Posts Tagged ‘answers’

Usually, before I head bedwards, I’ll watch some news, then head to bed to read. I’m usually asleep by 2am-ish. I no longer – not for some years – go out wandering the streets at 1am, say.

(I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I’d been pinged, and that I self-isolated. Well, yes, of course, I went for a wander at midnight the day my isolation ended.)

But the past two nights, I did it again, one leaving the flat for a wander at 11pm-ish… and last night where I went out at 1am and got home around 4am. I genuinely hope this isn’t the start of a habit.

I guess I’ll discover that in the next couple of nights. 

 

You can see above what time I took the pics on Euston Road and Oxford Street, about a third of the way through the wander.

Now, fair enough, getting home at 4am isn’t the worst thing, even though my advancing age doesn’t encourage it. but fair enough, a cuppa, then bed, and a decent kip will sort me out and–

Yeah, the fire alarm went off before 9 this morning. By the time I awoke, shrugged some clothes on, and left the building, I was greeted by the below.

 

 

Nothing to worry about; someone burned some toast and the alarms were set off. And we could go back into the flats in about half an hour.

All of immediate preface is to say… yeah, I’m very very tired.

And since one post I’m writing is a very discursive, personal, one, more personal in fact than I’d intended when I started writing it, and includes some stuff I need to think carefully about before I post publicly, that post ain’t going to be today’s.

Instead something else.

On occasion, I’ve lamented – not really, but kind of – that blogging has changed since my days on Livejournal, where sooner or later everyone did one of those “Answer 100 questions with a single word for each” or even detailed Q&A’s, where followers would submit five questions to be answered.

And I’ve equally occasionally done one here, both in ‘remembrance of blogs past‘ and because – for whatever reason – I want to stick one up.

They were usually on Livejournal referred to as ‘memes’, although they weren’t really. Seriously, they weren’t.

Although, I guess, if a word becomes used often enough to mean something unintended, more and more people will come to believe it’s a valid definition. See the ongoing argument between rebut and refute; they really don’t mean the same thing.

But as for the Q&As, they were just something people… did, and other people thought a) they were kind of a neat idea, b) they were a pleasant-ish way to pass half an hour completing, and c) that their friends might enjoy reading… and definitely might equally enjoy mocking the answers therein.

Some bloggers treated them with the utmost seriousness, answering every question honestly and without any deviation or guile.

Others would treat them as opportunities just to crack gags, and smart arse replies.

I’d guess, looking back, that I fell somewhere inbetween, where all of the answers were “the truth, and nothing but the truth”, but rarely – as a set – the whole truth.

And any questions I didn’t want to answer, or felt uncomfortable answering, I’d answer with the aforementioned gags or smart arse replies.

I haven’t done one this run, but for the reasons above, I’m very definitely doing one today.

It’s always amusing, well amusing and horrifying in equal part, for me to grab the questions from a decade old post, and see, as I delete them, which answers would remain the same as those I wrote so very long ago (am I that boring? that unchanging?), which answers are going to change, and which previous answers from back then are incomprehensible to me. How could I have done this, felt that, thought the other?

Still, those previous answers are for my own private pondering. You just get the current ones.

Time to answer some general questions…

100 questions, 100 answers
1. Full Name: Lee Barnett. No middle name, despite some people thinking that “Budgie” really is my middle name. And, as I’ve previously mentioned, I much prefer ‘budgie’ to my given name, and if you’ve ever any doubt which you should use, please, I implore you, use budgie. And, as also previously mentioned, if your response is ‘I don’t like using nicknames’, then I invite you to always refer to our previous Prime Ministers as ‘Anthony Blair’ and ‘James Brown’, and American presidents ‘William Clinton’ and ‘James Carter’.

2. Were you named after anyone? Yes, for my mum’s maternal grandmother, Leah. In Judaism, you tend to name after those who have died. I know nothing about her at all. And, as sometimes surprises people, I’ve no interest, not even a mild curiosity, in knowing about her, either.

3. Where did your nickname/handle come from? It’s a constant surprise to me that people who’ve known me for more than a month don’t know the story. A friend named Dave Rothburn came up with ‘budgie’, at Manchester Poly, coming up on 40 years ago. Full story’s here.

4. Are you superstitious? No, not at all. And have never really understood those who are. There are some remnants of my Jewish knowledge that I observe, but that’s more in memory of those who’ve died. And there’s some Jewish dietary stuff that I have no idea why I observe but I do. But no, I don’t ‘touch wood’ (wrong religion anyway), avoid cracks in the pavement, nor throw salt over my shoulder.

5. When did you last cry? From physical pain? Last week. My foot was bad. Otherwise, I had a mini-meltdown a couple of months ago, and at one point cried from pure and utter frustration.

