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If you could do anything, what would it be?(94 posts)

If you could do anything, what would it be?DougSloan
May 13, 2003 9:36 AM
Me, assuming I don't hit the lottery or inherit the "Sloan Valve" fortune, I'd be a writer. I'd write fiction and non-fiction, and live where I wanted to, work when I want, and ride lots. Only problem is that my writing is really dry and I don't have any good ideas. I'm envious of those who can pull this off.

Nah. You don't want to be a writer. You'd end upOldEdScott
May 13, 2003 9:43 AM
drinking too much, and the pay's so lousy you couldn't afford Celeste touch-up paint.
I meant to say "successful" writerDougSloan
May 13, 2003 9:45 AM
like a Stephen King...

Instead of drinking, I'll ride more. Hey, it's my fantasy, so it works my way.

King spends so much time writing he'd never have time to ride-nmColnagoFE
May 13, 2003 10:27 AM
I thought he had a staff doing it now? nmDougSloan
May 13, 2003 10:29 AM
People do things other than what they want to?TJeanloz
May 13, 2003 9:55 AM
At the risk of sounding like a spoiled brat, why on earth would you choose a profession that was something other than what you wanted to do? I run up against this all the time in finance (which I love, and would do even if I weren't paid for it), with co-workers who believe that investment banking is the fast track to retirement, because there's (was) so much money to be made. The sad fact, in i-banking anyway, is that people who don't like their jobs often aren't very good at them, and they burn out or get fired before they ever make any real money.

You should do what you love - at least until you have a family to support - anything else is just about money.
good questionDougSloan
May 13, 2003 10:15 AM
Law was always pretty easy for me. In high school, I got a perfect score on a 200 question FBLA District competition in business law, and I didn't even study. In college, I got perfect scores on logic exams, and did well on papers in philosophy and political science (chemistry was very hard, though). Law school I was 11th in the class, but I actually did work at that. So, it's easy to do what's easy, I guess.

Problem is, it can be very boring, tedious, and stressful. How many jobs, and Ed can attest to this, have another person, an opponet, doing everything they can to keep you from doing your job well? It's a very civil (usually) way of waging war, actually.

So, I'd rather have the freedom to work when I want, write what I want to write about, not have someone else trying to defeat my every move, and, here's the problem, get paid well for it. As it is, an attempt at writing would be just as stressful, worrying about whether I'd make any money at it. Yes, there is a family to support.

yup...not black and white for sureColnagoFE
May 13, 2003 10:31 AM
If I won the lottery would I still work my current job? Heck NO! But then again I can't think of anything that will pay me remotely what I'm making now that will be any more enjoyable. I have a family so going to work at Starbucks is not a great option at this point. I still don't know what I really want to do as a profession. I can find plenty of fun activities (like cycling) that seem to only drain my bank account.
Czar, I see you're awake and here. Would youOldEdScott
May 13, 2003 10:29 AM
answer Ted's question here, from the point of view of the Lower Depths who don't have the limitless bourgeois 'career' alternatives that this bunch of pantywaste college boys has?

I would explain that MILLIONS AND MILLIONS of Americans do things -- i.e. have jobs -- they despise, out of dire necessity, but I'm too tired right now and I know you could do it better anyway.

Let them eat cake... (nm)TJeanloz
May 13, 2003 10:35 AM
Just tryin to get you that wished-for flame war, son nmOldEdScott
May 13, 2003 10:37 AM
Thanks, I appreciate the effort (nm)TJeanloz
May 13, 2003 10:41 AM
Sorry, I can only add to the pantywaste college boy chorus.czardonic
May 13, 2003 3:11 PM
If you aren't doing something that you like, you are wasting your life.

I discovered long ago that I have no patience or talent for the standard rat races, so I followed my nose into a field that is keeps me interested and pays me adequately. There are a lot more things I'd like to have, but none so far that I am willing to trade for the non-material benefits of my current job.

Obviously, a lot of people make choices that limit their options. Hopefully those choices afforded them some other happiness that justifies the sacrifice.
Pray tell, what is it that you do? Care to share that with us?Live Steam
May 14, 2003 10:26 AM
maybe the choices are an illusion, anywayDougSloan
May 13, 2003 10:40 AM
What limitless alternatives? I can't think of anything I could do and make similar money. How is this any different than a production line worker in an auto factory?

You were OK until you blew it with 'and make similar money.'OldEdScott
May 13, 2003 10:47 AM
That's how it's different from an assemblyline worker. You COULD be an assemblyline worker and make his money. He CAN'T be a lawyer and make your money.

Pantywaste bourgeois college boy options.
Symantics and the reality of living within boundariessn69
May 13, 2003 11:09 AM
"Could" and "can't" are just as easily replaced by "choose to" and "isn't easily able to" given any number of contextual interpretations.

The more realistic view would be to judge the pathways that got/get us where we are. In some cases (probably too many), socio-economic barriers stand in peoples' way. Few indeed are the individuals with the extraordinary gifts and strength of character that allow them to rise above their limiting environments without some form of help, help that can be as simple as parents who sacrifice on their behalf to more institutionalized methods like scholarships.

