Subversion Revealed: An Interview With David M Jacobs Saturday, Jan 6 2007 

In which our intrepid hero answers the big questions.

In early August 2005, I emailed a bunch of relatives and friends, asking them to submit five interview questions about me that they’d always wanted answers to. And now, as a monument to my slackness, they finally appear!

Thanks to Mim F, Kathryn, Rosina, Tom P, Matt W, Liz, Craig, Patrick, Kylie, James F and Vikki for their questions. I found most of your questions quite challenging, and no doubt, you’ll see that the answers are the product of a challenged mind.

And now, for the questions. I’ve broken them up into several chunks, each with their own blog entry, as the whole thing is really quite long.

    The Importance of Being Dave

  1. What philosophy do you apply to your day-to-day living?
  2. In which century would you like to have lived and why?
  3. What puts you in a great mood?
  4. What makes your blood boil?
  5. Who is your role model and why? What part of them influences you?
  6. What would you be like to be remembered as being or doing in your lifetime?
  7. Do you want a life with a wife and kids?
  8. Where would you like to be living and what would you like to be doing in five years time?
  9. If the world was going to end tomorrow, what is the one thing you would regret never doing?
  10. If you could create your own job what would it involve?
  11. Describe your ideal puddy-tat.
  12. Why are so damned determined to be employed by DIMA? Is this your true life quest?
  13. If you could travel back in time and change anything in your life, would you really go back and change much (accepting that you need to make mistakes to learn)?
  14. Is the glass half-empty or half-full?

  15. Power is Poison

  16. Who would you name as the most frustrating political identity you’ve ever had to tolerate?
  17. If you were ever to write your memoirs of your time in the NSW Young Liberals, what would be the title of the book?
  18. How do you handle the fact that you are in a political party in which the majority are evil, selfish arseholes?

  19. Other People’s Problems

  20. What do you value in a friend and are those traits held by them or do you put up with them because they kill time?
  21. What do you look for in people in general and friends in particular?

  22. Vice is Nice

  23. If you were locked up in prison would you be dominant or submissive?
  24. Do you think a period of forced solitary confinement in jail would be sort of interesting?
  25. What’s your most shocking example of substance abuse, and/or have you participated in this practise?
  26. What is your favourite drinking spot in Sydney, and why?
  27. Have you ever danced?
  28. Who is the last person you know that you would have sex with?
  29. What is the craziest thing you have ever done?
  30. What’s the most outrageous “food” you have consumed?

  31. Material Things are Butterfly Wings

  32. What’s your favourite movie (and do you own it on DVD)? How many DVDs do you own now?
  33. What is the one thing that you love most in the world that you could not live without?
  34. Before your current employment, how did you finance your life (and we want the truth!)?

  35. Nitpicking

  36. Why don’t you get around to seeing a dentist?
  37. Do you ever intend to replace your glasses (the frames of which at least were bought when you were 16, from memory)?
  38. You really don’t have enough to occupy your mind do you?

  39. The Wide Blue Yonder

  40. What travel destination most scares you?
  41. Any comments on the Rwanda Hutu-Tutsi Genocide of 1994?
  42. What are your most impressive travel stories?

  43. Lord High Everything Else

  44. How many surrealists does it take to change a light bulb?
  45. How old are you? (and/or what epoch did the aliens first jettison you to Earth?)
  46. What will become of us if there really are no more habitable planets?
  47. What do you think of sponges?
  48. NSW’s knife laws vs natural selection?
  49. If a mime fell in a forest, would you care?
  50. Ham or bacon?
  51. Since black is not a colour, what is your favorite colour?
  52. Is all your wardrobe black fabrics?
  53. Are you host to parasites?
  54. What level is your D&D character on?
  55. Is there a character in D&D that best describes you and what are its powers?
  56. If Thomas Kenneally was to write a short prose about you, what do you think it would say?


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    Subversion Revealed VIII: Lord High Everything Else Saturday, Jan 6 2007 

    See here for contents.


    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.

    Back to the Contents page.

    Subversion Revealed VII: The Wide Blue Yonder Saturday, Jan 6 2007 

    See here for contents.


    What travel destination most scares you?

    Well, if Taipei 101 ever does a "Wonderful World of Spiders" exhibition, you can be sure I’ll be as far away as possible.

