Every so often, you will probably get one of these circular emails – either as an email, a bulletin board notice, or a post to your Facebook wall (or similar). First of all – I have nothing against the person who sent it to me- she’s a great girl and one of by best friends. I liked reading her answers, and yes – I guess I did learn something new about her because of what she said. However – I am a perpetual cynic, and I thought I’d do my best to over analyse the whole nature of these things, and the reasons behind them.
First of all – I suspect many of them to be phishing scams. Some of the questions can only be there for this purpose. If my friends (this is who I should be forwarding this to) don’t already know my birthday or my middle name, it is not the end of the world. If they thought it was useful to know this, they would ask me, or I would have already told them. I won’t be answering these questions – certainly not on the open forum of my internet blog. I try to be more careful than Clarkson, and although all sorts of info is available on me (you can easily find the individual who owns every website address for example), I do my best not to broadcast it all round the place.
Many of the questions don’t have any value at all. Question 2 for example – what the heck are you going to discover about me, by knowing I prefer diamonds to pearls? Were you planning of buying me earrings and now you know what sort to buy for me? Maybe my preference is for an entirely different reason… (More on these sorts of questions as we go down the list…
Some of the questions are almost entirely invalid. It is obviously a list of American origin, (use of the word “Candy”, and the choice of popcorn flavours for example) so I’m guessing some things are just more important for our Yankee cousins to know about their friends.
Anyway – here are my answers – trying to give the information in an enjoyable way, and injecting some personality into them (questioning and expanding on the questions wherever possible), is the only way I can think of that this becomes any more than a bit of an ego trip. The assumption that your friends are actually interested in such information is possibly a little vain (although my sticking this and so much other crap all over the internet is certainly vainer).
If you want to get in contact with someone – just send them an email. If I got a note from a long lost friend, or a current friend saying “hey – I was thinking about you the other day – how are you doing?” I’d be far happier about it than getting (yet) another circular email sent to their entire mailbox. This again does not apply to this particular friend who sent this particular circular – we speak regularly, and I have no objection to being copied in on anything she thinks will amuse me.
1. What time did you get up this morning?
This morning was Monday, so I was out of bed at 7.20, had a vast bowl of crunchy nut cornflakes (own brand) for breakfast, then it was on with the suit and work started with a conference call at 8.30. this is pretty normal for a week day.
2. Diamonds or pearls?
What a daft question. I’m a boy. I guess diamonds, because they are worth more and shiny, and vegan too. I’m not a vegan by the way, but I try to be a bit conscientious of such things and make sure animals are well treated. A pearl is only there because an oyster was uncomfortable. Why aren’t there more precious stones made out of animal’s internal problems. “I bought my wife a cow gall stone necklace for our anniversary” might be just as thoughtful.
3. What is your favourite TV show?
Right now or of all time? Are we talking a single show, or a whole series? Are we talking the best I ever saw, or that I’m enjoying at the moment, or should I treat it like desert island discs TV – the one show I would want to watch forever? I’ll answer them all I think. Right now it’s Ugly Betty/Heroes/Lost/Torchwood/Top Gear, as they are the only ones I’ll ensure I never ever miss. If I really had to choose between them all, I think Ugly Betty would win. Of all time it has to be Blackadder. (I’ll leave it at that cos I can’t choose a series or episode). Best single show I ever saw would be the Top Gear with the journey across the Southern states of the USA. If it was desert island discs TV, I would want Top Gear too, as I can watch them again and again and enjoy them just as much as the first time.
4.. What do you usually have for breakfast?
Crunchy Nut Corn Flakes. Now that is an interesting thing, that you might not generally know about your friends, which you might like to know. Certainly if they are coming to stay, and you aren’t sure what their preference is – oooh – you say, Dave mentioned in that email he usually has Crunchy Nut Cornflakes – if I get some of them in, then he’ll be happy in the mornings. Very nice too, however I’m also partial to a bacon sandwich, the occasional Frostie, or, when in America, fruit loops so don’t bore me with what I usually have. As long as the cereal is not made by the evil Nestle, then I’ll give it a go. Its nice to be surprised once in a while. If you have oat cakes and cheese for breakfast – I’m with you. That’s why we go on holiday.
