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How many surrealists does it take to change a light bulb?

Fish. See, I remembered!

How old are you? (and/or what epoch did the aliens first jettison you to Earth?)

Thirty-one-and-a-bit. If I were a cat, it’d make me the equivalent of 142 people years—which, coincidentally, is how old I feel when I wake up in the morning.

Oh, and I’m 100% Earth-sourced and manufactured, a true marvel of the perversity of evolution. You don’t get away that easily…

What will become of us if there really are no more habitable planets?

Well, I guess Frank Drake will have egg on his face, for a start.

Personally, I think chances are pretty good of finding other Earth-like planets out there somewhere; it’s just a matter of time and technological development. However, until we actually find one, the only Earth-like planet we’ve got is Earth. I’m not saying we should go back to the Stone Age or anything, but let’s try not to totally fuck it up, at least until we have an alternative.

Even with global climate change, pollution, threats of war and what have you, I believe that life and we as a species are profoundly resilient. We’ll get through this, but it could hurt a lot.

What do you think of sponges?

Sponges have it made. If I could just plant my butt on a rock and inhale all the food that drifted past, I’d be in heaven. Except I’d probably get piles.

NSW’s knife laws vs natural selection?

Knives are incredibly useful implements; I once assembled an IKEA shelving unit with nothing but my pocket knife—and it was nothing fancy, just a folding blade.

We actually live in the most disarmed society in history, which I don’t necessarily think is a good thing—for a start, it means I can’t even carry nail clippers onto a plane, lest I break into the cockpit and threaten the pilot with a bad manicure if he doesn’t fly me to Karachi or something.

Although the situation there is well out of hand, my experiences in Los Angeles taught me that the saying, "An armed society is a polite society" has some merit; without the potential threat of imminent death or grievous bodily harm, many people have no incentive to be decent human beings. It sucks, but it’s true.

Now, that said (and addressing the "natural selection" part of the question), I’ve actually had some knife training, and I can tell you that the vast majority of would-be knife-wielding thugs are as much a danger to themselves as to everyone around them. They simply have no idea how to use a blade, apart from sticking the pointy bit in people.

The words of my instructor, when I trained as a security guard, often come back to me: "Only carry a weapon if you know how to use it, and you’re willing to kill someone if necessary; otherwise, you put your life—and the lives of those around you—in jeopardy."

All other things being equal, I’d prefer to face one of these goons unarmed. It gives me an array of weapons to pit against their one, and doesn’t limit my movement in the way that a knife would. That, and the fact that an assailant is more likely to be competent at some form of unarmed combat than with a blade, means that I’d have the maximum advantage in a fight.

If I had my way, I’d make it mandatory for women—at the very least—to receive training in jujitsu and/or aikido, and investigate the use of non-lethal weapons by the wheelchair-bound.

Knife laws do very little, in my experience, to restrict the ownership of knives, as only the law-abiding refrain from carrying them anyway. We should concentrate on defence against, and solutions to, the problem of violence, rather than on ineffective, knee-jerk disarmament laws.

If a mime fell in a forest, would you care?

It does put that koan to the test, doesn’t it?

As much as I want to go with the flow on the society-wide hatred of mimes, I have to admit that they do have their uses, after all. Three people can keep a secret only if one of them is dead—or a mime.

Ham or bacon?

Both. It’s like olive oil: extra-light and extra-virgin—although they come from the same plant—are quite different and have their culinary uses. Not that I’m saying pigs are plants, but they do spend a lot of time buried in dirt.

Since black is not a colour, what is your favorite colour?

Black isn’t actually my favourite colour anyway—it’s about fourth on the list. Forest green is my favourite, followed by light sky blue and medium violet red. (See here for a chart of standardised RGB colours.)

Is all your wardrobe black fabrics?

Contrary to popular belief, no. It also features an array of reds, maroons, blues, greys and violets. Black is just the easiest colour to wear, and it has its advantages: it allows you to disappear when you want to, and loom larger-than-life when the situation requires it.

Are you host to parasites?

Beyond the usual, no, although having lived with cats for most of my life, I’m probably crawling with toxoplasma.

What level is your D&D character on?

My most recent character was a 7th-level half-elven cleric by the name of Ingjald. He never knew his elven father, and grew up in a strictly human village in a swamp. Ingjald was extremely xenophobic, and convinced that his pointy ears marked him as being of demonic heritage. Being a half-elf, he matured much more slowly than his peers, and was the de facto village idiot as a result.

Given all this, it’s not surprising that he was slightly mad. He specialised in magic relating to knowledge and death (hearing the voices of the dead and carrying around a talking skull), and it was some time into his adventuring career before he worked out that he could "end a person’s suffering" through healing—and not just by euthanasia.

He was basically a nice guy, but really screwed up. I loved Ingjald, but no one else really understood him. Which is how I wanted it, pretty much.

Is there a character in D&D that best describes you and what are its powers?

I once statted myself up for D&D (as mentioned here) as a 1st-level rogue; it was the only character class that really fitted my skill set. When I finally post the writeup to my blog, I’ll put a link in here.

If Thomas Kenneally was to write a short prose about you, what do you think it would say?

"I am not a deranged fucking garden gnome!" It makes more sense if you were there.

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