Friday, November 16, 2012

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Best Life Time Out Or Distraction Is Being Sick

I woke up with a sore throat yesterday. 9 times out of 10 a sore throat is a prelude to being sick. I had a sore throat, runny nose, and congestion going to sleep. I applied a Breathe Right nasal strip and rubbed Vicks Vaporub on my throat to combat the congestion. As of the blog entry, I have a sore throat and mild congestion. The next 24-48 hours determine if I have Respiratory Syncytial Virus or RSV. Feb 2012 was the last time I became sick with RSV. I hope it's just a common cold which very rarely happens to my body.

The frustration getting sick was the same earlier this year. My life was starting to be consistent: going to the gym 3-4 days a week, job searching, catching up with emails . . . moving forward again. Also, family distractions affecting me were ending and my dad purchased a new laptop with wireless capabilities so we both can be connected to the web instead of one waiting for the other. My life was ready to press play instead of a combination of slow motion and pause.

Everything that caused me to be sick happened. Everything that went wrong did. Everything beyond my control caused me to be sick. Nobody was to be blamed. The events leading to my sickness:

*Some of my breakfast, lunch, and dinners were incomplete and unhealthy. I should have been more proactive in eating enough foods. I ate two meals on Sat, ate a poor breakfast and a light lunch on Sun, and ate a weak lunch consisting of Sat's leftover food on Mon.

*I helped my uncle, aunt, and cousin with their laptops and set up their wireless printer last Sat. My aunt was sick.

*My brother's family was staying over the weekend. My nephew was sick, and he coughed in front of me.

*I wore shorts instead of long pants going to the gym Tue night. The night was cold. I plan to buy another long gym pants and, maybe, long sleeve gym shirts during the holiday season.

*Also, I didn't drink enough water because I felt bloated. That should have been a sign to skip the gym. I worked out at late hours because I really wanted to get back in shape. I tried too hard.

*And I rushed out of the house to the gym for a quick workout neglecting the cold weather. I didn't turn on the car's heater, and it was my mom's car I drove to save a minute from backing out my car from the driveway. My mom's car took longer to heat the car. I should drive my car to the gym permanently.

*Cold days and evenings meant getting sick was in the air.

*My body failed to adjust the cold days and colder nights. My area had record breaking warm temperatures last week.

*I slept with one less blanket the night before I got the sore throat because the house was too hot. My parents didn't turn off the heater. I woke up when the heater turned on. I turned off the heater and didn't sleep with that extra blanket.

Time Out, Raymond

Perhaps, the timing getting sick is good. Forget my life frustrations and anger I can't control. My life is stopped. My focus is recovery. My body is telling me to stop, rest, refocus, and do something different. It's time to hold off living life do something every minute, every second. Time out, Raymond, for keeping your mind occupied with something you must do. It's time to be bored. I may just read books like I did in Sept 2011 when I had RSV. Reading books is an acceptable time out.

Job searching, watching anime, reading emails, anything that frustrates you when you don't complete it, anything you need to catch up are on hold. Just relax. Take it easy. Stay warm. Eat Jell-o and yogurt. Drink coke.

Side note: If my sickness becomes RSV, I write another blog detailing my recovery. I re-read my past RSV blogs to remind myself how I recovered.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Top Ten Late Bloomer Moments

It's never too late to (fill in the blank). Live the present. Life is too short. The Most Interesting Man In The World commented on life: It's never too early to start beefing up your obituary.

I'm a late bloomer. Since Dec. 2010, I did the following for the first time in San Francisco: rode a cable car, walked on the Golden Gate Bridge, visited Crissy Field, ate a sundae at Ghirardelli Square, shopped at Union Square, visited Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill, urban hiked on The Embarcadero, and hiked at Angel Island. I should have done most of those during my teens and 20s. The sundae, however, I should have done when I was a child.

I went back to college to earn an AA degree in Accounting. Going back to school gave me an opportunity to correct my mistakes I did while an undergraduate at San Jose State. It was a redo, to experience the experiences, to create college moments I failed in my 20s at a school environment. My biggest mistake I corrected was meeting new people and making new friends. I used social networking to keep in touch with my friends. I met my girlfriend in the social ballroom dance class, number 2 in my top ten.

I continue to catch up what I missed in my 20s. There are more memories to create. I want to have more "I did this", "been there, done that", "did it before", "met that person", etc. Here are my top ten late bloomer moments:

10. My Gaming PC (2008). I wanted my own PC with the latest, greatest, long lasting hardware I could afford. My dad provided the family PC with decent hardware. He could have done better. My first built PC is shared with the family. Thank you appu, gmontem, and my dad for their assistance.

