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33 Berkeley, CA Man


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I’m looking for

  • Women
  • Ages 21-40
  • Near me
  • For new friends, long-term dating, short-term dating

My details

Last online
Nov 28
Open relationship
Relationship Type
Mostly non-monogamous
5' 8" (1.73m)
Body Type
Atheism but it’s not important
Post grad
Doesn’t have kids but might want them
English (Fluently), French (Somewhat), C++ (Somewhat), German (Somewhat)
My self-summary
Write a little about yourself. Just a paragraph will do.
Well, first, I babble a bit when I write. You can learn a lot about me here, but you can also just skim or hop around the text here.

Also, I started timestamping my answers on OKC as of November 2015. I use this format: [yyyy-mm-dd]. If you see a non-timestamped answer, it might have been me years ago, and I might or might not agree with those answers anymore. Feel free to ask!

With that said…

I really, really love life! That's a pretty constant baseline for me. My favorite expressions of this are physical arts (parkour, cirque, martial arts, etc.) and travel to foreign countries, but really I just like exploring new things and finding new or more nuanced ways for life to reveal its delights. I also just really like people for the most part and prefer to share experiences when I can.

I do a lot of brain-heavy stuff. As a kid I wanted to become a physicist, and I ended up getting a masters in math. Now I do basically psychology research. I like spending my free time with friends, and something like a third of the time we play games like Dominion, One Night Ultimate Werewolf, and Eldrich Horror.

I'm passionate about ending horror for the human race. That's literally my day job, and I do it because I believe in it. I view aging as one of those horrors. I mention this because for some people this should be a deal-breaker: if it's important to you that every individual die someday whether they want it or not, and if you're not likely to change your mind after talking to an intelligent person who has honestly thought about this carefully for literally decades, then there's a fair chance that we won't have a healthy long-term romantic relationship. (This doesn't rule out friendship though.)

I'm functionally polyamorous right now. It's not part of my identity; I can imagine eventually finding someone with whom I share such a good connection that we just don't want to see others romantically. But just FYI, if you would need me to break up with my current partner(s) as a precondition of dating you, then we won't date. And everyone gets to know about everyone; honesty is super-important to me in attachment-based relationships.

[Last edited 2015-11-16.]
What I’m doing with my life
Don’t overthink this one; tell us what you’re doing day-to-day.
I work for the Center for Applied Rationality (CFAR):
I want everyone to be able to dearly love their lives. Right now that's incredibly difficult because there's a bazillion things in the way, many of which look insanely hard to solve (e.g., systemic oppression, global warming), and the solution methods for any one of them might not work for any of the others. So, I'm trying to help the human race capitalize on the one resource we have that we need for all of these: pragmatic ingenuity.

So, that's what I spend my work hours doing. And those include standard work hours plus some weekends when we run workshops.

…but CFAR is really flexible. If I want to take a day or even a week off, my colleagues generally trust that I'm doing so sensibly. So despite having a lot of working hours, I have a lot of room for fun, and I use it!

The main thing I do for play right now (as of November 2015) is parkour. Most of my housemates practice, and one of my coworkers is a teacher. I'm planning on going to Lisses in France in November 2016 to train where parkour was born.

I spend a decent amount of time putting my thinking into writing. I keep meaning to start a blog, but we'll see. (I put a pretty high premium on doing things only if my emotional/motivational mind is on board with it being a good thing to do.)

I also watch TV shows. Game of Thrones and Gotham have been on my mind lately.

I'm also working on moving toward minimalism. I have a stack of things in the corner of my room that I want to take photos of and then be rid of. At this point everything can fit in my car — but I still have a little purging to do.

I periodically work on picking up random skills. About a month ago I started teaching myself how to play piano. Lately I've been itching to get better at interior design. Next in my queue is to make myself fluent in French. Mostly I just let my immense interest in life guide what I'm doing next.

