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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Time to fly away

I wish I had more time in a day. I recently have gone on a crazy over-booking spree with the amount of activities and things to do. Most of these goals have a unknown amount of time that I must dedicate to it, such as the e-book and starting a non-profit company. All these things plus my normal commitments have gotten me a bit ragged over the last couple of weeks.

There is so much I want to do, but too little time to do it in. I have to resort to planning my entire week in advance these days. It does have its advantages, as it allows me to get more done in a week than I ever thought possible, on a wide range of topics. I think that the key will be to plan as many things as I can ahead of time so that I block out time for the most important stuff in my life.

I am nearing almost a year since I moved to the bay area and it seems like such a short time ago. So much has happened and most of it seems like a blur now anyways. I find myself wanting to try and enjoy the journey as much as possible but sometimes I don't have time to reflect on what I have done, only have time to run to the next challenge. I suppose that is progress.

Monday, April 29, 2013


I wish that we can travel to space as quickly and easily as we do on planes. There are so many opportunities to commercialize space and yet we don't dedicate the resources and the manpower to make it happen. I think that we must have a significant push to try and get people and governments to understand the need for developing spaceflight. The ramifications if we don't might be disastrous.

The spacecraft above is from Reaction Engines, British aerospace company that is trying to get a vehicle from ground to low earth orbit in one shot, without stages. This is revolutionary due to the ability to take off like a plane and travel to space and back with as little mass as possible. The need for a huge liquid oxygen tank is gone, which is the biggest mass (oxidizer) penalty that every launch vehicle has to over come.

The engine acts like a jet engine in the atmosphere and then uses a heat exchanger to cool down the air as it goes faster and faster. When it reaches the limits of oxygen in our atmosphere, it changes to rocket mode and blasts off the rest of the way. Truly, amazing stuff! For a better description, I'd highly recommend a browse through their website.

Seeing stuff like this really gets me excited about the possibility of space travel. It give me great hope that one day people will travel among the stars. I want to follow in the great pioneers of people who had crazy dreams and stuck to it when no one believed in them.

Mars, here I come!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

A Vision

I think everyone has a vision about what their ideal world would look like. We all grow up wanting to do great things in our lifetimes. I believe that all of us want to change the world in some small way to contribute to a greater cause. Our initial vision is what helps shape what we want to pursue in our lives and how we go about achieving it. But, I think somewhere down the line, some people lose their vision or gets put on hold indefinitely. I want to understand why that happens and figure out how to get people back to what they really want to do.

Life is one big grand experiment, with the biggest risk of all, our well-being and future. I can say that each one of us, is a walking science experiment. We are shaped by who we interact with, how we deal with conflict, and what we choose to do with our lives. Only in retrospect, can a person's life be viewed and his or hers impact on the world, accessed. Why do I bring this up? I want to convey to people that they are both the scientist and the experiment, and as such can dictate how they want to test themselves. Meaning, we shape our own destinies.

I have met a lot of people that believe that they have maxed out and cannot become more than what they currently are. For whatever reason, they choose to abandon their dreams or visions for something more practical and easier to do. The common responses I get, when I ask people why they don't do something is mostly self-doubt in their own ability to change themselves. Anything new and risky (Personal or Financial), dictates the need to do something different that they have not done before. We get tend to want to do things non-risky to decrease the chances of being made fun of for not knowing how to do something. It is a crazy catch-22, for people to do something new they want to be good at it before they start it, to try and minimize failure.

I hate to fail at something. Every time I do something I want to win or be good at it. So I know the feeling of starting something new and sucking at it. It is not a good feeling at all. But I have slowly been working on dealing with it on a case by case basis. I know that in order to achieve my vision of the world I need to do as many new things as I can and get good at them. I can't exist in a vacuum and miraculously it good at something without going through all the hard work and effort.

For people to make their vision a reality, I think that they need to see themselves as an experiment, where the experimental outcome can change. After that we can accept that we can fail at certain things and persist until we are better at it. By being able to conquer our own limitations we can achieve any visions that we set out in the world. I believe that anyone can change the world, all they have to do is fail a whole bunch of times. :)

Saturday, April 27, 2013

What can One person do?