6. Do you like your handwriting? ‘Bestest’ handwriting (i.e. when I’m handwriting something for someone else to read or because I want it to be ‘nice’) isn’t that bad – thank a previous boss for that – but my normal scrawl is horrible, full of personal abbreviations, and often indecipherable to me later.

7. What is your birth date? 17th August 1964, which this blog run should have made obvious. Yes, that means I’m officially “old”, well at least almost certainly older than you. Not necessarily, but I’d say the odds heavily favour it.

8. What is your most embarrassing CD? Currently? Probably the CD that came with my printer when I bought it. I don’t think I own any other CDs. If you mean albums, I gave up worrying about being embarrassed by my music tastes long ago.

9. If you were another person, would YOU be friends with you? Highly unlikely. To be fair, I think I’d probably be hugely surprised (both good and bad) if I knew how people honestly thought of me, let alone what I’d think of me – I suspect there’d be bits of me I’d like, and bits I’d be bored by, and very very certainly bits I’d detest. But no, I don’t think I’d be friends with me; almost certainly not. I’m not an easy person to be friends with, at all.

10. Are you a daredevil? In no way whatsoever. I rarely take risks, definitely not physically, and on the vanishingly rare times I do, I’ve analysed (over-analysed?) them to the nth degree.

11. Have you ever told a secret you swore not to tell? Yes, but (a) only back in the days when I was a financial director, when ethically, I had no choice in the matter, and (b) I chose to break a confidence in order to correct a seriously wrong (and potentially dangerous) impression person A had of person B.

12. Do looks matter? No… in the kingdom of the blind. In any other sphere, of course they do! I can’t understand anyone who thinks that looks don’t matter. I know that some disagree with this, but I think looks are what gets you interested in someone you don’t know… and everything other than looks keeps you interested. Other than romantically… the answer’s the same. In politics, in fashion, in every sphere of human endeavour, looks matter. I wish they didn’t – man, do I wish they didn’t, he says looking in the mirror – but they do.

13. How do you release anger? ‘Writing it out’… or ‘bunkering down’ for a while have both been known. If I’m furious, really furious, then ‘writing it out’, pouring the venom onto the page… then deleting it… had helped more than once. Hell, more than once a month, often.

14. Where is your second home? My closest friends, in Ham. They were my ‘social bubble’ during lockdown and after my son and ex-wife, they’re my family.

15. Do you trust others easily? Most people? No. It takes a long time for people to earn my trust. There are (and have been) exceptions, of course. That said, I don’t expect anyone to trust me, until I’ve earned their trust.

16. What was your favourite toy as a child? Lego. No question. I had other toys and games, but it always came back to Lego.

17. What class in school do think is totally useless? Geography. Never saw the bloody point of it. If you’re going to need it in your later life, or you’re going to make it your career, great, I’m pleased for you. You can learn it at GCSE and save the rest of us having to know it. I can’t think of a single thing I learned in the subject that’s been any use whatsoever in my life post-school. (I’m well aware that what I learned in ‘Geography’ at school is not what’s taught in the subject now. Cool, I’m very pleased for them. My answer remains the same.)

18. Do you keep a handwritten journal? No, I always have a notebook on me in which I scribble down thoughts and ideas, but it’s not a diary nor journal.

19. Do you use sarcasm a lot? A lot? No. Sometimes, yeah, when I think it’s necessary… or occasionally funny. Actually, strike that. I use sarcasm like I do any other rhetorical device: when I think it’s necessary and appropriate.

20. Have you ever been in a mosh pit? No. No no no no. No.

21. Favourite movie? Couldn’t narrow it down to just one, even if you paid me. A dozen, ok. Half a dozen, maybe. One? Not a chance.

25. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? There are people who don’t?

26. What’s your favourite ice cream? Carte D’Or Banana. That they no longer make it is irrelevant. The best ice cream I’ve ever had, however, was melon flavour. Only had it once, in Israel in 1980, but the memory lasts…

27. What’s your shoe size? 11. My foot size varies, it feels like anyway, depending upon how bad the pain is. My usual foot ware is Karrimor Summit trainers. They’re great, and almost the only things my foot feels ‘solid’ in.

28. What are your favourite colours? Black and red. Look I had to give two, so I added red.

29. What is your least favourite thing about yourself? See the answer to question 21 above.

30. Who do you miss most? Michael, my late brother… more recently, for various reasons.

32. Are you patriotic? Not in the least. I don’t feel any pride about being British, nor any specific link to Britain in general. I quite like living in London, but if i had to move elsewhere in the UK, wouldn’t really bother me other than missing friends. The same answer applies were I to have to move abroad.

33. What are you listening to right now? A playlist called Walkin’. Currently the Theme from Shaft.

34. When was the last time you ate chocolate? Yesterday; a bar of Whole Nut.

35. If you were a crayon, what colour would you be? Don’t have a bloody clue, and suspect I wouldn’t care less about it..

