beginnings and endings

The worst part of a new beginning is the final ending. Some beginnings have no end; some endings follow no true beginning.

I was a struggling English student throughout my education. Somewhere between the beginning of elementary and ending of intermediate school, the struggles I dealt with grew incrementally. I was even placed in a Reading class in 7th grade while many of my friends went into honors classes. Reading class was only for those who were struggling and was not required.

While it made me feel rather stupid, I knew I could easily make A’s in this class. There was no way I would struggle that much in a class of people I considered to be below me intellectually.

I was wrong.

I was more in tune with books as a kid, reading many which I remember enjoying. Even today I can recall various visual scenes I made up in my mind for some of the stories. However, the last time I really remember enjoying a book while in public education was in 8th grade. I vaguely remember reading certain stories which were mildly entertaining. It wouldn’t be long now.

By high school, I knew I wasn’t going to excel in this area of study. The required readings I was forced to commit to in English classes never satisfied me. Unfortunately for my education, my lust for video games had set in. Sitting still to comprehend static text was not even a passing thought if I wasn’t reminded.

I forced myself into the honors English class my freshman year of high school. For two years, I endured this ongoing struggle for several reasons: to be around peers better and smarter than me, to be around those who would challenge me, many of my friends were in these classes, and I needed to challenge myself.

By my junior year, I ended my personal challenge. Sophomore English class killed me, leaving me scarred with three D’s. It was time to end my suffering and take the personal hit. My pride in English, of what I even had left, was pretty much shot. While I didn’t want to let go for so many reasons, and while there are probably many reasons I should have continued this challenge, it was in my best interest to move on.

I tried hard to make it work. My timing wasn’t always great, I procrastinated a lot, and my test scores reflected this. I made mistakes which I wish I hadn’t, but I struggled to change my circumstances. Sadly, I just wasn’t meant to be great at English but I have slowly improved over the years.

It wasn’t a fun choice to leave the honors English track but I needed to make a change that was good for me. I was too stressed being in the same situation again and again and it left me unhappy. Since high school, I gained a huge appreciation for the English language because of my decision. I almost regret not continuing on with honors English but I knew at the time it was right for me.

I don’t always know when the right time for me to let go and move on is but I try my best to make my life work for me. The unintentional endings I’ve experienced through my life have been unfortunate but I’ve grown into a better person because of them. I just hope I know that doing the right thing doesn’t always mean doing the best thing for everyone.

Out of a sad ending will come a beautiful beginning. My improvement and understanding of the English language into my 30’s is proof that it doesn’t need to completely end. It just needed to change, this change allowed me to appreciate it more, and I found a new way to invigorate myself to improve my writing, reading and understanding.

I hope I can apply this lesson throughout the rest of my life.

31

Wow, I’m officially 30-something. Nine more years of this.

What’s crazy is I remember my dad turning 40 and my time is not too far ahead of me. He had a pretty big, somewhat extravagant party. It was probably the biggest birthday party my family had when I was growing up.

I don’t remember having too many parties as a child. I do remember maybe one or two, at which only about 5-10 kids showed up. They were nice but I was one of the least popular in my school so not many kids even wanted to come over.

This didn’t really change in middle or high school either. During my sophomore year, my mom did her best to put together a surprise birthday party for me. I believe only 3-4 people showed up. It’s not that I didn’t have friends, but it was confirmation not to throw my own birthday parties.

Since high school, birthdays have always been a somewhat private event. It’s not that I don’t like celebrating or going out. Much of the problem lies in the timing. May is a busy time for students to prepare for finals and going home for the summer. So there really never was an opportune time to publicly celebrate.

I find that the best way to celebrate my life is to be happy knowing that I can continue doing what I always do. Maybe it would be a little different if my closer friends lived near me, I dunno.

I don’t take pity on myself or feel sadness that I’m not a big birthday person. I feel a sense of comfort that I’m still alive, I feel younger than my age, and I don’t have to worry about organizing anything.