In other cases, people paint themselves into professional corners over time. Your assemblyline worker, Ed, might not be able to realistically retrain to be an attorney later in life because he/she has a family to support. That's an external limitation rather than an intellectual one. Likewise, a cardiac surgeon might not be able to give it all up for a simpler existence due to the lifestyle that he/she has steadily lived up to, buying one larger Mercedes after another. The net result is the same--entrapment within boundaries that are steadily built through life.

That's not to say, however, that it's not possible to change outright. People do it, and it's admittedly easier to give up what you've already got rather than seeking that which you don't have. Also, I'm not suggesting that there aren't external boundaries that exert influence on us. Parents, peers, social assets/liabilities, economic limitations, and so many other aspects all "conspire," if you will, to allow us certain amounts of flexibility within our lives.

Thus, your assemblyline worker CAN be a lawyer and make Doug's money in order to buy silly Celeste green bikes and ride them in the agrosmog hell of Fresno, but he/she has to have opportunities, motivation, capabilities and, most importantly, willingness in order to make it happen. Sometimes it's a choice, sometimes not.

Closer to home, I think the more germane issue is that often we start down a path only to find that it's not what we thought it would be. That too can become a trap, and so on and so forth. Blah blah blah.

Power to the people.
Walk off your jobs.
Get up,
Get up,
Get up,
Get down,
911's a joke in your town.
Kill Whitey (that's you too Ed).
What you say is true.OldEdScott
May 13, 2003 11:24 AM
My comment was aimed at Ted's (he was very self-aware in later saying this) 'let them eat cake' statement: He found it amazing that people did jobs they didn't want to do.

My point, which you made too, is that while there are ways in this society to pull yourself up from prole to bourgeoisie, there are are also lots and lots of folks who either haven't done that or -- face it -- CAN'T do that.

Doug, Ted, you (and me too, I'm in the bourgeois stew) have and HAD options the average assemblyline worker does not have and did not have.

That's OK; that's life. Tough. Just saying I'm amazed that anyone's amazed that people work jobs they hate.
I'm always more amazedsn69
May 13, 2003 11:36 AM
at people who honestly work their life's dream. It's inspirational in a non-Lifetime Network Daytime Pukeathon sorta way. My wife finds joy, reward and fulfillment in her career. That's a rare thing in modern American society. I don't think it's very realistic to be surprised that people work in jobs that aren't the embodiment of everything they seek professionally. THAT is life; true fulfillment is the exception.

The last time I was in UAE, the Connie docked near the shanty town where foriegn laborers lived in unimaginable squalor. These were largely Pakistanis, Eritreans, Yemenis, Malaysians and Philipinos who had essentially sold themselves into indentured servitude in order to send home more money than their own countries could provide. It was sobering to say the least. That was a telling testament to the concept of "can't" versus the willingness to do extreme things for the betterment of one's family.

Incidentally, I'm ethnic and sh!t. So there. A couple pilot friends of mine who also happen to be African American used to joke that I'm part of their ethnic "damn the man" club. Thus, whenever my wife, a WASP, asks me to take out the garbage, I remind her that she's keepin' me down. After that, she usually hurls something at my noggin.
Ed, you can't sell that notion here.cory
May 13, 2003 2:50 PM
I have a friend--a very close friend, despite our political differences--who reminds me a lot of some people on this board. His parents put him through school, all the way to a doctorate, and left him enough money that, while he has to work, he doesn't have to worry about things like new Acuras or his kids' college.
He truly believes the only reason anyone is unemployed or homeless is because they're weak or lack ambition. After all, he's a respected professional--no reason that guy sleeping in the bushes behind the 7-Eleven can't do what he did. Just pull himself together, limp out to Stanford, write a check for $40,000 and start school, like my friend did.
Maybe you're selling your freinds social ...Live Steam
May 14, 2003 10:48 AM
awareness a little short. I believe, and this is my perspective on this issue, that many conservatives see these issues and understand that there are circumstances in life that are beyond the control of an individual. Some are born into wealth while others are unfortunately born into devastating circumstances and still there are others that find themselves somewhere in between. I think that the conservative perspective would want to see less social dependency.

This is what conservatives believe is the root of the problem and not a cure for it. Just as you believe that your friend has some sort of knowledge, either subliminal or understood, that financial assistance will be there from family should he find himself in need, conservatives believe that many at the lower end of the socioeconomic scale view the Government in the same way your friend views his family situation. People develop a dependency on Government programs rather than a dependency on themselves and from family. Conservatives would rather wean people from social welfare programs and provide them with work for pay jobs. Liberals feel some sense that we must be tolerant and understanding of one's plight and proved for the individual until they are ready to move on their own. It is proven not to work that way.

