Saturday 30 July 2011

Twenty Questions: The Beginning

Okay, so I've gone and done it again.  I've challenged Hannah 'LikesSheepBaa' Newcombe to another blogging race.  If you were reading this blog, hers or both back in January, you'll already know that I initiated the "First 11 for '11" race, and ended up losing it by 10 posts to 11.  Which means, of course, that I've got a score to settle!

There has been considerable debate over exactly what form this challenge should take, but we eventually settled on "Twenty Questions": each of us writes out a list of 20 questions (hence the name) and sends it to the other, and each question must form the basis of a blog post.  First to answer all 20 questions wins.

That was the short explanation.  There are some other rules too: minimum word count 100 per question, not including peripheral stuff like the post title, tags etc; each post must include stats at the end (same as the ones featured in "First 11 for '11", with a couple of additions); each blogger must comment on all of their rival's challenge posts.  And we both have to be finished before the start of this year's Root Hill camp, on Saturday the 20th of August.  The good news is that the questions can be answered in any order.  I intentionally made my questions a mix of the very easy and the rather more arcane (I'll be very interested to see what order H answers them in), and it seems she's done the same.

So, here are the questions I sent her, which you will hopefully be able to read the answers to across the course of the next three weeks over at
  1. Where did the sheep obsession come from?
  2. If you ruled the universe, what’s the first law you would pass?
  3. What’s wrong with Doritos, anyway?
  4. Who is your anti-role model?
  5. How big are your feet?
  6. Do you like mornings?
  7. Beethoven or Bieber?
  8. Ink or acrylics?
  9. What’s the most overrated book out there?
  10. Would you prefer an alien invasion or a zombie apocalypse?
  11. What’s the strangest activity/project/group you’ve been involved with?
  12. If you had to choose between your eyes and your ears…?
  13. If you wrote a comic strip, what would it be about?
  14. What’s your most recently formed life ambition?
  15. So… what to do when life gives you lemons?
  16. Which is the best chocolate bar, and why?
  17. What would your dream house be like?
  18. Has Steven Moffat dropped the ball?
  19. Why is your car called that?
  20. Is this the last question?

...and here are the ones she sent me:
  1. We’ve reached the end of the Harry Potter era.  Thoughts?
  2. If you were an animal, how on earth did you become an animal?
  3. How would you describe your taste in music?
  4. If you were a character in Doctor Who, who would you be?  (Side note, my friends have decided that I’m Donna.  Take that as you wish!)
  5. Do you have a favourite medium to use when doing artwork?
  6. How tall are you?
  7. If you were a shape, what shape would you be?
  8. What is your favourite character that you’ve created so far?
  9. Do you have a favourite novel?
  10. You now have a type 40 TARDIS.  Where and when would your top destinations be?
  11. What is your earliest memory?
  12. What is your suitcase packing method?
  13. Please can I have your bank details?
  14. Do you like broccoli when it isn’t named Albert?
  15. Sheep or cows?
  16. Zombies or unicorns?
  17. What is your favourite smell?
  18. Would you ever go bungee jumping?
  19. If you were prime minister, what would you do differently?
  20. If the answer is 42, what is the question?

Some of these will be very, very easy.  Like number 1.  Others, like number 2, will be rather more difficult.

So I've got about 20 days to answer 20 questions... better get started.  And since there's no better place to begin than at the beginning, I may as well kick off with Question 1: "We’ve reached the end of the Harry Potter era.  Thoughts?"

YES!!!  *Punches the air and other excitable gestures*

Pretty much ever since I became aware of the existence of Harry Potter, circa 2001, I've been waiting for it to end.  I don't have all that much against HP, apart from the ridiculous overblown fuss that everyone else has been making about it.  It's just another fantasy series, really, but it's been hailed as the best thing since sliced bread, and crooned and drooled over by hordes and hordes of people as if it was the greatest story ever told.  Which it isn't.

