Perseverance: continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition. But don’t let Merriam-Webster fool you though. It is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition of success. Luck and talent are far more preferable. However, for the majority of us who belong in the fat belly of that Bell curve, perseverance means everything.
After persevering in the game of Pokemon Go for almost two fruitless years, I finally received a EX raid pass to participate today in an exclusive, invite-only, grandiose battle with fellow steadfast trainers to have the chance at beating and capturing the game’s most powerful pocket monster aka Mewtwo.
And just like a perfect Disney movie, the disadvantaged underdog, the ugly duckling, the black sheep, the fish out of water, in the end, she rises up triumphantly through perseverance and becomes the unlikely heroine and saves the world. #Mewtwo
I have admired the EDC lifestyle for a while now. EDC is about the minimalist expression. EDC is about life’s basic functions. People need security and peace of mind which are enviable foundations for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It makes sense. But until recently, my entire EDC arsenal has only consisted of the Original Slimmy by Koyono, the Massdrop Brass AAA Pocket Flashlight, and the Fitbit Alta HR (of course!)
Well, let’s just say things in my EDC world have escalated quickly.
Three weeks or so ago, I had to go on a hunt because my kids needed something called a fidget spinner. Having failed to deliver them a Unicorn Frappuncino (that’s a whole another story), Super Dad cannot fail again, right!? After calling and visiting several area Walgreens stores, we finally found it. My kids were satisfied. And I was forever changed.
Most of my coworkers and friends are skeptical. But there is an inherit attraction about a good fidget spinner. Craftsmanship is first and foremost. That’s obvious. But there is a very visceral connection between humans and metals, too. Put a good looking piece of aluminum, copper, titanium, tungsten, brass, or stainless steel in your hand. Feel its weight and temperature and connect with it for a moment. Right? Also the design language is unmistakably universal when it’s done right. It doesn’t matter whether the fidget spinner is made in Russia, China, Vietnam, or the good old USA. You understand it. Last but not least, I’m talking about functionality. Having a piece of well-designed and perfectly-machined fidget spinner in your hand, you can spin away all your nervousness and worries and focus on what’s important at the moment. For me, that’s writing this blog. Right now!
Finally a fidget spinner is legit EDC. It fits perfectly in your pocket unobtrusively. With so many awesome fidget spinners to choose from nowadays (or you can design your own), it is great for personal expression. As a mental focusing tool, its utility is undeniable. Most EDC gear is about tactical, physical utility. Fidget spinners are all of that and they help you get tactical about your emotions, too. You’ll want to carry something like that everyday, right? Right!
Fidget spinner is legit EDC.
Since Twitter and I parted ways last June, I had a relaxing four months of funemployment where I was basically chilling and keeping it cool. I took my kids to school. I didn’t exercise or anything at first. I just kept it cool. I drank coffee with friends after dropping my kids off and maintained a manageable lunch schedule before picking my kids up again at the end of the day. Yeah I took some trips with family and friends and read a lot of comic books too. Cool comic books like The Walking Dead and Pretty Deadly. In other words, life was dead cool.
Then I went to talk to a few friendly folks at a company called Fitbit on September 2 and unexpectedly they gifted me a fitness tracker with a heart rate monitor! I went out for a run the very next day with my Charge HR and had a blast. All of a sudden I was running like three times a week! I decided it was time I got #MovingOn! Thanks to keeping it cool all summer, my resting heart rate was a cool 72bpm. And with regular exercises, I got it down an even cooler 67bpm! Cool!
But alas, that’s when life took a turn. I was so happy with my Charge HR, I started working at Fitbit. And once I started working, I stopped working out. And on top of that, I was stressing out because I wasn’t working out. Three months of indolence and stress kicked my resting heart rate up to a very uncool 82bpm. Then I remember, dude, you gotta keep it cool, right!? So I signed up for a cool gym and started working out again in February. And after two months or so, I’m happy to report that my resting heart rate is now back at a cool 65bpm! Very very cool.
So what’s the lesson here? You have to follow your heart. More importantly, with the right Fitbit tracker, you can also follow your heart rate too. And that’s real cool!
