Searching for the Moon

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

Archive for August, 2002

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Posted by shannonclark on August 14, 2002

La Nuit

The night

I walked back to my office this evening, returning here for a few minutes on my way home, and I noticed a number of unusual sights.

Tonight I attended “Le reunions Francophone” where I mostly sat and listened, spoke a little, and tried to follow the conversations all around me – enjoyable but also challenging. Perhaps however, a good practice in listening for me – albiet a listening where if I really wanted to understand what was being said completely I would have to interject from time to time with questions and requests for explications on certain phrases and words – I think I caught most of the conversations but I am also sure there were some sublties that I missed.

In any case, back to my walk over here.

The protester outside of the Chinese Embassy, who seems to appear there each evening had left when I again walked past that building on my way back this evening – not sure what she is protesting, but the same woman (though I have seen men there as well) takes up a position across the street from the embassy and just stands or sits there staring at the embassy building – a rather odd sight.

There were spotlights on my block this evening, but not for anything I can explain.

It was not for the nightclub on the corner, they seem to be closed this evening, nor for the very hip new steakhouse across the street – the place with 50 tables outside on the sidewalk (must have paid someone off for that).

Nope, it was for, I think, a restaurant in the middle of the block.

Whats odd is that they have been open for a couple of months now, and they did not seem to be particularly packed this evening, nor did they seem to be having anything special or unique – rather just seemed like their usual crowd.

In anycase, there were spotlights on my block tonight – and it was interesting to follow them up the edges of the buildings into beams shing first in four directions then combined into one beam piercing the night sky.

Illuminating.

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Posted by shannonclark on August 13, 2002

Editing, (editors?), and selling

So, I just fixed a typo in my last post.

Is that wrong? I pride myself on my editorial abilities – my skill at grammer (though not specifically at spelling).

On the other hand, it seems somewhat like cheating to edit a post once published – something like rewriting the past.

Last night while briefly (really) channel surfing I saw a portion of an A&E Biography special on Hugh Hefner which showed a very cool side of him which I was not previously aware of. He has kept a scrapbook of his life since he was very young – now into the thousands of bound volumes.

Some day in the future, I image that that archive will be an amazing resource and scrapbook of the life of one our centuries most intensely lived lives. If I could I would love to take a look over it.

Before any dirty thoughts (*grin*) – and not for the photos… really. I admire Hugh Hefner for the business he built and the philosophy behind it. I’m not, in fact, all that attracted by most woman who seem (at least these past years) to be associated with Playboy – my tastes do not run towards blonds, large (enhanced) breasts, and ditzy woman. I much prefer non-blonds, highly intelligent, low makeup quantities. In short, the type of woman rarely wearing high heels and usually with short fingernails – much more my type.

So, to get back to my initial subject. Should I edit my logs? I think that fixing a typo is benign – but where does that stop?

Something for me to think about.

I spent this morning and afternoon in full on selling mode – pitching myself and my company to various people at a business networking event, trying to pitch while not being too eager and not too agressive – quite a challenge. I hope I met will – will see as I follow up over the next few days and weeks.

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Posted by shannonclark on August 12, 2002

So okay, am I getting older, or is it a real trend?

Sunday was my building’s annual Summer Party out on the patio of our building. Usually lots of people, lots of free food (well paid for by my assesments), a barbeque, and a chance to meet my neighbors.

I arrived late, so perhaps I missed much of the crowd – but 4:00pm was a bit early for dinner in any case. I arrive around 6:30, still not all that late.

But everyone seems old.

Really old – at the table I sat down there was a man with a World War vetern’s shirt on, WWII I think, but still – over 70!

Mostly the crowd were in their 40’s, perhaps even in their 50’s with some in their late 30’s. Or so they looked to me.

Perhaps the young people in the building did not attend, or perhaps they did and had left by when I was there, but it was a far different crowd than in years past.

Further, I heard later Sunday that they shut down at 8:30pm, most years people have hung out until late into the evening drinking wine and talking – one year the talking continued back at one guy’s apartment.

So, my question for myself is am I getting older along with the building? I’m only 28 – I should not “feel old” but at times I am beginning to, a very odd sensation. Though in my building at least, I am young still.

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Posted by shannonclark on August 8, 2002

My french is not so bad…

Well, I held my own – a few fumbles, many questions about what word (or words) to use, and only a couple of major faux pas – good to see that all those many years of french classes did sink something into me – even it I never was very good, I can at least hold a conversation and express myself in complex thoughts – which is a very satisfying thing to be able to accomplish in another language – now if I could also listen to other people’s conversations and catch more than about 80% of them… (not to mention if I could listen to music in French and catch more than just a couple of words here and there… but since I have trouble with that in English – shouldn’t be surprised that I have trouble in French)

But for something I have barely used for almost 8+ years and even then only very basically in College so tack on another 3 years – it is good that as much stuck as it did… makes me consider whether or not to take some classes this fall at the Alliance Francais to keep up – at a minimum I think I will be attending a weekly French conversation group that occurs on Wednesdays not too far from my office. Should be good to get back in the habit of speaking another language (other than the Technogeek I speak all the time… which really should count as my second language pushing French to third and my smattering of German to fourth).

