October 18, 2009

Second Thoughts

My big hang up about getting a minimum wage job is that it simply doesn't pay enough.  I tend to think my spare time is more valuable than that.

But as I sit here contemplating what it would mean to put myself on a strict budget for personal spending, I'm realizing that even supplementing my personal budget with $50 or $60 a week would increase the creature comforts in my life by a pretty fair margin.

The biggest burden on my current objective is rent.  In my old apartment, I paid a mere $700 a month for rent.  My rent in my new apartment is a whopping $1,500.

So, if I wanted to pursue the same rate of debt reduction that I saw in January, I would need to not only subsist on whatever little bit of money I can make with online advertising, odd jobs, a second job, or whatever... but ALSO make an additional $800 a month to compensate.

I think it's reasonably safe to say THAT objective is well beyond the realm of possibility for me.  At least for now.  There may be options I haven't uncovered yet.

So, anyway, the second job has more appeal the more I think about the simple fact that every little bit helps.  The only real question is whether or not I can make more money with a regular job or with odd jobs.

I guess the only way to figure that out is to go into Banana Republic and ask!

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 08:30 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
Category: Money, Money, Money!
Post contains 252 words, total size 1 kb.

Chickened Out

Today, I noticed that a Banana Republic within convenient commuting distance from my regular job and apartment is hiring.  I went in and thought about applying for a job, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it.

If I found a way to supplement my income by $250 a week, I could likely do like I did in January and live off of that completely.  It would still likely be July before my credit cards are paid off, but it would give me steady progress.

But the MOST disappointing thing is that since my last post, I really haven't done a single thing to work toward my goal.  And I basically lost an entire month.

With that in mind, I am going to put myself on a strict spending budget starting tomorrow. The problem is that I don't know what I need.  My groceries each week usually run about $100.  So, I figure if I go with $160 a week, I will be able to do all my socializing and eating.

We'll see!

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 07:52 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
Category: Money, Money, Money!
Post contains 176 words, total size 1 kb.

September 14, 2009

Cable is Canceled!

I haven't done anything about getting a second job yet.  I'm still waffling about whether or not I want to use my my free time in that way.  I guess I could try and quit if I don't like it.

Anyway, I did make one good financial decision: I canceled cable.

For several non-consecutive years prior to moving to NYC, I didn't have cable.  I barely had my DVD player hooked up.  And I liked it a lot.  I felt like I had more time to do things and like I got more reading and writing done.

But when I moved to NYC, I had to get cable because that abomination of customer service known as Time Warner Cable didn't offer an internet-only option.  Well, lo and behold, I recently found out that they have that option now!

So, I canceled cable! That will save me about $75 a month! It's not much, but it's something!

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 10:14 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
Category: Money, Money, Money!
Post contains 159 words, total size 1 kb.

September 13, 2009

Savings Opportunity!

I have been very slow about my new financial goal.  Today, I spent some $175 on groceries, a ridiculous amount. BUT! I did discover this week a ripe savings opportunity.

Before I moved to NYC, I didn't have cable television.  I have satellite for ALMOST a year, but it was really to placate visitors.  I liked not having television because it left me with a lot of free time.  When I moved to NYC, I could not get cable without internet, so I started watching television again.

It takes a LOT of time!!!

Well, Time Warner appears to have started offering internet-only!!  For just $35 a month for the first month.  BARGAINS!

So, tomorrow, I am going to scale back to internet-only if I can.  It will save me nearly $100 a month!  And I will be able to watch most of my shows on the internets.

I will let you know how it turns out.

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 08:31 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
Category: Money, Money, Money!
Post contains 158 words, total size 1 kb.

September 04, 2009

Riddle Me This

For some reason, our office administrator at my work takes attendance every day.  They've done it for as long as I've been here, which is over three years. And no one has given me an explanation as to why this is being done.

When I prodded the office manager for an explanation, she told me that it was in case something bad happened to us they would be able to start looking into it right away.

I heard that one guy overslept and the office manager started calling his emergency contacts, which was his mother.  Of course, his mother was terrified because her son was "missing."  As it turned out, he just had his cell phone on silent and so didn't hear the calls.

