51San Francisco, United States
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My self-summary
I am soldering, improvising, and lightly sautéing.

Here's my idea of a good first date: we dance with hula hoops, chase a frisbee, write a legal opinion, identify igneous intrusions and batholiths, and produce a beautiful, tender, touching, hip, timely, timeless, insightful, award-winning 2-minute public service announcement. Coffee and conversation is probably OK, though.

Half Scottish, half Lithuanian—possibly the basis for a new, small hyphenated ethnic group.

BTW, sorry, some of my photos are out of date. I do look way younger than my age, but not that much. Now (December 2015) getting onto OkCupid again, updating the profile, booking a flight to Mt. St. Helens for another photo shoot…
What I’m doing with my life
(December 2015) Doing a Ph.D. at Indiana University. So far, it has been Hell on a Stick. Why am I suffering like this? Maybe because I did something horrible in a previous life, like write Nicholas Bourbaki treatises. No, it's because my dream is to be paid to indulge my curiosity and teach. That's what (some of) my professor friends tell me professoring is all about. The curiosity is about the unwritten rules of rhetoric, mathematical discovery, obviousness and obscurity, simplicity and complexity, causal cascades, conceptual vocabularies—you know, that sort of stuff.

Right now I live in Bloomington, Indiana. If all goes well, I'll finish the Ph.D. in 2016. Then I'm moving—hopefully back to San Francisco, but in the academic world, you have to move where the job is. But I'm getting out of Bloomington. I can't find a thing wrong with this town, but for some reason I'm miserable here. On my many restorative visits to San Francisco, I've always perked up within 24 hours, like a plant getting some long-overdue water.

Teaching myself Latin in my spare time.
I’m really good at
Punctuation. I can use an em dash, even.

Keeping my cats entertained.

I'm okay at Scrabble and a beautiful 4,000-year-old Chinese board game called Go. (Even if you know nothing about the game, you can tell how well it was played just by noting how beautiful the board was at the end.) I'm not fanatic enough to get really good at any of them, but I enjoy a world where there are no to-do lists, only inspiration.


Improv cooking.

The first things people usually notice about me
A frat boy on Caltrain guessed what subject I got my degree in on the second guess. (His first guess was chemical engineering.) I'm brainy and it shows, apparently without my even having to speak.
Favorite books, movies, shows, music, and food
Guns, Germs, and Steel pretty much sums up my worldview. I have chosen Jared Diamond as my personal lord and savior. You might suggest that maybe I should read at least one more book by him before making an eternal spiritual commitment like that. Naaah. Jared Diamond seeks patiently for the underlying patterns in things, never sacrifices their true complexity, always remains open to new and opposing ideas, works well with others, writes simply and clearly and yet with enormous breadth and depth, and while he is the consummate, brutally realistic intellectual, he is filled with love and respect and appreciation for all people and all life and all the beauty of the world. I could ask nothing more from a personal lord and savior than that. Well, Malcolm Gladwell is pretty cool, too. Maybe Jared Diamond and Malcolm Gladwell could fight it out in a steel cage match. I'll have to email them.

I found "Bartleby the Scrivener" and Billy Budd by Herman Melville joyful and uplifting. You might think that makes me weird, but actually it makes you weird. Haven't read Moby Dick yet. Once I read Moby Dick, I plan to stop reading entirely. Not even street signs or the handwriting on the wall.

Some favorite movies: 2001: A Space Odyssey; The Manchurian Candidate (original version); To Sir with Love; The Miracle Worker; Planet of the Apes (original version); Monty Python and the Holy Grail; Journey to the Center of the Earth; The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

I like classical music, especially late Beethoven, and 1960's flower power music like "Incense and Peppermints". I don't know much about Renaissance music, but I've loved everything I've heard. I like music that takes me away into spiritual ecstasy.

Red lentil daal with cumin and coriander. Vindaloo on special occasions.

UPDATE (Nov 22, 2007): I have chosen Paul Graham as my new personal lord and savior.
Six things I could never do without

written language

my anima (I'm in touch with it, according to The Secret Language of Birthdays)

Victorian architecture

my glasses

a jar of Patak's mango pickle or lime pickle (or a Trader Joe's nearby)

San Francisco
I spend a lot of time thinking about
What would Derrida have done differently if he had read some Austrian economics? Would he have worn baggier clothing? Would he still be alive now? Actually, I never think about that.

I think about granite and gabbro, earthquakes, thunderstorms, the smell of printer's ink, hunter green, spaghetti with garlic and oil, how math can shed light on things other than math, beautiful English words that come from Greek like "chrysanthemum" and "rhododendron", how to manage my time better without turning into a lifeless drone, new ways to have fun with bok choy, the way learning something often makes you worse at it before you get better, how to soften people's initial resistance to deferring judgement and letting ideas flow, whether Scheme or Haskell could ever be used to do anything real, the eight basic steps of Lindy Hop, different ways that people think, and the unwritten rules of rhetoric.

And mango pickle. Science damn, that is great stuff.
On a typical Friday night I am
Exploring "the city". With your mother.

Oops, not since I moved to Bloomington. I guess now I spend my Friday nights pining for BATS, the Mission District, Golden Gate Park, the sound of Muni, and all those wonderful San Francisco street names.

When not pining for home, sometimes I find time to edit Wikipedia.
The most private thing I’m willing to admit
I'm extremely introverted, quiet, low-key, not into the usual "bro" behavior that comes to mind when you hear the phrase "regular guy"—and yet I'm an attention-whore. I guess I'm, like, you know, a large bucket of paradox 'n stuff.
You should message me if
…you share my love of words, or silliness, or classical music, or creative collaboration, or Wikipedia, or batholiths, or something mentioned above. I'm not much into going out and painting the town red, or loud stuff like going to bars or rock concerts, but I am into doing things together, especially appreciating the world together and making things together. (You must love cats or we shouldn't even talk. It's okay if you think most Wikipedia articles are written in bureaucratic duckspeak. That's one reason the articles need editing.)

…vel Latine loqui potes. Mirabilis sit lingua "morte" colloqui apud tabernam caffeæ!
The two of us