67Berkeley, United States
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My self-summary
I'm leading a charmed life -- enormously gratifying work, excellent health and fitness, and plenty of happy times with dear friends and family. That's not quite everything, though, which is why I'm spending time reading profiles on OKCupid. Quite honestly, I enjoy reading the profiles – these earnest reflections on what a person feels about her life, on the occasion of needing to explain it to anyone who might pause to read it. It’s always intriguing. All writing is warmly confessional, which is part of what I like about reading students’ essays.

So I remember this dream I had once – an elderly, wise gentleman leans over a desk towards where I’m sitting, and softly intones: “When the truth is found to be lies, and all the joy within you dies …” The wise elder pauses, then continues: “Don't you want somebody to love? Don't you need somebody to love? Wouldn't you love somebody to love? You better find somebody to love.”

Or maybe it was a scene in a movie. Or some song that I remember.

The joy hasn’t died, but I take the last part as essential truth.

My friends are mostly academics, writers, and artists, but I enjoy people wherever I meet them. I don't think there's a set of traits that defines who attracts me romantically. I’m fascinated by what makes a person singular in what she does, who she is, what is important to her, and in her sense of humor. The world is full of wonderful people, but they aren't all good matches for each other. The people I admire most are those who have a self-defined purpose in life that means being absorbed in it creatively – writing in particular but not exclusively. Being serious about what you do in life is vital, and being able to see it all as funny nevertheless is a sign of contentment and confidence. Taking command of one’s life and health, enjoying the delights of life, and being ever open to change are what I admire, and what I strive for, too. I cherish dear, intense friendship, which can be the basis for something much more important. I love finding out how someone close to me feels and thinks, what makes her happy, what can help her thrive. I'm not looking for a companion to while away leisure time with, but someone who has her own engaging interests and purpose, and who would delight in telling me all about it.

I began yoga two years ago and soon began practicing 5-6 times a week. I cannot do without it!

I love cooking, and I love cooking a nice meal for friends, family or just for someone. I’ve diminished gluten, dairy, and animal protein from my diet. I call it near-vegan. There’s still a lot of fun cooking to do within those constraints, though I can’t find anything that goes so well with pesto as Italian pasta.

I’ve traveled all over North America and extensively in Western Europe. London, New York City, San Francisco, Berkeley, Paris, Big Sur, Yosemite, the Maine coast, Sonoma County, the Oregon coast, Redwood forests, the Sierra Nevada are favorite destinations, and other places, too. I abhor cruise ships, casinos, shopping malls, theme parks, amusement parks, and tourist resorts.
What I’m doing with my life
My work as a college professor is enormously gratifying. When students wow me with what they show me they can do, I need to remind myself that I get paid for this job, too. I write essays about cinema, about films that I like. I publish in academic journals and books. I travel often, and mostly connected with giving presentations at academic conferences. Depending on the destination, I can stay longer in London, New York, or wherever – usually to see movies and art and to share time with a dear friend over a fine dinner or a good stroll. My writing projects are more inventive than methodological, as much like creative non-fiction as one can get away with in scholarly work. The sign of finally having full confidence in an essay is a touch of humor all over it, though I suspect sometimes that I’m the only one ever to think it’s funny. I can be intensely absorbed in writing and revising for days on end, though not so completely impervious to all distractions that I can’t find time for someone I care about most. Once finished I want nothing better than to cook up a good meal to share with someone dear to me, and to talk for hours – but not about what I’ve been working on!
I’m really good at
I’m better at listening intently and encouraging someone to talk about herself than I am talking about myself. So sometimes I need to be prodded. I’m pretty good at cooking, but aware that my concoctions are sometimes best for me to consume myself. Once in a while I can deliver a pretty funny line. I like exposing 35mm film to light at locations that attract me (I still shoot celluloid – Velvia), and friends tell me they like my best shots. I’m very good at close reading of challenging films and texts.
The first things people usually notice about me
Blue eyes and the full head of white/gray hair, the moustache that still has a bit of color to it. And then my curiosity about you.
Favorite books, movies, shows, music, and food
In my school and college days I performed in symphonic ensembles, and love of classical music is still with me. I learned to like rock ‘n’ roll in college, and the blues in graduate school. The eclecticism has continued to grow in the years since. A neighbor once surmised from the tunes wafting from my study windows that I must be an ethnomusicologist. (Not so, but that would be a fun gig! If only I had perfect pitch.)

Healthy food and all kinds of cuisine – at good restaurants or cooking it. Fine wines and good beers and ales on occasion. No junk food, no fast food, and no national franchise restaurants that ruin ethnic cuisine overcooking everything and then dumping mounds of cream and cheese all over it.

Aside from scholarly texts, the books I have time to read are the source texts for films I choose to study. And so, lately, that’s been Jane Austen, Bernard Malamud, Raymond Carver, James Fenimore Cooper, Ursula Le Guin, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Yasmina Reza, B. Traven, Elmore Leonard, Laura Esquivel, Tracy Letts, Ian McEwan, Charles Portis, Shakespeare. A good friend recently shoved a copy of The Great Gatsby into my hands, and I loved it. Another friend enticed me to encounter Moby Dick, which I’m enjoying. There are way too many gaps in my literary exposure. So many delights still waiting for me!

I have hundreds of favorite films – independent cinema, international cinema, the history of cinema, and exceptional movies from the mainstream. Films that I’ve seen recently that I found pretty interesting: The Past, August: Osage County, Gloria, The Wolf of Wall Street, Inside Llewyn Davis, Life of Pi, The Company You Keep, Carnage, Killing Them Softly, Anna Karenina, Hannah Arendt, Populaire, In a World, 12 Years a Slave, Django Unchained, Muscle Shoals, The Counselor, Ida, Birdman, Goodbye to Language, Only Lovers Left Alive, Venus in Fur.
Six things I could never do without
In no particular order: earth, air, fire and water; chocolate; long conversations with dear friends and family; someone to love and to love me; pesto; seeing terrific movies and writing about them; goofyism; blueberries; yoga.
I spend a lot of time thinking about
What intrigues me, and there’s always plenty of it!
On a typical Friday night I am
No more typical than any other night. Could be at the movies. Could be with friends. Could be reading. Could be grading. Could be writing and revising. Could be at a museum or gallery, or at a performance or poetry reading. Could be cooking while catching a few scenes of whatever is playing on TCM. Could be with you!
The most private thing I’m willing to admit
The most private thing I’m willing to admit publically is that there isn’t anything genuinely private that I’m willing to reveal publically. Apologies for the tautology.
You should message me if
You relish feeling fit – emotionally, physically, spiritually, soulfully, intellectually, creatively, culinarily, philosophically. If you have purpose in your life, one that engages your creativity, your soul, your energies, and your mind. If you want the symbiosis and intimacy of two people who are like that and all the good conversation, good humor, shared good meals, hikes, movies, and so on that goes with it. If you are serious about humor!

P.s.: the pix are mostly recent (March 2014). I cajoled a friend into taking a bunch of shots, and then picking out some in which I wasn’t squinting, drooling, blinking, burping, yawning, looking cross-eyed, or sticking out my tongue.
The two of us