I don't really like visiting places; I feel like in order to actually learn anything at all about a place you have to live there instead of being a tourist. So I'm going to request that the all-expenses-paid trip consist of living in the place for at least six months. With that said, there are two places that come to mind. The first one is Melanesia, which would interest me because more extraordinarily non-Western concepts of sexual preference survived there into the 20th century than in most places (based on Gilbert H. Herdt's book Ritualized Homosexuality in Melanesia). Mind you, those concepts aren't necessarily terribly preferable to Western ones (they certainly seem equally patriarchal) and I don't think I'd want to live there forever, but if money were no object I'd like to see it. The second place would be Japan, which I would like to see not from any of the interest in things like anime and J-rock that you and many many other people on LiveJournal seem to have, but rather because ten years ago I resolved to write a novel involving characters from Japan and their daughter, the primary reason being that I wanted to talk about belonging to an ethnicity that is widely hated for having committed so many horrible crimes in the past against other ethnic groups, and I didn't want the ethnicity in question to be Europeans because I think white people are much too stuck on the idea that they're the only ones who have to live with collective racial guilt.
2. What's your favorite genre of music and why?
I don't suppose David Bowie counts as a genre? Um, I like practically all '80s-style goth rock. I like a lot of most musical genres except for the Mariah Carey/Celine Dion let's-just-randomly-hit-a-bunch-of-extre
3. Can you speak any foreign languages compitently? (is that spelled right?)
I can speak Spanish sort of semi-competently; I studied it from 7th through 11th grades and could read any book I wanted to in it from my college library, but as the years passed I forgot about 90% of what I had learned. This summer I re-studied it at home and have regained perhaps the first barely three years' worth of my five years' study.
La palabra se deletrea "competently."
4. What picture is on your computer desktop?
Heh, I must not look at my desktop much. When I read the question I thought it was the drawing of David Bowie with blue skin from the computer game Omikron: The Nomad Soul that I had on my old computer's desktop, but I just looked at my desktop to check and realized that ever since I bought this computer last November, I've had one of the pictures that came with Windows XP as my desktop. It's a pink stucco wall with a flowerpot and a ladder at the bottom and a blue window in the wall. I liked the texture, but I really intended it to be a pretty temporary wallpaper. I just never actually got around to picking anything else to put there, and I don't much feel like getting around to it now either.
5. Tell me about the person (or people) you admire most.
I most admire anyone who can finish writing a novel. Particularly a novel I like, and particularly one with a political message, that has the power to change the world while reaching the kind of audience that reads for entertainment, who wouldn't necessarily have sought out a more direct nonfiction political polemic to read. I think the novelist who's written the largest number of novels that I love and that accomplish political goals I want to achieve too is Gore Vidal.