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A college graduate, freelance writer, blogger, photographer, world traveler, environmental scientist, geographer, and two-time NaNoWriMo winner, I've been browsing the site for years. When I'm not trying to figure out my place in the grand scheme of things, I'm usually writing novels and articles, reading, gaming, listening to music, editing photos, studying everything from art and history to philosophy and psychology.

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I also used to be a well-known reviewer on a major gaming site, but prefer to keep that under wraps.

This Troper contains examples of:

  • Academic Athlete: I took soccer and jujitsu in my undergrad years. These days, I focus on hiking, world travel, aerobics, and resistance training.
  • Adorkable: Nothing makes me smile like a box of LEGOs.
  • Agent Peacock: I'm indifferent to Pronoun Trouble from others (I answer to he/she/they, I've long stopped trying to correct people), occasionally invoke Viewer Gender Confusion, and revel in being a Long-Haired Pretty Boy. I also took soccer and jujitsu in college, frequently hike, excel at planning and navigation, and have an impressive temper. I also own several weapons and once chased a robber out of my house with an axe.
  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Occasionally gets mistaken for one. Hilarity Ensues.
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  • Ambiguous Gender Identity: I get called ma'am just as often as sir, and just shrug off the confusion that ensues. I like to joke that I'm a living Rorschach test when it comes to percieved gender.
  • Ambiguously Olive: No one can figure out my ethnicity unless explicitly told. Guesses have included Spanish, French, Italian, Russian, Greek, Israeli, African, Cuban, Colombian, Indian, and Chinese. This lets me blend in easily when traveling abroad. According to DNA test results, some of those guesses weren't so crazy after all...
  • Animal Motifs: The Octopus.
  • Antiquated Linguistics: Whenever I want to see if people are listening.
  • The Anti-Nihilist: I try to be this on his good days, with varying results. It's getting harder to do these days.
  • Asian and Nerdy: The massive collection of books, video games, LEGOs, movies, and anime is a good indicator.
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  • Authors: Aside from my old reviewing career, I want to be a famous novelist.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Pronounced in multiple ways. My game and book reviews are written as college-level essays, and I can pick out the best photography angles and travel routes in seconds. This is better known as spatial awareness. I was also well known in my corporate days for analyzing procedures and maximizing staff efficiency, to the point of starting the end-of-day closing checklist as soon as I entered the office.
  • The B Grade: Had to deal with this during my Freshman year in college. I got over it, though.
  • Beach Episode: Often while traveling, especially in Thailand, Aruba, Mexico, Australia, and all the Hawaiian islands. I also volunteered for a cleanup in Capitola and hiked all of Land's End in San Francisco.
  • Beneath the Mask: People who like my Gentleman and a Scholar persona are sometimes surprised when I get more serious and talk about things like death, the future, the nature of reality, etc.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: It takes a lot to make me angry. But when I do... Thankfully, I've learned to deal with it in healthier ways. Gotta stay mindful!
  • Blade Enthusiast: I have a bit of a collection going. I always carry a dual folding knife/box cutter with a cherry wood handle. I have a few pocket knives, an axe, machete, karambit, and ulu. I've also inherited a couple of 19th century dao swords and spear from Polynesia.
  • Bookshelf of Authority: Not intentionally, it's just that I have so many books in my room, it's impossible to move my camera anywhere where there aren't any!
  • BookWorm: My books aren't just stacked on a shelf. The stacks are layered. The eclectic collection includes Classic Literature, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Horror, Thrillers, Nonfiction, Philosophy, Mythology, and Postmodernism.
  • Bilingual Dialogue: I sometimes randomly lapse into Spanish just to see if people are listening.
  • Bizarre Taste in Food: I was raised on home-cooked super-spicy food (raw garlic, jalepeños, and onions as snacks), and have proven to have cast iron stomach on multiple travels. This typically involves finding the spiciest dishes available. If I try some new tasty sauce abroad, I'll buy some and add it to my kitchen when I get home. This has resulted in Mexican salsa recipes, Caribbean chicken marinades, a jar of Moroccan saffron, and a bottle of award-winning Humboldt Habanero-Mango Hot Sauce. However, I managed to eat a durian only once.
  • Brains and Bondage: The logistical, physiological, and psychological aspects interest me. It requires far more understanding of various disciplines (no pun intended!), planning, and communication than most expect. When I attended the Folsom Street Fair as a photographer, I was very impressed by the sheer amount of creativity and accepting atmosphere as well.
  • Brainy Brunette: Combined with Asian and Nerdy.
  • Brick Joke: When I got off the plane in Maui, the first restaurant I found was Subway. It hadn't opened for business, forcing me to keep looking for a quick meal. A week later, its grand opening sign was on display as I passed it on the way to the airport.
    • This was nearly repeated six months later on the Big Island, but that Subway was open for business.
    • I spent all week on the Big Island looking for a sea turtle, but to no avail. In literally the final hour before returning to the car rental, I randomly stopped at a nearby beach and found one!
  • Brief Accent Imitation: My default is the NorCal, but I can make it go all over the place.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Excellent at analyzing, planning, and strategizing...when I'm motivated to actually do something. I was notorious for procrastinating in college, excellent grades notwithstanding. Years of working professionally and taking of myself have curbed that habit. I'll still occasionally get into a bored funk, but the prospect of traveling somewhere new is enough to get me going.
