Interview52:

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A group distraction, presented by nige.


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The first instalment of Interview52 is now complete! It started on Friday 18th July 2008 and finished on 13th September 2009. A little later than expected, but we got there.


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52 mobloggers from around the world...

Some familiar, some not...

Each will publish a unique self-portrait, accompanied by a short interview.


Candid portrait meets candid interview.


The Rules

Every Friday the next interviewee in line will publish a new portrait and interview, consisting of their answers to the ten questions they have been given.

After they have published, the interviewee will then become the interviewer. They will be responsible for finding the next participant, as well as compiling the questions that this next person in line will answer. Interviewers can change as many or as few questions as they like, but they should change at least one before passing them on to the next lucky punter.

Thats it! Simple. More detailed instructions will be given to each interviewee as and when they are approached, so fear not.


The interviewees so far

shitake

spongevid

Salome

FilbertFox

Essitam

harimanjaro

parabolichobo

Viv

Jig along

Caine

factotum

Laszlo Q. V. St-J. Xalieri

arkangel

JokerXL

CHESO

taniwha

PrincessJun

billion

itchymoblog

Jane Doe

kyoob

MaggieD

Spiderbaby / Freakdog

TiliaAmericana

Dhamaka

XelenarendezvousX

George w/Blue Eyes

Rachel

Sprocket

Tori

silar31

Mandy

Puddlepuff

Judo-Jule

OJ

beth

Alfie

Rich

Joe

Steve

Uber-Spy

swamprose

RareAquaticBadger

Euphro

bfish

mara

AmericanFriend

CRAFT

Strange Little Girl

Spike

Toddy

Damage

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Recent visitors

Easily read...

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1. where are you and why?

For the last 5 years I have been living in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Why I'm here is a little more convoluted. After I finished my PhD in Leicester, I decided I had to get as far away from Leicester as humanly possible. I also discovered that science as a career involves long working hours and lots of stress for not very much money, but does have the one advantage of making working abroad relatively easy. I'd originally applied to a few positions in Montreal (because I love that city), and was offered a small amount of cash towards my travel expenses. I tried to offset my travel costs by lining up some extra, "filler" interviews, and that was how I ended up applying to quite a well respected scientist in Vancouver. I figured I could get a greyhound from Montreal. Then I looked at a map. It turns out Canada is slightly bigger than England. Anyway, I liked Vancouver, the fact the research was more focused (on blood disorders, cancer diagnoses and treatments), and the swanky new lab that had just been built, so I opted for here.


2. how did you come to be a moblogger?

I am one of the many mobloggers that was sired by Crickson. We've been friends since we were 5, and grew up in the same town just outside of London. In 2004 I had just bought my first cameraphone (my trusty Nokia 7610) which was also my first ever digital camera, and I had also just moved out here to Vancouver. Moblogging appealed to the laziness in me; my friends and family back home could see what I was up to without me having to write millions of emails or to keep a written blog up to date. I could also entice people to come visit me by trying to capture the beauty of the city (as it turns out, not that difficult when you're surrounded by mountains and the Pacific ocean). I've won a cameraphone and a trip back to England courtesy of moblog, so obviously I'm a big fan!

3. how did photography come to be important?

I'm not really sure. I was always fascinated by cameras, and joined a (admittedly quite crap) photography club at my school when I was 12. We used to shoot b&w; film and develop/expose our own prints. I shot with my Granddad's old Olympus Trip. I've always liked taking photos on holiday, but owning a cameraphone really opened up the possibilities of taking "life pictures"; i.e. random crap I wouldn't normally bother wasting film over. It was my cameraphone that motivated me to get a point-and-shoot (Panasonic Lumix LX2), and it was that camera that motivated me into getting back into SLRs last year (Canon Rebel XSi/450D). Moblog also had a massive role; I never really shared my pictures until then, and I am constantly learning/adapting styles and concepts that I've seen posted here.

4. books, music, film favourites?

For books Wild Swans (Jung Chang) springs to mind, as does The Golden Spruce (John Vaillant). Then I was a big fan of His Dark Materials (Philip Pullman), and anything by Stephen Donaldson (The Gap series was awesome). Obviously The Life of Pi, and the Harry Potter books are in there too.

Music is tricky; I have quite an eclectic taste. I would say the most listened to albums over the past few years have been Never Never Land/War Stories (UNKLE), Colour the Small One (Sia), OK Computer/The Bends (Radiohead) and The Fragile/With Teeth (Nine Inch Nails).

I'm a massive film fan, and again have quite an eclectic taste here. I loved Amores Perros, Rashomon, Yojimbo, Schindler's List, Fight Club, The Usual Suspects, Shawshank Redemption, Old Boy, Memento, City of God, Akira, Pi, Three Colours Trilogy, Pan's Labyrinth, Devil's Backbone, Casablanca, Nausicaa, Chunking Express, Before Sunset/Sunrise etc.

5. anything you want to say about blogging, twittering, the moblog, our life and times?

