A recurring problem in my life is that I Like Too Many Things and lack the time to explore all my interests in full.
Let's get this out of the way, I was born with Cerebral Palsy. I'm ambulatory with crutches, but often use a power wheelchair. Depending on my mood, any comment that I’m “inspiring” or have “overcome adversity” will be met with a combination of laughter, sarcasm or a serious discussion about socio-economic position in the modern world.
Maybe it's a mistake to admit it upfront here instead of letting people get to know me first, but I feel like it's best to be open about it. In most respects, my life is entirely normal.
Everyone I know would say this is the least interesting thing about me.
If you have questions about how it affects me, just ask! I’ll be happy to answer them.
For me, language is at the center of how I understand, process and enjoy pretty much everything.
I love arguments, debates, and philosophical discussions whether serious, theoretical or silly.
I love humor and probably spend the majority of my background brain-cycles waiting to deliver, perfectly time, multi-layered jokes in reaction to what people say/do. These leads to a lot of good jokes and a selection of bad/mediocre/terrible jokes.
I spend a lot of time consuming narrative media (tv/music/books/movies/games, dare I say "art?",) in part, as a way to better understand myself, the people around me and human nature in general (The fact that these also tend to be damn entertaining is a big bonus).
Most of my non-fiction reading these days comes in blog form, with topics ranging from economics, politics and philosophy to sex, geek culture and humor.
Politically, I'm best described as a "classical liberal." I value individual freedom above all else and think that free markets solve many (but not all problems) better than the government, but recognize that government is sometimes necessary.
I'm nocturnal, a typical weekday has me going to bed around 3am and I sleep way less than I should, but I always hate going to sleep when there’s so much interesting going on
If I'm awake, one of three things is on: music, the tv (which is either playing really awesome television or a good movie, see below) , or a podcast (This American Life, The Moth, Planet Money).
I'm sure I'm omitting lots of important things, but if I haven't piqued your interest by now, I doubt they matter, at the margin.
Before that, I got a degree in Computer Science from Pitt (though I actually spent more time studying Philosophy, especially epistemology).
I love my job and could easily see myself doing it for at least another 5 years or so. Beyond that, I don’t know. Every once in awhile, I get the impulse to either a) spend all my time learning things or b) Change The World (tm) in satisfying, but non-specific ways.
Maybe one day I'll act upon one or both of these.
Someday, I'll write a bad novel. (Optionally) As step 2, I'll write a good one.
-Thinking about abstract problems
-Automatically retaining totally useless information
It's ok, really! That's the first thing I notice when I meet other disabled people too :-).
After that (and thankfully most people do look past it), I'd have to say my sense of humor (I doubt I have many conversations lasting for more than a minute that don't contain at least one joke).
I pity anyone who has only 5 favorite things in any category.
For now, I'll list broad categories with examples.
-Classic Literature (Great Expectations, The Picture of Dorian Gray)
-"Modern" Lit (1984, Lolita, Atlas Shrugged)
-Contemporary Lit (Infinite Jest, House of Leaves, Survivor, The Goon Squad)
- Classic Science Fiction (Dune, Foundation, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress)
-Modern SF (Hyperion, Old Man's War, Ender's Game)
My taste in movies tends to run toward the "independent" spectrum, not because I care at all how "mainstream" a film is, but because those movies are more likely to pay attention to the aspects that matter to me, namely the proper intersection of plot and character. I think the key to a really great movie is that it transcends its premise. That is, I can tell you what happens in the movie, and you'll still derive a much greater experience for seeing the movie.
Examples of movies that do this:
Primer, Hard Candy, Brick, Chasing Amy, Zombieland, The Breakfast Club,
American Beauty, Pulp Fiction
Music is a huge part of my life, and I have a never-ending search to find the next truly great band/album that really moves me (it’s not unusual for me to check out 10 or 20 new bands a week)
My taste in music is hard to describe. I define my preferred genre as rock, very (very) broadly construed.
This covers all of classic rock, proto-80s alternative rock (Violent Femmes!) to grunge, 90s mainstream pop rock (Counting Crows, Gin Blossoms), modern alternative, bubble-grunge and punk-pop to bar-band revivalism (The Hold Steady!).
It also includes artist that don't really fit into the rock mold but are really blues-funk (Steely Dan), "folk" (Damien Rice, The Rural Alberta Advantage< Josh Ritter ),
and stuff I don't really know how to categorize (The Indelicates, Lifter Puller, The Mountain Goats).
[Some more recentish examples, circa May 2013, I've been on a pretty folky kick of late]
Torres, Mount Moriah, Drunken Barn Dance, Waxahatchee, Anais Mitchell, Sharon Van Etten
While, I'm slowly gaining respect for movies as a medium, tv will always be my preferred media. It's just impossible to say in 120 minutes, what you can say in 120 episodes.
I love too many tv series to list here, but the same things I said about movies apply.
All Joss Whedon series (especially Buffy and Firefly)
Six Feet Under, The West Wing, Deadwood, Veronica Mars, Battlestar Galactica, Gilmore Girls, The Big Bang Theory, Lost, Friday Night Lights, How I Met Your Mother.
[Updating this with some more recent examples]
Boss, Homeland, Justified, Happy Endings, The Americans.
After having resisted peer pressure for many years, I finally got into Doctor Who and it dominated my tv consumption for a while. I still find it occasionally uneven, but on the the whole a positive experience.
Certainly steak and seafood top my list, but just saying that seems too reductive, but listing all the food, erm, groups that I like seems boring. So yeah, I like food. A lot. I'm sure that tells you a great deal about me.
-Music (see above)
-Netflix (for cheaply bringing me awesome television and movies)
-Books (as in physical books, I may be at the tech forefront in many respects, but you can pry my books out of my cold dead hands)
-All of the awesome people in my life who help hold me together (and to be fair, whom I sometimes hold together).
-What it means to know things. How we know things. How to know more things.
-How markets can be applied to various problems (or not)
-How we developed overly simplistic models of human sexuality and relationships and how the world would be a better place if we had better models
-What separates good fiction from bad fiction? How much of that is contained in authorial intent? Is there such a thing as a authorial intent to begin with?
That said, if we have some overlapping interests, there’s really no good reason not to. I have a pretty low barrier to entry and have been repeatedly described as “low maintenance.”