5/31/2005

so, i skipped lunch today

But don't feel sorry for me, it was my fault. I got distracted online today, and it took much longer than I anticipated. So I felt bad and worked through lunch. Basically, I decided surfing the web was more important than eating. Sad, I know. So I ate my lunch for dinner. And then I had dinner.

The reason I lost track of time is that I got addicted to one of those sites with way too many quizzes to take about yourself. Some of them were pointless and uninsightful, but enough had a minimum threshhold of fun and truth that I am going to use them in my posts over the coming month.

To get things started, here's one on how I supposedly think.

Your Dominant Thinking Style:

Visioning

You are very insightful and tend to make decisions based on your insights.
You focus on how things should be - even if you haven't worked out the details.

An idealist, thinking of the future helps you guide your path.
You tend to give others long-term direction and momentum.

Your Secondary Thinking Style:

Exploring

You thrive on the unknown and unpredictable. Novelty is your middle name.
You are a challenger. You tend to challenge common assumptions and beliefs.

An expert inventor and problem solver, you approach everything from new angles.
You show people how to question their models of the world.

5/30/2005

just for jen

i get the game cube while they're in hawaii!

I was going to make this a serious post since my weekend has been full of getting one of my best high school friends married. But then I thought, screw it, that in itself is more than enough seriousness. I’ll just make fun of myself, instead. If you really wanted details about the wedding, all you need to know is that it suited them perfectly. It was elegant and beautiful, a traditional Christian wedding at its finest. The only thing lovelier than the bridesmaids’ dresses, of course, was Carrie herself.

Okay, enough of that. On to me :)

Essentially, I require a lot of sleep to function correctly. If I get 8 hours of sleep, I will wake up tired the next day. Yet at the same time, I can’t go to bed when there are people around talking and playing video games. Add to that the adrenaline factor that two awesome people are getting married and the fact that I didn’t sleep much Thursday night because I’m a procrastinator and started cleaning up my place for all the guys way too late, and you can readily see the ingredients for crashing Saturday after the wedding. Or, uh, almost after it.

When I say function correctly, the desire to be social goes first, but every once in a while I get so exhausted as to lose all common sense. I knew I was in trouble about half-way through dinner—which, by the way, was a steak dinner at the reception! Food is an amazing catalyst, exchanging adrenaline for exhaustion. Now, to be fair, this isn’t just happening to me; Tom and Austin were perfectly content just sitting there for a while, too. In fact, we were apparently so content that Laura, Jesse, and Amanda came up to talk to us because they thought we were bored. Bored! It is reassuring, though, being reminded that women don’t understand men, either (at least every once in awhile). But my point was to make fun of myself, not the ladies, so let’s fast forward the night a bit.

Andy likes dancing, and of course all of us in the wedding party joined Carrie and him on the dance floor. I had gotten my second wind and was having fun for an hour or so. Then Tom and Laura suggested going to sit down for a bit. That had disaster written all over it. In fact, I didn’t leave that table again the rest of the night. Never mind that Andy’s relatives are quite exciting at weddings, or that more than a couple single ladies were still around. Nope, when I get that tired, there is literally nothing in the world I want to do more than just sit there. I was so tired when I got out to my car later that I seriously contemplated taking a nap in it before driving home. (This is in the parking lot of the hotel, mind you). And to cap off the evening, I left the keys to my apartment in the door all night long. When I got up, I noticed that the door wasn’t even shut. Good thing my roommates were out of town!

Or to paraphrase Andy’s post, I’m still in bachelordom. Thank God.

5/28/2005

why is my apartment a mess?

Oh yeah, Andy is getting married today, and all the guys spent the night at my place. More on this later (you know, after I've slept and the wedding's actually taken place). But it's so exciting I wanted you to know now. That, and I didn't really realize we made such a mess until I'm getting ready to go to bed and I'm like, why is it such a mess around here, I just cleaned? That's a good night.

5/27/2005

is it morning already?

Yeah, I always underestimate the time it takes to clean. Oh well, the weekend will be fun. Just stay awake at work...

