Life Experiences & Observations

Sit Down, Buckle Up, Hang On, and Enjoy My Blog Ride

Why You Need an Extra Fortune Cookie

0 fortune cookieWho doesn’t love cracking open and eating a fortune cookies after a savory Chinese meal? It provides a light dessert and a smallish paper crystal ball as a mini bonus. But many people don’t realize the importance (I use this term loosely) of asking for one more cookie than the count of your dinner party.

Why is this so important? Because if the number of fortune cookies are equal to the number of diners, the last person getting a cookie has their proverbial destiny determined by the other cookie grabbers. Having one extra still leaves the slow grabbing, remaining sole a choice for their cookie. Hence, their destiny not left in the hands of the other individuals. So next time you are at a Chinese restaurant and the cookies are provided, make sure there is at least one extra. If there isn’t, you may just be leaving your destiny in the hands of the crumbling solitary cookie.

When Everything Connects

00000 connectingDo you ever have a few days in your life where a theme runs through and connects much of what you are experiencing together? Right now I am experiencing that with an autism theme. Nobody in my family is directly impacted by autism but my daughter has other special needs and often displays various autistic tendencies. We also know many children with autism as a result of many of the activities my daughter Sophia participates in. It started late Friday night when I was looking for a movie to watch on Amazon Prime. It is not uncommon for me to watch movies late on Friday night in preparation for my 3 X 12 graveyard shift that starts Saturday night. Staying up Friday night helps me to get prepared for the week ahead.

Well it turns out, I came across and decided to watch the movie Temple Grandin. Coincidentally, it was also National Autism Awareness day. Ok, one connection… not that surprising. After watching the movie and being drawn in like worm in quicksand, I decided to watch some video interviews with Temple on YouTube. Well much of the content she expressed really hit home for me as it relates to my special needs daughter Sophia. She was talking about the need to focus on an individual’s strengths and not focusing on the weaknesses. Specifically she called upon parents of autistic children, which I expanded to special needs, to broaden the fixation out. This was in reference to many of the fixations I have seen from children with special needs. My daughter, being one person, who also displays them. By doing this, a parent could ultimately find the best career for their special needs child. Hopefully, this would allow the individual to find a way to connect with the world through work and life. Temple also discussed the different types of thinkers. She is a visual thinker but she also discussed word thinkers and explained it as those who are focused on all the words associated with all the things they are interested in. This basically hit the nail on the head in describing Sophia.

Fast forward to this evening. I happen to get on Periscope to watch a singer that I follow named Clare Means. In turn, she was also discussing a band that she will be playing with in Seattle by the name of Xolie Morra and the Strange Kind. I looked them up and really liked their music. Miraculously, Xolie has Asperger’s syndrome which is a mild form of autism. Is the connection complete or will additional connections continue over the next few days? Only time will tell. I know this is most likely just random occurrences connecting together. And my mind is probably gluing them together, even further, to make it feel magical. Either way, I found these connections both fascinating and inspiring.

The Shortest Blog Post Ever!!

00000000 short

It’s been too long since my last blog post. So here it is. All done!!

I’m Not a Hugger, or Am I??

0000000000huggingbearsI have struggled with this question for a couple of years now. I think many who have known me and even I have known myself, as not much of a hugger. But just recently, I think I have found a breakthrough in my hug personality. Ok, I realize I may have just invented this concept but I think you understand what I mean. I actually do really like hugs. I am just not that good at hug initiation. If you think about it, this is the most difficult part of a hug. How does the person you want to hug know you want to hug them? You just open up your arms and see what happens. And with hugging, there are other logistical challenges. Like when do you let go? All of this, when it comes to hugs, should kind of be organic. But when you get right down to it, it’s not. At least not always. Through this realization, I thought it was time to bring these thoughts to the forefront of my mostly unknown blog.

I have had discussions with my brother on the importance of hugs. The conversations have mostly revolved around the facts that you never know when something drastic might happen to somebody you love. In other words, the hug you delivery today may just be your last chance to hug that person you are with. In October of last year, I had my last opportunity to hug a friend of mine who was dying of cancer. I couldn’t really know for sure at the time that it would be my last time to hug her. But, I hugged her to the best of my ability as if it was the last time. It’s these types of hugs that are the most natual and the least awkward. Unfortunately, it was the last time and I will cherish that hug forever. And I guess this is just a reminder to myself that the occasional awkwardness of a hug is worth fighting through. Because if something tragic were to occur, you would be glad you had that awkward hug than no hug at all. Getting better at hugging is still a work in progress for me. But it is important work none the less.

The Periscope Community – A Three Month Perspective

00000000000000 persicope communityI have been actively using Periscope for three months and thought I would provide some new information on my thoughts. If you read my blog regularly, then you will know I started using Periscope in September of 2015. Since using it for three months, this is a more experienced perspective.

