Searching for the Moon

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

Archive for December, 2002


Posted by shannonclark on December 31, 2002

As the year draws to a close

where am I?

Yup, still at the office at 5:35pm on New Year’s Eve night, with no plans at the moment, no one to spend the evening with, no place to be, and have been working all day long.

Pretty typical way to end the year, so I should not be surprised.

I was invited to one party, however the friend who invited me has not yet herself confirmed that she will be there – so it feels more than a bit odd to just stop by a party of people I mostly don’t know (at a private home) without knowing for sure that my friend will be there – and with her and my status rather unclear. Yes, I should probably have tried to call her over the past few days, but I did leave a voicemail and emails…

There is an event way up north in Chicago that sounds pretty cool (and is very cheap – $15 for two, possibly three venues, buffets, at least two bands and a toast at midnight – for in the city, pretty hard to beat).

That’s the good stuff. The bad, its a reggae and a country band (the reggae might be fun), the food should be good if mostly vegetarian (at a cafe that specalizes in vegetarian food, though they do serve meat), and it is in a “colorful” part of town (Rodgers Park) – though that does not worry me. What does, is that I would probably not know anyone at all there.

Most of my friends, it seems, have plans or are out of town. There is someone whom I owe a call to – but since I have owed the call to her since Thanksgiving… the night of New Years Eve seems a bit odd to be calling someone out of the blue…

So, not sure what I will do – or where I will do what I do (or don’t do).

I can’t afford to go someplace fancy – and since I barely drink in any case it would be a waste – and without someone to share the evening with, enjoy the food with, talk (or dance) the night away with – it would be rather odd in any case.

It is a fairly nice day outside, so I could go down to Navy Pier or to the lakefront for the fireworks here in town – which are nice, but again, spending the evening alone in a crowd does not seem all that much fun either.

I wish that I had a group of friends to do something with – even it it were just watch the ball drop on someone’s TV – it would be far better than ending the year alone.

Though, since I have spent the past four years alone, why should tonight be any different?

I haven’t had a date yet this century… rather depressing really. And my 90’s weren’t so hot either. A brief relationship in the fall of 1998, before that nothing until the summer of 1994, 1993-1994 was perhaps my be year of the past decade (as far as relationships), and really nothing before that or much since.

So, if I were making New Year resolutions. One is, of course, to get my finances in order (which means making my company a success!) – that should help with many other aspects of life. Another is to finally finish my degree – I think I’ll stop with the 12 year plan…A third is to finally finish furnishing my home – make it someplace I can enjoy and share with friends.

The most important – however – the one that would make the others worth it is to find a woman to share my life with – doesn’t mean the woman I’ll marry someday, just someone to date and spend time with would be an amazing start – but someone where though we are friends, it is clearly more than just friends – have too often had “friendships” that led nowhere – not what I want for the new year.

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Posted by shannonclark on December 27, 2002

Pepys Diary

For the new year – a bit of the very old year… I for one plan on reading and at times perhaps contributing towards the annotations. Pepys diary is a primary source I had planned on using in my own BA thesis (still unwritten alas) and will likely be included as a source in any eventual MA or PhD thesis that I write (in history at least).

It seems likely that I may eventually pursue two very different degrees – my current programming work would prepare me for an advanced degree in Computer Science of some form – might be worth doing someday. Additionally my fantasy has always been to finish a PhD in history and then to retire as a teacher of history and a writer of popular history – but having enough resources on my own to essentially opt out of the politics of academia for the most part (i.e. endow my own chair or some such if it came to that).

I do also consider from time to time whether a business degree (perhaps an MBA) would be of some use to me – though I doubt it for the most part – the school of starting and running my own business likely has and is teaching more than any classroom environment ever would.

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Posted by shannonclark on December 23, 2002

Better Living Through Software

Lots to read – too little time… but this is a great summary of XML and the value of semistructured data being looked at via dynamic typing (which is what I keep preaching in my development)

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Posted by shannonclark on December 23, 2002

Loosely Coupled weblog – on-demand web services

Yes. Yes. Yes.

I especially like the “Usability carries more weight than features” bit – something I certainly preach to my clients on a weekly basis.

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Posted by shannonclark on December 23, 2002

How I celebrated the “holidays”

or at least how I have so far

Yesterday I read American Gods by Neil Gaiman.

I started the book in the late afternoon/early eveing, and finished it before I went to bed. Read it over my late afternoon lunch, read it sitting alone in a not too bad Wicker Park cafe – a bit too dark and not loud enough – no one really talking, but not bad and comfortable couches and chairs, read the last chapters in bed after a couple hour break watching bad videos on VH1 and eating a so-so burrito – my normal favorite place surprisingly being closed (usually open 24hrs, seem likely they have new management).

Somewhere in there I bought my small presents for my dad and mom this year – used books – stuff I think they will like, but it pains me that that was all that I could afford (and barely at that) this year.

