Interview with the Vampire

This page written circa 29 September, 2014.

"I'm going to give you the choice I never had" says Tom Cruise's Lestat to Christian Slater's Daniel Malloy, the choice being that of becoming a Vampire. Retaining human emotion and compassion, Brad Pitt's Louie does not enjoy being immortal---and that is the central theme and vision of Ann Rice's book. This is a reversal of the situation for her character Beauty in the erotic novel The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty (written under the pseudonym of A. N. Roquelaure) who comes to treasure her apparently-horrible fate. Emotion reversed from expectation seems to be Rice's speciality.

I don't know how single parents cope. With Kay in Canberra to support Jane, I am left to look after Edwin. At best I have trouble looking after myself, so coping with Edwin on medication and trying to feed the three of us daily when Edwin has no appetite is hard work. He would rather be left to sit with his computer and get no closer to his friends than a Skype line, and I am supposed to arrange for him to practice socialising. I try to get him to wash as close as possible to daily. I launder his clothes and mine. Then there is the set of chores, unpacking dishwashers, collecting recycling, some vacuuming and some mopping. He procrastinates these jobs until the house feels dishevelled. I have learnt to live in these conditions because the alternative is to wear myself out trying to do everything myself. I am supposed to ensure that he wakes up when he does not want to wake up, goes to school when he does not want to go to school. I have great difficulty getting myself off to work, not being a morning kind of person, so this is hell. Merinda helps. My respect for Kay coping with this and her degree course increases.

Robert W Lucky writes a regular column in Spectrum. I love reading these, and I have referred to them quite often in these essays. He writes this month that he has now written 190 columns since 1982. I have written almost 160 Hamiltonians and Soapboxes since 1998. Dr Lucky (not, I presume related in any way to the character in the game "Kill Dr Lucky") explains that he has so many times faced a deadline and a blank canvas and yet had no trouble writing something that has found favour with readers. I, on the other hand, come to the canvas when I feel there is something to say. Soapboxes become more frequent at times of stress or excitement. Dr Lucky averages less than 17 milliColumns/day, Dr Scott has written over 26 milliColumns/day. Oh dear.

Presciently, Dr Lucky goes on to marvel how he continues to have interesting reflections despite the fact that the nostalgic days of fun electronics, epitomised by the era of Heathkit for Lucky and his peers but perhaps the era of Dick Smith and ETI in Australia, have passed. He describes electronics as becoming "a business for teams of professionals". This last year I have been going around saying that "electronics is leaving New Zealand" because it has become something that the country cannot, or chooses not to afford---a business for teams of professionals, specifically with a budget for IC fab and the prospect of VC support to cross the chasm. Dr Lucky puts it succinctly: "Integrated circuits [have] changed everything". Four years ago I wrote a speech (cached here) that asserted the need for NZ to foster fabless design companies or lose its electronics industries. I predict that it will be the latter.

Perhaps Louie woke up every morning (or night actually) and his first thought was "oh fuck, still a vampire". Just lately I wake up and think "oh fuck, still here". For Daniel Malloy, like Louie, the choice is pretty much a no-brainer, since it is between becoming a vampire or dying right away, rather than being between the vampire option and living out the remains of a full life. Not really a balanced choice. Nevertheless, Louie is free to reverse his choice any time, he only has to walk out into the sunlight. My feet itch.

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