Posted by: fullandbye | October 24, 2005

to keep a promise

A fun game.

The rules:
1. Leave a comment, saying you want to be interviewed.
2. I will respond; I’ll ask you five questions.
3. You’ll update your journal with my five questions, and your five answers.
4. You’ll include this explanation.
5. You’ll ask other people five questions when they want to be interviewed.



  1. Meh, why not?
    Okay, interview me.

  2. i love talking about myself

  3. agreed. this is potentially disasterous, but meh…

  4. Sure.

  5. Re: Meh, why not?
    1) What do you believe is your greatest gift?
    2) Given the opportunity to enact one piece of federal legislation which will remain untampered law for as long as this country survives, what would the legislation be and why?
    3) Have you ever had a crisis of faith? What did you do?
    4) If you had to leave this country, never to return, and you could take no one with you, what would you do in your last few days?
    5) Do you see yourself becoming your parents?

  6. 1) Is there a single image, notion, or some other totemic emblem that has been significant to you for as long as you can remember?
    2) Who do you most admire?
    3) What is the one thing that would make you turn in your grave if your biographers got it wrong?
    4) Louis Sullivan proclaimed that “form follows function”, but Oscar Wilde romantically defended “Ars gratia artis”. Which approach do you find more compelling?
    5) When do you feel your weaknesses most acutely?

  7. The above questions were intended for Sierra.

  8. this game sounds fun.
    it would be funner to do it person, i think… as a party game or something…. well maybe not a party game… but…
    okay. I’ll play.

  9. I so asords words like funner. funner is rad.

  10. I am curious about the questions more than I am curious about my own answers. But curiosity is certinaly my fatal weakness.

  11. This is kind of like having a conversation right?
    Rock the interview!

  12. These questions are for Liz:
    1) Is there a single earthly location that you most identify with?
    2) What future vision or dream makes you the most happy?
    3) What trait do you most ardently attempt to cultivate in yourself?
    4) What part of you do you most hope others recognize and appreciate?
    5) What is the source of your patience for other’s silly foibles?

  13. For Jesse:
    1) Did the notion of god play into any moment in your ride across the country?
    2) Do you feel as though your idealism is a function of youth? Do you imagine yourself becoming more cynical as time goes by?
    3) What single text holds the most influence over your thinking?
    4) Assuming that there will be a leftist American revolution in our time, what about this revolution most frightens you?
    5) What keeps you motivated to do the political work you are doing?

  14. 1) What compromise do you find yourself making most often?
    2) One of the lengthiest Talmudic debates of all time was over the question of whether or not it was better for man to have never been created. One school claimed that it was better for man to have been born, the other claimed that it would have been better for us not to have been born, but that because we are here, our purpose becomes that of making meaning of creation–especially of its cruelty. The latter view was eventually judged to be the sounder argument. Which of these two views do you side with?
    3) What do you see as your greatest metamorphosis in life?
    4) What do you consider your greatest triumph in life?
    5) If you left Seattle tomorrow, what would you miss the most?

  15. I think I’ll be more interested in your questions than you will be in my answers …

  16. interview me, please.

  17. Re: This is kind of like having a conversation right?
    1) What about your upbringing do you believe most greatly differentiates you from your peers?
    2) What about Africa do you miss the most?
    Yehoshua ben Perachiah (a great Mishnaic sage, also reputedly a teacher of Jesus) once said, “find a mentor, aquire yourself a friend, and make it a habit to judge every person favorably”.
    3) Who is your most effective mentor?
    4) What quality do you seek in your friends (and what do you hope to give in return)?
    5) How do you interpret the last part of this adage?

  18. Re: Meh, why not?
    I hope #2 would be to ban such things in the future.

  19. For Robin:
    1) You have indicated that school for you had little effect on your actual career training. That said, besides the degree, is there any part of school that you find worthwhile?
    2) Which is the greater virtue, compassion or cleverness?
    3) What do you most often daydream about?
    4) Describe the friend(s) whom you have known the longest.
    5) Have you ever felt humbled by another’s presence?