I've never really blogged, and have always been amazed at how much people can write about themselves every day. If I were to keep a blog I think it would be unbelievably boring. Twittering is another thing I don't really get, although in the face of the recent media blackout in Iran, I now at least think that it has value as a communications medium. As for moblog, it has changed a lot in the ~5 years since I joined. More social notworking sites have sprung up, so we all have more choice in how we procrastinate. I've been so busy recently that while I still find time to post, I don't comment on other's photos nearly as much as I'd like to. I'm sad about this, and have every intention of making more time to look at some of the cool shots being taken. In terms of our life and times (with respect to photography) I think the game has changed with the advent of affordable DSLRs, as it has meant that rather having to know what you're doing and spending hours adjusting settings to get the "perfect shot", it's now just as easy to fire off hundreds of photos and find a few fantastic images. The craft no longer seems to be how the photo is taken (the technical), more what the photo is of (the artistic). With this in mind, it's the originality of many of the posts on moblog I'm drawn to, and still amazed by.

6. favourite moblog moments, posts.

Well, I've always liked the sense of community in moblog, but I guess that's more general that a particular moment. I'm quite a technical person, and so also appreciate clever photos, the how-the-hell-did-you-do-that photos, and the little things that most people don't notice (like the smiley faced background blur in the self portrait above!). I loved all the jumpy photos a while back, the old Spike post in which everyone revealed how they chose their usernames, and even the lively 9/11 truth debates on Critical G's moblog. Despite not knowing him well, I also closely followed Alex Saville's moblog, and as someone who spends all day working on haematological disorders and malignancies, it was a shock to put a human face on the masses of anonymous blood samples that enter our lab. It's sobering to realise that every data point on a survival curve (a standard graph for measuring the effectiveness of treatments) represents the premature loss of life and the pain of family members, especially given that most of these graphs have 10,000+ data points.

7. what do you miss about home? what do you like about Vancouver?

The biggest thing I miss about home is my friends and family. And Jaffa cakes. And the thing I like most about Vancouver is my friends. I can pretty much live anywhere so long as I've got good friends about. I do miss the UK pub culture, but that's offset by the much friendlier, less vomit-ridden streets out here. In terms of the city, I haven't been anywhere that beats Vancouver yet; there's about a week in the Spring where you can spend the morning up on the mountains snowboarding, then the afternoon laying out on the beach. There's nowhere else quite like it. Whenever I get frustrated at work or depressed, a simple bus trip takes me to the foot of a mountain, and a hike (summer) or snowboard (winter) session always cheers me up. Or I can walk to the beach in 15 minutes from my front door. It's also nice to have water pressure (my shower will literally knock me over when turned up to full blast!); it sounds stupid but every time I go back to the UK and get lightly dribbled on in the shower I start missing Canada! It's also nice to never be more than 5 minutes away from an empty park or beach walk. This is also one of the biggest problems though; the city is sparsely populated (by UK standards) and I miss the chaos, the culture and the vibrancy of London.

8. what's been the most fun in the last few months? or generally?

New York in May was great. The start of the year was unbelievably shitty for me, and despite the trip being for work (and having to give two scary lectures), I still had lots of time to catch up with friends I hadn't seen in years. That's always good. It felt like I'd closed the chapter on the first half of the year, and could start rebuilding. By the time I got back to Vancouver I started dating again, felt more positive in general and was being less distant with friends.

9. embarrassing moments?

The last embarrassing moment I had was in Rhode Island with Crickson and Spiderbaby. We were supposed to go to one of their friends houses for a wine and cheese evening, but they weren't entirely sure of the address. When we got to the street we heard loud music and laughter coming from a house, so merrily walked around back and wandered into the living room only to find that we'd gatecrashed a different party. That in itself wasn't great, but this party consisted of ~20 girls passing around dildos. We had somehow gatecrashed a sex toy party! Me and Crickson were both embarrassed, while the occupants were disappointed (relieved?) that we weren't strippers. We didn't stay long enough to find out whether "the butterfly" was really as incredible as they said it was.

10. what is your guilty pleasure?

I have become addicted to Japanese cream puffs, sold in a chain called Beard Papa's. One of these stores opened in the food court where we normally have lunch and I'm now starting to gain additional chins. I've also become a craigslist junkie recently, and have been buying camera lenses that I really shouldn't be blowing money on. And despite not coming onto moblog as much as I used to, I am still addicted, and my general obsessiveness has meant that I have spent several months going back and tagging and geotagging almost all of my posts (the first 140 pages at least).

Posted by RareAquaticBadger

10th Jul 2009, 22:32  

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Twiglet says:

A great read RAB and you look like a nut job in that photo.

10th Jul 2009, 23:01

nige says:

The smiley-face blurs are wicked! Love your choice of films too - I really dig anything by Kurosawa, especially Rashomon.

Great interview. It's good to get to know a little more about the guy behind those clever photos.

Nice questions swamprose. I really like it when people change them up.

