Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Finding The Missing Pieces

I dreamed I played center field for the Major League Baseball team Seattle Mariners when I was a child. We were one out away from clinching our third consecutive American League pennant and playing in the World Series. My team was the visitors. The home team rallied to win the pennant. The Mariners and I were disappointed. We realized there were weaknesses which must be fixed for next year. There were missing pieces for a championship baseball team.

The team identified the missing pieces. The problems were fixed next year. What were the weaknesses? The team needed better production from the bottom of the batting order. The team needed a deeper bullpen. Some of the relief pitchers were ineffective in critical late inning situations. And the team needed better team chemistry. We said goodbye to ineffective ballplayers who didn't fit with the team. We signed free agent ballplayers to strengthen our weaknesses. The result was winning the World Series.

My childhood dream inspired me to share my missing pieces. I share what I'm doing to find the pieces. I share what I'm doing to solve my problems. I identify five missing pieces and the solutions. They are finding new friends, learning new job skills, living independent, being physically fit, and working in a permanent job.

1. Finding New Friends. I have nothing against all my friends for the record. I have a good relationship with everyone including my close friends and friends I keep in touch via social media. I believe in always meeting new people and making new friends. I'm looking for new friends anytime to expand my circle of friends. These new friends are genuine, mature, sincere, strong, and making efforts to live a good life. They're open. We can talk about anything from the little things to serious conversations. They believe in living a life seeking new adventures and experiencing new experiences. They have a similar life motto like mine: Get up and do something, anything.

2. More Job Skills. The job market is competitive. The job market is tough. There are lots of people unemployed. I'm currently unemployed. One of my daily activities is learning new job skills. I also review and refresh my current job skills. My future employment is dependent on the daily activity. I'm learning Python. I'm reviewing Excel and Access. There is more to learn when I finish Python, Excel, and Access. I continue learning because I'm responsible for myself. I'm proactive. I devote 6.5 days a week reading books, watching YouTube videos, and practicing what I learned.

3. Living Independent. I have lived at home for my entire life. My plans saving money to own my home was a bad idea looking back. I never experienced living by myself. I never experienced making my own choices. I never experienced having people inside my residence. I want to set up my own schedule. I want to live my life my way. There is no substitute for freedom.

I start looking for my own residence when I find a job with enough income.

4. Physical Fitness. The good news is working out at the gym is one of my favorite hobbies. The bad news is I workout inconsistently. I must establish a weekly routine going to the gym three to four days a week. In addition, I must eat better.

5. Permanent Job. People who work must not complain. There are unemployed people who do anything to work at their company. I accept any job that matches my experiences which includes contract position. I search for a job six days a week. I don't want another gap in my resume. I'm seeking long term employment to make me feel good. I feel like a failure being unemployed. I feel my life is empty being unemployed. I want to stop those feelings permanently. Finding a permanent job is a start.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Instant Bullets Blog Sep 21, 2014

*My Left Foot. Initiate walking on a stairway with your opposite foot. I started walking on stairs with my left foot. The feeling was different and weird.

*Embrace The Pain. Learn from the pain. I welcome all struggles, misfortunes, unlucky breaks, and frustrations. They're part of life. We can't escape from them. The best ways to cope is getting stronger, learning from these events by acquiring wisdom, and not repeating mistakes. The stronger, smarter, and wiser you are, the better human being you are when it comes to any tragedies.

*Good Quotes. I may be drunk, Miss, but in the morning I will be sober and you will still be ugly. -Winston Churchill

You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. -Winston Churchill

The title of the Japanese Anime series Space Brothers final episode #99 is "Life Changes, Promises Don't".

*How To Use Condoms. Men were never given an education on condoms. It's time to take charge of our sex lives. Learn how to use condoms. Visit The Condom Review. The one size fits all condom is a myth. If the Trojan condom at your local drug store is too tight, then visit the website and get information.

