Book of Questions, Blog of Answers
1. For a person you loved deeply, would you be willing to move to a distant country knowing there would be little chance of seeing your friends or family again?
2. Do you believe in ghosts or evil spirits? Would you be willing to spend a night alone in a remote house that is supposedly haunted.
To some extent, I believe in ‘negative energy’ that affects us unknowingly, but I do not believe such energy is conscious of its identity. That said, I would stay a night in a haunted house, if the possibility were presented to me & I was in the mood to do so.
3. If you die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet?
I would admit all the stupid things I lied about as an adolescent. I haven’t revealed many because either I’m out of contact, or it seems trifling, or it would be uncomfortably unexpected & could engender distrust in the other, even though I am confessing honestly about the fictions of youth.
4. If you could spend one year in perfect happiness but afterward would remember nothing of the experience, would you do so? Why or why not?
Yes. Because that time would be enjoyable regardless of memory loss. I value the present more than the past.
5. If a new medicine were developed that would cure arthritis but cause fatal reaction in 1% of those who took it, would you want it to be released to the public?
Assuming there is no way to find a correlation between the 1% so as to allow doctors to determine for whom it would be fatal, No. But, my initial cynical answer was, I don’t care.
6. You discover your wonderful one-year-old child is, because of a mixup at the hospital, not yours. Would you want to exchange the child to try to correct the mistake?
I would want to talk to the parents with whom my child was switched, then decide from there. I would be reluctant to let go of the baby I actually cared for.
7. Do you think that the world will be a better or a worse place 100 years from now?
I think that politically & industrially, it will be worse. But, socially & culturally, it will be better.
8. Would you rather be a member of a world champion sports team or be the champion of an individual sport? Which sport would you choose?
9. Would you accept $1,000,000 to leave the country & never set foot in it again?
Abso-fucking-lutely. If the million were untaxed.
10. Which sex do you think has it easier in our culture? Have to ever wished you were of the opposite sex?
I think both sexes face separate but equal difficulties, culturally & physiologically. I have never wanted to be the opposite sex, but I have been interested in living a day in the life of a hermaphrodite or a transexual, separately, as complimentary/contrasting experiences.
11. You are given the power to kill people simply by thinking their deaths & twice repeating the word “goodbye.” People would die a natural death & no one would suspect you. Are there any situations in which you would use this power?
If I had this I would never leave the house out of anxiety I would kill someone over a petty annoyance. That said, if I had complete control over it as an impulse, I would whore myself out to the government for money as an assassin.
12. If you were able to live to the age of 90 & retain either the body or the mind of a 30 year old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?
Body, obviously. Wisdom & beauty? Fuck yeah.
13. What would constitute the “perfect” evening for you?
Quality conversation, meeting new people & getting along surprisingly well, an indescribably delicious & satisfying meal, almost unending laughter throughout, the night ending in boundary pushing sex, a dreamful & rejuvenating night’s sleep afterwhich I wake up without an alarm at a reasonable, productive time.
14. Would you rather be extremely successful professionally & have a tolerable yet unexciting private life, or an extremely happy private life & only a tolerable & uninspiring professional life?
Professional success, unexciting private. Easily.
15. Whom do you admire most? In what way does that person inspire you?
Gandhi, his self-control & willpower I find almost unfathomable & admire because I am undisciplined.
More superficially, Soderbergh, or Louis Malle, because they have the type of career trajectory I would prefer.
16. If at birth you could select the profession your child would eventually pursue, would you do so?
Absolutely not. Figuring it out is half the fun.
17. Would you be willing to become extremely ugly physically if it meant you would live for 1000 years at any physical age you choose?
No, but only because I wouldn’t want to live for a thousand years. If it was like 200, maybe.
18. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one ability or quality, what would it be?
Self-control, to get off my ass & work persistently.
19. You have a chance to meet someone with whom you can have the most satisfying love imaginable—the stuff of dreams. Sadly, you know that in six months the person will die. Knowing the pain that would follow, would you still want to meet the person & fall in love? What if you knew your lover would not die but betray you?
20. If you knew of a way to use your estate, following your death, to greatly benefit humanity, would you do it & leave only a minimal amount to your family?
Unquestionably. I don’t think anyone should be able to live off their ancestors wealth; I think an ideal culture would require people to all start on the same economic plane. Zero inheritance. Fuck nepotism.
21. Do you prefer being around men or women? Do your closest friends tend to be men or women?
I prefer being around queer men & women. My closest friends tend to be closeted men.
22. If you could use a voodoo doll to hurt anyone you chose, would you?
23. While on a trip to another city, your significant other meets & spends a night with an exciting stranger. Given that they will never meet again, & that you will not otherwise learn of the incident, would you want your partner to tell you about it? If roles were reversed, would you reveal what you had done?
I would rather the person be honest than keep a secret. I have asked early in a relationship if something like that happened, would s/he want to know. And I told her/him that I would prefer to know. If it occurred, I would tell them if they had established prior that they would want to know.
24. Are there people you envy enough to want to trade lives with them? Who are they?
There are people whose traits I admire or wish I had.
I admire Lucy’s ability to travel at whim & live well in poverty.
I admire Carlo’s consistency of mind, enabling refinement of artistic process.
I’ve always admired Rocco’s half-assed confidence, stern apathy yielding productivity.
