Art Walk Seattle

I went out on the art walk tonight (first Thursday of every month) with Fletcher and Leah and Ashley (who left early for dinner). It was a lot of fun even though most of the art I saw was pretty poor. Leah had a good friend who was a dancer with a company based out of New York, so we went to her gallery. The guy who owned the gallery/apartment was a systems engineer for Amazon and he and I got to talking about some of our entrepreneurial ideas and I think I may have found a potential new partner. The apartment was several thousand square feet of gorgeous architecture in Pioneer Square that he paid $2k a month for…on his own. Pretty ridiculous. He knew a lot about web design and database architecture for very major websites (amazon.com for crying out loud) and he is interested in becoming a partner in the business I have started. We even got to chatting about putting a solid executive presentation together and raising a few million in venture capital. I am really excited about my future and the possibilities it holds!

Government Accountability Issues

Lately, I have been reading a lot of articles about problems with accountability in the government. For instance, a rampant problem in many state and city governments nationwide is that they have spent massive amounts of money they didn’t have in recent years. New Jersey has spent massive amounts of money out of it’s workers’ pension funds and used sly accounting tricks to hide it’s misdeeds. Texas is also facing the same issue and when the voters passed a measure that demanded clearer accounting, the legislature refused because the data that will come out shows that they are teetering on the edge of bankruptcy and have violated the terms of their bonds. These accountability problems are not just fiscal, but also about basic resource management: the West is in the midst of a long, slow drought that has been depleting water reserves and soon there will be a major water crunch in Nevada, California, Utah, Wyoming and Montana. Governments are fighting each other for scarce resources. Huge problems are coming down the pike since they won’t work together to ensure both the cities and farms get enough water in each area. Global warming will only exacerbate the problem.

Issues like these are rampant in most state governments because of a lack of responsibility. State employees are very difficult to fire and have powerful unions that protect them from the pressures that free enterprise puts on people to be productive and successful. For a long time, the large state bureaucracies have stuffed themselves while doing little to help their citizens. Their lobby groups have put massive pressure on politicians for higher pay and better benefits with no corresponding increase in productivity. The politicians can’t/ won’t clean house because if they tried to they would be crushed by the unions and lobbyists.

Another problem, is a basic issue with democracy itself: each politician only serves a limited time in office and thus does not have to answer for poor decisions he or she makes that affect the future. That is why our national government is buried in massive debt and many cities and states are teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. If China didn’t continue to fund our treasuries by buying our bonds, the dollar would quickly collapse. We need to find a way to make politicians responsible in the future for decisions they make during their limited terms or our government does not have a future.

Me, Experience, Things & Goals

(*) college/seattle [univ. washington, 4 years, Finance degree]
(*) frat [Sigma Chi]
(*) dorm [McMahon]
(*) apartments [many rented, looking for new one]
(*) job [Visible Technologies, Business Analyst]
(*) pumping iron [290 bench, 24 pullups]
(*) web design
(*) mountain climbing [Mt. Adams]
(*) read Bible [2.5 times through]
(*) start to learn to dance [tango, hip-hop, need more]
(*) 4 Earl’s drinks [blacked-out, great photo]
(*) predict final 4, championship teams & winner [2007, espn bracket]
(*) 1st car (own money) [1990 Ford Ranger]
(*) 2nd car (own money) [1999 Ford Contour]
(*) Me [6’5”, 215, green eyes, light brown hair]
_ mountain climbing [St. Helens, Ranier, Adams again]
_ own successful business [working on it]
_ marathon [training]
_climb a redwood tree [gathering spikes]
_ foreign language[not started]
_ dancing [hip-hop, tango, salsa, ballroom]
_ lifting [300 10x, 6 pack, 30 pullups]
_travel [europe, china, thailand, south america]
_gimp [in a box, probably faryar ;)]
_build personal site [forum, blog, pix, video, etc.]

and i have a lot more goals i want to accomplish and have accomplished, but this is a snippet. The best is yet to come!
(*) – completed

Insomnia

I am starting to get worried that I may have some weird form of insomnia. For the last three mornings in a row I have awoken really early and felt agitated and really awake and not been able to go back to sleep for at least a couple hours. Sleep is one of my most reliable old friends, but apparently it is abandoning me. I am not sure what to do with myself. Perhaps it has something to do with my weird situation I am in, it’ll probably go away when I get myself stabilized. Well, I think I’m going to play with my Facebook profile for awhile and then go back to sleep.

I just saw Saw 3

Something about the three Saw movies holds my attention. I haven’t been frightened by any horror movies in many years, but the Saw movies are pretty suspenseful. They aren’t exactly award-winning material, but they are a good way to make a couple of hours fly by. Plus, I like my movies every so often to NOT have happy endings. Keeps me on my toes. Warning: the Saw movies are extremely gruesome and bloody and packed with gore, so be careful… it’s not often a movie actually makes me queasy, but i was pretty disturbed.

“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.