Tim Newman spent the first 15 years after his birth in 1977 in an isolated farmhouse without a TV, a mile outside Pembroke in south west Wales. At age 19 he was glad that he was at last able to live independently when he went to study Mechanical Engineering at Manchester University. In 2003 he was sent to Oman for five weeks' work, from which he didn't return. After three years of working the oilfields of the Middle East, he got married on the spot and moved himself and his new bride to Sakhalin Island, where they now live. Tim blogs at White Sun of the Desert.
Why do you blog? > I started because I wanted to answer back at what I was reading in the papers. Nowadays, it's because I am living an interesting life which a small group of people seem to like reading about.
What has been your best blogging experience? > Meeting people in Sakhalin for the first time who go on to tell me they've been reading my blog for months.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > Stick to what you know, shut up about everything else. Don't post for the sake of it.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith. You can smell the atmosphere of a winter night in Moscow rising off the pages.
What is your favourite poem? > 'If' by Rudyard Kipling.
What is your favourite movie? > O Brother, Where Art Thou?
What is your favourite song? > 'Six Days on the Road' by Taj Mahal. [Other versions here - NG.]
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > I used to be a traditional conservative, but have since become an avid libertarian, meaning I've changed my mind about so much. There was a time when I would have opposed homosexual relationships in certain circumstances; nowadays I couldn't care less.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate? > The state is not your friend.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > Statism in its many forms.
Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world? > The Forgotten Soldier, by Guy Sajer. It is the account of a young French-German soldier fighting on the Eastern Front. I read it at a time when I was dead set on a career in the military. Once I'd finished reading it, I decided against that.
If you could effect one major policy change in the governing of your country, what would it be? > Drastically reduce the areas in which government is involved, most importantly in the provision of health and education services.
If you could choose anyone, from any walk of life, to be Prime Minister, who would you choose? > Perry de Havilland.
What would you do with the UN? > Remove all members in whose country you cannot drink the tap water.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > The exerting of excessive political control over the lives of individuals, be it the imposition of Islamic law, adoption of communism, or formation of an EU superstate.
Do you think the world (human civilization) has already passed its best point, or is that yet to come? > The best is yet to come.
What would be your most important piece of advice about life? > We are only here for a quick look around, so live life to the full and don't waste a second.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > Loyalty.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > I'm not sure whether there is a word for it, but when somebody continually takes pleasure in exerting power over those in a weaker position. I had a school teacher who used to do this. I have never seen anything so despicable in my life.
In what circumstances would you be willing to lie? > If the question was grossly inappropriate. If the answer was going to cause deep offence unnecessarily. If I'm negotiating the commercial terms of an oil and gas contract.
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > None. If people are enjoying something, it is almost by definition not a waste of time, or at least not something I should pass judgement on.
What, if anything, do you worry about? > My wife or me losing our health too young. I'm scared stiff of this.
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything you'd do differently? > I'd treat an former girlfriend much better than I did. I used to be hopelessly insecure, getting very jealous over the slightest thing, and this caused her nothing but misery. Also, I didn't pay her half as much attention as she deserved. Fortunately, we're still friends and I've been able to make amends and apologize profusely, but I still feel extremely guilty about it. The upside is that I have made it absolutely certain that I don't make the same mistakes with my wife.
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > Somewhere in the US: the Pacific north-west, the Outer Banks, southern California. But really, anywhere will seem good after Sakhalin Island.
What do you like doing in your spare time? > Photography, hill walking, mountain biking, snowmobiling, playing computer games, and propping up bars drinking vodka and speaking Russian.
What is your most treasured possession? > My passport. My life would shrink immeasurably without it.
What talent would you most like to have? > To be able to play boogie-woogie piano.
Who are your sporting heroes? > Ryan Giggs and Andrew Ettingshausen for being such outstanding role models.
If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner who would they be? > Three close friends of mine: Simon, a Captain in the Royal Marines for whom I was Best Man and vice versa; Jaimie, another Captain in the Royal Marines who recently won the Distinguished Service Order for his actions in Afghanistan; and Kenny, a former soldier who is the most extraordinary man, and biggest idiot, I have ever met.
[The normblog profile is a weekly Friday morning feature. A list of all the profiles to date, and the links to them, can be found here.]