“You can’t outrun a Balrog!”/ Nerds are cool

Yesterday after work I went and visited Fletcher and Andy at their house and we were sitting around discussing movies based on books, books based on movies, planned trilogies and that sort of thing, when Fletcher said, “I think the cheesiest part of Lord of the Rings was that Gandolf, supposedly the second most powerful wizard in the world, didn’t help the protagonists more.”

To which I replied, “Fletch, he fought that monster Balrog, what do you expect?”

He just shrugged and said, “They could’ve easily outrun it.”

I exclaimed, “You can’t outrun a Balrog!”

Now you may be wondering what does this have to do with nerds being cool? It has everything to do with it. These types of conversations are where many truly brilliant ideas see their birth. The above talk was silly, but it reminded me how much I enjoy chatting with smart people about anything and everything. I love having passionate discussions with intelligent people about anything from where life is going to movies and books to culture to international finance to religion to relationships to exercise to the purpose of life to any other subject under the sun. During these conversations, which sometimes last many hours into the night, my brainy friends and I lay out new ideas and their structures and potential applications. We laugh and joke and have a lot of fun, but we also sometimes hit on some awesome ideas in serious fields. It may be nerdy, but I love to have a fiery discussion that lasts for six or seven hours and lays out our opinion of the ideal framework for maximizing our influence in interpersonal interactions (a conversation Jeremy and I had) or the best balance between earning income and living your life (Fletch and I) or any number of other incredible conversations I’ve had. I even have enjoyed deep conversations with my new boss, with whom I don’t have much in common other than our job. He and I have had some brainstorming sessions on how best to reverse engineer the search engines (my job) that have been exciting.

When I woke up this morning, I lay there thinking about these great conversations and realized that I have been having somewhat less of them lately. Life has just been pushing and pulling me in so many directions that I have not had as much opportunity to sit down and just talk for hours on end. Part of the problem is that many of the smartest people I know have moved away: Jeremy to LA, Mark to Tacoma with his new wife, Shannon transferred to a Cali school, Kenny to Beverly Hills and many others have followed their individual life paths. Every so often, we run into one another but it isn’t enough. Basically I think I need to expand my circles and meet new people who can hold their own in a philosophical discussion.

I started to write down a few of the ideas we’ve discussed, but quickly discovered there’s far too much to be written here. Perhaps I’ll write about some of the ideas I have once in a while. I also don’t want some of the profitable ideas stolen ;).

The point of this whole post is that I want to have more of these conversations, so whether your an old friend or a new one, please call me and we’ll talk the days and nights away.

CONDO!!

It has been a very successful day so far… I have been researching new apartments/houses/condos and have made a lot of progress. I found a couple of decent places in the U-district, but much better than that I found a newly opening condo building 6 blocks from my work! They have a bunch of pretty great sounding condos for pretty decent prices. Soon, I may own my first place!!! I am really, really excited!

P.S. Yes, I know I overused the exclamation marks, but I feel it’s justified in light of how EXCITED I am!

Nothing like accounting…

… to make the time pass when you’re feeling sad. If you are just sitting by yourself in your apartment with nothing to do, time slows to a crawl and it feels like your hurt will swell up and swallow you whole. Accounting usually is a mind-numbing, soul-crushing activity that I have to do at the end of each month to show where I spent my budget, but this month it is rather nice to have something I have to do. The accounting I do, I have to track all of my costs and then find missing data and enter it into several different locations. Kind of like “Where’s Waldo”, except there is fifty different Waldos hidden among fifty thousand other people and you don’t know what Waldo looks like. Generally this makes me want to gouge out my testicles and hurl them at a police officer (a man actually did this.) However, today I’m feeling lovelorn and my accounting and data entry is making the time go by faster. The best part is that I’m getting paid to receive this therapy. Break time over, back to number crunching.

Summer is coming!

I am starting to get really excited about this late spring and summer. I love the bright sunshine, parks, bonfires on beaches, cruising around various lakes in nice boats, surfing at the ocean, lazy days, outdoor parties, pretty ladies and their summerwear, exercising outdoors, hiking, mountain climbing (perhaps Ranier?), close friends, canoeing, exploring, walking around at midnight in a t-shirt and shorts and being warm, the scenery, sailing, vacations and did i mention fine women?

The last few summers have been pretty nice, because fine weather and regular sunshine greatly improve my mood. I have had tons of free time, but no money and my friends were all in the same boat. I went home for one summer (big mistake).

However, this will be my first summer as a college graduate. I have been earning a healthy income for the last year and have some extra money that I can spend on fun stuff. I also have saved up some extra vacation days and will probably take a random day off here and there throughout the summer and go to lakes and beaches and on trips. The passion of fine summers is incredible; it raises a hot love of life and people that gives me chills.

I am going to spend as much time as I can outdoors with the people I care about. I would like to be able to visit a lot of the parks around here and also head over to Eastern Washington for a few long weekends and also out to the ocean for some surfing. Currently, I am looking to a get a new, and much better, apartment with an area where I can have BBQs for my friends. I should also be able to use my grandparents cabin on White Pass with the pools and tennis courts and gorgeous mountains all around on my own by then.

The recent days have been tough, but I have some high hopes for the future. A lot of pieces in my life that I have been working on for a long time are beginning to fall into place. My best times are definitely coming!

