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/ log / 9th Mar, 2009 /

Seven Things

Stylized 7

Meme is a funny word. I remember interrogating the hive mind of Google to understand what it meant not that long ago. Participating in one (or rather, perpetuating one) is something that always escaped me, but it seems I’ve been stitched up by my mate, Chris Shiflett, and new colleague, Rob Treat. When infected with this meme, you post seven things people might not already know about you. There’s no penalty for not doing it, but apparently you get props for passing it on to seven other people after you’ve done your bit. I’m going to pick on designers!

Meme: ‘A cultural item that is transmitted by repetition in a manner analogous to the biological transmission of genes’ — a term created by Richard Dawkins in his 1976 book, The Selfish Gene.

An Internet meme is an evolved term. Cough — neologism — cough.

Before I get to picking on anyone, I’d better get to the meat of this memetical sandwich:

  1. I once had a farm in Af-ree-ka. No, well, sort-of. I once helped to run a guest house and restaurant in The Seychelles. We did grow things. We used the radical method of throwing papaya seeds out of the kitchen door and being swamped by saplings a few weeks later. There were no lions. The guest house was in a place called Anse Volbert or the Cote D’Or (gold coast) — a seven kilometre strip of white coral sand on the island of Praslin.
  2. I once MCd with drum and bass DJs at a full moon party in Haad Rin, on Ko Pha Ngan in Thailand. It was an accident. The DJ box was open, Sang Som (sugarcane whiskey) was flowing freely, and Bob’s your uncle (or Jon’s your MC). The DJs were happy to oblige after cresting the anxiety curve and realising the dude who looks at least partly farang wasn’t completely awful. It was fun. I think.
  3. Wellington harbour in New Zealand has a shipping lane. You can hire Kayaks, too. When hiring a kayak they warn you explicitly not wander into the shipping lane because the ships will not stop (and probably can’t). The problem is that Wellington harbour is so stunning that it’s easy to spend your time rubber-necking rather than looking out for ferries. The shipping lane is not marked. The slightly-less-than-ambient signifiers that one might be doing it all wrong is a fog horn and the sight of a large ship’s bow heading towards you. I once did a cartoon-style, arm-flailing kayak-sprint in Wellington harbour.
  4. I love the water. I dream of living on a boat one day. For a while, I hunted octopus for food and trade. I’d go out with fins, mask, and the masters of Indian Ocean small boat fishing. While they practiced their craft with mercenary grace, I would flounder, spike in hand, barely making the bottom to chase the octopods before bursting to the surface gulping air. The best bit was hunting in the dive areas. While we hunted, the tourists observed, often slightly wild-eyed and with a disapproving air. Tenderise octopi by boiling them for three hours. The skin falls off and all rubberiness evaporates. Chop, mix with salad and a classic dressing and it’s heavenly grub.
  5. Once upon a time I wrote a book. It was never published, but had fans who used to sit at my mother’s kitchen table and read the lastest chapter. It was a tale of dashing up and down motorways in the dark from weekend to weekend, and occassionally from gig to gig, DJing. An autobiographical coming-of-age story, wrapped in a raw dose of youthful mischief and carnage. Sometimes I revisit it, smile indulgently at the sparse, brutal journalistic prose, and really wish it was indeed an improvement on the style of Ernest Hemingway, or Dale A Dye in Citadel, rather than a bad facsimile.
  6. My father is Singaporean Chinese. My mother is a bit of a mixture. You may have guessed this already. I love all sides of my heritage equally which may also be an obvious thing to say, but it’s not: When I grew up in what felt like a deeply racist place during the 70s and 80s my tendency was to fight the bigots with an exaggerated pride in my Chinese heritage. Things have changed since then. Now I’m just quietly proud of both. I like being from Blighty just as much as I like eating eating Singaporean food. I could sum it up in a sentence: Keep calm and carry on eating prawn sambal on toast.
  7. Eating a Granny Smith apple makes unmentioned parts of my anatomy itch. True story. I have no idea why. Some things are beyond explanation. If that reads like too much information, you have a dirty mind. :)

