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interview chain

The official rules:

"If you want me to interview you--post a comment that simply says, 'Interview me.' I'll respond with questions for you to take back to your own journal and answer as a post. Of course, they'll be different for each person since this is an interview and not a general survey. At the bottom of your post, after answering the Interviewer's questions, you ask if anyone wants to be interviewed. So it becomes your turn-- in the comments, you ask them any questions you have for them to take back to their journals and answer. And so it becomes the circle."

In other words, i'm answering questions asked of me by my request. If you want me to interview you and/or if you want me to answer five specific questions, comment appropriately in this post.

I'm also changing the rules for myself a bit because i liked a lot of the questions that were asked of scorppoett and i want to answer those questions as well. I know that's not how the game is played. I've always been a rule breaker.

Questions from scorppoett to me. (rearranged a bit.)

1. What one thing would you like to accomplish before your next birthday?

Sheesh. That's a long time from now. I suppose it would be nice to have a piece I submit to a festival get performed.

2. If you could go back in time and change one moment/event in history, what would you change? Why?

This is related to the answer I give to a later question which i actually answered first, but i'll try to address it in a more general context here.

I think I come from a mentality that doesn't play a lot of "what if" games when it comes to the past. I use my past and my understanding of the world's past to reflect on who i am in the present and in the future, but I generally don't reflect on the past for past's sake or wonder how things would be different if something in the past were different. People can make general assumptions about how things would be different (the world would be a better place if the Holocaust never happened), but they don't really *know*. And you could come up with arguments and theories until your head turns purple. I'm not saying that that kind of thinking is unimportant, but it's not where I spend my own personal energy.

3. What fictional character can you relate most to? Why?

There's always a few. But one of the strongest that sticks out in my mind is Vash the Stampede from the anime series Trigun.

Vash is feared as being the most dangerous gun-slinger known to man, and he has the skills to back that claim up. But people that really get to know him discover that he is the single most gentle soul on the planet. He refuses to kill anyone. His heart is always thinking about giving rather than receiving. He'll put himself on the line for anyone regardless of who they are.

And yet because he has enemies that are determined to bring him down or make him suffer, death and destruction follow him wherever he goes. People that he holds dear die in his arms, not directly from his hands, but because of him, because they are caught in the crossfire of his struggle. So he tries his best to keep people away from getting too close to him, particularly that part of him, in order to protect them. But he also loves people, being around people, and being a part of their lives.

Make "enemies" into an abstract metaphor of "my personal issues", and that's me in a nutshell.

I'm a nice guy. I know that. I can even acknowledge it some of the time. People see that and they try to get closer to me. The more they get to know me, the more they like me, the closer they try to get. And then they hit the Barrier. And they push and push and push in a futile attempt to get through. And they end up suffering, feeling hurt. Yet they don't blame me, and they convince themselves that they don't want to pull away.

Maybe Vash didn't ever pull the trigger and kill anyone, but he still feels responsible for their suffering.

4. Who (or what) inspires you?

Music inspires me. Some of my peers, mentors, and historical figures in my field of music composition inspire me. There are too many to list, but to name some famous and/or not so famous people: Kurt Doles, Larry Nelson, Rob Maggio, Jeff Stolet, Jason Powell, John Adams, Steve Reich, John Cage, and David Lang.

Boldness and creativity inspires me. Steven Brust as an author. Farscape as a television series. Directors who push the edge, such as M. Night, Christopher Nolan, or Genndy Tartakovsky.

Teaching inspires me. Being able to inspire a student is the greatest feeling in the world.

5. How did you get involved with drum corps?

It's a long history, and it's funny how it almost never happened.

While i was In eighth grade, the high school concert band came and did a concert for us. The person playing xylophone was the older sister of a friend of mine named Gwen. I remember commenting to her, "maybe I should try this some day," and she replied something to the effect of, "maybe."

Flash-forward to next fall. Unexpectedly I get a call from her out of the blue. She said, "remember you said that you'd like to try doing this some day?" as an invitation for me to be the lone pit player in the marching band (she was drum major). I said "sure." I played piano for all of my life, so the transition to pit wasn't too hard.