  • Broken Ace: I constantly strivee to improve my through studying and experience, sometimes to impossible standards. Therapy forced me to realize how unhealthy that can be, reevaluate my priorities, and gain a better understanding of who I am.
  • Call-Back: Several, due to visiting Hawaii twice - Maui and the Big Island - less than six months apart. I managed pull this off again in 2016, with Oahu and Kauai instead.
    • The Road To Hana VS the Kohala Mountain Road.
    • The Hana and Thurston Lava Tubes
    • Honolua Bay and Route 137 rainforests.
    • Lahaina and Honokohau Harbors.
    • South Kihei VS Honaunau Bay.
    • The Grand Wailea and Royal Kona Luaus.
    • Zip-lining in Maui and Puerto Vallarta almost exactly a year apart.
    • Revisiting The Empress Hotel in Victoria BC 30 years later.
    • Revisiting the Grand Canyon and Sedona 30 years later.
    • Revisiting Yosemite's Tunnel View and taking a photo in the exact same spot 21 years later.
    • This was taken Up to Eleven in September 2021, when I finally went back to the Big Island. Since I already knew the lay of the land, I could focus on doing things that I missed the first time around. And unlike last time, I saw and photographed several turtles!
  • Camera Fiend: I take thousands of pictures whenever I travel, especially those of nature.
  • Camping Episode: I camped and hiked in the wilderness often when I was a kid. These days, I settle for wandering cities, national parks, and occasional world travel.
  • Cavalier Competitor: As anyone who's played against me in 3rd Strike can attest.
  • Character Alignment: Chaotic Good. Within the game, it extends to an Elf Wizard/Sorcerer.
  • The Charmer: I've gained a reputation for being one, despite my protests to the contrary. I also once talked my way into an exclusive museum exhibit, a high-profile tech conference, and was given an authentic Hawaiian lei by just asking nicely.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Most people think I'm this when I start talking about the nature of reality and the perception of time.
  • Color Motif: My outfits are typically comprised of darker shades of green, brown, and black.
  • Confusion Fu: I'm a big fan of this when it comes to fighting games. My 3rd Strike Chun-Li is particularly infamous for utilizing head stomp corner combos, backflip evasions into supers, mid-air parries into grabs, random Spinning Bird Kicks, and double-slapping dizzy finishers. It works better than you'd think, especially against players expecting the usual tactics. I've also started using Twelve more often, who personifies this trope.
  • Constantly Curious: One of my defining personality traits. Knowledge is power!
  • Converted Fanboy: It took a lot of coaxing to get me started on The Wheel of Time.
  • Cool Big Cousin: Though normally quiet and solitary, I often end up watching and mentoring my younger cousins.
  • Crazy People Play Chess: While not nearly as pronounced as other examples, there are still shades of this.
  • Cross Player: Usually, depending on the characters' playing styles and appearances. This especially holds true for fighting games; my go-to characters are Chun-Li in Third Strike, Karin in Alpha 3 and V, Juri in USFIV, Vanessa, Whip, Kula, and Luong in KOF, Christie and Lili in Tekken, Aoi in Virtua Fighter, Seong-Mina and Xianghua in Soul Calibur, Ayane in Dead Or Alive, Millia and Baiken in Guilty Gear, Makoto and Mai in Blaz Blue, Mitsuru in Ultimax, Eltnum in Under Night, Lucina in Smash...the list goes on and on.
  • Cultural Rebel: I frequently express disdain over double standards, gender roles, and countless other aspects of society. I actively play with or subvert cultural expectations, with varying degrees of success. I never wanted to be a rebel, but it just kind of happened that way.
  • The Cynic: Despite putting up a positive front, my cynicism is one of my defining characteristics.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Part of what drives me to become a Renaissance Man. It's hard to live in uncharted territory.
  • Determinator: I paid for my entire college education myself, with no loans or help from my parents whatsoever. I was reduced to a Starving Student, had little sleep between classes and work, and had to rebuild my savings from scratch, but I graduated without a single cent of debt. I also went back to college remotely during the pandemic and earned two more degrees!
  • Doing It for the Art: I enjoy the creative process more than the meager financial profits. Money is nice, though...
  • Do I Really Sound Like That?: My first attempt at voice acting was... interesting. I was really self-conscious about it, but eventually I went on a podcast and had a great time.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Having a relatively small build, and long, curly brown hair often results in me getting mistaken for a woman. I stopped caring years ago; at my age, I'm just glad I still look good!
  • Due to the Dead: I was a pallbearer for my grandmother.
  • Effeminate Voice: I naturally have one, and never did any vocal training. Some people don't believe I'm not a woman even if I try deliberately lowering my voice. I haven't been called "sir" on the phone in years.
  • Encyclopaedic Knowledge: I wish. Just got to keep studying to make it happen.
  • TheEnneagram: Type 5.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: It happens every now and then, often with hilariously awkward results.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: I grew out my hair to create a distinctive look and explore my gender expression. Judging by the reactions I get, I made the right decision!
  • Eye Scream: Narrowly - about a quarter of an inch - averted when I was a toddler. Scars, on the other hand...
  • Fascinating Eyebrow: It's practically a personal character tic.
