Saturday, March 28, 2015
It's strange to me that I haven't actually made a birthday post in a few years.  When I got up this morning, it was one of the things I told myself I wanted to do and when I tried to find my last few posts I realized I hadn't.  Maybe I'm becoming a little senile in my old age.

In all seriousness, this one is a strange birthday.  I'm definitely starting to feel my age, both physically and mentally.  Physically, it's just harder to stay in shape.  I haven't trained for a marathon in a while, and so this is probably contributing to this, but when I go out for a run my times are significantly slower than they once were.  On the mental side, it's harder to stay focused for long periods of time.  I actually feel pretty drained after a long day of thinking.

But when I think about my life in general, I have to say I really don't have much to complain about.  I recently asked my wife if she could change one thing, anything, about our life now so that it would make us happier she said she wouldn't change anything.  I admit, I really am not sure what I would change either.  Marriage is good.  Job is good.  We are all healthy.  Not much we are want for.

Since the last time I wrote this, my startup closed and I took a job at Google.  I think a few years ago I would have not been happy at a company like Google but having done the startup I think I gained perspective.  I'm not sure I would describe it as getting the startup route "out of my system" but it was something close to that.  I think I may someday try to go out on my own again but that someday isn't anytime soon.

I'm actually pretty happy at Google which is saying something since I'm 2 years in and I tend to think this is when dissatisfaction starts.  Things aren't perfect, but they are good enough for now and that's saying something.

The dog is wonderful.  Things were a little dicey last time I wrote about him but I chalk it up him being a puppy.    It was one of those things that before I got him, I wasn't sure we were really ready for but now that we have him, I wouldn't give him up for the world.  It's made me think that maybe children might be in the future for us.

Speaking of which, it is something my wife and I have discussed in a very serious way and something I'm a lot less afraid of happening than before.  It's now at the point where I think its more likely than not that we do have children.

One of the things I thought a lot about this year is things vs experiences.  Usually its in the context of thinking about when I might "retire" and what I want to be doing.  One of the things driving this decision for me is what I want to spend my money on now and then.  What crystalized in my mind this year was how much more I value experiences over things.  Granted, I've been frugal with myself on buying material items and much less so on experiences like vacations but I don't think that's an accident.  My best memories are all the times I did things with my wife.  They are never about joy I received because I bought or owned something.

Take this past year.  I travelled to Tokyo.  I explored the city and I went to the famous Sukiyabashi Jiro.  It, and the whole trip, was just awesome.  My wife and I constantly talk about it and it brings joy to us every time we do.  Its things like this where we want to focus our attention.

Honestly, not much is bad in my life.  My biggest current problem is that I earned a lot of money this last year (thanks to a bunch of stock vesting) and now I have a very large tax bill to account for.   I guess the other thing is that I do feel like I'm a little bit too busy with work.  I would like to have some spare time to explore other things I'm interested in but can't seem to find the time to do it.  The real kicker is that while i'm not doing badly, I wish I was doing better so the effort isn't commensurate withe the return.   Need to try  to find a way to get that in balance.

But seriously, those are my big problems.  Not too bad really.  It's a little strange because for the last several years, life just seems like it gets better and better.  Is that sustainable?  Is all of a sudden, things will do the opposite?  Let's hope not.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012
I wrote on this blog exactly one year ago today because I've kept up a tradition where I make a post on my birthday and reflect back on the past year to see how things have changed.

Last year, I lamented how not much had changed in my life from the previous year. Where, sometimes you get exactly what you ask for because this year has been the exact opposite of that.

Starting at the top things are as good as they could possibly be with the wife. I'm going on year two of marriage and things are as good now as they have ever been. I'm actually going on the 7th year of my relationship and I can honestly say that its as good now as it has ever been. She has been less busy with school this year than in the past but that's because of the two big changes that came this year.

First big change came with the job. This time last year, I was optimistic that things would work out at my previous job. I had actually cancelled a planned vacation because I was supposed to begin work on a project that could fundamentally change my company's business. As it turned out things did change but not necessarily for the better. I don't want to get into details, but that project didn't turn out and a lot of other things just happened which made me reevaluate what I was doing.

In the end, I realized that I only had a limited window to really pursue my dreams of starting my own business. There wasn't much holding me back, more fear than anything else, so I decided to quit my job and do my own startup. It hasn't been an easy road. In fact, it has turned out way harder than I would have thought. Most of the problems I feel I've faced have been due to not having a partner on this with me full time. That will be fixed in another two weeks but its a lesson I hope never to repeat.

We haven't made great progress on the business. This is mostly due to the fact that we threw out our original idea and started over in January. But I'm excited about the idea we are pursuing and even more excited that my partner is coming on full time and we are so close to launch. Cross your fingers that by this post next year, I'll have a lot more good things to say about my business.

