Archive for June, 2012

Autistic? Autism spectrum? Asperger syndrome? Neurotypical (not)? And other testing, etc.

2012-06-30 23:54:31 PDT

Okay, so I’m certainly not the most social of creatures on the planet. I am both introverted and shy.

But, more recently – and I think for the first time ever, a certain someone – perhaps mostly from their astute and keen powers of observation – was hinting/suggesting that at least perhaps I might be on or towards the autism spectrum. So, … not necessarily at all 100% scientifically accurate, but, nevertheless, I took some online tests – rather expecting they’d likely show something roughly around “normal”, but alas, to me, anyway, at least a bit of a surprise.

(emphasis mine on these online test result bits and quotes)
How neurotypical are you? – I scored:

You are 27% neurotypical!
You aren’t that neurotypical. Social skills aren’t your strong suit and you tend to have more skill in other areas, however, you may still enjoy socializing. It is likely that you are autistic.

Hmmmm… thinks me, … no idea how “accurate” or well sourced, etc. that particular test is. So, I search online for another – one to be fairly assuredly accurate – as least insofar as any readily available online test goes.

So, I found this one:
Take The AQ Test – I scored:
Score: 39
Where it had this to say about that:

Psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen and his colleagues at Cambridge’s Autism Research Centre have created the Autism-Spectrum Quotient, or AQ, as a measure of the extent of autistic traits in adults. In the first major trial using the test, the average score in the control group was 16.4. Eighty percent of those diagnosed with autism or a related disorder scored 32 or higher. The test is not a means for making a diagnosis, however, and many who score above 32 and even meet the diagnostic criteria for mild autism or Asperger’s report no difficulty functioning in their everyday lives.

I find it interesting, fascinating, and also quite surprising. At not all that far from being half a century old, if, on those scales, I’m really not that “normal”, am not neurotypical, and are or may be autistic and/or at least onto – or quite towards the autistic spectrum, I wonder how and why nobody before ever mentioned, hinted, or suggested such might even possibly be the case. Likewise, I quite missed it too – never thought it might at all possibly be the case, at least in terms of what I’d typically thought of in terms of autism and autism spectrum disorders and Asperger syndrome. I even know someone with Asperger syndrome, and still, though I’d considered the possibilities, I never seriously thought I might actually possibly be somewhere on the autism spectrum.

Anyway, I’ll definitely have to look further into autism and autism spectrum, etc. May quite be something there that needs being paid attention to and/or acted upon.

[If other related or semi-related bits, or unrelated tests aren’t of interest to you, you may want to skip to the very tail end of this blog entry.]

Other various mental/neurological tests.

In elementary school, I got at least one extra round of hearing tests at request of teacher. Teacher thought maybe I had a hearing problem, … probably because teacher would call on me, and I’d be like, “Huh?”, and not particularly aware of the context of whatever the teacher was talking about immediately before calling upon me. The reality in that case most generally was, what the teacher was going on about was rather to quite uninteresting to me, … and/or, even if interesting to me, was droning on at what, at least for me, was a mind numbingly slow place … so, … my head would go off into it’s own world, thinking or daydreaming about much more interesting stuff. Sure, I’d still be sort’a kind’a paying attention to the teacher, but far from my complete and undivided attention. And yeah, all the hearing tests always came back normal.

Again, in elementary school. Teacher recommended me for an “intelligence” test – or at least I’m pretty sure that’s more or less, or exactly what it was. Teacher thought I was rather to quite capable, and likewise smart. So, that teacher recommended I be tested (I actually did damn well in that teacher’s class – excellent teacher, and really the first time I’d ever particularly excelled academically – that was 5th grade – also the first time I ever managed to get lots of A’s (or maybe even straight A’s – I forget precisely what my best set of grades in the class were). Anyway, teacher recommended me for the “IQ” test, or whatever it was. I’ve no idea what the score was, or what the cut-off level was, however, I scored sufficiently high, that they put you in, what was then called “special class” – basically take the bright kids, and for some hour(s) a week, pull ’em out of the regular class stuff, and give ’em some particularly more interesting and challenging stuff to do. Interesting too, that test I took … I was only 10 years old at the time, yet I very clearly still remember two of the questions from that test – I thought they were pretty trivial and I excelled at those two questions. Not sure about all the other questions – I guess not so interesting/memorable – but I guess I generally did at least quite “well enough” on those, and overall. Never got to go to “special class”, though, not even once. Test was done between school sessions. Next session, a whopping 3 days into the new school year, and bye bye to that school – family move to new school in different district – and no such testing or program for the bright(er) kids, they just lumped ’em all together (though they did have a lot of self-paced stuff, at least).

And IQ? Not gonna say specifically – also there are various tests that measure and report different scales on the numbering, etc., so they’re not all exactly one-to-one mapping on the numbers. Additionally, some types of “IQ” tests tend to more measure some types of capabilities and skills than others, and vice versa – so results aren’t particularly uniform. But nevertheless, at least percentage-wise, I typically score somewhere in the range of about top 5% to about top 1.5% or so. Okay, sure, smart, intelligent. But no friggin’ genius. I’ve had some brushes with one I know of genius intelligence level – and by comparison, such genius intelligence and capability levels make me and the vast majority of quite smart people look like a bunch of incapable and untalented dunces – not that we at all are, but by way of comparison, the difference is that dramatic and extreme, that is, at least comparatively, how we appear.

And, as a favorite teacher in high school used to quite commonly say, “Everything is relative.”. I don’t agree 100%, but it certainly is applicable in most all cases.

P.S. – If by chance you started on this “page”/article of my blog as your very first, for “next”, probably best to go to: Me and my blog (a starting point, yep, right *here*!)

When you *really* need …

2012-06-30 09:37:53 PDT

When you really need …

You can’t always get what you want
And if you try sometime, you’ll find, you get what you need” – Rolling Stones

“Necessity is the mother of invention”

… and perhaps quite, and maybe even especially, if one doesn’t (consciously?) try, or “invent” or the like.

Ever notice – okay, maybe not for “everyone”, but …
When you really acutely need something, whatever it is, even if you doesn’t realize that you need it, or precisely or at all what it is or would be, well, it “happens”. Miracle? <cough> I think not … not at all. No, I think it’s mostly or entirely:

Evolved. Sure, long way to go, yet still, very highly evolved we are. And I think very often in ways we often, if not completely, fail to realize. If you really need some particular “it” to survive, you will find “it”. Why? If that weren’t the case, those failing to secure “it”, would have died and such inability would mostly disappear from the gene pool. Thus at least mostly, what survives can quite manage to secure any really needed “it”.

Damn friggin’ intelligent and capable – and in ways we often or entirely fail to realize. Part of that evolved. We can manage to do some pretty amazing things. And especially when we must to survive. I think a whole lot of powerful processing goes on there … subconscious, transmitted and received signals on so many levels – body language, gestures, expressions, motions, postures, nature and speed of reaction, intonations and inflections, all kinds of subtle and detailed things in the environment that we might not at all consciously notice, rather to highly accurate perceptions and interpretations thereof, again even if mostly or not at all on conscious levels, pheromones and other chemical messages sent/received, brain/body neurological and chemical connection, physical capabilities substantially beyond what we’d commonly believe or presume, etc. Anyway, much or all of that can combine, to produce some pretty amazing things, notably securing any really acutely needed “it”.

Examples, examples, personal and/or otherwise …

Rather to quite hard times – especially over the last several weeks or more. Been feeling way too isolated, and too frequently pretty darn down (and often mostly feeling like crawling in a cave, doing exactly nothing, and not coming out – though that would hardly improve much or anything). Friend count, especially anything in the rather to quite close realm (e.g. where I actually felt quite comfortable with them and could really talk with them – or at least felt I could) … at least in terms of such friend(s) actually at all reasonable available to me and “that close”, or “close enough”, yeah, … that count is a big fat goose egg, and been at that count for way too long – probably well over a year or more now, despite serious efforts to change that for over a year. So, … surviving, and finding that really needed “it”? Yeah, sure, been trying to make friends, social contacts hoping to make friends, blah blah, … ain’t exactly happened (thus far no resulting friend) … at least yet. So, … what’s been happening as of quite late? At least in noteworthy parts, and mostly on autopilot … really not so much thinking it through (at least consciously) – if even at all, mostly just “feeling” it through … and more so simply just reacting, without consciously thinking much about it at all. E.g. me managing to rather significantly f*ck up – quite forgetting something important … not “important” in the grand scheme of things, but … probably mostly a way of me signalling self, that “this is f*cked, and it needs to change!”. Too damn much unberrable rejection. Just friggin’ sick of it. Need acceptance, not rejection. So what do I find myself doing? Pinching off a lot of that rejection. Not only there (OkCupid), but as I think about it, bunch of emails exchanged – okay, so mostly me sending too long of emails, and too many, and what do I find myself doing instead? Teensy uber short email – just one, by itself … hardly any exposure of anything “there” to be “rejected” – or to feel rejected by or about (e.g. not responded to or addressed). Essentially both, major reductions in exposed vulnerability profile … maybe roughly like fat juicy prey, making itself appear much more scrawny and unappetizing to any perceived potential predator or “threat”. And other bit, quite along with that, and in sequence …