So I want to help people. How do I go about and doing that? Well, one thing that I feel very passionately about is wealth inequality, specifically how to help the poorest in this country. It goes without saying that there are many people in this country that cannot call a place their home. Many are homeless on the street due to various circumstances beyond their control. There is a huge problem with providing affordable housing for all those that need it. So I want to help them by starting a non-profit organization and build small (1m^2) houses for those that need it the most.

It is a crazy idea, but I think it might just work. I have contacted architect Van Bo Le-Mentzel in Germany, that first designed this house and he has been really supportive of my initial efforts to help the homeless in San Francisco. He is trying to get the word out to people that, this new kind of dwelling is great for the minimalist as well as people that just need a simple shelter for the night. Currently, the plans are completely open source and everyone can build these houses, all Van asks is that he is kept in the loop on what you do with the house, by sending him pictures.

I've always wanted to help people but I didn't know through what medium I wanted to do this in. Providing shelter for people is one of the important things that we can do for those who are in need. What I have learned so far is that many homeless people do not like to live in homeless shelters due to pride or lack of personal autonomy. My plan is to give those people that cannot reach a shelter or don't want one, their own personal "house." This way they can retain their autonomy as well as provide them a mobile home that doubles as storage container and protection from the elements.

I don't know how hard it is to start a non-profit. I imagine that it will take a lot of time and energy before I get to help people on a massive scale. I can only try to do this in tiny steps until I can achieve something great in the end. I want to do this a sort of great contribution to humanity that can help the disadvantaged in our cities and community. I can only hope that when the time comes, all those who are reading this can support me in some small way.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Idea Man

I've been getting a lot of great ideas lately that I want to full fill in my life. It seems that I have a whole bunch of energy that I need to expend on something. There are several things that I am passionate in my life and I want to make the most of my time trying to complete them as best as I could. I think the only problem is that there is not enough time in the world to try and accomplish everything that I want to do.

The thing that I need to start doing is to able to schedule my time in a way that I can do a little bit of my projects each day until I finish them. That way I can stay on task and focus on the little successes along the way. I find that goal setting is a great way to make sure that you actually follow through with whatever you are doing. Most of the projects that I start, I really don't finish. I want to try and get rid of that, or at the very least get my success rate a bit higher.

I don't know how hard and long it will be to see my ideas to fruition, but I am determined to make it a go of it. Like with this blog, it took a long time before I started to get into the habit of posting several times a week. But once I did, the amount of people visiting my site increased dramatically, I am now the ~16,000,000th most popular site on the internet! It may not seem much but it is the little victories that keeps me going.

My goal in life is to do as much as I can before I die and make a positive impact in this world. I may not be able to do everything but I'll be damned if I am not going to give is an honest go. I'll chart my progress along the way in this blog as much as I can.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

E-Book Writing

I have been flirting with the idea of writing a book for a while now. I think that with the inclusion of technology, it is easier than ever to write a book and now it is my turn to give it a try. There are a lot of reasons for why I want to do this, but I think the main reason is because I want to create something that I can be proud of that is different from the things that I do. Other reasons are for a creative outlet, improve my writing abilities, and make some money.

The only trouble I have is, what will be the topic of my e-book? That is a hard question considering the huge amount of topics that I could write about, fiction, non-fiction, and biography. It has to be something that I could sustain passion about for at least the length of the book I am going to write. Most likely it will be something that I know a bit about, but it also can be something that I have a faint interest in as well.

I think that the key will be to outline as much as I can about what will go into the book and then let my mind chew on it for a couple of days or weeks. Hopefully, my mind can fill in the blanks and the story will write itself. The other thing that I have to worry about is the content quality, unlike my blog posts, I will have to do a lot of revising and editing which isn't something that I have a lot of experience in.

More and more I am finding out that there is very little difficultly to start writing a book, there just need to be an idea and a will to write it down until completion. Now whether or not it will be successful or good is a whole other topic. But my first book will be good practice if I want to write more books in the future.

