Tattoos and Travel

Tattoos and Travel

To add to the theme of popular things I don’t quite get, I want to talk about tattoos (today) and travel (tomorrow).


Women and men of a certain age have these photos of David Beckham burned into their brains.  I do, just as I’ll always mentally redirect to this when I see a Calvin Klein garment on a woman.  It’s beautiful marketing, and there are probably books written on the subject.

Something like 40% of Millenials today have at least one tattoo.  More data:

harris research


And now a contradiction- employers are known to discourage tattoos, including the armed services.  Tattoo restrictions are a part of “appearance standards”, intended to minimize conflict between service members.  Corporations feel similarly- when you already have something of value, it’s natural to become more conservative.


So they’re more than happy to hire this guy.  He’s married.


But women love tattoos on men!  One of my friends (30 y.0. nurse, very average person) says that to her, a tattoo turns a boy into a man.  She’s not sure why- that’s the best she can explain it, and she’s Russian, where tattoos are associated w/ prison and the Mafia.

I’m confused as I write, and have been cutting and pasting these sentences around.  Blue Shirt will provide for your family.  But (even avoiding the “bad boy vs. nice guy” discussion), I can see how a tattoo on a man, as viewed by a woman, is a a sign of commitment, similar in many ways to owning a dog.  Beckham on his tattoos: “Mine are all about the people in my life, my wife and sons.”  It’s also a sign of being comfortable, a willingness to share, openness, like a musician and a man who dances.  It’s a sign of being part of society, being human, accepting imperfections, and being susceptible to group think.  These are attractive qualities to most women, in addition to how visually striking a dark tattoo can be on human skin.


Since some goals of my life fall outside the pyramid (for one, see self-transcendence, from the Maslow wiki article), I’m mildly put off by tattoos on both sexes.  They remind me of overly predictable people, population 7 billion, exponentially infesting the earth.  Another goal I have is to be unique.  Tattoos don’t help here, either.  Shame on me if this Blog shares something in common with tattoos and I’m not seeing it.  I think this is different, because I’m learning as I write, organizing ideas.  I also want people to read them and respond.  The vast majority of tattoos seem like attempts to be cool, cries for attention, or permanent, visual, always present reminders of something.  I interpret them as weaknesses.

My notable experiences w/ tattoos are as follows

  • Grandfather was in the Navy during WW2, and what remained was an amorphous blob on his upper arm, that deep green color.  He always kept it covered and possibly regretted it, then again, he never even wore shorts, just khaki pants.  Still, this man cared for nothing but his family, and the tattoo meant nothing to him.  I never heard more than a few sentences about the Navy.
  • My first roommate in college showed up with a random, generic Chinese character, or possibly an Aboriginal war symbol, on his upper arm.  At the time he was dating a 16 year old girl and joined Lamda Chi, the average nice guy fraternity.  Today he has a Master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering, a job at GE, and a fat wife.  He looks happy, but his life is very much not for me, and I knew it back in 2004 when he first took his shirt off.
  • Recent co-worker from Italy, has a PHD and brand new green card, ego problems, and a tattoo on his upper arm.  He’s short and walks with a limp because one leg is shorter than the other.  The tattoo is his own design, drawn in Solidworks, a combination of a mountain bike brake disc and something else, I forget what.  This same symbol also appears on the front cover of each of his neatly stacked 3 ring binders.  So, after work, he resizes and prints the image and slips it under the clear plastic cover, releasing some dopamine in his brain.  I never used this planned binder personalization in school, even when instructed by the syllabus.  If anything, I’d write the name of the class right on the plastic, w/ a sharpie, to be scribbled out + re-labelled next semester.  A few times I think I forced the name directly into the plastic with the tip of a ballpoint pen.  Tattoos and fighting the man are polar opposites in the coddled 2016 universe we live in.
  • A young and heavyset Irish machinist has tons of them all over his body, which he hid during his interview.  He drives a financed silver BMW with smoke colored aftermarket wheels and an “Ink Army” sticker on the rear hatch.  The <average looking waitress at a local bar fell instantly in lust with him.  We know why. He’s imperfect and might be willing to commit to her, too.  He loves to talk about how great he is at xyz, looks at reddit all day, and loses interest in anything else.