  20. 1) The people. There’s no better place for introducing yourself to so many varied personalities, and learning how to deal with all of them in a mutually beneficial manner. It’s also great for learning how people react to things, and why, and is great for finding job opportunities. Interpersonal networking, in general. School is great, even the “classes” that I find so useless, because I like being able to say that the classes are useless and go out and learn on my own to keep them that way. Kinda self-defeating, I know, but I like it that way.
    2) You know, I can’t answer that. I simply don’t think that way. To me, they are one and the same — rather, they’re both different aspects of the same thing, and the scenario determines which is better at the time. Really, though, even if you separate the two, they feed off of each other: If you are more clever, it allows you to be more compassionate, and if you are more compassionate, it allows you to be more clever. I try to maximize both, using each other.
    Also, I don’t think they’re virtues. Well, they might be, but for how I think, it doesn’t matter if they’re virtues or not … they’re all just “things”, you know? Sometimes, you realize that a certain thing is “better”, “fuller”, or just somehow “more” than another thing, and so you go just with that.
    3) Sex. I’m normal that way. Actually, I might daydream about having conversations even more — most of my communications are well thought-out beforehand. The most interesting thing I commonly daydream about is probably (currently) my taijutsu, where I just play with it in my mind.
    4) Well, there . Honestly, if I met her today, I would never get close to her. I met her at a time when I was much more forgiving of emotional stupidness. A friend of mine calls is “no value added”, and that’s about where I stand. If I were to meet her today, the effort required to become close to her is (was) just astronomically high compared to what I actually get out of it, in terms of mutual companionship, support, and opportunities. At this point, though, she’s family, and will remain that way until we die. I’ve known her eight years now, I think. She lives in Seattle. Has an adorable little girl and is recently divorced, as in a couple months ago. Very open-minded, somewhat rebellious. Wiccan and has a “relative morality” mental framework, although she’ll tell you otherwise. (Oddly, her recent exhusband has the “absolute morality” mental framework she claims, and himself claims a “relative morality” framework to the extend that it’s tattooed on his arm.)
    The friend I’ve known the longest, that I still keep in touch with, is . We really have nearly nothing in common, and kinda drifted apart, although we’ve known each other for a little over a decade. She lives in California now. Straightedge catholic, fairly close-minded. Though, you know, she’ll tell you otherwise.
    My closest long-term friend is likely Rake, who was my roommate for nine months a few years ago. Very grounded fellow. Has some temper problems when people are being stupid. He does not handle idiotic behavior all that well, and he recognizes it when he sees it. Something of a stoner, and I actually often like him better when he’s slightly stoned. More relaxed, and can laugh at the stupid behaviors instead of getting angry about them. Atheist, and very open-minded. Really smart, but doesn’t think so himself.
    5) No. Other people don’t seem to have an effect on my feelings of self-worth, neither positively nor negatively. Never have.
    A) Now, I have a question for you: Why did you choose each of the questions you chose? It looks like some thought was put into them.

  21. What the hell? Interview me, Raz. Onegaishimasu.

  22. do me do me!
    what’ve you got?

  23. さー,

  24. I’d like an interview.

  25. I need to know who you are first.

  26. Josh

  27. Shadlen?

  28. Sho’nuff.

  29. 1) Do you consider yourself a guarded person?
    2) When looking to buy or borrow a book, if no one has ever recommended the text to you, what do you look for before you seriously consider reading it?
    3) What music is most evocative of a time, place, person?
    4) Does it bother you when your parents tell stories about your early childhood?
    5) What forces can you identify that had a significant impact on the development of your political consciousness?

  30. You’re far better at the questioning than I.

  31. Questions for Gabe
    1) Did you romanticize your rural surroundings, even while growing up in them?
    2) We discussed Kirkegaard’s notion of universal worship some time ago. What is your religion?
    3) Day to day, what frustrates you the most?
    4) What is your earliest memory?
    5) How did you realize that your childhood had ended?

  32. I am not sure how I choose questions.
    I guess I think about a person, and wonder how they would respond to different questions that all might open up a part of their character that is not really evident to me. Knowing what I already know about them, I then consider what I do not know that I would like to know, and I ask a question absract enough to (hopefully) bring out that element of their being.
    I also try to ask a question now and then that I find entertaining, even if it not too profound.

  33. 1) What about Japan is most opaque to you?
    2) Who would you most like to meet in the world?
    3) Were I to visit you, what are the top things you would want to show me?
    4) What of home do you miss the most?
    5) Who knows you better than anyone else?

  34. Re: do me do me!
    1) What about China do you miss the most?
    2) Do you still consider Portland home?
    3) What of your parents do you most admire?
    4) Is there a place that gives you calm?
    5) What experience of yours was initially negative but has become funny over time?

  35. Re: さー,
    1) What of Japan do you think you will miss the most?
    2) Have you ever felt insecure about Wabi continuing to exist, even in your absence?
    3) Do you think of your childhood as being happy?
    4) Do you find your personality at all constrained by your current surroundings?
    5) What do you hope your students learn from you?

