Searching for the Moon

Shannon Clark's rambles and conversations on food, geeks, San Francisco and occasionally economics

Archive for July, 2002

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Posted by shannonclark on July 31, 2002

Mail, part 2 – and communications

Well, at lunch today I went to my local post office, waited, and filed a formal complaint about my mail service.

Surprise surprise, they had about 6 pieces of mail for me right then and there, and then this afternoon they delivered another 6 pieces of mail – including three bills we were waiting on (all lower this month than last – which is good). So that was probably worth spending some time on – now if only it also works with my personal mail at home as well.

On a related subject – I have noticed an odd trend of late – some number of people with whom I have corresponded for various reasons have simply not replied to email or messages I have left them. Not sure why, I hope it is not something I said or something in the manner in which I wrote, but it is disconcerting – a vague sense that people are not listening or don’t care.

In business this is, perhaps, what I have to overcome to be a great salesperson – much like a major league baseball player, it is all about the averages, and a great performance from a salesperson is on the order of one in five people getting back to you when you pitch to them.

In personal correspondance however, I would hope it is not like sales – though I guess when you are first meeting someone you are “selling” – selling yourself.

Friends of mine seem capable of engaging quickly in conversations with people met online or in person – in a manner and way that I seem unable to anymore – once I was, now it seems more difficult – for some reason more often than not my emails go unanswered.

Not sure why.

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Posted by shannonclark on July 30, 2002

The Mail

An ongoing saga for me at the moment is mail. Or more specifically the lack of mail.

My office has gotten a TOTAL of 4 pieces of mail in the past 6 days (not counting Sunday). Other’s on our floor have gotten just a tad more.

At home, I have gotten about 4 pieces in the past our days.

Is this universal? Have all the competent mail carriers and mail sorters taken vacations the same week? Or just bad luck and the Chicago post office finally catching up with me?

In either case it is contributing to the odd feeling of being slightly cut off, and not quite entirely there that I have felt for the past few days. I love mail. It is one of the minor pleasures of my day to open my mailbox at home and see what has arrived that day, or to get the pile from my mail carrier here at the office and sort it.

Yes, as the president of my own (but small) firm – I probably shouldn’t get that excited about sorting the mail – but it is a simple, quick moment that brings me pleasure.

Also, the more quickly I open and deal with the mail, the much higher the probability that stuff that needs to be dealt with is dealt with – when I file mail away or more accurately stick it into a big pile to “be looked at later” later comes much much later indeed – usually long after what ever the mail was about has been over and done.

Not dissimmerly with my emails, if I don’t respond to them almost as they arrive – they often disappear in the depths of my mailbox, rarely to resurface to be looked at again.

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Posted by shannonclark on July 29, 2002

Are Significent others friends?

Over the weekend I had a great conversation with a number of dear friends, including one who commented that she is closer and more truthful with her friends (even male friends) than with her boyfriend. That there is a high degree of not-knowing that is core to a relationship vs. a comfort and trust that exists between true friends. The comment in part arose out of a discussion of the difference between meeting a friend’s family and a boyfriend’s family, but it was more than that as well.

As her friend, she feels safe telling me almost anything – and we do indeed talk about everything and anything.

Not really knowing much personally about being in a relationship, her observation startled me – I always considered that first and foremost I would be a friend of any woman who would then become my girlfriend.

I wonder now if this assumption on my part is more than just wrong, but also a contributing factor to why I have been single for so long – i.e. if girlfriends expect their boyfriends to be somewhat mysterious, not entirely known, and different in their interactions than with friends – then by being interested in being a friend first am I unconsciously hinting to woman I meet not to consider me as “boyfriend material?”

Who knows – perhaps my friend’s observation is not entirely accurate – but I also can see the truth in what she is talking about – friends, real friends that is, are like family – they will stick with you through thick and thin – put up with you in all your varying moods – at your highs and your lows – at your best behavior and your worst (though real friends will also confront you later about your behavior – if that is needed). A relationship is often a more fragile thing – held together by some other forces – a mix of mutual attraction and desire, as well as perhaps friendship – but what would and do I know?

When I meet someone, I am interested in getting to know them, judging whether or not I would want to keep knowing them – over time I will learn whether I can trust them, whether they want to talk to me, and what we agree (and what we disagree) on. My friends tend to be people who beyond caring deeply about, I am comfortable and relaxed around – people whose presence makes me happier, whose calls perk me up, whose emails delight me.

Woman I am interested in – do all the above and more.

I realize that, as a man, I will never really “understand” a woman (indeed really not anyone but that’s a discussion for another day) but the challenge of trying is one I would enjoy – the challenge of learning to know someone’s moods, to know how to relax them, to know what pleases them, when to talk, when not to.

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Posted by shannonclark on July 27, 2002

Once in a while I encounter a cool site by virtue of looking carefully at my own site’s logs. Below is a search engine (in beta) that allows for searching of past and present domain names – with fairly sophisticated reg ex features.

Translation – you can search for say “^hannah” and find all the sites that start with the phrase “hannah” – including my sister’s site!

Whois Report – Domain Name Search Engine

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Posted by shannonclark on July 27, 2002

Books – yes more books – detecting a trend here?

Okay – I confess – I like books.

Always have.