I admire Cournoyer’s softness, that commanding presence contrasting gentle hospitality.
That said, I wouldn’t want to be any of them. It is enough to know them.
25. For an all-expense paid, one-week vacation anywhere in the world, would you be willing to kill a beautiful butterfly by pulling off its wings? What about stepping on a cockroach?
Yes to the cockroach. And a reluctant Yes to the butterfly, but only if I could film it beautifully.
26. Would you be willing to murder an innocent person if it would end world hunger?
I would need to see concrete proof as to how the result of a murder would causally end world hunger. I wouldn’t do it unless I were convinced these two things were somehow related. This is a weak thought experiment because it is contingent on various unknowns outside the question itself rather than putting the onus on the reader. Who is telling me this information & asking me to do the dirty work? How am I in a position to know that one innocent slain will cause this global improvement? Can it be just any innocent anywhere, or does it have to be a very specific innocent person sacrificed in a very particular place when the wind is just right? What are these conditions? Where am I? Who are you?
27. If God appeared to you in a series of vivid & moving dreams & told you to leave everything behind, travel alone to the Red Sea & become a fisherman, what would you do? What if you were told to sacrifice your child?
Would I remember the dreams perfectly?
Would God give me an all-expenses paid trip to the Red Sea?
No, I would not kill anyone if a ‘god’ in a ‘dream’ told me to. That’s insane.
28. What is your most treasured memory?
I honestly cannot think of one. Certain dreams, maybe. Lucid dreams.
What does that say about my life?
29. Have you ever hated anyone? If so, why & for how long?
Yes. For likely paranoid or selfish reasons, usually lasting no more than a year, or to a point where I’m able to think back on it & realize I was overreacting or being ridiculous.
30. Would you rather be given $10,000 for your own use or $100,000 to give anonymously to strangers? What if you could keep $1,000,000 or give away $20, 000,000?
In either case I would take the given money, not the charity. In either case I would use the money to pay rent & make movies & pay friends to make movies with me.
31. If you knew there would be a nuclear war in one week, what would you do?
Quit job. Party hard. Have unorthodox sex, often.
Obey the law; so that I’m not in jail when it all ends.
32. Would you accept twenty years of extraordinary happiness & fulfillment if it meant you would die at the end of that period?
33. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life? Is there anything you hope to do that is even better?
I wrote my first script at 13 & my first novel at 17. Both are awful, but I had the resolve to finish them. Made my first short film that I was really proud of, that was an exact realization from script-to-screen when I was 22.
I hope to make better & more well-known films & novels throughout my life.
34. What was your most enjoyable dream? What was your worst nightmare?
I had a lucid dream when I lived in California & was smoking a joint of dream herb per night for ~3 weeks. In the dream I sat calm in a field of tan wheat, knowing I was dreaming, appreciating the quality of the environment, every brush of wind against my armhair, the nuanced scent of the country in summer, the arc of the sunlight & the sound of passing birds. Knowing I was dreaming, I knew I had to wake up. I began to think, peacefully, about things I had to do that day, chores: go to the bank, the post office, etcetera. After a moment I decided to wake up after taking a few last long breaths. There was a minute or so of dark quiet. Back in physical reality, I awoke, dressed tranquilly, brushed my teeth, & went down to the car. It wasn’t until I was driving to to bank that I suddenly looked at my hands on the steering wheel & said aloud: “Oh fuck, I’m awake!” Then laughing, I realized that the transition between the lucid dream & waking up had been so smooth, I had no feeling whatsoever of waking up.
My worst nightmare was as a child, 7 years old with a fever, & started with a red light off in the distance of a black abyss. As it turned green I floated to approach it but it turned yellow as I came too close. Again it went red & I stayed there, the red light blaring into my eyes in the darkness, for what seemed minutes without blinking. When it went green again I went into & through the light, ending up in an enormous black cube where I stood in a corner. In the other corners were my parents, in another corner stood a military sergeant & his private by a green tank, in the final corner, seeming closest to me, was nothingness, something ominous & frightening, a wraith hiding in the black abyss of the all black cube. They all then took turns screaming at me. First my parents, then the military men, then the empty corner. No words; just blind anger at the top of their lungs. The military men fired the tank, as their mouths stayed open screaming, with a dangling lampcord, pulling it down simply & shooting deafening explosions that went nowhere, & the empty corner shrieked in an evil way that seemed to swallow me up as I heard it. I had this feeling, as happens in dreams, that there was an exit in the empty corner, a door. I ran toward it & groped in the darkness for a handle. Finding nothing, I woke up sweating, midscream. My parents terrified me when they came in to see what was wrong. Psychologically I can say these images can be very easily interpreted by the facts that 1. my parents yelled at me very often & 2. they constantly threatened to send me to military school. That fever dream still haunts me vividly to this day.
35. Would you give up half of what you now own for a pill that would permanently change you so that one hour of sleep each day would fully refresh you?
Yes, but only if I got to choose the items totaling ‘half’.
36. If you knew you could devote yourself to any single occupation — music, writing, acting, business, politics, medicine, etc. — and be among the best & most successful in the world at it, what would you choose? If you knew you had only a 10% chance of being so successful, would you still put in the effort?
Filmmaker. Only because it is a less isolated activity than novelist.
Feel like I have less than a 10% chance now anyway, so Yes.