Do I prefer a personal, self-involved birthday? All I will say is that I’m happy to be alive. Who could really ask for more?

pee wee herman show

What a nice evening. I took my roommate down to Nokia Club in the new Nokia Live center in downtown LA. The place is so artificial and corporate looking but nice nonetheless. It was built to help revitalize downtown Los Angeles. While it looks like, parking around there is much more expensive than it should be. Luckily, we found free parking about 5 blocks away.

We met a couple of my friends along with two of their friends who showed up. Got VIP passes which literally meant nothing special. It was just a special trip to the 4th floor where we had private access to another bar and kitchen. Meh.

We got GA tickets so we had to stand in the back. It was still very nice to be there, however. Seeing Pee Wee in person was more or less a childhood dream. Not that I ever had a fantasy to meet him when I was young but I DID get a lot of the Pee Wee toys that were out for my 10th birthday. I still even have the playhouse!

If you’d never seen the TV show or movies, you’d think this guy is on drugs or something. I can totally get how his humor seems ridiculous from the outside. But, since we were all fans there, the whole show was really great! The funniest part for me was that he took the whole thing really seriously. It’s as though his show never ended!

What I didn’t realize until after the show tonight is many of his scenes and bits used in this show were taken right out of his show he put on at the Groundlings and Roxy so many years ago. You can find different clips of those shows on Youtube.

He appropriately made fun of his brush with the law so many years ago by saying he was wearing an abstinence ring! As he was showing it to the audience, he starts pumping his fists. There was a whole bit about it and the audience was cracking up.

We got to sit in on the last 20 minutes of a Q&A session too. It’s neat to see him talking as Paul and not just Pee Wee. He seems generally excited about everything going on. He thanked his fans a lot and was so happy that he gets to hear the feedback from everyone now. He said when he was doing the show so many years ago he was so busy he never got to really talk to the fans.

You can tell he knows he’s lucky. Either that or he’s putting on a damn good show. He was born to entertain and is brilliant at what he does.

I didn’t get to meet him personally but I did meet the King of Cartoons up close. Saw a couple other of his actors up close, too.

It was great reliving my childhood for one night. :o)

thirty

It’s just a number; it doesn’t define how I really feel.

Twenty years ago, I turned 10. Ten years ago, I became 20. I don’t remember my decennial birthdays or what happened on each of them. It’s possible I had a party when I was 10. I might have been with friends or taking finals when I was 20. Now comes my third decennial birthday.

When I was thinking to my future so long ago, I could have imagined it in many different ways. Maybe I would be a successful musician or audio engineer. Maybe I would be a doctor. I never had a clue what I wanted to be when I “grow up”.

From a biased look on the outside of nearly thirty years of life, it seems like I’ve had so much time to leave a legacy. I was given countless opportunities and time to do whatever I wanted. I’ve had a blessed life to make so many memories.

But no, I’m not where I could be. I’m not where I thought I’d be. I also have little regret about my choices. My destiny hasn’t caught up with me, not yet at least. Web design is my easiest path, but I hesitate to leave the music and entertainment world. However, these decisions and choices will be made soon. My life is changing.

If you told me that I was thirty years old, I would laugh in your face and exclaim, “Big deal!”. That number means nothing to me especially considering I don’t feel my age.

I’m not old, I’m just experienced. It’s time to put this experience to good use.

Goodbye, my reckless and irresponsible twenties. I enjoyed you as much as I could when I finally realized age doesn’t stop. You weren’t always good to me but I made the best of you.

Hello, thirties. You’re gonna bring me the best years of my life. I know aging will make my life better, so I expect a lot more out of you. Just don’t give up on me when I fail. You can remind me I’m better for being here. I promise I’ll do my best to enjoy you more than I’ve ever enjoyed my life.

bored with writing

Since my last post on Moscow, I though about writing the following topics:

  • St. Petersburg
  • 2009
  • web design galore
  • having no social life
  • wishing I didn’t have to submit my taxes or pay for car insurance

Since my last post, I’ve had no desire to sit down and write until this very moment.

