If you stop by here frequently, you may have noticed that I rarely do memes. In 1,600 posts over four and a half years, I think I've done maybe three.
Let's make it four.Adam Avitable
posted his version of "Five Questions"
shortly before Thanksgiving. The idea of the meme is this: Someone asks you five questions of his or her choosing. As the participant, you agree to answer the five questions on your own blog (with a link back to your interviewer
). In turn, you offer to create a unique five-part questionnaire for another volunteer or group of volunteers. Adam collected more than 50 willing interview subjects, of which I am one.
So, off we go.1. Where did the name SwanShadow come from, and did anyone suggest that it's a bit of a feminine name?
That's really two questions, but in for a penny, in for a pound.
My official SwanShadow story goes like this: As a freelance copywriter and editor, I work in anonymity. When I write ad copy or sales letters or radio spots or any of the other folderol I'm paid to create, I rarely get a byline or credit. Indeed, I often work for clients who prefer that I don't acknowledge, even on my own site, that I'm the person who does their writing, or the writing for the companies they represent. Thus, I work in the shadows. It's my job to take other people's ugly-duckling brands, concepts, and sales prose, and transform them into beautiful swans.
The truth, however, is that I created the SwanShadow handle years before I hung out my freelance shingle. Its true significance is known only to me.
But the other thing's my official story, and as far as the public is concerned, I'm sticking to it.
As for the femininity angle, I get that on rare occasion most often from other players at online poker tables. I must confess that it never occurred to me before I started using the name.
I don't think of swans as female, particularly, if I think of them in terms of gender at all. In Greek mythology, Zeus took the form of a swan when he impregnated Leda (whether by force or by seduction depends on whose version of the myth you believe). The title character in Hans Christian Andersen's The Ugly Duckling
which inspired my "official" explanation is also male. Then again, Odette in Swan Lake
is a princess.
Not that there's anything wrong with that.2. Marvel or DC? Corollary: Who's your favorite artist?
Again with the two-fer! Curse you, Avitable!
When I was a comics-reading kid growing up, it was definitely Marvel. I read just about everything DC published, of course, when my friends weren't looking. But if I had to choose up sides, I was a Marvelite to the core. I belonged to both of Marvel's official fan clubs, the Merry Marvel Marching Society and its successor, FOOM (Friends of Ol' Marvel). Marvel's heroes were the ones I identified with most closely, and that I cared the most about.
These days, my reading list is much closer to 50-50. I think of it this way: I read Marvel for its connection to my history, and DC for its present reality.
My favorite artist depends on the period:
- Golden Age: Matt Baker (Phantom Lady), Lou Fine (The Ray), Mac Raboy (Captain Marvel Jr.), and Lee Elias (The Black Cat).
- Silver Age: John Buscema (Thor, Conan), John Romita Sr. (Amazing Spider-Man), and Jim Aparo (The Brave and the Bold).
- Bronze Age: Barry Windsor-Smith (Conan) and Keith Pollard (pretty much everything at Marvel).
- Modern Age: George Pérez (Wonder Woman), Adam Hughes (Wonder Woman, again), Mark Schultz (Xenozoic Tales, a.k.a. Cadillacs and Dinosaurs), and the recently departed Dave Stevens (The Rocketeer) and Mike Wieringo (Fantastic Four).
But if I had to pick one artist from all of comics history? That's easy Will Eisner.3. What's your favorite writing achievement?
I'm tempted to say this blog, because so much of my heart and soul lies bare on these virtual pages.
But instead, I'm going to point to the 146 film and television reviews
I wrote for DVD Verdict
during my five years as a staff member there. It was mentally and creatively challenging work, and I enjoyed it thoroughly even when reviewing Steven Seagal and Jean-Claude Van Damme flicks that were so wretched, I could feel my brain cells decaying as I watched them.
If there were unlimited hours in the day and my body never required sleep, I'd still be writing for the Verdict.4. Do you think that blogging is just lazy writing?
Perish the thought. No writing is lazy writing. Lazy writers don't write.
I will admit to being frustrated with writers bloggers and otherwise who don't take every opportunity to write as well as they can. If you're going to write at all, even if it's "just a blog," why not give it your best effort? Use and spell words correctly. Write coherently, and mostly in complete sentences. Share original thoughts, at least to the degree that any thought is "original," rather than simply parroting what you've read elsewhere.
Life's too short to write badly.
But it's especially too short not to write at all.5. Is Alex Trebek really as obnoxious in person as he seems on TV?
If I had an FAQ on this blog, this question would be on it. Heck, if I had an FAQ for my life, this question would be on it.
Although I've played eleven games on Jeopardy!
and its associated tournaments during the past 20 years, I don't really know Alex Trebek. With a single exception I will address in a moment, all of my interaction with Alex has been on the set of Jeopardy!
during the course of game play or the post-program chat that takes place while the show's credits roll. Alex has always been polite and personable toward me in those circumstances. (Though he did call me by another contestant's name when I won my quarter-final game in the 1988 Tournament of Champions. I've long since forgiven him for that faux pas
. Sort of.)
When I was first on the show in '88, Alex was not only the host of Jeopardy!
, but was also the show's producer. Back then, he had numerous other responsibilities on taping days besides just running the game on camera. In the years since he gave up the producer's job (which has been assayed ever since by the guy who used to be Alex's assistant, a model of level-headed efficiency named Rocky Schmidt), Alex has appeared more relaxed, and less harried and abrupt, when I've been on the set.
Or maybe he's just matured as he's aged.
The one occasion I've been around Alex off-camera was in 1997, when I participated in a special one-game Jeopardy!
event called Battle of the Bay Area Brains
. My wife, daughter, and I were invited to a reception following the taping. Alex took time to be both congenial and kind to my then-eight-year-old daughter, and signed several autographs for her.
I guess the short answer (if it's not already too late for that) is that Alex has always been fine with me. Mrs. Trebek may tell an entirely different tale.
Those are my five questions. If you're a regular here or even if you're just a-passin' through and would like me to interview you, here's the official "Five Questions" boilerplate:
Want to be part of it? Follow these instructions:
1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."
2. I will respond by e-mailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.
In the spirit of Mr. Avitable
, I'll interview as many of you as volunteer. (I can make that commitment safely, knowing that I'm nowhere near as popular as Adam is.)
Thanks to Avitable
for the excellent questions!
Even if there really were seven.
Labels: Aimless Riffing, Blogosphere, Cool Stuff, DVD Verdict, Jeopardy, Listology