Sunday, March 30, 2014

Family Sacrifice and Courage

I want to share a scene from a support character Kenji Makabe in the Japanese anime series Space Brothers (Uchu Kyodai) episode 82. Makabe is training to become an astronaut for a mission on the moon. Here is what Makabe said translated in English:

"Do you best" is a phase I always have to stop myself from saying. When bringing up a child, those words add needless pressure. After multiple failures, I realize this. But when [my child] tells me to do my best, I'm encouraged to work harder. I wonder how they feel about my becoming an astronaut. They've had to leave their native country, and live in an unfamiliar place, away from friends and relatives. They must be scared. They probably want to go back to Japan.

To send me to space, they're sacrificing a lot. I have to do my part. And use the time and effort that would have otherwise gone to them. It isn't enough to compensate their sacrifice . . . but I need to reach the moon before I can make things right!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Work Mar 23, 2014

Mon Mar 10 was the first day I drove home in daylight. Daylight Savings Time began on Sun Mar 9. A new hire started today. He works shipping and receiving in the back-end.

There was a tiny fire at the dumpster on Tue Mar 11. One co-worker tossed his cigarette in the dumpster. One of the employees quit after working for two weeks. She was a part-timer who has a full-time job. There were two sides to the story. The employee said she agreed to work Wed-Fri. The owner said she must work a Sat or Sun. She couldn't work Sat and Sun. She choose her full-time because it pays more.

My manager told me some regular customers who live closer to our second store prefer to shop at the first store. The discussion happened on Wed Mar 12. The top reason was the owner and the managers know the regular customers and treat them well. The second store's customer service was terrible. I didn't tell my manager my opinions. First, the second store has been open for over two months. Give it more time. Second, it's retail. Retail workers are paid low wages. Why should we care? Why should we give the extra effort?

I found out another co-worker quit. He has been working part-time which explained why I rarely see him for weeks. The end of the day I had a conversation with the part-time data entry/bookkeeper. She told me she traveled to many countries including France, Italy, Canada, Hong Kong, Brazil, and Egypt.

I was informed I work at the second store on Wed and Fri starting on Wed Mar 19. I told the co-owner my opinion on working at the second store two days a week. I said I should work on Tue and Fri. He discussed my opinion with the other co-owner.

The second store was busy for most of Fri Mar 14. I was busy, too. The short-handed staff affected both stores. A co-worker has been splitting his daily shift working in both stores. He hated it. Another co-worker told me there was a pattern for the tasting events. First, most attendees are walk-ins. We get low pre-registration counts. Second, most attendees leave the store after the event is over. They don't buy wines. The same co-worker was angry at the co-owner because the co-owner moved the set-ups from the patio to the inside. He closed the patio doors. And I ate my last lunch at McDonalds for a long time.

A customer showed me an app to help me track the wines I tasted. The name of the app is Vivino. I have been using the app to help with my work.

The new hires continue. One front-end worker started on Mon Mar 17. The store was dead on St. Patrick's Day. The commute was easy. We hired two more front-end workers and a part-time Data Entry/Bookkeeper who all started on Tue Mar 18.

My first Wed shift at the second store happened on Wed Mar 19. I was busy because we received products which were all new. The second store started selling furniture on consignment.

There was unnecessary early morning chaos. The short answer was miscommunication and misinformation. Too many emails were exchanged. I calmed down, refocused, and reassessed after the chaos ended. The rest of the day went well.

The two co-workers and I were walking to our cars after we closed the store. My manager called me five feet from my front door. He said my Thur Mar 20 shift is at the second store. The two co-workers were glad to hear the news.

We were short-handed on Fri Mar 21. Two workers called in sick. Happy spring everyone. The owner and the staff watched the Duke upset by Mercer. I found out the first store handled tasting pre-registrations for the second store. The second store is not responsible for the RSVPs and pre-registrations. The tasting attendance was 50% less than Fri Mar 14. I tasted wines after my shift was over. I used Vivino to track the Italian wines I tasted. One of my co-workers told me another classical music station. He said 97.9 FM KMZT. I helped close the store.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

SOMT: Supermarkets Grocery Stores From The 1980s

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.

I shopped at Lunardi's grocery store for the first time on Fri Mar 21, 2014. I purchased a deli sandwich, bottle water, and a bag of potato chips. I walked around the store carrying my sandwich to get my bottle water and potato chips. The store reminded me of grocery stores during my childhood.

