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This is the archive for February 2006

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Friday was my last day at my job, I'm moving on to bigger and better things. This was a good company that I worked for, but their focus was changing and I knew that I was going to be a square peg trying to wedge into a round hole.

About two months ago, a friend had given me a lead on a company that would soon be hiring for a job that was right up my alley, so I sent them my resume, though I had not yet fully decided to start looking.

In the several weeks it took to arrange an interview (they weren't ready to start the process just yet), I decided to start looking more seriously. I put my resume in the usual online places and on my own site, talked to a couple of recruiters, and started scanning all the job listings - print and online - that I could find.

It was only a couple of weeks into this that we finally arranged an interview at the first place, and by then I had not gotten any bites from my efforts. However, the research and discussions with recruiters proved invaluable anyway.

That first interview led to an offer on the spot, and I knew that this was a place where I wanted to work. It was just a matter of settling on a price. Because I had started this process of looking, I was prepared. I had thought out what kind of salary I would need to get me to switch, and I had also determined what my market value probably was (both a very realistic amount and a "remotely possible but not likely" higher amount. So to me the issue was simple: say no to anything below that range, haggle within it, and don't hold out for anything above it.

Aside from a few details, a follow-up phone call settled the issue quickly and with no bullshit, and we ended up right at the high end of my realistic range. Had I not been prepared and knew that range, I might have either settled for the lower amount or flailed around blindly for some unrealistic higher amount. Either one would likely leave me unsatisfied or possibly cost me the opportunity entirely.

I feel good about the result, and I'm free of major doubts about whether it was the right choice, whether there might be something better around the corner. Not only will it pad my wallet nicely, but it should make this new relationship more solid and stable than it could have been otherwise. It was luck that this opportunity came up when it did, it was preparation that let me take full advantage of it.

And I've got a week of unemployment to be my own boss.

Monday, February 27, 2006

I worked for Tom Monaghan for about ten years, on and off. Not for him directly, I've never met him, but nonetheless for him in the sense that his vision permeated every aspect of the work there. It was a brilliant company in its time, and I learned a hell of a lot that is still with me today.

Monaghan has always had his nutty side. It showed through even then, but I vaguely remember a sense that he had gone a little off the deep end around the time he sold Domino's, which was also about the time that the company lost it's vision and irredeemably diluted it's unique position both in the market and in public awareness.

His new venture tells me that he's still a little off. He's decided to create a "Catholic only" town in Florida. It's going to have all the bells and whistles you'd expect from a theocracy: abortions banned, pornography will be nowhere to be found, the sale (and presumably use) of contraceptives will be strictly off limits. And the whole town will be centered on a Catholic university he'll build.

You can imagine the reaction of the left. They are of course planning to drown the project in lawsuits. They are already screaming about persecution, about the freedom of alternative belief systems, about the rights of the promiscuous to obtain chemical redemption and medical denial of the consequences of their actions. And just in case that doesn't fly in court, they have a backup plan. Apparently, there's an endangered species of panther nearby that won't be happy surrounded by Catholics.

What the left is really worried about is that some people might be able to live their own values without influence from the intelligentsia and political thuggery that is the usual means for the left to impose their values on everyone else. It's a genuine worry. About 7000 people have expressed an interest in buying property, and some 60% of the commercial space is either already leased or about to. Seems that people are voting with their wallets for Catholic values, and that just won't do for the left who know better, even if it is only one tiny little corner of the vast United States.

I'm as opposed to theocracy as anyone. You want to tell me how to live my personal life on my property, or on the property of those with whom my wish to interact is mutual, then I sincerely wish you an eternal stay in the worst pit hell has to offer. I'm even offended by Monaghan's vision of how he wants the people of his little town to live.

But it's not for me to say. There's one fact in the article that is in the end the only fact that matters to the rest of us who won't be buying property there:
Monaghan has bought about 5,000 acres
Case closed.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Thanks to Billy for the link to a story about the Norweigan ski coach who gave a replacement pole to a Canadian competitor who had broken hers. I've been avoiding any Olympic coverage like the plague that it is, and this article points in the general direction of why.

