Week 1: Cracked Pleasures

In which a member is mercilessly questioned by the rest of us....for fun!

Postby elko » Sun Aug 27, 2006 6:58 pm

Here it is then, the inaurgural Member Of The Week interview. Thanks for all the questions and that.


How do you spend a typical day during the week?

<!--coloro:navy--><span style="color:navy"><!--/coloro-->that depends. The average working day: waking up between 6.30am and 7.00am, having a shower and then rushing to work. I start work at 8.00 and work until 5.00pm. Then either I check some personal emails, or go home straight away. I usually have dinner then and then go online :)

Weekends vary, but one thing they have in common: either it's sleeping really long, or catching an early bus to some idyllic godforgotten place in Ireland.<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc-->

Describe yourself in 3 words?

<!--coloro:navy--><span style="color:navy"><!--/coloro-->Dark, intelligent (trying to be!), dreamer<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc-->

Who is the most important person in your life?

<!--coloro:navy--><span style="color:navy"><!--/coloro-->I must say, sad enough (?), myself.

Basically I grew up in quite a reclusive way, spending most of my time in the house with my books and music. Even now I'm a bit of a loner. I try to change that, but guess I'm not the easiest person socially.

Let's say it like this:
- there is one special someone who I hope wants to be part of my life
- there are a few distant friends
- there's my parents but also on a distance
- there's my 'professional' relations with therapists and colleagues

But none of them are very deep or intense. My parents used to be of course, but since emigration it's a telephone-and-email relationship, although that distance is not a bad thing. Apart from the first one mentionned I don't see anything too intense growing neither, and that first one is more of a hope than a certainty.<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc-->

What to you would be the highest praise you think you could receive from your friends/significant others?

<!--coloro:navy--><span style="color:navy"><!--/coloro-->depends from which people. I guess influencing people for the good ; my former penfriend in the States was very apolitical and didn't care much of the world around her, when I talked about my own ideals and point of views it made her thinking as well, and she ended up being strongly against death penalty. I felt very proud then, as if I really reached someone, that was very fulfilling.

In other variants: from my potential girlfriend just sticking by me would be praise enough to ask :) From friends in general I guess just accepting me into their little world despite my somewhat different behaviour is kind of a compliment, that they see below the surface and see the person below it.<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc-->

What is your proudest achievement to date?

<!--coloro:navy--><span style="color:navy"><!--/coloro-->Having realised my travelling dreams to a certain extend. I mean, despite the difficulties health-wise I took the leap and took off to Ireland. I guess that's something I am entitled to be proud of. It has its tough moments, but I am trying to chase my dreams rather than just stick with dreaming alone, and I'm quite proud of that.<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc-->

When did you discover your love for traveling?

<!--coloro:navy--><span style="color:navy"><!--/coloro-->I was 5 years old when I got a globe and atlas for a gift. I was entranced for the first moment on. The next 8 to 10 years I practically spent every spare moment locked up in my room, studying maps and reading travel guides. I can still stare for hours to a map, dreaming away and wondering how the place would look like. And we're not just talking about big cities like New York or about famous resorts like Reggio di Calabria or so. I can see a very tiny dot in the middle of nowhere on a map, and still be fascinated.

Also, remote islands and outskirts fascinate me a lot. When even the most unimportant village is situated in the very northern tip of a small remote peninsula of Iceland or Russia or so, I can be very entranced by it, knowing it's in fact nothing special but still... I'm a seeker of unlikeliness. Remoteness and isolated places attract me, I find it interesting to see how the locals deal with their isolation and live their life in their almost complete world of their own.

This explains as well my love for remote little islands and island life, and my love for the Arctic. The Arctic has always been my big dream and still is: Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Arctic Canada, the Russian arctic isles, Svalbard, ... But also remote little isolated islands such as Pitcairn, Tristan da Cunha, Falkland Islands, ... Those all attract me more than Tokyo or LA ever could. But there's more places I want to see: the isolated Tierra del Fuego, the gloom of the Ukraine, the mysterious Russia (somehow always been very fascinated by Soviet geography), Istanbul, the vibrant Hong Kong, the wide and open Australia, ...

