Searching for the Moon

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


Posted by shannonclark on April 21, 2003

A post!
really, I do exist…

Okay, so, I guess it has been almost a week since I last posted. Wow, figured I would have posted something last week, but I guess not. So, this may be more of a ramble than usual, bear with me. I have been contributing quite a lot to the comments boards on friend’s journals as well as to the many mailing lists to which I belong, more on that if I feel up to the link generation…

This weekend I read three entire books parts of two others and about half a dozen maagazines which had been piling up in my briefcase. Of course I got almost an equal number of new magazines in the mail so I am still not yet ahead of the curve in that department, but it is progress nonetheless. I read the second and third Harry Potter books as well as Null A. Highly recommend Null A, lots of fun and way ahead ot its time in many respects.

The weekend was also full of many other things, it was a holiday weekend, so my options were at times limited.

I realized that as a non-believer I live in a very odd neighborhood for me, I am only a few blocks from a big huge massive evangelical Christian church (and a few more blocks from the related 4 year bible college (Moody if anyone cares). This is strange because I find myself noting “them” as they walk around the neighborhood (identifiable because they come in streams when a service lets out, and they usually are dressed nicely and carring black bound, gold gilted bibles in one hand).

My immediate reaction – that these are people I want nothing to do with at all. (appolgies to anyone who is reading this, just noting what my own reactions are).

In contrast, I do find that when I see someone on the street who is a religious Jew, I have generally a more favorable reaction, though I will admit to at times finding the Hassidim a bit much – but for me it is at least understandable, and I get a sense of kinship and fellowship with them, though we differ markedly in our beliefs (I suspect, though I have always gotten a general sense that even religious Jews are more open to my questioning of the very existance or needfullness of “God” to make sense of the world than Evangelical Christians would be).

I did have fun this weekend skewing an exercise by some of the bible thumpers from Moody, they were in the Starbucks that I frequent asking people if they would answer a short survey (seemingly as an exercise in getting into a conversation about religion with people). I suspect I may have been the only person they encountered who answered in the negative to almost all of their questions – i.e. “Do you believe in God?” “Do you believe in Heaven” etc. What’s more, I think that my humor when answering the questions surprised them – but at least, and I do respect this, they did not press me and just took down my answers and then left me alone.

In contrast, someone who had answered the survey in the more positive, was engaged into a rather complex theological debate about whether or not actions “count” (I think Moody is of the “all you need is to believe and you will be saved” school of thinking, not of the school that actions and intentions matter in the long run, though I suspect their position is more subtle than that). The basic point, I think, being that they were asking in essense “Do you think you will be going to heaven” – and if you answer something like “Yes because I am a good man and/or do good things …” they then would engage in a debate about that position.

I sidestepped it entirely by disagreeing with the premise, that there is a Heaven, or indeed, anything after death for the person who dies (but didn’t get into this rather complex subject).

So, while they did leave me alone, the debating and prostelizing did get to me and I ended up moving to another part of the cafe where it was a bit quieter.

Sunday I had a very good and very tasty Brunch. Not at the first place I wanted to go to (it was closed). Nor at the second (it did not have a buffet, just a menu and very long wait for a table). Nor even at the third, which took me almost 15 minutes and multiple innings of the Cubs game to find (it was closed for Easter, how can a place that specializes in Sunday Brunch close for Easter Sunday???). So I ended up at my fourth choice, but it was quite good, and I got a table immediately. What’s more, the hostess who was wandering around very near where I was sitting was incrediably cute and attractive – so all in all a good meal!

The buffet had lamb with mint jelly and ham, as well as dozens of other dishes, included coffee and fresh orange juice and was just $15! Very good, very fresh, very tasty, in a very cool space, with attractive people, a overly large table for one person. I ate too much, rest a bit and enjoyed the afternoon.

On the bad side of things Sunday afternoon I spoke with a good friend of mine who recently got her PhD. She’s applying for a couple of post-doc positions, but it looks like she will be leaving the US in the Spring. A combination of finances and visa issues, which is a bummer since it means yet another good friend leaving Chicago (and in this case moving halfway across the globe!).

Today was a quiet day in many ways, hopefully a bit of the calm before the storm – lots going on this week for me. Tomorrow I have a sales call out of state, which should (fingers crossed) lead to a rather nice piece of consulting work. Additionally I have a very large project which should be starting tomorrow or Wednesday and another which started last week (not as large that one however). And today I found out about a couple of other smaller projects which I will be working on this week, which is always a good thing. And that is by no means all, I have multiple people to follow up with about very large sales proposals, a number of contracts and deals to negotiate and sign (hiring a sales person, well specifically an outside sales organization!). I may also have meetings this week with a number of people who may be other potential clients or partners (or both). And, I’m trying to keep up here, I will also be working on some other opportunities all of which could be rather lucrative (helping people put some deals together, if they succeed I may get a piece of the deal). And I have an event on April 29th which I am organizing so it looks likely that it will be a very busy week indeed.

And the weekend will not be any quieter.

On Friday, my Aunt will be flying into town to visit, her daughter is in school here in Chicago so she will be visiting with my cousin as well as with myself and my parents. Today I helped her look for hotel deals online. We’ll get together for dinner on Friday. She and my cousin will likely spend Saturday doing “girl stuff” (shopping in other words) while I spend Saturday at Opcon, the science fiction convention I helped start over 13 years ago! Then on Sunday my aunt wants to take me shopping… which I guess is a good thing (her idea of shopping is a bit different scale than mine – I am very proud that I have recently gotten three new pairs of pants! Very big deal in my world. 3 pairs for about $70 total! They fit, look good and are comfortable. What’s more, unlike many of the pairs I have been wearing, they don’t have fraying edges or holes developing in places that should not have holes (not just in pockets either) did I mention it had been a while since I had bought any pants…)

I suspect my Aunt’s idea is more like buying me new shoes, new suit(s), many shirts, ties, jackets, belts etc. Shopping on a grand scale – certainly grander than I have been doing for the past 5 years or so. A bit intimidating really, though nice as well.

Did I mention my Aunt lives in LA?

On the plus side, she and I exchange gripes about how terrible the dating scene is (which is also a bit strange I must admit as well, though she is younger than my mom so it is not entirely strange, but still it is strange as well).

All in all however I like my Aunt so I am looking forward to the visit – though I will have to take steps that she does not enter my apartment (or, alternatively that I spend the next week and my every waking moment cleaning…)

And I know that I am missing many items – my current “To Do” list extends well past 70 items and it does not include the many new items which came up as a result of calls or emails today! This is both a good and a bad thing, getting close to having a hundred different things you have to do (in a short period of time) is well well past too many, and into the realm of obscene.


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