Monday, 14 February 2011

Intervista: Vanessa Davis!

In what will be the first in a series of occasional interviews for the Whores of Mensa blog, Mardou asks Spaniel Rage creator and New York Times contributor (not to mention stalwart of the Bay Area comics scene) Vanessa Davis TWENTY.... QUESTIONS!!!

1: What is your earliest memory?

I think it might be some images from visiting my Grandpa in Miami Beach. I remember a pink plastic block in a set of other primary colored ones, and I remember his big gold Chai necklace, at my eye level when I sat on his lap.

2: Who was the first love of your life?

It was a tie between Luke Skywalker, Tom Brokaw, and my rabbi.

3: What's the worst trouble you've been in?

Being in trouble is one of my absolute biggest fears. Staying out of trouble has affected a lot of my life and experiences (or lack thereof). I've probably done things that have made me suffer worse than the times I've actually been "in trouble," but it was those times that were the scariest. Once I slept through a lunch appointment with an older cousin, and she hasn't really forgiven me. Another time I pressed every button in a hotel in Tel-Aviv and an old lady yelled at me across the lobby. And I got sent to the principal twice--once for digging my nails into a boy's arm and once for throwing a chocolate milk carton at a boy, and the driplets of milk sprayed all over the cafeteria wall. I thought my mother would kill me for all of the above things but she actually defended me. She was the one I was most scared of being in trouble with, but I don't ever remember being really punished.

4: With which historical figure do you most identify with, and why?

OK, I've been thinking of someone for this for so long, and I can't come up with anything. I'm sure as I send it off I will think of someone I've always likened myself to and be sad. But then again, likening yourself to someone is usually best kept to yourself.

5: Who's your all time hero?

My dad.

6: Which song best describes you?

"I Wanna Live" by the Ramones.

7: What are you reading right now?

Since May I've been exclusively reading the Travis McGee series by mystery paperback writer John D. Macdonald. I've read 13 of them so far and there are 21. They were all written in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, and they involve Travis McGee, a "salvage consultant" who lives in Fort Lauderdale on his houseboat, the Busted Flush, which he won in a poker game in Palm Beach. Basically in every book Travis gets wrapped up in some con where someone was killed or blackmailed for money, and he goes and figures it out. He's irresistible to women, and the finest male specimen known to everyone. He's also really prissy and curmudgeony in his philosophical musings, and he talks a lot about corrupt Florida government, how Florida is getting too overdeveloped (back in the 60s, I can't imagine what he would think now), and how much he loves Florida. I just finished "The Long Lavender Look" and I have "The Empty Copper Sea," "Free Fall in Crimson," and "Dress Her in Indigo" lined up next. But I am really excited to read "The Green Ripper."

8: Which book do you wish you'd written?

Any of the Harry Potter books.

9: If you were stranded on a desert island who would you choose to be your
Boy Friday? Elaborate!

Guys are useful. But in the desert island that is my life, my boy friday is Trevor Alixopulos. He is resourceful and we get along.

10: What's your worst habit?

Not getting things done--bad time management. I haven't updated my website since I launched it in 2003. I'm almost a year late on my book. My student loans a bad state. It's a combination of bad personality traits/behaviors that culminates in me just being a flailing spaz.

11: Name a quality you cannot abide in others.

There are so many! I'm grumpy about other people a lot. It often comes down to people's defense mechanisms. Usually when someone is being an asshole you can chalk it up to some defense mechanism at work, and that gets annoying. Like people who use me to make themselves look/feel better. I also hate people using me in general. I also get skittish about people getting close to me specifically to get closer to people I know. Lately though my general pet pet-peeve is people being unrealistic about themselves. When people say they are one way but aren't really. It seems like a lot of people in my life are into that at the moment.

12: Name an over-rated virtue.

Saying what's on your mind. I don't see how that's awesome. Usually people could use a moment of reflection before they open their mouths. Also a lot of people love to talk about how "honest" they are or are being, when really they're just being hostile. It's like people equate "honesty" with "the truth" and that's just not the case. The truth is objective, honesty is subjective. People who don't understand the insubstantiality of their convictions--just silly.

13: What's the best advice you've ever been given?

Stop worrying and do what you want.

14: Did your school teachers like you?

I was pretty obedient, as I mentioned above. Obviously a lot of teachers like that, but it annoys other teachers. I had one really self-righteous astronomy teacher who hated me because I fell asleep in his class every day and I was applying to go to Vassar. Now I see why he thought that was obnoxious. I had another teacher, Mr. Walter, who taught art history, who LOVED me. He was very eccentric and had one red contact lens. He used to tell people it was "the eye of the dragon." After I graduated high school he pasted a large black and white photo of me in his classroom and would talk to it, as though it was me, in front of his other classes. I never witnessed this.

15: What would your motto be?

Do it and screw it. It's a little bit like the best advice I ever got--except the best advice was from my dad and was in reference to being obedient to my mom (or authority figures in general) and "Do it and screw it" is from my mom.

16: Who've you met that's famous?

I'm happy because lately when I look at magazines they are talking about people I know! Maybe not in like, UsWeekly or anything, but that's fine. I babysat Midge Ure's kids once. I've made out with two twee rockers but that's too embarrassing to be worth naming names.

17: Who would play you in the movie of your life?

Gary Oldman.

18: Got any good scars?

I have a huge long surgery scar from my waist to my butt. People annoyingly ask me if it is from a tail, but it's not. I had a spinal lipoma when I was born and had a big surgery on it when I was 7. It prevented me from becoming paralyzed. When I get massages the massage therapists are freaked by it.

19: Do you have a nemesis?

Ha, ha, yes I do!

20: How would you like to die?

This question freaks me out.

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