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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A world without poverty

I want to live in a world that has no poverty. A world that has the ability to feed and shelter all those that are in need. I want to see people worry about what they want to do in life rather than where they are going to get the next meal. This is an ideal world that I want to live in before I die. Getting to that goal might take the rest of my life and then some.

I have often thought about poverty from a relative point of view. Growing up I lived in a apartment complex that was near the suburbs in south LA, our family was by no means well off. There was often many homeless people that were sleeping near our building and one of them I had even grown to recognize. So at an early age, I realized that there was a problem in our world. The problem was that I had no way to help him back then, all I could do was observe.

It was a sad lifestyle that he was relegated to live, having no other people to talk to besides inquisitive 5 year old. My mother told me not to talk to him for fear of him being dangerous, but deep down I knew there wasn't aggression in him only despair. I can't remember the conversations now, but I do recall wanting to know more about him and that I was saddened when he disappeared one day and never came back.

Even though I was better off than this person, I felt that it wasn't fair to be sleeping in a bed while a couple of yards away was a guy sleeping in the cold rain. I don't know what has made me take on fight something as hard to solve as poverty, but I like to think that knowing a homeless person when I was a child had something to do with it. The thing about this is not to gain fame or money, but to provide people with the ability to live without worrying about the things that each one of us takes for granted every single day.

A solution can only exist if we acknowledge the problem and work together to solve it.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Tangled Web of Lies

 Credit: nikki-ns (deviantart)

I miss being a kid sometimes. All that time to free play with very little oversight and structure. As an adult there are way too many rules to follow and not enough time to do things that are truly worth while. But the main reason I want to be a kid again is to meet people that still has a sense of vulnerability and innocence in their lives. To connect with another person without ego boosting or white lies of superiority.

People, at least children have a capability to be truly honest and forthcoming about their struggles and difficulties. As adults, we tend to hide and bury things that effects us to make it seem that we are "normal" and not a person with real problems. I have meet many people that have huge egos and always are showing their good side to others. When I ask about possible problems or troubles, most just deflect my queries or just out right deny they exist. Image is so important that any hint of shame or fear would be devastating to people that might judge them.

As a child, image and looking cool is much less important and isn't such a dominating factor. It allows for kids to be friends with other kids at a much simplified level. Haven't you ever thought why you were able to make friends a lot easier in school than you do now? It is that ability for children to be vulnerable and unassuming that allows the freedom to connect with another person.

I have trouble connecting with others these days. I have several theories on why this is. Maybe I have a condescending tone, rife with a heavy dose of pragmatism and moral judgements. Or it could be my difference in what I do on my off time, such as singing and writing, causing me to have difficulties in finding similar people of my mindset. And maybe I just smell weird. All these reasons and more has made me look at both internal and external factors that might exist and maybe I can reason with it.

I think that it boils down to a society in which there is no room for error in our social lives. One mistake feels like it is worse than death itself. People fear what others think of them and they live their lives in a sort of isolation, never wanting to let their guard down. Maybe there is a strong sense of protecting their image because they feel like they are imposters who just had a bit of luck, who are fearful of the tumbling house of cards if they are found out.

Whatever the reason it, there is a problem that I see with people not being open and honest with each other. It makes it really hard for people to truly connect with one another in times of need. I wish that everyone can let go of their fears and doubts and let others in with open arms instead of skepticism and caution. A world with vulnerability and innocence might be better for us all. Or maybe I just need to smell better.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Life on Hold

What is life but a series of events. Between these events that shape our lives, there are moments that just are not as eventful and just plain boring. Sometimes I feel like life is on hold before the next event and there is not many experiences that are relevant building up to the future. I think that I am in a lull right now, there are many things that I want to be working on right now but there just seems to be an overwhelmingly amount of work and self-sacrifices that I must go through.

I want to be lazy and coast through those moments. It is almost a default setting that seems to be programmed into me. Part of this whole growth phase in my life has been to conquer my past and finally move on, but I really question whether or not I have the sheer resolve to see it through. It is always self-doubt in the face of uncertainty that troubles me the most. Between significant events in my life, I have felt that life is all about slogging through it and just surviving to point B. Going through school was a bit like that, as I was just biding time before I graduate. Now it feels like I am just biding time again before some unknown future event.

