We took rahirah's mom to see Shrek the Third. Not bad. Not nearly as good (or as funny) as the first two, but a nice wrap-up to the series. How disturbing is it to me that as I watched the credits (since Mom2 is nearly blind, we have to wait for the house lights to come up so she can see her way out), I noticed one of the writers/incidental voice actors is a "Cody Cameron." Considering the voices (including Pinocchio), it's probably a "he," but the Cody Cameron who lives in my head was just as pleased as I used to be watching my own name in the credits for Land of the Lost every Saturday morning growing up.
I have no other real news to report - I do make progress; I have gone to the gym every day this week thus far and increased my workout a good percentage, my calories have not gone above 1200 per day. MetRx bars are a little heavy on the calories but very tasty, BTW.
Since it IS "blog like it's the end of the world" today, I'll do something I've been meaning to do for a while. For anyone who is interested in reading anything I write, I introduce my characters.
Sean Patrick O'Connor:
What's the worst thing someone could do?
Hurt someone they care for, I think - however they do it. Lie or cheat or inflict physical harm - you shouldn’t hurt someone you love.
What's the worst thing someone could do to you?
Well, I’ve been hurt, so I sure speak from experience there. And I’ve been lied to. Not really sure which was worse. Of course, I’m easily hurt and I know that, so it’s hard to say what the worst thing COULD be. The worst thing that HAS been was learning the way my little brother raised his kids to hate me. That hurt like nothing in the world has ever hurt.
What's the worst thing that could happen to you?
If I lost my family.
What's the worst thing someone could say about a person?
I suppose it depends on what that person takes to heart. I try real hard not to let words get under my skin because that’s all they are, words. What’s more important is the actions that might follow. But telling lies out of school about folks, that’s low.
What's the best thing someone could say about a person?
I love him/her/them/you.
Are men and women basically different?
Hell, yes. Pardon.
Which is better, to be a woman or to be a man?
You know, I never gave that much thought. I don’t know if being a man is “better” than being a woman - gals seem to have their own joys and sorrows, same as men do. I never yearned to be a woman, but never thought all that much about being a man. It’s just how I came out.
What can men do that women can't do?
Of course the first thing that comes to mind is ‘pee standing up,’ pardon. But seriously, I don’t know if there is anything that strictly men can do that women can’t. Just depends on the woman. Any determined woman can do just about anything a man can do - but I’ll tell ya, no man can have a baby. I honestly can’t think of anything a man can do that a woman can’t. Shit. Pardon.
What can women do that men can't do?
Give birth, for one. Cry in public without being ridiculed. Hug, be demonstrative, or wear the other gender’s clothing, ditto. You never see anyone staring at a woman in a pant suit, but if a guy turns up in a dress, wheee-oo. Oh, wait. I know one for the previous question. A man can take his shirt off in public. It’s all a society thing.
Is it possible to change genders?
Sure. You just need money, hormones, and a good surgeon.
How old is old enough to have sex?
Now this is gonna get me in trouble, I know it. I was fifteen, and that probably wasn’t old enough, but then again, it was 1878. I wasn’t all that happy to find out Matt was only sixteen, because from an adult perspective, that’s way too young. I know lots of kids think they’re ready, and maybe some of them are, but really, I don’t think any of us are “old enough” until we can really comprehend everything it means, and that includes the possibility of children... at least, for humans. If I ever get into a position where I have to raise kids again, I’m going to try to encourage them to wait, more for maturity than physical age, I think.
Is it wrong to have sex if you're unmarried?
Uh oh. Well... Yes and no. Yes in that I’m a devout Catholic dogma sort of way, but no in that I’ve never been above hiring a girl to, um, relieve tension with. And I certainly carried on outside of marriage more than once with girls I cared for. I did try to behave myself once I got engaged, trying to wait for the wedding, but my fiancée wasn’t quite as devout as me.
Is it wrong to have sex with someone other than your spouse if you're married?
Yes. At least, for me. Once that ring landed on my finger, that’s all she wrote.
Is it wrong to have sex with a person of the same gender?
Is it wrong to have sex with a person of a different race (or a different intelligent non-human species)?
Lord, I hope not. Technically I’m not human anymore, so that would do me poorly to think that.
Is it wrong to have more than one sexual partner at the same time?
Well, it is for me. But I’m not going to say the same for others. That’s up to all the parties participating.
Is it wrong to have sex with someone you don't love?
Well, no. I always get all tongue-tied admitting it, ‘cause I don’t like to talk about it, but I like sex. I like girls. Women. I love the touching, the fondling, the tasting. Love came into it a couple times, but mostly, it’s been for fun and passion and all those things I have to go and confess.