You see, I’ve been busy. At least, I’ve kept myself busy with work. I’m not putting in 40 hours a week every week but I’m coming close to it.

As a freelance/contract/self-employed person who works 2 part-time jobs on the side, I work harder for my money than the average person.
I don’t clock in.
I don’t have water cooler chats with my coworkers.
I don’t have a boss peering over my shoulder
I’m my own boss and I call my own hours.

Writing, as I’ve said in the past, is tough for me. Creative writing is even more of a chore. I force myself to do it because it’s good for me and keeps you informed. I almost want to blame my lack of desire on my site’s design. I feel like this design is only half complete. Thinking about editing it makes me bored. So my site sits here and I don’t say much.

I remember when I first started writing on my site 7 years ago. It was much more frequent, it was exciting, and I generally felt as ease typing more than I do now.

Life has gotten the best of me lately, and I’m much less motivated to do certain things than I was before. Wax and wane I guess.

Since I’ve had no social life in January, February is stacking up to be much more productive in that way. I’ve planned a few trips and sacrificed going on others.

It’s going to be an interesting next few months. Maybe I’ll drop by a little more. Maybe I’ll even write a few more times a month.

balls

Balls.

Just as I was leaving childhood and entering adolescence is when the pool full of balls was really popular. You know, it’s that thing that all the kids go jump in. They used to be at Burger King. They still exist at Chuck E Cheese. I only remember a few occasions where I played in that pool of balls because I don’t remember them being too common at my younger age.

Now I’m older. I know what happens when kids of all backgrounds and kinds of cleanliness play in the pool of balls. I’d love to jump in a huge pool of plastic balls again without remembering how many stinky, unwashed, germ filled feet and bodies have touched each and every ball. But I can’t. I’d probably still dive in but I’d feel so unclean afterward.

It’s time like this that I miss childhood.
Ignorance is bliss.

breakfast

Eating breakfast at Meemaw’s house was such a welcome change from eating breakfast at home. During my annual week long visits to her house, I was almost always assured a nutritious, delicious two-course breakfast that consisted of fruit and fiber.

At around 8:30, if I hadn’t woken up yet she would usually come around and wake me to say that she’s preparing breakfast. After taking a few moments to realize that I’m awake, I would slowly make my crawl to the kitchen bar, where I sat watching her prepare a half cantaloupe for me.

While I sat at the bar enjoying my sweet cantaloupe, she would be sitting on her stool, drinking her morning cup of coffee and reading the newspaper at the end of the kitchen counter. As my cantaloupe’s mass steadily decreased, she would begin the second course of breakfast.

Most of the time, my second course was what I wish every breakfast was like. We’d usually go to the grocery store and buy a box of blueberry waffles not too long after she picked me up from the airport. The two minute toasting of these waffles produced a heartwarming aroma that always made my mouth water. Blueberry waffles was probably one of my favorite meals growing up because it consisted of the best of food: fruit, bread and sugar. The perfect consistency and combination of blueberry waffles was a great way to start my day.

There were, however, those breakfasts where she was out of waffles. In this case, my second course was usually a bowl of high fiber cereal like All-Bran or Fiber One, different than most of the cereals I ate at home. I was used to Cheerios, Frosted Mini Wheats, Raisin Bran, or maybe Life on occasion. Those high fiber cereals Meemaw served were usually not too bad of a difference since there was usually *some* flavor.

Over the years, breakfast diminished in value. During my stay on campus my first year and a half of college, my cereal habits would vary depending on what the cafeteria had available. I moved back home for my spring semester of sophomore year and my breakfasts quickly became less important: breakfast bars or the occasional eggs and bacon that my dad would cook. I didn’t like cereal anymore and would never eat it.

As college continued and I ate more breakfast bars, I got sick of those, too. There was, however, one breakfast food I occasionally ate and never got tired of eating. Oatmeal is the wonder food when it comes to nutrition. You can make oatmeal however you want, varying the ways it can be served. My last year or two of college began my love for the oatmeal breakfast.