So since I don't have much time for posting, I'll put my map of the US. I think this is accurate, althought my trip to the Northeast was awhile ago, so I may have missed or added one accidentally. It might also have something to do with the fact that I'm not sure whether it's early or late. Click here for the full size map.



create your own personalized map of the USA

5/26/2005

best score yet

That's right folks, I reached 117 points in my fantasy baseball league. Here's hoping I don't have any more serious injuries.

That's almost as cool as my friends Andy and Carrie getting married this weekend. Almost.

Congrats to Austin, too, by the way. And the probably thousands of people I don't know deciding to get married on Memorial Day weekend.

5/24/2005

time to meet the neighbors

This is for all you organizer types that are always looking for new ice breakers to use with people. The necessary ingrediants are four parked cars, a beautiful spring night, and a big tree branch. Then, have the branch magically fall over right on top of the cars. Bingo! Everybody is out getting to know each other. That and wondering how on Earth the tree fell apart. Seriously, we had thunderstorms with lightning and everything all weekend, and the tree took it like a champ. But last night it apparently lost its will to live. Fortunately, nothing was seriously damaged and nobody was hurt. But in three years living here I can't say I've ever been hanging out on the street at 11 o'clock at night in my pajama pants waiting on the forestry dude to show up.

5/23/2005

addendum to yesterday

My roommate wanted me to add this website to the marshmallow fun. Seriously, people have way to much time on their hands.

5/22/2005

my roommate loves this site

Yesterday was more than enough seriousness for awhile. So today, I leave you with a website that my roommate is rather fond of. Go play with the marshmallows!

culture shock

At our staff meeting yesterday I’m making small talk with the guy next to me. You see, those of us doing administrative stuff never make it to the meetings on time at 3:00. Well, the meeting hasn’t started yet even after I’ve been there a couple minutes. So I say to the guy something like, “these things really don’t start at 3:00, do they?” And he says to me, “you don’t know black people.”

But that’s not the culture shock I’m going for. I found out this week that another of my closest high school friends is getting married. It’s very exciting; it’s like they’re all grown up. I say they because I have enmeshed myself in a completely different cultural environment for the last five years. One attraction of Wash U for me was that it is very focused and ambitious, a stepping stone to other things, but those pursuits are largely individual. People’s concerns are where their next job is going to be or what grad school program they should go to. Sure, there are some serious relationships, but very few people are actively exploring marriage. The only two people from Wash U I can think of are Melanie, a friend of mine from high school who is now married, and Adrian, my old roommate—and he met his [ex] fiancée Lauren in high school, not college. We don’t have some fountain or statue or park bench somewhere on campus where all the guys take their girlfriends to propose. Graham chapel is beautiful, but few things look more out of place on campus than the tuxedos and dresses from the rare wedding that takes place there. And frankly, most of us rather much enjoy the single life :)

But this spring I have been bitten by the wedding bug. Just so long as it’s somebody else’s wedding, ‘tis all. That’s what being in two of them will do to you, which, by the way, is about as many weddings as I had attended in my entire life. So in honor of one of my closest male friends from high school, one of my closest female friends from high school, my first serious girlfriend, my college roommate, and others, I thought I would write a serious post about what the sanctity of marriage means to me. I freely acknowledge that marriage isn’t solely a religious affair, but I think it says something that many people for whom issues of spirituality matter little still decide to make some sort of union more formal than simply living together making babies.

I employ the phrase sanctity of marriage because I believe it really is sacred. There is something special, unique, different that is difficult to articulate but easy, I think, to recognize. We celebrate the self, our individuality, but at the same time there is something incomplete about being alone. Or as Genesis chapter 2 puts it, “it is not good that man should be alone…therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife; and they become one flesh.” Yet the story in chapter 2 clearly allows time for both the individual and the partnership, and I read that as meaning that at any given moment in time, it’s not accurate to say that it is better to be married than not. In fact, if anything, Paul’s letters glorify a life of celibacy above all.

Marriage supercedes other human relationships; more than any other, it is formed under the sovereignty of God. In the wedding ceremony, the father/parents of the bride don’t lend her to the groom; there’s no sunset provision or conditional offer. She is given away. I’m not saying that the groom assumes all parental responsibilities; I’m saying the parents lose them. I think this is what most people understood about the rather unfortunate story we know as the Terri Schiavo case. Regardless of whether a spouse renders a “good” or “bad” decision, the entire institution of marriage would suffer if parents could intervene when their wishes conflict with those of the spouse (or the child, for that matter).

