I really like to think about stuff. What I especially like is to sharpen my intuitive judgements about things: to pay attention to how I feel about something, take a critical look at those feelings, try to unpack them and discover their sources. Sometimes this can result in me changing how I feel about something. More often it results in my gaining a better understanding of why I feel the way I do, or even just a more firm conviction that I do indeed feel the way I thought I did. Knowing how you feel about something is not always as easy as it seems, but I find that kind of knowledge quite powerful and calming in an existential sort of way. Robert Louis Stevenson wrote: "To know what you prefer, instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive." And I agree with that.
This kind of feedback loop between intuition and analysis is central to my thought processes. It's active in creative endeavors, when I try to take some germ of inspiration and refine it through deliberate labor without obscuring the original spark. It even applies, in a way, to ethical considerations, as I try in general to behave in a way that I intuitively feel good about but that I can also intellectually endorse as reasonable. (This is hard, and I don't always succeed.) It's also led me to develop an interest in the psychology of human decision-making, intuition, and especially happiness --- it's fascinating to apply analysis to intuitive processes, and discover some of the structure underlying seemingly mysterious things like emotions.
When I'm not thinking, I like to do things that will provide food for thought later on. Often these are quite mundane things. I'm peculiarly attuned to the many tiny adventures of everyday life: peoplewatching, overhearing conversations at the bus stop, marveling at how there are so many different kinds of bread in the grocery store, watching clouds or sailboats or sunsets. I'm also enthralled by data and frequently binge on statistical analysis of things like population geography, supreme court voting patterns, or hypothetical tax policies. I do go in for more heavy-duty experiential fare sometimes --- like traveling to exotic locales --- but sparingly. I'm big on simple pleasures and seek contentment more than excitement. A little novelty goes a long way with me.
I have idiosyncratic tastes in many respects. I am, for instance, forever discovering that the brands of cookies, types of eyeglass frames, kinds of shoes, etc., that I had hoped to keep buying have been discontinued because they were unpopular. However, I seem to be constitutionally incapable of adjusting my tastes to make life easier for myself. I like what I like, and I'm indifferent to a lot of things that other people seem to like. This means I often find myself swimming against (or across) the current of society, not so much in noble, trailblazing, dramatic ways (although maybe there is a bit of that beneath it all), but in quirky, day-to-day, sometimes comedically minor ways. I've come to enjoy the perspective this gives me, though.
This particularity of mine applies to relationships as well. I could certainly give a big laundry list here of various qualities I like and don't like in people, but that would just make me sound like an ass and probably not accomplish much. Maybe the simplest way to put it is this: I like people, in general, but for the most part I can only take so much of them before I feel like I need to go do my own thing because they're cramping my style. What I'm looking for here is someone from whom I do not need to detach (or at least only rarely) to "do my own thing" because her thing is also my thing and we don't cramp each other's style. (I'm also open to making friends with whom I can enjoy mutually style-uncramping time, although I wouldn't have made this profile if that's all I were looking for.) As described above "my thing" is pretty peculiar by many people's standards. That means I am extremely picky. But that's okay, because, if the person I'm looking for is going to be on my wavelength, it means she probably has to be picky as well --- so picky that, until she met me, no one else quite fit the bill.
Last but not least, I'm good at living frugally without scrimping or denying myself much. I just have limited --- and cheap --- needs. (It's amazing how much money you don't spend when you don't like coffee or alcohol.)
As for nonfiction, mostly psychology (e.g., Stumbling on Happiness, Gut Feelings, stuff by William James) and philosophy (e.g., Plato, some Daniel Dennett, and more stuff by William James).
I recently finished Predictably Irrational. Right now I'm reading a philosophy book by John Rawls and rereading Proust in a mini-book-club with fellow Proustophiles and OKCupid denizens zin_0 and cuttlefishdrag.
I also read the Los Angeles Times every day.
Movies: The Princess Bride, the Bill & Ted movies, Rushmore, 12 Monkeys, Star Wars, State and Main, Sweet and Lowdown, and perhaps most of all Lone Star.
TV: I don't have a TV, don't watch TV, and don't have much interest in watching TV.
Music: Despite being musically inclined, I rarely listen to music. When I do, I usually go on a Pandora binge trying to explore some particular corner of my fairly eclectic tastes. I really like Beethoven and usually go to a few classical music concerts in a year. I play the piano frequently.
Food: I tend to care more about what's in the food than what "kind" of food it is, but I'm especially partial to Indian food and Mexican food. I'm fundamentally a meat and dough kind of guy. (That doesn't mean I don't eat vegetables, it just means I don't consider them the main event.) I like baked goods, especially donuts and things made with oats. I drink a large amount of whole milk.
I like using my Axxess card to try out different restaurants in town, although I'm a bit bummed to see the offerings dwindle from one year to the next.
There are some pretty common foods that I don't like, including cheese, eggs, coffee, wine, and beer; this astonishes many people.
I feel in this section I should include a disclaimer about my level of disconnection from pop culture. I don't have a TV, I don't have Netflix, I don't have an iPod. I don't have iTunes, I don't even watch a lot of YouTube or anything like that. This doesn't mean I'm a luddite, because I spend tons of time on the computer. I'm just not the kind of person who likes to have a constant stream of audiovisual entertainment feeds, and I don't have any desire to "keep up" with newly released stuff in the entertainment world. I do keep up with the news, but most of what passes for entertainment in my life comes from reading or from physically seeing and doing things.
What I have recently read.
Whatever sort of data I've recently been fiddling with (the census, tweets, the stock market, you name it).
Music. (This is not so much "thinking" as just constantly making up tunes in my head.)
Why people (including me) do the things they do.
What it is about things that seem the same that makes them seem the same, and what it is about things that seem different that makes them seem different.
Also any one of my peculiar fascinations, like Tristan da Cunha or inequality metrics or happiness psychology.