Ahhh!!! I must say that these interviews have been quite a learning experience for me, and I only hope that you find them just as interesting. This week we will be delving into the world of 'Fairly Strange'. Now, sit back, grab a nice cup of tea and discover the man behind the name...
Fairly Strange was born on a day like any other day in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA in 1957. He spent his first two years of life there before his parent's dragged him to the 'bastion of forward thought' called Alabama, where he has remained ever since. He lives in a quiet little suburb of Birmingham with his lovely, thoughtful, smart, beautiful and everything else you could ask for wife, her daughter and their *adopted* daughter. He also has a 24 year old son by his first wife, who has done his best to make up for being an only child by providing him with 3 grandsons and 1 granddaughter. He has been employed as a 'vertical ditch-digger'(his way of saying he sets utility poles) for some 25 years, now. Normally it is not hard work, and allows him to be outdoors where he loves to spend most of his time. At home he enjoys working in the yard, doing repairs, upgrades to his house and picking on his guitar.(What has it ever done to you NM?... ed.) Here, lately, most of his time has been spent 'tinkering' on cars and goofing on this damnable computer!
As far as discovering 'The Guide' many years ago (back when it really was a trilogy!), he told me that he had read the books and found himself completely and instantaneously addicted. Through the years he has reread them several times and found himself enjoying them just as much as he did the first time. A couple of years ago his lovely, thoughtful, smart, beautiful and everything-else-you-could-ask-for wife purchased him a hardback set, and it was at that time he discovered the rest of the books. Then, sometime last year, there was a write up in the local paper about a new website called 'The Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy'. As soon as he got a chance, he headed straight for it. He found himself completely intrigued with their attempts to actually create an Earth edition of 'The Guide' and was instantly hooked! He has since developed many friends from around the world and has even had the pleasure of meeting some of them in person. He hopes to be able to meet others on the site at some time in the future. He finds this site different from any of the other web sites out there as the people here are quite interesting, personable and, most of all, they are real (yes, even when they are 'in character'). This is the main thing that keeps him coming back.
As far as the Fairly Strange nickname goes, he wanted to use something with a ring of 'The Guide' in it, but wanted it to be self-descriptive as well. After much deliberation (a minute or two, at least), he remembered that Earth had been referred to as 'Mostly Harmless'. While he couldn't necessarily say that about himself... he felt Fairly Strange was an apt description, and in keeping with the spirit of the thought!
I found myself quite curious as to the origins of the 'unique' power tools and methods with which he uses them. He replied to my questions by telling me that his parents never hired anyone to repair or improve anything. They just assumed that if it was broken, it couldn't hurt anything to try and fix it! If anything needed building or improving around the house, they'd buy a book on it, then do it! They figured the worst that could happen was that they would have to tear it out and start over! Needless to say, he grew up around, and using, every sort of tool imaginable. He even took Shop class in High School, so he could learn to use even BIGGER tools! His father was a bit of a tinkerer and always liked trying to invent ways to make things better or more efficient. Any of you who have been witness to
his ermmmm... 'adventures', (when it comes to his use of the many tools he has) now know who to thank for the results of his efforts. According to him no matter how good a tool may be... there's always a way to improve it! (You just can never be too sure how the improvements may turn out)
When asked just exactly how he came to start using the 'NM' tag at the end of his many entries, he was somewhat slow with a response. Finally he began to explain how it started with an evening when his son decided it would be great to hang out and get drunk with 'dear old dad'. He tried to convince me that he was not too enthused by the thought but, eventually, caved in, and by the end of the evening he found himself quite the 'sight'. His lovely, thoughtful, smart, beautiful and everything-else-you-could-ask for wife made sure that a good, loyal and trustworthy (not to mention quite fascinating and beautiful) friend at h2g2 was aware of every detail when it came to what occurred between the time he swallowed his first beer and the next morning. This friend made sure, in the next forum that she caught him in, that he was aware of her knowledge of his escapades and one incident in particular... which she was nice enough to describe only by the initials NM. The sudden flurry of questions about the initials prompted him to start using them at the end of all his postings, just for fun. He soon found a valid use for them, though. He says that, with 4 of them sharing this 'puter on h2g2, log-in mix-ups can be rather common. He found that by using the NM tag, no matter which user was officially on, researchers could know if it was him or someone else in the household who had replied to a forum.(Besides... he kinda likes the 'Nick'!)
So, there you have it dear readers: where our very own 'Fairly Strange' came from, how he found his way here, and a bit about the initials at the end of all his posts. Now, if he would just tell us what they stand for, all of our curiosities would be fulfilled.