Five things for the week

Succulent arrangement
  1. After reading this article, I started thinking about the amount of time I spend (we all spend, actually) with keyboards. I am picky with them. Not as picky as some but more than most. At my desk I use a mechanical keyboard for feel, comfort, and sound. I have yet to find any keyboard that I like using with my iPad. Most are tolerable but none preferred. I haven’t purchased an Apple laptop, opting to keep my 2014 Macbook Pro, because the Macbook keyboards since then are horrible. Thankfully, my work laptop (Dell 7480) has a decent keyboard which I appreciate while on business trips (and am away from my desktop setup).
  2. I purchased a dwarf Meyer lemon tree, earlier in the week, and potted it in a 20-gallon pot on the weekend. I’m glad to finally get some green in our backyard (when we bought the house, the yard was just pavers and white rock). I have two more bigger pots that I plan to fill up eventually. Just trying to determine what I want back there. For now, I’d be happy with anything green. I also purchased an AeroGarden to start using as a quick seed starter. 
  3. We replaced our bedroom curtains with darker (grey) ones which, as intended, has made our room very dark through the night and mornings. The pervious curtains (left by the previous owner) were sheer, so let in some light all of the time. I got used to them very quickly, with mornings being easy because I would wake up with the light. Now, with these darker ones, I have more difficulty getting up in the mornings. My wife is sleeping much better so, I just need more time to adjust (and a louder alarm).
  4. I can’t believe it’s April already.
  5. This week’s priority: health. Mental and physical.

Recently Read, Watched, and Listened

Read

Funny or Bust: Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph Take Vanity Fair on the Ultimate Joyride I would watch a show where these two just sit and randomly talk about anything they want to. My appreciation for Maya Rudolph’s talent grows with everything she does.

All You Can Ever Know, by Nicole Chung – I really appreciated how well-written this adoptee story is. The author’s account and personal “openness” is deep and vulnerable. Many of her experiences are similar to my own, making this an even more meaningful read. There are a lot of adoptee stories out there, and I highly respect those who have put theirs to writing and out into the world. I still haven’t gotten to the point where I can share my own.


Watched

Social AnimalsI’m not so sure about Instagram anymore… Though this documentary was a good, objective look at how young kids and teens are suing the platform. It’s also a good look at how perception (sociual media personas) and reality differ, yet intersect in both good and bad ways. Very interesting watch.

Speed (1994) – I don’t remember what I was doing at the time but, I had this movie on in the background while doing so. I enjoyed the absolute corniness of it all, especially Dennis Hopper’s over-the-top villain.


Listened

Criminal Podcast, ep 111: Silvon Simmons There will always be good and bad people in the world. Not all of them are who you expect them to be. Stories like these are a good reminder of how lies and coverups can affect the innocent.

You are not your job

Vala’s tweet (above) is a good list, similar to the list of priorities I am focused on in my life wright now. A lot of my recent meditation has been on item 3, “you are not your job”. Of course, work is something we all spend so much time and effort on throughout the course of our lifetimes. Simply because it dominates so much of what we do, it’s easy to use it as an identifier.

No matter whether you enjoy or work or not, it doesn’t define you. Job titles, salaries, org charts… it’s all there because we, as humans, naturrally categorize things to assign an order. Your title is not who you are. Your salary is not how much you are worth. Both are what that company/organization determine it to be, for them. Not for you.

Your job is what you do to earn money. It’s not who you are.

I love having conversations with people where work never enters the picture. Lately, I refrain from even asking people what they do or where they work. It’s an unnecessary part of getting to know people.

Use what you got.

Cat ghost
ghost cat

I put my iPhone in a box… It’s the camera that I use when I want to just take snapshots or pictures to casually communicate with. It’s not a “real” camera. If I want to do “real” photography, then I need to get my Fujifilm gear out and use it. If I’m traveling, I need to take a “real” camera with me if I plan to do any photography. My phone, alone, will not do. After all, it’s not a real camera.