37. What was your best experience with drugs or alcohol? What was your worst experience?
Best: either hallucinating communicating with microscopic beings in a bathtub on mushrooms, or feeling of leaving body into an abyss of some timeless dimension, surrounded by laughing beings, on salvia.
Worst: getting too drunk & puking & fighting.
38. If you went to a dinner party & were offered a dish you had never tried, would you want to taste it even it it sounded strange & not very appealing?
Yes. I love trying new foods.
39. Do your close friends tend to be older or younger than you?
My closest friends tend to be my exact age.
Overall though, I have as many significantly younger friends as I do significantly older.
40. If the person you were engaged to marry had an accident & became a paraplegic, would you go though with the marriage or back out of it?
Just thinking about this for a solid minute made me uncontrollably sad. Initially I thought that I couldn’t live my life like that. But then I thought how the significant other would feel, having lost their limbs & then lost me. Then I thought how terrifying it is to imagine having no limbs. I wouldn’t be able to type this. I’d be dependent on family, probably, not being able to work. The idea of phantom limb seems beyond depressing, nightmarish. How could I even write? Dictation? Can I even write with a partner, & not in silent focus? If this happened to me I would kill myself, but how?
41. Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire; after saving your loved ones & pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be?
42. How would you react if you were to learn that your mate had had a lover of the same sex before you knew each other?
Sweet. Me too.
43. When were you last in a fight? What caused it & who won?
Just before Christmas. It was over who was going to take the dog for a walk. I was being a dick about the dog being neglected. The argument escalated into a screaming match. I went on the roof to calm down. The neighbors called the cops. When I came down, I was arrested. No one won.
44. You are offered $1,000,000 for the following act: Before you are ten pistols—only one of which is loaded. You must pick up one of the pistols, point it at your forehead, & pull the trigger. If you can walk away you do so a millionaire. Would you accept the risk?
Depends on the day.
On certain depressed days, I would say “whatever” & do it. Most days I would think that’s crazy.
45. Someone very close to you is in pain, paralyzed, & will die within a month. He begs you to give him poison so that he can die. Would you? What if it were your father?
46. When did you last sing to yourself? to someone else?
I don’t know. I wish I knew. I wish I had.
47. You have the power to go any distance into the future &, after one year, return to the present with any knowledge you have gained from your experience but with no physical objects. Would you risk the journey if it carried a 50% risk of death?
Tempting, but No.
48. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as your dinner guest? as your close friend? as your lover?
Guest: Graham Harman
Friend: Christian Bok
Lover: Stav Strashko
49. While parking late at night, you slightly scrape the side of a Porsche. You are certain no one else is aware of what happened. The damage is minor & would not be covered by insurance. Would you leave a note?
50. If you could choose the manny of your death, what would it be?
Asleep, in a dream.
51. Do you have any specific long-term goals? What is one & how do you plan on reaching it?
To be able to live solely on making movies & writing books. I plan on leaving the city, going to the middle of nowhere, staying at my family’s country house, & having a quiet schedule each day of writing, editing video, reading, exercising, filming new work, going thru my archive, & eventually, as projects gradually get finished, submitting them to festivals & publishers.
52. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
Um… [here the answerer author went on a walk, thought about it, forgot about it, then came back a week later, still feeling about the question a certain ambient lack of thought, an ungraspable abyss parading around the center of mind, having no formation of words, nor of emotional resonance, no memories of gratefulness rose to the authors aid, he stared at the keyboard in silence, eyes low…] …um, I guess the relatively cheap apartment I found in New York along with its funny, intelligent roommate I sublet from, which was found in a time of serious need, & the thus far only instance where I actually got to live in the craigslist ad I most desired. This is a great apartment. I am grateful for that. [though here again the answerer author feels an unsettling nuance of guilt, ‘am i ungrateful?’, ‘ungrateful for what?’ his inner monolog asks him over again as if coming from another person, as if his own argument were an outside voice, in vague conscience he sits with one eye squinted, tensing, in an uncomfort amplified by the window-muffled sound of snow melting into heavy rain off the gutters of the apartment building he is supposedly grateful for, ‘i feel like i must be grateful for something,’ but everything he thinks of is something long gone, a person or a situation or a mix-up once-cleared that now seems so distant as to be irrelevant to his present status & worldview, as if with age gratefulness fades, even if nothing has taken its place. Memories are like keys that get thrown into a shoebox of miscellany once they’re no longer needed; it’s true they could one day be gone through, but even if one were to revisit every home one had & try each key, some of the locks would’ve changed. Some keys lose their value. Will I still be grateful for this apartment when I’m gone? Will the key still work, years from now?]
53. How do you react when people sing “Happy Birthday” to you in a restaurant?
Either initially annoyed, or effusively/mockingly enthusiastic.
54. What is the worst psychological torture you can imagine suffering? Anything causing even minor physical pain should not be considered.
Mysterious death of someone I love. Or, losing my mind via paranoia or somesuch uncontrollable internal whirlwind of thought sounds like the worst, really. A prolonged inability to control my own mind.
55. Would you like your spouse to be both smarter & more attractive than you?
Yes. No matter what the repercussions, if any. Better still than more attractive & dumber.
56. If you found that a good friend had AIDS, would you avoid him? What if your brother or sister had it?
I’d avoid fucking him! (Ba-dum-pssh!) No, but seriously folks: Absolutely not. I’d coddle them. I’d hangout like nothing was wrong. I’d listen, above all.
