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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Can I get a house to go?

I've always wanted to own a home. It just seems like it would take me a really long time to try and save up for one, especially in the Palo Alto area where housing prices are routinely about several million. But I have a idea that might allow me to live in Palo Alto, I just don't have a lot of space.

In comes a brilliant idea from Jay Shafer, a guy who founded Tumbleweedhouses. It is like a mobile home but a lot smaller and a whole lot more pleasant to look at. One of these babies are only tens of grands rather than hundreds. They come pre-built or comes in a DIY kit for those who are crafty.

The whole idea is to be minimalistic while being cheap and mobile. It is excellent for people just starting out after college or people that want to take their vacation home on a vacation.

I just love the efficient and ergonomic design of these things, couple with the fact you can take your home anywhere and kind of life off the land. The roof can be outfitted with a solar array for power and rain water can be collected for use in the shower and toilets. There is even a fireplace that uses propane during those cold nights. The only downside is the lack of stable internet connection, a person would need to find a local hotspot.

My plan is to buy one of these things if it looks like the housing market is too expensive for me to buy into and I can't afford the rent in my apartment. Realisticlly it would be hard to give up running water and internet without substitutes. Also I would still need an area of land to tether myself to during nights, unless I can squat in a Walmart parking lot for a couple of months.

Some day though, I want to be free and take a journey like the person above with all my belongs to a distant and far away land. Until then I will only dream of owning a mobile home.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Taking a Chance

Life is all about taking chances and hoping for the best. The picture above is the best visualization for this, once the fish leaves it's bowl it does not know whether or not it will make it into the next bowl, but still tries. I wish that I could have the ability to take more chances in life and risk it all. It is harder than it seems to put yourself into a situation that you know very little about and even less about how to navigate through it.

I may talk about this risk taking in a general sense but the it applies to all facets of life; school, work, and romance all require some risk taking in order for one to make it through. I truly believe that most people are fearful of the consequences and subsequent embarrassment of failure to take a lot of chances in life. I know this because I have been there on multiple occasions and still fight my fear on a daily basis. It is incredibly hard to put yourself out there and not have doubt in oneself.

This culture is absolutely horrible in fostering peoples' ability to express themselves without fear or criticism from others. I think if people try to do something that is different or difficult they are mocked until they either have taken on a thicker skin or quit due to mounting pressure. It is as if the people doing the criticizing are jealous of those taking risks because they can't do it themselves.

My point is that we all need to take risks in life, that is how we grow as an individual. We can't let others stop us midway or before we take the first steps. It is important to each one of us that we know the pains of hardship and even failure so that we can look forward to and cherish the good times.So go out there and take a chance on something.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Space Miner!

I dream a dream and in that dream I am a space miner. But seriously, there is a new company out in Santa Monica, CA that is planning to mine the asteroids for their resources and bring them back to Earth. This is hardly the first time that a company has had this idea, where previously Planetary Resources had gone public with the backing of a couple of Google founders. This new company more or less follows in their footsteps and had a press conference recently to try to get the word out but also raise some investment revenue.

I have long dreamed about space and becoming an astronaut, I've taken many paths in life to know that it is a highly improbable goal. But I still want to be apart of the space community and help mankind into space. I think that we need more forwarding thinking companies that are willing to push the technological barrier and take massive risks in order to push ourselves beyond what we have now. It took a statement and money from JFK to put a man on the moon in under ten years, we can do better now with how far technology has advanced.

The idea behind the company is that resources such as platinum, gold, and other rare Earth minerals are running out or they are getting harder to find. Eventually we will run out, but in space there are millions of astroiods that are floating around between Mars and Jupiter that have several times more minerals than the Earth. There plan is to harvest them and either bring it back to Earth or use it in space to construct more spacecrafts/colonies.

I am looking forward to the future and hope that private industries such as DSI (Deep Space Industries) can bring us into a new age of prosperity and wealth, before our banking system takes down our country.

Below is there video...Awesome.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Traveling Abroad

I recently got back from across the world and guess where I went?

It was a great place to visit friends and family that I haven't seen in close to 18 years. I would have to say that I enjoyed a lot more than I thought I would. The last time that I went to China, I was very little and had a bad experience getting chicken pox in the hospital for most of the time that I was there. This time with a healther immune system and a reservation about trying risky foods, I took on the challenge of exploring this new world with earnest.

Shanghai was where I stayed for the majority of the time in China, it was where my parents originally grew up. I have to say that it has come a long way from the backwater small coastal town that I first saw in 1994. Most of the city has gone through a transformation into a cultural and financial capital of China. It seems that high rises and new construction were everywhere and that the city was still edging its way to the top of the skies, much like Chicago was in the 1970's. In the financial district wealth was flaunted around as much as the richest here in America, with all the toys and power of the elite.

Although, as much as the city is growing out of poverty there still exists wealth inequality. The native people to the city complain of an influx of outsides from rural farm lands that have taking away jobs and are willing to work for lesser wages, while adding to the city's population by the millions, straining the infrastructure. Shanghai's rise has attracted people from all over the country to try and see if they can make themselves a better life. There is a deep distrust and anger for the growing outsider population. It is exactly analogous to immigration with Latino's in America.

I really like my trip to China, being able to experience a different culture that is focused on family and a tight knit group of people is a warm welcome after living on my own for a while. China has come a long way, but I fear it still has much to do internally before it can rival America's best.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Kindness Unleashed

I've always been amazed by the kindness of strangers, a kind act or a phrase of sincerity can go along way to somebody. On many occasions, I have been completely taken back at how some people can open their hearts in times of troubles and sorrow. I hope that I may be able to as giving to those who have provided me a port of harbor in stormy weather.

When I was in Kyoto, Japan during the summer, I had pack light in lieu of the hot and humid summer months. Little did I know that it was monsoon season in Kyoto, about an hour after leaving the train station I got caught in a torrental downpour. I was taking a walking tour of the city when it started to rain and as time webt on it got worse and worse. After waiting for a while for the rain to pass, I decided to risk it and continue my several kilometer tour. Well, I was soaked from head to toe in ten minutes and was in bad shape.

I sought refuge in a local cafe to try and get dry and warmed up. The staff thought I was completely mad to go without an umbrella, of course that was my interpretation as I didn't know Japanese. I was drying myself with several dozen little napkins in a vain effort to try and dry my soaked wallet and passport. The staff helped me with some clean towels as they looked on with either sympathy or confusement. I had to ask them where I could purchase an umbrella for the trip home and they did not know where I get one. After seening my rain drenched body, one of the female staff decided to offer her umbrella to give to me. I offered her some cash but she was insistent on giving me the umbrella for free. I walked out of the store a little less wet and a lot more appreciative of the kindness of others.

Maybe it was the culture of the Japanese or it was the pathetic state I was in, but the fact that they reached out in time of my need was amazing to me. I think that today's culture and society does not promote enough kindness and generocity to others. The act of giving is in itself a very pleasurable gesture. It's like a quick pick me up for people who want to feel better about themselves.

I will do my best to be more generous and giving to others in times of need and hardship. The world can use a bit more umbrellas to give us shelter from the rains of selfishness and self-centeredness.

Fortune favors the bold

Since I was a little a kid, I have always heard this title phrase being uttered by people of histories past and from great heros. At the time I knew little of what it truly meant in context. I have always thought that it was used primarly in military context, attacking the enemy first while their still unprepared and defenceless. The phrase still applies to this context but it can be expanded as well.

The second meaning which is more applicable to everyday life is to take chances whenever it presents itself. I have often believed this but I had great difficulty putting it into practice. We all have a self-defence mechanism that prevents us from trying new things or taking chances with the unknown due to our caveman days where fear was around every corner, but in modern day this biological device is as ineffective as bare skin is protecting against the bitter cold.

Being bold requires a lot of trust in oneself and the belief that you can get through whatever hardship that gets thrown your way. In effect it requires confidence in yourself. I always had a had time believing in myself as I was growing up as there was little to be confident in, as there always seemed to be people better than me in something whether it was in school or sports.

But I persisted in what I thought to be a long term goal of doing well in school, which I had constant doubts about if it was worth it or not. I made some bold choices and a little risk as I was gaining an education. It paid off as the sum of my decisions made me the man I am today.

Now, I feel that I must be bold in every facet of my life and take a lot more risks while I'm still young and dumb enough to not know better. I am hoping that in the long run it will pay off in the experience and mental strength to know that I can get through anything. Be bold my friends!

King's Quest

King's Quest was an old 1990's video game that was very much a old style adventure game that was primarly text based. The goal of the game was to go on a journey with your character and ultimately become king from humble squire beginnings. It was a pretty tough game at the time with scant information about what you were supposed to do.