This Three Blind Men and an Elephant video was intriguing. Hugh Brownstone and Cliff Pickett have a great conversation about phone photography and its merits and capabilities. After viewing it, I realized that (as usual) I was over-thinking things.

A camera is a camera is a camera.

The adage “the best camera is the one you have with you” is true. I need to work this to the front of my mind and remove the blocks I have on any of my equipment. I think this can apply to any devices, really. Why be selective about keyboards? Laptops vs desktops? Whether you can be productive on phones or tablets? Or anything else, really?

Use what you got.

Wandering Tuesday

Egg and chorizo burrito
egg & chorizo burrito

I started the morning wanting a breakfast burrito so, I went and got one. I had been hearing that there was a Mexican restaurant, located at a gas station, that had really good breakfast burritos. I wasn’t disappointed with my very tasty, very filling egg and chorizo burrito from Rafa’s Mexican Food. Their red sauce was a good compliment with it too, adding just the right amount of heat (spicy) and flavor.

I then drifted downtown to see what was going on. I knew there was a local camera shop that I wanted to check out and thought “why not now?” Mike’s Camera looked like most camera stores I have been to. I was impressed with the service which was low-pressure sales and with staff that cared about photography. I checked out the new Fujifilm XT-30, which I’m considering as an “everyday carry” camera. I was worried the size might be too small for me (I usually prefer much bigger cameras) but was pleasantly surprised.

From there I cruised over to R Street to check out three of the Wide Open Walls murals. Here are the three that I visited:

the way in which it treats its children
by HERA of Herakult
“Low Tide”
“Low Tide” by David de la Mano
#ThankYouUniverse
by Lora Zombie

Though I haven’t yet seen all of them, I have seen a lot and am in love with this project. It’s one of the best things about this city. Check out their Instagram and, if you are ever in Sacramento, here’s a guide to where they all are.

It was a nice way to spend the morning before getting back to my desk to hammer out some work. I need to remember to do things like this when I have open blocks of time in my days.

Five things for the week

Below are things that I did poorly, or not at all, this past week, that I am setting out to improve upon for this coming week:

  1. Not procrastinating. I get things completed on deadline. Begrudgingly. It’s a really bad habit and something that I have been trying to break for years. FOR YEARS! But it seems to be my standby. Nothing motivates better than being right up against a deadline, right? My goal for this week is to complete things before deadline, as early as possible, for this week only. It’s not a goal to break the habit, just a goal for this week. I just need to know that I can do it for a week.
  2. Reading a fiction book/novel. I do read a lot. Most of my screen time, no matter the device, is reading. I just want to point some of that reading time back to fiction, my favorite thing to read. Technical manuals, blogs, news, and social media are not as satisfying (go figure).
  3. Cooking more meals at home. We ordered delivery for 6 out of the 7 dinners, this past week. A lot of factors played into it and wee paid for it with not only money but a lack of energy as well. We just didn’t feel like ourselves. So, this week, I plan to cook a lot at home to compensate, and get us back on the right track. Right after this blog post, I am going to work on my meal planning.
  4. Taking more photographs. I think I write something like this every week. And I think that, no matter how many photographs I take in a week, I will always have wanted to take more. I take a lot; perhaps I need to share more of them?
  5. Going for walks. The overall benefits of doing this doesn’t need to be described here. I just need to go out and do this more.

Recently Read, Watched, and Listened

Read

Mark Manson’s “The Disease of More”This appeared as a suggested read in my Pocket recommendations. It is a fantastic read and one that made me think a little deeper about the things and processes around me. This not only pertains to tangible items but, the the space for thought, productivity, and creativity that I have in my mind as well. It’s a good read and one that I think I will be revisiting again as I continue to clean up and simplify, all in the name of improving my focus and being able to clearly identify the things that matter to me.


Watched

Love, Death + Robots There are a few things that I liked about this series. I like the different animation styles. I like the short story format, and wish we saw more of this storytelling format in all media. Sometimes network series are just too long. We don’t need a 22+ episode season! I also liked that they were much “deeper” and “darker” stories, what Netflix termed as “adult”. There is some controversy around the amount of female nudity and how it’s used in the stories, which I can understand why (there’s controversy). Overall I enjoyed the series very much, and am looking forward to another season.

