Tag Archives: United States

No end in sight

Past few months have been dreadful. I have lost motivation to write anything. I used to be so good. I made a reference in my last post few months back that I will be writing a lot. But that hasn’t been the case. Reviewing music albums had me motivated but I fell off the wagon from that too (no longer temporarily as it seems) – Though, I did enjoy few photoshoot sessions but I ran out of the ideas there as well. At this point, I do feel like I’ve hit a major roadblock in life.

Not sure how this is going to end. No end in sight as it maybe. Next few weeks, I need to find and lock down a new apartment place for another year. As much as I have loved Phoenix, I have played around the idea of moving away. Even though, I do love the short weekend drive up to Vegas and L.A. from time to time.

Few more things to clear out: I won’t be attending Grand Chapter Congress. It kinda sucks as I really wanted to explore Seattle but I just can’t dip into my savings at this moment. Best part? I will be going to Austin in October. Definitely want to explore that city as I’ve heard so much growth in the economy there, and what city offers in terms of culture and music. Phoenix definitely lacks multi-cultural interaction. My ideal place would be San Francisco but Austin isn’t too shabby either.

Life awaits..

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Unfamiliar Territory

It feels like my life has no meaning ever since I got a little busier with the new job. Don’t get me wrong, I love the job (been in the same field since ’04), colleagues and opportunities it has given me. But I was just realizing the other day that I don’t have direction in my life right now. Maybe, it’s because I’ve not met as many people as I’ve had hoped when I move down to AZ few years back.

Recently, I joined a meetup group with AZ professionals in 20s and 30s. Basically, a hang out of professionals with their busy lives, yet be able to squeeze in few hours here and there for happy hour, hiking, movies etc etc. I plan on attending their new Members Meet & Greet next Saturday. Really, hoping I can find people to hang and connect with besides the people I already know. I’ve never felt like this before. I don’t mind if I live alone and be lazy but past few months, I can sense I need a direction, a change of what I’ve already known.

Stay tuned for new entry next Sunday (July 29)


Lincoln Inspirations

I’ve been recently listening to the Team of Rivals, and interviews of Doris Kearns Goodwin about Lincoln (besides snooping around on Biography.com for more about the man). Like millions of others, I find myself mesmerized by the almost-mythical stature Lincoln commands in history.

There is a lot that can be said about him, but a quality that intrigued me most, perhaps because of its absence in the political scene of today, is Lincoln’s uncanny knack to be able to oppose his political foes with respect, without questioning their intent. Even as he opposed slavery, Lincoln could empathize with folks on the other side. Instead of demonizing them, he said:

They are just what we would be in their situation. If slavery did not now exist amongst them, they would not introduce it. If it did now exist amongst us, we should not instantly give it up.

By doing so, Lincoln is able to oppose the issue and let others ‘come to him’, instead of adding to flames of bitterness. It is not only a sign of good character, but also a smart political strategy.

In the midst of these thoughts, I am reminded of Gandhi, who called Jinnah his brother. I am reminded of Barack Obama, who called McCain a patriot and hero, while opposing him in an election. These qualities are not wholly absent, but rare, perhaps for a reason…

On the landscapes of history, only a thin horizon separates the skies of statesmanship from the seas of politics. Perhaps it is this essence of Lincoln, a sense of balance that calls you to rise to the highest levels of emotional strength while keeping your feet grounded in reality.


Big Russ and Me

I just finished reading Tim Russert’s book  “Big Russ and Me.”  The book is full of anecdotes from daily life, focusing on the lessons Tim Russert learned from his father, whom he called ‘Big Russ’.

Russert was one of the finest journalists on American Television, and was known for his ability to translate complex policy formulation in to a language that the common man could understand.In this book, Russert recounts his school days, the influence of his teachers, the inspiration from seeing his father work two jobs to ensure his kids could go to school, the love of parents, the feeling of intimacy in a small town, joys of simple living and the ethic of discipline. The book is inspiring because so many of these stories and incidents are the stuff that most of us can relate to, through direct experience. Tim Russert did a fine job putting them in to words.Amongst the lessons from the book that I can recall off-the-top of my head, are:

  • Smile and confidently greet people when meeting them, especially for the first time.
  • Channel extra energy constructively.
  • Be mindful of the effects of your actions on others, and make sure you have a positive impact.
  • Have fun, food and frolic in life.
  • Try to think out-of-the-box; I translate it to myself thus: retain your common-sense, under all circumstances.
  • There is much beyond education that constitutes learning and ability.
  • Work with people who inspire you.
  • Set high standards for yourself, and be disciplined.
  • Things are never perfect; objective optimism is a good policy.
  •  When you screw something up, own up to it and apologize.

Of course, there’s much more, and anecdotes are always interesting to read. Overall, a very good book — one that I’d definitely recommend to any book reader.


2012

Here’s an interesting fact, I never made a single New Year’s resolution. I don’t know. I was never a person like that who sets goal towards the end of a previous and beginning of a New Year. I have always worked in time frame (see 30’s Bucket List post). I guess it varies with people in general, which is majority. I don’t mind being in a minority. I like to chip things away little by little. Doesn’t matter how good you’re at multi-tasking, you just can’t tackle issues of life at once.

