Tuesday, April 24, 2012


I'm a little weird in that I'm extremely (bordering and occasionally crossing over) confident in my abilities ... so long as those abilities are being used in certain situations.

One of my few abilities that has the least situational restriction on it is being in control of myself with respect to projects, work, etc. I feel like I plan well, know my options, and when it's crunch time, I'm ready. I'm usually prepared for most things thrown at me, and for those I am not prepared for, I know I have the tools to figure it out and come to a solution. 

Recently, however, I was put in a situation where I had no control, no effect on the outcome, one that would impact me the most. Dealing with this has been ... a roller coaster. I'm forced to prepare for the worst while the worst/best scenario is still a month away and anything can change. I'm forced to trust that those capable of producing an end result have the same desire and drive to succeed in this task as I would. 

Emotionally, I wear my heart on my sleeve and I revert back to puberty stage of mood swings; I'm angry at the lack of progress, understanding of the situation, frustrated at my lack of involvement. Hopeful that things will turn out OK. Concerned that things won't turn out OK. 

Another quality I'd say I'm decent at is looking at situations objectively, and giving appropriate advice. As the saying goes however, it's always easier to give advice than to take your own. Or something like that. If that isn't a saying, quote me from here on out. 

All that's left for me to do then is to look at this situation as if I'm in the third person, and figure out what to do. I know Ajay gives good advice, and I'd definitely like to hear what Ajay has to say. 

  • You know that you have to go into worst case scenario. Hoping otherwise would lead you to be less than fully prepared
  • Regardless of the outcome, it will not be the end of the world. If it is a worst case? Lace 'em up, play some Swag Flu, and work your butt off
  • Learn from this
  • Be confident in  your abilities

I guess it's time to execute. 

'First had the booooosties, couldn't get it done ...'

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Concept of "Swag"

I've had many discussions with peers about my opinion regarding what it means to 'bring that swag,' so I might as well document it for future reference, as the concept of swag has and will withstand the test of time.

Looking at swag from a distance, it can be seen simply as confidence, but upon closer inspection, it is slightly more intricate. For me, it is going into a meeting, knowing that you will provide valuable input. It is understanding that if I am in a pickup basketball game, my team will always be competitive, and won't get blown out. It's going into an interview unsure what questions might be asked, but confident that I have the experience to provide a good answer.

Swag is knowing what your strengths are, understanding how to use them, and executing in appropriate situations with the goal of performing at a high level. It is the elimination of self doubt, and the ability to handle any obstacle thrown your way. It shouldn't be confused with cockiness; being respectful of the abilities of others, as well as being open minded and willing to learn are necessary. Swag involves taking everything learned into effect and using it to do your best.

Bring that swag on the daily. It'll do you good.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


If there is ever a post that discusses shady business, this has to be it.

If you did not know, I am a Cal alumnus and big football fan. Those unfamiliar with college football, once the season ends, the coaches focus on recruiting high school students to join the team that fall (or even in the spring if they want a head start). Each school has a recruiting strategy and many rely on their ace recruiter; for Cal, that man was Tosh Lupoi, a man who bled Blue and Gold, started as a player and grew into a respected, classy recruiter/coach. Notice the past tense.

This week, he left the team, the act of which I have no problem with. Cal does not own him, and he has every right to do what is in his best interest. The way in which he departed, however, is where my frustration stems from.

With sports as well as life, I respect people based on how they play the game (a phrase that works for both sports and life). In basketball? Box out, play defense, make the right pass, shoot if you're open. In life? Don't do anything you wouldn't want done to yourself. Be conscious of people's opinions. Stand up for what you believe in. Pick your battles.

This coach, while at Cal, preached family, loyalty, etc., all qualities which I have learned to associate Cal with, from top to bottom. Every school has their skeletons, but I took pride in the notion that Cal has fewer than many others. Simply put, we do things the right way. The article I linked to describes many ways in which this was the exact opposite.

I will miss his recruiting skills and the feeling of having an ace in the hole. But after actions like this, I can say nothing else, but good riddance.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Motivation Struggle

I read up on a lot of sports, and the articles that laud the great players in their respective sport often times mention the hours spend in the gym, the early morning workouts no matter the date or location, and the drive to be the best.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are those people who are not interested at all in improving, and are content with their current knowledge, career, and financial level, among other things.

