Archive for December, 2014

Apropos of nothing in particular…

Posted: December 10, 2014 in Uncategorized

I.

Roman numerals. Roman numerals are really cool because they have “Roman” in the name, and Romans were badasses. In much the way some STEM hero out there knows in his heart that he is an engineer because he is a man — LOOK, EINSTEIN FLUNKED OUT OF ENGINEERING SCHOOL TOO, OKAY — I know in my heart that I am pretty much the same as Marcus Aurelius, and if Roman numerals were good enough for him they were good enough for me.

II.

At this point my vague meanderings begin to assume the shape of some sort of proposition. When decoded, this proposition will prove to be obnoxious — generally by way of demonstrating one or many common prejudices overlaid (with massive pomposity) by “Observe here how intelligent and sophisticated I am”.

One might consider it a facile observation to say that the chosen set of prejudices will be framed in a highly demeaning way, but there are expressions of prejudice and expressions of prejudice. “Oh, honey, you just need to recognize that your gift of being nurturing and emotionally expressive is valuable too” is something that a person might conceivably say to a loved one or at least a wanted-to-keep-talking-to one; bald expressions of “You are self-evidently unable to operate or even describe your own life, so much so that I will treat it as axiomatic” generally not so much. What I’m going for here is mostly the latter, possibly with a few bits of the former added in tones of contempt.

III.

I understand cause and effect. If I did not, I would be a MRA. Since this is not a rant somewhere in the bowels of Reddit about the perfidy of women as demonstrated by the bitch who took my kids away for no reason and how this amply justifies the practice of giving women the pimp hand on a regular basis, it therefore follows that I have figured out that the foregoing proposition has produced two groups of readers: those who favor the prejudice(s) that I picked and are flattered by my association of them with my constructed identity and the merits it endorses, and those who do not favor said prejudice(s) and are starting to feel an irritating burning sensation.

It is to the latter that my next section is directly addressed. I will now display my Nostradamus-like powers that follow from my immense wisdom — “Of course you are offended” — and proceed to write a story about the burning sensation contingent’s motivation for offense that connects said offense to a generally stigmatized experience or state such as being bullied in school, being a narcissist, not having lost one’s virginity, being a narcissist, being financially unsuccessful (excellent as this is one of those classic sets of moving goalposts), being a narcissist, etc. The story will be laden heavily with condescension and self-importance, with several further pop-Freudian “Of course you…”s characterizing the reader’s presumed emotional reaction to their presumed experience or state in a way that is further framed as stigmatizing. At the end, those burning sensation readers not successfully cold-read will be handwaved away as suffering from denial and probably angry that they have not been treated as the special snowflakes they are, which of course means that they are narcissists.

The flattered group is indirectly addressed by this, in that they are further flattered by the well-known logical inference of “IF A THEN B -> NOT-A THEN NOT-B”. A few bones will perhaps be thrown directly to them at this point, as well as perhaps a few ambiguous barbs so that they understand that they are not QUITE as smart as me.

IV.

Why do you read this, anyway? The thing about the foregoing section is that it scores ego-points off of both groups of people who read it, i.e. those people who not only decided to read this tome but also who did not correct this decision before they got to the third section. There is no content here, beyond the sort of things you can see written much more simply (although admittedly with more dubious grammar and spelling) in the comments section of any given news site. The best case scenario here, barring that you realize that you have wasted your time, is a profound burning sensation — but there is also a danger that you will in some way take this bullshit seriously, either by internalizing further a prejudice that applies to you or (even worse) taking on an identity as a follower of me or my genre, with obviously disastrous results.

Yes, I followed a chain of links one click too far. I accidentally the whole thing. I regret.

Ambling Toward… House?

Posted: December 4, 2014 in Uncategorized

So, I have a house. Well, half a house. And a cat. A whole cat (minus certain parts). And despite my best intentions, this seems to have happened somewhat by surprise.

Last year, I had gotten into something of a state of unambitious comfort with the Big Corporate Beast that I worked for at the time — it was a nice enough place, with interesting people, and in many ways decidedly static. One of the folks I’d worked with had worked with earlier forms of this company since a few months before I was born, and so far as I know he’s still working there. Periodically, I entertained the thought of seeing if there was any hope for me in the downtown startup market, but keeping the principle of “grass is greener” in mind, I would always decide “eh, things are fine now, maybe later”. Well, about a month after the last time I did this I got a meeting invite from my boss with a very nonspecific sort of subject.

Naturally, it turns out that the meeting was about the application of the Chaos Monkey theory to my career, i.e. I’d been the lucky fool selected for the next round of layoffs. Over the course of the next couple months, I played most of the Half-Life series, all of the Portal series, bought a lot of exercise equipment (I don’t recommend this, necessarily, but it didn’t turn out badly), finally filed for unemployment, and then sent out my first set of job applications.

It turns out there was hope for me in the startup market. Actually it turns out that there was a bit of a feeding frenzy in the market, and within a week of looking up the instructions for applying for unemployment I was trying to find the button to push that said “uhm, never mind”. Not to mention finding the place to turn in my Millennial card, I guess.

So I ended up with pretty much the job I wanted originally, although with a somewhat silly commute (essentially from the outer edge of the city to downtown) until I got to the end of the lease on my apartment, at which point I would naturally rent another apartment somewhere closer to downtown and… sign another lease… pet deposit… move out of white walled apartment cube… move into other white walled apartment cube this one maybe with Deluxe Granite Countertops… sigh…

While I was contemplating THAT prospect, I went to a game event that one of my friends was holding at their house. The house they’d bought, south of downtown, that was old and interesting and close to public transit and definitely not a white cube. The house that was surrounded by other houses, some of them similar, some of them for sale, some of them that could potentially be sold to me by the realtor of my friend, who I called the next week…

Couple months later, I had me half a house (i.e. a half duplex, which it turns out is a fairly common item of older housing in this area) with its very own set of Deluxe Granite Countertops and no pet deposit, although not for lack of trying on the part of the pet. I feel as if this speaks ominously regarding my career as a personal finance blogger, being as such things are apparently meant to be done with a lot more spreadsheets and a lot less “oh, might as well”, but then again that was probably doomed to begin with.