36. What is the weather like right now?

Like this:

37. Last person you talked to on phone? My ex-wife, Laura, checking what time we’re doing the weekly Zoom session with our son, Phil, who lives in Wales.

38. The first thing you notice about the opposite sex? Depends on how far away they are. If they’re close, eyes. But in general, their face. (See answer 12. above.) But eyes? And eye makeup? I’m a sucker for gorgeous eyes.

40. How are you today? Tired, in a bit of pain, irritable.

41. Favourite non-alcoholic drink? Coffee. Or still water.

42. Favourite sport? Don’t have one. I’m not a sports person. Games? Sure. Snooker. Sports? No.

43. Your hair colour? Heading rapidly towards full white, with the occasional bit of steel grey.

44. Eye colour? Brown. And staying that way, thankfully.

45. Do you wear contacts? Yeah, for most of the the week. One or two days a week, I’ll skip them. Some friends have, I suspect, never seen me wearing spectacles.

46. Favourite month? November, no question. (See answer 49. below)

47. Favourite food? Don’t really have one. If I like it, then I like it as much or as little as anything else I like. I’m really not a food person. At all.

48. Last movie you watched? In a cinema? No idea. Can’t remember the last time I went to the cinema. On telly, a rerun of Air Force One, the other evening.

49. Favourite day of the year? 2nd November, my son’s birthday.

50. Scary movies or happy endings? Happy endings, every time. I don’t enjoy scary movies, generally at least. I have enjoyed the occasional one. I still think the original The Omen is one of the best movies for so many reasons, but I’d prefer a happy ending most times. The question’s unfair, though – nothing says you can’t have a scary movie with a happy ending, is there?

51. Summer or winter? I always used to prefer Summer, but I’m unsure these days…

52. Hugs or kisses? Depends on the person I’m with… or want to be with.

53. Do you smoke? Currently? No. I quit in November 2016, and after a brief ecig phase have vaped ever since. But I’m very aware that despite never wanting a cigarettes in the past three or more years, all it would take is one bad day.

54. What is your favourite dessert? Banoffee Pie.

57. Living arrangements? I live alone, in a small flat, in Abbey Road. Yes, that Abbey Road. Can’t ever see the former bit changing, though of course the latter might.

58. What are you currently reading? Prose – a non-fiction book about US Constitutional Law; comics – rereading Sandman.

59. Do you have any kids or do you want to have kids? Yes, one twenty-five year old son, the Phil mentioned above. I don’t want any more; very happy with the one I have, thanks.

60. What’s the first thing that the opposite sex notice about you? No idea, but I’d guess the hair.

61. Have you ever fired a gun? No. Strangely enough, I don’t feel as if I’ve missed out any. I’m mildly curious as to what it would be like to shoot one, and to see the effect of me pulling the trigger, but only mildly curious. It’s a curiosity (like parachuting and bungee jumping) that I’m more than content to leave unsatisfied.

62. Favourite games? Backgammon in ‘real life’; snooker on the iPhone.

63. What did you watch on tv last night? Lots, but I’m a news junkie so always safe to say “news” and MSNBC before bed.

64. Favourite smells? Citrus, leather, freshly mown grass and freshly baked bread.

65. What is the first thing you think when you wake up? “Ugh.”

66. How tall are you? Six feet exactly

61. What photo’s on your screen lock? I don’t have a photo; a digital image of the hypotheticals logo .

68. Ever been in rehab? No, but have been in a mental health unit, both voluntarily and otherwise.

69. Have you ever killed an animal? Other than insects, spiders, wasps, etc.? No. And wasps deserve it, the little buggers. In fact I think that great effort should be made by various people to make animal experimentation compulsory for wasps.

70. What do you think of hot dogs? The owners should be prosecuted for leaving them in the car.

71. What’s your favourite Christmas song? Probably this one.

72. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? Coffee. Strong coffee. Very strong coffee.

73. Do you do push ups? No, I don’t do any form of formal exercise other than walking, when the foot is up to it.

74. Have you ever been hospitalized? Yes, many times. Most recently was a year or so back.

75. Do you like painkillers? When I need them, I take them like sweeties.

76. What’s your secret weapon to attract the opposite sex? Hahahahahahaha. If anything, I have a not so secret weapon to repulse them; it’s called ‘being me’.

77. Do you own a knife? Yes, two Swiss Army knives, one that never leaves the flat as it turns out it’s illegal to carry in the street (due to it having a lockable blade.)

My main one is this one, the Deluxe Tinker.

78. Do you have ADHD? No, or not that I’m aware of.

79. Have you any tattoos? No. I’m allergic to pain.

80. Have you any piercings? No. (gosh that was an easy set of three to answer.)

81. Name three drinks you regularly drink: water, coffee and single malt scotch whisky; Jura 10 yr old as the usual, The Balvenie 12 yr old Doublewood on special occaisons.