My childhood is sprinkled with memories of books I read, books I books, afternoons I spent in libraries and bookstores, the chase for that one book I had not read yet – the hunt for a new author to read and enjoy.

So, I am a sucker for bookfairs – have to watch myself carefully.

I was good today – I only spent $6.50, and only bought 6 books (good prices!).

The coolest will remain a secret for the moment – a surprise for someone who will enjoy it.

But I did pick up a book edition of Fantasy & Science Fiction with short stories by Mike Resnick, Harlan Ellison, and Gardner Dozois among others – should be a fun afternoon’s reading.

With my new business of helping people sell via auctions – I look at bookfair and other sales with a new set of eyes – not just “do I want this” but “could I sell this?” – I was tempted, but have decided to pass, on a nearly complete set of LIFE magazines from 1940-1954 inclusive! (missing the one issue on Pearl Harbor).

While the collector in me, and the historian, would find many pleasant afternoons in looking through the photos and advertising in LIFE – the investor in me can’t see how to sell them for an easy profit – a hard profit perhaps, but only after many months of effort – and probably not much at that.

But I will keep hunting – and continue searching for sources of inventory – as well as items for my own personal collection (and for time to catch up on my now lengthy list of books waiting to be finished or even just started!)

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Posted by shannonclark on July 26, 2002

Birthday wishes, banana bread, baking and friends

Happy birthday Mary Anne!

Its fun to help friends celebrate their birthdays!

This morning I stopped at the bakery near my house, got there early enough to get a loaf of yesturday’s banana bread – which will now be a part of my breakfast/lunch, and likely snacks for myself and friends later tonight.

This weekend I will be cooking, but more unusually for me, doing a minor amount of baking – and not from a tube of dough, from actual flour, eggs, milk and butter! Should be fun – making one of my all time favorite dishes for Mary Anne’s brunch this weekend – “Pop’s Super-Colossal Popovers”

This will be a weekend of friends, from a friend’s call last night to, to meeting up with friends on Saturday at the bookfair and debates, to Mary Anne’s brunch, to this evening and Sunday evening helping a friend with her PhD dissertation – this will be a weekend of spending time with many and assrted friends – what better way to spend a summer weekend in Chicago?

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Posted by shannonclark on July 25, 2002

Books – serious and friendly

Mary Anne‘s new book is published!

Just got my copy from Amazon today – looks good (and once again water proof).

Also with my order, I got two books that are equally exciting to me (and this does indeed tell me something slightly worrying about myself – two books on computer science/math/statistics are as interesting as a book of erotica). Two books on the topic I have been spending the last two years researching and studying – finally after having plodded my way through hundreds of computer science papers, master’s theses, and PhD dissertations, I have a couple of books to read that can help me with the background detail I should have had years ago.

While I know that my own research has ventured into areas that these books do not fully cover, at the same time it will be helpful to have much more solid grasp of the underlying basics and see what directions I should explore in the future.

Anyway – my day to day will be spent helping a friend with her PhD thesis, getting a new bunch of auctions up, and trying to convince new clients to give us items to sell on their behalf.

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Posted by shannonclark on July 25, 2002

Chapter 8 – Weblogs in Business

A very interesting discussion about weblogging in a Business context – something I think is very interesting to explore and consider – further, the article is well written and well illustrated.

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Posted by shannonclark on July 24, 2002

“No fighting in the war room”

Chicago is a town full of great romantic things to do – unfortunately I tend to do them alone, but they can still be enjoyable.

Last night, I went to the showing of Dr. Stangelove in Grant Park. Almost 10,000 people, perhaps more were there, most on picnic dates. The atmosphere was good for a date – the field in Grant Park, the city of Chicago skyline alit in the background, and a great movie showing in front of you.

The police were very polite – requiring people to avoid having open grills and pets, but turning a blind eye to the many people with bottles of wine to accompany their picnic meals. Couples curled up together on the many picnic blankets, with many on double or triple dates – but many too just there together two-by-two.

I was not, however, the only person there alone, or “just with friends” there were plenty of us there as well.

The cell phones everyone had made for many an amusing conversation – people shouting “I’m wearing a green jacket and waving – where are you?” I loaned my cell phone to one woman, who, just as she managed to get the number she was dialling right – was shouted to by her friends standing about 30 feet away – it was that sort of atmosphere.

The crowd was a great mix of Chicago, young and old (though most college aged and above, only a few kids in attendance, too late on a weeknight I think for kids really), all races and classes – people clearly still in their business suits having come directly from work and punks in all black. In short, a reminder of why I love living in a city.

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Posted by shannonclark on July 23, 2002

Two rivals meet and say “Whats up”

Today after lunch I was witness to two rivals of business meeting.

A Pepsi deliverary crew was leaving the building – having delivered cases to the small newsstand, and a Coke delivery crew was entering, heading for the same storefront.

The two leaders of the respective crews greated each other with friendly “What’s up” and pressed flesh.

Amusing to see how the front lines of business are friendly – same job, two different firms, probably with similar routes.

Outside one truck was parked on the east bound street, the Coke truck on the north/south street – the Pepsi truck just behind a UPS delivery vehicle – the engines of commerce there before my very eyes.

Refreshing in a way to see real business still goes on as the news are full of the crashing stock market and scandals du jour.

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