The list of questions: Mac Hyman

The list of questions: Mac Hyman

Favorite hobbies: dancing (African, Haitian, jazz), skiing down a mountain in deep (DEEP!) powder, playing (at) the piano, walking in a warm rain, fishing for the big ones from the beach in an outgoing tide, and proving those elusive theorems. My favorite 'hobby' for the past ten years has been to be a part of the Oxymoron dance ensemble. We don't measure progress by the height of our leaps, but by how much our smiles push our ears back.

I have learned that: juggling is not as hard as it looks, but it did take three times longer to learn than I thought it would; that if I'm not the first person in the ski lift line on a powder day, someone else will be; that the world loves to laugh and enjoy life, but it doesn't happen nearly as often as it should; and that it is most important to live your life so you believe in and like yourself.

Favorite way to pay the bills: I still love hacking out code.

Most proud of: Kathryn and Jeff — who could ask for more than two great kids!

What fills your spirit: hiking in a fluffy snow fall, getting so lost reading a book that I can't put it down, meeting smiling happy people, drifting through a soft dream as the sun comes up, frisky dogs, and playful cats, skiing through power so deep that I can't see where I'm going, photography, drawing with charcoal and pastels, musicmusicmusic and more music, (I have withdrawal pains if I can't play - I need it, it's an addiction that I can't and don't want to stop.) dance dance dance and more dancing, (Hey, I can be obsessed with more than one addiction.)

Right now I'd rather be: There are so many places and things I love to do that I have to answer this question in terms of my whole life, and not moment by moment. If I really want to be doing something else, I have to go for it. If I don't do it this year, I'll just be a little older when I do. Life is not like marking time in a rehearsal and it would be crazy to treat it that way.

Message to opposite sex: The differences between the sexes are absolutely delightful. How wonderful that that there are (at least) two sexes.

Most notable physical attributes: I make up for lacking hair on top with a full beard. Also, my form never has been nearly as great as my smile while dancing, skiing, and biking. Luckily I have a sense of balance that has saved my ass in countless times when I’ve gone over the edge.

New Year’s resolution: Every year I pick up something to do for the first time and focus on learning it for the next year. The last couple of years it has been learning Afro/Haitian dance, playing the piano, learning Spanish, tennis, painting (watercolor, pastels), writing poetry and mountain biking. This way I’m always a beginner when learning is the most fun. In the last couple of years I have focused on playing jazz piano, Chinese calligraphy, ceramics, and I've had great time learning to cook. Recently I started growing exotic fruits and berries (jujubes, pawpaws, medlars, hardy kiwis, quince, etc.) Last year I started creating ceramic sculptures and am still loving to play with the mud. My latest hobby is to collect wild stones from the mountains for sculpting. The wild stones have more character, hidden faults, and fractures than domesticated stones from a quarry. I just seem to relate more to the wild variety. It's been fun to get the USGS rock and topo maps and head out on a quest. Somehow I think that sculpting stone will be more constrained than working in the clay, but it will be fun to give it a try.

Most regret: Not having more time to spend relaxing and doing more with my friends and family.

Most embarrassing moment: letting my weight get out of control and performing a dance on stage. (After seeing the video of the dance I started eating right, exercising more and knocked off 25 pounds.)

If I Win The Lottery...: I'd set up a fund to provide ways to encourage and help people enjoy life and the world around them. It might be to support making the all of the arts more accessible and available to everyone from children to the retirement centers.

Everything I ever needed to know, I learned by...: following my heart and inner voices, seeking out friends who care for others and the world around them, and by living a full life. I just keep trying to be better than I was yesterday.

Favorite Popular Music: This is an impossible one. I love the torch songs of Jane Monheit, Diana Krall, Christine Hitt, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Holly Cole, of course Ella, Ella, Ella and the ever present Billie Holiday. I keep returning to the (early) barroom ballads of Steve Goodman, John Prine, Guy Clark, and even Jimmy Buffet before he got too much into himself. There are the old songs from Eddy Howard to Louis Jordan. Then I love Nat King Cole's smooth voice, his daughter's wonderous music, and his often forgotten brother, Eddy. Who cannot love Louie Armstrong playing his horn, or playing with us with his voice. I can float on the gentle sounds of Kurt Elling or the haunting music of Virginia Rodrigues and Susana Baca. IZ is the man, when it comes to Hawaiian music. Jonny Lang's 'Good Morning Little Schoolgirl' was a stroke of genius for a 16 year old. I dance to the beat of Manu Chao, Baaba Maal, Amon Tobin and pop music from the before the Beatles to those Bare Naked Ladies and Dave's True Story. What would life be without variety.

Favorite Classical Music: I turn to the old masters, all styles and all forms.

Community Service: is mostly centered around the Los Alamos Little Theater and organizing a summer program for applied mathematics students. When all the dust settles, I probably spend a couple of weeks a year working with the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) organizing conferences and on the journals. Recently, I enjoyed helping the SIAM office launch two new journals: one on dynamical systems and one on multiscale modeling.

Cars, Trucks, and Planes: When you live in the mountains, you don't want to be held back by a dirt road or a snow drift. My favorite truck is an 89 Montero that can go just about anywhere.

What I would save if my, house was burning down: Save the living first. When my family and pets are safe then I would go after the irreplacibles: the videos and photo albums, the paintings and drawings, handwritten letters and notes, and then get the hell out of there.

What cheeses me off: Small children left alone, leaders how don't put their people first, anyone who thinks that money makes them a better person, and a stalled car on a powder day.

Favorite food: Today it would be New Mexican green chili, thai noodles, and a spicy Chinese dish with eggplant .... but then hot fresh baked brownies are way up there too.

Least favorite food: George Bush may have had his childhood trauma with broccoli, mine was with beets. Sam I am, I will not eat them with a fox, I will not eat them in a box.

Favorite author: Another impossible question. Neruda, Vallejo, Asimov, Belli, Forsyth, McCaffrey, Bear, Haldeman, Willis, Card, Proulx, Cussler, Ludlum, Grisham, Clancy, Knootz, … .. I love them all, but each one only in small doses.

Erdos Number: 3; I have a couple of papers with Bill Beyer, who published a paper with Stan Ulam, who published a paper with Erdos.

Bacon Number: 3; I was an extra in "Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me" (1971) as a college wild and crazy guy with Barry Primus. Barry Primus was in "15 Minutes" (2001) with David Alan Grier, and Grier was in "The Woodsman" (2004) with Kevin Bacon.

Favorite quote: Dance as though no one is watching you, Love as though you have never been hurt before, Sing as though no one can hear you, Live as though heaven is on earth. Remember: Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love truly, Laugh uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you smile.

How do you keep your life in perspective?: Turn your sound on and check this out.

Shoe size: 10 1/2 D