Originally I'm from southwestern Connecticut, a beach town on the Long Island Sound that Craigslist also considers a far-flung suburb of New York City. I moved to DC for college and have been here more or less full-time for the past 15 years. While I often miss living near water and (most especially!!!) having a lawn to mow, having to drive everywhere and calling last call at 1:30 on the weekends are kind of dealbreakers.
I am happiest in a pair of running shoes (or not--I have a pair of Five Fingers, although I wouldn't go so far as to wear them out socially). I also love to cook; prepping a meal is meditative for me in the same way that running is: You just fall into a rhythm and let the zen flow through you. When I'm not working, running, drinking, cooking, or mainlining Netflix, I like to read, or sit somewhere and work a crossword, ride my bike, or just wander around. There's always something to do around here.
- Finding the least expensive chunk of parmigiano reggiano on my first pass through the fancy cheese bin at the grocery store.
- Recall. More stupid human trick than anything, but I have an insanely good memory for names on bar tabs throughout the course of a shift. I could have 100 tabs open simultaneously, but if you started one with me at any point in the night, I will remember your name every time you come back for a drink. A less useful application of this talent is my encyclopedic memory for Onion headlines. (All-time favorites include: "Friend Who Can Play 'Law & Order' Theme on the Bass Asked to Do So"; "Actually, Suicide not the Easy Way Out for Area Quadriplegic"; "Nabisco Discontinues Wheat Thicks"; "Jacques Derrida 'Dies'"; and--possibly my outright favorite--"Ghost of Anne Frank: 'Quit Reading my Diary.'")
- Giving police statements in drunken, halting Italian (It's a long story).
- Swearing. I'm shooting for Malcolm Tucker, but I'll settle for Jamie McDonald. Debra Morgan is the platonic ideal. (Jennifer Carpenter's delivery of the line "Shit a brick and fuck me with it!" almost redeems the entirety of Dexter's fifth season. Almost.)
Other favorites by authors over whom I don't obsess: Ovenman (Jeff Parker); Under the Frog (Tibor Fischer); Three Dollars (Eliot Perlman); Spanking the Donkey (Matt Taibbi); Born to Run (Chris McDougal); What I Talk About When I Talk About Running (Haruki Murakami); Heat (Bill Buford); The Bad Guys Won! (Jeff Pearlman).
TV: Serialized drama more than anything else, preferably sci-fi or cop-type stuff: X-Files; Fringe; Breaking Bad; Weeds; Sopranos; Deadwood; Justified; The Wire; The Shield; Sons of Anarchy; any Law & Order. Don't get me wrong--I like to laugh as well. I have every season of South Park, and knowing the complete Daria series is available makes me feel better about the world in general. (As far as unintentional comedy goes, I'll cop to having hate-watched the shit out of Dexter and the last two seasons of SOA.) Also, too: Adventure Time; Shin Chan; Wonder Showzen; The Thick of It; House of Cards (MOLLY PARKER, YOU GUYS); and anything with Timothy Olyphant, Jeremy Davies, or William Fichtner. I'm also a sucker for those National Geographic or Discovery Channel shows of a theological or outer-space nature--when I had cable with DVR, I used to like to record space stuff so I'd always have something to watch when stoned. Munchies for the eyes, if you will.
Movies: Moon; Go; Heat; In Bruges; In the Loop; Ghostbusters; Donnie Darko; Die Hards 1 & 3; Alien; Aliens; South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut (more movies should have exchanges like, "Well, Philip, I hope you learned something through this whole experience." "I did, Terrance. I learned that you are a boner-biting, dick-fart fuckface."). And while I really really REALLY don't like Forrest Gump, AT ALL, I do find the part where he takes off running, just for the hell of it, with no destination or goal in mind, and just does that for several years, incredibly appealing, and I wouldn't rule it out as a potential future endeavor.
Sucker for (in no particular order): Stuff that's noisy and/or melodic--think Pixies, Nirvana, Wavves, Thee Oh Sees, Deerhunter, Lotus Plaza, Pavement, Jesus and Mary Chain, FIDLAR, Velvet Underground, The Pack A.D., etc.; chick singers (Warpaint, Beach House, Cat Power, Cate LeBon, Mynabirds, St. Vincent); Neil Young's entire 1970s output, but especially 'Zuma' and 'Tonight's the Night'; anything by Elliott Smith, Beck (especially Mutations and Sea Change...I have something of a sad bastard streak in my musical tastes), or Kurt Vile; Jim O'Rourke-era Sonic Youth and Wilco; bands whose music critics would describe as "angular" (Fugazi, Modest Mouse, Built to Spill) or "cinematic" (Air, Grandaddy, ELO, Godspeed, Dirty Beaches). I have a soft spot for 90s indie rock in general, and Bedhead in particular; I also like this British band Radiohead ...you may have heard of them.
I can't stand Sleigh Bells. There, I said it. It's Jock Jams for Hipsters.
Food: Pretty much anything, but favorites include pastas and soups. If we're talking specific cuisines, again, I'll eat anything, but I'm particularly partial to Italian, Hungarian, and Thai. As far as my own cooking goes, I like projects. To that end, my tendencies run low and slow--think gulyas, bolognese, roasts, etc.--when time permits. When it does not, I gravitate toward things I could cook in my sleep, like puttanesca. Or I just call in an order to Toki Underground, watch TV for 20 minutes, then go around the corner to pick up my food and laugh at everybody waiting two hours to get a seat.
- My bike. Bethany gets me where I need to go. She's the anti-Red Line.
- The pork cheek ramen add-on at Toki Underground. SWOON. The road to my heart is paved with pork products of all kinds, but it's the cheek that is truly the apple of my eye. I could go on indefinitely like this, waxing rhapsodic about the most delectable bits of porcine anatomy, but I'll stop here, before I mix my metaphors to the extent that I've inadvertently written a Thomas Friedman column.
- Ice cream. While the way to my heart is very often through my stomach (see above), I don't really have much of a sweet tooth. I cannot be swayed by pie or cupcakes or by baked goods generally, unless they've got weed in them. But I will never turn down ice cream. When I visit home on holidays, I can never tell if I'm happier to see my parents or to see a Dairy Queen. OK, that's not true--I actually can tell. It's the Dairy Queen.
- Books. Half the reason I've stayed put in my day job as long as I have is continuous access to a steady stream of new, and more importantly, free reading material. In physical form. I have a Kindle, but I'm not ready to abandon print just yet.
- Monday evening long-distance run. It gets my head straight and sets the tone for the week ahead. I honestly look forward to it all day at work like 8-year-old me anticipated Christmas.
- You can teach me something about Hungarian language or cooking. (Or better yet, both.)
- Your favorite Christmas movie is "Die Hard."
- You think "The Greatest Story Ever Told" refers not to the life of Jesus Christ as depicted by George Stevens, but to the story of the 1986 New York Mets as chronicled by Jeff Pearlman (but you aren't a Mets fan).
- Just kidding. It's OK if you're a Mets fan.
- You are Sigourney Weaver circa 1979-1986 and have time-traveled to the present.
- You are present-day Sigourney Weaver.
- All or none of the above apply. Surprise me.
- You've tried the best, and now you're ready to try the rest.