Thursday, November 27, 2008

Interview Thursday. The first Male Guest; Grahamn Cracker!

Hey, blogshpere/ville, I am presenting my first male guest on "Interview Thursday". He is a friend, a cat lover, a wonderful person and I am glad he is here to share a part of his life and experience with us on this segment. Welcome Grahamn Kracker

What can you share with us about you?
"They said that he was just a frog and that frogs could not do those things that he had set as his life ambitions and that, therefore, he should give up all such foolish notions. Being a frog, he did not understand their reasoning and so went out and did them, anyway." - Herman Bernard
Actually, there is no Herman Bernard. I made up the above yesterday and tagged it onto the end of an email that I sent to a friend of mine who is an accomplished author, editor, and hiker. I did it is a joke, but in retrospect, it does kind of sum up my own experience. Whatever is that I have ever wanted to do in life, there has always been someone - a parent, advisor, teacher, seasoned professional - who has always stood in front of me to tell me that I can't do it, but I have done it anyway.
Well, some of it. There is much left to be done. Maybe time will prevent me from accomplishing all of it.
In addition, I stand just under 5'8" inches short, have a wife and five grown children, one grandson, and I live in Wasilla, Alaska - a community that has gained much notoriety lately. I have a passion for photography, writing, airplanes and wild country. I am an extremely ambitious person, yet I am as lazy and lethargic as anyone ever born. I am a reclusive loner who mingles and interacts directly with thousands of people.

Is there any sentiment about Alaska you can tell us?
Alaska! How I love the place! This cold, hard, beautiful, severe, giving land and sea that can take a careless person's life just like that; this place that has generated so much warmth and desire in the human heart, that equally extends its invitation to the dreamer and the plunderer, oftentimes converting one to the other, but ever after locking them into unceasing political, legal - and sometimes lethal - combat.
I say that I was born and raised in exile, what we who live "Inside" call "Outside," in the western portion of the Lower 48 states and the Alaska dream came to me as a boy. One day, my wife and I staged a big yard sale at the place where we lived on her White Mountain Apache Indian Reservation in Arizona, then loaded up what was left, and our then four children into a tiny Volkswagen Rabbit and hit the road north. My father told me that I would turn around before I reached the Canadian border.
When I phoned him from Canada, he told me we would turn around before we reached Alaska. Once we arrived, he told me we would be back within a year. That was 27.5 years ago. "Frostfrog" is an online handle I sometimes use.

You voted Obama, what inspired your decision?
This could be a thesis. First, I thought we needed a president who was intelligent and thoughtful, full of ideas of his own but willing to listen to and be challenged by other ideas; a president who did not need to spill other people's blood to prove how tough he was but was smart enough to know when to use diplomacy and when force was his only option; a President not owned by and subservient to the wealthiest and most powerful Americans, but who would serve the common people of this nation. Barack Obama struck me as such a man. He has an enormous challenge ahead of him. It will make or break him, and with him, perhaps, this country. I think he has the potential to be a great president. The opposition that he is going to face will be enormous. And yes, I like the fact that a black man with an African name has broken through this barrier. This gives me true hope that, despite the storms that descend upon us, America can yet become the nation of its promise - a place where all the peoples of this earth can hash out their differences and make a life for themselves, their country and contribute positively to the world. I don't know that it will happen this way, but Barack Obama gives me hope.

You are a cat lover by chance, how has this affected your life?
Oh, my! One day, I thought I despised cats and the next they were at the very center of life for my family and I. They are just wonderful, intelligent, sensitive, tough, wily, giving creatures, each unique and individual. They brighten life, and add a certain warmth to it, a warmth that is absent when no cats are present.

What inspired your cat blog?
I made a little cat book. I sent it to a publisher of Alaska books. That publisher wrote back and said, "this is wonderful, but the Alaska market is too small for a cat book to succeed." I sent to an Outside agent, as you cannot reach most Outside publishers, but through agents. She wrote back and said this is wonderful - charming and compelling by turn, that she laughed and cried - but it did not fit the formula that she felt it needed to fit for her to find a publisher.
So the frog in me said, "oh, hell, I'll blog about cats." So far, I have barely touched the bulk of cat materials that I have, and every day I add more. In some ways, I am creating a jumble of confusion on that blog, jumping here, jumping there, sometimes wishing that I had never started it at all, yet determined to keep it going. Who knows where it will lead?
Your email add that I have says "running dog" are you a dog lover as well?
I have always loved dogs. Not so long ago, sled dogs were the main winter transport in the larger portion of Alaska. Now, airplanes are, as most of Alaska remains free of highways. So when I managed to get an airplane, I named it "Running Dog" and changed the name of my business to Running Dog Publication. I made runningdog my email handle.