I have had moments of great energy and motivation usually accompanied by droughts and lulls. Sometimes these moments are a life event such as graduation or marriage and sometimes it can be a someone close to you. For example, lately I have been on a crazy spree, taking on lots of challenges and starting new opportunities in hopes of gaining some extra money on the side. I have been listing things that I was doing and tasks that I hope to accomplish for the future. But do you know the real reason, I started to do all those things? Because of a girl. Like all things that men do in their lives is indirectly related to a girl, whether it is impressing a girl or getting over one, it really is all that simple.

Unfortunately, for me I was trying to get over one. Which led me to over exert myself in the current state that I am in. I would have to say that I am a bit more stressed that usual. Waking up exhausted and not having the mental energy to really do what I need to do on some days. I can't say that I could have prevented it, but it was what happened and now I have to deal with it.

I think that I am in a period in between events and I have to just survive life and try to grow from it. It ain't easy, but there is little alternative. It is just one of those months that is just a bit more interesting than all the other ones. Time to get some sleepless sleep.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Modern Media Man

A while back I wanted to be a media blitzer, now it seems that I am working my way towards that completely nebulous goal. How much is too much social media presence? I am working on my new project that has a dire need for marketing and public relations. I will be that person part time from now on and I will have to do my best to sell the product like a champ.

It is really difficult to be enamored with so much social media, the constant status updates, likes, and retweeting has taken up a lot of my time. Pushing a product or services is much harder than sitting and doing my usual desk work. It is both very different but yet both takes a lot of consideration and time to do successfully. I think that it requires a whole new mindset to be dominant in social media, it is all about who screaming the loudest and craziest.

I am thankful that I am not alone in doing the heavy lifting that is advertisement. It is a monster that can only be tackled by multiple angles. Working to increase and grow a business is something that I never had to do and as such, I am damn glad my business partner knows what he is doing. I wouldn't know where to start had I created this from the ground up.

I have a lot of work to do if I want to make my business successful. Social media is one way to get our name out there in the world, the other is good quality service. I hope to flourish in both in the coming months and create a great brand. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Energetic Loss

I wonder sometimes how I will be able to sustain my energy throughout all my activities and still have time for a life that resembles something close to normal. My pundits have already alerted me to my imminent crash towards reality, with the exhaustion of my energy. It is true that I don't have limitless surplus of energy and might have to regroup what I have before I get burned out. Although, I am not quite sure how to take a rest.

Even as I am writing this, my mind feels like is slowly drifting away from the goal of trying to get words down in a coherent manner. It is kinda crazy that even with about 8 hours of good sleep I am still feeling tired. I've had a very uneventful Sunday, but it feels like I exercised all day long. Maybe the key is to get used to it until it becomes a habit.

It might be as easy as clearing my schedule and opening a free week for me to do absolute nothing. There is something calming in doing nothing at all. I know that some people find it extremely difficult to do nothing at all, but once in a while it might be nice to slow down from this fast paced technological world. Hell, I think there is a correlation between my increased use of social media and my feeling of being tired. Don't know if I can verify it but perhaps, I just need to go cold turkey for a while.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Prosperity Down

Lately, there are more and more stories saying that the standard of living for Americans are dropping and that our generation will have less than the previous generation for the first time in history. For me, I find it scary as hell to know that we as a society has apexed awhile back and now we are on a downward trend. I can see this happening through the eyes of my friends and family, the struggles and hardships that they have to endure to just make a living.

I truly wondering how this country is going to look like in a few years. There is rampant poverty and a disappearing middle class that awaits us in the near future. When this happens, there is going to be a cascading affect that forces more companies to layoff and exasperating the problem even further. I mean if people don't buy stuff from stores, companies can't keep their doors open and close eventually.