Doomsday Preppers Throughout the day, when I take my breaks, it’s really noticeable how quiet it is around the house. So I have taken to streaming something on Netflix while I make lunch and/or need time away from my work screens. I saw this (on Netflix) and was morbidly curious so, I played a few episodes. It’s… interesting. I don’t think that the preppers are “crazy”. In fact, I giver some the benefit of the doubt as I’m sure the series is setup and edited to make them look a little extreme. Though I do question some of the preppers’ motives and tactics. If I take anything from this series it’s that I need to have some emergency supplies on hand in case of floods, earthquake, or another natural disaster.


Listened

Again, nothing specific to point out here. Like last week, when I had my headphones on I was either on a conference call or just had my music set to shuffle.

Treat yo self!

Happy Friday to me

When I realized that my Friday was “light”, with no meetings, phone calls, or deadlines, I immediately started thinking about things I should do for myself. You know, Treat yo self!

Tom and Donna, characters from Parks and Recreation, have a designated day they call “Treat yo self!” Where they splurge and spend the whole day pampering themselves.

I don’t anticipate my Friday being that indulgent. I started off with one of my favorite breakfasts (photo above), jetting over to Davis, CA to Solomons Deli. It’s pretty much the best start of the day that I could imagine.

I also have some errands lined up to take care of things that I have been wanting/needing to for some time now. One of them is replacing the battery in one of my favorite watches.

All in all, I think most of my time will just end up with me driving around the area for most of the day. I have an actual camera with me so, who knows what the rest of the day will bring.

Enjoy your weekend!

That corned beef, yo

Our St. Patrick's Day spread

For the first time in three years, I was home for St. Patricks Day. Sure, it’s not a “major holiday” and we don’t do anything special other than cook the “traditional” dinner of corned beef and cabbage. But, it’s been three years since I have made this on St. Patrick’s Day.

Earlier in the day, we met my aunt and uncle for brunch. I hadn’t seen them in quite some time. They were visiting Sacramento as a weekend getaway and I’m happy we had a chance to catch up. I had corned beef hash for breakfast, completely forgetting that we had this dinner planned for later.

So I had a day of corned beef and I should basically check my arteries, cholesterol, and the rest of my vitals.

Five things for the week

  1. New Zealand… It’s still unfathomable that there is this much hate in the world, and that there are individuals acting on this hate.
  2. We can donate money and goods, and spread words of positivity, empathy, and acceptance… but, I want to know what I can do. There has to be more.
  3. I know that I can start with things that I can control. I can control being a better person, and continually looking for and learning how to be a better person. I can control being more compassionate and empathetic to those around me, accepting all of their differences; even learning to find joy in those differences. And, I can live my life with deliberate, positive actions.
  4. Every one can be better at any thing.
  5. There’s a routine… no, a rhythm to life that is different for every individual. I will start listening closer to my own. This will help me respect and learn from others’.

Recently Read, Watched, and Listened

Read

Fearing for His Life Retaliation and being powerless to it… those are two of my biggest fears. If all of this article is true, what can we do about any of it?

Mak and bium: imperfection and emptiness in Korean aethetics “In traditional Korean hanok houses, a courtyard – a space of literal emptiness in the architectural sense – anchors the household with a public void. Their architecture is in different ways saturated by both the calm vacancy of bium and by the informal directness of mak.” One of my dreams is to live in a hanok. If I ever come into money, I’m buying some land and having one built on it.

How to Play with Your Food Like an Asian American “As the diaspora of Asian America expands, so does the diaspora of our food — and its reflection in cookbooks.” Christine Lee‘s piece on Double Awesome Chinese Food does a great job explaining the role cookbooks have in culture. Maangchi’s Real Korean Cooking helps me better relate and understand my ethnic cuisine. But, if I could be so bold, Roy Choi’s LA Son is something I far better relate to, as a Korean American from Southern Ca. I can’t wait to make that Red Curry Frito Pie (recipe at end of the article).