[Last edited 2015-11-15.]
I’m really good at
Go on, brag a little (or a lot). We won’t judge.
Presenting. I have a kind of stage presence I can just… turn on. And when I do so I can be quite captivating! (I used to turn it on for most social interactions, and sometimes out of habit it snaps itself on. But I'm not nearly so nervous about being liked anymore, so I feel like I can let my hair down, metaphorically speaking.)

Organizing. I totally have a perfectionist aesthetic for physical things/spaces. I'm also incredibly good at the version of Tetris where you try to pack a bazillion things into the back of a car.

Massage. I'm a bit out of practice, but I've been practicing pretty frequently since I was about 7 years old. As a teenager, my friends nicknamed me "Doc" because I had a knack for fixing mechanical glitches with their bodies, like headaches.

Doing what I recognize is important. I generally don't tie myself up in knots about how I should do thus-and-such but just don't get around to it. E.g., I floss every day, and it never feels like forcing myself to do it. (By the way, I don't think this is just a magical trait I have. I think it's a skill, and I used to be worse at it. I'm happy to share what I think the skill is made of if you're interested.)

Aikido. I trained actively for about a cumulative 20 years, and I added a lot from my knowledge of body mechanics from references like "Becoming a Supple Leopard". (Funny title, but incredibly awesome book if you're into physical arts.) I suspect I'm not all that awesome at fighting, but I learned some pretty cool tricks. One of my favorites is being able to touch someone's arm and tug gently, and have them collapse to the ground without realizing how they got there. (That one works on most people even if I tell them I'm about to do it!)

Noticing loopholes. There's totally a part of my mind that takes statements like "Thus-and-such can't be done" as a challenge. ("No, that job requires a college degree, so you have to get a degree first!") I usually don't act on it, but I'm pretty good at picking out what seem to me like plausible pathways forward. (This is totally a skill I trained. I wasn't good at this in 2011.)

[Last edited 2015-11-15.]
Favorite books, movies, shows, music, and food
Help your potential matches find common interests.
I tend to read more non-fiction than fiction. By a lot. But I love both. If OK Cupid suggested you look at my profile, you probably relate to my pain in having to select a bare few books as favorites. There's so much cool stuff out there!

* The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
* Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality by Eliezer Yudkowsky (yes, a fanfic — but serious cool in my opinion. What would happen if Harry Potter was, personality-wise, Ender Wiggin?)
* The Black Jewels trilogy by Anne Bishop
* The His Dark Materials trilogy by Phillip Pullman (but the ending upset me for three days after I finished it!)
* The Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson

* Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
* Mindsight by Daniel Siegel
* Just about anything by Richard Feynman. My favorite might have been The Pleasure of Finding Things Out.
* Superforecasting by Philip Tetlock
* The One World Schoolhouse by Salman Khan

* The Matrix probably remains my favorite movie. Its two sequels can inflict a parallel universe that doesn't involve me, though.
* Independence Day is powerful to me.
* Powder makes me cry every time I see it.
* Troll Hunters was a really cool indie film I saw around 2013. I keep thinking back to it, it was so bizarre and captivating.
* The Avengers. Yay Joss Whedon!

* Firefly
* Dollhouse
* Pushing Daisies
* Monk
* Game of Thrones
* Gotham

* Faun
* Nightwish
* Metallica
* Breaking Benjamin
* Loreena McKennitt
* Sarah McLachlan
* Vivaldi
* Beethoven

Yes, please! :-D

(…which is ironic, because I practice intermittent fasting. But eh, let life be complicated!)

For the most part, I like exploring new things, and there's lots of food I've tried that I like. In practice, my biological imperatives limit my eating much more than my preferences do. In rough order of importance:

* Cow dairy is out. (I digest lactose just fine. I can have ghee. But there's something in cow dairy protein that gives me asthma-like symptoms when I eat it.)
* I can't seem to digest anything that could reasonably be called a bean. Beans, legumes, lentils, chickpeas, and soy all cause bad digestion problems for me. (Fermented soy like miso seems to be okay in small doses.)
* Artichoke, garlic, & onion all feel uncomfortable, unless I take galactase (i.e., Beano) with them.
* Brown rice is a problem. I don't know why. Non-brown rice is fine.

