Thursday, November 30, 2006

Free offense

I hate when I know I'm going to find something offensive, read it anyway, and, sure enough, find it offensive:

Does a man’s salary matter?

I don't even know where to start. A rough approximation would be that I disagree with everything most of them say. But a few short specifics.

Pay for dinner? I don't give a f**k. Pay in proportion to how much you have to spare. Just don't refuse to go out because you can't afford it and won't let anybody else cover you.

Men feel "diminished" by dating a woman who makes more? Good selection factor, then. Keeps the ones who might think like that away.

"Dating a man without money is really tough because you end up paying for everything and that wears on you after awhile." Why would that be any less true for a guy paying for everything?

Finally, I think they're confusing money with success or personal reward. I like to be with people (in general, and especially to date) who do things they really enjoy and really get into and who work to improve themselves and hopefully do something for the world. Sometimes that correlates with income, sometimes it does not.

And, finally, what purpose does this article serve? Has anybody not thought about this issue for themselves? If you're a woman, does it matter what any woman other than yourself thinks about this?

Anyway, I'm crampy and PMS-y and I'm going to bed. I finished The Book Like Crack (aka Neal Stephenson's Zodiac), so maybe I'll sleep more now.


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Snow days

Yesterday, the outdoors was Winter Wonderland. The snow is still out there now, but yesterday was filled with the glorious golden northwestern sunlight, so the snow on the branches glittered and the last autumn leaves glowed red and gold. And almost no one is at work, so I've mostly been at home for the past couple of days, since I don't know how to drive on ice and I certainly don't have the tires for it on my tiny rental car. Maybe I'm a wuss... but at least I'm not getting dents, and I have been doing a bit of work remotely, so it's not a complete loss.

Living far north is really unnatural for me. Nobody (even the locals) seem to like the short days in winter, but I didn't even like the really long days in summer. Whatever time the sun goes down, I want to sleep a few hours later. The fast change throws me off as bad as jetlag, and it's hard to get enough sleep. In summer it was just a complete lack of situation for sleeping until at least 1:00 or 2:00. Now, with it getting dark at 4:00pm, I get really tired around 7:00 or 8:00, and I don't really want to go to sleep then. But if I stay up past that, I'm wide awake until after midnight (usually 1 or 2), even if I did get up early and/or didn't get enough sleep. I think my body is hard-wired for sunset around 6:00, going to bed around 10:00, and presumably getting up around 6:00, which is what I did back in the Golden Days Before Stress. Yes, believe it or not, I had a few years as a good honest morning person, getting up around sunrise with no alarms. Then, those pesky teenage hormones that cause one not to produce melatonin til late at night must have kicked in (yes, there is a biological basis), and through whatever combination of habit and actual continued biological basis, I still have the sleep pattern of a 17-year-old... and the skin of a 13-year-old (plus a few lines), and the palate of a 5-year-old.

I spend a lot of time just thinking. It's like setting up house inside your head. I spend a lot of time there, so I want it to be comfy and orderly and nice. I like to feel like I'm making progress at it, and sometimes I even get outside evidence that I am. The other day it occurred to me that the mind is like a landscape, and the consciousness is a little person walking over it. Sometimes you get to hills where you can see off into the distance, into a whole bunch of new territory, but you can't see any of it in much detail. So you go and walk over there and look at it up close, and it takes a while to do all that walking.

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Updated for 2006.



Monday, November 06, 2006

Public Display of Affection

It is sort of inconsistent that I should object so much to PDA, given many of my other views. After thinking about it for a while, I realized two things that bother me about it:

1) If you're lonely, it really sucks to see other people making out.

2) Couples making out have a rude obliviousness to the rest of the world.

Now, the funny thing is, I don't object to PDA at Burning Man. The Playa is a different reality with different rules and expectations. The problem of #1 is sort of circular, since it wouldn't really be a problem if affection and physical contact weren't so repressed - it's hard to feel really lonely if you can go up to a stranger and ask for a hug; this is why that isn't a problem at Burning Man. But #2 is hard to get around - those couples in the stairwells in high school didn't give a rip if they were in the way anybody trying to get by. When your interest in the world is limited to one other person, it's hard to realize when you might be creating a problem for anyone else.

Is that second one a problem at Burning Man? Well, maybe a little: sometimes you have to step over bodies walking around inside domes, but mostly, it doesn't really seem to come up. Maybe that's because it hasn't been anybody I know well. Feeling ignored sucks, and you expect your friends not to ignore you. The people I know on the Playa are more of a community of friends than a bunch of couples independent of others, and that seems to be the way with most groups there, fitting with the sense of community.

