33Faversham, United Kingdom
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My self-summary

I'm James. I write words and sometimes I say them with my face. Also, I'm totally off the market these days. I've been happily snapped up by the wonderful We_am_the_best. But I'm leaving most of my profile intact and here, even if it's largely just for posterity's sake these days.

I don't identify at all with the straight-edge movement, but you wouldn't know it from all the drugs and alcohol I don't take and sex I haven't tended to have in the past. It's not due to a puritanical moral philosophy, I'm just kinda lame. I've identified as heteroflexible since I first learned the word.

I'm a Bayesian, and I'm a real nerd for science and skepticism.

I can often be found bloggifying the interwebs at , where I post about religion, atheism, science, skepticism, politics, feminism, and the like. I also twitter as @writerJames, if you're into that kind of kinky shit.

I'm frustratingly prone to anxiety and needless self-criticism in social situations and should probably be getting some help for that.

I'm politically confused, tend to be very small-l liberal, and find myself more persuaded by anarchism the more I read about it.

I was kind of a nerd at school, and studied maths for four years at University. My MENSA membership expired after A) I couldn't be bothered with the annual fees, and 2) I realised that the arguments about religion that filled the newsletter were identical to those going on everywhere else you look. I will fight you if you refuse to accept that zero point nine recurring equals one. I drink tea.

I've no idea whether penguins bounce. It's just something I came up with at short notice, when I was young and thought everything could be improved by making it kooky.
What I’m doing with my life
Welp, back in the summer of aught-six, I acquired a Masters degree in Mathematics. Don't make that face. I like numbers. Apparently when I was two years old I read books of multiplication tables just for fun. I don't any more - they tend to be books about fractals and Godel's Incompleteness Theorem and formal set theory now.

Anyway, not long after I finished Uni, numbers and I decided to cool it off and just trying being friends. We worked together at an insurance company for a few months, but it didn't go that well, and put a lot of strain on our relationship. I got out of there and flitted between temp jobs for a while, and as of August 2011 I'm unemployed and taking some time off before moving on to whatever's next.

In the meantime, I'm living in Kent with the above-mentioned awesome girlfriend, who's very effectively hiding any resentment at working 12-hour shifts to support my unemployed arse.

I'm also trying to be a writer. And by "trying" I mean "occasionally trying but usually bitching about how difficult it is being a writer". I've written a few short stories, which I'm still working on and sporadically shopping around to some paying fiction markets, and have several novels in various stages of completion, which I really ought to concentrate on getting finished someday.

A while back, I started getting up at 6am on weekdays as part of a project I call Operation Treat This Writing Business With Some Goddamn Professionalism For A Change. This project met with mixed success.

I've been to every TAM London so far (i.e. both of them). Vegas will have to wait till I'm rich.

When I finally get a cat, he shall be called Antimony.

Since February 2011, I've been teaching myself Esperanto.

Ekde februaro 2011, mi estas lernanti Esperanton. Saluton! Mi progreso estas malrapida sed tre interesa. Rakontu al mi se mia gramatiko ĉi tie estas malĝusta.
I’m really good at
Numbers. Words. Procrastinating important (or unimportant) tasks relating to either numbers or words. Naming and locating each of America's 50 states, and other things I randomly taught myself while procrastinating. Explaining why homeopathy doesn't work and there's no good reason to believe in ghosts.
The first things people usually notice about me
If we're meeting in person: that I seem really withdrawn and introverted and quiet and shy. This is a wholly accurate assessment.

If we're encountering each other online: that I'm being sarcastic about something, or that I'm trying a bit too hard to make sure they like me.

If they're American: that I sound very posh and British.

If you're attractive and female: that We_am_the_best is glaring at you and digging her nails into my arm. (Love you, dear!)
Favorite books, movies, shows, music, and food
I'm just going to use this section to boringly list some things I'm interested in. Is that okay? Do we still do that? Is there room for just answering the question straight-forwardly without being achingly postmodern or self-referential or clever about the whole business?

Books: Pratchett, Gaiman, Tolkien, Sagan... That's everyone I can think of right now who can be identified with just a surname. Also David Mitchell, Richard Dawkins, Douglas Adams, Douglas Hofstadter, Robin Hobb, William Goldman, Orson Scott Card, Malcolm Gladwell, John Scalzi, Richard Wiseman, Brandon Sanderson, Daniel Dennett, CJ Sansom, Phil Plait, David Sedaris, Ben Goldacre, Scott Lynch and many more who I'll remember when I have my bookshelves with me, or I can be bothered to think. I read loads of stuff though. I'm an interlekchewal, me.

Movies & TV: Lord of the Rings, Scott Pilgrim, Firefly, Serenity, The Princess Bride, Pulp Fiction, most things by Tarantino or Edgar Wright, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, The West Wing, The Wire, Boston Legal, Spaced, Dexter, Black Books, Dead Like Me, House, Boy Meets World, 30 Rock, Burn Notice, South Park, Penn & Teller: Bullshit!, Supernatural, Family Guy, The Big Bang Theory, Criminal Minds, Better Off Ted, Castle, White Collar, Doctor Who, Monkey Dust, The Middleman, and oh god I really need a hobby.