The why is because everyone but Bjornar Hakensmoen hasn't the slightest clue why they are in Turin this month. Not the media, that's for sure, not the IOC officials and organizers, and not the coaches, trainers, and athletes. OK, maybe some of them, but I'll bet even most of them don't get it anymore and the ones who do are quickly being trained to forget it. I'll give you a hint: the daily "Medal Count" is just about the last fact about the Games that I want to hear.

I'm an objectivist. I believe in selfishness, or at least, to put it another way, I am vehemently offended by any notion of selflessnes, and morally offended when such is described as the way people should act. If you think you understand that, then tell me, what would that morality have demanded I do in the situation Mr. Hankensmoen found himself in? If you said anything other than "give her a pole", then you really don't understand it at all.

I would have done exactly what he did, or if I hadn't, I would have counted it among the many times I've failed morally - and the victim of that failure would have been only myself, and my team. Hankensmoen comes oh so close to explaining why, though he misses it by a hair. I don't know what kind of person he is, what philosophical beliefs he holds, but if he meant by his explanation that he did it because he was being selfless and because of that it was the moral thing to do, then a miss is as good as a mile.

You think that what he did was counter to my values? Do you think it didn't further his own acheivement, his own interests and that of his team? Think again. He knew that it did, even if he didn't (or couldn't) quite tell us why. Even if he thought he was doing it selflessly, it was a selfish act, and I applaud him for it. It had nothing to do with her, her misfortune, whether or not she deserved to continue in the race, how she would feel about it, or who would end up with the medal. It had everything to do with the fact that it was she the Norweigan team had to beat.

He understands something about that. Maybe it's only in a vague and disconnected way. Maybe it's not a result of explict philosophical conclusion, but only some distant cultural memory of a time when values and acheivement were still important in the world. No matter, he did the right thing. But now, most people have lost even that memory, and are flailing about helplessly in the world while counting medals as a pathetic substitute for some connection to real acheivment and real values.

Correction: Corrected "He knew that it didn't" above. Should have said that he knew that it *did* further his own interests and acheivment.

Sunday, February 05, 2006



This is what it's always been about - everything else was just an excuse, a pretense. And it will not end until either we are destroyed or this ideology is. You want to compromise? To make nice and stop making them mad at us? To give them money to build better schools and hospitals? To show them the benefits of democracy? There's only one thing that will appease them, there's only ever been one thing, and any negotiation, compromise, argument, or discussion of any kind is only for the purpose of better positioning themselves to achieve it.

These people are driven to a literally murderous rage by a cartoon. But don't think that the important point is that it is something as trivial as a cartoon. No, it's an opinion that enrages them. The expression of any idea that opposes their ideology is a threat to them.
But this is an ideology explicitly opposed to ideas, not just certain ideas, but ideas in and of themselves. Every idea is in opposition to their ideology.

Even taking our freedom would not be enough. They would know that we still have ideas, and that the very existence of those ideas and a mind capable of producing them threatens to undermine the glorious purity of their ingorance, their holy emptiness. Only death can fully eliminate the possibility of an idea. They seek death of the mind first, and when even that isn't enough, death of the body - preferably in pursuit of as many other deaths as they can create. Only through death can they assure themselves of a completely mindless, idea-less state. And only through our deaths can they assure that the world and the people they leave behind will not be contaminated by ideas.

It's hard to believe that such depravity is real. It's inconceivable that anyone human could want nothing - not to be free of wants, but to literally want nothingness, void, null. It's tempting, almost irresistable to try to find some reason, some rational, concrete position that would at least make it understandable, correctible. But there is none. Believe it. Wrap you mind around that one almost literally unbelievable fact.

There is no rational position, there is no gross error that leads them to a mistaken conclusion that freedom is flawed in some way. It's far deeper, far more evil than that. If freedom were perfect, they'd hate even more perfectly. It's because freedom is something, that they hate it. When what you want is to not exist, then every thing and every body is just an obstacle to be destoyed.