So, yeah, me quite shy and all that (and introverted too) – mostly, especially the “shy”, doesn’t help on getting “connected” and making friends or such, especially when such is so acutely needed – or at least some kind of reasonable, and useful support. So, … what happens today (well, yesterday now – past midnight as I continue to write this) – and without my even hardly trying? Sure, been trying to start conversions with strangers and all that … but, though bit improved, hardly close to making any real “connections” out of that yet. So, today, on way home, I managed to talk to a perfect stranger. Big deal, right? Like not. Except, … that’s not how it went. Sure, managed to start to talk. Then the relatively amazing bits. Without so much as particularly thinking about it, not only managed to keep the conversation going, but it was very nice pleasant conversation, she quite interested in me (or “interested enough”), and interested in conversing further, and not only did I give her my contact information, but she was very interested in obtaining my contact information. So, … need and “it”. Really needed that bit of connectedness – and hope – and not some absolutely nothing there and maybe it’ll happen kind’a vague nebulous (and pretty hollow feeling) “hope”, but at least the beginnings of something quite positive, and at least potentially very promising and tangible – not just some mere empty hope, but at least a modest real taste of what may be very possible. So, yeah, really needed that. Can’t even think of anything that’s gone anywhere close to that well – especially at all with me talking to some stranger, at least for the most part, for many years or more! And yeah, really do need something there – or at least different and better, to survive … it’s been rather to quite the struggle recently, … at least on-and-off.

A somewhat similar example, but bit further back in time (roughly year and a half ago, or so?). Was dealing with major super stressful stuff with a once very good friend – was still “friend” at the time (at least I to her, but she no longer capable of being a friend to me), and trying to help her as much as feasible, but things were going incredibly badly, and super major stressful. And, for the most part, it wasn’t something I could or would talk to anyone else about (mostly in regard and deference to friend’s medical/mental privacy and such). But, I really needed the support in going through and dealing with that. And also quite acutely lacked the friend(s) for support on that – she otherwise being one such friend, but she was totally down for the count, and another just too damn distant and inaccessible … and nothing else to speak of. So, … really needed the support! What happened? “Random stranger” – somehow, again, without even specifically really trying or intending to, manage to strike up conversation with one such total stranger … and … went quite well. And, … that total stranger, … our commutes typically overlapped pretty regularly, so such was first of quite a number of conversations. Never really even made it into the “friends” zone, but still, it was “enough” – at least having some nice face-to-face conversation on semi-regular basis … not like I could really talk about what was going on with that other “friend” anyway, but regardless, it was quite good, and very needed.

Psychological survival mechanisms. I’ve certainly seen this in others, and in rare and “ancient” (over quarter century ago, and well before I was even a quarter century old), at least some aspects of it in myself. Something happens that’s totally intolerable and that one cannot accept? Well, one won’t believe it, will remember it otherwise, or the memory will be “blacked out” – still there in the head somewhere – even strongly so – but completely and totally inaccessible from consciousness. Need to believe something, or something differently to survive, be it true, or not, seen or heard or felt, or not? One believes it, and for self, that becomes, … “is” the truth … what one believes, did or didn’t see, hear, experience, etc. – regardless of actual “mere” fact of what did or didn’t occur or is actually real or not. Many would often call such a miracle they’d experienced or witnessed or found, or that “found them”. Not I – I’d always think of such a quite evolved survival mechanism (though far be it from me to generally at all challenge or threaten what someone “found” that they need to survive). Sometimes such can be rather to quite problematic – a seriously interfering delusion, or a reactive coping mechanism that was formerly, or once, needed for survival, but has become more problematic than beneficial. Yet, at least at some time, it was needed to survive.

Some very highly evolved and super fast thinking/reactions. But, evolved in a much higher level sense – hardly something that would be innate, but rather a specifically developed incredible skill – and often much without at all explicitly practicing it. Example, me, major bicycle accident with car. Major damage to car (large, heavy built American car, almost certainly built in the 1970s), twisted the frame of the car so much that the quarter panel in front of the driver’s side door buckled in – and that was not at all a point of impact. Bicycle, a Schwinn Varsity – heavy built cold rolled steel frame – frame severely damaged (the end of that bicycle) … bottom tube (tube that connects between crankshaft area and front towards steering – bent about a good 15 degrees, and pressed in at that same location so much it had a thick bumpy wave to it – the steel there probably about 50% or more thicker and bulged up than before the accident. And the top tube, similarly bent about maybe 12 degrees or more, but pulled and stretched – so much so the metal was quite demonstrably and noticeably thinner, paint stretched out, flaked and broken into tiny diamond shapes, showing lots of bare metal below, and stretch so far that it opened up a small hole through the steel round tubing of that part of the frame, at the uppermost point and side where it had been stretched. And, … how did I fare in that accident? Serious injuries but quite survivable? Not so serious, but still injuries? Maybe damn lucky, and just some cuts, scrapes, bruises and the like, and nothing more? Okay, maybe absurdly so, and just some minor bumps and strains, but absolutely nothing else? How ’bout this – what actually happened injury-wise: Absonlutely no injury to me at all – not even a scrape, strain, no pulled muscles, no bumps, no skin scrape, … absolutely nothing! Zero physical injury at all in the slightest! (Yes, shocked and shaken, but not into physical shock … and even hours/days later, not any injury found later that was earlier missed, or didn’t show up or become noticed right away). So, … how the heck, such a major accident, and not only survive it, but manage to escape completely without injury!? Well, my theory goes like this. Many many years (well over 8, probably 10 or more at the time), and many hours and miles (well over 10,000) of cycling experience and including much of it in and around lots of traffic. But still, how? What, like practiced going through and surviving accidents, or been through many accidents before? Hardly … at least not precisely that. But, my theory goes, that brain had very accurately run those simulated scenarios – and for the most part subconsciously – running a whole lot of “what if” simulations, and figuring out pretty darn much exactly what to do to best survive, and as feasible avoid, accidents – especially anything threatening of life and/or limb. So when the accident actually happened, how did I react? Without thinking at all – no time for that – highly quick reactive, starting in mere fraction of a second – I reacted, … and how? Well, analyzing the situation, even after very careful consideration, I really could not possibly have reacted to and handled it any better than I did. Needed most highly optimal reaction, and without so much as thinking it at all – at least consciously – that’s exactly how I reacted and not only survived it, but went through that major accident (destroyed Schwinn Varsity bike frame – built about like a tank, of heavy steel construction – and even quite significantly bent frame of heavy built American car) … and escaped it with zero injury to myself. And not the only time more-or-less something like that happened in near split second timing. Over many years of bicycling (including many additional years and tens of thousands of miles), sure, some accidents, and some significant numbers of close calls. But when I go back and carefully analyze exactly what happened in each case, near misses – could hardly have handled such better, … and accidents, couldn’t have handled better, were quite unavoidable, and injuries from all those accidents? Never anything beyond some minor scrapes, cut(s), and possibly sometimes some slight strain or bruise – which is really pretty minor given how devastating at least some of those accidents could have been (bicycle often didn’t fare so well).

So, yep, … need – when it’s really truly needed, and to survive – it’s simply just done, found, or “happens”. Others may give quite different explanations, but I’d say it’s some very advanced and quite highly evolved capabilities within us. Too bad we can’t so highly well use and leverage that all or most all the time though … would probably be exceedingly exhausting – takes a lot of internal resource to make those things happen (at least my theory), but when it has to happen, it does. Or … perhaps much or most of the time we do quite use those very exceptional capabilities – and we haven’t yet learned that or particularly how and where we do so.

Break time

2012-06-29 03:27:29 PDT

Time to take a break.

On my OkCupid profile presently:

I’m taking a semi-break here presently. Feel free to message me, notwithstanding the “You should message me if” criteria. If we’ve had some positive communication exchange(s) or meetings in or after May, 2012, I most especially care to hear from you. If not, uhm, “applications accepted for future consideration” – I’ll probably get back to you, but it may or may not be soon. Right now I’m just kind’a exhausted most notably at trying new contacts from zero or about that, so not especially up for that at the moment.

Don’t you hate it when …, etc.

2012-06-28 18:58:27 PDT

A couple random rants, from within the last 24 hours.

