39 East Lansing, MI
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My self-summary
I know this is a bit long, but better too much description than too little, right? Perhaps I should give a summary image for you to keep in mind... Imagine the fellow in the photos section (me) hiking on a trail in the woods while carrying an armful of books, listening to a podcast, possibly wearing Spock ears, and wearing a tie-dyed lab coat, perhaps over a toga*. That should give you some idea of who I am: A scientist who loves the outdoors, reading, podcasts, science fiction, and colors who has more than a passing interest/obsession with the ancient world.

(*I have never done all of this at the same time, but now I have an odd urge to try doing so. Note to self: look into buying some Spock ears.)

Now to the details...

I am a fairly shy and quiet person who warms up quickly as I become comfortable with a person, after which I am quite open and talkative. This is good because I enjoy good conversation on pretty much any topic, and I love it when they descend (ascend?) into silliness. I really love to laugh, and have an odd, sometimes morbid sense of humor that stems in great measure from a healthy appreciation of the absurd and a love of facetiousness and irony. (For this reason a great deal of what I say in casual conversation shouldn't be taken seriously.) I alternate between being space and fuzzy-brained and being hyper-focused. I am a loyal friend, and am always willing to listen or lend a hand.

I dearly love books, and I really couldn't live without them. I generally always have a book with me, and I am never not in the middle of reading something or another from any of a variety of genres or on a variety of subjects. Among particular favorites are history, ancient (in my mind I sometimes live more in ancient Greece and Rome than I do in the current day), medieval, and modern, and science, but I also read a lot of mysteries, legal thrillers, science fiction, literature, and way too much zombie fiction. I am interested in perhaps too many things, and am always finding something new to get fascinated about, which, of course, leads to more books!

I love the outdoors! I need time in nature, and its manifold beauties and wonders mean a great deal to me. I get antsy if I am stuck indoors away from forests and fresh air for too long. I go for hikes on local trails pretty much every weekend. I also like to combine the outdoors and books, and I am probably happiest when I can spend the day hiking a trail down which I have never gone before, and then read beside a campfire late into the night. If I ever manage to meet someone else for whom this, too, is the perfect day, I shall consider myself very lucky, indeed.

I can be more than a bit contradictory. (Like Whitman, I contain multitudes, and like Emerson, I believe that too much consistency is a foolish thing.) I am a progressive, but I am also behind the times (no cell phone or Facebook account for instance). I am very patient in most situations, but antsy in others, and I always have difficulty sitting still. (I guess it is best to say that I am good at patience so long as I am either moving or have something to occupy my mind. Boredom REALLY irks me, so it is a good thing that I find many things interesting.) I don't like driving, but I love long car trips. I am opinionated, and yet I like to try to figure out how others see the world, and in what ways other views make sense. I can be very serious, and yet I am very much a kid a heart. (Halloween is hands down, bar none my favorite holiday, and I am still a bit miffed that I am too old to go trick-or-treating... Which is not to say that this actually stops me some years...)

Unlike many, I don't find inactivity at all restful, but actually rather stressful. (When I visit home for the holidays, I tend to spend a lot of time hauling rocks and building gardens and the like.) Granted, my view of activity is rather broad, but just sitting around doing nothing is hard on me. I believe I mentioned my problems with sitting still earlier? This is a facet of the same thing.

I love animals.

I thrive on stories, and so I really enjoy movies and TV, especially of the well-written sort. Granted, I do watch and very much enjoy a lot of bad movies, because of which I also really enjoy a lot of bad movie podcasts. Sports, on the other hand, I really don't care for or about. (I don't judge others for enjoying them, but I just don't get the allure.)

I am a strongly liberal Democrat who believes that a good, strong society needs to recognize that we are all in this together, and therefore we must care for one another. I think those who don't believe that health care should be a fundamental right are a bit nuts. I believe in pragmatic idealism guided by a firm grasp of reality as it is, for it is only by knowing how things are that we can have any chance of making them what we wish they might and could be.

I have a strange compulsion to do artistic things that involve stacking rocks and, sometimes petri dishes.

I am a proud, not to mention functional, sci-fi geek, so I really don't mind discussions that go into the minutia of imaginary things. And, yes, I do quote Buffy, Babylon 5, and the like on a regular basis. This is in part a reflection of a strong inclination to understand life and its many aspects by reference to myth and story. (It also happens to be fun!)

I love exploring ruins and abandoned places. I get a charge out of finding remnants of a brick wall out in the woods. I can't quite say what it is. Perhaps it is a matter of history and time being more tangible at these places.

I am a transplanted Southerner from north Georgia. This means that I occasionally use "y'all" as a perfectly normal second person plural pronoun, often use "ma'am" and "sir" out of common courtesy, and I still greet the snow with more than a bit of childish glee born of growing up where it was a rare treat that invariably meant there was no school that day.

So that is the best I can do to give you a sense of who I am. Further communication would be required to verify how close I came to getting it right!
What I’m doing with my life
I am an evolutionary biologist who is working as a postdoc at Michigan State, where I do evolution experiments with bacteria. I am aiming for a faculty position at a university at some point.