The admin has missed my PDO announcements several times.  And she has called me in the middle of client meetings before to see where I am -- even though I'd alerted my team and my manager that I would be on site with a customer.  I've also gotten "Where are you" emails from the admin on several occasions while I was in a staff meeting with the rest of the managers in the office.  It shouldn't be a mystery as to where I am if EVERY MANAGER IN THE OFFICE is in the same place.

My opinion on this is this: I am a manager myself.  I have a small staff.  I can keep track of them without any help.  If someone unexpectedly does not turn up to work, I can alert the "authorities."  But I am a grown man.  (Yesterday was my 32nd birthday, even!)  I do not need anyone keeping tabs on me for my own good.  I find it very annoying.

What makes this even more ridiculous is that since we've moved to a new building, they don't even walk around to look to see where everyone is.  They just send an email.  And email that you can respond to from your BlackBerry or web mail or anything.  It's a shoddy system ripe for fraud.

But my own boss insists that we do need someone to "take roll" every morning.  She didn't have an explanation, either.

Does your work do this?

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 08:10 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
Category: At My Work
Post contains 371 words, total size 2 kb.

September 01, 2009

My Financial Health!

Ok.  So, here's the deal:

I paid off my credit cards at the end of April. It was frikkin' AWESOME.

But then I moved at the end of May.  That was an expensive prospect.  I had to pay the broker and put down a deposit and buy new furniture.  I also went on a couple of shopping sprees to make my life more comfortable.

So, here's where things stand right now according to Mint.com.

Cash: + 2,886.36

Credit Cards: -$8,429.10
Student Loans: –$24,261.29
Line of Credit:

My primary concern is the credit card dept above. The student loans are cheap debt and the real estate debt helps me on my taxes.  So, my primary focus is paying off those credit cards.

That $8K, let's just call it $9K because I just bought myself a couple of appliances for my kitchen for my birthday, is not small to me.  You'll recall it took me roughly four months to pay off $6K in credit card debt at the beginning of the year.

Well, I'd like to pay this off before the end of the year and I only have four months left: September, October, November, and December.

In the middle of that, I have a trip to Aruba.  And there's a trip to the Bahamas in March 2010 that I'd like to go on.  And I am anticipating BIG changes in May 2010.  (Those are yet to be decided, so we don't talk about them.)

In four months.

That means I have to pay more than $2K on my credit card debt each month.  How is that even possible?!?

I get paid about $1,700 every two weeks.  My rent is $1,500 a month.  Cable and internet are $131 a month.  My gas and electricity vary, but are about $75 a month.  So, that's $225 a month in utilities because I'm bad at math.  TOTAL, that's $1,725 in basic expenses.

Ok.  Now I'm starting to wonder what I'm doing with that left over $1,500 a month.  (Remember: I am bad at math.)

I do tend to spend about $150 a week on groceries, but that still leaves $900 for other junk.

If we assume that I can automatically pay $900 on my credit cards -- barring paying for ANYTHING else like eating out, going to Aruba, painting my apartment, or anything else -- I really need to find $1,100 a month to pay them off in the time frame I've chosen arbitrarily.

That means two things: cutting costs & increasing income.

Cutting Costs
I can EASILY cut my grocery costs down to under $125 a month.  EASILY! That will leave me to find $1,000 a month in extra income.

Increasing income
This is a challenge.  There are ways I could make my career more profitable, but right now I'm really looking for something that will keep me where I am and completely sane.  This means I need something relatively mindless because I absolutely do NOT want to think about whatever my second job is while I'm at home.  I also need to be able to maintain some semblance of sanity in my private life.  (Private life being the parts I blog about.)

My best friend, Johndavidov, used to clean houses in Georgia, so I am looking into that.  Not only is it very profitable, but I have a certain marketing advantage in that I am not a Latina.

In Georgia, Johndavidov used to charge $30 an hour for his services.  I could charge at LEAST that much.  Since I need $1,000 a month and I estimate that each apartment will take a minimum of three hours AND I would not like to maintain more than three clients a week, I'd need to charge some $38 an hour. 

3 clients a week * 3 hours * $38 an hour = $1,368

That's more than enough to meet my goal.

Now I have to line up my clients!!!

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 09:55 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
Category: Money, Money, Money!
Post contains 659 words, total size 4 kb.

Picking it up again!