I am not sure my point is coming across well so go ahead and flame away. I just got back from some self induced pain on my bike and things are still a little fuzzy. O2 deprivation :O)
Ever been poor?czardonic
May 14, 2003 11:36 AM
People who "depend" on government don't see it as some kind of deep-pocketed uncle, always ready to bail them out if they find themselves in a jam. These people have a far greater appreciation of the maddening inefficiency and ineffectiveness of government assistance programs. They are the ones waiting in long lines to be jerked around and condescended to by low level bureaucrats. They are the ones filling out reams of redundant forms and bouncing from one office or agency to the next. And they do all this to barely scrape by. It isn't heroic or romantic, and it certainly isn't cushy. But, for a variety of reasons, from bad luck to bad choices, it is sometimes necessary.

This system has ideed proven to be ineffective. But it has also proven to be more effective than any other approach. If churches and private charitable organizations could handle the problem, the government would never have had to start these programs in the first place. The conservative panacea has already been proven by history to be a brutish and unjust place.

Conservatives themselves tend to view the poor as lazy and immoral. Conservatives are the social darwinists spoiling to inject a little more actual darwinism to our society. Conservative are the ones ready to snatch the meager sustinance out of the mouths of millions to spite a few abusers. Yet we are supposed to take seriously their crocodille's tears over the disservice done to the poor by welfare?
Never have been and don't plan on it, but ...Live Steam
May 14, 2003 12:01 PM
I think your outlook is somewhat naive. I have tenants that work the system like pros. They would rather sit on the phone or head down to the welfare office to get their benefits extended than to look for a way to change their predicament. They don't look to get some vocational training or finish their GED to make them eligible for the training programs, in the first place.

Before the welfare reform bill, many welfare dependant women were having more children to increase their benefits. How was that beneficial to anyone? Yes welfare is necessary at times, but lifelong dependency is a horrible existence and fostering it is being derelict on the part of the government.

Your view on conservatism is simplistic and incorrect. Your broad statements about conservatives viewing the poor as lazy and immoral is way off base. Social Darwinism hey? I don't believe in it. Well maybe there is something to it if you want to consider how much the government takes from the working population at the lower end of the spectrum. Retained earnings have been decreasing and the cost of living has been increasing to the point where many at that level need to seek public assistance or they will find themselves homeless and without food. I don't see Conservatives as taking food out of the mouths of the needy, I view them as putting money back in the pockets of those that have worked hard for it and are still struggling. Assistance will always be there for those that truly need it. Those that are surfing the system should not be allowed to deplete the resources for those that really need public welfare. They should be forced to leave the system and find training and/or education.
Then its the "naivety" of experience vs. the cynicism. . .czardonic
May 14, 2003 12:27 PM
. . .of ignorance. Are you saying that your tenants are representative of the poor in this country? At least you give the credit for the hard work it takes to work the system. Perhaps you have the same contemptuous attitude towards the corporate welfare queens that bleed our system dry?

How is your view of conservativism any less simplistic? So conservatives are fighting the good fight to allow people to keep more of their measly earnings. Of course, conservatives are also fighting the good fight on behalf of employers to keep those wages and benefits measly in the first place. You focus on the ideals. I focus on the reality.

The proof is in the pudding. Welfare to work plans are already liberating the needy from the ignomy of welfare and delivering them to the nobility of menial, dead-end labor that still doesn't allow them to make ends meet, let alone better their skills.
May 14, 2003 7:08 PM
In college and law school I worked at minimum wage jobs, paid for a place to live, food, and put myself through school. Student loans didn't even cover the cost of school and books. I was poor enough that I didn't eat sometimes, and more often ate oatmeal repeatedly -- for dinner.

Now, I admit I could not have supported a family, too, but then I did what was necessary to earn more money so that I could, first.

Funny how no matter where I was, within a day or so I could find a job, even with no qualifications for that job.

There you have it. Proof positiveOldEdScott
May 15, 2003 5:24 AM
the poor have only themselves to blame. This is even stronger than the proof for WMDs in Iraq!
wasn't trying to "prove" anythingDougSloan
May 15, 2003 7:24 AM
Czar asked a question, so I answered it. Yes, I was poor by any definition of the word. "Working poor," is the more accurate description now, isn't it?

I'll admit that, like the guy in the movie Soul Man, even though I experienced what it was like, I always knew I could "go back," that is, do better in the future. It wasn't just hope, I darn well knew it. I don't think I'd understand what it would be like to be poor and have no hope whatsover of doing better in the future. I think that's what people need, more than mere financial supplement. Give people whatever it takes to provide that hope for a better future.

Good. As long as everyoneOldEdScott
May 15, 2003 7:30 AM
acknowledges that a law student scrimping by is in a seriously different existential state of 'poverty,' I have no problem with what you say.

I agree that the American dream is fundamentally about hope.
so what's the answer?DougSloan
May 15, 2003 7:43 AM
So how do we impress in every child that they can be or do nearly anything they want if they sacrafice and work at it?

The answer to almost every social problemOldEdScott
May 15, 2003 8:20 AM
is, a great and universal system of free public education, which, in a perfect world, would include postsecondary education (trade school or college).

