Data for those who want to improve their simulations of me… (It’s Marcel Proust’s famous interview questionnaire..)
1) What is your idea of perfect happiness?
The life I’m living. Although I take issue with “perfect”–because “perfect” comes from perfectum==> from perficere, which means “complete, accomplished,done”–and thus to have perfect happiness, you would have to be finished with your life–and have nothing more to achieve.
That’s not how I see Happiness–it’s a process, an attitude, and an approach to life. It is more like Aristotle’s definition that real happiness–rather than amusement/pleasure–is about achieving your goals in life.. and that’s what I’m always trying to do..
2) What is your greatest fear?
Facehuggers. That’s why I’m gonna get one tattoo’d on my chest/stomach area at some point–so that I can face my fear every morning. Like Batman… Yeah….
3) What is the trait that you most deplore in yourself?
My earlier social fears.. which kept me from trying certain things until a lot later in life. Today–that is not so strong–but it pops up now and again…
4) What is the trait that you most deplore in others?
Selfishness. Give more than you get or fuck off.
5) Which living person do you most admire?
My wife. She has endured immense cruelty and abuse in her life and she never gave in and although she suffered deep damage and trauma, she has worked and worked to overcome it and continues to work to live the lives of three entire people (or maybe four now)… In a world full of her, we’d be much better off…
6) What is your greatest extravagance?
Procrastination. I should be doing something–but sometimes I go and fuck around on video games and the like… and that is luxury to me.. (I’m not about material luxuries that much.. although perhaps my book collection is a luxury.. but it’s only three-four bookcases full..)
7) What is your current state of mind?
Better. The past few days it was not awesome–although not terrible, but after yesterday, it is much better.
And No, I will not tell you why.
8) What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Loyalty. Out of loyalty, I’ve seen people do evil, commit crimes, lie, and do all manner of vices and cruelty rather than just being honest and sticking to their identity.
This goes both ways–people also use claims of “loyalty” to get people to do these things… thus, I’d rather that people not see “loyalty” as a virture, but rather just use it as a possible description of a state of affairs—i.e. loyalty is not something you can possess as a virtue, but it is something you can display through your actions..
9) On what occasion(s) do you lie?
When I need to when I am dealing with people that I know I cannot trust and have no reason to believe.
In contrast, if I truly trust you–then I will never lie. I haven’t lied to my wife ever. I didn’t lie to her in the 9 years before we were married.. nor since we got married..
10) What do you most dislike about your appearance?
I wish my legs were a bit longer. I have strong, but shorter, Irish legs. If they were like 2-3 inches longer–that’d be awesome.
11) Which living person do you most despise?
Not fair. There are too many and it’s more like a bunch of people fall into the category of “Worthless Scum that I would Curb” and that I don’t distinguish between them. Basically, I think that here are about 5 people that I wouldn’t mind seeing ended in some violent fashion..
12) What is the quality you most like in a man?
13) What is the quality you most like in a woman?
14) Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
I have no idea. Read this blog and find out. Maybe “competence,” “meaning,” “truth,” “wisdom,” etc.. I tend to converse about such things, which makes me absolutely awesome at killing small talk.
15) What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My Wife. She is my best half.
16) When or where were you happiest?
That hasn’t happened yet.. although the last 11+ years have been regularly awesome in terms of my happiness..
17) Which talent would you most like to have?
Psionic powers. I want to literally be able to blow shit up with my mind. That would be so fucking cool.
18) If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I’d have more social confidence and/or more ability to think verbally on my feet. I’m awesome at coming up with retorts like 2 hours later.. but being able to do that immediately would have made life a lot more pleasant at times..
19) What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Hasn’t happened yet. Yes.. I have a Ph.D, I’m happily married, and I’m raising 3 awesome stepkids.. and my work life is decent (boss loves me and so do my students).. but I’m not done yet..
20) If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
I’d come back as a cylon–one of the new skin-job cylons. Now.. you tell me whether that is a person or a thing.
21) Where would you most like to live?
In a magical place where people planned for future happiness rather than being focussed on only short term pleasure… where we had the freedom of America, but the equality of Europe… where I could get good German bread on the corner, but also hit up that fabulous burrito place down the street… where chocolate only came dark…
That’s where I’d most like to live. Since that’s just a dream–I’ll take the upper midwest, which is still pretty cool… (Chicago is my hometown and is my favorite existing city…)
22) What is your most treasured possession?
My key chain. I am the Keymaster and have had it since Junior year in high school. It has unlocked many doors for me and given me access to the places I call home. What could be better than that?
23) What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Willful denial of reality. As is noted in American Beauty, “Never underestimate the power of Denial.” The people who strive mightily to deny reality so that they can avoid dealing with their own truths and who try to make others deny reality and who try to impose these false realities on people–they are the cause of untold misery in the world.
24) What is your favorite occupation?
God Emperor. Or perhaps rather being the closest advisor to the God-Emperor. No one tries to assasinate the advisors, which makes it all that much easier to really exert control behind the scenes.
25) What is your most marked characteristic?
My brain. Just ask anyone.
26) What do you most value in your friends?
Intelligence, wit, beauty, wisdom, and complementarity–by which I mean that they can add things to the party that I do not possess.
I want a 100 people with which to rule the world. These people will all be my friends.
27) Who are your favorite writers?
Harlan Ellison, Neal Stephenson, Neil Gaiman. There are a bunch of others, but those three write the stories that I most connect to…
28) Who is your hero of fiction?
Reese from the first Terminator Movie. Dexter. Batman (Frank Miller Dark Knight Batman). The Joker (in most recent Batman movie and the Frank Miller version). Bender from Futurama. Number Six from Battlestar Galactica. Felix from John Steakley’s novel Armor. Bugs Bunny. The Professor/Satan from the Master and Marguerita by Mikael Bulgakov. Nathan Stack, Levendis, the Paingod, and the narrator from The Region Between–all figures from Harlan Ellison.
… and the Norse God, Loki.. and most trickster figures (see BB and Joker above.)…
29) What historical figure do you most identify with?
None, really. I like historical figures, but I don’t identify with them, because they are limited to the context of their times, which almost always incorporates some kind of insanity or batshit stupid ideas (such as slavery or inequality of the sexes or racism, etc..).
I can admire them, but I don’t identify with them. My identity is always being constructed with regard to the future, not the past.
30) Who are your heroes in real life?
People who display courage. People who work hard and make hard compromises rather than making quixotic displays of their pure principles.
Basically, individuals who value people over principles. I don’t make idols of them, though.. because I would rather kill idols than worship them.
31) What are your favorite names?
Morrigan, Lilith, Natasha, Ronan, and others.. I like these, but I don’t really have favorite names..
32) What is it that you most dislike?
Selfishness. Didn’t we cover this above with the friends question??
33) What is your greatest regret?
Not being more honest with myself earlier… by not stating my values up front in certain relationships.. and letting myself be corrupted for a number of years.. or rather, letting someone change me to be something and someone that I totally wasn’t.
Of course, that experience taught me never to let that happen again.. so the regret is really kind of ambiguous. I don’t regret the pain.. because pain is what allows us to perceive the beautiful….
34) How would you like to die?
Healthy and when I’m 90.
35) What is your motto?
Do it. You only live once.