Kickstarter Board Games One Year Later. Most Kickstarter board games are terrible. If you can wait one year after a board game is released, you can buy it on eBay for a much cheaper price. The cheaper price may be a better deal which includes more reward add-ons than the initial backer price.

Target Stores Are Different. The Target stores near my home sell some of their products at different prices. I compare prices for body wash, soap, and floor cleaning. The prices are different. Price compare your local Target stores.


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Top Ten My All Time Favorite Anime Series

My first introduction to anime or Japanese cartoons was in Dec 1992. A friend purchased a VHS tape of Ranma 1/2 season one episodes 1-3. My second anime series was Record Of Lodoss War episodes 1-3 in July 1994. I became an anime fan in Summer 1996 when I watched dubbed Sailor Moon. The ending music woke me up because I worked nights at Blockbuster Video. Sailor Moon is number 4 in my top ten.

Japanese anime is my second longest tenured hobby. I had lots of fun. I met lots of people and I made lots of friends. Anime was an entertainment medium that satisfied me American television failed from the late 90s to the 2000s. I watched my share of good anime and my share of bad anime.

I have been hinting retiring from anime via blogging, updating my webpage, and telling people. I'm officially retired from anime. Anime gave me lots of experiences, lots of adventures, lots of lessons learned, and lots of fun. It's time to move on. New priorities. New choices. I look forward to a new life with new experiences, new adventures, new lessons to learn, and new fun times.

There are some notes before I list my top ten.

*Where's *fill in the blank* anime series? If I didn't see it, then it's not on the list. Steins Gate, Inu Yasha, Hunter X Hunter, Mushishi, One Piece, and Fruits Basket are examples not on the list. I didn't watch them.

*Retirement from anime doesn't mean I stop watching anime forever. There is a moment I feel I want to turn back the clock and watch anime. I can watch Tenchi Muyo, Bleach, Totoro, Space Brothers, or Gall Force.

*I have unopened boxed anime series I plan to watch. They're Silent Mobius, Black Cat, Princess Tutu, Comic Party, and Canaan.

*I watched Robotech, Star Blazers, Transformers, and Voltron when I was a kid. I didn't know they were cartoons from Japan at the time. Those series obviously were watched with English dubbing.

*The list is my top ten. The list is not the top ten all time anime series. The list is my personal top ten that gave me the greatest entertainment, joy, laughs, sorrows, and life lessons.

*The top ten list includes the year(s) released and a brief description. I also include personal memories related to the anime series.

Here are my top ten all time favorite anime series:

10. Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha (2004). An elementary school girl helps an archaeologist recover Jewel Seeds with help from a magical device. Nanoha A's (2005), the second season, is included in the top ten. Thank you tsubasa for introducing me to the series. I wore a costume as one of the minor characters in 2008.

9. Movies and OVAs (various years). There are movies and OVAs that made the list. Spirited Away (Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi) (2001) is about a girl who must find strength and courage to rescue her parents turned into pigs in a spirit world. Kiki's Delivery Service (1989) is a young female witch who must live independently that includes earning an income, being self-reliant, and interacting with new people.

Voices Of A Distance Star (2002) is about two close friends separated by space communicating via email from their mobile phones. And Stink Bomb (1995) is about a lab technician who admits a deadly odor from his body. Stink Bomb is part of a three short anime series from the series Memories.

8. Ben-to (2011). Customers engage in fighting half-priced bento in supermarkets. The main characters are high school students in a club called Half-Priced Food Lovers Club. My jaw dropped watching the first episode when I saw everyone fighting for the half-priced bento.

7. Ano Hana (2011). One of six friends died in an accident during their childhood years. The remaining five estranged friends as teenagers gather together to fulfill the dead friend's wish to enter the afterlife and bring closure to the other five friends. Be prepared to cry.

6. K-On! (2009). Four high school students create a band. A fifth student joins later in the series. The series is light, easy going, funny, and entertaining. No sex, violence, drama, and romantic triangles. The music is good. The second season K-On!! (2010) is also in the top ten.