Marriage is love. You can call me a romantic. You can call me hopelessly naïve. You can point out the obvious fact that all sorts of reasons have led to marriage. No matter. At the end of the day, it has to be that almost clichéd description in 1st Corinthians. Chapter 13 verses 1 to 8 read:

If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.

Marriage is permanent. To me, this more than any other rests as the central, fundamental commitment that is marriage. Once two individuals decide that they should join together, they are signing an unbreakable agreement to resolve differences within the framework of the institution of marriage. There’s a reason we make that commitment official before God in front of friends and family. Even the most secular marriage requires witnesses. Are there hardships? Absolutely; hence the necessity of explaining that love endures all things. As a Christian, I think that is where we fail most spectacularly. The vast number of children who have lived through the excruciating process that is divorce perhaps defines my generation more than anything else, and the numbers are pretty clear that “Christian” marriages fair no better than others. I’m not saying there are never grounds for divorce, but it’s about as close to an absolute truth as can be made about human relations in the world. This is such a serious decision that if you cannot promise til death do us part to work out differences within the construct of marriage then marriage should not be entered into in the first place.

Marriage is intimate. There are many types of relationships that allow us to explore deep, meaningful connections with our fellow human beings on this planet. This isn’t about being introverted or extraverted, shy or the life of the party. It’s recognizing that marriage allows—and requires—that two people come together in raw, authentic intimacy. It’s the ultimate in tolerance; not merely accepting a checklist of strengths and weaknesses but embracing them because the beauty of the whole would be different without them. I also think this is where many relationships based primarily on sex fail. Overemphasizing that component of intimacy ultimately cheapens it, and, let’s face it, sex alone is not strong enough to hold two people together over the long term. However, I also think this is where some Christians get in trouble to the other extreme. Physical intimacy is certainly part of the joy of creation, but the communication process by which intimacy develops is more difficult with sex for some people than any other area. I see physical intimacy as adult play in a context which allows for fulfillment and closeness in a way that playing kickball or playing at the creek as a kid never quite offered. I recognize that I have generally positive memories of being a kid, so there are others who may choose to describe that differently, but I don’t think I’m alone in drawing that parallel.

Marriage is a social construct. It provides a way for organizing small groups of individuals, leading to loyalties that cross all other divisions and groupings of people. It allows for a system of distributing property and dealing with how to support people in the midst of seemingly enormous civil institutions. It creates a forum in which absurd demands must ultimately give in to reality. Call that diplomacy or tact or accountability or realism or compromise or something else entirely, it is a quality that our collective institutions are not good at developing.

And finally, marriage is definitely not where I’m at. At least for now.

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5/20/2005

special no more

Woohoo, we're not the new grads anymore. Best of luck class of 2005. That means incoming freshmen this fall are the class of 2009. Ouch.

5/19/2005

the REAL thing

This post isn't about Coca-Cola directly, but you can bet Coke executives are among those marketers salivating at the chance for the substantially increased data collection and dissemination about to become law through the $82 billion (give or take) in extra money being thrown at Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. It’s classic power politics. How do you pass wildly unpopular legislation? Why, bury it in something very important that no Senator dares vote against, and make sure to have the vote before there is any time for a discussion of the unrelated amendments that would fail as independent legislation.

Voila! Instant national ID card. Now, for those of you interested in facts, the Real ID Act doesn’t technically create a national ID card. All it does is ask states to voluntarily follow Federal guidelines in issuing drivers licenses. Of course, if they don’t, the state’s residents will essentially cease to be American citizens—but that’s not what makes this interesting. There are lots of reasonable people who are and will be raising all the right critiques about states’ rights and religious objections and how any system based on documents that can be forged can’t create an ID that can’t be forged.

