Friday, January 28, 2011

23 Is Too Short

I received sad news an acquaintance I met in 2006 past away. Fructose, her nickname, passed away on Tue Jan 25 at the age of 23. We met in Santa Cruz at a mini gathering. We hung out at a few more gatherings and at a couple of anime conventions. She was an anime fan and a cosplayer. She worked at a medical clinic in central California.

My first reaction was 23 is too young to die. Then I thought back what I did when I was 23. I graduated from San Jose State. My gaming group had the best Robotech role playing game adventures and I was introduced to Advanced Dungeon & Dragons. I continued working at Blockbuster. The Florida Marlins defeated the San Francisco Giants in the NLDS. My family went to Reno for a summer weekend vacation. I worked at my first job after college.

Then I thought about my life today. I continue to catch up what I missed in my 20s. I continue to seek new adventures, experience new experiences, and learn new things I could have and should have done in my 20s. Live life today. This is the present. Live it. I'm sure Fructose lived her young life the best she could.

The information I received how she died is she failed to recover after being sick for 11 days. I believed she was admitted in a hospital. I don’t know the specifics.

The Personal Side Of Me Finding Raymond Mar

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Get Rid Of That Monkey Off My Back

I feel there is something making me grumpy, gloomy, crabby, and angry. I briefly mentioned the problem in my De Anza blogs. Those feelings have lasted since Martin Luther King, Jr. I’m not myself. My mood is sour.

I’m not depressed because I continue to live life. I attend school, I workout at the gym, I read, I watch anime, I cook, I spend time with friends, I complete my homework, etc. I scored a 90% on my first mid-term. A depressed person is someone who stopped caring and stopped living life. There is something, like a monkey or spirit on my back absorbing my happiness, my accomplishment, my desire to live life. As a result, my life feels boring.

There have been a few moments I feel happy and upbeat. There have been a few moments I feel angry and insulted. Rest assure. I keep my cool, and I act and behave casually. Nobody is at fault.

Moments and events beyond my control contributed to my negative feelings. The ones I remember include: the long lines at Safeway, late for accounting class, skipped gym Tue night because I ate dinner late, a driver cut me off merging in front of me, and the bland tasted dinners my mom cooked recently. Bad timing and bad luck in bunches are terrible.

I write this blog in the late hours perhaps killing whatever it is on my back. Maybe it’s my sleep pattern. I go to bed at 1am. I fall asleep around 2am. I try to wake up at 8am. I end up waking up 9:30am or 10am. I have been trying to sleep earlier and waking up earlier—a normal sleep pattern is my goal.

Ultimately, whatever is the reason I’m not myself time moves forward I’m going to be back to being myself. I have experienced these negative feelings in the past. I know these negative feelings are temporarily. I stay positive, optimistic, and live life. Those are the best I do now to be joyful again.

The Personal Side Of Me Finding Raymond Mar

De Anza Week Jan 24, 2011

Mon Jan 24

I arrived five minutes late in Intermediate Acct class. The reason was I shopped at Safeway to buy bananas for my snack between classes. I was surprised the checkout lines were long just after 12pm. All I wanted was to buy bananas. The end of the class my classmate showed me how to calculate bonuses and the instructor collected the two take-home quizzes.

I took my first mid-term in Intro to Business. The instructor said the mid-term is easy. It was easy. The mid-term was a joke. My impression was most students earn at least a B because most of them took other business, accounting, and/or economic classes. The first 5 chapters were basic accounting and economics. We reviewed some of the mid-term during the second half of the class. I missed two questions. If I just reviewed the powerpoint slides before the mid-term, then I answered one of the missed questions correctly. I studied the powerpoint slides two times.

The weather continued to be unseasonable warm. I ate outside the campus center for the first time. I believed it was the first time I ate outdoors when I stayed at De Anza for the entire day. There were plenty of open tables and I didn’t have to walk around searching for a clean table inside.

We continued learning the Nite Club Two Step in dance class. The mood was happy the instructor continued teaching us past the end time. I learned new moves.

Wed Jan 26

Today I felt crabby and gloomy like last week. The last ten days starting on Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday I wasn’t myself. There was no “Hey Jude” to cheer me up. The long line in Safeway was bad timing. I went back to Safeway to buy granola bars for my snack between classes. The long line, bad timing with the signal lights, and forgetting to make a right turn before the Flint Center parking garage to avoid the exiting traffic resulted in arriving 10 minutes late for Intermediate Acct. I was lucky I signed the attendance sheet.

