Saturday, March 30, 2013

A Mixed March Month

The month of March is usually a bad month in my life. My life gets better starting in April, and maintains a consistent good life for the rest of the year. My Mar 2013 is a mixed month of good moments and bad moments. I like to share what happened.

I started the month attending my cousin's baby celebration with local family, relatives, and cousin's family friends on Mar 2. It was the only family event in Mar. We went to my sister's fiance place afterwards for a dinner gathering; however, my girlfriend and I stayed for a few hours because we watched Argo in the evening.

In additional to Argo, I watched Lincoln on Mar 16, and Battleship and Sherlock Holmes 2 on Mar 23. I finished watching The Shield Season 2 on Mar 12 and I'm almost finished watching The Big Bang Theory Season 1. I had two anime marathons to catch up for the Fall '12 and Winter '13 seasons.

There were a few moments I turned back the clock to my past. The first was eating at Henry's Hi-Life on Mar 3. The last time I ate at Henry's was on 2001. I went ballroom dancing taking a beginning Hustle class at San Jose State on Mar 8. The last time I went ballroom dancing was on Mar 2011. And I read Mystery Of The Fat Cat by Frank Bonham on Mar 11. I was in fourth grade when I read the book for the first time. Unrelated to turning back my clock and related to time, I read The Time Machine by H.G. Wells on Mar 29.

I experienced problems with my Gaming PC. It started on Mar 7 when my PC displayed the blue screen of death on shutdown. I thought I fixed the problem using System Restore, running anti-virus, deleting temp files, and running disk defragment. They failed. I intermediately experienced the blue screen of death.

Another problem was physical. My upper right side of my back hurt. I pulled a muscle. The injury has lasted since Mar 10. I treated it with ice and Tiger Balm. I have not been lifting weights since then. My gym workout has been the treadmill and the stationary bike. I also injured my neck on Mar 12. The neck recovery took three days.

I updated my webpage on Mar 11 and my LinkedIn profile on Mar 17. Speaking of jobs, I finished a few online classes to refresh and relearn my job knowledge. The classes were Excel, Business Analyst, Crystal Reports, and Accounting. I interviewed for an accounting position at a tech company on Mar 26.

I crammed a total of 12 hours for the Accounting online classes before my interview. I experienced mind fatigue from Mar 26 to Mar 29. My body and soul were strong. I had trouble thinking. I slept long hours. I took a nap on Mar 28. My sleep schedule was inconsistent such that sometimes I slept at midnight and sometimes I slept at 3am.

A few miscellaneous items: I ate an Oatmeal Pop Tart for the first time, purchased Jockey undershirts and boxer briefs, and supported two Kickstarter board game projects. I didn't celebrate St. Patrick's Day and Pie Day.

I end the month cleaning the house. I vacuum the carpet, clean the bathroom, clean the kitchen, and mop the floors. I wear my gym clothes because it helps me control my sweat. And I purchase a Brita pitcher for the first time in my household.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Top Ten Mistakes, Bad Decisions, And Bad Choices

We're human. We make mistakes. We make bad decisions and choices. The consequences range from no harm to permanent damage. Don't repeat the same mistake twice. Learn from them.

We make little mistakes such as forgetting to say thank you, forgetting the car's turn signal when turning, spilling soda, and turning off the television before going to sleep. We make bigger mistakes such as failing a sales presentation, spilling tonight's dinner on the floor, forgetting to update the computer's anti-virus, causing a car accident, and hammering your finger instead of the nail.

One mistake I made was getting a traffic ticket for failing to yield when making a left turn. It was an embarrassing mistake. The consequence was paying a fine and traffic school. I could have hit the car causing an accident. The lesson was looking way ahead forward when making a left turn in a non signal light interaction.

One bad choice I made was being picky eating food. I opened myself up to new foods in 2007 because I started to wear braces. I ate kiwi, yogurt, sushi, watermelon, and any fruit ending in "melon". I missed out so many good foods and drinks. Picky eater is number six. Here are my top ten:

10. Preventable Sickness. There were several situations I could have prevented myself getting sick. There was Sept 2010 in Monterey, CA and Carmel, CA wearing the wrong clothes on a cold day, failing to eat enough foods, and drinking enough water to keep myself hydrated. There was also Nov 2012 when I skipped lunch and I got sick because I was too fatigued. And I attended a gaming convention which I didn't drink water all day in Sept 1996.

