Monday, December 31, 2012

366 Days of blogging

Seven years ago, I started blogging on Yahoo! 360.

Originally, the blog was about my son and it was written for my wife (who traveled on business) and family (who live out of town). My first few entries were about Christmas shopping, poop, Christmas lights, and Pancho Clos, dining experience at Olive Garden, my kid smelling like poop, September 11th, and spoiled milk. When I realized that no one (not even my wife) read my blog, I stopped. 

Then in late 2007, I experienced a form of mid-life crisis. My wife was traveling a lot on business and I found myself raising our son while she was gone. When my wife would come home for the weekends, her time was mostly spent with our son, which is understandable. But I was lonely.

Of course, that was not the only thing that was bothering me. I started to think about my career path. I knew that since my job provided time flexibility, changing was probably not the best choice; especially, if my wife was traveling for her job. Plus, I found myself somewhat typecasted in my career.

When I was an undergraduate communications student, I had this dream of writing stories and taking photographs as a career. For a short period of time, I wanted to be a photojournalist and cover the drug wars along the U.S. Mexico border--thank God that didn't mature.

One evening on January 6, 2008, I decided to start a blog that focus on the things I enjoy--photography, writing, and more. The first few entries were of pictures I took in the past, then I started blogging about parenthood and traveling. Since then, I've seen my blog evolve to include research in music, art, and other things I find interesting.

This past year, I gave myself a goal to blog everyday.  That's 366 entries for this leap year. Now, to be honest, I wasn't on my computer after midnight blogging. The secret is that I scheduled my entries ahead of time. In other words, I may have written an entry three weeks before it was scheduled to post. Tada!

For me, blogging has been therapeutic, and I'm able to excerise my creativity and writing.

So with that, I thank you (readers) for visiting my blog and reading my stuff. I hope to continue this for years to come.


Monday, December 17, 2012

1995 Kuala Lumpur Map

This map was in a crate in the back of my closet. When I found it, I was reminded of my trip to southeast Asia, 17 years ago.

I was a 19 years old boy with the good fortune of visiting Malaysia, Singapore, and Hong Kong. Two of my dad's students from Malaysia, who then became good friends of mine, made a trip home for the holidays. They invited me to join them.

I learned a lot on that trip about the different cultures, history, food, and manhood.

In the next few days, I will share with you pictures from my photo album / scrapbook of the trip.


Kuala Lumpur Map
4th Quarter 1995

Friday, December 14, 2012

Confessions of a Gym Dweeb - Mirrors


My in-laws rented a condo in South Austin for the month of December. This is great because it allows my eight-year old boy to spend time with his grandparents. And it's semi-convenient for me to pick him up from their condo after work. This proved so last week when my wife was on business travel.

I've been going to the gym for the past two years. I've made it a habit to workout at least three times a week.

Mondays and Tuesdays are a must. I can skip Wednesday, if I know I will make it to the gym Thursday and or Friday. The weekends are left for my body to relax.

I decided to try my gym's location in south Austin, since my son spent the afternoon with my in-laws at their condo.

To be honest, I was a bit nervous about visiting a different gym location. I visited their website and even Google mapped the location.

I walked into the gym and approached the front desk covered with young attractive athletic girls--my gym location doesn't have this eye candy.

After scanning my card with the barcode reader, one of the girls greeted me.  Like a geek I responded, "I go to the one north, so..." She looked over to the computer and turned again to me and said, "You're good." Sweet.

Before beginning my workout, I looked around the perimeter and notice the indoor running track. Inside the running track were the circuit machines. On the right hand side of the gym, were the ellipticals, treadmills, and rowing machines. To the left, were the stair-steppers and stationary bikes. Oh, and there are mirrors on every wall--remember that.

Naturally, I first went to the circuit machines I was familiar with; however, I found myself struggling to lift pounds that I normally do easily at my gym. Whereas, I can shoulder press 70 lbs. easily at my regular gym, I had to lower the weight to 50 lbs. at this gym--yes, I'm wimpy and yes, my mom can shoulder press 80 lbs.

After doing the circuit machines, I decided to do my five minutes of rowing. I sat down on one of the three rowing machines and began to row. The machines face towards the indoor track, which is being used.

As I was rowing, I noticed a Vietnamese guy that resembled a friend of mine. I looked at him wondering if I knew him or not. I was gazing without meaning to. Then I noticed him looking towards the wall. The wall which is covered with mirrors. He could see me looking at him. Ugh!

Soon after continuing my rowing I noticed an attractive brunette. My glance turned to gaze and again I was caught. Ugh!

"Two minutes left and I can move to another machine," I thought to myself.

The Vietnamese guy passed again and I purposely focused on my shoes. The brunette came around my field of vision and I attempted to focus on my shoes but was unsuccessful. Duh!

