Share good ideas and conversation.   Login, Join Us, or Take a Tour!
steve's badges given
kleinbl00  ·  658 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: April 5, 2017x 2

We had our first birth in the birth center last night. Success. And we get to bill for nitrous. That means the infernal machine needs to be used only nineteen more times to pay for itself. My daughter, on the other hand, called for attention every time I was about to fall asleep for the first two hours and then woke up from a screaming, bawling nightmare. My wife is asleep in the other room which prevents me from finishing the background pass on the not-very-good movie, unless I put on headphones, which I hate doing when I'm doing surround work.

Our burn rate is a few thousand dollars higher per month than we anticipated, due entirely to construction delays. This means it will be longer before the center is profitable. Nonetheless, confidence is high. My wife pointed out last night that it was effectively equivalent to me putting her through college all over again. This morning I'm mulling over the fact that aside from a brief, glorious nine months between relationships in 2002, and a semi-refreshing, maybe-we'll-make-it period of about a year before we had our daughter, I have given over the overwhelming majority of my earnings to the care of others for more than 20 years now.

I'm partly bitter about that and partly contemplative. A friend of mine was in Variety on Friday because he's got a show set up with Granada and Netflix. He, of course, came to LA about a year after I did. Then his wife (whose family is not just wealthy, they're royal) supported him while he did free work for two solid years, had two kids, went through treatment twice and lived i a $4k/mo apartment while we were grinding dried placentas to make ends meet. They don't tell you that: if you're trying to break in while earning a living, you're breaking in against dilettantes with zero cost-of-failure and infinite hang-time. Then Sunday I discovered that another below-the-line friend had died of a heart attack at 36.

It's all about anchoring, I guess. I've got a tree surgeon coming over to tell me what it's going to cost to make sure the three massive firs in the back don't fall on the house. I'm hoping I can afford it. At the same time I was talking to the neighbor Sunday; her roof is leaking because she got a deal from another neighbor's then-boyfriend but he's a junkie now so whatever warranty there was, yeah notsomuch anymore. Meanwhile they're building out, not up, because it's cheaper, because there's seven of them in there, six adults, and they've got one bathroom and fewer square feet than we do, and one of them is in a wheelchair. But she's on 100% disability, her daughter is on 100% disability, her son works two jobs, both of which are custodial, her one grandson got thrown out of his mom's house for fighting and her other grandson -

He was howling Sunday. Not sure why. It was dark, there was lots of shouting. We're debating calling CPS. He hangs out with me but he's rough. He's eight and enjoys the company of my 4-year-old daughter who is brighter than him by far. He's on the spectrum among other things and he breaks stuff. We let him play with our daughter out doors but he's not allowed in our house unless one of his family members are there. And we're crowded with three people and all our shit in this house but fuckin'A we can still park a car in the garage. They've got seven people in there and I don't even know who the seventh is.

They're building out. They're getting a loan. The contractor is a friend of a friend which worked out oh-so-well last time, right? There's seven of them, two fixed incomes and maybe three jobs between them, none of which make much money. I mean, they've got a blue tarp keeping the rain off half the house (not the roof leak; apparently that's just sort of happening without any remediation).

Anchoring. I don't have a blue tarp keeping the rain out of the family room, my toilet-to-person ratio is 1.5, and we have retirement savings as if we were 20 years older than we are now. And I'm not in Variety but I'm not in the ground, either. And as formidable as our burn rate is, we fuckin' made it this month.

This month, anyway.

cgod  ·  806 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: It's election day America!

"Remember, politics aside, no matter the outcome we're all neighbors. That's something worth holding onto."

I've been ruminating on just this thing all week. I don't give a damn who wins as long as Chloe Eudaly beats Steve Novice for city council. I've talked at least 4 people into voting for her (maybe as many as a dozen). It's a close race and Steve has spent ten times the money Chloe has. If I ever ran for office I'd shake the hand of every damn bartender and barista in the city and give them a campaign T-shirt.

