Archive for the ‘Chicago’ Category.

Rambling Thoughts About A Spanish Lady

I got an email recently from my Spanish non-girlfriend. I have not seen her since I left Chicago, but we have kept in touch via email. Now she is back in Spain. Her father is in the hospital. I got the impression from her last, brief email a month ago it’s serious. I have a feeling that soon, she will come back to Chicago one last time to wrap things up, and go back to Spain for good.

Romantic opportunities do not come often for me. Women who are not spiritual or religious are pretty rare. Women who do not smoke or drink alcohol are rare. Women who fit both categories are rarer still. She did. And she did not seem to hate me.

Unfortunately, she did not seem interested in any sort of serious relationship with me either. For a very brief period, I thought she might be interested. Either I missed the opportunity, or, more likely, I was just kidding myself. I have sometimes joked (mostly to myself) that my only hope of getting married is finding a woman who is willing to lay on her back to get a green card. And then a foreign woman who meets my three criteria (along with the unstated fourth of not being fat), and it’s hard to not let my imagination run away.

As a sidenote, I have noticed that women seem more likely than men to drink alcohol, at least in the atheist/skeptical community. It seems odd to pride yourself on your logic and critical thinking skills, and then turn around and knowingly ingest a toxic, addictive substance. And be proud of yourself for it to boot. I think it is really a dumb thing for women in particular. They are at a disadvantage in just about every way; two I am thinking of are finance and health care. So why spend money on something that destroys your health? When I was in Chicago, I noticed most of the men did not drink alcohol, while most of the women did. I not only joined the atheist/skeptical community to be part of a community, but also to find a woman. No such luck. I sometimes wish my libido had an “off” switch.

There was another women who did not drink alcohol, but she showed up once and never came back. I was unemployed at the time, and not feeling my sexiest.

The Spanish Lady did not seem interested in being in a relationship with anyone. I don’t know if that is a good thing, or not. She did not seem happy with her life, and seemed resigned to the idea of going back to Spain to take care of her family. I admit, I had an agenda/fantasy of my own. But what’s wrong with wanting to do something for her? Who will be there for her? Another woman in Chicago thought the Spanish Lady’s family (or at least some of them) wanted her to go back so they could live off her money. I don’t think she had a lot, but she works for the Spanish government, so she might have a pension. I just want to make her moan and scream during anal sex and not drink booze or go to church. I want her body and her mind, not her money. Maybe that is wanting to use her. But in the fantasy world in my head, she would love every minute of it.

I know one of her brothers is severely autistic, and lives in an institution in Spain. A couple of other siblings have some issues as well. But as I stated, I don’t think she is really choosing this. I have always felt that she felt pushed into that decision and seemed resigned to it. In my defense, I did not set out to save her. The complexity of her situation became apparent to me over time.

I know it’s kind of sad to be pining away for a woman I have not seen in a few years. But things aren’t going well in Austin. I spend a lot of time in my car going to and from work. I am trying to learn a new programming language so I can get a different job, and it is taking me a lot longer than I thought. And my current job is not going too well. I did not like my brief time in a startup, but big companies seem to have a lot of chaos as well. I need a job where I can work on only one thing at a time.

Plus no woman. There are not too many at the atheist/skeptical meetups that I go to. It is still pretty guy-heavy. There was one geared towards women, but I think the leader of that one broke up with the guy leading all the other ones. And I have started going to yoga, but sometimes that seems pretty heavy on the lez.

Other people seem to find new romantic sexual partners like putting on a new pair of shoes. I still cannot figure out how to get anywhere with women. For me, it is like women are from Mars and men are from Venus. Or whatever. Sometimes I am a bit envious of gay people. It seems like there is less misunderstanding. It seems like (in some contexts) it is okay for them to be more open about sexual interest. Aside from people trying to kill them and take away their civil rights, it seems like an okay life. (I am estranged from big chunks of my family, so that part I am used to.)

I always plan on getting stuff done every weekend (work on software, blog posts, meditate, work out), but I just surf the net and don’t get much done. On top of that, I am gaining weight. Working out is not a problem, but eating less is. The only part of my body that ever gains any muscle is the inside of my thighs. It can make life uncomfortable.

Then again, if the Spanish Lady comes back to Chicago, it’s not like she would want to be with me. And she might not want to stay anyway. Illinois has gone downhill with Rauner. Like Wisconsin with Walker. And Louisiana with Jindal. And Kansas with Brownback. Seriously, people: state elections matter.

Except here in Texas, where the Republicans just get crazier and crazier. When they are not denying climate change and talking about secession, they are asking for federal disaster relief.

Plus, if Trump is president, the Spanish Lady will almost certainly stay away. I think a lot of people in foreign countries will stay out of the US.