The problem with that answer is, public education is broken in this countrty, and needs badly to be fixed. More money in some places will help as patchwork, but money won't correct the fundamental underlying flaws. We need to completely and utterly rethink what 'education' is and how we go about delivering it. We need to redefine what a 'teacher' is, and how teachers are trained (and if they should be 'trained' at all -- that's something we need to look at too, those miserable 'colleges of education'). Just start from scratch.
wow. I agree wholeheartedlyDougSloan
May 15, 2003 8:28 AM
The education system here, at least, is totally f'd up. I hate to sound like Pat Buchanan, but we really need a back to basics real education, and forget the namby pamby social engineering.

Efficiency is a huge problem. The same money, if we deleted about 80% of the administrators, would do much more. There is so much redundancy and waste in administration that it eats up far to much of available resources, and I get this info first hand from my wife, a former high school teacher and now an administrator. It's absolutely crazy what waste goes on.

WRONG! Buzz! Gong! Someone pull the plug!Live Steam
May 15, 2003 8:43 AM
The education system does not work well in this age of litigation and social correctness. I know I have to go help Dad, but this one rings of hypocrisy. The liberals are so well supported by the FTU yet you don't give them any credit for doing their jobs adequately?

I addition to being a licensed Real Estate broker, my fiancé works as a para-professional in a public school here in NYC. I also have quite a few friends in the teaching profession who do an honest days work and really care about their students. The problem is these kids parents don't care as much as the teaches and system do, for them. The teachers are there to reach and there is plenty of assistance. That is Christine's job. Here school is in a poor neighborhood. However the parents do not help in any way. They use the school as a cheap baby sitter so they can stay home, smoke dope and get it on with whom ever. She sees these kids sent to school in their pajamas because the parent is still passed out from the night before. Personal accountability is what's lacking in this politically correct and broken society. If there is a problem with the schools it emanated from the bureaucrats in the government that thought they knew better than the educators.

There is some much more to this, but I have to go, but I shall return :O)
You sound like a panty waste apologist for the NEAOldEdScott
May 15, 2003 9:11 AM
in some of this, Steam! You on crack?
Some info and some observationsLive Steam
May 15, 2003 6:59 AM
Most of my grandparents emigrated here from Italy at the turn of the century. My Mother's father was 16 and on his own. He was met with discrimination on all fronts, yet he eventually overcame that and put two children through college. My Mother became an attorney and my Uncle a Sr. VP of Chase. My Father's father came here at 20 and worked in a sweat shop as a dressmaker. He faced the same discrimination and yet was able to overcome his circumstances and put my Father through college and dental school.

Even though I grew up in an upper middle class household, I always had a job. I had a paper route, worked as a stock boy and ran rides at the local amusement park. In college I worked in a ski shop during the months school was in session and worked construction during the Summer -foundations, roofing and framing. I never thought of just hanging around. I went for the interview for the foundation job - advertised in the local paper- I was 145lbs wet. The guy looked at me and didn't think I could handle the work. I asked to do a days work for him with no pay unless he decided to hire me. I got the job and busted my butt.

I don't have much respect for the notion that there are no jobs for those who want one. You may not be earning the pay of a surgeon, but you don't deserve that either. So when CZAR makes his snide remarks about "naivety of experience vs. the cynicism ignorance", I take exception to that. I see people every day wasting their lives. They have no ambition. If they truly wanted to pull themselves out of the quagmire they find themselves in they would take any menial job offered to them, make the best of it, and try to advance themselves as my Grandfathers did. My Grandfathers didn't have the benefit of any social services for job placement, education or welfare. They came here in steerage and made something of themselves and for the families they would eventually have.

I think CZAR need to get a better perspective on things. Maybe a visit to Ellis Island would enlighten him. There are people emigrating to the US every day looking for a better life. There are Mexicans flowing over our borders LOOKING FOR WORK! The bust their ass' and then send money home to support the family they left behind. My Grandfathers did the same thing. They sent money back to their family and sacrificed their own standards of living. They didn't look for a handout. They were too proud to accept one in the first place.

Sorry for ranting, but if you want to judge me, maybe you should know me first.
I think that's a big part of it...TJeanloz
May 15, 2003 7:29 AM
While some of us have led a charmed life, we, no doubt, have seen or known people who have overcome great challenges. While I didn't have any trouble paying for college, I knew a lot of people in college who were struggling with it. I knew a lot of people from poor backgrounds who were determined to improve their lot via education. And to be honest, most of us are somewhat envious of their drive and determination. It's the fact that we have seen, first hand, people pull themselves out of poverty, which makes us question why others can't as well. We know that it is possible. There was a girl on the news the other day who will graduate from Harvard this spring. She's been homeless for more than 10 years. Living on the streets of Cambridge [with her older sister] after her parents died. She scraped her way into Harvard and made the best of it -- and it wasn't a gift from the University either; she was so embarrassed by her situation that NOBODY at Harvard knew she was homeless.

So the conclusion that some people draw (which, I think is a little unfair, but I understand) is that those people who don't pull themselves up aren't trying hard enough -- because we all know and admire somebody who has achieved so much with so little.
curious choiceDougSloan
May 15, 2003 7:42 AM
No doubt if someone could afford Harvard, yet be homeless, they could otherwise afford to go to a state school and probably live in a pretty nice place. She chose to be homeless and get the Harvard experience rather than be comfortable for a few years. That's sacrafice.

