my memories are a little blurred.

But, gosh, the odd taste of the sherry, the unusual Chapel choral traditions, and the uncanny dwindling of student numbers throughout the years we spent at good old Miskatonic, all left a strong impression. After what happened to the First Eight, the rowing club never really picked up again…

2. Have you ever met a laicized priest? Crumbs, yes. I don’t know any particularly well, but there are a lot of them around. (As I think you know, one of my ex-girlfriends became a nun, and then later came out, both of the order and in the other sense as well.)

3. Who was the last person you lied to? A journalist who asked me for an interview yesterday afternoon, and I replied that I didn’t know enough about the subject and didn’t really have time. If I’d been in the mood I could certainly have made time and talked about the subject, but just didn’t feel like it.

4. What five words do you think are beautiful both in meaning and in sound? This has been a fiendishly difficult question to answer. It’s very difficult to think of individual words – I prefer great sweeping descriptive phrases or sentences. I’ve been very amused by the surveys of “beutiful words” in languages I know, the Dutch opting for the extremely precise if old-fashioned conjunction desalniettemin while German speakers apparently prefer the concept of Habseligkeit (which, I have only just realised, is not really related to Seligkeit). Some words are interesting just because of their oddness – next week, for example, I shall be spending several days in the town of Prčanj, where the “a” is barely pronounced. The town itself is supposedly very beautiful, but few would say the same for the name.

Looking at the famous British Council list of seventy beautiful words, the only one that jumps out at me as having real star quality is tranquillity – not just for its real meaning, but also for its lunar landing associations. Another favourite word of mine that I’m slightly surprised didn’t make it to the list is exotic. I have to admit that after that I am drawing a blank.

If I have to pick five words in total, I’m going to have to reach out beyond English, indeed into languages that I don’t really speak. Next on my list is then the Italian word chiaroscuro, as in the painting style; love the way it sounds, love the way it looks. And after that, the Georgian delicacy khinkali – once tasted, never forgotten. (Georgian is not always a beautiful language – the word for “trainer”, for instance, is  mtsvrtneli, with two syllables.)

I’m getting really desperate now. I think I’ll have to reach into place names as well as ordinary word. Lisdoonvarna is a beautiful word; I’ve never actually been there but it has associations for me of crystal clear days following heavy rain, and a slower pace of life. It seems a good place to finish up this question.

5. Coffee or tea? Coffee – indeed, Nescafé with milk and two sugars. But with the following exceptions:

  • Tea with milk – mid-afternoon; all day if I have had very little sleep the night before.
  • Tea with milk and sugar – immediately after a long journey.
  • Green tea – while eating East Asian food.
  • Herbal tea (preferably vervain) – when going to bed.

If you want questions, leave a comment.

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1 Response to More interview questions

  1. autopope says:

    On the subject of battery life/unauthorized callouts: lots of Android apps are free but ad-supported. One source of battery drain may be badly behaved ad-supported apps going online to download fresh adverts to annoy you with.

    There have also been confirmed reports of some nasty Android apps dialing up premium rate services without telling the user, and of apps engaging in behavioural tracking (see also Phorm): they may be switching on the GPS radio, which drains battery life like crazy.

    (Apple’s walled garden is the source of many complaints, but at least it keeps the more malevolent stuff at bay.)

    I don’t know what apps you’ve got installed on your phone, but it’s worth going through them with fire and the sword to see if that improves the battery life/bandwidth charge situation.

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