Friday, March 24, 2006

The Laughing Wolf

The Blog Interviews continue this week with The Laughing Wolf...

Our interview panel is ready...

First question?

You have experienced many losses this year, your attitude about loss is a good have you managed?

I am not sure I have managed well.

I try to remember good times, laughter, positive life lessons. I also try to remember that it is not about me, that it is about them and what was/is right and best for them. On one level, I know that they are in a better place, and I am glad for them, and accept the fact that I do miss them.

On another level, it hurts, sometimes real bad. When the hurt gets too bad, I try to get to that other level.

I don't always make it, but I try to get there.

What's the most expensive thing you ever bought on impulse?

Hmmmm. It was either the ergonomic flogger or the current target rifle.

What got you interested in photography in the first place?

I had always loved visual images, particularly artwork. At a relative's house, there was a canvas print of Waterhouse's Lady of Shalott, and other nice images were available to me as well. I was fascinated by landscapes, and by people -- particularly the female form. The problem was that I can't draw worth a darn. So, my interest turned to photography and cinematography when I realized that I could do with a camera what I could not with pencil, paint, or brush. Landscapes and objects were most of what I did, though I wanted to do people -- particularly females and nudes. I was bright enough, however, not to mention that around my parents (particularly Mom).

I bought my first camera (a Kodak X-15 Instamatic) when I was about 10 or so for the horrendous sum of about $15, which took months to raise. Couldn't afford the movie camera I wanted... I could not go wild, as I also had to raise the money for film, processing, and printing. My parents used this as a life lesson to show that there is always more than just the cost of the item involved... I had a fair eye, but could have used some lessons. I shot when and where I could, and got to shoot some neat things and some tourist things when I lived with an uncle one summer in Italy and again on the Boy Scout World Jamboree. My Mom and I spent several weeks with the uncle, who was stationed there with the Air Force, and I loved it on many levels. The shots I took there, and later in Scandinavia with the Boy Scouts, let me try new things and to compare my shots of well-known things to famous shots taken of them.

In college, photography blossomed a bit at the yearbook, where the photo editor worked with me and urged me to explore. I saved up and bought a Nikon FM1, and started getting serious. As I was finishing my undergraduate degree, I was challenged (that's my story and I'm sticking with it) to call Playboy by the head of the journalism department, did so, and was an intern there for six-plus months doing everything from product photography to what most people think of... Loved it, still want to take my work up to yet another level.

What is the next animal in line that you prefer?

Tursiops, aka smartass dolphins (see David Brin's Startide Rising for where that phrase came from). Have loved them since I was small, and had an aunt who could call them in. Intelligent, powerful, at home in their environment, and I do think they have a sense of humor. That grin is there for a reason... Their skin is incredible, as are they, and the memories of feeding them and touching them with my aunt in her boat is probably my favorite and most powerful of her -- as well as of them.

Tell LW Uncle J wants to know where the white goes when the snow melts.
Uncle J wants to know where the white goes when the snow melts.

The same place the white in his underwear goes when he jumps... Des Moines

Shaken or Stirred?

Shaken, of course

What has been your most favored occupation?

I love what I do: high-tech/science communications. It is a good challenge, can be fun, and is rewarding when done right. Translating topics into language appropriate for a given audience is a good mind puzzle.

If I could do anything different, it would be to write/communicate about food, travel, animals, and other delights, along with some fiction and how-to's, in such a way as to allow me to live the lifestyle to which I would like to become accustomed.

If you were an advice columnist, what area would you specialize in?

Well, the relationship advice thing didn't go so well, people didn't like being told to get a grip and grow up, so... It would have to be either about cooking, animals, bdsm, or marksmanship. Not sure I am qualified for any of them, but damn the fun I could have doing the research...

Now, some questions from a student in Finland...
When did you first hear about the cartoons and what did you think?

I vaguely remember hearing about them not too long after they were published, but really heard about them after the not-terribly-honest imam tour stirred up the trouble it sought.

How has the story been covered in the US media?


How do you think this "cartoon war" affect the already tight situation between the Islamic countries and the Western countries?

I think it is being deliberately used by the islamofacists as a breaking point, and that they are doing all they can by hook or by crook to make it so. The so-called war was created and egged on by some imams and others who want to cause a problem, create a fracture, and as an added benefit get the West to continue killing its own freedoms in the names of diversity, tolerance, and appeasement.

You published one of the pictures in your blog. Why did you choose to do this? What kind of feedback have you got?

I chose to do so as a mark of freedom of speech, of individual choice, and in support of the artists and the paper. I think that if we give up freedom of speech out of fear, we have already lost the battle, if not the war.

So far, all of the feedback has been positive and supportive.

Do you think the worst is over already or will something bigger happen?

Define worst.

I think that it is a matter of when, not if, another attack will occur. It may be minor (except to those involved) or it can be horrendous.

