Friday, August 27, 2010

Every Friday I interview a different person and share that interview with you. Perhaps they will be a fellow-author. Perhaps one of my neighbors. Maybe the bagger at the grocery store. A member of my family. A follower of this blog. Maybe it will be you! Hey, it could happen.

Today's guest is Amanda Livingstone. She is a scientist (impressive, eh?) who works the night shift (intriguing and impressive). She and I also attended high school together so she knows a whole lot of embarrassing stories about me. We will not, however, be revisiting any of those. So don't even ask!

Let's get to know Amanda!

SME: Welcome to INFF. Are you just overcome with excitement about this interview or what? haha

Amanda Livingstone: I could hardly sleep last night! Oh wait...

SME: Niiiice!
I hope you'll be able to stay awake. :)

Amanda Livingstone: I'm getting pretty good at appearing awake while I cat nap.

SME: Let's hope you aren't a nuclear scientist or something like that. Somehow I don't like the thought of a nuclear scientist cat napping on the job.

Amanda Livingstone: Nope, but my job is kinda important. I always stay awake at work.

SME: Phew. Are you allowed to tell us what you do, or is that top-secret, ultra-classified information?

Amanda Livingstone: Not at all secret, except for confidential patient information. I work at a hospital.

SME: Aaah. I have a long history with hospitals, myself. Though not as an employee.

Amanda Livingstone: It is secret in the sense that no one really understands it. Does that count?

SME: That completely counts. Plus it makes you sound really, really smart

Amanda Livingstone: Exactly. I try to keep it that way, sometimes I don't even know what I'm talking about!

SME: That is officially the quote of the day. "Sometimes I don't even know what I'm talking about."

Amanda Livingstone: I like it! My new catch phrase at work is "I have a problem with this/you" You'd be surprised how often it can be used.

SME: And I must say there is something inherently mysterious about a "night shift scientist," I could so see that as the title of a thriller or a superhero in a comic book

Amanda Livingstone: I wear a lab coat. That's almost a costume.

SME: "I have a problem with you" could be your superhero catch-phrase! You say that right before you take the villain out!

Amanda Livingstone: Saving the world, one specimen at a time!

SME: Endless potential here!!
When did you first get interested in being a superhero... er... a scientist?

Amanda Livingstone: I started out as a nursing student but I fell in love with bacteria in a microbiology class and found my true calling.

SME: "I Fell In Love With Bacteria" -- also a great potential title of a book!

Amanda Livingstone: It could be a series.

SME: I am getting so many ideas!!
Book blurb: "A nursing student falls in love with bacteria. When an evil pharmacy student kills her one true love, she vows to get even and becomes "Night Shift Scientist!"

Amanda Livingstone: It's true! Those evil medical people are always trying to kill the bugs, and all I want to do is grow them! We are in a constant conflict.

SME: It's the perfect set up for a superhero series, I'm telling ya.
So, Night Shift Scientist, do you have a favorite continent?

Amanda Livingstone: Being the mother of a 7 year old boy I'm very tempted to pick Pangea (if that counts) but I'm also pretty partial to North America.

SME: Feeling the partiality for North America, myself.

Amanda Livingstone: It's also really the only continent I've been on, so...

SME: Yeah. I understand.
To make up for our lack of traveling experience, how about a world-famous INFF game?

Amanda Livingstone: I hope I'm ready.

SME: I think you're gonna rock it. Or you can always pull out the universally feared "I have a problem with this" if things don't go well.

Amanda Livingstone: Oh, I'm sure you'll hear it at some point.

SME: Score!
I've entitled today's game "Strange Science." I'll ask you a question about an unusual scientific study and you'll have to choose the correct answer from the three choices. Get 'em right and you'll be crowned INFF champ!

Amanda Livingstone: Sounds exciting.
Do I get your voice on my home answering machine?

SME: I may have to add that as an incentive someday, but I don't know if Carl Kasell has that copyrighted.

Amanda Livingstone: Hmmm. I have a problem with that!

SME: So do I!
Question number 1: A 2008 study came to what groundbreaking conclusion?

A. Adolescent boys stink. A lot.
B. Anti-Social people don't like other people
C. Exercise makes people tired

Amanda Livingstone: Maybe I'm just feeling the lack of sleep, option C is sounding pretty good. But I'm going to have to go with A. It is just too ridiculous.