  • Festival Episode: I made an effort to get out and attend more of these, especially as a photographer. Notable examples include the San Francisco Giants World Series and St. Patrick's Day Parades, as well as Chinese New Year, the Cherry Blossom Festival, and Castanyada in Barcelona in 2015. Taken a step further when I ran a booth at the 2016 Chinese New Year and 2017 Jazz Festivals. 2017-2019 saw my attendance to SF Pride, the Himalayan Festival, and even Folsom. The pandemic has put a stop to all of that, unfortunately.
  • Forgets to Eat: Whenever I really get into reading or writing.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Often switch between choleric and melancholic.
  • Geek Physiques: I avoid this by walking/jogging a couple of miles a day, or at least doing some aerobics and resistance training. I also played soccer and took jujitsu in college.
  • Geeky Turn-On: Literature, History, Cosmology, Geology, and Volcanology.
  • Genius Book Club: When I was a teenager, I made the effort to read every piece of classic literature I could find. My book collection now ranges into the hundreds (mainly due to running out space), including everything from the works of Homer and Dante to Shakespeare and Milton. Subverted, however, in that I covered all of these because I enjoyed reading and learning about their historical and cultural significance, not to make myself appear more intelligent.
  • Genre Savvy: I'm usually good at reading people and situations. However, people don't really interest me, so I usually just stand back and watch.
  • Gentleman Adventurer: Much to the surprise of anyone who thinks literature and video games are my only passions. Notable adventures include:
    • Climbing several mountains in California as a child, along with lengthy backpacking and extended stays in the Sierra Nevadas.
    • Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge on foot and spending a weekend on Alcatraz.
    • Spending a summer living on Malaysia's southern coastline.
    • Touring the National Mall in the middle of the night.
    • Getting lost on the Le Métropolitain long enough to eventually figure it out...without speaking a word of French.
    • Visiting the ruins at Chichen Itza.
    • Reaching the top of Gibraltar.
    • Wandering around the casbah in Tangier, Morocco.
    • Weathering a monsoon while stuck on a small boat off the Phi Phi Islands.
    • Visiting caves, such as Carlsbad Caverns, the Caves of Nerja, and the Hana and Thurston Lava Tubes.
    • Spending time hiking the rainforests and coastlines of Maui, Oahu, Kauai, and the Big Island, most memorably Honolua, Pololu Valley, Manoa Falls, Koko Crater, Waipio Bay, and Kilauea.
    • Reaching the peak at Haleakala.
    • Surviving the Road to Hana.
    • Driving nearly 900 miles over one week on the Big Island of Hawaii.
    • Stocking up at the famous Hilo Farmers' Market in the middle of a downpour.
    • Visiting Kilauea, the Chain of Craters, and the Devastation Trail.
    • Seeing the Umauma, Akaka, and Rainbow Falls in one drive.
    • Spending time at the tide pools at Honaunau, as well as the gray sand beach at Ho'okena.
    • Taking the Kohala Mountain Road, as well as pulling over and taking panoramic shots while enduring drizzle, freezing cold, and brutal winds.
    • Visiting Pahoa and getting within sight of its lava flow.
    • Zip-lining in both the jungles of Maui and Puerto Vallarta.
    • Volunteering at a beach cleanup in Capitola.
    • Exploring much of San Francisco on foot, most recently the distant trails and beaches at Land's End.
    • Cruising across most of the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas for two weeks.
    • Exploring Barcelona on foot, seeing several museums and landmarks, and visiting the Catedral de Barcelona and the Sagrada Familia, including trips up to their respective roofs and towers!
    • Taking a bus from Villefranche to Nice and wandering their streets.
    • Visiting the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Field of Miracles.
    • Visiting Vatican City and wandering St. Peter's.
    • Touring Rome alone on foot, including stops at Castel Sant'Angelo, Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, the Forum, and the Colosseum.
    • Wandering the streets of Salerno and the ruins at Pompeii.
    • Taking a ferry tour around Venice, celebrating a birthday by eating Crema dei Dogi gelato and walking at St. Mark's Square at night, and touring the Doge's Palace and other nearby museums.
    • Climbing to the top deck of the cruise ship while it was leaving Venice and taking photos from the highest point for miles.
    • Spending hours photographing Kotor Bay in Montenegro, then taking a bus to a handful of the local towns surrounding the area.
    • Photographing and filming the ship's passage through the Strait of Messina.
    • Going on yet another road and hiking trip all over Oahu, including Pearl Harbor, Manoa and Waimea Falls, Koko Crater, Dole Plantation, both the Windward and Leeward Coasts, Hanauma Bay, and a sunset in Waikiki.
    • Going on yet another road and hiking trip into California's north country, including Redding, Burney Falls, Shasta, Dunsmuir, and Lassen Volcanic National Park.
    • Going on yet another road and hiking trip all over Kauai, including sailing to the Na Pali Coast.
    • Embarking on a 2 week trip through Central Europe, only to be stopped four days in due to a medical emergency.
    • Going on yet another road trip all the way across Utah and back, and hiking in all of the Mighty 5 National Parks in 10 days.
    • Going to Guatemala for Christmas and New Years, wandering the streets of Antigua and the ruins at Tikal, sailing around Lake Atitlan, and hiking and photographing live volcanoes.
    • Going to Peru and wandering around Lima and Cuzco, seeing several archeological sites, culminating in the train ride to Machu Picchu.
    • Attending the Himalayan Fair for the first time, and photographing and making friends with several artists, including a Tibetan calligrapher/tattoo artist/folk singer/refugee.