Since then, oatmeal has been my instant breakfast of choice. I moved so many times that it was just the easiest and quickest meal for me to prepare no matter where I was. Because eating fruit is a past time favorite, I usually buy fresh or dried fruit to serve with my oatmeal. Not only is it good, it’s a great way to start the day.

Just this morning, I ate a half cantaloupe. I can’t help but think of those times my grandmother served me breakfast anytime I eat a cantaloupe. They’re still very tasty, but it’ll never be the same.

old and precious

I was definitely spoiled. Driving a brand new 2007 white Chevy Impala for over a month really got me used to what I’m missing. The smooth ride, stereo system with an input jack for my iPod, the amazing shocks, the tall seats, the v6 engine; there was so much to love about that car.

Upon finding a parking violation stuck to my windshield of my real car this morning, I quickly examined what was obviously standard issue in this private neighborhood. I needed to go to the bank and post office and this was my only mean. Thankfully, I already took care of my registration online while I was in Texas so the decal was waiting for me upon my arrival. I stuck it on my rear plate and stumbled into the driver’s seat, forgetting how low my car seats are.

Man this feels weird, I thought to myself. I already wanted to go back and pick up the Impala.

I turned the key, misfired the ignition and received a solid check engine light. No worries, the car was not driven for the last month. I drove around the block, clearing my translucent windshield covered with dry sludge and mud from the warm California wind and morning fog. Just to be safe, I briefly parked in front of my house to verify that solid light wasn’t threatening my ride. And then I was off.

Geez, this thing feels so old.

Feeling every bump along the way, I just remind myself that this car is in it for the long haul. I made that decision when I moved out here. There’s no reason to purchase another car as long as this one works great. That’s how my family works; you run your car into the ground. I know no differently.

Cars never were of any interest to me. My first car in high school was my short stint with my mom’s sky blue ’74 Chevy Nova. She received that car when she was in college and we had it ever since. It was a haus of a car and eventually was sold to my older brother because of his growing emotional attachment. My next car was an maroon ’86 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera. It was a joke of a car but it got me to and from school. I was always more excited to drive our grey ’77 Oldsmobile which was more like driving a tank, but had a nice huge engine.

I unfortunately was left without a car for my first year of college. It wasn’t fun not being able to go anywhere freely or having to constantly ask friends or my grandmother to pick me up. But that changed on my 19th birthday. My grandmother decided she couldn’t handle driving anymore and I received the best birthday gift I’ve ever gotten. It was an almost brand new ’97 Saturn SL2 with just over 4300 miles on it. It was a beauty, and although I would have preferred a silver model, the champagne gold was just fine by me for the price I paid.

I’ve tempted myself a few times over the years to trade up for a newer model, but I was fortunate enough to either talk myself out of it or have someone else slap me out of it. It was smart to not have to worry about taking on car payments and all I had to do was put up with a car that was slowly aging.

This car’s time is coming, but if I can stretch another five or so years out of it, I’ll be made. I just need enough time to get my fortunate rolling.

Dear fate, please don’t let me down!

seven days and counting…

I’ve made so many memories involving the number seven, however relative they might be to other people. Jana knew I enjoyed the number seven. It feels like yesterday that we were dating and I brought up our imaginary future.

“Ya know, if we’re older and still single when the year 2007 roles around, I think we should get married on July 7.”

7-7-7

I think the idea to both of us was kinda far-fetched since we were so young and 2007 was so far away. Now it’s 2007 and it’s days away from July. The 7th day will probably come and go with little to no fanfare. I certainly won’t be getting married either. It kinda scares me how quickly this day has come.

I remember years ago when I was 10 thinking how far away 1995 was. In fact, I vividly remember the actual thought, but my memory has faded for the visual. I just remember the feeling I had. Then 1995 came and I could recall how I felt just 6 years previous. When 2000 struck, the same memory popped back up. It was weird knowing that I had that memory 11 years previous. And now, it’s been 18 years.