I've made a point of not following the series, just to assert my human right to nonconformity.  That's not to say I'm completely ignorant of it, mind you - I know what all the books are called, what years they were published (or at least most of them), as well as what years the films came out, who directed them, and who wrote the scripts and the scores for them.  I didn't set out to know all that stuff, I just absorbed the information by accident, because I have the sort of mind that can and does absorb that sort of information by accident.

I've read the first book and a half (when I had absolutely nothing better to do), and while I thought they were passable enough bits of literature, I'm not sure they're the healthiest reading matter for young minds, and I certainly didn't think their plotting or phraseology was scintillating enough to merit all the hype.  The storyline hung together well enough, but I didn't think it attained the intricacy of, say, Doctor Who's Pandorica storyline.  The use of the English language was fine, but it wasn't a patch on Douglas Adams (who, let's not forget, described the Vogon Constructor Fleet as "hanging in mid-air in exactly the way bricks don't", or something very similar).

I've seen tiny snippets of the first film, but not enough to comment on.  I've seen the second in its entirety, and boy it was disappointing.  The adult actors were fine - sometimes great, even, especially Alan Rickman - but the child leads came across unspeakably hammy by comparison.  I'm told they've improved in the more recent films, but that doesn't change the fact that the world is forever saddled with their utterly atrocious early performances.  Towards the end of Chamber of Secrets, Radcliffe's delivery of a certain line about the powers of phoenix tears made all my insides and brain juices squirm like mealworms in a fisherman's bait tin.  Don't get me started on the phoenix, either.  I'd heard the music for Chamber of Secrets long before I saw the film, and it led me to expect something a bit better from the VFX department.  As in, it made me think the on-screen depiction of the phoenix would have a certain majesty, or at least dignity.  It doesn't.  What a disappointing bird. Although I will admit that from the trailers and things I've seen, the cinematography and effects seem to have improved as the series has gone on.

Sometime last year, they released the first teaser poster for Deathly Hallows, featuring Hogwarts half-destroyed and on fire, with the tagline "It all ends here".  I loved that poster.  In fact, it's one of my favourite posters of all time, mainly because of that little word 'ends'.  The last film is currently in cinemas; soon it'll be out on Blu-ray and DVD, and then, there'll be nothing else to do, nowhere else to go... and maybe the world will finally shut up about it all.  The silence will be golden.

I think I might have got a bit carried away there.  Pretty sure that little rant is more than 100 words 8p

As per "First 11 For 11", the challenge requires statistics:
  • Twenty Questions status: 1 down, 19 to go (*checks Hannah's blog for recent updates*  looks like I'm winning... for now...)
  • Days until Root Hill: 22
  • Latest book read: Operation Mincemeat by Ben Macintyre
  • Latest film/TV watched: Sherlock: The Blind Banker on iPlayer
  • Latest music listened to: something Tim wrote for the next Arbitrary Stopframe (coming soon!)
  • Latest edible item eaten: toothpaste doesn't count, does it?  Before that, dinner.  I'm afraid I can't remember what dinner was.
  • Predominant colour of clothes: blue (watch this space: blue could become a recurring theme, I think)
  • Programs and web pages currently running: Microsoft Office Outlook 2007, Firefox (tabs: Blogspot Create Post; Blogspot Dashboard;
  • Webcomics posted today: Cylinder and Miserable #1322; Fort Paradox #68

- The Colclough


  1. So you beat me to the first post..... I better get cracking then hadn't I!

    Also, I totally agree with you about Harry Potter. Although, there is something rather endearing about seeing a little boy wave a stick around as a wand shouting wigardium leviosa (or whatever the actual phrase is/however it's spelt) instead of fashioning it into a gun.

  2. I have some Questions,

    1. If you could be in a Rock Band what Instrument would you Play?
    2. Have you seen any Godzilla Films?
    3. If you could buy any car (money No Object) what would it be?
    4. Which do you prefer: Motorhead or Metallica?
    5. Who is your favourite Stand Up Comedian?