    • Going to both sides of Niagara Falls, and yet another road trip around the areas between Toronto and Letchworth State Park.
    • Attending San Francisco Pride for the first time in 2018, and again in 2019.
    • Going on a road trip around the United Kingdom, including time spent in London, York, Hadrian's Wall, Edinburgh, the Scottish Highlands, the Lake District, Cardiff, Bath, and Stonehenge.
    • Hiking at Big Basin Redwoods to get away from the California wildfire smoke, and hiking to waterfalls in Marin later in the winter.
    • Crossing Iguazu Falls (the largest waterfall system on Earth!) and Rio de Janeiro off the bucket list in 2019.
    • Wandering around San Francisco's Chinatown and Presidio and photographing as many murals as possible.
    • Sailing to Alaska as a sendoff to Summer 2019. This included some hiking in Juneau, bald eagle photography in Skagway, capturing glaciers for hours in Glacier Bay, and returning to the Empress Hotel in Victoria BC for the first time in 30 years.
    • Crossing China off the bucket list in late 2019, just before the pandemic started. This included time in Beijing, the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, Tai'an, Hangzhou, the Grand Canal and Master of the Nets Garden in Suzhou, and the high speed rail, City God Temple, and Huangpu River cruise in Shanghai.
    • Going on a road trip, hiking, and whale watching in Big Sur, Carmel, the 17 Mile Drive, and Monterey in the summer of 2020.
    • Going on a road trip to the American Southwest for Spring Break 2021, including hikes in the Valley of Fire, Red Rock Canyon, and the Grand Canyon.
    • Going on a road and hiking trip to Yosemite, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon National Parks for Memorial Day 2021.
    • Sending off Summer 2021 with a grand return road trip to Hawaii's Big Island, with time spent hiking into the crater at Kilauea before it erupted, as well as several beaches on the west coast, the botanical gardens near Hilo, the tide pools at Pu'uhonua O Honaunau, photographing multiple turtles, and hiking out to Papakolea, one of only four green sand beaches on Earth.
    • Finally traveling to Australia in 2022 after having to cancel the trip twice due to the pandemic. Highlights included hiking Manly Beach, all over Sydney and across the Harbor Bridge, Watsons Bay, and Blue Mountains. With this, I've been to 6 continents and crossed a huge entry off my bucket list.
  • Gentleman and a Scholar: I try to be polite, thoughtful, and am interested in studying a wide variety of subjects. I've been every major museum and botanical garden in San Francisco, and loved my time in Versailles, the Louvre and the Doge's Palace. Though in recent years I've pivoted to natural sciences, to the point that I went back to college remotely and earned degrees in Environmental Science and Geography.
  • Gentleman Snarker: Prone to this. Most people don't pick up on it unless they read between the lines or listen carefully.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: I used to get a key chain whenever traveling abroad, but these days I have a thing for maps, especially those from national parks.
  • Grade Skipper: I started grade school a year early, and was nearly pushed another full grade on top of that.
  • Hawaiian-Shirted Tourist: I avert this whenever possible by blending in. Played straight in the extremely rare instances of attending a luau, to which I'll willingly wear a signature green and black Hawaiian shirt.
  • Headphones Equal Isolation: I typically listen to music whenever I goes somewhere. If I'm exploring some place new, however, I leave the headphones off.
  • Here We Go Again!: By jumping on a airline ticket price fluke, I got to go to Hawaii - first Maui, then the Big Island - twice in six months. Several Call Backs and moments of Genre Savviness ensued the second time. I managed to pull this off again in 2016, with Oahu and Kauai!
  • Hidden Depths: My singing isn't bad, but I hate performing. Instead, I claim that no one should be subjected to it.
    • Few people realize that a bookish introvert can also an avid world traveler.
    • Even fewer in real life know that I'm a photographer, though I've made a pretty good name for myself online.
    • I didn't know I was good with kids until I realized how often my younger relatives gravitated toward me. I sometimes babysat my coworker's granddaughter as well.
  • Hot Scientist: Some people come for my looks, but stay for my talks on GIS, remote sensing, climate change, and the energy sector!
  • Hula and Luaus: Attended one on all four major Hawaiian islands, complete with shows and roasted pigs.
  • Humble Goal: Watching all of Hayao Miyazaki's films.
  • I Ain't Got Time to Bleed: I pulled this off spectacularly after getting a massive, impossible-to-pass kidney stone while traveling in Prague. I powered through hobbling around a crowded city in the summer heat, a temporary stent surgery and overnight stay in a creepy hospital, being left behind by my tour group, three extra days of agonizing pain while finding an emergency route home, and connecting flights back to San Francisco by running on adrenaline and raw stubbornness. I collapsed shortly after the return, however, and was kept down by a second surgery, fever, and sheer exhaustion.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Part of the reason I grew out his hair and strives to be a Renaissance Man; I want to be a distinctive person and strive to do better for my own sake.
  • The Illegible: I write really quickly, thus resulting in stylish but utterly unreadable messages.
  • Informed Loner: Much to the surprise of anyone who doesn't know me well. Most strangers see my charisma and confidence and assume that I have lots of friends. But I'm much happier by myself.
