Long-form blog posts and editorials. Topics cover both personal and the world at large. 

(Almost) mid-year update

Hard to believe it is already mid May of the year that is 2012 (cue the obligatory "where did all the time go?" spiel). I think it is the proper time to give an update on this very blog of mine just what the heck have I been doing so far this year. Since this is the first paragraph of this blog post, I am suppose to give you a preview of what is to come right? Well, I have only one word for you: busy.


So busy in fact that the amount of blog post of far this year on this very blog has diminished to an alarmingly low rate (according to my own personal standards) compared to previous years. However free flowing are lack of grammatical correction my blog posts are, they usually take quite a decent amount fo time to write. 2,000 words (about the average amount of words I write each time I blog) of anything just does not write itself within the hour, no matter what the procrastinating college student tells you otherwise (been there, done that). So apologies to myself (new years resolution was to write plenty) and the readers of this blog (count of which can probably be done with the digits on my limbs) for the lack of content these past months. 

Sidebar: I have to say though, that piece about my experience with jury duty was probably the longest blog post I have ever wrote. Took me three days to completely flush it out and begrudgingly edit it.


What was I so busy with? Mainly work. I of course still work for O'BON; pandering our Eco-friendly school and office supplies to the United States consumer market. My role with the company has shifted and expanded a lot from the guy with the still camera that I was originally hired for (and would not have otherwise graduated undergrad if not for that). That tend to happen often in these small startup companies, where in order to save on labor cost, employees are forced to wear many hats (and not paid nearly as much as they should - America's false sense of high productivity). So yes, I took on many more hats on top of the photographer's hat I was already wearing: social media, marketing, design, email sales, shipping, and office admin.

It has been great to be present for so many facets O'BON (not really all the hard when the company is three people small), and learning from it constantly. I very much enjoy looking at the macro level of things - seeing how all the different compartment fits into the whole picture. Perhaps that is just the "control freak" personality trait that is innate within me (played too much of Sim City during my childhood). Granted, I think few that aspire to start their own company haven't got that obsessive compulsive nature of wanting to control everything, right down the most minute detail.

So that is my day job, if you want to call it that. I only get a little more than half time kind of work hours at O'BON (26.5 hours) so it is not exactly what you would like to refer as satisfactory - especially since I am not longer in school. I was okay with this situation for a bit though (extremely proud to contribute to the under employed statistic), because like many of my recently graduated peers, the job market is just not all that vibrant for us (go to college they said, you'll get a job they said.) Honestly though the pay is absolutely at the bottom of what can be considered as "entry level", and while I am frugal as frugal gets (excluding consumer electronics), I share my mother's worries about not earning enough to befit my college level education (hello there, sense of entitlement). 


As luck would have it, early February I found another part time job to supplement my paltry income. Thanks to my hard work and dedication during my four year tenure as a student assistant at the Academic Technology department of San Francisco State University (ha!), I was lucky enough to get brought back into the fold as the night staff for AT distribution. It was familiar and surreal at the same time to be back at the place of employment during my college years. Thank heavens all the knowledge I have ascertained did not escape me even though I was more than nine months removed from having last worked there. 

It was one of the best things to happen to me so far this year. 

There was a running joke at the time back in my college years that if I was there to see SFSU's new library finish and use it, then something is wrong (ie. still haven't graduated undergrad after five years - my apologies to those in majoring in bio or chemistry as the standard operating procedure for you guys is like six years plus). Well, these kind of things have a funny way of unravelling themselves because due to me being hired as the night staff for AT, it meant that I will be working at, that's right, the new library. In fact a week after I was hired, the whole department moved into the new digs. Who would have thought.

Cumulatively then, I went from working 26 hours a week to now a bit over 50. While it was financially awesome, it was definitely not physically or mentally awesome (commuting sucks no matter how you slice it). 12 hour work days takes a toll on you as I have already been sick three times so far this year. My usually exercise schedule is all out of kilter, as nowadays I have to force myself to wake up at 7am to get the workout in. Weekdays I don't get home until 11pm, and then I immediately get ready for bed because I value sleep so damn much (muscles don't repair themselves, you know). At this point I would like to give a shout out to caffeine, because without it, none of this would have been possible.