Ok. I haven't blogged here in a while, but this blog is continuing to make money for me. I feel like I should keep this going.

So, while my other blog, Treygivens.com, is intended to be more introspective, more political, I think this blog is going to be a little more subversive.  Maybe I'll talk about romantic things or job things, but mostly I intend to talk about money things.

Maybe this is just me as a southerner, but talking explicitly about money is considered to be in poor taste.  Since I don't really care about that, but I also don't want to distract from the larger, more principle-related issues I think using this blog for that topic makes a lot of sense to me.

What do you think?

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 09:11 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
Category: Money, Money, Money!
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July 16, 2009

A Secret

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 06:18 AM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
Category: About Flibby
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June 25, 2009

I Needed This

I had a bad day yesterday and things are shaping up to being pretty shitty for a while, so this song is really just what I needed this morning.

I loved the first Aqua album, but didn't even try the second one.  If this song is representative of what's on their next album, I will have to run out and get it immediately.  Don't get in my way because I will push you down.

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 08:21 AM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
Category: State of the Arts
Post contains 77 words, total size 1 kb.

June 24, 2009

The Freedom to Oppress Yourself

French President Nicholas Sarkozy recently asserted, "The issue of the burqa is not a religious issue, it is a question of freedom and of women's dignity."

Once again the concept of freedom escapes an elected politician.  I'll pause now while you express your surprise.


Presumably, women in France are not currently forced by the state to wear burqas.  I've seen pictures of them not wearing tops, so I don't think I'm wrong here.  This means that women, even Muslim women, in France are allowed to not wear a burqa.  But now Sarkozy wants to take away the option of wearing a burqa and he's arguing that by reducing the freedom of French women, he's somehow increasing their freedom.

Now, I've seen a few women here in New York wearing burqas and I find them terrifying.  I would have the same reaction to a man walking around in a ski mask as well.

But there isn't and should not be any law against this.  The people of France will lose a modicum of their freedom if Sarkozy is successful in his effort to ban the burqa.

Found via Joe.My.God.  Be sure to check out the comments on his post for a different perspective on this issue.

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 06:30 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
Category: In the News
Post contains 211 words, total size 1 kb.

June 23, 2009

Reclaiming Faggot

I was forced by the state to take a course in "multiculturalism" in order to receive my undergraduate degree and I opted for a course in women's studies on the recommendation of a friend at the time. I learned in that class that various minorities have "reclaimed" some of the hurtful words that have been directed at them and by using them willingly toward one another they become less hurtful when used by others.

While this notion has been far less successful with the term "nigger," which everyone in America knows is still considered extremely offensive when used by white people, other terms like "gal," "queer," and "bitch" have been more or less "reclaimed."

I find the whole notion of "reclaiming" terms to be a little bit specious. Yes, the meaning and especially the connotations of words shift over time, but actively using an offensive word in an effort to dis-empower unfair prejudices while some how promoting acceptance strikes me as absurd. Therefore, as a general rule, I take offensive language to be offensive.

The reason I chose to name the category of posts on this blog regarding the topic of homosexuality "On Faggotism" is because the term "faggot" is offensive and I appreciate the absurd reversal of application since nearly everything I write on the topic is pro-sodomy. But absurdity one aspect of effective humor and here the joke hinges on the fact that the term is offensive.

I dislike the term "faggot." It makes my skin crawl. I could count the number of times I've actually uttered the term on one hand. It offends me. I don't even like the term "fag," although it's marginally less obnoxious to me.

And I find it notable that I have heard it from the lips of homosexuals at least as frequently as I've heard it uttered by heterosexuals and they have generally used it to express at least as much disdain for a fellow gay as a homophobe would. Therefore, I think it is arguable to say that the homosexual who uses the term is expressing that disdain not merely for the individual toward whom the aspersion is cast but for the homosexual population at large. At the risk of sounding a little too "multicultural" I would be inclined to call that phenomenon "internalized homophobia."

This brings me to Mario Lavendeira AKA Perez Hilton. Mr. Lavendeira was recently involved in a violent altercation with bodyguards and members of the band Black Eyed Peas. During this altercation, Mr. Lavendeira apparently provoked someone to violence by calling William Adams AKA Will.I.Am a faggot.

