Wednesday, March 23, 2005

20 Questions, Condensed

From Smoking Toaster dot com comes this: "Spud at The Mash Factory has an interesting take on the "meme" device. Commenters request a 5 question personal quiz from the proprietor. Questions are then pulled from the interviewee's blog archives and are emailed over for responses.

I dig Spud and his site so I stepped up for a set of questions. His questions follow as they were received, along with my responses.

If you would like the bitterman to surf your archives and formulate a 5 question interview, please leave a comment or shoot me an email. Per the stated rules, I will take the first five to respond."

‘Bout the time I was feeling all left out and jealous of Sandy, Bitterman comes through with a questionnaire for me. Now keep in mind this is my first meme, so cut me some slack. Not that anybody is really interested in all this, but…

[Bitterman] I wanna know the story behind the pen name/blog title. What is a ‘Circa Bellum’ and where do you get one? Is it bigger than a breadbox?

[CB] Truth be known, it’s the name of a business I started in the late ‘80s selling antique photography. It started out as a play on words since everything down here in the south is either ante bellum (before the war) or not. I figured since my specialty was photographs done in the years just before, during and after the Civil War that they were, well, circa bellum, or around the war. I used to publish and mail out a catalog until eBay came around and circa bellum became my selling name on eBay too (you have to put an underscore between the words to make it work, if you go lookin’) and it’s easy for me to remember. So there you have it.

[Bitterman] You posted about growing up Southern and learning how to drive via a Ford tractor. We all have those memories. It’s true! My grandfather taught me how to drive his Massey Ferguson 135 at about age 9 or 10 so he didn’t have to spend two whole weekends cutting hay every summer. I had to literally stand up and put all my weight on the clutch to disengage it; barely fit in the seat, and away I went with the hundreds of slashing teeth of a 6 foot long, side mounted sickle bar mower. I shudder to think about the possible consequences, and it got close a few times. Anyway, I am sure there is a gem of a tale behind learning to drive on the tractor. I know. I have a few myself. Comments?

[CB] I thought this was supposed to be about me! Now, here I am publishing a story about you learning to drive on a tractor. Well, I don’t know how good of a story I can come up with in regards to that, but I will promise to toss one out about it soon.

[Bitterman] You post about being sent away to Catholic Boarding School. Now some of the hardest partiers I have EVER met came from St. Stanislaus School for Boys in Bay St. Louis, MS. They swore up and down that the brothers taught them everything they knew. These guys were hella scary crazy freaky deeky and there was pretty much nothing they would back away from or not try.
a. What was the offense to get shipped off? It all starts somewhere.
b. Any truth to what the guys I knew from Stanislaus said? Ever purchase a dime bag from a friar?

[CB] It’s all true. We had miscreants from all over the world at Morris. We had all the usual suspects in boys and friars. We had car thieves, druggies, child molesters and crazies. And that was just the brothers. The kids were really fucked up. Fighting and getting high on anything and everything was the official pastime. We huffed lighter fluid, aerosol and smoked weed when we could get it. I don’t know about anybody else, but I didn’t learn what not to do, I just learned how to hide it better. Never got a dime bag from a friar, but had a few drinks and cigarettes from them.

I was shipped off because I had fallen in with the drug crowd and in 1969 I started getting into some pretty serious trouble. By 1970 my parents were at a total loss as to what to do with me. So, someone suggested that there was a boy’s school out in the boonies where you can’t get in trouble…

[Bitterman] You shot the car? Spill it.

[CB] You’re pretty thorough, but I don’t think you went quite far enough back on that one… I posted that story back a while ago in The Bullet Wears Red. If I misunderstood your question, let me know and I’ll re-address it.

[Bitterman] Sounds like you had no luck at camping in later life, mentioning that you ruined the bride on the concept. I can only project but something happened and your wife went screaming up the road, thumbing for ride back to town, right? Of course I am only assuming? I bet it involved fire. Always involves fire. You set your bride on fire…what’s the story?

[CB] actually I thought I was starting her off easy. When I camp, I just don’t see the sense in all the gewgaws and extras that make it seem like home. Hell, I can stay home if I don’t want to go camping. I don’t even use a tent.

The weather was beautiful, it was a wonderful December weekend and perfect for a fire and some nice boy/girl cuddling. Shit, I thought it was romantic. We went to a Corps of Engineers camping site on the Arkansas River. They had electricity, running water, firewood, bathrooms. It was a serious compromise on my part, let me tell you.

I built a raging fire with the split oak wood the park provided, cooked her an extravagant meal of steak, steamed broccoli and baked potato with sour cream, butter and chives. I mean, come on, waddafuck you want????

We did the cuddle, we stoked the fire, we drank a little wine and I zipped two sleeping bags together and we retired. Man I was one happy guy. I only figured she was too.

About four in the morning, I woke up because I suddenly felt cold. I realized that it was because she had gotten out of the sleeping bag. She was standing by the fire tossing wood on it and dancing back and forth from leg to leg. In the bright firelight I could see there was frost all over the sleeping bag.

I got up and sat by the fire and she wouldn’t talk to me. She just clammed up. Then she took off down the road and disappeared into the bathroom. I wasn’t until later that she shared with me the fact that she spent two hours in there turning the hand dryer on to warm up in the hot air it put out.

It only got down to about 34 degrees that night. I don’t know how she would act if we really went camping. I guess I never will know, either. ‘Cuz she swore she’d never go camping with me again after that.

[Bitterman] You seem smart. What’s your education?

[CB] I’m a doctor of Brainiatrics!

Okay, so if that's not good enough, ask me to elaborate on any thing...and if you want me to delve into your blog and ax you some questions...just holler.


Queenie said...

You can axe me querstions if I can take the fifth at will...?

Sandy said...

Great interview! I had been wondering about your blog name for a while myself :)

Tulip said...

I had figured out the "circa" part of your name, at least now I know what the rest of it means. I think your wife and I could go camping. She sounds like me in terms of the outdoors. Then again, I would rather just stay in a nice rustic lodge with a view of the woods. I hate bugs, sleeping on the ground and sharing a toilet with who only knows. I am picky to say the very least.