Nope, what makes this interesting is how it reveals the transformation we’ve already made of how we view property rights related to personal information. In short, virtually nothing remains that you have the right to prevent someone else from knowing about you. Or if you prefer legalese, few places remain where you have a reasonable expectation of privacy enforceable by the courts (I suppose you could always use an oozie to enforce it). Now, I should be up front that my gut instinct is to err on the side of protecting privacy at virtually all costs. Yet, that vague desire clashes starkly with the reality of even legal, declassified, non-patented information gathering and processing capabilities. So a couple years ago I wrote an essay exploring the seemingly unsustainable expansion of capturing and storing private information. I’m willing to admit that the antidote might be counterintuitive, yet devilishly simple.

This solution wrests on a rather straightforward premise: in a democracy like ours, people who get into positions of power in all the major institutions of society—from corporations to government to universities to churches to the military—tend to have vastly more secrets than the rest of us. So make all information public. All of it. After all, perfect information is one of the prerequisites for an efficiently functioning market. Think of it as statistical privacy. It’s hard for somebody to assault you for your personal deficiency when that person suffers another deficiency that is also public. Instead of having drug users attacking gamblers attacking adulterers, we can all realize nobody’s perfect and move on. Plus, it’d be fun. You pass somebody walking down the street. What’s his IQ? Where does she work? What was the last thing he bought on his credit card? Where did she go to college? No problem, your wireless iPod automatically detects the RFID chip in the person of interest’s clothing/ID cards/skin. And of course, if you want something as quaint as privacy, you can always do without modern conveniences. You know, like driving, flying, buying groceries, and renting an apartment. Don’t even think about going to a bank. The door won’t open if your ID isn’t broadcasting a recognizable signal.

The reason I started this post with Coca-Cola is that no group in society thrives off of mass information like consumer-driven corporations. Sure, the NSA does some of the coolest data collection in the world, but their specialty is more gathering tons ‘o stuff about a few people. Governments aren’t really that good at mass surveillance (at least without the tacit acceptance of the populace); that’s what private enterprise is all about. And what’s their holy grail? A single database containing all information about a person from their residence to medical history to buying habits to physical location that is accessible virtually anywhere—from libraries to bars to airports to police cars to courthouses to coffee shops. That database is the heart of Real ID.

5/18/2005

viruses are fun

I love AIM. Time suck, free communication, multitasker's delight. And it even reconnects you with people you haven't talked to in awhile, especially when viruses are involved. Apparently there is this virus that makes Windows AIM users IM their buddies with something to the effect of "click here". The here, of course, is a link to an executable that then downloads automatically. Well, it would take one heck of an executable to do anything to my iBook, so I'm pretty cavalier about viruses. (Work, however, is a whole other matter). The fun about this one, though, is that it starts a conversation. The person has to apologize, yada yada yada, and before you know it, presto-you've caught up with somebody you haven't IMed in two years.

5/17/2005

a buycott?

The contradictions of the ideology of free market ideologues and the policies enacted by free market ideologues are very fascinating (at least if you're anything like me). If it's alright for dollars to buy votes (something more civilized cultures might refer to as "bribery"), then it sure makes sense to vote with your dollars. I sure enjoy the irony that much of what we buy as consumers (and sell as producers) actually undermines the policy objectives of those who claim publicly to most strongly support all those words du jour like democracy, freedom, trade, ownership, and family values. In fact, the company that pays Vice President Cheney hundreds of thousands of dollars has gotten involved at various times with Iraq, Iran, and Libya; nevermind those pesky sanctions which, by definition, are anti free trade. None of the aforementioned rant is particularly new or profound. But I did enjoy reading this article suggesting a buycott of Citgo. You gotta love it when two popularly elected Presidents (well, at least we're told they both won--the statisticians think one of the victories is worth exploring) with sketchy military backgrounds (for different reasons) start going after one another in a very drawn out public spate. Think Jerry Springer meets Foreign Affairs on the schoolyard playground.

President Bush: Do what I say or we'll overthrow your government.
President Chavez: Don't mess with me or I'll sell my oil to China.
President Bush: We've got nukes.
President Chavez: We've got women who win a ridiculous number of beauty pageants.
President Bush: Ok, I can't beat that. I'm going to go bash some dictator foolish enough to not secure his power through an election.
President Chavez: You'll still buy my oil, right?
President Bush: You'll still invite me to the Miss Venezuela pageant, right?

