Conversations

Talked with Jeff T on the phone for nearly an hour today. I’m glad that we had the opportunity to catch up, and that he’s feeling more lively having dropped out of law school.

Interesting things that emerged from our conversation:

Asian American does not accurately capture our identities. At least not yet, not before we’ve gained more experience in America. We are TCKs first and foremost, ones who have had the opportunity to spend formative years growing up as the majority race. Perhaps in a few years, it would be more fitting to claim Asian American as our identity.

Jeff shared this interesting article from The New Yorker: “Trip Treatment” by Michael Pollan.

The article reaffirmed many things I already know, and I read it with the intention of comparing it against my personal experience. For anyone who’s ever been curious about psychedelics, it’s good reading material. I’ve also watched a documentary about psychedelics and their capacity for healing, called Neurons to Nirvana (recommended to me and William by his friend, Andrew J).

I turned around and recommended an article that appeared in Wired three years ago, “The Forgetting Pill Erases Painful Memories Forever” by Jonah Lehrer.

Must follow up about that documentary that I watched last night, The Slanted Screen, as well as resources on credit card reward programs.

Basil W stopped by this evening, and we shared a pizza (the benefits of working at Domino’s!). He had been out kayaking earlier today, and was quite sunburnt. Paul jumped up to welcome him, causing him some pain.

Basil examined the fishing rods in the garage, tested them, and rigged up a fake worm on one. After casting a few times from the driveway, he stated that I would need to replace the line.

He saw a property for sale while out earlier today, and we talked a fair bit about land, and what one does with it. He’d seen land in Florida that had been set up for hunting. Even without utility lines, it’s quite possible to run a generator from the back of a pickup truck.

On cars, Basil stated that the Mustang GT and BMW M3 were quite evenly matched, even on the track.

On marriage, that he was leaning in favor of it, though he would have been firmly opposed to it some years ago.

On race, that one must be prudent when playing “the race card,” and that spending some time growing up in Cupertino, CA had meant that he grew up amongst many other Asians. This led me to conclude that our experiences differ for a multitude of reasons. I do recall him talking about how Asians who’ve been in America longer tended to look down upon the “FOBs.” (previous conversation)

Both asked about Kenny Z. I’ll coordinate better, so that I have more entries on the calendar.

Finally, chatted with Alice for a while. She’s been reading Eddie Huang’s Fresh Off the Boat: A Memoir (I shared this with her and Justin). She stated that it’s good to have stories from guys like Eddie Huang out there, so that the Asian American narrative doesn’t all read the same.

Limp Mode Returns

It happened so suddenly and without any prior warning.

I was driving the less than two miles from home to Domino’s when I noticed the limp mode icon light up on my dash. I’d seen the exclamation point within a gear once before, while I was living in Columbia, MO. It had popped up while I was near the twisties by Joe Machens BMW, and I’d ignored it.

This time, I was decelerating towards stopped traffic. When limp mode is active, the transmission remains locked to a set gear (either 3rd or 4th). I switched off the car and fired it back up again to find that the SES light had come up as well. One more try before the light turned green.

I pulled away slowly from a stop, observing how lifeless my normally sporty E46 felt at that moment. I parked my car by the side of the building, and went inside.

Ten minutes later, I started her up again, and found that the transmission was back out of limp mode. I drove back home later, SES light still on, curious to find out what had happened.

April 14th, 2015

It’s 4:17AM, and my mind is racing.

There are so many things that I want to do, but precious few that I can see myself following through with. Let this be the start of something positive.

I want to share a little bit about my day and recent life situations, in part because I’d like to be more open. The thought even crossed my mind that I ought to try a vlog on YouTube.

I woke up early this morning – the last time that I got up before 9AM was on March 29th, and that was with limited sleep. I drank the last of the coffee that I’d gotten from Sprouts (April 1st), had a bowl of oatmeal, and started my day’s work.

During one break, I went through my emails. Decided to open up one that I had received from LinkedIn: a weekly digest, I think. I started reading a few short articles, before coming across one particularly good one by James Altucher entitled Time To Quit (not sure if this link will work for you if you’re not on LinkedIn)

I’d read some of James’s writing before, and it’s always been a blast. I remember seeing his AMA thread on reddit some time back, and thinking, “That’s one interesting dude.”

Only a handful of people know that I’ve been delivering pizzas. It’s no way for a grown man to make a living. I can understand someone taking on this job part-time to pay down debts, but there are countless better opportunities out there. More reflections on pizza delivery driving, later. Enough about that for now.

I made an appointment to take my car in for a four-wheel alignment. Knocked out the Texas state inspection while I was there, so I’m clear to renew the registration on my vehicle for yet another year. The car hadn’t been tracking right for the past couple of weeks, and I’m glad that I took her in. Rubber ain’t cheap.

Pulled the trigger on a parts purchase that I’d been putting off.

I also went to the bank to deposit most of the cash that I’ve been holding. All told, over $2,000. Two months worth of tips from delivering pizzas. The bank that I go to is no longer going to serve shared branching customers come June. Too bad – guess that things weren’t working out for them.

More clarity on what I need to do next. Received a text from IG at 10:07PM. Started writing about that chapter of my life (so far) while watching Fresh Off the Boat. Hardest I’ve laughed in recent memory.

On work front, very interesting development from Alice at 5PM. Kind of interested to see what happens next, but still need to wrap up phase one.

Oh yes, one more thing happened today. Early evening, around 7PM: WF stepped out to the backyard with Paul and Finn. Paul was barking at the neighbor’s dog, along the fence. WF called for me to come and see what Finn was doing (apparently aggressive posturing, which I missed), and I came out with some compostable materials for the tumbler. Paul went running up the fence again – the neighbor’s dog, whose head was poking through the fence, managed to make its way through the gap.