82. When did you last get lost? Last week; was on a wander, thinking about stuff, looked up and realised I had absolutely no idea where I was. I’d turned off the main road and was in a cul-de-sac.

83. What’s under your bed? Nothing but carpet.

84. What time did you wake up today? 9:00 am (see preface above)

85. Current haircut? See answer to 43 above.

86. Current worry? See answer to 21 above.

87. If you could play any musical instrument? Mouth Organ. Usually popular, and no one ever asks you to sing. I have one. I should learn to play it.

88. What was your first paid employment? Other than working for my father in the hair salon? Supermarket (Sainsbury’s) shelf stacking and on the checkout.

89. What was the last CD you bought? Again, I can’t remember the last time I bought a CD. Last music I bought was a Dolly Parton collection.

90. Do you have a motor vehicle (car, bike)? No; even if I could afford one these days, I’m not entirely sure I’d get one.

91. Who’s the one person from your past you wish you could speak with one more time? My late brother. No surprise there.

92. Where do you want to live? Quite happy in London, thanks.

93. Number of pillows you sleep with? Two on each side of the double bed.

94. Are you paranoid? Why do you want to know? Why? Why?

95. Latest crush? Latest? I don’t remember the last one I had. I guess I sometimes get them, but fortunately, for both people involved, they fade fast.

96. Last thing you ate? Toast, with a couple of slices of cheddar.

97. What’s in your pockets right now? Money, keys, iPhone, vape liquid.

98. Are you single? Well, I appreciate the interest, but you’re probably not my type, and I’m definitely not yours. Whatever your type is, trust me, I’m not it.

99. Have you ever won any awards: Yes.

100. Who do you tell your dreams to? I rarely remember dreams, and those that I do are always nightmares and I really wish I didn’t.

  

See you tomorrow, with something else… 

 

Fifty-seven days. Fifty-seven posts. One fifty-seventh birthday.


I’m trying something new with this run. I’ve signed up to ko-fi.com, so if you fancy throwing me a couple of dollars every so often, to keep me in a caffeine-fuelled typing mood, feel free. I’m on https://ko-fi.com/budgiehypoth

This post is part of a series of blog entries, counting down to my fifty-seventh birthday on 17th August 2021. You can see the other posts in the run by clicking here.

[Oh, before I start, I got asked yesterday where I’m getting the photos from that I use for this blog. Other than ones I’ve taken myself, or have express permission to use, they come from an iOS app entitled Unsplash which supplies copyright free photos. Also on: https://Unsplash.com]

Had an entry all ready to finish today – subject matter, bullet pointed out, everything – but got caught up with other stuff that’s pretty much consumed my day.

And to be honest, with something that’s occurring tonight, I’d struggled to get my head ‘in the game’ to write anything serious.

So another entry already part-completed but planned for half way through this run is appearing, oh, a week and a half early.

Ain’t that always the way?

No?

Well then you’re substantially better at keeping to schedules than I am.

But it’s amusing to me how blogging changes. Before Twitter, I’d think nothing of sticking up three or four blog posts a day on Livejournal, containing this link, or that photo. Twitter, instagram, Facebook, Tumblr… they killed that kind of blogging, probably a good thing.

But on Livejournal, sooner or later everyone did one of those “Answer 100 questions with a single word for each” or detailed Q & A’s. They’d be of the

          Ask me five questions and I’ll answer honestly

type.

A couple of dozen people would play, and I’d have 100 or so questions to answer.

And at some point, when I’m doing one of these countdown runs, I’ll grab some of those questions, and answer them with today’s answers. (It’s part amusing, part horrifying, for me, seeing how many of the answers are radically different now, seeing how many are the same.)

So here’s a collection of questions asked of me through the years, from Livejournal, from formspring, from curiouscat with some up to date answers. All of the answers are the truth, and nothing but the truth. As always, however, rarely the whole truth.

Some questions, some answers

What is your middle name? Often surprises people that I don’t have one. Growing up, I wish I did, as I utterly loathed ‘Lee’ as a name. It’s no coincidence I grabbed ‘Budgie’ as soon as I acquired it. And as stated previously, I prefer to be called that now.

Why are you called Lee? I’m not. I’m called ‘budgie’. Ok, since you insist. I’m Jewish; we tend to name children after those who have passed on, who have joined the choir invisible. Who have died. I’m named after my maternal grandmother, Leah.

Where does most of your family live? My ex-wife and our son live in Barnet. I believe my mum is still in Luton, and a brother & his family live in Bushey. But we’re not in contact… which suits all of us just fine, thanks.

When was the last time you visited the street where you first lived? Well, I was born in Luton; very deliberately haven’t been back to the town, let alone the street, in years, other than to the airport.