The other big change in my life is due to me and my wife getting a dog. I've always wanted a dog but for various reasons never got one. That all changed in the beginning of January. I stopped on one of my long runs at the local Humane Society. Sitting in one of the cages was one of the cutest puppies you have ever seen. I showed the wife and there was no stopping us adopting the little guy. The first month was rough, puppies are a lot of work, but now he is a happy addition to our home.

At first, the dog and the cat didn't get along and I'll be honest and say I was worried about it. The cat is getting up their in age. No major health problems this year but having a hyper-active puppy around is not his idea of fun. He hissed and growled a lot at the beginning but he is slowly starting to accept the dog as his brother. He doesn't want to get near him or have anything to do with him, but then again that was the way it was with my brother too.

I'm still running a lot. No basketball at all this last year but plenty of running. I didn't run in the LA marathon this year and that was due to a host of injuries I just kept having. I switched to more of a barefoot running style and am in the process of building up my mileage again. I hope to run in the SD marathon which is slated to begin in June. I've become somewhat of an evangelist when it comes to the benefits of running and specifically minimalist shoe running. :It really resonated with me after I read Born to Run.

I've become very active on the Social Media front. I started posting regularly on Google+ and then Facebook and have done very well when it comes to generating a following and engagement. I need to explore Twitter more but the short format doesn't really resonate with someone as verbose as I am.

It's pretty much settled that I'm not getting a house anytime soon. Now that I'm totally focused on a startup and all my funds are allocated there, no real chance I'm going to buy a house anytime soon. Same thing about a kid. Getting the puppy, and seeing how much work it is, made me and the wife realize that maybe child care is not for us. I think she is even more sure than I am about the whole thing.

33 was a great year. I think I will look back on it and realize it was a big turning point in my life. I just hope 34 is even better and more fun.


Monday, March 28, 2011
Wow, I reached another palindrome age. I am continuing the tradition of posting on my birthday despite the fact that I rarely post on this blog anymore since I moved to the other blog. I figured I would keep all these posts together and maybe look back someday at all of them to see how the years flew by.

And boy did this year fly by. The thing is, not all that much changed from 32. I'm sure as I get older less and less change will happen year by year but it is still odd to me how little things can change in one year.

Let's start at the top. This is my first full year of marriage and I have to say things are great. Surprises me a little bit how smooth everything has been and how I seem to love my wife a little bit more every day. You think you reach the maximum level and then you just blow right by it.

She is still very busy with school so it causes us to spend less time than I would like. She is still splitting her time between work and school but I know she is eager to drop the work and do the school full time. The only roadblock at this point is my own job situation. We don't want her to give up her job if there is any chance I might give up mine. She is showing some real skill in her work and I have actually been surprised at times how much talent she is exhibiting.

And that brings me to my job. Funny, status isn't a heck of a lot different than last year. The reasons for me staying are the same. I have influence and I am important to the company. In fact, I'm about to undertake a key strategic initiative that has a real chance to transform the company. Whether we actually have the will to do it remains to be seen but I'm cautiously optimistic. I did get a promotion, and now am differentiated from some of my peers, but I still wish to get to the VP tier and I'm not sure when that will happen. I have started lightly looking around to see what other opportunities exist but that's all I have done. I haven't made the commitment to totally jump ship yet.

One thing I did accomplish that I posted about last year was running a marathon. I ran in the LA marathon a week ago. The time I had wasn't what I wanted but I finished it which was the important thing. I'll have to do it again just to get a better time so I expect that to be changed by this time next year.

If it were possible, I spent even less time in the gym this year than last. Of course that was balanced out by the fact I ran a marathon. Couldn't really get behind running on a treadmill so most of my exercise has been outdoors. Barely played any basketball this year. Can really only remember one time I even got into a game. I think that part of my life is over. Just don't enjoy playing pick up basketball like I used to. Everyone is just getting younger while I'm getting older :) Truth be told, haven't even followed the Lakers as closely as I used to. Part of that is just that they are frustrating this year. Actually upsets me to watch them. But it also may just be a waning interest.

Bandit is really starting to show his age. He had some problems this year. In one incident, he wouldn't eat and kept throwing up. He eventually got over that but he worried the heck out of us. Today, he actually has a problem with his left eye. It caused us to not do our original Birthday plans which was to go to Vegas. We hope it is nothing too serious, the Vet said it should hopefully be fine, but we might take him to a specialist in a week.

No movement whatsoever on the kid and house front. Neither are likely in the near term and it looks increasingly unlikely we will ever have kids. So don't hold your breath on that one.

