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1440 minutes

That’s all we have in a day. 1440 minutes. Use them wisely.

The main themes:

You have only 1440 minutes per day. Use them wisely, and respect other’s 1440.
Cut out everything that wastes your (or other’s) time.
“Do Less” by focusing only on what matters.
Identify the real problems (ie., what keeps your boss up at night) and solve them. That’s your best path to career advancement, approved budgets, etc.
Don’t tolerate a work environment that wastes your time.


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Pausch’s last lecture: Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams


Fundamentals, fundamentals, fundamentals.

My dream was to play in the National Football League. And most of you don’t know that I actually – no. [laughter] No, I did not make it to the National Football League,but I probably got more from that dream and not accomplishing it than I got from any of the onesthat I did accomplish. I had a coach, I signed up when I was nine years old. I was the smallest kid inthe league, by far. And I had a coach, Jim Graham, who was six-foot-four, he had played linebackerat Penn State. He was just this hulk of a guy and he was old school. And I mean really old school.Like he thought the forward pass was a trick play. [laughter] And he showed up for practice the firstday, and you know, there’s big hulking guy, we were all scared to death of him. And he hadn’tbrought any footballs. How are we going to have practice without any footballs? And one of theother kids said, excuse me coach, but there’s no football. And Coach Graham said, right, how manymen are on a football field at a time? Eleven on a team, twenty-two. Coach Graham said, all right, and how many people are touching the football at any given time? One of them. And he said, right, so we’re going to work on what those other twenty-one guys are doing. And that’s a really goodstory because it’s all about fundamentals. Fundamentals, fundamentals, fundamentals.

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There’s a first time for everything

Couldn’t sleep. Looked up in old Men’s Health magazines.

Read this article titled “There’s a first time for everything.” Not sure if the website has a copy of that and I’m in the mood to type it out.

1. The first time you see your father as a man, complete with flaws, unfulfilled dreams, and unchained lust. Your mission: Learn from him, but don’t repeat after him.

I have.

3. Your first paycheck. It gave you a one-two combination punch from the invisible hand of capitalism, the first being that yes, taxes suck. The second: This is not nearly enough dough. Both fueled your ambition to earn more zeros. And still should.

Yup, it still does.

5. Your first wedding as a groomsman. You looked your best, the free booze flowed and you had that genuine pang of hope that someonday you’d find the woman of your dreams–and that she might ust be that hot bridesmaid dancing to “Baby Got Back.”

I have. One of the best experiences. And still yet to find that person. Someday I shall.

6. The first time you dump a girl. It took balls to walk away from free nooky. Maybe you’re stronger than you think.

I have and it was hard. Hope I don’t have to do it again.

7. The first time you’re picked last. First thought: I suck. Second: I’ll show them. That mojo can last a lifetime.

Yes, that’s the most important.

8. The first time you encounter mechanical failure in bed. Laugh it off, reboot, and spend the next hour pleasing her. She’ll remember it as your best performance ever.

Hasn’t happened but that seems possible. I’m already well-read.

9. Your first medical scare. Next time you’re in the drive-thru or at the gym, remember that panic.

I didn’t get the scare but regardlessly, I’m working out.

11. The first time you stay out all night and see the sunrise. Freedom. Hope. Endless possibilities. Attack every dawn with that mix of surprise, awe, and optimism.

That’s why I camp out in my Element. :-)

12. The first time your 401(k) nmber surpasses your annual earnings. It means you’ll be buying and not serving the lattte at Starbucks in 2048.

About halfway there already.

13. The first time you walk away from an animal pleasure–the fourth pitcher, the availabe wench. It’s an indication that your cerebral cortex has finally taken over from your lizard brain. Now you can pursue a life, rather than merely live it.

Yup, have been drinking quality beers like new belgium beers and start to experiment with mixed drinks. I’ll wait till when I’m over 30 years to start appreciating the fine taste of wine. Ha.

