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Saturday, May 15, 2004

A little bit about me

Let me tell you a little bit about myself, so you might have some small inkling of who is writing this blog. (I sense that this posting will be extensively edited and rewritten until I am happy with it.)

I am an ascetic hedonist. I believe that the simple pleasures of life should be enjoyed to the point of wretched excess.

I try to be virtuous, temperate, and industrious, yet at various times I am the embodiment of five of the Seven Deadly Sins: Sloth, Gluttony, Wrath (more a sort of Mr. Furious impotent rage), Pride, and Lust. Greed and Envy usually aren't a problem for me, although I have a strange trait of being excessively miserly with myself and excessively generous with others. This is actually because money frightens and confuses me, and this is the way this fear and confusion express themselves.

I have a mild touch of synesthesia. This is a cross-wiring condition in the brain that causes the inputs of one sense to be experienced through another. For me it's usually a case of visual stimuli having a musical component. I can "hear" a sunrise or sunset as a chorus. It works in reverse, too...music can generate images in my mind's eye, especially during the periods of going into or coming out of sleep. (Coldplay's "Clocks" has a strong visual component: a large wheel, like a roulette wheel, with a rotational period equal to the repitition period of the opening piano notes.) This results in some careful self-editing of verbal descriptions that I give to other people - I need to phrase what I see in terms they can understand. I think a lot of people actually experience this and just don't talk about it.

I also suffer somewhat from Prosopagnosia. This is a condition also known as "face-blindness". I can't remember major specific details of a person's face. If they have huge scars, or bad teeth, or an enormous, misshapen nose, I can remember that no problem, but otherwise my recollection of faces is "He has a head shaped like an apple...with a chin...two eyes...brown hair, or maybe blonde...." Any description I can give is usually a record of imperfections. I have never been able to draw specific faces...general faces, yes, I can construct a face wholly out of imagination, but don't ask me to sketch your face, or you'll wind up with something generic and abstract, or something technically similar to your face, but lacking in humanity. I can usually recognize people in specific situations (work friends at work, friends in their own houses, friends of friends because of the people they associate with), but in the wild, I can sail right past a friend without recognizing them, or (more frighteningly) think I've made a "match" with a friend's face when in fact I'm looking at a total stranger. Surprisingly, I can often recognize people based on their hair color and style. I usually tell people that I have a very small memory buffer, and it fills up from the top down, so by the time I reach the face, it's full. For some reason, this condition also affects my ability to recognize cars. Good thing we have license plates.

I am also somewhat dyslexic, particularly with numbers, although this usually comes into play when I am tired or stressed. A lot of other people I know have the same problem to varying degrees. Most of them, however, didn't major in Physics in college or have a series of jobs that deal extensively with numbers!

I actually double-majored in Physics and Philosophy in college, at a Jesuit University where such a thing was possible. After college I went into a graduate program in Physics, which I almost immediately washed out of. This was the first major failure of my life, and one of the most painful things I've ever gone through. Maybe I'll tell you all about it sometime.

Politically I am a registered Independent, but in practice am a Liberal. What exactly this means I haven't yet decided. I'm not willing to grant Conservatives the right to define what a Liberal is. I also have pretty strong views about the Bush administration, which you'll certainly be hearing about eventually.

Religiously I am a Jesuit-trained semi-agnostic lapsed Catholic. I might add junior-level Taoist and (I have been told) Deist to that list. I was raised a Roman Catholic and still attend mass weekly at the chapel of the nursing home where my grandmother lived out her last years. But I have strong issues with some of the proclamations and positions stated recently by the bishops, allegedly by the pope, and by various scholars. I learned a bit about Taoism in college and have always recognized resonances within myself. I just looked up Deism for the first time ever a few minutes ago. After I described my personal beliefs during a late-night bull session with some friends last year, one of them pointed out to me that I was describing Deism. I knew that many of the American Founding Fathers were Deists (and not the Christians zealots that many modern-day Christian zealots try to portray them as), so maybe I'm among good company.

In appearance I am big. I'm short for my weight, which through extrapolation from actuarial tables would indicate that my weight is optimal for a height of something like 9'3". I have lost weight in the past through a disciplined program of diet and exercise, but lately I just haven't felt like putting in the effort. Maybe I will start it up again, sometime soon. I'm also broad-shouldered, which comes in handy when you need to block a doorway. I'm seriously big-boned, with a thick skull that can probably split yours open like a melon, buster. Which is all pretty funny in that I drive the smallest car Toyota produced 8 years ago, while tiny people around me feel the need to compensate for their private shortcomings by driving gas-guzzling Sheik's Delights.

Well, that's that. Off to meet some friends for sushi. Talk to you later!

1 comment:

Tom Carten said...

But I have strong issues with some of the proclamations and positions stated recently by the bishops, allegedly by the pope, and by various scholars.

Sorry I'm three years late with this.

So, what makes you feel you are so different from most other Catholics, including the clergy and even some bishops?