Personal Info about Xah Lee
2019-07-05 Note, this page is written from 1996 to 2005. No major edit or additon since.
i will be building a dam, when there is a pussy flood. for i am a collector of nature, and a lover of its treasure. i will use my savings, to quench those thirsty, and lubricate those angry, for i have suffered and suffered; the pain and anguish. — Xah Lee, 2002-08-17
This page contains miscellaneous, colorful personal info about me. Be prepared to waste time.
For a more concise profile and contact info, goto: Concise Profile of Xah Lee.
The primary service of this page is for intellectual bums who pry live for leisure, and for me to be pried for leisure. In this page, I'll be playing the cynic, or rather, cynicism will play me. I'll be firing diatribes here and there, attacking parties east and west, and taint the minds of human animals. If you are not a callused soul, if you are the faint of heart, if you are the cream of virtue, then please forgive me before hand. Voyeurs, saints, and roaches: Welcome to the show of non-beauty.
A Sketch of Autobiography (up to 2005)
I was born in Taipei, Taiwan in 1968. I grew up in Taipei and left my homeland since I was 14. I lived in Paraguay and Bolivia during 1983 to 1984, and in Montreal, Canada during 1984 to 1989. Since 1989, I lived in Mountain View, California, a town 61 kilometers south of San Francisco. The place is more well-known as Silicon Valley, due to the congregation of computer companies around the area.
I finished grade 9 in Taiwan but have not continued highschool since. I attended DeAnza and Foothill 2-year community colleges around 1990 to 1994, and completed all math courses they offered, but never obtained any degree. That summarizes my formal education.
I worked as a intern during 1995 at Wolfram Research Inc., the company that makes Mathematica. After that I did some stints as web consultant and programer. Since late 1998, I've been working full time as web application programer. Since 2004 i have been a homeless vagrant living in my 2000 Red Honda Civic Coupé using my dotcom savings.
When young, my aspirations in life was to become one of the best mathematicians. That became apparently not the case nor my dream in my budding 30s. Nevertheless, i was proud to have taught myself of things, among which is being a programer as a professional computer engineer earning ample amount of bread. Most of my life i've been in some state of poverty. 1999 to 2003 earned me living comfort and certain personal success satisfaction but on the whole the ridding of poverty has not brought about happiness, and there is a dearth of leisure and lots of corporate stress.
In my early teens (pre 1983 in Taiwan), life was hell. A outcast and a object of abuse by high-school bullies, and with a hatred-filled child-beating and bootleg criminal father and a ignorant uncaring asshole mother.
In my late teens (~1986-) in Montreal as a lone kid foreigner, i learned the hard-way of street juggling and the laborer's life as a bagel-dough roller and also quite often being the target of predation by the Quebecers. However, this is the happiest period in my life, because i've gained absolute auto-sovereignty from my asshole mom and her associate (2nd husband) as well from my child-beating dad who's in Taiwan, and am proceeding to achieve a grand dream of being the greatest juggler and or pianist and also millionaire in life. This is a era of freedom and dreaming.
In my early 20s (1989-) i'm a avid learner, in Bay Area California. I discovered library. Devoured massive hours in encyclopedias and whatnot community colleges have to offer. Among which is acquaintance with psychology and philosophy. And in general am introduced to the world of knowledge. Most of all i endeavored about every hour of the day in years in mathematics for the sheer enjoyment. (these maths were pre-calculus school maths, history of math, and most of all recreational math of Martin Gardner. (having essentially read all Martin Gardner's books.)) In this period, to be the greatest is still the aspiration, though no longer as a juggler or pianist.
In my late 20s mostly after 1995 stint at Wolfram, i have fallen into depression and self-examination and a schizoid, jobless and living as a hermit in poverty. In this self-enclosed era, i studied greatly of mathematics, taught myself advanced mathematics such as group theory and basic analysis and the various geometries (projective, discrete) and gained expertise on the history of mathematics. In this period, i've created and worked on my “A Visual Dictionary of Plane Curves” website, which became a selling point of myself in my life. These deeds are by-products of escapism.
In ~1998 (30 of age) i gradually studied seriously of Unix and Perl and sundry Info Tech industry technologies, partly for my own interest toward the mysterious unix, partly wishing it can bring me food. (it was not marketable skills i lacked, but mental support (such as from family) and confidence.)
Since 1999 to ~2003, under the auspice of the dot com boom, i've become a dot-comer. Money since then has not been a issue. However, from 1999 to 2003, i had zero time. I have not thumbed thru one leaf of mathematics, nor have i broadened my lone social circle.
In 2003, i visited my home country Taiwan for the first time in 21 years, and saw my father. Part of this is a stint of teaching a math programing course (to graduate math majors) thru the auspice of my friend professor Richard Palais, part of it as a vacation.