Those are the "avoid"s. In terms of seeking out, I seem to do best on veggies, starch, and dark or red meat. (I'm not vegetarian. I've really, really tried, but when you can't digest beans or brown rice I don't know what to do for protein.)

Within those constraints, I like food. :-) I have some foodie tendencies, but I don't really put the time into it for the most part. I like fine dining and wine; trips to Napa are fun for me. I'd usually rather skip a meal than eat at McDonald's — but I often don't eat before 5pm on a given day, so skipping meals isn't that hard for me to do.

Also, I sometimes break the constraints listed above. E.g., on holidays I basically ignore them all and just eat what tastes good.

[Last edited 2015-11-16.]
The six things I could never do without
Think outside the box. Sometimes the little things can say a lot.
So… I've written something like ten kinds of answers to this question, and I've concluded that it's really just badly framed. I don't know what kind of answer to offer that provides my reader with good insight into me.

So, I'm going to list a small few things that I find important in my life, making no attempt to list the "top six" or whatever. I'm also not going to try to order these. I'm instead going to try to give you a snapshot of who I am right now.

* I use a MacBook Air. It cost me a grand, and if I lost it I'd get another almost immediately despite a grand being a lot for me. I don't keep anything on its local hard drive (I use cloud storage instead), but the speed and grace with which it works out of the box are really important to me. And it's light enough to take with me when I travel.

* I have journals from as far back as when I was seven years old, and keepsakes from years before then. I'm working on digitizing these. I'd be pretty upset to lose these entirely. It wouldn't meaningfully break anything about how I function in a day-to-day way, but it'd feel like losing years of my past, or like the death of a friend whom I don't talk to often but used to be very close to.

* I have a lot of strength, speed, flexibility, endurance. When I lose some of it (e.g., from hurting myself and then not being able to exercise for a few weeks), it really bothers me. I start trying to find ways to challenge myself anyway. Occasionally I hurt myself worse/differently when I do this, which just stacks irony on top of the situation. I'm slowly learning that I do this and have started taking it slower when I'm training. (I tend to push myself pretty hard, with thoughts like "It's only pain — there's fun on the other side of it!")

* I'm signed up for cryonics. I've been signed up for cryonics since I was about 5 years old. If I lost that (e.g., by the Cryonics Institute collapsing), I'd immediately work on getting that reinstated. I don't actually expect cryonics to work, but this feels important to me in the spirit of that Martin Luther quote: "Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree."

* I always keep my passport on me rather than filed away. It's sort of like a hachimaki: it represents the kind of way of living I love and want to do more of, and is a reminder of my dedication both to loving life fully and to freeing the rest of humanity to do the same. I absolutely would get it renewed/replaced as needed, and very quickly.

* I have some fine clothes, like a tux and dance shoes. They don't all fit me quite as nicely as I would like them to, and it's on my queue to fix them, but they'll totally survive my minimalism purge I think. I like being able to dress that fancy when I want to, even though I don't do it very often.

[Last edited 2015-11-15.]
I spend a lot of time thinking about
Global warming, lunch, or your next vacation… it’s all fair game.
This changes a lot, pretty quickly. I'll give some examples of where my mind has been the last month or so (today being November 15th, 2015), but take this as a snapshot. Had I written what I was thinking about in January 2015, it'd have looked very different.

Lately I've been thinking a lot about grief, and how it might relate to helping people integrate parts of their minds more fully. Like, some people seem to be able to resist grieving when they lose a loved one or end a relationship, and it does something that I want to call "unwholesome" to their mental/emotional wellbeing. And somehow, grieving seems to be related to accepting the truth when the truth has a lot of pain in it. So maybe grieving is a skill, and we can learn to see everything more clearly by getting better at that skill…? It makes me think about how people avoid writing wills or getting life insurance even when it makes sense, and maybe they'd do that more if they could grieve for their future mortality. And I think it's interesting that some forms of hostility between people in political domains looks a lot to me like the kind of hostility we see when someone who was just broken up with gets reminded of "that awful person", as though being forced to look at the world is painful and maybe the hostility can keep others from forcing awareness on the person in pain. So… maybe learning to grieve well can help people get along better and see the world more clearly? I have some guesses about how grief might work but I'm not really sure how to test them.