Don’t you hate it when … get few messages on OkCupid, etc., then actually receive a message on OkCupid (or Plentyoffish (POF)), and get all excited, hopes quite up (hey, trying to be optimistic) and … F*CK! … 8 out of 9, in over 9 days, are complete and utter cr*p! And yes again, first ever POF message (other than “welcome to”) this morning. Same sh*t! So, I’ve got account and profile on OkCupid.com (OkCupid). Also have account and “profile” or whatever on POF (but not so horribly complete – mostly references my OkCupid stuff – but that’s publicly viewable – don’t even need an account there to see much of that). So, stats on latest messages I’ve received on those two sites (small number stats, but, whatever). First of all, uber high on my criteria is communication – most especially for relationship, but pretty important even for friendship. And, for better or worse, I’m fluent (and quite highly so) in only one language – English. Also, I do not want a long distance relationship (been there, done that, not to be repeated). All that’s pretty darn clear on my profile, for anyone that bothers or cares to so much as peek some slight bit. So, of the last 9 messages received between OkCupid and POF (almost all on OkCupid – only one on POF thus far), and that spans 9 days, what have I got? One single solitary nice reasonably fitting and appropriate message received on OkCupid (and at that, it was a response to one I sent – roughly 90% I get no response at all). And the other 8 of 9 – and including my very first on POF (other than basic “welcome to”). Yup, folks who can barely manage to poorly type out marginally intelligible English. On top of that they either are exceedingly distant (some other country – I’ve got my search criteria set at 25 miles – smallest OkCupid lets me set it to … if I could set it to 15 or 10, I likely would … profile also cleary says “near me”, and closest other country is about 400 or more miles away), or, if they claim to be rather local, reality suggests they’re not at all – e.g. they totally fail at answering quite simple questions any local would know about the city in which they live (but can handle what an outsider could figure out via a quick peek at Wikipedia or a simple Google search). So, yeah, 8 out of 9 messages received completely and totally suck … like down pretty much in the spam/scam range range (not much, if at all, above, and often below “Me cook for you, i make you good wife. I like clean too do that good. We make happy together.”) – at (the highly sucky) “best”, it’s someone clueless and uncaring about an actual “match”, and that’s just shopping to get married to be able to come to, stay, or work in the US.

Don’t you hate it when … you forget something really critical when you head out the door. And only discover it way too late. Ugh. With the aforementioned lovely <cough> start to my day already noted above, I head off to work. Regardless where I’m headed, exceedingly rare I forget anything – at least anything particularly critical or important. And even if I do, I usually realize that quite quickly (within minutes or less), turn around, grab it, and head out again. Well, not today. First time in over 5 years (and first I can remember probably within the last 10 to 15 or more?) – forgot something critical before leaving … and … didn’t realize it until it was far too late. Yup, totally screwed up and f*cked my day up. Forgot something critical for work, arrived at work without … headed back home – over 2 hour round trip for nothing, totally wasted, and quite messed up my workday. Ugh.

So, yeah, I’ve been doing less than great lately. Head hasn’t really been “in the game” as it ought to … or … bit too focused on me (but where “me” really needs the attention and it ain’t comin’ from anywhere else), and other things that ought not be slipping are – at least somewhat/sometimes. “Oh well”, been a tumultuous few weeks or so. Sure, some nice/good/high points, but no shortage of rather to quite rough spots – and probably the worst of it is quite done with, and generally getting “smoother”, … but still, far from “smooth”. So, … maybe I shift the focus/attention more? But … that doesn’t necessarily make things better – at least overall.

I am shy

2012-06-26 00:10:15 PDT

In many contexts, folks may not know that, or hardly know it at all. But many that know me rather to quite a bit better, do rather to quite know it. Debilitating? No, not that bad. Gets in the way? Oh yes, that, definitely, though sometimes too, though definitely not enough, I manage to work rather effectively around it – but that does not mean it goes away.

Degree of shy? Is it social anxiety disorder or anything like that? No, nothing that extreme – I fall quite substantially short of meeting criteria for social anxiety disorder or the like. But shy, definitely.

Flavors of shy? In reading a bit, I find there’s all kinds of shyness – and also quite a range of degrees. Well, fortunately, at least I don’t have “all kinds of shyness”, but definitely shy – in at least in some commonly encountered contexts. So, flavor(s) of shyness I have …

One-on-one with “perfect stranger”. Most notably, there’s the with, around, and interacting with strangers. We’ll start with the one-on-one bits – and regardless if there are other people around or not (though more around generally makes it worse for me – especially if they’re generally talking/engaged). Some very typical examples: Managing to start or strike up a conversation with a stranger. I do particularly poorly at that. Most anyone I might rather to at all otherwise be inclined to start or strike up a conversation with – or generally even attempt that, probably roughly 85 to 95% or so of the time, I typically just don’t – notably don’t manage to even say “Hi” or some opener that may potentially be at least somewhat more engaging. Even if I do manage to say or ask them something – or they say or ask me something, much as I might wish and be inclined to start up a conversation, I often falter quickly, if not immediately, after either manages to make that initial opener. Rather than start and build the exchange, I often am far too shy / self-conscious … not at all sure what to say next or how to build the exchange, or rather quite do that by “instinct” or “natural reaction” – and really often before I even so much as have time to think about it at all. Often my initial reaction, especially caught off-guard, is a highly quiet, short, shy response. E.g. them: “I like your shirt!”, me, and probably much more quietly than their remark: “Thanks”. Them: “Good morning, how are you?” Me, a reactive and quieter:, “Fine, thanks”, or if I’m particularly “brave” [ha] that moment, it might be more like a muttered: “Okay.” or “Pretty good, thanks.”. If I manage to muster up a reasonable opener, e.g. she looking nice but maybe a bit down (like bit of hard day), a sincerely asked, “How’s the world treating you?”, she: “Oh …” – and she goes on to actually give me like a whole sentence or two or three actually telling me how she’s feeling or what’s going on. Me: [great big long pause, not knowing what to say or how to say it or not being confident to say/react as I think I ought to, … or I say something quite short and quiet/shy that much more tends to squelch the conversation, than open/build/deepen it]. So, yeah, I typically have helluva time getting the conversation going – regardless of who actually says something first. Not impossible to get past that, … but very difficult for me. So, yep, hardest bits – those first few minutes of conversation – get/have it going, keep it going/flowing. Doesn’t mean it can’t have some pauses and silences in there … but too long, and those become quite awkward and tend to quite shut things down. Other random examples: restaurant or wait person messes something up – most of the time I say absolutely nothing about it – okay, serve me a lemonade with a bunch of moldy lemons in it, I’m gonna say something – but off the top of my head, that’s last time I recall complaining on the spot to restaurant or its staff about something they screwed up. Most of the time I’ll manage to say precisely nothing, and just reflect it in how I calculate tip – likewise if they do something rather to quite or exceedingly well. I’m much more likely to fill out and send in a “comment card”, than tell anyone at the restaurant at the time … I might even fill one of those out if I just generally like the restaurant and/or want to see them do well (or better). And probably a good/smart thing that many restaurants have those cards. After all, roughly 50% of the population is shy – to one degree or another and/or in some or various ways (and many of them are also restaurant customers). And if wait person asks me (as they generally do) “How is everything?” or the like? Oh, sure, I respond, but it’s typically going to be something in the range of “Good”, “Fine”, or perhaps “Very good” or “Excellent” – but if something is wrong or not quite right, will I point it out or express my disappointment (other than in the tip)? No, not generally. Another example, (female, not that that particularly mattered) cashier, presumably accidentally, short changed me ten dollars. Did I say anything? Nope. Sure should have, but I just let it slide (yup, me, quite shy, also pretty non-confrontational). Should’a called it on the spot – but didn’t – and too late after that, so I just let it go. But if a merchant accidentally gives me too much change? Yes, I tell them and give it back – somehow I manage to muster the courage to do that – or perhaps more so the ethics that particularly compels me in that case … ought to likewise with restaurant service, etc., but usually doesn’t.

Shy babbler? More rarely I might babble over someone – but that typically only happens in relatively atypical situations – e.g. we’re in situation to interact for a fair while … meet up for a while, walking somewhere together, whatever – and (typically) she (other person, in any case) is being even much quieter (more shy or introverted or whatever) than me … well, … then sometimes I will move into (if I didn’t otherwise already start there) talking too much – filling in most any awkward silences that might otherwise be there … and … well, just keep going – that’s also very much not a good thing … though that’s a considerably rarer occurrence for me.

