Happy post-Valentine’s Day, yos! All you single people complaining, just shut your yappers and do something productive.
Hopefully this isn’t the only post I end up making this month, but I’m finding it hard to come up with topics I can talk about here.
I ended up buying some MJNA stock a little while back and it’s been doing well. I didn’t really buy enough to make any significant dent one way or the other, but it’s fun to say I’ve made money buying/sell marijuana. =p
Beautiful Creatures came out recently and Oriana has been driving me crazy just begging me to take her. Something about a yearning in her loins or something. So weird. Yesterday, I caught her combing her hair looking at yourself in the mirror whispering “you’re a beautiful creature.” I may have to give in and take her or I may find myself asleep forever.*
My Volt has been pretty satisfactory so far. The air dam at the front of the car is super low to the ground and it scrapes every so often whenever I go through various inclines. Supposedly it’s built to withstand that type of thing and it’s expected, but it’s mildy annoying. The central panel controls are also annoying, most of them not being actual buttons. That said, I have yet to visit a gas station after going over 1200 miles (I still have about half a tank left). It’s not really fair, but looking at gas alone, I’ve probably done something like 280MPG. I did end up doing the calculation for how much fully charging the car costs, and during this time of the year it’s about $0.65, which gets me about 37 miles. So if I do the miles per dollar calculation, it’s probably something in the ballpark of 36 miles per $1. FYI, during the summer, I expect a full charge to be about $1. Honestly, I’m not sure if it makes sense to buy the Volt purely based on the travel cost savings, but it’s a fun metric to look at.
It was brought to my attention today that there are only five people at BV who have been there longer than me. Crazy!
Well, it’s been a year since. I’ve found myself to be noticeably more emotional this past year (though perhaps not outwardly). I don’t consider that a bad thing, but here’s an emotional post for ya.
A year ago, things were pretty sucky. Despite that, I continue to have so much to be thankful for that in reflection of everything that’s happened, I consider myself extremely blessed. As I’ve previously mentioned, I view Mozilla as kind of a symbol of all the love and support I got during a dark time in my life. He was kind of a poetic gift to myself to cap off a depressing time with something positive. Maybe that’s cheesy, I don’t care. =) Sometimes you don’t see or value the gems in your life as much when everything’s peachy. My friends and family were awesome for us and whenever I have a quiet time to contemplate everything’s that’s happened, I can’t help but come out of it with a kind of solemn happiness. So, in that spirit, I’m going to cap off this dark anniversary by talking about the ladies in my life, my mother and sisters.
Before I get to my family, a quick shout out to Nancy because she’s like the big sister I don’t have and a year ago she gave me a perfect hug right when I needed it and I’ll never forget that. All of my friends were great during that time, but since Nancy’s the girl of “the group” she tends to be my emotional vent more often than not. Maybe next time I’ll talk about what my guy friends did, because they were definitely there for me too.
So… I’ve been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to buy my mom a car a few years back. She gave me no sense of obligation to do so, but it just kind of made sense. I got her a new RAV4 and while presenting it to her, she mentioned how she’s wanted a car like it so she could carry kids to/from church, and other ways she could serve others. The things that make her happy allow her to love and serve others even better and that’s why she’s awesome and we love her.
This is a picture of Oriana at her baptism back in 2007:
I’m pretty sure this was shortly after she mentioned our mom. I’m also pretty sure that before she finished her sentence, there was not a dry eye anywhere in the room. I’m not a good enough writer to even get close to describing how powerful I found this moment, but I hope you can get a glimpse of the love my mom’s given us in our lives by knowing that a young high schooler brought a room full of people to tears by barely conveying the words “mom” and “love.” Everyone who knows my mom knows that she’s a bottomless pit of love. She’s one of the biggest reasons I believe there’s a God. The love she’s given me and my siblings, not to mention the other people she’s positively touched, is too powerful, too beautiful, to merely be a result of chemistry and physics. I would not be where I am today, or the person I am today, if she wasn’t in my life. Her love gives me a glimpse of Love, and I couldn’t ask for a better reason to have faith. I’m so blessed to have her as my mom, it’s almost not even fair.
Olivia is, as my mom says, “the spicy one.” As siblings two years apart, I’m sure we went through the typical love/hate relationship that many go through. I’m happy that that flip flopping ended up on the love side though. =p Olivia’s certainly the more extroverted of us, but I like to think we balance each other out pretty well. She gave me the worst present I’ve ever gotten – a sheet of half-used stickers. Her fear of E.T. allowed me to pay her back well enough though when I bought a plush toy of him off eBay and put him in the hallway facing her room. =)
We’ve both grown to be foodies, and it’s fun to enjoy and share awesome food experiences we’ve had. We also both enjoy ruining Oriana’s food. I fulfill my quota of making her angry every so often, I’m sure, but I know we love each other and it makes me happy to think about growing up together and perhaps someday in the future, having larger family reunions where I can have my kids torment hers.