Watched

Parks and Recreation To kill some time, I watched the last four episodes of this series (on Netflix). I forget how good this show was; how funny and true to character the storylines stay. I also love the way the last episode jumped into the future to show what they were up to.


Listened

I don’t have anything specific to highlight here. When I had my headphones on I was either on a conference call or just had my music set to shuffle.

Envious of my cat’s naps

Our cat went full triangle

The other day, I looked over at the couch and noticed our cat sleeping like this (above photo). I marveled at the fact that she was sound asleep and setup in almost a perfect triangle. Seriously, look at her hind legs and the way her back is arched.

Most of my mornings start early as most of the team I work with are located in time zones ahead of me. This actually works out for me because, usually, by the time the conference calls and email traffic slows, it’s just early afternoon for me so I have the remainder of the afternoon to put on the headphones and pound out documents on my keyboard.

But I also wend up hitting a mid-afternoon wall. And when I hit this wall, I hit it hard.

I often consider working a short nap into the middle of the day. There are so many benefits to this, proven by research, and known with just common sense. But the old “office worker” mentality gets in my way. “I can’t nap in the middle of the day! What if someone sees me? I need to be working nonstop until I clock out!”

I am very privileged and grateful to be able to work remotely. I’ve said, many times, I feel more in my element, more productive, more creative, being able to work remotely. I get far more done in far less time. I get my creature comforts (my own bathroom, my pantry and kitchen, being able to wear casual clothing, etc.) and can change my scenery just by taking my laptop to anywhere else there is a wireless network. It’s a good gig.

So, why couldn’t I work in a nap? What’s stopping me? As long as I’m still getting my work done, attending calls, and being responsive when needed, then there really isn’t a good reason not to, right?

I just can’t sleep in a triangle.

Nash & Proper, finally!

The Sammich

I’m a sucker for a good chicken sandwich. More specifically, the chicken sandwich has to be spicy, and the chicken has to be fried. Nine out of 10 times, if I’m eating a chicken sandwich, it’s in this arrangement: bun, spicy fried chicken fillet, coleslaw, pickles, bun.

A few months back I started hearing about Nash and Proper, a food truck specializing in Nashville-style hot chicken. Their food is very “Instagrammable“; every time I saw someone post a pic of their sandwich, I would salivate. Pavlov’s dog and all. So, I added it to my list.

I didn’t know that they would be at Saturday’s Republic FC match. When I saw the truck I got so excited but, I had made a “rookie” move and kind of filled up on other fares while we wandered through all of the other trucks. (Nash & Proper’s truck was kind of in a corner at the end.)

But, I caved and bought “The Sammich”. So, so good. Lives up to the hype. And my craving is not only satiated but, in some weird way, still grows stronger with every Instagram post.

2019 Season Opener

Our view for the Republic FC season opener

I was so excited to finally attend a Republic FC game. I knew that I wanted to become a regular spectator once we moved to this city but, unfortunately, we didn’t make it to any of last year’s late fall games. Attending the 2019 season opener was good in that we started off on the right foot, for this season.

The club does a great job with the fan experience. There were a ton d of food trucks, providing a lot of variety for things to eat. This was in addition to the “build in” concession stands which had the regular sport park eats. There were also some community booths that had some fun carnival-type games for the kids. It made for a great pre-game atmosphere.

I bought tickets in the middle sideline section, which happened to be where most of the longtime season ticket holders sat. They looked at us, wondering where the “regular” seat holders were. It was amusing but, I get it. They were all longtime season ticket holders (most from the beginning of the club’s existence) so, they had all been watching games together for five seasons.

It was a very cold night; we were as bundled as we could be, even wrapped in the blanket we purchased right before the game started. And the team played hard, even more so in the second half.