There is a lot of doom and gloom in this blog post, I admit to that, but there is something eerie about losing our existing standard of living forever. I am a believer that we will see a decline in our country and we will lose our first world status in the next decade. I just don't believe in the crazy fantasy that we will be okay and things will stay rosy and fine forever. I know many people that never give a moments pause to consider that we are in a slow decline. It is those people that will be completely caught off guard and suffer the worst.

I think that we must be at all times vigilant of what is going around in our local and global worlds. I am safe guarding myself by learning new skills and disciplines when I already have a primary job. This is not merely just a means to make more money, but it is also a way that I can be versatile and switch what I need to do at moments notice.

More than ever in history, no job is safe from being obsolete. I am downright terrified that we are mechanizing and computerizing everything at such a fast pace. That will displace millions of workers that used to have a relatively stable job in a good market. Those people that get laid off will be angry and frustrated that they can't get a similar job or another job with multiple years of schooling. So what do angry people do with a lot of time and backs against the wall do? Well, nothing good.

I can't predict the future but I do know that I must do everything that I can to keep my head above the water when the tide rises.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Year One

Yesterday, marked the first day at my job. It was a low key event that was celebrated by my coworkers and I out for a simple lunch. Although it was just another day for them, for me it was something very notable in my life, specifically it has been a freaking year already since I last was living in LA. I can't begin to describe how quickly everything has been moving by already.

 I think that every year that passes, I question whether or not I am accomplishing anything in my life. This happens quite frequently around my birthday. Awareness of growing older and feeling helpless to stop aging is something that I have to ultimately get used to. I always think that somehow I will invent a time machine or learn the power to stop time and either relive some of my past or pause moments in my life.

In life there are just a few moments that warrant remembering and are worth cherishing. I think for me the move up to SF and the start of a new life signifies something note worthy. I have finally gotten used to living up here and creating a new network of things to do and people to meet. Hopefully, I can report on my yearly progress and look back at each year to reflect on years past.

Summary of Goals:

Tutoring: Not expanding, I'm only working on one family
Singing: Picked "I've gotta be me" for my final song
Side photo gig: Blogging for their site and creating a social network for it
E-book: floundering!
Non-profit: Still waiting on meeting with city planner, need to convert SI to english units for first house, might have found a marketing/organizer/board member for my team
Fitness: Tennis/Running/Badminton

Monday, May 13, 2013

Writing for a Reason

I've noticed that when I am constrained by what I can write, I get into a creative funk that just seems to be hard to get out of. When I write in my blog, I usually think about what I am going to write about and it really just comes to me. It is like something in the moment that I can quickly describe and jot down. But when it is really focused and targeted I often find myself having to take pause and think about my words constantly.

I think that it really has to do with being able to express yourself as freely as possible. One of the key things is that when you write for yourself, it gives you freedom in what you write and what style that you do it in. But when you write for others, your voice may not be the one that gets published in the end. So it is really about control over your content and how you present it to the world.

I have recently started to work another small side gig, writing posts for a website. My main job is to write little blurs about the product and how it will improve lives and the human experience. The key thing to take from this is that it is a different style that I am used to writing, it is not about creating meaning or figuring out a problem, but to merely sell a product. I am having difficultly feeling authentic to the process and that is showing up in my writing.

I am sure that I will get used to it and learn to eventually get over this and be able to sell a product by using my words. It, like everything else is a skill that can be learned and acquired overtime. Although, now that I have started on this decadent journey of commercializing myself for money, I have a new appreciation for the many people out there with English degrees that are forced to write something that they may not have a passion for, but need the money to earn a living.

I want to help my friend's website and get his business up from the ground. By writing for him, I can grow my portfolio of work as well as learning to write when, I need to produce something in a timely fashion. It is not ideal, but neither is life.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Life Force

I am one of those people that just need to do a lot of stuff. Having a lot of things on my plate energizes me and keeps me engaged with life. It is kinda strange but having more stuff to do makes me focused and want to do even more. Like a runaway train that gains momentum, I feel more energy when I am at my busiest.  Paradoxically, when I have nothing to work on, I find it extremely hard to start anything or follow through with things.