5. What is your middle name?
Get lost. I’m not giving that away here. If you really want to know, give me a call and ask me, but I guess you don’t really care cos you would have already asked me or sneaked a look at my driving licence already.
6. What food do you dislike?
Cauliflower and mushrooms and most offal unless in sausage/pate form. Anything else I’ll give a go. Some shellfish always seem a bit icky, but as I ate a slug once (while old enough to know better) I won’t discount anything. Now again – this is a useful piece of information. However – unless I’m keeping a reference database of all the answers my friends get, I think I’ll just check with them before I cook them dinner…
7. What is your favourite CD at the moment?
Radiohead’s In Rainbows – although that was last week really. I’ve moved on to Patrick Wolf now. Another good question. When geographically separated from your friends, you lose touch of nice things like music recommendations and such informal conversation topics. It is sort of why I started this site up, so if people did care about my feelings on such mundane things, they could see what I’m reading/watching/listening to, and let me know theirs…
8. What type of car do you drive?
I drive a Mini. This is well documented elsewhere on the website. Her name is Matilda, and she’s my pride and joy, although not so much that I wash her ever.
9. Favourite sandwich?
Ask me this 2 weeks ago, and it would have been a chicken breast baguette, with mayo instead of butter, lettuce and cucumber and freshly ground black pepper from the canteen upstairs.
Ask me this today, and it’s a Cheese and Marmite baguette which I made this morning. Why? Because I went free range, and I know the chicken and the mayo being used in any canteen in the land, are not going to be anything like free range, unless they announce themselves as such. Hellmann’s mayo will be at some point this year, although I doubt the canteen would stretch to such quality.
10. What characteristic do you despise?
I’m assuming this is referring to a personal characteristic of other people. Despise is a very strong word, so I’m going to go for “the characteristic of believing that it is ok to make other people’s lives a misery, because you think it is for some misguided greater good, or for any other reason really”. Thus encompassing Bush/Blair and their “lets kill a hell of a lot of people because that must be better than them having a nasty dictator, right through to the idiots on the bus who think that playing music on mobile phones and generally being obnoxious is absolutely fine – in fact we should thank them for introducing us to their fine taste in tunes.
11. Favourite item of clothing?
The Calvin Klein Boxers that came free when I bought 3 pairs in a shop in New York. They are nicer than any other undies I have ever worn, unfortunately they are also more expensive, and I have a lot of perfectly ok undies, so there is no ability/need to extend this variety further into my general collection. Oh, and I love my West Ham United away shirt, with my name and number on the back. It makes me feel like a big kid and I love it. (I’ll be wearing it on Wednesday for the FA cup replay on the telly)
12. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go?
Very tricky (and very good) question. I’ve just come back from New York, which is probably my favourite place in the world (the only place I’ve been back to 3 times), but if you think of the question as an offer, someone giving me 3 weeks to go anywhere, then I think the South Island of New Zealand would win. We did the North Island a few years ago, but would not have had time to do the whole country justice (we’d have been driving constantly for 2 weeks), so one day we’ll go back and do the rest justice.
13. What colour is your bathroom(s)?
White with blue bits, but who cares? What are you learning about me by knowing such a minor piece of information? Maybe this will become interesting for the one in a million freaks who have their walls in pink sackcloth with burgundy tiles on the floor, and a brown toilet, but they don’t exist in my middle of the road, decluttered, seen too many episodes of house doctor life. Thank goodness.
14. Favourite brand of clothing?
Calvin Klein. See above. I was partial to Cyberdog for a while, but they’ve not excited me for a while, and I’m all grown up now. The only thing I get truly moist about is the lining on a suit, or a particularly snazzy tie. When did I become a yuppie by the way?