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Posted by shannonclark on August 8, 2002

Social life?

In a few minutes I am leaving for my second mostly social event in as many days – not my usual pattern at all, but a fun one!

Tonight I am attending an event at the Alliance Francais (where I can practice my highly rusty French), last night I attended an event by Eurocircle – a networking group for Europeans living in America – really an excuse for people to get together, mingle, drink, and meet – not at all a “business” networking event – but a fun event in any case – and one where I got to also practice my French (which is how I learned about the event tonight).

In any case, if this keeps up, a strong argument for me to enhance my social dress selection – getting a bit repetitious at the moment – though I was wearing a very nice new shirt last night – quite pleased with myself about that (great thrift store find – what was a very expensive shirt – hand wash only – that I found for nearly nothing – and which fit perfectly)

Not much else – trying to find people to sell stuff for at the moment.

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Posted by shannonclark on August 7, 2002

Neighborhoods, cell phones, and books

had to include the books

Last night I went out of my normal haunts and return to a former haunt of mine – Wicker Park. The “artsy” neighborhood here in Chicago it is an area now quite gentrified in large stretches, but still retaining an urban edge.

I arrived in the area a bit early, having a meeting scheduled with a friend at 7:30 to look at a club that he owns – so I walked up and down on area, which only months ago was fairly quiet and mostly shuttered storefronts.

Not that way anymore – now nearly all of the storefronts have been filled, some with new interesting looking restaurants, and many with various small shops and stores – gradually encroaching on the area changing the character and nature of the neighborhood.

Anyway, I grabbed some tacos (only so-so) and met my friend. After seeing his place, I decided to walk up north (to the more famous section of Wicker Park – the intersection of Milwaukee, North and Damen) to do some shopping and to sit in a cafe and get some reading done.

I stopped at a great local bookstore (Myopic books) where I have been a semi-regular for almost 10 years now – through three locations. They had a number of books outfront, and I stopped there looking at them – dangerously enough I found a number of books to buy – four old editions of Granta (perhaps my favorite literary magazine). However, first I recieved a phone call on my cell phone – I was not in the store, rather I was just near the entrance, but still, while I was on the phone the clerk came out and literally shooed me away saying “please take your call outside”.

Had Myopic books not been one of my all time favorite used book stores, that alone would have led me likely never to return.

But it is a part and parcel with the character of the neighborhood – the artists/anarchistic trends (Myopic being the meeting space for the local anarchists for many years) vs. the gradual forces of gentrification. I guess that I, with my cell phone at my hip, looked every inch the force of gentrification (though I was dressed in an old t-shirt and slightly baggy structure pants).

Anyway, after my call I found still more books and bought them – then walked up the street to another neighborhood institution where I spent the evening reading and ate some vegetarian curried sweet potatoe stew (very good).

I miss “cool cafes” – far different from the crowds you see and find at my current normal cafe haunt – the Starbucks on my corner – there I do meet some very interesting people, but more often I see tourists passing through, and a subset of the “beautiful people”. Earwax, where I was last night, is far from that, though there were a few couples – slightly tipsy – that seemed slightly out of kilter with the rest of the neighborhood.

More typical was the woman who joined a friend – she had a mostly shaved head, more piercings than I can count, was tattooed in many places (that were showing) and commented that someone recently had come up to her on the street commenting “didn’t I just see you on the cover a magazine” – something tatoo related I believe.

Very cool. And somehow very relaxing – a mix of current students and artists, of all races, looks, and sexual orientations. If it were not for the fact that many (more than I can really believe) are smokers, it is an environment I would spend much more time in – I am not quite of the crowd, but I feel comfortable there – I like the variety, the willingness to question and to think. Far different from the typical crowds of more cookie cutter people in my neck of Chicago.

Anyway, it was a nice evening – I finished one book (by Milton and Rose Friedman) and started another (Tom Peters – will be finished tonight problably – not a serious read). A good clip, but one I need to keep up if I am to stay on top of my book purchasing of late.

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Posted by shannonclark on August 4, 2002

The deterioration of normal life?

Last night bits and pieces of my life began showing the wear and tear of years of not really being an active shopper.

First, I noticed that one of my favorite “nice” pants, perhaps my dressiest pair of black pants – has a series of small, barely noticable, but highly annoying HOLES. Not sure is there is a fix for this one, though I will ask my dry cleaner this week to see if she can work some magic repair on them.