“Crowd” of strangers. “Crowd” can be relative – might only be 4 or 5 people total or so, or some larger group (party/group of 20 or more or whatever). I generally do rather to quite poorly with that – at least in general. Whole lot of different ways it “just doesn’t work” for me. Let’s start with the easiest. Quite small crowd – like 6 or less people – or maybe quite a bit more, but much more spaced out, and zero to negligible “pressure” or expectation to be particularly interactive. Well, that isn’t really any more difficult for me than the basic one-on-one with a stranger, … which, … well, is, unfortunately, quite difficult for me. From there, it only gets worse. Let’s say there’s situation to be quite interactive, with a bunch of people, in succession, in the “crowd” – even if it’s not all that huge or big of a crowd. Well, that can go highly badly for me – e.g. might manage to “force” myself through it more-or-less okay, but feel very uncomfortable through it, like cr*p afterwords, and though I might think I’d recovered some hours later, … no, takes days or more. Well, most “crowd” situations, fortunately, aren’t (nearly) that bad for me. Okay, maybe I don’t manage to even interact as “well”, or more or more effectively than that (relative) “disaster”, but at least most of the time I’m not (nearly) as devastated and wiped as that event did to me. But effective? Even for a group of not-exactly “strangers”? Example, a social gathering of smallish bunch of coworkers – about half a dozen. A semi-regular occurrence. So, a lot of talking/interacting going on. I manage to actually say something. Reaction of one coworker? She: “[my last name], he speaks!” – making light of how quiet I typically am in such situation, and how rarely I speak at all. Not exactly never, but with incessant rolling conversation in small group like that, most of the time I’m quite unlikely to break into the conversation. Sure, sometimes, … but not most of the time. Anyway, crowd, crowd of strangers, … I don’t do so well with that. If I know them all fairly to rather well, sure, I speak a bit more – but not much (e.g. the aforementioned coworker gathering). And if I don’t know them at all? Depends on the scenario, but most of the time I’ll typically be saying little to nothing. Maybe some small-talk, but typically not much more. Hmmm, I can even feel myself tense up a wee bit as I think about it. I guess too, part of it, is I’m much more interested – almost all the time – in having some one-on-one conversation, and not this “group interaction” thing. So, I guess also I mostly, at least typically, feel much more self-conscious having 3 or a half dozen or whatever number, of people listening to me, rather than just one. Not that one is exactly easy for me, but generally it’s significantly easier. I guess too, my perception in other scenarios – e.g. random folks out in public, at some event, on some commuter train – the more I think/feel folks can listen in or overhear (e.g. more closely/tightly packed together), generally the less inclined I am to say anything, let alone anything that might be more “conversational” in nature.

Public performance anxiety? Oh, I typically do fairly well on that. Wasn’t always so much the case. Practice does certainly help … probably “easing into it” also helps – though not 100% sure on that one. I can give, e.g., a technical talk/presentation to 20 to 50 people or so, no problem. Fairly likely I could handle lots more, … with some practice, at least. E.g. I’ve talked on radio – call-in talk show … where I was calling in, … live listening audience around 10,000 or so people. First time I did it, sure, quite tense and nervous – could definitely feel it in the strain in my vocal cords, among other things. Third or fourth time? No big deal at all. Unfortunately most all those other areas where I’m shy, I’ve not been able to make nearly as much progress, … nor nearly as fast.

Other random shyness. Not sure exactly what “category” this one might fit in, but definitely noticed this one recently. So, on my OkCupid profile – I used to have link directly to my blog here. And, I’ve got lots of rather private/personal stuff regarding myself on this blog. So, … I remove that bit from the profile, and in the section:
“The most private thing I’m willing to admit”
I completely replaced the text in that section with just:
“I have a blog of much that’s personal and private to me.
Just ask if you’d like me to share that with you.”
and, “oddly”, I feel nervous/shy putting that there – as opposed to / compared to, earlier putting direct link to blog in even more prominent place on my OkCupid profile, and not feeling shy/nervous about putting or having that there, leaving it there, making note of or reference to it, or noting about it “much that’s personal and private to me” or the like. So, yep, shy. And why over something like that? Because someone might actually ask me! … as opposed to them not even so much as having need or reason to so much as ask. But, really, geez, isn’t that the point! I should get folks to ask and want to interact with me, etc.

Do they know I’m shy? Many/most don’t. E.g. well into an initial “date” meeting, I manage to mention that I’m pretty shy. She: “You don’t seem shy.”. Some would even be like, “You? You’re not shy.” – ah, little do they know. Those that know me better know I’m shy – but many/most don’t know me that well. Nervousness, “fear”, anxiety – whether there’s a lot of that, or only more modest amounts, that, from shyness, is often used to mask the shyness – essentially externally covering it up or masking it over – or overcompensating so it’s not particularly apparent. There’s relatively extreme example of that for me when I tried speed dating (ugh). But a lot of evidence is readily apparent – at least for those who manage to notice or catch it. E.g. semi-regular event I somewhat commonly attend, dining, tables of about 6 to 10 people, maybe typically about half of which I kind’a know, and half of which I’ve never met before, or maybe only met once or twice before, and typically not recently. So, N people around the table. Do I contribute to 1/Nth of the conversation? Nowhere close to that. More like 1/4 of 1/Nth of the conversation, or less. Sometimes (not too uncommonly) at or very close to zero – and even with me being a rather prominent member of these particular gatherings. In relationships? Oh, for any rather to quite good and long(er) term relationships, they quite knew it. I wasn’t shy with/around them, … after I got to know them rather to quite well. But that didn’t make other shyness go away – and most of them knew and understood that quite well (only exception I can think of is one relationship that was quite not good – certainly was not good for me, anyway).

Is there hope / there is hope? Well, first of all, thankfully, I don’t have social anxiety disorder and/or a whole bunch of other kinds/flavors of shyness, or have shyness worse than I’ve got it as it is. Shyness? Curable? Not really, but work-around-able? Yes, at least generally much more likely that. At least in my bits of reading and research (I’m far from anywhere near an expert on it), shyness isn’t exactly the kind of thing one “cures”. There are, among other things, biological factors that at least contribute heavily – yup, down to the genes and genetics. Environment certainly does make a difference too, so it’s not like there’s a “known 100% shy gene” or combination thereof, but there definitely are markers and rather to quite strong correlations. Regardless, even if it’s not “curable”, much of it can be rather to quite effectively worked around. And that can be more-or-less “good enough” – at least for many/most cases. And, … toward that end, how have I been doing on that? Eh, so-so, … made some decent, but slow progress over several weeks of trying … e.g. probably about doubled or tripled the conversations I’d open with “prefect strangers” (and especially any women). I’d managed to get that from, oh, maybe roughly about one such conversation or attempt (where I at least managed to say something) maybe about per week or so, up to maybe about 5 or so such starts of conversation per week. That’s still dang little, but nevertheless a very significant percentage increase. And managed to have all – or at least most all – of them, go “well enough”, it certainly wasn’t all that bad. Still not doing well at getting past the initial bits even when I manage that start, but, well, … one more thing to work and practice on – at least when I manage to start, anyway. So, … that was going fairly well, … at least some measurable progress. Then, well, … ugh, one event happened … that probably set me back a few weeks or so … but hopefully that’s “only for a while”, and I get that reasonably moving forward again. And on the relationship/friends/etc. front? Sure, not getting those initial conversations going sucks – probably a whole lot of missed opportunities there. But, … at least once I make it fairly well past those first several minutes or so, I generally do rather to quite well. Probably the first 30 seconds to minute being the hardest. Make it reasonably past 2 to 10 minutes, fairly likely I’m in reasonably good shape. Make it well past 20 or 30 minutes, I’ll probably do and keep doing fine with that person. Might have a bit of awkwardness/shyness next time I see/meet them, but at a second meeting that will pass much more easily and quickly. And for the most part, and third or subsequent meeting, it’s generally going to be a non-issue.

Yup, shy. Defies logic (at least in most all reasonably objective contexts). There’s probably some evolutionary basis for it. Maybe about half the time, the non-shy creatures would get their heads eaten off – like upon greeting the friendly appearing, but hungry predators. And maybe about the other half of the time, the predators would be intimidated by the non-shy, and would instead go chow down on the shy. I guess something like that would leave about 50% shy, 50% non-shy – predators wouldn’t know quite what to expect, and would never be 100% successful with their potential prey. And predator consumption would alter the shy/non-shy mix in future prey generations … but the predators would evolve too, to consume the more predominant available flavor of prey. So, it’d likely shift about for a while, but mostly end up averaging around roughly 50% or so. Anyway, one guess at possible explanation.

The speed dating “experiment”

2012-06-25 06:19:52 PDT

I tried speed dating. I’m not going to say exactly when/where or otherwise potentially reveal “too much” information. Nevertheless, I may “say” quite a bit. :-)

First of all, there are different companies/organizations that do speed dating events. I’d imagine that at least for the most part, they’re generally not all that different, though regardless, different companies/organizations, may also hold more specialized speed dating events. E.g. around type of common interests or orientation or whatever. I’ve not researched, but I’d guestimate most typically group by some age range, and presume very little beyond that.

Anyway, my particular experiences with it – first, more generally, and then more specifically to my personal experiences with it. I got there not at all late, in fact at least a bit early. Venue seemed quite fine – essentially a “bar” or “bar area” at a facility/venue – quite amplely suitable, in any case. So, by official start time, moderate number of folks had shown up, but a significant percentage hadn’t, or hadn’t yet shown up. Roughly 15 minutes later or so, more had shown up, but still a non-trivial percentage missing. Oh, and it was a prepaid event. Maybe they also do some other arrangements additionally, but at least for most all of us it was prepaid before arriving. I guess part of the prepaid – in general – is to cover expenses, and/or, in case of sponsoring company – well, to make them some money, of course. Additionally, it’s probably used to thin out some of the “noise” and/or have it be more so “serious professionals”, or something like that. In any case, the cost wasn’t particularly prohibitive (probably more than a restaurant economical good dinner for one, but less than a rather to quite nice restaurant dinner for two). It also probably helps serve to motivate those scheduled for it, to actually show – since they’ve already spent their (non-refundable) money on it. In any case, as time progressed and it was time to “get things moving”, still some no-shows, and also an imbalance in the M/F ratio (a count differing by 2).

