Sunday, August 29, 2010

Back to the Future (warning: long, dry, rambling)

How to start, how to start.  This is going to be one of those rare posts that are a bit more serious than usual, but I thought I'd want to put it up here because it's important to me.  I'll probably look back at this post years later and think "hmm.. so this was the pivotal moment that brought me here".

Tentative.  I've been holding myself back because I have a tentative personality.  Whenever, things weren't going my way, I wouldn't try to confront the situation.  Instead, I'd just try to wait it out and see what happens.  I alway had the idea that things would work out.  Things always work out right?  For me, it was true for the most part.  I took the backseat, just following the standard path through college and my future looked alright.  I'm not a driven person, because I didn't feel the need.  I saw myself living in the bay area, with a cushy career and living it up.

But now I'm sitting in Oregon, and recently I started feeling trapped.  It was like I was following someone else's dream.  Throughout this whole year, I've been listening to my Uncle's dream of building a company and having me take it over.  It was a grand and lofty vision that widened my eyes initially.  But after a while, I realized that's not what I want in life.   Whenever I met his friends, he'd ecstatically introduce me as the nephew that would take over his business.  I'd just stand there and smile.  Until now, I didn't have the heart to tell him thats not what I wanted.

This engineering project has not turned out as we all had hoped.  I mean it's still on, but funding is lagging (characteristic of most big engineering projects) to the point where my Uncle can't give me an exact date of when we will have a line of credit to work with.  He's given me so many deadline estimations that I was growing weary and discontent.  I barely even gotten paid for my work up here, because the funding hasn't come in.  I've been extremely patient about this, but I'm reaching a breaking point.  I spent all this time researching, designing, talking to machinery companies and we still don't have funding to work with? This was not what I had envisioned when I took this project on 7 months ago.

But I'm not blaming him.  I'm sure he's not trying to shaft me.  He wants this project more than I do.  It's that I'm feeling a harsh discomfort from the uncertainty of my career.  I don't want to wait around for so long, when I could be out there furthering my career.  I remember in the beginning of the year, I was offered a contract position with my old company.  But I was already up in Oregon, and figured I already made a commitment.  What I should have done, was talk to my Uncle about it.  But I didn't want to face confrontation.  Didn't want them to question my loyalty to the project, to the family.  Which was a poor move on my part.  I missed the bus on that opportunity, and I'm not going to do that to myself anymore.

I finally mustered the courage to tell him man to man what I wanted for my future.  It's funny how I'm going to turn 24 soon, and I never went against my family.  They've always pushed me towards helping the family business.  "You want to be an Engineer? Go work for your uncle, he has a machine shop!"  "I'm going to teach you everything I know, so that you can take over the business".  I had no interest in this business, but I just went along with everything, ignoring my own self-interests to not offend the family.

I was fearful of being cornered into running the business so I had to speak out now before I'm in too deep. I told him, I did not see myself as an entrepreneur, I had no interest in heading a company or running a business.  I did not see myself living here longterm in Portland.  If I were to be still living here 2 years from now, I certainly would not be happy.  Had it not been for this project, I'd probably be working back in the bay area and life would be great!  So he sat there taking in all I had to say and he did not fire back like I thought he would.  I mean two years ago, he was vigilant in pressuring my cousins and I into helping the family business.  But this time, he was hearing me out.

He told me, if I had a job waiting for me in the city, I could move back now.  When the funding comes in, I can come back to work on this project.  In addition to that, when the design is finalized most of my work can be done remotely.  We were talking about how technology makes it extremely easy to work from anywhere in the world.  I felt so relieved.  All I had to do was speak up, and I wouldn't have to be all stressed out about my future.  Why didn't I do this earlier?  I could have been looking for jobs, but I hadn't.  I was too trusting of this project, and rode the backseat.

Whatever, there's no point in dwelling with bygones.  I can only look forward.  I'm stuck at a crossroads, where I can't really go for a career job or try to go back to school.  The project is still very real, and will be back online within the next year.  For now, I need to make most of my access to the machine shop and learn all I can.  I want to learn enough so that when I'm eventually done with this project, I'll have many options to choose from.  Another thing is, I have to generate some kind of income right now, because my savings aren't going to last forever.  It's a bit daunting to be self-employed, but I'm looking at a few things I can do to earn some scratch.

I'm looking at partnering with my dad to design premium piano tools.  It's a niche market that seems to be pretty profitable.  Plus, it would be great engineering experience.   I also want to learn how to tune pianos.  It's a good blend of technical and musical skills that I believe suits me perfectly.  It would be a great skill to have for extra income.  If I'm able to do it well, I see myself tuning pianos longterm.  It's appointment based so that it's completely flexible so that I can earn money whenever I have free time.  If I ever get laid-off, or business is slow,  I always have piano tuning to fall back on.

Yep, so that's where I'm at right now.  It just feels strange to be on an unconventional path in life.  (conventional: Grade school->College->Stable Career) Thing's always work out right? Only if you know what you want and you go for it.

Good god this has got to be the longest post of all time.  Whoever made it to the end, I'm taking you out to dinner, no lie.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Kids say the darndest things

When I got back to Portland, my little cousin runs out to greet me.  It looked like she was excited to see me woohoo.

Me: Hey Salina! (high five) You miss me?
S: iono
Me: ..oh

Then she follows me into the house.  I ask her what she wants to do, watch a movie, eat something.  She's like nah...I'm just bored.  She starts looking around the house, walking around.  After a couple minutes she goes: "can I do your dishes?" and she really starts washing my dishes.  hahahah she's so funny.   and yes, I'm a slob.