The professor told the class the textbook we use is the same textbook a local private university uses. The textbook sucks. I joked with two of my classmates such that if we do better than the accounting students at the local private university, we should get scholarships and take accounting classes there. The professor continued with the chapter lecture. We’re behind in the course schedule. The concepts are not easy. I do my best and I finish before the deadline.

The average score was a 36 out of 50 for the first Intro to Business mid-term. I scored a 45 which was not too bad for studying the powerpoint slides twice and not reading the textbook. My intuition was strong. We watched another video. The video talked about entrepreneurs. The instructor shared his all-time favorite books. Two of his all-time favorites are also my all-time favorites: Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson and The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. The instructor told the class he reads the books more than once to remind and remember the key concepts useful for his businesses and partnerships. The last 30 minutes we completed an entrepreneur questionnaire to see if we have what it takes to be an entrepreneur and he opened the class to questions about starting a business. My questionnaire score barely made “the transitional range. With some serious work you can probably develop the outlook you need for running your own business.”

Turnout was the smallest in dance class. We refined the West Coast Swing. Then we started to learn the Cha Cha Cha. I made a few notes on my mistakes I correct next week.

The movie for the week is On The Waterfront. Last week’s movie was A Philadelphia Story.

The Personal Side Of Me Finding Raymond Mar

Friday, January 21, 2011

De Anza Week Jan 17, 2011

Mon Jan 17

No classes today. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.

Wed Jan 19

I woke up with the fear today was going to be a crabby day. My three day weekend was productive; unfortunately, I felt gloomy. It must have been the lack of daily sun. Monday’s weather was the worse. The unseasonably warm weather was a factor. I wasn’t the only person feeling gloomy. It seemed many people felt gloomy including my parents and some people who posted on Facebook.

The first song I heard driving to school was “Hey Jude” by The Beatles. I said, “Okay, maybe it’s not going to be that bad after all.” The day was okay. No complaints. All three of my classes went all right. I experienced fatigue in Social Dance. I ate my snack after my late lunch. One of my classmates in Intermediate Acct. showed me how to solve a problem that took additional time after class.

My first mid-term is on Mon. The class is Intro to Business chapters 1-5. Accounting and economics highlight the concepts. I didn’t read the textbook. I study the powerpoint slides and online handouts.

The Personal Side Of Me Finding Raymond Mar

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Five Year High School

Most of us attended a four year high school that started in September and ended in June. There are various high school formats. For example, two of my cousins attended a year-around high school that included six weeks of summer, two weeks of winter, and two weeks of spring vacations. In Japan, I believe the start of the new year is in April. Students get one month vacation in July, November, and March.

Times have changed. Life has changed. There is more to learn and know. Expectations and requirements are more challenging. Life today is more complex 20 years ago.

It’s time to change the high school format. I suggest we have a five year high school. Let’s spread out the graduation requirements. The five year high school format allows students the option to work part time and take fewer classes per semester. Working part time is great experience. College bound students have experienced more stress than their parents’ generation because of higher college expectations. There is no ironclad rule a students must attend college immediately after high school. Students need an extra year to prepare themselves to live on their own. School districts can revise the curriculum adding more updated classes and removing outdated classes.

Part of high school life is just being a young teen exploring and making mistakes. There are important life lessons outside the classroom that can’t be taught from a textbook. Sports are important, too. Give students extra time outside classes for sports. Give students time outside classes to have a social life. Give students time outside classes to pursue new hobbies and interests. There is no need to rush success. It’s ironic a common life lesson is be patient . . . haste makes waste. Yet, high school students still have only four years to graduate.

And colleges, you should allow five year high school students to apply. I’m confident they’re more prepared to handle college than four year students.

The Personal Side Of Me Finding Raymond Mar

Friday, January 14, 2011

De Anza Week Jan 10, 2011

Mon Jan 10

The second week of classes started today. My Intermediate Acct and Intro to Business classes are boring. I have to concentrate staying awake sometimes instead of concentrating on the lecture. I adjust and take necessary steps to make the best out of the boring class meetings. The only positive so far is I earn attendance credit for both classes.

The Intermediate Acct professor passed out a blank sheet of paper to write our names. I looked inside my notebook to find my name sheet from Fall ’10. He wanted all of us to display our names to assist him in engaging the class. How about improve your lectures first?