Second, my VCR just decided to completely and totally stop. It won’t eject a tape I had left in it, it will not even POWER ON! I suspect the only “fix” here is to buy a new VCR.

Yes, I should also get a DVD player probably, but I do have a collection of old tapes and movies (though a small one) that are all on VHS tapes – so I should really have a VCR in the house.

My problem is first, I did not really plan on shopping for electronics anytime soon. Second, it is a fairly stress inducing activity for me.

I have to explain. Other than investments into my company, I have barely been a consumer of anything for the past three plus years. I don’t buy many new clothes, I don’t buy many cds, I certainly don’t even shop for electronics all that often.

Heck, I was the first person in my immediate family to buy a TV in the past 20+ years when I bought my current tv set six years ago.

Since then, my sister has bought one set as well.

Other than that – the only other TV bought by my immediate family was a set my parents bought USED before I was born, by the time I was born it had failed.

The one set in my house growing up (which we did not get until I was in the 8th grade), was a gift to us from a relative of my grandmother’s boyfriend at the time.

My family, as I just alluded to, are really not very good consumers by typical American standards, we tend to buy items very rarely, and tend to use them past the point they have failed (often just going without them when they do inevitably fail). Whether it is computers, vacumns, stereos, or other electronic items – we very rarely buy them.

In large part it is because my family essentially always pays cash for items – again with the exception of my company, I almost never have carried debts of any kind – which has tended to keep my purchases of big (and small) ticket items to a minimum.

That said, I am certainly at the point of no return in terms of how long I have put off “shopping”.

I actually do enjoy shopping – though more when I have someone to shop with than shopping on my own – on my own it quickly gets boring, with someone else it is an event and enjoyable.

At the moment I now need to shop for: a replacement VCR (or get this one fixed), a dvd player (seems inevitable that I get one), at least one or possibly two new suits, a handful of new ties, about four or five pairs of new slacks (at least two khakis, at least a couple black, and some other dress/casual slacks suitable for going out, a couple of pairs of jeans (all of my current have seen far far better days), at least one new pair of gym shoes, a couple of sets of “activewear” (sweatpants etc – basically have nothing like that at the moment, one pair of sweats that have seen better days), many pairs of new t-shirts to replace my main that need to be tossed (stained and/or holes in them), a set of new white socks, multiple sets of new dress socks, more other essential men’s clothing, probably a couple of new jackets (at least a raincoat, but also a couple of other weights of jackets), a pair of gloves, two new pairs of glasses (one sunglasses preferably), a wristwatch (or at least fix my favorite that has a broken glass), at least one new pair of business shoes (very difficult, I wear narrow and need major arch support – very very hard for me to shop for), a few new dress shirts, many new short sleeved button down shirts (i.e. for going out in the spring, summer, fall), lights for my house (at least three or four sets of floor lamps), a can opener (my current is broken), a real kitchen table, a real couch (or two), a rug for my living room, a stand for my electronics, cables to move my TV to the other wall, light bulbs to replace the many burned out throughout my house, a monitor for my home PC system which has a broken screen (and really should just be tossed but it has data I need to recover), and probably countless other items that I need (like a new toilet seat and some other minor hardware items for my house).

To prepare for all of that above, I first really should do a MASSIVE cleaning of my house (and my life).

This means, I should donate all the many shirts, pants, etc that I will never again wear (don’t fit, have holes, have stains, hate how they look etc) – this will free up about half of my closet space (perhaps more).

Then I need to expunge all of the accumulated misc. “stuff” in my living room and bedroom – this means piles of unread magazines, desk that I am not using (have not in 6+ years), futon which is compressed to 1/4th the original height and futon frame that does not open, kitchen table that wobbles so much that it is useless for anything etc.

This will free up most of my living quarters.

Then I need to fix my bookshelves (first trip to the hardware store – anchors to keep my shelves from falling to the ground!) – and then actually put all my books back onto them (which will then require many many days of sorting and ordering – but that can wait).

Then I need to be brutal in my kitchen – removing all dishes, pots, pans, and utentils which I will never use (a large number), as well as any storage containers where the lids do not fit, food items long past their expieration date, spices from three apartments ago and the like (this will create a long list of other items to go buy).

I then need to call a plumber to fix my kitchen sink which is acting up – and an appliance repair person to look at my stove and dishwasher (which I suspect really just need to be completely replaced).

My cabinets, the kitchen wallpaper, walls, and floor are a project probably for another year.

My closet needs to be attacked – with the books on their shelves this is doable.

First all items that I will never use need to be donated or tossed.

My bike needs to be repaired (new seat, two flat tires, who knows what else).

Organizers and more organizers need to be purchased and USED to create order out of the chaos which is my closets – first the walkin hall closet, then my coat closet/suit, dressware, and pile-o-shoes closet, then my linen closet (linens that do not fit my bed need to go away!), then my bedroom closet.

