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Category: culture

10/02/08 08:30 - 51ºF - ID#45903

Yak Shaving

An awesome term, for when you find yourself doing some task at 8 removes from what you meant to be doing, each step along the way seemingly utterly necessary...

You start out deciding to tidy your room and you realize that in order to do that you'll need some more trash bags, so you need to go to the shops, which will involve you getting out the car, but the car needs gas, so you'll need to go to the gas station first, which means you should probably find your gas discount card, which involves finding your keys, which are in the room somewhere... ( )

And ultimately, in order to tidy your room, you somehow end up shaving a yak.


You know it's happened to you too!
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Permalink: Yak_Shaving.html
Words: 134
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: work

10/02/08 07:43 - 45ºF - ID#45886


I like being the first one in at work. No interruptions, a nice start to the morning.

That's all :)
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Permalink: First_.html
Words: 19
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: economics

09/30/08 09:38 - 55ºF - ID#45858


Actually, I am glad that the bailout failed. We'll now get a smaller, more incremental bailout. Rough ride for the next year though, no matter what.

Japan in the 90's went through a crisis very similar to ours, a huge asset bubble and then a giant markdown.

I get what the crisis is about - liquidity - but there's more then one way to solve it. If we prop up existing institutions no questions asked, we'll end up like Japan in the 90's, where zombie banks were technically fine but actually not able to loan much money anyways, thus dragging the crisis out into stagnation for a decade.

The current failed plan was to buy the bad assets at their original inflated values, sell them back to the market at a reduced rate, and use the funds from selling them to buy additional bad assets and repeat the process until all the money was totally gone. That is, if you believe the conference call that was held between the government representatives and Wall Street insiders ( mp3 torrent ), instead of what was said publicly.

Banks operate on the velocity of money. They take money in, send it out again. Don't think of them as repositories, but instead as intermediaries between those who need to hold cash and those who need to spend cash. The banking system is not set up for stasis.

The proposed plan would've increased the velocity of money. Something does need to be done, but jumping to the most drastic expensive plan doesn't sit right with me. I'm totally up for $500 billion worth of no interest loans, something along those lines.

But not recapitalization of the largest banks via burning down $700 billion. Plenty of smaller banks are doing fine. Those are the ones that should be getting help, to replace the large burdened banks. A new day on Wallstreet, slaughter of the behemoths is what sounds good to me.

If 10 years from now there are no familiar old names on Wallstreet, and a new crop of giants risen from the ashes of this meltdown, I'll be a happy camper.
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Permalink: ZOMG_DOOOOMED.html
Words: 355
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: politics

09/29/08 09:35 - 55ºF - ID#45835

I Can See It From My House

Well OK, I just posted that other thing but this is too good to not also make a journal.


Original CBS interview w/ transcript:


I can't wait for the VP debate this week! It's going to be a disaster. That is, unless they manage to take back all the nonsense they've been force-feeding her for a month now. She would've been better off just being her own person instead of programmed to spout talking points.

I was afraid of her for a long time, but they wasted her.

--- UPDATE ---

Check out this bingo score card: play along from home!

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Permalink: I_Can_See_It_From_My_House.html
Words: 119
Location: Buffalo, NY

09/29/08 08:54 - 55ºF - ID#45834

The Internet - Rule 34

(regarding Paul's journal: )


From xkcd - CC licensed -
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Permalink: The_Internet_Rule_34.html
Words: 20
Location: Buffalo, NY

09/27/08 09:38 - ID#45812 pmobl


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Permalink: B_52_s.html
Words: 4
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: crazy pills

09/22/08 10:06 - 50ºF - ID#45755


So, I probably have ADD. Thus explaining my inability to sit through meetings and various other detrimental distractibility-related issues, and explaining why I barely graduated from high school and totally failured at making it through college. There is apparently a non-hyperactive form of ADD, and that's what I have, and why it wasn't noticed before.

They're giving me Strattera, and - wow. OK, my brain stopped endlessly churning. When I see my face in the mirror I see a face instead of a mishmash of random details that don't look right. I can sit through a meeting without wanting to stab myself in the eye. When people talk to me about something I'm not expecting I can understand them the first time, instead of asking them to start over a few sentences in. If I get interrupted I can go back to what I was working on without losing my place. I wake up in the morning instantly instead of groggily. Still have yet to see whether it'll help with my planning and juggling abilities, but I'm really hopeful.

If this all works out I'm going to seriously regret not knowing about it 15 years ago, when it would have maybe meant I could have gone to an awesome college. I had the highest SAT score in my graduating class at City Honors, but couldn't make it in structured settings.

I used to think I was lazy, but I do so much stuff - I just do the wrong things, and can't aim my mind where I want it. Despite many years of fighting it, reading self help books, working with counselors on planning skills. And so. It's going to be nice not hating myself in the future if it works. I'm trying not to get too excited yet, just in case. Still: hope - it's nice.
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Permalink: ADD_O_RLY_.html
Words: 306
Location: Buffalo, NY

09/21/08 03:10 - ID#45748

Proof Fall Is Here

Christmas Decorations on sale!