Less organized ideas:

tattoos on women

  • Being tattooed is associated with greater numbers of lifetime sexual partners (Heywood 2012), earlier sexual initiation, higher frequency of sexual intercourse
  • In students, tattooing is associated with risk-taking behaviors, including smoking and cannabis use (Heywood, 2012). Participants with tattoos or body piercings were more likely to have engaged in risk-taking behaviors and at greater degrees of involvement than those without either. These included gateway drug use, hard drug use, sexual activity, and suicide.
  • In Croatian prisoners, tattoos correlated with lower IQs and those possessing them demonstrated significantly higher levels of impulsiveness than the non-tattooed group (Pozgain 2004).
  • Psychiatric patients with tattoos are much more likely to suffer from Antisocial Personality Disorder and have an increased likelihood to have previously suffered from sexual abuse, abused substances, or to have attempted suicide. (Sciencedaily).
  • There are links between tattoos and psychiatric disorders such as depression (Heywood, 2012), eating disorders (Carroll, 2002), borderline personality disorder (Raspa, 1990), neuroticism (Pozgain, 2004) and increased risk of suicide (Carroll, 2002).
  • Male opinion top reddit comment on women w/ tattoos: “They are hot if done right but it makes her look worse if done wrong.”  “done right” appears to mean “small”, “intimate location”, “original”, “tells a story”


  • It costs 4-5x the initial price to have a tattoo removed.
  • In Russia, 72% of respondents with face, neck, hands, or fingers tattoos have spent more than three days in jail, compared to 6% of the non-tattooed population.[41][42]


Apple Car- Womb on Wheels

Apple Car- Womb on Wheels

Here’s a partial list of things your car should know about you

  • You’re hungry (sense blood sugar, or phone tells it that you haven’t eaten)
  • You’re sleepy (reaction time is less than average)
  • Where you want to go right now (from historical databases, google searches, recent conversations)
  • You’re too cold or too hot
  • You’re happy, sad, stressed
  • You’ve gained weight, your look is disheveled, you need TLC
  • Identity and preferences of your passenger
  • You have to go to the bathroom

And a partial list of why people could dislike current driving experience

  • It’s bad for the environment- guilt
  • It’s uncomfortable to sit for a long amount of time
  • Public bathrooms
  • Nasty rest stop food
  • Hard to stay awake
  • Annoying passengers
  • Late for something, traffic is stressful
  • Wasted time
  • Dangerous
  • Directions are still annoying even with GPS
  • Can’t text
  • Speeding tickets
  • Getting gas when it’s cold out
  • Any kind of maintenance hassle
  • Parking in cities
  • Getting groceries in and out
  • Putting kids in and out
  • Monotony of same scenery on everyday commute
  • Car isn’t clean, must be cleaned
  • Expensive/Insurance

With this background info in mind, the future Apple Car should be something like this:


And, nobody wants to be the one to invent it, but everyone would appreciate a non-gross way to pee from the privacy of our cars.  Especially truckers, and we’d have less pollution.

If any of this seems far fetched, look at the interior of a private jet, currently the most luxurious way to travel.  Putin’s has a gym.  They all have bathrooms, showers, food, and drink.  Look at trains.  Why not cars?  There’s a good chance that the future of travel no longer includes airplanes, and people can live in cars instead of apartments.  No more need for doctors, restaurants, barbers, the entire service industry.  The car is the ideal basis of virtual reality because it’s small, mobile, completely encapsulates the human body, and people already expect the expense.

The Tech Project Manager- who is she?

This is not an article to make women feel better about anything.  The title says SHE not HE only because I am a woman. But this IS going to be your standard LinkedIn P.M. drivel, with a standard Millenial twist, because we’re also a hot topic.

Project Mangers come in two hybrids- Big Corporate Style and Startup Style.

Big corporate style PM’s have origins in the early 1990’s, when downsizing trends created flatter organizations.  Middle management was traded in for ’empowered’ employees (including a layer of PM’s).   As a result, today’s big corporate PM’s have ’em’power.  No, it’s not heady Donald Trump hair POWER, but all limitations are relative.  We are mostly all somebody’s bitch, somehow.  PM’s report to VP’s.  VP’s are 10 years older and report to CEO’s (+15).  CEO’s are hired and fired by Boards of borderline elderly white men who telecommute from Tahoe and can barely figure out how to use email attachments.   BOD’s report to shareholders, customers, and their 28 y.0. dominatrix mistresses.  The mistresses report to social media, aka a web of Millenianls, who complete the circle of empower by reporting back to PM’s- at this time 5-7 years older than they are.

