As TMTF hits its last fifty-post milestone before the end, I want to pause a moment, thank everyone who has been a part of this blog’s journey, and declare my opinion that Empire Strikes Back is the best Star Wars movie.
All right, with that out of the way, here are my answers to the questions submitted by readers for today’s Q&A. Here we go!
JK asks: In spite of your down-playing your abilities, I think your singing is quite lovely. Do you have any music related experience/training, or is it just natural know how? Play any instruments to go along with the vocals? Follow up, can we get another serenade while you’re at it?
Aw, thanks, JK! I sang in choir a couple of years in high school, and performed with a few worship teams over the years, but I’ve never taken lessons or anything.
I am a little proud of my vibrato: that wobble in the pitch of my singing voice. As a kid, I heard other singers perform the vibrato technique. I thought it was neat, so I trained myself to do it. Mine is a bit forced, but hey, I’ll take what I can get.
The only instrument I’ve ever played is the bongo drum, for which I have no training whatsoever, and on which I performed with more enthusiasm than skill.
I’ve thought about doing one or two more song covers, but for an amateur like me, they take a ton of trial and error. I’d rather spend my non-blogging free time relaxing! I did cover “Baba Yetu” karaoke-style a while back, though, singing over the original track. I’m really pleased with how that one turned out.
Sarah asks: How much time per week do you and your monkeys put into the blog? And how has that changed since you started the site? Of all the places you could have chosen to live, why Indiana?
Good questions! My time spent blogging varies wildly from week to week, and I don’t really keep track of it, but I estimate three to eight hours.
Depending on the kind of post I write, I might dash off it in an hour or slave away at it for three to five. Personal reflections and silly thoughts on random subjects are quicker and easier to write; serious treatises take tons of time and effort. Posts involving audio recording or image editing take extra time.
I’m probably spending less time on the blog these days than when I started, thanks to my decision long ago to publish a short, geeky commentary every Wednesday instead of another numbered post. The shorter mid-week updates require much less effort, and they let me share stuff I think is cool.
Your final question is a familiar one! When people ask me why I settled in Indiana after living overseas, I tell them, “It’s a really long story, but I’ll give you the really short version.”
Here’s that short answer: I live in the United States because, of all the countries in the world, it’s the only one for which I currently have the legal paperwork required for a job; I live in Indiana because, of the few roots I have in this country, most are here; and I live in the little town of Berne because, when I was looking for a job years ago, it had the only place that would hire me.
I’m fond of Berne, but it really could use a movie theater, some mountains, a beach or two, a Japanese noodle stand, and a Starbucks. Ah, well. Nowhere is perfect, I guess.
JS asks: What about pants?
A most profound question. I cannot offer an answer worthy of it, for I am but a foolish mortal. How can I, or any of the humans who live their short lives upon this fading earth, match a question of such wisdom with an answer equally wise?
The word pants can be traced back through the English, French, and Italian languages to Pantalone, the character stereotype in commedia dell’arte, a form of performance art popular in sixteenth-century Italy. This stereotype, which caricatured Venetians, was named for Saint Pantaleon, a saint popular in Venice.
By following these tangled skeins of history and etymology, we trace pants to a legendary saint. Does its connection to an ancient martyr make pants the holiest of clothes?
Speaking of holey clothes, why do some stores sell torn jeans? Who actually buys pants that, as Dave Barry put it, appear to have been ripped to shreds by crazed wolverines? That’s another question for which I have no good answer.
Returning to my reader’s question, a character in Avatar: The Last Airbender, my all-time favorite show, offers this unfathomable wisdom: “Pants are an illusion, and so is death.”
My own view on pants is that a gentleman shouldn’t leave home without them.
That concludes today’s Q&A post! I’m grateful to everyone who submitted questions; without you, this post would have been embarrassingly short. Thanks, guys.
With fifty posts left, TMTF is hitting the final stretch at last. I could say a lot, but I’ll save it for some other time. For now, I will only say this: Onward!