That pretty much sums it up. Let's hope for another great year.

Utah Fans are Classless

Monday, May 10, 2010

I'm watching the NBA playoff game pitting the Los Angeles Lakers against the Utah Jazz. In the crowd there are two Utah fans that have shirts that read "Fisher Lied".

Some background. About 3 years ago Fisher's then ten month old daughter was diagnosed with a rare form of eye cancer. This required her to get immediate surgery and chemotherapy at a New York City hospital. Fisher accompanied his family to New York City to be with his daughter. He flew back to Salt Lake afterwards to try and be there for his team. In one of the most memorable playoff games, Derek Fisher helped the Utah Jazz defeat the warriors that evening with several crucial plays including a steal and a clutch three pointer.

After the end of the season, Derek Fisher asked the Utah Jazz to be released from his contract so that he could hopefully sign with a team that had specialist nearby that would be able to help his daughter. With no guarantees that anybody would sign him, Derek Fisher left $22 Million on the table. Read that last sentence again. He gave up a guaranteed $22 million to do what was best for his family. He could have very easily not been signed by any other team and made $0. The Jazz also had the option to make Derek Fisher honor the contract but they chose to let him off the hook. It was a mutually agreed upon solution.

The Lakers would eventually sign him but at $8 million less than what he would have made at Utah.

I am not a Derek Fisher fan. Despite the success the Lakers have had while he has been on the team, you will often here me complain about his lack of defense or his inability to consistently shoot the three. But I have no doubt that he did not make up the situation with his daughter. If there is one thing everyone who knows him agrees with is that Derek Fisher has class. I hate his ability but I don't question his character. For the Utah Jazz fans to suggest he would use his daughter's life threatening illness for some nefarious purpose disgusts me.

We often debate on this blog if athletes are overpaid. People argue about the greed that athletes exhibit and they are unworthy of making that money. Yet here you have a very clear instance of an athlete taking LESS money to do the right thing and a bunch of jackass fans decide it would be funny to make fun of the situation.

Stay classy Utah. Stay classy.

My Brute - Tips and Strategies

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

I've been playing a game on the iPhone called My Brute. On the surface, it is really not that interesting or fun. I'm actually not even sure why I play it but I do.

The basic premise is that you have a warrior and you build it up. You challenge other people with Brutes and as you fight you level up. Each level brings with it different skills, weapons, etc. Now here is the idiotic part. You have absolutely no control over the game other than who you fight. Let me say that again. You have absolutely no control over the game other than who you fight.

This is not an exaggeration. You don't control how your character levels up. You don't control what skills they get. You don't control anything during the fight. Heck, you don't even get to really know anything about the fighter you choose to fight. It seriously might as well be a roll of the dice because that is pretty much what it amounts to.

So those who don't like mindless games, this one is not for you.

So how can there be any strategy in this game? There really isn't. If anybody reads this actually thinks of any, please share in the comments because I would like to know. Here are the only things I have found to be true
  • At least at the early levels it REALLY matters what animals you have. If you have a polar or grizzly bear, be prepared to win a lot of matches.
  • How much health you have is not that important. In fact, it kind of sucks to have a lot of health. More on that later.
  • Weapons make a big difference early on. If you get hit with a club, you are toast. Later levels you can avoid weapons so this becomes less useful
  • I read that abilities become more important later but I have yet to see that materialize. I'm on level 11. Not very high but that is because it is impossible to control how you level up.
Now here is the really stupid part. Remember, I said you have no control over your leveling up. So you can't even pick what animal you want or what skills you pick up. You can't control how much health you get. And that is the kicker.

Since gaining extra health cost you an upgrade slot when you level up, and health doesn't matter that much, it actually leads to the one strategy I can give to you

Pick opponents who have high health.

The only thing you can see about your opponent is their level, ability level, and health. Since I haven't found the ability level to be that important the only thing you have to go on is health. Since health takes an upgrade slot, that means your opponent was much less likely to get an upgrade giving them a good weapon or a good animal. Since those seem to matter so much early on, this is the only thing that might give you an edge in the game.

I doubt I will play much more of this game since I actually like some level of control of my game. I still mindlessly play it when I am riding the elevator or just trying to kill time but that is it. The only thing I haven't tried yet is to get "pupils" which is this games method of trying to spread socially. Since I haven't tried to get any of my friends to actually pay for this app I am pretty sure I won't be building a very big dojo and thus won't advance very far. But hey, if you are reading this and you want to join one, please feel free to join mine. My code is

Best of luck to you and like I said, maybe I don't know all there is to this game. If you actually think of something that will be useful to people, please leave a comment for others.