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When Steve Jobs was 27 years old

STEVE JOBS AT HOME IN 1982: This was a very typical time. I was single. All you needed was a cup of tea, a light, and your stereo, you know, and that’s what I had. ~Steve Jobs

Whoa, I didn’t know that his birthday is on Feb. 24th, two days apart from my birthday. Awesome.

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What is a personal legend?

Taken from herePaulo Coelho, author of The Alchemist

I remember receiving a letter from the American publisher, Harper Collins, which said that: “reading The Alchemist was like getting up at dawn and seeing the sun rise while the rest of the world still slept.” I went outside, looked up at the sky and thought to myself: “So, the book is going to be translated!” At the time, I was struggling to establish myself as a writer and to follow my path despite all the voices telling me it was impossible.

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He’s finally found his problem. It’ll take him a while to solve it but he will get there. But the most important part is he’s found the problem.

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20 Things I Wish I Had Known When Starting Out in Life

20 Things I Wish I Had Known When Starting Out in Life

#7. All the stuff youre doing that seems hard it will be of use. This is the first one that might not be as obvious. There were times in my life when work was hard, and I did it anyway, but hated it. I did it because I had to, but boy did it stress me out and leave me exhausted. Hard work isnt as easy as I wanted it to be. But you know what? Every bit of hard work I did without knowing why I was doing it its paid off for me in the long run. Maybe not right away, but Im using skills and habits I learned during those times of high stress and long hours and tedious work I use them all the time, and theyve made me into the person I am today. Thank you, younger Leo!

Exactly! I’m living it out. Studying Korean is hard right now…but I know it’ll pay off. :-)

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Twenty-seven years old

I turn 27 years old today.

Here’s my previous posts on the same day:

Twenty-six years old
The Existence of 24 years old on this Planet Earth.
I turn 25 today.

Like I said last year, I’m gonna write a post on my birthdays, it feels like giving a gift to myself because the ability to write is a gift itself. So, I have 3 years left to 30. Wow. Time’s flying by. A lot has happened since my last birthday. I moved coast to coast, from DC to California. Ha I don’t have a Subaru WRX anymore, now Honda Element where she and I shall go far. I’ve already slept overnight in it at Lake Tahoe; that was cool and fun. Gonna do more of that soon.

One big thing I’ve accomplished is that I have managed to maximize my 401k. That is $15,500 a year and company matching half of that so I am saving $23,250 a year plus interests and most importantly, zero debt. Well, I suppose that is another achievement too. Doubt I will become a homeowner because costs around here are ridiculously high and I’m constantly amazed at how people continue to find ways to buy houses at like 500k or higher. That’d be paying a loan forever. People who are in debt, get advice from experts by visiting

Renting Makes More Financial Sense Than Homeownership

“What about the pride of home ownership?”

It’s not for me. I define ownership as no longer having to pay for something and being able to do as I please with it. I own my coffee maker. House owners must pay taxes each year even when their mortgage payments are done. In certain markets they can’t even make changes to the houses they’ve paid for without seeking the approval of others and hiring hvac maintenance chattanooga tn to maintain it. Personally, I feel the pride of ownership for shares of businesses, and I’m proud to occupy a nice place while leaving the burden of poor returns and maintenance to someone else.

Unless I move to a state where a house can be bought 200k or under, I might reconsider. For now, nope. I am happy with where I am now, all of my basic needs are met and I’m having a time of my life. I’m gonna explore life, make friends and help others. I know I’ll be comfortable later in my life, with a house or not. Just a roof over my head is good enough. I share a nice well-maintained apartment with a great roommate who is Japanese and is fluent in four languages. Ofc, ASL is one of them. We met through Craigslist and turned out that we have some mutual friends. How small world.

This year, I’m gonna do a lot of activities. I plan to become a member at a golf course, play in tournaments and see where I stand at. I’m gonna do more of running, rockclimbing, snowboarding, traveling, learn how to surf, camping, hiking, working out, dancing, basketball, take more pictures, building websites/apps, watch more movies, and writing.