15. Where would you retire to?
A sleepy seaside town like Swanage, or a sleepy village like Sixpenny Handley. I’d have to visit the city and annoy people by getting them to stand up for me on the tube regularly though. I don’t think I would retire abroad. Unless my whole extended family happened to be abroad too…
16. What was your most recent memorable birthday?
Probably my 29th. It’s the only one where I can remember exactly what I did. Although I’ve just realised it wasn’t actually on my birthday – it was a couple of days later I saw my first West Ham match at Upton Park. Thinking about it, I can’t remember what I actually did on my birthday – actually on the day – for many many years. Therefore my most recent memorable birthday is my 10th, when I had some friends round, and we watched a film. I think it was possibly the Goonies, but I’m really not sure. I’m also not sure if I actually remember it, or if I think I do because I have photos of it. The more I think about it, I’m thinking of some more… my 19th birthday I was working at Old Orleans, and I actually ate there on a Friday night, with my Mum, Pat and Martyn. It was a great meal (I probably had the rib/chicken combo) and Alica did us a huge (and I believe free) desert. 17th was good cos I had my first driving lesson too, but not as recent as 19th. I’m going to make sure 31 is memorable, as it is on a Saturday for the first time in many years, and I’m having some of my nearest and dearest over for a party.
17. Furthest place you are sending this?
The internet. I’m not forwarding to anyone directly, although I’ll send an email directing them to these answers to Scotland.
18. Who do you least expect to send this back to you?
Tony Blair. (See 10). You see what a pointless question this is when you over analyze it!
19. Person you expect to send it back first?
I don’t expect anyone to after seeing my sarcastic comments about doing such a thing.
20. Favourite saying?
If a jobs worth doing – kill Baldrick before you start. Adaptable for all sorts of situations.
21. When is your birthday?
Yeah. Right. Would you like to know my bank account number too while you are there?
22. Are you a morning person or a night person?
Depends what I was doing the night before. I adjust myself to the needs of my lifestyle.
23. What is your shoe size?
I’ll answer in American. 11. Again – what possible interest would anyone else have in such a mundane fact. Would you introduce yourself at a party with “Hi I’m Dave! I’m a shoe size 11(US)”? No. because the person you are introducing yourself to would say. Hi Dave. Are you a bit odd as well? Of course – as FHM pointed out the other day, the whole blogging phenomenon is a strange one – they asked what would happen if all the bloggers stood in the street and just said it to everyone passing by? (Answer – more stabbings). I think they have missed the point, I’m not forcing anyone to read this crap. It is almost entirely for my own benefit and (in)sanity that I do this. If I want to hear someone spouting their opinions, I’ll go to the labour party conference.
No. I am neither responsible enough, nor do I have a stable enough lifestyle to even keep a fish. I love cats, but I’m allergic to most of them, and my family are allergic to the rest. One day I might get an iguana, although I think it will be happier in the jungle, so I can’t see it happening. Also, pets eat so much meat, which in turn has to be bred and reared and looked after, the social responsibility of ethically keeping an animal for your/its own enjoyment is too much for me to justify.
25. What did you want to be when you were little?
Bigger. I hated being the smallest person in my family, so the day I felt able to punch my brother in the head, I’m afraid I did. We never (properly) fought again, although you’d have thought he’d learned when he was chasing me round the house, and I ran through the front door, closing it behind me, and he kept going, smashing though it and heavily lacerating his arm. It was a while before the parents left us alone again!
26. How are you today?
Bored enough with my job to have been writing this guff for the last 2 hours.
27. What is your favourite candy?
The common or garden mars bar is difficult to beat.
28. What is your favourite flower?
Chrysanthemums. Cheap pretty, long lasting and come in a variety of crazy colours.
29. What is a day on the calendar you are looking forward to?
13th April. The London Marathon, and my breaking the 4 hour barrier for the first time.
30. What church do you attend?
Why do you assume I attend a church? How odd to encourage me to discuss my religious beliefs by assuming I go to church. This question is almost guaranteed to offend someone. Chapel, synagogue, mosque, hall? Why can’t the question (if it has to exist at all) be “are you religious in any way?” or “do you believe in God?” unless you are trying to stalk me, so you not only know all my personal details, but when I’ll be out of the house on a Sunday morning so you can come round and steal the DVD player… OK. I’ll answer. I don’t attend church religiously, although I do believe in, and have a relationship with God/Jesus, and I enjoy attending church with my Dad when I’m with him. No other vicar compares.
31. What are you listening to right now?
I’m not really listening to it, but I can hear the general hubbub of a reasonably busy office.
32. What was the last thing you ate?
A cheese and Marmite baguette. And a can of tango.