Image from Wikipedia, assumed allowed under Fair Use. A larger version is here; you can read some of the labels in the larger version. North is towards the upper left corner.

Thoughts On Groupon and Unemployment

Recently, ex-Groupon CEO Andrew Mason announced his next move: He is moving to The Bubble of Self-Absorption (aka Silicon Valley).

I never met Andrew Mason, but I never really liked him. I never really saw the point of Groupon. They are one of the inspirations for this site’s “Technology Is Useless” theme. I talked to a few employees who also thought what Groupon did was stupid.

I kept hearing people in the media go on about how smart he was. We were supposed to believe he was “quirky”, or “charming”, or something. In every picture I saw of him he looked like he was not all there. He never seemed to take his job seriously. Maybe he really was a smart, serious guy. But if that is the case, then he was intentionally presenting a goofball image. I have no qualms criticizing someone for something they do intentionally. Since he got fired from the company he founded, I guess that “happy-go-lucky” routine did not do him much good.

In the post about his plans, he said something that really bugged me: he said he was reading, travelling, and “embarking on other cliched pursuits of the unemployed”. I guess in a narrow technical sense, he is unemployed. The way Mitt Romney was unemployed. Most unemployed people don’t engage in accounting fraud, cash out, and walk away with millions.

I was unemployed for a while. A couple of times, actually. For me, it was the same as it was for most unemployed people: Applying for jobs, applying for benefits, trying to stretch them out, try to keep my skills sharp, etc, etc.

Maybe I just don’t get that quirky sense of humor he has. But let me go over a few real unemployment cliches:

Keeping your skills up to date takes a lot of time.

You also have to research companies that you are applying to.

Preparing for interviews, going through the interviews, thanking who you talked to and keeping track of all that is a huge task.

You might get a call from Company B, and the job sounds good, but you would REALLY like to work at Company A, so you stall B because A is taking its time, and in the end they both say no.

You go to meetups at friends’ places, and hope nobody comments too loudly that you are eating a little bit more free food than everybody else.

You wonder if you will ever work in your field again.

You wish you could go back in time and pick a different major in college.

You might wonder if you will ever get married (unemployed 40-somethings are not exactly a prime commodity on the dating market). Dying alone looks like a possibility. Dying alone after a few decades of poverty looks like a serious possibility.

You wonder if that mole you just saw is just a mole, or cancer. So you make an appointment to see a doctor, after taking a few days to check if the crappy insurance that you can barely afford (because COBRA expired) will cover the visit. Then after a couple hours of Googling, you realize that if it is not a mole, you have three options. The first is chemo (if it’s covered). The other two are amputation or suicide. So you go to sleep every night for the next seven nights trying to figure out whether you would choose amputation or suicide if you cannot get chemo.

And if the general practitioner refers you to a dermatologist, you go through the “Door Number Two or Door Number Three?” cycle for another seven or so days.

If you can keep up your job search with that going through your head, your powers of concentration are better than mine.

The typical unemployed person does not start a company that some of its own employees think is kind of dumb, submit SEC filings with bogus accounting metrics and cash out with millions and act like a lobotomized stoner the entire time.

Now, you might be asking how is it that someone as dumb as Andrew Mason still manages to cash out with millions while I struggle.

I have come to realize that if you are willing to lie, cheat and steal, then it’s like having several IQ points tacked on.

Maybe Mason was used by Lefkovsky (see this article and this article).  I don’t think that lets Mason off the hook. Like the proverb says: If you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.

If Mr Mason thinks unemployment is fun or something to be joked about, then he really is an ass.

Bad Statistics In The Wild

A few weeks ago, I went to a book salon run by the Chicago Skeptics. The book was How To Lie With Statistics.

Just today, I saw an article on Media Matters titled Another Whopper From Fox’s Graphics Department. It points out a few of the fallacies that are also in the book.

 

I added #skepchicamp link to Bitly

I added a bitly link to the Skepchicamp hashtag on twitter here. Now you can see who is putting #skepchicamp in their tweets.

I got my ticket, and the big day is March 6.

So far it is mostly me, which I am a bit surprised by.

More Skepchicamp Fundraiser Photos

There is a Chicago Skeptics group on Facebook. There is a photos page with more pictures of the fundraiser a week ago.

Added Chicago Skeptics site

In addition to the Meetup Group, there is now a Chicago Skeptics website. I added it to the Groups page.

Skepchicamp Fundraiser Photos

Here I will post links to photos for the Skepchicamp fundraiser that happened over the weekend.

– On Facebook

– Talkskepchicamp singing

One that I took of bar tricks

– We saw this VERY LARGE television across the street

Somewhere Ivan has amazing photos of the city.

Added Chicago COR to Groups Page

I added a link to the Chicago Coalition of Reason to the Groups page.