I grew up in a suburban area near Los Angeles (except for second grade, when my family was in Munich, Germany), and I attended the now-defunct Palos Verdes High School. During high school I participated in lots of activities (marching band, art club, math club, etc.) as well as attending the Thacher School Summer Science Program (a great experience) and doing truly odd jobs, including attaching mailing labels at the local newspaper, washing dogs at the local grooming parlor, and serving <gasp> fast food at Marineland.
In retrospect, I had a pretty good childhood and adolescence, but I was never truly happy. During elementary school, I was the kid everyone picked on. During high school, I got along with others better, but I was beginning to face the dreaded identity issues that plague most gays and lesbians at some point in their life. In some sense, I never felt like I "belonged." I guess this has been a recurring theme in my life, but at least by now I've learned to appreciate my differences instead of worrying about them.
I went to college at Caltech in Pasadena. I lived in Lloyd House for 3 years before deciding that I really belonged in Dabney, all of which probably means absolutely nothing to most of the people who read this page. Suffice it to say that in four years I was transformed from a somewhat closeted freshman to a very "out" senior.
I majored in applied physics. Why applied physics, you ask? Well, because I hated chemistry, of course. I remember my embarrassment when I went to some job interview and they asked me what kind of physics I was interested in, and I couldn't think of anything to say, since I wasn't really interested in any of it. I did fairly well in most of my Caltech courses, but I was actually more interested in the Japanese classes I took at Pasadena City College and photography classes I took at Art Center.
Somewhere along the line, I decided I wanted to teach, so I spent the next two years living in Alhambra and taking courses at Cal State Los Angeles, leading to a teaching credential. I also did some substitute teaching in the Alhambra public schools, and then I had a "regular" teaching job for a year at Covina High School. I'm not much of a disciplinarian (of course, since I dislike telling other people what to do), so it was a miserable year and the school asked me not to come back the next year. So I went on to pursue "higher education," staying at Cal State L.A. to get an M.S. in mathematics. I also put a good number of hours into working for the Jesse Jackson '88 campaign.
One of the highlights of these years was a pair of trips I took two trips to mainland China during the summers. The first time, I went to Beijing to participate in a language program offered by CET/Wellesley. During my second trip, I traveled around the country on a grant from the Durfee Foundation. One of the days, I might get around to filling in this page with some of the details of my trips. At least, I've finally managed to throw in some pictures!
Since getting the M.S. was so much fun, I decided to get my Ph.D. from UCSD. This was also the height of my vegetarianism and animal rights activism. My diet was VERY strict at that time. I'm still a vegetarian of course, and quite strict by most standards (almost, but not quite, vegan), but I've relaxed my standards quite a bit since my graduate school days. In between fur protests, I wrote my dissertation, a shortened version of which eventually appeared in Discrete & Computational Geometry under the title Circle Packings and Polyhedral Surfaces.
After graduating, I took a one-year job as a visiting assistant professor at UNT in Denton, Texas. It was a tough time for new mathematicians, and the following year I couldn't find a job. But I stayed in the Dallas area because it was cheap. Very cheap. I had gone to an auction where I accidentally bought a condo for a ridiculously low price which no one ever believes, and this strange event led me to become interested in real estate. I bought some more absurdly cheap houses to fix up and resell, and soon I obtained a real estate license and started living the life of the Unsuccessful Real Estate Agent. To make a long story short, it wasn't me.
After two years of trying to sell real estate, I attended The Experience, a workshop which I highly recommend to anyone who is not satisfied with the quality of their life or their relationships. I'm not completely sure whether this workshop transformed my life, or whether I was just due for a change. It was probably a combination of both. Almost immediately, I got out of Texas and I got out of real estate. To say that these were good changes for me is quite an understatement.
I am now living in Redwood City, between San Francisco and San Jose in California. From 1994 to 2000, I worked as a mathematician and programmer for a small private company involved in textbook publishing. Since June 2000, I've been self-employed, creating websites such as CameraZon, and I've started a web hosting business called YoHost.
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