An Interview with Sandra of Omni Brain

Meet Sandra Kiume, the passionate, Canadian hat-crocheter, science writer, and co-blogger of Omni Brain.


What's your name?
Sandra Kiume

What do you do when you're not blogging?
Other forms of writing, reading, crochet (hats and jewelry), cooking, volunteer work, yoga, hiking, kayaking.

What is your blog called?
Omni Brain.

What's up with that name?
Steve Higgins, the founder and my co-blogger, named it. He tells the story in his 3.14 interview. I think it's a fun name, catchy.

How long have you been blogging?
Ten years—a decade of transcribing and transforming life.

Where are you from and where do you live now?
North Vancouver, Canada. I'm an eighth generation Canadian from all over the country. It's extremely beautiful where I chose to live, even more than the country as a whole.

Would you describe yourself as a working scientist?
In the usual sense, no. My beau is a working scientist, so there's plenty of neuro talk over tea. But nobody pays for that. I'm a writer, and live to communicate science.

Any educational experiences or degrees you'd like to mention?
"An interest in the brain requires no justification other than a curiosity to know why we are here, what we are doing here, and where we are going." -- Paul D. MacLean

I studied media theory and art, not particularly related to what I do now.

What are your main academic interests, in or out of your field?
Brain sciences and related disciplines including cognitive psychology, neuropsychology, neuropsychiatry, neurology, psychiatry, psychotherapy, neurosurgery, neurotechnology, neuroimaging, psychopharmacology, mental health, philosophy, neuroethics, neuroinformatics, and neuroaesthetics. Out of field, there's art, broadcasting, media theory, the web, info visualization, computers and more.

Last book you read?
Neuroethics: Defining the Issues in Theory, Practice and Policy, ed. Judy Illes. Great collection, especially contributions from Patricia Churchland and Kenneth R. Foster.

What is your idea of a perfect day?
Beach weather and 2,000 words output followed by a relaxing evening with the laptop(s) turned off.

What's your greatest habitual annoyance?
My greatest self-annoyance is procrastination.

Who are your favorite heroes of fiction?
Jem, Emma Peel, Hello Kitty, the Bionic Woman, Xena, and Tank Girl were all slick. Oh, but an early formative book, Ballet Shoes, about three sisters. One evolved into a diesel dyke, one was good at everything and another became a prima ballerina; they went to the Victoria and Albert museum with their nanny a lot. Um, yeah.

Of more grown-up novel heroines, Karen of Girlfriend in a Coma by Douglas Coupland, and Louise of Gowdy's The Romantic are unforgettable. Evelyn Lau's and Warren Ellis' characters are also devastating, if not heroes.

Your favorite heroes in real life?
Terry Fox, Kay Redfield Jamison, people who astound with abilities far beyond disabilities.

What's your most marked characteristic?

What's your fatal flaw?

Who are your favorite writers?
William Gibson, Aldous Huxley, Patricia Churchland, Robert Sapolsky, Warren Ellis, Douglas Coupland, Barbara Gowdy, Kay Redfield Jamison, Maya Angelou, Vladimir Nabokov, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Martin Amis, Chuck Palahniuk, and diverse others.

What would you like to be?


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