At least in California, every single person who can barely read and write could get a college degree, first by starting at a community college, which is practically free, then transferring to another state school. There is zero excuse for not doing so, unless you are truly stupid (or the PC equivalent term for it) or lazy ("motivationally challenged).

Good for her.

She did receive a full, need based, scholarship for tuition...TJeanloz
May 15, 2003 7:44 AM
Harvard knew she came from a poor family, they just didn't realize the extent of it.
She was truly the exception to ...Live Steam
May 15, 2003 7:58 AM
someone in here circumstances. Bravo for her. Maybe she could or is already telling here story to people in a similar circumstance to her own, as motivation for doing something. When is the movie due out? There has to be one in the works.
I never met either of my ....Live Steam
May 15, 2003 7:54 AM
Grandfathers. They both passed away before I was born. I am sure it was the smoking (cheap and affordable thrills) and the hard work their bodies endured, that caused an early death late 50s and early 60s.

My observations are based on my experiences as are most. I witness people more willing to dial for dollars than actually do an honest days work. I have offered jobs to some of my tenants (I have a modest portfolio of income property - some have residential rental units) the usual stuff of outdoor maintenance, lawn care, janitorial stuff, etc. I also hired people to work in a Laundromat I owned. In the end there was a lack of interest or something that always cause them to stop showing up. I would get every excuse in the book. I didn't care so much because there was always someone to do the work (including me - I am not so proud that I wouldn't fold laundry or cut the grass), but I felt sad and angry at the same time. Here these people were turning down work, how ever "menial" it may be according to CZAR, and putting their hand out to collect from their "Rich Uncle" without ever have been a contributor to the pot.

It was sad because I knew that they would be heading down the same path they had traveled so far to get no where. Holding on to a simple job could always lead to something better. Collecting welfare will never lead to anything better.
But you had 1st hand knowledge of their experience (nm)TJeanloz
May 15, 2003 8:01 AM
A basic difference between you and I53T
May 15, 2003 7:23 AM
You truly believe that it is necessary for government to be involved in wealth transfer programs like welfare.

You believe that the government's entry into welfare (which dates back beyond the european entry into the New World for local governments, and back to the 1930's for the federal government) was required due to the lack of private charity.

Of course, you miss the big picture. Governments, at the local or national level always enter into wealth transfer programs for one reason: to gain votes. To get elected, to gain power. The more democratic a state is, the higher the incidence of wealth transfer mechanisms within that government. It's really quite simple. Vote for me and I will give you some of your neighbor's money! Works every time.

Of course, governments (other than the US federal Government) have long enjoyed a presumed interest in protecting the public health, safety and morality. In this context moralilty means wealfare (to quote one of my professors "Giving widowed mothers the ability to keep body and soul together without renting out the former").

An interest in protecting the public morality does not negate the political reality of the efficiency and effectivness of riding welfare programs to power in a democracy, regardless of the strength of private charities.
To quote Winston Churchill:torquer
May 13, 2003 10:56 AM
"Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except all those others that have been tried from time to time."

This is about the way I feel about my current job, as well as my profession in general, and I suspect I'm not alone.
With that in mind. A real estate mogul (nm)pdg60
May 13, 2003 11:05 AM
re: If you could do anything, what would it be?sn69
May 13, 2003 10:10 AM
Ditto on the writer thing, Doug. Since my future as a military strongman seems to be loosing momentum (and motivation), I think that something that offers a great deal of intellectual freedom would be appealing.

I've always been jealous of people who have truly found their calling, yet I'm also happy for them.

Then again, being the gear tester for North Face, Mountain Hardware, and/or Pearl Izumi would be a helluva lot of fun.
A princess!Kristin
May 13, 2003 10:22 AM
Honestly? I'd be an explorer. Except all the land has been found and there is nowhere new to go on earth. I'm just waiting for them to invent a spaceship that can go far enough to find another planet thats inhabitable, then I'm outta here.
On this board, you already are, dear Kristin. nmOldEdScott
May 13, 2003 10:25 AM
A princess!DougSloan
May 13, 2003 10:25 AM
YOu'd make a fine princess.

There is always underwater exploration. Plenty we don't know about way down there.

We could visit other planets whenever we want. We just have not chosen to do so, yet.

much of the ocean is still unmapped (nm)ColnagoFE
May 13, 2003 10:32 AM
May 13, 2003 10:59 AM
How deep is the ocean? Its kinda dark down there, isn't it? Yes, yes. I'm a brave explorer! Perhaps I'm romanticizing it! ;-)

(Seriously, I have an itty bitty fear of water.)
me too!mohair_chair
May 13, 2003 10:59 AM
No, you filthy minded people, not a princess, but an explorer!

As a kid I used to read all about those explorers and their expeditions. It was my first great disappointment in life when I discovered that everything has already been found. (It was the first of many great disappointments, but that's another story). Of course, later I found out that a lot of those expeditions weren't all that much fun, plus explorers had to kiss a lot of butts to get their trips funded, so I figure the job probably sucked as a whole.
Can you imagine how it would have been have stumbled upon Niagara?Kristin
May 13, 2003 11:26 AM
Set back comfortably in the wilderness with no fences or souvenier shops or view-masters or resaurants. Just out there on its own generating the enough undiscovered electric current to light all of Montreal. I wish I could have seen it before it was spoiled.