Smack dab in the middle are people like me with the potential to improve themselves and reach every goal he or she sets ... only to waste away precious time and effort behind other activities. As you may have guessed from the title, this is a motivation struggle, but not in the general sense of the phrase. I personally want to reach my dreams, and the prospect of doing so excites me. I am held back by four mental barriers, however:

1. Getting started
2. Continuing the process until its finished
3. Doing these things alone
4. Fear of failure

Aaaand that's my elevator speech, when do I start? All jokes aside, these problems appear easy enough to solve, especially to my engineering-tuned brain:

1. Start
2. Finish it
3. Grow up
4. Seriously, grow up

Simple enough, right? It should be. I'm even one of those people blessed to have things come easy to them (#humblebrag) so it shouldn't be a problem. At the end of the day, however, it is. So what am I doing to solve it?

Super Mario 64.

I've never been good at video games (start wall), when I did play, I could never get very far so I'd stop (finish wall), it's a 1 player game (alone), and you lose lives a lot (fear of failure re-enacted with a dying Mario).

It sounds silly, but as of a week ago, I received this game through eBay and have started my quest to conquer these irrational fears 1 star at a time. Hell, if I can beat this game, what can't I do?


It's been about two and a half years since my last blog post, and though that seems like a short amount of time, I've become a very different person. Technology and how we use it has also transformed considerably during this time.

In two and a half years, tablets are no longer the wave of the future but the foam at the shore of the present. The cloud is no longer just that thing you imagine to be soft as cotton balls if you were to jump out of an airplane. We approach communication at a completely different angle. My parents understand how to use skype. Facebook is updated from do everything phones that make the first time you got a phone with a camera on it seem pedestrian and honestly, a joke. News is brought to you the instant it happens on Twitter.

Everything is faster.

Yet here I am, writing a blog post, among the slowest reads, especially when regarding a topic the reader (you) may not be interested in.

Part of these last two and a half years resulted in a maturation (#humblebrag) of my thoughts, and though I love twitter, the unwritten rule of publishing few, concise tweets, no matter the topic has proved too constricting.

I may not post much, if at all. The topics may be random. At the end of the day, my plan is to use this space not to get my opinion 'out there', but just to get it out.

Monday, June 1, 2009

New Tech!

For those of you who don't know, it's E3 week, where the public finds out about the next big new electronics gadget/game to come out in the fall or subsequent years. Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, and others make their announcements here, and it's a complete nerdy expo with a lot of exciting news all packed into one week. Today was day one, and it started off with a Mike Breen "baaang!".

First off, Microsoft's Keynote was this morning, and even though I'm not a gamer at all, this stuff seems potentially Wii killing. No joke. You know how the wii-mote charts the movement of the controller and turns that into control? What if instead of a physical controller, your body is the controller, and your full body motion (legs, arms, head, the works), coupled with face and voice recognition, was turned into motion? And what if this was a reality? As in today reality? (Come to the conclusion please. . . .yes, it is a reality now). They demonstrated its motion by the way, and it worked very well, which is promising.

Big news, huh? Add that with a bunch of new game titles (in Keynote link, in the earlier posts) that I'm sure hardcore gamers will be happy about, adding movies to your Netflix queue directly from your Xbox, twitter and facebook integration, streaming music, and some other things, and you have a pretty heavy hitting keynote, even by E3 standards.

One more thing for the microsoft fans in all of us, they just unleashed a new search engine bing.com, that apparently changes the way you search. Yeah, that's what they all say, so you'll have to find out for yourself, but on my first test, looking for a work table that folds away, bing found one for me on its first try, while google took me in circles and yielded nothing useable . . . That's one point for bing. I'll keep you updated with more tech stuff as this week progresses.

Friday, May 22, 2009

In 14-24 Seconds Or Less

If you have not read the book In 7 Seconds or Less, I recommend you do so; it is a story where a journalist is given the opportunity to follow the Phoenix Suns for an entire year as few fans do. The journalist was given almost complete access to the team, including the playoff strategy sessions, coach's meetings, practices, team plane rides, the whole schabang. It's a truly in depth account, and a sports lovers dream.

What if you were given the exact same chance, but with any team in the NBA of your choice? Many fans undoubtedly would choose their favorite teams, but there are teams out there that fans despise that are more interesting than their own team.

Are you thinking about the Spurs? You would be amazed at the ball movement, work ethic of all the players, and the camaraderie, but don't lie to yourself, after a month of the same "you're a great teammate", "no, you're a great teammate!", the lack of drama may get boring.

What if you are a fan of the Sonics, but they're still on sabbatical? Who do you choose instead?

What if you're a fan of the Clippers like myself? Do you take the torture of bad management decisions, a lack of work ethic from players like Zach Randolph, and literally the most vile, cunning, and money hounding owner in the league?

This is an important decision, and I will attempt to come to a conclusion, in a Bill Simmons format.