Most memorable birthday? My 50th, in Edinburgh. Pretty much everything was perfect about the day: surrounded by friends, comedy, alcohol, presents, and much fun and laughter. Also the first few after Phil was born; there are few things as nice in life as your very young child singing Happy Birthday to you, and giving you a card he’s made.

So, what do you want for your birthday this year? Best wishes. That’ll do it, thanks.

Do you make friends easily? No, not easily at all. And I’m a lousy friend to have; fair warning.

But if you were another person, would YOU be friends with you? The temptation is to say “no”, but I don’t have a clue; I’m hopeless at judging myself objectively in any way.

Are you jealous of anyone? Still can’t top a friend’s answer when he answered this more than a decade: The usual raft of envy regarding other people’s good fortune, intelligence, academic prowess, family relations, published writing, and effortless ability to be likeable, but not actively and specifically “jealous”.

Do you vote? In elections, you mean? Every bloody opportunity I can, since 1987. In every election, even those where I’ve intended not to because I was pissed off with all the candidates. Turns out I can’t not vote. I’m a huge believer in, and advocate for, voting. And no vote is a ‘wasted vote’. If it’s for candiate who can’t possibly win, well, your vote might save their deposit. Or give them/their party confidence for next time.

1987? But you were 18 in 1982? Yeah, I didn’t vote in the 1983 general election. Was away studying and didn’t bother to register there.

What characteristic do you despise in people? Gratuitous intolerance. Everything I dislike in people (including, but not limited to, lazy thinking) stems from that.

Do you have any prejudices you’re willing to acknowledge? I stupidly, very stupidly – it’s a flaw, I know – tend to extend a good faith assumption that someone who’s intelligent in one area will be equally intelligent in others. Oh, and I’m unfairly biased in favour of intelligent people with interests beyond who got kicked off of Celebrity Big Brother last night.

Illegal drugs? Not right now, but thanks. But no; while I have in the past, I some time ago realised that I’m too old and my body too broken to tolerate even marijuana these days. The last time I tried… well, it didn’t go well.

Are you photogenic? Lord, no. But better than I used to be.

Do you like having your photograph taken? Generally? No, I really don’t like it. I don’t mind if I know it’s being taken, but I really, really hate and loathe it when I don’t know it’s being taken. The chances I’ll like the pic if I don’t know it’s being taken are miniscule. And if someone takes a candid shot, I’ll often ask them to delete it, or at least not put it on social media.

Is looking good important to you? [looks in a mirror]. Obviously not.

Do looks matter? Other than in “the Kingdom of the Blind?” Yes. Always, always, always, and anyone who says otherwise is lying.

Do they matter in terms of attracting you? I’ve always thought that looks are what gets you interested in someone, while everything other than looks is what keeps you interested. Well… me, anyway.

Which hurts the most, physical or emotional pain? Physical, every bloody time. I’ve been told “There’s something wrong with you if you don’t choose emotional pain”, a sentiment with which – when it comes to me – I wholeheartedly agree.

What do you think of hot dogs? The owners should be prosecuted for leaving them in the car.

Have you any tattoos? No.

Piercings? Hahaha. No.

Do you trust others easily? Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha. No.

What subject in school did you find totally useless in later life? Geography. I cannot truly express the heights of my disdain for geography as a subject, or at least how I was taught it. I left school wholly convinced that it was an entire waste of time unless you intended to use it as a future career. I’ve never been completely sure I was wrong.

What kind of hair/eye colour do you like on the opposite sex? No particular preference, but if the eyes are communicative, can send messages? I’m a sucker for that. However, even then, I’m hopeless at interpreting such messages.

What is the most pain you have ever experienced? Breaking my foot – felt like I’d plunged it into molten lava. Since then… still the foot, on a regular basis.

Do you have siblings? One dead, one still alive.

What are your weaknesses? Way, way too many to list here.

If you got to live for a prolonged period of time in any time period, which would it be? I wouldn’t. To visit? Early 1960s, maybe mid 2030s. But to live somewhere? No, I lack too many cultural references and background knowledge, let alone the language and social norms. And going back far enough, I’d likely die from this disease or that one.

First thing you ever got paid for writing? A short sketch on BBC Radio 4’s Weekending. As I recall, it was about Boris Yeltsin. Followed shortly thereafter by one about Michael Heseltine.

Ever have a near-death experience? Yes. Three, in fact.

Name an obvious quality you have. Well, according to several people, a very skewed perception of how I’m regarded by others. That’s their opinion of an “obvious” quality, not necessarily one with which I agree.

What’s the name of the song that’s stuck in your head right now? A Night Like This by Caro Emerald.

Would choose to sing at a karaoke bar? I wouldn’t. I can’t carry a tune in a bucket.