I went to the library after eating my late lunch to finish reading Chapter 13 in Intermediate Acct. I had extra time before dance class. I went to the computer lab to check my email. I saw a classmate from a past class. We talked about jobs, Christmas vacation, and Fall ’10 quarter.

There were a few students who dropped dance class. That was expected. There were more students who added. That was unexpected. The bottom line was we had more students tonight than last Mon. We continued learning the Nite Club Two Step. Personally for me, I learned key postures, hand and arm positions, and footwork in the dance I didn’t learn the first time. There are many female students’ names that begin with the letter “M.” It’s going to be rough remembering their names.

Wed Jan 12

All of Fall ’10 and Winter ’11 so far has been hard to focus because my classes are boring. My Intermediate Acct instructor knows accounting. The problem is he can’t teach. His lectures are boring and hard to comprehend. My Intro to Business instructor is boring because he teaches the concepts too simple; although, part of the reason is my fault because I know some of the material from my Economics degree and accounting classes. Also, the homework is too easy. Really, it’s too easy. I know I continue to mention all of this in future blogs.

The Intermediate Acct professor stopped in the middle of a lecture asking the students where was our name sheets? Only two or three placed their name sheets in front of them. The professor called out students from the roster to read sample CPA questions on the projector.

We continued learning the West Coast Swing dance. There were a few students who dropped. We still had a good turnout. I expected more students to drop next week. The class was slowly learning the basic sugar push. There were a few students who either learned quickly or had prior experience. All of the students cooperated in rotating partners. That’s the best way to learn dancing with different students. One pair of students never rotated. Its better they don’t because one of my friends almost got into a fight with him.

The movie for the week is Rear Window. Last week’s movie was Chinatown.

The Personal Side Of Me Finding Raymond Mar

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Accutane Day 705

Two weeks ago I purchased cheap store-brand bread. The bread was on sale and it was a way to save money. Unfortunately, I got three pimples. I stopped eating the bread. Days later, the pimples disappeared. This was another example food is a factor regarding acne. The pimples told me I was allergic to the bread.

The cold and dry weather still affects my sensitive face. I continue to apply Topicort when eczema appears on my face. I also continue to apply Atralin on my nose nightly and on my face every three-four days depending if my face can handle Atralin and no eczema for the night.

My next check up is early February. As of now, there are no significant problems to mention. There has been no dermatitis breakout. I apply Vanicream nightly.

The Personal Side Of Me Finding Raymond Mar

Sunday, January 09, 2011

De Anza Week Jan 3, 2011

Mon Jan 3

Today is a good day back to school. One, my winter quarter is Mon and Wed only. No more going to school Mon-Thur. Second, it seemed the mood was better than the first day of Winter ’10. I walked around campus and many people were in high spirits. I think the reason was they had a bad 2010 year and looked forward to 2011. Third, timing continued to be in my favor. All of the classes I have taken benefited me for Winter ’11; for example, the instructor who teaches this quarter’s Intermediate Accounting Part I is terrible, and the class is at night.

There were few parking spaces at Flint Center Parking Garage around 12:10pm. I park at Flint Center for one month and then I park at Stelling. I arrived at Intermediate Acct at 12:20pm at my usual seat. The professor arrived on time; however, he had to walk to his office to get the roster. Last quarter, the instructor arrived late almost every class meeting. We were assigned our first homework assignment. The green sheet stated two mid-term exams covering three chapters each. We see if he actually gives two mid-terms. He gave one last quarter and many students were unhappy because they did poorly on the first mid-term.

My next class is Introduction to Business immediately after Intermediate Acct. My classmates told me Intro to Bus is easy. I made a note even though I never take anything for granted. It is easy—so far. I looked at the first homework assignment. I knew all the answers from my accounting classes and my economics degree. Timing is everything. Objectively speaking, it’s an introduction class, a broad class for students new to business. I expect economic concepts to be explained in lament terms.

My Intro to Bus instructor owns a business in Palo Alto. He has taught financial planning classes and teaches at De Anza part time. He past jobs includes running two banks and being an executive at Charles Schwab. He has degrees in University of California, Berkeley and Minnesota.

I have a break between Intro to Bus and Social Dance. I use the break to study or run errands and eat my late lunch. Today’s break I ran errands and ate before dance class.

I plan to attend both Mon and Wed’s Social Dance. Mon’s class was full. There were three regulars or return students in the class. The feature dance is the Nite Club Two Step. Tonight’s lesson was typical. There were the usual mistakes just like I made when I learned for the first time. Next week the attendance is lower as there are always students who drop.

Wed Jan 5

It’s nice going to school two days a week instead of four days. I met one of my classmates from Intermediate Acct and Integrated Computer Acct in Fall ’10. We small talked our winter vacation and Winter ’11 classes. One of these days, I eat at his restaurant Sushi Maru where he works.

The professor finished Chapter 11 in Intermediate Acct. The green sheet stated Chapter 11 is not on the first mid-term. Chap 11 is Acct 1B concepts. I anticipated the homework is not difficult.

The instructor finished Chapter 2 in Intro to Bus. I rented the textbook instead of buying the textbook. I use the downloadable PowerPoint slides in .pdf to write notes when I read the textbook. Students can’t write and highlight on rented textbooks.

Wed’s Social Dance class was a good turnout. I could have saved my six and final dance enrollment for Spring ’11 just in case there was a threat the class is cancelled. There were many familiar returning faces. The feature dance is the West Coast Swing. West Coast is my second least favorite dance. It’s a hard dance I still have problems.

I want to review the lessons I learned at De Anza to end the week:

Winter ’11: ?
Fall ’10: Use it or lose it. Take it or leave it.
Spring ’10: Timing is everything.
Winter ’10: Go with the flow.
Fall ’09: Everyone is human.

The Personal Side Of Me Finding Raymond Mar

Thursday, January 06, 2011

SOMT: No More Television

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

ESPN broadcasted the college Bowl Championship Series (BCS) for the 2011 season. My family watches TV from the air waves. ESPN is a cable channel. I watched the Rose Bowl and Fiesta Bowl on ESPN’s website.

Watching the two bowl games on Jan 1 was the first time I watched sports on the internet. I had always watched sports on television. If it wasn’t for the internet, people with cable or satellite only could watch the BCS games. People with the digital converter box were out of luck.

Times have changed. I have the opportunity to watch sports on the internet. At the same time, I can do computer work. I have a 25.5 inch monitor. Half of the screen is the game and the other half is something else such as writing a blog or checking email. ESPN broadcasts most of their games on the internet. Moreover, other TV and cable stations broadcast their shows and/or news on their websites. And Hulu is a website to watch shows that aired earlier in the day. I don’t need cable or satellite; I really watch little TV.

The Personal Side Of Me Finding Raymond Mar

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Established Today And Tomorrow

I ask myself, “How do I know I established myself?” I look at my personally, my soul, my finances, my possessions, my beliefs, and my lifestyle. I observe many people and many families when I’m out of the house. There are lots of people, couples, and families that look established; however, I think most of them are not established. They are partially established such as a couple preparing to have kids, a family moving to a new house, or a person earning a promotion. On the other hand, a couple broke up, a family experiencing financial problems, or a person losing a job.

My answer to my question is I think I’m established, but I’m not. I look back and remember the last ten years. There were days I said, “Okay, this is who I am.” Weeks or months later, I’m someone else. Sometimes, I’m someone better. For example, from 2002-2008, I started reading non-fiction books including business and financial. In 2008, I started reading fiction books and read less non-fiction. Another example happened in 2001. I followed a workout plan I made up from 2001-2008. I followed a new and better workout plan in 2008. In 2004, I started wearing costumes in anime conventions. I had no interest in wearing costumes when I started attending anime conventions in 1997. And before 2006, I had few friends. I didn’t need lots of friends. I enjoyed life most of the time by myself. Today, I have lots of friends, and many more to make.

I believe we never achieve 100% establishment. I believed I establish myself reading non-fiction books (I hated fiction at the time), working out my workout plan, attending anime conventions in street clothes, and living alone for the reset of my life. I changed. Life changes daily for better or for worse and in good and bad times. We may be established financial and consumption wise such as cars, a place to live, and retirement. I don’t think we establish our souls, our daily lifestyles, and our beliefs. Everyday life is different, life innovates, and life flows anywhere. We learn, discover, and wonder. Our thoughts, beliefs, and knowledge change. There is always something to improve, to change, and to innovate ourselves.

If we live life the same daily, then we’re established. Most of us don’t live life the same. Thus, we’re never fully established.

The Personal Side Of Me Finding Raymond Mar