The Startup Style project manager came about in late 90’s/early 2000’s, during the internet and tech explosions.  Seed money was given to anybody who pretended to program computers.  Partially because of this, those PM’s had (and continue today to have) more varied responsibility and challenges than their Corporate cousins. Here is a graph showing that the demand for startup style PM’s is likely trending up, at least based on the number of new startups being formed.


So that introduced the history of PM’s, now for the training.

Project Management is not a major in college, but there are some related options.  Management Information Systems (MIS) is a typical choice for CS Freshmen and Sophomores who realize they’re too dumb to hack it in Hackathons.  Management Science is for the football players at any tech school, and students everywhere who couldn’t do engineering math or figure out how to otherwise work the system and graduate.  The above types will likely end up as Big Corporate Style PM’s, with PM their actual job title, and that last italicized point is important.  These PM’s are not the cream of the crop, they’re not people who can figure out how to get difficult things done.

Meanwhile, Startup Style (and also many Corporate) PM’s come from a normal technical education, and start careers as programmers, scientists, engineers, etc.  They’re probably pretty good at technical work, but their higher social skills gradually move them towards organizing and communicating, which leads to leading, and a new job title is born. It may or may not be Project Manager, but this is what they are. Before long (another 2-3 years), they’re no longer on the cutting edge of tech.  Their lives are full of PowerPoint and conference calls with words like scope and buffer.

Since there is no college degree to validate a PM, an organization formed to fill what was once this void.  Project Management Institute.  PMI is (sadly?) destined for failure for the following reasons:

  • Despite what their homepage states, today’s employers do not demand certification.  PMP is like GPA- you could write it on your resume, if you want to look like a douche bag.  Good PM’s these days are promoted from other positions within the company, or externally recruited based on experience, just like any other job.  As a PM, just use white font to write PMP at the bottom of your resume, for the bots, and you can skip certification.
  • At a time when a full MIT CS education is basically free, PMI classes start at $199.
  • The knowledge base being maintained and tested is = common sense + math + arcane definitions.  Example:sample qeustionThese definitions can be learned as needed.  Hey Siri.
  • “Networking” is no longer a valid benefit of any organization other than LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, etc.

So PMI is out for certification, but their 1 week in-person seminars might still be ok.  Personally, if I wanted to brush up on my skills, I’d find the best local university with a similar offering, and know that the curriculum would be less restricted.  And I’d do it for a 1 week paid vacation/change of scenery more than with expectations to learn something remarkable.


Q: What is the biggest challenge faced by you, Project Manager ?

A: (I asked this question to a room of 50 and will repeat the most common answer:)   The biggest challenge I face is coordinating work across multiple sites and/or divisions in multiple countries.  The difficulty is not only the time zones/ language differences, but also differing priorities (aka my project is not getting attention it needs at other sites).

Q:  As a Startup Style PM, I also do engineering, recruiting, sales, etc.  How do I know how much time to use for Project Management vs. others stuff?

A:proect plannin

(Also, in the plan you’re maintaining, make sure no high risk task is unspecified, no supplier is missing, milestones are all included, and you can provide a clear answer to what any given employee is doing right now.)

Q:  Should a MS Project Plan required for all projects?

A: No, see above.

Q:  What should I watch out for when estimating?

A:  Experts tend to be aggressive because they imagine themselves doing the work.  Estimating databases tend to be conservative.  Relying on past data can create paradigms and ignore new technology or other changes. Humans are optimistic creatures; it’s a prerequisite for our survival.  There are lies, damn lies, and then there are statistics.  In other words, it’s all BS, and the nice thing is that everyone knows it.



In order for a PM to be successful, he/she needs to encourage adoption of his/her project and keep team members engaged.  Important skills to these ends include organization, communication (acting as a filter up to executives and down to team members), trust, experience, persistence, multitasking, global perspective, sense of humor/charisma, and speaking multiple languages.

Speaking of speaking, a PM should (for historical reasons) be aware that arbitrary, questionable, impossible to verify studies once showed that communication was broken down as follows:


But, Millenials are changing this.  In the future, short typed messages will dominate the communication market and there will be no need for 100+ versions of this pie chart in Google Images.  That or something with virtual reality, outside our scope.  For now, ignore the advice.  I have had plenty of successful supplier and contractor relations with people I’ve never seen, sometimes even with people I’ve only communicated with through .PDF documents.

PM’s are risk managers.  The important thing to know about risk is that while society generally sees risk seekers as successful (Donald Trump), studies show that the risk averse have better results (Bill Gates).  No source for this one, but I have a vague memory of researchers who were able to make a computer act very human by programming just one principle- that the robot should minimize future risk.  It’s an interesting idea when you think about Evolution.

