WHAT DO YOU THINK OF OUIJA BOARDS: I experimented with one when I was about eighteen, and it referred to things that no one else in the room could know, so I'm certain that they can be tools of the devil, in whom I believe. Stay away! Stay away!
FAVORITE TV SHOW: The Simpsons, but I never take the time or make the effort to watch it anymore. I've also enjoyed what little I've seen of Seinfeld, Arrested Development, and The Office. I virtually never watch TV, only a bit of the news when my wife has it on.
FAVORITE BOARD GAME: I like Monopoly Jr. because it's fun and takes only a little time. I used to spend hours playing games as a kid, but now games of all types make me feel trapped and bored. However, I did introduce my wife and sons to Dungeons & Dragons during our recent vacation, and that was sorta fun, although I just don't find games relaxing anymore. I'm always thinking to myself, Why the hell am I going to all this mental effort for no reason?
FAVORITE MAGAZINE: I subscribe to many, probably nearly 20. Right now, I especially like Entertainment Weekly, Paste, and Sunstone.
FAVORITE SMELLS: Coffee, freshly shampooed kids' hair
WORST FEELING IN THE WORLD: Throughout my adulthood, I think I've been mildly depressed about a third of the time on average, sort of inwardly bored and detached and hopeless that anything really interesting or exciting will ever happen to me. But I've pretty much learned just to ride out those feelings; they seem to come about every week or two and usually pass within a day or two. Just in the past year or so, however, I've become aware that I'm feeling more anxiety than I ever remember feeling in the past. Basically, I do a lot more worrying now about career, finances, and health, and I find it somewhat harder to relax mentally and feel truly at ease. Another recently developing bad habit is that I compare myself too much with other people and feel that I'm lacking in many areas, especially career and religion (in fact, I find myself increasingly trying to avoid people who are superior to me in these areas, because they make me feel inferior). I don't know if this is just part of normal mid-life psychic discomfort or because I'm not religious enough or because I've overextended myself with doing Zarahemla and other extracurricular things, or what.
BEST FEELING IN THE WORLD: Nice moments with wife and kids, enjoying particularly compelling fiction or music, finding moments of satisfaction while working on the books that I write and/or publish, having my surroundings tidy and organized
WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU THINK OF WHEN YOU WAKE UP IN THE MORNING? On the way to the shower, I sometimes feel a bit uneasy about my career. I'm grateful for my livelihood and enjoy the people with whom I work, but I wish I knew of a career that I could fully believe in and become fully engaged in. As the years go by, it's taking an increasing toll on my psyche that I direct nearly all my discretionary ambition and energy into my own creative hobbies rather than formulating any real career plan that would help me progress with regards to responsibility and income, like all my peers seem to be doing (including my younger three brothers, all of whom are now in more real careers I am). I guess I still just don't know what I really want career-wise, is what it boils down to.
DO YOU GET MOTION SICKNESS: I get car-sick if I try to read.
ROLLER COASTERS--SCARY OR EXCITING: The older I get, the more uncomfortable they are. I don't like putting myself through the ordeal, and they tend to give me a nasty headache. Still, I will usually go on moderate ones with my kids.
HOW MANY RINGS BEFORE YOU ANSWER THE PHONE: I hate the phone and often don't answer it when it rings, especially at home. I would much rather deal with people via e-mail. At work, where I feel a duty to answer, I usually pick up on the second or third ring.
FAVORITE NAMES FOR ACTUAL OR FUTURE DAUGHTERS: I believe I was the one who suggested Sophie for my daughter, and I still like the name. Since we're done having kids, I see no need to think about any more girl names.
FAVORITE NAMES FOR ACTUAL OR FUTURE SONS: Ann named both Austin and Kimball, and I felt a twinge of hesitation on both at first, mainly because I thought of them as surnames, but I have grown to like them. I was the one who chose the names for Jordan and Zachary.
FAVORITE FOODS: Sushi, most all forms of Asian, homemade spaghetti (I don't have much use for pasta in restaurants), Apollo burgers and fries, peanut butter. On the other hand, I hate bananas, raisins, and shredded coconut in pies or elsewhere. I also won't eat fruit unless it has almost-perfect texture and taste.
