1. Music is obviously a huge part of your life; what was the first record you ever purchased?
Ack. Why are you askin' me this? Who have you been talkin' to?
First single (45 rpm): Styx - Mr. Roboto
First album: Michael Jackson - Thriller. I think I picked up two albums that day. The other was Business As Usual by Men At Work.
2. When and why did you make the jump from vinyl to CD?
Well, in my nuclear family (Me, mother, father, one brother), my dad and I have always been the musically-inclined ones. My dad actually has quite an extensive collection of jazz 78's from the 1920's and 1930's.
As compact disc technology was gaining traction in the mid-80's, one Christmas my dad bought a nice JVC CD player for himself, and got me the same model.
I had been through the pain, familiar to most people old enough to remember vinyl, of having terrible pops and crackles (and God forbid, skips!) mysteriously manifest themselves on my most cherished records.
The fact that CDs didn't noticeably degrade after many plays was a big factor for me leaving the world of vinyl. As soon as I got that player I was pretty much going to pick up something on disc rather than vinyl if it was available.
I remember hearing the debates of analog (records) versus digital (CDs) but I didn't give too much of a crap about it -- I'm not an audiophile, and the CDs sounded great to me.
Since you asked about my first record purchase, I'll tell you my first CD purchase as well. It was Phaedra by Tangerine Dream -- I owned a scratchy vinyl copy that I thought I'd replace when I saw it for sale used.
3. What was your favorite subject in school/college, and why?
Hm, my film production and studies classes were the most fun. I didn't start out as a Film major, and I actually switched schools during college due to a change in my interests.
For a big part of my life I wanted to be an archaeologist, and that's what I had in my mind when I went to University of Illinois in Champaign, Illinois.
When I had an Introduction to Anthropology course, I learned a couple things, neither of them part of the curriculum:
- The first couple years of college can be enormously sucky. Big lecture hall classes, indifferent teachers, clueless TA's. Sucky.
- I might not want to be an archaeologist.
While I was at U of I, I took a film studies class which bowled me over, then took a film production class, which I enjoyed even more. The next semester the one lone professor they had for film production was going on sabbatical, so I decided to switch schools to Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, which had a well-established film production program.
As far as a class unrelated to my major, I had a fantabulous Shakespeare class at SIU. I had Mary Ellen Lamb for a teacher, and she was just incredible -- enthusiastic, engaged, and had an excitement about the subject that was contagious. If only all teachers could be like her. Simply amazing. The world of Shakespeare really opened up for me, and it's largely due to her.
4. How many of the 50 states have your visited? Lived in?
I have only lived in one state, Illinois.
"By thy rivers gently flowing,
and thy prairies verdant growing,
Illin-" --oop, sorry.
Lessee, as far as states I have visited:
- Bought some kringle in Wisconsin.
- Stayed at a resort in the bucolic environs of La Porte, Indiana.
- Visited an auntie in Miami, Florida (I also saw Disneyworld/Epcot).
- Stayed at my brother's place when he lived in Little Five Points, a funky neighborhood of Atlanta, Georgia.
- Went on my first vacation with the future MizSplotchy, driving down to New Orleans. A few years later I drove down with Bubs to help gut houses in St. Bernard's Parish, which had been flooded by the levee breach caused by Hurricane Katrina (they still need help!).
- Went to a few Java One conferences in San Francisco, California.
- Stayed with some friends of MizSplotchy in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he also took a couple train rides so we could--
- Walk around in wonder at the sights of New York, New York. I stumbled into catching a glimpse of Bruce Springsteen outside Madison Square Garden. I think he was playing a series of nights there for his 50th birthday. He's a l'il fella.
- Married MizSplotchy at Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas, Nevada.
There's other states (Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, Iowa, Michigan, etc.) I have been in, but I don't really count them as I really didn't spend any amount of time visiting them (and I really wanted to see Graceland the two times I've been through Memphis, goddammit!).
5. What makes a good blog post? Do you write some of them in advance and save them up for those not-so-fresh days, or do you try to just come up with things on a daily basis?
I don't know what makes a good blog post. The more I get exposed to, the more goodness I can see. Blogs are so damned flexible, it's great. It lends itself to a lot of personal creativity, which I really admire.
I usually come up with things on a daily basis. I feel almost a responsibility to produce something at this point, which I suppose could be interpreted as a bad place to be (the bitch goddess of content, I call it). I don't worry about it too much, though. I see it as exercising my imagination, which is quite a lovely thing to do, I think.
The only thing I occasionally come up with in advance are my Unconnected Tuesdays post. Sometimes I save one off, because it's a weekly feature and not tied to any current events, etc.
Thanks for the questions!