Sunday, 3 February 2008

Great Interview Experiment - fatboyfat interviews Robin

Robin from Montanamoonshine went and got herself interviewed by me as part of the Great Interview Experiment. I asked the questions. She gave me the answers. Here we go:

1: The first sentence you wrote on your blog was "So we want to start a distillery." That's something guaranteed to get your audience interested! What made you decide to do go into this line of business?

It happened as a bright idea a few years ago when my husband, W, was working in another part of the world in the heat, and this had been his third consecutive Christmas that he had been away from me. He called me up one day and said that we should make moonshine because it was a lot easier than what he was doing, and guaranteed to make just as much money (He’s from the South where moonshining is rampant and he grew up drinking it and watching it being made). I laughed about it for about three seconds, and then realized it was a pretty dang good idea. Since I am a law abiding citizen, I looked into the laws in Montana and found that distilling liquor is very legal here. So legal that they had just passed a bill that previous summer giving tax breaks to anyone who wanted to open a small-batch distillery. To date, there is still no one producing anything because, I assume, it is time consuming, expensive, and difficult to get started.

2: I imagine opening a distillery isn't the easiest thing to do. Where are you with that at the moment?

We need to sell our house in Stevensville first so we can free up some money (want to buy it? I’ll cut you a great deal). Also, it takes almost a year to be approved by the ATF and almost as long to get your distiller’s bond. And we need a shit ton of money. I’m working on that part right now by researching and writing grants and applying for financing. I don’t talk about it much because everyone expects me to say something enlightening about it, and I’ve got nothing. Sorry everyone. Boring business stuff going on right now. That’s it. You’ll all know when something more exciting happens than learning the difference between an SCorp and and LLC.

3: Last year you took a long break from posting. I can imagine why, considering everything that was probably happening at the time. But what was it that made you want to start again after such a gap?

Ah, the break in posts where I lost about 90% of my readership. Right. Thanks for the poke in the ribs. In order to answer that, I need to tell you why I quit in the first place. I quit because I couldn’t find the energy to put into writing everything that was happening over that period of time. I have to say that I was challenged more emotionally than I ever really have been in my life (I’ve had a pretty good life, so don’t read too much into it – I’ve had it fairly easy). I guess I was challenged not in that it was difficult, but in that it was unstable. I don’t do well with instability. I started again because I found that I needed an outlet for everything happening in my life. I started with a post about things that made me happy, so it was easier to get back into without having a nervous breakdown. Although I try to not get too personal, it seems to be just enough for me to maintain a healthy mental state. I’ve always been a journaler, but took long breaks from it – years at a time sometimes. I have never needed to accountable to my journaling, and this has been a good way to be accountable on my own time. Besides, it’s cheaper than therapy.

4: I like the way you wrote a couple of "retrospective" posts, talking about things that had happened twelve months previously. Might you consider continuing this, to cover the rest of the period you hadn't journalled at the time?

Yes, I’m planning to keep doing this. I was surprised to find just which memories bubbled to the surface and my feelings surrounding them. I’ve always put on a brave face and never really talked about ‘feelings’ because I’m not really a touchy-feely sort of person. I had a hard time with those first two retrospective posts because of everything they encompassed about my personal life. Writing about that time in my life sort of freaked me out and I’m just getting up the courage to do it again. Watch for one soon.

5: Are there any subjects you wouldn't write about on your blog?

I don’t really like to talk about my personal life in depth very much. The surface things are easier – petty conflicts over washing the dishes, what I did over the weekend, or whatever. I don’t think I’ll ever talk about the state of my marriage in a negative way (no need to really, it’s pretty solid); I don’t believe in airing my dirty laundry. And I won’t give my endorsement on a political candidate. And I won’t talk about work much – not because I’ll get fired, but because Ennis is really, really small and it wouldn’t be hard to use some information against us.

6: Many bloggers treat their blogging as a bit of a guilty secret. Do your nearest and dearest read your blog, and if they do, what do they think of it?

W, one of my sisters and a few close friends know about it, but since I do talk about personal things, I rather like the anonymity of it. It’s not exactly a secret – I’d tell someone if they asked, and it’s not a big deal if those I know tell others who might know me, but I won’t announce it from the rooftops. I don’t know what they think of it. I guess the fact that I’m linked to in a few places tells me they want others to know it’s worth a read, so that’s good.

7: Describe a typical day in the life of Robin.

6:45 roll my tired worthless ass out of bed
7:00 go to the gym when W gets back from it
8:15 get back home and start getting myself and the girls ready for the day (W feeds them and changes diapers, etc while I’m at the gym)
9:00 drop off rug rats and go to work
4:00 come home and play with the kids/check email/get the mail/walk the dog
8:00 put the girls to bed
8:01 crack open a cold cold beer and take a long draw
8:02 smile in marked satisfaction
10:30 crash in bed

Some days I skip the gym. Some days I skip work and keep the kids home. Those days are pretty lazy and very unproductive. But fun. On the weekends, move the gym to 8:00 or 9:00 or sometimes 10:00 and everything else is a free-for-all (except that important bedtime). We go for long drives sometimes and very often in the summer will go for long hikes or go fishing.