  36. For Josh:
    1) Do you feel as though you might be doing the world an injustice by eschewing math in favor of librarianship?
    2) Was there a defining moment that symbolized adulthood for you?
    3) What about the favorite house you ever lived in made it your favorite?
    4) What was the most upsetting thing you lost in the fire last year?
    5) If you have children, would you want them to be exposed to any sort of religious education?

  37. I appreciate the compliment.
    Unless you are assuming that I am ruthless interrogator. Ooooh, I think I appreciate that too.

  38. i think we should play this game sometime in person, so next time we are hanging out in swank (like when i’m supposed to be doing homework) you can ask me 5 questions and i’ll ask you five and then we shall drink some mulled port. i know, i just want your port, but its cold outside and it would be so delicious. or you can ask me on here, unless you’re questioned out.

  39. 1,2,3
    1)Do you feel as though you might be doing the world an injustice by eschewing math in favor of librarianship?
    Certainly not, for three reasons.
    One is that I don’t believe mathematicians do a service to the world (nor have I ever). Mathematicians train other mathematicians and work in their paradigm on the off chance that someday this will be the key to the bomb that finally does us all in. Progress. I might be doing the world an injustice in the sense that there is surely someone else better suited for librarianship than I am.
    Secondly, I’m not, all said and done as in fact it has been, so good as all that. My mathematical thinking is gimmicky and formulaic, and has only ever been respected by people who don’t understand it, which is a fair number; I see no point in being three or five or ten years or a few weeks concentrated study ahead of anyone without some destination. My thing was to take up some ideas from the 1970s and apply them more systematically than had been done before, and then, effectively, to wait and see what happens. I heard no calling to do this, just thought it would be cool, felt I had found a niche and some semblance of a community in the form of a few dead Frenchmen. What made it interesting to me was its tendency to blow apart the concept of identity and remain calm in the face of this disorder.
    Thirdly, I’ve never been a good teacher or a good student. As far as helping someone do mathematics, I think that to recommend a book or a paper or a problem, however unlikely it is that your recommendation will be taken seriously, is infinitely more valuable than to lecture at them for oh say thirty hours in a season. Offering this sort of help does not require a professorship. I still like to talk about math with interested amateurs and with mathematicians who are friends.
    2) Was there a defining moment that symbolized adulthood for you?
    There is, but I can’t really talk about it here. Proof positive that one should choose one’s moments with care. Long story short though long as it was, I met a man who acknowledged me as a human being, which is actually a rare occurrence, since among friends this is assumed and among strangers, the opposite is assumed. Before this I had felt validated on occasion as a human being in progress, but the notion that I might actually be complete, though it’s scant comfort now, saved me from nasty trouble.
    3) What about the favorite house you ever lived in made it your favorite?
    From age 6-9 in Palo Alto, I lived in a house with a lot of fruit trees in the yard (lemons, satsumas, navel oranges, apricots, persimmons, plums, pomegranates). The house itself was nothing special, but who would stay indoors in that weather? Between then and now living spaces were determined negatively, where could I live to avoid bother (by parents, dormchums, watching eyes). By those old criteria, where I live now is best, I am for the moment free from worries and cares and curfews and stares, but freed into what, I’m not sure.

  40. 4,5
    4) What was the most upsetting thing you lost in the fire last year?
    My writings. I don’t really have keepsakes, photographs, etc., though I suppose I have a few now. The only objects with associations are written records. I don’t actually have a very good memory, and haven’t been kind to it, and so suspect my past is scrambled beyond reasonable repair. I could probably build a history of my own life if I put a lot of work into it. I’d be curious to read it, but not enough to actually do this. Books and music close behind.
    5) If you have children, would you want them to be exposed to any sort of religious education?
    My inability to decide the question of religion is one of many similar reasons why I don’t think I can have children. I’m led to believe that many people fret over the question of the meaning or purpose of life; I seem somehow to have sidestepped this for a nastier one. My problem is that I have no image or memory of purposive living. When I imagine this sort of living, I am sure that it must begin by conquering the paranoid hypersubjectivity in which I am so often trapped. I distrust social organization, tend to be guardedly hostile towards friendliness, caneasilyoftendo represent openness to myself as the highest form of deception. This has made it difficult throughout my life to be part of a family, a group of friends, a school, a religion, a culture, a people. I wouldn’t subject another living creature to the world I inhabit. I am attempting to return to the human, the social, but I find great shame in doing so without understanding that to which I return or the names of the places in which I wandered.
    The direct part of this is that I disagree with the indoctrination of children, and find unconscionable the notion of asking someone to swear an oath without understanding. More than my atheism, what originally drove me away from religion was the sense that one ought not to make promises one can’t keep (even to nobody in particular). It didn’t occur to me at the time to question this notion. That said, religious people tend to have joy and community and culture and are some of the last holdouts against scientism. I think that I would not raise a child without these, but I’d take all of this wherever I could find it. This is all very speculative, in the sense that I doubt that there is any real hope of community or culture in my life unless I bite the bullet and convert to Judaism or Christianity. The former seems more tolerant of the sort of outrageous sophistry that would be required to imagine that what I experience has any connection to the thing that gave my namesake marching orders.