9. Cosplaying At Anime Conventions (2004). I started attending anime conventions in 1997. It took me seven years to wear a costume (cosplaying) for the first time. Thank you mom for making the costumes. I have worn my costumes to Halloween events and gatherings outside the convention.

8. My First Retail Job (1996). I didn't work in a retail job in high school. Bad mistake. I believe everyone should have the experience working at a retail job. You learn a lot about life and people not taught in the classrooms. Blockbuster Video was the retail business I worked. I have stories.

7. My First Video Game Played Online (2007). I'm a casual video gamer who started playing video games with the Atari 2600. It took me years to play a video game with other players online for the first time. I was introduced to Team Fortress 2 (TF2) from the guys. I remember having Monday Night TF2 when the game was the most popular game played. I managed to get a couple of hours of sleep on work nights sometimes.

6. My New Face (2007 & 2009-2010). I wore braces from 2007-2009, well beyond my high school and college years. I took Accutane to treat my acne from 2009-2010, well beyond my high school and college years. I have a better smile and acne rarely appears on my face like once in a blue moon.

5. Reading Fiction Books (2008). I started reading books in 2002. I read business, self-help, leadership, and investment books. I had no interest in fiction books. I read my first fiction book since Les Miserables in 1995. I learn more about life reading fiction books than non-fiction books, especially almost all those self-help books.

4. Meeting New People (2006). I had a few friends before 2006. I started meeting new people and opening myself up. Today, I know more people and I have the most friends ever in my life.

3. My Own Car (2007). I purchased my own car from a neighbor couple who moved to the Eastern United States to be closer with their family. I take care of my car the best I can with good parts, quality oil, and Chevron gas. There have been many adventures. There are more coming soon.

2. Dating (2010). I met my girlfriend in a social ballroom dance class at a junior college. I never dated in college and afterwards up to the end of 2010.

1. Grow Up (2008). I was in Los Altos, CA. I spent the day playing board games with a friend. He had to leave early. I walked across the street from the library to the downtown. There was an arts festival. I walked around browsing the booths. I ate a teriyaki chicken rick bowl for lunch. It seemed I was the only person alone. I didn't have a girl with me. I didn't have a family. I didn't have a group of friends with me.

I walked back to the library parking lot. I crossed the street. I said to myself on the sidewalk, "Oh, my god. I have to grow up." Life has been the best for me since 2008.

Honorable Mention: Visited Canada in 2005, ate sushi in 2008, hiked in 2009, ice skated in 2010, snuck in food in a movie theater in 2009, and online chatted in 2007.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Let's Play Japanese Mahjong (Riichi)

I'm a beginner Japanese Mahjong (Riichi) player. I played Mahjong for the first time in 2007. I hated it. The guys challenged me to learn Mahjong and try again in 2009. I accepted. I love the game today even though I won a total of three games since my first win in July 2010. Mahjong is a social game for three or four players. The game requires thinking, predicting, and strategy. I see myself playing the game in my senior years because it keeps my brain active.

One of the ways I learned Mahjong was searching on the web for setup, rules, basic strategy, scoring, and hands. I was disappointed to find few resources. I created a beginner's guide to help me learn the hands. I want to share the list. Click the link below to download.

My Riichi Hand's Guide

Contact me if there are errors. If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, contact me and we see about meeting up. My group is looking for players. I included a scoring chart on the last page to assist with scoring. Source of the pics are from's flash version of Mahjong.

I own two Mahjong books that teaches the Chinese version. These books provided little help for the Japanese version. There is an offline mahjong game Saikyo no Mahjong 3D translated in English. I provide the download file link and a glossary guide below. If the download link fails, then Google "Saikyo no Mahjong 3D" to find other hosting websites.

Saikyo no Mahjong Download English Version

Saikyo no Mahjong Rules Explanation

Here is an online version of Mahjong. The game is difficult for early beginners.

Mahjong Flash Online

These websites below provide resources and information. Osamuko's terminology source is daunting for the early beginner, yet has lots of definitions.

Mahjong Made Simple

European Mahjong Association


Japanese Mahjong

Osamuko's Mahjong Blog List Of Terminology

Finally, the Wikipedia resources.

Japanese Mahjong

Japanese Mahjong Hands

Japanese Mahjong Scoring

Friday, November 09, 2012

Friday November 23

Black Friday 2012 is on Fri Nov 23. The retailers are happy because there are more Christmas shopping days. Google "Black Friday 2012" and you preview retailers that released their Black Friday deals early.

My past Black Fridays were a combination of convenience, necessity, must have, and long overdue. I rarely purchase on impulse. My self control for impulse purchases is excellent. I'm picky when it comes to prices. I shop around. There were some Black Fridays I felt the prices were not low enough. I avoid purchasing goods I feel I can find lower on Cyber Monday or in the future.