5/15/2005

25k

No, that’s not how much I ran today. I basically sat on my butt today. But it does happen to be one of the main reasons for said lack of physical activity. A point just east of Columbia, MO, marked 25 thousand miles that I have put on my car since I bought it. I thought you would be as excited as I—which isn’t much; I hate driving. Don’t tell VW, but I’m a passenger.

So in honor of my car I assembled a rather random listing of 25s. My parents are old; they celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary almost 3 years ago. That’s, like, before iPods. 25 years ago some interesting things happened. The start of the Iran hostage crisis has to rank near the top. That’s the one that magically ended the same day Reagan—who promised to sell weapons to the Iranians—was sworn into office (no kidding, it happened at noon). He would never play politics with national security, though; only Democrats do that. Mt St Helens had a little fun in May of 1980. The Royals lost the World Series 25 years ago. This season they, uh, have already lost 25 games. Christmas is on the 25th; that’s always a good time of the year. I'm beating the guy in my fantasy baseball league that I really want to beat by about 25 points. And then there’s always this website.

In the spirit of Brigadoon, see y’all in 25 years.

5/14/2005

none for me

So my sister got a new iBook and my brother got a dual-processor G5 Mac. What's the deal? Just because it was her "birthday" and my brother needs a good computer for his "computer science" major...while I'm off stuck working in St. Louis hoping my little iBook doesn't have any problems. Alas, the oldest always has to fend for himself!

5/12/2005

easy to please

Mmmm, I have some great strawberries and my fantasy baseball team has been in first place for a couple weeks now. What else does a guy need?

5/11/2005

major props

I have to give major props to Erin for being able to find where I work based solely on the street address and her very vague knowledge of St. Louis. Dinner was certainly a fun surprise after work! Of course, Morris gave up a bunch of runs (he's on my fantasy baseball team), and the Royals lost, but I think Erin still makes the night overall a plus. Barely.

5/09/2005

my roommate's back

Because I'm sure you're curious, I wanted to let you know that my roommate had a great trip to Baltimore. Also, I'm supposed to tell you to go help with the free iPod. Click here and do whatever it says (well, within reason). Jodi will be forever grateful.

Speaking of roommates, Doug finally landed a job better than the indentured servitude that is H3, and it's out in Oakland, CA, with AmeriCorps and Habitat for Humanity. As Jodi and I don't have those six figure jobs just yet, that means we are looking for a third roommate to move in around August 1st. If you don't know, we've been blessed to live in a place that is wicked nice for college kids. It's three bedrooms, two bathrooms, full kitchen, living room, dining room, loft, washer and dryer, and deck; all of it was completely refinished three years ago so we are the only people who have lived in this unit. We are of course on the top floor, and Doug's room has a magnificent view out bay windows on three of the four walls. It's on the Wash U gold shuttle route and within walking distance of campus, Forest Park, the metro, and the Loop. So if you want an awesome place to stay, email me or check out Jodi's posting on Craigslist. You of course have to play nice with Cookie.

5/08/2005

About Me

Salut

The short story on me is that I am a graduate of Washington University's Olin Business School. I am originally from Kansas City, and much of my family lives there today.

Ok, if you're still reading, you may actually want to know something about me, so I'll ramble as long you'll read. Deal? I want to say up front that I'm writing this blog for me, although I do hope you enjoy following what's going on in my head from time to time. I started a web page in college, but I quickly found that I didn't update it very often, so I'm hoping the ease of posting on a blog will keep me at it more regularly*. I don't have a theme or agenda or focus, other than the obvious fact that it'll have to have something to do with me since I'm posting it. If that's too close to personal therapy or just too plain chaotic for you, go Google something more to your liking. Actually, now that I think about it, that's probably not good marketing to suggest readers go elsewhere...

