What Silence Is...

I fully expect several new people to be checking out this blog in the near future (because I'm taking on extra work, so will have new co-workers). I thought it would be worthwhile (and self-indulgent) to introduce myself. If you know me (well), there's no need to read this. Don't waste your time: this is a long post. Really, I'm just pointing out the salient bits for those who might read backlogged entries. I'll try to paint with a broad brush, here. If you want details, read back in the blog or ask me directly.

These won't be in any order: I'm feeling lazy.

The mundane: I've been married for 13 years (!), and we have an 11-year-old son. I have lived in California (Corona) and Massachusetts (I consider Amherst "home"). Now I live in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It's better here.

Personality: It's difficult to accurately describe one's own personality, so I'll try and capture what other people have said about me. (You'll have to take my word for that, of course!) When you meet me, you are likely to think I am shy, intelligent, well-spoken, and nice. When I'm getting to know you, I will ask lots of questions, and some of them will strike you as strange--others will strike you as really unique. As you get to know me better, you will find out that I'm a story-teller, absent-minded, that I stutter because I try and talk too fast, and that I tend to make incongruously rude jokes. You will also quickly learn that I am quite opinionated.

While I might seem shy, don't be fooled. I am entirely capable of public speaking, I will openly express my opinions (at least on business matters), and I will hold my own in an argument. I often surprise people with how bold I can be.

I am quick to forgive and quicker still to accept responsibility when I've screwed up. (My wife might disagree with that last bit, though. Heh.)

I swear. Not a lot, but enough to offend the occasional person.

Drawing: I took up sketching in 2007. My skill level is roughly "I don't suck". I am currently taking a drawing class at a local community college. Related to drawing, I play 1000 Blank White Cards (1kBWC). When you go back and see a post that's mostly an image, with some rule-like text under it: that's a blank white card.

Music: I compose music using the computer and "soft synthesizers". I've only ever released this music for free, on the internet, under the name of "Introspective". I listen almost exclusively to electronic music, which is also what I write. I tried to major in music, but didn't have the performance chops. Still don't.

Religion: I am an atheist. I like Zen, but am not Buddhist. Getting me to say more requires some trust.

Role-playing: I play casually, and have since I was in grade school. I prefer rules-light systems, as I am a "Narrativist".

Board Games: I enjoy playing board games, when I have the chance... which isn't that often, frankly. When 1kBWC isn't an option, my first choice is Carcassonne. Set would be my second choice.

Computer Games: I play a few, but--as with most things--I am terribly picky. I wouldn't call myself a "gamer", but I'm on the fringe. Half Life 2 is the best game yet written. Morrowind is a close second. I prefer computer games to movies (read on): I think they are a more sophisticated art form, even.

Health: Mine is not so good. I'm sick at least two or three times a year, once is often quite long-lasting (usually sinusitis, followed by bronchitis). My right middle finger is missing the tipitty-top--people will know me for years before noticing this. I have Hashimoto's thyroiditis, which went undiagnosed long enough for me to also have myxedema. It was really nasty; I thought I was dying.

Sports: I enjoy martial arts, but haven't done any in years. I'm also not bad at darts. (At least, I wasn't a few years ago.) I've been known to play pool, though I'm no better than an average novice. I used to hike (read: take long walks), but stopped that a few years ago. Aside from that, I'm pretty clueless about sports.

Food: I love food. I talk about food frequently. I'm vegetarian for non-moral reasons, but eat fish, dairy, and eggs. I could subsist for years on sushi, pizza, and salads, and never complain... but I love all manner of (vegetarian) food. New Mexican cuisine has become a favourite, too. I also love diet sodas and herbal tea. ...Enough that I thought to mention it. ; )

Politics: ...are important to me. I'm a moderately-outspoken liberal--a card-carrying Green--with a few exceptions (I'm against gun control and not draconian about privacy rights). That said, I recognize that the liberal point of view is dangerously Utopian, so I can tussle with even the most staunch right-wingers on most political subjects. (Exceptions where religion is concerned, and where every-man-for-himself is condoned.)

Vices: I don't drink, smoke, do drugs, or support the sex industry. None of these things offend me... I just don't do them, probably because I'm a control freak. (Is being a control freak a vice?) That said, my hobbies are often vice-like, in that I get sucked into them to vaguely unhealthy degrees (example: I'll binge on a computer game for an entire weekend, a couple times a year). I also eat out more than I should.

School: I left college because we were having a kid; I deeply regret it. Bringing up the subject will make me moody (read on). I'd probably be teaching right now, if we hadn't left school. I was a linguistics major, and will happily babble about languages for hours. Recently, I've been trying to learn a few.

Media: I only read non-fiction books... usually "teach yourself" stuff, or even college textbooks. I have reluctantly come to accept that I love movies. I like action movies best, though I'm ashamed to admit it. I also like "artsy" films. Cinematography and realistic, natural acting are most important to me in a film, though sometimes a really imaginative piece will trump that. It's one of the first subjects that I'll brooch with people I've just met. Television, on the other hand, irritates me. (Bad commercials infuriate me, and I don't like the repetition of series.) There have been exceptions. (Firefly leaps to mind.) ...But, by and large, I would rather watch movies. THAT said, I historically haven't watched these things on my own much. For me, these are social practices.

Work: I love programming because it lets me help other people, feels "clever", and produces immediate results. Ruby is the best language I've yet discovered for accomplishing these ends, though I'm comfortable with a handful of other languages. Meaning is very important to me in my work: I love to feel like what I'm doing has meaning on a grander scale. I don't need recognition (and it makes me uncomfortable)... but having the sense that what I'm doing contributes to greater good... that's what makes me passionate about my work.

If I could have any job in the world, it would be a college professor. I love the college environment: the turnover, the passage of time, the sense of potential, the need to squeeze everything out of life, the architecture and landscaping, the synthesis of art and science, the energy of youth, the attractive women (heh), the feeling of fun, the desire to learn, and most especially the meaning. ...Almost everything about it appeals to me.

Since I don't have a degree (yet), this is impossible... and programming is an easy second choice, for many of the same reasons.

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