DO YOU GET ALONG WITH YOUR PARENTS? I really enjoy my parents, and I don't think I've exchanged cross words with either of them practically since high school. Our family is so large with ten siblings that it's pretty chaotic when we get together every month or so. My mom is good at making deep connections on the fly, such as chatting about significant things in the kitchen. My dad is more reserved about frank chatting but is quite fun to banter with.
FAVORITE ICE CREAM: Mint chocolate chip, and some forms of coffee-flavored ice cream, especially the coffee-Oreo flavor I used to get in Boston but haven't seen anywhere else. I like to go to Baskin-Robbins and get a double scoop with chocolate fudge and mint chip.
DO YOU LIKE TO DRIVE: Yeah, although occasionally it's a source of anxiety; in recent years, I tend to obsess over close calls and worry about them later. I almost always drive when Ann and I are in the car together, and sometimes driving is a nice escape. On my mission, I used to encourage my trainer to drive to the most distant Australian bush towns, to eat up the time and because the countryside was so beautiful.
WHAT WAS THE FIRST CAR YOU DROVE? A little white Mazda GLC hatchback. My parents were pretty nice about letting me drive it to school most days during high school, and I drove it to work at KFC a lot too.
IF YOU COULD MEET ONE PERSON, DEAD OR ALIVE, WHO WOULD IT BE? This isn't the kind of question I like to spend much time pondering, but off the top of my head I would say Joseph Smith.
WHAT IS YOUR ZODIAC SIGN? Libra, and I do seem to have many of the traits.
WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE POET? I just don't have time or patience for poetry, so I never read it. This is one reason I haven't gone for a Ph.D. in English, another being that I don't like studying foreign languages (English Ph.D. programs usually require reading ability in two foreign languages).
DO YOU EAT THE STEMS OF BROCCOLI? Yes. I quite enjoy eating broccoli, partly because it makes me feel nutritionally virtuous. It's probably my favorite vegetable.
IF A GIRL ASKED FOR THE SHIRT OFF OF YOUR BACK, WOULD YOU GIVE IT TO HER? Not very likely. She would have to be lacking a shirt herself, and I would probably try to get an eyeful first. I am a little embarrassed of all my back and shoulder hair, but I also like to mock myself about it.
IF YOU COULD HAVE ANY JOB YOU WANTED, WHAT WOULD IT BE? The longer I spend in corporate settings, the more I positively daydream and/or negatively worry about being self-employed as a combination of writer, editor, teacher, and perhaps a few other things to make ends meet. I would like to have a job that I could do completely via the Internet, allowing us to trade houses with someone in a foreign country for a whole summer during my wife's school break.
IF YOU COULD DYE YOUR HAIR ANY COLOR, WHAT WOULD IT BE? Even in my punk/new wave days, I was never interested in hair color. I think it just looks fake and dumb. I also really despise tattoos on an aesthetic level. However, some piercings are interesting to me.
HAVE YOU EVER BEEN IN LOVE? Sure, more than once. I don't believe much in romance, though—I think much of it is just cultural baggage and expectation, not real truth. I feel that way about many things in life, actually, especially with regards to religion and the workplace.
IS THE GLASS HALF-EMPTY OR HALF-FULL? Depends on the day, probably overall tending toward half-empty.
FAVORITE MOVIES? As a young adult, I loved The Road Warrior, Blood Simple, and Brazil enough to remember those as standouts. More recently, I have a hard time recalling my favorites; I would need to review a list. I don't really end up liking the majority of movies I see.
WHAT'S UNDER YOUR BED? Lots of dust bunnies and odds and ends, nearly all kid stuff. I'm very tidy in my living areas that I can see, but I am not a white-glove type of person who must have unseen surfaces be clean at all times too.
WHAT'S YOUR DREAM CAR? I don't really care much about cars as long as they are comfortable, reliable, and not too hard on the eyes. But I suppose I like the idea of a Mercedes or Lexus.
FAVORITE SPORT TO WATCH? None.