I don’t usually participate in these blog memes, not because I have any objection to them, but from lack of time, energy, or imagination on my part. That said, Michelle Joelle, who I have a high regard for, and whose high quality blog I very much recommend, nominated me for the Liebster Award. It appears to be designed to recognize quality blogs that have fewer than 200 followers.
Accepting this nomination means answering some questions and nominating five other blogs. The main reason I’m making an exception for this one is because the questions look fun and interesting.
1. If you had one wish to gain any talent what would it be and why?
Speed reading. There is so much to take in and so little time, I’d love to be able to read at 2000 words per minute or some other hyper rate. When I was younger, I likely would have said something to do with music or physical prowess.
2. Do you believe in ghosts? Why or why not?
I don’t believe in ghosts as something that exists outside our minds, mainly due to the lack of incontrovertible evidence.
I do think the word “ghost” can refer to our mental conception of someone. Everyone we know, we know due to a model of them that we’ve constructed in our mind, built from sensory input. When they die, or simply exit our lives for some reason, the model remains, and can continue to have a powerful influence on us. For someone who affected a lot of lives, their “ghost” can affect people for a long time after they’re gone.
3. What have you learned blogging?
I’ve been blogging for about three months now, and I continue to learn something new almost every day. Some lessons learned: be brief, don’t be afraid to repeat yourself, don’t try to cover too much in one post, allow your fellow bloggers and commenters to inspire you, and most importantly, don’t be afraid to change your mind.
Also, use graphics, don’t post updates in the middle of the night, and use social networks to let people know your blog exists.
4. If you could live in any fictional world what would it be? Why?
Iain Bank’s Culture. Why? Well, it’s a post-scarcity, post-human, post-mortal, post-everything bad, high technology utopian paradise. It seems to be the closest thing to heaven in science fiction. I’d be puzzled why anyone would not want to live in that society.
5. If you could say anything to one Ex what would it be?
Thinking of someone I dated decades ago, I would apologize for my lack of maturity at the time, and complete cluelessness about what she was going through.
6. If you could have one mythical creature as a pet what would it be and why?
The term “mythical creature” generally evokes something fearsome to me. Either that or something too intelligent to be a pet. I would probably pick one of the tamer dogs because, well, I like dogs.
7. What is your favorite book? Why?
This is another tough one. I can’t really say I have a favorite book. In non-fiction, I’m a big fan of Dorris Kearns Goodwin’s ‘Team of Rivals’, which documents the politics in the Abraham Lincoln administration. Richard Friedman’s ‘Who Wrote the Bible’ and Robert Wright’s ‘Evolution of God’ were mind expanding experiences for me.
In fiction, it’s hard to beat Lord of the Rings for epic fantasy, and the Big Three in science fiction: Arthur C Clarke, Isaac Asimov, and Robert Heinlein. I also enjoyed a lot of Jack Vance’s stuff. More recently in science fiction, I’ve enjoyed Alastair Reynolds, Iain Banks, Charlie Stross, John Scalzi, and Dan Simmons.
8. What would your last meal be?
Either fried chicken or meat lover’s pizza. Because it’s my last meal and health won’t matter. (Although I wonder how much of an appetite I would have if I knew it was my last meal.)
9. Did you make a News Years resolution? What is it?
I do make resolutions periodically, although they only rarely fall around the new year. However, I almost never talk about my resolutions. The reason is that, at least for me, talking about my resolution triggers some kind of reward mechanism in my brain that satisfies my motivation for making the resolution, which usually short circuits me actually following the resolution.
My goal when making resolutions is to keep it to myself, but work to have someone notice that I’m doing whatever it is I want to accomplish. So if I want to lose weight, my goal is to lose weight to the point where someone notices and comments. Usually that takes time, time during which the new activity, practice, outlook, or whatever becomes a habit.
10. Are you sticking to the resolution?
I’ll know when you tell me 🙂
And now for my nominations. Another reason I usually shy away from these is that picking who to include is really tough. There are a lot of excellent blogs out there. These are ones I think deserve your consideration and that I think have fewer than 200 followers, but that’s hard to determine since you can have WordPress followers, Facebook followers, Twitter followers, RSS followers, etc.
As Michelle said to me, participation, to whatever degree you choose, is completely voluntary.