If you could suddenly get the skill to play any single musical instrument, which would you choose? Mouth organ – that way no one would ever ask me to sing. (Some years ago, friends bought me one. I started to learn, then put it down; I really should get back to learning it. I’d genuinely actually quite like to.)

Do you read your horoscope? No; if I want to read fantasy, there’s plenty of better written stuff out there.

Ever seriously questioned your sanity? Yes, on many occasions, though not for a while.

Have you ever killed your own dinner? Have I ever killed something and then ate it, no. Have I ever destroyed a meal I was making? Hell’s teeth, you’re asking questions of someone who could burn corn flakes. I’m a terrible cook. Abysmal.

What’s the longest time you’ve stayed out of the country/where? 1980, from mid-July to mid-August. On a BBYO/youth group tour of Israel.

And the furthest you’ve ever been from where you were born? Singapore. Flew there, stayed six hours, flew back. Long story. Not as long as the flight, though.

Why do you write? Either because I have a story I want to tell, or to meet a challenge, (self-imposed or external), or something occurs to me that I have to get down… in order for it to make sense to me.

Why do you always pretend you don’t know when someone’s interested in you when you obviously do? Erm, we’ve obviously never met. My not realising it has been the source of humour in the past to friends. Nowadays it’s a source of mild irritation, and sometimes not that mild.

Life lessons? Two:

  1. Learn from your mistakes; regret ’em, but don’t brood on them.
  2. Accept completely, and irrevocably, that life is an ongoing and consecutive series of ‘well, it seemed like a good idea at the time’.

Exam lessons? I’ve taken a lot of exams in my life. I learned these four lessons far later than I should have done:

  1. Don’t worry about ‘answering the question’; ensure you ‘get the marks’. The two are often only the same thing by coincidence.
  2. The first half marks in a question are always easier to get than the last half.
  3. KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid; don’t assume the marker knows anything
  4. RTFQ: Read the fucking question

Who would you most like to meet? There are any number of people with whom I’ve corresponded online that I’d like to meet, including some that have become friends. Celebrities? Stephen Fry, Peter David, Jon Stewart, John Oliver, Samantha Bee… mainly so I can tell them how much I’ve enjoyed their work. And some celebrities, public figures, who have, the past few years, stood up to defend Jews against antisemitism solely because it’s the right thing to do. I’d like to meet them so I can just say ‘thank you’.

Would you ever consider running for political office? Not. A. Fucking. Chance. Ever.

Do you believe in ghosts? Nope, not at all. I think that those people who do believe in ghosts are… misguided.

If you were to be famous, what would you like to be known for? As the disreputable and slightly embarrassing father of a very talented son.

What’s your favorite black and white movie? Always have problems with ‘favourite’ questions, because I have different favourites depending on genre. But probably Casablanca as a ‘serious’ movie, and Duck Soup as a comedy. (Definitely not It’s a Wonderful Life. Can’t stand the movie. At all.)

What do you wear to bed to sleep? A duvet.

What song always makes you happy when you hear it? Not sure about ‘happy’, but Walking on Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves always makes me smile when I hear it.

Are you afraid of the dark? It’s never given me a reason to be afraid of it. So far.

What’s your favourite music to dance to? Even when my foot allowed it, I disliked dancing. Hated it. I’m too self-conscious; I cannot get it out of my head that everyone’s looking.

Do you think writers are too in love with themselves? Oh hell, no. I think many writers don’t like themselves very much at all.

Can you recommend a coffee? I always recommend a coffee.

Who is the strongest person you know? Couldn’t narrow it down to one person; so many people I know have triumphed – or are struggling to do so – against horrible things that have happened to them, that I couldn’t narrow it down to one person.

Favorite Number? 1729

Can you speak any languages other than English? The odd word of yiddish, but absolutely fluent rubbish.

Would you rather visit a zoo or an art museum? I’d rather visit neither.

Do you own a knife? Well, does a Swiss Army Knife count? If so, yes.

What did you want to be when you were little? Older… and taller.

Is there any subject that should be off limits for humor? No. None. However, just because a joke can be made about a subject doesn’t mean it should be made, or told.

Are you a hypocrite? Yes. Next question?

Just curious – what’s your type? Arial Rounded MT Bold.

If you were one of The Endless, which one would you be?
As a general rule though, never really feel like a character created by someone else. I’m more of a self-made person who has a healthy disrespect for my creator.

Why did you stop the fast fiction stories? Mainly because I’d written 700+ of them and I didn’t want to write 800. They may return at some point, if there’s a reason the format suits the occasion.


Something else tomorrow, something a bit more serious and a lot more sensible…

This post is part of a series of blog entries, counting down to my fifty-fifth birthday on 17th August 2019. You can see the other posts in the run by clicking here.