9. Summer Sabbatical 2007. The worse summer ever. I stressed out in the first months working at Cisco. I wanted to take a break. I didn't. What happened? The simple answer was I did nothing. No trips, no new adventures, no new experiences, no meeting new people . . . nothing.

8. Quitting Too Early. The most notables quitting too early were anime, MahJong (Riichi), and my job at Blockbuster Video. Mentioning anime is not an error. I was introduced to anime in 1993. It took me three years to become an anime fan because of Sailor Moon in 1996.

I started and quit Mahjong (Riichi) in 2007. I was frustrated losing games and I applied little effort learning the rules and memorizing the hands. I was fortunate to retry the game in 2009. Mahjong (Riichi) is one of my top ten favorite board games.

I quit Blockbuster Video to go back to school in 1996. I needed more money. I came back to Blockbuster Video and begged for my job back. I worked for an additional year quitting because I graduated college in Dec 1997.

7. Quitting Too Late. Sometimes there are moments you have to break your mom's life lesson of quitting too early for legitimate reasons. I should have quit Beginning Singing in Winter '10 at De Anza College. The class didn't meet my expectations, it was a waste of money, and it was a waste of time. Another activity I should have quit even before going to college was taking piano lessons. Piano lessons took time away from studying.

6. I'm A Picky Eater. I missed so much delicious food including honey dew, falafel, Thai, pudding, Pop Tarts, and cilantro. I was inspired to open myself up to new foods because I started to wear braces in 2007, thereby limiting my diet to soft foods for three weeks. Some of the soft foods I tried for the first time included kiwi and yogurt.

5. A Thank You After An Interview. I forgot to send a thank you email to a job in San Jose, CA. I believe I could have been hired if I emailed the thank you because I rocked the interview and I heard I was a top candidate after all the interviews were finished. I emailed a thank you for another job in Mountain View, CA; unfortunately, I didn't get the job.

4. Dot Com Boom. I failed to sell my stock investments when the NASDAQ reached 5,000. My stock portfolio doubled at the moment. I should have sold my stocks, take my profits, and ran away.

3. Support At Colliers International. The biggest lesson of my career I learned years later after I quit was I actually had support from most brokers and almost all the staff. My research dept. consisted of myself and my co-worker who was a dumb-ass for most of the tenure. I was miserable every day. If I realized I had people supporting me, I could have felt better and I could have been a more productive and more proactive worker.

2. Anime Expo (AX) 2007 and 2008. I should have skipped AX'07 and attended AX'08. AX'07 was held in Long Beach, CA. The Long Beach Convention Center was too small and there was overcrowding everywhere. There were also problems with some events and registration was too slow. AX'08 went back to Los Angeles which I didn't attend. There were fears and concerns AX'08 experienced more problems going back to Los Angeles. The convention went smoothly overall.

1. Napster. What a waste of money paying for the monthly fee at Napster. I should have paid $.99 for each of my favorite song. Most of the songs I downloaded from Napster I ended up deleting months later because they were really not my favorite.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Photo Album Day

I searched on Google, Yahoo, and Ask Jeeves if a Photo Album Day exists. There isn't. I suggest everyone take a day off once a year to look at photos from a photo album, computer, laptop, notepad, smart phone, etc. that shows photos. Share your photos with family and friends. Relive the memories. Share stories. Laugh, cry, smile, talk, silence, and be at peace. Take a break from the daily life. Pictures say a thousand words. Pictures are conversation starters. Pictures remind you, me, and everyone we're human.

Monday, March 18, 2013

SOMT: Police Officers At Schools

Blogger’s Note: SOMT stands for Sign Of My Times, an occasional blog sharing my thoughts how time changes life from when I was young to today.

There were two events I see police officers at my high school campus. They were football games or social dances. There were probably police officers when classes were in session to make an arrest. I never saw police officers when I attended classes personally. The last time I saw police officers was during my high school graduation ceremony.

My high school years were peaceful. There was no major event calling for law enforcement to patrol the campus daily. We had the typical fights, pranks, troublemakers, and students with problems needing extra attention. There were no violent crimes, drugs, alcohol, thefts, weapons, and assaults that required police actions; although, if there were, the administrators did a good job handling these problems at a low profile.

I never experienced going to school in a crime ridden city. I never experienced metal detectors, uniformed security personnel, random locker searches, and clear see-through bags. I never experienced fearing my life from physical harm. I never experienced school lockdowns when a felony was in progress near a school. I never experienced duck and cover practice for gun shots.