I stayed in Taiwan for about 5 months. It was the first time i enjoyed
life again since teens at Montreal, because it was my first vacation
and filled with some achievement status and satisfaction, but
because of my asshole dad, he also made it extremely worse,
psychologically burdening on me all his life's personal
problems. After this trip, i severed my relation with my dad. (I have
as well with my mom in about 2000).
In 2004, i'm in a somewhat-depressed mode, living as a vagabond mostly in my car and visiting friends with my savings. This downfall has 3 main causes: • In 2002-10 i was laid off from a tech company. This lay-off lodged in my mind like a stigma. • The pain my dad has caused me at the 21-years-apart reunion in Taiwan. • I'm reaching mid 30s, my hair is falling out, having my mid-life crisis. In 2004 to 2005, i have worked nonstop on my personal website (again as a escapism), and learned tremendously of subjects that i do not know much about previously: economics, politics, sociology, human future issues, as well as refined my understanding of hard science technicalities particularly in mathematics and computing.
See also:Photos of me from 2001 to 2005., My Impression Of Lisp from Mathematica.
Interests of Academic types
I love Mathematics. Of math, i enjoy discrete stuff, such as group theory, linear algebra, various discrete geometries (symmetry and tiling theory, projective geometry, transformations (complex analysis)), logic, graph theory, cellular automata. I also enjoy history of math. My love for mathematics can be seen on my site: A Visual Dictionary of Famous Plane Curves and Wallpaper Groups Exposition.
I also like Computer Science and Programing. In computing, i enjoy writing programs that do visual geometry, and also large-scale mission critical programs. (i.e. software where correctness and efficiency are critical.)
I'm a master of Mathematica, Perl, unix admin, and Web Technologies including PHP, Apache, Mysql. I also program in emacs lisp, Python, LSL, Java. Among the computing languages, Mathematica is my favorite by far. I deem unix, C, and Perl obstacles to progress. I'm a adherent of purely functional languages, such as Haskell.
See my computing tutorials at Computing and its People.
I've been a Dvorak typist since 1994. For detail, see: Dvorak Keyboard Layout.
I enjoy English Literature and Linguistics. See:
Poetry is a exhibition of the inability to codify humanity. See: The Writ of Xah's Heart.
I'm also interested in psychology, ethnology, philosophy. In general, intellectual stuff excites me greatly.
My all-time favorite author is Bertrand Russell. He is one of 20th century's most prominent philosopher, logician, and social activist among other titles. See his essay What Desires Are Politically Important. Perhaps his most popular essay is Why I am not a Christian .
Bertrand Russell has published many works. Mainly in the fields of philosophy, foundation of mathematics, and social opinions. (he is Nobel prize laureate for literature. (this is inappropriate because his contributions in mathematics, philosophy, or world peace, are far more significant. (i despise Nobel Prize. See: Liu Xiaobo, Dalai Lama, Falun Gong, Nobel Peace Prize • Math Prizes and Nobel Ignobility) ))
My second all-time favorite author is a Chinese historian, thinker, and social critic 李敖 (Li Ao, born 1935, died 2018). He is a radical and wayward gadfly, and a prolific writer. Arguably, he'd be ranked within the top 5 in the entire history of Chinese scholars. See:
Other authors i respect a lot, include: Thomas Sowell (Reading Notes on Basic Economics) , Camille Paglia: Modern Sex Goddess.
My all-time favorite fictions are:
• The Arabian Nights, the uncensored version translated by Sir Richard Burton.
• Alice in Wonderland, and Through the Looking-Glass, by Lewis Carroll.
• Flatland by Edwin A Abbott. Here's one of my favorite quote:
The KING's eyes much larger than the reality shewing that HIS MAJESTY could see nothing but a point.
• Lord of the flies Buy at amazon by William Golding.
• Marquis De Sade's writings.
Marquis De Sade propounds that morality does not exist. In these lengthy novels, philosophical discussion and hardcore sadistic pornography are intermixed. The most extreme hardcore depiction of sadism and masochism in literature are to be found here, in abundance. Excerpt at Justine by Marquis de Sade (Hardcore Sadomasochism).
• The Time Machine by H G Wells . In Time Machine, a time traveler moves to the future and found out what society is like in its advanced stage of civilization and industrialization, where systematic cannibalism are ingrained in the society. i.e. people are bred and eaten as we do with other animals now. (What a wonderful idea!) H G Well's other writings are also enjoyable, including: War of the Worlds and Invisible man .
Some book recommendation: Xah's Top Ten Book Recommendations.
The executioner's argument was, that you couldn't cut off a head unless there was a body to cut it off from: that he had never had to do such a thing before, and he wasn't going to begin at his time of life.
The King's argument was, that anything that had a head could be beheaded, and that you weren't to talk nonsense.
The Queen's argument was, that if something wasn't done about it in less than no time she'd have everybody executed, all round.
O! and, we must not forget, my:
Xah Lee Abode.
If you wonder where does the name “Xah” came from, see: The name XAH.
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