  • Insanely International Ancestry: It turns out some of those Ambiguously Olive guesses weren't so farfetched. According to DNA testing, I'm a bizarre blend of Asian, Polynesian, and Northern European. Eurasian Austronesian, if you will. The most prominent results are Filipino, Dai Chinese, Taiwanese, Vietnamese, and Cambodian (Southeast Asia is a genetic melting pot, after all) on one side, and Scottish, English, French, and Norwegian on the other. More ancient results include traces from The Balkans, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Mongolia, Xinjiang, and Sherpa. I was raised to believe I was at least part Spanish, but that didn't appear in the results.
  • The Insomniac: Used to be one in college, but I'm actively trying to curb the habit. The pandemic lockdown has not helped in the slightest.
  • Intelligence Equals Isolation: A thirty-something who spends my free time writing, reading, taking photos, and gaming. Those are hardly the most social of hobbies. Most people tend not to understand when I start getting into things like social constructs, natural processes, or our limited perception of time.
  • In Touch with His Feminine Side: I'm non-binary. I knew this 30 years ago, but didn't have the vocabulary for it. This aspect of myself didn't really blossom until adulthood, when I learned to fully accept myself. I grew out my curly hair, don't care about Pronoun Trouble from others, cook often, run a household, dress well by wearing traditionally masculine and feminine clothes that match and/or accentuate my skin tone and eyes, decry men's relatively bland fashion, would totally rock the Elegant Gothic Lolita and Perky Goth styles if given the chance, have a thing for the Otokonoko Genre, and unabashedly love Tangled.
  • It's the Journey That Counts: The entire point of my traveling. My life is now full of incredible stories and memories of my adventures abroad.
  • I Thought Everyone Could Do That: Inverted with my eyesight. I made it through third grade before learning I really needed glasses. Played straight with my spatial awareness.
  • Jade-Colored Glasses: I occasionally fall into this on my bad days. I wish I was more optimistic...
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: I was so fixated on exploring Venice that I nearly ran out of time to return to the cruise ship. I did not take being forced to give up on the adventure well. Instead of moping, however, I climbed to the top of the ship, so I could get the best possible view of the city on the way out.
    • Getting hospitalized in Prague forced me to return home only 4 days into a 2 week trip.
  • Loners Are Freaks: Nope, I'll defy this as much as possible. I have my own interests and priorities, and that occasionally draws people toward me.
  • Massive Numbered Cousins: Though an only child, I'm the fourth eldest of seventeen grandchildren. And that's just on one side of the family.
  • Measuring the Marigolds: Subverted. Look, I may seem detached and too caught up in observing my surroundings, but my nature and travel photography indicate otherwise.
  • Memento MacGuffin: Necklaces from Chichen Itza and the Caves of Nerja, a small jar of saffron from Morocco, a wooden hiking stick, Buddhist prayer beads from monks in San Francisco, passport stamps from the Haleakala summit and Pu'uhonua O Honaunau, pins from Kilauea, a bag of 100% Kona coffee and a decorative sack from Greenwell Farms, a bottle of world-class award-winning Humboldt Habanero-Mango Hot Sauce, a machete and "knowledge" calligraphy scroll from Japantown, a Murano glass pendant from Venice, poster map of Kotor, a bottle of holy water from the Vatican, a specially stamped and mailed postcard from the Vatican Post Office, scarves and an old fashioned pocket watch from Prague, a Navajo dreamcatcher, a knife from Big Basin, a scarf from Lake Atitlan, a quena from Cuzco, a Tibetan calligraphy scroll and prayer flags, some Nado Poizokhang incense from Bhutan, a waterproof sack from Argentina, an ulu from Juneau, a jade necklace, wall scroll, and silk scarf from China, posters from Yosemite, a boomerang and a bottle of wine from Australia, all kinds of maps from various national parks, and dozens of key chains. At this point, my place is practically split between my personal library and travel and adventure-themed Trophy Room.
  • Mistaken for Gay: A lot of strangers assume I'm gay, but anyone who spends some time with me knows I'm into women and some men.
  • Mistaken for Subculture: The long hair, dark clothes, and serious facial expressions has led people to assume I'm some combination of rock guitarist, Goth, librarian, or some kind of hippie businessman. My sense of style and appearance lead to more awkwardness.
  • Mistaken for Terrorist: I was approached by a paranoid worker after the London subway bombings while eating breakfast outside of my workplace. I also get patted down by airport security at least once per trip. They think I'm hiding something in my hair!
  • Mistaken Nationality: Taken Up to Eleven in that while most people get mistaken for two or three nationalities, I've gotten well over a dozen different guesses. The ambiguity helps me blend in while traveling abroad. This worked epsecially well in Rio de Janeiro, where people assumed I was a local.
  • Mixed Ancestry: A blend of British, Chinese, Scottish, and Spanish. At least, that's what I was told. Turns out the truth is far more complicated. Comments from Filipinos about me being mestizo have become more frequent over the years.
  • Mr. Vice Guy: Wrath.
  • Mundane Utility: I don't just sing in the shower. I use songs to keep track of the time. A personal favorite is Under Pressure, which clocks in at four minutes.
  • MyersBriggs: INTJ.
  • Nature Lover: Much to the surprise of anyone who only knows of my Book Worm tendencies. Hiking and camping were a huge part of my childhood, and it shows. As an adult, I've become even more of one thanks to my interest in photography. I eventually took this this a step further and got degrees in Environmental Science and Geography!
  • The Navigator: I've gradually developed into this over the years, due to studying geography, the ability to read maps and plan logistics, and having a strong sense of spatial awareness.