Monday, March 29, 2010
Continuing my tradition of blogging on my birthday (or in this case the day after) I will now post a blog about how 31 was and how I hope 32 will be.

Overall it has been a fantastic year. No big surprises and that in itself is pretty pleasant. The biggest news by far was my wedding which took place in October. We did a destination wedding and ended up having what I can only describe as the most perfect wedding I could have possibly had. The setting was amazing and the memories were wonderful. I'm not a huge fan of travelling somewhere where I can't speak the native language but we managed to get by and had a great time doing it.

Job wise things are OK as well. There are times I think I need to look elsewhere, and I may eventually do that, but it isn't for anything more than having the itch to do something a little more meaningful than the things I do now. The opportunities for advancement at my job are great. I'm considered one of the top performers in the company and my future will be bright if I decide to stay there. I have major influence on the things we work on and I like the feeling of having my decisions matter. The only drawback is always what is next. I'm not sure we have a great roadmap laid out in front of us but what company ever has all the answers? At least at my current job, I have a pretty big say in what gets on that roadmap.

Everything else is pretty much the same. The cat is another year older but who of us isn't? I'm actually starting to feel my age in very meaningful ways. While 32 is not old, it isn't young anymore either. My body doesn't heal as quickly anymore and I get sore from doing things I really shouldn't. I've started playing softball again and I'm sore from doing that a few days after our games on Sunday. We are talking softball here.

I did start training for that marathon but I never could commit to it the way I wanted to so I didn't end up running it. I will try again to find the time and energy to do it this year and run the LA marathon before I post this blog next year. I am going to attempt to commit to work out more than I have since turning 31. My attendance at the gym was horrific this past year. By far the worse year I have ever had. Got to try and turn this one around.

My wife has started studying to be an interior designer in earnest. Most of her time is spent taking classes and doing her homework. This doesn't leave a lot of time for us but it is her dream and I have come to the conclusion that one of us should be able to do something they are passionate about. Since I like work (I'm just not passionate about it) and I can actually support us on my salary, the natural choice for this benefit is her. I just hope she is really happy doing this.

People always ask me about either kids or a house. The answer to both right now is no. Definitely no to the kids. I don't see that in our future at all. Our stance on this might change over time but given that both of us seem to be focused on other things I don't think it will change soon. Lots of my friends are having kids now but I've never been one to do things just because everyone else was.

Equally unlikely is us getting a house. Housing, despite the fall, is still way overpriced, especially in our neighborhood. Still seems ridiculous to me that a household in the top few percent in terms of income can only afford what amounts to a mid level house. Until that equation changes I will be sitting on the sideline. For those who have followed my blog over the years, you know I've been complaining about this for over five years. That's five years of patience on my part. No need to get anxious now, even if it is another five years.

One odd thing that has happened is I'm spending a lot less time investing my money. This is especially odd to me because I would have thought securing my future would become more important to me as I got older and as I started my family but lately I haven't had the motivation to track things that closely. Investing right takes discipline and time and it hasn't been something I've been willing to spend that much time doing. I really do hope to change that this coming year.

Boxing is Dead. Long Live MMA

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Does anyone realize how big boxing used to be? There is a reason that Muhammad Ali is considered one of the greatest athletes of the 20th century. He was the biggest name in the biggest sport of his era. Now I'm a sports fan. I regularly watch all of the three major US sports and I watch SportsCenter when there is nothing else to turn to. But I can't honestly think of the name of a single boxer who is still currently fighting. I think there is a Russian boxer named Klitchko, they may be two of them who are brothers, but that's about it. Heck, do a Google search on the word "boxers" and you don't get anything of relevance. It goes to show you how out of mind that sport is.

But to make matters worse there is a sport now called MMA that is really gaining traction and it is everything that boxing is not. I was flipping through the channels this weekend and stopped on a fight that was being shown on CBS. Now, I'm not a boxing fan. I'm not a fan of watching people get beat up, but I have to admit I was actually interested in the fight that was happening. There was action. It was fast. Guys were actually getting hit. And the match was over relatively quickly. The last fight, Fedor vs. Rogers, was over about 7 minutes into the fight. Just the right chunk of time in our ADD culture.

Contrast this to boxing. Most of the time fights go the full amount of rounds. Guys are throwing punches but nothing is really landing. You can go the full match and not really watch anyone get in any trouble. And of course, you end up getting some sort of split decision. How boring is that. I don't think I've ever been able to watch a boxing match end to end because it just takes too long and it is too boring.

If boxing can't capture the attention of a mainstream sports fan like myself yet there is an alternative like MMA available that can, what chance does boxing have to survive?

You Know Your Cat is Fat When ...

Saturday, September 12, 2009
You have to buy a dog harness rather than a cat harness.