I just lost my nut at:
“Fidel Castro hats were made to be worn by Fidel Castro. Not hipster losers trying to look ironic.”
This page is chock full of hilariously good advice. Especially the lipstick. And yes, I don’t know dick, either–I wear black socks with shorts–but I can tell you Crocs are Wrong.
If you have a couple of hours free, I recommend sitting back and watching this video of Randy Pausch’s “final” lecture at CMU. He is a smart, talented, ambitious, and accomplished professor who seems to know how to give a lecture, and on this occasion he delivers a lecture some months before he is expected to die of cancer.
He isn’t talking about cancer or dying. He is talking about his life and his advice on how to live life well. I have no commentary; I enjoyed this special moment a great deal and I believe that it is worth sharing.
Update: Randy Pausch’s Home Page has more links, including Google Video. :)
Friend: . . . and now I’m bitter.
*** Friend sighs
dannyman: Well, you know what to do when you’re bitter.
dannyman: LEMON PARTY!!
Cool things I have come into as a consequence of volunteering with One Brick these past few months:
- $50 gift card for Williams-Sonoma at the Elks Lodge Blood Drive
- My new job, after a tip from a One Brick volunteer coordinator
- This past weekend, a hand-me-down laptop that I can soon re-gift
Or, as Saint Francis put it: “it is in giving that we receive.”
If you are looking for fulfilling ways to spend your free time, I heartily recommend One Brick, which is very simply an organization that organizes volunteer opportunities: just sign up for their e-mail list and every week you’ll be informed of cool opportunities to get out, do some good, and make friends.
I am looking forward to working the Elks Club Card Night next month, so much that I posted the event to Yelp to see about getting more folks over there.
So, sometimes I talk to other single folk who would rather not be single and there’s whining about what a drag it is dating all these random people and how scuzzy / weird / annoying / random is online dating and how much of a pain meeting people blah blah blah. I figure if I want to be not-single then I have to learn to enjoy the art of being single. You need to have hobbies, right? So, writer-type that I am I love ever-rewriting personals ads. (more…)
Sunday I slept in a bit because this is my last chance to do so for a bit . . . when I arose I bathed, then . . . I ended up writing about Tunji. I had learned of his death the night before. After my little impromptu memorial, I noted that I happened to be wearing black this day. I was dressed for mourning.
I headed out to the Tennessee Grill for brunch, it getting on towards 11:30. The Catholic church a few blocks downhill was ringing their bells: the call to mass. I detoured towards the Church . . . followed a lady in. Mass had just begun, and I followed other late arrivals into an adjoining little altar area.
They had votive candles burning, which had been what I had in mind. I lit one in Tunji’s memory and sat through mass. I enjoyed the community spirit, some of the songs. The liturgy was pretty light–the priest explained that temperance was avoiding excess. During one song I was overtaken by the beauty and the spirit and I cried quietly for my friend: the lives he had touched, the lives he would have touched had not fate taken him young. I lit a second candle for the lives Tunji touched: his family, us, his friends, and the people he would have served had he become a doctor.
A lady sat in front of me with two young sons. One she held in her arms and the older son, maybe four years old, played with her hair, casually trying to braid one side. I like the harmony: she was there for her purposes and he managed to entertain himself in a manner that hopefully felt pleasant to her.
The priest explained that Jesus had passed the bread around, take it. This is my body. By taking the bread you will spread the word. I figured out that people were getting up for Eucharist, and followed. I savored a Jesus Wafer to take communion for Tunji.
I walked down to the Grill, and had some French Toast and coffee. I had really wanted sausage. Yum!
Back home, read about bonobos in the New Yorker. Then scrubbed the shower out and bathed again after the dirty work, to head out to a date in the East Bay. I met the lady I have been dating the past three months, and she dumped me. I could see it coming and we settled things amicably. She paid for dinner. Classy lady, and too bad . . . I walked away feeling alright for having made a good effort and for having participated in some good times these past three months, and thought about how to work my next approach to dating.
Back home, I’m listening to the Avett Brothers. Surprisingly good bluegrass. They are singing now:
And I love you but I can’t remember why
And I’d love to find a reason to deny
I was a one hit wonder in my own home town
And I guess I might have made a few mistakes
But maybe that’s exactly what it takes
To get a little happy in this big sad world
How many have you made?
And which of those have you laid on down to die?
Well didn’t I say I need you?
I try to move on but I can’t
I try to think of bad times
Good memories are all I have
Not the most apropos excerpt for the moment, but a good tune anyway.
And so it goes. To bed soon, and up around 7am tomorrow to head off to the new job. The new company is about the last place I would ever have thought to look for work, but with an open mind and no agenda I went to interview, and I got on well with the team, and they got on well with me. I have good feelings, and I must make a sincere effort. :)
“What is to give light must endure burning.”
From “The Sun” March, 2007
I read this quote shortly after a significant personal setback. I believe the author is alluding to the Holocaust, which puts things in perspective. For me, the take-away is that if you want to shine, you must be ready to be burned.