My mom says that I never hit Olivia, although I do remember one time when I punched her in the head. That said, she was wearing a karate helmet, so maybe that doesn’t count? =p Instead, I resorted to psychological warfare and just annoyed her like crazy, which you can even see in this video of us fighting at a young age:
Once, I made her so angry she kicked a shoe at me. I dodged it and she ended up breaking a window. My mom didn’t punish her though, cause I guess she understood how annoying brothers can be. =) I have a lot of memories of Olivia, and I’m happy I do. She’s been my sister since as far as my memory goes back and I wouldn’t have it any other way. <3
Oriana is my baby sister, eight years younger than me. Given the large age difference, we never really fought, but we also didn't really play with each other as much as she and Olivia did (expected, I suppose). I annoyed Olivia a lot to get even, but I do it to Oriana just for fun. I once walked in her room as she was reading and just let drool fall out of my mouth onto her leg. She gave me a quite satisfying yell when she realized what was going on.
I remember trying to make her stop crying as a baby, and trying to change her diaper with Olivia. Now, she's about to turn 21 next month and that's crazy. Oriana likes to gives me hugs, and I appreciate that because I like hugs, but I don't often initiate. She lives with me now as she's going to school at UT, which is pretty cool even though most of the time we just sit quietly. We're the introverts, so I think we understand each other there. =)
She gives me good fodder for my videos, like this one:
I hope she knows I tease her to show my love, which I guess means I love her a lot.
Life sometimes sucks, but I’m glad I went through it with these women and I was there for them and they were there for me.
BV flew me out to San Fran this past week to spend some time with my BV West brethren. I didn’t do anything too crazy, but there was a mall and lots of food options around where I was (4th, between Mission and Market). Made me realize how much I like big cities and being able to walk/mass-transit my way everywhere. I walked over to the mall across the street and saw Cloud Atlas (not very good), and bought some clothes since I packed particularly light.
I have a special relationship with SF since I was born there and visited so often. I guess having that deeper history makes me wonder what my life would be like had I decided to go to UC Berkeley instead of UT Austin (which was my middle school plan). I can think of a whole crazy butterfly effect on my current life since I likely would have stayed in the bay area after graduation. What company would I have been working at? One of the hot startups of the past decade? Would I be married? Homeless? =p Where would my Austin friends be without me? How has my existence impacted their lives? Imagining an entirely different timeline post-2001 is kind of crazy. Would I be a significantly different person?
I have the itch to leave Austin sometimes, and though avoiding poop on the street on my daily commute is a mighty tempting proposition, I’ve yet to make the leap of taking off to one of the big cities I find attractive (SF/NYC). I suppose I still have too much in Austin to keep me around and vacationing suffices for now…
Ultimately, I’m blessed with the life I have and certainly don’t regret going to UT, but it’s fun to think of alternate realities sometimes, eh?
I hit my “unofficial” six year anniversary at Bazaarvoice near the end of last month (I was a contractor for the first two months). It’s certainly been a great experience for me as I’ve played multiple roles throughout the years. I’ve had the opportunity to grow immensely both technically and non-technically and have gained a lot of confidence in my own abilities.
Today (well, technically yesterday) I have the privilege of being the official team lead for one of the highest concentrations of talent and passion I’ve ever worked with. That’s saying a lot because many of my past teammates have been no slouches! I feel honored with the designation and look forward to continuing to push the envelope of what the team can accomplish. I’m super thankful to everyone who had a part in getting me here and on this team.
In other news, December brings a large mix of emotions to me. I have a hard time identifying my feelings often times, so this feels a bit like rapid spontaneous mood swings. I generally find myself listening to terrible music, then forcing Mozilla to cuddle. Seems to work well enough.
Okay, I’m seriously considering changing my middle name for reasons I won’t dive into right now, but maybe you can ask me in person if you’re really curious. The real point of this post is that I’m not entirely sure what I want to change it to. Currently, I have two comical front-runners and no other solid ideas.
I don’t think I could actually commit to going with Tyrone, but Danger is sounding fairly appealing to me at the moment. I’m looking for something clever/fun so if you have ideas, share!
Oh! I should mention… this is NOT and April 1st joke. =P
In other news, I found a wonderful program to make fake Magic cards and had a blast of a time creating Sam and Viraj cards. I’m sure Gene, Liang, Mark, and Sam can attest to the many giggles that came from my desk as I tinkered with this. I was so pleased with myself. Here are draft versions of two Virajs. You’ll have to wait for the Sam one. I think I’m going to redo what I’ve got.