To quote the great Issac Newton, "An object in motion stays in motion and an object at rest stays at rest unless acted upon by an external force." Newton may have been applying that to physics but it works even surprisingly well with a person's motivation as well. When we do something for the first time there is a lot of initial energy that we have to expend but the more we do it, the less energy it will take in subsequent efforts.

Most of the stuff that I am currently doing has more to do with gaining traction in my life to accomplish great things in the future. I have to see it through no matter how much work I take on because that is how I want my life to be. It is what I need to do right now as I see my mid-twenties as a time of unlimited growth in the areas that I most value. I have to plant the seeds of hard work so that sometime in the near future, I can reap what I sow today.

For me life will always be hard, no matter what circumstances I am in.The reason I say this is because I know that to have a good life filled with meaning, it requires significant sacrifices. It is not enough for me to live a simple life as my past post suggests. But it is a life borne out of continuous growth and hard work. I aim to be engaged fully with my life and do some great things, all I need now is the patience and work ethic to see it through. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Part-Time Craziness

So what more can I do? Well for starters, I can get a second part time job on the side to work off that extra nagging feeling of a bit lazy for those weekends that I am not doing anything. I am going to see how much work I can take on before I start to feel overwhelmed. I think one of the reasons that I feel okay taking on another job, is because all the new stuff that I am doing, don't really feel like work. It is more like a side hobby that I just happen to get some extra money on the side.

The mysterious new job, is working for my coworkers wedding photographers' business. I will be working their extra add-on photobooth along with any other additional tasks that they require. It is essentially hanging around lots of weddings and taking pictures while enjoying the party. Not bad for a normal Saturday. I think there is also, some van driving involved. All in all, I think that initially there is not to many downsides, maybe a sunburn or two on the longest days.

Sadly, due to the finite amount of time in a day, I am not sure how I can sustain all of my activities simultaneously. I have to just try and squeeze whatever time I can to try and blog whenever I can and work on my side non-profit slowly. I don't want to give up on doing any of the things that I set out to do, but I have to admit that there has to priorities in my life. So maybe instead of putting on the side burner I can blog about it, by putting in mini-summaries at the end of each blog. That way I can keep track on a day by day basis of what I am doing.


Non-Profit Business (1m2 homeless shelter): Contacted a city planner and is in the process of setting up a face to face to discuss potential limitations from CA law. Hopefully, I can pick his brain about how I can start this without being stopped by police or regulations

Tutoring: I need to expand my hours and number of students. I have to work on increasing trust with clients and gain experience, likely a long term goal.

E-Book: I wrote effectively 2 pages of this book. I think it will be one of the hardest thing that I will do. Motivation and writing about past experiences will be difficult to maintain.

Blogging: I have begun to slip. I haven't been trying to keep my "blog once per day," for a while. I have to get back to blogging once per day without losing quality of posts.

Singing: I have been cutting class and not paying attention during class. Motivation waning.

Hiking/Biking/RockClimbing/Badminton/Gym: Well, I went once to the gym and badminton.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Through the Looking Glass of Opportunity

I am always amazed at how much opportunity there is in life. Sometimes it can present itself in the form of a person, a job, or a finance, there is always something new out there, all we really have to do is exert some effort. I think that if a person is open to opportunity and is ready to try something new then they are ripe to seize it when it comes their way.

I have been plunging myself in all sorts of crazy hobbies in an attempt to make some money on the side. I have tried answering surveys for money, which sucks because you have to do a lot of them before you can get some money ($10 per 10), it amounts to about an hour worth of work. I thought about being a mystery shopper, but those jobs are really hard to get since they are so easy to do and have a lot of applicants. I tried being a freelancer on Elance, which is a odd jobs site for writers and computer science engineers. But I realized that I had to compete with people all over the world for a job, and most of them underbid me to get the job.

I am also in a process of writing an e-book, but that is taking a while due to creative and time difficulties. But I will see if I can get it done by the end of the summer. Most of the time, I have to balance all the things that I am doing in my life and see what is the most beneficial to me in the long run.  I do want to do as much as I can, but forcing me to pick the most important things to do is very difficult. For example, one thing that I am not focusing on as much this quarter is my singing class, it has been on a constant backburner as I do other things. Another is, working as a tutor has cut down the amount of time I can working on blogging or business planning.

