Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Top Ten Songs That Cheers Me Up

We experience feeling depressed, sad, and desponded. We're human. We need something to cheer us up. Music is one of my favorite ways to cheer me up. Moreover, according to a new study, published in Nature Neuroscience, demonstrates for the first time that music causes the release of dopamine in the brain, just like other pleasurable stimuli, such as food, drugs, and sex. (Source: Amen Clinics Blog "Feel Good Music".)

Here are my top ten songs:

10. "Crazy For You" by Madonna. Madonna's second number 1 single. The song reminds me of my final year at San Jose State University studying for exams and finals.

9. "Don't Dream It's Over" by Sixpence None The Richer. The band sang the song originally sung by Crowded House.

8. If you don't know what is, go to their site and listen to their fantastic selections including relaxation, classical, nature, and jazz.

7. "Personality" by Lloyd Price. The song reminds me the lesson I learned in Nov. 2012. The single reached as high as number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100.

6. "F**kin! Perfect" by Pink. The song was inspired by her husband Carey Hart. F**kin! Perfect is Pink's 11th top ten hit single. Pink was the last pop CD I purchased.

5. "Unwell" by Matchbox Twenty. The song saved my ass when I was lost and I didn't know what I was doing back in Sep-Oct 2008. Rob Thomas wrote the song for people who are, "messed up and feel alone like that. We all feel a little messed up sometimes... you're not alone."

4. "Better Days" by Goo Goo Dolls. I learned the power of forgiveness listening to the song. I feel optimistic. The song was originally for a Target store Christmas album.

3. "Man In The Mirror" by Michael Jackson. Part of the lyrics below:

And no message could have been any clearer
If you want to make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change

2. "Hey Jude" by The Beatles. Paul McCartney wrote the song to comfort John Lennon's son, Julian, during Lennon's divorce. The song comforts me in a different way. Song credited to Lennon-McCartney.

1. "Let It Be" by The Beatles. One of the best life lessons I learned. I listen to the song so I can always remember it.

Honorable mentions: "Lose Yourself" by EMINEM, "Lady Madonna" by The Beatles, "Cuts Like A Knife" by Bryan Adams, and "You're The One That I Want" by Olivia Newton-John.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Your Five Senses Craves New Things And First Times

I was in the cities of Palo Alto and Menlo Park last weekend. I wanted to buy Skyfall on BD and DVD combo pack. Safeway had a Club Card special for $18.99. There was a Safeway just off Sand Hill Road. I never shopped at that Safeway before. I choose to shop there for the first time to buy Skyfall. I also choose to shop there because it was a new sight for me.

I believe living a good and healthy life with excitement includes stimulating our five human senses: sight, sound, taste, smell, and feel. We must keep our curiosity active no matter our age. There is always a little child inside us to try and explore, do something new, experience new experiences, seek new adventures, and communicate with new people. There are moments we see a new part of a city, listen to new music, eat new foods, smell a new plant, and hold a pair of ice skates for the first time. These moments are examples of helping us socialize by sharing experiences and telling stories.

Live an active life. Stimulate your senses with something new and doing something for the first time to avoid boredom. Don't take life for granted doing the same thing over and over. Don't settle in and be content. My life motto is, "Get up and do something, anything."

Friday, February 22, 2013

An Adventurous October

I ate at two new restaurants for the first time. Make an effort to take care of your car. A well taken car, good food, and new discoveries are part of a good life. Enjoy the pics!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

How You Say It Is More Important Than What You Say

I learned the "how you say it is more important than what you say" for the first time in 1999. I thought the lesson was ridiculous. I didn't care about how I was communicated. I never thought about the tone, the volume, the pace, and the emotion. I never thought about the physical aspects including eye contact and hand movement. I cared about what was communicated. Tell me what I need to know and the conversation was completed.

I thought about the lesson again talking to a florist last weekend. The florist was Chinese. She started a conversation about people being rude. I initially thought she shared bad customers during Valentine's Day. The people she referenced were Chinese people in a Chinese restaurant. The patrons and restaurant staff were loud, rude, impolite, and argumentative. I agreed with her. I sarcastically said a legitimate Chinese restaurant has the characteristics of those Chinese patrons and restaurant staff; otherwise, the Chinese restaurant is not legitimate. Moreover, stereotypically speaking, Chinese people are stubborn, lazy, short-temper, always late, have too much pride, and too content.

Stubborn and lazy describe my parents. My parents also have a communication problem. They communicate as if they're angry off at something. Their speech lacks genuinely, lacks parental and family caring, and no joy. Don't get me wrong. There is no malice, no offensive intent, and no hate involved. They make no effort communicating in a friendly way. They take our family relationships for granted.

How should my parents and I say it? My answer is with personality, with confidence, with sincerity, and with integrity. I communicate not too loud and not too quiet at a consistent pace. How I communicate is more important than what I communicate is true. I hope my parents follow my example as I improve my communication skills. Perhaps, Chinese restaurants can be calmer and less stressful for everyone.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Top Ten Bad Breaks And Bad Timings

We all experience bad breaks. We all have been at the wrong place and at the wrong time. They happen beyond our control most of the time. These are part of life. We deal with it. We learn from it. We prepare the next time bad breaks and bad timings occur.