5. Azumanga Daioh (2002). The chronicles of six high school students and two teachers. Tests, culture festivals, leisure time, vacations, and class trips are some of the chronicles. I think of Azumanga Daioh as Seinfeld. There's really nothing going on. I think what I just wrote is something Osaka might say.

4. Sailor Moon (1991-1997). A klutzy naive middle school student encounters a talking cat. The cat gives her a magical brooch which transforms her to Sailor Moon battling the forces of evil. More characters who become sailor scouts are introduced. A total of five seasons, three movies, and one OVA were released.

There is a Sailor Moon remake airing in Japan titled "Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal". The remake began on July 2014.

3. Cowboy Bebop (1997-1998). A twenty six episodes series taking place in the year 2071. The series is about a group of bounty hunters on the spaceship called Bebop.

I'm disappointed many of today's anime generation either have no interest in watching Cowboy Bebop or disliked it. The series includes action, comedy, and drama with parodies. Characters develop is great. There is plenty of time to learn the characters and their back stories.

I'm going to receive criticism Cowboy Bebop is number 3. They respond saying number 3 is too high.

2. Space Brothers (Uchu Kyo-dai) (2012-2014). The anime series is about two brothers who vowed to become astronauts when they were children. The younger brother becomes an astronaut going to the moon and the older brother is fired from his engineering job. The older brother is lost. The younger brother applied his older brother to the astronaut training program. The series chronicles the older brother from training to becoming an astronaut.

I was inspired to watch Space Brothers because my younger brother was smarter and popular when we were children. My younger brother is more successful than me today. He works at a telecommunications company and raises two children with his wife.

1. Fullmetal Alchemist (2003-2004). Two brothers searches for the Philosopher's Stone. The stone is needed to recover the older brother's right arm and left leg and the younger brother's body from a failed attempt to revive their dead mother.

I watched the first 17 episodes during the Fanime Con '04 Midnight Madness from midnight to 7am. I said I watched four episodes and go home. Then I said eight episodes. I said to myself after episode eight, "I'm (wearing the costume of) the main character". I stayed awake during the entire 17 episode marathon. The series has been my all-time favorite since 2005. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (2009-2010) which followed the comic book series is also in the top ten.

Fullmetal Alchemist saved me from quitting anime at the end of 2004. I continued being an anime for almost 10 more years.


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Top Ten Unexpected Never Saw It Coming Moments

I quit my latest job after working at the company for two days. What happened? I can't disclose because I signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement. I knew the job wasn't permanent. I didn't expect to quit after two work shifts.

The two day job quitting inspired me to blog my latest top ten. Unexpected moments and events happen to everyone daily. Sometimes these are favorable and sometimes these are unfavorable. Everyone hopes anything out of the ordinary happens result in good fortunes. Timing and luck are factors. We can't avoid the bad fortunes. We hope to experience more unexpected favorables than unfavorables. The quitting job event above was unfavorable.

Here are the top ten unexpected never saw it coming moments:

10. I Became An Anime Fan (1996). I woke up listening to the ending song from Sailor Moon. My sister watched the English anime dub. I became a Japanese anime or Japanese cartoon fan when I started watching Sailor Moon. I watched a variety of anime series when I rented anime at Blockbuster Video. I was an employee. Rentals were free. I attended my first anime convention in 1997.

9. Switched Majors (1995). I started my college education majoring in mathematics at San Jose State University. I switched majors three years later from mathematics to economics. My dream of teaching high school math was over. The switch was a good choice looking back. I believe I stopped being a teacher in today's public education environment.

8. Going Back To College (2009). I went back to college attending De Anza College taking ballroom dancing classes and earning an AA degree in Accounting. I never expected going back to school after being laid off during the Great Recession. There were too few job openings I might as well do something productive with my free time. Accounting was another option to major after quitting majoring in mathematics.