I’ve not subjected the readers of this blog to one of these yet in the couple of years I’ve been writing here but you know what? Time to answer some general questions…

100 questions, 100 answers
1. Full Name: Lee Barnett. No middle name, despite some people thinking that “Budgie” really is my middle name.

2. Were you named after anyone? Yes, for my mum’s maternal grandmother, Leah. In Judaism, you tend to name after those who have died. If we’d have had another child, I’d have named them after Michael. As it was, my younger brother’s oldest is named after him.

3. Where did your nickname/handle come from? It’s a constant surprise to me that people who’ve known me for more than a month don’t know the story. A friend named Dave Rothburn came up with ‘budgie’, at Manchester Poly, coming up on 29 years ago. Full story’s here.

4. Do you wish on stars? No, never have; and never really understood it at all. I’m not superstitious at all.

5. When did you last cry? A few days ago. I had a mini-meltdown and at one point cried from pure and utter frustration.

6. Do you like your handwriting? Heh. No. ‘Bestest’ handwriting (i.e. when I’m handwriting something at work) isn’t that bad, but my normal scrawl is horrible.

7. What is your birth date? 17th August 1964. Yes, that means I’m officially “old”, well at least almost certainly older than you. Not necessarily, but I’d say the odds heavily favour it.

8. What is your most embarrassing CD? Leaving aside the ones brought for me deliberately as a gag? Probably Best of Chris De Burgh.

9. If you were another person, would YOU be friends with you? Highly unlikely. To be fair, I think I’d probably be hugely surprised (both good and bad) if I knew how people honestly thought of me, let alone what I’d think of me – I suspect there’d be bits of me I’d like, and bits I’d be bored by, and certainly bits I’d detest.

10. Are you a daredevil? In no way whatsoever. I rarely take risks, and if I do, I’ve analysed them to the nth degree.

11. Have you ever told a secret you swore not to tell? Yes, but only back in the days when I was a financial director, when ethically, I had no choice in the matter, and (b) I chose to break a confidence in order to correct a seriously wrong (and potentially dangerous) impression person A had of person B.

12. Do looks matter? No… in the kingdom of the blind. In any other sphere, of course they do! I can’t understand anyone who thinks that looks don’t matter. I know that some disagree with this, but I think looks are what gets you interested in someone you don’t know… and everything other than looks keeps you interested.

13. How do you release anger? As a general rule, I don’t. Through ‘writing it out’… or ‘bunkering down’ for a while have both been known.

14. Where is your second home? Don’t have one, though Laura’s would probably come closest.

15. Do you trust others easily? No. I usually find it incredibly hard to trust people. There are (and have been) exceptions, of course, but it takes me an incredibly long time to trust most people.

16. What was your favourite toy as a child? Lego. No question. I had other toys and games, but it always came back to Lego.

17. What class in school do think is totally useless? Geography. Never saw the bloody point of the subject. And I can’t think of a single thing I learned in the subject that’s been any use whatsoever in my life post-school.

18. Do you keep a handwritten journal? No, I have a notebook in which I scribble down thoughts and ideas, but it’s not a diary or journal.

19. Do you use sarcasm a lot? A lot? No. Sometimes, yeah, when I think it’s necessary… or occasionally funny.

20. Have you ever been in a mosh pit? Heh. No. Not my thing.

21. Favourite movie? Couldn’t narrow it down to just one, really.

25. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? Yeah, usually.

26. What’s your favourite ice cream? Carte D’Or Banana. That they no longer make it is irrelevant. The best ice cream I’ve ever had, however, was melon flavour. Only had it once, in Israel in 1980, but the memory lasts…

27. What’s your shoe size? 10. My foot size varies, it feels like anyway, depending upon how bad the pain is.

28. What are your favourite colours? Black and red. Look I had to give two, so I added red.

29. What is your least favourite thing about yourself? See the answer to question 21 above.

30. Who do you miss most? Michael, my late brother… more recently, for various reason.

32. Are you patriotic? Not really, no. I don’t feel any pride about being British, nor any specific link to Britain in general.

33. What are you listening to right now? Well, I’m watching BBC1, this week’s Have I Got News For You?

34. When was the last time you ate chocolate? This afternoon.

35. If you were a crayon, what colour would you be? Don’t have a bloody clue, and suspect I wouldn’t care less about it..

36. What is the weather like right now? Cold, very cold.

37. Last person you talked to on phone? No idea, it was a wrong number.

38. The first thing you notice about the opposite sex? Depends on how far away they are. If they’re close, eyes. But in general, their face.

40. How are you today? Next question…

41. Favourite non-alcoholic drink? Dr Brown’s Cream Soda. And it’s a crying shame that you can’t get it in the UK. In that absence, I’ll go with coffee.