I liked that Chloe used comic as a campaign device.

francopoli  ·  1202 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Religious Freedom - HELP ME

    -The small business pharmacist forced to fill a prescription for abortive birth control

Pharmacists are held to a moral code of ethics that they cannot deny care to people in need. Link If you cannot treat people coming to you, don't be a pharmacist. As a medical care giver, you are held to a standard that is higher than a normal profession. MD's are not allowed to discriminate either, and some are pissed that they have to see black, or Catholic, or Jewish etc people. They do it anyway because that is in their professional code of ethics. This is a great topic, but certain professions are (supposed) to be above the foolish superficiality of man.

    -The Christian Student club being shut down by the university for wanting to have a Christian leader.

Right to free assembly. This would get thrown out of as soon as the first pro-bono lawyer showed up on the door. You can't put a priest in charge of a secular society. A high school in either north Florida or Georgia tried to do this as a way to "covert" the heathens, and the case was laughed at by the courts. The funny (haha?) thing is that it was religious groups demanding to be let into schools that allowed so many secular and atheist clubs. The law in question and the court case. Every single law we have the defends the religious to freely worship as long as they are not harming others also protects those of no faith. If a club was in this situation, a call to the Thomas Moore Law center would end that practice with a mere phone call (unless the people in charge of the school are idiots and have the money to pay for the club's legal fees that is). Note that private schools have a whole different set of rules and bylaws, and wanting to start a Christian club in a secular private school is going to be an adventure.

    -The Photographer being sued and fined for choosing not to photograph a gay wedding.

"I'm sorry but I am not comfortable in that situation. However, I know a person who does awesome gay and lesbian wedding photography and understands what you want better than I can; she sends very religious people to me because I understand their wedding needs better than she does. Here is her number, and congrats on your big day!"

How fucking hard is this? I am asking as a serious question. If you want to not make money due to faith or religion or politics or ideological reasons, fine, be poor that is your choice. Find another baker/photographer/florist/welder/heavy equipment operator/whatever who's work you like and are comfortable recommending and make a referral deal with them. The people coming to you, assuming they are not jerks, may be a bit peeved, but hey you were polite, treated them as human beings and helped them solve a problem. Boom, done. And if they go to the media, you get a chance to go out (gods all help you with that) and explain that you reached out to others who you could refer to and you look like the bigger person.

    If I'm a minister, should I be forced to marry a gay couple?

No, and there are already laws that govern how religious leaders are treated in the public sphere. Incidents in the current time frame show this repeatedly. Furthermore, there is a lot of wiggle room in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that the courts need to work out. But with more and more churches being "gay friendly" (is that even a term to use?), why would you as a gay couple want to stay in a church that disobeys Jesus' command to love one-another? The sticking point is when it is a government office and not a church. Government cannot, should not, discriminate and follow the law. If you are a very devout person of faith and don't want to officiate a gay civil union as a part of your duties as a county clerk, find another job.

Taxpayer funded entities like schools, courts, police, roads, utilities should not discriminate at all. Ever. And if anyone here can find a way to make that happen let's get you on Oprah, stat. People are not perfect; if we were the world would be boring and we would not have conversations like this. You cannot use schools to recruit for your church. You cannot use the courts to search for "sinners" to save. You cannot use the police to harass people who don't go to your church or who look different than you, or make less money than you. (yea I could not type that with a straight face but that is the goal is it not?)

You are not the book you worship, you are not the building you go to when you want to pray, you are not even the faith you believe. We are all the sun total of our character. We are the deeds we do, good and bad. We are the decisions we make, good and bad. If a religious faith helps you make good choices and helps you be a better person who help to make the spinning ball of filth we call home better? Awesome keep it up. If you faith tells you to hate those guys over there who go to a different church? yea, stop that. This is why there is (should be) a wall of separation between state and church.

    So I struggle because I refuse to live in fear, but on the same token - I don't want to get told I'm going to get sued for something that is against my moral compass or religious creed.