33. Do you wish on stars?
No. is this any star? In Britain I might wish upon a shooting star, should I want to be all romantic with a lady, but as I imagine this is a mostly American custom, I move that this question be stricken from the record.
34. If you were a crayon, what colour would you be?
Black. Like Marilyn Manson’s. were you after a more witty answer like “I’d be crimson, because you might not think you need me most of the time, but occasionally, like when you are doing an autumn scene (in crayon) you’ll be glad you had me”? well sorry – you should have phrased the question with that expectation.
35. How is the weather right now?
Very nice thank you. (notice the question was “How is the weather right now?” not “What is the weather like right now?” hence me giving an emotional response, not a physical response.
36. Last person you spoke to on the phone?
The Banks SDM team. It was the conference call I had at 8.30 this morning.
37. Do you like the person who sent this to you?
She’s fab. I just hope she isn’t offended by my taking the piss.
38. Favourite soft drink?
Soft as in fizzy drink - Pepsi max in the morning, Tango in the afternoon. Soft as in Non Alcoholic – Strong black coffee.
39. Favourite restaurant?
Benares. We’re going for the second time ever on Saturday, because I can’t afford to go more often than annually!
40. Hair colour?
On me, Brown with a heck of a lot of grey coming through. Occasionally bleach blonde. On other people, I’d choose very dark brown (certainly on girls. If I had to draw my ideal girl, she’d have long (past the shoulders) dark brown hair with a fringe, although very short hair looks great on girls whatever the colour. The wife’s hair is beautiful, but I sometimes wish she’d be a bit adventurous with it).
I’ve already mentioned the brother. I can’t think of a single close friend about whom I don’t know this information though. Test me when you next see me and we’ll find out.
42. Favourite day of the year?
Got to be Christmas.
43. What was your favourite toy as a child?
I can’t think what it might be. I remember toys I wanted, but I don’t remember having a single favourite. It would either be the Star Wars stuff or Lego. Probably Lego actually, although Scalextric was brilliant.
44. Summer or winter?
Winter. It is easier to heat up when you are too cold, than to cool down when you are too hot. Especially when you are wearing a suit on the tube.
45.. Hugs or kisses?
Depends entirely on context. Dan – Hugs. Lisa – Kisses. (thus a stupid question, although I suppose it is inviting a more open answer than the initial thought would imply… maybe it is a very clever question.).
46. Chocolate or Vanilla?
Food or sexual preference?
47. Do you want your friends to email you back?
Always. Why would I do such a selfless thing as tell them all this rubbish if I didn’t expect them to answer in an even more entertaining way?
48. When was the last time you cried?
At the end of Finding Neverland when it was on the telly at Christmas. I always cry during that sort of film.
49. What is under your bed?
A pair of big storage boxes, containing amongst other things, coats I never wear, luggage I only ever take to Glastonbury, and loads of Lisa’s stuff. And a large colony of dust bunnies. And the box to my hair clippers.
50. Who is the friend you have had the longest?
Externally to family (cos they are friends too) it would have to be the whole Weirdo clan. Of course, when you’ve known friends for that long they are pretty much family, which is nice too.
51. Favourite smell?
CK Eternity Moment on Lisa.
52. What are you afraid of?
Being ignored and unimportant. I am an attention seeker, and never like to feel impotent and powerless. The thought of a thousand people reading this while I’m not paying attention excites me. Of course I am realistic about the chances of this happening too.
53. Plain, buttered, or salted Popcorn?
SWEET – for goodness sake you Americans have to make it either REALLY unhealthy, or taste like cardboard. Popcorn plus sugar = joy.
55. How many years at your current job?
2 and a quarter. Longest I’ve ever lasted anywhere, hence my trying to get a change.
56. Favourite day of the week?
Saturday. Proper freedom from all commitments.
57. How many towns have you lived in?
Sittingbourne, Salisbury, Weston. 3. I’ve obviously missed out the Villages and the Cities. I like making questions seem stupid by answering them pedantically.
58. Do you make friends easily?
I don’t think so. I have a very few close friends, and a lot of “people I know”.
59. How many people will you be sending this to?
I’ll point one person at it specifically. Anyone else who sees it will be seeing it on their terms, I won’t be sending it to them.