  41. Actually, we touched on one and five yesterday, but…
    1) This is an incredibly pertinent question, as the particular compromise I find myself making time and time again is one that I am actively struggling with right now. Namely, I find that I tend to compromise my own ambitions (to write, to have positive but solitary experiences, to devote time and energy to experiences that will further my growth) to pour energy into my loved one’s ambitions of the same. This is a complicated compromise, because I think that I am pretty good at loving people- using “love” as a verb, here, I think it’s something that I work hard at, put a lot of thought and reflection and creativity in, and take a lot of pride out of doing- so it almost falls into a category of furthering my own growth and doing something well that I take pride in. Also, I believe that my relationships are the best place to live out and model the values and systems and behavior that I want to see in the world, and I think my relationships are places where I can (and am) very revolutionary.
    Still, there are often times when I get lost in those relationships, so finding balance by spending more time focused on my own self and not so much on others is probably something i need to learn to do.
    2) I would mix the two views. I believe the purpose of humanity (from the existence of our Creator) is to act as a mirror on the universe- to demonstrate to the Creator what it is that the Creator is about. In this sense, part of our purpose is to make meaning of creation (and part of it is to act in a way that is consistent with what we wish our Creator to be- I think God often takes his cues from his creations). I believe that it is how we grapple with cruelty, injustice, death, horror, pain and fear- and how we embrace and work to nurture grow and celebrate joy, creativitity, love, awareness, vitality- that in the ways that we approach those things, we validate (or fail to) our own existence.
    3) Ahh. I think there are two, though they are closely related. The first metamorphisis is a spiritual one. It was the metamorphisis from being a very religious person of little faith to a pretty non-religious person of deeper faith (and a faith that continues to ask me to give up more and more of my safety nets to lean into it). The second metamorphosis has been from a person who took her concepts of “The Good” from the perspectives of those around me to a person who takes her concepts of “The Good” from my own struggles with life, perceptions, prayer, and hopes. And follows through with the morality that is derived from that experience.
    4) The degree to which I think about, meditate on, pray, and then follow through in actions (then reflect on, think about, meditate on, pray and refine my actions based on the above) in regards to shaping and maintaining and living out the value systems that I adhere to is my greatest, though incomplete, triumph.
    5) It takes a while for a place to get inside of me, and from the perspective of geography, my body and soul have not completely melted into Seattle- it still seems far too much like a fairy tale than an actual place, sometimes. But the people, this community, what I’m working towards in being here- all of that would be heartbreaking to me if I had to leave tomorrow.

  42. と言うこと
    What of Japan do you think you will miss the most?
    Besides a functional cross national mass transit system?
    Bath houses. And the fact that places with good autumn leaves are marked on most maps.
    -Have you ever felt insecure about Wabi continuing to exist, even in
    your absence?
    Only for a few weeks, when I first worried about being supplanted by JW.
    Mostly its just reassuring. Its akin to the Marquis de Carabas black box, where I can put my heart away, and it keeps me safe from death. But not from pain.
    -Do you think of your childhood as being happy?
    Immensely so. I had everything I could dream off. Until about 13. But then
    I still had my big dork vest, an awesome beard, magic cards, no interest in women,
    and good study habits. Truly horrible things didn’t start happening
    until around age 17.
    -Do you find your personality at all constrained by your current surroundings?
    Yeah, its as though somebody cut my left hand off. I can still wank
    as much as I want but every thing else is about ten times harder. Though kissing boys appears to still be much easier than kissing girls…
    -What do you hope your students learn from you?
    That communication is facillitated but not depenedant on language. I try to work within the framework that if it will take you like ten years to get fluent at any given language, any serious study of language should cultivate a certain comfortability with confusion and a lack of worry overly about the inevitable mistakes.

  43. Raz, your questions are excellent. Let’s see what you dredge up for me!

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