Wheat Grass Mixed with Soy Sauce Drink

No thanks, I'm not going to try that, just like I'm not going to try these teams.

30. The Los Angeles Clippers. I don't want to torture myself. If I find out the inner-workings of this team, I am afraid I will be thrown into a state of complete disbelief in a successful Clippers team. I'm still holding on to that dream right now. I'm not ready to let it go. I don't plan to. This might just do it though.

29. Detroit Pistons. Yes, there is a chance to see Dumars work his magic, which according to other writers, is actually a Ron Weasley instead of a Dumbledore on a Harry Potter scale (a.k.a. passable), but this team is dead. I don't feel the same passion, the same energy that is DEEEE-TROIT BASKETBALL. They aren't a bad team, but they are a pretty lost team as of now.

28. New Orleans Hornets. Besides Chris Paul, who would be a joy to follow, this team is a mess. I'm not ready for that kind of dedication, and their upside is more of a downside. I wish them luck, I hope CP3 has an mvp caliber season, but they're not my slice of pie. Not this year.


27 - 21. Memphis Grizzlies, Golden State Warriors, Sacramento Kings, Charlotte Bobcats, New Jersey Nets, Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors

Though I dreamt about eating them last night, I have no care in the world for Pecans, just as I have no care for these teams. I do not care so much about the players or the development of these teams. I have nothing against them, but if they came to town to play the Clippers, and I had season tickets, I'd be very likely to give them away.

Pepperoni Pizza

20. New York Knicks
. The Knicks are like pepperoni pizza. What's wrong with pepperoni pizza? It's a great flavor, and you can't go wrong with it. Ahh, yes, but let's say you're at the Pizza Parlor of all Pizza Parlors, and can get any pizza you want. Would you go with the flavor you have already tried before, the one you already know, regardless of how good it was, or would you go with a different flavor, a more unique flavor? We've already read about the greatness that is Mike D'Antoni. I would love to do the same thing as the author of the book did, but again, I only have one chance, and I'm going to have to pass on the Pepperoni and try the Pineapple and Curry Chicken on a peanut/tomato sauce

The Cinnamon Toast Crunch

19. San Antonio Spurs
. Whats wrong with Cinnamon Toast Crunch? It's perfect at any time, for any meal, snack, or combo. It's never bad, and it produces every time. With the Spurs, you know what you're getting game in and game out. A team that listens to its coach, has good chemistry, and has no internal problems. Injuries will play a big role, but after a month or two, I'll know what to expect on a day to day basis from this team. It's not a bad thing, but I'm at a steak house. I don't want cinnamon toast crunch. I want a filet minon.

Philly Cheesesteak from Philly

If you go to Philadelphia and are a meat eater, you know you're going to have one of these. It's got the upside, and the potential to make some news, but on the other hand, will it be a big enough deal to you? (I have heard they are overrated by the way, sorry to crash the party)

18. Philadelphia 76ers. No, I didn't name the group after realizing Philly would be number 18. I actually named the group and then realized that Philly is the next on this list. This team pushed Orlando around a little, and has the chance to be a fun and interesting team, especially with the development of Andre Iguodala. With a new coach coming in, it would be interesting to see how they mesh, and what happens when the team hits its struggle, because it is not going to be a top 3 team in the east. It will hit its problems. This team gets dropped to this position because of the negative effects of Elton Brand, both on the court and on me. I don't want to spend a year being pissed off at him, or even worse, forgive him for what he did because I now know him. It was not understandable, and it will never be. My professor did that to me recently on research, and it sucked just as much.

17. Dallas Mavericks. They made some noise in these playoffs, and there is room to grow, but their appeal is low. Dirk is a great player, and I want to see him succeed. Jason Kidd was my favorite player for a long time, though Deron Williams has currently taken his spot. I want to see Kidd get a ring before he finishes his career. I feel like this is a top 6 team in the West, but I just don't see a reason to spend a year behind them, besides getting to see Mark Cuban in action. Which is the sole reason they are ranked 17th.

16. Atlanta Hawks. They have the talent, they got into the 2nd round, and had the bad luck of meeting the Cavs. Does this turn into a parallel of the Spurs/Cavs finals, where LeBron realized there was a lot of work to do? We all know how that turned out: the Cavs came out hungry and over the last 2 years have been very good. The Hawks have the potential, but Joe Johnson is getting tired. We'll see what happens next year, but only in front of the scenes.

15. Los Angeles Lakers. I would love to see the real interactions between Kobe and the rest of his team. I would much more love to see the reactions of other teams when they play Kobe, and what they really think of them. I would try to sabotage the Lakers as well, and that's just not right, so no thanks.