Travelling and exploration, even just small villages and cities near my current place of habitat, have always been my goal in life. So there you go.<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc-->

Do you think other forms of live exist – not on this planet?

<!--coloro:navy--><span style="color:navy"><!--/coloro-->In the past, I'd say 'no' without a doubt. But, the universe is so wide and gigantic, there's more planets or maybe even solar systems we don't know off yet... It would be weird that there's no form of life whatsoever there. Maybe not a form of life as we know it, that needs oxygen and such. But still, some sort of life will probably exist. Maybe not an intelligent life though, otherwise they'd probably have had an encounter with us yet.<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc-->

I guess our experiences shape us, our personality in some way – how do you think your experiences have shaped your personality since you've reached maturity?

<!--coloro:navy--><span style="color:navy"><!--/coloro-->In theory I should have experienced that life is relative and that there's no way you can plan life or no extremes. However, those are lessons I'm not really willing to learn it seems. I can be very stubborn and ignore my gained knowledge for my own cause :)

Growing up with Aspergers in a not very welcoming environment, and the slightly depressed youth I had, did form my character of course. I am not very wild of the idea of a family, probably because of those experiences, though you can never say never of course. I have a bit of a bleak world view because of my experiences, and my political and social opinions have been formed by the experiences I had. Most of all, personality-wise, I guess my experiences turned me into an eternal pessimist, though I slightly hope something or someone can make change that outlook of life. If a negative experience can turn the balance, a positive encounter maybe can do the same?

Also, I accepted myself and my condition and in a strange way found a sort of pride in it. I am what I am, and the many negative experiences and hospitality I experienced strengthened that image. In a way it fuelled my pride and learnt me to ignore those who try to hurt me.

Finally, coping with anxiety disorders did make me see things less black-white sometimes as I had so many issues that I skipped part of my growing up and never went tossing and turning about rather trivial issues such as going out, status, chasing girls, ... However, I'll always think and feel in extremes somewhat, it's part of the Aspergers.<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc-->

What are the biggest challenges you've had to face – and believe to have overcome successfully?

<!--coloro:navy--><span style="color:navy"><!--/coloro-->I had a very tough youth but managed to struggle through it and develop into an okay person (I hope !). Life smacked me against the ground on many occasions, but I always found strength to stand up again.

Overcoming my neuroses will be the next big challenge I guess, though as they're triggered by the AS, it will always be a weakness of mine, it will never be gone forever. But I hope to reduce them to a point that there's just background details. I don't know what or who can help me achieving that goal, but I'm too stubborn to give up the struggle.<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc-->

What is the riskiest thing you've ever done?

<!--coloro:navy--><span style="color:navy"><!--/coloro-->Without a doubt: moving to Ireland. I was coping with serious anxiety disorders (I still am, although things have improved ever since) and had little experience with living truely independently. I also felt for the first time in a long time, fulfilled in life somewhat back then. It'd have been very easy to stay in that safety bubble and develop my life in that protecting trusted environment, but I chose to chase the dream, knowing it could be a massive disappointment if things didn't turn out well. There have been disappointments, but I'm still here, so guess it was a risk worth to take?<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc-->

Have you ever been kept in a police cell over night? If yes, what for?

<!--coloro:navy--><span style="color:navy"><!--/coloro-->No. I have no criminal records whatsoever. The only negative encounter I had was when a policeman caught me 'using a tree along the roads'. That was the very first day I lived in N.Ireland, so talking of a warm welcome! I got away with it thanks to an excuse, so no fine was given. Apart from that, I have never had any problems with policemen whatsoever. My criminal record is as blank as can be.<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc-->

What, of your own experiences, have been the most frightening?