Most faiths have some sort of golden rule that can be summed us as so: Don't be a dick to people. I believe as the prophets Bill and Ted said best: Be excellent to each other. Help when you can, suggest alternatives when you cannot. I'm so glad that I discovered Stoicism when I was studying to be a Jesuit a million years ago as it has helped center me in ways nothing else has. You control nothing but your reactions to stimuli. Be the cool head in the center of the room and use your virtue as your anchor.

    Can't we all just get along?

The older I get, the more hope I have. But it is a work in progress, and that job is never finished. All we can do is make those who follow us a little better that we were, and hope they d the same.

_refugee_  ·  1296 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Why I Defaulted on My Student Loans

    I could survive without wasting my life in a job that had nothing to do with my particular usefulness to society.

    I chose life. That is to say, I defaulted on my student loans.

Oh my, well aren't we precious and special, far too special to pay back the money that we borrowed, and to "waste our lives" doing something that isn't our specially chosen specially snowflake Profession of Choice - and of course, not working in that Profession of Choice would, absolutely, totally, kill us, wouldn't it?

WHILE I AGREE that student loans and student loan debt are huge problems facing the youth in America today, and I am in fact one of those people, I find myself still waking up alive each day to go to my job at a Big Evil Corporate Bank despite my dreams of being a writer, so I would like to know what makes this author so specially-special that a "Real Job(TM)" is such anathema to them, such poison to their special sensitive disposition, that they could not manage it. - By the way guys - check it out - with that Real Job, I also have this crazy nifty thing called a Real 401(k)! It's fun when following your dream means barely NOT making enough money now (if you can't pay your debts, you're not making enough money) and certainly never having enough for the future. Innit?

Maybe they didn't respond well to management.

    It struck me as absurd that one could amass crippling debt as a result, not of drug addiction or reckless borrowing and spending, but of going to college.

Oh, boy. Wait til this author gets into medical debt. Or car debt. Or house debt. Did you know that debt isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it is a thing that happens to people? And most of those people didn't think they were being irresponsible when they got into it, and most people thought whatever they were paying for was a Good and Necessary Thing?

Actually, here's a thought.

Wait til this author realizes that sometimes, some things kind of suck, but that doesn't mean you can just quit them.

    Someone with character would have paid off those loans and let the chips fall where they may. But I have found, after some decades on this earth, that the road to character is often paved with family money and family connections, not to mention 14 percent effective tax rates on seven-figure incomes.

Oh. Well fuck you too. I have a five figure income. I just happen to only have a reasonable amount of student debt (in-state tuition anyone? finished college in 3 years - in part to avoid additional debt?). But that's not because anyone I'm related to is a millionaire and it's not because my family paid for my college. I didn't get my student loans paid off through some mysterious "family connection" either. I'm still paying them off. And I will continue to do so. Until they're done.

God, sacrificing your nonpaying but TOTALLY ESSENTIAL dream career just looks like blood splattered all over an altar, doesn't it? It just feels horrible too, having an extra couple hundred I can burn each month, after I pay all my obligations and then some.

Trust me, I can barely type for all the soul-crushing.

_refugee_  ·  1323 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: June 10, 2015x 2

I've been traveling again for work.

Monday night I had dinner with coworkers. I went back to my hotel, logged back onto my work laptop, and tried to start getting shit done.

Work's been pretty crazy lately.

After about an hour in which everything I tried to do failed to take, I started feeling guilty for going out to dinner. I already knew i'd have to work late every night this week, plus probably both days this weekend, if I wanted to make my Monday deadline.

In another hour or so I was crying. (Still in front of my computer, still trying to do work.) I realized I felt guilty for taking the time to eat food that day. I realized that while I love working for my current company, I was at the point where I was going to start looking for new jobs (I'd already emailed a recruiter back on LinkedIn that day) because I was ready to fucking jump ship and get the hell out of there. But I like my boss. I realized I'd been in this role for 8 months, which was depressing, because every single month as my deadline has approached I have told myself, "don't worry, next month, it will be better." And this is 8 months in and no, it hasn't gotten better, not one whit.