At the moment I owe far more money than I have – much of it owe in the sense of they are starting to call me to get me to pay. Between a couple of clients not paying me yet (large sums of money), and a very large project seemingly delayed until next year (if it happens at all) my finances this Christmas are not so hot. Tomorrow I have to sell something I really did not want to sell (some stocks) and then race around trying to move money before the banks and brokerages close (if it is at all possible at all). I’ll then be working over the holidays hopefully doing stuff that will pay off next year – but the problem being right here and now.

I am not happy about this. I love giving gifts, perhaps more than getting them – and it pains me that this year I have to literally decide between fixing my broken sink, keeping my car, keeping my home, eating, or giving gifts – not a pleasant or fun choice to have to make.

So, my present to myself yesturday was a block of time spent mostly just reading a good book that my friends had all been raving about for a very long time. I was interrupted for a little while with a work related phone call – but other than that I had a really good long block of time reading a work of fiction, something I had not done for far too long.

There are some really simple things in life that make be very jealous. Seeing couples together in a coffee house, perhaps holding hands, but more just the idea of sitting together (in my case with a woman I love), having a cup of coffee and each reading, writing, or perhaps playing a game of scrabble together – how amazing would that be? And how distant a memory for me. At this point almost 10 years since I have done anything like that – 10 years. Way, way, way too long for someone who is under 30.

At the same time a friend of mine only just today complained to me about one woman who gave him Christmas presents (whom he has been sleeping with) – for whom he had not gotten anything. I’ve known him for only a few months – he’s already in that time had at least three or more different relationships, sleeping with the same woman multiple times (and told me about it).

That’s more than I have had in the past decade.

And he complains. Guess no one is ever happy – I’m single, so I complain; he’s not exactly single, not exactly committed – and he complains.

Still Holidays are a time where my singleness is highlighted and put in stark relief.

Just today I was invited to a New Year’s Eve party (I think) by a friend. I say I think because while she forwarded me the invite – she didn’t actually write anything personal to me about it – such as “would you like to go with me” or the like. So I’m not sure where she and I stand – and since the last few times I’ve asked her out she’s had once excuse or another not to join me – I have a feeling that she, like seemingly every other female friend is only interested in me as a friend – nothing more.

I did see a woman last night while reading in the cafe in Wicker park – a woman with a set of features that I am quite drawn too. I had first seen her and her friend in another store down the street – we were both shopping there, then she and her friend wandered in after me into the cafe.

Brown currly hair (winner for me).

Pert face, lips and eyes that really do something for me.

Curvaeous – but in a comfortable with herself way.

Definitely the face and the hair though.

The negatives, she smokes. And I think her friend was her girlfriend – something about how she tussled her hair as they were sitting down and getting cream for their coffee (she’s a tea drinker – not a negative in my book at all).

Reminds me of an Armenian woman I had a crush years ago – something about the feature set of currly hair and a particular build and facial features – I find it very desireable. Yes, I suspect most other American males would have been more interested in some of the many other woman – and there were some who were quite stunning – but I rarely find a woman with another man attractive – for real, tends to equal “already taken” which for me at least is a strong turnoff – though I am not above being jealous of the lucky guy with them – my attention will usually wander.

So now for the rest of my year. Work tomorrow – spent chasing clients down on Christmas eve looking for payments promised me (fun fun fun…) as well as paying bills and trying to move money so I avoid really bad things happening to me before the new year. The joys of owning a business.

Then tomorrow evening I have the joy of being a single male with a broken kitchen sink on a holiday evening – i.e. not sure what I’ll be eating (or where) – likely something really simple at home – but since my sink is broken (leaks all over the place) I can’t do many dishes (just how ever much it takes to fill a wastebasket to the point where it is still possible to move it to the bathroom to be thrown away – and running my dishwasher seams completely out of the question.

Christmas Day I will join my parents and sister at my parent’s house for Christmas day brunch (Pop’s Super Colassal Popovers – a long family tradition) and the opening of our presents – not much this year I suspect – and I’ll probably feel a bit left out – not having much to give, unlikely to be getting much, and seeing my sister and her boyfriend Pete who have a much more normal life than I enjoy the holidays together.

Then my father and I will go and see the next installment of the Lord of the Rings – been looking forward to that – and it will get me out of the house, Claritin or no Claritin, still the best preventative for my allergies is avoidance of allergens (like my parents aging cat).

Then Christmas dinner – not sure what this year, probably Beef Wellington which seems to be the new family tradition – probably something cooked by my mom, my sister, and Pete (Peter is my dad, Pete my sister’s boyfriend – gets a tad confusing at times) – once again I’ll probably not be contributing much – for though I am a very good cook – my sister and Pete seem better, more informed, more practiced, and always seem to be doing the cooking (and to be fair, they are excellent cooks and do work “in the industry” – Pete’s done research for some of the best chefs in New York, they both have worked PR for NY restaurants, Pete’s considered training to be a sommonlier, and my sister works for one of the better local restaurants in NYC as a waitress. Yes they are more than bit food snobs (in a good way).