Lunardi's is a traditional supermarket in my book from the 1980s. There is a full service delicatessen, bakery, and meat. Most aisles sell food, drinks, ingredients for baking, spices, cereals, dairy, wines & spirits, candy . . . items from yesterday's traditional grocery stores. There are aisles selling limited items traditionally found in a drug store, automobile store, and a hardware store.

Lunardi's doesn't have a pharmacy, bank, ATM, gas station, seafood department, fresh coffee kiosk, DVD rental vending machine, and Chinese take-out. Lunardi's doesn't sell specialty nuts, flowers, greeting cards, DVDs, and gift cards.

I believe Lunardi's business model is being a traditionally grocery store. I approve. Their full service departments are much better than the big name mega supermarkets. Their deli meats are fresher and tasted better. I ate a cookie from their bakery. It tasted like the cookies were made from brand name ingredients. Lunardi's prices are more expensive. The quality and value are worth the extra couple of dollars.

I miss the grocery stores in the 1980s. I'm happy Lunardi's is walking distance from my workplace. I shop at grocery stores to buy groceries. I shop at a drug store to buy drugs. I shop at an automobile store to buy motor oil. I shop at a hardware store to buy tools. I'm looking forward to shop at Lunardi's soon.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

You Are Who You Are From Your Head Down To Your Feet

You are a human being. You're responsible for who you are top, middle, and bottom. You're in charge of yourself physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, and spiritually. It is common knowledge adults make their choices how we live. Nobody makes choices for you. I want to comment some aspects on who you are and how you function in your life.

Brain. Take care of your brain. Your brain is responsible for your actions, thinking, memories, and learning. I use my brain to my fullest. I read books. I always seek to learn something new. I use my brain to comprehend everything in my life. Use your brain or lose it.

Mouth. I brush my teeth twice a day. I floss once a day. I clean my tongue once a day with a tongue cleaner. I smile because I'm happy I'm alive. I smile because I'm doing my best to live a better life. I take care of my teeth to enjoy eating new foods and be a good kisser.

Clothes. A good appearance starts with clothes. Wear clothes that resemble who you are. Wear clothes sincerely, honestly, and genuinely. Take care of your clothes including washing and ironing. If you're not a lazy person, then you must not be lazy choosing your clothes and taking care of your clothes. I'm happy I stopped wearing plain white t-shirts years ago.

Physical Activity. We have elbows and knees. Use them. Get active. I work out at the gym. Bodies are meant to move around. Find time to move around. Use your muscles or lose them.

Diet. Eat healthy foods and drinks. The simple saying "you are what you eat" is true. Junk food is unhealthy. Studies show junk food taste good during the meal moment; thereafter, junk food causes bad moods. Healthy food results in healthy minds and healthy emotions.

Bare Essentials. I fail to understand people not taking showers on a regular basis. I feel good with a clean body. I shower once a day. I get at least seven hours of sleep. I change my bed sheets once a month. I change my towels once a week. I wear deodorant. I wear a hat on sunny days. I want to be good at taking care of my body. The bare essentials are important. I always look for improving taking care of my body. I like myself. I take care of myself.

Bowel Moments. A few of my friends take a number two in the bathroom once a week. What the heck? I take a dump at least twice a day. Regular bowel moments are important. I don't want to carry waste in my body for a long period of time. Eat healthy to improve your bowel movements. An abdominal massage can help some people improve their bowel movements.

Work. It's important to work. I felt worthless being unemployed for two years and four months. I'm happy I found work. It's not permanent. It's a start. Earning an income makes me a responsible adult. I'm overwork and underpaid. That's okay. I pay my dues which results in good fortunes coming soon.

Pray. I'm not into religion. If you feel you must pray, then pray. The simplest way to relax and connect with your God is sit, close your eyes, and smile. Yoga and meditation are good, too.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Instant Bullets Blog Mar 9, 2014

*San Francisco Housing Market. The rents in San Francisco are skyrocketing. I read in the newspaper and hear on news radio studio apartments are at least $3,000 a month. I have no specific numbers of rents in New York City. It seems San Francisco is the Western United States version of New York City. It's unfair. It's reality. The demand for housing is higher than the supply. More people are earning higher incomes in the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley.

*Good Things Happen To Good People. I believe in good things happen to good people. Show the world you're a good person. The world responds with good things. Life has a way of giving good people who earned good achievements good moments and good fortunes. Never take goodness for granted. Always work and earn goodness; otherwise, bad moments happen.

*Flowers. Husbands, boyfriends, and the man or woman in a same sex relationship, buy flowers tomorrow. Give it to your significant other. Tell him or her life is happy with you. Be sincere. Be genuine.

