Angua was born in the former Soviet Union and moved to Canada as a teen. She works as a technical writer and editor, reads more than is good for her, and explores as much of her country and the world as she can afford. She is named after a lady werewolf in Terry Pratchett's Discworld, since she is neurotic about privacy, among many other things. She and her fiancé have endless cats. While she normally blogs at Angua's First Blog, her output has decreased recently, based on personal happiness and TV ownership. You may also catch her guest-blogging at Tacitus.
Why do you blog? > Because I don't like offending or boring people with my views, but I do feel like getting them out.
What has been your best blogging experience? > Having people I admire take my opinions seriously.
What has been your worst blogging experience? > Itchy trigger fingers. Getting het up. Typing first and asking questions later.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > Don't be as shy as I am, and actually contact the bloggers you admire. Read many bloggers, even or especially ones you disagree with.
What are your favourite blogs? > Tacitus - it has the best commenters, as well as the best dead Roman general in all of blogdom. For a solid Canadian view on military issues, I enjoy Flit, even though BruceR seems to be slightly more irritable than usual lately. And he also knows everything. For latest British issues, I like Harry's Place. And my kind interviewer's blog has a great unique perspective.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > People like Vaclav Havel and Mikhail Bulgakov, people who use their art to point out absurdities in repressive society and advocate peaceful resolutions, while having faith in the human spirit.
What are you reading at the moment? > I tend to read a few books simultaneously. On the bus, I am reading Stanislaw Lem's Memoirs Found In A Bathtub. When I need something more thought-provoking, I have the story of an FLQ terrorist, White Niggers of America. The similarity with present-day issues is amazing. For fun by my bed, I also have Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss.
What is your favourite poem? > It depends. Some days, nothing but a Shakespearean sonnet will do. F.R. Scott's 'Bonne Entente' always makes me smile for some reason.
What is your favourite movie? > Truthfully, Guys and Dolls. In a snooty subtitled foreign-film way, Aki Kaurismäki's Drifting Clouds.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > I think I am slowly losing my previously unshakeable belief in natural Canadian superiority. Who was it that said 'any sufficiently advanced society is indistinguishable from Canada'? But, over the last two years or so, I am beginning to realize that we have the same problems and weaknesses as anyone else. It sounds stupid, but I feel like a child who realizes Mom and Dad are not invincible or omnipotent. Of course, it doesn't make me love my home any less.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > Bigotry in all its forms. Treating individuals based on anything other than their individual qualities and achievements.
If you could effect one major policy change in the governing of your country, what would it be? > More representative government, through proportional representation in parliament or an elected senate. There are so many voices that never get heard, and the party machine becomes more powerful than the people it's meant to serve.
If you could choose anyone, from any walk of life, to be Prime Minister, who would you choose? > My fiancé. Nobody would ever vote for him, but he is the most thoughtful and reasonable person I know. He would see both sides of an issue and choose the middle way if possible - or pick the best long-term solution if it's not.
What would you do with the UN? > Get it out of the politics business, as much as possible. There is a definite need for worldwide standards in vehicle registration or health promotion. What's more, it's possible to agree on these matters. The pretence that Libya's view on human rights is just as valid as Sweden's, or that Iran is just as qualified as New Zealand to pronounce on nuclear weapons is ridiculous. Almost as ridiculous as the pretence that someone representing a military dictatorship or a theocracy is somehow the voice of his people, as much as someone from a democratic country is.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > I think the same things that have always been a threat to the peace and security of the world. Greed and fanaticism. In other words, human nature.
Do you think the world (human civilization) has already passed its best point, or is that yet to come? > For a given definition of 'best', the best is yet to come. I am not a believer in the 'good old days'. There are aspects of the modern world I may not personally enjoy, but the variety of options available to the average person grows with every year.
What would be your most important piece of advice about life? > Do it if you have the chance. You will regret not doing it a lot more than you will regret trying and failing.
Do you think you could ever be married to, or in a long-term relationship with, someone with radically different political views from your own? > Depends on the views and the reasons for the disagreement. For most issues, from abortion to the death penalty, I can see a logical non-bigoted way to reach either view. But there are some non-negotiables. I don't think I could have a long-term relationship with an anti-Zionist, because I could not see a non-bigoted way to reach that position.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > Probably the surprisingly rare ability to be honest with yourself.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Isolation. The inability to empathize with others; lack of interest when it comes to issues and people not directly involved with you.
In what circumstances would you be willing to lie? > There is a difference between willingness and ability. I tend to be unwilling to lie under any circumstances, because I am so completely useless at it.
Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge? > I am very prejudiced when it comes to jobs and level of education. I keep meeting brain-dead folks with Masters degrees, and absolutely brilliant cleaning ladies, and I find myself shocked every time.
What, if anything, do you worry about? > Ending up on a street corner in a cardboard box. (I have immigrant parents. Can you tell?)
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > I'd like to be a real rootless cosmopolitan, jetting between world capitals and vacationing in Tahiti or Tuscany. Every single place I've visited is a place I can see myself living.
What is your most treasured possession? > I do not have any treasured possessions. There is no inanimate object I would need to get out of a burning building. There are photos and mementos I love because they remind me of old friends or long-ago trips, but it's the memories that have the value.
Which teams do you support? > Go Leafs Go!
If you could have one (more or less realistic) wish come true, what would you wish for? > World peace? Actually, I am quite selfish. I wish I were healthy. I am immodest enough to think this would be of benefit to more than just me.
What animal would you most like to be? > Cat. No contest. You lie around wearing a lovely smooth fur coat, thinking deep thoughts and being worshipped.
[The normblog profile is a weekly Friday morning feature. A list of previous profiles, and the links to them, can be found here.]