I’m not sure I want to buy season tickets yet. I want to move around the stadium a little to see where we might want to buy seats. The park itself looks like there won’t be a bad seat (view) so, it will just be a matter of finding the view we want. All in all, it was a lot of fun and we’re looking forward to attending many more games this season.

Five songs for the week

Five things for the week, music edition.

Be Be Your Love (Live at KCRW) [Spotify link], by Rachael Yamagata. I first heard this track on KCRW, and immediately fell in love with her music. Since then I have purchased every one of her albums on release day. It came up through shuffle, earlier this week, and reminded me of the time I first heard it.

Personal Jesus [YouTube link], by Depeche Mode. Memories of long drives, at night, through canyons and along PCH, as a teenager, with this blasting crazy loud in the truck. I played it when I took a drive, mid-week, to get out of the house. And yes, I played it loud.

Seven Nation Army [YouTube link], by The White Stripes. They played this to pump up the crowd, leading right into the opening kickoff at last night’s Republic FC game. It was effective; made for a fun atmosphere.

Scoff [YouTube link], by Nirvana. Another one that came up in shuffle during the week. When I think of Nirvana, this is the track that I think of. I know their hits but, for me, this is Nirvana. And I dig the drums! Nothing fancy, just hard hitting.

Matador [YouTube link], by Mariachi El Bronx. There were a few times when I used Mariachi El Bronx to unwind; just sitting and letting them play through the headphones.

Recently Read, Watched, and Listened

Read

The People Who Eat the Same Meal Every Day I have tried this (throughout my life) a few times and I just, can’t. I like my variety too much. I’m spoiled that way. Like my music tastes, my food choices depend on my mood and what is happening in that moment.

Workism is Making America MiserableWe all know this to be true but no one (corporation, organization) is really doing anything abut it. There are a lot of hypocrisies round work-life balance, and what our work leaders communicate on that front.


Watched

Crazy Rich Asians I held off for a long time before watching this movie. One, I’m not one for rom-coms. Two, there was so much hype about the Asian representation, I didn’t want to be let down. And three, I haven’t yet read the books. But I caved. I liked it, every minute of it. There are some things wrong with the plot and the casting and the, and the, and the… but I liked it.

Ant Man and the Wasp Halfway paid attention to this as my wife watched. The only thing I like about the Ant Man movies is when Luis tells his “stories”. Like (my feeling on) all of the Marvel movies, meh.

Can You Ever Forgive Me?I don’t know why this was made into a movie. The main character is a horrible person and this tries to make the audience sympathize with her? Fuck no. She did nothing to make me like her, or any character in this movie, really.

Solo: A Star Wars Story Could have been my mood when we watched this but, I felt this movie just went through the motions. It wasn’t good. It was just… it just exists. I loved Rogue One (as a spin off from the main trilogies). This attempt was just flat.

Free Solo A great documentary and definitely intense as you watch him ascent El Capitan. I have a lot of respect for the physicality and the mental strength that must have taken.

LosersI binged the first season. Their quick (less than 30 minutes) stories on people who didn’t quite make it to the top in sports. They’re heartwarming in their own ways.


Listened

Iditapod (podcast) – Blame Blair Braverman’s twitter feed for getting me hooked on the Iditarod this year. This is the first time I’ve ever watched this race’s progress so closely. This podcast has some great interviews with the mushers, and good overall updates.

Project done, tacos please?

Tacos al pastor

I finished a project that I had been working on for a few months, so I decided reward myself with a chili relleño (I love them so much). I also ordered two tacos because you’re in a taqueria and what kind of MONSTER doesn’t order tacos in a taqueria?

Being back in California, I love that there are so many taquerias everywhere. So many to try, so little time.

I hate when they serve tacos with a plastic fork. It makes me wonder if I’m eating tacos wrong and whether I should use the fork for something…

Sorry, no wifi

Flat white at Chocolate Fish Coffee

I had a few hours with no conference calls. What a perfect time to get out of the house for a change of scenery and maybe pump out some work. There are plenty of intriguing coffee shops throughout the city, making it difficult to choose. I settled on one located near the first rental we stayed at, in East Sacramento (while waiting for our escrow to close).