14. Phoenix Suns. They are a good team, but are low on potential. We know what each player is going to bring night in and night out. The time to get better is past, we know how they will work together. Predictability is not something I'm looking for at this stage. I have a lot of respect for Nash and Hill, which is why they are up on this list, but other than that, I'm looking elsewhere.

13-12. Indiana Pacers/Minnesota Timberwolves. These teams are very yong and are developing stars in Granger and Jefferson. They are starting to play well together, and may soon develop into a strong team with depth, next years 2007-2008 Blazers. I liked the 07-08 Blazers, and I definitley loved the 08-09 Blazers, so there's a chance these teams follow that path.

11. Miami Heat. This team in the 08-09 season can be compared to the 05-06 Lakers, in that Kobe led a 7th seed team to . . . nowhere, just like Wade did: Wade needed help. But their parts are slowly growing up, and they are one trade/draft pick away from going deeper in the playoffs. How will the coach fare, or will he succumb to the sophomore slump. Will Dwyane Wade, the leader, the star, continue to score in droves and accept it, or will he become frustrated with the lack of talent on the team, and the need for him to shoot 40 times a game! Find out next year, on 'The Young and Restless: Miami"

10. Houston Rockets. Playing the regular season without your stars makes the other players grow. They have to fill in some big shoes, and keep the team afloat. Playing in the second round without two of your biggest stars against a team that is slated to win the championship, and STILL pushing it into a game 7 while being written off by everyone? Yeah, it's going to have a huge confidence boost on next year's team, especially on Brooks and Carl Landry. It's a great team to follow, especially to see how they earn their name as a stat-geek team, how GM Morey works, how Battier learns on the defensive end. It's an awesome team. Just not the one I want to follow.

My Mom's Cheese on Toast (Grilled Cheese done right)

That stuff is bomb, and I have never tasted anything better. Ever. In my life. You can't beat it, unless you eat amazing food created by the world's best chef's. Which is why these teams aren't the food created by the world's best chef's. But you know what? I'd take any of these teams in a heart beat if I were only offered one of these.

10. Cleveland Cavaliers. The pre-game photo shoot. The Chalk. The team chemistry. The defense. The leadership. The greatest player on the planet. I'd love to see this team in action. It would be an amazing thrill ride, and from a more selfish perspective, this would be the team that would most probably involve me more in random things. I would get the best interviews, and a more indepth look at quite possibly, when his career is over, one of the top 5 players to ever play this game. They, however, have hit a stability point, where they are at a peak. They can potentially fall slightly, which may cause some drama, but it's just not as good as it would have been in the season following their Finals loss. They would have been number 1 on my list back then.

9. Boston Celtics. This team is no one person's team. The Big 3 run this team together, and they are completely different personality wise. How they spread their wisdom, and how they work together would be amazing. Rondo developing into a perennial All-Star? I'm in. Perkins becoming a bad-boy (Detroit style) in green? I'm in. Prove to me that their bench is worth following as well, and I'm in all the way. Until that time, they are the same team as the first 60 games of this year, which is great and all, but I know what happened this year. I need some new stuff.

8. Denver Nuggets. I have been fascinated with this team during their postseason run, and it still has not hit me yet that they can actually win a championship. I feel they can definitely beat the Lakers, and because they are so atheltic and deep, if they make it to the finals, they'll be hard to stop. If they are short, how do they respond next year? If they win the title, how do they defend it? Does the team still buy into defense after their successes, when teams can get lazy? Is Coach Karl going to take the heat if this happens? There's a lot of potential for Drama, but again, the team is set. There are no new postions that need to be figured out, again, not looking at free agency. Just not my cup of tea.

7. Portland Trail Blazers. The upside on this team is off the charts. Roy is coming off a huge year and can be in the MVP race. Aldridge is developing into a great player. They've got the Spanish Connecion (spelled correctly, just missing accents). Oden and point guard Steve Blake will provide drama with their development. How will this team gel? Will Aldridge, who has Shawn Marion complex, be able to handle the hype that Roy will undoubtedly be getting as the alpha dog on the team? I struggled putting them this high (it should be high, shouldn't it, as 8 is higher than 1-7), but it had to be done, as you will find out below.

