Personal

Who I Am

While it may seem strange, I find it useful to try to define myself in terms that help me remember the good things. So much of our existence is focused on failure and problems, we're always trying to fix ourselves, that it helps to have a way to reference the good things we are and are trying to develop. There are things that you might find negative or bad too, but I think they are helpful because honesty and self-awareness mean you can work from a solid base and improve, so bad things are actually waiting opportunities to grow. Here are mine, and beware this will change, even frequently, I'm a work in progress like most people:

  • I am a good listener.

    I care about who you are and want to promote your well-being, even if and especially when you don't believe your own worth. It isn't about just getting enough information to then use it to weave my own agenda. I do need this kind of info to relate well, but it isn't from a place of self-interest as much as possible. I gather data from you as a way to build you up. At least that is my aim. Even when people don't show me the same consideration.

  • I am an encourager.

    I guess deep down some part of me thinks the world will be better if I can help someone see a brighter truth about themselves and not focus on what is wrong so much. I don't think people's positive traits and aims get a fair hearing in their dialog. The negative is so much more prevalent because it is so much more visceral. Good doesn't have the power-packed punch that it is due, and if I can use words (even slightly raw ones) to "lift people up" I will, even though that sounds dumb.

  • I am a helpless nerd.

    I love very specific geek, programmer, and internet culture that is highly obscure to nearly everyone I know. Sometimes there are moments of serendipitious connection on things, but I still feel quite isolated in much of it. Doesn't matter, I am still a giant nerd, love wordplay and specific nonsense regardless. I'm an odd bird even with my wife and kids, but we get into as much mutual trouble and share memes as musch as we can together, which is awesome.

  • I am extremely introverted

    I could be described as "in his head" or "in his own world" but the truth is that this would be the understatement of the century. I have learned over the years to be able to talk to people and translate my inner feelings to output to communicate and relate, but it isn't easy and not something I relish. People matter to me, so I do it, but it is not my default mode or what I prefer to spend time doing. No shade, it is just not how I'm wired. Left alone for long enough I'd likely grow moss and possibly come with amazing things too. If you want to understand me and my issues, simply read the book Quiet by Susan Cain. Much insight awaits. I also recommend the Audible version. #notsponsored

  • I highly value authenticity

    I don't tolerate logical incongruency or inaccuracy in myself or others. I think honesty to a fault is the only way to be. Even if that makes me look bad or "too honest" at the end of the day it is about being happy with my own interal integrity. I want to be proud of who I am and dishonesty doesn't serve that aim. I have a hard time knowing or caring what people think of me with any degree of precision so I think it is better to just be truthful and let the cosmic forces bigger than me (namely God) sort it out later. I am not so dumb that I think I am always absolutely truthful. I am human and errant like anyone, but as much as I can I try to be honest even if it is to my detriment. I am WYSIWYG if I can be. Sometimes I feel bad if I strongly hold a position and state that as true, then find out that I had bad information. If I can, I will go back and correct it, but many times it bothers me when I can't or it wouldn't help the situation, i.e. the moment has passed.

  • I highly value simplicity

    Complexity causes problems, confusion, emotional problems, and I guess good celebrity drama and soap operas? All things I can do without. Complexity with purpose, deliberate iteration and a vision is wonderful, but so is the same with simplicity. In software, in life, in thought, everything is harder to do so that it is simple, but this is something everyone would do well to learn and chase after in every project, system, family, social group, etc. Simplicity is next to Godliness. It is one of the hardest things to do in a complex human-interaction based system like software, but it is most valuable as well.

  • I highly value observation

    If you're the one who charges into a large group of people whooping and hollering (#extraverts) I am the one on the fringe of the room probably chilling, maybe talking, and most of all scanning the room, analysing, wondering, pondering, gathering information. Security, noise levels, visuals, layout, spatial distances, music choice, food layout, social roles, anticipating issues or opportunities. I'm kinda like Batman. I plan for contingencies, I make maps of everything in my head in seconds. I can track multiple conversations going on at the same time in the same space at different volumes and cadences, and can predict what will happen next. Not always, but sometimes. This helps me be social at all. I find flaws in things constantly, which is helpful for keeping people safe when no one is paying attention. I am hard-wired to look for issues and solve them without a thought, so I use that to everyone's advantage when needed.

