Personal Information

I am not normal, not by any stretch.  This was first pointed out to me by my mom's friend, Linda, when I was three years old.  A conversation ensued along the following lines:

Linda (to me): "Ethan, how old are you?"
Me (to Linda): "Three.  How old are you?"
Mom (to me): "Ethan!  It's not polite to ask a woman her age."
Me: "Oh."  (leaves)  (returns, to Linda)  "What year were you born in?"
Linda: "1952."
Me: "Oh!  Then you're 29!"
Linda (surprised): "Wow!  What if I was born in 1935?"
Me: "You'd be... 46!"
Linda (excited): "What if I was born in 1880?"
Me: "You'd be... 101!"
Linda (to mom): "Susan, did you hear this?"
Mom (to Linda): "Oh, yeah.  He does that."
Linda (to mom): "No, Susan, this isn't normal."

It's almost twenty-five years later, and I've learned an awful lot about the ways I'm not normal, I'm even proud of most of them.  I like to swing dance.  I play acoustic and electric guitar and a little piano.  I like outdoor activities like camping, hiking, and biking.  And rock climbing.  I play whatever sport it's convenient to play, which has ranged from basketball to hockey to ultimate frisbee.  I am a New York Jew (by heritage).  I love to travel; my favorite location in the world is Lake Nemi in the Italian countryside.  I also love stories and mythology, so much that I majored in Classics as an undergraduate at Northwestern (along with Physics and the Integrated Science Program).  I'm an idealist.  Specifically an ENFP, and I believe there's great value in understanding personality types, especially for learning the ways in which most other people differ from you.  Even though I'm often loud and obnoxious, and enjoy drinking beer and <use your imagination>, I like quiet time to play chess, read, or just think.  I have a bit of a hero complex, too, but not as bad as some people.  I'm also quite impatient, even though I hate working on someone else's schedule.  So I guess I'm a hypocrite too, sometimes.  Also, by far, my favorite holiday is Halloween, for which extravagance is kind of a tradition in my family.

My birthday party, 1983 I believe there are two things, above all else, that give meaning to my life: the things I accomplish and the people I care about.  I value honesty very highly, but loyalty is more important to me.  The value of a loyal friend is the most important thing that my friend Brian (in the middle) ever taught me (on the right).  I make fun of my friends.  When things go well for me, I share the wealth.  When things go poorly, I find out who my real friends are.  I am an optimist.  I have an incredible amount of hope for myself, my friends, and humanity.  I am credulous.  I believe in the divine, but not in any organized religion.  I am a political socialist.  And I am a scientist.