Here's my little biography. I stopped caring about having a page about me, so then I ended up with a page about me that was out of date. Thus, I'm writing a new thing even though I don't care about it.
Well, so, hi. I'm a white guy named Asa. As I write this it's April 7, 2012. I'm almost 29 and I live Portland, Oregon. I've been here for five years, after growing up in the rural western area of New York State, about 70 miles south of Buffalo, right next to the Pennsylvania border. After that I majored in Computer Science at Ithaca College in central New York. After four years they gave me a Bachelor of Arts, which was very generous of them.
What are my hobbies? Good question, thanks for asking! I'm really into music. I listen to all kinds of crazy stuff, and occasionally I listen to music that isn't weird. If you want to know what I listen to you can check out my last.fm page.
I also play music. In school I played flute and bass clarinet (how I miss the bass clarinet!) and now I play bass guitar, not in a band, just for my own amusement. I also like making videos of me playing: for example, this one.
Other things I do include playing games (such as Civilization V, Settlers Of Catan, Carcassonne, fake Scrabble, poker), learning German, talking to people on the Internet, reading books made of paper, and watching movies and TV.
TV shows I like: I try to see every episode of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, and I often watch Conan. Otherwise I tend to prefer high-quality cable dramas such as the ones on HBO. My favorite show is The Wire, and other shows I enjoy include Treme, Justified, Homeland, Game Of Thrones, Louie, The Sopranos, Oz, The Shield, Deadwood, Luck, Downton Abbey, Childrens Hospital, and Boardwalk Empire.
My favorite film directors include Robert Altman, Terry Gilliam, Werner Herzog, Joel and Ethan Coen, and Martin Scorsese.
People who write books I like: Kurt Vonnegut, Margaret Atwood, Douglas Adams, Sherman Alexie, Sarah Vowell, Robertson Davies, Dave Eggers, David Sedaris, E.L. Doctorow, Terry Pratchett... and many more!
My life is most shaped by my sleeping disorders. I haven't been able to talk to a doctor about this, but I'm certain I have Non 24-hour Sleep Wake Syndrome. Basically, my days are 25 hours long. For example, if I fall asleep at 10 PM one day I probably won't be able to sleep until 11 PM the next day. If I try to sleep like a normal person, it doesn't work. This means that I'm often up during the night and/or exhausted. I also require a ridiculous amount of sleep. If I sleep for less than 12 hours I don't feel rested. If I only get 8 hours of sleep I feel awful.
Politically I'm very far to the left, at least for an American. I refuse to vote for Democrats or anyone who promotes war. My votes go to people who have no chance of winning. I don't believe this is throwing my vote away. In fact, if you're going to vote for a Democrat or a Republican no matter what they do, you've made your vote irrelevant, and that to me is throwing away your vote. In the last presidential race I voted for Ralph Nader, and locally I've supported the Oregon Progressive Party.
I'm liberal to the point where I think every human being is great. Unfortunately this means I have a hard time liking most people, because most people treat each other terribly. How can I be okay with you, you wonderful person, if you abuse other wonderful people? Everyone thinks they have a good reason for beating each other up, be it revenge, prevention, or greed, but it's all the same. We just want an excuse to act on our basest impulses and pretend it's not shameful.
I'm grateful for the Internet, which allows me to socialize despite my anxieties. However, the base impulses I mentioned tend to come out especially strongly with some of my fellow Internet socializers. I've encountered many people who think that if something happens online then it isn't really happening. This seems like the stupidest idea I've ever come across, but maybe it's just a widespread delusion. Either way, it causes a lot of people on the Internet to act like sociopaths, apparently immune to empathy. It really sickens me, especially since I sometimes feel like I'm the only one who opposes this inhuman behavior. If I meet you online I might have a hard time trusting you until I know you're capabale of acting like a human being even if we happen to be talking with our fingers instead of our mouths.
I like cats.
About the name: I'd been using "Mandaliet" as my online name for a few years without knowing what it meant or how to pronounce it. It's from Carmina Burana, a collection of Medieval poems that were set to music by Carl Orff in the 1930s. The word is in the song Circa Mea Pectora: "Mandaliet, mandaliet, min geselle chumet niet." This is generally (and unhelpfully) translated as "Mandaliet, mandaliet, my lover comes not." I've been told that the word means "song of joy" in middle high German. Another possible translation might be "call forth a song". I think the correct pronunciation is MAN-da-LEET, although everyone seems to come up with their own pronunciation.