This Q&A is taken from a “Friendship Quiz” that I responded to in 2005, when they were doing the rounds on email. A bit of fun …
What time did you get up this morning?
About 7.30. Long, long time ago, I used to jump out of bed at 6 am like clockwork. But more recently, I’ve been spoiled. Maybe I just need beauty sleep more and more these days?
Diamonds or pearls?
I like the organic lustre of pearls, preferably ones that look natural, rather than artificial. I am also a sucker for pearl symbolism (something beautiful emerging from a tiny piece of grit). In general, I like simple, elegant jewellery on women.
What was the last film you saw at the cinema?
Mr and Mrs Smith. I enjoyed it as an action-entertainment film with an interpersonal twist of humour, although I must qualify that I went in with extremely low expectations. It was a good distraction for a few hours. Generally, I like a good suspense/whodunit, epic scifi and romantic comedy. And now I’m developing a taste for filme la francais.
What is your favourite TV show?
I don’t watch a lot of TV – there are too many other better ways to spend my time. But I do enjoy a good series. Way back when, it was Twin Peaks and Northern Exposure. I really like David Lynch’s quirky communities and eccentric characters. Currently, it is probably CSI – nothing like a good bit of forensic investigation, although I can do without the cam zoom-inside-the-body (usually mutilated or decaying) tricks which seem all the rage these days.
What is your middle name?
Well, I either have none or two. I was born middle nameless. But on my 21st, I added two middle names – Africa and Merlin-Tao. For me, names should have symbolic meaning, and these self-chosen names are all about my roots in Africa and the contribution I can make to the continent, as well as the path that I am treading in this life, which aspires to be the Way of the Mystic.
What is your favourite cuisine?
It has to be Indian curry (vegetarian of course, nothing with a face) – the spices, textures and flavours are a sure guarantee that I’ll overeat every time. Cheese probably comes a close second, but I’m quite fussy which cheese. I like flavoursome kinds like Gruyere, Apple-smoked Cheddar and crispy Danish Blue, but I avoid the gooey ones like Camembert (unless of course they are crumbed and deep fried with a fruit preserve on the side).
What foods do you dislike?
All time most disgusting (I am ashamed to say as an African) must be okra – green, slimey and stringy. Asparagus also falls into the category of stringy foods (although it has the additional sin of being anaemic). Although to be honest, I have been known to eat the dreaded stuff if it is fresh and well disguised. The other never-eat-unless-you’re-starving-to-death food is olives, of any hue. But I like olive oil – how does that work?
What are your favourite potato chips?
That’s an unfair question, like asking your favourite sexual position. How to choose!? ALL potato chips are good (and sex is even good without potato chips). But if I were forced to choose, it would probably be Chinese Chutney flavour, or Sour-cream and herbs, fried to a crispy golden delight (I think I need a job in a Chip Marketing department).
What is your favourite CD at the moment?
Tough one again. I like so much music of such a variety. But right this moment, it is probably a compilation I made myself, called Haunting Beauty. It includes tracks like My Immortal (Evanescence), Lonely Sky (Chris de Burgh), and You Have Been Loved (George Michael). If it has to be a bought CD, it would probably have to be the Moulin Rouge soundtrack.
What kind of car do you drive?
Umm, a gold (read: dirty beige-brown) one. Rover, automatic. Cars are not really my thing, beyond getting me from A to B. But if I had to go a bit more upmarket, I’ve always liked the Honda Prelude, and further up the ego-chain, Mazda’s sports cars have a nice sleek look about them, without having to lie flat on your back to drive them.
Favourite sandwich ?
Toasted Italian bread, melted butter, with bacon (vegetarian of course) and fresh tomato slices, seasoned with salt and pepper. Darn – now I’m drooling on the keyboard!
What characteristics do you despise?
Misguided self-importance, devious manipulation, deliberate dishonesty, any kind of proselytising
Favourite item of clothing?
I have a weakness for African-style shirts. The colours and patterns invigorate me, and the loose-fitting style relaxes me. Having said that, I live in t-shirts, and will seldom put on trousers if I can get away with it – not everyone feels as comfortable about this as I do.