Before I continue, I should point out that I have no respect for Mr. Lavendeira. Prior to final editing, this post included several colorful references to Mr. Lavendeira and his character both of which I consider to be vulgar and low in nearly every conceivable aspect. I used terms like "asshat," "twit," fuckwit," and a metaphor involving both the word "pustule" and "syphilitic testical" along with a reference to a farm animal that I find to be amusing. As you can see, however, I have taken the higher road here because this post isn't about my evaulation of Mr. Lavendeira's person or character.

The Gay, Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) has spoken out on this issue, asking Mr. Lavendeira to apologize for his use of the word. And Mr. Lavendeira has responded by whining some more, "I am saddened GLAAD chose to victimize me further by criticizing me for how I non-violently dealt with a very scary situation that, unfortunately, turned violent." And then he goes on to suggest that GLAAD ought to apologize to him.

I don't think arguments should be settled with violence, but I can see how lesser men might decide that a smart alec deserves a punch in the nose for mouthing off as I believe Mr. Lavendeira did. So, the question of whether or not it was right or wrong for someone to allegedly hit Mr. Lavendeira. That was certainly a rightfully criminal act.

But having been wronged does not mitigate or diminish the fact that Mr. Lavendeira was also wrong even if not criminally so. (It might be argued that some of his editing of celebrity photos to imply that they are drug addicts is libelous, but that does not immediately seem to apply here.) And his use of the term "faggot" is also not made less offensive for it, either.

Mr. Lavendeira admits that he chose to call Mr. Adams a faggot because it was the worst possible thing he could think of.  He knows the term is offensive.  As a gay man, he also knows the term applies to him and not Mr. Adams who is heterosexual.  He is implicitly accepting the idea that, if nothing else, Mr. Adams thinks that being gay is a VERY bad thing.  The worst thing he could think of for Mr. Adams to be, actually.

He attempts to dodge the accusation of using an offensive anti-gay epithet by suggesting that he was merely being manipulative, but fails because his manipulation requires acknowledging and applying the hatefulness he wishes to exploit. So, aside from being hurtful and slanderous, Mr. Lavendeira tacitly accepts the accusation of homosexuality as an insult.

I'm glad that GLAAD called Mr. Lavendeira out on this crap, although I can't say I'm really all that surprised that he used the word.  If there is any gay man who would spitefully call another man a faggot in an attempt to insult and provoke, it's him.  That's exactly what kind of person he is and why I don't like him.

Update: Lavendiera apologizes and claims not to be homophobic.  I remain unconvinced.  I think he still subconsciously regards gay sex as shameful and immoral.

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 11:08 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
Category: On Faggotism
Post contains 960 words, total size 6 kb.

June 21, 2009

Restaurant Review: Uncle Jack's Steakhouse

Kevin from Wisecracks and Wisdom visited me this weekend and we went to dinner this evening at Uncle Jack's.

Uncle Jack's is a steak place very much like Keene's, which I like quite a bit, although I find the atmosphere to be a bit stuffy there at Keene's.  Uncle Jack's is pretty posh.  I wore a t-shirt and jeans and Kevin wore a polo shirt and jeans.  We both felt underdressed, but since it was an early dinner, we got over it.  I would recommend at least a button-down if not a jacket at a minimum for this place.  A tie would probably be ideal.

The service was phenomenal and I noted something a little remarkable even for NYC from our waiter.  If you have an ounce of social perspicacity, you know I'm gay.  And you see me with another male and you will conclude that there's a date or something going on.  Our waiter appeared to be rather typically straight.  When he approached out table he was open and congenial.  But he gave no sign at all that he thought we were a gay couple, but realizing the possibility, he very evenly asked, "Are we celebrating a special occasion?"  This may not seem like a big deal, but it's a very even question that applies to all possible scenarios.  We might be two straight guys just out for a steak.  We might be friends celebrating a birthday.  We might be on a date.  We might be celebrating an anniversary.  Or any number of gay or straight possibilities.  I really appreciated not only his discretion, but the directness, friendliness, and openness with which he delivered the inquiry.

In addition to this, he was very helpful and friendly.  I will say it was rather American-style service. 

European wait staff tend to leave you alone.  You often have to ask for more water or drinks.  You have to ask for the check.

