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interview game: THE RULES
1. leave a comment, saying you want to be interviewed.
2. i will respond; i'll ask you five questions.
3. you'll update your website with my five questions, and your five answers.
4. you'll include this explanation.
5. you'll ask other people five questions when they want to be interviewed.

Claire sent me my questions. They were thinkers!

Please be aware that my answers are long.... I babble.

1. Describe your dream house.

Thatís hard because there are a lot of styles that appeal to me for varying reasons. However Mr. Risk and I have always had this strange pipe dream of gutting a sixties era small apartment building and turning it into our version of a modern multi-level home. The sixties era apartment buildings are really basic rectangles that house approximately six apartments. They're not exciting in the way sixties era buildings should be but they have a lot of potential. There is a front stairwell that usually has a huge, segmented window that travels up the front. Sometimes this front window is a tall column of glass blocks. Sometimes the front entrance has a really cool wood door with three tear-drop or circular windows. I LOVE those doors. Our idea is to gut one entirely; just remove all the walls and floors making it into one open space. We would then build multiple levels and add some walls but it would be very open with lots of light. It could be best described as sort-of a loft style with levels that would allow one to look down onto a main floor or other floors. The Eames house is a real inspiration in that regard. There would be a lot of wood. I typically go for dark or rich hardwoods. There would also be a big stone fireplace that divided a room and would be open on both sides.

In another room there would be some kind of indoor pond system. I remember as a kid one of the old movie theatres in my city had one with stone sides. It was really long and narrow. You could sit on the edge and look in at the fish. I loved that. I think mine would have window areas as well so you could see the inside from the top and the sides.

For some reason these sixties apartment buildings tend to have huge, sparse front yards that are vast expanses of grass and a straight walkway up the front. I donít believe in lawns so I would make the front into a wild garden of indigenous plants. I would remove the straight walkway. Isnít that bad Feng Shui or something? Not that my whole penchant for clutter isnít a huge case of bad Feng ShuiÖ There would definitely be a pond in the backyard. I have always wanted a pondÖ and a bog with carnivorous plants. The pond would have a sort of subtly cascading river that was like a series of subtle waterfalls leading up to the actual pond.

Oh there would have to be a library. I love a room that is floor to ceiling bookcases with the ladder that slides along and around. And while weíre at it we might as well throw in a secret doorway into another room via one of the bookcases. There would be one wall that was all glass with glass doors that lead into an indoor greenhouse with all my favourite succulents and a separate area with the proper climate for epiphytic tropicals. Perhaps the indoor pond system could be in this room as well.

There has to be a big workroom. My ultimate dream is to acquire one of those HUGE worktables from an old high schoolÖ the kind that has lots of drawers and cabinets underneath and little stools that are attached and swing out or can be swung back and tucked away underneath. There would also be a giant cabinet of drawers that could hold massive sheets of paper. Iíd also like a nice old letterpress and a giant guillotine paper cutter. In addition to an assortment of type and blocks I would absolutely have to have a full set of PT Barnum, a favourite typeface. The workroom would also have a huge walk-in closet where I could store (on shelves) my fabric collection.

These are just a few ideas. I could go on for days but something tells me it wouldnít all fit into a gutted sixties apartment building.

On the other hand I really love old Mexican Colonial style buildings such as the one we stayed at on our last trip to Mexico. The building had a massive wooden door in the front and a scalloped edge roofline. Once through the doors you walked into a partially covered courtyard with beautiful hand-mosaic benches and plant pots, and large containers of blooming bougainvillea. The stucco was painted an ochre-ish yellow with contrasting beautiful dark wood and old Mexican tile fixtures everywhere. There was a lot of play with indoor/outdoor space in the way I love but sadly we canít achieve here due to our chilly Canadian winters. Of course adding to this my Mexican dream house would also have an outdoor kitchen (including comal), an herb garden, and lime trees. It would definitely have to have a wall of blue agave because theyíre a favourite.

2. What's the craziest thing you've done?

This isnít crazy ha-ha or crazy nutty but... When I was 17 I left home to live on my own. I just walked out the door without saying a word. I did plan it for about a week in advance but I basically just up and left. I guess they call that ďrunning away from homeĒ. I call it ďrunning towardsĒ. To me that was crazy.

3. What inspired you to go freelance?

I had, had it with working in crappy offices, with crappy people, on crappy projects. I literally fell apart physically and emotionally. It was like someone had drilled a small hole in my skull and sucked the soul and spirit right out of me. I didnít know where I was anymore. I had quickly transformed into this incredibly angry, hate-filled individual and it scared the hell out of me. I really didnít have a choice. It was a matter of survival. That sounds really melodramatic but at that time it really felt that extreme. It really was that extreme.

Surprisingly my last fulltime job lasted only eight months and yet I canít believe I endured that much. Back then it was during the new media boom when there was a lot of sweatshop-type conditions and designers were expected to be unstoppable machines who could, and would, pump-it-out for a couple of bucks and some free coffee. Something tells me this really hasnít changed muchÖ The office I worked in had a video game system, plenty of fashion, kicky hairdos, tons of misery and spiteful, hateful bitterness. God we didn't even get the free coffee or even free water. It was all supposed to be for the priviledge of working there. I really despise that attitude.

I donít think every office is as bad as some of my experiences but overall Iím just not the office worker type under the best of circumstances. I canít sit at my minimally decorated desk for 9 solid hours working for the good of ďthe teamĒ. Office politics hurt my head. I have lazy hygiene. I need to mix up my days. I need to be able to work on personal work. If I donít fit enough personal work into my time I get very unhappy very quickly.

Over the last four and a half years of working for myself I have found that I work many more hours and much harder than when I worked for "the man" but it isnít the burden it was then. Sure I work a lot but I have the option of going outside to water my plants, or taking a few hours to run errands and get outside. I decide what I do on a day-to-day basis. Itís scary, difficult and great all at once.

4. Name three things (not people) that you couldn't live without.

Lately my cameras. Donít make me pick one!
Natren megadophilus.
My eye glasses.

5. What do you secretly indulge in?

Recently dry cappuccinos, which is incredibly hypocritical since the rest of my diet is extremely healthy and for two years I drank nothing but bottled water and green tea. Itís not really a secret but Iím not proud of it either.



Mr. Risk. Since you're wearing a t-shirt with the number 5 on it today, your questions have been brought to you by the number 5.

1. Describe yourself in five words.
2. You have five months to do anything and live anywhere you want. Only one place but no other limits. Where do you go and what do you do?
3. Relate one memory from the fifth year of your life.
4. Your five favourite television shows of all time.
5. What's your favourite number?


Hillary's Questions.

1. Your city has no power for three days. What's your greatest concern?
2. Who's your favourite Canadian celebrity?
3. What's your favourite childhood (or otherwise) toy?
4. What's the last thing you see before falling asleep?
5. Pets or meat?


Rannie's Questions.

1. You have unlimited cash with which to buy a camera but you are only allowed one. What's your choice?
2. What's your strangest habit?
3. My ideal age is 33. What's yours?
4. What's your most recent or current ohrwurm?
5. What's one thing that you think people misunderstand or misinterpret about you that you would like to set straight?

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