Nevertheless, roughly 30 minutes after the official event start time, we started in earnest. Places were laid out, one gender sat in such places and remained there for the speed dates or whatever one wants to call them, while the other gender circulated, sequentially, among those locations, meeting for 5 minutes each, with each person. Based upon what I read on Wikipedia, I’m presuming 5 minutes is pretty typical – Wikipedia (presently) states “usually lasting from 3 to 8 minutes depending on the organization running the event.”. We were given some basic initial instructions and materials before starting. After that, we mostly just met sequentially, with a sounder to “call time” on each meeting, then same gender rotates again, to next locations. Exceptions of note – M/F ratio – there was a count differing by 2. So, one gender got to spend 2 “rotations” meeting with no one (relax, kick back, get another drink, whatever).
Count of folks there? Let’s say it was somewhat less than anticipated/”promised”. They did also insert one modest break (10 minutes or so?) in the middle (bathroom break, get another drink, generally socialize/rest/relax, but not do the “speed dating” thing). Total count (using some rough round numbers), was about 15% less than what was shown on the “RSVP” count or similar before the event. There was also a communication before the event, essentially mentioning expected turnout and about how many speed dates one would be going on at the event. That had a number yet higher than the “RSVP” or the like count/indicator. In reality, depending on one’s gender (perhaps they sent slightly different communication to other gender – but I kind’a doubt it), one only met about 60% or 75% of that more highly stated number of speed dates. Whatever, it was still a relatively reasonable number, though definitely a fair bit short of expectations/hype/pitch. Perhaps if it was run by some organization without any conflict of interest, what was said in general would’ve been much more realistic than something that more so tries to “sell” and “promote” the event. Other bits. Precise methodology may vary by company/organization, but at least relatively generally speaking, we were to make our decisions – essentially “yes” or “no”, regarding each person we met. But not to tell them, or exchange any contact information (I’m guessing the theory is to both save time, and also save or defer at least some of any feelings of “rejection”). After that, we follow the company’s procedure to indicate our yes/no decisions. From that, when there’s a mutual “yes”, the (very basic) contact information each has provided is made available to the other. That’s pretty much it. Atmosphere was good, conversations generally good. I think for the most part, most everyone had a good time, … or, … more precisely, at least mostly appeared to have a good time. How various folks actually felt may have been rather to quite different … but probably, at least mostly on balance for most, I’d guestimate relatively positive. (in looking over some ratings, and after stripping/filtering out some cruft, at least for one company, looks like, on a 1 to 5 star rating, the average is somewhere between 3 and 4 stars, but also includes some non-trivial number of star ratings at or below 2 stars, and likewise 5 stars – but looks like most participants give a 3 or 4 star rating.) One other thing I’ll definitely note. At least for most (was a common topic of conversation, especially outside of the speed date sessions), it was their first time doing speed dating. I’d guestimate about 10 to 30% were “repeat” speed daters (had done it at least once before), but the remainder – certainly at least 65%, and perhaps as high as about 85%, had never tried speed dating before (though some had seen it before, or on TV watched it or simulation/acting thereof). Now, … there are various possible ways to interpret that – and I’m not sure which is correct or more correct – or may be a combination. Might mean that most find it rather/quite sucky, and don’t try it again. Might also mean that most find something/someone rather quite good out of it, and don’t find need/reason to come back and try it again. Perhaps some other possibilities I’m missing, but those are at least two explanations for the low repeat attender percentage. Other random bits – refunds/exchanges/rain checks/cancellations? I’m not going to say precisely what was/wasn’t involved or provided for with this particular company running it. But one can find that easily enough, I’d think, for any particular company running such events – and it may vary company-to-company. It looks like pretty typically what they offer, is if one goes to event, selects “no” for everyone and submits that, then they’ll let you go to one single additional event with no additional charge. “Of course”, even if one selects “yes” on everyone, there’s no guarantee there will be a single mutual match. But one “stat” (claim) I found from one speed dating company: “over 65% of attendees have at least one date after each event” – even if that’s more-or-less true, that also means about 1/3 have zero dates after each event, and the results may be significantly different between M and F (theoretically could have a variation as high as 100% for one gender and about 1/6 for the other, but likely the numbers aren’t nearly that far apart for the genders … guestimating perhaps up to +- about 10% each?).

So, … how’d it go for me, and my personal experience of it? Well, I’m not only an introvert, but also shy – and most especially when meeting strangers, and even more so when I’ve got about zero foreknowledge of them – which was quite the case with this event. Additionally, for me, “crowds” make it even worse. So, … short speed dates in rapid succession, at least to me, doesn’t feel all that different from a “crowd”, or “working a crowd”. Sure, perhaps somewhat different, etc. But in terms of level of uncomfortable, for me, it was quite to highly uncomfortable. So, … I prepared as thoroughly as I reasonably could, and pushed hard – most notably myself, to not appear shy, uncomfortable, etc. – at least as much as feasible, anyway (and nervous/scared/terrified? can mask a fair bit to quite a bit of that).

[I’ve seen quite modest sized cat look and sound so powerful, strong, confident (and dangerous), that 5 large dogs charging at the cat, would come to a screeching halt, about 5 feet short of the cat … and back away very slowly and carefully, likely feeling sure they had to back out very carefully and slowly to escape with their lives. And, was this a powerful, strong, confident, even “dangerous” cat? Hell no. It was a scared/terrified cat that could bluff so exceedingly damn well, that most other animals never figured it out. In about a decade’s time, I think I only saw two other non-human animals figure that out about that cat. One cat took over a year to figure it out, and one very smart cat figured it out in a few days. The others never did.]

So, … who me? Fearful? Scared? Terrified? Uhm, well, certainly uncomfortable, uneasy, kind’a to rather nervous, and definitely shy … but certainly didn’t come off that way (at least as far as I could tell). I don’t think most would be able to tell, or at least easily tell, in such circumstances. Heck, I’d say most everyone there at least mostly appeared rather to quite confident, outgoing, etc. Among all those there, I’d say only roughly 10% were much more on the shy/quiet/nervous side – at least that was rather to quite readily apparent, anyway (though some may have self-disclosed how they felt, even if they appeared otherwise).

And, … how’d it go for me? I came quite prepared. Maybe too prepared? … though, at least for me, if less prepared, maybe it would have gone even “worse” for me? I really don’t know for sure. So, … I had a prepared “list” (outline) of questions – what’s linked there may no longer be specifically what I used, but at least more-or-less what I used is likely still at least contained somewhere within that. Each meeting, I essentially started with very quick self-introduction, and mentioning that I had about 2 to 2 and-a-half minutes, or so, worth of questions we could go over. I then also asked if they wanted to start and ask me stuff first, or whatever, and I can ask them questions a bit later, or if they preferred I start with my questions. Most opted to have me go first, though some (I forget precisely, maybe roughly 10% or so?) more-or-less opted to start asking me questions or more generally engaging me in conversation or such. In any case, before I started asking my questions, or early into them, I did also state essentially, that some of the questions may be rather to quite invasive or personal or whatever, and please feel free to just say “pass” or decline on any they don’t presently wish to answer or comment upon. And yes, some of the questions were rather to quite “probing”, and some quite personal. Most were rather to quite “okay” with that – or at least outwardly appeared so. Some rather small percentage (roughly 10%) had a rather to quite negative reaction – around specific question(s), and/or the nature of that process/approach in general. I did also modify the approach/questions at least somewhat along the way – not quite so much adapting per-person – though there was certainly some of that too, but also modifying by what questions/comments/approaches didn’t seem to be working well or so well, or particularly practically useful at all in how they were generally being responded to. In some regards, the responses/reactions were quite different than I might’ve guessed. Some of the questions that I’d have thought might’ve been rather to quite personal/probing, were reacted to in semi-positive to rather/quite positive ways, and in many cases started interesting, useful and informative exchanges – e.g. them asking me what kinds of responses I’ve gotten from folks, or what I would expect to find/hear in response, etc. Some of them also lead to interesting and useful self-disclosure bits. E.g. the one about “Are you in any type of “committed” relationship?” – most of the responses were along the lines of “no”, and often also, “Would you expect to find anyone here who was?”, but also, there was quite useful informative bits from multiple folks, about not being 100% out of and done with some committed relationship. I’m not going to say exactly how many said what, or what they said precisely, but, among e.g., possible things roughly like, committed but separated/separating, divorcing, breaking up, separated, etc., and those bits also often (always or almost always? We’re talking small number statistics here – and I don’t 100% remember off-the-top-of-my-head at present) … often lead to interesting/useful, and generally quite good/pleasant conversation bits. Additionally, the approach and questions, at least generally speaking, I think was rather good, as it seemed to “split” the responses/reactions – they were generally rather to quite positive/favorable, … or on the rather to quite negative side of things. Not much wishy-washy around the middle at all. So, I tend to think that was mostly a good thing, as “average” random (non-)compatibility/impressions, I’d think are rather to quite unlikely going to end up making an actual “match”. Whereas those “pushed” into the more positive ends of the spectrum, are more likely to end up as a “match”, or at least more likely to lead to further possibilities (e.g. a “yes” and possibly a subsequent meeting). The other thing that was highly useful, is I did quickly learn quite a bit about the other person – a lot of which was highly useful in determining “yes” – or at least possibly a “match”, or “no” – thanks, nice meeting and talking with you, but it just wouldn’t work out for us – many key/important things for us just aren’t sufficiently aligned. I’d think in a mere 5 minutes of much more “casual” conversation, both, I wouldn’t nearly as well be able to determine fundamental (in)compatibility/”match”, and additionally, and I’d much more likely end up around that “middle ground” to them, where most of them probably wouldn’t be interested, or “that” interested in me. Did also end up with quite good assessments on compatibility – and in many cases, probably also mutually, to a fair extent. Many of the questions I asked, also prompted them to ask me at least some, if not many, of the same, or quite similar questions. I think it also at least fairly well encouraged them to be more brazen and open up and ask me most any darn thing they could think of that they might want to ask and know – not that any went at all particularly “extreme” on that, but I think many asked more and/or deeper questions of importance to them, than they would have if I’d not asked many of the questions which I in fact asked.