American service is a lot more hands-on.  They check in frequently.  They volunteer the check -- a gesture which Europeans apparently regard as rude and as an indication that they are being asked to leave the table.

I like a slightly higher amount of attention, but prefer to ask for the check.  Even as our waiter volunteered the check, he made it clear that we were welcome to stay and sit longer.  He was very good about it in my opinion.

Now the food.

We started with the Maryland crab cakes.  They seemed to be solid crab meat with some cheese and herbs.  Very, very good.

We skipped the salad and went straight to the steaks.  We both had the Kobe filet mignon.  It was absolutely, hands down the BEST steak I have ever had in my life.  We both ordered the steaks "rare-plus" which is where the middle is pink, but warm, as opposed to pink and cool.  The texture was softer and smoother that any beef I've ever had.  They seared the steak in something sweet and there was a very flavorful crust on the outside.  The inside was moist and tasty.  Words fail when I try to describe this.

For sides, we asked for sauteed onions and some garlic mashed potatoes.  Both were good, but I only had a bit eof each because the steaks were so large.  The steaks were supposed to be 15oz.  They seemed to be the size of footballs.  SO GOOD.

We also got some kind of chocolate cake thing for dessert.  The name escapes me.  I had a few bites and it was also quite tasty.

But I have to say that since I've had this steak, all other food pales in comparison.  It was insanely good.

The prices were actually moderate for the kind of food we were eating.  Our filets were only $75 each.  Other so-called Kobe and Wagyu steaks in the city run about $100.  This was nearly 1lb of steak for just $75.  Bargain.

So, I strongly recommend Uncle Jack's.  They have three locations in the city for your convenience, so make a point to try it out.  Food is great.  Service is very strong.

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 07:24 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
Category: Food and Drink
Post contains 692 words, total size 4 kb.

Mr. Spock and Equilibrium

I'm watching a movie right now called Equilibrium, starring Mr. Christian Bale and also featuring Mr. Taye Diggs.

The movie is about a fascist society which arises after some catestrophic world wars in which people have decided that the source of strife and suffering is human emotion.  As a result, they suppress emotions -- often through the use of chemicals -- and prosecute anyone who is guilty of "sense crimes," which amount to inspiring an emotional response, usually through the collection of art.

I'm not done watching it, so I can't really say if it's an overall good or bad movie, although from the start it bears some similarities to other dystopian movies.

But it made me wonder: is it even possible for people to operate without emotions?  I think not.

Your subconscious mind is a vast collection of all the integrations you've made.  It's the sum of your ideas and judgments.  It has to be subconscious because your conscious mind is busy handling the specifics of your life, like driving to work, doing math, sorting the laundry, etc. But your conscious mind can only hold so many things at once, so your subconscious mind feeds it your basic evaluations of things so that you can direct your actions according to those evaluations.  This direction is given in the form of emotions.

Although you may not feel ecstatic joy about washing dishes, you feel a pleasant satisfaction at having completed the task (assuming you're a sensible adult who is running their life like a civilized human being) and revulsion at the idea of having a kitchen strewn with fetid scraps of food and dingy flatware.

"Positive" feelings like joy, happiness, love, satisfaction are signs from your subconscious that you are achieving or maintaining your values, things that matter to you.  "Negative" feelings like outrage, anger, anxiety, fear are signs that you're losing something that matters to you or that it's in danger.

Without emotions, you would lack the basic building blocks of motivation for doing anything at all.  You would not feel revulsion at the idea of spending your life in bed or joy at having accomplished your goals. 

What goals could you possibly have?  You might randomly choose some goal or another, but it wouldn't mean anything to you to not pursue it or to achieve it.  But I'm not certain that even if a goal were set before you that you'd be able to effectively pursue it, even as a sort of automaton. People's brains just don't work that way.

In order to get ready for work without emotions, you'd have to constantly check back in with your basic premises, all the way up through your most distant abstractions in order to logically justify having a career and being presentable for your work every day.  Even if we suppose that you're magically able to retain some memory of that long chain of reasoning, you couldn't possibly keep all of it in the forefront of your brain in order to achieve any goal more distant than perhaps checking the mail, but it would depend on how far the mailbox is away from your sofa.