I believe all the high school districts and unified school districts have their own police force in my city and my neighboring cities. The first time I experienced a campus police force was my first day at San Jose State University. The California State University has a police force for all their campuses.

Times have changed. Today's youth from grade school to high school are exposed to the outside world easily through the media and internet. We are more aware of our surroundings today compared to when I was in high school. The world is complex. We have taken responsibilities and liabilities more serious. That thought influenced school districts having police officers and better security measures in schools.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Pictures Tell Stories

I shopped at Costco to buy bottle water, but I needed a car wash. I went to my Uncle's house bringing Ritter Sport and Vernors soda to fix his PC. There are many stores selling waste baskets I wanted to relax reading Good Omens and Les Miserables. Afterwards, I played Legendary. Sigh, not too shabby writing a story.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Ice, Ice, And More Ice, Baby

I was inspired to write a short blog on ice. A very rare and minor injury happened to me. I strained my upper right back muscle at my shoulder blade on Sun. The last time I strained a back muscle was my upper left back muscle at my shoulder blade years ago. I asked myself, "How I treated my upper left back muscle?" The answer was ice.

I remember telling my parents ice was important. There was little room for ice. Most of the freezer was occupied with leftovers and meats my mom didn't cook. I did my best to have plenty of ice for home medical remedies. Ice is an old fashion treatment for bruises, bumps, and muscle strains.

I feel better today. I can raise my right arm. I have a minor neck strain. I can turn my head with a little pain. I anticipate full recovery on Fri. I concentrate working out on the treadmill and stationary bike to maintain physical activity.

Ice is important in a residence. Make an effort to have ice cube trays and a bin to store ice.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

My Opinion On Telecommuting

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer ordered last month all telecommuting employees must work in their offices starting in June. Yahoo's intent is modeling Google and Facebook's working environment of people talking, interacting, and seeing each other every work day. Free meals are provided for employees to spend more time working and producing. According to business surveys, telecommuting is increasing across the United States.

"We need to be working side-by-side," said chief Yahoo Human Resources Jackie Reses.

I agree with Ms. Mayer. I'm old school when it comes to working. Work should be done at work. I get up, eat breakfast, and drive myself to work. I put my hours at work. I drive home, relax, eat a good dinner, and sleep well.

Human interaction is a requirement to a successful team and department. I want to see my co-workers eyes, their smile, and their emotions when communicating and collaborating. How you say it is more important than what you say.

I believe assignments are completed faster, more efficiently, and with better quality. The team interacts with each other and with their managers for elaborations, clarifications, sharing ideas, and improvements at the office. They aren't spread out with some at the office and some telecommuting.

We talk everyday about work, leisure, and finding out who we are inside and outside work. We can eat lunch together and relax together. I know my co-workers much better such as their favorite foods, favorite places to travel, pet peeves, hobbies, and their families. My bottom line is you work at home, then you're not at work, thereby you're not here. You're not here, you're not here.

However . . .

There are a few circumstances appropriate for telecommunicating. One obvious circumstance is health reasons. I don't want a sick co-worker at the office. Stay home. Another obvious circumstance is expected mothers. She feels more comfortable at a home environment with everything she needs at home to take care of herself and her child. And another circumstance is family emergencies and special circumstances such as taking care of a sick child, a utility worker repairing the hot water heater, and being on stand-by for a family event.

Friday, March 08, 2013

A Job Opening Tells More Than Apply Here

I'm currently looking for a job. I search and apply for job openings weekdays. I learn the job skills, the job knowledge, and the job requirements employers are looking to fill their open position. There is information every worker should know in today's information age and continuous changing job environment.

If I don't know the job skills and knowledge, then I find training classes. For example, some business analyst positions require Oracle and Salesforce. I'm viewing tutorials from Salesforce's website and watching YouTube videos. Oracle is on my list to learn soon. I found online classes on Oracle. In the meantime, I'm refreshing my basic software skills in Excel, PowerPoint, and Crystal Reports.

A College Assignment Out Of The Textbook

I suggest college students do a job search related to their majors starting in their junior year. The job search should include part-time and internship positions. The important reason is students learn the job opportunities, the job skills, and the job requirements related to their college major employers and the workforce are looking for. Students know what employers are looking for regarding hiring recent college graduates. They can enroll in classes best suited for their initial career goals. The information from job openings is not taught in classrooms.

