Nigel's 'Chocolate or Vanilla' Questionnaire

1. What, in your opinion is the most important division within the human race? (e.g. smokers/non-smokers, Conservative/Labour, desktop/laptop) People who, deep down, think that insurance saves them money Vs. people who can count.

2. On which side of the answer to #1 do you fall? I loathe insurance.

3. How long, on average, does it take you to get rid of someone trying to sell you something over the phone? 7 seconds. I have the nagging feeling there's a missed chance for free entertainment here. I need to look into this.

4. What is the most expensive object you have ever broken on purpose? ('when angry' counts as 'on purpose' even if you regretted it soon afterwards) Ollie's Camera. Heh.

5. What is your preferred method of sharpening a knife? Complain loudly that dull knives are unsafe; swipe steel against knife as if fighting an amphetamine-fuelled cutlass duel with myself; cut off half my finger while trying to peel a potato.

6. In your view, is it more important for the Americans to adopt a less confrontational foreign policy, or to learn how to pronounce the word "aluminium"? Actually, the most important thing they could do is learn how to make a 5 litre V8 that puts out more power than a hamster on methadone.

7. If you had the opportunity to become immortal, would you take it? No. I wouldn't feel comfortable without an exit strategy. 

8. On balance, are you angry about the part of the monitor tube that is covered by the plastic housing, or pleased about the extra 24 bytes in a kilobyte? Interestingly, the advent of flat screen monitors which are the size they say they are has coincided with a move to define a gigabyte as 1 000 000 000 bytes. This seems to indicate that the amount dishonesty in the computer industry is a constant. Resistance is futile. 

9. If you buy something for 99p with a £1 coin, do you really want the 1p back? I would be happier to donate the 1p to help buy Michael Jackson some Viagra rather than mess around getting worthless change that I'm only going to chuck into a big jar at home and ignore.

10. Do you trust that fancy new paint which goes on pink and dries white? No, but I feel kind of guilty about this.

11. Have you ever combined a Burger King burger with McDonalds fries in persuit of the ultimate fast food experience? Only to take advantage of differential special offers. Yes, I know how sad this is, thanks. 

12. Do you own a box of those little plastic rings for reinforcing punched holes? Probably, but I wouldn't like to track them down in a hurry.

13. If you could issue one decree as an absolute monarch, what would it be? The total government budget to be capped, irrevocably, at 20% of GDP. If I want my money to be wasted on things that don't work, I'll buy an Italian car, or cable television from NTL.

14. If copies are free, do you check the settings first, or just press the button and see what happens? I would prefer to check the settings, read the manual, interrogate the service engineer, and then rejoice to watch my irreplaceable original get stuck in the bowels of the machine and torn to fragments.

15. If you had to have one, and only one bumper sticker, what would it say? "Yes, actually, I am driving this way just to piss you off."

16. What objects would you be nervous if you didn't have a spare for? Kidney.

17. If you bought a new BMW 520i, would you choose the "Delete badge" option? No, but I would on an M5. 

18. What was the last thing you shouted while alone in a car? "If there's only one of them, it's a phenomenon, you dumb-ass bitch." Occasioned by a Thought For The Day presenter (who I strongly suspected of wearing a hand-knitted jumper) misusing the word "phenomena".

Brussel sprouts 19. What is your typical path through a supermarket? Lap of whole store, looking for stuff I have forgotten on the last fourteen visits that's really beginning to get on my nerves; Bakery; Ready meals; Soft Drinks; Crisps; Vegetables (right); Another lap of whole store, wandering round aimlessly trying to remember stuff I have forgotten on thirteen or fewer previous visits; up and down the row of checkouts three times looking for an empty one; out to the car; back in to buy something I can actually eat that evening. 

20. Do you lick the underside of the foil top when eating a pot of yoghurt? Yes. Guilty pleasures don't come any more perfect than this.

21. Do you abbreviate the words "you", "are", “to” and “for” in text messages? No. I like to minimise the number of words, but leave the words themselves alone. I even use apostrophes. You can tell I'm a little too old to be part of the txt gener8tion.

22. Have you ever tried to use an optical mouse on a mirror, just to see what happened? Yes. Nothing. I wasn't angry, just a little dissapointed.

23. If you were alone at the time, what would be the least hygienic location from which you'd be prepared to retrieve and eat a potato chip you'd just dropped? If just dropped, anywhere. If dropped two weeks ago, only from somewhere where tools are not required to retrieve it.