A Project Manager earns not a salary but an ’em’salary .  It’s ok.  It’s in line with what the average engineer makes, with the same 7 ish years of experience.  From


And the most common career paths ( analysis of resumes) has not been glorious:

pm flowcharet

But all is not lost



If Project Management was a stock, I’d buy and hold, and here’s why.

We live in a time when there are ~14,000 people on earth with an IQ above 160, and the vast majority of them are not working in your group, your company, your county.  This genius help, as we figure out how to find, educate, and manage it, is ridiculously cost effective (reasons why to be discussed in future article).  In other words, outsourcing, bla bla bla, freelancing, bla bla bla, open source movement, bla bla bla, etc.

What are today’s challenges associated with these trends?

  • Loss of control
  • Increase risk
  • Loss of transparency
  • Communication disconnect
  • More time required on detailed documentation
  • More need to train
  • IP or trade secret exposure
  • Quality control
  • Legal related
  • Cultural differences

Of every job title I can think of, Project Managers have the best background to meet all these challenges (at least, for the money), and they are increasingly figuring out how to do so.  Their “consolidation and communication” function becomes increasingly important as the world becomes flatter and information becomes more and more available.


health app data, Employed vs. Unemployed

*I’m using a 4 year old Iphone 5, purchased in 2012.  It’s the best phone I’ve ever used, and the only to last more than 1 year. While there isn’t a clear line dividing “Steve Jobs worked on” from “phone was after he died”, the 5 is the pinnacle of Apple design in my head.  The following ones were plastic, then stupidly sized, battery killing, expensive, and thanks to Apple’s software updates, there are still minimal advantages to buying something newer.  This phone has aged beautifully and (insert pic later) The only features I regret are the full “Steps” implementation in the Health App (to be discussed later), and Apple Pay.  I haven’t researched alternatives to Apple Pay, but recent surveys say only about 1 in 5 people with the technology have tried it, and a lot of cashiers don’t know how it works.  However, with the stupid Chip credit cards, this might become a feature I want someday.

On to the Health App.  I love it and can see future versions with cheap lab grade bluetooth sensors, better interfaces, connectivity to global databases, servers monitoring our every breath, etc.  The Health App will unquestionably revolutionize healthcare (and other industries), put most doctors out of business, and increase life expectancy.  But right now it sucks, I can’t even export data vs. time into an excel file.  So as usual, I transcribed this data manually with the goal of showing what happens to health when transitioning from a high-stress management job at a failing startup company to 100% stress free unemployment.  The nice thing about moving data manually is that you get a chance to look at it, which is too rarely done these days.

Background info:  I have weighted 200 pounds +/- 1% for the last 8 years, since I graduated college.  My exercise habits have varied, generally with 30-40 mins of intense cardio done a couple times a week, with an otherwise sedentary lifestyle.  About 6 months ago I started lifting weights (recreationally), and reduced the amount of sugar and processed anything that I eat.  Those changes produced minimal variations in weight or feeling of well being.


So, despite normally gaining 5 pounds during the holidays (my memory of previous years), this year, when I quit working, I immediately lost about 8 pounds, without losing any lifting strength.  I did start running 3X a week instead of 1x, but I stopped my usual 2×40 minute high intensity bike rides (daily work commute).  I conclude that running is much better than biking for maintaining a lower body weight, and the removal of job stress likely has an impact, unfortunately can’t be separated.  Food didn’t change.  Sleep increased, I started waking up at noon instead of 8:30 AM, but also stayed up later and had a less consistent schedule.  My mother told me my face looks thinner.

Blood pressure- this is a known issue in my family.  I’ve never had a doctor measure it, but I bought a Walgreens home kit that seems as accurate as what the average nurse uses, possibly better by avoiding white coat syndrome.  Blood pressure measurements are notoriously unrepeatable, as shown by 3 back to back readings I took yesterday.  I always see the same downward trend.

bp repeats

This study and others (of mine) show at least a +/- 10 point change in the upper number depending on…. I have no idea what.  The problem with all my data is, sometimes I took and recorded multiple measurements, sometimes I took a few and averaged them, sometimes I chose just one, etc.  The upper (peak) BP number (the one reportedly more correlated to cardiovascular diseases in people over 50) is almost unusably inconsistent, but here is all the data, edited as best I can to present averages.

bp dataall.PNG

As much as I’d like to hypothesize about why the data is the way it is, it would just be stupid.  We need a better sensor which averages a repeatable daily activity and accounts for whatever confounding variables.  Or maybe I just need to sit at the table longer before I start measuring.  I’ll try.

