55Allentown, United States
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My self-summary
A summary of one's self is always a work in progress, isn't it? How about a few bullet points?

• I’m from West Virginia. I’ve lived in Allentown for quite a while, but my heart’s in the hills.
• However, I really can't stand the song "Take Me Home, Country Roads." Please resist the impulse to sing it to me!
• I enjoy my job working in the arts in an academic setting. I like college students.
• My entire wardrobe is red, pink, or black. I'm not trying to make a statement or anything—red is my favorite color, and I don't especially enjoy shopping. This limited palette makes it easier.
• I live with tabby cats named Det. Lennie Briscoe and Det. Mike Logan.
• I'm one of the moderators of a popular online forum for skeptics and critical thinkers. It's a wonderful community of interesting folks.
• My two favorite teams are the Orioles and whoever's playing the Yankees.

More? Okay.

• I love to roller skate (quads, not inlines), though I don’t do it as much as I’d like. (My own private rink is near the top of my if-I-won-the-Powerball list.) I'm currently nursing two sprained fingers, bah.
• I also enjoy strength training and hiking. (Not simultaneously.)
• I played basketball and softball in high school.
• I create mosaic giftware and home accessories: I buy various items at thrift stores, refurbish them, tile them, and sell them at craft shows. It's fussy, time-consuming work; I find it both relaxing and gratifying. And the craft shows are always an adventure!
• Is it true, kind, and helpful?
• I've realized that I say "oh dear" a lot, which is not to indicate that I don't curse, because I do.

What, more?

• I love road trips—with maps, not GPS.
• I was an adjunct instructor at a community college for seven years, teaching a survey course in speech communication. It was the one course all students in all programs at the college had to take to graduate; their level of enthusiasm varied greatly. It was very hard work, but a lot of fun.
• I'm very interested in historic sites and museums. A road trip to a historic site = my idea of fun.
• When I was in high school, I used to sew a lot of my own clothing (including my prom dresses). Over the years I've mostly been doing alterations and household projects (a shower curtain made from a queen-size sheet and a collection of vintage handkerchiefs), but I've just started making clothes again because I couldn't find in the stores the comfortable summer dresses I wanted. I'm having fun.
• I'm glued to the TV and radio during baseball season. I'll only watch/listen to the Yankees if there's nobody else on.
What I’m doing with my life
As Teddy Roosevelt would advise, I'm doing the best I can with what I have where I am.

I'm not trying to change the world. I try to do my job well, be a good citizen, and be kind to others.
I’m really good at
Cookies. Not pies, not cakes, not bread, not a nice fruit cobbler, but boy howdy, can I ever bake some delicious cookies. References available at Christmas.

I'm verbally adept, a skilled writer, editor, and speller. I am a word nerd.
The first things people usually notice about me
My hair. Yes, it's silvery gray. It has been for years. No, I've never considered dyeing it, except for dyeing the ends or a lock by my ear bright red.
Favorite books, movies, shows, music, and food
Books: I read a lot of history (Appalachian, industrial, West Virginia, 19th and 20th century America) and biographies (recently Henry Ford, FDR, Cornelius Vanderbilt). I read at least one new poem every day. There is not enough time to read all the books that seem interesting.

Last fall, I read David McCullough's "The Great Bridge," an utterly fascinating history of the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge. Another book I enjoyed recently was "Back to the Land," a history of Arthurdale, West Virginia, a New Deal resettlement community (which I've visited). I'm currently working on "Hippie Homesteaders," another slice of West Virginia history.

Movies: I watch "Major League" every year during spring training, and "White Christmas" every December. Other favorite titles include "Matewan," "Rocket Boys," "O Brother, Where Art Thou," "The Full Monty," "Fantasia," "Undercover Brother," and all of the Wallace & Gromit films. And I really liked "Whiplash." I don't get out to the movies as often as I'd like, though I do make a point every February of seeing the Oscar-nominated short animated and live-action films.

Shows: I enjoy various crimebusters shows, baseball, and dreadful reality shows (but not the really dreadful ones). I don't think I watch a lot of television. But I'm a total sucker for "How It's Made."

Music: Lately at work, I've been listening to a lot of radio channels on iTunes, mostly CHIRP radio, 70s pop, 80s New Wave, and funk. I also enjoy classical and bluegrass, and a lot of country (excluding much of the contemporary stuff). I don't like jazz or opera (and yes, I've tried). I think iTunes is the greatest thing since sliced bread; it reminds me of buying 45s at G.C. Murphy for 79 cents.

I'm currently playing a game with my forum friends, in which 14 people send in songs for 14 rounds, and we rate each other's submissions. I'm having a great time listening to stuff I've never heard of. (Some of it, of course, I don't listen to again, but some of it is terrific.)

Food: I like plants! I rarely eat meat, and cannot tolerate spicy food. I like whole grains, and beans, and nuts, and vegetables, and fruit, and cheese, and skim milk. I also like chocolate, and guacamole, and onion rings, and Nuts4Nuts, and pizza, and French fries, and cheesecake, and those soft pretzel “rivets” with chocolate sauce at IronPigs games.
Six things I could never do without
Intellectual curiosity.
Radio (including podcasts*).
A fast, reliable Internet connection.
At least one cat.
Coke Zero or Pepsi One.
Baseball (but not the Yankees; I could do without the Yankees).

*Skeptic's Guide to the Universe, Weird History, Studio 360, This American Life, Bowery Boys, Inside Appalachia, Stuff You Missed in History Class, The Front Porch, etc.
I spend a lot of time thinking about
Mosaic patterns.

How to roller skate backward. I can't seem to get the hang of it. Or three-turns or Mohawks.

Having recently decided that I don't want to live in Allentown for the rest of my life, I'm wondering where I'd rather be—back in West Virginia, or somewhere else. And when to go.

What's the equivalent of the proverbial "coffee date" for someone who doesn't drink coffee?
On a typical Friday night I am
At home, watching guilty pleasure television (oh, like YOU don't), reading, writing, exercising a bit, working on mosaics, or puttering around. If I'm not at home, I'm at work.
The most private thing I’m willing to admit
I would like to be as badass as Joan Jett.

I have prehensile toes, photoptarmosis, and central heterochromia.

When I was a kid, I used to read the encyclopedia for fun. I still do that...well, I love to rummage through my world atlas, or a road atlas, or the West Virginia Encyclopedia (not a joke, thank you), or Wikipedia, or any one of the several slang dictionaries I own, or the interesting rabbit holes of the Internet. Random accumulation of knowledge FTW!
You should message me if
Any or all of the following:

You've been to NECSS and/or TAM and want to tell me who your favorite speaker was.

You've read something here that you'd like to know more about.

You have more to say than "Hi, how are you?" or "How's your day going?" I don't really know how to answer those. "Fine"?

You understand that I have very little free time, and that I'm shy, so I'm unlikely to meet you right away, and I'll want to chat with you here for a bit.

Thanks for reading this.
The two of us