57. Would you be willing to give up sex for one year if you knew it would give you a much deeper sense of peace than you have now?
Absolutely. Even if it were total abstinence, no masturbation either. I crave peace of mind more than the fleeting cravings of sex.
58. A good friend pulls off a well-conceived practical joke that plays on one of your foibles & makes you look ridiculous. How would you react?
Well, I love practical jokes. I love jokes that go too far. And my own ego loves jokes where I’m the punchline. Sounds more like a gift, really. I’d react with surprise & bombastic laughter.
59. By controlling medical research funds, you are in the position to guarantee that a cure will be found in 15 years for any disease you choose. Unfortunately, no progress on any others would be made during that period. Would you target one disease.
60. Would you add one year to your life if it meant taking one year from the life of someone in the world selected at random? Would it matter if you were told whose life you had shortened?
Isn’t this a variation on an earlier question? My gut reaction is ‘No’ & my secondary reaction is ‘Ask me when I’m 80’. I’d want to know who it was because that would detour me from even considering it.
61. Can you urinate in front of another person?
Can I?! Yes. I’ve done it more often than most. I’ve also urinated simultaneously, making little battling streams.
62. If you walked out of your house one morning & saw a bird with a broken wing huddled in some nearby bushes, what would you do?
Google nearby Animal Control on my phone & ask if they even do anything in that situation. If not, I’d let my cat play with it until it was dead. Kidding, I’d put it out of its misery… then let my cat play with it.
63. Assume there were a technological breakthrough that would allow people to travel as easily & cheaply between continents as between nearby cities. Unfortunately, there would also be 100,000 deaths a year from the device. Would you try to prevent its use?
Don’t care. How many people do cars kill a year? With less efficiency. No, I would make no attempt to stop anything. Like the idea of traveling globally anywhere easy & cheap to care if I die doing so.
64. You & a person you love deeply are placed in separate rooms with a button next to each of you. You know that you will both be killed unless one of you presses your button before the 60 minutes pass; furthermore, the first to press the button will immediately be killed. What do you think you would do?
I would press the button upon entering the room.
65. When you tell a story, do you often exaggerate or embellish it? If so, why?
No. I pretty much try to get certain stories down to an easy, memorable sequence & retell them over years. Harder to remember with accuracy if you exaggerate.
66. Do you feel that advice from older people carries special weight because of their greater experience?
Not necessarily. People go through different phases at different times in their life. Depending on the era you talk to a person, relative to the phase you are in then, their age doesn’t matter so much as similar experiences they have learned from & can pass on how they worked through a similar phase of their life. That said, I do enjoy listening to old people talk, in general. Less for wisdom as for cuteness.
67. Without your kidney transplant, someone close to you will die within one month. The odds that you will survive the operation are only 50%, but should you survive you would be certain of a normal life expectancy. Would you consent to the operation?
Depends on how old the person is. If I have only a 50% chance & the person will only get a decade or so of life then die of old age, I wouldn’t do it. If the person could die of natural causes after 50 years, I might. What if I gave them my kidney & then they got hit by a bus? I’d have to do math & deal with ageism. This question needs more particulars.
68. When has your life dramatically changed as the result of some seemingly random external influence? How much do you feel in control of the course of your life?
One time I got a job from someone I sublet from through craigslist. The job paid well but directly caused serious physical & mental health issues, while simultaneously inspiring a lot of creative work. I learned more about social interaction & media theory & physical labor from that job than any other time in my life. And I learned I never want a job like that ever again.
I feel more in control of my life by no longer being a slave to that job.
69. If a friend were almost always late, would you resent it or simply allow for it? Can you be counted on to be on time?
I tend to allow for it. I go into hanging-out with them mentally prepared that they will likely be late. That was I am pleasantly surprised if they are on time. I don’t like resenting anyone. I tend to let it out upfront if I feel people being inconsiderate.
I used to be late, often. Until a friend, who was upfront about it, one time just left when I was over a halfhour late to meetup. At the time it was frustrating, but very quickly became retrospect; I learned from it almost immediately & made more of an effort to be considerate of my time shared with others. I feel like fucking up & people telling you off is an important part of outgrowing adolescent self-centeredness. People taking aggressive action to combat immaturity is almost always a good thing.
70. When did you last yell at someone? Why? Did you later regret it?
A few days before Christmas. It was over a dog. And infidelity. I regret it deeply.
71. Would you be willing to have horrible nightmares every night for a year if you would be rewarded with extraordinary wealth?
YES. Nightmares can be fun & educational.
72. If you could have free, unlimited service for 5 years from an extremely good cook, chauffeur, housekeeper, masseuse, or personal secretary, which would you choose?
My initial, selfish answer was masseuse. Yoga instructor or physical therapist would be tempting too. In reality, my practical answer is personal secretary. I have a lot of unfinished projects & archival backlog that I would rather talk about, figure out systematically & have someone else do. Five years with one reliable intern & I would get a lot done.
73. Would you be willing to go to a slaughterhouse & kill a cow? Do you eat meat?
I would not kill. I do eat poultry.
74. Would you enjoy spending a month of solitude in a beautiful natural setting? Food & shelter would be provided but you would not see another person.
YES. Unquestionably. I would do a whole season, or a whole year if the weather was right.
