Now that I have your attention...
Forget the self-summary. If you want to know who I am, read this.
So I’ve been listening to the audiobook of Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari. I highly recommend it, despite that it’s a depressing reminder of everything that people are doing wrong in dating and relationships. (I guess we can call this Part 2 of a series on things that are depressing me lately. It’s gonna be a long series.)
Here’s an excerpt from the chapter on Tinder:
“The biggest criticism of swipe apps is that, with their reliance on purely physical attraction, Tinder and the like represent increasing superficiality among online daters. (‘Tinder: The Shallowest Dating App Ever?’ asks the Guardian.)
“But I think that’s too cynical. Walking into a bar or party, a lot of times all you have to go by is people’s faces, and that’s what you use to decide if you are going to gather up the courage to talk to them. Isn’t the swipe app just a HUGE party full of faces that we can swipe right to go talk to?”
Call me the cynical one then, because in my opinion, Tinder is the worst thing ever to happen to online dating. Moreover, Ansari’s defense of Tinder actually describes exactly what’s wrong with the app. The Internet puts an entire world of information at our fingertips, but do we take advantage of it? No, we use it to find dates the same outdated way we’ve always been doing it—by talking to completely random people and hoping by dumb luck that we’ll meet someone we like enough to date. This article (http://waitbutwhy.com/2014/02/pick-...) says it best:
“No, when it comes to dating, society frowns upon thinking too much about it, instead opting for things like relying on fate, going with your gut, and hoping for the best. If a business owner took society’s dating advice for her business, she’d probably fail, and if she succeeded, it would be partially due to good luck—and that’s how society wants us to approach dating.”
I mean, we’re talking about finding your life partner—a huge component in a person’s level of happiness. Why the hell wouldn’t you take that seriously?
And yet, people don’t take it seriously, as Ansari’s book repeatedly reminds me. He talks about setting up an OkCupid account feeling like “a chore,” as if doing the dishes is so much boring work that it is reasonable to forgo a better shot at lifelong happiness to avoid it. What this really amounts to is that people have no idea what they want, and they would rather spend over an hour swiping photos every day (as, according to the book, the average Tinder user does) than spend even a couple of minutes on the self-reflection required to figure it out. Worse yet, Ansari refers to the air of “mystery” that some people feel is a key element of romance, which is basically just people fetishizing ignorance in order to justify their idiotic romantic decisions.
So why do I care so much? Other people’s bad decisions don’t affect me, right? Let them dig their own graves. But this lack of serious investment and this insistence on depriving ourselves of information has widespread consequences for the entire online dating community. It’s responsible for men shooting off one-line messages to women, playing the “numbers” game in order to get responses by sheer probability. It’s responsible for women neglecting to take the initiative in messaging or seek out interesting profiles, opting instead to choose among the limited options of messages they receive. It’s responsible for the continued degradation of the features of OkCupid, making it more like Tinder presumably in response to user demand. All of this fucks up the dating ecosystem in such a way that even those who understand the value of information and investment are rejecting online dating, and justifiably so—why subject themselves to all the bullshit when they’re perfectly capable of finding good relationships IRL? And when the only reasonable choice left for intelligent, confident people is to reject online dating, then where does that leave me?
Fortunately, I don’t have to deal with dating culture at the moment, so the last question is moot for now at least. But like everything else that depresses me, what depresses me about dating culture is ultimately not just how it affects me, but how it affects everyone. And it just deeply saddens me that we all finally have this opportunity to take an unprecedentedly active role in our own love lives, to use vast amounts of dating information to search for compatible partners in the most efficient way possible, to deeply analyze our relationship needs and wants and use our limitlessly broadened horizons to find exactly what we desire… and people just won’t do it. Tinder isn’t the worst thing to happen to online dating after all. We are.
The Internet gave us the best shot we have at finding love and happiness—and we’ve utterly squandered it. What a fucking waste.
At some point, I'd like to do something related to artificial intelligence because programming Pac-Man to find food and avoid ghosts in a maze was one of the highlights of my UCB career.
I am also still going to finish my novel eventually...
Video games: I do speedruns (beating a game as fast as possible) of some of my favorite games on my Twitch channel.. I run Donkey Kong Country 2 and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. I've achieved a few world records on the individual levels.
In 2015, I had the opportunity to do commentary for a Tropical Freeze speedrun at Awesome Games Done Quick, a speedrunning marathon for charity, in front of an online audience of over 100,000.
Memorizing: In high school I memorized 200 digits of pi just for fun. One of my a cappella groups once incorporated this fact into a song called "Gangsta" (sung in gangsta rap style):
"The name is Chris, and I'm a G
You'd get all the ladies too if you had hair like me
Do you know anyone else who knows pi all the way?
Seriously, though, memorizing pi is not that difficult. You just have to come up with some good mnemonics. For example, for the 1592 bit, think of it as exactly one century after Columbus sailed the ocean blue.
Singing: I was in several a cappella groups and choirs when I was in college, and I still sing with a small group of three guys and three girls. I know you're just dying to hear some of the songs I've done, right? Ask, and you shall receive:
Vacuum - Movin' Out by Billy Joel
Ukulele cover of Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison
Multi-track recording of me doing all voice parts of Artists in Resonance's arrangement of Faith by George Michael
Running: I did cross country and track in high school, and although I was below average compared to the rest of my team, I'm still fairly pleased with the mile I ran in 5:12 my senior year. I recently ran my first half-marathon in San Francisco. Despite taking five shots and getting about half an hour of sleep the night before, I managed to finish in 1:48:43.
Poker: This one's a work in progress. I'll be really good at it someday.
Judging people's OkCupid profiles. I'm thinking of moonlighting as an OkCupid profile consultant. (Protip: don't say you "love to laugh.")
Being humble by keeping my "I'm really good at" section succinct.
Incorporating self-reference into my OkCupid profile.
Also, since this is where people usually put this sort of thing, I'm half Japanese, half white, in case you were curious.
1. Franny and Zooey, by J.D. Salinger
2. Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card
3. The People of Paper, by Salvador Plascencia
4. Reality is Broken, by Jane McGonigal
5. The Truth: An Uncomfortable Book about Relationships, by Neil Strauss
1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
2. Dumb and Dumber
3. The Matrix
4. V for Vendetta
5. Moulin Rouge
2. The Rembrandts
3. Jason Mraz
4. Fountains of Wayne
2. Battlestar Galactica
3. Breaking Bad
5. Daily Show/Colbert Report
1. Donkey Kong Country 2
2. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
3. Super Smash Bros. Melee
4. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
5. Resident Evil 4
As Siddhartha Gautama said, one must not seek to acquire these virtues without... peace comes from within.
That's it. Let it sink in.
What is the most efficient way to build nerd cred?
No, seriously, you can message me for whatever reason. The act of sending a first message to a guy at all is already defying stereotypes in the best possible way, so far be it from me to discourage you from doing so.