I'm interested in almost anything, and usually willing talk about any subject. I'm just really bad at small talk. I’m the one in my group of friends (who are all pretty talented in their particular fields) that gets asked “how should I do this”, or more often just if I can do, create, or figure something out for them.
Since I really don't know how to describe myself here are some random data points:
-I tend to listen more then I talk; consider what’s been said, and then respond. This can be a detriment when making “small talk”. I tend to actually put some thought into my responses and contemplate questions; which doesn’t work well during discussions about the weather, or topics where the details less important.
-I'm the middle child of 3;
-I'm a northern California farmboy/tech-geek/contractor-businessman. This is where my centrist views come from. On average I’m pretty middle of the road. But my views are more balanced right wing/left wing, then bland middle. The Farmboy/rural upbringing tends to make me fiscally conservative, being a government contractor means that I’m constantly seeing the waste, problems and loopholes that the right complains about, being from northern CA (childhood was spent in the triangle formed by San Francisco to South Lake Tahoe to Eureka) means that I’m a Democrat/social liberal, and the blue collar/Tech-geek/Physicist means I’m very pro-education, strongly pro-universal healthcare, and pretty much any other social program that you can show me reasonable results from (I went through the Upward Bound program);
-My family structure can be confusing to keep track of due to divorced parents, step-parents, ½ siblings, and foster parent situations that seem to happen in every generation (example: my last name is the last name of my biological grand father, who I never met, and it is not my original last name). I have a biological father and biological mother, but also a stepmother that has been part of my family since I was 2 years old. None of the parents are still together and each now has a new partner that’s been added;
-My Biological mother started/owned a kayaking and rafting company in northern Sonoma County. She doesn’t have the company anymore, but we still have several rafts and kayaks, and all sides of my family camp, scuba dive, and raft (usually around once a year per branch of the family).
-The stepmother is still in my hometown (Ferndale, CA) and has a small (~900 acres) beef ranch. We have 7 horses (one of which I helped berth) and ~80 cows on the ranch, thus the farmboy side of my personality and life. I have bucked hay, feed the herd, and ride a horse at least twice a year (more often lately, because friends in the city ask to take a trip to the ranch and want to ride the horses);
-I am not a cowboy. It’s a minor distinction to most people, but it’s an important lesson I learned working on the ranches: Farmers/Ranchers learn to steer and guide; Cowboys tend to assault the same situation by trying to impose their will upon it. Often standing in the right spot can achieve more then all the wrestling, roping, shouting and running you can do;
-I’ve always been interested in Russia (probably some aspect of growing up at the tail end of the cold war, or something). One of my planned trips (I’ll get to it someday, but work is always getting in the way), is to take the trans-Siberian railroad across Russia (possibly starting in Beijing so I can take the longer more scenic route) and then crawl through Europe from east to west. As a by product of this, and a friend I have in Seattle, I’ve been trying to learn Russian;
-Part of my rural upbringing makes me do the polite/etiquette/chivalry stuff without thinking about it, but as a general principle I don’t feel it’s necessary to perform simply because of gender or age. I feel it’s more a matter of communication (indicating respect you wish to show an individual, and that you are aware of, or paying attention to their state or situation), or a matter of equal effort or efficiency (if I’m taller than my friend it’s just easier to reach the top shelf, or if I’m stronger it’s easier to carry the heavier item; it really has nothing to do with gender or age). If you can help someone you should. If you want to see the world operate a certain way, start by acting that way yourself;
-Over the last two years I’ve started getting back into golf. I took lessons when I was young, but then didn’t play for over a decade. I don’t know if I will ever think of it as a sport like any of the sports I played when I was younger. Like the Cowboy vs. Farmer lesson, golf seems to teach self-control and patience. It’s one of the few activities I’ve experienced where adding effort simple does not help. Swing as hard as you like and the result will not be as good as taking a deep breath and calmly swinging the club correctly;