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Permalink: Proof_Fall_Is_Here.html
Words: 10
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: science!

09/20/08 10:14 - 61ºF - ID#45737

7 Years

It occurs to me as I sit here and type, that the underwear I'm wearing is seven years old. It's probably the only pair of boxers that I still own from way back then, but still. Ancient, right?

Science tells us that all the atoms in our bodies are cycled out and replaced, and that it takes about seven years or so to get a complete swap. Essentially, the underwear I'm wearing right now is more permanent than my actual human self, but for the thread of consciousness that weaves the whole dance of molecular this and that together.

I think I'll throw them out, I've noticed a couple holes.
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Permalink: 7_Years.html
Words: 110
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: life

09/17/08 12:07 - 67ºF - ID#45706

Of Past and Present

Let me respectfully remind you:
Life and Death are of supreme importance.
Time swiftly passes by and opportunity is lost.
Each of us should strive to awaken.
Awaken, take heed, do not squander your life.

-- Buddhist Evening Gatha

My favorite author died this week, my boss died a few weeks ago, and today is the anniversary of my Mother's death. The thread of these three deaths has been at the forefront of my mind, no surprise. They are all tied together, in their base and inescapable human ways, but marked by such deep contrasts that it's impossible not to sift through and try to find meaning, to learn something of the nature of being in this time and place. To reflect on my own existence.

Every year on the day of my Mother's death, I write about her loss. On her birthday I try to make a post about her life. It's been three years since she died, and this time I'll depart from the usual pattern and talk of myself, and of others who have died recently.

David Foster Wallace was the pre-eminent postmodern author of the last 15 years. He was the person to best employ the English language since Shakespeare walked the Earth. He died this week, a suicide. He was 46. His work was intellectual and all-encompassing. He would write about subjects and consider all angles, paint them vividly, but always carried a specific intention of meaning and attitude towards what he was writing that shone through. His writing spared not a single ounce of truth, missed no branched paths to travel along, and appealed to the reader in only the most direct expressions he could muster. He towered in my mind as an example of giving only your best, unfailingly. Of juggling insight and madness and confusion and constructing glorious insight from within. To have him give up, decide not to try anymore, cuts me to the core. I had not realized he was my hero until he died, as I generally avoid having heroes.

I am flawed through and through. I try every day to be a better person, and fail. That is merely human, but maximally humiliating in practice. I don't know how to do it any differently. I just need to keep trying, harder and better. My Mom used to say, "such is life", and I've resorted to using that as my shield for pain and distress I encounter. Yet, particular circumstances of life are painful and beautiful in ways that shouldn't be reduced to aphorisms. You can't live without choosing meaning and vision broader then what you've been handed down by those who precede you. So, such is life, to question deeper then you're capable of understanding. The journey is the destination, goes another famous saying, but that's not always enough, as David Foster Wallace apparently decided.

My boss and friend Luke, who also committed suicide, died three weeks ago. Killed himself, yes, but in this case it's easier to understand why. He was diagnosed with cancer, and had a serious chance of not making it through treatment. The manner of his death was carefully planned. All his affairs were put in order, and he let no sign of his decision slip to those around him. A deliberate and personal choice of how to end his death. I don't harbor any ill-will to his decision. What I do think of, is his life - painted starkly sad in his death. He died here, a stranger to this city, with no close family and few friends. Only a co-worker to find him, in bed, naked and bruised and lifeless, and no way to express his pain without feeling guilt burdening those to whom he had few ties.

I have learned over time how to exist in a relationship, and share my life with another person. That is the truly rewarding accomplishment that I'll count on until the day I die. I have to work every day to not be selfish and to not close myself off. It's a constant struggle but one I feel I'm winning. James, I am sorry for my failings and glad for my successes, and I am so thankful for your presence that it hurts. There is nothing that could change my life more, or better, than my relationship with you.

Rosanne, my Mother, has been gone for years now. Not to suicide, but sudden - very sudden, at the age of 54. I no longer pick up the phone absent-mindedly, thinking to call her for advice or to chat. Often the saddest part of thinking of her is that it doesn't happen every day any longer. There is much I could now say about her, but I'll restrict myself this year to once again thanking her for never sparing an ounce in giving me whatever she could. For sending me into this world as a human being, capable of compassion and forgiveness.

What comes before and what comes after is mere shadow next to this moment. I tell of these people to shine up the past, make a flicker of connection, and to feel less alone. Picking and choosing certain words to make years of random meaningful moments align. Right now I'm still breathing, and in agony over these losses, each in different ways. I wonder what story might be told of me, my life and death. I wonder how I can change that story in the time I have left.
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Permalink: Of_Past_and_Present.html
Words: 914
Location: Buffalo, NY



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