May 31





We waste so much energy trying to cover up who we are when beneath every attitude is the want to be loved, and beneath every anger is a wound to be healed and beneath every sadness is the fear that there will not be enough time.


When we hesitate in being direct, we unknowingly slip something on, some added layer of protection that keeps us from feeling the world, and often that thin covering is the beginning of a loneliness which, if not put down, diminishes our chances of joy.


It’s like wearing gloves every time we touch something, and then, forgetting we chose to put them on, we complain that nothing feels quite real. Our challenge each day is not to get dressed to face the world but to unglove ourselves so that the doorknob feels cold and the car handle feels wet and the kiss goodbye feels like the lips of another being– soft and unrepeatable.

Mark Nepo

May 30




Bowl of Pho

It was a Houston summer– hot and sticky.  We had just come home from church, and I was in a terrible mood.  Why do we always have to wake up and go?  I just want to sleep in.  And I hate wearing this suit.  My mom yells at me because I keep teasing my sister.  My dad walks through the door carrying a plastic bag.  He doesn’t attend church with us, that lucky dog.  He tells us he bought pho.  As we’re changing out of our nice clothes, he begins to warm up the broth and get everything ready.  Pho’s become a weekly tradition for our family.  He lays out 5 bowls, putting the noodles in each.  I notice that 2 of the bowls didn’t get as much as the rest.  He casually mentions that he and mom don’t really like eating the noodles.  I don’t think much of this.  They’ve always preferred more rice in their broth.  He scoops rice into their 2 bowls, and then pours in the broth, and pho is ready!  We all gather around the table, and then we eat.

It wasn’t until much later that I realized what the implications of that were.  It just seemed normal, as if all other families did this.  I knew we didn’t grow up as privileged as some of the other kids at school, but I never felt like our family was missing anything.  And looking back, they did a mighty fine job shielding us from a lot of the realities of our situation.

I would be so lucky if I could only inherit a quarter of their strength.

May 29




This is water

Commencement speech excerpt by the late David Foster Wallace

TL;DR: Be compassionate.  Be present.  And have a sense of humor.

This video also brings to light the fact that we tend to judge ourselves by our intentions, and others by their actions. (environmental vs. dispositional attribution)

May 28




Fear of Powerlessness

Specifically, it’s the fear of powerlessness in protecting loved ones.

Growing up, I’ve always been considered “weak.”  I wasn’t physically active.  I was meek and shy.  Teachers, parents, and adults alike all discouraged me from standing up for myself when dealing with bullies.  Out of fear of litigation (my parents were very afraid of this).  Fear of backlash.  They would tell me things like, “Oh don’t worry you’ll show them when you’re their boss!”  (Ha!)

Once Upon a Time in China (1991)

I grew up watching kung fu movies.  A lot of them.  They were my escape.  In particular, this guy to the right was my hero.  I watched all of his movies.  My role model!  Master Wong Fei Hung – He can kick anyone’s ass, but is modest.  He’s a physician, and regularly gives free treatment to the poor.  He is a gentlemen with women, and protects everyone he cares for.  He never holds grudges, and completely forgives his enemies.  (His movies also included a healthy dose of Chinese nationalism and some anti-Western propaganda, but I didn’t know that until a lot later… whoops)

I wanted to take martial arts classes sooooo bad.  But my parents never really had the means nor the time to take me.  They also didn’t feel like it was important, and asked me to focus on my studies instead.

For a long while, the culmination of all the things stated above skewed my perception of what it meant to be a man.

I remember having dreams that eventually turned into nightmares as people close to me (friends, family, imaginary girlfriends) got hurt, and I could not save them.  Literally, my punches were just too slow.  I didn’t realize until later that this was a fairly common dream for men.

Being completely helpless as you see your loved ones suffer is still very much a strong fear for me.  When bad things happen to you, you can deal with it.  Get angry.  Shake it off.  You’re in control.  But when you’re completely powerless to help… it drives me insane.

I want to do everything that I can so that I never feel that way.  I want to become stronger– physically, mentally, emotionally.  If the situation ever comes up, I want to know that I have done everything that I possibly can to protect the ones I care for.

May 27





“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.  Attitude, to me, is more important than facts.  It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do.  It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill.  It will make or break a company… a church… a home.  The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.  We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way.  We cannot change the inevitable.  The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude… I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.  And so it is with you… we are in charge of our attitudes.

- Charles Swindoll

This quote comes from Christian pastor Charles Swindoll @ Insight for Living.  And at first glance, I thought that it’s about being happy regardless of what life throws our way.  But then I realized, it’s not true at all.  It’s too simple.  It’s not about suppressing suffering in the face of pain.  And it’s never as easy as snapping your fingers and changing how you feel about something.

I am not my emotions.  It’s important that I recognize my natural tendencies, my auto-pilot settings, my default behaviors as something that I have, and not something that I am.  It’s so easy to play the victim.  To indulge in feeling shitty and to succumb to self-destructive tendencies.  I have to take a step back, realize that my emotions do not control my actions, and that I have the freedom to choose how I frame and deal with these feelings.  And of course, I have to acknowledge that some ways of dealing with emotions are more constructive than others.

Attitude is not how you feel.  Attitude is 100% how you choose to react.

May 26




Hello World!

Hi!  It’s been a while, internet.

This old site again. started out as a personal digital sandbox.  My nerdy expedition into the world of HTML, PHP, and all that jazz.  Its focus was on all the coolest flashy web features.  Consequently, it was always down or under construction…  🙁  Content-wise it’s never amounted to much, and in retrospect it was more indicative of my need to play with technology than a way to express my thoughts.

It’s been a while since I’ve written for myself, or for pleasure.  Let’s see how rusty I am.  With my failing memory, I have hope that this site will become a place to gather and store my thoughts, views, and experiences.  At least some of the more personal tidbits.  Too personal for Facebook, anyway.

I made a promise to myself that this blog’s layout will stay this way.  Clean, uncluttered, and focused on the content.  No more fancy widgets.  No more fancy tinkering.  This reincarnation will hopefully stick.  I owe this to myself, at least.

I’m also not very sure of the direction I’m taking this blog.  Hmm.. so if everything up and disappears one day, it’s because I’ve decided for it to be a private journal!  Sorry!

Unless I only make some of it private.  This requires tinkering, however…