Saturday, 8 October 2011

HoP Idol Week 3

So we're back after a brief hiatus due to a bereavement in the family (my thoughts are with you Dethtron), for week 3 of HoP Idol. Last week we lost Inquisitor_Dunn, which was a shame, because I genuinely didn't think his article was anywhere near the weakest. This has me concerned as I don't think the voting is based on how good the articles have been, but more on the 'popularity' of the authors. I didn't enter a beauty contest but that seems to be what I've ended up in.

However, I think it's fair to say I've surpassed my own personal goal of actually not being the first contestant eliminated, so from here on out it's all gravy. Because yet again last week (week 2) I stormed to the number 1 spot with a clear advantage over the competition. So a big thank you to everyone who voted for me... I think some of the other contestants might be starting to hate me just a little bit now you know. If I stop blogging for a few weeks it's because I'm dead after they all clubbed together to take a hit out on me!

In week 2 we were asked to do a quickfire challenge around building an army. The winner would get immunity from the public vote. Even though I'd almost certainly excluded myself from the running after having flagrantly broken the rules on that challenge. Turns out though that the judge flaked on them so that idea has gone up in smoke, which is a shame because I quite liked the idea. Also the short, restrictive nature of the challenges made them enjoyable to write, it meant they were quite good fun to try and turn them into an interesting piece. However, we were given a task to do this week that revolved around our first ever wargame, or how we got into the hobby. It just doesn't count for anything, I'm not even sure they're going to be published, but any way here's mine:

    If the others do get published I'll whack them up here as soon as they do. It's the only fair thing to do.

    Our main challenge though this week was to actually interview one of the writing staff from HoP. Now at first I didn't think this sounded too hard, I mean we're all wargamers right? Plus we've all got blogging in common... thing is, in reality we know sod all concrete about any of them do we? Plus they don't really know us now do they? So how on earth do you tackle an interview where neither the interviewer or the interviewee know anything about each other. You know, without it just being about boring generic questions? Turns out that's actually quite hard, because all you really have to go on is their blog content, which doesn't really tell you all that much now does it? I actually think this week might actually start separating out the strong from the weak... just to be clear we're all probably weak!!!

    Another concern I had was that the writers of HoP themselves aren't all 'equal' in terms of who they are. I mean, SinSynn is going to provide funny answers to rubbish questions, so whoever got him was going to have  an easy time of it to put it bluntly. The same could be said of GMort too, or as some of my friends refer to him, 'the blogger with a big gob' and I don't think they mean that in a bad way. GMort has opinions, strong opinions and he's not afraid to voice them, so again, even with rubbish questions I think he was an 'easy' candidate to interview because he's always bound to throw the odd thought grenade in their. Then we have Lauby, now I thought he'd be a difficult one to read, but actually I found him really easy to chat to, so again I have to say I had a very easy task this week, just talk hobby with a really top bloke. Loquacious and Dethtron I'd put into the the same sorts of category as I originally put Lauby in. They come across as 'thinkers', not necessarily outright entertainers. That makes them potentially more interesting subjects, but also harder subjects to squeeze the goodness out of. No I don't think this week was a level playing field.

    First up was Lantz who interviewed GMort...

    Lantz has written some pretty good articles so far in the competition, and I actually quite like reading GMorts blogs too, I have done for a fair few months now. Even if I don't always agree with what he has to say about the hobby, GMort does at least articulate his opinions on things well, and he always backs himself up with coherent arguments... and that is something I respect in anyone. Weird thing is, if I'd interviewed GMort I could've done it in person as we live in the same city! But that would have been unfair, and too easy. As to be expected though, I think the interview started slowly with some 'obvious' questions, which as I mentioned above was pretty much inevitable given we didn't really know anything about each other. However, once it got going I think it morphed into an OK quickfire question and answers session that covered a lot of topics. Even if it didn't really go into great detail on any of the topics with follow up questions, sorry I just don't feel like this was an interview, it was a questionnaire. However, the only question that I felt wasn't needed and just seemed 'obvious' was the one about Matt Ward. I'm really glad not everyone asked that question as I think it's getting a bit tired now. We know nobody likes him, probably not even his mom likes him. Perhaps it's time we all just let it slide, and move on?

    Next up to attempt their interview we had Von talking to Loquacious...