What are the responsibilities of a mother toward a child?
Love, mostly. Then to teach them, lead them, guide them, discipline them when needed, show them the way to live, within society and within themselves. Help them build a foundation for their own existence.
What are the responsibilities of a father toward a child?
Same as above, with a little more work when it comes to the boys. Raising a boy was hard, hard work. Raising girls was easy. Two girls, all they needed was gentle direction, a soft word, a Santa Claus at Christmas and a good book in the evening, a shoulder to cry on when the teen years hit and as much advice as I was capable of giving. One boy... Lord, Lord, I never thought I’d have enough strength.
What are the responsibilities of a child toward a parent?
To love, to listen, to learn, to obey. More or less in that order.
Which should be more important to you, your parent or your child?
Neither takes precedence, I don’t think.
Which should be more important to you, your parent or your spouse?
Spouse. That’s why traditionally you leave your parents for your spouse - the next step in life.
Which should be more important to you, your child or your spouse?
I’ve seen this depend on the person. For me I’d have a real hard time saying, but then, my “children” are all grown by the time I get married. In general, especially for mothers, I’d say the child.
Is it wrong to have a child if you're unmarried?
No, not at all. As long as the child is loved, it shouldn’t matter.
Is abortion wrong?
Not in my mind. (I hope I don’t have to confess that. Father O’Brien already knows my stand on abortion.)
Is contraception wrong?
Is there one true religion?
Probably not. One true God, I believe in. Religion is a whole ‘nother thing.
Does a deity or deities exist?
I believe so, yes.
How important is it to believe in a deity or deities?
It’s one of the main foundations of my life. I may have strayed a ways from the dogma and stricter teachings of my faith, but the faith itself - the belief in God - is a fundamental part of my overall makeup. I am who I am, and I believe that God brought that about. He gave me my heart and my soul and my mind and without Him I wouldn’t have figured out how to use any of it.
How important is it to actively practice your religion?
For me it’s very important. I derive a great deal of comfort from the rituals I practiced as a boy; I was always very devout and while I’ve grown beyond a lot of those more restrictive teachings of the Mother Church, I still go to mass, I wear my St. Christopher medallion, and I attend confession - or whatever they call it these days, I know that’s not right but Father O’Brien knows I’m a little old-fashioned. I know all the troubles with the Catholic church, and I know that it obviously ain’t something brand-new, but I never had any problems like that myself. I was an unmolested altar boy and have always admired and trusted my priests.
Does magic exist?
Is practicing magic wrong?
No more than any other science, it’s just always been the persecuted one.
Is killing always wrong?
Yes. But sometimes necessary, sadly.
Is war always wrong?
Yes. Always wrong; sometimes necessary, as above. I don’t support the current war. I was on the bandwagon back during both World Wars, especially W-W-Two. Sometimes you just have to take a stand for your beliefs, especially when someone is trying to force you to their yoke.
How old is old enough to fight in a war?
Never. No man or woman should have to fight for anything. I’m not even old enough to fight in a war. But if necessary... at least old enough to know one’s mind. I say twenty-one, at the earliest. A boy should be able to drink before he can carry a gun and shoot an enemy.
Is rape always wrong?
Yes. No other answers there.
Is torture always wrong?
Is theft always wrong?
Not always. I wouldn’t hold it against a hungry man stealing food to feed his family. Do I wish it wasn’t sometimes necessary that these things exist? Yeah. But wishing doesn’t change the facts. The poor will be with us always, and desperation will drive a man to do things he believes are wrong.
Is slavery wrong?
Is lying wrong?
Yes, but that doesn’t mean we don’t all try it sometimes. Even me. You have to ask yourself, is the lie going to save someone from getting hurt, and then ask further, will it save them from getting hurt now, and hurt them a lot more later when they find out the truth? It’s inevitable that the truth is gonna come out, so you might as well stick with it right from the start. Except for those awkward situations when you hear, “What do you think?” regarding a new outfit...
Is swearing wrong?
See above. I’ve got a terrible mouth on me, but I try to watch it.
What's your greatest fear?
Losing my family, my good name. And then wood, I suppose, as much as I “fear” anything. I don’t like being alone, but I can do it; I obviously don’t fear a lot of things ordinary humans would. I’m sometimes afraid of what I could do to someone if I lost my temper.
What brings you the greatest joy?
Music, I think. Any and all music. The sound of a waterfall of notes, making a joyous noise.
What's your favorite color and why?