When you get right down to it, Periscope is a type of online community. Personally, my usage has been more about watching other individuals’ scope, learning how they do it, and following the ones I enjoy most. I do scope periodically but I am a viewer more than broadcaster. That being said, many of the regular Scopers know me due to my relatively obsessive watching habits. There are essentially two types of Scopers. The first are those that are using it for the entertainment and the community association that comes with it. The second are those individuals using it in hopes of providing greater monetization capabilities for their business endeavors. Both are worthy causes, although I tend to gravitate to the former or those who are less vocal about their business intentions.

This weekend in San Francisco is the second Periscope Summit. This is a conference for Periscope viewers and broadcasters to connect with other Scopers, share their perspectives, and flat out meet those individuals that they are constantly viewing from their cell phones. I have to be honest, I wish I was there to meet and learn from these Scopers. There are many who feel like my friends and I have the urge to see which of those relationships are artificial and which are genuine. The summit itself is not put on by the Periscope Company but the Periscope community. That in itself makes it a little more genuine. I hope to attend the next one which I am told will be in Vegas and in February. One of the main downsides of Periscope that I see, with all social media, is the way it can deter you from true personal relationships and experiences. You can’t connect with people in person if you constantly have your eyes super glued to your phone.

I feel as if Periscope is like a tasty piece of dark chocolate. It tastes delicious and in moderation can even be good for you. But like anything, moderation is critical. Even positive things, when taken in massive dosages, can have a negative impact on your life. There are exercise addictions, water toxicity, and even the potential of kidney stones from eating too much spinach just to name a few.

So if you haven’t already, try it out and let me know what you think in the comments. Is it lame, is it addictive, is it exciting, or is it dull? I look forward to hearing your Periscope perspective.

E Coli Burrito – I’ll Take Two Please!

0000 a chipotleIt’s funny how people freak out by the media shock stories. In this blog post, as you can tell from the title, I am talking about Chipotle Mexican Grill. Sure there were people who were infected with E. coli and got sick. But think about it. It was approximately 500 patrons. How many people do you think go eat at Chipotle every day? It’s definitely millions. And once the scare was out in the media, you got to believe that the restaurant chain got vigilant with their sanitary efforts not to mention shutting down restaurants temporarily as a precautionary measure.

The restaurant is clearly in a damage control phase after the E. coli break out to avoid a further media meteorite shower. So, would I eat Chipotle at this point in the time horizon of the outbreak? Absolutely, one hundred percent YES!! In fact, I would argue that it’s probably one of the safest restaurants in the country to eat at currently. I need to finish up this post because my stomach is growling and Chipotle is calling my name. Yum, E. coli tastes good!!

My Initial Thoughts on Periscope

0000000 periscopeI have been watching Tim Ferriss for a few months on Periscope and did my first broadcast a week or so ago. Today I did a few broadcasts and watched a ton more.

My first thoughts are that this reminds me of AOL in its infancy stage. People were amazed at AOL’s ability to chat online with real people in real-time. Today, it sounds pretty dull but at the time it was a breakthrough. Much of it had to do with the ease of use since the capability, technologically, was around long before but mostly only used by tech geeks (I say that with the utmost respect). Today’s Periscope feels like a similar breakthrough to me.

So here is what I did today by watching people’s live scopes (that’s slang for Persicope broadcasts).

1. Went on the Splash Mountain ride in Disneyland
2. Saw Jackson Square in New Orleans
3. Looked up at the Freedom Tower in NYC
4. Walked through the streets of Italy
5. Spent some time backstage at the World Poker Tour
6. Talked to some college kids at St. Lawrence college
7. Attended a rock concert in France
7. And much more

The above is just through a few short hours on Periscope. Obviously the newness of the app is what makes it so excited to start and I am sure the hype will die down eventually. But for now, I find it one of the most compelling things I have seen in awhile. If you have yet to download it or try it out, I would highly suggest it. In a few short hours I think I have a pretty good handle on how it works. One warning I would have is that users can be crude or cruel. If they are the ones broadcasting, you can obviously just leave the broadcast. If they are watching you broadcasting, then blocking is what you should do. Just hold on their personal icon next to their comment and a few options will come up. Choose “Block User.” The only other thing to beware of is battery and data usage. This app uses them both very quickly.

Hopefully this post will help you understand a bit more about Periscope. Until next post, enjoy a worldwide trip using this exciting new app.

Obama’s NOT your Scapegoat – Man Up!!

