Searching for the Moon

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

Archive for July, 2003

Yahoo! News – Sao Tome Government Overthrown While President Away

Posted by shannonclark on July 16, 2003

Yahoo! News – Sao Tome Government Overthrown While President Away

Small news item, but potentially very important. San Tome is one of the few major, mostly untapped oil rich countries in the world. Potentially there is enough wealth in the oil around San Tome to cattapult the few citizens from their current dire poverty (

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anil dash – “upon the demoise of Netscape”

Posted by shannonclark on July 16, 2003

anil dash – archives

Anil Dash wrote earlier today proposing that Google fund Mozilla. I think this is quite possibly a great idea.

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Flowers on the table

Posted by shannonclark on July 16, 2003

or what you can do in one very busy evening

My kitchen is clean.

Okay, that’s actually a bit of an understatement, not only is my kitchen clean, it is possibly in the best state it has ever been in the entire time I have lived in my condo.

Last night I accomplished the following:

  • Did all my dishes and put them away
  • Scrubbed floor and all counter surfaces, and santitized them
  • Transformed bookcase from being a hazard in my bedroom into shelving in my kitchen
  • Removed all misc. bags, boxes etc and cleaned my kitchen table
  • Cleaned all surfaces, including the top of my refrigerator, doors, walls etc.
  • Took frequently used food and cooking items out of random places and onto shelves on bookcase!

In short, I have nearly the kitchen that I want, now I have just smaller little tasks to do to make it perfect.

  • Replace some burnt out lightbulbs above sink
  • Add papertowel holder, probably mounted someplace near sink
  • Sort through all current kitchen items, throw out or donate unneeded items
  • Replenish long term supplies, especially spices
  • Get appliances repaired (leak in dishwasher, small annoyances with stove, possible cooling problem with fridge)
  • Remove or coverup really ugly wall paper
  • Replace cabinet fixings (hinges and handles) with more modern look

I’m sure as the summer continues I’ll think of other items which I need, but I now have a great starting point.

Last night I also cleaned my dining room table, removed the leaf from the table to bring it back to a more useable scale for my living room, set up my chess table in a place where it may actually get used, dusted my living room, put up shelves on another bookcase to store the books previously in my bedroom, cleaned in my bedroom as a result of moving the books, and found some items buried away in my closet. I also bought some wine for tonight’s dinner.

Tonight I’ll have a guest over for dinner, this morning I bought flowers at the farmer’s market, they are now on the dining room table. I also bought a loaf of bread fresh from the oven, and some ingrediants for our salad. On my way home this evening I’ll pick up some candles and probably pick up a meat dish (though I may wait until she joins me and together we’ll buy something from the grocery store across the street).

It feelds amazing to have my home in shape to have a guest over for dinner, I suspect I’ll being doing this more and more often.

My next project is my living room, I have finished for the most part with my dining area, though there are some small further things that I want to do. Next I will be moving one of my big bookcases across the room, building (or buying) a tv/stereo stand, dealing with the still too large pile of unsorted boxes of papers and other items, putting together the chair currently in pieces, and dealing with my current futon (I’ve seen identical ones available now for about $100 – might be the way to go until I can get the couch I really want…)

With the living room finished, I’ll turn to three other major projects. My bedroom and the at least one too many desks which I have in there at the moment (can I transform one of them into clothing storage? This thought just occured to me, possibly one of them with the right boxes/shelf storage devices might work for storing much of my clothes!). My closets, both getting rid of the hangers which keep multipliying, getting rid of clothes which no longer fix and I no longer wear (or would want to wear), and organizing the storage spaces in them. This includes my linen closet in the bathroom, my two clothing closets in the hall and in my bedroom, and the “misc” closet in my front hall – the later being the biggest project of them all. The third project is related to the second, it is going through the contents of my front hall closet, paring them down where possible, and making them useful – i.e. getting my golf items available, my photographic items available, my bike repaired and stored effectively, the many unneeded boxes, broken items etc thrown away (or donated) and shelves installed and put together.

Then when the dust literally settles, I’ll take out of storage my art items and display them!

It is looking very possible by the end of the summer.

(I have to thank Bravo for the show which I watched much of last night, “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” – lots of fun and somehow inspiring as I cleaned. It features five gay men transforming one straight man – improving his grooming, his fashion, his cooking, and his living area – with rather phenomenal transformations all done in a single day! Lots of fun, great banter, and good inspiration as I was cleaning and transforming my home.)

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BlogCoop continued

Posted by shannonclark on July 15, 2003

To continue and elaborate a bit from my previous post.