42. Favourite sport? To watch? These days? Don’t have one. I’m not a sports person.

43. Your hair colour? Grey, more white than dark.

44. Eye colour? Brown.

45. Do you wear contacts? Yeah, for most of the the week. I usually end up giving my contacts a couple of days a week off. And occasionally, I’ll give them more than that; I still remember with amusement turning up for a drinkup wearing glasses and at least one friend being rather surprised, because they’d never seen me wearing them.

46. Favourite month? November, no question.

47. Favourite food? Don’t really have one. I’m incredibly fussy about food, but if I like it, then I like it as much or as little as anything else I eat. I’m really not a food person. At all.

48. Last movie you watched? In a cinema? No idea. Can’t remember the last time I went to the cinema.

49. Favourite day of the year? 2nd November, my son’s birthday.

50. Scary movies or happy endings? Happy endings, every time. I don’t enjoy scary movies, generally at least. I have enjoyed the occasional one. I still think the original The Omen is one of the best movies for so many reasons, but I’d prefer a happy ending most times. The question’s unfair though – nothing says you can’t have a scary movie with a happy ending, is there?

51. Summer or winter? I always used to prefer Summer, but I’m unsure these days…

52. Hugs or kisses? Depends on the person I’m with… or want to be with.

53. Do you smoke? Yes.

54. What is your favourite dessert? Apple pie with ice cream. I’ll have the latter without the former, but never vice versa.

57. Living arrangements? I’m lucky enough to live with close friends.

58. What are you currently reading? Prose – rereading Terra by Mitch Benn; comics – Young Avenger by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie.

59. Do you have any kids or do you want to have kids? Yes, one eighteen year old son, the Phil mentioned above. I don’t want any more; very happy with the one I have, thanks.

60. What ‘s the first thing that the opposite sex notice about you? No idea, but I’d guess the greying hair.

61. What’s on your mouse pad? I don’t use one.

62. Favourite games? I don’t play computer games, and don’t really have a favourite game on the iPhone or iPad, so let’s just play safe and say backgammon. Probably.

63. What did you watch on tv last night? Lots, but I’m a news junkie so always safe to say “news”.

64. Favourite smells? Citrus, leather, freshly mown grass and freshly baked bread.

65. What is the first thing you think when you wake up? “Damn.”

66. How tall are you? Six feet exactly

67. Have you ever fired a gun? No. Strangely enough, I don’t feel as if I’ve missed out any. I’m mildly curious as to what it would be like to shoot one, and to see the effect of me pulling the trigger, but only mildly curious.

68. Ever been in rehab? No.

69. Have you ever killed an animal? Other than insects, spiders, wasps, etc. No. And wasps deserve it, the little buggers. In fact I think that great effort should be made by various people to make animal experimentation compulsory for wasps.

70. What do you think of hot dogs? The owners should be prosecuted for leaving them in the car.

71. What’s your favourite Christmas song? Fairy Tale of New York. I don’t care that it’s become a cliché for people to say it; I fell in love with that song the first time I heard it.

72. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? Coffee. Or Tea.

73. Do you do push ups? No, but I probably should.

74. Have you ever been hospitalized? Yes, many times. Most recently was a year or so back.

75. Do you like painkillers? When I need them, I take them like sweets.

76. What’s your secret weapon to lure in the opposite sex? Haven’t got one. If there is one, please tell me.

77. Do you own a knife? Yes, two Swiss Army knives.

78. Do you have A.D.D.? No.

79. Have you any tattoos? No.

80. Have you any piercings? No. (gosh that was an easy set of three to answer.)

81. Name three drinks you regularly drink: water, coffee and tea.

82. What’s the last song you played on your CD Player/iPod Paint It Black, Rolling Stones

83. What’s under your bed? Nothing but carpet.

84. What time did you wake up today? 9:00 am, but I didn’t get to sleep until 7:30 am.

pic85. Current haircut? See pic.

86. Current worry? See answer to 21 above.

87. If you could play any musical instrument? Mouth Organ. Usually popular, and no one ever asks you to sing!

88. What was your first paid employment? Other than working for my father in the hair salon? Supermarket (Sainsbury’s) shelf stacking and on the checkout.

89. What was the last CD you bought? Again, I can’t remember the last time I bought a CD.

90. Do you have a motor vehicle (car, bike)? Yes, a Ford Fiesta Style+.

91. Who’s the one person from your past you wish you could speak with one more time? No surprise there, my late brother.

92. Where do you want to live? Quite happy in London, thanks.

93. Number of pillows you sleep with? Two on each side of the double bed.

94. Are you paranoid? Why do you want to know? Why? Why? Huh? Huh?

95. Latest crush? Next question…

96. Last thing you ate? Couple of bagels.

97. What’s in your pockets right now? money, cigarettes, iPhone.

98. What colour are your bedroom walls? White.

99. Have you ever won any awards: None since school.

100. Who do you tell your dreams to? I rarely remember them anyway, and those that do, I really wish I didn’t.