As you can see, I really haven't got much time these past months for anything else. In fact I have only gone out shooting (photography, not guns) once, which is a great shame. Weekends are definitely for recharging, with the Saturday night to Sunday morning 10 hours of slumber being especially awesome. With the summer months coming up and me ceasing to work night hours due to regular university semester being over, I hope to use the extra time to devote back to my hobbies and other activities. 


Of course, that means plenty of baseball. 

As previously blogged, nothing quite compared the joys the Giants baseball season provides. While I won't rehash what I said here, let's just say it is a wonderful outlet and distraction from the all the "normal" stuff. It has been a great shame that due to my work hours, I have not been able to go to games during the weekdays (I am still peeved I missed the Phillies series). Not only did I missed a few key match ups, most important of all weekday games are MUCH cheaper than weekend games and I could have gone to multiple of them for the cost of one. Cannot wait for the summer time (one week away!) when I no longer work night time hours and I can finally go to weekday games again - because living in San Francisco is awesome for this: eat dinner, drive to park, park bit a way for free, and walk to the park just in time for a 7:15pm start time. Yeah, summer nights are awesome like that.

Remember one of my new years resolution for 2012 is to go to more baseball games than the previous year (20+). While I am off to a slow start due to my work schedule, having only gone to a grand total of four games, at least the team's winning percentage while I am at those games is already tremendously better than last years abysmal record. Yes, going to the ballpark, no matter win or lose, is an infinitely better experience than watching it on the tube, but honestly seeing a Giants win live at the ballpark and hearing the sweet sounds of Tony Bennet singing "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" as you exit is like nothing else. 


Sad to say with all the business going on, my main hobby of photography was horribly neglected to far this year (not as severe as my gaming hobby though - I don't think my PS3 has been turned on at all this year). One bit of good news (for me) is that I finally ditched my entry level Canon Rebel XSi camera and stepped up to the big leagues with a professional grade Canon 7D (yes, it's a crop sensor. I haven't got the cash at the time for a full frame 5D Mark III). The difference in just handling and build quality of the two camera is absolutely night and day, not to mention the functionality and higher quality components. The limited shooting I have done with the 7D have been a joy (of course I am saying this partly because I spent a relative fortune on it), and the only negative thing is that it makes me want to reshoot everything that I have already shot with the XSi (not going to happen). 

Happy to report that my photo a day 366 project (due to this year being a leap year, it's a 366 project, not 365) is still going extremely well. But it goes without saying that for the rest of this year I need get back into the swing of things and go out and shoot much more often than I have (lest I risk blowing another of my new years resolutions). I am also looking forward to actually making some prints of the stuff I have done, either through a commercial entity or buying a photo printer for myself (oh, be still my wallet). 


So what are the plans for the rest of this year? Definitely more of the same with regards to work (and baseball!). You can say I am basically in work and save money kind of mode right now. I am still contemplating the merits of a MBA graduate degree (outside of appeasing the hopes and dreams of my parents - how filial of me) so I think I will put that off another year just to be sure I am not dumping a few tens of thousands into tuition just for the sake of it. 

I turn 25 at the end of the year, and I guess that is a symbolic number as it signals the quarter of one's life (even though it does not make mathematical sense since the average life expectancy in the United States is still somewhere in the mid 80s). I have ask around and it seems like having a quarter life crisis is not all that uncommon these days (granted, not exactly a statistical sound kind of polling i did). I guess age 25 coincides quite coincidentally with most people's end of higher education (or imminent end) and thus they are stuck in the chasm between all they have ever known (education!) and full on adulthood (work for the rest of your life!). Age 25 is the "ho lee shit" moment.  

Well, in Stephen Colbert fashion, I am determined to have my OWN quarter life crisis, but not in a negative kind of way. I am going to embrace the ambiguity that exist between now and the future, and just take things as they come. Like the midlife crisis, I am going to buy a sports car. All in all, there is only one way I am determined to go:

Onwards and upwards.