How many dogs and cats do you have?  
Right now, we have four cats, and no dogs. However, my oldest son, his wife and baby have been living with us for half-a-year and probably will for at least that much longer. They have one cat and a St. Bernard and they, too, are part of this household.

You run two blogs? Which started first and why the 2?
The cat blog was first - I started it last May. As blog number two, my professional work has always been print based. In fact, I had been reluctant to even let many of my photos onto the web, for fear that they would be stolen and used for purposes that I did not want. But then I decided that online is where this world now is, and is certainly going. That, however much an artist may want to, ultimately, he must turn his work loose to go where it goes, and these days, that often means online. I concluded that I needed to find a new way to express myself and, rightly or wrongly, chose to make this blog. It would have a base of focus on my strange hometown, Wasilla, but with tools to take me anywhere in the world that I wanted to go. I launched it in September, long before I was ready to, only because my town had suddenly become the focus of much national and international attention, due to Sarah Palin, Wasilla's former Mayor, Alaska's current governor, and aspirant leader of the entire world. I knew that people would be googling Wasilla all over the place, so I launched the blog.

You intend coming to Nigeria "for cats met along the way" project, are you still going to do this project?

I sure hope so. It will be a big challenge, as I continually live on the edge of financial ruin, and it will take some doing to pull off. But I have figured out what I think to be a great "Cats Met Along the Way" journey that I hope to sell to a larger market, one that would provide the financing to do it. This journey would take me across the Pacific to Taiwan, where I would meet Adan*Michico (and Lego), then to India, which now has a strong tie on my heart, and on to Nigeria to meet and photograph you and your cat friends.
It's far from reality right now, but the frog in me believes that it can be done.

Can you give us any insight to your family life?
My wife is full blood White Mountain Apache, which makes our three sons and two daughters half. My oldest son's wife is full-blood Navajo, so our one grandson is half Navajo, one quarter Apache and one quarter the mix that is me. My youngest son is also married to a beautiful and intelligent woman of many talents. My other children are all single and likely to remain that way for awhile, although they all have special someones in their lives..
Due to the wandering nature of my work, I was often absent as my children grew and preoccupied when I was home, struggling to produce my pubications, but we all always loved each other and we still do. We all battle with life, as does everyone, but the love between us is never questioned.

From 25 Nov to Dec 10, the whole world will be having different programs to remind the world that Gender Based Violence is wrong and should end, what is your opinion?
I have a wife, two daughters, two daughters-in-law and a cadre of nieces, all of whom I greatly love. I want all of them to be treated with respect and never as the pawns or punching bags - be the punches physical or mental - of anyone.

What is your philosophy about life?
I'm still trying to figure it out. I don't think I will ever succeed.

Name the 5 must visited blogs and the urls.
Of course, there is the Activist. I always return to your blog, and I enjoy it. I have discovered many other cat bloggers, and try to visit many of these regularly. I will not single them out to five, as there are too many. In the course of a week, I will visit many urls, but the ones that I visit daily include the New York Times, the Anchorage Daily News, Digital Photography Review, Cat of the Day. I often visit the Missoula Independent, the site of a weekly newspaper based on one of the towns of my childhood. Off and on I check out places such as Salon, Slate, and Huffington, but as interesting as all this is it can turn into a blur after awhile. And it eats up the clock.
You-tube always pops up.
There are so many. There are too many. It takes too much time.

How do you see blog as a tool?
Without a blog, I would not know that such a person as Standtall exists. I would hardly think of Nigeria at all. I would not know that the food there is something that people boast about, cuisine that I need to try one day. And you, Standtall, would know nothing of me or my cats.