Emotions just seem to me to be essential to even basic, everyday operations as a human being.  So, I think these movies and characters, like Mr. Spock, which operate under the premise that emotions can be avoided, suppressed, or stopped are somewhat absurd, much like stories about ghosts or zombies.

Update: The movie is approaching the end and now I have another idea: even if you managed to somehow operate your life without emotions, that doesn't really prescribe the content of your brain.  You could still behave irrationally.  You could still act like a maniac -- just not passionately.  You could choose to either be an agent of the fascist overlords who are telling everyone to suppress their emotions, or you could be an agent of the overlord's destruction.

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 03:18 AM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
Category: Importance of Ideas
Post contains 658 words, total size 4 kb.

June 16, 2009

Science Experiment Fail

Yesterday, I took my laundry out for a wash, but it won't be ready for pick up until today, so I had a legitimate reason to sleep on my sofa last night.

So, I decided to try to sleep on the chaise portion of my sofa, which is oriented north-south like my bed.  Unfortunately, it's not nearly long enough, so I could not stretch out and I ended up spending another fairly sleepless night until I shifted over to the east-west side of the sofa.

So, I still don't really know if the whole north-south/east-west thing is a factor.

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 06:25 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
Category: About Flibby
Post contains 102 words, total size 1 kb.

June 15, 2009

Why Can't I Sleep?

I really haven't had a good night's sleep in my new apartment -- unless I sleep on my couch.

I don't know what's wrong.  I can usually sleep soundly pretty much anywhere, but for nearly a month now my own bed has felt like some alien place that isn't right for sleeping.  It's the same mattress I've slept on for nearly 8 years now.

There aren't too many things that I can think of that might affect my sleep.  It is darker and quieter in my room than it's even been in the past three years, but that should make it EASIER to sleep, not harder.  Also, I sleep just fine on my sofa.

There are two differences between my sofa and my bed that I can think of, but neither of them seem to me to be things that would affect my sleep.

First, my bed is way up off of the ground.  I put it on risers so I could store things under there.  I used to sleep in a loft in college and had no problems with that, but it's been many years since then and perhaps I'm just not used to it.

Second, and I know this sounds like crazy talk, my bed isn't oriented the way I'm used to it being oriented.  For the past six or seven years, my bed has always been oriented east-west.  It wasn't by design, it's just how things worked out.  And now my bed is oriented north-south.  As far as I know, this should have no affect on my sleeping, but maybe?

I don't know, but I cannot sleep on my sofa all the time.  It's just not civilized.

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 03:17 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
Category: About Flibby
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June 09, 2009

Star Trek: A Counter Point

I made it to my first Objectivist meeting after my move, but unfortunately I was just about the only one.  One other person made it, but as the third person departed, I got into a discussion about the latest Star Trek movie with our host.

His main complaints where the bufoonery -- particularly on the part of Kirk -- and the simple preposterousness of the story.

I can't help but agree.  Kirk seemed like he was drunk through most of the movie and there was a QUITE a bit of slapstick throughout.

There were a few element that, even though I was in the midst of loving it, I though, "Whaaaat?"

So, this begs the question: What did I like about it?

I think Diana Hsieh will dislike it. 

I liked the simplistic, concreteness of the action and story. I liked the cutsieness and general action orientation of the whole thing. Questions about why you have to drill a big hole while trying to destroy a planet with a black hole or the odds of TWO big monsters being on the same planet with Spock from the future simply do not bother me.

I liked the movie.

But I can't contest his complaints here.  Kirk IS a bufoon. Spock is WAY cooler.  Scotty is typically silly  These things bothered him, but I didn't mind.

We agreed that Spock was the strongest character in the cast.  I also liked Bones.

So anyway... I just wanted to give you a peek into the dissenting review.

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 10:59 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
Category: State of the Arts
Post contains 258 words, total size 1 kb.

June 02, 2009

Do You Have Beliefs That Others Consider Strange or False?

I'm participating in a set of medical studies as a healthy control.  This means that I'm the healthy person that they compare their other subjects to.  They have to take my blood and give me MRI and PET scans and things like that because the studies are part of the Functional Brain Imaging something something.  It's kind of neat.

Anyway, this week, I went to the clinic for more tests and part of it was a mental health survey or something and this lady had to ask me a bunch of questions.

The questions were obviously screening for various mental problems like schizophrenia and paranoid delusions. 