My 2012 wish list satisfies the four combination above. Here is a sample:

*Computer chair. I'm sitting on one of my dad's computer chair that randomly lowers itself. There is another chair our family got free years ago. It's too big and uncomfortable. It's time for a new chair.

*USB memory sticks. I have a 128MB, 510MB, 4GB, and an 8GB. Go figure. It's time for more memory sticks.

*External backup drive. The guys have a point. DVD backups are old school. Prices for external backups are really good. My 500GB I purchased in Oct 2008 for $100 is full. It's time for a bigger backup drive.

*Blu-ray drive. I built my Gaming PC in 2008. Prices for a BD drive was $120. I see prices today between $50-$60. I have six BD movies. It's time to watch BD.

In 2011, I purchased Glee Season 1 for $12, Family Guy Vol 5 and Vol 6 for $34 and Firefly for $13. The last time I purchased Family Guy was in 2007. I also purchased a USB power outlet for $16 at Monoprice.

In 2010, I purchased a Sandisk mp3 player for $55. The last time I purchased a mp3 player was in 2006, and it crashed such that I lost half of my songs and I couldn't upload new songs.

In 2009, I purchased a leaf blower for my family, GPS for vacations, and 2.1 speakers for my PC all at cheap Black Friday prices.

My 2009-2011 purchases satisfied the convenience, necessity, must have, and long overdue combination. Good luck, be patient, shop around, and happy Black Friday shopping.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Steve Jobs And Tomorrow

I combine two short blogs into one blog entry. The first is Steve Jobs and the second is tomorrow.

If I had an opportunity to meet someone, who is the person? Dead or alive.

My answer is Steve Jobs. I watched the Steve Jobs documentary on PBS and Steve Jobs on 60 Minutes after he past away. I want to know how he became successful. How did he discover up his vision, his genius, his overcoming of fear. He must have feared something. I know some people thought he was a jerk. How did Jobs' connect the dots from his past experiences and acquired knowledge to create what Apple is today? The products are simple and intuitive. He changed the world. He had charisma and a great salesman personality. His biography book is on my wish list.

Tomorrow's Plan

I like to plan ahead for the next day, next weekend, and next big activity. Planning ahead gives me assurance I prepare for everything going smoothly, checking off my to-do list, and anticipating anything that may hinder. I have a backup plan with alternate choices for those hindrances.

However, sometimes I don't know what I'm going to do tomorrow. Sometimes an adventure, a new experience, a surprise moment happens. I welcome those three situations because life is not 100% planned by the book. I believe a surprise, a mystery, an unknown makes life exciting. It keeps me focus and reminds me anything can happen. Anything.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

One Game At A Time For The San Francisco Giants, One Day At A Time For Me

Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants for winning the 2012 World Series. The Giants won two World Series Championships in the last three years, and their second in San Francisco franchise history. The 2012 theme was never quit, don't give up, believe in themselves, play for the name on the front of their jerseys and not the back, and determination. In comparison, the 2010 championship team was a band of misfits and castoffs who got together and clicked instantly--an excellent example of team chemistry.

Outfielder Hunter Pence said a pre-game speech on the first of six elimination games the Giants won to reach the World Series, "Look into each other's eyes. I want one more day with you. We must not give in. We owe it to each other. Play for each other." The "one more day with you" was what I took from the championship season. Some of the broadcasters from the Giants flagship radio station KNBR 680 AM said the Giants took their six elimination games one game at a time. Focus on one game at a time. Here's a recap on the six elimination games the Giants won:

*Game 3 National League Division Series (NLDS) vs. Cincinnati Reds. Pence started his pregame speeches and team huddling that continued for the rest of the Giants' postseason. The Giants won in 10 innings 2-1 when eight-time Gold Glove third baseman Scott Rolen committed an error from Joaquin Arias' grounder.

*Game 4 NLDS vs. Reds. Angel Pagan, Gregor Blacno, and Pablo Sandoval hit home runs in the 8-3 win. Tim Lincecum earned the win in relief.

*Game 5 NLDS vs. Reds. Buster Posey hit a grand slam. Matt Cain was strong enough to defeat Giants nemeses Mat Latos in the 6-4 win. The Giants were the first time to win three elimination road games.

*Game 5 National League Championship Series (NLCS) vs. St. Louis Cardinals. Barry Zito pitched 7 2/3 shutout innings in the 5-0 win for his first postseason win since 2006.

*Game 6 NLCS vs. Cardinals. Ryan Vogelsong struck out a career high nine batters as the Giants won 6-1 back at AT&T Park.

*Game 7 NLCS vs. Cardinals. Pence's broken bat that struck the ball three times double started the 9-0 decisive clinching "The San Francisco Giants are going to the World Series" win. The NLCS MVP Marco Scutaro's TV shot of the rain pouring down was memorable.

I believe that's how we should live our lives: one day at a time. We live in the information age we are stimulated with information every minute. Slow down a little and take each day of life one at a time. I'm unemployed and I'm job searching. I still have a life. I send resumes and cover letters to job openings. I read books for leisure and to keep my job skills fresh. I write blogs. I workout at the gym. I spend time with my friends. I listen to music. I cook. I pay my cell phone. I do laundry. I wash dishes. I write blogs. I shop for groceries. I'm always looking to meet new people. I find new adventures and new experiences to experience. My life continues to the next day, and the next day is lived one day at a time.

2012 San Francisco Giants Notes:

*The team ERA was 1.46. The last time a winning team had a ERA under 1.50 was the 1966 Baltimore Orioles.

*The Giants were the first team to win six elimination games in a row to reach the World Series in Major League Baseball history.

*Adversity in the regular season: Sandoval was on the disabled list twice for a strained hamstring and broken hamate bone, Brian Wilson needed Tommy John surgery; Melky Cabrera suspended 50 games for performance enhancing drugs; Los Angeles Dodgers' multiple blockbuster trades bringing in superstars.

*The last National League team to win a World Series via sweep was the 1990 Cincinnati Reds defeating the Oakland Athletics.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Succeed Without Trying

My college education and most of my career I succeeded without trying. I studied and read books in college. Those were it. I succeeded. I graduated. My GPA was above 3.3. I had my best classes earning A's and my struggling classes earning C's. I changed majors from mathematics to economics. My GPA never went down afterwards. I honestly didn't try 100%. I'm confident if I went back in time and tried 100%, my GPA could have been higher and I could have a better college life including more friends, more activities participated, and more experiences I should have experienced in my 20s.

My jobs as a research analyst and business analyst continued my success without trying. One of the major reason I succeed without trying was my jobs were unchallenging. The solutions to problems were easy. My daily responsibilities were too routine. Why did either nobody call me out or I fail to realize I was too good and needed a change? I believe the reasons were my immaturity, my no confidence, my take life for granted attitude, and/or my behavior as a naive adult. I completed anything that was my responsibility, and almost all of the time I accomplished without help.

What Is Trying?

My life has been a collection of successes and accomplishments on the easy road. Life drives me on the short and straight routes no matter what I do. My childhood was one and either move on or done trying. If I liked it, I continue. If I hated it, I quit immediately. Nobody, I repeat, nobody, encouraged me to try again, try again, try again. I'm the master of easy. I start at level 1, then rise quickly to levels 2-4, and then I stop at level 5. If I try really hard, I can continue up to level 10. I don't. I stay at level 5.

My most recent try and quit was Mahjong (Riichi). I played Mahjong for the first time in 2007. I was interested. I researched online to learn more and purchased a book days later. Learning took too much time to learn in detail. I quit. I played Mahjong again in 2009. I liked Mahjong. I practiced online, read better online instructions, memorized the hands, and even purchased my own Mahjong set. I won my first game in July 2010 and my second and third games in May 2012. I learned from my mistakes finishing last too many times between those dates. I didn't quit. I should not have quit in 2007. I missed so many opportunities to play with my friends and maybe meet new people between 2007 and 2009. Mahjong is one of my all time favorite board games today.

Someone told me I "fell through the cracks" throughout my careers. I mastered all my entry level positions I worked, yet I never advanced. I believe a big reason was I didn't try to move upward. Another big reason was nobody gave me a chance or opportunity to move upward that was beyond my control. Regardless, I take responsibility for failing to try harder to advanced my career, open new opportunities, and learn new job skills and knowledge. The lesson is try, try, try. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail. There is no more try and quit immediately.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Invite Me For Foods And Drinks

I believe one of the best ways to get people together is food and drinks. We all know how alcohol brings people together. The same applies to food. Prepare good food, provide a variety of choices, and people in a social gathering are going to be happy. Food and good people complements each other. The food doesn't have to be top chef professionally prepared. The food must have heart. It's okay to purchase food from a store or restaurant sometimes.

If you need an activity or a theme to do something, anything, then think of a food and/or drink and a location to bring people together. Think simple. It can be a cookie gathering. Bring cookies and milk. It can be a soda gathering. Bring two bottle sodas from Beverages & More or Cost Plus World Markets and cups to share. It can be a toast gathering. Everyone brings different breads and different jellies. Wine and cheese in somebody's home is a classic. Or it can be the standard lunch, dinner, and pot-luck. There are many food and drink themes to bring people together.

Once people are settled in with good food and drinks, then good conversations, jokes, and laughing starts and continues to the end. There are new people to meet. There are games that can be played with food and drinks. Expect more laughing and smiles. Eat well and drink plenty.