I have had a chance to exchange some emails with Mark Covey about BlogCoop and he has answered a few of my questions/concerns. First, his idea is to vary the compensation from the ownership stake – i.e. while all owners will be “equal”, compensation will not be (or at least need not be).

I think this is more workable, but raises a number of interesting questions and concerns, it is also not in some ways all that radical of a new thing. Further, it is different than current day Co-ops. In the Co-ops of which I am a member, all members are equal in some regards – i.e. getting the same benefits of ownership such as discounts, access to services etc. BUT each member is a shareholder, there is a minimum investment required to join, but then voting and some financial benefits (dividends) are paid out in proportion to the number of shares which you own – i.e. some owners have more votes and get bigger dividends.

The two co-ops which I am a member of are a grocery coop and a bookstore coop here in Chicago. I have not been an active member of either for the past few years as I no longer live really near either store, but I am still a member. In each case there is a financial benefit tied to one’s usage of the stores – i.e. a discount returned at the end of the year based on that year’s purchases. There is also a dividend paid to all shareholders when there is a profit (frequently paid in stock if you like).

A key difference between a share based co-op and a more typical corporation is that generally a co-op is not publically traded, and the shares are not easily trandferable, that said, the co-op itself is obligated to buy back your shares (generally after some initial limit, usually after holding them for at least one year).

The Blogcoop model suggests that all “owners” will be equal – i.e. will have the same vote (or votes depending on the system used) and will get the same benefits of membership/ownership except crucially for compensation.

In contrast, “compensation” for the two co-ops I am a member of is handled like any other business, the employees are paid a salary which comes out of the earnings of the business. The members share in the profits and recieve discounts or other benefits from membership (bulk purchasing, special orders, monthly sales etc.). Crucially you do not have to be a member of either business to do business with the business – i.e. the members get profits on the sales of goods (and sometimes services) to non-members, as well as the “profit” on sales to members. This is a crucial element in growing a long term successful business, having a source of outside of the group resources.

In any case an interesting idea which I have shared with a number of the groups I am actively involved in. I look forward to their reactions and to seeing how the idea grows.

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The Blog Cooperative – BlogCoop.com

Posted by shannonclark on July 14, 2003

The Blog Cooperative – BlogCoop.com

While I have some serious questions about this model for business – mostly in that I do not think that all people are equal when you are talking business – perhaps (and I mostly agree with this) a good position for representative government, but even there you usually do not have literally “all people are equal”.

Rather, in any democracy there is usually some minimums set around what a “person” is – i.e. usually a “citizen of the country”, a “resident of the local area”, above a certain age, having taken action to indicate an interest in participating (i.e. registering to vote).

Further, typically voting is a right, not a requirement, and as a right is something which the society can and does take away (i.e. in the US, people convicted of a felony often lose the right to vote as well).

Thus, even in politics it is not “all people are equal” – but rather, it is a group of people to which any particular individual may (or may not) belong, then within that group all people have the same number of votes (typically one on any given issue, though this is not the case in some methods of voting) and all votes are of the same type and value.

In the corporate world, for example, this is not always the case. Some stock holders can have different types of stock which grant different voting rights (or none at all in some cases).

More crucially, I have a philosophical problem with an economic system (which a business, even a co-op should be at some level almost by definition) which does not contain a recognition that contributions towards results will differ, and does not provide incentives and structures to support people of different abilities, interests, needs, and goals.

I can and do see a value to supporting the members of a business who are not directly producing revenue, however, everyone in a business should contribute towards the business, over time if more is taken out of a business than the business pulls in, the business will soon cease to be.

There are usually people in any business whose contributions are not readily apparent – that is, they are not immediately delivering more revenue than they are costing the company. Some of these people are truly excess and in many cases the company would be better off either redeploying them or firing them, however many of these people are involved in longer term aspects of the business. Some in setting up the infrastructure and underpinnings for the business, others in research into the future of the company, and others by helping the company avoid risks in the future (this last category can be the hardest at times to see the return – in the best case their work is never fully tested, they manage to contain and minimize the risk. Good illustrations of this might be cases where the risks in a business were poorly managed, resulting in cases such as Barings Bank which declared bancruptcy).

Thus, when it comes to business ventures I want to be careful that the businesses I get involved in are ones where I can see both how I can contribute, how the business with get revenue, and that my share of that revenue and future profits will bear some understandable relationship to my contributions. I know that I can be very active, that I can provide very useful and valuable insights and work, and that in the past I have worked on projects where my personal return was vastly lower than that of the company. (i.e. one case where I personally brought into the company about 10x my salary)

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An Ongoing, Erratic Diary – discussion of marriage

Posted by shannonclark on July 11, 2003

Discussion of Marriage

This is a very interesting post by Mary Anne, and more so, a very interesting ongoing discussion about marriage, the role of the state, and non-traditional relationships. I’m linking to this so that I have a personal link to it for future reference.

