November 18, 2014

The Post in which I answer 100 random questions in order to avoid writing the next chapter of my novel.

Makes me Giggle, Steff

halloween steffmetal
halloween steffmetal

Halloween 2013


1. Grab the book nearest to you, turn to page 18, and find line 4. What is it?

“Obliged to abandon his ambition of governing Egypt, Caesar stood for the office of High Pontiff, and used the most flagrant bribery to secure it.” (Seutonius, The Twelve Caesars).

2. Stretch your left arm out as far as you can, What can you touch?

A cat igloo (containing a cat).

3. Before you started this survey, what were you doing?

Trying to decide whether to use the word “strode” or the word “stalked”.

4. What is the last thing you watched on TV?

Our TV isn’t plugged in, but I did watch a Gilmore Girls DVD today.

5. Without looking, guess what time it is

It is 5:15 and I have already wasted 15 minutes on these questions.

6. Now look at the clock. What is the actual time?

Oh, look! It’s 5:28. That’s even worse than I feared. I think I’m going to go with “stalked”.

7. With the exception of the computer, what can you hear?

Wind whistling through window and a cat snoring. Hey, what about “stomped”?

8. When did you last step outside? What were you doing?

This morning, I fed chickens and sheep on our lifestyle block, and fetched two eggs from the chicken coop. It was very cold.

9. Did you dream last night?

Technically, humans dream every night. So yes, I did. Unless I am not a human and are, in fact, a manatee.

10. Do you remember your dreams?

Do manatees dream? Do they remember their dreams? What about “stamped”?

11. When did you last laugh?

We had a BBQ here yesterday with work colleagues and took the piss out of each other, as kiwis tend to do. Many laughs were had.

12. Do you remember why / at what?

Courtney’s “Street” French. You won’t get that, but that’s OK.

Here’s a line from Gilmore Girls that also made me giggle.

Cheeseburger, onion rings, and a list of people who killed their parents and got away with it. I’m looking for heroes.”

13. What is on the walls of the room you are in?

One of my own paintings and a little Sherlock “I’m not a psychopath, I’m a high-functioning sociopath. Do your research” poster.

14. Seen anything weird lately?

My cat, Socrates, chewed up a sheet of sound-proofing foam and fell asleep inside it.

15. What would be your “spirit animal”?


16. What is the last film you saw?

I think it was Shutter Island. It was a bit predictable, but very well executed. I enjoyed it.

17. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?

I am pretty damn happy where I am, actually. I would, however, consider a summer house in Germany, in the town of Wacken, and a flat in Oxford. And maybe a houseboat to sail between them …

18. If you became a multi-millionaire overnight, what would you buy?

I am pretty blessed in that I am basically doing what I WOULD do if I was a millionaire now, just slower. I would pay off my mortgage, build the second part of our house without worrying so much about the budget, buy gifts for all my family and friends, get tickets to 70,000 tons of metal, quit my job, write books and start a kitten rescue.

19. Tell me something about you that most people don’t know.

I have a secret writing penname.

20. If you could change one thing about the world, regardless of guilt or politics, what would you do?

I’d put a bus stop at the gate of our house.

Socrates kitty

My kitty Socrates, and the box he decided was his favorite.

21. Do you like to dance?

Only if exactly no one is watching, because it’s all flailing arms and swinging elbows.

22. Would you ever consider living abroad?

Yes. It will probably happen some year soon. Most likely Germany, but I’d also take England as long as it wasn’t in London.

23. Does your name make any interesting anagrams?

Hip Senate. Also Hates Pine. So no, not at all.

24. Who made the last incoming call on your phone?

A guy coming to the BBQ yesterday who got lost (it happens a lot).

25. What is the last thing you downloaded onto your computer?

This morning I downloaded all my KDP spreadsheets so I could see how many royalties I made from Amazon in the last year. Lets just say I’m not running out to buy a gold-plated car.

26. Last time you swam in a pool?

I went for a frigid swim in the ocean two weeks ago, a pool might have been a year or two ago, I think it was a friend’s hen’s night?

27. Type of music you like most?

It’s heavy metal, or not metal at all.