75. After a medical examination, your doctor calls & gravely says you have a rare lymphatic cancer & only a few months to live. Five days later, she informs you that the lab tests were mislabeled; you are perfectly healthy. Forced for a moment to look death in the face, you have been allowed to turn & go on. During those difficult days you would certainly have gained some insights about yourself. Do you think they would be worth the pain?
Yes. I love staring death in the face. I would feel ecstatic after finding out I was OK.
76. One hot summer afternoon, while walking through a parking lot at a large shopping center, you notice a dog suffering badly from the heat inside a locked car. What would you do?
I would see if the door were unlocked. I would tell the nearest security guard. I would ask them to announce on the overhead speaker the persons car make/model & license plate with an announcement about the dog. I would not want to get the pet owner in legal trouble. I would give them benefit of the doubt that it was unintentional. People are forgetful.
77. Do you feel ill at ease going alone to either dinner or a movie? What about going on vacation by yourself?
I love going to movies alone. Eating alone just happens before or after going to movies alone. Gives me time to think. I like looking out windows at restaurants.
I have travelled alone. I had fun. It’s nice not having to confer with anyone about what to do. It does make for a quieter trip. I would enjoy solo vacations more if I were more extroverted. I prefer traveling with extroverted people who will put me in situations with people I wouldn’t have talked to unto myself. I like meeting people, but I’m not great at first impressions, I’ve been told.
78. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living?
I would change everything. I would change cities. I would try new food. I would try to get out of my routines & daily habits. I would spend every cent I had & have no regrets & go out & be less self-conscious. I would also try to work on a creative project that I could finish in a year.
79. For $20,000 would you go for three months without washing, brushing you teeth, or using deodorant? Assume you could not explain your reasons to anyone.
Yes. Sounds fun & memorable. I like money. Not the fact that it exists & the corruption of capitalism & all that, but, obviously, living inescapably within that system, I like having as much of it as possible. I would be okay with being stinky for a season. Give me money.
80. Would you rather die peacefully among friends at age 50, or painfully & alone at age 80? Assume that most of the last 30 years would be good ones.
Peace, friends, 50.
81. You discover that your closest friend was a heroin dealer, what would you do?
Ask him what it is like being a heroin dealer. The people you meet, the economics of it, what it feels like if he’d done it. I’d ask him a lot of questions. Joke with him about it.
82. Is it easy for you to accept help when you need it? Will you ask for help?
I do accept help when it is offered & I can see that I need it. I will rarely ask for it.
83. If you were helping to raise money for a charity & someone agreed to make a large contribution if you would perform at the upcoming fundraising show, would you? If so, what would you like to perform? Assume the show would have an audience of about 1,000.
Yes. I would read poems & stories. Or do comedy.
84. Would you have one of your fingers surgically removed if it somehow guaranteed immunity from all major diseases?
If I could pick which finger, yes. I would pick my left pinky, because I need the others for typing. Even though I just used my left pinky to hold down the Shift key. Maybe my right pinky. Even though I about about to use it to tap the Enter key.
85. Would you like to be famous? In what way?
Yes. Artist/writer/director/essayist/actor/philosopher/comedian/raconteur… lol
86. How do you picture your funeral? Is it important for you to have people mourn you death?
I picture making elaborate demands that it not be called a funeral, but a ‘body ceremony’. It will take place on a yacht, with all my friends & family. My dead, naked body will be in a helicopter on the yacht for the wake. My brain & eyes will be surgically removed & put in a jar by my body so they are looking at everyone at the wake. There will be a tripod affixed into the orifices of my face, two eyeholes & mouth, & it will film peoples reactions. Then, for the burial, the helicopter will rise, while a select few friends film the ceremony from the dock of the yacht, as my body is thrown flailing nude into the ocean, camera still attached & connected to a server, so that they can do a timelapse of my decomposition undersea. The wake, the burial, the timelapse, final interviews with friends & security camera footage of the this ‘Body Ceremony’ will be edited into my final film.
No mourning allowed. Only celebration & laughter. A ridiculous human being is dead. Rejoice!
87. Which of the follow restrictions could you best tolerate: leaving the country permanently, or never leaving the state in which you now live?
Becoming an expatriate. I enjoy leaving New York too much to want to be stuck here.
88. You, your closest friend, & your father are on vacation together, hiking in a remote jungle. Your two companions stumble into a nest of poisonous vipers & are bitten repeatedly. You know neither will live without an immediate shot of anti-venom, yet there is only a single dose of anti-venom & it is in your pocket. What do you do?
Save the friend. Or try to use half a dose on both.
89. Where would you choose to be if you could place yourself anywhere on a scale from one to ten, where one is hardship, struggle, & extraordinary accomplishment & ten is comfort, peace of mind, & no accomplishment. Why? Where are you now?
I’d like to be a 2, just shy of extreme difficulty, still with considerable accomplishment.
I think right now I’m a 5, with minimal struggle, minimal comfort, & zero accomplishment.
90. If you could choose the sex & physical appearance of your soon-to-be-born child, would you do it?
No. I like surprises. And the clinamen of genetics.
91. Would you rather play a game with someone more or less talented than you? Would it matter who was watching?
92. Is there something you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?
Make a movie with friends back home. Time & financial constraints.