Today, I was at the post office to get a money order for my speeding ticket when this woman walks in with her 5-6 year old daughter.  Behind them was what I thought was the grandma, but she was just another friendly stranger.

Daughter: "mama, i'm thirssty, can we get something to drink?"
Mama: "well we in the wrong place, they aint got water at the post office"
Grandperson: "Well, do you have any water in the car?"
Daughter: "We don't have one! We're poor walking people!"  (O_O haha, i was shocked and laughing at the same time)

Friday, August 06, 2010

BBall With a Pro Athlete

"Barry! You want some Chicken!?"

Last weekend, we had a "Basketball Jones" 3 on 3 tourney with a few friends and friends of friends.  It was a lot of fun, I'm starting to really enjoy playing basketball now.  (I've told Alex that I had retired from the sport, maybe twice now haha)  But that's because since swimming, my endurance has become much better, and I'm less worried about collapsing on the floor after my 1st game.

So we're running games the whole day, getting a good sweat on, having fun.  When I hear CLANK.  I look over and I see this huge black dude dunking on foos.  I swear the average height of everyone was probably around 5'10".  And this guy is standing 6'5", looking like a athletic beast in the midst of it all.  I'm hearing guys around me, "damn who is this kid" "you see him? dudes a beast!" "he's built like a football player!".

Apparently he's Ryan Bailey, a professional runner for Nike.  And he's training to be a potential runner for the US Team.  It's pretty cool to have shared the same court as a future Olympian.  I'm not saying he's definitely going to be in the Olympics, but he has a good chance of making it.  And I'll be keeping my eye out.

He's got a hell of a story too.  I'm a horrible story teller, so here's a snippet from NY Times

Skipping class one afternoon, Bailey and a friend looked at a board listing the school track records. Neither realized those were also state marks. “I can get those,” Bailey said. He did not know Parks was behind him. Parks told Bailey, “Why don’t you come out and prove it?”
His mind squarely set on football, Bailey brushed off Parks.
“I thought track was for a bunch of nerds,” he said Thursday, laughing.
Bailey never went to see Parks at the track, but he showed up there one day to make up a physical education class. Wearing baggy jeans and basketball shoes, Bailey passed Parks, who had his stopwatch ready, as he peeled off a lap. Parks recalls clocking Bailey at around 51 seconds for 400 meters. Parks saw a future superstar.
 The article then goes on to talk about unfortunate injuries he's had every year in high school like breaking his foot twice, getting stabbed 3 times on a bus?  Man imagine how much faster he could be if he didn't have those setbacks.

Anyways, I'm glad the guy found a path for his talent, and I wish him much success.

Free* Tickets to Natasha Leggero

I just came back from my first comedy club experience and it was great!  It was awesome because I got free tickets from, and I can't remember the last time I got free anything.  I swear i just signed up, entered the drawing, got an email saying I won, and went to see the show...all in one day.  That was just rad in itself.  Plus, the site founder's last name is Chunlick.  That's a shiny gold star in my book.

*now I put the asterisk here because when I sat down I noticed the menu saying 2 item minimum purchase.  Grrr... If I hadn't gotten free tickets I woulda felt robbed.

Before I went to the show, I checked out Natasha's youtube clips and they were just awfully unfunny.  But her stand up set turned out to be hilarious.  Okay it maybe because I was forced to get two beers, but she was adorably funny.  She interacted with the audience a lot (especially the 3 single guys up front) and had this dance competition with two ladies from the crowd.  Lot's of silly fun.  The guy that opened for her was trying too hard, and the crowd wasn't having it.  He even fell on the floor on purpose and got like 3 claps (oh boy). I think it was a ploy to make Natasha seem even more funny in comparison.

But the host Ian Karmel was the funniest in my opinion.   Man that guy got things going.  He's one of those hilarious "heavyset" comics that make you laugh extra hard.  I don't know why it is, but when fat comicedians lose weight, they seem to lose a bit of their funny.  (see Seth Rogan, Drew Carey)

 Damn, Seth's lookin' good.  But he looks more like he'll be on CSI than in a Judd Apatow movie.
Ok, I never thought Drew Carey was funny, but look at all that weight he's lost!

oh man, I also found out that Bill Burr (He's my favorite comic at the moment, thanks Alex) is going to be at Helium Comedy Club Aug 19-21! that's when I'll be in Cali.  But it's all good, cus I'm gonna be in Cali!

Monday, August 02, 2010

Motivation by Humiliation Results

Alex specifically asked me not to reveal the fate of my eyebrows to him, so please don't ruin the fun.

Sooo 4 more minutes until the August 1st deadline ends (by the time i post this, it will be long past).  And I just finished testing myself an hour ago to see if I made my goal.

Dylan already made his weight by flying colors this past Monday at a very impressive 158.9 lbs!  How did he do it?  He ran 10 miles twice (TWICE, once in the morning, once in the evening) before he took a vid of him on the scale.  The most I ran was 3 miles, i gotta give it up to him for his dedication and sheer willpower.

Me on the other hand..

click on the pic for to reveal my fate....are you nervous? ...cus im nervous

btw, the 'stache is for a Burt Reynolds Challenge on August 7.  I am certainly not going to win, but I gotta tell ya, having a 'stache when everyone has a 'stache is straight up fun. 

great mustache music video via alex via andy