Tonight, I will have a bday party at Dave n Busters and it’s gonna be a lot of fun. :-) See you all there!

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Twenty years from now…

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didnt do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. – Mark Twain

Something’s going to change…

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Life updates

I realize I haven’t blogged much lately. I don’t want to say that’s because I was busy, which I was but I want to stay committed and try to write as much as I can. Anyway, some updates that’s happened in the last four weeks.

I flew to Illinois to visit parents the first weekend of May as I hadn’t seen them since Christmas. It is painful knowing that time is going by fast and my parents are growing old faster than you can say medicare. My mom’s already a senior citizen and chances for her to become a grandmother are pretty slim since I doubt my finger is going to be bearing jewelry till well after I’m 30 and that’s still four years away, then probably a few couple years more till I’m ready to have kids. So, my mom could be 70 before she can finally add one more word to make it compound. For now, I gotta bear with her for still calling me a baby boy.

While I was there, we went to deaf expo in St. Louis, which was my third trip to a such event. First one was in Chicago, second was Virginia, and now this city home to the Gateway Arch. I wonder why do they still call it a Deaf Expo. It should be called as a battle of VRS services because there are like 8 different VRS services invading 90% of the convention space. Also, I noticed that their booths kept getting larger, more colorful like one VRS company looks like they come right out of Wonka’s Chocolate Factory with their purple setups, and another company thinks they could be as cool as Apple company with their brushed metal design and shadowed lights. Then, I realized something, we’re just like cash cows. The more cows they could register, the more money they can make. That’s what we are to them. Seems like pretty much of our Deaf economy is based on how many minutes we use VRS, then those minutes are billed to the FCC, which gives out paychecks. So we still live on the government’s welfare, either directly or indirectly.

On that Sunday, my parents and I had a brunch with the Chances and one lady who recently lost her husband. It has become into a sort of tradition to have a get-together with them whenever I come in town. Tom Chance was my dorm head supervisor at Illinois school for the Deaf and I was under his wing from 5th grade to 8th grade. He is one of my role models and he carries a certain class that reminds me of Cary Grant. He is also known for making the best martini in town and has a wine cellar in his own basement. I was especially honored when he gave me his favorite light blazer that didn’t quite fit him anymore. I don’t remember feeling this honored. I immediately recognized the blazer because that’s the one he would often choose to wear to award events or graduations at the end of year. The feeling I got was like getting Michael Jackson’s white glove or Elvis Presley’s favorite leather jacket. Something like that.

To this day, I haven’t worn the blazer yet, still waiting for the right occasion but you can bet that when time comes, I’ll wear it with class and integrity that he has always showed.

The interesting thing now with the Chances is that their daughter has adopted two kids from Korea, and I remember I was a little kid when my parents and I attended her wedding. Now, they’re raising two Korean-American kids so I wonder if I had something to do with that.

Before I knew, the weekend had gone by and it was time to go back to DC. The last two weekends, I went on two bachelor’s party, which was accompanied with lots of beers.

to be continued…

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Creative ad

On the ad, it says “You’re born small and weak. You die small and weak. How you look in between is up to you.”

Ha, so true.

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What are Phobos and Deimos?

Man, my sleeping cycle is seriously f**ked up. For the last two weeks or so, I’ve been going to bed really late like around 3 or 4 am but still managed to get up by 10 am to go to work at 11 am. Till recently, looks like my body (more of my brain) has finally taken its toll so I was feeling tired and went to bed early at 11 pm—–believe it or not, my body thinks it’s early. I was hoping I could sleep till 7 am to get my full 8 hours but nope, my body began to stir, slowly getting out of REM stage and woke up at 3 am. Three o’clock!!? Now, I can’t go back to sleep and I dunno if I can go back…. I want to play golf before work. Maybe I’ll stay awake and overload on the coffee or mountain dew till I finish my shift. Oh well.

