December 24, 2003

You Asked, Trey Answers

Trey has answered your questions!

Zeno's Paradox, Gypsies, and Imaginary Friends!

Click it now!

Why did you decide to start a blog? Do the same reasons apply today?
I actually started to blog because of my friend JohnDavid. He started something like a blog, but he doesn’t update it very often. It was his idea to use his website as a forum for sharpening his writing skills.

With that in mind, I had been contemplating starting up something. I was thinking that I would focus more on nonfiction, whereas he wants to focus on fiction. So, I hemmed and hawed over the design, the purpose, the form, the topics, and everything from the ground to the heavens. Really, I just came up with every excuse to not just sit down and do it.

Finally, one night, JohnDavid was telling me about how hard it was to come up with the “100 things about me” list and I said, “That’s easy. I’ll do it right now.” And lo, my 111 things post was born.

I didn’t really have a site set up at that point, though, so I threw together the design you see today and launched the blog without really knowing what I was getting into.

I guess that doesn’t really tell you why I wanted to do this. The reason why is quite simply because I needed to join the battle of ideas. Philosophy is the driving factor behind every action a person engages in. When I look around, I see a lot of good things and I lot of bad things.

On bad days, I see mostly bad things. I see how Art has been abandoned by the general populace, philosophy is treated like pointless parlor chatter, and politics is a carnival of absurdities. It really looks like good ideas are losing.

I’m just not ready to give that up. My blog is a portrait of the mind of a hero. I am a person who thoroughly enjoys every moment of life. I have the right idea on most things and especially about the very basic things in terms of virtue. On a very basic level, I seek to inspire. On another level, I really do seek to inform. And that applies to my public life as well.

So, yes, these reasons do still apply.

Have any bloggers been influential or helpful to you?
I’ve mentioned in my blog it on my blog: I’m pretty picky about my blogroll. I put people up and I take people down. The people who are up there and stay up there continue to serve a purpose to me that I hope to provide to others who read my blog. In some way or another, I look to each of the sites on my blogroll as kindred spirits and fellow heroes. They’re my inspiration.

But if I had to say “Thanks!” to a few in particular, I’d say it to Suzie, Heather, Harvey, and J Quibbly. Suzie and Heather were the first bloggers to “find” me. They’ve both been very helpful in explaining blog conventions, terms, and practices. They’re also very encouraging and give me MT tips from time to time. Harvey and J Quibbly are “the guys” in my mind. I look at their websites so often (I’m a lurker. I’m trying to get better about it, though!) I feel like I spend way too much time sitting on the couch with them yelling at the TV, drinking, and playing video games.

You can only read one blog...whose is it?

I read my own blog several times a day and I find myself endlessly amused. I don’t know why because some of the posts are turbo-lame, but for some reason that amuses me, too.

I’m pretty open about being self-absorbed, so I really shouldn’t pretend to be surprised.

How did you discover that you were gay?
Oh that’s a really funny story, actually. It involves my boyfriend at the time, a hand mirror and a really awkward position in the buff. Decency, however, requires that I post the pictures on a password protected site.

What does the Good Doctor think of your being a lesbian?
I haven’t told him yet. I will ask him tonight after I’ve given him lots of alcohol.

Update: So, I took the Good Doctor (TGD) to my office Holiday Party. He’s a cheap date, so the two free drinks had him liquored up plenty. What follows is my version of the conversation. It’s censored in parts because it was an adult conversation about sexuality. And then there’s also my liberal use of imaginary friends.

Trey: So, how you feelin’?
Trey: Mm Hm… So, I have something to tell you. [I had to say this rather sternly and look him in the eye because you know how drunk girls are.] I’m a lesbian.
TGD: WOOOOO!!! – What? [More sober now. I think he was playing drunk to get me to take advantage of him.]
Trey: I’m a lesbian. I’ve been waiting for the right moment to tell you and I just can’t keep it a secret any longer, so now is as good a time as any.
TGD: What?
Trey: Lesbian. You know. Girl-on-girl action. I’m still gay, though. So that’s good, right?
TGD: I know what lesbians are.
Trey: Oh. Soooo…?
TGD: [Censored part]
Trey: [Censored part]
TGD: [Censored part]
Trey: [Censored part]
TGD: I don’t get it.
Trey: [Deep sigh] Don’t you read my blog?
TGD: You talk about your blog too much.
Trey: I know.
TGD: So?
Trey: So, I had to come out to you in order to answer one of the questions for my interview.
TGD: Oh. So can I still [Censored part relating to the first censored parts]
Trey: Great. I don’t think Jennifer wants me saying the word [Portion of the female anatomy referenced in Seinfeld and rhyming with “Deloris.”] on an interview that’s going to be on her site.