000000000 ObamaPolitical discussions are usually not my specialty. Maybe because I am so centrist that I piss off both sides like an unmanned garden hose wildly drenching both sides of the green grass on the other side. But today, I can’t help but get political on your ass. Everywhere I turn, these days, I want to be the proverbial monkeys that can’t hear, speak, or see. Everybody is blaming Obama for everything! And when I mean everything I mean everything!! Don’t get me wrong, I am far from an Obama fan especially during the days of the present. But is he really responsible for you not be talented enough to find a new job? Is he really responsible for the war in Iraq? Is he really responsible for the violence between white police and black men? Is he really responsible for all of the government’s debt problems? Is he really responsible China, the Middle East, your divorce, the drug war, or your grandmother’s death? It seems absurd but that’s what I am hearing.

I believe the reality is that there is a lot you can control but not everything. And usually, the things you can control have nothing to do with the President of the United States. It’s your role and your conviction that is necessary to blaze a path to a new destiny. It is your responsibility to control the way you react to things that are TRULY out of your control. Ok, I think I have gotten my point across even though I feel this blog post sucks. But I do know one thing about this sucky blog post… it’s not Obama’s fault.

I Hope Justice is Infinite – The Long Overdue Blog Post

000000 beer and bookI wish I could say that my hiatus was intentional. Posting regularly is just somewhat of a chore for me at times, I was a teenager ignoring his chores like the pink elephant in the room.

This morning on my way home from work I saw a pink cotton candy explosion in the clouds. Coming up with this metaphor brought me back to the page or screen if you may. I have switched to an overnight weekend 3 X 12 schedule at work and so far it fits me like a glove (Yes, everyone once in awhile I tap into trite sayings).

I have finally put into play the Tim Ferriss concept of less work for more pay.

The trailer of “The End of the Tour” drew me back into trying again to read Infinite Jest. The epic David Foster Wallace behemoth. I am rapidly making progress and I am nearing the half way point. I am focusing on enjoyment of the eloquent writing rather than trying to grasp every sand grain of the story. I was hoping to finish the book before seeing the movie but I am too eager and will dash those hopes later this week. Maybe I will write about the movie or maybe I will take another writing hiatus. Hopefully the former.

The reintroduction to the blog screen feels soft and cuddly. Will it remain that way? At least for now it will.

The Eye Opening Process of Learning About the AZ Legislature

0000000000000 az capitolThe last few weeks the Arizona Legislature has been working on trying to pass the state’s budget. Two weeks ago I heard about a protest march at the capital to try and put a stop to deep cuts in education funding. At that time, I didn’t find out about the march until the day my friend posted pictures of it happening. As a result, I was unable to participate. Budget talks continued and a second march, which was communicated more effectively and created with more advance notice, occurred. This time, I took the initiative to participate. This was my first protest march since college and it was a great experience. To see everybody getting together to fight for a common cause was tremendous. To cause our legislators to actually come out of their holes to watch the light of the people shine bright was amazing. As always, there is concern that marches such as this may fall on deaf ears. I relished in chanting “SOS, Save Our Schools!” and my favorite, created by both ASU and UofA students,… “There ain’t no power like the power of the students, and the power of the student don’t stop, say what!!” Okay, so the grammar isn’t perfect but the point is.

Fast forward to last night. The legislators took the sneaky move of having discussions to finalize the budget late on a Friday evening. They went to the hearing rooms hoping that the shields of darkness would protect them like armor. Amazingly, the power of the people couldn’t be completely eclipsed. Many of the protest leaders took to social media and encouraged individuals to go to the Capitol Building to show their presence and prove that the public won’t go gently into the goodnight and WILL ALWAYS be listening. I myself, decided to stay home and watch the stream of the budget bill debates online. Knowing it would most likely go all night and my wife and daughter having plans in the morning, I choose the next best thing to being there in person. I watched it stream until 1am. I woke up at 8am eager to read the results on social media. To my amazement, the House was still working to pass the last bill necessary to approve the budget. The end result was a slightly better yet very disappointing budget. They went from a K-12 education cut to a slight K-12 slight, with very little limitation on how that extra money is spent. Higher education funding was gouged and prisons received increased funding. In the end, very few other financial adjustments were made from the original budget presented by our governor.

I learned more about the Arizona Legislative budget process in the last 2 weeks than I have in my prior 22 years of living in Arizona. While I am extremely disappointing in the continued lack of funding to K-12 education, I am extremely grateful for what I learned about the process. There is a reason that Arizona is 48 out of 51 in education funding. We care more about lower taxes than we do about our kids education. Yes this new budget will be balanced and I understand the value of that. But at what point is a little extra taxes worth a better education for our kids? And with that, I will leave you with this Victor Hugo quote which was on a protest sign at the capitol on Thursday. “He who opens a school door, closes a prison.”

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