    Now I had a grumble and gripe about how this interview or article was laid out initially. Don't get me wrong it looked nice and pretty, I guess, but I found it bloody difficult to read as it flip flopped between left and right alignments, and as I have a defective brain and am dyslexic I really, really struggled with it. In the end I had to cut and paste it into word, and sort it out from there, which is way more work than I'm used to! I'm sure not many others would have had that issue though, but as my brain is broken anything that makes that worse for me annoys me. Lauby did put the formatting right, and made it far easier on people. However, with that gripe out of the way and sorted very quickly, I have to say overall it was an excellent interview and Von did a fantastic job of getting some interesting and informative answers out of Loquacious. I have a far better sense of 'who' Loquacious is now and as far as I'm concerned that is the exact thing a good interview should do, tell you a little bit more about the person being interviewed. So all round it was a good job by Von and I enjoyed Lo's answers. It also gave me an insight into Von as a person as well, and made them both seem more 'human' to me. Good job.

    Third into the fray was HOTPanda interviewing... erm... HOTPanda. Look, no I don't get it either...

    So... erm... yeah this was interesting. As I suspected, it was indeed HOTPanda who had broken the rules this week and had taken the risk and rolled the dice. We had each been given a member of the current HoP writing staff to interview, and Panda had drawn Dethtron. He decided however that interviewing himself would be far more interesting. Not too sure whether Dethtron would agree with that though! It was a brave call if you ask me, as it could've back fired horrifically and I hear it's very difficult for Panda's to get egg out of their face fur! Luckily though, I think he pulled of an interesting and funny article. Even if he did come across as slightly unhinged at times, and it did read at points like a therapy session. Hopefully though it will garner enough votes to see him through to the next round of voting as I think he deserves it for his ballsy decision to swim against the tide... oh yeah, and before you ask, no I'm not sure what's going on in the picture above either. And yes, I'm aware it looks like two Panda's chewing a turd!

    The fourth interview posted up was the 'other guy' interviewing SinSynn..

    In terms of structure this was very similar to Lantz's interview with GMort, insofar it was more of a 'quickfire questionnaire' than an interview. You see I believe an interview should be more of a 'discussion' than this. However, the questions the other guy asked did get some pretty funny responses from SinSynn, but as a friend of mine said 'SinSynn would be funny no matter who interviewed him', so on this one I'm going to say it's hard to judge how good a job the Other Guy actually did. Certainly in terms of whether he did a good job with the interview and his questions or not. However, it was an entertaining read, and in the end isn't that all that matters? Sure I'd have personally preferred a bit more of a discursive interview, and like Lantz, neither actually chose to expand on any of the answers their respondents gave them, which is a cardinal sin when doing an interview. So because it was a quickfire interview, and here's the thing, some of SinSynn's answers begged further follow up questions and the format didn't really give the Other Guy the scope to do that. Just such a waste of a glorious opportunity.

    So right at the back of the pack again (if I continue I might have to have words with Dethtron!), was my interview with Lauby...

    I'd really like to make it clear that if this interview comes across as well organised and planned it wasn't. If there is any merit to it, then it's because Lauby was such a pleasure to interview and I bounced off of his initial answers really well and I think he did likewise off of my questions. It was just two passionate hobbyists chatting about the hobby they love. You see, during the other weeks I've thought that everybody had done a pretty good job, and I've not really been happy with either of my articles so far for a number of reasons. But, we're getting to the nitty gritty now and I think I did a pretty good job this week. While I think some of the articles work, I actually think I did a really great job with my interview, and I didn't stick with the obvious questions about 'Matt Ward' etc. etc., my article WAS an interview, and even if I get turfed out on my ear this week, I'll still hold my head up high.

    So where do I think I'll come this week? I'm really not too sure. It depends on whether or not the readers and voters like the 'discussion' based interviews that both me and Von went for, Von's interview being my favourite (after HOTPandas insane effort), or whether they like the shallow nature of the quickfire efforts from Lantz and the Other Guy. I think GMort and SinSynn were quite easy interviewee's in many respects, because they're blogs read like open books, they wear their respective hearts (in SinSynn's case multiple hearts) on their sleeves, and I think with a bit of research they could've done some really deep and interesting questions, that probed away at the core of who these two bloggers were. Although they did OK jobs, I think they could have both done exceptional jobs and as such I see these as wasted opportunities.