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Cryptic still but smiling

Posted by shannonclark on July 11, 2003

or the weekend’s looking good

So, this weekend I have a number of things to accomplish, some small, and a few very personally important. On the small front, I plan on continueing my ongoing battle with being a bachelor – i.e. more cleaning, this weekend the plan is to attack my kitchen – clean and sort all dishes and pots (including the ones gathering dust in my cubboards). If I get really ambitious I’ll go thru my shelves and refrigerator, organize my current stocks, throw out or donate stuff I doubt I’ll get around to using, and restock on the basics (peppercorns, flour, sugar, pasta, ketchup, fresher spices, soy sauce, etc – been a while since I replenshed some supplies).

That’s my plan for Saturday during the day – attack my kitchen with a vengance and hope to get it to a very respectable state.

If I get really ambitious, I’ll also attack one of the other minor challenges in my apartment – the bookcase in my bedroom which has developed a suggestive tendancy to tilt outward towards my bed. My thought at the moment is to put up the shelves in my second bookcase purchased from Stars Our Destination’s store closing sale, and move those books (as well as my remaining couple of boxes of stored books to those shelves. With that done, I’ll see if the bookcase will function better on a flat surface than on its current carpeting – if so, perhaps I’ll put it into my kitchen (see above) which desperately needs more storage! (just thought of this, could work really well – score one for blogging one’s thoughts).

Finally, then I’ll continue to attack the “random boxes” – i.e. the boxes which have my assorted papers and misc. items from years of living, old school papers, writings, and many other random items – I’ve whittled the pile down considerably, but more work needs to be done.

Next weekend, the goal is to attack some of the bigger items – my extra desk, my delapidated futon, the office chair at my house which needs to be moved to my office etc.

I’ll also do my now weekly vacumning of my living room and bedroom, as well as continue the challenge of cleaning a bachelor’s bathroom (now I’m working on cleaning the brass elements etc, the big items have been cleaned, though the linen closet could stand some resorting to put all the pillowcases with the right sheets etc.)

Reading this, you might wonder, why this sudden change… a small hint, still cryptic, but more details coming soon I’m sure. Saturday night, I won’t be cleaning, and I won’t be sitting in Starbucks reading…

And just the thought makes me smile.

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Somethings make more sense now

Posted by shannonclark on July 8, 2003

still cryptic I’m afraid, bear with me

Today I read a lot of articles online, some of it (well most of it) was for work, but some of it was periodic breaks to relax.

After last weekend, articles which would have been somewhat theoretical and even nonsensical suddenly seemed more real and relevant.

I like this.

Especially a short article I read which seems in part to mirror my own life, in a way unimaginable just a week ago (well a bit longer than a week ago to be very precise). I am still productive at work, though not perhaps as productive as I would otherwise be, but to, I have no complaints.

I hope this lasts. I think it will.

I find myself smiling and apparently I also nod my head up and down, not vigorously mind you, just slightly. I have little butterflies in my stomach, “beautiful ones” however I’m sure. I’m certain that this is not how I’ll be forever, but for now it is not just how I am, but how I want to be.

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Make your own movie…

Posted by shannonclark on July 8, 2003

or silliness will prevail

Well, here are the results from my first attempt at the Chuklehound “Make your own movie” Oracle

Mate Trix (R)
(Romance/Hacker)
Starring Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez
Also Featuring Christopher Walken, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Thora Birch
Directed by Cameron Crowe
Screenplay by Cameron Crowe and Philip K. Dick

Projected Budget Range: $50-59 Million
Planned Release Date: May

Projected Box Office Receipts:
$11.87 million (Opening Weekend)
$57.46 million (Total Domestic Gross)

Chance of getting Oscar Nomination: 7%
Chance of winning at least one Oscar: 3%

Critic Most Likely to Praise: Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Critic Most Likely to Skewer: Chris Gore, Film Threat

I did say silliness didn’t I?

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InfoWorld: Tim O’Reilly: Software licenses don’t work: July 03, 2003: By : Application Development

Posted by shannonclark on July 7, 2003

article of interview with Tim O’Reilly

I pretty much agree with O’Reilly’s points, and have to think about this interview pretty deeply in terms of how it impacts my company and thoughts.

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