AkinToStendhal
32 Evanston, United States
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AkinToStendhal
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My self-summary
A self-driven scholar and MacGuyver-esque tinkerer, with a sideline (but nonetheless strong) passion for art. Fiercely loyal to my friends, and always willing to lend a hand. Eternally in search of the next worthwhile joke or good laugh. Not ashamed to admit that a really good story or piece of music can move me to weep (just a little). Mildly cynical/sarcastic on the outside, but idealistic on the inside - yet generally practical/pragmatic everywhere. Perpetually looking to learn more about nearly everything, and how to bolster my skills at whatever I do.
What I’m doing with my life
Just got through to the 'good' ending of a PhD program in mechanical engineering after seven long years. Now I have to figure out where I go next....dang.

Still working in a research lab for the short term. The pay is....acceptable....but the schedule is....negotiable. And at least I get to ride on the fruits of the last few years labors for a while longer (ahh....the 'joy' of paper writing).

N.B.: The word 'joy' is pronounced /ˈagənē/
I’m really good at
Fixing just about anything, from stuff at home to crazy lab equipment. I can do it MacGuyver style (paper clips and chewing gum) if need be, but under ideal circumstances, I can make most things good-as-new. You'd never know they were broken.

Making stuff. And at that, just about any 'stuff' you can name. When I had more time for hobbies, I set out to be a self-taught craftsman. It paid off, and I finally think I can make the claim that there's pretty much nothing that man has made that I genuinely can't. Hooray hubris!

Puns. I try to make them all the time-when there's a good seed from a conversation. It's a perpetual challenge/puzzle to find them, and the more elaborate (yet legitimate) they can be made, the better. (Ooh! It tickles!)

When I had the time and motivation, I used to be a decent 'psedo-romantic-era' composer as well. I'm getting back into it again now that the PhD is done, but back in the day, I could do some amazing things. The gift is still there, it's just idle.... Come on, muse, let's go play together like we used to.....
The first things people usually notice about me
Hard to say. After working with a fellow in the same place for a long time who had some verbal quirks of his own, I picked up a few of them. Like kennings... Trust me, they helped clarify things that had vague nomenclature..... Though you might look at me funny if I talk about the 'pay money' that I earn, or the 'sleeping bed' I wish I could return to.....

I have a weird tendency to gradually match the accent of the person I'm speaking to. I don't do it on purpose...it just winds up happening, I swear! ......sometimes with mildly hilarious results when I snap out of it or someone else notices. I'm lucky it's never landed me in any real trouble.... (No, I'm not making fun of you - really. I don't even know that I'm doing it. Now, now - just put down that cudgel...)

(The best time was when I had someone ABSOLUTELY convinced I was from his home town in New Jersey just by the accent I gradually acquired from talking with him for an hour)
Favorite books, movies, shows, music, and food
Mostly things nobody else seems to care about. A hipster? Why would you say that? Seriously, though....

Music:
Mostly "classical" stuff from about Handel's time to Ravel's time. REALLY a strong interest in the period of about 1850-1910 (late Romanticism). A BIG fan of the Imperial Russian composers, especially a few of the more maligned/obscure (e.g. Glazunov, Kalinnikov). Also some of the 20th century German/Austrian school (Zemlinsky, Joseph Marx, Korngold).

Oddly enough, I've got a soft spot for pre-1940s jazz. Stuff from the 20s & 30s is...different, and clever in its own way. So guys like Arden & Ohman, Eubie Blake, Venuti & Lang. Also, if you know who Adam Carroll (the long-since-dead pianist) is, and why he is amazing, then why haven't we met before?

More modern/popular stuff would be like Queen (excellent harmonic structure and May's solos are very clever), but also a bit of CCR, The Police, Allman Brothers, No Doubt, Journey, Boston, AC/DC. You get the general flavor.

Movies:
There's a lot that I like, and I'm willing to consider a big span of time. Just to give you an idea (certainly not limited to this):
- silent stuff like Buster Keaton, maybe a bit of D.W. Griffith
- 1930s 'golden age', like 'Ninotchka', 'The Lady Eve' as comedies, the Astaire/Rogers musicals, etc.
- 1960s , plenty of good caper and spy films (Topkapi, Charade, The Kremlin Letter), almost anything by Hitchcock, Sergio Leone westerns, etc.
- 1980s, Good ol' Indiana Jones (there were only 3 movies, right?), The Princess Bride, Blade Runner, and so-on
- Recent, like The Illusionist, Sherlock Holmes, Wall-E (Pixar rarely fizzles), The new Batman Trilogy, Prometheus
- Also the occasional foreign film, maybe something fun from Japan like Zatoichi, and I had to admit that OSS:177 Cairo was ridiculously enjoyable
The six things I could never do without
Never was sure how they meant this question...

Well, if you mean "things" as in the inanimate, then:
1. Paper
2. Pen (see paper)
3. A light (candle, lantern, bulb, whatever) so I can work at night [I'm useless in the morning]
4. A file (the metal kind - you can do a LOT with one)
5. (under revision)
6. A quiet place to retreat to from time to time

Rather, if you want to be really broad and philosophical about this:
1. Love (pure and simple)
2. Trustworthy friends
3. Reliable colleagues
4. Persistent ambitions
5. An imagination that doesn't grow dull
6. The absolute predictability of the laws of physics (only last because it's practically, but not certainly, a given)

Or if you want to go the route written by graduate-student comedians exposed to a lethal dose of nerd-rays:
1. Equipment that doesn't break. EVER.
2. Statistically valid data EVERY TIME.
3. Entropy working in your favor - FOR ONCE.
4. A self-renewing grant with no paperwork or annual reviews.
5. Code that automates the writing of flawless research papers. Just feed it the results.
6. A hired goon who finds and visits THAT PAPER REVIEWER (you know the one...who always hates your work for no reason but never actually reads it) and 'convinces' him to either bow-out or actually read your stuff. Actually, this should be #1.....I keep getting visions of the end of "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back"....
I spend a lot of time thinking about
Where I'm going with all this. I've been in school, solid, since I was five? Really? That long?!? That's like 24 years of school....yeesh.

Now I can do pretty much anything I put my mind to, it's just a question of what that's going to be......

Yet there's this nagging feeling - What I really, secretly want to do, people probably won't pay me for, and what they'll probably pay me for, I really don't want to do....
On a typical Friday night I am
Dead tired. The week takes a lot out of me. The weekend is for having fun - I need to recover on Friday night. Usually stay in, grab something decent on TV, bit of music from my collection, or a good book if I have the concentration to enjoy it.
The most private thing I’m willing to admit
I did, and still do, have a soft spot for Anime. Lately not so much (still following a few, like Space Dandy), but back in the day I was an avid follower of Cowboy Bebop (when it was new...), Ghost in the Shell, Fullmetal Alchemist, and quite a few other shows.
You should message me if
Your idea of a good time would be intellectual conversation, going to art museums, classical concerts, and other activities generally considered too boring for mainstream society. Or if you're just the human incarnation of Liara T'Soni, we'll probably get along swimmingly...heh.
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