Sophomore year i switched from pit to playing tri-toms. We had a new band director and a new assistant who actually had a passion for marching band and how the activity can make you grow as a person. It inspired me a great deal, and i started to think about persuing music and teaching band as a career. And that summer, at a band party, I saw DCI for the first time. The 1991 Crossmen and the 1991 Garfield Cadets. And i knew that that was what I wanted to do. But i had no idea how to get there.

Flash-forward to my junior year. In addition to being in the marching band, I was also active in the choir (I did all of those cool district/regional/state festivals. some of the best times of my life). In the fall of 1992, our choir director had to take the semester off to get chemotherapy treatments. Our substitute for the term was this younger guy whose name i unfortunately forget. For one random reason or another during one of our rehearsals, he mentioned that he was a marching instructor for the Crossmen. So I approached him, asked him for information, and i was off to the first camp.

Rude awakening. Didn't come even close to making the cut due to the poor training at my high school (our marching program was relatively weak). I worked my ass off for a year, tried out again in 1993. The caption head, Mark Thurston, was super impressed with how much i had improved. He singled me out in front of everyone as an example of the kind of motivation he liked to see. It was embarrassing. But while i had improved, i still wasn't quite good enough. I didn't make the cut, and went home thinking that I'll just try again next year.

Then i get a call from a guy in Harrisburg named Dan Delong, caption head of a senior corps called the Westshoremen. He said that he had talked to Mark Thurston about needing a tenor player for the Westshoremen, and Mark recommended me. So i went to Harrisburg, checked out the scene, and liked it, and marched my first season as a rookie in the Westshoremen Tenor Line.

In 1994, i went back to the Westshoremen for financial reasons and because the Crossmen tenor line spots were pretty much all full, and that marked my transition from being a follower to a leader. This helped me somewhat when i finally became not only a tenor player, but the tenor captain for the Crossmen in 1995 and 1996.

It scares me to think about how, in those days, other people happened to be in the right place at the right time and had the motivation to push me in the direction that I was too afraid or too passive to push on my own. I think that if it wasn't for those people (and a few others), I would have been an unhappy computer programmer/office worker.


Questions from zanzara to scorppoett

1. Do you have a favorite book or author? If so, why?

My favorite authour hands down is Steven Brust, particularly for the Vlad Taltos series and the Khaavren Romances. It's hard to explain why he's so brilliant. For one thing, he sets up this fantasy universe and immerses the reader in it. Not just in the vocabulary (psionic, revivification) or the scientific laws (the difference between sorcery and witchcraft), but also in the world's history and the politics between the two main races that live in the world - the tension between them, the sub-cultures that exists in them, and how that affects the main characters.

For another thing, Brust isn't afraid to experiment in his writing style and habits. The Vlad Tatlos series is not written in chronological order, which frees Brust up to not just write Vlad's present and future, but also his history. He approaches each book boldly with a different writing style (such as Taltos which is constantly switching back and forth between two stories being told at the same time), and pulls it off expertly.

The Khaavren Romances are another great example of his diversity. These books are written by a fictional character in the Vlad universe as "historical fiction" written in the style of Alexander Dumas. And the books are a wild ride.

2. What is the greatest struggle you have overcome?

This is a hard question for me to answer because if it's truly a great struggle, i haven't overcome it yet, and if I've overcome the struggle, it doesn't seem that great of one in retrospect.

*ponders*

Hmm. i might have to come back to this one.

3. Are there any major life decisions you have made that in hindsight, you would do differently?

I think this is actually related to why the previous question is hard for me to answer. I can't say that I'd want anything from my past to go differently because all of the good and the bad experiences contribute to the person that I am now. I don't know how to be someone other than myself, even a different version of myself. All i can really do is look forward, look at my present struggles, and understand that the result of those struggles and experiences will continue to paint my life portrait accurately.

