Friday, May 27, 2005

Uncertainty, opportunity and self-esteem

I have a challenging choice to make.

I've been offered exactly the job that I want.

And now that I have the offer, I don't know if I want it.

I'm afraid of the stress. I'm afraid of the change. I'm afraid they won't like me. I'm afraid I'll be selling myself short.

It's all basic self esteem problems. My view of the world: If there's a thing that is respected as achievement, and I have not done it, then it's achievement and worth pursuing. If I have done it, it's not that big a deal, and largely overrated. If I don't have it, it's great, if I do have it , it's worthless.

And I fear that others are exploiting me. I fear I'm getting ripped off. If they want to hire me, they must not be that good. Whatever they offer me must not be that good: They're trying to exploit me and get me for cheap.

This is all in my head. I don't know my true worth (though I can ball park it). I don't know whether they're exploiting me or not. I don't know if this really is their best offer or they're just negotiating. I don't know.

And in the absence of certainty, my mind makes things up, and my basic insecurities manifest themselves in the void of truth and create perceptions to fill in the missing reality.

But it's not about how I feel. I'ts also about how others will feel. If I take this job, and others find out what I took it for (and people internally will know...) how will they view me? What if my friends find out? What if my business school classmates find out. Will they think I've sold myself short? Will they think less of me?

I fear starting too low. The starting salary frames so much of your life at a firm. To get a jump, I'll have to get a new job or promotion.

And then there's the voice of my family heritage: This is more money than we could imagine making: What are you fussing about? Are you greedy? Do you think you're better than other people?

I'm actually trying to respect myself and claim fair value for myself.

It's my own fear and insecurity holding me back. It's exactly what I wanted. It's the perfect job for me. I won't let my fears hurt me.

I'll take it. I'll take it. It'll be fine.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Julie's Book meme

Since Julie tagged me

1. What is the total number of books you've owned?
Since I don't have detailed accounting records for my book inventory all the way through early childhood, I'll have to estimate. Let's say college was 4 books per class on average, times 3 classes per term times 12 terms for 144 books. Recreationally, let' say I've acquired 5 books per year since college for 45 more. Thus far, business school has dumped 25 new books on me. In high school, I owned my text books as well, so there's another 40 or so. As a child there are tons of books around. Let's call that another 100. So we're looking at something around 400 books.

2. The last book you bought?
I would have been a big book buyer had it not been for a friend that pointed out that libraries do, in fact, still exist, and they're free. Being a cheap bastard, I prefer free. Technichally, I just bought my last round of text books. Which was the last one bought, I don't know. So I shall designate "Economics of Strategy" by Besanko, Dangrove, Shanley and Schaefer as my last book bought. It's about the economic math behind strategic decisions. Analytical strategy.

3. The last book I read.

You mean actually finished, or just started? Finished, as in got to the last page that said "The End": "A Skeptic's Guide to the Twelve Steps" by Phillip Z.

4. Five books that mean alot to me.

I choose to take this to mean "Had strong influence on me"

  1. "Our Town" Thornton Wilder. "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it -- Every, every minute?" "The saints and the poets, maybe. They do, some." Yes, it's a play.
  2. "The Catcher in the Rye" Phonies.
  3. "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" C.S. Lewis. It got me to read all the Chronicles. Would that Aslan as Jesus were real. Would that he'd drop by when needed and hope was lost. Would that one could spend time chatting with that gentle wisdom.
  4. "1984". The revisionist history stuff. The mass produced formulaic popular entertainment for the C,D and E masses. If you don't think of this book when Pakistan becomes our "friend" or Iraq becomes our "enemy", and if you don't think of this book when you hear any Britney Spears song or watch any television or see any big hollywood movie, you shouldn't be allowed to vote, in my opinion.
  5. "Startide Rising" David Brin. Hugo & Nebula Award winner. Most expansively imaginative work I've ever read.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

White trash pride moment

Cranked up the car radio to sing Bon Jovi's Livin on a Prayer at the top of my lungs.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Why I'm not a Democrat

Since some right wing nut cases have taken over our federal government, most of my politically tinged posts might lead the casual reader to believe I'm a flaming liberal Democrat, since most of my posts criticize the right wing nut cases.

Fact is I'm not affiliated with either party, since I disagree with big planks of both of their positions. I'm often frustrated with our government's structure, which creates a two party system, since I have exactly 0 parties to choose from with which I agree.

