- FAQ -

Part I, In Which All Questions Can Be Accurately Answered With 'Ayup'.

Q: So, this is your webpage, then?

A: Ayup.

Q: And this would be the FAQ?

A: Ayup.

Q: Is this it, then?

A: Ayup.

Q: Might there be more someday?

A: Ayup.

Part II, In Which The Author Addresses Questions Submitted By Others.

Q: So, you're waiting for questions to be submitted for your FAQ, huh?

A: Either that, or it's a good excuse to cover up for my laziness in not writing any of my own.

Q: Do they have to be submitted frequently, or will a single asking suffice?

A: More frequently than zero times should do the trick, particularly if I'm procrastinating when I receive them.

Q: Does this mean that there are no questions in your life that you get frequently asked?

A: Surprisingly, this is the only question I get asked a lot.

Q: Did you know the word "ayup" is strongly associated with the dialects of Maine, Yorkshire, and Lancashire?

A: Anope. Not until now. It is also associated, in my head anyway, with Lore Sjoberg, proprietor of The Slumbering Lungfish Dybbuk Hostel and All-Night Boulangerie and humorist extraordinaire. Though I didn't make that connection until after my above use of the word.

Q: When are you going to do some more writing?

A: As soon as I recover from the tragic accident with the tweezer pixies. (Real soon now, I hope.)

Q: Why do you like Peter Gabriel so much?

A: He sings straight to my soul. We share a connection so true and deep that it cannot be spoken in the inadequate words of this poor human language. He was my beloved, in a past life, when I was a gazelle, and he was an antelope. Plus I think his music is pretty groovy.

Q: How many hats do you own?

A: At least 17, 15 of which I can see from where I'm sitting.

Q: What fascinates you about cognitive science?

A: Well, I started out in the field because it seemed like it would provide good pickup lines, really. You just mention that you study thinking, or language, or learning, and suddenly everyone has a dozen personal anecdotes to contribute and thinks you are terribly interesting because they get to tell you all about themselves. But as it turns out, I actually do find it fascinating after all.

It's fun in part because we have such personal insights -- or we think we do -- into how we think about, communicate about, and understand the world. But consciousness is a tricky beast, and our introspections are not always reliable. Language and thought seem pretty simple and transparent, but once you start digging, they're amazingly complex and subtle, and you start to wonder (or I do, anyway), how we learn and think and speak with such ease when we have such trouble actually describing the processes involved. The mind is full of interesting puzzles, and we can investigate them any time we observe or interact with people (otherwise known as messing with our friends' minds, or toying with small babies in some cases).

Also, since I'm a zombie, being near the brain lab is obviously a good thing when I need to grab a quick snack, so that's a definite perk of working in the field, too.

Q: Which do you prefer, Wernicke's or Broca's area?

A: It's really no contest for me. I mean, yeah, everyone's got their favorite and I know feelings run deep on this one, but I personally don't see how anyone could choose Broca's over Wernicke's. Form is great, but content is where it's really at.

Q: How did you become such a good artist?

A: Thanks! I made a bargain with a minor demon of the slightly-underworld, and he told me the secret. It's pretty much all practice and determination, as with most other skills. It was a pretty anti-climactic answer after the whole demon thing, but fortunately all I lost in the trade was a large hunk of cheddar. There's no cheese in Heck.

Q: Isn't it kind of lame that you used someone else's icons instead of drawing your own?

A: There's no shame in recognizing good artwork by other people and utilizing it for your own purposes, or in being too lazy to do your own work. No wait. Strike that last bit -- there is shame in that after all. Yeah, maybe one of these days I'll get around to replacing the "stand-in" clipart. But it is cute. And I am nothing if not lazy.

Q: What makes you think you should have a fanclub?

A: Oh, it wasn't my idea. I was just sitting there one day and this gang of really cool people came up to me and demanded that I let them start a fanclub. Who was I to tell them no? I mean, they were really cool. I would say that you should ask them about their motivations, but, well...