Being that type of natural scientist that seems to have become practically extinct after the early 20th Century, I have many and varied interests. Satisfy your morbid curiosity with the minutia of my life by seeing the brief summaries below. I know, it’s a scant meal for an army of stalkers adoring fans, but it will have to do for now.
Ancient Sites & Science - Having dropped history in high-school (I could not see the purpose of knowing the details about the Bolshevik Revolution in my future endeavours) I then tried to emulate Einstein by writing the definitive work on true Human Origins (see The Face on Mars) and thus prove that as a general rule, the normal scholastic process is designed to stifle geniuses. As an aside to this, I have a fascination for ancient cities and sites, and I try to visit them as time permits to verify for myself my own theories. Much of the technology and so called mythology involved with some of these places goes well beyond the sterile platitudes presented by the orthodoxy or indeed the outright lies of plagiarists like good old Zahi How-Ass, who of course not only has been hiding the discoveries of others and not releasing any information about them to the public (like the large chamber discovered under the Sphinx more than a decade ago now) but also stoops to outright stealing other people’s discoveries (Rudolf Gantenbrink’s air-shaft investigations) to pass them off as his own years later after he’s partially duplicated them. My own origins begin in ancient antiquity. Something I only began to become aware of when my now late paternal grandfather explained a little history to me concerning our surname, which is a Latinised version of a Hellenic form, meaning Friend/Lover (Philos) or possibly a shortened form of Philosopher. Venice of course was supposedly founded by the survivors of Troy and being of Venetian origin with such a name can only add to the mystique of what I am sure you will agree is my natural charm, uninhibited by deprecating false modesty. The fact that I, as well as both my siblings, had bright blond hair as children is also indicative of what can only be Atlantean DNA. We hope to have our sovereignty over the Atlantic Ocean as a whole recognised soon. We would only charge very modest tolls on all the commercial shipping you see.
Painting (Watercolours) - This is more like my American Idol section, where I begin by saying that without any training whatever, I have nevertheless felt compelled to grace the world with my natural talent. My main enemy on this particular front being that this is a time-consuming endeavour and I find it difficult to produce more works. Despite this, if I suddenly gained the power to stretch time out indefinitely, I would spend large parts of it engrossed in this relaxing pursuit.
Poetry (Rarely) - This is somewhat tied to writing in that it is not something I actively seek to do, but from time to time, I am taken with a fever, as the old classicists would put it, and some strange muse (with a rather devilish sense of humour too) forces me to commit some strange poem to paper. They tend to be specific, mostly personal and quite surprising to me as I had absolutely no interest whatever in poetry as a whole when in school. Over the years, I have accumulated a small but meaningful collection of them. I would say about three quarters of them were on some level or other inspired by some amorous encounter or liaison so they will probably never see the light of day. To protect the virtues of decidedly fallen ─if lovely─ women. You understand…
Target Shooting - I grew up in a family of hunters, in fact, my very first memory is of shooting my dad’s .38 special at a puddle at about 20-24 months of age. I have of course been told by a doctor that this is medically impossible, but I say blah to that because faced with this affront to my honour, I promptly recalled the event in detail, describing to my father (who was present) that there was also another man dressed in army fatigues next to us. Something no one had discussed at all and indeed was the case as my dad’s astonished face confirmed. Doctors do not know as much as they think they do about the human brain-mind. At any rate, growing up with firearms and hunting, by the tender age of 10 or so, the sight of blood no longer phased me, something it certainly used to do when I was a small child. Although for some reason I was never averse to seeing my own blood. Later in life as I left home and pursued my own path, I concluded that in general there are now too few wild animals left to justify killing them. I still see nothing wrong with hunting done properly, where you respect the prey and track it or hunt it and of course eat it once you caught it. But it is, like many of the skills I have an affinity for, something that few men now understand and those tend to be old men. I still enjoy the pulling of triggers though and as such, until they legalise the practice of acquiring a licence for your favourite politician, I will confine myself to the shooting of paper targets.