I'm pro gay marriage and anti "race"-based affirmative action.
I'm pro environment and anti union.
Since I won't see a single cent of social security, I'm selfishly for privatization. I haven't decided whether this will be good for the society as a whole. But I'd like to keep more of my money.
I'm pro gun control and anti drug legalization. I think tobacco should be made illegal.
I'm for education and for standards testing.
I'm pro evolution and anti farm subsidies.
I see nothing wrong with eating meat and wearing leather.
I'm against US imperialist propaganda.

I say this not to stir the pot, but to just make sure that people know that agreeing with me on a few issues doesn't guarantee agreeing with me on many issues, if you identify strongly with either party.

That said, if you like what I have to say anyway, go on and keep reading and linking to me.

Missing my wrist

Today I went for a run, then cleaned up my apartment a bit, then went for a long hike with some friends by the coast.

It was lovely, though a bit windy. We talked about all kinds of things. It was nice.

And I do enjoy hiking, but we passed at least 100 cyclists today, and there's nothing I'd rather have done with today then been on my bike or been rowing.

I got on the rowing machine this morning for about 3 minutes. It was clear that if I pull at full power, my wrist will hurt a lot. Just pulling at 2/3 power made my wrist hurt just a bit at the end of the stroke. Before my shower, I got down to see if I was ready to try a push up. But the strain from positioning my hand at a right angle to my arm and making my wrist joint bear that much body weight are just too much. I could push it, but I'd hurt myself. I hate being restricted to essentialy lower body only exercise. I'm sure I've lost a lot of upper body strength and muscle during this down time. I'd like to be well again.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Child, Parent Thy Self

Growing up we had assigned chores, both on a weekly and daily basis.

The weekly things were supposed to be done on Saturday mornings, and generally consisted of throughly cleaning one particular room's floor (vacuum living room; sweep kitchen), and possibly dusting. The daily would be something like "unload the dishwasher" or "set the table". These weren't the only ones, of course, but they were the regulalry scheduled ones.

My mother's cardinal scolding wasn't that we didn't do the chores, but that she often had to issue reminders. She wanted us not only to do these things, but to do them "without being told". "Without being told" was also the degree of difficulty modifier for the non-assigned tasks that we were supposed to notice needed attention and take care of. We'd hear about it during rampaging meltdowns. "Why can't you notice what needs to be done around here and do it without being told?"

I was reflecting on this last night, and came to wonder: Does expecting your kids to continuously follow an order, once given, without reminders amount to asking children to parent themselves? If parenting doesn't involve staying on top of your kids to help keep them on track, then what is parenting? Is it fair to punish kids for lacking the internal drive and discipline to do their chores faithfully every day with no slacking? Is that normal? Am I being a whiny crybaby?

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Thanks Kristel

A little searching lead me to find this. So I'll drop my ancient phone off there before I go to my movie.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Prediction for Sith

Anakin has reason to think Yoda dead...

"Obi-Wan has taught you well"

Vader thinks ObiWan trained Luke in Empire... not Yoda...

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Why the new Cialis commercials piss me off

It's taken me a little while to get in touch with the source of my anger. But I've found it.

In case you haven't seen them, they feature guys who basically say, "when she gives me that special look, I want to be ready" or "I want to be ready in case she decides that snuggle time should be extra snuggle time".

There are some deep gender assumptions embedded in these commercials that I find wholly unfair. And maybe I'm just denying reality, and maybe I should "accept that some things between the sexes aren't ever going to be fair", but then I'd like to be able to use that line the next time a woman complains about dissatisfaction with the plight of women in society. With that said, my gripe:

Can you imagine a "slut-o-max" commercial featuring a woman saying "When he gives me that special look, I want to be ready?" or "I want to be ready in case he decides that snuggle time should be more"? When wives can't keep up with the sexual needs of the husbands, we tell the men they're over sexed horn dogs, and should take a cold shower. Men who expect sex on demand from their wives are thought of as anachronisms.

So why is it the man's responsibility to be able to provide sex whenever she wants it? Why aren't women supposed to suck it up and deal and "take a cold shower" if they marry a guy with low interest or performance issues?

Further, all she needs to do to initiate is give a "special look" and it's up to him to take it from there? Would that it worked that way for men, but women, as we all know, require a bit more than just a "special look" to get into bed. Even if you've already given them years of your life and legally handed them half your assets, getting some still requires more than a "special look".

The commercial trades on the inequities in gender expectations around sexual initiation and responsiveness. And it pisses me off to be reminded about the hoops men are expected to jump through for sex and to please their wives.