And net results on numbers? Well, about 35% I put down as “no” – that ranged from went very badly with the questioning, to very nice amicable friendly conversation, but us mutually realizing that we were not a match … so in many cases once we got to that point, we just casually chatted about other random things to quite pleasantly – and more relaxed – pass the remaining minutes. And the remainder (about 65%) I put down as “yes” – not necessarily at all definitive matches, but at least possibly close enough that I’d certainly be interested in at least having a dialog to see if we wanted to meet again. In any case, not a particularly large number of participants and speed dates, and unless and until there’s a mutual “yes” submitted to the company running it, no contact information is exchanged. So, don’t know that I’ll have much or anything in terms of mutual “yes” results. And, at least some bits I read in my research, statistically, men are much more probable to indicate “yes”, and women “no”. So, … small number of participants and speed dates, any resulting number of mutual “yes”es, is likely to be rather to quite low. And even any mutual “yes”, is absolutely no guarantee that things are or would be all that compatible – or that they’d lead to so much as a single “real” (non-speed) date. What’s becomes exchanged or made available if there’s a mutual “yes”, is just enough to get contact information exchanged – and presumably enough mutual interest to at least investigate a bit further … and maybe actually meet again.

And, … my results after what should be about the full wait time on “final” results (it may not have a hard absolute deadline, but most all yes/no submissions should be all done and processed within a few days or less) … first of all, statistically, it’s likely to be quite small number / percentage. And, … actual results? More-or-less within statistical deviation of number/percentage I’d expect? Well, the results were: … a big fat zero on mutual “yes”es. Well, that’s still within range I’d expect for the relatively small number of speed dates for me at that event – I’d think statistically, somewhere between zero – and a rather small number, at least for that event, and mostly likely about the middle of that range, +- an even smaller number, … and yes, zero is definitely within one end of that +- range. We are talking pretty small numbers here.

And, how did I feel? Ugh. Sure, it was interesting, exciting, not inherently “bad”. But it was probably mostly a fair chunk of nervous energy – okay, maybe some excitement too, but certainly for me, it felt very uncomfortable, was quite hard, and I felt really drained/exhausted/”beaten”/wiped after it. Though, “of course”, if anyone was doing any beating on me, it was almost entirely me doing that, no one else. Introvert / Extrovert. Extroverts are energized and “feed off of” interactions like that. For introverts (e.g. me), quite draining/tiring. Add my shy atop that, and me pushing quite hard to offset that and try to hopefully get at least something useful out of it, and it very much super way drained me. I remember when I left, still wearing the cheery face … but once I was out’a there, sure, trying to maintain positive outlook/feel, but felt way wiped, and pretty pessimistic about the whole thing – definitely not looking so cheery on the way home. I suppose also too, if nothing else, despite any outward appearances, how I actually felt, likely also “leaked” through – at least on subconscious levels, to likely I’d guess half or more of those I met. And I think generally women are more likely to favor “strong, confident”, etc., so that also may well reduce my chances of a mutual “yes” by roughly 50% or more.

Bah! And over the course of a couple days, a much more negative experience than I first thought a few hours or so after the event. Sure, I felt like cr*p on the way home – didn’t feel like interacting with anyone, or so much as glancing at or being looked at by anyone … at all! Rather felt like crawling under a rock or disappearing into the background – and not so much as even observing the scene – let alone anyone around at all. Okay, after a couple hours, I figured “no biggie”, event wasn’t comfortable for me, half a day or so and I’d be fully over that. Not (quite) so. More than half a day later, into even highly casual “no pressure” “crowd”/people situation (e.g. on a commuter train, walking down moderately crowded street), still highly did not feel like interacting or engaging with anyone or at all like having them engage with me. Much worse than “normal” for me. Anyway, about a couple days after the event, pretty much back to “normal” for me … but not quite 100%. Definitely lost some ground on trying to at least work around my shyness … had gained some modest ground lately … was rather like that speed dating event had net effect of setting me back several weeks or so. Ugh.

“Speed dating can be nerve-racking for people who aren’t outgoing” – Jeremy Bollinger, owner of DateSwitch.com. Uh, yeah, nerve-racking … bit of an understatement. I wouldn’t exactly say “terrifying” – at least for me, but surely dang uncomfortable – at best.

Would I try it again? At least presently I guestimate possibly, … but probably not. I’d guestimate, for the time, energy, expense, discomfort, preparation, etc., it’s fairly likely just not worth it for me, and I could probably do significantly better by some other means. Nevertheless, if nothing else, it was, uh, “exciting” for me, certainly not boring, and, I suppose, a good learning experience and “exercise”. In any case, I think I’d give it at least 6 months to a year before I’d so much as even seriously consider it again. In the meantime – no way!

Me and my blog (a starting point, yep, right *here*!)

2012-06-23 21:43:36 PDT

Welcome to my blog!

I hadn’t really created any type of “starting” page for my blog, and it really ought to have something like that! So, for lack of better place to put such, that’s what this blog entry is!

How to “read” it – or, … context, context!

[2013-03-14 – I pro’lly ought to deemphasize the OkCupid stuff, but, regardless.  Maybe I’ll get around to rewriting this more at some point]

First of all, if one’s not looked it over (or not looked it over relatively recently – it does sometimes get updated, or even “overhauled” – though it remains very true and accurate regardless), best place to start is with a read (or at least skim) of my OkCupid profile. One can first cover that “main” profile page. Probably next best part/area to read on there is some sampling of my questions/answers, perhaps a relatively good starting place/order would be with (sorted by) He cares about. But be forewarned, I publicly answered a lot of questions (over 2,500) – so one probably doesn’t want to go through all of them. Also, at least as I check presently, to see any given answer, one must have also publicy answered the same question on one’s OkCupid profile (hopefully you answered, and publicly, at least a fair percentage of those questions that I care about). Note also that the mere question itself isn’t necessarily that important to me, but, in the context of the question, and the available answer options and/or any explanation I provided, I do consider my position on it, and/or that of someone else’s, to be rather important … or at least so in an OkCupid (friend/relationship or potential thereof) type of context – and may not at all or particularly apply beyond pretty much that context.

And, after having at least gone over (and semi-recently), at least the main bits of my OkCupid profile, then there’s my blog here! :-) However, order and context still remain rather to quite important. Jumping in at the “end” (most recent) or some other random points, may be a rather to quite “jarring” (though not necessarily unpleasant at all) experience.

Oh, and I’ll apologize in advance:

  • My writing, er, “style”, can be rather to quite “sucky”. But hopefully at least the content is “good enough” to still make it generally worth reading – or at least skimming.
  • The blog content can at times be very “raw” and unfiltered, and may sometimes be jarring or unpleasant to read. Well, life is sometimes that way. It also probably generally reads much better when taken in context (e.g. chronologically).

So, starting point(s). I might suggest, after covering my OkCupid profile:
start with the first/oldest, and then proceed to read/skim them chronologically
(just continue to follow the links up top and pointing to the right – that will “walk” one through them in chronological order).