  • Near-Death Experience: No less than four times.
  • Nerds Are Sexy: On both the giving and receiving ends of this.
  • Nerds Love Tough Schoolwork: I thoroughly enjoyed reading the Middle English version of The Canterbury Tales out loud. I also finished The Book of the Courtier in a single sitting.
  • Nerves of Steel: When the house next door burst into flame, I grabbed an extinguisher, rallied as many neighbors as I could find, and fought the blaze until the fire department arrived. Granted it was only for a few minutes, but I don't think anyone expected a bookworm like me to act that fast.
    • I also chased a burglar out of my home with an axe. Let's just say I'm more fight, less flight.
  • Never Live It Down: A notoriously awful karaoke incident in Cabo San Lucas.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Always, mainly due to years of retail experience. Despite being The Quiet One, I make a point of having good rapport with any clerks I meet.
  • Noodle Incident: Transporting a huge authentic Moroccan rug out of Africa and back to the States.
    • Racing across the Brooklyn Bridge to catch the last train out of Grand Central.
    • Getting frostbite while visiting the Eiffel Tower.
    • Talking my way into a special exhibition in Musée d'Orsay.
    • Talking my way into a dev conference by just asking politely.
    • Talking someone into giving me an authentic Hawaiian lei at another convention, just by asking politely.
    • Talking my way into getting tickets for and attending the grand reopening of SF MOMA, just by asking politely; the ticketing website site had crashed beforehand.
    • Enduring a lengthy, epic trip home from Aruba, including a 9-hour overnight layover in a deserted LAX.
    • Getting caught in a nasty storm and being stuck in a bus on the HKIA tarmac for over an hour.
    • Getting stopped and turned back at a military checkpoint in Pahoa.
    • Winning a game of chess in four moves.
    • Temporarily joining a Chinese Street Band and playing a qinqin during the 2015 San Francisco Chinese New Year.
    • Waiting in a huge line to obtain a box of ridiculously high-demand macarons from the Hello Kitty Cafe Truck during the Cherry Blossom Festival. At the time, I referred to this as earning my Swagging Rights.
    • Meeting Gail Simone and getting a bunch of autographs during Free Comic Book Day.
    • Being volunteered to lead a wedding procession literally a minute before the ceremony started. Twice.
    • Making an insanely short - about 30 minutes - flight connection in Montreal.
    • Getting stuck in the industrial and shipping traffic for almost an hour in Salerno, and being escorted back to the cruise ship by la polizia.
    • Eating authentic Italian pizza in Salerno, jamon and paella in Barcelona, and celebrating my birthday with some Crema dei Dogi gelato at St. Mark's in Venice.
    • Staying just long enough to see the sunset in Waikiki.
    • Sailing out to Kauai's Na Pali Coast for the sunset and miraculously having perfect photography conditions.
    • Getting hospitalized and stranded in Prague.
    • Flying to Tikal in a plane that looked like something out of Indiana Jones.
    • Exploring Guatemala City and having delicious local food, despite all the warnings.
    • Photographing an eruption at Volcan de Fuego while hiking on Pacaya.
    • Eating grilled alpaca in Cuzco.
    • Photographing the train ride from Aguas Calientes back to Ollantaytambo... by standing by a restroom window the entire time.
    • Getting stranded in Cuzco due to canceled flights, and improvising an entirely new route home out of sheer necessity.
    • Getting a free Tibetan calligraphy scroll in exchange for photographing and covering a Tibetan artist's performance at the Himalayan Fair.
    • The seedy motel I stayed at to save money while visiting Niagara Falls.
    • Losing my adventuring hat during the Maid of the Mist boat ride, only to come across another abandoned hat a few days later.
    • Enduring yet another lengthy overnight layover at a deserted SFO due to both backup rides canceling.
    • Acting as a tour guide for a local hiking group in San Francisco, due to the volunteer leaders being newcomers.
    • Walking from Sutro Baths to the SF Zoo on a whim.
    • Attending San Francisco Pride for the first time and publicly acknowledging my being non-binary.
    • Attending the Folsom Street Fair as a photographer and taking portraits of BDSM and other fetish enthusiasts.
    • Learning about a spider-infested couch the hard way in Rio de Janeiro.
    • Taking a boat under Iguazu Falls.
    • Getting up before dawn, finding a perfect photography spot at the bow of the ship, and staying there all day to shoot Alaskan glaciers.
    • Photographing bald eagles as their nesting sites outside of Skagway.
    • Hiking the Great Wall of China for a couple of hours in the rain.
    • Getting assigned a Disney princess-themed hotel room in Shanghai.
    • Photographing whales in Moss Landing, as well as harbor seals on the 17 Mile Drive.
    • The seedy little motel in Williams, Arizona that happened to be right next to the train tracks.
    • Photographing wild bighorns in the Valley of Fire.
    • Driving from Yosemite to a campsite in Sequoia late at night.
    • Hiking the remote southern coast of the Big Island to reach Papakolea (AKA Mahana) Beach, one of only four green sand beaches on Earth.
    • Getting up close (but not too close!) and photographing several turtles at Anaehoomalu Bay, Punaluʻu Beach, and Kaloko-Honokohau.
    • Having my luggage lost for 72 hours in Australia due to a canceled flight and bungled logistics between airlines.
  • Not a Morning Person: I gets so into my reading and writing that I ignore the time...and come to regret it the next day.