My Bio

A good way to explain my childhood is to say that I was born in the small town of Liberty, MO, northeast of Kansas City, and I graduated from high school in the sprawling Kansas City suburb of Liberty, MO. That's a bit of an exaggeration, but not much. My family, especially on my mother's side, has a long history in the area (Clay County), and Liberty is one of those towns that's a little too big for everybody to literally know everybody else, but it still tries. William Jewell College, Liberty Public Schools, and Hallmark Cards are three important ways in which this network functions, and since I wasn't too shabby in school, worked for the district outside of class, had several family members who attended Jewell, and had family members who had worked for Hallmark, it felt like everywhere you went somebody knew you. To this day, farmland endures north and east of Liberty, but ever so gradually people began realizing that there was this wonderful little place pretty close to KC, and the open area to the south and west developed into cookie-cutter subdivisions, bank branches, and Waffle Houses. Not that I'm complaining about Waffle House; many a late night in a place like Liberty tends to get spent at the wonder of a 24-hour establishment that is Waffle House. Even the small country club near my high school of trees and tennis courts and swimming pools has been torn down, replaced by the same old pavement and lights and pollution you can find anywhere in this country. My grandmother grew up on a farm just west of town whose dirt and gravel road out front has since turned into a six lane highway; I went to junior high in the building from which she graduated high school.

Liberty has a really excellent public school system (no doubt the reason the town has been growing so much for the last few decades), and my parents emphasized the importance of academic excellence, so it's really not my fault that I turned out a nerd. You should really be happy how normal I am given the fact that I am, you know, a tad nerdy. I had a good childhood, nothing perfect, but nothing to complain about. I was blessed with a really gifted group of friends; we took first in the state and 14th in the world in something called the Knowledge Master Open when I was in 5th grade, and just for fun we took first in the state again our senior year. I was a not very good runner on a very good cross country team, and I enjoyed my greatest competitive success in debate and forensics with my partner. I was one of those kids who was very good at school but hated it at the same time. Liberty was a place where it was alright to be intelligent and get good grades (by that, I mean there wasn't any pressure to hide it if you were a 'smart kid' or to not get A's or anything like that), and I found that the classes I liked best were often the ones that were a mixture of students, not the tracked ones with the 'advanced' kids (with exception, I must mention, of our gifted program through elementary and middle school). I wax nostalgically about my high school years, but I dreaded every morning about having to wake up and actually, you know, go to school. To this day, I am grateful to be done with high school. I grew up in Second Baptist Church, and Liberty certainly has a very Baptist feel to it. On March 5, 2000, I did my public profession of faith and was baptized on Easter Sunday that year.

I knew when I visited WUSTL in the fall of my senior year that I wanted to go there, but figuring out the money is of course part of the reality of college these days. As a side note, it is interesting how much of the educational profession tries to distract teenagers from taking this obviously important variable into account - at some point, we will have to stop loading up young Americans with so much debt. But after looking at some very generous offers elsewhere, and with much appreciated support from my family (another thing I have learned since then, my family is even weirder than I knew - apparently not all families make important decisions with so much input at the family level), I decided it was the place to go and accepted the Dean's Scholarship at Olin. Props to you Truman folks out there, though, because the Pershing program was very tempting. Minus the whole best-thing-in-Kirksville is Pancake City. Or maybe Wal-mart. That's kind of a toss-up.

I stayed in Liggett (RIP) as a freshman, where I met many of my closest friends for the next few years in St. Louis, Hurd as a sophomore - whose balcony no longer overlooks the ball field across the street - and then moved to my first apartment as a junior. I did some debate in college, but it's very different from high school, and I was both an attorney and witness for Mock Trial. It was fun getting to qualify to nationals in both high school and college when they happened to be in Portland. In May of 2004, I graduated with a BSBA focusing on Management and International Business. Naturally, the jobs I've had since college are in finance, accounting, IT, HR, and other such fields where travel means crossing the Mississippi to reach Illinois. On a serious note, though, I do think having a broad base of experience across administrative functions would tremendously benefit many of the strategy and management folks egregiously mismanaging our nation's largest companies. But what do I know? I mean, Warren Buffett only invests in productive assets, right?

Periodically, I have been helping out with the debate and forensics program at Clayton High School, and those are definitely some great kids. People who go around saying things like 'kids these days...' don't actually spend much time around young people. Or perhaps they are terrified of what will happen when the full generation of millennials can no longer be ignored. A truly multicultural, multigender mindset wary of the corporate media and criminals in suits of course threatens the power structures of both Left and Right in this bomb the Muslims and bail out the rich society.