Another possible approach would be in some semi-random order, perhaps picking things/areas likely to be of most interest. To that end I’m creating at least a partial index here (will likely add/update stuff). Note that jumping in without full(er) context may be particularly “raw” and/or jarring – but I’ve said that quite enough. So,

sample index:

    • Personality, etc. (quite “even keeled”, but more “interesting” within):
        • Autistic? Autism spectrum? Asperger syndrome? Not Neurotypical
          • yet more tests and retests
          • Uhm, yeah, “on the spectrum”?  As in autism or Asperger syndrome or autism spectrum disorder?  Probably not, but … close?  But this ain’t horseshoes.  Pro’lly ought to blog at least a bit more about that (somewhere buried in my queue of things to blog about) – may eventually get around to that (not exactly top or highest/”higher” priority).
    • The good, the bad, and the ugly? Most of the time I feel okay to good or better, but sometimes, when I rather/quite don’t, most typically/commonly for short while (3 days or less, sometimes a short as a few hours or less), I feel rather cruddy. Still fine/okay to get along with on the “outside”, but in such case, I’m definitely not so cheery, enthusiastic, energetic, etc. Here are some of those bits:

Keywords may also be useful to give some type of indication as to content. Again, jumping in without fuller context may be a quite “rough”, unfiltered, and “raw” introduction.

Regardless, … it is what it is, and I am who I am. And, hopefully you might actually like that, or at least find it “interesting”. And, well, if you don’t, there’s no shortage of other stuff to read/see on The Internet, and there are several billion other folks on the planet, many of which may be of quite more interest to you than I am or might be. Happy reading (and/or OkCupid profile hunting, as applicable) and best wishes to you in any case.

OkCupid profile – optimize it!

2012-06-23 16:59:28 PDT

Okay, so … I’ve done a fair amount of earlier work on my OkCupid profile. Nevertheless, as I’m presently writing this, it still leaves a lot to be desired. So, beyond “mere” further tweaks, I’m going to give it a fairly significant “overhaul”. It’s not that I’m any different. It’s also not that it’s at all inaccurate or untrue – and I’ve no intention or desire to change that aspect of it. Notably, however, it can, while still remaining highly true and accurate, be much better optimized to achieve the types of results I’d wish it to achieve. Not that I’d ever suddenly start getting zillions of messages from women I’d be very inclined to meet. But, … perhaps I’ll at least significantly increase the paltry dearth of (about zero) initial messages I receive from any women at all – let alone any that are or would be anywhere close to compatible. And, probably more significantly, hopefully significantly increase the response rate – and positive response rate, I get from women where I initially message them. While, when I do message them, they do typically at least view my profile, about 90% of the time, they don’t message me back. Such numbers generally quite suck for straight guys on “dating” sites anyway. But, at least as far as I can tell, I ought to be able to get something much closer to a roughly 1/3 or so response rate in them at least returning a message from my initial message to them.

And, thankfully too, I’ve gotten some really good feedback, etc. on my profile. Not gonna say what person(s) or such, but much thanks to any and all that have provided or do provide such. And thanks too, to any and all that provide any type of criticism (especially constructive), feedback, opinions, comments, messages (especially anything about what one does/doesn’t like or find “attractive” about my profile, or “me”), etc. All such input and feedback appreciated (and considered, etc.).

So … I may add (much?) more to this post later, but, for point of reference, as I’m presently writing this on 2012-06-23, I present below what I have (or at least earlier today had) on my OkCupid profile – not absolutely everything (I’ve answered well over 2,500 questions publicly), but most of the “main page” profile bits, and such.


OkCupid main profile photo on 2012-06-23

MichaelBerkeley
49 / M / Straight / Single
Berkeley, California

My self-summary
Quite a good guy[1]. Deep, intelligent, knowledgeable, (life) experienced, caring[1], communicative[2], moral/ethical, honest[3], warm, affectionate, direct, witty/amusing/humorous[4], very grown up[5] yet also playful; logical, scientific, technical; rather fit, fairly active; interesting & interested.

1. but not a doormat or pushover.
2. but tending towards quiet/shy – at least at first
3. perhaps to a fault?
4. but don’t expect me to keep you in stitches all day
5. mature (but not “old”), responsible, serious, …

OkCupid has relegated its “journal” function to “in retirement”.
So, I’ve created blog of fair bit of relevance – including a lot of semi-personal stuff in it too. It may not be best to start there, as that may land one quite out-of-context. If, however, one’s looked over my profile at least a fair bit, and wants to know rather to quite a bit more … one can of course ask me … and/or one can also read/skim some or much of my blog stuff. The blog stuff might also fit in much more appropriate context not only after becoming familiar with my profile, etc. here on OkCupid, but also when reading/skimming the blog stuff, it might be best to proceed in chronological order. In any case, blog is here:
https://michaelberkeley.wordpress.com/

[the “My Details” shows just to the right of the main column, so I’m guestimating this is approximate order folks would typically read/skim it]

My Details
Last Online Online now!
Ethnicity –
Height 5′ 8″ (1.73m).
Body Type Average
Diet Mostly anything
Smokes No
Drinks Not at all
Drugs Never
Religion Atheism but not too serious about it
Sign
Education Dropped out of college/university
Job Science / Tech / Engineering
Income Rather not say
Offspring –
Pets Likes cats
Speaks English (Fluently)

What I’m doing with my life
What I’m doing with my life
Paying attention to much (friends, relationships, work, much etc.,),
playing – at least some fair bit.
Mostly trying to be the best person I feasibly can be – while trying to not fail to reasonably take into account that I’m human.

I’m really good at
listening,
observing, testing/checking
learning,
using what I know/find/discover,
analyzing, making things better,
solving and fixing things and generally finding better ways to do/accomplish/optimize whatever,
working generally quite well, and very hard at whatever, but not overly so,
being intense,
being relaxed,
being rather to quite precise and accurate in what I communicate,
being quite punctual (I very much respect people’s time),
most things technical, and many other things too,
being a generally quite/damn nice/decent person – but not a pushover or doormat,
being a damn good friend, or for some, even up through very much more.

The first things people usually notice about me
Well, I managed to ask, and have been told:
“Sparkling blue eyes, warm smile, and that you’re a heck of a lot better looking in person than your profile pics would indicate.”

And if you’ve actually met me, feel free to tell me, and I can add/update as appropriate.

There’s also lots that may eventually be noticed, but not anywhere near to first. Much of that’s scattered on/about my profile on here and/or on at least some of my blog stuff.

Favorite books, movies, shows, music, and food
There’s lots, and this list is both (way?) too long and highly incomplete – so feel free to skip it, skim it … or read it very closely and try to guestimate a more complete extrapolated list – or most anything between.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, et. seq., Alice in Wonderland, Through the Looking-Glass, a whole lot of non-fiction, with an emphasis on, but not exclusively on/towards: science, technical, engineering, electronics, computers, software

2001: A Space Odyssey, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, Inception, Women in Love, Pink Floyd The Wall, Benny & Joon, Kill Bill: Volumes 1 & 2, Pulp Fiction, The Dark Knight (and my favorite character in it: Alfred), The Fog of War, Standard Operating Procedure, Life of Brian, The Meaning of Life, Young Frankenstein, The Matrix, et. seq., Twelve Monkeys, The Breakfast Club, Eyes Wide Shut, The Game, Rabbit of Seville, Pink Panther cartoons, Doctor Who, The Caterpillar, An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, Night Crawlers, Firefly, My So-Called Life, Mercy, Skins, Wire in the Blood, Louie

San Francisco Mime Troupe, Free Shakespeare in the Park, AWD, Stern Grove Festival, San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Opera, and various: other often quite varied and typically smaller performances, museums and exhibits, etc.

Fair spattering of 60s through current rock & pop music, and a fair bit lighter spattering of some select bits from almost anything. Select semi-random sampling: Pink Floyd, Queen, Kate Bush, The Beatles, Moody Blues, Linkin Park, much etc.; Don’t Fear the Reaper – Blue Oyster Cult, Oh, Pretty Woman – Roy Orbison, 500 Miles – The Proclaimers, Boom Boom Ba – Metisse, Kashmir – Led Zeppelin, Voices – Russ Ballard, Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen) – Baz Luhrmann, Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565 – Johann Sebastian Bach, Brothers in Arms – Dire Straits

Some cuisines I quite/generally/often like: Thai, Japanese, Brazilian, Indian, Italian, Greek, Mediterranean, Chinese, BBQ, Mexican, Korean, Spanish, California, Vietnamese, French

The six things I could never do without
not much (if anything?) beyond necessities. Beyond that, top “six” of wouldn’t want to do without, and not necessarily (quite?) in order:

communication

caring, love, passion, interests and interesting person(s) and stuff to think/ponder/work/”play” and build with/on/about/upon

human touch, maybe even sex

technology (communication/knowledge/information, benefits and good efficiencies technologies bring us, partaking of and in technology, and doing good/useful stuff with technology)

fresh air & at least a bit of nature

art/expression, in its many forms

I spend a lot of time thinking about
many things. Commonly: understanding and learning more about most anything and everything – other person(s), situation(s), interactions, processes, myself, the planet, particular technology(/ies), and generally using that to analyze, further my understanding, and improve whatever/whomever/however as feasible – e.g. someone else’s happiness or situation, use of a technology, making myself better, much etc. Often carefully analyzing and considering all kinds of things, to make the best feasible moral/ethical decisions, choices, and courses of action – not only in advance of and in midst of, but also after, to better learn how most anything might possibly have been done at least a bit better, and to learn from that to apply to future. Working to best optimize what I do and how – especially when, wittingly or not, others may emulate or replicate what I do and/or how. How, and what bits I can do, to be a better person.