Enough of my sleep ramblings, I wanted to share that I finished reading a book called “Brainac” by Ken Jennings. If you’re not familiar with the name, he flat out broke the Jeopardy! record for the most consecutive games, seventy-five, and earned three million dollars in winnings. This so happened because Jeopardy! decided not to limit five days winning anymore. A champion can stay on as long as s/he keeps winning. I remember reading about him in the newspapers and started to watch him on Jeopardy! I wish I had a tivo so I could watch all his appearances, maybe there’s a dvd? When I watched him on the show for the first time, I could immediately tell he was different from any contestant and his knowledge of trivia was brilliant and freakingly astounding. He was like a machine, going through questions like he’s Dave Crockett shooting these tin cans as they fall one by one quickly. He knows even the smallest details that no one would bother to know but he knows. He said he enjoys knowing “weird stuffs”, which apparently is extremely useful in trivia.

My first experience with trivia probably was the Gallaudet Academic bowl competition. I believe it first started in 1997 ‘cuz my good friend, Kent, was on the team along with his classmates, Beth and Carolyn. They were a bunch of smart seniors. Well, Kent was definitely a slacker but he knows a lot. They went to Kansas to compete in the Midwest Regional, which they won handily over Texas and earned a trip to the deaf national tournament at Gallaudet Univ. in Washington, DC. They didn’t win as California School for the Deaf Riverside (CSDR), became the first school to win the tournament. Kent, Beth and Carolyn graduated that year and who’s the next crop? It was Nick Beck, Jill Birchall, Kevin Symons and myself.

I truly feel that we couldn’t have a better team, with Nick being our “anchor”, it was his first chance to be in the spotlight than constantly being teased in school or getting stuffed in some lockers. I think we also got to see how smart he really was, despite his eccentric personality. He reads a ton of books, possesses a sponge-like memory, is excellent at remembering people names like the Supreme Court judges or U.S. presidents, and current world events as he likes to read newspapers daily.

Jill, the only girl on the team, knew what most girls like to know–celebrities, literature, art—and she even surprised us with some music knowledge like she knew who was on the Grateful Dead band, despite we’re all deaf and knows NOTHING about music culture. Boy, we would sink without her. She’d spend summers catching up on People magazines and YM/Seventeen’s, although she probably has graduated to reading Cosmopolitan now. Like Nick, she remembers names very well.

Our third player, Kevin, he’s the one who got married recently is a different kind of nerd than Nick is. He wasn’t necessarily eccentric, just a bit of loner who would wander in his own world but he came alive in geography and he knows all U.S. capitals. He’s also good at math—quickly solving problems and guess what? he is now a project manager of a small firm that drafts blueprints for wealthy people who want to build a million dollar home. Those blueprints cost more than four figures.

Now, the fourth player, me. Ha, I don’t have much to say except I know a bit about sports, some random facts (maybe weird) and history. That’s about it. I wonder how did I get on the team. I think I was good at keeping the team together and being upbeat, like Jill and Nick didn’t get along so well, ha. So, that’s the four of us and one coach/teacher, Marybeth Lauderdale. I can see why she was so excited for us and really thought we had a team that was good enough to win the national. Except on one question: Name the two moons around Mars.

It was the last game in the Midwest Regional tournament, having blown away every other teams except maybe for one team, Indiana. Our final opponent was Missouri; we had beaten them in the first round but they fought their way back into the final round. Their team was led by one girl—I don’t remember her name—but she wasn’t pretty and looked like a snotty pig to me. One thing I still remember about that girl was that one MSD student told me that she wasn’t even a full-time MSD student; she only took one class, a PE, at the deaf school while the rest of her classes was at a public school. She had just transferred there so she can be eligible to participate in the academic bowl competition. On the contrary, Jill was born deaf and entered 0 to 3 infant program at ISD and remained there till she graduated. You think such a “scandal” would only occur on the NCAA level? Think again!