28. Type of music you dislike most?

Probably dance music / trance / electronic stuff, seconded only by rap / hip hop. In saying that, there are exceptions to these rules, but generally, rather than hunt for the two decent hip hop bands I’d enjoy, I just play more Septicflesh.

29. Are you listening to music right now?

Fleshgod Apocalypse’s Labyrinth.

30. What color is your bedroom carpet?

It is dark blue. I think. Or maybe it’s charcoal. I only picked it out six months ago, you’d think I’d remember. Anyway, it is dark and fluffy and I want its babies.

31. If you could change something about your home, without worry about expense or mess, what would you do?

We built our house ourselves, and I love every inch of it. If I could change anything I would have the second bit built instantly with exactly what I want without having to stress about builders and timelines and budgets.

32. What was the last thing you bought?

A new grey shirt from Heavy Red.

33. Have you ever ridden on a motorbike?

Yes. My dad used to own one. I’d probably own one if I could legally drive.

34. Would you go bungee jumping or sky diving?

I did a bungee jump when I was 16. It was the Taupo bungy and I foolishly wore a very loose Metallica t-shirt for the experience. It ended up over my face. The guys who came to collect me from the boat got quite a show.

I haven’t been skydiving, but it would be fun one day.

35. Do you have a garden?

Sort of. I have 4 acres and SPACE for a garden, but since my raised beds are still in the process of being built, I don’t have much of a functional garden to speak of yet. I have some beautiful strawberries growing in my greenhouse, though.

36. Do you really know all the words to your national anthem?

Yes. It’s not a very difficult national anthem.

37. What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning?


38. If you could eat lunch with one famous person, who would it be?

Nick Cave, Bruce Dickenson, Hugh Fearnley-Wittingstall, and/or Amanda Palmer. All together would be quite interesting.

39. Who sent the last text message you received?

It was a friend reminding me to supply her with mead.

40. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card?

No store is worth that crap. Don’t use credit to buy shit you don’t need. Only thing I use my card for is to buy stuff we would buy anyway and get the airpoints. So if I had to say something, I’d buy a large quantity of building supplies, and get a free ticket to Peru.

41. What time is bed time?

We’re on country-time, so about 9:30pm.

42. Have you ever been in a beauty pageant?

No. What would I do as a talent? Do we even have these here?

43. How many tattoos do you have?

One. An eye of Horus on my left arm/shoulder. I’m getting another one next year.

44. If you don’t have any, have you ever thought of getting one?

I’ve been thinking about it since I was about 15. Took me till late 20s to do it. I’m glad I didn’t get the Metallica tattoo I wanted as a teen.

45. What did you do for your last birthday?

I had a party here at my house, I think.

46. Do you carry a donor card?

No, I think you get them when you get your license? And I don’t have a license, so … I’d like one, but I’m not sure how to get one. Maybe I should get a tattoo that says, “Donor”. Does that count?

47. Who was the last person you ate dinner with?

Last night had dinner with the Cantankerous Drummer Husband and Courtney & Inez. I made a shepherds pie out of leftover BBQ meat. It did not entirely suck.

48. Is the glass half empty or half full?

In about ten minutes, the glass is half full. Of whiskey. And in about thirty minutes, it will be empty again. But maybe not for long …

49. What’s the farthest-away place you’ve been?

In terms of geography, probably Bergen in Norway. In terms of lifestyle, probably Syria. I live in New Zealand, so everything is far away.

50. When’s the last time you ate a homegrown tomato?

About four months ago. My neighbours gave me about 10kgs of them and I made a LOT of chutney.

51. Have you ever won a trophy?

YES. In senior prizegiving in high school I was awarded First Classical Studies, First English, Second History and Second Equal Art. And I got a cup called the “Masonic Cup for Outstanding Endeavor”. It was large enough I could fit my face inside. That was pretty awesome :)

52. Are you a good cook?

I am selectively good. Ask me about my roast potatoes. Don’t ask me about my Asian cuisine.

53. Do you know how to pump your own gas?

I thought this quiz was supposed to be PG13. Geez, keep it clean, man.

54. If you could meet any one person (from history or currently alive), who would it be?

Tough choice. Cleopatra, Akhenaten, Jack the Ripper, Aristophanes immediately spring to mind.