SME: Wow, Night Shift Scientist. You danced all around that one. The answer was, in fact B. Apparently Anti-social people don't like people. Took a genius to figure that out.

Amanda Livingstone: Oh man! I didn't think they'd be able to get them to come in to be studied.

SME: Almost miraculous, isn't it?

Amanda Livingstone: Maybe they hid in the bushes. That's what I would do. We scientists are sneaky.

SME: Which is why you would be an excellent superhero.

Amanda Livingstone: I'm suddenly wondering if a girl trying to save germs wouldn't maybe be a villain. Which is actually also pretty cool.

SME: Question 2: In 1667, a math textbook (which later became infamous for being unnecessarily complicated and wordy) by mathematician Edward Cocker known was published under what title?

A. Infinitely Simple Mathematics
B. The Study of Mathematics in Such a Manner as to be Understood by the Simplest of Individuals
C. Arithmetick: Being a Plain and Familiar Method Suitable to the Meanest Capacity for the Full Understanding of That Incomparable Art, As It Is Now Taught by the Ablest School-Masters in City and Country.

Amanda Livingstone: I have to go with C. I think I had his great grandson as my biochem professor.

SME: In other words, ridiculously wordy explanations is not uncommon in math and science type people?

Amanda Livingstone: Why would anyone with talent and brains chose to express them selves simply and plainly when they can stun people with their incredible wit and grasp of the english language while simultaneously entertaining their own sense of grandeur?

SME: Yup. The answer was C. Apparently the whole book was like that, explaining really simple things in such a complicated way that no one knew what he was talking about.

Amanda Livingstone: Yep, biochem all over again.

SME: Final question: Scientists thoroughly researched the interpretation of sighs. What reason did they give for choosing this subject matter?
A. One team member had always been confused by the sighing that seemed rampant in his romantic relationships
B. Sighing is an under-appreciated form of communication
C. No one had ever done an in-depth study of sighing before.

Amanda Livingstone: I'm imagining some of my coworkers would induce a healthy amount of sighs in a relationship, but not the good kind. But I'm going with B, because it just feels right. (how unscientific of me)

SME: While I agree that sighing is highly under-appreciated, the answer was C. The scientists were so baffled that an in-depth study of sighing hadn't been done. So, naturally, they devoted years of their life to correcting that oversight.

Amanda Livingstone: *sigh* how disappointing.

SME: Yes. *sigh* Very sad. *sigh*

Amanda Livingstone: Did they discover anything groundbreaking?

SME: One particularly insightful discovery... sighs can be easily misinterpreted. Shocking, eh?

Amanda Livingstone: Well worth the grant money.

SME: *snorts, but then sighs* So, are you totally excited to see your fabulous stick-figure portrait?

Amanda Livingstone: I've been waiting weeks for this!

*SME shows off her superhero-esque drawing abilities*

Amanda Livingstone: Oh! I love flip flops! But they are not proper PPE (Personal protective equipment) I could lose a toe! Don't show my manager.

SME: I thought the flip flops made you seem very daring, considering the vial of something dangerous looking in your hand

Amanda Livingstone: That is the first thing I thought of. Also, the lack of clothing. Very daring indeed.

SME: I imagine nudity is not proper PPE, either.

Amanda Livingstone: Yep, that is very much frowned upon. But who knows what's going on under the lab coat...

SME: So, that brings us to the final question of the interview... Top 5 reasons this is the best blog interview you've ever done. Ready. Go.

Amanda Livingstone: 1. It is the only blog interview I have ever done.
2. I got a new outlook on my career. My nights will fly by when I perform my duties as my alterego.
3. I failed the test about crazy scientists, which actually makes me feel better about myself. Maybe I'm not truly one of them.
4. It gave me a reason to stay up past my bed time.
5. Remembering my biochem days makes me appreciate my graduation day all over again!

SME: You know, failing the crazy scientist quiz made me feel better about you, too.
Thanks for being my first ever scientific superhero here on INFF!

Amanda Livingstone: Thank you! It was so much fun!

SME: *cue exit music* Well, this has been "I Need Friends" Friday. Come back next week when I will make another friend!!

If you'd like to be interviewed for "I Need Friends" Friday, shoot me off an email: friends at sarahmeden dot com!
I am looking for anyone and everyone, whether or not you think you are interesting. You'll get a fantastic stick figure portrait of yourself, a little promotion (if you're looking for that sort of thing) and the opportunity to tell your friends and family that you've been interviewed by SME, er... by ME!

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