Other stuff about me

I’m originally from Montreal, Canada. My last name (which is French) is pronounced “Van-yay” not “Va-neer”. The stress is on the first syllable.

I enjoy playing piano and guitar.

I’m a huge standup comedy fan. My wife Denise used to be a professional comedian. (Now she teaches political science at Pierce College.) My son Joshua is pretty funny too!

I used to be an avid skydiver. I even tried to start a skydiving club at Caltech, but I couldn’t get it off the ground, so to speak.

cats cats

I’m an animal lover. We have six cats: Larry, Curly, Moe, Ralph Nader, Elsa, and Spot. I would also have dogs except I’m allergic to them. I also love wolves and foxes, and have been known to spend time at various animal sanctuaries around Los Angeles, notably the Judith A. Bassett Canid Education and Conservation Center. Hugging a fox is a wonderful experience!

I spend too much time reading Twitter.

I occasionally play video games. I also like puzzles of all kinds.

I enjoy learning Japanese, though I’m still a beginner.

I’m a fan of Japanese chess (Shogi), which I think is way more fun than western chess. I also like Go (the game, not the programming language, though I like the language too).