Sometimes, I don't know where my motivation to do crazy things comes from, it could be from a news article, a book, or something that I see on television, but I do know that once it enters my mind it is hard for me to let it go. I have to see if I can do it and conquer whatever I set my sights on. It might not be finished but I do give a damn good go at it before I change my mind and do something else.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Networking for the Future

I've noticed how difficult it is to meet people that are like minded people up in the bay area, it is just hard to seek them out consistently. I've been on a networking frenzy to try and meet as many people as possible, with mixed results. I think that it will be a significant effort to keep trying new things until I find something that I can stick to.

I don't personally think that I am shy or introverted but truth is that it has been a difficult year after graduating from USC, where the constant parties and group events made the prospect of meeting people extremely easy. Now finding people that are similar to me are very few and far between. I have to cast my net far and wide to find the right group of people. There is no easy button anymore.

I guess in some sense this a good thing. Forcing me to become as extroverted as possible is a great way to broaden network of friends. No longer are my friends in the same age range or same school, now the whole world of people are available for me to befriend. Although, one of the hardest things that I will need to overcome is patience. The process will be akin to finding needles in a haystack.

I wonder about all the others that are in my position after moving to a new city and how they deal with going out and meeting new people. I have to think that they have the same kind of difficulties especially if they just graduated from school and moved to a new city like me. I guess that is why most people tend to stay close to home and have a built in social network rather than tough it out in a new city.

For me the only option is to tough it out and do as many things as I can in hopes of building the network of people, just like in LA.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Discovery Human

I am always fascinated by what we can learn about ourselves through introspection and self awareness. It is a difficult process thqt takes up a huge chunk of time to do it properly. But if we do we find out that our lives are fuller and more complete then ever before. Now more than ever I think that we need to look inwards in a world that is more chaotic and turbulent. 

People always have told me that they are not sure of there path or direction in life. It is a growing problem that inhabits many 20somethings as they are navigating their lives. But I think that it is hard for them to decide on a path without truly knowing who they are. Confidence is borne out of knowing thy self and then being assured the what you are doing is the best decision. 

I have always thought about how to best improve myself and the first thing I do is to think about the actions that led me to my present location. It is not often a pleasant experience as there are plenty of bad decisions that's I have to relive though introspection. But by doing so it has made me conscious of the future decisions that look eerily like past mistakes and correct them. 

I don't believe it is necessarily for everyone as it does get time consuming and depressing on occasion. I mean it is really difficult to question some of the decisions and choices you made from an objective point of view. At the same time you have to be a contemplative state with very few distractions akin to mediation. 

The key is that we are better individuals for knowing why we do what we do. It helps us with future choices preventing past mistakes. It requires a lot of patience, understanding, and love from themselves to be able to accept their own errors in judgment. But if we do practice more introspection and self awareness then we might live happier lives.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Overreaching Ambition

I talked about being ambitious in life but new studies suggest that it might not be a good thing for personal relationships. Long story short, it says that ambitious people meet their goals in life but that does not necessarily translate into personal success. It is an interesting study that I think does have some influence in my life, considering how much work I have to do in the future to meet my end goals.

I think that balance is the key to living a good life, but sometimes there is too much work to be done to try to live that kind of life. I know that I still need to accomplish much more to feel content with my successes. It can be described as something of a itch that you just need to scratch and no amount of ignoring it can do it good. There are many things that I still want to do while I am young and still able to learn things quickly. I feel I have limited time before my brain plasticity starts to wear down.

All of this is well and good but what does that mean for me? I think that means that I am probably going to spend most of my time learning and working on projects that mean the most to me, such as this blog. It does also leave very little time for spending time and building up my network of friends up in SF as well as keeping in touch with people in LA. I would have to say that I suck at keeping in touch with my old friends. I think that over time the distance and the slow changing of somebody will make it difficult to remain connected, albeit the occasional chat on facebook.