My five minutes were complete and I was thankful to move to another machine--one that I can blend in with other people and--more importantly--won't give away my gazes.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Thinning... and I don't mean losing weight

Perhaps its Karma. Maybe it's age or stress (yes, this calm and collected person continues to encounter financial stress even after these past few months). It could also be in the jeans genes. 

I went in for my monthly haircut with my stylist, Kim, a couple of days ago. Yes, I go to a hairstylist. No, she doesn't color or perm my hair. Yes, I do have curls but they are natural.

Anyway, after having a fun conversation, all seriousness set in. She told me that my hair was unrecognizable. In the past, she has complemented my thick hair. Today was different. She said that my hair was thinning and forming into a horseshoe shape. 

"Sh*t!" I thought I'd have a few more years until I would start losing my hair. I definately thought my hair would turn grey first before I would lose hair. 

My stylist recommended Biotin 5000 mcg. Supposedly, I may have a biotin deficiency. Without giving you the scientific explanation of why biotin is important, all I will say is that it helps us dudes keep our hair.

Of course, after walking calming out of her salon and to my car, I drove as fast as I could to the nearest drug store. I literally ran to the first employee in sight as demanded the vitamin aisle.

No, not really. The biotin pills were in plain sight. I guess there are a lot of dudes in the same situation I am finding myself in.

When I got home, I took what will perhaps be the first of many.


Monday, December 10, 2012

My Holiday Playlist


The following list is from my iPod and Pandora playlist. 

Compare your holiday playlist and see if we have similar taste in songs.

Tony Bennett - My Favorite Things

Adam Sandler - The Chanukah Song

Adam Sandler - The Chanuka Song Part II

Amy Hanaiali'i Gilliom - Mele Kalikimaka

Andy Williams - Happy Holiday

Arthur Fiedler and The Boston Pops Orchestra - The Nutcracker: Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy

Barry Manilow with K.T. Oslin - Baby, It's Cold Outside

Bing Crosby - The Christmas Song

Bing Crosby - Silent Night

Bing Crosby - Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow

Bing Crosby - I'll Be Home For Christmas

Bing Crosby - Deck the Halls

Burl Ives - A Holly Jolly Christmas

Brenda Lee - Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree

Chuck Berry - Run Rudolph Run

David Archuleta - The First Noel

David Archuleta - Joy to the World

David Benoit - Christmas Is Coming

Dean Martin - White Christmas

Diana Krall - Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

The Eagles - Please Come Home for Christmas

Eddie Higgins - Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Eric Marienthal - Christmas Time is Here

Eugene Ormandy: Philadelphia Orchestra - March Of The Toys

G. Autry, O. Haldeman - Here Comes Santa Claus

George Strait - Jingle Bell Rock

George Szell: Cleveland Orchestra - Patapan

Harry Connick, Jr. - Frosty the Snowman

Harry Connick, Jr. - The Christmas Waltz

Harry Connick, Jr. - Silver Bells

Harry Connick, Jr. - This Christmas

Harry Connick, Jr. - Jingle Bells

Harry Connick, Jr. - Reason to Believe

Harry Connick, Jr. - It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Harry Connick, Jr. - Have a Holly Jolly Christmas

Harry Connick, Jr. - Dance of the Sugarplum Fairies

Harry Connick, Jr. - It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

Harry Connick, Jr. - Santariffic

Harry Connick, Jr. - Winter Wonderland

Harry Connick, Jr. - Sleigh Ride

Harry Connick, Jr. - (It Must've Been Ol') Santa Claus

Harry Connick, Jr. - Let It Snow, Let It Snow

Harry Connick, Jr. - Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Harry Connick, Jr. - What Are You Doing New Year's Eve

Gayle Peevey - I Want A Hippopatamus For Christmas

Gene Autry - Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer

Jewel - Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

Kirov Orchestra & Valery Gergiev - The Nutcracker, Op. 71, Act 2: Character Dances

Louis Armstrong & The Commanders - Cool Yule

Mariah Carey - Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)

Michael Buble - It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

Michael Buble - Let It Snow

Nat King Cole - O Holy Night

Norman Brown - Skating

The Chipmunk Song

Rob Thomas - A New York Christmas

The Ronettes - Sleigh Ride

Sarah McLachlan - Silent Night

Stephen Colbert - Another Christmas Song

Thurl Ravenscroft - You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - Christmas All Over Again

Tony Bennett - The Christmas Song

Tony Bennett - Christmasland

Tony Bennett - Snowfall

Tony Bennett - I'll Be Home For Christmas

Vince Guaraldi - Christmastime Is Here (Vocal)

Vince Guaraldi - Greensleeves

Vince Guaraldi - Linus and Lucy

Waimanalo Keikis - Twelve Days of Christmas

Waimanalo Keikis - Christmas Lu'au

Wynton Marsalis and Ellis Marsalis - Charlie Brown

Willie Nelson and Norah Jones - Baby It's Cold Outside

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