Once upon a time I had a bit here talking about political views that I no longer feel are defining features in the landscape of my life, and about 80% of all the messages I got were congratulating me for agreeing with the sender. I don't want to discourage messages by any means, but come on, ladies and dudes, that's a little narcissistic, don't you think? I want to have real conversations, and those don't happen in an echo chamber.
I'd say I'm somewhere between atheist, agnostic and apatheist, but I'm something of an oddity in those circles as I have a deep and enduring respect for (and interest in!) faith. I'm excited by (rather than scared of) extropian and transhumanist ideals.
I listen to ridiculous amounts of music, particularly of the adult alternative or new folk variety. I tend to see new movies in the theater*; my favorite genres are science fiction, psychological thriller, suspense, spy movies and adventure. I love most movies with ensemble casts, like Magnolia, Syriana, Crash, Traffic - which all also have the bonus of simplifying complex issues far less than most. I don't read as much as I used to, but when I do, I love Neal Stephenson and Tim Powers.
I've been married for more than ten years; I'm in an open marriage (polyamorous) and I have a boyfriend (six-seven years), as well as a plethora of crushes. My husband and I recently had a child, who has changed our lives nearly daily since conception. Though I've said I'll never turn away love if it happens, my focus belongs to those people with whom I'm already involved. I can't see myself having the time or energy to devote to another romantic interest for awhile, since with the new kid I find myself having to schedule furtive hour-long interludes with people I've known and loved for years and all. So.
(Musical interlude and bathroom break; now entering the New and Improved Expanded Summary!)
For those who care about specifics, within physics, I particularly love optics - might have something to do with my love for photography. Within photography, I focus mainly on portraiture. I write poetry and fiction, and have come to terms with the fact that there is no categorical imperative for me to be either emo or goth (notice lack of bracketing on those) to write the former.
If roleplaying is what caught your eye, you might be able to find me on a World of Darkness MUSH (that's WoD for those who prefer the shorthand); I usually play Mage: the Ascension (or just Mage, if you prefer, but not Mage: the Awakening). I've been branching out a bit recently, playing Mortal+ and Changeling: the Dreaming (or just Changeling), and in the past I've also run or played Vampire: the Masquerade (no linky, as I don't care for it much) and straight-up mortal new World of Darkness (also known as nWoD, World of Darkness 2.0 or WoD 2.0). Changeling: the Lost is simply fantastic, and I would like to find people to play it with locally. I think Werewolf: the Forsaken is a vast improvement over Werewolf: the Apocalypse (though I still love the latter, done right). I also thought Vampire: the Requiem was mostly an improvement over V:tM, but I don't feel strongly enough about it to bracket. New Mage made me cry. It may have, in fact, stolen my childhood. I don't care for D&D.
I knit and (more generally) craft.
Also: I'm disappointed in the language ratings on this thing. I speak English fluently, Hindi ok, French and Spanish ok, and Russian hardly-at-all anymore. This corresponds to growing up speaking it, foreign exchange in a country speaking it, two years in high school, 4 semesters in college, and one semester in college, respectively, followed by years of disuse. I apparently need to design a character sheet for inclusion on this site.
I am autodidactic, iconoclastic, and optimistic, and those are some of my favorite things about me.
Creating engaging, three-dimensional characters. Translating dense, difficult material into something understandable. Getting people communicating. Making that photograph that a person says is the 'only good photograph of me, like, EVER' - and knowing that's what would happen.
Online? I've been told the answer is my intelligence, or my ability to use the English language, or my sense of humor.
Your mileage may vary.
The Diamond Age, by Neal Stephenson. I like pretty much everything he writes, actually, with Anathem, Snow Crash, and Cryptonomicon being next picks. Yes, I have The Baroque Cycle. I'm so busy, I haven't been able to finish Quicksilver yet. I have been enjoying it, it's just dense.
Mark Haddon's the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.
Also, Tim Powers (particularly Expiration Date), Joseph Heller (Catch-22), Neil Gaiman (Sandman). Stephen King, particularly for his short stuff - Nightmares & Dreamscapes was incredible. (On the other hand, Full Dark, No Stars was utter pants; I want my time and money back.)
Children's books that aren't just for children: Susan Cooper (The Dark is Risinng series), Madeleine L'Engle (A Wrinkle in Time series). I intend to read the Hunger Games series - it fits the profile of Thing I'd Enjoy Reading.
Serious: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Amelie, Pleasantville, American Beauty, Brick, The Brothers Bloom.
Fun: The Mummy, The Whole Nine Yards, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Unexpected: The Butterfly Effect, 50 First Dates
Ben Folds, easily. After that, Rachael Yamagata, Sara Bareilles, Vienna Teng, Adele, Amy Winehouse, Fiona Apple, Jamie Cullum, Barenaked Ladies, Shakira, The Cardigans, Jason Mraz, Norah Jones, Ani Difranco, Indigo Girls, Moxy Früvous (all in no particular order). Yes, I like a lot of chick music. My iTunes library has approximately 8500 songs, though, including over 1400 different artists. I like a lot of rock (particularly piano rock), a lot of alternative, a lot of folk, a little less pop, and a smattering of everything else. And yes, I do mean everything - R&B, rap, country, whatever. I like talented, well-arranged, well-performed music. If that means Outkast, that's what it means. If it means Garth Brooks, that's fine, too.
Have gone flexitarian of late. I tend to eat meat when we go out for a meal, but I almost never cook with it at home; when I do, it's usually a spot of prosciutto or smoked salmon for flavor. I love mushrooms. I love broccoli-bacon quiche. Sushi, particularly unagi. Indian food, especially paneer makhani. I like ethnic food, but I'm really 'off' Chinese and Mexican. Give me Greek food any day! I also love American fare and cooking at home. I visit the farmer's market every weekend and belong to a CSA. Every now and again, nothing beats a fantastic steak.
...dear god, I nearly forgot sweet stuff. I love chocolate. Try Chocolove Extra Strong Dark Chocolate or Green & Black's Espresso. Milk chocolate does not exist. For ice cream, I prefer Coldstone; my usual concoction is cheesecake ice cream, bananas, caramel, and graham cracker crust. (It's an ice cream version of Red Lobster's bananas foster cheesecake, which they appear to no longer have.) When it existed, I loved Ben & Jerry's From Russia With Buzz ice cream; nowadays, when I do store-bought ice cream, I go for the local gelato - especially Gelateria Naia's Blue Bottle Hayes Valley. I love coffee, in ice cream, chocolate, or in a cup.
Practically, I've been learning freezer cooking. It's been good for us.
(E) (The unlisted TV category)
Weeds, Dexter, House, Battlestar Galactica, Glee (though it has a tendency to fail spectacularly in about three quarters of all episodes, I still love most of the singing), Heroes, Lost, Carnivale (the first season much moreso than the second), Dollhouse, Buffy. HGTV, TLC and Food Network in the background. Also, I have a weakness for dancing shows and movies, and follow So You Think You Can Dance with an addiction-like devotion. This is something the significant others in my life fortunately have in common with me.
And bloody hell, people, get a sense of humor; yes, I can walk away from the net connection, but damned if it isn't useful. I prefer life with it to life without it.
Now says: Home with the husband and kid, or hanging out (possibly gaming) at a kid-friendly friend's place. Babies change less and more than advertised.
(My physics TA office instincts yell, telling me to say, "I did your mom.")