You know, I really don’t have one. I like warm colors, golds and rusts and sage, the colors of the desert. Warm gold might be my favorite, but I couldn’t really say why. Maybe because it reminds me of bright daylight.
When are you most comfortable?
When I’m warm.
If you had to pick one song to listen to for the rest of your life, what would it be?
That’s impossible. Absolutely impossible. I can’t choose just one song to use as my ringtone, for heaven’s sake. I mean, I couldn’t just choose one artist or album to listen to the rest of my life. Sure, I could pick, oh, say, Marty Robbins... and then do myself out of ever hearing a Bob Dylan song again? I can’t do it. Maybe Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” but I couldn’t even choose whose version I like best... I can’t imagine never hearing “The Magic Flute” again or Beethoven or Brahms or The Carol of the Bells or Adeste Fideles by Bing Crosby or anything by Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin or Merle Haggard or... Anyway, I can’t do it.
Same with a movie.
A little easier, but not much. Maybe “The Music Man” or “Paint Your Wagon.” Or “Casablanca,” maybe. No, wait. “The African Queen.” Or “The Philadelphia Story.” No...
Dog or cat? Why?
Cats. They’re independent, they think for themselves, they move like mercury and they never fail to amuse. I do like dogs well enough, but I really can’t keep one in an underground apartment.
What do you look for in a friend?
Honesty, mostly; loyalty. And I can forgive a few lies in favor of the latter. Friends are folks you can count on. Folks who’ll be there when you need ‘em.
What are your own best traits? What do you like best about yourself?
I think I’m a reasonably nice fellow. I like to think I’m a likeable person. I hope folks think well of me. I sing very well, and I think I’m generous.
What do you like least about yourself?
I’ve got a bad temper and I gamble way too much. Oh, and I drink and I smoke. A lot. I’m not very patient. I can be aloof, I think, and I’m a bit wishy-washy.
What are some of your opinions about the world you live in? Political, environmental, etc?
I’m a dyed-in-the-wool Southern Democrat, old school; but I’m surprisingly socially liberal, so somehow despite all the changes I remain a yellow dog Democrat, so blue-state it’d make your head spin. I don’t like government telling people how to live their lives, so I’ve had arguments with both sides a lot of the time, but these days that’s becoming more a Republican trait than it used to be. As for the environment, I’m part Indian, so I have deep roots in the land. I can feel the poison we’re pumping into the air and the earth and the water - yet I drive gas-guzzling muscle cars, usually alone, and wear a lot of leather. I guess when it comes down to it, I do want to do anything I can to help, but on the other hand, I like my earthly pleasures. That’s why I seek ‘em out. I worry about global warming, I turn off lights when I’m not using them, I try to watch how much water I use, I recycle. I want to be a guy who drives a hybrid, but come down to it, I WANT to feel eight powerful cylinders growling under me, going at 110 miles an hour on an open freeway… 500 horses, honey, that’s heaven. Anyway, I guess I’m a real moderate at heart, it’s just lately I seem more left-wing than I am.
What do you like to do to relax?
Music. I play guitar and piano mostly, but can toodle around with mandolin and fiddle. Either playing it, singing it, or just listening. I like to sing and dance. Dancing is a miraculous thing.
If you use a weapon, what is it? Why do you use it? For what reason specifically? Why did you pick it up in the first place? Is it unusual for your world for you to carry a weapon? Why or why not?
I have a 1873 single-action Colt 45 six-shooter that was given to me on my tenth birthday by my parents. I carried it on my hip until I went to Europe as a vampire, and it’s still in good working order today. I used it to teach my nephews how to shoot. I used it once to take a human life - a horse thief. He actually got the drop on me, but fortunately for me I was able to take a bullet through the chest. He wasn’t. That’s the only time I ever killed a person with it. Otherwise I used it mostly to “kill” pop bottles and old cans, a snake or two, and some rabbits and a few deer when I was out on the trail or on the range. Oh, once a javelina. I understand it’s quite the collector’s item now, but I ain’t givin’ it to anyone.
What is the government like in your world? (Be as in depth or not as you prefer) What is the law like in your world? Are you on the right or wrong side of it? Why?
What can I say about the good ol’ U.S. of A? In the main, I think it’s probably the best country on Earth. Right now the government is being run by a guy who either needs a punch in the mouth or an invite back to first grade, or maybe both. Sometimes I just can’t figure why it’s considered an asset to be stupid in America these days - but stupidity is prized, from the White House right on down, and they make anyone who bothers to crack open a book feel like a fool for NOT being a fool! As for the law, it all depends. Most laws make sense, they’re there to protect folks. And then they make a bunch of stupid laws to protect the stupid and punish the innocent. I don’t like “big brother” laws, like seat belt and helmet laws – people have the right to choose their own stupidity if they want. I do agree with laws that protect OTHER people, but if someone wants to go without a seat belt, that’s their own business. Same with abortion or any of those things. It’s no one’s business but their own.