10th Jul 2009, 23:58

queserasara says:

Love the answers & now I have a face to those amazing images. Funny I was having a similar conversation about art vs technique with sprocket the other day. Jaffa cakes - my sister lives in Edmonton - she misses cabury's fruit & nut not sure on the JC's

11th Jul 2009, 07:22

factotum says:

I thoroughly enjoyed this --- interesting detail!

11th Jul 2009, 12:41

swamprose says:

you didn't stay long enough to find out how the butterfly works??? sigh.

good interview. interesting eyes.

11th Jul 2009, 16:58

Dhamaka says:

I lovethat photo. Very clever, very fun...

It's great to see you interviewed -that it's detailed and intelligent isn't a surprise.

I share a love of the books you've mentioned and am pleased to read that you got closure after the beginning of this year.

You still miss Jaffa cakes? Well, I guess you can collect some more when you're next back in Blighty..

I've enjoyed our face to face interactions which would never have happened if we had not met through moblog and am still hoping to get someone to agree to print those articles we discussed.

Here's hoping time and situation will allow us to meet when you poodle into London next!

oh yes, and fwiw I played with a butterfly in a s*x shop in Hoxton once. Definitely not for me..

11th Jul 2009, 17:09

Great and (nicely) surprisingly open answers you british boy!

The scary thing: you can actually Greyhound to Vancouver from Montreal. There are usually a few mental casualties on the way.

Japanese Cream puffs: I don't think you feel any guilty about liking them. And you do your best to share your enthusiasm around, at the price of our poor belts.

12th Jul 2009, 18:50

MaggieD says:

What a lovely and thoughtful interview .... Always good to hear that Alex had a positive influence .... ace pic too :) .... and I am keeping my lips firmly closed on the effectiveness of the butterfly .....though I have heard that the beating of a butterfly's wings on one continent can cause the earth to move on another ....

12th Jul 2009, 18:59

kel says:

mmmm, beard papa's...

13th Jul 2009, 15:05

Thanks for all the comments! The next victim has been selected and the questions sent.

Twiglet> I had a bad cold last week, so it may have been the tablets I was dosed up on that made me look batshit crazy!

Nige> I probably would have listed most of the Kurosawa back catalogue, but just went for my fave two. And I cut a smiley-face aperture ring especially for the photo :)

Quesara> Oooo... fruit and nut... those are great too. Actually chocolates in general I miss. And cream tea's. And good tea.

Factotum> Thanks! I nearly ended up in your neck of the woods! I still hope to live in Montreal at some point in my life.

Swamp> well, me a Crickson did re-gatecrash later that evening, but alas, the butterfly ha been put away.

D> Ok, so the jaffa cake comment was more for continuity; actually, I'd probably take Beard Papa's over Jaffa's. I should have mentioned that the other great thing about moblog is interacting with people. It's been great catching up with you when I'm in London, and totally crazy to think I've met so many people through a website! I'm planning to be in the UK in early September; it'd be good to catch up when if you're around. Otherwise, my door is always open if you end up on this side of the globe!

Tilia> Well, that's true; it's more pleasure than guilt. And you suggest getting them just as often as me :)

Maggie> Thanks :) I thin Alex had a positive influence on most people who followed his blog (and I imagine, most people he came in contact with).

Kel> Have you been? Apparently there's a Beard Papa cafe on Oxford Street.

14th Jul 2009, 07:11

kel says:

Yup! Not as often as I like, but it's a good place to recharge when you are trying to negotiate the West End.

17th Jul 2009, 11:52

Dhamaka says:

:)

you're just saying that to defend against the arrival of random packets of jaffa cakes....

What's a Beard Papa?

I am quite tickled by the idea that you come from what was the local boy's school but I met you through your shots of places in other continents!

I'd love to meet up provided you're not in London at the time my immune system's low - and thank you for the invite :D

17th Jul 2009, 17:00

Viv says:

taken me a while to get here but good to put the connections together

enjoy your posts

and interesting interview - and I agree about money and scientists - I find it very hard to believe - in my schooldays science was the way to go...! Very much in demand.

18th Jul 2009, 10:03

kel says:

D - Beard Papa's are these amazingly sugary Japanese cream puffs (sorta like profiteroles). I can manage about one at a time.

20th Jul 2009, 12:51

crickson says:

Goddamnit RAB! I thought we agreed - what happens in Rhode Island stays in Rhode Island!

Now FFox will expect me to take her to a sex-toy party too.

24th Jul 2009, 22:07

D> Beard papa's are the yummiest sugary cream-filled puff pastry things ever! They're marketed as "healthy" because they're only 220 calories. There's currently only one UK franchise here. And I agree; considering my mum lives within 5 miles of you it's weird that we started talking when I was in Vancouver.

Crickson> Did we agree on that? I thought I was only suppose to avoid talking about the coffee shop toilet incident? I'm sure FF would have scoped out all available sex toy parties in the area before she arrived anyway :)

28th Jul 2009, 01:11

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