Associate Research Engineer,
Educational Testing Service
MS in Applied Linguistics
Certificate in Computational Linguistics
Graduated in 2016
BA in Linguistics and English
Summa Cum Laude and with Distinction in English
Graduated in 2008
I am a fan of various types of music, including rock, blues, and folk, but especially music that involves slide guitar. One of my most distinguishing characteristics is that I follow -- perhaps to an unhealthy degree -- three main artists and I listen to these three almost exclusively: Bob Dylan, George Harrison, and Elliott Smith. I believe that Bob Dylan, as a lyricist, is unparalleled. In fact, I would go so far as to say that he belongs among the greatest English writers of all time, including writers like Shakespeare and Vladimir Nabokov. (I have been creating a website with all of my transcriptions of Bob Dylan lyrics, which I did for a class project in college.) George Harrison, on the other hand, I like mainly due to his other-wordly slide guitar compositions. It speaks volumes to me that, though he was often not held in high regard by his own bandmates and was only allowed a song or two on any given Beatles record, he was still able to produce some of the most memorable Beatles songs, including "Something", "Here Comes the Sun", and "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", all of which do not even contain slide guitar parts. Last but certainly not least, Elliott Smith rounds out my top three. He practically falls between Dylan and Harrison, musically speaking, with his exquisite melodies and strangely penetrating lyrics. It is to me a blessing that there are so many collaborations between the first two and so many covers of Dylan and Harrison songs by Smith. It feels as though the connection between the trio that I clearly see is validated. However, while Harrison and Smith frequently trade spots in my ranking of the three, Bob Dylan holds the number one spot by a long shot.
I enjoy many television shows and am always on the lookout for the next great one. However, not unlike my tastes in music, I consider three series to be the greatest of all time: Breaking Bad, The Sopranos, and The Wire. Another parallel to my top musical trio is that one of these shows is, I believe, far and away the greatest. That show is Breaking Bad. Never before or since have I witnessed such expert storytelling, cinematography, and character development. Breaking Bad revolutionized television as we know it. This series is practically a study in character development: milquetoast father and high school teacher evolves into ruthless drug kingpin. In the beginning it is hard not to be on the side of Walter White. But, by the end, it is hardly even a question as to whether his actions can be justified: he becomes the embodiment of evil. Coming in second and third, frequently trading places in my mind, are The Wire and The Sopranos. It mostly depends on which one I have been watching most recently.
There are certainly other shows that I consider to be great, even if not in the same league as the three series mentioned above. These include Deadwood, Mad Men, Dexter, The Shield, earlier seasons of The Walking Dead, the first fantastic season of the new series True Detective, Battlestar Galactica, Fargo, The Americans, Rectify, and many others.
While I don't treat comedy the same way I treat drama, there is a place for everything. My favorite shows are Seinfeld, Mr. Show, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Parks and Recreation, Scrubs, etc.
Favorite cartoons/comedy sketch shows: Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job!, Tim and Eric Bedtime Stories, Tom Goes to the Mayor, Metalocalypse, Frisky Dingo, Archer, Squidbillies, Upright Citizens Brigade, Kids in the Hall, and many more.
I enjoy watching all major sports, but NHL hockey is the one that I follow most closely. I also follow NFL and college football and MLB baseball and I am an occasional basketball fan. I also take part in an annual fantasy baseball league, in which I am proud to say I took first place in 2014.
Since I grew up in and around Philadelphia (first Kensington and then Audubon, which is in the suburbs of New Jersey), my favorite teams are all of the Philadelphia teams.
The only sport that I actually play -- and have played since I was a little kid -- is hockey. People don't often think of Philadelphia as a hockey town, but all I know is that, as a youth, this is the sport we played in the streets in Philadelphia. There was even a public ice hockey rink a few blocks from my house. Hockey holds a special place in the hearts of many Philadelphians. Transplanted to Ewing, NJ, I have found that there is even a large group of people here who play hockey on a regular basis. If anybody would like to join, we usually get together for pick-up games on the weekends. More information can be found at the Ewing Street Hockey Facebook group page. Additionally, I play in a street hockey league (MCSHA) on Sunday mornings and occasionally play in a roller hockey league in Pennsylvania.