And occasionally pondering random stuff like why does OkCupid keep telling me “Wow, you answered all of the questions!” – it’s been saying so for many months now, and hasn’t given me a single new question to answer. Surely there must be some new questions out there. (I’ve found way to get to some few of the new questions and answer them, but it won’t let me get there the “standard” ways and go through all the new ones I’ve not yet answered).

On a typical Friday night I am
enjoying the start of my weekend, or preparing for such.
Among some of many possibilities, I might be:
chillin’ with some coworkers,
wrapping up and finishing off goop I want done and out of the way,
planning/outlining my weekend (specifics and/or possibilities),
working on or doing some cool or volunteer thing,
catching up on stuff I want to read, view, write, or respond to,
cooking, eating,
unwinding,
heading off for the weekend,
having a nice time with:
acquaintance(s), friend(s), “date”, or maybe more? – or sometimes just me,
or none of the above, or something totally different.

The most private thing I’m willing to admit
on here, well, there’s no shortage of semi-private stuff admitted – among profile details, question answers and explanations, “tests”, much content on linked blog, etc. I’m not sure exactly which bit(s) are or would be “most private”, but there’s certainly a lot of at least relatively private stuff mixed throughout.

And that I’m willing to admit at all, would likely only be admitted to those, or more likely just one, I rather to quite very much trust. I’d “need” to know that person rather to very well first. And even then, I might not admit “whatever” … well, … if I even have or had anything all that particularly/especially private to admit to (might possibly be willing to “admit” most, or “everything”, somewhat more easily than that).

But the aforementioned is only regarding to things about myself. I very closely and carefully guard and respect the privacy of others, and tend to very much err on the side of caution in not sharing stuff about others.

I’m looking for
Girls who like guys
Ages 23–54
Near me
For new friends, long-term dating, short-term dating, activity partners

You should message me if
you at all want to or are inclined, curious, just want to say “hi” or tell me or ask me something, or whatever.

I’ll typically reply if it at least appears/seems you’d wish that, and
you’re not some spammer or being a jerk about it, and I’m not otherwise being overburdened with message from here, and/or other stuff going on in life (if anything, most likely to just delay my response). Constructive criticism also appreciated.


profile photo - full size, viewable from "Photos" "tab"

profile photo (full size, viewable from “Photos” “tab”)


Anyway, I’ll likely keep, within the above, that information from my OkCupid profile as of 2012-06-23.
However, I may add/change the text above and below that (e.g. I may comment more specifically about why I made certain changes).
So, … keep that in mind with the comments below (they may possibly comment upon what may have been on this blog entry earlier, rather than what’s here at present – likewise my OkCupid profile may continue to change).

I wish? Sometimes I *really* wish I were the popular, sought after, (relative) center of attention

2012-06-20 05:45:01 PDT

I wish? Sometimes I really wish I were the popular, sought after, (relative) center of attention.

Pretty dang sure I never have been, in my entire life – at least generally speaking. E.g. women and dating and on-line dating sites and the like. Most women have no shortage at all of guys that are rather to highly interested in them – and without even hardly working at it. Just barely put themselves out there, and they get a relative flood of messages. For many, so many messages they can hardly even keep up with them. I’ve never had anything anywhere close to that. Damn rare that a woman ever approaches me, who’s interested in me. And even if I message them first, the quite overwhelming majority of the time, I won’t even so much as get the slightest response message at all. Even with all the work “promoting” myself on, e.g. OKCupid, hardly ever does some woman message me first. Heck, most of those exceedingly rare times someone messages me first, it’s spam, or some homosexual or bisexual male (and I’m straight), or some other complete and horrible mis-match, which is obviously clear if they so much as manage to look at even the most basic criteria on my profile there. E.g. if “I’m looking for” someone “near me”, and you’re more than 3,000 miles away, that’s no friggin’ way anywhere close to my criteria. With communication super-high on my criteria, and my only language stated or shown anywhere on the site is English (e.g. “Speaks English (Fluently)”, and I get a message that’s so poor in its English that it’s clear the person can hardly even communicate intelligibly in English, then we are not a match – not even anywhere close. Even all the way back to, e.g. college, high school, junior high, and before that, exceedingly dang rare that a woman/girl would at all approach and be interested in me. So, yeah, in that regard, certainly rather does quite suck to be a straight guy … and specially in the realm of on-line dating … not that anything that’s not on-line or beyond on-line is necessarily much or even necessarily at all better in such regards.

So, just once I really wonder what the hell it’d be like, to have no shortage of attention and persons of potential interest, rather effectively quite “throwing” themselves at me – so all I really had to do was mostly just pick and choose and sort out from among them. Heck, I think I’d probably like that a lot … certainly at least comparatively to the other extreme where I and most guys are mostly at. Having never been there where I had such attentions, I can hardly imagine what it’s like to have such quantities of attention. I’m not necessarily saying that would be easier, but at least to me, sure seems that would be a whole helluva lot easier. Certainly would open up a whole helluva lot of possibilities and opportunities that just are not there for me, at all … or certainly hardly there at all.

Hmmm, let’s see … over 10 months on OkCupid, … how many women – even including horrible mismatches (but not outright spam – okay, some of those horrible mismatches might also in fact quite be spam, but regardless …) have messaged me first? Four. Yup, that’s it, only a whopping grand total of 4 – that’s not even an average of one per 60 days. And if I don’t count the ones that are clearly and obviously horrible mismatches (or possibly even spam) – and that’s easily determinable if they’d looked over my profile at all in the slightest, then I think that count drops all the way down to a grand total of two.

Yup, FML. Egad, I can hardly imagine what it would be like with OkCupid inbox getting so many messages that it often and repeatedly filled up and that I could hardly keep up with it. Some women have that “problem”. Ah, to have such a “problem”.

Anyway, just sayin’, in at least some ways, it sure as hell sucks to be a guy. And being an introverted, and relatively shy guy (especially on initial meetings with strangers) – well, that certainly doesn’t help the situation.

And so it goes.

(emotional) roller coaster, to … something a teensy bit smoother?

2012-06-20 01:57:44 PDT

So, typical scenario on OkCupid. I find a profile I at least rather, and perhaps quite like. Maybe even one where I think / “feel” we’re highly probable to make for a good – even excellent match. I message them, and … nothing. Statistically, that’s to be expected. For M messaging F on OkCuid, something roughly around 2/3 to 90% of those messages get zero response.

But alas, I “favorited” them, or gave them a (1-3) “star” rating.

I almost never give 4 of 5 stars – mostly because, at least as I recall, if one does that on OkCupid, it notifies them … and that’s likely counter productive – at least I’d think … whether I’d messaged them or not. Maybe if I’d already met ’em and know ’em fairly well, perhaps that would work fine – but otherwise I think it mostly would make any chance of mine with them only slightly less probable – so I almost never give 4 or 5 start ratings on OkCupid. But I digress.

Alas, having favorited them, I also generally see their activity … various updates they make, they show in my searches, “matches” and activity, even often shows me when the logon. And, … that’s mostly just a slow bit of torture – as I’d already messaged them, hadn’t heard back – and in most cases/probabilities, never will. Likewise, they look at my profile – I see that … but again, most probably they’ll never message me back, and it’s mostly just more slow torture. Could message them again? Sure, … but that’s highly unlikely to get a response. If they didn’t respond to a first message, pretty darn improbable they’d respond to a second one – particularly if they’ve been on the site some hours or days or more since I sent them that message, and they’ve had more than ample time to read it and respond. So, a second message would, where they’d not replied at all to the first, at least most probably, would be a counter productive waste (and a bit more slow torture).

Many many times – just as part of emotional “survival” strategy – and the harsh realities … I message someone, and I then, more-or-less, as much as feasible, try to – much as I hope and wish they’ll respond – I try to start letting go and forgetting about them the instant I’ve sent the message – because most of the time I’ll hear exactly nothing back – ever – and nothing will ever come of it – and more messages won’t make it better. But there’s still that slow torture aspect to it.

But alas … a somewhat better way of dealing with that. :-) On OkCupid, one can “hide” a user. When one does that, they can still message you, and you them, but … they won’t show up in your searches, matches, activity, that they’ve viewed your profile (or you theirs), etc. So, … I’ve changed my strategy. I send a first message, then “hide” them and remove them from my favorites. If I get a message from them great – or at least potentially so. And, if not, … I, for the most part, never at all see or are reminded of or about them again at all – at least not by OkCupid in any way. Well, … except there’s still the “sent messages” – they show up in there, unless/until I delete them. Maybe too, I’ll also start doing that at some point? But that’s not as critical – as once I “hide” the user, and remove them from favorites, “sent messages” is the only place on OkCupid I’ll ever see them again.

Reality sucks … but sometimes there are ways to make it feel at least a slight bit less sucky.