Role Playing Games - I can hear the roar of vindication from the geeks amongst you and the shock of surprise from the imagination-challenged. Yes dear readers, I spent many hours playing Dungeons and Dragons, and even more hours playing Classic Traveller (which was really the better game for me as it involved spaceships). Not only did this pursuit foster imagination, problem solving and story-telling, which are all important aspects of socialisation, but it fostered socialisation itself as playing these games with friends ensured certain rules of basic civility were respected. Even if these only extended to killing the Dwarf character whenever his player made him indulge in the necrophiliac abuse of the body of the Elven princesses we routinely miserably would fail to rescue from the ever-present roaming pack of savage dragons and mages. It is fair to say that these games, growing up in rather rural Africa, piqued our curiosity and helped us educate ourselves. It was not at all unusual for us to be able to sleep through physics class while they tried to explain the tragic concept of vector addition to the rest of the plebeians in our year. Vectors…peh! Of course we could do vector calculations! How else would you get your scout ship, crippled by the detonation of a miniature black-hole grenade in the engine room, to avoid being crushed into the gravity well of the gas giant you were orbiting if you couldn’t do a quick gravitational drift calculation on the back of your vacc-suit glove? Especially given that your navigator was in stasis in the cold sleep berth after taking that messy laser bolt to the chest that probably cooked his insides to explosive decompression levels if the amount of lung lining on the forward deck walls had anything to do with it. And yes, if I had time and suitably intelligent friends I would still indulge in a well refereed game of Traveller. It is a pass-time from a nobler, wiser era, where pen and paper and multi-faceted dice trumped cheap CGI special effects and predictable computer-generated story-lines. As an addendum to this particular hobby, it needs to be said that it is a well-recognised fact that role-players are just better in bed, instinctively able to alter their personal style to suit the partner’s kink of the day. So take heart all you role-players. You might not have met your first girlfriend, playing Call of Cthulhu, but you will certainly make her scream louder today by eating her first than any of the non-role-players ever did (there is a thoroughly transparent pun in this last sentence, but you will only get it if you are familiar with the Call of Cthulhu lore).
Film - I enjoy films on many levels and of many genres. I can enjoy a complete B-movie classic like Tremors and its sequel Aftershocks, which were intelligent and funny as well as a rather more serious (and brilliant) The Mission. Excepting truly revolting performances like say Sex and the City, the movie, I can watch pretty much anything, despite my rather refined palate when it comes to intelligent dialogue, plot and cinematography. I am not obsessive about remembering actors’ names however in general I would say my knowledge of film is probably somewhat comparable to that exhibited by the TV personality of Tony DiNozzo in the series NCIS, which also happens to be about the only TV series I like.
Graphic Novels & Drawing – Again, sadly this is a time consuming endeavour and I cannot draw as well as I would like if I had more time to practice. Nevertheless I can continue to enjoy the reading of good graphic novels, which in order to receive top marks should have a great plot as well as good art. Some classics I retain are an almost complete collection of the now out of print Jonah Hex comic books, a similarly extensive collection of Dago (Italian graphic epic running for decades) and various more recent ones such as those by Leo (Aldebaran and Betelgeuse), the B.P.R.D. series inspired by Hellboy as well as the graphic novels (and film) Nausicaa, and many others.
Fencing - I have always been fascinated by the idea of resolving my troubles with a simple duel at dawn (or maybe late morning as I am not much of an early riser) and to my surprise, when I took up fencing I discovered I had a natural talent for the Épée. Indeed the first time I was handed a Saber, the Captain of the team of a well known university in the Midlands, thinking he was being set up by being asked to give me a lesson in the use of the weapon attacked me viciously for a solid five minutes. Surprised, I nevertheless managed to defend myself so that not a single blow touched me. I did not manage to riposte because I was frankly quite shocked at the level of viciousness, but none of his attacks landed and afterwards, when we all went for a drink he would not believe I had never held a Sabre before in my life. True though it was. The fencing instructor I had at the time used to be the Olympic coach for the British team and in his estimation, had I continued to fence, within four years I could have competed at Olympic level. As it turns out, my life took a different turn and I moved to South Africa, where the only fencing they knew of was that used to keep farm animals within a delimited area. Even so, I aspire to one day own a set of straight rapiers and be able to face-slap politicians with impunity.
Tango – Although my time practising this art is once again non-existent, I found I truly enjoy the experience. I accompanied a friend to a lesson one day and ended up practising for some weeks as I discovered that although dancing as a whole was something that I had never had opportunity to explore (as indeed was the case with most things artistic, growing up as I did, in a rather more sanguine and primordial setting) Tango was something I really enjoyed. I would describe Tango as one of the best experiences a man and woman can have together with their clothes on. It is quite indescribable with words and everyone should try to experience it at least a few times. Getting that level of synchronicity between you as happens when both accurately capture each other’s rhythm is akin to a kind of soul telepathy. There is of course the added bonus for ladies that they cannot make any mistakes. Any mistake in Tango is really only the man’s fault. A good female Tanguera of course can make her movements so smooth as to hide the faults of her lead. A balance of the sexes that could be said to have more than a passing analogy to the workings of successful relationships.
Reading - I suppose this too is classed as a hobby, though in my case it would probably be a bit like listing breathing as a hobby. I literally have libraries of books in more than one country and I have given away or got rid of several more. Unlike some book collectors, I have read all of the ones I own. One day, on my island fortress, I shall have a whole wing dedicated to books and films.