“Introductions” are boring. Everyone navel-gazes, despite the fact that the weird shit about a person is what makes them interesting, remarkable, and memorable. Did you know, for example, that Kary Mullis, inventor of viral PCR analysis, married and consumed said marriage with a raccoon? Or that he died because he brushed off a doctor’s appointment for his pneumonia to catch a set of particularly great waves?
So here’s my (somewhat) weird shit:
- I was on a strict diet for many months. Not because I was sick, but because I was donating my feces to a large scale 3rd Clinical Trial on fecal transplants against clostridioides difficile overgrowth. I can now claim, truthfully, that people ate my shit (well, it’s delivered into the small intestine by tube, but still).
- I once hiked from Kathmandu to Lukla and onward to the Everest Base Camp. The camp is divided into two camps, one that only admits mountaineers that decided to ascend to the summit. This is done to prevent transmission of infections and because Summiteers are elitists. On a whim, we decided to empty our savings and pay for one of us to ascend. That person was not me, but I crossed the Khumbu Icefalls. The person we selected did not ascend, either, because it turns out that this can’t be done on a whim. Good thing, too, because that was 1996.
- Most summers I walk 1000 kilometers or more as part of my annual mental and physical health program. I am extremely lucky to have found employers and academic environments that allow me to do this. 2022 I walked 1060 kilometers through Spain in 40 days.
- I have the chemical representation of Testosterone, Caffeine, and ATP on my right arm. A sneaky insider joke because “sex, drugs, and rock and roll” (link to scientific article) would have been career limiting.
- I am deathly afraid of water that is surrounded by concrete and/or metal parts. It’s called situational, functional, Thalassophobia, and I am working on it for 30 years now. Crossing a bridge over a lock or levy gives me tachycardia and sweats.
- I am even more than that suffering from test anxiety (link to scientific article). No matter how well-prepared I am, in tests I freak out. Badly. Dark tunnel, adrenaline, shaking, fight-or-flight. Oral and practical exams are OK, written ones I am glad if I pass. In 2003, I took a medical final. After the grades were out, I had 96/100 oral, 99/100 practical, and 53/100 written. On, to a large degree, the same questions.
- I spent an antarctic summer at McMurdo Station in Antarctica. While I was there, it was -14°C in Munich, Bavaria, and 2 °C at McMurdo one day. No one at home believed me when I sent a picture of me in a T-Shirt at the Admiral Byrd Memorial.
- I’ve worked plenty of weird jobs before firmly settling in medicine: I was a bouncer at a gay SM club, a lorry driver for a logging company, a repo man, a cook and restaurant owner (sold with some profit, my only claim to fame), and “Employee Number One” at the company that would later become Automattic.
- I was an organizer for the first ever BarCamp. The name, BAR (for “Bay Area Rejects” as a response to “FOO” for “Friends of O’Reilly”) was coined at Zeitgeist two weeks before the event.
- I was at a party at Doug Engelbart’s house and was allowed to touch the first ever mouse prototype (to pack it up for display at the Palo Alto Computer History Museum).
- I still have the two Amigas I started my love for computers with. The Amiga 500 I had before them isn’t mine anymore, I sold it towards the A4000 in that picture.