Any last word?
None of us can get around it. That last word always comes. I hope not for awhile yet. Two or three decades, maybe. Tomorrow, perhaps... later today. I hope not. Shortly after I speak it, my memory of this word will be gone. I have no idea what it will be. Maybe, "Oh, ----!"
. I am a reclusive loner who mingles and interacts directly with thousands of people. By profession, I am a freelance photographer and author. I have produced a variety of publications dedicated to Alaska Native Eskimo, Indian, and Aleut peoples and before that, the Apache. My work has appeared in many publications, including National Geographic and GEO. I have two books on the market, Gift of the Whale: The IƱupiat Bowhead Hunt - A Sacred Tradition and Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian: Dancing on the Land. The later includes stories written by Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian authors.
...I don't know that it will happen this way, but Barack Obama gives me hope. My wife, youngest daughter and I plan to be in D.C. inauguration day. I will, of course, blog the results on Wasilla, Alaska by 300.....

Thank you, Standtall, for giving me this opportunity! "Hello" to all your friends!


naijalines said...

An interesting and insightful interview.

Standtall said...

Thanks Naijalines

Jinta said...

runnning dog better come teach me to fly a plane - my dream

Jinta said...

i like your new avatar by the way. have you changed the fb one as well? oh yes, i have seen you on ther

AustynZOGS said...

Thaks for the sympathy you expressed in my post.I am consoled.

Emeka Amakeze said...

This blog is certified fit for publication.

Emeka Amakeze said...

This blog is certified fit for publication. Corgi style.

LG said...


Standtall said...

Jinta: You want to learn how to fly a plane. Submit your application thru me. Which Avatar afre we talking about?

AustynZogs: You are welcome. God is your strength

Emeka: Thanks a lot

LG: no o, she still dey your house (lol)

Grahamn Kracker said...

Standtall, it was fun to read about myself on your blog. Thank you for the honor and I will be looking to see what bloggers you feature in the future.

May Molly soon come home!

doug said...

Yes ooo! May Molly come back quickly before Standtall starts putting up T.V

wordsmith said...

loved this. Graham seems so... whimsical. and chill. hope he comes to naij and loves it. and i really hope molly comes back because Naij is no place for stray cats...

Abbie said...

Outstanding interview. I don't know if I'm more honored to read about someone who comes from Wasilla and voted for Obama or just someone with a kind heart with a great love for animals. Another Hit ST.

Mista Jaycee said...

I liked this alot.
I will be back often.
Jaycee said...

Hello there!

I really love these interviews that you are doing over here!!

Thank you so much for continuing the interview series!!


In America, it's Thanksgiving holiday so I will say "Happy Thanksgiving" to the folks in your comment section who are in the U.S. of Obama!!!


Afrobabe said...

Long time....serious and insightful interview....welldone...

Standtall said...

Grahamn Kracker: you worth more than having just an interview! Thanks for granting this little one

Doug: I have place the search advert already for Molly. You missed it?

Wordsmith: Grahamn Kracker rocks. U r darn right

Abbie: thanks dearie. GK is an outstanding person

Mista Jaycee: is this the same Jaycee?

Lisa: happy thanksgiving. I really must have you interviewed. You have being on my list long enough. Hope you won't mind

Afrobabe is back! back! back!

Mista Jaycee said...

Hey Standtall,
This is Mista Jaycee!
Emphasis on the Mista!
I have put in the work on my name for over twenty years starting when I was a music producer in Los Angeles until now as a blogger, poet, writer and publisher. I am aware of the Sista who write under the name Jaycee and that's why I make sure folks know the difference. Much love to her though cause she's got great taste!
Mista Jaycee the Poet!

James Tubman said...

he seems very charming

and a lucky man too living in the beautiful serene mountains of alaska

great interview standtall

ive learned a lot and have gotten a lot from just this one post

you are a God send :)

Standtall said...

Mista Jaycees: Yay the Poet!

James Turban: He is a great man I tell you. So when are you starting the interview?

Buttercup said...

This was very interesting n inspiring. Sounds like a really wonderful man.

Buttercup said...

This was very interesting n inspiring. Sounds like a really wonderful man.

Shaela Ann said...

You couldn't have picked a better person to interview. As one of his "cadre of nieces" I have been very blessed to have him in my life. I'm so glad that the online community feels the same way.

This interview captures him very well.

Nice blog Standtall. I will certainly come back and visit. :)

My Passion, my focus, the change that I want to see in the world - is my propellent factor.

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