Monthly Archives: August 2006

Via Logtar:

Four jobs I wish I had the capabilities of:

1. Police officer
2. Soldier
3. Musician
4. Graphic artist
Bonus: Superhero

Four names I wish I had other than my own:

1. Will/William/Truman (I chose these for my pseudonym largely because they are relevent to me for personal/family reasons, but also because I like them.)
2. Ray/Raymond (or Rayford, for the sake of being unique!)
3. Ted/Edward
4. Craig

Four of my favourite actresses:

1. Penelope Ann Miller
2. Sela Ward
3. Maura Tierney
4. Bonnie Hunt

Four songs I could listen to over and over again:

1. “Down on The River By the Sugar Plant” -M Doughty
2. “The Ballad of Barry Allen” -Jim’s Big Ego
3. “Spiraling Shape” -They Might Be Giants
4. “What a Good Boy” -Barenaked Ladies

Four TV shows I love to watch:

1. The Wire/The Shield (two different shows, but only run for 10-15 episodes instead of the traditional 20-30)
2. Frasier (always more like a theatrical play than a sitcom to me)
3. Boy Meets World (It’s purely a sitcom, but it’s about as good as I can imagine a family sitcom to be, even in reruns)
4. 24

Four places I would like to go to on vacation:

1. Turkey (where the Middle East meets Europe)
2. Eastern Europe
3. Australia (America’s long-lost cousin)
4. Israel

Four of my favourite cuisines:

1. Enchiladas
2. Fettacini Alfredo
3. Crawfish
4. King Ranch Cassarole

Four places I wish I was right now:

1. Back in Colosse
2. As a music show
3. Somewhere that’s not quite so hot
4. Right here

Category: Server Room

Logtar has a great post about wealth:

The word rich is so inaccurate at times. I have met people that have a lot of money in my short life, but in reality it does not mean as much as most people think. Much like race, there is a lot of preconceived notions about how people are in higher economic levels, but those notions are less accurate than even race stereotypes. My Great Grand Father was the owner of two hotels, several properties and was able to give each one of his kids a house when they got married. My Great uncles drank and partied two hotels down the drain and in the end were left with nothing. If you saw either one of them on the street you would have never even imagined that they came from such wealth, because in the end money did not do much for their lives.

Rich can mean a number of things. Most studies have demonstrated that wealth is in many ways a relative concept. We judge ourselves not by what we have, but by what we have in comparison to what our neighbors have and what our parents had. Though almost every realtor will tell you that it’s better to get the smallest house in the richest neighborhood that you can rather than the biggest house in the smallest, most evidence suggests the opposite. Living among rich people will make you see all the things that you don’t have. Living among poorer people will help you appreciate what you do have.

When I was in high school, I was from a “poor” family in a number of respects. First, though my father was pulling down substantial income, he was pulling down less than a lot of people that went to the high school. Further, we were in some ways poorer than families that made less money.

Being rich, to me, is not about what you make as much as what you spend. My family lived well below its means until recently when they finally discovered that they had quite a bit of money and not but a few decades left to spend it. Now, according to this theory, a $30,000 credit line makes one just as rich as $30,000 in the bank, provided that the latter lives within his means. In some ways that’s how I think. It’s definitely what I think when I harbor a distaste for what I consider “rich people.”

In a wealthy society, wealth is a zero-sum game once you get out of the lowest income bracket. Look around at the wealthiest among us and look at what they spend their money on. You don’t even need to go to the upper classes to see it. I’ve commented before that an economy in which people willingly pay $5 for a cup of coffee, $4 for a pack of cigarettes, and $20 for an SUV that will never drive on dirt is not an economy that is struggling in any meaningful sense. Except when compared to the wealthy, who often flaunt their wealth and then get defensive when it starts to make people angry.

How much money is spent by the middle class to get away from poor people? How much money is spent by the wealthy to differentiate themselves from the middle class? These are the things that, for whatever reason, really bother me. Mostly because, as a society, it seems to do so little good. Individual familes improve their prospects by moving to the tony suburbs and their flush school systems, but most of the improvement is comparative. Zero-sum. Nothing is really improved.

The same applies in a deeper sense in the world of fashion. Much of what we spend when we buy better clothes really does affect the quality of the clothing. Wrangler Jeans cost twice as much as Faded Glory, but they look good for three times as long. But once you go above Wrangler, you’re spending money just so that you’re not wearing Wranglers like everyone else. Nobody’s life is improved. Your prospects got better by making someone else’s worse (cause they’re stuck in Wranglers). People buy huge houses on huge lots with huge yards that they don’t their kids play in.

There’s a suburb of Santomas that is apparently banning basketball hoops that are visible from the street because the hoops betray property values. As do environmentally-friendly clotheslines. In some ways people aren’t buying their houses as much as they are merely renting against the property values thereof. Things that would actually improve our lives are passed over for the sake of maintaining the wealth that is supposed to improve our lives.

Wealth becomes its own happiness… at the expense of the real thing.

Category: Coffeehouse

Becky has a couple of posts up about the feeling she gets when men oogle her. First:

On the friend flipside, even though it doesn’t bother me nearly as much, I would still honestly prefer to receive a compliment for my eyes, smile or wit. Perhaps these are my insecurities coming into play, but it’s almost as if they’re saying “while I like your breasts, the rest of you isn’t good enough” because these aren’t people that want to date me. The irony is that these are mostly just balls of fat, so it’s interesting that oftentimes men want large breasts with a tiny body (surgical help not included, of course).

It’s a long story worth sharing in its entirety at some point, but once upon a time I was involved with a girl named Brady that was physically stunning. She was everything I was attracted to at the time down to a T (though my tastes changed after… and maybe because… of her). Anyway, she would fly off the handle just about any time I complimented her appearence. I mean, she would just lose it. One day we finally got to talking about it, and she explained that she hated it because she put very little effort in to her appearance and she hated that the one thing that guys appreciated most about her was the one thing that she had absolutely nothing to do with.

Looking back, it is perhaps the only thing the girl ever said that actually made logical sense. And that’s gotta be at least part of what is offputting about compliments about breasts. It also makes sense that Becky would prefer compliments about smile and wit, which are strengths that are cultivated. Even the eyes get a pass because they are often marked as the windows to the soul.

As far as I go, I have unusually dark blue eyes that various women have complimented in the past. It didn’t mean much to me when they did compliment them for the same reason that breast compliments meant little to the Brady because she didn’t really cultivate her appearance so much as simply inherited it. But I will always appreciate those that did compliment my eyes because it was one of the two physical strengths that I realized I had when it came to women (the other being my height, which is major points with tall ladies such as my wife). I made a point to look women in the eyes and I think that even if they didn’t care about my eyes’ color, it gave me an appearance of confidence.

There are other physical compliments that I guess could be considered valuable. For instance I have an expressive face, which would be on par with Becky’s smile as far as compliment acceptability rationale is concerned. Beyond that, there isn’t that much to compliment (note: I am just considering above the waste assessments here!), so I suppose that I take whatever I can get, but if it’s not something that I created or cultivated, my reaction will have more to do with who is complimenting rather than what the compliment is.

Category: Coffeehouse