  • Older than They Look: Thanks to my long hair and androgynous appearance, some assume me to be nearly a decade younger than my real age. Amusingly, it works both ways; due to my serious demeanor and general levelheadedness, many assume me to be much older than I really am. Much confusion ensues.
  • One of the Girls: I've always gotten along much better with women than men.
  • Pastimes Prove Personality: Writing, Reading, Gaming, Chess, Art, Music, Baseball, studying all kinds of subjects...There's a pattern in there, somewhere.
  • The Perfectionist: Occasionally, especially with regard to my writing and photos.
  • The Philosopher: Frequently seen musing over the questions of life. I read various texts to gain greater insight and develop my personal philosophy. But after years of experience, I've got a few of the details ironed out; it gives me clarity and helps me keep things in perspective.
  • Poster-Gallery Bedroom: Years ago, my walls were decorated with just framed, 1000-piece jigsaw puzzles depicting high-res panoramic photos. Now I also have posters from national parks, calligraphy scrolls, and maps.
  • The Professor: One of my recurring nicknames; I'm usually quiet and introverted, but if you ask me about something interesting, I have a tendency to fall into full-blown lecture mode.
  • Proud to Be a Geek: I'm not that vocal about it, but everyone knows of my love for academics, culture, and video games. They just don't know how deep the geek goes; a quick glance of my place reveals a functioning Galileo thermometer, a PDF of Leonardo da Vinci's journal, literary-themed pins, panoramic jigsaw puzzles, three LEGO chess sets and a Hamlet figure, Castlevania and Zone of the Enders figurines, a Hello Kitty Chun-Li, William Shakespeare's Star Wars, the entire Graphic Canon anthology, and The Dictionary of Imaginary Places.
  • The Quiet One: The written word is my preferred medium of communication. Others have said that I'm well-spoken, but it's exhausting.
  • Quirky Curls: About two feet of them. Some people are surprised to learn I'm a highly academic Book Worm as opposed to a rock guitarist. I'm also quite willing to let my hair down if any curious women (and occasionally men) ask for a closer look.
  • Real Men Cook: I can make some mean sandwiches. The spicier, the better!
  • Real Men Wear Pink: As mentioned above, I dismiss gender roles in favor of what I really enjoys. To me, it's not crossdressing; it's just dressing. As long as it looks and feels good, I'm all for it. I also have a bit of a weak spot for cute things. I keep my household running smoothly, and I'd like to think I'm decent at cooking. Women often ask me for hair advice as well.
  • The Reliable One: Usually. However, it sometimes goes to unhealthy lengths and results in a stubborn refusal of help, if not something worse.
  • Renaissance Man: I wish, but I'm nowhere near achieving it. The more you know, the more you realize you don't.
  • Road Trip Plot: The trip to the Big Island gradually became this. I decided to see how far the roads could take me, and what could be seen along the way. This resulted in a 900-mile journey over the course of a week. There were similiar trips on the other Hawaiian islands, Utah (that one was over 2000 miles!), Nevada, Arizona, the United Kingdom, as well as the Pacific Coast Highway and multiple national parks in California.
  • Saw "Star Wars" 27 Times: I can quote all of Jurassic Park and The Thing (1982) from memory.
  • Schedule Fanatic: Used to be one in college. I still pay attention to timing and efficiency, but don't stress over it nearly as much.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: I sometimes lapse into this in Real Life. I deliberately defy this in my writing to make it seem more natural.
  • Shared Family Quirks: Recently discovered that geeky, independent, and badass determination streaks run wide and deep in my extended family. I still read the most, though.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Only when I have to, though I'm more comfortable with business casual with rolled-up sleeves at most. I also rock a stylish trench coat and scarves in cold weather. I also picked up some scarves in Prague and Shanghai. Played straight on the formal nights during Mediterranean cruise, in which I busted out a traditional three piece suit after hiking all day.
  • Simple, yet Opulent: I use this far more often, though; simple, solid colors with varying shades that go well with my skin tone and eyes. Ironically, I like Elegant Gothic Lolita and similar fashion styles, even if I can't pull them off.
  • The Short Guy with Glasses: I'm not short, it's just that most men are taller than me!
  • Shrinking Violet: Used to be one when I was younger. Some traits still show up, usually when I'm meeting new people.
  • Signature Device: An iPod, complete with the phrase Non sum qualis eram engraved on the back.
  • The Smart Guy: I'm usually the go-to person for ideas and planning in Real Life.
  • Smart People Play Chess: I don't play as much as I used to, but still enjoy it. I once beat two people at chess and Super Street Fighter IV simultaneously.
  • Smart People Wear Glasses: And judging by certain reactions, it's definitely a good thing!
  • Sophisticated as Hell: I use this whenever people don't understand my overly complicated explanations.
  • Split Personality: I've been accused of this, in multiple ways. Most people who see my quiet and bookish side are shocked to find out about my crazy traveling adventures and creative exploits. Same goes for when I drop the snarky act and wax philosophical.
  • Starving Student: I was reduced to one in the last couple of quarters before getting my first degree. I was in a much better place the second time around.
  • Stoic Spectacles: One of the most important skills I've learned over the years is being mindful of what I can and can't control, and acting accordingly.
  • The Storyteller: It's arguably my best skill.