"Betwixt the Lake Ontario and Erie, there is a vast and prodigious Cadence of water which falls down after a surprizing and astonishing manner, insomuch that the universe does not afford its parallel."

~Father Louis Hennepin
The problem with being an explorer...mohair_chair
May 13, 2003 12:18 PM
The fundamental problem with being an explorer is that you find stuff, which you want other people to see, which they want other people to see, and eventually you have buses carrying camera toting tourists to gift shops and restaurants, which eventually leads to destruction or defilement of that which you discovered.

If only you could find stuff and keep it secret. But I don't think you could fund a lot of expeditions that way.
do you like writing or the idea of writing?ColnagoFE
May 13, 2003 10:26 AM
writing is tough work as a profession, but has a certain romantic flair that attracts people to the IDEA of writing until they actually see how hard (and sometimes boring) it is. if i didn't have to worry about $ I'd start up a cruiser bike shop. No road or MTB...just cruisers and cruiser stuff. Of course it would likely be a losing proposition money wise so that's why I've never pursued the idea further.
hard to tellDougSloan
May 13, 2003 10:28 AM
Actually, 95% of I do is writing (even wasting time). I just wish it could be more satisfying and appeal to a broader audience, rather than just one judge (maybe).

A bike shop would be fun, too. Your idea might work in a place like Venice Beach, plus internet sales. Don't plan on actually making money, though.

cruiser bike shopColnagoFE
May 13, 2003 10:38 AM
yeah...would be a cool shop, but likely to lose big $. there is a a prototype from amsterdam that looks something like what i'd do:

maybe when i make my first billion i'll throw some of it away on an idea like this.
"No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money"cory
May 13, 2003 2:56 PM
Samuel Johnson, unless it wasn't. I've made a living as a writer for 30 years next month, and I'm married to a reasonably successful novelist. I'm not looking to go back to pumping gas or installing telephones, but it's not all kicking back and deciding which awestruck Vassar English major you'll take home tonight, either. There's an awful lot of sitting in a room by yourself while the rest of the world enjoys spring. Plus you have to talk to editors.
Those awestruck Vassar English majors areOldEdScott
May 14, 2003 4:45 AM
a nice perk though. Not sure they QUITE make up for having to talk to editors.
Nothing with any responsibilitymohair_chair
May 13, 2003 10:54 AM
I would love to be a full time musician. I'd love to have a studio full of equipment where I could tinker away creating the next great album. I'd have local bands come by and record and jam with them, maybe even form my own band.

My real dream has always been to make enough money to get out of the race, retire somewhere affordable with great riding, then do small jobs whenever I felt like working. Stuff like volunteer work and public service. But I never again want to be responsible for anything. I never again want to have "goals" and "targets" or any way of measuring my performance. I just want to show up, do some good, and leave. Or maybe I don't show up that day and go riding.

Ha, what a crock. Is a dream a lie if it don't come true, or is it something worse?
Hey how come no one said they wanted to be .....Live Steam
May 13, 2003 11:05 AM
a panty waste! No just joshin' ya'! How come no one said pro bike racer? Hmm, very interesting I think. Is it because it would then be work and not recreation?

I like doing what I do and when I don't I do something else. Now this all may change after July. I'll officially be the lesser half of a union :O) I used to be a senior officer in a well known Real Estate firm. At first it was challenging, exciting and different each day. Then one day everything started to look the same. I felt as if I was strapped to my desk and paycheck. That was it. I up and resigned. I decided that I could do what I was doing for someone else, for myself and reap the rewards.

My background is architecture. My friends say I'm an entrepreneur. I say I am just someone who looks for the fun in opportunities presented and I make a few bucks while doing it.

However if I could do something else, something beyond my ability, it would have to be riding in the pro peleton. I can't think of anything that would be more cool that to bump elbows with Super Mario while dragging down the final 200m or winning a stage at the top of d'Uez. Come on people this is a cycling forum for goodness sakes! :O)
Correction. This is a NON-Cycling forumKristin
May 13, 2003 11:29 AM
You wanna talk bikes, you'll have to go somewhere else. :-P
May 13, 2003 11:31 AM
what's it going to be?????sacheson
May 13, 2003 11:34 AM
"bump elbows with Super Mario while dragging down the final 200m or winning a stage at the top of d'Uez"

Either you're a big, hulky sprinter or a scrawny climber. You can't be both. ;-)
Isn't the topic "If you could be ANYTHING you wanted to be?"Kristin
May 13, 2003 11:42 AM
Of course he can be both.
Thank you! nmLive Steam
May 13, 2003 11:51 AM
Eddy Merckx was bothmohair_chair
May 13, 2003 12:21 PM
Eddy would certainly knock shoulders with Mario and could win at L'Alpe d'Huez. I'm pretty sure Bernard Hinault could, too. We're back into discussing cycling, so I'll stop now.
nah...too much work to be a pro bike racer (nm)ColnagoFE
May 13, 2003 1:09 PM
Hmmmm--Railroad owner sounds good...The Walrus
May 13, 2003 11:32 AM
...replace Amtrak with some proper rail passenger service, bring back steam, have my own A-B-B-A set of F7s (Santa Fe warbonnets, of course)....