I’m done! Ah, now who to tag? Well, as promised, some erudites from the design community. I’m late to the party as usual (the meme is dying if not dead) but what the hell. These guys are appearing on the SxSW panel, Quit Bitchin’ and Get Your Glyph On with me this coming Saturday, so finding out more about them if they have time would be great:

Do your best, guys! Also being tagged are a few folks from around my way (type and geography):

  • John D. Boardley because he loves typography and lives in Japan
  • Rick Hurst who skates and rides, but what does he do when he arrives?
  • Joe Leech for his UX super brain and tales of adventure

Oh yeah, and last but not least I’m supposed to post the rules:

  1. Link your original tagger(s), and list these rules on your blog.
  2. Share seven facts about yourself in the post — some random, some weird.
  3. Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names and the links to their blogs.
  4. Let them know they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment on their blogs and/or Twitter. (JT note: Referrer stings do this for you mister rule-writer.)

So, that’s the lot. A random post, I realise, but I hope it gave a little insight into yours truly. In mitigation I should say I have been threatening to write it for something like two months. If anyone has a spare day a week to lend me I’d be very grateful!


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  1. 1. By inspirationbit on 9th Mar ’09 at 07:17am

    guest house on Cote D'Or, hunting octopuses, getting killed in a kayak, drunk MC, …. I wish this meme had 77 things about you rather than just 7, because after reading these 7, I want to know more ;)

    Hope you do get around to re-visiting and re-writing your autobiographical book, I’ll definitely buy it if you get it published ;)

    oh, and if you get more “a spare day a week" offers than you can handle, please, send them my way.

  2. Jon 陳’s profile 2. By Jon 陳 on 9th Mar ’09 at 10:26am

    Vivien, consider yourself also tagged. :) Go to it, Lady. Hehe.

  3. 3. By inspirationbit on 9th Mar ’09 at 12:21pm

    hehe, I’ve got this tag covered already in 8 Bits you now know about me. Hopefully, you haven’t read them yet and will learn something new about me ;)

    Or else, I’m yet to respond to my tag on Facebook: 25 things about me, I’ll let you know when I get to it ;)

  4. 4. By Rick Hurst on 10th Mar ’09 at 10:34am

    How can I compete with those Jon?! I’m going to have to dig deep, and possibly apply for an artistic licence :)

  5. 5. By Rogie King on 13th Mar ’09 at 22:37pm

    The most interesting to me is that of the ocean and octopus. I love the ocean and I’ve eaten octopus before. Obviously not the tender, numscious stuff that you’ve had. Mine was rubbery, stale and bland. The way you describe the water and boating makes me want to live there too.

    For now, I live in the mountains hunting deer and elk instead of octopus. Maybe things will change.

  6. 6. By Murnau on 6th May ’09 at 13:56pm

    point iiv is great. I have the same problems, when I drink a special kind of white wine… is curious….

  7. 7. By oto kiralama on 17th May ’09 at 15:35pm

    Will you be coming stateside for this new position?

  8. 8. By Chris Seidl on 18th Jun ’09 at 18:14pm

    The word meme was, I believe, originally coined by Richard Dawkins in his first book, The Selfish Gene. The intent was to discuss the significance of cultural evolution in light of selfish gene theory. Quote:

    Darwinism is too big a theory to be confined to the narrow context of the gene. The gene [remains in relation to the meme as] an analogy, nothing more. [. . .] The new soup [of primordial evolution] is the soup of human culture.

    Definitely worth a read.

  9. Jon 陳’s profile 9. By Jon 陳 on 19th Jun ’09 at 01:47am

    That’s right, Chris! (See the quote in the sidebar.)

  10. 10. By Chris Seidl on 19th Jun ’09 at 05:23am

    Oh geez, how did I miss that? Anyway, funny post. :)

  11. 11. By Jordan Turner on 27th Aug ’09 at 12:01pm

    It’s octopodes, je pense. I can empathize with the book. The image of a tiny kayak with a man waving his arms manically when a large shadow loomed over it amused me for a while.

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