93. While in government, you discover the President is committing extortion & other serious crimes. By exposing the situation you might bring about the President’s downfall, but your career would be destroyed because you would be framed, fired, & publicly humiliated on other matters. Knowing you would be vindicated five years later, would you blow the whistle. What if you knew you would never be vindicated?
I hate politics. If vindicated in five years, definitely. If never vindicated, I don’t know. I will say I admire whistleblowers enormously.
94. On a busy street you are approached apologetically by a well-dressed stranger who asks for a dollar to catch a bus & make a phone call. He says he lost his wallet. What do you do? If approached in the same way by a haggard-looking stranger claiming to be hungry & unable to find a job, what do you do?
I tell 93% of beggars: “No cash.” Because, honestly, I rarely carry cash. I tend to give money to buskers, but only if I film them. If they needed a phone, I would let them use mine. I would tell them that it is easy to get on a bus in New York without paying.
95. If by sacrificing your life you could contribute so much to the world that you would be honored in all nations, would you be willing to do so? If so, would you make the same sacrifice knowing that someone you thoroughly dislike would receive the honor while you went unrecognized?
I’m disinterested in being honored, though I appreciate recognition. Feel like this type of question has been reiterated several times in this book. I’m not going to answer this.
96. Knowing you had a 50% chance of winning & would be paid 10 times the amount of your bet if you won, what fraction of what you now own would you be willing to wager?
I hate gambling. There’s a 50% chance I wouldn’t bet at all & a 50% chance I would bet all of whatever I had on my person at the time.
97. What are your most compulsive habits? Do you regularly struggle to break these habits?
I think compulsively. Rehashing memory & prewriting the future. I try to get out of these thought patterns by suddenly becoming aware of not paying attention to my present surroundings, but even though I have the ability to jar myself out of it more frequently, on a daily basis within the last year, I still often slip right back into pataphysical thinking within a matter of seconds after attaining awareness.
Yes, I regularly struggle to have the self-control to maintain attentiveness & not get lost in thought.
98. You know you will die of an incurable disease within three months. Would you allow yourself to be frozen within the week if you knew it would give you a modest chance of being revived in 1,000 years & living a greatly extended life?
Sure. Sounds fun.
99. You are driving late at night in a safe but deserted neighborhood when a dog suddenly darts in front of your car. Though you slam on the brakes, you hit the animal. Would you stop to see how injured the animal was? If you did so & found the dog was dead but had a name tag, would you contact the owner?
I would feel too guilty & stop driving. If it were alive, I would call the owner & drive it to the vet. If it were not, I’d call animal control; I know I’d rather think that the dog just ran away.
100. What do you most strive for in your life: accomplishment, security, love, power, excitement, knowledge, or something else?
Influence. Cross-generational, cultural influence.
101. An eccentric millionaire offers to donate a large sum to a charity if you will step—completely naked—from a car onto a busy downtown street, walk four blocks, and climb back into the car. Knowing that there would be no danger or physical abuse, would you do it?
102. How close & warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s?
Am closest & warmest with my mother, my father, my brother, in that order.
I feel my childhood endured the average amount of happiness relative to others my age in my locality.
103. Does the fact that you have never done something before increase or decrease its appeal to you?
Increase. I am always excited by the idea of “something I haven’t filmed before.”
104. Would you be willing to give up sex for five years if you could have wonderfully sensual and erotic dreams any night you wished?
105. At a meal, your friends start belittling a common acquaintance. If you felt their criticisms were unjustified, would you defend the person?
Yes. And typically do, or try to. I firmly believe in bullying a bully. For lack of a better tactic.
106. Do you usually make a special effort to thank someone who does you a favor? How do you react when you aren’t thanked for going out of your way for someone?
I tend to have a kneejerk ‘thank you’ reaction. Special effort, though? No.
I try to ignore it if someone doesn’t give thanks, but it does irk if its someone I feel I’ve helped frequently, or a perceived feeling of ungratefulness.
107. Would you like to have your rate of physical aging slowed by a factor fo thirty so as to give you a life expectancy of about 2,000 years?
108. You are attending a party that will be attended by many fascinating people you’ve never met. Would you want to go if you had to go by yourself?
Yes. I’d prefer to go alone as opposed to bring someone I know to talk to.
109. Since adolescence, in what three-year period do you feel you experienced the most personal growth and change?
Ages 26 – 29. But I feel like there is so much change each year that any 3-year period qualifies.
110. If you were having difficulty on an important test and could safely cheat by looking at someone else’s paper, would you do so?
Yes, I don’t take ‘testing’ seriously.
111. If your parents became infirm and the only alternative to bring them into your home was to put them in a nursing home, would you do so? What about a sister or brother who suffered a permanently crippling injury and—other than your home—had nowhere to go but a convalescent home?
Given my current financial & living situation, I would not be able to support anyone else.
112. If you were at a friend’s house for Thanksgiving dinner & you found a dead cockroach in your salad, what would you do?
Take a picture of it on my phone, then quietly dispose of it in a napkin. Show friend photo later.
113. If you could take a one-month trip anywhere in the world & money was not a consideration, where would you go & what would you do?
Probably all over Europe, in the summer, in a two-seater convertible. With little more on my person than a passport, phone & wallet. I would forge an adventure, to be written down at the end of the trip.
114. Would you be willing to reduce your life expectancy by five years to become extremely attractive?
I kind of like the way I look already. I don’t see many excessive benefits. So, no.