Here’s a set of tweets that makes me smile (it’s from newest to oldest, so you probably want to read it in reverse).
My 5D Mark III comes in tomorrow! YEEEEAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!
I asked the social networks whether or not it was weird that I sometimes like going to the movies by myself. I got a number of responses that seemed to indicate that that is not one of the reasons that makes me weird. I haven’t gone in a while by myself, but it does feel appealing occasionally. I never really got why movie-going was viewed as such a social event, since you don’t really interact while watching the movie. There are certainly some exceptions (like watching Expendables next to OMan – that makes the movie uber awesome), but it seems most people viewed going alone sometimes positively.
I posted a few pics from Andrew and Jen’s engagement party thing to flickr. I wasn’t really out to document the entire event (there were plenty of other photographers there), so I just have a few random ones. I wish I had actually taken at least one picture of Jen though (sorry!). Here’re a few and some of the after-party:
I used to have a hard time answering what my favorite restaurant was in Austin, but over the past few months, Uchiko has solidified itself as one I give. I usually like to get the tasting menu and getting surprised. That means the experience fluctuates and sometimes it’s better than others (but they’re all really good), but I really like not having to make decisions and getting a variety of tastes that I probably wouldn’t have if I chose dishes myself.
Chad, Nancy, Mark and I went to Uchiko today for the start of restaurant week and it was pretty good. I didn’t think about bringing my camera and taking any pics, so you get none. =) We went there at 5PM cause they were full on reservations and I didn’t want to end up waiting a million hours during “prime dinner time.” We ended up not having to wait long at all and they didn’t seem too packed. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were busier later though, just something to note for those of you who want to go there and may not have reservations (get there early instead!).
Mozilla has started to shed a bunch and I think we’ve entered into the “blowing the coat” phase that happens twice a year. I’ve been taking him outside and combing him almost every day and I get a good bit of fur every time. He cooperates pretty well though, so that’s good. I’ve seen photos of shibas blowing their coat that look all funky, but Mozilla still looks to have a pretty good coat (not patchy), so we’ll see if that sticks.
MY 5D MARK III IS SUPPOSED TO SHIP SOON. WE SO EXCITED.
Whenever I write a blog post while it’s raining, it reminds me of Sam. You can ask him about that sometime. While you’re at it, you can also ask him about the time he watched me as I slept in our Jester dorm and imagined what it would be like if I were a girl and we were watching the sun rise together. I never asked him how that story ended in his head, but I’m pretty sure it’s not pretty.
Speaking of sleep, here’s one of Mozilla sleeping next to my modem:
A few days ago, Mozilla ran out the front door for the first time (I blame Mark). Greg and I chased after him and despite the worry in me that he’d get run over by a car, I was fairly amused by how elated he looked. He ran across the street a few times and went as far as two houses down, but he came back and started sniffing a bush for long enough for me to sneak up on him and grab his leg. After learning how fun it was to run free, he snuck out again later as Greg was leaving, but Greg managed to corral him back into the house. Shiba inus are infamous for not having good recall and while he’s not bad when he’s in the backyard (I’ve been positively reinforcing him by giving him treats after calling him back), that doesn’t work at all when he’s out front, so I’m going to have to take more care with making sure he doesn’t sneak out.
Take this broken heart,
if it brings You praise,
Take this beaten soul,
shivering hands I will raise.
Sing the morning sun,
Wake up oh sleeper,
the Daylight has come.
- Brave Saint Saturn
This was a rather peaceful and uneventful Valentine’s Day, which honestly isn’t a bad thing. There’s good and bad that goes along with being single, eh? =) Anyways, since my tentative significant other and I are not aware of each other yet (or at least not aware that we’re each others’ significance), I will get all mushy in other ways.
I really enjoy the fact that I have over a decade of my life in blog form and I’ve missed talking about major events in the past just because I figured “oh, I’ll remember it, I don’t need to tell the world about it.” While generally true, I do sometimes go back through my blog archive and think “oh darn, I didn’t mention anything about _____?” One day I’ll come back and find this blog post and value that my past self took the time to jot all this down, so here it is.
December was a rough month for my family as my dad passed away suddenly after being in the hospital for about two weeks after a severe heart attack. I haven’t really mentioned this to the webs at large as I guess I’ve been processing all of this, and I’m not looking for a pity party. Anyways, along with this came a lot of drama, headache, and heartache, some expected and some not. Despite all the negatives though, what I will ultimately remember is the outpouring of love from all kinds of sources that my family and I were blessed with.