Do I expect these things to ever change? Nope. Basic biology says males will always be most successful by mating whenever they can with whomever they can, and that females will be successful by being maximally picky. But if men can't have it all as a result of a gender transition movement, I don't think it's realistic or fair for women to expect to have it all either.

Monday, May 16, 2005

I got my dork certification

Purchased online today: 1 ticket for the 9:10 AM Thursday May 19 showing of Revenge of the Sith.

Robbing my inner packrat of environmentalism

A cornerstone of my reluctance to throw things away is that I think it's wrong to discard marginally useful stuff. I suppose I think that, somewhere, someone would want it, and if I could get it to that person, then that person wouldn't have to go out and consume a new one. But the fact is that I've never found someone to use any of these things. And I've lugged so much crap from place to place to place as I've moved.

I've come to recognize that, while discarding something does contribute to the size of landfills, it doesn't hurt the planet any more than having the thing stored in a box in a closet in my apartment. Location of an object doesn't change the environmental equation.

Now if I were to go out and acquire replacement stuff, that would be bad. But I live like a monk. I don't need or want more stuff.

Today I went through crates of papers that required filing and recycling. I found some amazingly useless things like my electric bills from 1997, and my long distance bills from 1998. Don't think I'll be needing those. They all got recycled.

I don't know what to do with some many year old outdated cell phones, though.

But there's more room in my apartment now. I like it. I've done well getting rid of junk. I now ask myself, "Why am I saving this thing? Will I ever really use it? Is it useful to anyone else such that it can be donated?". It's hard to put thing in the trash. But I don't miss them. I have yet to regret having thrown something out.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Why I like the DMV

I finally got my car smog tested today. It failed, as expected.

It's a 1992 Isuzu Trooper. I bought it 1997. I wanted an SUV. I know, I know... I now aspire to a hybrid Civic.

I had meant to get rid of it when I finally got another car in 2002. But then the household needed two cars. And the truck wasn't dead yet.

The truck's problem is that a cylinder doesn't fire properly, and therefore much fuel doesn't combust, so the hydrocarbon emissions are off the chart. Not very green of me, I know.

The problem is, repairing the problem costs about 3.5x what the truck is actually worth. But I own the truck outright, so I can either a) spend nothing, and destroy the environment b) spend several thousand and have a more environmentally friendly 13 year old car or c) Spend tens of thousands and acquire a more environmentally friendly new car. I've been choosing a), with the hope of saving up for c).

The car has to pass emissions to get registered. The nice DMV lady gave me an extension to get it smogged. Knowing it would fail, I'd begun plotting what I'd replace the truck with. Having gotten it smogged with the expected failure, the nice (and cute!) DMV girl then gave me another two months to get the car off the road. Those two months are just what I need to make the transition.

The good news is CA has this program where they'll give you $1000 for ANY vehicle that fails emissions which you voluntarily retire. So if I can't get more than $1000/(1+excise tax rate) on the trade-in, I'll use that program.

But the DMV lines were short, and the lady gave me two more months, and I really needed them. So yay for the nice DMV lady.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Fight the power

I was in SF yesterday for an interview and walked past the Moscone Center (big convention center in SF) where there were some rather interesting protesters.

There were a handful of men on either side of the street holding signs and passing out leaflets to those who approached for one. I'll do my best to remember the signs:

"I was too young to consent to circumcision"

"End male genital mutilation"

Their signs got me thinking: "Right on, brother!" If foreskins were somehow harmful, we'd have evolved not to have them. Plenty of cultures throughout the world don't cut off parts of their baby boys' most sensitive regions, and their civilizations fail to crumble, and their boys grow up to be fully operational baby making machines.

If the genders were reversed, if we cut off parts of baby girls, don't you think the feminists would have put an end to it by now?

My male children, should I have any, shall not suffer "the big snip". When they ask why mine looks different from theirs, I'll explain that everyone's looks like his when they're born, but people used to think it was ok to cut off parts of them to make them look like mine. I didn't let them do that to him, and if he wants to, when he's older, he can choose to do with his as he likes.

Hello, my name is Ken, and my foreskin was cut off without my consent.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


I had the pleasure of being stuck in rush hour traffic home tonight. I noticed all the ads on the radio for the local news. They're full of teasers about tonight's stories. After dramatic voice over about some terrible thing that should cause us fear and concern, they end with some question they leave unanswered, and then urge you to "find out tonight at 11".

But given how local news likes to close each story with some wishy-washy truism like "only time will tell" or "that's up to a jury to decide", they never resolve the tension they create.