<!--coloro:navy--><span style="color:navy"><!--/coloro-->not having a constant grip on my life, on dreams, on the directions of my life. That is a fear I deal with on daily basis, and I often had to use tricks to keep holding on to the chosen path. I am a control freak, and lack of grip on something I emotionally hold on to can be quite a hard thing to bear.<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc-->

Do you believe in God, or, at any rate, some higher power?

<!--coloro:navy--><span style="color:navy"><!--/coloro-->I am an open-minded atheist. That means: I am not religious whatsoever, but respect everyone's opinion. I won't ever try to convince someone. As a matter of coincidence, all people I am close with currently or have been close with in the past, are christians. At school, one of the very few people I got along with, was Muslim. My whole family are practising christians, I was the first one who didn't do his communion and declared explicitly atheist. So let's say I am more or less living in a christian environment and with christian people as closest friends, so I am never going to give any bad comments on their faith or make some hollow anti-christian comments. Religion is a personal thing and I let everyone believe or not believe what they want.

I read a lot about religion, from Satanism to Islam, from Judaism to Christianity. You cannot seperate geography and history from religion, and I find religion very fascinating. The question why people still seek confidence in the supernatural, is fascinating me a lot. So I read a lot about it and find it very interesting to speak about. In some way I am even jealous of those who believe and always have some form of hope to hold on to.

I don't believe in anything but what we see. I won't deny Jesus lived, that's a proven fact. I don't believe in the godly connections, but I'm sure he must have been a very charismatic and well-loved person. But gods, heaven, hell and afterlife are things I don't believe in. But as I said, I respect everyone's opinions regarding that and have no problem whatsoever in being very close with someone practising religion.<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc-->

Which famous woman would you like to be and why?

<!--coloro:navy--><span style="color:navy"><!--/coloro-->Hehe, that is an original question!

Well... gee, this ain't an easy one. I would go for a politician or president I think, because that's the true way to really try to improve the world. Maybe I'd go for Hillary Clinton or whoever will be the first female president of the USA.

Or maybe Siouxsie Sioux or Heather Nova, the two best female artists in this globe IMHO.

Or maybe I'd go for a nice supermodel and explore the female body 'in depth' on my own :)<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc-->

Let's go back your early childhood. What books stand out in your memory? What books did you like reading?

<!--coloro:navy--><span style="color:navy"><!--/coloro-->I only read fiction when it was obliged by school, and even then I happily admit I often kinda took the review from a website or paper... But there was one that I did enjoy reading, I am not sure who the author was but it was called "Nuclear energy for the Devil". It was about a boy who had special auras and therefor was chased by demons, in the little village he lived he heard voices and saw appearances every night at dark, and threatening voices came from the dark woords. In the end he encounters the demons in a desolare nuclear power plant. The book was so well written that it actually created a frightening horror atmosphere without a single picture or drawing.

Other than that, I did read a lot, but mainly non-fiction. I read hundreds of travel guides of all sort of places, both famous and little known godforgotten islands. One that I really enjoyed was a Dutch book called 'Eilanden' (Islands) by Boudewijn Buch. It was a very in-depth but very fluently written description of some very little known islands such as Bouvetøya, Socotra, Pitcairn, Niue, ... The writer was an island obsessive like me, I wanted to email him but he died just before I found out his email address :(<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc-->

Who is your favourite smurf?

<!--coloro:navy--><span style="color:navy"><!--/coloro-->Ah, the smurfs... I admit I did use to watch it as a child. Guilty pleasure, I know :) Well, I kinda liked the one with the glasses who was bullied by everyone but who was quite intelligent. Hmmm, could this be the Aspie smurf?

But I prefered Gargamel. How gothic he was: a dark wizard wearing black clothing, living in a dark castle with his sinister cat. Gargamel was one of my first encounters with Gothness!<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc-->

Percy the Park keeper, childhood role model or creepy middle aged man?

<!--coloro:navy--><span style="color:navy"><!--/coloro-->I like the unlikely dark characters, there's something fascinating about the rejects of society. But in this case, I'd still go for the middle aged man!<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc-->

When did you last cry and why?