I’ve been away from LA for three weeks now, having visited Seattle, Canada and now Houston. And I’m a week away from flying back. This has been a return “home” like no other. And my return to LA shall be bittersweet.

The positives:

  • Eating more Tex-Mex (although I haven’t nearly had enough)
  • Spending time with so many friends (and so many more to go)
  • Helping the clinic’s network reach a normal state (for the first time in a few years
  • Seeing some friends get married (even though I had to actually ush one)
  • Taking late night bike rides (I haven’t ridden in a long time; it was very nice)
  • Seeing a lot of familiar places and recalling so many memories (reminiscing can be enjoyable)
  • Life without television (I think I’m going to try really hard to force myself to read and exercise when I get back)

The negatives:

  • Having to actually go to work almost full-time (with some overtime too)
  • Realizing how single I am (however nice it can be)
  • Being avoided by a couple of friends (it kinda hurts)
  • Not spending enough time with some friends and family (I need the money, sadly; or they’re just too busy)
  • Not much time to just veg and relax (there have been some long days)
  • Not enough time spent in each place (I could have spent so much more time in Seattle and another week in Houston might have been nice)

I have no regrets, but I do have unfulfilled goals and desires. Time is all I have before new memories will be made. I can’t wait until my next adventures.

my reflection of the year

How can it already be 2006 in just hours from now?

I drove up to Monterey yesterday to spend new year’s eve with some friends and had plenty of time to think about everything. I’ve really had an eventful year, one of the biggest of my life.

It started off by going to Germany in January/February. It was only 6 days with 2 of traveling, but this was the beginning. I am so very ready for another international trip.

I then spent a few months doing little of anything and I started a part-time web design job. In the meantime I picked up a couple of freelance web jobs and those have kept my plate full ever since.

In May, I went to Texas for over a month. It was a very welcome change of pace and I miss having the opportunity to spend lots of time in Texas, but hopefully I’ll get back sooner than later.

Before I left for Texas, I went on a job interview. After my trip, I went on a second interview where I was offered a new job. A new, full-time job. A new, full-time web design job. So after a week of contemplating, I decided to take it. So in celebration of this new job, I went to Monterey and San Francisco in July only to…

…get my car towed. They took my car from me because I had no car inspection sticker from Texas. So that forced me to register in California finally. That makes me a true California resident. San Francisco was a blast! It was nice to see a friend from Texas as well as my friends from Monterey.

Shortly after leaving San Francisco, I started my new job located in Santa Monica. This is quite a drive from my house, so a month later I started renting out a second place much closer so I could take the bus during the weekdays.

The only other memorable trip I took before Thanksgiving was to San Diego overnight on a whim. What a blast!

Thanksgiving was spent in San Angelo for a week and Christmas was spent in Colorado for a week. Both were spent with family and both were very enjoyable.

Overall, looking back at everything that’s happened, I’m amazed at how much traveling I did. International, domestic, and local. And, even though I have a full-time job this year, I hope that somehow in the next year I’m able to do just as much traveling, but to more international destinations. I am floating around the idea of going to London, Paris, and/or Italy. I am expecting to take at least one trip to Texas and one trip to New York City! Probably another trip to Monterey too. And hopefully another San Francisco trip. Now that I have a friend in Seattle, I’d like to do that city as well because it’s completely foreign to me.

My goals for the new year include paying off as much debt as possible, finding new opportunities for myself personally, and taking some financial risks to supplement my income. I also hope to get back into the music scene either behind the scenes or as a performer. And I need to go to the gym and I need to get any medical things out of the way.

This year was suprisingly eventful, but I expect next year to be the best year of my life. Many more changes are coming, hopefully in a timely manner too.

Now, I’m off to the Monterey Aquarium followed by an evening of nice champagne and celebration for this new year. Enjoy the New Year and make the best of everything in life!

And don’t forget to smile!