And it pretty much went downhill from there. All in all I’d say he took it rather well and accepts me for who I am.

If you could have ultimate power over the whole world for one day, what flavor of ice cream would you eradicate as an abomination?
A long time ago at church camp once, I had pistachio ice-cream and had the thought that it was a thing of the devil. It impressed me that they would be so brazen as to serve it at church camp right there in the social hall, ready to corrupt young, Christian bodies with the nectar of demons.

I’m also scared of “Dulce de Leche,” which I sometimes see in the freezer case.

I can’t say I’ve had much ice-cream that I really couldn’t bear, but if I had to name one flavor it’d probably be pistachio.

Birthday cake should come in one flavor. Is it chocolate, white, or marble?
Chocolate, of course. I guess I should qualify that by saying, I don’t really care for bread and unless cake has a certain water activity level (I learned that fancy way of saying ”moistness” from Food Scientist.) it registers in my brain as bread and, therefore not highly enjoyable.

So, I can see why someone might want birthday cake to be white or marble so as to be distinct from other cakes but chocolate is the best so I really just don’t care to waste my time on bad, almost-bread products.

How much of Ayn Rand's writings have you read?
I’m reading Return of the Primitive: The Anti-Industrial Revolution now. I’ve read everything else that I know of except the Art of Fiction.

How do you refute Zeno's paradox?
It reminds me of when I was a kid getting cookies from the jar and say I dropped one. As I kid this was a near-catastrophic loss because I wasn’t the type to eat from the floor (often). So, I would reach in and get another to replace it. Immediately, I would think, “Well, if I hadn’t dropped a cookie, then reaching in the jar would have resulted in 4 cookies instead of the three I now have. To get the proper number, I will have to get another, but to make sure I don’t lose any, I will need to pick up two this time.” You can see where this is going. Soon, I had a shirt full of cookies and one on the floor and my mom asking me if I had lost my mind.

I guess that doesn’t actually have a lot of bearing on the question after all. I’m just saying that I am reminded of that.

Zeno’s Paradox is something I wouldn’t give very much thought to, really. It’s obviously foolish, illustrated by the fact that Achilles can outrun a turtle and the arrow does reach its destination.

If you pressed me, I would probably say something like, “Arrows, turtles, and people do not travel in fractions of distance.” Meaning, you may divide the distance into an infinite number of parts but the sum of the parts will always result in the whole of the distance.

And then I’d tell you to get out of my face with that foolishness. The true test of anything called a “paradox” is to see how it stands in reality. And in reality, Zeno’s paradox is barely an amusing riddle but I’m sure it must have been good for something to have persisted for so long.

This is why I am not a mathematician.

Does an unflattering exposure of stereotypes in media and entertainment precede or follow the appearance of similar behaviors in society?
Do you know I don’t care?

I hear lots of people whining about stereotypes but I fail to see how they really have any impact on my life. If someone is so foolish as to greet an individual, especially me, and apply a stereotype to them in place of observed fact, they’re not even worthy of being proved wrong.

But, since I feel obliged to actually consider the question, I would say this: Remember that the best fiction contains characters that are the very essence of some particular idea. That means that they are supposed to be the distillation of one particular notion.

Jack on Will & Grace is a cute example. I know a few people who act kind of like Jack but none of them are so non-stop insane/hyperactive/funny. Even still, Jack isn’t real although he is pretty close to one of the modern notions of a flamboyant homosexual.

I doubt there is anyone out there who says, “I want to be like Jack.” But there are probably people who say, “I want to be funny all the time.” Or “I want to be an actor” or “Working at the Banana Republic is the pinnacle of human accomplishment. Tell the Banana, here I come.”

So, in short, I think there’s a problem with the premises that lead one to consider precession or succession with regard to the media and behavior. And it upsets me more than anyone is thinking about this than the phenomenon itself.

Why don't black and navy blue go together? And why is an exception made for blue jeans?
Navy Blue isn’t a great color, in most contexts, by the way. It’s not that it doesn’t just go with black, it really just doesn’t go with much at all. By contrast notice how often you do see Black and Reflex Blue together.

I don’t really want to get into the aesthetics of fashion, but I am of the mind that black only goes with blue jeans when they’re rather light blue jeans.

The reason black and navy don’t go well together is because they are too alike and too dissimilar to peacefully coexist. Like Pink and Orange which I believe was once reported to send a certain lady into seizures faster than Mary Hart’s voice.

How come your dining room is so dirty?
Well, my dining room is empty and unoccupied. I think that dirt, being a part of nature, abhors the vacuum. So, because I vacuum the other rooms in the house, the dirt has fled to the one part of the house where the vacuum is not.