<!--coloro:navy--><span style="color:navy"><!--/coloro-->I often get dewy-eyed when fearing my dreams and ideals are slipping out of reach, when thinking of a nice melancholic scene of the past, when what/who I really want seems to slip away from my reach, ... But true tears? I cry quite rarely, in my childhood I cried quite often but I got a bit immune for my own problems I guess. I can get emotional often enough, but true tears are rarely coming.<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc-->

What's the most romantic thing you've ever done?

<!--coloro:navy--><span style="color:navy"><!--/coloro-->Erm, my list of amourous accomplishments is rather small I'm afraid. My interest in girls first came when I was about 15 but it didn't get much further than a rather interesting holiday in Croatia which let's say opened up my eyes to female beauty. Then however the anxiety disorder stroke and love was not really my biggest concern. The interest got back a few years ago, but my few attempts kinda worked out differently than I hoped for.

Guess my most romantic effords were writing two love letters. One was sent but she prefered a boy who sent a text message which was much much shorter... The second letter, for the girl that last caught my eye, is still laying on my table as I didn't dare to send it. I know, weak! Guess I'm afraid to ruin the friendship, so thus I swallow my own feelings too often, despite promising myself not to. Everytime same mistake though: hoping she'll take initiative, waiting and waiting, and disappointedly seeing her holding the hand of another man in the end. So maybe I should send that letter after all?<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc-->

Are you allergic to anthing?

<!--coloro:navy--><span style="color:navy"><!--/coloro-->Not that I know of. I always had animals, never had any problems. Not al allergy though, but I absolute am highly afraid of needles.<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc-->

Do you have any bad habits?

<!--coloro:navy--><span style="color:navy"><!--/coloro-->One: Coca-Cola. I'm disgustingly addicted and drink 3 tot 4 liters most days. It will ruin my health in the end and turned me into a sugar junkie. However, I don't do drugs, almost never drink alcohol, never smoked : I allow the coca-cola addiction as my one and only vice.<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc-->

Where will you be in 5 years?

<!--coloro:navy--><span style="color:navy"><!--/coloro-->Very difficult to say. Hopefully still travelling, though you never know. The next places I want to move to is either Norway, Iceland, Turkey or Australia. Within 5 years: it depends, I don't even dare to say where I'll be within 5 months!<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc-->

What do you think you've learned in life?

<!--coloro:navy--><span style="color:navy"><!--/coloro-->I learnt a bit that life is more relative and less controleable than it seems. But I'm a control freak, so giving up control and just taking things as they come is a different story :)

Also, travelling opened me up to many many new things, it's the most enrichening thing possible. You discover aspects of yourself you never knew, open up to new habits and approaches, to new cultures and points of view. Travelling is the best possible education.<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc-->

Any regrets you wish to share?

<!--coloro:navy--><span style="color:navy"><!--/coloro-->having waited so long to leave the native country, and having studied too long. School and studying were highly traumatic to me. When I graduated as a professional notetaker, I should have quit, but I somehow tried to get a second post-secondary degree. I did it against my own will and should have started travelling then instead of wasting two more years.

In general: I maybe too often didn't follow my own will. Ironically I still don't always do, but guess sometimes you need to make decisions and stick to them. So to say it's bad to not be very impulsive, would be highly exagerated. But those few times between age 19 and 22 (when I left for Ireland) I did too many things I really didn't want to do myself.<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc-->

If you could change one thing in your life so far what would it be?

<!--coloro:navy--><span style="color:navy"><!--/coloro-->getting rid of anxiety disorder.<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc-->

What question do you wish had been asked?

<!--coloro:navy--><span style="color:navy"><!--/coloro-->Who the heck comes up with these difficult ones? :)

I guess I would have enjoyed a somewhat political or artistic question. But in general this was quite amusing and at some points even challenging :)<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc-->


Next week, providing he is up for the challenge, CP has nominated chicken as Member Of The Week. So get your thinking caps on for questions for our resident professor...
Last edited by elko on Sun Aug 27, 2006 7:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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