I admit these are small potatoes in my opinion. I could have experienced worse. I believe the more I live, the more difficulties I experience, and the more bad breaks and bad timings come to me. I'm prepared. Here are my top ten:

10. Stomach Flu (Dec 1991). My sister was an extra in The Nutcracker ballet. One of the extras in her group was an executive in a high tech company. He organized a party for all the extras and their families. My family told me it was the best party ever. I missed it because I was bed-ridden with the stomach flu.

9. Super Bowl XXXI (Jan 1997). Blockbuster Video called me to fill in a shift for a sick worker during the time Super Bowl XXXI was broadcasted. My shift was over when the football game was over. I missed the party with my friends. It was the only Super Bowl I missed since I became a football fan.

Side note: All the female employees worked the early and afternoon shifts. The male employees worked the evening shift.

8. Dot Com Stock Market Bust (Mar 2000). I doubled my money in my stock portfolio. I was stupid I didn't take my money and run. My portfolio never recovered. I lost lots of money.

7. An Economics Major With Three Semesters Of Physics (1994-1995). Physics was required for a Mathematics major. I switched majors from Mathematics to Economics on the semester I took my third and final Physics class. What a waste of time.

6. Fanime Con '98 (Feb 1998). The first time I was sick during an anime convention. I survived taking multiple medications. If anyone looked at me, they thought I was stoned.

Side note: The next time I was sick during an anime convention was Anime Expo '11 in July 2011.

5. Anime Expo '00 (July 2000). The convention was held at the Disneyland Hotel. Disaster from the start. Midnight programming was shut down. A featured movie never arrived. Congoers in costume and Disneyland security clashed. Complaints Disneyland food were expensive. The construction and renovation made it worse as congoers had to detour around the hotel perimeter.

The reason Anime Expo went to the Disneyland Hotel was the Anaheim Convention Center underwent expansion. 2006 was the last year Anime Expo was at the Anaheim Convention Center.

4. Cisco Contract Terminated (Nov 2008). The real estate bubble bursted in the beginning of 2008. It was a matter of time when my contract was terminated. 11 months was a long time from Jan. I believed I was terminated because my manager favored another contractor who had an MBA degree, not necessarily because my department didn't have the money.

3. My Manager Left Me Behind (Sept 1998 and Oct 1999). My manager who hired me at my first job went to a competitor . He also hired me at our competitor. Then he moved to another country months later. He didn't give me enough training in research analysis and being a good employee. He didn't have enough time to mentor me. It was like he ditched me.

2. New General Education Requirements At San Jose State University (Fall 1993). I was really angry to be honest. The new requirements started for all enrolled students except graduating seniors. I had to take extra classes. I could have graduated one semester early if it wasn't for the extra classes . . . and my Physics classes.

1. Graduated My High School Senior Year At A Different High School (1992). I was affected again with a bad economy. The 1990 recession forced my district to close two high schools. The high school I attended for three years was one of the two high schools to close. I really didn't have a bad senior year. I should have been more proactive in being friendlier and I should have accepted attending a different high school.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Three Hours Of Me Time Weekdays

I was inspired to write a blog about a full time worker who commutes daily. I helped my dad and his friend paint a house. My dad and I woke up and ate breakfast at 7:30am. We drove off at 8am. We arrived at 9am to paint the entire day with an hour for lunch. My dad and I went home at 6pm. We arrived home at 7pm. We went to sleep at 10pm because we wanted and needed eight hours of sleep. The routine repeated this week from Mon to Thur.

What if I have a 9am-6pm job that requires driving one hour to work? I can't wake up at 7:30am. Obviously, my morning was very casual and easy going for the house painting. I must wake up at 6am to eat a healthy breakfast, listen to the news and sports radio stations, read the newspaper, brush my teeth, shave, change clothes from my pajamas to shirts and slacks, gather my suitcase, lock the door, and drive off at 8am. My body wakes up slowly and it requires time to settle in for the working day.

The rest of the day follows exactly the house painting. To repeat the weekday schedule:

6am: Wake up
8am: Leave home.
9am-6pm: Work at my company.
7pm: Arrive home.
10pm: Sleep for eight hours.

I have no life with three hours of time for myself each weekday. I actually have less than three hours because I must factor cooking dinner, brushing my teeth, and showering. I have little time to workout at the gym, watch a television show or sports, and complete personal projects and errands. I also need time to keep up with my friends and family with email, Facebook, and Twitter.

How can people live life with three hours of discretionary and recreational time a day? I don't think I can. I can decrease my hours of sleep from eight to six by sleeping at 12am instead of 10pm. I predict I lose concentration, act grumpy, feel weaker, and make more mistakes with six hours of sleep. On the other hand, I can use extra two hours to read books.

We live a life where some aspects are instant and fast. A great example is retail and restaurants selling and serving fast food, fast dinners, and frozen microwave dinners including supermarkets, Costco, fast food chains, and your local 7-Eleven. I can buy my dinners that save me 30-60 minutes if I need to work at home. I prefer to cook because I cook and eat healthy. Cooking is one of my best activities to relax.

There is so much going on in our lives. I don't understand how people say they're bored, especially the full time workers. What if I have a family? I have no free time to myself. I need to raise and nurture my children. I need to spend time with my wife.

I can go on and on discussing how I spend a weekday at work, at home, on the road, with other people, and by myself whether I'm single or married and with or without children. The point is how can I achieve a satisfactory balance between work, rest, and leisure so I can live a healthy, productive, and active life? I have no answers at the moment.