  • I am extremely technical/detailed

    You might say I "see through the matrix" and a lot of people have said so. The movie Stranger Than Fiction where Will Smith sees his day in a very intense visual display is similar to how I guess I see the world. At least that is the impression I get a lot. Not that people can be trusted too much, but they say that I tend to see through the fabric of things and see the mechanism that makes them tick, I see how things work behind the scenes and mentally pick them apart to learn what drives them. To illustrate this point, I am fluent in 15+ programming languages, frameworks, and other technologies and even though I haven't written many of them in years, I could still pick them up like I never left and continue on unabated.

  • I lean towards misanthropic

    In all my interactions with people, I haven't found the majority of them to really care or have true intent. Most people are stupid animals who go through life without noticing or caring about how they affect others. There are of course notable exceptions but they are few and far between. On the whole, humanity is a failed freakshow. While this isn't news, it is the reason I am somewhat distrusting of most.

    Extroverts

    I have had especially rough interactions with people you would firmly put in the extrovert category. I understand that they aren't bad people or to be feared, and I try to deal with them with tact and decorum, but they are typically the ones who have pushed me, screamed at me, and generally made my life hell, just by insisting that they are better because they "speak up", "go out", "lighten up", and whatever else inane nonsense self-help positive-thinking establishment has programmed them with this week.

    They are loud, outgoing, and energetic people who love life and are the dynamic lifeblood of many things and areas of society. All good traits that are admirable, even essential for some things. However, I wish it wasn't so often at my expense. They make it difficult to think, code, and even be myself. They want me to "come out of my shell" without stopping to ponder that they might be the sole reason I've built one.

    Introverts like me are forced to put up with them because noise dominates silence, and they can't be quiet if their life depended on it. I wish it went both ways, where they were at times forced to show deference to those of us with more inward lives. Society is hard-wired for extroversion and it gets old.

    I'm not saying I hate people who are extraverted, and some of them are delightful. I just wish they didn't make it so easy to hate them because they don't understand me or care to try. There are two types and it is so skewed towards the outgoing, that they don't even realize that I might be a valid human in a different way. That is the thing that really irks me.

  • I am a Chameleon

    You might see this as a negative thing. People tend to view this idea as unstable and untrustworthy, but it isn't. I can morph and change to meet certain criteria or shapeshift into someone else to better suit a situation. This makes me good at humor and creating characters out of anything at the drop of a hat.

    It also makes me capable of incredibly deep empathy and humility. Because I understand that other people see things from a different window, they peer through a different lens, and I can literally put myself in their "shoes" with the wealth of observational meta data I collect naturally, I can really get their world. I can understand opposing view points even if I personally believe they are wrong. I can hypothesize objectively and disregard prejudice without reservation to see the other side. This makes me decent at arguments and marriage.

    The bad side of this is that I need to be careful not to copycat good ideas because they are good, but stick to my own originality. This is very hard for me. I filter the world through myself so sometimes I can't tell what is me and what is not. The speed and volume of data is just too much to stop and sort it all out.

  • I love music

    I have very specific tastes when it comes to music, and I have a weird relationship with just about everything, but music is worse. I love everything a band does, but never go see them in concert, don't care about their twitter, or anything else. I don't participate in any of the ancillary stuff around the celebrity of music.

    I like the music for what it is, and whoever made it. I am not taken by the rapture of a personality for the sake of worship without merit. I typically have a mild interest for the people and process of making the music, but I don't go so head over heels for it that I lose myself in it. Even then, I've been "caught" rocking out in my car on the highway by more than a few people, something I've never heard others being noticed for.

    I like very different music than you might expect from the rest of this bio/expose. I am not stuck on one genre, but everything I like is on the harder end of the spectrum.

  • I am a drummer

    I've been a drummer since about age 6 or 7 (I hit hard, like all 12 year olds with sticks), so now I find the small places of weakness in the plastic on a steering column and it becomes my personal drum zone on the road. Did I mention I get bored easy in traffic? Well, yeah. I also don't see the point of traffic. It is an old institution that is largely unneeded today. Again, extroverts and their bright ideas. I digress often. I am one of those stuck-in-my-ways OG drummers that uses the toms and was drumming before double bass pedals were cool. I substitute all that new whippernsnapper coolness with actual rhythm.

    I am ruthlessly efficient (when needed)

    Not with everything, but especially at work and when there are performance improvements to be found in how to do something, I can't be beat. I optimize myself, my work, everything I can. Sometimes I can't stop to think about how to optimize things because I am in the thick of it and have to move quickly. During the rush though, I naturally get better, faster, cutting out unneeded fluff and only doing what matters to get to the heart of the issue without meaningless steps or ancillary info that isn't needed. I have a mental process for how to do everything, if I've ever had to do it before. I'm not sure why I am like this, it just seems to make the most sense, and it makes things easier the second time through.