"Do you hear people saying your name when no one is around?"
"Do you receive secret messages telling you how things will be arranged in your life?"

Actually, I don't know if I was asked that second question because the lady was not a native English speaker and her accent was very thick.  Her proficiency in English actually led to a problem later in the survey.

She asked me, "Do you have any beliefs that others regard as strange or false?"

I laughed because as an Objectivist, I am perfectly aware of the fact that much of what I believe is regarded as extreme, strange, false, and even evil.  So, I said, "Yes."

So, she asked me to provide an example.  I said, "Well, I'm an atheist, for instance.  I don't believe in any magic or ghosts or anything, but I see people on television who do believe those things.  I'm sure they think I'm strange or false for not believing that."

But she didn't understand the term "atheist" and so she started scribbling notes, I assume about ghosts and magic and people in the television.

She asked, "What do you think about that?"

"About what other people think about what I think?" I laughed again, "I think they're wrong, but I don't understand why that's important."

Something about what I said struck her as odd, so she backtracked.

"Can you tell me more about this, ayteeism?"

"What do you mean?  There's not much to tell."

"I don't know.  I've just never heard the word.  Can you spell it?"

"Sure. A-T-H-E-I-S-M. I don't believe in god.  In fact, I think faith is wrong.  I think science is the appropriate method for people in life. So, I don't believe in magic or ghosts or anything like that.  But there are a lot of people who disagree."

That made it clear for her and she started furiously crossing out her notes.

Apparently, it is perfectly and equally sane to believe that there are invisible spirits and forces beyond your perception and understanding affecting your life as it is to reject such foolishness out of hand.

I would like to suggest that mental health professionals screen for people of faith and dig into thata bit more extensively.  After all, the difference between sane and insane in matters of faith doesn't seem to be the content or even the extent to which the individual applies these ideas to their life, but the number of people who agree to be the same brand of crazy.

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 10:00 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
Category: Mythology and Modern Man
Post contains 536 words, total size 3 kb.

May 28, 2009

This Really Does Happen

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 08:03 PM | Comments (6) | Add Comment
Category: At My Work
Post contains 4 words, total size 1 kb.

May 17, 2009

I Heart Kids

Yesterday, I attended L'Italiana's bridal shower/BBQ and had a lot of fun.  One of the most fun things I got to do was play with the kids.  There was a set of triplets who were about two and a half and then a 3 year old who generally refuses to talk to me.

The triplets are fascinating because not only are they at a really cool age developmentally speaking, they're triplets, so they share a lot of the same experiences and their individual development plays off of the others. 

For example, they're already demonstrating "twin speak" where they have what sounds like a foreign language that they understand, but no one else really does.  What's neat, though, is they also realize that no one else speaks that language and the modify how they speak when they address other people.  I don't know if they do it consciously because at two and a half they still have quite a ways to go in terms of basic language development.

They're super-cute, though.  It's super fun to see them playing and exploring and learning.

The most adorable thing was when I loaded them into their car seats to go home, I said, "Thank you for playing with me!"  They said, "You're welcome!"  Such good manners!

AND because I was playing with the triplets, the three year old decided that she was allowed to talk to me, too.  So, she and I played a little, too.

It was a fun day and it just reminds me how much I want kids of my own some day.  I don't know if it will really ever work out, but I hope so.  My "biological clock" just seems to be ticking loudly these days.

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 08:33 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
Category: About Flibby
Post contains 290 words, total size 2 kb.

"No Offense, but..."

I got an email from one of those fools on YouTube the other day.  Check it out:


Ayn Rand said,
I am profoundly opposed to the philosophy of hedonism. Hedonism is the doctrine which holds that the good is whatever gives you pleasure and, therefore, pleasure is the standard of morality. Objectivism holds that the good must be defined by a rational standard of value, that pleasure is not a first cause, but only a consequence, that only the pleasure which proceeds from a rational value judgment can be regarded as moral, that pleasure, as such, is not a guide to action nor a standard of morality. To say that pleasure should be the standard of morality simply means that whichever values you happen to have chosen, consciously or subconsciously, rationally or irrationally, are right and moral. This means that you are to be guided by chance feelings, emotions and whims, not by your mind. My philosophy is the opposite of hedonism. I hold that one cannot achieve happiness by random, arbitrary or subjective means. One can achieve happiness only on the basis of RATIONAL VALUES. By rational values, I do not mean anything that a man may arbitrarily or blindly declare to be rational. It is the province of morality, of the Science of Ethics, to define for men what is a rational standard and what are the rational values to pursue.