Do you worship a deity? Is there more than one in your religion?
I’m Catholic, born and raised. A solid mix of Mexican and Irish tradition and a century of dogma, pounded into my head and promptly ignored in favor of a more spiritual, almost gnostic approach (I didn’t realize I was “gnostic” until Cody told me I was, and gave me a book to prove it). I believe in God, the father, creator of Heaven and Earth, Jesus his son and the Holy Ghost. I know all the creeds, all the prayers, all the saints... and I disagree with the Pope when it comes to dictating the way people live. I can’t help but notice what Jesus actually said, and how much it varies from what they tell us to do. Jesus said nothing about hating people who are different, nothing at all about gays or abortions or oppressing women - he said lots and lots about love and acceptance, and boy he didn’t like hypocrisy! So I go to Mass, I say my prayers, I recite the rosary... and I love my gay niece, I give money to abortion clinics to help - I mean, I would rather they didn’t need to go to those extremes, but when it comes down to it, it’s their right. We’re Americans. By golly, I even don’t care when someone else might not believe what I do.
What do you like to eat? Is that common or uncommon?
I like a lot of food. I love Italian and French, love steak and cheese and oh, boy, do I love sweets, especially chocolate. Another vampire friend of mine claims chocolate does more to vampiric serotonin levels than human ones, and I believe him - it can calm me down in an instant. I don’t know how common it is for vampires to enjoy food like I do - but all the true vampires I know like food well enough, some more than others, just like people. I do like blood, though. I can’t explain what it tastes like on a vampire palette, but it’s really good. Really. Almost like chocolate.
What do you like to drink?
My usual drink is ordinary Jack Daniels on the rocks, usually two fingers or a standard highball. I like a few mixed drinks, but not many - scotch and soda is all right depending on the scotch and a gin and tonic occasionally hits the spot, but mostly it’s whiskey, plain corn mash, on ice. Or neat. Outside of alcohol I drink Dr Pepper, the odd Co’ Cola, and I like sweet wines (Italian sparkling or German whites, some blushes and roses).
What about alcohol/drugs/other mind altering experiences?
I drink alcohol to excess. When I was younger I didn’t notice it much, but as we all grew more aware of such things, it became obvious that alcoholism runs strong in the males in our family (and occasionally the women folks, too). I’m very likely an alcoholic, same as my many nephews, but it doesn’t affect my physiology the same way it does theirs. I’m not much into other drugs, at least not taking them the normal way - I’ve taken heroin and cocaine and other such things from blood, and while sometimes interesting, it’s not my favorite meal of the day. Cocaine in particular messes up my mind and makes me really shaky.
What's the thing you absolutely do not want to be without?
Another tough one. My guitar or my car. Or a television. I’m deeply fond of things, I’m afraid.
In a potential partner, or a person to whom you might be attracted:
a) What is the first thing that catches your eye?
b) What physical aspect do you find you are most attracted to?
c) What nonphysical aspect do you find you are most attracted to?
I like women in general - nice face, good figure, I tend to like ‘em redheaded but I like blondes and brunettes, too. The first thing that catches my eye? She’s female. (Laughs) I like a nice pair of legs, and I think that’s because I was around fourteen or fifteen before I actually ever SAW a woman’s legs - when I was a boy, nice ladies did not show so much as an ankle where a man (or a boy) could see it - she was a Mexican girl, completely unconscious of the effect she was having on a newly pubescent boy, she tucked up her dress to go wading. (Clicks tongue) It kick-started the libido, I think. Apart from looks, I’d have to say a quick mind, clever tongue, smarts. If I can talk to her, about anything at all, then she’s attractive to me.
Describe in detail the most perfect kiss you can imagine:
(Blush) Soft mouth. Tastes like amaretto. Sweet. She leans in just a little, and then throws her arms around my neck. She’s kissing me back. Her skin is like satin. She smells good, just a warm, rich, womanly smell. She doesn’t wear perfume. I can tell she wants to breathe but I can’t stop kissing her. When our lips part I feel like I’m missing something. Then I’m kissing her again and she’s kissing me back and all I want is to touch her skin. It’s all about that kiss. That’s where it all starts. Drunken, crazy, intense. Life-changing.
