That set the California hook in my mouth (beaches, waves, golden sunlight, silicon valley, technology, mountains). Now I find myself addicted to northern California, many years later. I really really like it here.
I put a lot of self-summary in "what I'm doing."
I should comment that I like to get the hell out of dodge for the weekend. Or longer when feasible. Day trips, camping, trips to tahoe, wherever, touristing all over CA. Mini-vacations just make life seem longer. Variety! Locally, I like Big Sur, Pinnacles, the Santa Cruz Coast, Sonoma, Marin, SF (since I'm not technically from there anymore), Tahoe. Further away, I want to go to Argentina, Chile, NYC (more often), Europe (again, more often), and Southeast Asia. Pacific islands wouldn't suck either.
On a day to day basis, I get up, get out of bed and go to work. After I get there (often with a pause at some fancypants espresso bar), I lead an engineering team developing molecular diagnostic devices. When I'm super lucky, I get to do some engineering myself, but most of my time is spent making sure groups in the company communicate with each other, that we anticipate and deal with roadblocks before they block the road, and that I gently nudge the younger engineers and scientists in the direction of Correct Answers To Difficult Problems while providing them Vast Resources To Do Their Work.
Also, apparently, I write run-on sentences.
For fun I do strange exercises at the gym involving "METCON" and "Russian Poods," ride my bicycle (which, at last count, collected 5 different types of data to characterize its/my performance. As they say, you can take the engineer out of the lab, but you can't take the lab out of the engineer) generally uphill, climb fake (and real rocks), snowboard, travel, kibitz, debate, help old ladies with doors, grow tomatoes, fantasize about building redwood decks, saunas, and hot tubs, and try to kid around with everyone I meet.
To quote Santayana, I'm looking for a "reason for reason" (or maybe that's Santana). Whoever said it, just living life for climbing corporate ladders, travelling to exotic places, and acquiring experiences is getting old in my middle age. I'm seeking bonds with people, community, and connection in moments that feel like, well, a shirt made with heavy, well-loved cotton cloth. Old mid-80's Brooks Brothers. Not the flimsy cheap crap you get these days at Old Navy. (Updated: go to the flagship Banana Republic off Union Square. Go inside, to the Taylor Stitch kiosk where they let you order custom shirts. Feel up the japanese sailcloth. Get fresh with it. Touch it, touch it.)
Update: I helped sell that company, bought a condo in Oakland with a roof deck that is totally the apple of my eye, realized I didn't want to work for the acquiring company -- since it required moving to Texas, quit, hung out, worked for the Obama campaign, did a few long bike rides including one to Monterey, took up triathlon-ing, found a house in Tahoe to share with some folks for the winter, and am now living the good life in the bay area while looking for the right job.
Solving complex technical problems. Reducing them to simple steps and freshman-level words. Analogies. Metaphors.
I'm really bad at...
being angry and further, dealing when people I love are angry at me. Not a talent of mine. I rarely give cause, but fights have been known to occur in relationships after a while.
Just saying is all.
Angry people in a professional setting are easier to deal with for some reason, although that occurs rarely.
Sense of humor and laugh.
I'm either really paying attention... or really not.
Appreciation for beauty.
Curiosity about the world and ideas.
My accent, which is very hard to place. Props to you if you get it right.
Quirkiness and quotability. Seriously -- a friend at work keeps a log of "funny stuff Ben said."
Sushi, done right.
Omelets, made according to aformentioned Alton Brown's Seven Step Method For Perfect Omelets. Or A La Jacques Pepin.
The Chairman Bao truck, which used to park in front of my apartment in SF every Weds. Oh wait, that's "The Chairman Truck" now.
Kierkegaard. Existentialism -- a philosophy for the 21st century more than the 19th.
Anything by David Kinch, or the people who have come up through his kitchen (looking at you, Aaron). Same goes for Alice Waters.
Radiohead. Foo Fighters. U2. Alternative rock, but with significant interest in other music -- if it's good. Quality over genre.
Plays. Movies with a point, and good execution. Characters. More to the point, characters who grow.
Art. It opens my eyes to other points of view.
Yoga class in SF followed by dinner with friends (old and new).
Dinner party at the house of my old roommate.
Birthday party for a high school friend.
Packing for a trip to [fill in outdoors location].
And if I'm really lucky, going on a date with you.
In person, though, I'll answer all questions.
* some difference of opinion
* love for debate
* hatred for argument (not really, actually)
* you have been called "outdoorsy" and "funny"
* must be able to tolerate (even like?) bullet-pointed lists, venn diagrams and other nerd jokes.
And of course, if you want to.