Lastly for now, on the topic of the Health App, here are some interesting screenshots from someone’s sleep app, which are based on watch data (microphone, accelerometer, heart rate?).  Like the blood pressure, there is a question about the utility of the data.

Coming soon, a direct comparison of these cheapo sleep Apps to a medical grade sleep analysis.  If reddit finds one.




Future Blog Topics

The concept of Open Innovation

what is this whole transsexual thing.  Racism vs. freedom of speech.

The romantic joys of spotty Wifi

Future Improvements to Yelp- filter reviews, use paid pro’s (celebrities) David Foster Wallace style

online learing, especially tech subjects, staying motivated

Bluetooth dating

Reddit to decide court cases

A problem of the future- how to motivate talented people to actually do work instead of just living off of what we have achieved already.  Parallels to drug addicts

Why is stuff cheaper in China

The patent system, the future patent battles between Google, Amazon, Apple.  The future of government as controlled by tech companies, and why we can’t all just get along? Making Business as War a thing of the past.  Too big to fail, laws required for Capitalism to ensure that monsters are not created.  Tech companies have the nuclear weapons.  Who wins WW3, google or the USA.

Smartphones allowing more efficient markets

  • cars don’t sit still
  • homes don’t sit empty
  • clothes don’t sit in drawers
  • dynamic content on clothes, cars, anywhere else
  • less risk, less up front investment for individuals, lower insurance, pay as you go
  • fewer cars needed and more sharing = nicer cars
  • but privacy is still a premium- owning a private jet is better than renting.  Owning a porsche and knowing the seats are full of your DNA vs. someone else’s
  • but commune living in NYC, commune working at shared offices, already popular.
  • Preference for personalized service vs. robots vs. humans we don’t know when being served coffee or lunch
  • How to assign “value” to experiences, grocery store examples, yelp metrics


spending breakdown, credit cards , rent, etc

stereotypes and engineering culture differences, working with Japan, China, Russia, India

psychology of Travel

psychology of 1st message to 1st date online dating

psychology of 1st date to 3rd date

Johnny Manzeil



Germany, Japan, England, Trinidad

Machine Shops

Resumes Interviews Job Application Process

my diet

three principles and religion

The authors I like and why, John Updike, DFW, Chekhov, HST, FDostoyevsky


Personal Finances to date and early retirement study

My Age Now 30
My Age when money would force me to get a job 61
In Checking Account, 4/20/2016 $ 71,104
In Stock Market, 4/20/2016 $ 118,539
Loaned to Whiskey Business $ 10,000
Car/Other Possessions, Fair Market Value $ 10,000
Total Net Worth, 4/20/2016 $ 209,643
Cost of Food per week, based on 3 month study $ 130
Cost of Food per year $ 6,216
Cost of Food per Meal $ 5
Insurance per year $ 0*
Clothing per year $ 500**
Rent per year $ 0***

*Insurance is free because I ride a bicycle and/or drive with an uninsured, unregistered vehicle.  Maine declined to cover me under ObamaCare, so I have a special waver # to put on my tax return and will avoid the fine for not having health insurance.

**Estimated, to look reasonable in public

***I live with my dad and trade occasional labor for rent.  This is possible for anyone with house-sitting arrangements

Side note- There is no reason to pay for Microsoft Office.  I have been using an expired version of Office for months now, with no loss of functionality.

My career path from graduating school in Spring 2008 to Christmas 2015 was Engineer-> Sr. Engineer-> Director of Engineering.  I started at a large company and ended at a startup.  Through some luck and some not having an outside life, I averaged a 10% raise each year.


If I really were to do nothing for the next 31 years, a big regret would be that I could not continue the below graph, which is one of my long term goals.  Sometimes it’s the most significant one.


Here are some cumulative numbers over an 8 year career, and they reference total earned, not total “after tax”

Total Cumulative Income since I graduated $ 693,489
% Given to States via Tax % 6.04
% Given to Federal via Tax % 15.45
% Given to Charity % 8.74
% Saved available in Checking % 10.25
% Invested in Stock Market, available % 17.09
% Invested in Whiskey business % 1.44
% Spent on living % 59.02

One more graph, adding taxes to the last one: