mastica
31 Seattle, United States
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mastica
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My self-summary
I think one of the best-kept secrets in Washington are the old mountaintop fire lookouts that you can stay in. Abandoned 40 years ago after the job of fire-monitoring got taken over by satellites, they're now wilderness first-come-first-served cabins, usually with a bed, a stove, and a few well-worn paperbacks--not to mention the killer views of the mountains out the panoramic windows.

My soul is refreshed each time I stay in a lookout. Not only is being outdoors a refreshing break from work and from city life for me, but the simplicity and clarity of the space--just 12x12 feet--reminds me how one can live basically and still be fulfilled. Far from being feeling claustrophic, the low ceilings encourage me not to look up and be in awe of the structure itself, but instead to look out at the lands surrounding.

The weather at lookouts is variable. The last time I went, heavy fog obsured the view of Mt Baker, only a few miles distant. One of my favorite books, "A Pattern Language", advises the builder not to put in large picture windows in a building, for fear that a beautiful view, seen everyday, will become pedestrian. Instead it advises constructing small windows that one will look though in passing. The visitor will cultivate the perfect view in his mind, this platonic mental image fed by brief glimpses of the real thing. But the danger of large picture windows making views commonplace aren't a danger with Washington lookouts: even with windows on all four sides, nature keeps its curtains closed most of the year. After a foggy evening and rainy night, we awoke to a sunrise view of Mt Baker and the Twin Sisters standing above a sea of clouds.
What I’m doing with my life
Believe it or not, I have a life outside of fire lookouts!

I work as a user experience researcher, observing people using our website, and making recommendations on how to make the website easier to use.

I climb and run a couple times a week.

I've lived in India, Canada, Mexico, Taiwan, and Germany.

For five years, I used to rent a room on an urban farm where I raised chickens and vegetables. Then I bought a house last summer--where I live when I'm not visiting a lookout!
I’m really good at
Inventing my own ice cream recipes. I'm a pretty good cook. I enjoy designing water fountains and photographing water ripples.
The first things people usually notice about me
That I spend almost all my time doing things that make me happy, and I spend very little time doing or thinking of things that don't.
Favorite books, movies, shows, music, and food
Favorite bike ride: Ballard to Downtown via the rail yards
Favorite city: Toronto
Favoite dish: Grilled black cod (saikoyaki)
Food: Chettinad
Fiction: Russian short stories
Non-fiction: Ethnographies
Comic: XKCD
Artists: Andy Goldsworthy, James Turrell
Touristy place: Hampi
Lens: Canon 70-200 f/4 L
Classical composer: Shostakovich
Subjects on Wikipedia: Subway systems, religion, linguistics
Character in Catch-22: Orr
Pixar Movie: Monsters Inc
The six things I could never do without
I feel like I live pretty simply. I try to limit my material possessions to things that have an ongoing creative or recreational purpose. I'd like to believe that even if everything was taken away from me, that I'd still be able to live, persevere, and be happy.

Except my iPhone. You can pry it from my cold, dead hands.
The most private thing I’m willing to admit
I dislike camping. (Lookouts don't count, of course!)
You should message me if
You are a warm, outgoing, and engaged person!

You like the outdoors. You like to eat good food. You're creative and crafty. You're extremely down-to-earth. You know where your life is going, and your passionate about what you do.

You think of a question to ask me.
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