I wonder if I will drive forward so much so that people will disappear in my life if I am not surrounded by them day to day. It seems that ambitious people one way or another move on eventually to seek greater rewards, opportunities, or fame. There is a trading of career verses relationships that ultimately is at the core of this problem. Where should I dedicate more time to in the long run? Will it be the right choice for me?

I don't know what the answer to those questions are, but one thing I know for certain is that I am headed down the path of advancing my career and I have already seen some friendships deteriorate and disappear in less than a year. It might be a necessary evil or it might be what drives me to unhappiness with my life. I suspect that I will have some clue that is left during my daily posts, so that one day I can look back and say "Ah Ha! that was the moment, I decided to be ambitious"

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Fragility of Life

What happened in Boston yesterday was a tragedy that cannot be forgotten, like the twin towers before it, yet again the fragility of life is show to us on a horrible stage. I hope that the perpetrators of this crime are brought to justice quickly. 

What the bombings showed us was that at any moment our lives can change in an instant. People have this idea that we will all live to a ripe old again and die peacefully in our sleep. Some will, but more likely than not, we cannot chose when or where our demise will occur. 

Life has such a special meaning and must be cherished and celebrated constantly. I see many people that go throughout their lives living a hollow existence and I ask what is the point? They are the ones who are not happy with their current state but refuses to change anything about it, while suffering quietly. Some might even have convinced themselves that they can't do it out of fear or risk to their image. All of these people are living a life less than they dreamed of as a little kid. 

I was/am still this way from time to time. But I have been actively trying to break out of this shell of social & cultural constraints. I want to live a full life while doing and taking as much risk as I can. I want to be able to tell legendary stories about myself when I am no longer able to take risks. I want a life full of meaning and understanding. 

Life is a precious thing and it can be taken away in an instant. The only safe guard is to live a full life and go out swinging, that's how I want to be remembered. Prayers for the people in Boston.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Change of Heart

Sometimes all we need to do in life is to have a change of heart. People do it all the time, they change their mind about something or someone and that's it for them. I have mixed feelings about making a decision like that without significant time to explore whether or not it is the right decisions or not, but ultimately I think that it can be seen as a sign of strength.

We all make decisions throughout life, it defines who we are. We are the summation of all our choices. Some are simple and some are exceedingly complex, but one thing it certain if we hesitate and delay a decision we risk, losing out on our ability to choose and get stuck with what we have. There were plenty of times in my life that I didn't want to make a decision because I was afraid of either the consequences or dealing what others thought of my choice.

The thing is, when you wait and think through all of the possible solutions or outcomes, you get paralyzed with "what if?" and you end up doing nothing or worst others make the decision for you. For me that represents a loss of control, when others start to dictate my life.

My relationships have been the epitome of this problem. I have always tried to think through and explore all of the possibilities when I am with someone but, unlike most things logic doesn't work. Emotions are inherently illogical and therefore literally impossible to predict. Many a times, I got burned because I made a decision based on logic and not my heart.

See the thing is, that most women test their guy by throwing rapid fire questions at them expecting an immediate answer to reaffirm their love for her, if they don't answer fast enough it is a sign of indecision and therefore lack of firm commitment. That is where I still stumble... As an engineer, I am trained to look before I leap, it is not a sign of lack of commitment, it's just a school of thought. I mean I have to think through my answers because I want to give the most honest response. Which admittedly kills attraction, because it is so realistic.

Love is almost like a blind faith that you just have to trust with everything you have. How many people can say they do that? I imagine not many, because how sure are we of anything in life besides death and taxes?

I think that sometimes logic must take a step back and we must trust the moment and make a decision to take a risk. I was always a bit slow to show my love for the people that were in my life, I hesitated when they asked me and never gave a strong confident answer. I lacked conviction. But the thing is that I can't gain conviction through thinking or dwelling about it, it must come from a leap of faith.

I realized that neither person in a relationship really knows how it is going to end up, but one person must commit to it for it to have a chance. Very rarely both people commits at same time, usually one then the other, but if no one takes the plunge and commits then no one does. I vow never to make that mistake again, I must take the lead. If I don't, then I lose more than life's version of musical chairs, I might lose the ability to truly commit to another person. All it takes is a change of heart...