  • Strategy Versus Tactics: I'm good at seeing the big picture, shifting trends, etc. This is the specific reason I never got a student loan. The steps to achieving long-term objectives, on the other hand, can be troublesome. I try to improve on this failing by focusing more on logistics. This even extends into my fighting game matches: the overall strategy is to deplete the opponent's life bar more than your own within a given time limit. How that's done is entirely up to the player, and I sometimes use tactics no sane competitive player would even consider or know how to immediately counter. This results in some bizarre - but often entertaining - victories against unsuspecting technically-focused opponents.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Inverted from the usual type; I'm pleasantly snarky to everyone, but only those closest me know how serious and cynical I can be.
  • Super-Speed Reading: Attempted this briefly in college and decided it was too impractical.
  • Tall, Dark, and Snarky: Not so much on the first, but definitely the latter two. I occasionally get mistaken for an Aloof Dark-Haired Girl if the person doesn't look close enough.
  • Taught by Experience: Typically a result of traveling abroad, as well as being a latchkey kid when I was younger.
  • Taught by Television: I learned the alphabet by watching Wheel of Fortune every night as a child. Seriously.
  • Technicolor Eyes: I have a relatively minor case of cental heterochromia, light brown eyes with gold flecks.
  • Technicolor Science: My work in remote sensing involves using different combinations of spectral bands to indicate things like plant growth, burn scars, temperature, etc. This results in some incredibly colorful satellite images of the Earth's surface. Think of it as using a photo filter on your phone, except the filter is different parts of the electromagnetic spectrum!
  • The Teetotaler: I don't even drink coffee or tea anymore. Water is all I need.
  • The Tooth Hurts: Found that out the hard way when I had to get all four wisdom teeth removed in one procedure.
  • Thinking Out Loud: All the time, much to the confusion of anyone not used to me.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Jalepeños, onions, and garlic.
  • Trekkie: Growing up, I watched tons of TOS on tape, all the movies in order, as well as TNG when it was originally broadcasted.
  • Twofer Token Minority: Mixed ancestry and gender fluidity.
  • Urban Legend Love Life: I has no problem talking to women, to the point that several of my family and coworkers have openly called me a Chick Magnet, despite my protests to the contrary. More than one person has assumed that I'm the A Girl in Every Port kind of guy due to all the traveling. But they're all shocked to find out that I'm perpetually single, which is baffling to me. It's not for lack of opportunity, but for lack of trying; I like being alone.
  • Unkempt Beauty: Two feet of curly hair and Caribbean trade winds do not go well together. The same goes for walking on exposed decks while cruising the Mediterranean or Arctic. I gave up brushing after a few days at sea, resulting in an unruly but stylish mane.
  • The Unsmile: I've got a terrifying one when I want to get a laugh out of someone.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: This frequently happens until said viewer gets a better look at me. And sometimes, even that isn't enough. You wouldn't believe some of the looks I get in men's restrooms. One guy even ran out of the room just to double check the sign on the door! The androgynous appearance and hobbies lead to other assumptions.
  • Vocal Dissonance: You wouldn't think a someone with rock star hair would be so quiet. No one has called me "sir" on the phone in years.
  • Waterfall Shower: Briefly while on the Road to Hana.
  • Weapon of Choice: The hiking stick I've had for over almost three decades. I also carry a dual folding utility knife and box cutter. There's also an axe next to my desk just in case.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: In some respects. I'm good at seeing the big picture, but still have trouble with interpersonal relationships and finding my own direction. People open up to me for advice, and I never understand why. Even when I was a kid, I was called an old soul.
  • Workaholic: Especially when it comes to reading, writing, and photo editing.
  • Workplace-Acquired Abilities: Most of my organizational and leadership skills were learned during my corporate career, to the point of being the go-to person for handling audits, balancing entire vaults, and mentoring new management. Years of counting money, playing video games, and frequent typing have also given me very fast fingers.
  • The World Is Just Awesome: I'm a staunch believer in this, despite being an introverted loner and cynical bookworm. I especially love hiking mountains and rainforests, as well as wandering cities. Traveling makes me feel more alive. Places visited have included Aruba, Mazatlan, Cabo San Lucas, Cancun, and Puerto Vallarta, Chichen Itza, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Paris, Nice, and Villefranche, Tangier, Gibraltar, Málaga, Seville, and Barcelona, Thailand, Vancouver and Victoria, Maui, Oahu, Kauai, and the Big Island, Pisa, Salerno, Pompeii, and the Strait of Messina, Rome, Vatican City, Venice, Bay of Kotor in Montengero, Munich and Regensburg, Prague, Las Vegas and all of Utah's Mighty 5 National Parks, Antigua, Guatemala City, Lake Atitlan, and Pacaya, Lima, Cuzco, and Machu Picchu, Niagara Falls, Toronto, Upstate New York, Great Britain, Rio de Janeiro, Iguazu Falls, Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, Glacier Bay, Victoria, Seattle, Beijing, the Forbidden City, Tai'an, Hangzhou, Suzhou, Shanghai, Grand Canyon, Valley of Fire, the Pacific Coast Highway and national parks throughout California, and Sydney and the Blue Mountains in Australia. That's not counting my trips to Washington, D.C., New York City, Philadelphia, and a summer road trip around America when I was younger. I've also hiked nearly all of San Francisco over the years.
  • Writer's Block: This crops up occasionally, usually for no more than a month.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: Not quite. I made it through Calculus, then vowed never to take another math course again.

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