Ever wonder why some people are such workaholics? The Super-Rich like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Warren Buffet are always working and working and working despite having achieved incredible success. Is it because they enjoy their jobs so much that they simply cannot stop? Maybe. Or is it because there is something else that’s driving them? Who knows!
All I’ve learned so far having been funemployed for almost three months now is that I need a steady lunch group. I miss having lunch with my friends and colleagues regularly between the hours of noon and 1pm. Managing different lunch dates and coffee breaks and so forth with various people throughout the week has just been too taxing on me.
It’s the Wild Wild West out there, my friends! The lunching scene is simply brutal, man. You’ve gotta trust me! Last minute cancellations! Reservations! Parking! You gotta deal with parking. Write that one down. Never forget parking. And then you’ve gotta make sure you are fair to everybody in your scheduling. And what about those subtle rejections? I didn’t wanna bring it up but all these things take their toll on ya. The lunching scene is just too stressful, to put it mildly.
I’m ready to get my steady lunch group back! That’s one of the reasons why I go to work. It’s lunchtime!
 Thanks to my former coworker and friend Nhu for this term. I’ve never heard of “funemployment” until she used it on me! #Genius!
Sometimes when you feel like everything is going against you and nobody seems to agree with you even on the most obvious stuff, it is important to take a step back and focus on the bigger picture. Take your eyes off of the tree and open yourself to the whole forest as the proverbial saying goes. Why try to solve the problem with the same mindset that created it in the first place as Einstein would have told you personally? Breathe, relax, stop banging your head against the wall and do something different. Go somewhere else! Jump to a different energy scale! A different parallel Universe! Smile!
This video cover of one of my favorite Chinese songs Yin Wei Ai Qing does exactly that for me. It reminds me of more basic and more fundamental things. It is okay. Smile. Everything is gonna be just fine. Because everything already is.
The original videos of Yin Wie Ai Qing (因为爱情), performed by Faye Wong (王菲) and Eason Chan (陈奕迅), can be found on YouTube below.
Enjoy those too!
As certain as Death herself
And as inconvenient as the birth of a child
Which explains why I naturally do so many things to delay it. (Doesn’t it?)
To procrastinate it. (Is that even grammatically correct?)
But I’ve never ever gone beyond the deadline
And do you know why…
Because today we get to ponder the really important questions in life
TurboTax versus TaxCut
Itemized or Standard
Is deduction an act of deducing or deducting or both?
Do I have to pay AMT for State and/or Federal?
There are just so many philosophical gold mines that we can’t ignore any longer
To file for extension would be… unhealthy
Like quitting smoking or… unsportsmanlike
Like punting on 3rd down which I have witnessed by the way. Totally bizzare!
On April 15, we get to take introspection to a whole new level
What you do on this day says a lot about yourself
Whether you’re a planner or a procrastinator
Always looking for a loophole, always trying to game the system
Or cursing yourself for missing your FSA reimbursements
Year after year
Well that is a whole different blog post I’m telling ya
Filing that one right under “Helpful Social Programs”
In any case, I love this country
As do so many Americans
Singularly the reason why we wait until the last day to write our checks
Just a polite way of saying I disagree with your policies
Whatever they might be
I call it Freedom. Democracy. Free will
And most importantly, Murica!
See you again next year
If you pay attention to the third tea mug from the right in the front row at the top, it says “不要迷恋姐 姐夫会揍你” which translates roughly to “don’t fall in love with your own sister because your brother-in-law will beat the crap out of you”. Well. First of all, this statement is so obvious to me that it is just the sort of thing that I don’t expect anybody would need a reminder for. Which begs the question of its very existence. Then I remember my recent favorite K-drama Bad Boy in which the main character falls in love with his very own sister who is freaking freaking freaking hot! Perhaps this is communist China’s way of making fun of the democratic South Korean men who are so very cursed with beautiful beautiful beautiful sisters. Perhaps not. But either way, don’t get this tea mug for your Korean friends or they shall be your friends no more.
This blog post concludes the trio of photos I took of this awesome store “火柴天堂” aka “Heaven of Matches” in Qi Bao, Shanghai, China. Here are the first post and the second post of the trilogy. Thanks for reading.