Currently, I am working at a nonprofit agency called Employment Connection. We do things like job training and placement for people with barriers to employment, like ex-offenders, veterans, TANF and SNAP recipients (welfare and food stamps), homeless persons, disabled persons, and so forth. When I say we, I mean the other people who work there. I started by spending my days back in the accounting department playing with Excel and fighting the copier, and in the summer of 2007 I took over the Executive Assistant position.

As many of my college friends have now left to pursue the next phase of their lives, I have been trying to strike a balance between settling down and thinking about potential changes like grad school. In particular, the Bay Area and Stanford's Graduate School of Business have been calling to me for a while. Since my brother finished grad school in southern California, then went to Seattle, and has now ended up in San Francisco, that means even more family now out there in northern California. However, life in St. Louis is pretty good. You'll never get rich at a nonprofit, but it's certainly good experience, and it is relatively stable employment (a quality becoming increasingly rare in the past couple decades of temp and contract work). Plus, you have to make a lot of money to compensate for leaving the workforce for a couple years for grad school. I used to dabble with swing and blues dancing, but I've found it more frustrating than anything else; it's hard to be a casual dancer. But hey, if I hadn't introduced Emily to Casa Loma, maybe Julie and I never would have met.

My Identity

As imperfect as labels are, they're kind of fun, too. So here are a few of mine: I'm a young urban professional. I attended a liberal college to major in business. I'm a Baptist. I'm a nerd. I'm an optimist. I'm (no longer) a single white Midwestern male. I’m a suburbanite. I’m not a morning person. I see clearly a vision of how things could be and yet am completely incompetent at the political skills necessary to bring about such a future.

Learn anything? Well, as my American politics professor liked to say, yes and no. I think that people are too complex to divide into neat little marketing categories; what’s important is our common humanity. Life is good and people are good and today is worth enjoying and tomorrow can be even better. I think that we share a deeply passionate yearning for truth in all its myriad forms, and I believe that the various ways we explore that are complimentary, not conflicting. If you were reading this to figure out what the blog's title means to me, that's what I mean by stay curious. It is not a state that requires effort to procure; it's a state that requires effort to suppress. Yet suppress it we often do.

I have a very strong interest in public policy. I do not know if that will ever translate into my paying career, but it's certainly something that kept me up late talking in college. Or maybe that was just the computer games. Anyway, the drug war, our prison system, the use of the military, energy, voter rights, separation of church and state, trade, the environment, foreign affairs, and the proper role of government in the market are some of the policy areas that interest me. Extreme concentration of wealth and secrecy in decision-making processes are antithetical to democratic governance. To realize the innovation and entrepreneurial potential of capitalism, you have to ensure that people's basic needs are met.

Finally, we as a nation will, sooner or later, have to come to terms with the increasing disconnect between the elite leadership, the Powers that Be, the DC-Manhattan Nexus, and We the People. It is not about specific preferences and policy areas so much as it is about the very legitimacy of government and really all of our societal institutions. I do not know the precise form this will take, but there will be some reconciliation, some meeting of the minds as our lawyer friends might say. Be prepared. But don't let fear or worrying keep you from being interested in this fascinating world around us.

*Well, that lasted about a decade. Seems like a good run! Çiao.

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not a city person

It's funny saying that, seeing as how I live in a city of several hundred thousand people, with millions more sprawled out in several counties around me, and I could never survive a rural life away from the amenities of an American metro area. But after we had some great BBQ tonight, Adrian and Eli gave the rest of us a tour around their neighborhood in Lafayette Square (Eli still lives there, Adrian moved away when he was 16). It's a great area (seriously, it's really nice), and it's very fun seeing my college roommate relive the first 16 years of his life. But my suburban instincts totally kicked in; even the open spaces felt artificially closed in and cramped in a way that is difficult to describe. I just know it felt that way.

By the way, I'm just jumping in and writing (as if you couldn't tell). If you wanted some sort of intro or history about me or something, well, tough luck. Stop crying and go spend your time doing something more worthwhile, like waiting in line at a store to buy software when you could, you know, just buy it online. Or the next day. At least Andy won something for his efforts!

5/07/2005

tester

nothing fancy, just seeing what happens