So I did a very scary, very adult thing.

I wrote my boss an email. (I wrote a few drafts first.)

    "I don’t think I can continue testing for XXX the way that I have been doing. I realized today I have been in this role for 8 months and for at least 6 of those months I have been constantly stressed: either I feel my hands are tied, or that I am working myself to the bone to meet a deadline that often, much to my upset, is missed anyway (due to exceptions, work not being done, business pushback, or whatever).

    Tonight I am sitting in front of my computer trying to update the June testing calendar (which is not working for some reason) and all I can think of is the 30 [system name] screenshots I still need to get, that I was going to get tonight. And now it’s 8:30 and I feel guilty for having gone out to dinner because I feel like I should have spent that time working. That’s not right. I feel like I need to work late every night this week and both days this weekend if I want to meet deadlines. That’s not right. Unfortunately, this is the way I have felt almost every month for the past 6-8 months. I have to admit that I can’t do this anymore.

    I hope we can try to talk about this. I am feeling a little emotional right now but I have to admit that I have not been happy with this situation for some time now. Maybe we can slim down the big controls (the ones with 20+ attributes), reduce sample sizes, eliminate redundancies (like how we test for insurance fulfilment on 3 different controls), or maybe there are other options. I hope there is something.

    I love working with you, but there is nothing that I love about the XXX project.

I did figure, they weren't going to fire me for saying this, and at least I was giving my boss the chance to help fix this situation and keep me, instead of just jumping ship. I kind of figured it was fair. It was better than just jumping to another job at another company that I probably wouldn't like as much.

The very next morning we had a meeting face-to-face with the department head.

They took every single suggestion I made and went with it. I was a little amazed. I walked out of that meeting feeling like I had gotten everything I wanted. I also felt like, at no point did this become an issue of "are you not working hard enough?"

I have to admit that that feeling, the feeling of guilt, that my workload was a result of me not working efficiently, or well, or prioritizing correctly, was what had been holding me back from having this discussion. I was worried that it would all come back on me. I was worried that it was actually my fault, and that I couldn't see it, or that I just needed to work harder. That it was all my failure.

No one felt that way.

I think this is among the most adult things ever that I have done, and I wanted to share it with Hubski. In part because wow, that was a really hard and stressful thing, but for those of you that maybe havent' had to do this or don't know that you can...I tried it. And it worked for me. And no one is going to fire you because you say your workload is too heavy. (They might put you on some sort of 'plan'....I guess it depends...But what I want to say is that, it is worth a shot.)

Look at me guys. I'm...I'm...Adulting.

mike  ·  1348 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Are mathematics created or discovered?


I think it's a difficult question because it's really quite meaningless.

All of our logic, all of the way we think, is developed from our interaction with the universe, in very fundamental ways. I am in my bed. My bed is in my room. Therefore I am in my room. In this way our logic develops. Mathematics is the body of knowledge that grows from this logic. It is a human construct and it does such an amazingly good job of describing the universe because it grew from the structure of the universe. So when we find a surprising result and then find an example of that result in nature, we are even more surprised and get a feeling of being small surrounded by The Big Mystery.

"Was the math there or did we make it?" ignores the fact that we ourselves are a part of the mechanisms of the universe. To me, creating and discovering are the same. I am just happy I can take pleasure in the process!

(I suspect that the universe itself is an emergent phenomenum that comes from the simplest of rules, "1+1=2" or even simpler, like "1". It only really makes sense to me to think that the universe is just one particle.)

_refugee_  ·  1349 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: May 13, 2015

    Two Internet users, previously total strangers, are brought unexpectedly together on an urgent mission. What they don't know about each other is they're completely different! completely different, that is, except for their undeniable need to Do One Thing.


    coming this summer to theaters near you