Veteran workers should also do a job search to keep informed on the latest and greatest job trends. The job search should give the worker an idea what new job skills and job knowledge he or she must learn to increase the chances of a promotion in good times and staying employed in bad times. I suggest doing a job search every two or three months.

Never take a job for granted. Never stop learning. Never stop innovating.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

It Really Wasn't A Boring Week

I want to share my thoughts and feelings for last week Mon Feb 25-Sat Mar 2. The week was very active. My brain was stimulated every waking minute. I accomplished some activities unsatisfactorily. I was ahead in something and behind in something else. My feelings were a mixture of happy, depressed, mellow, excited, angry, and resolved. I could have done more; I should have done less. I felt good finishing some tasks. On the other hand, I felt frustrated other tasks were incomplete. I was focused on the task at hand, yet I ignored some other important tasks that should have been completed. I wanted to accomplish everything because they were very close being equally important for my well-being.

Here is what I did last week:

*Mon Feb 25. Spent too much time playing video games and too little time job searching. I didn't take any online classes. The video games satisfied my urge. Lunch and dinner eating leftover steak were boring. Good workout at the gym.

*Tue Feb 26. The video game urge continued at a lesser degree; fortunately, I was tired and stopped easier than Mon. I spent more time job searching. I finished two online lessons on Excel and Business Analysis. I skipped lunch because nobody in my family wanted to eat the steak; moreover, there was nothing to cook for dinner, so we saved the steak for dinner. Another good workout at the gym.

*Wed Feb 27. I continued my job searching. I finished another online lesson on Excel. My family finished eating the boring leftover steak. Date night.

*Thur Feb 28. A reset was called forth. I cooked new lunch and dinner. I vacuumed the house, washed dishes, and did laundry. I job searched. I started listening to TV shows and movies from my laptop instead of listening to music, news radio, and sports talk radio for background noise. No gym. I went to bed at 10am. I slept for 12 hours.

*Fri Mar 1. I changed the bed sheets. I finished the Excel online class. I got a haircut. I worked out at the gym. I did some job searching. I played Mahjong for which I finished last.

*Sat Mar 2. Date weekend day with my girlfriend. Everyone in my family attended my cousin's Red Egg And Ginger Party, a Chinese tradition for my cousin's baby at three months old. We visited my sister and her fiance's place afterwards. Then my girlfriend and I shopped at Half Price Books. We ate dinner at a mom & pop deli. The nighttime activity was watching Argo.

Focusing and concentrating on job searching and job skills are good because they give me a better chance of finding a job. The last time I interviewed was Nov 2012. I'm overdue for an interview. Phone interviews don't count. The downside is I lose my focus on my social life and my leisure activities. I think about getting a job and moving out too much.

Living a balanced life can be too good. I have high happiness and low stress. I spend an equal amount of time on recreation and leisure, job searching and job preparedness. The downside living a balance life is I fall behind in learning and relearning the job skills and knowledge I need. I have to devote more time to job related activities because I must find a job.

Retail Rotation

I must live my life like I work in retail. Almost all retail jobs require employees working on the weekends. I worked on the weekends when I was employed at Blockbuster Video. I got my two days off during the weekdays. My store manager schedule my two days off at his discretion. Those two days off were what I do as if they were a Sat and Sun.

There are no set days what I do and what I don't do. For instance, I never job searched Fri-Sun because those were days I have fun. I changed that by job searching on Fri Mar 1. Anything goes seven days a week. It can be going to the gym on a Wed instead of date night. Date night can change to Thur. I play video games on Tue. I read a book Sun and Mon. I job search during a three day weekend. I watch a movie or TV show on DVD on any weeknight.

I accept I'm always going to be behind in something. We live a life with priorities that change daily. There is always tomorrow to finish anything I didn't finish today. Pace myself. Take it one at a time.

It's time to live a mixture of job searching, learn new job skills, relearn my job knowledge from the past, workout at gym, read books, spend time with my girlfriend and my friends, cook, as well as seek new adventures, experience new experiences, and meet new people. I never said live a balance of job searching, etc. I should take advantage of being unemployed by taking it easy, relaxing, and pacing myself before going back to the workforce. However, I shouldn't take for granted being unemployed and stop giving a damn about my future. Be proactive. Get better and stronger. My clear and present top goal is find a job and move out so I can live my life.