Funny stuff

I was checking through the search engines and doing some research and came across some pretty entertaining stuff today:

-Michael Jackson is a crazy bastard: he’s making a 50 foot robot of himself that will roam the Las Vegas desert and shoot laser beams. Yahoo’s Article on Wacko Jacko

-World’s tallest man finds a wife… I feel his pain, though it can’t compare to being 7’9” The Giant

-This retard put himself ina coma by choking himself with a rope to get high Duh…. Somebody should introduce these people to alcohol or heroin or something safe.

why I rock…

-I love to try new things, especially things that challenge me.
-People describe me as skinny to medium build and physically fit: 6’5” 220 lbs.
-I have a job and am working on starting my own business
-Give me good food and tasty drinks and i’ll be your friend for life.
-When I’m upset, I de-stress by running for miles.
-I listen to most any music.
-I’m 23 and am having the best time of my life and am working to make sure it just keeps getting better.
-If something bad happens, I’ll give you a hug and make a joke to try to make you feel better.
-I don’t need money, but enjoy strategizing ways to make it.
-I love to explore and go on trips and adventures.
-I almost always am on time.
-I call when I say I will.
-A great conversation can be better than sex-especially because it isn’t over in 8 seconds ;).
-Reading is a great passion of mine.
-I don’t drink pop and rarely eat candy.
-Once you become one of my good friends, you will be on for life.
-I can conduct myself with class, though sometimes i have fun by letting the small-town boy show through.
-Kids and dogs usually love me and I them.
-Bottle of wine + good friend= Happy Joel
-I drive like a madman.
-I am preparing to climb Mt. Ranier this summer.
-I am a decent chess player.
-Loyalty is my foremost virtue.
-I can make a mean pasta and a decent steak.
-I hate people who abuse those who can’t fight back (ie- don’t be a bitch to your waiter/child/employee, because I will call you out).
-Sailing with a bottle of rum is fun.
-I’m learning to dance.
-I prefer natural women (don’t like tanning, makeup, bleached hair, etc.) Be who you are.
-I think anyone who claims only to like a certain type or genre of something (music, girls/boys, books, games) and discounts everything else is an idiot.
-I am a strange combo of nerd and meathead.
-I sometimes dream of hitting the open road.
-The only foreign country I have ever visited is Canada :(. I will fix that soon.
-I want to learn a foreign language.
-I grow on people; you may not like me at first, but eventually you will love me.
-Grammar is the devil and I’ll put my commas wherever I want to.
-I ski more for the scenery than for the thrill (though at times, you need the thrill).
-I know how to move websites up in the organic results of search engines. Don’t piss me off or you may find www.yournameisachildmolestor.com ranks #1 for your name.
-I am very good at making bets and negotiating.
-I am a flag football fanatic.
-You must’ve been really bored to read this whole post.

School life vs. Work life

A question I asked many times during my undergrad was, “How in the hell am I ever going to work every day?”

For many of you who knew me, I had the ultimate class schedule for my last two and a half years of college: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:30 to 730. 4 day weekends every weekend, bedtime at 2-4am and waking up before noon was as rare as actual work getting done. So, i’m going to help you folks out who are still being “educated”.

1. School life
2. Real life

1. Tough day: having a paper due in two days and spending an hour and a half writing it in your boxers.
2. Tough day: having a report due in two days and spending 18 hours slaving away on excel.

1. Eating all day long, including in class. Usually consuming giant tubs of pasta.
2. Packing a daily backpack full of food for the day: 3 protein drinks, 2 fat turkey sandwiches, 1 Costco chicken bake, 1 bag of carrots, 1 pack of dinosaurs and 3 oranges.

1. Hanging out with your best friends all day playing video games, watching movies, going to work out and play sports.
1. Sitting at a desk all day surrounded by people you may or may not like, frenetically trying to keep on the workload your new boss heaps on you (boss quotes- “You’re salary, so you have to work as long as it takes to get the job done… but if you finish early you have to tell me so I can give you more tasks… if you leave before 5 you don’t care about your job”)

1. Relaxing all day till 11 at night, then getting dressed and heading out to party.
2. Waking up at 7am, slaving away till after 5, then either going to happy hour and heading home by 9 or 10 or trying to take a nap so you won’t be exhausted when you party with your friends at 11… though you will feel jet-lagged the rest of the weekend.

1. Working out at the IMA 4-5 days a week, 1-2 hours a day.
2. Working out at the IMA 3 days a week, 1/2 to 1 hour, desperately trying to save as much of your measly free time as possible.

1. Meeting new women in class, at your friends place, at the bar.
2. Meeting new women at… nowhere, just cut your testes off.

1. Carefully spending the pittance of money provided by financial aid on books and food.
2. Spending lots of money on all sorts of toys you will never have time to use because you are at work.

1. Using Facebook/Myspace at home because you’re bored.
2. Using Facebook/Myspace at work because you’re bored.

1. Enjoying the beautiful sunshine and spring weather by going to Madison beach or the park every day.
2. Working in the attic and not having any windows… it’s sunrise when you go in and sunset when you go home.

1. Counting off the days till the end of the quarter.
2. Counting off the days till the end of your life.

Hopefully that provides some clarification to all the college students out there…

Grandpa Wisdom

This is going to sound like your parents/grandparents advice, but whatevers: It makes me sad that many people are unable to live within their means. I have a lot of friends who make good money, but spend it as fast as they make it. They are then forced to go and beg for a raise from their boss, thinking, “if I just made XXX more dollars a month, I wouldn’t need to worry about money anymore”. However, once they are granted the raise, they think, “hey, why not treat myself a little bit? I can afford to buy XYZ now…” And thus the cycle continues.

Though, I am thinking about hopping into the cycle and buying myself a hot new car.;)