Sexually, how do you like it? (i.e. hard and fast/slow and easy/casual/rough/gentle) Why?
(Blushing more) (Mumbles, looks away, sinks down in his chair) Um. I don’t, um, really like to talk about stuff like that in mixed company. (Mumbles more)
How do you get your partner to warm up to you?
(Rubs face, doesn’t stop blushing) I start by being a gentleman, I guess. Even modern women occasionally like to be treated like ladies – and I don’t mean treating them as weak, or lesser, just treating ‘em well. I tend to think women are overall better than men in a lot of ways, and I think it shows in my behavior around ‘em.
If things start feeling overwhelming/chaotic and there's nothing you can do about it, do you have a particular mantra/escape mechanism to help you stay calm? If so, what? If not, how do you cope?
Music, again. I have music for all occasions – whether I want to be sad for a while, or uplifted, or cheered up, or just relax. It all depends on the situation. Lose myself in a melody, listen to the tapestry of instruments and voices, you can actually see each note. Maybe I should have answered “Fantasia” to the movie question, now that I think about it.
How do you feel about the balance of power in relationships? Ie, what should it look like, ideally?
Equal. Each partner brings his or her own strengths to a partnership, that’s why they’re partners and not boss/employee.
What part does money play in your life? Do you worry about it? Does it affect your decisions?
I’m a wealthy man. I was born to money, and I usually don’t even think about it. I have always been aware of it as being important, a vital foundation stone for our family and for me to live as I like. It does indeed affect my decisions, but usually on a fairly massive scale. I’m trusted by a lot of people to make the right decision when it comes to our money, and I do the best job I can as general adviser/accountant/broker/etc. I help steer the ship, and while I live well, I do keep a tight eye on my personal budget.
What could drive you to acts of desperation?
If any of my family were in trouble, or someone I loved were in danger.
Do you draw moral boundaries for yourself? If so, what could push you to cross the lines of your own personal code of conduct?
Oh, yes. I’m steeped in Catholic guilt. I don’t lie – well, actually, I can’t. At least, not very well. I’m as transparent as a plate glass window – I try not to steal or cheat, I try to do well by others. But like any man, I’m sure there are times when I could be pushed to do things I don’t like. In fact, I have. We all have that drive to live, and sometimes the need to live pushes a guy to make some serious mistakes. As for specifics…? Well, again, if someone I loved were in danger and I could save ‘em by a lie, theft, or even murder, I would probably be driven to it.
Which of the four elements (air, water, earth, fire) do you identify with most and why?
I am a creature of the air. I’ve been a raven since birth, according to my great-grandfather – he was pure-blood Apache – but by the Chinese calendar I’m water. I tend to lean more to the former, I think, although I’m not really sure I could explain why. It just IS, like the air itself.
(Where applicable) Do you prefer to live in a rural, suburban, or urban area? Why?
Urban. Not so much by choice, but by necessity. A vampire needs to disappear into a vast sea of humanity. In rural areas, a guy who never ages stands out, and neighbors are mighty neighborly. In Los Angeles, no one notices me. They have their own business to attend to.
Is there a particular musical instrument you identify with?
Probably the fiddle, although I play guitar better.
Is there a particular food that is significant to you in some way?
Chocolate, as I said before. Blood, obviously. Spaghetti and meatballs, because that’s the first meal Della and I shared. Chocolate chip cookies, for various reasons.
How skeptical or not are you about interacting with the supernatural? (Anything from religion, to things like psychic ability/paranormal activity, to... well, whatever. How do you rank on the Mulder-Scully scale? *G*)
I’m a VAMPIRE. Magic is simply a part of the world, another of the sciences, just like the mages tell us (another place where I differ with the Mother Church). I know it’s real, it’s a simple fact of my existence.
What is your educational status? Are you proud of it or would you like to improve it?
I was, like all well-born boys of my time and place, educated at home – and taught well. I learned everything a young man of status should know. Maths and science and language, music and social skills and history, blah and blah and blah. I was, of course, going to be sent to college and the Grand Tour, but I ended up becoming a vampire instead. I eventually enrolled in night courses at UCLA and got my business degree with, of course, a minor in music studies, theory and vocals. I liked college. I might go back again sometime. I’m very proud of what I’ve done, and I always want to improve it.
Do you have any creative talents?
I was given an almost miraculous gift in my voice, but creativity didn’t come with it. I don’t write music, I just make it. I’m good with numbers, but I don’t invent; I love to read, but I don’t write. I am a user of others’ creative skills.