I’m a bit rougher, simplier, less refined, and far less practiced in my cooking – which like so many other things is something I have done far far too little of in the past decade.

Far too little cooking for someone I love. Especially far too few breakfasts, or picnic lunches.

Far too few backrubs (given or recieved).

Far too few late night strolls on the lakefront, or late night coffees in a cozy cafe.

Far too long and too many entries sounding a similiar note in my journal here – hopefully fewer in the year to come.

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Posted by shannonclark on December 16, 2002

My day, tomorrow, the holidays

or the joys of owning a business, and the pains

Today has been a mostly good day, if a bit cold, as I have spent the whole day nearly fully billable working on projects for two different clients – this is goodness – especially if they pay quickly (and by the end of the year!)

On the other hand, I am also working to get attendance up for a networking event I am organizing tomorrow – if I don’t I may lose a real amount of money on the event – which would suck. (if you are in Chicago and want to attend, RSVP on but register quickly the event is tomorrow (Tuesday Dec 17th).

The holidays are always a mixed time for me, all holidays are. On the one hand I enjoy giving presents to my friends and family (something I cannot do this year – severe lack of funds). On the otherhand, they are a constant reminder of my single status – that I do everything in life, holidays included, basically alone. Sure, sometimes I am out with friends, or have dinner with my parents, but most of the time I am alone, and I am alone every night and at most meals.

While I have adapted to this – in the way of any oft lazy bachelor – I am also certain that this is not my best or most comfortable mode of living. I crave regular human contact, I crave simple normality of being a part of a relationship.

It seems so easy for so many people – in the course of knowing one friend (for just a couple of months) – he has had more relationships and more dates than I have had in the past 10 years. Rather depressing actually.

This Thursday I once again have tickets to the CSO, and once again I do not have anyone to go to the concert with – not even a glimmer of a possibility in fact.

If someone wanted to get me the perfect present it would not be money, it would not be clients who pay on time (though that would be nice) – rather it would be to set me up on a date. With a woman. Intelligence and proximity preferred (in Chicago is best).

In my 28 years I have been on essentially one blind date in my life – and that was more of a group thing than anything else, and it was about 5 years ago for just one night.

If you are thinking about doing this for me – a few hints. One, a woman who would call me is very good – I’m an idiot with little experience with dating – don’t know when/if/how to call – so make it easier for me, call me first. Two, someone who realizes that I may not take hints very well and just will up and tell me things directly – if you wait for me to make the first move I’ll over anlyze it, not do it, and regret it for a very long time. Three, someone smart and interesting with a passion and drive – should probably be willing to listen to me from time to time, but have lots to tell me about as well.

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Posted by shannonclark on December 12, 2002


Perhaps useful for your holiday shopping…

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Posted by shannonclark on December 11, 2002

Bloor Research: Linux – Enterprise Ready? (research)

I’m sure many other people have seen this – but interesting, an analyst firm that has revisted Linux two years later and changed their view from “not ready yet” to “its ready – go for it”.

Very cool, and useful to know about.

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Posted by shannonclark on December 11, 2002

On the cool things money can buy you

at least on the web if you are spending it on design and applications

Check out – perhaps the most detailed, most interactive, and frankly one of the coolest online advertising (or not) sites I have seen in a really long time.

In Shockwave they have implemented basically the Sims – you can create a persona, build a “studio” (which you pay for with virtual currency – “decibals”) and chat online in a 3d vr space.

They have also built a web based music mixing board where you can mix your own music, save it, and them make it available for people to hear and vote on (for which you get more decibals).

All this is tied into offline advertising in the form of bottlecaps on marked bottles of coke products.

Decibals can also be exchanged for entries into contests – a small number of decibals for small prize, large for entry for bigger prize. The drawings are held frequently but with staggered starting times so you have a reason to go back to the site.

They have other activities as well – games and the like – all pretty cool stuff, quick to load, easy to navigate, simple to use and well described with a lot of help.

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Posted by shannonclark on December 10, 2002

on work vs posting

or why I go so long between posts sometimes

Good news – my company is busy at the moment.

Bad news – am not quite busy enough – still have to work on closing some additional deals besides working on the ones that we have already closed.

Good news – I’m back home for the moment.

Bad news – this means early mornings, late nights, not much else for me and this may be my last post here for a while.

Good news – when I finally get paid for all of this work I should be much more comfortable in my personal life.

Bad news – this will probably be after the holidays, so my gift giving this year will be remarkably small and simple for the most part.

In any case – back to work so I can earn (if not the “big bucks” at least some bucks…)

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