I don’t particularly want to get into a theological debate right now, but I want to take an aside before continuing. As an educated “intellectual” (if I can be so presumptuous to call myself one ), there are a lot of things about Christianity that don’t seem to make sense. This is further clouded by the fact that many “Christians” don’t act very Christ like at all. That said, without what I believe as a Christian, the world would seem so pointless and meaningless. I would be a slave of physics, ultimately doing whatever the atoms making up my body “decided” should be done. I don’t see the value in a concept like love if all there is to it is a bunch of atoms behaving a certain way to ultimately trigger certain chemical reactions in two larger blobs of atoms.
I’m convinced this “love” thing is special and I don’t think the type of special I’m talking about could exist in a world without meaning. I believe that there is a God that gives us meaning and his greatest gift to us was Love, which we, here on earth, sometimes manage to gift to each other and/or experience in peculiar ways. Maybe I’m a romantic, I don’t know. =p
Okay, with that said, I wanted to take Valentine’s Day as a chance to say thank you for the love that I have been gifted, consciously or otherwise. I’ll start off silly by being thankful for Mozilla. Dogs (and many pets, I guess) are a conduit for a very basic type of love, and while it’s taken me a while to fully realize this, getting Mozilla was a way for me to deal with all the negativity that December brought. Mozilla helped me combat that negativity by providing a very healthy positive type of stress that anyone who’s raised a puppy they love can understand. I don’t want to get all caught up in talk of fate or whatnot, but I consider myself extremely blessed to have happened upon such a perfect puppy for me. When I decided I would get a puppy and started searching, there was only one breeder that I found that had a litter at just the right time for me to get one almost immediately (it’s not uncommon for people to be on waitlists approaching months to get a shiba from a reputable breeder). Mozilla was the only one left of the litter because his breeder was considering keeping him unless she found the right home. It’s kind of silly I guess, but to me, Mozilla will always be a bit of a symbol of the love that everyone below showed during a rough time in my life.
To my job, who basically let me take the entirety of December off with no questions asked, thank you. Corporate entities are probably amongst some of the least “loving” things out there, but in the way it could, my job was there for me and I’m thankful for that…
To my friends, who were there for me and my family through the ups and downs of an emotional roller-coaster, you sat in silence with me, held me as my walls crumbled, fed me, did my dishes, made me laugh, checked in on me, sent me words of encouragement, and even trekked to Arkansas and back in a day with me. You did these things, big and small, and will never think anything more of it than it being your duty as a friend…
To friends of my family, you gave us food, visited, and probably did a ton of things I don’t even realize…
To my mother and sisters, who shared my pain and more, we show love to each other in quirky ways (or maybe it’s just the way I show it =)). We were hurt together but I would never wish for any other family…
Well hello again. I was going to try to do a weekly blog update like I did a year or so ago, but I have already failed. I definitely want to blog more than the pitiful amount I did last year though, so here goes! I suppose when my thoughts are too deep, they don’t make it on the blog due to its public nature… Take that however you want for what that meant for 2011.
Anyways, Mozilla is growing and he’s 18 pounds now! He was naughty one day while I was at work (teething, anxious, and/or both) and made two holes in my wall. The worst of which is pictured…
So, now he has a crate that he will be spending his days in until at least he’s done teething. Other than that though he’s been a pretty good puppy and I really enjoy his personality. I will miss him when I go to Hawaii. =( Oh yes, I know, poor little Oliver has to go to Hawaii and will miss his dog. How unfortunate. =p
I’ve also been playing a heavier amount of Magic with the gang, reviving a near decade old hobby of mine. I ended up attending some tournaments and resurrecting my old DCI number, which was apparently amusing to the tournament organizers due to its small number of digits. Yeah, nerd cred! Wait…
I logged into my account and saw some of my records at tournaments as far back as 1999. I’m doing much better now than I did back then, but that’s probably more due to the fact that I played constructed then but didn’t have enough money to really have a “tier 1″ competitive deck. That said, I haven’t done any constructed tournaments (just limited) recently. I’ve managed to at least recoupe my entry fees though and have gotten top 4 in the last three I’ve went to. Perhaps this is a new career option calling out to me… (joking). I spent some time today sorting through piles of cards that have accumulated on my tables…
I also watched Smash tonight and am perfectly prepared to have Mark call me a fruit-bag again. As Oriana has mentioned, I apparently have quite a bit of overlap in my TV watching habits to a girl in her early 20′s. =D
Oh, I have also started to send my Instagram pics to flickr, which can be found here. I’m sure they’ll still be mostly Mozilla for the foreseeable future.