Music: Aimee Mann, Alisha's Attic, Anya Marina, Baba Brinkman, Ben Folds, Bif Naked, Cathy Davey, Clannad, Dar Williams, Detektivbyrån, The Ditty Bops, The Divine Comedy, The Duckworth Lewis Method, Emmy The Great, E.S. Posthumus, Evelyn Evelyn, Flight Of The Conchords, Hepburn, The Hush Sound, Joanna Newsom, Jonathan Coulton, Kate Miller-Heidke, Katie Melua, KT Tunstall, Laura Veirs, Lemon Jelly, Linda Perry, Ludovico Einaudi, Madness, Molly Lewis, Mozart, Mussorgsky, Neil Hannon, Nerina Pallot, The New Pornographers, No Doubt, Norm Sherman, Oi Va Voi, Peppercorn, Poe, The Prince Myshkins, Queen, Queens Of The Stone Age, Rimsky-Korsakov, Sarah McLachlan, Sleeper, System Of A Down, Tegan And Sara, Tenacious D, 'Til Tuesday, Tim Minchin, Tom Lehrer, Tool, Venus Hum, The White Stripes, Yann Tiersen, The Zutons.

And I know you didn't ask, but...

Podcasts: AIOTM, The Amateur Scientist, The Bugle, Collings & Herrin, The Drabblecast, Escape Pod, I Should Be Writing, Judge John Hodgman, Little Atoms, Math For Primates, The Perfect Ten, Podcastle, Pseudopod, Righteous Indignation, The Skeptics' Guide To The Universe, Skeptics with a K, Skeptoid, Strange Quarks, 99% Invisible.
Six things I could never do without
As well as ignoring the totally arbitrary number limit, I'm going to rephrase this question a little.

I would probably have to consider some serious adjustments to my current living conditions if I didn't possess or have regular easy access to:

my iPod with the above-listed podcasts to keep me sane on bus journeys
copious hard-core pornography
inappropriate innuendo
more books than will fit on my bookshelves
I spend a lot of time thinking about
Stories I should be writing. Permanent jobs I should be applying for. The Wason Card Problem. Bayesian probability. That mathematical puzzle with the democratic pirate ship. Whether I'd have spent the last decade or so being any more of a slut if I'd been less hampered by anxiety issues. Whether I should maybe stop buying more books until I've read some of the few dozen still awaiting my attention. Why I waste my time with silly thoughts about not buying more books. How great the first two Monkey Island games were. Whether consciousness really is wholly explicable as an epiphenomenon of a particular arrangement of matter and energy (yes). Whether it's time for another cup of tea (also yes).
On a typical Friday night I am
vomiting into the gaping anus of Christ.
The most private thing I’m willing to admit
I had a short series of counselling sessions a couple of years ago, about what feels like pretty bad social anxiety. I'm currently trying to find the time and the nerve to go visit my new GP and try to follow this up.

Some social situations just induce in me an overwhelming feeling of fear and nervousness and wanting to hide from everything. It's infuriatingly restrictive, and has put grave limits on my ability to be my authentic, crazy, fun-loving, hilarious, unpredictable, swingin' self. The kind of self that gets dressed up in drag and taken to gay bars by his uni housemates. Yeah, that's probably the second most private thing.

Oh, and apparently I can't work a can-opener. Seriously. I own a perfectly fine one, I've been shown how to hold a can with it and turn the turn-y thing, and I know it's not complicated, but I can never get the damn thing to cooperate.
You should message me if
If you're interested in casual friendly banter and don't mind being kept an eye on by the aforementioned wonderful doting girlfriend.

Although the following were applicable when I was single, you shouldn't necessarily message me any more if:

If you can explain in idiot terms why Hayek > Keynes.

If you've ever modelled for the Adipositivity Project.

If you want a flame-war over that zero point nine recurring thing.

If you'd like to hear either of my jokes about theoretical physicist Werner Heisenberg.

If you want to discuss the plausibility of John Hasnas's model of the remedial state.

If it bugs you when people keep making esoteric and intellectual-sounding references (like the above) in their profiles when actually you'd be quite happy just meeting someone to talk bollocks and laugh at videos of cats with.

Or for any other reason at all.

One more thing: almost everyone seem to have a clause in this section about knowing the difference between your/you're, and so forth. I entirely sympathise with your grammar Nazi tendencies, but it's starting to read like a very tired cliché. So, I'm going to defy my own pedantry, and advise that you go ahead and say hi to me whether or not you have any clue how to punctuate an English sentence. I'd like to hear from you if you have something to say, and at least some interest in the clarity with which you manage to say it, but don't worry if your syntax isn't flawless.
The two of us