24. With reference to #23, where would overstep the mark? Inside the cat.

25. Have you ever read the documentation for your company pension scheme? Yes, but it didn't sink in.

26. How many of the Asterix / Hitch-Hikers Guide To The Galaxy / Terry Pratchett / Harry Potter books have you read? 24 / 4 / 5 / 1

27. How many greetings cards have you sent in the last 12 months? Two. The quality of humour in Hallmark cards fills me with panic and emptiness. I can't face it very often.

28. A criminal maniac invites you to "Pick a city for destruction, Mr. Bond." Which one do you choose? Los Angeles. The comedian Bill Hicks titled one of his albums "Arizona Bay." I share his vision for California's future.

29. Which font do you use most often? There are three options here: Arial, Times New Roman or Nutter. I'm an Arial.

30. What happened the last time you applied excessive force to an inanimate object? My stapler learned that it is futile to defy my will. Now I need to start training its replacement.

31. Can you tell whether a Union Jack is hung the right way up? No. Nor can I bring myself to give a damn.

32. If it was a matter of life or death, what is the earliest month for which you could produce your bank statement? September 1997. Over-organisation is the only known defence against the Inland Revenue.

33. If you could choose any person living or dead, who would you most like to hit repeatedly in the face with a small wooden gavel? The Chief Constable of Northamptonshire, who would like to fine me into starvation and make me go to work on the bus. 

34. If you had the choice between a petrol chainsaw or a bread knife, which would you use for felling a small tree with a 1" diameter trunk? If I had the chance, I'd use a chainsaw for topiary work.

35. If you could ban one figure of speech, one acronym and one word, what would they be? "At this moment in time", "ttfn", "Leverage" as a verb. Damn, that felt good.

36. If you ran over a teddy bear lying in the road, would you feel guilty? If I ran over a blind seven year old girl who was hurrying to visit her terminally ill mother in hospital, I wouldn't feel guilty. Roads are for cars. If you aren't a car, you do not have right of way. So watch it.

37. If your house was besieged, which consumable would you run out of last - assuming you didn't starve? I have a box of 4 000 sticky labels, of which I use about 3 per year. It's good to know they're there.

38. List the BBC national radio stations in order of preference as driving companions. 4, 5, 2, 1, 3. A rabid doberman pinscher with a digestive ailment would rank between 2 and 1.

39. When making a graph in MS Excel, do you place it on a separate sheet or on the sheet with the source data? Separate sheet. Possibly in a separate workbook. On a different computer. That uses a different operating system. In another country. If others try to understand my analysis, I want them to suffer.

40. Which way up do you hold a map when travelling South? North up. If I miss-called a turn because of this, I would be forced to silence the driver and all other witnesses Cosa Nosta fashion.

41. How would you answer a 5 year-old who asked you why the sky is blue? I would explain about atmospheric absorption. Can you tell that I don't have much contact with 5 year-olds?

42. When did you last use a highlighter pen? If we're talking about actual highlighting, rather than emergency phone-number-scribbling, more than a decade ago. The experience was strangely hollow and unsatisfying. 

43. On a scale of 1 to 10, how confident are you that you know when to use a semicolon? 7. Yes, this bothers me.

44. What proportion of the CDs you own are in their original cases right now? 98%. Even my CDRs have their own cases – labelled on 4 sides. I wrote the book on anal retention. Then I made a backup copy of it.

45. What songs, television shows, books, paintings etc are you irrationally embarrassed to admit that you don’t like? I don't get fine art. At all. I'm happy to drag out the remainder of my existence in this state of woeful ignorance. 

46. Based on sound rather than content, which person’s voice irritates you the most? It's a tie between Morrissey and that woman who recorded the "The number you have dialled has not been recognised. Get it right next time. And sit up straight." Announcement for British Telecom. In both cases, the content may have warped my judgement.

47. How accurate is the time on your watch? ±30 seconds. You don’t need more accuracy than that unless you launch rockets for a living. 

48. Have you ever written to, emailed or telephoned a newspaper, radio station, TV programme etc? If so, what did you say? Certainly not. This behaviour is so un-British as to constitute a prima facie charge of treason. Although I would like to get a really gnomic and pointless letter published in The Times. 

49. Do you, in the most fundamental depths of your soul, give a crap about the extinction of the Red Cockaded Woodpecker? No, although I can think of other species who deserve it more. The mosquito, for example.

50. What is the cheapest thing you’ve bought with a debit or credit card in the past month? £25.00 worth of petrol. People who pay for smaller items with plastic have no respect for your time. Guess where you should swipe their card – briskly – in order to put an end to this behaviour?

Now you know everything about Nigel: