I would say that my two defining characteristics are smartassery and nerdliness. I am an unrepentent wisenheimer, and have been for years. While still in high school, my boss told me, "You're a real smartass!", to which I replied, "Better a smartass than a dumbass." I've tried to live by that credo ever since that day. I'm also a nerd- I was the sort of kid who usually had his nose in a book, who loved to turn over rocks to see what kind of cool critters lived underneath- I'm still basically a demented, precocious 8-year-old. I am into science fiction, math and chess- I'm not that into pop science fiction movies though (gots no T.V. machine), I'm more of a reader, and especially love the works of Jack Vance and Gene Wolfe. I'm also a sucker for classic "weird" pulps, even though I am oftimes appalled by the racialist content that often taints the stories.
Politically, I am unabashedly liberal, not the strawman "librul" of right-wing hacks. I believe in equal rights for women and minorities (so-called), and pretty much sussed out that the assumption that "white straight male" was some sort of "default setting" was nonsense pretty early. My family background is "multicultural"- Italian, Irish, Swiss and French, so I developed an interest in other cultures early on. I'm one of five children, so the house was always occupied by all sorts of friends. Mom pretty much had an "open door" policy- nobody was turned away due to race (which, to my anthropologically-oriented mind, is a social construct), creed, or sexual preference. I am interested in biology, and enjoy hiking and biking, so I'm an environmentalist by default. I believe in fair trade- I don't like to taste the blood of peasants in my coffee, and would rather own something made with pride by free laborers than made with poison by wage-slaves or prisoners. I also detest bullies and deplore idiots, so American Conservatism is pretty much a non-starter with me.
I'll cop to being an eccentric, and a bit of a cheapskate- I love foraging, and I have no desire to keep up with the hypothetical Joneses. I live in a working-and-middle-class neighborhood in a sizable city in the shadow of one of the greatest cities in the world... I'd call it a "most urban suburb". I have no desire to live in a community in which I'd catch grief for hanging a clothesline. For a year and a half, I was driving a car which cost half what my bicycle did.
While I can sometimes come across as angry, I'm generally even-keeled. I tend to get angry at the misfortunes of others, and laugh at my own setbacks (I have a friend who put it, "You're not happy unless you're getting your ass kicked!"). I tend to keep my temper very well- when you've spent quality time being pounded to the consistency of mincemeat by this guy, having some guy call you a "dickweed" is pretty tame by comparison. Once, while interviewing an insurance claimant, an attorney tried to rattle my cage by telling me that I "didn't know what I was doing, and was ignorant of the law". When I didn't get rattled after a good five minutes of this line of bullshit, he said, "You don't want to show it, but you're steamed!" I smiled at him and said, "I'm not mad, I'm billing this time... you can go on for as long as you want." Since he would receive a portion of any settlement, he shut up pretty quickly. Maintain an imperturbable mien- if you lose your temper, you lose control of the situation.
Why do I blog? Well, I enjoy writing... I have strong opinions, and I am happy to be able to express them. I also like the camaraderie- I enjoy the correspondence with my blogroll and my commentariat. I certainly hope I have entertained my readers... do I amuse you? Another thing I love about writing this blog is that I find that people from all over are reading my bloviations. If someone had told me a year ago that I have readers from Latvia, Iran, and the Philippines reading this blog, I wouldn't have believed it. It's really heartening.
I don't forsee ending this anytime soon. I love doing this, and I hope to do another little recap when I hit one thousand posts. Of course, I've been very, very lazy when it comes to labeling my posts- I may have to go back over my body of work and get cracking with the labels.
Thanks to all of my readers, you really are a wonderful bunch. I love the back-and-forth in the comments, and the insights I get from different viewpoints from really smart people. Without you, I'd just be yelling at clouds. Now, time for Von to catch up.