Okay, since when did Osama join the likes of David Beckham, Lionel Messi, Tracey McGrady, Kevin Garnett, etc. in Adidas’s “Impossible is Nothing” advertising campaign? LOL! (If you are confused, click on the image to get the original so you can see what Bin Laden says.)
I saw these awesome cigarette cases in the same “Heaven of Matches” store that I mentioned in my previous blog post as well as my next one. Too bad I don’t smoke. Otherwise, I would have bought a few of these. I probably should have! But they are a little pricey at 35 rmb (about $6 USD) a piece. 🙂
I simply couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw that face towel hanging from the ceiling of this fascinating store during my recent trip to Shanghai, China. I had to take a picture of it immediately so I can share it with everybody on my blog later. (Okay, you’re right. Initially I was actually just aiming to shoot the pretty girl inside.) Anyway, so is this stuff okay to sell inside the Great Wall? If so, we are one step closer to freedom of speech in China, baby! Next stop: porn!
Some background info on the store. The name Huo Chai Tian Tang aka “火柴天堂” translates to “Heaven of Matches”. It may be a reference to the classic Danish story “The Little Match Girl”. The store is located in Qi Bao aka “七宝” aka “Seven Treasures”, a thousand-year-old ancient town which is now a part of Shanghai. I have posted two more pictures from the same store here and there. Enjoy!
What when where who why and how
Whatever century we are in now
Whenever a place we may go
Wherever we find someone to say hello
Whoever you may ask the following question
Why is whyever never in any conversation?
However hard you shall try
You will never ever know why
What when where who why and how
Cacao to whyever. Cacao!
I saw this store during my recent trip to Shanghai inside a high-end shopping mall. Thought it was just way too funny not to share. LOL!
(01:46:49 AM) bryce: i gotta write up a blog post
(01:47:24 AM) Joyce: about what?
(01:47:31 AM) bryce: free will
(01:47:46 AM) Joyce: what made you decide to write about that?
(01:47:58 AM) bryce: well, obviously!!!
(01:48:16 AM) Joyce: lol
If you had listened to the Radiolab broadcast called No Special Now (or related ones like Choice or Is Free Will Really Free?), you would have learned that free will often times seems like an illusion. In other words, your brain is merely fooling you into thinking that you had made a decision to call Sarah while in fact that decision has already been made for you even before her beautiful face entered your conscious thought. This idea was pioneered by Harvard professor of psychology Daniel Wegner. So in other words, you’re not really in control even though your brain tells you that you are. I disagree.
Well, here’s why. Just because it’s NOT your brain that came up with the idea to tell you to call the princess of your dreams doesn’t mean it’s not free will. Guys know what I’m talking about. Obviously it’s your little bro telling your brain to tell you to call Sarah! But that’s still your little bro, bro! It’s still you! That little bro ain’t somebody else’s little bro. Or the devil’s, right? Hello! You wit’ me!? Who says free will has to live inside your brain, bro!? It don’t! Free will lives inside of you! And any body part in you should be able to step up and tell you what to do!! That’s still free will, my friends! Free your mind, bro!
Just to make sure you understand what I’m talking about. Your little bro is your heart.
Listen to your heart!
Here is a true conundrum to all of us nerds who are also capable of romantic endeavors aka matters of the heart not just of the mind (or brain if you are so neurologically inclined). Imagine the not-too-distant future where teleportation is just another commonplace green technology to rid us of our dependence on fossil fuel, much like the electric car. Yay! Beam me up, Scotty! Or Geordi if you belong to my generation. But in any case, don’t you realize that if teleportation were indeed possible, that would imply that we could clone people!? I’m talking about the technological prowess to break down and transport all necessary information right down to the atomic/molecular level and re-ensemble all of it to teleport me from Chinatown in San Francisco to Koreatown in Los Angeles. Yay! Beam me up now!
You see? If we can do that, what’s to prevent us from sending the same information to Seoul, Korea at the same time? Man, I could be paying a visit to two different room bangs in two different cities simultaneously! The physics of cloning is now clear! Cool!
Not so cool! Because that would really mess things up. Biologically, that means I would live forever because I could just keep replicating my transported self over and over again. However, this conundrum is not relevant at this time. A later blog post perhaps? What’s really upsetting to us romantic nerds is that cloning is a direct assault to the holy concept of “The One” aka “True Love”. By definition, “True Love” is one-and-only (c.f. how to find true love) so how can we have two of me if I’m your “The One”. Right, girl? Baby, I can explain… Please don’t run away… Hey, where you going!?