Playboys Interview with Ayn Rand, March 1964.

Why can't homosexuals just stand on the reality and merit of what homosexuality truely is ??? which in my opinnion based on objective self evident truth merely is a simple subjective choice. and why isnt that enough ??? why must homosexuals infiltrate Christianity, Buddism, Randism and find an indirect point and use it out of context only to gain a resemblence of conformity ???

Respectfull Inquiry ...
What makes this communication so offensive to me is the closing which suggests that I grant this individual some sort of sanction because he's told me that he's being respectful even though everything in his note contains nothing but disrespect for me.

It's like those people who say something horrible, but say, "No offense!" As if that makes it OK.

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 07:39 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
Category: On Faggotism
Post contains 369 words, total size 2 kb.

May 15, 2009


I don't mean that, of course.  Keeping gays out of Eurovision is like asking them to keep out of sodomy.  It's just part of the whole gay experience.

Doubt me?


And yet there are some European cities who have hosted and will host the music contest who are definitively hostile to gays, like this year's host city, Moscow, whose mayor stated of gay parades, “Not only do they destroy morals within our society, but they consciously provoke disorder that threatens the lives of Muscovites and visitors.”. It's like straight men who have sex with men, but only if they're tied up and blindfolded.

Video found over at Joe.My.God.

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 07:45 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
Category: Kicks & Giggles
Post contains 114 words, total size 1 kb.

May 14, 2009

Could More Happen to Me Right Now?

My schedule has been absolutely out of control recently and the next 6 days are going to be among the most intense of my adult life.

On Friday, I am going to pick up the keys to my new apartment and take some measurements of the interior space.  Then, I am getting on a train and heading out to spend the weekend with L'Italiana.  This weekend with her isn't optional -- otherwise, I would move on Saturday to get it over with -- because it's her bridal shower.  (She's doing a coed party thing.)

Also on Friday, I start calling into jury duty.

On Tuesday, I have to go on a business trip because on Wednesday I am doing a major presentation for one of my clients that could make or break our business.

I'll fly back on Wednesday night because at 9am on Thursday, the movers will be here to pack and move me into Manhattan.

There are a million things I need to do to prepare for these things and I've already been running at full speed for a couple of weeks now.

Which brings me to a bit of a dilemma I have right now.  I work on two major accounts at work.  They're both extremely demanding.  I enjoy the diversity of demands that I get to confront in a day, but there is a limit to the amount of things I can get done in a day and there are times when I can't get everything done that is asked of me. I try not to over-commit, but even the basic expectations are hard to meet. Like right now.

So, I was a little disappointed when an executive I trust and respect told me that he thought I should give up one of my accounts.  It wasn't because I hadn't met some expectation, but because he knows how busy I am and it was his opinion that the two accounts were simply too much.

Right now, it is too much.  But I don't think it will stay like this.  But what if it does?  I'm kind of worried about that right now and I don't have any real way to hand off one of the accounts.  If I ask to have one of them reassigned, I will make my boss's life more difficult and I run the risk of creating a perception of being the sort of person who cuts and runs when the going gets tough.  Is that better or worse than someone who actually just fails?

Anyway, I'll work it out.  It's just crrrrazy right now!

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 08:19 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
Category: About Flibby
Post contains 439 words, total size 2 kb.

May 13, 2009

The War with Ponykind


From Towleroad

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 11:16 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
Category: Kicks & Giggles
Post contains 7 words, total size 1 kb.

Would They Know Good Sex if it Bit Them (In the Naughty Way)?

Look at this ridiculous clip from the movie Outrage which came out last week:

"Repression leads to better sex."  Excuse me?

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 08:52 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
Category: Politickin'
Post contains 34 words, total size 1 kb.

May 12, 2009

The Queen is a Whore!!!

Got this from one of Kevin's friends and then from Kevin also.

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 02:20 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
Category: Kicks & Giggles
Post contains 17 words, total size 1 kb.

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