Immediately, I liked the atmosphere. It was on the smaller side but there were plenty of seats available. I ordered a flat white and an avocado toast to snack on, then found a place to settle in.

There were 18 different SSIDs to choose from as I searched for a wireless network to join. None of them seemed like they were a part of the coffee shop. I went back up to the counter, “Do you offer wifi here?”

“No, not here. We have it at our downtown location. We’ll offer it here soon.”

“Ok, thanks”, I replied, though as soon as I turned back to my seat I could feel the “frown” on my face. Plans obliterated. No *work to be done here.

But… is this a detriment? Really, do I need to be connected? Do I need to do work? Can’t I just sit and enjoy my coffee and toast? I thought about this for the remainder of my visit. It was a very good flat white.

This tweet (above) isn’t about, nor from, me. It came into my timeline, this morning, and I thought it was coincidental and hilarious.

*Most of my work is web-based.

I want to live in a van and chase my dreams

I want to live in a van and chase my dreams.

Not really. I would definitely miss my different rooms, full size kitchen and appliances, and full size couch. Or…. would I?

I watched “Free Solo” last night, and see where the “nomadic” lifestyle helps Alex Honnold achieve the things he does. I also found it fascinating how he is able to block/cut out the distractions he needs to (even if sacrificing human relationships in the process).

Absolutely, the documentary (and Alex’s feat) was amazing, inspiring, and absolutely harrowing. But it got me thinking about my own goals, and what I might need to do to achieve them.

I don’t need that van nor the nomadic lifestyle. I do need to find ways to intensify my focus. I also need to work on “training”, not physically, but mentally.

Above all, I need to spend time with the goals themselves. I need to revisit, refine, define, and then piece together plans to achieve them.

Five things for the week

AvoStart Feb 27, 2019
  1. I’m considering (again) putting together a weekly newsletter. There are a few reasons for this (that I won’t go into here). There’s just something about that medium that calls to me. I really enjoy the newsletter subscriptions from others.
  2. I found a lot of excuses to keep me from creating, this past week. Of all of those excuses, 100% of them are invalid. That should speak volumes to me.
  3. I started another avocado seed (photo above). I’m thinking I want to keep this on my desk until it’s big enough to transfer to a good size pot (and place outside). Speaking of which, I need to go and get some good size pots.
  4. The phone call came a little after 10 PM, last night. Some minutes later, we threw on our shoes and grabbed the car keys. A friend needed help. I’m so happy that we were here, in Sacramento, to help.
  5. The decision was made and communicated to the team. It was difficult. Very much so, especially factoring in the guilt. I know, deep down, that this was the right call. I need to prioritize my health.

Recently read, watched, and listened

Read

Watership Down Richard Adams’ book was one of my favorites. Watching the recent Netflix series left a bad taste in my mouth so, I decided to reread this to remedy that. Still a classic. I still so very much love the darkness in this book.


Watched

Ralph Breaks the InternetI think I’m just tired of sequels, no matter what the franchise. The most interesting scenes were with the Disney princesses, but even they felt more gimmicky than I expected them to be. This movie was also longer than it needed to be.

Bohemian RhapsodyI expected better. The only highlight was watching Rami Malek’s stellar acting job. The story was just… so not what I know about Queen and their story. Watching this is like watching a movie adapted from a book; it wasn’t true to the characters or the story. This movie did spur me on to buy the video of their actual LiveAid performance, though.

Behind the Curve My interest in this was akin to watching a trashy reality show to simply remind me how extreme people can take their beliefs. I truly support that everyone is free to believe what they wish to believe. It’s just fascinating to see people believe, and defend, something that has been debunked so many times.


Listened

Ep. 43 of The Dave Chang Show this is an excellent conversation between Dave Chang and Jerry Saltz, on art and artistry. One of life’s constant lessons is “be who you are and screw everyone else”… but, why is it so difficult to do this?