In the first three rounds, our brains were hitting on full cylinders, pulling ahead hard and was ten points away from having an insurmountable lead that they couldn’t beat us on the final “jeopardy” question. I think the score was 125 to 55. But on the final question, “Where will be the next Deaf Winter Olympics held in?” That pig-faced girl buzzed in before I could and she answered correctly, Denmark. That gave her team 10 points, from 55 to 65, thus not out of the game because they could bet all of their points to double their score and we’d have to be wise with our wager. I remember I was soo pissed as they still had a chance. And what a big chance that was.

In our final team conference, we knew they would bet it all so we bet only 10 points. The final question’s about to start and it was to “name the two moons around Mars.” We looked at each other, expecting to see who knows the answer. None of us knew. We looked over the other side. We saw the pig-faced girl made a gasp, looked down and wrote the answer. She knew! that pig-faced girl. We tried to re-focus and discuss, frantically trying to get an answer but it was all hopeless. We had lost. They doubled their score to 130 and we went 10 points down to 115. The whole thing was over and they’re going to Washington, DC, not us. It was the worst feeling, like getting kicked in the stomach. I felt like throwing up. Really was sick. I remember being shocked, then got really mad at myself for not stealing the last question—the next Deaf Olympics. I knew that one. Like Ken Jennings, he got jeopardized for not knowing the answer to “most of this firm’s seven thousand seasonal white-collar employees work only four months a year.”

That was eight years ago and I still remember like it happened last week. At least I had good memories, it was a blast with my team and we really learned a lot of stuffs like how facts are connected to each other and being more in touch with the world like I want to travel Europe someday. I enjoy doing crossword puzzles and like to watch Jeopardy! shows. Of course, I had my high school crush on Jill, so maybe that’s why I got on the team. ;-)

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My expired coupon from Blockbuster

I was supposed to write about this coupon when I took a pic of it but of course, things had to come up and I lost sight of writing this post. Now, I’m back to this.

While waiting for my flight back to DC, my dad said “Oh, I almost forgot, let me give you this coupon.” and took it out of his thick leather wallet. It was time for me to head back to DC after spending some family time with my parents. Soon enough, my hearing aid amplified my ear, alerting me that the speaker box were making some mumbling sounds and that it probably means it was time to go and strip myself in front of some security officers at the airport. Seeing some people standing up and getting into a line helped confirm this.

For some reason, my dad seems to enjoy holding my mail ever since I left the parents’ house for college and I don’t think I have ever spent more than two weeks at the house after having lived there for more than 15 years. I also should add that my dad is a P.O. worker and he likes to brag that he knows every zip code around the midwestern states. Anytime I get a box from someone, I can immediately tell if it’s from my dad by the way how the box was packaged, taped and labeled. And it would require a good scissor to pry it open, not just your hands. One of these days, I just ought keep the box unopened and re-send it to the P.O. museum and be placed in a glass to show how crisp the box is and its taping.

Now, back to the coupon, since my dad gave me the coupon right when it was time to go, I didn’t really pay attention to the coupon and I just took it right into my wallet. Heh, from his wallet straight to my wallet. After I was decidedly settled into my airplane seat, I took the coupon out and looked at it. The expiration date says “03-14-06” and today is May 14, 2006. So it was expired but stayed in my dad’s wallet for two months. I suppose by looking at all these zip codes has made my dad a victim of hyperopia. I put the coupon back into my wallet and some tears began to form as the plane began to take off the ground.

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Hiatus and Merry-Go-Round

Haven’t blogged here in a while. Been incredibly busy with work. My place is a Merry-Go-Round now, with roommate changes. Andy Tao has bid his farewell to Washington DC after living there for five years. He came to DC to be with his girlfriend and to take up another Masters degree in Biology or Genetics. Broke up with his girlfriend but remained in DC for a few more years till he met another girl who’s a floridian. He got a job at FSDB as a Biology teacher and to live with his girlfriend. I wish him the best of luck. With him leaving, we’ve had three people stay at my place. One will move to California and another one to replace him. That’s what I mean, my place is a merry-go-round.