...or, if that doesn't work out, become a gigolo. (As if!)
Nice visual. A walrus in a silk suit (3 buttons undone) with gold chains and a mass of chest hair.Kristin
May 13, 2003 11:45 AM
I feel conflicted. I'm gonna have to moderate my own thread!!
OOF! Makes me want to poke out my mind's eye...The Walrus
May 13, 2003 2:28 PM
...actually, that would be a 3-piece, pinstriped
i wool
suit (navy blue, I'd think), and the only gold chain would be the one for my pocket watch. As for the chest hair, well, I've known women with more than I have...and I think that's about as far as I'll go with that thought.

Oh, wait--I'm being a little slower than usual. You were thinking of the gigolo thing. Couldn't imagine where the hell you got such a twisted idea of how a trainman would dress.... Whew!
Ok, keep talking. I think I like the ...Live Steam
May 13, 2003 12:08 PM
way this one is going! Here's a little eye cany for you. there's a fine sight!The Walrus
May 13, 2003 2:38 PM
Haven't seen that since I was last at the State Railroad Museum in Sacto. In fact, that photo looks suspiciously like the area along the river, just south of the museum, and I've got a photo somewhere that I took of it from the opposite side of the tracks. A friend of mine's a docent at the museum and says there are still plans to get that A-B set running again, or there
i were
plans before Gray Davis was elected and the state had money...
...and the local "talent"The Walrus
May 13, 2003 3:16 PM
Since F7 warbonnets are in short supply, this is what I make do with when I need my covered wagon fix. This is one of two EMDs owned by the Fillmore & Western, a little tourist railroad in Ventura County. I sometimes get lucky if I hang around after the last run of the day, and get invited up in the cab while the engineer's setting out the cars in the yard. Talk about yer cheap thrills...
You had to have seen the movie ...Live Steam
May 13, 2003 6:16 PM
Runaway Train. One of my favorite flicks. If you love rolling diesel that is a really cool movie with the sound blasting on a wide screen TV. John Voigt is great as that escaped con. The job he did was probably worth an Oscar. If you haven't seen it I would suggest skip renting it and just buy it. You'll want to see it a few times :O)
May 13, 2003 1:19 PM
I'd love to run a brewery along the lines of Stone Brewing. It might just be propaganda, but they look and sound like they're having fun. I've corresponded with Greg Koch, and the guy absolutely loves what he's doing.
Hey now, San Marcos is close by.sn69
May 13, 2003 3:00 PM
Perhaps I should seek employment with them after my indentured servitude contract ends.
Good ideamickey-mac
May 13, 2003 3:10 PM
I haven't met you, but based on your posts I have a feeling you'd fit in with the folks at Stone. I met their LA area sales rep at a recent beer event, and she was very cool.
They make good hooch too.sn69
May 13, 2003 3:15 PM
I had never really considered a job in that industry, although I've often wondered about being a vinter. My wife and I used to travel to NorCal for the Half Vineman every year, and we'd often daydream about working up there.

Beer brewery is an interesting gig...lots of chemistry. I have a friend whose mother is a chemtech at Busch's Fairfield plant near Napa.
That they domickey-mac
May 13, 2003 3:44 PM
Stone's Imperial Stout and Double Bastard are two of the best beers I've ever had. Although brewing involves a lot of chemistry, it's really amazing how easy it is to make good beer at home with minimal knowledge or experience. Mmmmm, beer.
Mmmmm, doughnuts and beer. nmsn69
May 13, 2003 4:46 PM
I love the smell ov wort cookingColnagoFE
May 14, 2003 7:16 AM
haven't made my own beer in years since having kids. too much good stuff available to buy these days to bother. anyway i remember the smell of the cooking wort just filling the house with that beer/bread smell. nice smell memory.
Funny you should mention thatmickey-mac
May 14, 2003 3:09 PM
Something I've noticed is that wort that will end up as bad beer smells almost as good as wort that ends up as good beer. I regularly ride past the Anheuser-Busch brewery in Van Nuys, CA where they make Bud and Bud Light. The wort smells very similar to a batch of homebrew: at least a batch of homebrewed wort that hasn't had any hops added yet.
May 13, 2003 3:50 PM
An interesting business. Like any business there are many sides to it. To start one yourself is tough work and will take a fair amount of cash. A few friends of mine have started small brewpubs and done OK. One guy started a 'contract' brewery. He bought the beer from a place that stuck his label on it. The venture failed after about six months. Mostly due to under cap., shipping expense, and marketing failure.

Brewing beer is 95% 'production work' Basically, hire a bunch of grunts to lift that barge and tote that bale. Selling all you can produce is another matter. Location is key. Marketing ability with the capital to get it all going is needed.

