I love ice cream. This probably seems like a trifling detail, but it’s number one on this list because it’s possibly the single-most important defining factor in my personality and overall character. If you can’t understand why strawberry ice cream with rainbow sprinkles is the king of foods in my universe, you will probably be unable to make much sense of many of the things I do and say.
If I define myself with a word (a practice I try to avoid), that word has to be “musician.” I play the hell out of the bass guitar. I play a few other things too, but the bass and I understand each other at a molecular level. When Prince Adam picks up the Power Sword, he becomes He-Man. When I pick up a bass, I become the master of my universe.
As a lifelong logophile with a habit of curling up with a good dictionary on cold nights, I have a stunningly large vocabulary. Ironically, this can make it difficult to communicate with others.
I value health above anything else. Physical health is a priority, but mental and spiritual well-being are just as important to me. I lived alone in the mountains of Japan for three years, and though I had a job and friends and such, I also had a LOT of time for quiet introspection. If I learned anything during that time, it’s that protecting my own health has to be my first duty in life. I can’t contribute to society if I’m sick, depressed, or otherwise pulling a negative current. My effectiveness in the world is proportional to my personal level of health, so I take it very seriously.
Integrity is my second value. I agree with Bucky Fuller’s idea that integrity is all we have, ultimately. We can’t lie to ourselves (or others) without consequences. We all have distorted views of reality, but we have to strive to live true to what knowledge we can acquire. Integrity doesn’t stop with doing what you say you’ll do; it also means being true to your values. You can’t decry inhumane working conditions in Asia and then shop at the GAP. That’s disingenuous. I used to lie for the hell of it about unimportant things. Now, I don’t believe in important or unimportant things – things either are or are not, so I no longer lie about them.
I don’t eat sweets. Besides ice cream, that is. I don’t enjoy sweet foods. Save the occasional strawberry, I don’t even like fruit. I also don’t eat chips or crackers very often. I’ll chow on chips and salsa at a Mexican restaurant, but I don’t dig potato chips much at all. In general, I prefer food – you know, meat and vegetables – to all the processed, refined, reconstituted, engineered, altered, and otherwise fucked-with grocery items most people tend to eat. I’m not saying this makes me a better person or anything; I just really like “eating real” whenever possible.
I’m not a great listener. I’m working on it, but lifelong bad habits are hard to improve. As a child, I was a know-it-all. This had a lot to do with self-esteem and inadequacy issues that I buried but never really got over until adulthood. I’m an introvert by nature, so I tend to listen more intently to my own inner dialogue than to what’s going on around me. This is something I really want to change, but it’s certainly not easy.
I don’t believe everything I read. Unless it’s fiction.
My favorite work of fiction is Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. Wallace killed himself last year, and it hurt me deeply. I’ve never found more truth in life than I have in his novels and stories.
I’ve only been to seven different countries, and I find this embarrassing. In this age, intelligent people cannot afford the ignorance of only experiencing life in a single country. Some people want to visit every country in the world. That’s cool. I have no desire to get my passport stamped in Swaziland. But I do plan to live in at least three more countries before choosing a place to settle.
I despise poor grammar, but I’m convinced that the form of grammar should change with its function in communication. Formal rules are useful, but obstinately clinging to outmoded norms causes a lot of unnecessary stress and conflict. And it can be fun to break the rules sometimes.
I believe that beer and coffee are the two most veracious proofs for the existence of a benevolent universal intelligence. Sex is a close third, but the awkwardness most people feel regarding sex holds it out of the top spot. Beer and coffee comprise the majority of my daily intake of fluids. It can’t be good for the liver, but it’s tonic for the soul.
For the first thirty years of my life, my blood type was O+. Sometime during 2008, I became A+. I don’t know how this happened; I had previously believed that it was impossible and even told the nurse at the Red Cross that she had made a mistake. There was no mistake. In early 2008, I was O. By Christmas, my body somehow converted to A. And I’m not even sick.
I spend a very large portion of my time doing things related to the martial art of Taido. In addition to teaching and practicing two or three times a week, I read, write, think, stretch, work out, do yoga, study videos, and engage in other activities daily that contribute to my training. Taido is awesome because it uses the entire body in creative ways. Sometimes, my friends will tell me that I talk about Taido too much, but that’s just because it’s the thing most often on my mind.
I’m a compulsive note-taker an almost always have a notebook with me wherever I go. I ALWAYS have a pen and often carry back-up pens. My pens are uni-ball vision with black ink. I buy them by the box. I have blue and red pens too (also uni-ball), but I only use them for specific situations that require high contrast. I’m pretty anal about my pens and equally anal about my notebooks. Notebooks are A5 size, and no more than 100 pages. The notebook has to fit conveniently in a bag or folder I can carry. I sometimes carry a smaller notepad in my jacket pocket when a notebook would be cumbersome. If I find myself without a notebook, I’ll write on my hands.
My eyes are very strangely colored. I usually say they are blue, but that’s only half true. Around the pupil, they are actually yellow. Only the outer half of the iris is blue. From close up, my eyes look like sunflowers against a blue sky. At least that’s what a few people have told me. I’m sure it’s not totally unique, but I’ve never seen anyone else with eyes like mine.
Everything I’ve ever truly wanted has come to me. I’ve done everything I’ve wanted to do. I’ve become the people I wanted to be. I’ve created myself and my life over and over again. I think we’re all essentially responsible for our own happiness. Nobody else can make us healthy or successful in life. We’re always making decisions, even without realizing it. Everything we do is practice – we are constantly becoming what we will be. I try to make this a conscious process as much as possible, but I recognize that I act like a robot sometimes, running on autopilot, working programs that don’t necessarily suit the reality of my surroundings. Everyday, I tune out a little less and experience a little more. But I’m still prone to fuck up just like everybody else.