To that you might add trying to read as much as I can while also exploring and keeping two cats as happy as possible.
I’m really good at
Thinking too much, story-telling, listening, going off on ridiculous tangents, walking endless miles, stacking things, and I cook pretty well. I think I have a bit of a knack for science, too.
The first things people usually notice about me
I am quiet, always have a book, and my socks often don't match (intentionally).
Favorite books, movies, shows, music, and food
Favorites: Edith Hamilton's "Mythology", "To Kill a Mockingbird", "The Solitaire Mystery", "Sophie's World", "The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt", "American Gods", "I, Claudius", "A Wrinkle in Time".
I have recently been reading John Maddox Roberts' SPQR mystery series set in the late Roman Republic, "Station Eleven", "Middlesex", "The Girl on the Train", "Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms", "Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen", and "Stalingrad". I read a great deal - 124 books last year - so this list changes pretty rapidly... I tend to read a lot of popular science and history books. I also love Terry Pratchett's Discworld series and most anything by Neil Gaiman. Hmmm... What others... I have a guilty obsession with zombie fiction, and I have greatly enjoyed Cherie Priest's steampunk and zombies work, despite it flaws.

Magazines: I currently get Time, National Geographic, Smithsonian, Microbe, Science, Ancient Warfare, and National Biology Teacher. Alas, I rarely have time to read them carefully.

I love movies, and it is really hard to narrow down to absolute favorites. I think Amadeus, The Lion in Winter, Glory, The Shawshank Redemption, and The Truman Show are among those that are really up there. Among recent films, I have really enjoyed Selma, Nightcrawler, The Babadook, It Follows, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Lego Movie, Her, Snowpiercer, Edge of Tomorrow, Ex Machina, and Wild. I generally enjoy any movie that is well-crafted, tells a good story, and isn't insulting to the audience, with extra credit going to those that make me think or feel something new. I love it when I can't get a movie out of my head for a while afterward. That said, I have a soft spot for enjoyably bad movies. (As opposed to unwatchable or insulting messes like the Star Wars prequels, the Transformers movies, or Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. I'm sorry, but those barely even qualify as movies in my book.)

TV Shows (Current):
Archer, Better Call Saul, Justified, The Americans, House of Cards, Mad Men, Doctor Who (I am a fan more of the old than the new, though I love Capaldi's take on the Doctor), The Walking Dead, Mythbusters, Venture Brothers, Game of Thrones, Community, Halt and Catch Fire, Orange is the New Black, True Detective, Sleepy Hollow, Daredevil...

(Old Favorites): Buffy, Angel, Firefly, The West Wing, Quantum Leap, Lost, Breaking Bad, Justified, Misfits, Babylon 5, Deep Space Nine, Star Trek (I prefer TOS and DS9 over TNG. I hated Voyager, and was kinda meh about Enterprise.)

10,000 Maniacs, Loreena McKennitt, Shawn Colvin, Florence and the Machine, Chant of various flavors, Beethoven, Mozart, Tori Amos, The Pretenders

The Nerdist, Mission Log, Planet Money, Fresh Air, 99% Invisible, On Point, The Diane Rehm Show, Dan Carlin's Hard Core History, The History of Byzantium, The History of Rome, WTF with Marc Maron, In Our Time, Talking TV with Ryan and Ryan, Rationally Speaking, Film Sack, Radio Lab, On the Media, The Morning Stream, This American Life, Stuff You Should Know, Stuff You Missed in History Class, Slate's Political Gabfest and Amicus, We Hate Movies, How Did This Get Made?, F this Movie, Revolutions, Mission Log, The Flophouse, Serial... (I love podcasts!!!!)

Food: Rice dishes, seafood, Mexican, Chinese, Indian, pizza, and sushi. I really like to cook, too, and do so a good bit. I figure that I must enjoy my food, because I keep eating it.
The six things I could never do without
A good pair of hiking shoes or boots
Water (My principle beverage)
An mp3 player so I can listen to podcasts.

I will add sunscreen as a seventh, both because I do need it, and because no one is really policing whether or not we stick to six.
I spend a lot of time thinking about
Whatever I happen to be obsessing about, what it means to be human, politics, the nature of reality, the nature of science, history in general, what I need to do at work, whatever I am reading at the moment, where I might find a good new trail, what I might see on that trail, and a bazillion other things.
On a typical Friday night I am
Working, or at home, cleaning, exercising, reading, or watching TV. Sometimes I am with friends, watching a documentary. Not terribly exciting, I confess.
The most private thing I’m willing to admit
I regularly hug trees.

I have a hard time taking compliments.

I named my car "Kaylee" after the character in Firefly.

The song "Abraham, Martin, and John" makes me cry.
You should message me if
If you think from my profile that we might have some good conversations and laughs. If you want someone with whom to go hiking. If you want someone with whom to discuss movies. If you have book suggestions. Of course, should you just want to say hi for some random reason, that, too, is fine!

As my status indicates, I am in a relationship. A monogamous relationship. I really am just looking for friends. And I do not mean "friend" euphemistically. If that is okay with you, and you think we could form a nice, Platonic friendship, then please do get in touch.