Once again we join together to learn a bit more about a researcher for h2g2...
Please do take a moment to delve into the mind of Stragbasher, at times a bit controversial but always interesting and never afraid to speak his mind
Up until 5½ years ago Stragbasher resided in the UK. On his 28th birthday, as a result of impossible bank debts, he left the UK and hasn't had a real permanent home since then. A few years back he found himself at a job interview in Australia where they asked him what his ambitions were. He felt that it would have been much easier to answer them if they had asked him what his ambitions weren't, but on the spur of the moment he replied
'To live somewhere warm and sunny, with a beautiful girl, on a boat.'
Today he lives on a 26' sailing boat in San Diego Bay with an ex-model called Cadence1. They used to have sea lions in his 'garden' but recently they moved to a different marina and now they have to go sailing if they want to see them. It just goes to show that you should be careful what you wish for. Because of this he is keeping quiet about the other dream - the one with the teenage nymphomaniac twin sisters and the bottle of champagne.
Stragbasher does a lot of painting for money. Any colour you like as long as it's white (Or magnolia.). The most artistic paintwork he has ever done was to put black and yellow stripes on kerbstones in an underground car park in Suhl, Thuringen (Germany). In his spare time he is also Development Co-ordinator for the Starchaser rocket program, which means that his job is to try and help them raise some money through sponsorship. This job came about when during a fit of lunacy he volunteered, and now he is more or less on his way to the moon.
I asked him about some of the interesting things that he has done or seen and was given quite a unique list of items. Among them were; watching the sunset over Lake Van in eastern Turkey, where he was hitchhiking with his Swedish girlfriend. He went on to tell me that the best place to see the sunset is from is the castle built by the Hittites (before the Trojan War). You can see the suns last rays illuminating Mt. Ararat in the distance. He has also been known to 'hunt' rhinoceros in Nepal on elephant-back. Once he found himself with the Taj Mahal to himself (OK, there were 4 of them). While attempting to hitchhike deeper into the Sahara from L'ayounne (1,000 miles south of Tangier) he was turned back by the police, due to martial law being in force that day.
While in Indonesia he viewed the Komodo dragon escapade. He even went back to Turkey to see real live whirling Dervishes do their thing. Let's not forget the time he won a woman in a raffle in Australia, or when he persuaded the Gibraltar police not to arrest the regimental piper who celebrated Burn's Night by playing 'Scotland the Brave', unbelievably loudly, in the kebab shop he was working in. There was also the time he found himself stranded on a rather remote Greek island at the end of the tourist season after getting confused due to a surfeit of vodka. Just when you thought he could get in no more trouble he was arrested by Australian immigration for working illegally, and got away with it. He also told me of the time he swam the Rio Grande from Texas to Mexico and back, along with being warned back from the Berlin wall (in the bad old days) by E German border guards. Oh! and the time he swam with dolphins or when he accidentally set fire to two girls in the 'Zungen Kuss', a bar in Berlin, on his 30th birthday. And for some reason there was even a time when he saw a Mexican policeman pull his gun out of his holster and point it at his own head to make a point. Lastly he also told me of the time he had to hide from the chief of police on a Greek island (different island) who wanted to talk to him about the photo's of the naked man standing (covered in whipped cream) on the bar he worked in. He adamantly insists that it wasn't him, honest!
He found his way to h2g2 via the BBC online. Stragbasher downloaded a radio show that DNA made for them about the internet. He followed the link to his website and from there to h2g2 in September last year if he recalls correctly.
He greatly enjoys foruming (when the load time permits) with all sorts of people and has made some very good friends, but he joined originally because he thought he might have something to contribute to a guide like the one in the books. Call it a romantic attachment to the Ford Prefect ideal, if you like. He states that part of the fun of the forums is that you get to meet people who have all kinds of arcane or specialised knowledge, and are enriched by the encounter. Every time he comes across someone like this he finds himself 'wowed' and thinks about what the guide, as the repository of all knowledge in the known universe, could be. Unfortunately, in his mind, there doesn't seem to be as much attention paid to the editorial process as there is to the community side of things. Stragbasher agrees that, yes, it's important that we all get along together, and interact for our mutual benefit, but wouldn't it be great if the people who regularly contribute good stuff were:
a) Encouraged by being recognised for their efforts, and
b) Consulted about what happens to their stuff after it is submitted?
He says the number of typos in approved entries is simply inexcusable, but states that it's not fair to blame the subs, who are unpaid volunteers doing a hard job because it needs doing. He feels the selection and training procedures don't seem to be working as well as they could and that the PTB should alter the process to improve final quality.
Stragbasher is quite proud of the h2g2 Interplanetary Society that he has started which is dedicated to the idea that the human race IS going to go into space in large numbers. He has contributed a few articles for the post, and started work on some new entries but finds himself a bit aimless at the moment - just doesn't seem to have the heart for it. So for now he just hangs out in forums, choosing entries or researchers at random to visit and tinkers with his homepage.
When asked if he could change one thing about h2g2 he said that he would love it if they would put him in charge. In fact, if they were feeling real generous that day, they could just go ahead and hand the company over to him. After all, he could use the money (wink, wink).
Apart from h2g2 Stragbasher enjoys travelling the world (as you probably guessed by now LOL!) and living. Right now he sails regularly and as this article goes press he's out crewing for a racing yacht in the same race as the 'Stars and Stripes' America's Cup boat. Last week he went camping in the mountains and up until someone stole all his scuba gear in Texas a few months back he did quite a bit of diving. He also tends to take all his clothes off a lot when the weather permits, bragging that he is a world champion nudist. (Prizes are awarded for the quantity, rather than the quality of your nuding.) Food plays a big part in his life and, in his opinion, he makes a mean curry, which is his staple diet. (Patak's brand, hard to find in the USA but it's there if you look.)
If you are interested in learning more about this researcher please do pay a visit to his webpage, planetchris, the coolest place to be this millennium! Here you will find loads of travel stories/free individual things. If you have any travel tales to contribute he would be more than glad to host them. Asteroid Lil is working on new graphics for him which will improve the look of his page tremendously. You may even have ideas on how he might be able to make money out of this page. If so please do tell him, it will make him ecstatic. You may also want to pay a visit to Starchaser where you will find a bunch of amateurs who build space rockets in their spare time, and succeed!! They are ranked joint #1 to win the X-prize now and the next test-launch is scheduled for June 8th.