55. Have you ever had to wear a uniform to school?

Both my primary and my high schools had uniforms, except for the yr 13s / 7th formers (Seniors). In my year 13 year, they changed the rules and made all year 13s wear a uniform. I wrote a strongly-worded letter in protest, but I had to keep wearing that itchy wool skirt. When high school finished I burned it in effigy.

56. Do you touch-type?

Yep. I was taught when I was very young – maybe 7-8. My teachers believed that I would always be at a disadvantage with my eyesight unless I could learn to type. I am grateful they did this NOW, but as a kid I hated it and I used to have to have my hands under a box so I didn’t look at the keys.

Now I type so fast one of my ex-boyfriends didn’t believe I was actually typing anything. “You’re not typing actual words, right?” He’d say. “You’re just hitting random keys.”

57. What’s under your bed?

A suitcase of clothes I never wear but am too emotionally attached to to throw away (the clothes, not the suitcase). Spare sheets and pillowcases. A stack of magazines about chickens. Misc.

58. Do you believe in love at first sight?

This is how I fell for my husband, so yes. Very hard to have love at first sight when you’re blind, but there you go.

59. Think fast, what do you like right now?

Fleshgod Apocalypse, Fallujah, writing, having time to write, the sun coming out, our pretty trees we planted, getting a new kitten, playing with Socrates, my husband coming home today, eating paleo, deadlifting my body weight, going to Peru … you know, boring stuff.

60. Where were you on Valentine’s day?

I really, really don’t remember. Neither CDH nor I place any importance on Valentines Day, so it usually passes by without me noticing it.

61. What has been your favorite country to visit?

I’ve been to, I think, over 30 now, so it is pretty hard to choose. Syria was amazing, I think in part because I wasn’t expecting it to be. Being able to go to Egypt after dreaming about it for so many years was pretty incredible. I’ll never forget Germany and all the wonderful friends we made and how good they are to us there, and I do always have a soft spot for England, where all my literary idols reside. But maybe it’s right here, in little old New Zealand, where I am happiest, because I can’t seem to bring myself to permanently leave.

62. What was the name of your first pet?

Benji the black cat. RIP Benji.

63. Who is the second to last person to call you?

The carpet layer. He was lost getting to our house.

64. Is there anything going on this weekend?

A party I can’t go to because the husband’s band has a gig the same night. I am also running a stall for the Asockalypse, teaching a writing class AND laying concrete foundations for a retaining wall.

65. How are you feeling right now?

A bit harried. A lot of projects on my desk and not enough time to do them in. Thinking about having a serious purge and quitting ALL external freelance work when my final two jobs are finished. Starting to feel good about this idea.

66. What do you think about the most?

Writing. Money. Music. Ideas. Creativity. Friends. Kittens. Husband. Chickens. Life.

67. What time do you get up in the morning?

Between 5am – 6:30 am, depends on the day. On weekends I sleep in until 7am.

68. If you had A Big Win in the Lottery, how long would you wait to tell people?

I wouldn’t shout it from the rooftops, but I would tell my husband and my family and my close friends pretty quick.

69. Who would you tell first?

My cat. Followed shortly by my husband.

70. What is the last movie that you saw at the cinema?

The last Hobbit film.

71. Do you sing in the shower?

Currently it is “hangover” by Alestorm.

Hobbiton Alestorm


72. What was the last song you listened to?

High Voltage – Electric Six.

73. What do you do most when you are bored?

Write and watch Gilmore Girls. Sometimes at the same time.

74. What do you do for a living?

I write a blog for a software company, and web content, and ebooks, and a whole host of other things.

75. Do you love your job?

It’s pretty cool.

76. What did you want to be when you grew up?

First, a WWI flying ace (like my hero, Snoopy). Then an astronaut, then an architect, then a paleontologist, then an archaeologist and then I went to university. I wanted to be a writer and an artist AS WELL as all those other things since practically the day I could pick up a pencil. Even as a kid I had a notion for a creative career.

77. If you could have any job, what would you want to do/be?

I actually really like my job (copywriter), but I would definitely be keen to try out the following: fiction author, pilot, Egyptian museum curator, astronaut, member of SGC.

78. Which came first the chicken or the egg?

We have chickens, and they lay eggs, but we had to get the chickens before we got the eggs, so I go with a).