4. Did you enjoy school? If yes or no, why?

I've been in a college environment for almost ten years of my life now. There are certainly a lot of things i hate about it, but it's also an environment i'm very comfortable in. I love learning, and i love teaching. I think i'm discovering more and more how much I like undergraduate students too. To me, undergraduate students are still trying to discover who they are socially and academically... too much studying or too much partying and everything in between. There's such a variety of "youthful energy" that I want to try to capture conceptually and hopefully never lose.

5. What is the most important thing you hope your child/children learn from you?

I want all of my children/students to learn and know that there is good, there is talent, and there is value to be found in anyone. I give so much of my heart to every group that I teach, and I don't want them to give their heart back to me as much as back to themselves and to each other. When i'm able to do that for someone, i label it a success.


Questions from flipped for scorppoett

1. What is most admirable in the human race?

There are so many different types of people. I admire how different and how similar people can be and how those similarities and differences come into play in interaction.

2. If you could buy anything, what would it be?

I'd buy the immersion of music and the arts as an essential part of american culture and daily life.

3. What are you good at?

I'm good at too many things and great at not enough.

4. How do you relax when you need it?

Playing DDR is a great stress reliever. Video games in general can be stress relieving, but DDR is special because it involves focus of both the mind and the body. Pool is another great stress reliever for me. Drumming. Napping. Listening to music by Steve Reich, or "The Passing Measures" by David Lang. The occasional hit of marijuana is okay too. And a good meal, or a good drink.

5. Why are you holding back on us? Tell us how we can be enlightened! ;)

everyone has their own personal enlightenment. I can't tell you what yours is. Then again, i can't tell you what mine is either. But if it happens, i'll let you know.


Questions from bienvenida to scorppoett

1. It has just been proven that you DO come back in the next life as something else, and you DO get to pick what that is. What do you choose?

It depends on whether i'd remember my previous life or not. I'd like to come back as a female so i could compare life as a female over life as a male. I tend to think that females get the short end of the stick, and it'd be interesting to see if i still feel that way if i was a female.

2. Who is the one person, dead or alive, that has influenced your poetry the most?

I'd have to say that the few bits of poetry and prose that i've written have been influenced by the likes of e.e. cummings, steven brust, john cage, my brother felix, and all of the creative writing classes and seminars i attended as a high school and college student.

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3. What type of environment do you (or wish you could) go to when life is the most stressful. (Example, hide in the forest or walk in the park).

A pool hall, a video arcade with a DDR machine, a thunderstorm with warm rain, my elementary school playground, in the arms of a loved one, on the marching band field. Not all at once.

4. The Magic Genie has allowed you to change one trait in yourself, and one in your spouse. (They can be different for each of you.) What do you change, and why?

This also goes back to the question i answered about my past. This entry is rambly enough as it is, so i'll consider this one already answered.

5. You have become omnipotent. You can alter the time in which we live, but no further development will occur. Do you choose before the invention of computers? Do you go back hundreds of years? Give a rough time period or era, and say why. (Keep in mind, technology/medicine/laws will come to a standstill for all time.)

I understand what this question is trying to say, but I don't know how to answer it. In my mind, even imaginary scenarios have to be grounded in some sense of realism, and the progression and evolution of people and how they live is part of life. I can't imagine how life would be affected if progress came to a standstill in any era. I'd venture to say that no era would be ideal... eras and progress are not defined by a single moment, even though history and analysis like to see it that way.

Wow. That ended up being a larger project than I thought it would be. Sorry for the long rambly entry.

Comments

( read spoken (2) — speak )
ex_scorppoe
Jun. 8th, 2003 02:44 pm (UTC)
This was a fun game. It was also pretty tough for me. I had a lot of people that I barely new asking me to interview them, and so I went around to their journals, their user info pages, and websites (if they had them) to try to personalize the questions. I think your website confused me more than it actually helped.

Interesting game, but it makes me glad that I don't have to interview people on a regular basis. :)
lifeofmendel
Jun. 8th, 2003 05:40 pm (UTC)
I think your website confused me more than it actually helped.

Really? Why's that? Not disagreeing with you... i didn't make the web site to be *clear* necessarily, but i didn't consciously try to make it confusing either. i'm curious what made it confusing to you.
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