115. Given the ability to project yourself into the past but not return, would you do so? Where would you go & what would you try to accomplish if you knew you might change the course of history?
Honestly, I would probably most-often use it for selfish reasons, to alter minutiae, to undo poor choices that really didn’t matter in the longrun but vexed me greatly at the time. I would try to systematically guide my own timeline into a more desirable path.
116. How many different sexual partners have you had in your life? Would you prefer to have had more or fewer?
A couple dozen infrequent intimacies. About a dozen sexual partners. Would’ve preferred more.
117. Have you ever considered suicide? What is so important that without it life would not be worth living?
Yes, I consider suicide a poetic act, even the penultimate artistic choice. At present, I consider the thrill of dreams to be a worthwhile tradeoff for enduring the barely bearable capitalism of reality. I would not discount suicide from my far-off future, and would only pursue it if I felt I had accomplished ‘enough’, biographically speaking, & if i were able to maintain a calm state of mind, knowing the decision was not out of despair or boredom but rather as a creative act, maintaining a sense of purpose & tranquility throughout its execution.
118. If your friends & acquaintances were willing to bluntly & honestly tell you what they really thought of you, would you want them to?
Fuck. Yes. I’d love that. That is exactly what I want from people. Brutal honesty, all the time. But, only if it can be done without imposing their preferences or tastes.
119. If this country were to suffer an unprovoked nuclear attack & would be totally obliterated in a matter of minutes, would you favor unleashing the US nuclear arsenal upon the attackers?
No. Absolutely not. Never. Vengeful, hypocritical tragedy. Pyrrhicism. Violence versus violence eventually obliterates all.
120. Would you accept $40,000 to shave your head & continue your normal activities sans hat or wig without explaining the reason for your haircut?
Sure. Sounds hilarious. I’d just shrug if asked.
121. Were you able to wake up tomorrow in the body of someone else, would you do so? Whom would you pick?
Probably not. Can’t think of anyone.
122. If you were happily married, and then met someone you felt was certain to always bring you deeply passionate, intoxicating love, would you leave your spouse? What if you had kids?
Really unanswerable. Considering I don’t know the feeling of having kids, or of being ‘happily’ married, & only know intoxicating love, which I’ve found in every case to be temporary at best & ultimately destructive.
123. When you do something ridiculous, how much does it bother you to have other people notice it & laugh at you?
That sounds like an ideal day. Finding ridiculous things to fill up my time with means a lot to me. The more people that acknowledge it, the funnier it becomes, externally. I like the life-as-joke way of living. If you lead a ridiculous life, honesty makes the best jokes.
124. Who is the most important person in you life? What you do to improve the relationship? Will you ever do it?
R. I could stop imagining possible futures without her. Seems improbable.
125. Assuming that complete recovery were instantaneous, would you be willing to accept a year of complete paralysis below the neck to prevent the otherwise certain extinction of the blue whale?
Sure. Sounds fun. Also tho, this variation on a theme of ‘would you sacrifice x to save y’ is getting tired.
126. Do you believe in capital punishment? Would you be willing to execute a man sentenced to death by the courts if you were selected by lot to do so & he would go free if you refused? Assume you know no details of the trial.
No. No. The whole incarceration system is fucked. Let him go free. If he comes back, attempt rehabilitation.
127. If you could changed anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?
Zero screaming. Parent instilling anger in me at very young age via shouting as verbal abuse.
128. You are at a lake with some friends; the sun is warm & the water is cold. Going into the water would temporarily chill you but you know that later the warm sun would be even more enjoyable & you would be glad you had gone in. Would you take the plunge?
129. Do you believe in any sort of God? If not, do you think you might still pray if you were in a life-threatening situation?
I honestly don’t know if I believe. Feel like that’s the definition of an agnostic. I don’t even know if I’m an agnostic. I would feel dishonest saying with any certainty that I do or do not believe. The universe is wholly magnificent. And I don’t see how prayer would help in a life-threatening situation, seems like tact & guile would serve better.
130. While out one day, you are surprised to see your mother holding hands with someone who is clearly her lover. She notices you, runs over, & begs you not to say anything to your father. How would you respond? What would you do if your father later told you that he was going crazy because he kept thinking your mother was having an affair yet ‘knew’ it was just his imaginaton?
Child of divorce. Exempt from this situation. Would be happy for my mother. Would tell father the truth if asked.
131. If 100 people you age were chosen at random, how many do you think you’d find leading a more satisfying life than yours?
Probably an even split. 50/50.
132. If you went to a beach & it turned out to be a nude beach, would you stay & go swimming? Would you swim nude?
Yes & yes. Sounds great.
133. Have you have satisfying sex within the last three months?
134. Would it disturb you much if, upon your death, your body would simply thrown into the woods & left to rot? Why?
Seems funny, but… I’d be more ok with being tossed into the ocean, not the woods. Woods seems like it’d bother people. In the ocean I’d just decompose in peace.
135. Which would you prefer: a wild, turbulent life filled with joy, sorrow, passion, and adventure—intoxicating successes & stunning setbacks; or a happy, secure, predictable life surrounded by friends & family without such wide swings of fortune & mood?
Hm. Crazytown. Butterfly. Sugar. Baby. Wyld Stallions.
