“The unexamined life is not worth living.”
Last Updated: Feb. 15, 2022
Outside of school, family, and friends, you will find me pursuing or thinking about some of my other interests. Whatever it may be, I’m typically eager to philosophize about it and think deeply about its place in a life well lived. I am eternally grateful to those important people, especially to my parents, who instilled in me some of these passions and allowed me the freedom to pursue them.
I played an enormous amount of music growing up. Since the 4th grade, I’ve played numerous woodwind instruments, beginning with the clarinet and settling on the alto saxophone and the bassoon, culminating in my studies at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music under Stephen Paulson. I also dabbled in drums, piano, and flute. During my time as an undergraduate, I played saxophone in the SFJAZZ Monday Night Band and in a small jazz combo called Red Note, and sang a cappella / vocal percussion with Something Borrowed Something Blue for four years, leading as the Music Director for my last two. I don’t play much anymore these days but do so only occasionally when I find a group or have a gig (a rare combination). I like listening to all kinds of classical (except modern), jazz (especially modern), a cappella, musicals, indie rock, and Odesza. One quote that resonates deeply with me from my Conservatory days is that “music cuts swiftest to the soul”. Music is is an incredible form of art, a place I always return to.
I’ve come to enjoy reading books only after going to college, and I continue to make regular time for it. I attribute my change of heart to a professor I had while I was in music school who instilled in me a love for philosophy, a passionate search for Truth, Beauty, and Goodness — and therefore a love for reading. I enjoy reading a little bit everything: ancient and modern classics, philosophy, epics, fiction, apologetics, research papers, fantasy, history, XKCD, and short stories. A major goal of mine is to read the Great Works of the Western World curated by Mortimer Adler. Although it’s hard to choose a single favorite book, the Nicomachean Ethics comes close followed by in no particular order The Odyssey, Lord of the Rings, the Abolition of Man, The Meditations, the Brothers Karamazov, Harry Potter, and anything Calvin and Hobbes.
I started swimming competitively from a young age. There was no better way to spend a summer day in California than in the pool. Nowadays, I enjoy the benefits of a low impact, full body workout. I keep up with the sport occasionally during big meets and during the Olympics, and I have particularly fond memories of watching Michael Phelps’ Eight is Great run in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Although I haven’t swam competitively in many years, I am always eager for an opportunity to swim in a pool.
I played a good amount of soccer and ultimate growing up. I enjoyed weightlifting, squash, and tennis during college and rowing during my masters, but I don’t much anymore. During March Madness, I follow the Duke Men’s Basketball team in the hopes of witnessing a live championship run. I have fond memories of attending these games during my undergraduate, notably the multi-month tenting for the classic Duke vs. UNC match.
Some of my fondest childhood memories involve huge family gatherings, where the adults did adult things and the kids played video games. I am a fan of Super Smash Bros. Melee, Dance Dance Revolution, League of Legends, and the classic Java based MMORPG RuneScape. In regards to the last game, perhaps as a way to deal with the enormous amount of time spent inside in the last few years or advances in artificial intelligence using games, I began to play regularly both on the “old school” version and private servers. Over the last few years, my family and I played an enormous amount of Mahjong and Poker. During that time, I planned to build a Mahjong bot but never got around to it. Perhaps some day.
On my wall is a traffic sign that says “Chipotle with Aristotle”. I think it captures what I’m about well: I love food, philosophy, meaningful dialogue, word play, art, and a good story — all the better if at the same time. The painting at the top is the School of Athens by Raphael, which contains themes that resonate deeply with me. I try to live a life that is simple, uncluttered, and meaningful. I strive for excellence and to think deeply but to remain mindful of simply enjoying a pleasant moment free from any reason or meaning. Some other things that I enjoy are long walks, Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Office, simple and elegant design, hot pot, dim sum, milk tea, and dogs.