If anything I’d like to have it done by the end of year 2012 is to a solid career and stable financial position, completion of photography portfolio and a position on a Executive Board with a non-profit organization.


Until Death Do Us Part

Imagine being an unknown woman, and distributing condoms on the city roads for an election campaign….

Just finished reading Ingrid Betancourt’s memoir about her political struggle for Columbia. Betancourt was a presidential candidate in the 2002 elections in Columbia, when she was kidnapped and chained in jungles, until her rescue six and a half years later.

In a very moving book — written before her kidnapping — she recalls political struggles and inspiring incidents from her life. The book begins with her childhood years which were spent in Paris. Ingrid’s mother was Miss Columbia and her father was a minister in the government. After her studies, and a few years of having been married in France, she decides to come back to Columbia with a mission to rid the country of corruption.

In a country where the crooked choose politicians and policy, she finds herself in a negligible minority. Betancourt describes how, with few resources and many enemies, she struggles to start a political campaign. She is first elected as a representative, then a senator, before she becomes a candidate for the presidential candidate until being kidnapped.

What I find remarkable about the story is the fearlessness of Ingrid Betancourt.

Her first election campaign’s symbol was a ‘condom’. She chose it to symbolize protection against corruption, which was as deadly as the AIDS virus. Imagine being a woman, running your first election campaign with little money, and distributing condoms on the city roads with people making mocking comments!

And, she won…SHE WON!!!  The enthusiasm, the purity, the strength, the focus of her message hit the right spot. When people have become numb and indifferent to long stretches of injustice, it is radical, fearless, and bluntly honest messages which can deliver radical changes in attitude. That was my inspiration from Ingrid Betancourt.

The book mentions several other remarkable instances, almost like a thriller story. The politicians that Betancourt tried to label as corrupt, used it against her. Press, public opinion, threats were all used against her. As a mother with young children and amongst the thin minority in a corrupt political class, Betancourt was frustrated. These are critical moments of individual test, when there is a thin line between perseverance and resignation.

Betancourt went on national media and spoke with such straightforwardness that surprised and almost offended people. And that helped her shake the conscience of a nation that had become hopeless with its politicians.

It is a story of hope, courage and conviction. Ingrid Betancourt was released earlier in 2008 as an outcome of a bloodless rescue mission, after six years in captivity. Her book is inspiring, and one hopes that she regains the conviction to finish the highest missions that she had aspired for.


If you never had to work again..

This topic conversation comes up over and over again for me. I find myself talking about work, not having enough holidays, and weekends being way too short. I mean, come on – 5 days of work vs 2 days of fun – that’s a messed up ratio right there. Quite often I wish that I had no responsibilities, and didn’t have to work at all. I’d love to be independently wealthy. I wish I could just wake up in the morning and not have to be anywhere or do anything specific. Be free to do whatever I want with my time – too have time to throw away without regret. That would be glorious!

Inevitably however, someone always says something among the lines of: “but if you didn’t have to work, you would get bored of just sitting around all day”.

My reply to this is: Are you really so empty inside that you need someone else to tell you what to do? Are you really so psychologically fragile that you would come apart without a predetermined schedule? Have you no self control, drive or ambition?

People who say things like that seriously make me sick. Really? Having all the time in the world, and nothing to do you would actually choose to “sit around”? I’m sorry, but who the fuck sits around all day, anyway?

To me, such a scenario means limitless freedom to do things I always wanted to do. It would be the the ability to pursue my dreams without having to worry about money, appointments and etc.

Just think about it. You could travel, you could go back to school, you could devote your time to research, you could volunteer, you could write, you could paint create, you could teach. You could open your own little company, consulting firm, restaurant or whatever you wanted. You could buy a farm. You could make a movie. You could learn how to play music. You would be a master of your own destiny, no longer subject to the harsh dictates of need and opportunity.

Does this really sound that bad? It seems like a fairly decent deal to me. I do realize that a lot of people genuinely enjoy their work and find self fulfillment in it. I have never heard any of those people utter that line though. They usually just admit they like their work or say they could not imagine doing anything else. And that’s ok.

What baffles me are people who really hate their current job, hated their previous job and will likely hate the future one, but still think they would be lost without one. Do people really need structured work environment to keep them busy? Do they really fall apart without it? I don’t get it.

I can honestly say I can’t remember the last time I “sat around” and was bored when left alone to my own devices. When I’m not hanging out, or spending time with my family I’m usually at my desk being busy maintaining this blog, coding something, researching, learning and etc. I always have a stack of books to read, and a long, long list of topics to be researched and projects to be finished and/or started. My main problem is that there are not enough hours in the day to do all the things that I would like to do.

Do other people really have nothing going on for them? Have they no hobbies, obsessions or interests? Do they feel no need to learn or grow as a person. Do they have no creative drive of any sort?

Who just “sits around” all day?