7. Mahjong (Riichi) (2009). A friend challenged me and another friend to learn how to play Mahjong (Riichi) in ten days. The challenge was accomplished. Mahjong is one of my favorite games to play today.

I quit Mahjong in 2007 after self learning. It was too hard. I lost interest. I'm happy I was given another chance to play again.

6. Quit Or Retire Top Hobbies (Various Years). There were top hobbies I quit or retired. The ending results were a better life. I never thought about quitting because I experience happy times. The hobbies I quit were collecting baseball cards after high school and playing role playing games in 2001. The hobby I retire was Japanese Anime in 2014.

5. Hired At Grubb & Ellis (1998). My first job after graduating high school was at the commercial real estate company Grubb & Ellis. I never knew my first career was in commercial real estate. I never expected to work in commercial real estate for 8.5 years. Everyone in the research department was looking for any employment after college.

4. Wearing Costumes At Anime Conventions (2004). I watched an anime series titled "Fullmetal Alchemist" at the Fanime Con '04 midnight marathon. Everyone who stayed from midnight to 7am watched 17 episodes. I said to myself, "I'm cosplaying (the main character)" after episode eight. I wore a total of eight costumes. I want to thank my mom for making the costumes.

3. Reading Fiction Books (2008). I had always read non-fiction books which were business, self-improvement, true stories, and investment. Fiction books were not going to improve my life. I was wrong. I learned more about life reading fiction books. I read 75% fiction and 25% non-fiction today.

2. The Job Market Still Sucks (2011). I started looking for a job after I graduated at De Anza College. A B.S. in Economics and an A.A. in Accounting are a good combination. I find a job quickly. I found a job . . . two years and four months later. The biggest obstacle was no recent job experience. Almost all job recruiters and human resources wanted candidates with job experience. They ignored my timeline going back to college. In other words, they dismissed my two years going back to school. Unfair.

1. Growing Up (2008). I'm a grown up adult. I didn't expect to "grow up". I was lucky I realized I must grow up. I should have grown up years ago. Life is much better from a mature point of view.


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Roadblocks On My Life's Road

I wrote a list of obstacles preventing me from living a good life. My list was written weeks after I started working at Artisan. The timing is good to share my list given what happened the week of Mon Sep 8. Obviously, no money, major health problems, and family tragedies are roadblocks. Here are roadblocks that apply to my life.

Live at home with my parents too long. The economy is terrible. Silicon Valley is expensive to live. It's acceptable to live with my parents in an expensive area with low paying jobs; however, living with my parents for an extended amount of time limits how I want to live my life. I'm finding a new job hoping to move out.

No job. If I don't find a job soon, then I have a gap on my resume. I can't have gaps. The job market is rough. I need everything on my resume to present myself attractable to companies.

No friends. People is key to my success in life. My life is doomed with no friends. No social activity. I always meet new people and make new friends. People are a top priority in my life. They provide support when I need it. I do my best to provide support to them when needed.

Lose my memories. Memories is my life's most precious. If I lose my memories, then I lose my life. My good memories and my bad memories define who I am. I take care of my brain.

Single and lonely. I believe life's ultimate happiness is falling in love. There is no substitution to a human being sharing your life. The physical contact, the memories created between the couple, the mental challenge staying active, the emotional support, the financial advantage, and the spirit of being a couple--not being lonely. Couples who stay together show me they're strong and committed to keep their relationship together. Strength and commitment are two respectable attributes in a person.

No physical activity. I feel weak without physical activity. Working out at the gym and hiking are two physical activities I value the most. I fail to understand how some people function without physical activity. Physical activity has advantages including slowing the progression of aging, mental resting, and stronger tolerance to stress.

No internet. Email, social networking, researching, job searching. My life is stalled without internet access.


