28Northampton, United States
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My self-summary
"How could I fit myself into a box", so many people say. I won't even try, so how about a choose-my-own-adventure instead? Each section below is a short description of a couple moments in my life. Whenever you see an arrow like below,

-> coffee shop [What I'm doing with my life]
-> lab [I'm really good at]

read the text immediately after it, then go to the section it points to. Enjoy!

I can never pick out the exact moment I leave the land of dreams and enter the world of the living. The words "awake" and "asleep" create a dichotomy, but every morning is a journey, however brief, between the two. Hazy ideas connect like water droplets falling in reverse, and only a vague feeling differentiates last night's imaginings and the previous evening's memories. A mess of textures and sounds, persons both real and of my own devising.

In either a moment or a lifetime, the responsibilities of a new day creep into my thoughts. I roll over to my side, half to find the time and half in hopes I won't be able to. I open my eyes unwillingly. 7:58 a.m. A new day.

-> coffee shop [What I'm doing with my Life]

Mornings are one of those things one only ever admits to hating, but in reality I wouldn't replace it with anything else. Mornings are a chance to see who people truly are, a chance to see people without their guard up. I thank God silently once more for a new day and throw off the covers.

-> lab [I'm really good at]

A day that can wait. I shut my eyes tightly and savor these final 2 minutes. I know it's in vain; I know it will do nothing to soften the screaming of a machine whose sole purpose is to drag me out of bed, kicking and screaming. But I tell myself in half-complete thoughts, "Today will be different." I turn off the alarm and pull my sheets closer.
What I’m doing with my life
Coffee Shop
My friends tell me I'm a slave to routine, but I like to think I've simply caught my stride. Like every morning for the last three years, I pull the heavy wooden door to the warehouse-turned-coffee shop and welcome the scent of newly roasted beans. To my right, a mustached man and two tattooed women carefully watch the lazily rotating wheel of an industrial-sized roaster. To my left, four young men in plaid expertly pack and bundle brown pouches labeled with the names of far off lands. Already a hard day's work in action.

But I don't come here for the coffee. Overhanging the counter and facing the front door is a balcony lined with stools. Carefully sipping a cup, one can observe a wealthy businesswoman, a skateboarding hipster, a frantic mother -- all in a single moment. Every soul has a story, and I can think of no better place to catch a small glimpse than here.

For me, however, passive observation is not enough. It started out as a little dare to myself, "Talk to a stranger today. Anyone, just talk to someone.", but has blossomed into a hobby. You never know who people are until you ask. Who would have thought the sharply dressed middle aged women reading Archetypal Psychology was actually a designer of vintage jeans for Levi's, or that the handsome blonde haired youth was a PhD in History preparing to teach his first class on German Literature? Friends have told me to travel the world is to understand it, but I know now that the world is here if I only ask.

I stand up and gather my courage once more. An elderly man with cane and bowler hat gently sits down and pulls a small book from his coat pocket. My approach startles him slightly.

-> lab [I'm really good at]
I’m really good at
The "lab" I work in can hardly be called that. There are no white coats, no pipettes, no screwdrivers or gearboxes or mice. In fact, the room is almost indistinguishable from any white collar office, with its soft cubicle walls and fluorescent lighting. But little hints reveal the truth -- whiteboards covered with formulae, the quiet hum of computers testing hypotheses, a tea cozy with "(1/2) (d/dt) t^2" embroidered on it.

I walk to the far window to my desk. Already there sits an extraordinary chef of Indian cuisine, a Jewish man of short stature, burgeoning muscles, and passion for learning. Not yet have I arrived before him. "How about some tea?", I ask, but I already know the answer. I clean out the kettle and start the water heater. I put in two spoonfuls of green tea brought from Japan -- I can't settle for anything less these days. To me, good green tea is the embodiment of peace of mind.

I settle down in my chair, brush away the pages of math covering my keyboard, and turn on the enormous screen next to me. The screen flashes and I am greeted with terminals, editors, and equations as if to say, "Welcome Home.". In the land of computers, I am a demigod -- nothing is outside of my power -- but the beauty of it is not in what can be done in that foreign land but in what can be brought back. Systems that learn, that make sense of the ever-growing mass of information, that come even a little closer to what we think of as "intelligent".

I crack my knuckles. "Let's see...".

-> concert [The first things people usually notice about me]
-> rock climbing [Favorite books, movies, shows, music, and food]
The first things people usually notice about me
Chandeliers colored by black lights. An old victorian theater transformed, speakers three stories tall encompassing a stage plastered with giant LED displays. In any other age this would have been a heathen temple to some nameless deity, but today's god's name is on every screen. The beat slows and the build up begins. "Brace yourself, brace yourself" say the towering black colossi, and the crowd heeds. A collective breath, a jump, a crash. The walls shake with excitement and passion. Screens flash.

I move without thinking, my mind chained to the rhythm, and the world moves with me. That's the beauty of music -- one mind, one goal: enjoy yourself. And in this moment, there's nowhere I'd rather be.

-> sleep [The six things I could never do without]
Favorite books, movies, shows, music, and food
Rock Climbing
Today will be different. 2 months ago a rock gym was the farthest thing from my mind, yet in this moment, two stories above the ground, I am obsessed. Muscles taught, forearms shaking, I am one reach away from the peak. This is the third week now I've been so close, and I'll be damned if I leave with anything less than success. My fingers begin to slip. The clock is ticking. Voices blur into a single chorus, and I summon all my strength.

A final push. The mind is willing, but the body falters. A brief moment suspended in air. I stretch as far as I am able -- a finger touches an inch above the red tape marking the peak. I've done it. I fall, but the harness around my waist easily catches me. A sigh of relief. "Today I conquer.", I think, a small personal victory.

I chuckle to myself, eager for what next time has in store.

-> sleep [The six things I could never do without]
Six things I could never do without
I arrive home slightly past 10 p.m. My roommate, sitting in our only chair, greets me as he sips a glass of wine and watches another episode of Parks & Rec. I wave and pace slowly to my room, lazily dropping my pack off on the floor next to our microwave (kitchen counter space is at a premium). I sit down on an old couch covered with half worn clothes and pick up the book next to me. "Infinite City", it's called, an atlas, art piece, history of San Francisco, and a symbol of the one place I call home. I leaf through the pages recalling the sights and sound of The City. I put the book down for later.

The night is still young. The Dirty Truth down the street is still open, and a beer doesn't sound too bad right now. I still have a few ideas to implement for that open source project. "Master and Margarita" won't read itself. What to do, what to do...

The two of us