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Created on Mon Aug 23, 2010 5:55 pm with 158 blog posts
Reflections on life in the real world.

man boobs, complacency and distance from a dream in pursuit of happiness with 0 comments on Mon Sep 05, 2011 4:49 am
It's Labor Day weekend in the United States, and after two days of excessive eating and negligible exercise, I'm once again left in a familiar state of mind, analyzing the existence of my man boobs (moobs) and why they're still around 12 years after I first realized what an obstacle they are to the attainment of my dreams.

Not that I have grandiose dreams or anything, but even getting a simple promotion or making a good first impression is that much more difficult when one has moobs. Charisma is a widely accepted factor of influence, and it's obvious that having moobs drops one's charisma by several points right off the bat.

So, logically, why haven't I done anything to get rid of them? I suppose that at the root of the inaction is that my survival instincts have not indicated that moobs elimination should be a priority. Fact: I never starved a day in my life. Fact: Even while I didn't have girlfriends in high school, I was sufficiently happy with my friends and other forms of available entertainment. Fact: Through a miraculous encounter in college, I met and eventually married a very wonderful woman. Fact: While I'm clinging to the bottom of the middle class in America, my life is surrounded by comfort at home and at work.

So... my casual search on the Internet for a moobs cure led me to this article, "Man Boobs, Motivation & Phil Mickelson". What I get out of it is that I need some kind of jolt to overcome to inertia for starting a journey to a moob-less life. But... I wonder if that's really good for me? I wonder if that's really good for anyone? Essentially what the article was talking about was emotional trauma... and who knows whether I'll come out stronger or weaker as a result?

I don't know, and I probably won't know until something majorly horrible happens. ... At times like this, it seems natural to curse my moobs and reach for a beer.
choosing to evolve with change or to call it a day in pursuit of happiness with 0 comments on Sun Sep 04, 2011 6:36 am
I just watched Memphis on Broadway today, and I was extraordinarily surprised by the insight that I took away from the musical. I may simply be reading too much into the performance, as the other three people with me didn't share the same response. But regardless, I'll try my best to write this reflective post without any spoilers for those who may one day see the production.

At the core of my takeaway is change. Change is such a broad concept, involving many actors, many opportunities and countless steps, back-steps and counter-steps. To those who believe passionately in a very specific and noble change, which started as playing "negro music" on "white radio" in the case of Memphis, it's easy to build up a head of steam in the beginning when the change is still novel. However, as milestones come and go and the environment morphs with the seasons, the initial change agent may find him- or herself losing relevance in a disillusioning world that reached a different state than what the change agent envisioned.

At this point, the change agent has two options: compromise his or her values in the short run to attain the ideal in the long run; or throw in the towel and call it a day. While I personally am an idealist and loathe to compromise my values for any short-term gains, the musical makes a great point supporting the more strategic compromise. Now, which tactic is better? I still honestly don't know.

At work, I'm passionately trying to affect a cultural shift to become more social, collaborative and innovative. I wonder how valuable my voice is currently to the initiative and will be in the future.
fixing a leaky water spout for the first time in DIY with 4 comments on Sun Aug 14, 2011 3:17 am
So, the water spout in my bathtub started leaking a few weeks ago and progressively got worse. I'll admit that, having never touched a water pipe, I was a bit intimidated by the idea of fixing it, especially since I'd never done it before. All I could tell when I removed the outer shell on the water mixing valve was that there were three pipes joined together by this "thing" that was most definitely causing the leak.

Telling my wife that it's probably better use of our time to call a plumber, I requested a quote from three plumbers and got one back for $275. While I was ready to swallow the price tag, my wife balked at the idea of dropping $275 to fix what she thought was a simple leak. With her reminder of what we could be doing with $275, I couldn't help but agree. Thankfully the plumber who gave me the quote also told me what I was working with: a Symmons Temptrol S-86-2 mixing valve.

Anyway... today I finally found the motivation to go out and look for the replacement parts necessary to complete the repairs. Amazingly enough, the parts came out to a whopping $3.00. Yes, one... two... three whole dollars, compared to $275. Eager to get the ordeal over with, I took the parts home and immediately realized that I did not have the right tools to disassemble the valve for the repair.

Thankfully, one last hardware store was keeping their doors open until 8:00 PM, and I rushed over to nab a $13 channel-lock plier to compliment my 8" adjustable wrench. Armed with the new weapon, I successfully cracked the seal in the assembly and completed the part replacements.

The repair was by no means a total success, as the water spout still leaks a little bit (although nowhere near as much as before). But I feel like if I need to repeat the repairs again I'll be ready. As long as I don't have to knock down any dry wall...
the transformative power of religious groups in pursuit of happiness with 3 comments on Thu Aug 11, 2011 12:21 am
I've never been super interested in religion, and while I respected religious views of the world, I felt largely disconnected from the religious community. My parents weren't religious, so I wasn't brought up to be religious either. And as a result I never understood what it meant to be part of a religion.

Recently, my mom joined a church, and the result of that has been astounding to me. In my weekly conversations with my mom, she sounds more energized, more content and just... happier! It seems like religion, when done right, creates a mentality of inclusion, empathy and peer support in its members. My mom enthused and cried over the sense of belonging she felt after regularly attending group meetings over a period of two months, and at this point I couldn't be more thankful that she's found a place for herself in a very friendly community of "brothers" and "sisters".

Very curious... the power of religion (or at least a religious group)...
why we pass down our family names in quip with 0 comments on Tue Aug 02, 2011 4:03 pm
Why do we pass down family names from generation to generation? Because agreeing with your spouse on a first name is freaking hard enough already.
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