136. If you knew your child would be severely retarded & would die by the age of five, would you decide to have an abortion?
137. Do you find it so hard to say “no” that you regularly do favors you do not want to do?
138. If you began to be very attracted to someone of another race, how would your behavior differ from what it would be toward someone of your own race?
I’ve been in an interracial relationship for years. How old is this book? “Severely retarded,” come on.
139. Would you rather spend a month vacation with your parents or put in overtime at your current job for four weeks without extra compensation?
140. Would you like to know the precise date of your death?
Paradox. By knowing I could potentially alter it. Sure, tell me.
141. Would you accept a guaranteed, lifetime allowance of $50,000 per year (adjusted annually for inflation) if accepting it meant that you could never again earn money from either work or investments?
142. What if anything is too serious to be joked about?
Nothing. It only depends on where you are & who you’re around.
143. Do you ever spit or pick your nose in public? What about cleaning your teeth without a toothpick?
Yes, yes & yes. I also blow my nose midair, anywhere. Germs of the world, unite.
144. A close friend asks–and genuinely wants–your opinion about something, but your opinion is one that he is likely to find quite painful. For example, your friends is an artist & asks your honest estimate of his chances of being successful. You think he is an atrocious artist who hasn’t the slightest chance of success. What would you do?
Depending on our rapport, I would either sugarcoat it or tell him bluntly that “less talented people succeed all the time.”
145. Do you have a favorite sexual fantasy? Would you like to have it fulfilled?
Yes & yes. Multiple partner ATM, lots of food & fluids, watersports & vomit. Willing slaves. The works.
146. If you knew the thermonuclear holocaust would occur in precisely 20 years & no one would survive it, how would you change your present life?
I’d stop striving for success; not that I do now, but always plan to.
147. When did you last cry in front of another person? by yourself?
When my cat died. Both instances.
148. If, by having a 2 inch by 2 inch tattoo, you could save five lives & prevent a terrorist attack, would you do so? If you were allowed to select the location & design, where would you have it & what would the design be?
A 2×2 inch black square, as a trampstamp.
149. Someone you love deeply is brutally murdered & you know the identity of the murderer, who unfortunately is acquitted of the crime. Would you seek revenge?
Ideologically, I am against vindictiveness. But being a human, thus a hypocrite, yeh I would turn the murderer into a cripple.
150. Would you be willing to give up all television for the next five years if it would induce someone to provide for 1,000 starving children in Indonesia?
Can I still go see movies? TV, yeh sure I’d do it.
151. While arguing with a close friend on the telephone, she gets angry & hangs up. Assuming she is at fault & makes no attempt to contact you, how long would you wait to get in touch with her?
Just wait it out.
152. What do you value most in a relationship?
…Not easily frustrated, open-minded politically/artistically/sexually, not easily offended. Funny.
153. If you learned you would die in a few days, what regrets would you have? Were you given five extra years of life, could you avoid those same regrets five years later?
Plenty. Inactivity/laziness, being too often in my imagination rather than in the moment.
Probably. But only after I had the dread emptied out of me during those 5 days.
154. Do you judge others by higher or lower standards than you use to judge yourself?
The same standards. But I tend to cut people more slack than I do myself, or at least, I’m more disappointed in myself for doing the same thing I readily forgive other people for.
155. Would you be willing to make a substantial sacrifice to have any of the following: you picture on a postage stamp, your statue in a park, a college named after you, a Nobel prize, a national holiday in your honor?
156. On an airplane you are talking pleasantly to a stranger of average appearance. Unexpectedly, the person offers you $10,000 for one night of sex. Knowing there is no danger & that payment is certain, would you accept the offer?
157. If you had to spend the next two years inside a small but fully provisioned Antarctic shelter with one other person, whom would you like to have with you?
Anyone with a lot of drugs & a separate room.
158. You notice a self-destructive behavior pattern in a friend who is clearly unaware of it. Would you point it out?
Absolutely. But probably first as a light joke. Then as a serious, “No really.”
159. If you had the choice of one intimate soulmate & no other close friends, or of no such soulmate & many friends & acquaintances & temporary lovers, which would you choose?
The latter. [Thinking: Is this youth talking?]
160. You become involved romantically but after six months you need to end the relationship. If you were certain the person would commit suicide if you were to leave & were also certain you could not be happy with the person, what would you do?
Alert their family & suicide watch of my inevitable departure.
161. If you wanted to look very sexy, how would you dress?
By either wearing a suit, or just a white shawl, or nothing at all.
162. For $2,000 would you be willing to stand up in a crowded restaurant and, for at least a minute, loudly berate a waitress for some trivial imperfection in the service? If not, consider how grateful the waitress would be if you did so & later split the money with her.
My initial reaction was No. My second thought was, “I could really use two grand.” And, “I’d do it if she were in on it.” Then, “I probably wouldn’t go split it with her if I did it & she wasn’t in on it.”
163. If there were a public execution on television, would you watch it?
No. But if there were a protest against its televisation I would join it.
164. If someone offered you a large amount of money for some information about one of your company’s products, would you accept it? Assume you know you wouldn’t be discovered.
165. Do you consider yourself well organized? How often do you have to look for your keys?
No, but I’d like to be. Rarely, but I often leave the house without them.
166. If you could increase your IQ by 40 points by having an ugly scar stretching from your mouth to your eye, would you do so?