I had rushed in to marriage, and consequently took a conservative approach to feeling my own love and expressing it. I figured we should take things slow. I got burnt anyway. Nowadays . . . I’ll give patience its due, but I must shoot for giving light. Keep the senses keen for that flame within, and if it seems right, throw gas on the fire . . .
. . . and be prepared to endure burning.
[Some notes jotted down in the Sidekick long ago. Good stuff, I think. Maybe I should tack it on the wall somewhere, study, perhaps revise . . .]
The joy of understanding problems and developing the most gratifying solutions.
The joy of learning new technologies with which to solve problems.
The satisfaction of getting things done, and being a reliable and respected resource for my coworkers.
The rewarding nature of setting expectations and goals and meeting or exceeding them.
The satisfaction of walking on the Earth at different time, places, and seasons throughout my life, understanding what is consistent in myself and the world and that what is variable and “in play”.
Making connections with people, from fleeting moments of acknowledging eye-contact, to soul-sharing relationships that stretch across years and decades.
To be sufficiently self-aware about my relationship with the greater world so that I don’t take more than I need to achieve happiness.
To experience with honest fidelity the joy and the pain, the happiness and the sorrow, and all the rest of feelings and experiences that are inevitably felt in life.
To practice being open and vulnerable and accepting, to allow for the possibility of love and growth in the relationships in which I engage.
To be present and attentive, to listen with good heart and a sharp mind when people speak to me.
To notice and confront dishonesty.
When “in love” to explore my partner to learn what makes them feel loved, and practice “true giving” towards them.
To always be completely honest.
The morning of July 2, I have arrived at the last page of June’s “The Sun” and find an occasion to chuckle:
“By all means marry: if you get a good wife, you’ll become happy; if you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher.”
Socrates is a mortal. And so am I.
“Wasn’t marriage, like life itself, unstimulating and unprofitable and somewhat empty when too well-ordered and protected and guarded. Wasn’t it finer, more splendid, more nourishing when it was, like life itself, a mixture of the sordid and the magnificent; of mud and stars; of earth and flowers; of love and hate and laughter and tears and ugliness and beauty and hurt.
Yes, the title says “Two Perspectives” but we wouldn’t want this content to be too well-ordered, yeah? Here’s an assertion that I know many would take exception to. (more…)
From “The Week” for June 8, 2007:
Male baboons may be the biggest voyeurs of the animal kingdom–they love to listen in on other baboons copulating. Researchers at a game reserve in Botswana found that low-status single males in a community of baboons often skulk around the love nests of higher-ranked males and their female consorts. While a female is in heat, she will often pair off with a high-status male and engage in sex multiple times during the day. The female’s love cries–long, song-like calls–draw a crowd of male baboons. If the couple fights, or if the male leaves her for even a minute, the other baboons will step in for a chance at a hookup. Researchers tested their theory by playing female sex calls over a loudspeaker. Male baboons from miles away literally dropped what they were doing to home in on the noise. “For male baboons, copulation calls are the most interesting vocalizations,” study author Catharine Crockford tells Discovery News. “From the calls, they hear about who is doing what with whom.”
Man, where to start?
- This piece is beautifully written.
- “While a female is in heat, she will often pair off with a high-status male and engage in sex multiple times during the day.” (My idea of a good Saturday.)
- And, “the female’s love cries–long, song-like calls” . . . amen!
- I have found that a noisy sex partner can be very gratifying . . . unless you have company over.
- Even so, roommates and neighbors may be fascinated and gratified by your aural emanations.
- “Low-status single males . . . often skulk around the love nests of higher-ranked males . . . If the couple fights, or if the male leaves her for even a minute, the other baboons will step in for a chance at a hookup.” Ahem. Yup. I have noticed this within my own species . . .
- . . . it occurs to me that this may explain why high-status males might feel especially threatened around upstarts.
- If baboons truly are the biggest voyeurs in the animal kingdom, then multimedia technology, electronic commerce, and overall economic prosperity could be boosted if we got them Internet access and some disposable income.
- “For [males], copulation calls are the most interesting vocalizations.” Yeah, dudes are reputed to be poor listeners at other times.
- “From the [long, song-like calls], they hear about who is doing what with whom.” . . . and this is why opera can be enjoyed in a foreign language.
Passion stimulates initiative. You have to start somewhere and since initiative must vanquish inertia, you had better have a reason to expend so much energy.
Alas, it is a lot like falling in Love: passion begets a broken heart. It took years to overcome my first heartbreak and years to heal from the pain of disillusionment the first time I was laid off. Sometimes, to avoid pain, we limit our ambitions in work and love, and we refrain from committing ourselves to opportunities to create something wonderful. But that only leads to more profoundly tragic disappointments.
I think that if you have the good fortune to find yourself passionate about something, then perhaps what you need to do is to cultivate initiative; Passion is the why and initiative is the what. When you fail in the pursuit of your passion, initiative can sustain you: when you lack the why, at least you still have the what. With a faith in your initiative and a mind open to new opportunities, you should sooner find the next thing that captures your passion, and you can fall in love anew, backed by the strengths gained from previous endeavors.
Tim! I shall steal this from you, as you stole it from Kurt, verbatim! Because it is good stuff!
