Sunday, February 8, 2009

Interview Me Meme

An interview-me meme has been going around - here and there in the science blogosphere - and I contracted the meme from Phizzle Dizzle. She has asked me five questions, as per meme rules listed way below, and I've attempted to answer them. Since the questions are about me, hopefully my answer attempts will make some sense! PD has apparently listed the questions in order of importance. ;)

1. Which is your favorite Ender book? Who is your favorite protagonist, Ender or Bean? Is that two questions?

My all time favorite Ender book is the original trilogy - which actually turned out to be four books, unless you buy a combined edition the way I did so I could get around this favorite book question. For those not in the know, the Ender series of books, and related Shadow series, were written by science-fiction author Orson Scott Card, who has an official website. Having now visited his website, I see he has a new book out, which I will forthwith have to order. So excuse me while I do some online business...

Seriously, my favorite book is probably Speaker for the Dead, with Ender's Game being a close second. My favorite character, as you might be able to tell by my choice of books, would be hands-down Ender (Andrew Wiggin), who is the Speaker for the Dead. Bean's okay, too!

If you like these books, you should read all of his others! Also read The Dispossessed by Ursula K. LeGuin, which is in the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. I also recommend many C.J. Cherryh books, including the Chanur series and the Cyteen series, the latter of which was originally issued as three books - and now there's a new book in that series, also. I have some reading to do!

2) How did you get into geology?

There are a couple different answers to this question, the first and easiest of which is that my dad is a geologist. Because of his choice of fields, I spent a lot of time stopping at road cuts while young, I knew which way north was at a very early age, and I had started a rock and mineral collection before I was five, which I maintained for a very long time (I may still have some of those original rocks and minerals somewhere, or maybe my parents still have some of them.)

I didn't, however, plan on being a geologist, although I did take Earth Science in high school, and already knew a number of things including the geologic time chart. I went to college, having known for a long time that I would go to college, and started out with a major in history, of all things. During my first quarter, I took one history class - a very boring one, it turned out - and Intro to Geology, which was for majors and non-majors. By the end of the quarter, by December, I had switched my major to Geology. I didn't start in geology partly out of fear of Chemistry. I was good in math, had no qualms about Physics, but had an inordinate fear of Chemistry! I did fail one quarter, but that was a bad quarter all around. Those things pass.

I didn't know where I was going with my Geology degree while I was getting it; I just knew that I loved geology. It took a kind of bad personal moment (or series of moments, months) to crystallize my future as being one of going on to get an M.S., with a focus on Economic Geology. I have occasionally thought about getting a Ph.D. in geology, and have had a couple opportunities, but ultimately I haven't wanted to spend that much time back in classes or on a university campus. A Ph.D wouldn't in and of itself benefit my career, though what I could learn - probably structural geology in more detail - could benefit me greatly. I once knew who I would do a dissertation with if I took the time, but no longer know of any particular professors with whom I'd want to work. I guess if I was going to do that, I'd have to do a bit of research!

3) Do you think it would be feasible to colonize Mars in the next 2 centuries or so?

I think that we could probably colonize either the moon or Mars anytime we decide we want to, and I firmly believe that if we haven't colonized Mars in two whole centuries, that it would mean we just didn't want to or didn't try. I also think it would be a mistake not to explore and colonize planets in our near future. I think we are behind schedule on these things. I had planned on being a space explorer when I was growing up, and instead, I explore the earth.

4) What's your perfect Sunday like?

What is a Sunday? Oh, sorry, it's like I said in the comments earlier. When I'm working a ten-and-four schedule, a Sunday off is a just a day during which I can't go to town and get any business done (banks, doctors... ). It's also not necessarily a day that MOH and I have off together, especially with his current schedule. When I'm working a longer schedule, like twenty-and-ten or 28-and-14, Sunday is often a day that will either be a partial day, so people can do laundry, or it will be a shorter day so people can sleep in a little. At one place I worked in the field, everyone would meet at a cafe for breakfast, sometimes at the same time that work usually started, and sometimes at a later time so people could sleep in. Those sorts of thing - like breakfast get-togethers - foster camaraderie.

Sunday is nice, nonetheless, because I don't feel pressured by things-to-do when on days off, at least not as much as on weekdays. When we had a TV connected, I enjoyed getting up and watching CBS Sunday Morning. When I'm working, Sunday's are often a bit slower or calmer - I think because people are just generally in a more relaxed mood, and also because sometimes contract or technical work will slow down or stop on weekends.

5) What is your best comfort food?

My favorite comfort food has long been ice cream. The flavor will vary some from time to time, but has mostly centered around coffee, mint or peppermint (like B&J's mint chocolate cookie), lime sherbet, and chocolate-chip-cookie-dough when it came out a while back. Any flavor with caramel or chocolate will also do! Almost any other ice cream flavor will do in a pinch. My all-time favorite flavor was a Baskin-Robbins flavor called Mandarin Chocolate, which hasn't been around for a decade or two. It can be approximated by putting rich chocolate syrup on orange sherbet.

Now for the meme part! Do you want to be interviewed?

Here are the rules:
1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me" AND leave your email address (or blog link) in the comment!
2. I will respond by emailing you (or commenting on your blog) with five questions. I get to pick the questions. [It has recently become standard in this meme to limit the number of interviews I will have to do to the first three respondents.]
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions. (If you don't have a blog, I can post your answers here.)
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. [Again, the limit will be three interviewees according to new memish practice.]


Amanda@Lady Scientist said...

I love Ender's Game. I read all the books (except the new one as I didn't know a new one was out). And Ender is my favorite character. I enjoyed the Shadow books, but for some reason I could never fully sympathize with Bean.

PhizzleDizzle said...

great answers!!! thanks for playing. I loved Ender too...though I can't say that loving him more than Bean is as clear-cut for me.

I'll check out some more of Card's books.

And I know what you mean about Sunday - it is a day where you have time, but can't actually go to the bank or anything becuase it's closed!!!

Silver Fox said...

Amanda&PD, it looks like we have an Ender or Card fan club here!

And don't get me wrong, Bean's a great character, and pretty unusual in many ways. It's just that I admire Ender. And what about Valentine?

No one in the geosphere will take up on this interview thing, so I'm safe from having to make up questions!! :)

A Life Long Scholar said...

I also enjoy Card's books, and glad that I am not required to have a favourite character.

You commented: "I have occasionally thought about getting a Ph.D. in geology, and have had a couple opportunities, but ultimately I haven't wanted to spend that much time back in classes or on a university campus."
Have you considered doing the PhD in another country? I've been enjoying doing my PhD at the University of Tasmania, where the degree is through research only, no classes. A high percentage of our students are doing economic geology research projects, often spending much of their time off campus at their mine site, field area, or other home base of the company funding their research. The university is also working hard to ensure that all PhD students finish their degrees in three years if at all possible, so it isn't really that much time elapsed, in addition to not necessarily being much time at the University itself. There may well be other Universities which have similar environments, if the reasons you stated are the only reasons to hesitate on seeking the additional degree.

A Life Long Scholar said...

ps, sorry, no time to be interviewed now. If you happen to think of it when I finish my degree, ask away then! :-)

Silver Fox said...

Life Long Scholar, thanks for the PhD ideas - I haven't really been thinking about it for a while, but that sounds interesting.

And now we have 4 Card readers - we'll have to get together somehow! (Tasmania seems like a little far away, though.)

Julia said...

Go on then - INTERVIEW ME! Although it will be next week before I can answer them.

Blog (I've given up on the pseudonymous idea as pretty much everyone knows my name anyway!).

Silver Fox said...

Okay, I'll be posting them shortly!