Radio ad: Is the drinking water causing cancer? Find out at 11

11 o'clock news: Maybe

So one more reason I hate TV news.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Make it stop

Dear AOL:

I first received one of your unsolicited software diskettes back in 1997. Despite my household's being a customer, you sent invitations to sign up. And despite my having a Mac, you sent Windows software. But since the disk was a standard 1.44MB diskette, I reformatted it and used it for storage. Reduce, Re-use, Recycle.

But then the world went CD-ROM. I received one CD per month for a year. Perhaps my failure to respond to your offer (which no sane person would refuse) caused you to lose confidence in the US Postal service, which prompted the redundant mailings, just in case I didn't get the disk the first 11 times. I used some for coasters. Reduce, Re-use, Recycle.

In 2000 I got broadband. Your earnest invitations to switch from 1500K to 56K in order to access AOL's "unique content" continued. And despite Google, and Gnutella, you then offered me a chance to pay you $5 per month on top of what I pay the cable company to get celebrity gossip, trailers for movies I'd never see, and the amazing ability to "share photos" and "download music".

While I admire your persistence, I have run out of creative uses for the useless CDs you keep sending me. At this point, too many landfills have been "AOL Optimized". Please stop, or I shall be compelled to contact the media and then dump truckloads of your CDs on the lawn of your corporate headquarters.

Great bumper sticker

"What would Jesus bomb?"

Friday, May 06, 2005

Rolly chair

My new apartment has hardwood floors.

My old computer chair has rollers on the feet.

My old apartment had carpet.

So my rolly office chair will really roll if I let it.

The kid in me wants to roll up the rugs and scoot around the apartment in my chair. He wants to go from the desk to the fridge with one giant push. Or to play the game of "the floor is lava, and you cant touch it, but you have to get from here to the bathroom and back".

Thus far I've been an adult.

But I think about playing with my rolly chair.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Coming soon to a blog near you

I feel bad that I've not been inspired to craft a post of substance lately. I was going to blame it on a lack of ideas, but in reality it's lack of time. I've been busy. I suppose I'll get one out this weekend.

I planted orange calla lilly type thing bulbs in pots about a month and a half ago or so. They're just sprouting now. I think I'll take a picture of them every day and do a time series photo essay. That'll be cool. Come back in like August for that one.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

"An Evil Petting Zoo?"

I always refer to this line. People seem to forget it. For some reason it stuck with me.

I mention it when someone thinks of something crafty.

Person: You don't have to buy it if you just need it for one night.


Person: You can just be careful when you take the tags off. You can put them back on and return it.

Me: EVIL petting zoo

Person: Wuh?

Tuesday, May 03, 2005


I made this recipe tonight. Well, I made a soup inspired very largely by this recipe. I used acorn squash, and couldn't find my maple syrup, so I added some brown sugar. It's qute good. Thanks to my brother for mentioning it to me.

When I cook I do have to wonder why I bother. Yeah, the food is good and healthier than most junk I'd get for take-out. But it took me about an hour, maybe longer, to make the soup and to roast two chicken leg quarters. And I'm still not done cleaning up. I've cooked in advance, and will probably eat the leftovers later in the week. So I suppose I should amortize the time spent tonight over the meals eaten down the road. But I can understand how people would just go out or pick something up most nights. It may cost a little more, but it's less work and takes less time.

Anyway, I recommend the recipe.

I fixed the link.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Sticks and stones

I went to the orthopedist today who sawed my cast off. I had the x-rays last Thursday. He said it looks "great" which I assume is actual indication of superlative recovery. He's one of those doctors who takes a little time to warm up to other people. Man of few words. But he gave me a good cast, and I'm grateful for that.

So I got a prescription for a brace. I had special instructions on which drug store to go to. The guy at the store was kind, helpful, informative. He dropped little things in our conversation that, in hind sight impressed me. He seemed to know a little about everything. He appropriately used "erg" as a verb in reference to my (currently shelved due to injury) rowing career. He seemed to genuinely care that I do the right thing and heal and that I not try to do anything with my right hand. I got a gentle and good natured scolding for taking the papers he handed me with my right hand.

So I have the brace on my right hand, and will wear it as much as I can for the next month.

I had a super busy day today, so I'll update this with fun photos tomorrow sometime.

My new apartment is in a place where folks have AMAZING flowers. They call to me and my camera.

I have some funny stories from my move. More on those soon too.

Is the sidebar of my blog not loading for everyone, or is it just me?

Sunday, May 01, 2005

My Decorating "Style"

"Late modern garage sale"

I'll just be happy to have stuff out of boxes and to be able to find what I need when I need it.