I am happy to keep my hobbies as just that. I have been really lucky in that of the hobbies I have been involved with (cycling, motorcycling, brewing) I have figured out ways to make them self supporting.

I think the next wave is of the small distillery. Also the mead or cider maker. These are unique products that haven't tapped out the market yet.

If you need someone to sample your brew, and supply feedback, I'll certainly be happy to help! :-)

May 14, 2003 7:21 AM
there are a few places in boulder that make mead. interesting stuff, but i think too sweet to really catch on--even the so called "dry" mead. maybe for an after dinner kind of thing? the problem with the distillery thing is that it's not as foolproof and safe as making beer. during prohibition a number of people were harmed by poison gin because it was made wrong. i suppose you could burn the house down as well making hootch at home.
May 14, 2003 11:05 AM
It is important to find the right balance on mead. The mead with some flavorings are better. I have used cherries, key lime, red peppers, chipotle peppers, ginger, coriander/red pepper etc... Mead doesn't have to be 'sweet' I prefer it to resemble a riesling or gewertz.

Distilling is a different ball game. It can be risky. I have NEVER distilled, as it is unlawful to do so... but the times I have reduced the water content in a lower alcohol product to create a higher alcohol product; using heat and temperature control along with a condensing device, the results have been satisfactory ;-)

A friend of mine has had several small incidents with a still like device. Once, in his basement it spewed glop all over. (his wife was po'ed over that one) The other time at his shop the darn thing volcanoed all over the place, whatta mess.

RE: poisoning the customers.... we have the technology to avoid that sort of thing, as long as you aren't using old lead soldered radiators to condense, you will most likely be ok ;)

re: mead I forgot to mention...rwbadley
May 14, 2003 12:01 PM
A well made mead is a true delight. I have only tasted one commercial mead I thought was worth a darn. I have tasted many many home made versions that were to die for.

A little less delicately: A friend of mine used to claim that there was "A Girl in every Bottle" of his mead. The aphrodesiac power of mead may be rumor... but he would attest that if he had a new girl, he would get out a couple bottles of his mead, and after a few samples, she would "fall over with her legs up in the air" I can't vouch for his success, but when I was single, I would always keep some mead on hand...cuz you never know. ;-)

ha! you're right about the commercial meadsColnagoFE
May 14, 2003 1:13 PM
i once helped judge at the homebrewers association competition and got the mead category. some interesting stuff. one guy had a killer lime mead. don't know about the aphrodesiac qualities. my wife likes good tequila and that usually seems to do the trick just fine for me on a slow night. ;)
ha! you're right about the commercial meadsrwbadley
May 14, 2003 1:52 PM
If that was about four years ago, that may have been my key lime/red pepper mead. That mead won best of show in the AHA.

think it was longer ago that thatColnagoFE
May 14, 2003 2:32 PM
probably more like 8-9 years ago since I didn't have kids then! good stuff though. it was an interesting experience seeing how seriously the people involved took this stuff.
So, spill the beans, er, honeymickey-mac
May 14, 2003 3:14 PM
"I have only tasted one commercial mead I thought was worth a darn."

So, which is it? As I may have mentioned before, my wife has a gluten intolerance and drinks primarily ciders. I'd like to find her a good brand of mead to try.

BTW, I picked up a bottle of Rochefort 10 this afternoon. It's a lot of money to spend for a little bottle of beer. I hope not to be disappointed. I also found Victory Old Horizontal in the LA area for the first time today and picked up a six.
So, spill the beans, er, honeyrwbadley
May 14, 2003 4:35 PM
It was an English heather honey mead. You may not find it here. Some friends and I picked up some heather honey ($8/lb!)and made our own. It turned out pretty good. Tom entered his in the AHA and took second in the final round.

Rochefort 10 wow good stuff. I think it's like $7/bottle or something here. I would love to taste it from the source. If I ever can get there, I think I would like to spend a month in Belgium.

I may be willing to swap samples with any of you homebrewers. I might have a mead or two available...

I'd love to swapmickey-mac
May 14, 2003 4:44 PM
However, I don't have anything right now, either in bottles or in the fermenter. My last batch (English Brown Ale) went into 1 liter swingtop bottles. As usual, I started drinking it too soon. However, by the time I got to the last few, it was pretty good. I came home one night intending to enjoy the last bottle, only to find that my wife had used it for cooking. She thought I had another boxful of bottles left. :-( On the Belgian stuff, I have a friend who takes a two-week beer trip to Belgium every spring.
I'd love to swaprwbadley
May 15, 2003 7:07 AM
E-mail your address and I'll see what I can dig up.
... or philosphy professorDougSloan
May 14, 2003 8:08 AM
Almost did this one, as it was my backup plan if I didn't go to law school. Not sure I chose wisely. Teaching 9 hours a week and having grad students research my articles to publish wouldn't be so bad.

a qoutation for youms
May 14, 2003 2:27 PM
"I love argument, I love debate. I don't expect anyone just to sit there and agree with me, that's not their job." - Margaret Thatcher

I saw this quotation in this week's DRI (Defense Research Institute) email newsletter and thought about the comment you made above regarding the abuse you take being a lawyer.