Ok, letâ€™s have some fun. Letâ€™s talk about women. Freud said he didnâ€™t know what women wanted. I know what women want: a whole lot of people to talk to. What do they want to talk about? They want to talk about everything.
What do men want? They want a lot of pals, and they wish people wouldnâ€™t get so mad at them.
Why are so many people getting divorced today? Itâ€™s because most of us donâ€™t have extended families anymore. It used to be that when a man and a woman got married, the bride got a lot more people to talk to about everything. The groom got a lot more pals to tell dumb jokes to.
Most of us, if we get married nowadays, are just one more person for the other person. The groom gets one more pal, but itâ€™s a woman. The woman gets one more person to talk to about everything, but itâ€™s a man.
When a couple has an argument nowadays, they may think itâ€™s about money or power or sex or how to raise the kids or whatever. What theyâ€™re really saying to each other, though without realizing it, is this: â€œYou are not enough people!â€
A husband, a wife and some kids is not a family. Itâ€™s a terribly vulnerable survival unit.
I met a man in Nigeria one time, an Ibo who had six hundred relatives he knew quite well. His wife had just had a baby, and they were taking it to meet all its relatives. Everybody was going to hold it, cuddle it, say how pretty or how handsome it was. Wouldnâ€™t you have loved to be that baby?
I sure wish I could wave a wand, and give every one of you an extended family, make you an Ibo or a Navaho or a Kennedy.
I hope America, over the long run, finds some way to provide all of our citizens with extended families – a large group of people they could call on for help.
Living in California has caused me to worry, in varying degrees, about the need for family connection. Although the pay wasn’t great, I really enjoyed living in Chicago the last time around, in part because I was near family and because the Office was a close-knit bunch. Two tribes! Right after the marriage I accepted the raise to move to Walnut Creek, and I did worry somewhat that leaving family and friends behind could make the marriage more difficult . . . but that we’d do alright.
Living in San Francisco, though, is much better. Plenty of social activities even for those of us between families, between jobs . . . and you don’t even have to drive to get there! (Parking is horrible, anyway.) But, yeah, next marriage, especially when we get to child-rearing time, we want to be a little more vigilant that we have got some manners of family to back us up!
So, a few things I have learned today:
- If you are legally separated, but not divorced, it looks like you can choose to file your federal taxes jointly or separately.
- If you are moving from married to single, you might be paying a bit of back taxes. (Saw that coming.)
- But, there’s no penalty for under-withholding if you withheld more money last year than you owed the year before. (Yay wage inflation!)
- And, if you’d rather hold on to your cash until the deadline, the 2006 tax year deadline is April 17, 2007.
- Because this year, April 15 is on a Sunday . . .
- And Monday April 16 happens to be a
Federal Holiday–Emancipation Day. (HA!)
- The IRS is open on April 16, but you can’t have a tax deadline on a
- The State of California set their deadline to April 17, to keep in step with the IRS.
NOTE: I am definitely NOT an accountant. I’m just some reasonably clever guy who would prefer to hold on to his cash a few weeks more. Get your own damn advice from an expert, but let me know if I’m wrong, ya?
From OutKast, “Happy Valentine’s Day”:
Got a sweet little darlin back in my corner
But lo I know I love her but act like I don’t want her
Surrounded by the lovely but yet feel like a loner
Could be an organ doner the way I give up my heart but
Never know because sheeit I never tell her
Ask me how I’m feeling I holler that its irrella
I don’t get myself caught up in the Jell-o jella
And pudding pops that other sops who call falling in Love but
For the record have you ever rode a horse
Likely you could send me to Pluto I said of course
But if you aint a sweety indeedy I won’t endorse
Han Solo til I’m hit by the bullet so may the Force
Be with you and I reach you when better time permits
For now show me samples examples why you’re the shit
But how am I to know with the profession that I’m in
And if you do not know me then how could you be my friend?
Happy Valentine’s Day, and remember: when arrows don’t penetrate, Cupid grabs the pistol!
Some notes I dropped on Yelp Talk:
In my marriage, all the income went into the Savings account.
We drew an equal allowance, transferred monthly to separate Checking accounts.
We shared expenses equally. We each wrote a check for half the rent, I covered utilities, she covered groceries.
The wife was a student, the husband a tech professional.
I figured over time the breadwinner status might change.
I still think this was an awesome system. :) Basically, you set the allowances such that the Savings should grow over time, and there’s a “buffer” in the Savings account so that short-term loans may be drawn as needed to cover overages. Both partners are financial equals, and earning your money is something done for the family unit.
My last employer was slow setting up the 401(k) so at the end of 2006, we enrolled in individual Roth IRAs, and rolled some of the Savings into the 2005 Retirement.
One “advantage” of the individual IRAs turned out to be that in dividing community property at separation, the “community property” of retirement savings was pretty much “done” . . . not sure how it works with 401(k)s.
Last, I recommend that once you guys are ready to marry or such, you start your new life together with new accounts, etc. In the unfortunate event that you need to calculate “community property” down the road, having accounts clearly understood CP versus pre-marriage, that’s helpful.
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