*Friend Laid Off. One of my good friends is going to be laid off. His last day is Thur May 8, 2014. I still believe the job market is terrible. There is discrimination against the long term unemployed and college graduates. All of my friends who graduated college recently are unemployed. On the other hand, all of my friends who recently lost their jobs are employed at another company. Furthermore, an article reported people who lack education are losing opportunities to the people with higher education. The article is misleading because employers have higher expectations hiring people with better education and more experience.

*Female Orgasm. A quick sex tip. There are many ways for the man to make the woman orgasm. Think beyond vaginal intercourse. Pay attention to her responses. Communicate with your partner. Trial and error is a good sex theme because the mindset is focused on experimenting. Discovering can lead to new sex.

*Wine. I drank white wines for the first time. They were Arbe Garbe White Blend 2012, 1070 Sauvignon Blanc 2012, and Stony Hill Chardonnay 2009. I make an effort to taste new wines. I work at a wine store.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Work Mar 8, 2014

I clocked-in at 10:15am on Mon Feb 24. I think my internal clock was too slow. Maybe I count the seconds faster. I was 99% caught up because the owners were coming home after a weekend business trip. The entire store was quiet. There were no new emails. I was physically tired at the end of the day. No gym after work. Mentally, emotionally, and spiritually were good. I went to bed early.

Wed Feb 26 was my second time I drove to work in the rain. I experienced a serve case of dermatitis on my hands. I used hand sanitizer to clean my hands instead of the soap in the bathrooms. The shipping clerk caught a case of wine missing a bottle. My manager refused the case. He told me buyers or consumers have the right to refuse products and services.

The last half hour of my shift I experienced no work for the first time. I stood up and walked around the cramped office to move around and avoid boredom.

The entire Thur Feb 27 was busy as the store prepared for a German wine tasting.

One of my co-workers was given his performance review by the two co-owners at the second store on Fri Feb 28. One of his highlights was his good ideas such as transferring overstock wines to our warehouse. The store received lots of cases because there were no deliveries earlier in the week. Today was catch up for the vendors.

Today was the first time I experienced the common working attitude, "I don't want to go to work today" on Mon Mar 3. I had a bad attitude. Regardless, I was professional. I got the job done. The morning shift was quiet. I listened to a podcast in my car for the first time driving home.

The morning was busy on Tue Mar 4. There were too many phone calls. The first call I handled was a customer picking up his wines. I went to the stock room to confirm the order was ready to pick up. I learned how to log a customer pick-up on the list. The second call I handled was a caller in New York who wanted in-store picking up. The customer thought we could deliver her order to another "liquor store". Our start-up retail store sells artisan wines.

Today was the first day the second store opened on a Tue. The store was short-handed. The two part-time workers didn't show up. One called in sick. The second went AWOL. The owner sent a worker's shift from the first store to the second store. Both stores were short-handed.

I purchased my first bottle of wine. It was a Raymond Cabernet Sauvignon "Generations" 2009. The wine was #89 in Wine Spectator's Top 100 Wines Of 2013.

A co-worker came back from her vacation on Wed Mar 5. We're no longer short-handed on the back-end. Good news. The store experienced Wi-Fi problems. Bad news.

"Ridiculous frustration" were the two words I described Fri Mar 7 at both locations. Confusion, wrong deliveries, owner being sick, lack of communication, and worker injuries plagued the entire day. The end of the day ended on a happier note. The last hour of the store was busy with lots of customers. I drank white wine for the first time. Finally, a co-worker is leaving on Sat May 8. And a co-worker found a job in a restaurant paying double wages with benefits and Sunday's off.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

There Is More Than One Way Home

Many workers commute driving their own cars to and from work. It's the way of life. Anyone who says they enjoy commuting is lying. Nobody doesn't want to drive five days a week regardless of distance and time. They sit down on a seat with very little physical movement and using their brain power to concentrate on the road. They want to drive as little as possible to put less strain and minimize the mileage on the car. They pray to avoid being the car on the news' accident traffic reports and killed by a reckless driver. And they don't want to arrive to work late to avoid confrontation with the manager for which he or she probably doesn't care.

Commuters must know more than one route to and from work. If there's an accident, an emergency road closure, or power outage affecting signal intersections, then knowing another route can avoid agitation, anxiety, or anger. I know four routes to and from work. Some of the routes include stores, banks, and gas stations to run errands on my way home. All four routes include freeways. There is a fifth route to avoid all freeways in case of a massive traffic jam. One freeway accident can affect multiple freeways in my city.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Top Ten Movies I Watched Late

There's a common life saying "It's better late than never". The saying applies to movies I watched late. Many movies are more than pure entertainment. Movies can inspire, change, touch our hearts and souls, and think and re-think our beliefs and values. Movies can begin conversations. Movies can bring people together. Movies can educate and influence people.