79. How many keys on your key ring?

I actually don’t have a key ring. Yes, really.

80. What are You Having for Dinner?

Spicy Paprika chicken and steamed broccoli.

81. What kind of car do you drive?

Ha. Hahaha. Ha.

82. What are your best physical features?


83. What are your best characteristics?

I’m only mildly annoying.

84. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation where would you go?

I pretty much want to go everywhere. I am going to Peru next year for a month – so excited about that. I’d love to go back to Germany. I’d love to explore Russia and Siberia. I want to go to 70,000 Tons of Metal and do a big US roadtrip.

85. What kind of books do you like to read?

Fiction books, mainly science fiction and fantasy as long as they’re halfway intelligent and don’t sound like they’re set in “lazy” medieval england. I love historical books set in interesting eras, urban fantasy as long as the premise is a bit unique, anything that’s a bit gothic and dark, books with characters you fall in love with, books where cats are the main characters, books where people have kinky sex but there’s a story, too, chick’lit books that make you laugh and I love, love, love intelligent young adult books. If it’s dystopian or alternate history, I’m probably gonna love it. Weirdly, I love British detective shows (Morse, Midsomer Murders, Poirot), but no so fussed on detective books, possibly because all detectives sound like a ripoff of my hero, Sherlock Holmes.

Non fiction, it just has to be about something interesting, and ideally written in an interesting way. I prefer narrative non-fiction, as I tend to read at night before I go to sleep and I like things framed in a story.

86. Where would you want to retire to?

I already live in my retirement home, so that’s nice. Maybe we will get a summer home in Germany.

87. What is your favorite time of the day?

Probably when we go to bed, read books, talk together, listen to the wind or the animals outside.

Steff metal kitten socrates


88. Where did you grow up?

A little town in the middle of Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand, with my parents and little sister.

89. How far away from your birthplace do you live now?

Seven-hour car ride away. I moved to the big smoke when I was 17 and never left.

90. What are you reading now?

Mother Tongue, by Bill Bryson, and a book on marketing, and Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

91. Are you a morning person or a night owl?

I’m a little bit of both, actually. I get my best work done either early in the morning or late at night. I am not a “middle-of-the-day” person.

92. Can you touch your nose with your tongue?


93. Can you close your eyes and raise your eyebrows?


94. Do you have pets?

My husband’s beloved old cat, Levi, just died, so we now have one cat; our baby. Socrates is about eight months old and he’s insane. We’ve also got four chickens and a little flock of sheep, and we’re about to get a new kitten, too.

95. How many rings before you answer the phone?

My phone is upstairs in my office. I am always, ALWAYS downstairs when it rings. So it’s however many rings it takes me to scramble madly up the stairs.

96. What is your best childhood memory?

I have a weird thing where I remember a LOT from when I was a very young child (I remember my first birthday, for example), and so it’s hard to pick one. I remember playing in the tupperware cupboard and making a cave and my sister and I would often lock ourselves in a closet and play in there, too (I like the dark). I remember my Dad tipping our trampoline on one end and shaking it and we would hold on for dear life and it was the best fun ever. You probably couldn’t get away with that now :) I remember cooking pikelets over the open fire in our lounge and camping holidays and getting up really early to watch Chip n Dale Rescue Rangers.

97. What are some of the different jobs that you have had in your life?

Archaeologist. Building labourer. Curator’s Assistant at a museum. Examinations officer for special exams. Braille transcriber. And now, marketing copywriter.

98. Any new and exciting things that you would like to share?

I’m nearly finished my new novel, which should be out in Feb, or maybe March. Also, my staircase is now carpeted. YAY!

99. What is most important in life?

Carpet on your staircase? Man, that sounds filthy now.

I don’t really know. That you only get one of them, and you spend the majority of it having to get along with and live and work alongside other people, so you do yourself a big favour if you make getting on with all those people a genuinely pleasant experience.

And that doing the things you want to do is usually easier than you think, as long as you’re willing to work hard and sacrifice other things. You can do anything you want, but you can’t do everything you want. You want to learn to fly a plane? Go get lessons. You want to study to be a doctor? Sign up. We have it pretty good these days. Embrace that.

100. What Inspires You?

Music, books, my friends, my husband, nature, everything.