In the middle are some good conversations, paying bills, a little bit of cleaning, phone calls, cookie baking, TV watching, book reading, and so forth. Pretty boring, really, but it’s pretty good all the same.

8: I'd like some recommendations. What have you read recently - blogs, books, whatever - that you really enjoyed?

Jeez. I have only really read children’s’ books for the last three years. I finished the Harry Potter series, all books in succession in just a couple of months. I have a little crush on Daniel Radcliffe which started after I saw some of his interviews about his stage performances. Which is a little creepy because I’m 15 years or so his senior. Anyway, the endless reading nearly drove W crazy. It killed him. “Hush, I’m reading.” “Not now, I’m reading.” “What? I didn’t hear what you said for the last thirty minutes, I was reading.” Since then I haven’t picked up a book with words longer or more complex than “caterpillar.” He’s a hungry one, that dastardly caterpillar.

All the blogs that I really enjoy (including yours, by the way) I link to.

We have cable and since we’ve had kids we haven’t been to the movies very often. Probably three times in the past three years. So I enjoy a good Showtime movie. Blood Diamonds has been on lately, and so has Showgirls (I think that’s the name – the one with Jennifer Hudson?). Those were pretty good movies. We watched Charlie Wilson’s War over Christmas because my mom volunteered to watch the kids we dumped my kids on my folks for a few hours. That was pretty good. And I’m a little obsessed with Top Model. Oh wait, that’s not reading. Never mind on that. I read the paper every day. Always start with the opinion page. There are some pretty crazy f***ers living in Montana. Pretty good reading there.

No. Sorry. No good recommendations for normal people. I could tell you my favorite books to date, but that would take a while. I used to read a book every couple of days when I didn’t have kids and didn’t own a TV. I was a lot smarter then.

9: In your recent post "Soapbox" you make reference to the current US election preliminaries. They're getting quite a bit of coverage over here, so I can only imagine what it's like in the States. Does there come a point where you want to say "Enough, already"?

Oy. Election primaries kill me. I wish we could just vote already and be done with it. I also don’t understand why the primaries are a full 9 months or more before the general. That means just more polar opinions rolling around the television for a longer time. I don’t watch TV much during election time except for the debates. There have been some pretty good ones lately. Actually, the primary election coverage is nothing compared to the couple of months leading up to the generals. That’s the worst. If you’re getting it over there, just give up on your TV in six or seven months.

10: I'll continue to read your blog after the interview experiment is over. Without giving too much away, what can I look forward to seeing?

Thanks for your faithful readership pledge. Expect more retrospective posts, definitely. And more drink recipes. I don’t like to post drink recipes unless I’ve tried them. And since I’m not a heavy drinker it might take me a while to get around to recipes that folks have emailed to me. I’m lying. I’m drunk right now. I kid!

I actually wrote New Year’s resolutions this year (which is a pretty new thing to me because I usually start my new year on my birthday) because 2007 wasn’t the best year for me mentally and financially. I’m thinking of it as a fresh start. So I might post on those a little. I don’t like resolutions that are cliché (lose a thousand pounds, become a millionaire, keep my house clean), but I did resolve to make more money. Which shouldn’t be hard. I try to be as vague as I can with myself so I can get away with more.

11: You're preparing for the ultimate dinner party. Who is invited, and what's on the menu?

Uh… Emeril, Oprah, Larry King… I kid!

This was the hardest question for me. I love to throw parties, and I like to invite people who are enough like each other so there is some good conversation, but different enough so everyone learns something new. That said, I do love a good party with everyone in the neighborhood invited. I wish I could honestly say that I would want Jesus Christ or Buddha or someone equally as historically incredible at my party, but really, I’d just like some nice light conversation and good food and drinks. I like potlucks. They’re not fussy or snobby or anything like that. I like to prepare the main dish, usually a meat dish of some sort, and I really love to grill steaks.

One of my favorite parties was when a bunch of random people showed up, split up and went to the store to grab food; we threw some burgers on the grill, drank some beer, laughed, and stayed up until all hours of the night. I’m not so much a fancy dinner party type person as I am a having fun with good company type of person. Any food is good food if your guests are fun. Sort of a lame answer, but it’s the truth.

Thanks for the answers, Robin. I look forward to reading on...


robin said...

Er sorry... The last sentence should read, "sort of a lame answer," not question. The question was good.

fatboyfat said...

Consider it amended!


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