Melanoman
47 Seattle, United States
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Melanoman
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My self-summary
[July 2016 update -- I'm flying back and forth between Seattle and the SF Bay Area. My profile reads Seattle right now because that is the new place for me, but I still live in Pacifica as well.]

[May 2016 Note to the Old School OKC crowd: I finally changed the account name; the old one just doesn't describe me any more]

I'm married to buttercups13. Yes, we met here. We're entirely open with each other about whether and how we interact with others, so I'm not comfortable with "discreet"(secret) arrangements. "Discrete"(separate) is okay though. For dating, polyamory is the easiest description of my theory of non-monogamy. Like all the other special little snowflakes, I have details and refinements, but I appreciate the efficiency of having a word other people already generally understand to get the rough idea across.

I've been on OK Cupid since before it had "cupid" in the name, so I still use it as a general social vehicle, including platonic activities like boardgame gatherings. There is a whole section on that below if you don't know what I'm talking about. This is actually my number one use for the site.

I like to think of myself as even-keeled, but OKC calls this "less emotional" instead. I'm intensely loyal, but tend to be on the slow side when it comes to adding people to my social circles.

My sense of humor tends to be sardonic, opportunistic and observational. Some people think I have no censor on my inner voice, so it's a good thing they haven't heard the comments I didn't say. My rule of thumb is that anything non-hurtful is fair game. For those of you who saw the Boondock Saints and want to tell me where the phrase "rule of thumb" comes from, you should read the I spend a lot of time thinking about section first.

Physically, I traded the glasses for laser enhanced 20/15 vision around 2006, and the blue eyes have been getting a lot of attention. I didn't think I was vain, but I adore the attention. My hair has gotten past the awkward middle length and is now long by most definitions. When the wind picks up, it defies my attempts at brushing and does whatever it decides to. Overall, I look like a clean, well-dressed hippie, or maybe a short biker in corporate clothing. I'm okay with that. I don't expect to lose the beard again, but it will change sizes and shape depending on my mood when I shave. I've historically been athletic and competitive in fencing, racing and field sports, but adjusting my personal expectations as I age and my fitness declines has been a challenge to my humility.

Most of my hobbies aren't nearly so manly. German and German-style board games, crafting, teaching and linguistics top the list, but other items like cooking, Swedish massage, the latest Bemani, social groups, poker and the like can get added to my perennially overbooked schedule at any time. My latest new language is Japanese. Mandarin is the first language to defeat my language acquisition pattern, mostly because my tones are just embarrassingly bad.

Boardgames: Outsiders who hear the terms boardgame and boardgamer assume that these entail rolling dice and moving a marker around a circle, but the boardgames I play tend not to have dice and are authored by esteemed people such as Wolfgang Kramer, Reiner Knizia, or Sid Sackson. The games generally take ninety minutes to three hours to play and are both socially and intellectually stimulating. I regularly attend two boardgaming groups, so message me if you think you might like to be introduced to the hobby. You'll probably know after the first night whether this is for you. These days I only play socially, but back in the twentieth century I played the intense two-player games like Trax, Go, and Chess. I went overboard with Trax and made it to world rank #2.

Smithy: This seems too big to fit under crafting, so it's going under it's own section. I bought a house with a 19th-century-style forge in the back yard. It came talent not included, but I'm determined to get through the burns.

Crafting: I have done latch-hook, counted cross-stitch, painting ceramics, bitmaps and pixmaps, an OKC test (click on "tests" atop my profile to take the test yourself), and I have a matchstick lighthouse kit in the queue for when I finish my current project. Celtic knots are a motif throughout my art, especially the Caer Nichol, which appears in the first page of my OKC test. I used to belong to a weekly crafting group, but it was scattered to the four winds by entropy. My new house has a 19th century smithy in the back yard. I cleaned up the wiring to the fume hood and have it in a working state, but it came talent-not-included, so I still have little clue what I'm doing when I try to use it. I can't make a horseshoe both be symmetrical and flat yet.

Poker: I have a World Poker Tour card and have cashed in WPT Main events. 2006 marked my first World Series of Poker events in July (Razz and Stud hilo8). Playing at this level has pretty much killed social poker for me. The mindset of playing to take someone's money versus playing to socialize are just too different to reconcile. Deep down this was probably an attempt to look scruffy and disreputable, like the long hair. Now that poker is on all the cable channels, however, it's become downright respectable. I'll have to try something else.

There was a time that OKC had language-sensitive text and more boxes to fill in. The entries below are left over from then.

Honourable Mention in Mid Libs 2008

Mi ne estas Esperantisto, nur Esperantanto. La lingvo estas bela kay forta, sed mi ne usas. Mi povas paroli kun vi, se vi volas. Mi lernis la lingvo en 1989, sed mi ne malmemoris.

Aprendí español en Argentina y mi escuela en los estados unidos. No quiero hablar con la practicala de un porteño, pero la "ll" de calle puede ser una "ezhe" unas veces conmigo. Mi esposa primera nació en BsAs, y después del divorcio, paré harblarse mucho y mi fluidez ha deteriorado.

Jina langu ni Mel. Hatusema kiswahili nyumbani, lakini tunasoma.

I am insightful, open, and direct

What I’m doing with my life
I've resumed a career in high tech management because computers weren't intrusive enough into your life and I'm going to fix that. I also have some grandiose, unrealistic plans about fixing elementary education and have put more effort into it than you might expect. My less grandiose, more practical plans involve founding a private school as a proof of concept of some cross-age organizational structures and related pedagogies.

