steps in my evolution

I lost my IKEA virginity yesterday and I’m not sure how I feel about it. Mrs. Geek is getting a new computer this week — a recycled e-Mac, for those who want to know — and we wanted to get a new computer desk. After trying a local seller of used and consignment furniture, we faced the inevitable and made our pilgrimage to a nearby franchise of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mock Swedish Furniture.

IKEA is an interesting store on so many levels. There is the floor plan; rarely do retail spaces have a museum-like floorplan that guides shoppers through a serpentine collection of displays dedicated to home furnishing. There also is the nature of the furnishings themselves, all rendered a very bright, clean European style that simultaneously speaks of an early 60’s New Frontier, Kennedy-esque chic of the past and a decidedly science fiction future. I especially liked the displays showing an entire apartment in about 600 feet. Standing in one, I felt I was either living in present day downtown Tokyo, or in my quarters aboard the first manned interstellar space mission to Tau Ceti.

In the end, we found a Jerker Desk. Getting it home was a bit of a problem; neither Mrs. Geek or I have a car large enough to hold the 6’x4’x2″ box containing the Jerker kit. I was able to improvise a solution though by removing the Jerker parts from the Jerker box and putting the Jerker box in a nearby dumpster. Assembly went pretty smooth all told, with Mrs. Geek completing nearly everything while I went out to attend a rock concert at a nearby Music Hall of Much Renown.

On a happier note, I am now at peace with Thai cuisine. Friends D. and J. took me out for Thai food before the concert. I was somewhat apprehensive, remembering some prior experiences with Thai food as being either soupy, mushy, or oddly spiced, but willing to look at Thai food with a fresh eye. After a delightful shared repast of Larb, Pla Prawns, Chicken Pad Prig, Beef Prig King, and Kee Maw, I can say that I was obviously eating at inferior Thai restaurants when I formed my opinions of Thai food. This food was hot, spicy and delicious! J. and I are both fond of spicy food, and we got a good sweat on, while downing a couple of locally made microbrewed beers.

The concert itself was quite enjoyable, but we had to leave early. D. came down with a touch of food poisoning (or a 24 stomach virus) that did not take well to be riled up by all that spicy Thai food. As she was in pain, we decided to duck out just as the last tune in the regular set was starting. That did not disappoint me much as we saw 90+% of an excellent show.

There was some disappointment, however. The walls of the Music Hall of Much Renown are adorned with custom posters produced for shows there that sold out. Copies of those posters are often handed out to patrons as they leave the hall after a show. We did not have the opportunity to even see if said posters were available… and I very much wanted one.

Oh well, next time.

confusion, confusion

Given all the other job-related stuff I mentioned here of late, I did not write much about the possibility that I would transfer to another job in Company O. I was offered such an opportunity this week. It is for a job in a group run by someone I respect, and who is likely doing very interesting work at Company O. I just told my manager about 90 minutes ago and then we decided to discuss it for about an hour.

The first words out of his mouth almost literally were “what can I do to get you to stay?” It gratified me a great deal to hear him say that. He’s going to get me a couple meetings with his boss, and his boss’s boss to discuss overall directions and my place in it. He’s also talking about what carrots he can dangle at me to get me to stay.

I like the full court press to get me to stay… but I am now very confused about what to do. I am not so much unhappy with my job, or my manager, as I am unsure about the future will hold working for this division of Company O. Certainly, a number of people that I started with here are leaving the group for other places. Am I just getting a case of wunderlust since so many other people I know are moving on?

Damn. Damn. Damn. That old Chinese curse about living in interesting times works.

In lighter news, I got another story on theGeekZine thanks to the efforts of the intrepid and totally cool metaleve. This one is about my love of the original Mission: Impossible TV show.

attack of the killer Bs

Mrs. Geek and I had series of hopes and aspirations for this year. They were as follows:

  • I get a job in a particular area with desirable real estate prices. I move there and stay with relatives.
  • Mrs. Geek follows, once the school year is over.
  • We look at buying a 2000-3000 square foot Craftsman-style house on a 4000+ square foot lot for somewhere between $200K-300K.
  • We discuss having a family when all the dust settles.

I’ll call this our Plan A for this year.

Needless to say, Plan A became impossible when I did not find a job in the area with the desirable real estate prices in the last two months. Now we are left with various elements to form different plan B’s:

  • Plan to stay for a couple more years where we are. Borrow some additional downpayment capital from family members and buy a 1000-1500 square foot townhouse or condo for $400-500K near the area where we currently live.
  • Wait six months and begin the job search again, accepting that the time that Mrs. Geek and I would live apart would be more than 4-8 weeks.
  • Change jobs inside Company O. to expand contacts in the industry to aid in future job searches.
  • Take classes to develop additional marketable skills.
  • Start trying to have a family.
  • Any combination of all or some of the above.

I call this current state of Plan B flux the attack of the killer B’s.

you want rampant consumerism? I’ll give you rampant consumerism!

Well, it appears that if I am ever going to make enough money to buy a house in the area in which I live, I’m going to have to build a better mousetrap and become a multi-millionare by marketing it. To do that, I just need an idea that has got profit written all over it. I have one, and here it is:

A social networking Internet site centered around shopping.

Online communities have generally assembled for a variety of reasons. Some have to do with a certain sense of shared community values and the exchange of information (such as The Well.) Others reflect specific interests (such as music for or purposes (such as dating for or on the part of their members. No one has yet developed a social site based on rampant consumerism.

The plan operates in three parts. First, develop a membership profile questionaire that provides specific details about member consumer likes and dislikes when it comes to goods like apparel, jewelry, electronics, leisure goods, and home furnishings. Next, create a series of virtual storefronts for the service, turning the online experience into a combination of main street and the megamall. Lastly, allow members to interact with the system in two ways: join networks of people with similar interests, preferences, and social connections, and develop a service that acts as a “personal shopper”, providing targeted advertising to each member for new goods and services based on their own preferences and the preferences of people with whom they interact in their social networks.I figure that all you have to do after setting up the service is charge a modest monthly fee to provide some level of guaranteed income, charge a small markup on each item purchased through the system, and charge vendors advertising fees.

The successful implementation of this system will do one of two things for me. It will either make me rich, or it will allow me to accumulate experience that will make me a prime hire for some kind of online vendor, like Amazon. If I can’t solve the problem of rampant consumerism, I’m going to profit by it, damn it!

Anyone want to work on this with me?