The odds of it being the latter grow exponentially if we fail to meet things head on. The challenges are many, and they encompass everything from the assault on free speech and communications as represented by the so-called cartoon riots and the appeasement to them, to efforts to get us to cut and run by the terrorists in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. Cutting and running is what we have done far too often in the last 50 years, and they expect that they can manipulate things -- with the aid of the Old Media -- so that we do so again. Half or more of what they do is aimed at the Old Media, at getting coverage that works to their aims. Add to it tolerance and forbearance, which are seen as signs of weakness by the islamacists, and it is not a nice picture. Every time we bend over backwards -- and that includes apologies and condemnations of the publishing of the cartoons by alleged leaders in the West -- it merely emboldens them.

The latter also will be most especially true if we fail to halt the development and spread of weapons of mass destruction by rogue states.

Given the ripe environment being created by media and political hysteria in the West, I think they pretty much have to try something and reasonably soon, though they have shown that they are willing to wait for years for the right opportunity. So, yes, I do expect some form of CBN attack if they have any means to do so.

If not, to take advantage of the opportunities being presented, I would not be surprised to see some form of small-scale attacks. Car bombs, suicide bombings, small-scale attacks designed to kill and make the news, most likely against soft targets in zones where weapons (or any ability to commit self-defense) are prohibited. Depending on who is calling the shots, these may be simultaneous or take place over time. Yes, I have ideas as to the zones, and no I won't share as I don't care to give anyone any ideas.

If you have not read it, allow me to recommend Soft Targets by Dean Ing. I would also highly recommend his books/stories dealing with practical preparedness, such as Pulling Through

Where will you go on your next vacation?

On my budget? Burger King.

Where would I like to go?

If I could, I would take many, many months and go around the world. Finish hitting every continent and some islands that I have long desired to see and explore. Spend time, live places, explore.

For something more practical, I would like to go to Prague, then maybe to Budapest, and meander on into the Ukraine if possible. Not sure on the exact path, but would like to do so off the beaten path if possible, maybe by river where possible, seeing the smaller towns and following up on some ancient (and more recent) military history. If just a short time, start with Prague. Next time, Budapest. Etc.

What is the easiest and most impressive recipe you have up your sleeve, and will you share it?

You know, this is the hardest question so far. I really think that in many ways it is the roast leg of lamb I posted many moons ago. Lard the leg with garlic, coat with olive oil/truffle oil (if available), place some fresh rosemary and mint from the garden on it, cover/surround with fresh mushrooms (morel, shitake, crimini, wood ear, oyster, miatake, etc.), rough quarters of onion, maybe some carrot and potato, and bake covered/wrapped at 300-350 until the center reaches 140. Pull from the oven and let rest at least 10 minutes. The pan drippings make a good gravy as is, or you can de-fat, mix with some good port or red wine (syrah, zin, merlot all work), reduce, and thicken as needed. Serve the mushrooms as a side, along with any veggies.

When a wolf laughs, is a chuckle or more of a hearty guffaw?

It depends on how high the victim jumps, and the sound/volume of sound they make in the process.

Who's your favorite author alive?

Another hard one, both because I really want to divide by genre and because I don't want to hurt any feelings of those I know, and most especially those I consider as friends. I have to admit that I have been buying a lot of John Ringo's books of late, even to the point of buying a copy of an unedited rough draft of the next book in his Ghost series. That said, I would have to say that it is David Weber.

Of all time?

Again, I would like to do it by genre. That said, Robert A. Heinlein.

What opportunity do you most regret turning down?

On a personal level, there was an opportunity with a young lady that I blew, that I have wondered a time or two how my life might be different had I not let it slip through my fingers.

On a professional level, I was made an offer that would have involved me with the motion picture industry in photography/cinematography. Again, I often wonder...

Ginger or Mary Ann?

Mary Ann. It is fun corrupting innocents...

What is your favorite comic strip?

Of all times? Peanuts. Currently? Sluggy Freelance

Could you elaborate on that "I have been presented to royalty, a Queen,by a Playboy photographer" remark?

I was introduced many years ago to (then) Queen Noor of Jordan by a Playboy photographer who took me under his wing. She was attending a charity event while in the U.S. for a cause with which she was involved. If memory serves, the photographer and/or Playboy were involved as well. He knew her from that, and presented me to her. I have met other royalty and nobility over the years, but she was the first and she made an impression not just for her title.

What do you think of the NASA system as it stands today? Can they step up for the big idea missions, or have they simply become beancounters with no vision?

I think that elements of vision are still there, as are elements of the "can do" that made the agency famous. Unfortunately, NASA is not what it was.

Where NASA can excel is in pushing boundaries, doing the cutting edge science. Unfortunately, where it seems to want to spend its time is in the past and in trying to control launch/space access. The agency has not produced a new working launch technology in years, several decades in fact, and has in the last several efforts only produced paper and briefing charts. Far too many see it as a career, an entitlement, or a money teat.

I also don't think that any significant reform is possible right now, as it would take too much valuable political capital to reform or start anew. Then again, the current budget reductions and trimmings may be an attempt to start such...

So, reluctantly, I don't think they can do the big idea missions, and may indeed be the largest impediment to anyone trying to do them.

What makes you laugh?

Almost anything that tickles my fancy, or hits my warped sense of humor. There is much in life that can make us smile and laugh, if we will only let it.

Thanks for taking the time to participate in the interview. We learned a lot and really had a good time.

Tomorrow, we have ALa of blonde sagacity taking questions.

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