My goal is to have a unique set of skills from various different backgrounds. It has/will help me in being as versatile as possible, in the event my primary career doesn't work out, I will be prepared to do anything. I think the opportunity is out there to do anything you want, but the time and effort one puts in is the difficult part. But I think in the end it is completely worth it to gain the satisfaction that you can do anything that you put your mind on.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Teaching the world one person at a time

I have begun tutoring people in math, science, and other subjects. It is a great way to strengthen my skills as well as providing a service to kids who need it as well as others who want to do better in their classes. I never imagined how difficult it would be to be an instructor. There so many things you have to be aware of and know to be able to tutor a person effectively.

One of the most difficult things about tutoring is to connect with the student. It is trust that the student must have with their instructor that makes all the difference whether or not they can learn the subject quickly and easily. I think back to how I got tutored and the most crucial aspect was the belief that the person teaching me is competent.

I now have to convey that as best as possible to the people that I am tutoring. I think that as I get more practice in creating lesson plans and figuring out what their problem area are, I can be more effective.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Pefection in Life

A perfect life. Is there even such a thing? I believe that everyone wants to obtain some semblance of a perfect life for themselves and those who are closest to them. But what does it really mean to have that, is it even worth it to set that as a goal?

I have been think about it what it means to have a perfect life and what that entails. I think that it has a lot to do with continuous learning and gaining new skills, but also contains spending time with people that I care about. It also helps that there would be enough money that I wouldn't have to worry about it constantly. And the last thing for a perfect life would be excellent health and maintaining peak physical and mental health.

I described broad ambiguous meanings for a perfect life and I suppose that in some sense that it the best that anyone can define what it is. I struggle with that because I want to set that as a goal to reach at some point in my life. But is that even possible?

Perfect, is inherently something that cannot get better and is at the height of perfection so if that were really the case, after you obtained it there would be little incentive to do better or more. Also, how would I know if I have achieved a perfect life, there would be no parade or celebration of acknowledgement just a moment of simple realization. Perhaps, even after the fact.

I think that it is probably one of those goals that takes a lifetime to fulfill and only lasts a handful of moments. I will do my best to aim for perfection, but along the way I'll get by, by living a perfectly flawed life.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Lost in the Sea of Conversations

Part of growth unleashed, is to overcome challenges in life that sometimes can seem insurmountable. I mean to truly work on being a better overall individual person, one has to overcome barriers that can prevent growth such as, comfort, fear, and uncertainty. I have been on a journey to meet as many people as I can in the south bay area for the last couple of weeks or so. And I have to say that it is difficult to maintain momentum and energy levels.

I think the hardest thing to do when meeting a lot of people in a short amount of time is the ability to maintain a conversation without repeating yourself a hundred times over. I almost wish that there was a huge sign on shirt that says what I do and where I came from, as that is the question that I get all the time. I mean it is great to talk about what you do and where you come from but the overall experiences is almost exactly the same, I have a pre-canned response for that question now, which to my amazement never seems to impress people but confuses them. For example, try to explain what a space environments engineer does without sounding egotistical or going over people's heads. What I am saying is that it is hard to relate them to my career.

I mean do people even care what I do? I really doubt it, they just what something to talk about that seems like a normal conversational topic. Ugh, I wonder if it is easier to just dodge the question and talk about something else entirely. I think for people to have a legitimate conversation with one another they would have to talk about something that matters (deep conversations) or conversely, talk about something that is entirely crazy and extravengent. The danger zone is the safe conversation in the middle, where you get stuck in endless small talk hell.

I want work at being really good at conversations, I mean have the ability to impress anybody within a minute of talking to them. The best way to do that is matching conversational wit with the best of the best. I think I have to be more aggressive with people in my conversation topics, maybe break some rules and normal conventions. Being a bit taboo might be the key for me to bring some uniqueness into an otherwise dull conversation that I know might not go anywhere.