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November 30, 2006

Midas Touch

I met up with people I used to work with at Ruckus for a few drinks tonight. I'm killing a little time before going to bed and figured I'd do one of these silly memes. So here it is...

Tags: life links

November 27, 2006

Phases

Looking back on what I spend my time and money on, I see a pattern. That pattern is that I am phase driven. I go through phases where I'm fascinated by something or really into something and then some time later that interest wanes and it is replaced by something else. These phases run the gamut of almost anything under the sun.

What I've not quite been able to do is figure out exactly what triggers a new phase to start or one to end. These phases also overlap sometime with the same genre happening at the same time. A few phases that I've gone through include:

PEZ
For awhile I was collecting PEZ like crazy. I think I amassed close to half a thousand. They are all sitting packaged up in my basement. I can't remember the last time I actually bought a PEZ.
Mouse Pads
During the start of PEZ collecting I also started to amass mouse pads. This was particularly funny since I didn't even use a mouse on my computer at the time. Here again while I have my collection hidden away in a closet, I've not added to it in a few years.
Coasters
Maybe I should just combine these all into a Collection phase as my collecting of coaster also overlapped the other two listed above. In this case the coasters get used on a regular basis and I occasionally rotate which ones are in use to provide some variety, but unless someone has given one to me as a present I've not actively sought them out in some time.
Bread Bag Tags
This was rather obscure. It didn't last as long as the others in the list but did happen. I'll admit I still keep a few around since we buy some bread that comes with twist ties and I hate those, but I throw most of them away.
Sake
For a couple of years I was obsessed with sake. I was buying and trying as many different varieties and kinds as possible. While I still buy and drink sake on a irregular basis, I'm not consuming it at the rate I did during the height of my sake phase.
Magazines
This really shouldn't count as a phase, it's more like an addiction. I have this habit of subscribing to more magazines than I care to read. Granted some of the ones I get are a side effect of the professional organizations I'm apart of, like getting Communications by being an ACM member. The majority are magazines that I've actually paid money for. I'm currently sitting next to a stack that is a foot high. Yes my stack of magazines that I've gotten and not read for 2006 is a foot high. The problem is mostly that I have trouble skimming a magazine. I'm too interested in learning about stuff, I end up reading them cover to cover. I think for 2007 I might keep two piles, one for the magazines I didn't read and one for the ones I did and see which pile ends up bigger at the end of the year.

I'm sure the list could go on, but you get the idea. I'm not really sure this is a bad thing. Yes most of these phases do involve some monetary expenditure but if I didn't spend it on one thing I'd probably end up spending it on something else. Maybe this is the down side of having some disposable income, you end up with disposable hobbies.

Tags: life

November 26, 2006

Two Months



It has been a little over two months since I returned my 350Z to the dealership at the end of my three year lease. I really loved that car. Its teardrop profile, smooth handling, fully featured interior, and get-up-and-go made it a joy to drive. Alas, winter in New England did not mix with a rear wheel drive car outfitted with high performance summer tires. Yes, I could have switched tires for the winter months, but the thought of dropping another thousand just to pretend I could drive in winter never really appealed to me.

I debated quite some time about what I would do after I returned my Z. I researched plenty of cars, went to a few dealerships, but never made it past just looking. The nail in the coffin of getting the Z in the first place was the first time I drove it. Part of the reason I didn't want to go any further in the process was a conscious realization that I was "becoming" a yuppie. Some that known me content that is already the case. I still delude myself and say that it is more a case of selective affluence.

While I could have bought and afforded many of the cars I was looking at, it felt wrong. Not wrong at the level of being evil, more wrong at the level of I should know better. I grew up modestly and while I lament that I can't remember as much of my childhood as I would like, what I do remember is not cause for alarm. The most recent issue of Details has a series of articles about yuppies and one of the comments mentioned in Jeff Gordinier's "The Return of the Yuppie" piece reminded me of my car debate:

Douglas Coupland told People "When you've 27 or 28, your body starts emmiting the Sheraton enzyme. You can no longer sleep on people's floors." By 37, the Sheraton enzyme mutates into the Four Season endorphin.