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Biking for a better tomorrow

Recently, I got my hands on a used bike that had seen a lot of miles of wear and tear. With some TLC a new tire, I have restored some of it's former glory. After taking it on an exploratory trip around the town, I realized what I have been missing out on by not biking from the start. I didn't realize how bike friendly Mountain View was, there are so many trails and biking lanes for people that a car might not really be necessary at all for most short trips.

In one of my short-term goals of being more eco-friendly, I have decided that I want to try and limit my driving around town as a way of saving gas and getting more exercise. Simply, it is the best of both worlds. I had forgotten how simple it is to get around town without a car. In a place like LA, it was quite difficult to go to certain places without a car, whether it was lack of biking lanes or a culture consumed with driving, it was not common to see people biking that often.

During the first few months that I was up here, I noticed that biking was so ubiquitous, but I resisted because I was still attached to my car. I guess that is what LA does to you over time. But it wasn't always like this, when I was in high school and throughout some of college, I spent most of my time riding a bike.

I went to most places on a bike, mostly just to get a away from the house and not needing to bum rides off of other people. But more so it gave me a sense of freedom to go where ever I wanted to for as long as I wanted to. The only thing I wished I could do back then was to go farther, the world is quite limited to how far you are willing to pedal.

I hope to incorporate more biking in my life from now on and not let having the convenience of a car deter me from traveling on bike. Now if only I can get a horse...

Thursday, April 11, 2013

American Idol

Back when American Idol was first on television, I told myself that I want to try and get on that show. It was a crazy dream that the freshmen in me during high school wanted to do in order to get my name out there. I never auditioned partly due to the auditions being else where in the country and I would have to travel there alone. Still there is apart of me that would like to be part of that process to see if I have the chops to hang with the best singers.

I think realistically I have much to improve before I ever set foot in something resembling an singing audition. There are problems with sustaining my voice and bringing subtlety into my songs. What I do have is raw power and energy in my voice that I can use for big songs that need me to belt it out. But I think that I would need to dedicate a lot more time and hire a voice coach before I can get to competition level.

I do wonder sometimes if I pursued singing more and really developed my voice, could I be successful at it? For me, I always think about the road not traveled and what I might have lost out on had I done it. Although, most likely there would be no way that I would have tried to do something really risky like that without a solid career backup plan. It just wouldn't be financially smart to do that without a big safety cushion, but I do admire the people that go for their dream without fear.

All in all, I think I am okay with not being the next American Idol, although the glamor and the glitz of performing on stage with millions of people watching is definitely something that I want to do one day. I believe that I am one of those people that works best in front of an audience, when the pressure is high and intense. Maybe, I will find another venue to showcase my talent to others in the future.

Sing a song my friends...

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Ignorance is bliss?

Sometimes I wonder if ignorance is really bliss. Throughout my life people have always told me that you must get an education and learn as much as you can in this world. Education, they say is the path to enlightenment. But lately I've been questioning if I really want to know more about the world. 

I have been reading and watching documentaries about what is going on in this world. Topics have range from financial disasters to understanding human motivation and and other topics in between. The take away from all this has been that we are all stuck in a culture and society that is fundamentally broken. The overall message has been that we need to change dramatically if we are to live with some semblance of freedom and happiness. 

It is always my choice if I want to believe them or ignore them, but what I can't ignore is that I am starting to see how it really effects our daily lives and how much better it could be. One example is the banking system in America is so tailored to the elite of this country that it is almost impossible for the average working person to benefit from all the tax breaks and loopholes that the rich have. Or another example is the systemic consumerism in our culture that has people buying as much as they can even when they don't need it. 

I have learned much about what is going on in this world, but I fear that it is only a fraction of what is truly happening now. Sometimes I get pessimistic about the future and what it will bring. It seems that if we were to fix some of the world's pressing problems we should have started decades ago. Instead, problems are mostly ignored. There is a part of me that wishes that I didn't know so much, but if we all close our eyes and ears, one day there won't be a world left at all.