Children: angels on earth, or the devil in cute (if sticky) packaging?
Any child worth anything at all is a terror.

Ask my mom. I was a really quiet kid who never got into trouble (except the cookie thing and the sectional eating) and she was constantly threatening to sell me to the gypsies. I actually think she bought be from some gypsies sometimes but couldn’t fool them into buying me back so I’ve known her almost my whole life. But it goes to show that if I were more trouble then the gypsies would have made her an offer she couldn’t possibly refuse. As I was, though, I was worthless.

Which television shows do you watch?
I don’t have TV at my house, so I don’t get to watch many shows at all.

When I had television, I used to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Friends, Scrubs, Changing Rooms, Ground Force, Trading Spaces, While You Were Out, What Not To Wear, and Alias. I’m not good about remembering TV schedules, though, so usually I saw each of those by accident only.

And I love Saturday morning cartoons. Some people claim to also like cartoons, but I earnestly watch them. (Cartoons are very ready and explicit with their philosophy.)

What is the deal with SpongeBob SquarePants? The creators are on serious drugs, right? (Yes, it's on my television right now.)
The first think you need to know is that Nickelodeon cartoons suck. Surf on over to the Cartoon Network and get you some real ‘toons. Or better still, peep the WB on Saturday morning and hook up with some X-men or Teen Titans or Mucha Lucha.

I think that the inventors of Spongebob do have some serious issues and they very well may be drug related. I am just happy that I live in a country where a person can turn their psychotic episodes into a multi-gazillion dollar frachise.

Name your 5 favorite musicians.
I love Sheryl Crow. She is an absolute rock-goddess.

This is a really hard question for me because I don’t listen to much music these days and much of what I do listen to is classical. My favorite classical composers are Dvorak, Bach, Chopin, and Beethoven. My favorite pianists are Glenn Gould, Martha Argerich, and Murray Perahia.

How about your 5 favorite singers?
Again, I’ll lead with Sheryl Crow and I also really enjoy Fred LeBlanc’s voice.

But, it’s the same deal as above in that I don’t really listen to much music with singing any more. Kathleen Battle has a nice voice from what I’ve heard and so does Renee Fleming.

I used to listen to Wyclef Jean, Rufus Wainwright, Sarah McLachlan, Marcy Playground, No Doubt, Cowboy Mouth.

The decline of my affection for more mainstream music began when I started spending almost 2 hours every day in the car. Popular music was just too grating, frenetic, repetitive, and nerve-wracking to listen to for any stretch of time.

You can give a luncheon in honor of 3 historical figures. Who are they and why?
Ayn Rand. She was an intellectual powerhouse and I would love to give her my endorsement personally.

Alexander Hamilton. Cuz I got him on one of those online quizzes and he sounds like a hoot. No, seriously. Founding Father. Wrote some of the Federalist Papers. Rock star.

Gianlorenzo Bernini. Because his work is absolutely breath-taking.

What do you serve for the luncheon?
I like chicken and salads. So, maybe something like a Mesquite Chicken Salad with peppercorn dressing. Lemon Sorbet for dessert.

Is there such a thing as a truly benevolent act, or does every good deed have an ulterior motive?
Every act has a motive. Moral actions are the ones that help a person achieve or maintain one (or more) of their own values and that’s their only motive.

Given the above, I don’t see a whole lot of value in “truly benevolent” actions (if we mean by that ‘actions that benefit someone else’ and not just “good deeds.”) and as such I’d even go so far as to say those sorts of actions are morally reprehensible.

I expect that there are probably some people who actually try to do altruistic things. (I actually think that’s incredibly stupid.) I suppose that some of those eventually realize that unless they die and hope to go to hell for it actually do try just that. But I don’t give them much thought.

You can just bet that if I do something nice for you, I’m getting something out of it.

Posted by Jennifer at December 24, 2003 12:01 AM


What a great Christmas present--a fabulous interview with Trey! Thanks, Jen!

Posted by: Susie at December 23, 2003 11:42 PM


On Achilles and the tortoise: The concept of infinitesimals and the idea that an infinite sequence could add to a finite number (the solution to Zeno's "paradox") was a major breakthrough in mathematics, giving us (via Newton and Leibniz) calculus, and me a headache.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at December 24, 2003 07:52 AM

Have a Merry Christmas Jennifer.

Posted by: Sgt Hook at December 24, 2003 10:49 AM

Thanks, Pixy. I was trying to avoid mathematics by feigning ignorance on the matter.

You have ruined my plan. I would have gotten away with it, too, if it wasn't for you pesky kids!

Posted by: Trey Givens at December 24, 2003 12:40 PM