With the second desk out of my bedroom (the one I have not used in 6+ years) I will have space to put, for the first time in my life since college, a “comfy chair” back into my life – a place to lounge, read books, and listen to music (what a concept!) – this of course needs to be bought.

My desk needs to be cleaned, organized, finished (I have a drawer for it which has never been installed) – and then made useable for regular work at home (which I cannot do at the moment).

Also in my bedroom, a new set of laundry baskets, and carrying cases should be purchased (replacing the current which are partially broken) and various random items need to be organized and/or throuwn out.

My living room needs, besides the couch(es) and electronics stand, various small tables, coffee table, side chairs, and other items to finish my room.

Art should be displayed (not stored in silly boxes hidden in the closet) – but also protected from sunlight and dust.

In otherwords I have months of cleaning, sorting, shopping, and buying ahead of me – and little time or money to do it with (but it has been put off for far, far, far too long.

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Posted by shannonclark on August 3, 2002

And now for your local neighborhood beaucracy with a Landlord thrown in for good measure

Power is back… if just temporarily. Later in the week Com Ed will be putting up a new pole with new transformers – and will then be moving us from the temporary powertruck to the new transformers.

This means ANOTHER power outage in the future…. lets see how they do with telling us about that one.

Monday I will start filling the paperwork about this outage.

Looks like some damage to my various computer systems (hopefully all recoverable – will know more by next week). I may have one damaged monitor (a spare, but still a very nice monitor), my phone system seems slightly out of whack, and my server took some handholding to get back up (and I had to comeb back to the office after 2:00am to restart the server.

My neighbors in the building may not be as lucky – we will learn more on Monday (but what a “surprise” it will be to return to the office after a weekend to learn that your computers as acting up because no one told you that Com Ed would be cutting the power to your building in the very very near future.

Most worrying is whether or not I lost customers – either for my auctions (or auction services) or for my regular consulting services. In general Friday night is a light traffic and email day for us – however all it takes is the right person taking a look to be a great deal of money for us. By being off line for nearly 7+ hours, who know what we have lost.

The monitor that seems damaged also smells like it nearly caught afire, had it – my losses could have been huge.

Finally, I have tenants that do things like forward phone calls from their clients (over my phone lines), as well as others who just share my phone system with me – they lost any calls that came in this evening – again most likely not that many – but possibly all it takes is that one right call that was lost or the client that was unimpressed by a phone with a fast busy to be a major lost in revenue (whcih we all need at the moment0.

I shall try to get some sleep and return tomorrow to work.

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Posted by shannonclark on August 2, 2002

Power. Com Ed: 1. Shannon: 0

Well as of 8:00pm this evening (or just after) the power to my entire office building was suddenly cut. This means I have no phones, no website, and no email – not to mention that any auctions I was running on eBay would have no images (or the ones that just ended have no images), that clients who might contact cannot, and that my equipment – all of which was on may have been damaged during the power loss, or may be damaged when power is restored (hopefully early tomorrow morning).

Additionally – upon the power outage we discovered that all of the emergancy lights and exit signs in my building do not function – not a one.

To top it all, the people from Com Ed claim that the buildings in the area that would be affected should have been contacted – however I recieved no communications (nor did anyone else in my building) from either Com Ed or my landlord (who will be getting all kinds of messages from me shortly).

So, if you need to reach me – wait until late in the day Saturday, call me on my cell phone, or call me at home.

And for at 6 hours – perhaps more, I am essentially without a company that I have worked for over two years to build – gone with three cuts to power cables!

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Posted by shannonclark on August 2, 2002

my sitcom idea

inspired by a real classified from Craig’s list

ISO flight attendant/pilot with a desire to get a free education

I am a student at a private college in Chicago. I also work for the school in an administrative capacity. My spouse and/or dependents may attend school for free. The student pays for books only. This means that my spouse may attend school in pursuit of any degree(s) she desires.

You should know that I am gay. This should mean nothing to you if you understand that I am only interested in helping you obtain a college education.

Marry me and go to school for free.

Marry you and I fly for free.

I have a co-worker (female) who is willing to do the same thing. So if you have a male friend let us know.

Our school does not recognize domestic partnership.

Please have some seniorityI hate to wait(laugh)

Okay, so here is the concept (one or two perhaps?) couples – attending college and working there in a menial capacity, married to flight attendants (possibly for a foriegn carrier and/or a really cheesy one – flying to all kinds of obscure and offbeat places) who enter into this arrangement.

Clearly not a serious concept – but come on, there are lots of amusing possibilities here… of course not dissimilar to past successful comedies like “Three’s Company” but heck, nothing is ever really new, with an element of “Wings” (I think that’s the title – the one set in an obscure little airport about an odd little airline).

Anyway, my amusing thought for the day. Not something I ever really have considered writing – but you know, that might be a darn good reason to try.

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