Friday, September 12, 2014

Recovered Tragedies

Everyone is going to experience a tragedy. There's no escaping the bad moments. It's part of life. The best people endure the pain and suffering following a tragedy. They have strength. They have courage. They learn from the tragedy. Wisdom is acquired. They continue moving forward.

I experience tragedies. I find a way to overcome these bad events. I remember them. I learn from them. I get stronger. I get smarter. I get wiser. I'm better prepared the next time I experience a tragedy. I never quit because quitting means I might as well be dead. My world didn't come to an end. Something good comes out of my tragedies. My life helps me out whether I do it myself or outside influence helps me.

Here are some personal tragedies and the aftermath.

Quitting Anime (2004). Quitting anime was a minor tragedy. I talked to a high school friend who was phasing out of anime because he was losing interest and new life priorities. Anime was a big part of my life. I questioned life without anime after the conversation.

One event saved me from quitting anime. The event was the anime series Fullmetal Alchemist Midnight Marathon at Fanime Con '04. I wore a costume of the main character thanks to my mom who created the costume. Watching 17 straight episodes from midnight to 7am saved me from quitting anime and I started wearing costumes to anime conventions. I continued being an anime for 10 more years.

I Was Lost (2008). The lowest moment ever in my life. I really didn't know who I was. I was confused, weak, and ignorant. I didn't know what was going on. I had no control. The Raymond Mar I knew before Sat Oct 4, 2008 was not the real Raymond Mar.

What happened on Sat Oct 4, 2008? I realized I must grow up. My life changed forever. I began finding who is the real Raymond Mar. I remembered the new adventures, experiences, interests, and people entering my life. I took responsibility for my actions and my thoughts. I stopped taking life for granted. I earned what I want. I began to live life from a mature point of view.

My learning and my growing continues. They never stop. There are more people to meet. There are more new experiences to experience and new adventures to seek. I continue to be active physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially. I stay active going to the gym and hiking. I read books and learn something new. I stay positive and strong. I work hard to earn a higher income. I keep looking for new opportunities in anything that interests me. I'm not going to settle.

The Breakup (2013). Alien cat broke up with me. We dated for 2 years and 10 months. I was depressed. The extra free time made me think. I thought about working hard to get a job. I was unemployed at the time. It was time to refresh my job skills, redo my resume, and job search every day. Finding a full time job is a full time job. I worked hard and I worked correctly to find a job. I found a job six weeks later.

Two Days And Out (2014). I quit my new job after working for two days on Tue Sep 9. I can't explain the details because I signed a non-disclosure agreement. I was sad and I was mad. The rest of the week I job search, refresh my job skills, and learn new job skills. I continue working hard on the weekends. What happens next? Time will tell.

Light At The End Of The Tunnel (Various) Finally, when my past companies went downhill, I found another job to save me. I worked at Colliers leaving Grubb & Ellis in 1999. I worked at Cisco leaving Colliers in 2007. There is another job waiting for me after leaving Artisan. When am I starting my new job? Very soon.


Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Today Is The Saddest Day In My Life Ever

Today is the saddest day in my life. I don't remember any sadder day. I don't remember blogging something sad. I'm human. I have feeling of being sad and depressed. I realize there are sadder days in the future; however, the present is the present. It's a very say day.

What happened? I started a new job yesterday. I quit today. I'm not showing up for work tomorrow. My reasons are valid. I prepared for the job. I was excited to start a new career. I purchased new shoes, changed my oil in my car for the longer commute, and adapted a new sleep routine. I completed tasks that needed to be completed a while back. What a waste of effort. I resigned my last job which was going downhill. I resigned two jobs in less than a week. I'm unemployed again.

If there's one happy note from most of my jobs I resigned, then the note is all of them were going downhill. Two companies were bankrupt.

How Do I Cheer Myself Up?