Next month, I’ll move in back with my uncle in Leesburg that is actually closer to where I work than from DC. That’ll help me save gas; I need that. Will be living there temporarily till I figure out where I want to go. It’d be great if I could relocate to Chicago to be closer to my parents, as I realize they are not going to live forever. :-/

This weekend, will go to Paw Paw in West Virginia to watch the deaf disc golf national tournament and to root for my friend, Kent, who’s asked me to be one of his groomsmen as he’ll get married next summer.

All in all, summer is simply going too fast.

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Weekend recap

The weekend’s about to end…never mind, it has already ended. Just when I thought I have nothing filled over the weekend, events began to pop up and when I look back, I did pretty a lot. Last Fri, I worked late as I was trying to finish a project (it didn’t quite get finished but when is it ever a finished project?), and then had to clean out my work queue. Even there’s still some things to do when I get back on Monday, doh. Got home, rest, thinking abt what I want to do with my limited free time. It went like this.

Saturday: got the day going by doing errands first before meeting Luke at the golf course to play a 18 holes. =) My driving was definitely rusty; dunno what the heck happened to it. Did I lose my core strength in swinging the driver? I think perhaps I was trying to swing it too hard; I always want to hit the ball hard but I know it’s the opposite. Let the driver does it job. Gotta remember that. But my short game has improved a lot; putting a touch on my putting and chipping. I got a 87, with mulligans, of course. After the golf, went to Gallaudet to watch the men’s basketball game. Damn, that was a good game, seeing the Bisons beat the Catholics for the first time since 1996. The Catholics are leading the CAC conference. In sum, that was a great upset to witness. =)

Later that night, went to a bar called the Irish Times. It was the first time I went there and while it looked small, it had a dancing floor downstairs in the underground and upstairs, there was a one-man live band signing whatever he was saying. One thing that I thought was cool is they had beer bottles out in a big metal ice-filled cooler and you just pick the beer up and give three george washingtons to the guy behind the coolers. Simple. No need telling the bartender what you want and you still got the wrong one anyway. Oh yeah, there were two birthday boys–Marlon and Ian, 21st and 22nd respectfully, so we partied through midnight to make it like killing two birds with one stone. ;-)

Sunday: slept in late but my hangover wasn’t too bad. Got an email from my uncle Bud, giving me the address to watch my cousin swim in a synchrozied meet. It was my first time going to one. I realize it’s just like figure skating but with water instead of ice. There were solos and team competitions. Interesting. Watching those girls swim, I know I’d choke on water as soon as I do a back rotation or whatever that move was called. =) Good job, Nina!

Then my roommie and I hosted a last-minute b-party for Ian, coupling it with a guys’ night. Dang, these charcoals take forever to heat up. Our only female roommie made brownies so we guys used the brownie as a cake and pathetically used a match for a candle, sing-sign the birthday song. Hey it’s the thought that counts and he enjoyed the brownie. =) What can be a guy’s night without playing some poker? So, we played poker and I made a foolish mistake, lost my $20. =( I’m just glad I don’t play it professionally or I’d have to declare bankruptcy. Oh yeah, watched NFL but they weren’t even close, with Pittsburgh handing it to Denver and the same went for Seattle over Carolina. Thought it’d be closer than that. None are my “fave” teams but if I had to pick, it’ll be the Pittsburgh Steelers to become the 60th team to win Super Bowl. But congrats to Seattle Seahawks for entering SB for the first time ever. I still remember how bad they were when they were an expansion team.

Now I’m behind my computer once again, thinking, writing, (and a bit of surfing too), reflecting, remembering, and finally sleeping soon.

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