The same thing was happening to me, but with cars. The Dodge Omni I had as my first car was a distant past to what I was considering now. I had to step back and really wonder just what was going on. It wasn't so much shying away from what limited success I've had in my career, but instead wondering more about how I wanted to express it? I'm still trying to figure that one out. Inspiration should come from groups like "Living Life Below Your Means" which is active on the The Motley Fool. Alas, I've not found myself perusing those forums.

Instead of jumping into something that I might regret, I instead chose to delay the choice. I'm now a member of Zipcar. Easy access to a car when I need it, but not close enough to be more tempting than I want it to be. Two months car less has helped me discover what I would really want a car for. Highest on that list is the mundane task of grocery shopping. This is just what Zipcar was designed for. Enter in that not quite as close as I would like factor and it is a trade-off.

Peapod has filled the grocery gap, but not always to my complete satisfaction. Last time we went shopping online which was a couple of weeks ago, Peapod did not offer Eggnog as an online option. There are also many other products that are easily found in the stores but not online. Some of them fall into the yuppie category, but in general I'm willing to put money there as the hippie-go-crunchy products I feel are better tasting and more sustainable.

This leaves me in the position that I still might want to get a car, since while grocery shopping is highest on the list, trips to visit friends and explore the area are also on the list and full day Zipcar rentals get to be as bad as a car payment. I will have to see what inspiration the new year brings.

Tags: 350z life

Early Year End Thoughts

Where has this year gone? I know I could look back on posts that I have made to this blog, particularly during the first half of the year when I was making a post every day, but that wouldn't completely fill the gaps. It is the compression of time that bothers me the most. Every day almost goes by at the same pace, but the weeks and months are getting lost in a blur. Maybe it's my thirtieth birthday that is coming up soon that causes me to ponder this moment more than others.

My pessimism says that as much that has happened in this last year, much more has not happened. While some of what didn't happen was a direct result of what I chose not to have happen, much more was laziness. Am I wasting away the best years of my life or am I enjoying them. Best can have so many different connotations. Are these my best productive years when I could be creating something that changes the world or are these years the ones that I can have the best fun? I'm not sure how I would define best.

What I do know is that I feel best when I've accomplished something. At times it is a simple thing like racking the back yard. Other times it is sorting through old files and throwing out the junk. Funny that the examples that come to mind first revolve around controlling my environment and entropy reduction. I do get that same sense of accomplishment when I've created something, but that comes much less often since inspiration doesn't hit often, while there is almost always cleaning to do in one form or another.

This discussion seems to have focused on work instead of enjoyment. This year has included many hours spent in enjoyment. While those were relaxing and often times very needed, that sense of accomplishment does not accompany them. Maybe it is time to find and dust off an old book that I have lying around called, if I remember correctly, The Acorn Principle. It was a self-help book I picked up based on a review back when I was nearing graduation from college and trying to find my way into the "adult" world.

Tags: life

November 12, 2006

greendimes

Getting junk mail? Want to stop it and save environment at the same time? greendimes is a new company that takes care of contacting junk mailers on your behalf to remove you from their mailing lists.

Tags: links spam

November 11, 2006

GOOD

A friend recently pointed me at GOOD Magazine.

We see a growing number of people tied together not by age, career, background, or circumstance, but by a shared interest. This revolves around a passion for potential mixed with fierce pragmatism and creative engagement. We sum all this up as the sensibility of giving a damn. But to shorten it, let's call it GOOD. We're here to push this movement and cover its realization.

They are currently running a campaign where your entire subscription fee is donated to a worthy organization of your choice.

Tags: links magazine

November 10, 2006

I Am Not Stephen Colbert

In looking at my web logs today I noticed something very odd. I was getting referrer entries for iamnotstephencolbert.com. I did some digging and for reasons that I can not explain. That domain points at my server's IP address. The bigger mystery is the fact that it has been pointing at my server since the middle of August. I guess whoever registered the domain isn't using it. As a result I present to you http://www.iamnotstephencolbert.com/. View it while you can, I suspect someone may catch on.

Update: My friend who registered the domain finally found the page. The above link now points to a cached copy of the page I put up.

Tags: iamnotstephencolbert life

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