    Any comments on the Rwanda Hutu Tutsi Genocide of 1994?

    Talk about unfortunate nomenclature! Now there was a genocide in desperate need of rebranding. I mean, with names like "Hutu" and "Tutsi", it was the least seriously-taken act of mass slaughter since Dada declared war on the muumuu.

    That said, the genocide is an excellent example of how racism and conspiracy theories can really screw things up for a region.

    The United Nations (particularly the US and France) dropped the ball heinously, failing to act despite obvious warning signs. The combatants’ (to Anglophonic ears, anyway) absurd names, their skin colour and the lack of oil paralysed those who should’ve stepped in to halt the insane murder of hundreds of thousands. It was one of the most damning indictments of Western foreign policy and—whether the UN eventually goes the way of the League of Nations or not—should always be remembered as the greatest catastrophic failure of late 20th century diplomacy.

    Kudos to Canada, though, for stepping in when they did. If ever I decided to move to another country, Canada is at the top of my list; the whole Quebec thing aside, they’re the one country I feel has got their act together enough to make me proud to be a citizen.

    What are your most impressive travel stories?

    I like the ice cream cake story myself, but I actually haven’t travelled all that much, unless you count domestically. And most of my stories are quirky, not impressive.

    Examples include: how I almost suffocated from cat farts on a trip to the NSW South Coast, became infatuated with the tour guide at Ranger uranium mine, had my tent shredded at a caravan park at Airlie Beach by an irate possum, helped my friend persuade a Canadian telephone operator that he (my friend, that is) was being sexually assaulted by a camel, was mistaken for a professional wrestler at JFK International Airport, built a snow-iguana in Central Park, took a two-hour bus trip to play a videogame in Pasadena, bluffed some Spanish-labelled "flu medication" that I’d bought in Mexico back through Customs (it was totally legal—I was just itching to get home and didn’t want to have to lecture some Customs guy on neurochemistry) or almost died of hypothermia after getting drunk and thinking that swimming in a motel pool in Port Stephens at 3am in the middle of July would be refreshing—despite the two feet of fog that rolled over the water’s surface.

    But they’re a bit too varied and long to detail here.

    Back to the Contents page.

    Subversion Revealed VI: Nitpicking Saturday, Jan 6 2007 

    See here for contents.


    Why don’t you get around to seeing a dentist?

    Because I’m a romantic at heart—if anyone asks to stick some sort of device in one of my orifices, I’d like to know them pretty well beforehand. And I guess I just haven’t found the right dentist yet.

    Do you ever intend to replace your glasses (the frames of which at least were bought when you were 16, from memory)?

    Yes and no. I’ve had many pairs of glasses since I got these ones, but they’ve all died ignominious deaths. I rarely wear my glasses outside the house anyway, and my prescription hasn’t changed in over 20 years. I might get a new pair sometime, but I’m just as likely to get my eyes lasered.

    You really don’t have enough to occupy your mind do you?

    No, not at all—which is why it’s taken me nearly 18 months to get off my butt and answer these things.

    Back to the Contents page.

    Subversion Revealed V: Material Things are Butterfly Wings Saturday, Jan 6 2007 

    See here for contents.


    What’s your favourite movie (and do you own it on DVD)? How many DVDs do you own now?

    Apocalypse Now Redux is my favourite movie, although at times it comes second to V for Vendetta; I have both on DVD. I’ve lost count of the number of DVDs I have, but it’s possibly around the 400-title mark.

    What is the one thing that you love most in the world that you could not live without?

    Um… masturbation?

    Seriously, I think it’d either have to be my collection of Call of Cthulhu sourcebooks or my computer. The former I just love to death; as for the latter, my productivity just drops through the floor if I don’t have a computer on hand.

    Before your current employment, how did you finance your life (and we want the truth!)?

    Every St Patrick’s Day, I’d invest a small fortune on grog and carouse with Irish backpackers, in the hope that one or two may actually have been leprechauns. Sometimes, it paid off, and I’d drink the little bugger under the table. I’d only let him go if he took me to his pot of gold; if you’ll pardon the expression, I made a mint off that.

    Yes, truth is a very malleable concept. Damn leprechauns and their curses…

    Back to the Contents page.

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