6. Washington Wizards. The return of Agent 0 and the Big 3 Number 2 in the form of Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison. The team's youth had 2 years to develop. Before Gil went out for another year, they were battling the Celtics Big 3, and doing well agains them. They have a lot to prove after last year's debacle. They have a new coach. The chemistry of this team is unknown, except that Arenas is planning on toning it down, which he better do, with that $111 million dollar contract. There are a lot of questions on this team, and it would be great to be a part of their resurgence

Iron Chef Food

I'm not too picky about what I eat, but word on the street is that the Iron Chef's know how to cook damn good meals. These teams are on that level. Only one team though, mastered the use of the secret ingredient to perfection and has the perfect blend of texture, taste, and presentation to win me over.

4. Utah Jazz. Deron Williams, Jerry Sloan, and the 8th seed. These 3 have pushed the Jazz up to number 4 on my list. Deron Williams is my favorite player in the game today, but is viewed as the 2nd best point guard in the league (soon to be 3rd as Derrick Rose becomes lauded as the best thing since sliced bread and slides into the 2nd spot). Will he let that happen, or will he take the reigns and move ahead of Chris Paul? Deron Williams is the LeBron James of the point guard position, in that there is no matchup for him. As a fan of his game, I would love to see him in action and see the team dynamic, which starts with Jerry Sloan. Sloan is the greatest coach to never be recognized as such. He is the last coach to truly control every aspect of the team, to have the last say in all matters. Just to see him at work would be amazing, especially in his old school ways. As for the team, how do they respond to their flop last year as an 8th seed coming off a Conference Finals showing? They have the potential to win a title in the near future, if they make the right moves, and get it together at the right time. The Jazz will creep in the background, not bringing much attention to themselves, and at the same time, have the chance to come roaring out of the gates when the time comes. And still, they are only number 4.

3. Chicago Bulls. The potential for drama on this team is at an all-time high, higher than TNT even knows. And TNT knows drama. An epic 7 game battle against the Celtics can only make them better. The expectations will be great. How will they respond? If Coach Vinny Del Negro continues to make mistakes at the coaching position, how long until he is turned on by the players? Or, does Del Negro become a better coach because of his experience in the playoffs? How to players like Tyrus Thomas continue to develop? Word is that he is not the best guy to get along with on the team. How will Derrick Rose fare in his second year with even more expectations heaped upon him? Will the nucleus stay intact. If Ben Gordon gets resigned, will he slack off? Again, magnify all of these because of the expectation of this team being a top 4 east team. It all adds to an exciting year.

2. Oklahoma City Thunder. This team has reached a ranking this low on an upside bigger than Kanye West's ego (Do you like fishsticks?) and Sam Presti's genius. Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, Russel Westbrook, Nenad Kristic, Player X acquired in a genius Sam Presti trade, Shaun Livingston. Everyone should be going crazy over the first five players in that list. Clipper fans will do that over the entire list. This team is going to grow into a powerhouse over time, and their steps of growth will be amazing to follow. There is tons of room for improvement, and the team is willing to put everything aside and focus on winning. The drama is at a minimum, which goes against my previous actions, but you can't ignore this type of talent trying to get it together. I bet this whole team has been hitting the gym day and night for the last week and will continue through until next season starts. I want to see Shaun Livingston make it back as well. He was such a bright talent, and he deserves a second chance after the freak accident that I have still refused to watch on youtube. Sam Presti has made ingenious moves ove the past year, and if he can acquire Player X, he will have created a ridiculously talented team very quickly. Yet this team comes second to . . .

1. Orlando Magic. It's a weird pick, I'm not going to deny it, but there's too much personality, potential, and interest on this team for me to ignore. First off, this team is going to come off either a close defeat to the Cavs, a Finals loss, or a Championship. Response to these situations can vary drastically, and have an impact on player and coach relations in the next year. The tension between Coach Van Gundy and Dwight Howard is already known, and if the Magic lose this year due to coaching problems, we may see whose team this really is, the coach's or the star's based on whether or not Van Gundy gets fired. Jameer Nelson's return will cause problems with the point guard rotation, especially if he struggles. Do the Magic keep Rafer Alston as an unhappy backup (which he will be. He has too much of an ego to settle as a backup and be happy), or will they trade him and acquire another piece to the puzzle. Courtney Lee and J.J. Reddick are slowly developing into good players, it would be great to see where that goes. How will Dwight Howard respond to his lack of offense? Finally, getting to see the vaunted Stan Van Gundy pre-game whiteboard, which is legendary. His coaching ability is amazing, and his personality is one of the best in the league. His interaction and on-goings would be a treat to study for a week, but for a full NBA year? It is something you just can't ignore. The team is going in the right direction, and to add some more drama, regardless of where it finishes this year, it will still be 3rd in the East next year according to analysts, behind Cleveland and Boston. This team has the chance to do something special next year, regardless of what happens this year, and I wish I could be a part of it.