Today's top ten are movies I watched late that could have educated and influenced me when I watched them within the first year of release. I could have been more mature. I could have avoided some problems from my childhood to my early adult years. I experienced some experiences in the last five years I should have experienced at a much younger age. I'm happy to say my catching up continues indefinitely.

Star Wars is a good example. I didn't watch Episode V in 1980 and Episode VI in 1983. I was introduced to Star Wars for the first time in 1984. I watched Episode V for the first time in 1987. I don't remember when I watched Episode VI. My gut feeling tells me I watched Episode VI before Episode V. I wonder how my childhood could have been different if I was introduced to Star Wars at my earliest when I was in kindergarten.

Here are my top ten movies I watched late:

10. Clerks (Released 1994). I was introduced to Clerks for the first time on my first week at Blockbuster Video. The store manager kept Clerks in the New Release section at least 2.5 years. The customers and my co-workers encouraged me to watch Clerks which took me months. It was the daily life working in retail. "I'm not even supposed to be here today!" - Dante

My take on the movie is Dante needs to stop complaining about his life. Grow up and wise up.

9. The Godfather Trilogy (Part I 1972, II 1974, III 1990). I watched all three movies in 2008. I never paid attention to the time length. All three movies got my attention. I recognized Al Pacino in the middle of the Part I movie. I need to watch the movies multiple times to fully comprehend. "I'm going to make him an offer he can't refuse." - Don Vito Corleone

My take on the movie is organized crime, drugs, power, greed, revenge, and the past. The Godfather Part II was my favorite because we see Vito Corleone in his early years.

8. Mr. Smith Goes To Washington (1939). I watched the classic movie for the first time in 2011. The movie has relevancy in today's world. My take on the movie is government, politics, strength, determination, believe in yourself, courage, corruption, and people supporting you.

7. It's A Wonderful Life (1946). There are people who missed me if I never exist. There are more people I influence their lives than I think. I must get better. I experience more confidence, stronger strength, enhance human kindness, and more wisdom in time. I earn the world my good human existence for good things to happen. I digress. I watched the movie for the first time in Dec 2009.

6. Falling Down (1993). I saw the movie 1997 and later. I know I watched the movie after college. The movie still has relevancy in today's fast pace life. The movie represents many of today's people trying to live life and finding who they are. "I'm the bad guy?" -William 'D-Fens' Foster

My take on the movie is some days we're going to have bad days and some days we're going to have angry days. We need to relax, take it easy, calm down, and live life one day at a time. Control what you can control and don't control what you can't control. Good daily life lessons.

5. The Graduate (1967). A genius college graduate who doesn't know what to do in his life. He has an affair with a wife who happens to be the mother of the daughter he fell in love with. I watched the movie for the first time in 2008.

My take on the movie is affairs, drama and conflicts between people, ruined relationships, the unknown future, pursuing what you want even if it sounds crazy and stupid, and don't make the same mistakes as your parents did.

4. Wall Street (1987). I became interested in stocks and investing in 1999. My first job involved supporting brokers in the commercial real estate industry. I could have experienced the business world of investments, greed, negotiations, cold calling, and business jargon years before I started my first white collar job in 1998. I watched the movie for the first time in 2005. "The most valuable commodity I know of is information." -Gordon Gekko

3. Welcome To The Dollhouse (1995). The main character named Dawn experiences some of my childhood problems including my un-attentive parents, a small amount of friends, a smart sibling, and my weak self-esteem. On the other hand, Dawn has strengths and knowledge I never had when I was in junior high such as swearing, defending herself against her siblings, and sex.

I watched the movie for the first time in Oct 2013. The movie turned back the clock to my junior high years. Also, the movie made me forgive myself in my early teenage years.

2. Colors (1988). The movie could have influenced my teenage years. The movie is about gangs in East Los Angeles in the eyes of a rookie police officer and his veteran police officer partner. I never heard about gangs, street violence, drugs, police encounters, and the ghetto throughout my high school years. If I watched Colors in my high school years, I was exposed to gang life and even a brief sex education.

1. Good Will Hunting (1997). I watched the movie for the first time in Feb 2014. I believe if I watched the movie between 1997-2000, I could have experienced my grow up moment then instead of Sat Oct 4, 2008. Everyone must watch the movie. Everyone must have the movie in their personal movie collection. "It's not your fault." - Sean Maguire