I believe that everyone should go on their own king/queen's quest. Just like the game, you start from humble beginnings and a lack of a proper instructions manual. When I talk about starting a quest, I mean a journey that one takes in their life to obtain the apex of their own self and vision of who they want to be. If that goal is to be a king, great, or something more spiritual, even better.

I think that modern life does not properly challenges oneself and we do not really know what we are ultimately capable of achieving. Rural tribes in africa used to put young males out to the fields to come back with a tiger or lion to prove that they were ready to be a man. If you were a squire during medieval times your test was to prove yourself in battle and come back victorious or not at all.

I feel that I need to be tested more on life to truly see what I am capable of. I want to know myself better in hopes of knowing my faults and bettering myself and others around me. Modern life gives us all the creature comforts that we can possibly want in a lifetime. I feel that all this luxury is making us more complacent and unable to be flexible when times might get tough. I am a firm believer in self-reliance and the ability to change at a moments notice.

The only thing that is consistant in life is change, besides death and taxes. We all go through it, although it is usually very gradual and only is noticed in certain life events. If we are aware of change as it is occuring we can better equip ourselves to face tough times. An example of this is of a person slowly dying of cancer, we know the end is near and a change from life to death will happen, but the impact is much less than a sudden death.

I would like to go on a quest of my own in the future, although the details and final goal are a bit hazy at the moment. I do know that this quest will prepare me for the tough challenges in life that I will eventually face. After all that, I think the video game might beat easier to beat than real life.

Patterns of Life

The key to being successful in life is to recognize patterns in our daily life. Nature has a certain order about things and it is based on behavior that is set with a number of rules and laws. Cycles such as the day/night, seasons, and climate can be predicted and thus humans can benefit greatly through preperation.

By realizing that everything is a pattern, even humans, we can used that to our advantage and "predict" what can possibly happen in the future. Suppose we know that through experience night is much colder than during the day time so we put on more clothes in preperation for a likely event of it being colder. Humans rely on things being relatively similar on a day to day basis as a means of copying with the world. If you ever got a deer i  the headlights feeling you know that it stops you cold in your tracks as your brain takes in new input before you can proceed.

I have always been good at recognizing patterns in daily life. It requires being really observant of the world around you. Learning is based on patterns that is repeated over and over, only the subject matter is different. People are also walking patterns, on a day to day basis, we all operate on a certain amount of autopliot that from afar seems random, but if you observe the same person long term you being to notice all sorts of details. Likes/dislikes, personal preferences, and travel patterns all follow a routine.

I think what is most useful in daily life is the ability to recognize simple patterns that takes little effort to learn but maximizes value gained out of it. Cooking is an easy example of pattern based routine that can be applied in numerous positive ways. A home cooked meal can save money and be healther than eating out. Another example is to learn how to troubleshoot a broken piece of technology that is useful and cannot be easily replaced such as a car or cellphone. I've noticed that all things really have a lot of similar problems that is easy to solve with a google search. By know that things break down a certain way, we can properly prepare for disasters. Of course sometimes your just unluckly.

Our civilization has relied on patterns throughout history to get us to where we are today. If we can recognize that life is not as random as we sometimes think it is, we can better live our lives with the confidence and foresight of the future.


Ramblings of a madman...

It has always been a dream of mine to be able to work at multiple jobs at the same time. But the stark reality is that there is only 24 hours in a day and most of it is dedicated to life's essentials like sleeping and eating. If I had an extra 8 hours per day, I would be able take on a second career moonlighting as a writer or some kind of artist.

Realistically, I think that if I wanted to focus on a second job I would have to get rid of most of my other hobbies to free up some more time. I want to maximize my capacity to do things in life and fill it with soul pleasing work. The ideal that I am striving for is the modern day renesisuance man.

One career is not enough for me, I must broaden my skills to encompass another field. It is not only about being able to make more money on the side, but a sure fire way to protect oneself from a downturn in the economy as well. I know many who only focus on one skill or expertise during their life and when unexpected circumstances hit they are woefully unprepared. The reality is that it is not their fault, people get good at doing something and when a disruptive technology comes along or globalization occurs, it is hard to predict what jobs will be affected.

I am a person who usually has several backup plans for each situation, so most of the time I do not get caught with my pants down. I say most of the time because there are times that I have to just go with the flow or just have life steer the boat awhile. I suspect that I have a pretty big fear of losing control of my life.

One of the ways that I am dealing with this is to fill my life with lot of side hobbies and interests to keep me occupied in the time being. Sooner or later it will all payoff.