Live my life faithfully. Continue living. Keep going. Don't stop. Be strong. Be true. Learn from my mistakes. For instance, I start job searching after I post my blog. I continue learning new job skills and reviewing my Excel and Access. I complete tasks from my to do list that needed to be completed months ago. Don't live being a loser. Earn being a winner.


Saturday, September 06, 2014

Work Sat Sep 6, 2014

Sun Aug 24 was my first Sun shift at the Mountain View store. The bad attitude manager told me to work at the back end. The back end was quiet. I was productive. I talked to a co-worker. He was tired, angry, and stressed because the store was busy. Sundays are usually dead. Not today.

I work up the earliest in months on Tue Aug 26. I still arrived late. One of the spice racks broke spilling bottles. Fortunately, one bottle was broken. I worked the front end for two hours.

I entered Coronas, Michelob, and Sierra Nevada Pale beers in the database. The good manager special ordered the non-artisan beers for one of his customers. I experienced trouble entering the beers because I misread the quantity for the Coronas. I looked at the cases the first time. The invoice was incorrect. I looked at the cases the second time. The invoice was correct. The angle looking at the cases deceived me. I didn't see the additional cases next to the cases I saw initially.

I encountered green lights and green lights turning yellow on the street before the freeway entrance driving home.

There was a Wed Aug 27 wine tasting. Turnout was high. The owner organized a meeting which was short. Wow. I moved my car out of the parking lot. I ate lunch at the taco truck after parking my car on the street.

I took my car to get my tires rotated and balanced before work. The wait was short at the tire shop. I was their first customer for the day. There were too many cars on the streets and freeway after leaving the tire shop.

The bad attitude manager removed my name on my work assigned laptop on Fri Aug 29. Two new hires started today. One of the two was my replacement. I trained him. It seemed the store was making changes. New cleaning supplies were purchased. Our weekly janitor scrubbed the bathroom floors. How long are those changes keeping the store cleaner going to last after I leave the company? I expect a short period.

I delivered a paycheck to a co-worker at the second store after my shift ended as a favor.

The second store was the usual on Sat Aug 30. Turnout for the tasting was okay. The manager told me to go home 30 minutes early.

I continued training my replacement at the first store on Sun Aug 31. The new hire told me how he was hired. The interview process started the first week of Aug after he found the job posting. Interesting. I submitted my two week notice weeks after the first week of Aug. The new hire is an employee at the second store like me. Which data entry worker was going to be fired?

Tue Sep 2. A part time worker with French wine knowledge quit. I wasn't surprised. She planned to quit. It was a matter of when.

The owner showed up when the store opened on Wed Sep 3. Why? The store was short handed. She helped customers. I avoided her.

I learned more about the company's history when I talked to the assistant manger during lunch. The history and information included when the store opened, the longest tenured employees, and how the second store co-owners met. The assistant manager couldn't verify all the information because she learned by picking up bits of information here and there like me during my ten months on the job. Regardless, the back story and history were interesting. The history lesson happened on Thur Sep 4.

The inventory clerk shared a response from a customer when he carried cases of wine to his car. The customer said, "I'm alive and I'm here".

Fri Sep 5 was my last day. I emailed the entire company a thank you email with my contact information. The store was busy. It was a full house for the tasting. The part time data entry came back from her vacation. She brought snacks for everyone. My last invoice and my last wines I priced were Pinot Noir and Syrah from Melville. My entire day was easy with multiple blocks of free time. I checked my Twitter and updated my apps on my phone.

Goodbye Artisan. New experiences, new knowledge, and new people are coming next week. Earn them. Take nothing for granted. There is no time to relax Sat Sep 6 and Sun Sep 7. I use the weekend to catch up odds and ends, change the oil in my car, and purchase new shoes.


Thursday, September 04, 2014

Nostalgia Atari 2600 And Wine Pallets

I played the Atari 2600 when I was a kid. I didn't clean the cartridges with rubbing alcohol. I read comics eating a burrito and drinking wine on a clean counter looking outside on a partly cloudy cool day.