I’m suddenly dealing with a volatile situation. Paul runs, but he’s trying to outrun a full-grown GSD. I shout loudly at the dog – there’s no way I’m looking to see Paul get killed in my backyard. The dog gets very close to Paul on a couple of occasions, probably more curious than predatory, but I shout at it because I don’t fucking know this dog. Paul eventually makes his way over to WF, who picks him up. The dog sniffs Finn: Finn is visibly on edge and growls in response.

WF deposits Paul back inside the house through the back door, and we walk the GSD back over to the neighbor’s home. Turns out that the new dog was formerly his sister’s, and she didn’t like it. Still a goofy pup, but big enough to cause trouble. Useless off-leash, as evidenced by its running up to a man walking on the sidewalk across the road from us. Luckily, the guy didn’t panic. Just slowed down and pet the dog a bit.

Oh yeah: I’m not going to go work at the electronic cigarette store for $9 an hour.

Finally, talked with my parents today. I got on the phone with Marriott beforehand and succeeded in requesting my reward certificate’s expiration date be extended. We talked briefly about how I was doing, plans for what I will do next with my time. Mom offered that she would proof-read my writing. Looking forward to having the family together again, soon.

(Some More) Late Night Thoughts

Admittedly, it is nowhere near as late as it was the last time that I decided to share some late night thoughts (4 days ago! or is it more?), because I am going to go to bed early tonight. I owe it to myself, as I will be putting in a full eight hours at an electronic cigarette store, so help me God.

Today was a good day. I found myself blissfully free from thought for the vast majority of my waking hours, save for those times where I needed to focus on a task at hand. Speaking of which, the new website for Dentboard is coming together rather nicely (thanks Alice!). I owe her a great deal of thanks, as I’ve revised the copy far beyond what had originally been sent over to the young man in charge of mockups. The first iteration of this project completed (forward-looking statement), I intend to produce a poignant argument in favor of implementing the Likert scale in our survey tool.

I have been making headway on a dormant personal project, one that I am wildly ambitious about. I found myself fiddling about with the administrative tasks of inviting my new team to join me on Slack, and wound up having one of those great creative moments that leaves me giddy all over. Allow me a moment to explain how this all started …

One of my guilty pleasures is reading reddit while atop the porcelain throne. I periodically scan for interesting content, like any good redditor will, and do my best to bite my tongue instead of joining in the fray as I once did. The chief reason for this is to reduce the amount of time that I would otherwise invest into reddit: namely, defending my ego.

As luck would have it, I stumbled upon a treasure mine. Critical mass appeared to have been reached. I quickly reached out to a few key individuals, and lay back in wait.

I received word back earlier today. The exact timing of it, I can’t say for sure, though I do know that I found myself firing off a couple of responses during a rest in my afternoon’s exercise.

I concluded my exercise, consumed a protein shake, and prepared myself to shower, before realizing that it was marvelous out, and deciding that I had best take care of the lawn. Back on went the clothes, out came the push reel mower, and away I went. The lawn turned out quite nicely, with some weed whacking and blowing to top it all off.

I don’t think I shall be receiving any angry letters from the HOA this year.

It was around 7:30PM now, and the sun was going down. Still shirtless, I took the dogs out for a well-deserved stroll. Benefit to walking dogs off-leash: it keeps most people away.

I fed Paul after we returned home, turned on the Sous Vide Supreme, and showered, taking care to exfoliate. I nearly stepped out of the shower stall before remembering that I ought to take cold showers, and so I stayed for a minute longer, enjoying the cool water.

The stroke of creative genius that I referred to earlier came about while I was seated at the dining table, in front of my MacBook Air. I hadn’t eaten yet, though I’d just finished writing a nice welcome message in the #general channel of my new Slack team.

It started with a sudden urge to revisit my old blog, in the event that I’d missed something during my first pass through it. The last time that I visited it was months ago, perhaps half a year by now. I began clicking through links that I’d shared back in 2007. Finding one particularly interesting, I shared it to a friend’s Facebook page. This getting onto Facebook business made me want to share something across my own wall. I was fresh off of the whole Slack business, so I found this gem:

And the rest is history.

Sorry, I can’t share more. I want to, I really do. However, I’ve been here before, and I know how my mind works in these situations. I’m going to be keeping my nose to the grindstone to see this project through to success. I’m excited to do my part to ensure that it lives to see wider recognition. Until then.

Now for the real thoughts of the hour.

I’m going to bring all of my old blog posts over to this site. They are a part of my history, and they belong here, now that I have found a permanent home for them.

While reading my old blog, I found a long-abandoned multi-user blog that MC and I made. I was suddenly overcome with curiosity, and moved immediately to reach out to him. He’s still in school, still got the same phone number, but he’s now a father! His son’s name is Christopher, and I hope that Christopher grows up to experience even greater things than MC and I have seen.

Reflecting on my old writing, I mused about witnessing growth through writing. Or a lack thereof. I leave this as an exercise to the most astute reader.

The fact is that I am a compulsive writer. Sigma Insight: Why Your Blog Will Fail is the first thought that came to mind when I considered those two words this evening. The man is right – there’s nothing magical about blogging for a living. My only lament is that I have too many interests to cover them all by myself.

Going in for my first day of work at the electronic cigarette store tomorrow. Alarm set – 1:00AM bedtime. Disappointed to find that I didn’t have any more steaks in the freezer, and I’m still hungry. I’ve already consumed two protein shakes – what’s a third?