I'm a math professor at USC. I'm really grateful to have my job. I get super-excited about mathematics -- teaching it, learning it, and doing it. My next big plan is to recreate The Price Is Right for a bunch of high school kids. Puzzles, props, and of course prizes will be involved.
There's much else that I love too. I spent ten years doing karate, and find the traditional forms beautiful. I practice yoga at City Yoga, the Sunday noon class kicks my butt and I love it. I occasionally play piano, guitar, or drums, although none of them well. I love swing dancing, and although I badly miss the huge crowds in San Francisco I have fun at Palmetto Swing. I participate in the improv comedy lessons at Trustus, and I travel to foreign countries whenever I can.
I'm definitely a geek. I mean, really. I do math for a living. I enjoy board games -- both the "fun and social" kind and the kind where the other players are all trying to beat me.
Alas, I'm a total misfit in Columbia. I like everyone I know, but only really connect with a few.
I've found a great yoga studio here (City Yoga is awesome). Sometimes I go dancing with Palmetto Swing. I badly miss the dance scene in San Francisco (it was routine for 150 people to show up), but Cola's dance scene has a core of awesome, dedicated people. I like live music. I've been shocked at the insanely good bands that travel far to Columbia to play at Art Bar and Conundrum to like forty people. Often I go to the Nickelodeon for movies. I don't drive much -- look for me instead walking or on a bicycle.
I'm good at academic pursuits. Math, of course, but I also took upper-division courses in philosophy for the hell of it.
And karate! I must have been the world's biggest klutz when I started. Took me ten years, but I got my black belt.
I am a big R.E.M. fan; last time I was at a concert I was belting out the lyrics from the cheap lawn seats (in a driving rainstorm). None of the lyrics make any sense, which gave me perverse pride in knowing them.
Say Anything is one of my favorite movies -- Lloyd Dobler is my hero. The other is Grave of the Fireflies, a heartbreaking Japanese animated film about a boy who takes care of his little sister during World War II.
Favorite books include Lord of the Rings and Saint Maybe. I also read a ton of nonfiction, right now I'm reading a book about South Carolina's history.
Am I up to six yet? I was never very good at math.
My taste in conversation seems to be a poor fit for Southern manners. (For example, I love to ask and be asked personal questions, and I'm grateful when others are direct about asking for what they want.) And there are some bigger things that bother me. Like, why the hell is there a statue of Ben Tillman on the state house grounds? There is Steve Spurrier's abuse of the local press; there are scars in downtown sidewalks where benches were removed, lest homeless people sit in them... I could go on...
That said: it's too early to give up, especially since I have a great job where I am well treated by my colleagues. Several years ago, when I visited Columbia for the first time, I went to Art Bar and met this woman who was working as a geologist -- she said she moved here, absolutely hated it for a year, but then grew to really love it. She couldn't even really explain why. I want to meet more people like that! (Too bad I didn't get her number...)
And I did see a quite serious city council debate at Trustus get interrupted for a drag show, complete with Aretha Franklin... something I never saw before, even in San Francisco.
So, please get in touch if you want to:
* Tell me how you feel about contentious issues of the day: Trayvon Martin, whether we should be bombing Syria, ...
* Check out a show at Conundrum or the New Brookland
* Tell me about your academic research, or your nonprofit service work, or your volunteer activities, or something cool you're learning, or anything else you're proud of
* Challenge me to chess or Scrabble, or learn go.
I'm interested in making friends too, and my approach to "dating" is a little untraditional, at least by Southern standards. In any case I'll welcome what comes.