Okay, I have more thoughts about this, but none I want to put online.... and it's almost 2:00am. If I have more thoughts on this, there may be a part 2.


Halloween and other scary things

I doubt there's really any point to apologizing for not posting for a long time, since by now, if you read my blog, you should realize that I post with about the same regularity with which I floss: I get up a spat of energy/inspiration, do a bunch of posts, then don't again for a long time. Except I don't get people complaining they have to catch up on my flossings, so I guess it's not a very good comparison.

I spent like an hour the other day reading the Red Meat strips containing Bug-Eyed Earl, so perhaps that sets some tone for my thoughts.

Yes, I have been occupied. I am normally a pretty high-stress person, so some is normal, but I think this really has been particularly much. At the risk of jinxing things, I'm going to publicly post that I bought a townhouse. That alone has been quite absorbing.

I also had the foolishness to assume it would close early just because everybody that I knew was involved (you know, the real-estate agents, the lender) said that wouldn't be a problem. So I found somebody to take over my lease a few days before closing, only to find that I could in fact not get in early, and spent a few days creatively resolving my temporary homelessness. I had it all worked out to where I would stay with a friend who lives nearby (that I feel comfortable asking to put me up for a few days) and asking both my lease-inheritor and my neighbor (with whom I share a garage) if I could leave my stuff piled there for a few days, when, lo and behold, the guy taking over the lease said that he could, in fact, come in a few days later. Whew.

Then, there's that whole work thing. I was going to write up something about the "punch-yourself-in-the-face stupid" IE bug a coworker and I spent 4 hours discovering, but he already did:

Stchur's Javascript Blog

Eh, I'm not going to complain. Even on bad days I can say, well, at least I get paid a lot, and mostly I do like my job.

So, to top it all off... Thursday night, on the way over to the train station to pick up Stefan, just after I had gotten off the I-5, I was sitting at a stop light, not more than a mile from the station... and got rear-ended. Just so none of you freak out, I'm fine. My neck was a little bit sore/stiff, but that's it. My car's fancy German Engineering absorbed most of the impact; I just have to make it up to her now with several grand's worth of body work... which I don't have to pay for, so I'm okay with that. But I did stand in the rain for over an hour waiting for the cops (whom we eventually gave up on, after seeing 3 police cars drive by without stopping), and my poor boy was waiting at the train station all that time.

Yes, we carved pumpkins for Halloween. Mine looked just evil.

I was thinking I should keep a log of my status messages on gmail. That's the best and most current record of my state. But I don't remember any now... oh well.

Actually, I may have had the last part of this up as an away message: somewhere on the Simpsons, there was some mental hospital sign that said "[Institute name]: Because There Might Not Be Bugs On You." Mine: "Coder's Mental Institute: Because There Might Not Be Bugs On You, Or Assigned To You."

I have a theory that everyone whose name is a word (or homonym of a word) is a punster. I have yet to find a counter example. But I guess most names are words in some language. So I guess it's a bad theory since it's not well enough defined.

Funny, I think of so many things I want to write, but whenever I actually get near a keyboard, all those nice ideas flit away. I think that means I'm out of practice writing. Tsk tsk.

Winter here might not actually be so bad. I'm remembering that I like the dark. I like sunshine more, but if the days are going to be rainy and gray, I'd rather they be short so I get more dark instead of gray, because darkness is nice. I also actually feel like I have more time when it gets dark earlier, since I keep thinking it's later than it is, and it's easier to go to bed earlier. But not right now, I guess, since it's 1:23am and I'm still up. I really wish I weren't such a night owl. It really doesn't work very well with the rest of the world. But after a certain hour, usually about 9:00pm, I get a second wind and just wake right up, even if I haven't slept enough. It's really annoying... makes it really hard to get to sleep early. Sometimes I try and just wind up getting annoyed my brain won't shut up and then get back up.

I think this goes back to that really contrary side I have... I've heard from several good sources that getting up early is essential to succeeding. Problem is, the reasons they give don't seem to work for me, therefore, I want to prove them wrong. For instance, David Bach said that all he lost when he got up earlier and went to bed earlier was a few hours of watching TV at night. I don't watch TV. I'm more prone to wasting time in the morning because I feel like there's a lot of time left in the day. Or that it's nice and quiet and you can think in the morning... it's nice and quiet late at night too, and not so cold. I'm not left with much reason to try to become a morning person, except that it works better with other people. That's a very frustrating sole reason to have to change a very deeply ingrained habit.

Anyway, on that note, maybe I'll go to bed... and if I don't, I'd better work, which I think is why I was originally staying up tonight.

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