    So I'm going to say it, this week either Lantz or the Other Guy deserve to drop out, because they were, for me, clearly the two weakest interviewers. I don't think they researched their subjects and if they did they certainly didn't do good jobs of it, or show it in their questions, which were poor. In previous weeks, I've been reluctant to say who I think should go home, as it were, because genuinely I found it difficult to differentiate. Not so this week. So there it is, I've pinned my colours to the mast. Honestly I'd prefer to leave the competition than either HOTPanda or Von, because I'm not too sure I want to be part of a competition where the winner is decided by their 'online popularity' or how many friends they can mobilise to vote for them, as opposed to the quality of your work. So I guess though as always, it's up to you guys to vote for the articles you like the most, but can I ask you to give some of you votes to HOTPanda at least because I think he deserves your votes for rolling the dice, and to Von as well, because he actually did an interview. Peace out!


    1. Listen, buddy....
      Matt Ward deserves a good, sound Tentacle beating about the head and neck.
      Your interview was really good, Frontline.

      I am consistently impressed with your ability to actually WRITE.
      I enjoy messing around with the language (which is pretty obvious when I use terms like 'yer,' as in 'yer in trouble'), but people that can actually convey their thoughts in a coherent, lucid fashion and like, describe stuff (like your Reviews, which I love), inspire me to attempt better an' stuffs.
      I'm working on it...but then and go and write a post wherein I argue with an imaginary hamster.
      That lives in my head.

      Your interview with Lauby was quite professional AND a good read, and now I feel like a know a lil' bit more about both HoP and the guy that runs it.
      ...He's every bit the knucklehead I suspected he was.

      Keep bloggin,' brother...I'll keep reading!

    2. Thanks SinSynn as I actually take that as a very big compliment coming from you. However, don't do yourself down. Lauby touched on something in his interview with me that was very important, you need a distinct voice, and there is no question in my mind that you have one of the most 'distinctive' voices on the blogging circuit. Your blogs entertain me and make me laugh, so that's got to count for something right? Would you be up for me interviewing you here on this blog at some point?

    3. Good stuff. I think you have been leading the pack due to the strength of your writting.

      ps What did you write for the poem?

    4. FLG, I really like your voice. I like what you have to say and why you say it.

      I'm really flattered you enjoyed Von's article so much- I tried to be honest and open (which is sort of my thing) and enjoyed the process.

      Von and I know each other via blogging, and he's read my blog quite extensively; so he knows what I'm "about". His questions were aimed entirely at who I am as a gamer, and it showed.

      My only real concern is the fact that I'm very much a roleplayer, and that doesn't show in Cleveland (as the saying goes). [It really doesn't go over with the hobby crowd as well as Lauby's absolutely PHENOMENAL paint jobs.]

    5. I'm pretty sure all contests are "beauty contests," as you put ;) Maybe I'm just cynical but seems to me that style always defeats substance in any contest decided democratically.

      Good luck. Say you win, does that mean you have to write weekly stuff for HoP and keep up this blog? I totally wouldn't have the time or dedication to do that.

    6. @I_D Thanks for the compliment, but alas I think James S is right. As usual, Does it get boring being right as the time James? :P

      Also here are my Infinity Haiku:

      I can't remember which one I sent in now, I think it was the Combined Army one, but I'd be happy with any of them!!! lol.

      @Lo, I think perhaps you do yourself a disservice. A couple of my friends find your blogs the most interesting on HoP. As one put it yesterday you're a thicker and you always come at things (whether intended or not) at a different angle. That's interesting to long time nerds like us because we've seen most of the other angles before. I did like the interview very much, after the alignment was sorted. I couldn't read it when it was chaotic EVILLLLLLLL!!! ;)

      @James S, you are right I guess. But I stand for change you can believe in, and if I constantly say the word change you'll all start to identify with me. Even though I've said nothing at all to make me sound like a credible candidate for... erm... change. Change. Now did I mention change? If I wi I guess I'll be writing regular articles. I assume though that the reason they want more authors is to spread the load and burden between more people. Thus lowering the demand. Besides, I not thinking about winning at the moment as I've got a lot on my plate right now. Just didn't want to be the first one eliminated. Anything else is a Brucey bonus.

    7. I'm not always right. Just ask my girlfriend ;)

    8. @James S... ahhhh... no, what that means is you can be simultaneously 'right' in the literal sense and indeed 'wrong' in the strange parallel universe females seem to inhabit. It's a strange phenomenon that has baffled scientists for aeons.

      Also, Lo, I meant to refer to you as a thinker, but clearly my Dyslexia did for me again!!!