If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go?
The Amazon rain forest is probably the one place I have a real yearning for. Lush, natural forests are where my soul finds peace. And then I want to travel in Africa forever – I can never get enough of its earthy sights and sounds. The list of other places I’d like to see is as long as the world is wide – mostly places of natural beauty (like Alaska and New Zealand) or ancient civilizations (like Petra and Machu Picchu).
What colour is your bathroom?
Let me first confess that I had to go and look. White walls, olive-green bath, basin and toilet, pink(ish) carpet. If the water is hot and everything flushes, I’m not particularly concerned to be honest.
Favourite brand of clothing?
No-name brands. Although, I could tell you a little secret about a certain Presidential Shirts company in South Africa. I expect one day, I will only wear Madiba (Mandela) type shirts when I go to formal functions (with trousers of course, despite the inconvenience).
Where would you retire to?
Leaving aside that I don’t plan to retire, I would like to live somewhere near the sea or indigenous forests. Misty Cliffs in Cape Town or Knysna up the east coast of South Africa come to mind.
Favourite time of day?
It has to be the time I so seldom see (through no-one’s fault but my own) and that is dawn. Every time I see a sunrise and breathe in the fresh, crisp morning air, I berate myself for not being up to experience it more often. I am at my most alert and creative in the morning (although, as my wife will testify, NOT immediately after waking up).
What was your most memorable birthday?
My 21st. I had a ceremony where I invited family and friends, I went through a renaming ritual (see 5 above), and accepted a wooden Ankh (Egyptian Key to Life), which my parents carved and inscribed with hieroglyphic symbols that held special meaning.
Where were you born?
Favourite sport to watch ?
Virtually any sport (although I still struggle to appreciate golf and motor racing) – I’ve even world championships for darts and poker. But favourite, I would probably say rugby (or one-day cricket .. or athletics .. or ..). I have presumed that women in skimpy bikini’s playing volleyball isn’t so much a sport as a guilty pleasure.
Who do you least expect to send this quiz back to you?
God (she’s a notoriously bad correspondent!)
Coke or Pepsi?
Coke, although it has to be with popcorn at the movies, or when I’m hot and thirsty (like after a game of soccer), and preferably with a slice of lemon. Otherwise, I’m not a great cold drink drinker. (A beer shandy slides down well sometimes though .. beer mixed with lemonade for the uninitiated).
Are you a morning person or night owl?
I think I answered this one already. I occasionally get a late-night burst of energy.
What is your shoe size?
Seven, so yeah, about the same age as I act most of the time.
Do you have any pets?
Absent pets, back in South Africa, yes – Bobby and Dusk (dogs) and Pippa and Shadow (cats). I used to have a wonderful pet rat with a kink in his tail, called Sniffles. I also have quite a few pet carvings (mostly made from wood), which I dote on and find are remarkably low maintenance.
Any new and exciting news you’d like to share with your family and friends?
Sure, why not. I’ve just signed the publishers agreement for my next book, called Business Frontiers.
What did you want to be when you were little?
Bigger? No, seriously, I’m not sure I remember wanting to be anything. I know I did consider being a missionary at one stage.
What were you meant to be doing today?
Analysing my research interviews for my doctorate.
What is your favourite colour?
Probably purple and yellow.
What is your favourite ice cream flavour?
Lemon / citrus .. preferably creamy ice cream (Italian), but sorbets are also nice.
What book are you currently reading?
I seldom read one book at a time. At the moment it is South Africa: The First Man, The Last Nation (RW Johnson), The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (CS Lewis), Nelson Mandela: In His Own Words, Poem for the Day, The Seed Is Mine: The Life of a South African Sharecropper (C van Onselen), Spiral Dynamics: Mastering Values, Leadership, and Change (DE Beck & CC Cowan), and The Impressionists: The Complete Guide From Cezanne to Van Gogh. Oh, and I suppose I should add the Encarta Concise Dictionary and Websters Thesaurus (I’m on a little spree of reading them, page by page). So there you have it – sounds more impressive than it is. It just means I take aeons to finish books.