I'm well-read and well-travelled, but I've missed a whole lot along the way by rushing into an ill-conceived marriage as an undergraduate and then allowing all sorts of experiences to just not happen over a decade and a half. The marriage is now over a decade in the rear view mirror and filling in the gaps continues to be wonderful.

I've stopped trying to get into athletic shape and started trying to get into shape, period. This doesn't actually involve different actions; just different expectations. I've put enough wear and tear on this body that I figure I owe it some TLC from now on. It's been good to me, all in all, in spite of all the broken bones, cuts and contusions.
I’m really good at
Teaching. I see connections in lots of unusual places and can use them to explain complicated material in simple ways. I've developed a strong understanding of the different ways in which people learn and can choose a set of ways to express a topic that will cover an audience fairly well. I love teaching children and am developing a course called "Kindergarten Algebra" that is designed to teach the concepts underlying the traditional high school math cannon (Elementary Number Theory, Algebra, Geometry, and Trig) as a language rather than a discipline. [2016 update: project is on hiatus due to stubborn insistence of Sun on 24 hours days] In spite of the name it will probably work best with 7-10 year old gifted students unless I can find a way to incorporate early number concepts and bring in the 4-6 year old students. The hope is that I can leverage the linguistic learning capacity of young children to lay the essential groundwork for later learning. Letting math degenerate into memorization of arithmetic tables is a crime.

I took a sabbatical around 2004 to learn how to be a single father and get a graduate degree in education. Life intervened and I ended up remarried and doing other things.

The first things people usually notice about me
The boring answer is the long hair and blue eyes.

I learned to read in a place with no other children my age, and a lot of the books I learned on weren't meant for kids. It shows up in the way I speak. Sometimes my words sound like something formal that came out of a book, and people who don't know me figure I'm showing off or something. It's actually the opposite. That is just the way the words come out when I don't dress them up, so it really means that I'm either comfortable enough not to worry about sounding weird or else I'm too distracted.
Favorite books, movies, shows, music, and food
Books: My fiction tends to be steeped in SF/Fantasy. Philip K. Dick, Connie Willis, and Lois McMaster Bujold seem to have a disproportionate representation in the stories I like, especially short stories by the first two. The Lorax is the best english-language children's book ever written; Theo Giesel the best early-reading author. My non-fiction is a lot more varied. I like deep analysis like Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel. I even like bad analysis like The Bell Curve which serves as fodder to pick apart. I like linguistic theory, including some rather arcane technical stuff (not just the semi-popular work like George Lakoff and his ilk). In spite of my degree in and my love of the subject, I don't really read in this field nearly as much as I work on direct observations. I adore math and science, both pedagogy and new stuff. I got hooked on Critical Studies when I went back for my Ed. degree.

Movies: Krieger und Kaiserin, Pay it Forward, Being John Malcovich, Brazil, 6th Sense, Rear Window, The Secret of Roan Innish. I like comedy, but nothing specific is coming to mind. I have a definite sweet tooth for Buckaroo Banzai, Big Trouble From Little China and three of the God of Gamblers movies (the two with CYF and the prequel).

Music: My musical tastes are in flux. I've been listening to a lot of spoken word (the sort of things you'd hear at a poetry slam) and then instrumental-only western bluegrass. My collection has a lot of 60s rock in it, but it's sitting idle. This whole area is likely to change without notice.

Foods: thai curry, fungi, rare steak, sautéed asparagus, capsicum, spice, garlic
The six things I could never do without

human contact

boardgames

teaching

curiosity

endorphins

alone time

I spend a lot of time thinking about

language. I love linguistics, especially at the syntactic level. I've increasingly found that I can't explain syntax without drawing in lots of semantic information, so a lot of my focus has been in the fuzzy cogsci area lately, but that is with the hope that I can tie this all back down to the syntax some day.


With all the thinking and work I've done you'd think that I'd have accomplished a lot, but once I figure something out I tend to move on to the next thing before I follow through and write up my results, so I guess I'm just a flake. I'm okay with that. I'd rather play with language than make it a job anyway.


In the service of these experiments, I've applied (mild) electric shocks to the palms of people (well, grad students, which are kinda like people) and shoved medical tubing up my nose far enough to swallow it. This isn't nearly as crazy as it sounds out of context.

On a typical Friday night I am
[8 June 08 update] Lately I've been trying to turn Friday nights into a night to go out, which is a new for me. Details are hazy as to the proportion of nights out with the kids, with groups of adults, or one-on-one time with buttercups13, but with the end of Friday exercise night, the time slot is free for things not available other nights.

[16 May 2016 update] Wow. That 2008 plan completely didn't happen in real life. Maybe it will now.
The most private thing I’m willing to admit
My mother nicknamed me "Melanoma" (for "Mel"). My brother was Salmonella (for "Sam"). She seemed to mean it affectionately.
You should message me if
...you live in Seattle and want to woo me.

...you live in the SF bay and want to show a recent transplant from the east then south bay what's up on the west side of the bridges. Double plus bonus points if you know of a crafting circle you can invite me to.

...or if you are looking to join something, I regularly host boardgames and can show that to you.

If you have a romantic objective, please respect that my relationship with buttercups13 is not going anywhere.
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