A Life of Regrets

I would like nothing more than to live a life with no regrets. It is all too easy to fall into a life that is mired with regrets and whatifs. I think that all of us spend an inordinate amount of time regretting something in the past and wishing that we can go back in time and change something. Sometimes the most difficult part is accepting that what we have done is apart of our past and that we have to move on from it.

In my brief existance, I've accumulated a lot of decisions that I want to redo. They range from choosing different answers on a test to people that I wanted to date but never did. All of these choices form that man that I am today, without those decisions, I would be a different person based on how big the decision was.

I am coming to a point in my life where I am starting to accept my decisions and look upon them as learning points rather than regrets. Although, I am not always successful I have been able to feel a bit better about the things that I cannot change. I think that every regret that I have there was a tangible idea that I can pick up and use for next time.

Ultimately, I am working towards a day when I can look at the world and feel absolute confidence in my decisions and have no regrets. That might take a while. In the meantime, I'll have to focus on building experience through making mistakes and learning from them rather than regretting them.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Universal Questions

Have you ever thought about what lies beyond our universe? I know. By definition that the universe is everything, but for me every now and then I wonder if there are defined boundaries outside of our bubble. There can be many possible answers but unfortunately none of it can be validated right now.
I have always been fascinated by what I couldn't see but imagine. Since there are so many theories on what the tiniest of our worlds are, I wanted to think about and postulate about what could be on the outside of the universe. 

I have always thought that the universe is like a bubble. From the beginning of the big bang it has expanded into the universe that is today. But what is the bubble expanding into and how can 3d space continue to grow near exponentially over 14 billion years? I have a hard time understanding a physical entity without limitations, in this case it is the universe. 

The only thing that I can come up with is that this reality is one of several dimensions that we are unable to fully comprehend. Just like how the jump from 2d to 3d is more complicated, i think that from 3d to 4d and beyond is insanely complex with the only way we would be understand it is through mathematics. 

I believe that we are creatures that are inhabit one of many dimensions blissfully unaware of more complex structures and worlds beyond our own. It is kind of like an amoeba with its limited scope trying to comprehend a human. The universe is a vastly interesting place with a lot more questions than potential answers and I hope to learn them all one day. 

Or maybe its all someone's dream...

Change Unleashed

The one constant in life is change. No matter what we do given enough time change always occurs whether we like it or not. In the past couple of years I have gone through more changes than I can keep track of. I'm a much different person than I was, I know this people either tell me or people that I used to have things in common with I don't anymore. 

Long ago, I was afraid of change and uncertainty in life, I wanted things to be defined and constant. Like a good engineer, I had to have things in my control so I can make sense of it. But I found out that the more I tried to keep things constant the more miserable I got. I tried too hard to hold on to things that I needed to let go. 

People in my life that I wanted to stay the same didn't and it drove me crazy. There were many relationships that I wanted to save and try again but in the end it just caused me endless heartache. I finally realized recently that it is easier if we all try to accept change and move forward with other aspects of your life. 

Whether its in relationships, careers, or life the ability to change is one of the keys to happiness. The faster that we can get over things that cause us discomfort the shorter out recovery period afterwards is. Although in some cases it is easier said than done. For my own sanity, I think I will focus on personal growth as much as possible, because without it, I wouldn't have understood the importance of being able to change.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Climbing towards a better world

 One of the things that I have been considering doing is rock climbing. It always fascinated me how people can climb vertically on shear cliffs and rock terrain. It's an activity that has numerous benefits and it also happens to be an excellent way to get your upper body in shape. More so, I think we can all benefit from being able to climb.

Modern day people don't really need a reason to have the skills to climb, hell, we don't even need to be able support our own weight. What was once a fun activity to do when you were a kid, now it really isn't cool to climb something unless it is within a narrow band of things. I used to love climbing trees and certain buildings, although it wasn't necessary safe.

I primarily want to learn to climb better because of the challenge and the exercise, but also being able to save yourself in a dangerous situation is a plus. I also yearn to do something more primal to man, which is to conquer its surroundings. So for now I will start to plan some rock climbing days into my schedule.