I've also been thinking about the relationship between self-reference and recursion, and how this relates to human reasoning. I can usually explain this in about fifteen minutes in person but it's usually confusing with less than that and I've never succeeded in writing to my knowledge. But just in case you're clever enough to pierce my bad writing… The idea is that there's a difference between the "meta" in "meta-analysis" and the "meta" in "meta-mathematics": A meta-meta-analysis is meaningfully different from a meta-analysis, but meta-meta-mathematics is exactly the same thing as meta-mathematics. (Douglas Hoffstadter referred to this idea as a "strange loop".) The first "meta" is recursion, whereas the second "meta" is self-reference. If you can convert the first kind into the second, you can get a self-improving system where you didn't have one before. (E.g., advances in meta-mathematics improve our understanding of all math, including meta-mathematics, which can be used to improve our mathematical understanding even more than before.) This shows up a lot in human reasoning, but not in a principled way — e.g., when people are arguing about what standards to follow when arguing, it's not always clear when a statement is working at the level of content or at the level of meta, or when those two are in fact the same thing.

I'm also chewing on different types of learning, and how people might get better at all of them. By this I don't mean "learning styles" like auditory, kinesthetic, visual, etc. I mean more that there's a meaningful difference between training (where you know what you need to do and are just drilling it into your habit set), play (where you don't have a goal and are just exploring), and insight (where you notice something that suddenly lets you do a thing you couldn't do before). And there might be others, but I'm not sure.

My mind keeps coming back to attachment theory. I keep thinking there's something a bit off about its standard form, but it also strikes me as really insightful.

Very recently I've become enamored of Robert Kegan's Constructive Developmental Theory. I think a lot of what I'm trying to do with creating an art of applied rationality is helping people move from Level 3 to Level 4, and I find it interesting to look at my own struggles over the past few years in light of this system.

I've also been stewing on a distinction that I recently found out was what Nietzsche referred to as the Apollonian/Dionysian distinction in The Birth of Tragedy. I haven't read that yet; it's next on my queue. I don't have any conclusions yet, other than that I intuit that it's important. I think a lot of my past attempts to bring more meaning to my life has involved dragging Dionysian things into Apollonian light, and then getting confused about why they look so different. I think I'm not unique in this error.

There's probably a dozen or so smaller things bouncing around in my mind too. Like I have some tentative thoughts about how to use analogies to the body to make one's mind more "flexible" and effective. But I think this is long enough as is!

[Last edited 2015-11-15.]
On a typical Friday night I am
Netflix and takeout, or getting your party on — how do you let loose?
I don't really have a typical Friday night thing. I guess I usually watch Netflix with one of my partners. Sometimes I do parkour. Sometimes I go out and try something entirely new.

[Last edited 2015-11-15.]
You should message me if
Offer a few tips to help matches win you over.
Well, realistically, just message me if you feel intrigued and might want to explore a romantic connection. Or a more casual connection, but I'm pretty busy and want to give priority to finding partners.

In practice, I've only ever found myself interested in cis women. I have nothing against other genders or sexes; I just have yet to be attracted to non-{cis-women}. If you don't fit that but still want to try, feel free to shoot me a message. I take it as a compliment. :-) But just be warned that I'm unlikely to reciprocate the interest.

If you're interested, just be straightforward about it. I know it can be a bit scary to reach out to someone as a bit of a shot in the dark, especially with the kinds of messages here my female friends have shown me they receive daily. :-P For what it's worth, I aim to be respectful and considerate the way I wish everyone would be to everyone else. The worst you have to fear from me is a gentle "no thanks" — and the best is quite a lot better than that. :-)

[Last edited 2015-11-15.]