See the conundrum!? But wait! Maybe we can’t really transport anything perfectly because there is that problem of quantum coherence (look it up!) Maybe it’s not really the same old me that shows up in K-town!? I swear I feel like a different person in K-town but that’s a different story. Anyway, if the teleported me isn’t me, that would mean that we’re not technically teleporting! So what do I give up: scientific fantasy or romantic fantasy?
Hey girl, when I saw you for the very first time
I thought immediately we had a connection
So rare, you know
Say… do you believe in love at first sight?
Well, me neither
Thank God we’re alike in that regard
But something is surely devine, right?
Kind of like a… you know destiny
Yeah, that’s it. Destiny
Because like some people believe in true love
Oh. Good. ‘Cause me neither
So glad we’re on the same page on that one too
Soul mate!? Pfff! Fairy tales for kids for sure
Yeah… for real
You know, girl, I’m so glad that you’re so easy to talk to
It’s kind of like comfortable you know
Chemistry is such a amazing thing. You feel the flow?
So true. Me neither
Because I respect that
Everybody needs space
Especially for a cool girl like you
Of course you don’t want to be called “girl”
No, that’s just so awesome because
Seriously, I love Basil Cha Cha in San Mateo. They are a purely vegetarian Thai restaurant serving some of the most incredibly tasty and wonderfully healthy vegetarian dishes anywhere. So I took my friend Deepa over there and we were like going over what to order. For almost every dish, you can choose between veggie chicken (which is tofu), or veggie beef (which is also tofu), or tofu (which is well tofu), or veggie (which is you know veggie), or finally veggie shrimp (which is you guessed it tofu)! But wait, why does veggie shrimp cost $1.00 extra?
I mean it’s not REAL shrimp. A veggie shrimp is no more shrimp than a veggie chicken or a veggie duck because they are all tofu! So why the heck is veggie shrimp $1.00 more like real shrimp? I just don’t get it! Is it because it’s so real that it costs just like shrimp? LOL!
Telling customers at your buffet restaurant not to waste food is bad enough. Guilting them with social injustice is just tasteless (pun intended!) 😀 I mean people come to an all-you-can-eat restaurant to enjoy the over-abundance of food. It’s a waste of food even if your customers manage to stuff all twenty tempura soft-shell crabs in their faces when only one would normally do. By definition, all you can eat is wasting food. So don’t open an all-you-can-eat restaurant if you can’t afford to waste! That’s both hypocritical and crazy!
But you know what’s crazier? The people who enjoy eating at buffet restaurants! Believe me. They are insane! And there are a lot of them out there. Why do people always seem to eat more than they normally would just because they are in a buffet restaurant? Well, there are three primary reasons, all of them myths. Let me tell ya!
- You have to get your money’s worth at a buffet. That’s just delusional. I submit to you that no matter how much you eat, you won’t make your money’s worth. That’s because you don’t know the true costs of things. Believe me when I say this: food is cheap! The only thing cheaper than food is buffet food. Yes, buffet food is even cheaper than regular food. 😀 True story!
- You can’t waste any food because there is a food shortage in many parts of the world. If food shortage is your main concern and sole reason why you feel compelled to gulp down the small mountain of cocktail shrimps you brought back to your table, oh boy, you need help! By the same crooked logic, you should jog to work everyday, farm your own vegetables and raise your own chickens in your own backyard, and barter your baby bakchoy and fresh eggs for your neighbors’ goat milk. Yeah, that’s right. Toss your iPads and head back to the real FarmVille. The best way to be considerate is to eat responsibly and stop going to buffet restaurants, you morons!
- You want what that other guy has in his plate. One common saying I hear over and over again in buffet restaurants — “oooooh, I didn’t know they had that, I’m gonna go back in line to get it!” One word of advice: NO! Just say no. No, I don’t want to have what everybody else is eating. No, I don’t have to sample everything in the menu. No, I don’t want to have one omelet with cheese and one omelet without. No, no, no, no. NO!