What the Dead Don’t Know

Does anyone know when they have died? A lot of people have had experiences when they thought they were going to die, or about to die, but has anyone who has actually died known that they were indeed, dead? I believe that the answers are overwhelmingly on the side of no.

This weekend I saw the newest installation of the Mission Impossible series, “Mission: Impossible – Fallout.” Though I watched it less than 48 hours ago, I had to search the title of the film online to know what it was called. My experience while watching the movie was interesting, and one that I usually don’t experience while watching a movie, especially when it’s in theaters. For nearly the entire duration of the film, I was keenly aware that I was watching a film. The movie magic was missing. The moment when you forget that you are watching a movie because you are so engrossed in the story, the characters, the emotions, and the action of the film, never fully occurred. I have several simple theories as to why. First, I had just finished a two-day conference that had been incredibly inspiring and informative. Second, I had already sat for the previous ten hours of my day. Third, I was more interested in talking to the person I saw the movie with, than watching a movie with them.

Now, going to see a movie isn’t a problem; originally, when I was invited I was excited to see it. Even stranger, I was still excited to see the movie until about five minutes into it. The problem isn’t even the movie itself (though if my memory serves me accurately, this film is the weakest in the franchise). The problem for me was what the movie represented to me personally. Distraction.

If you’re anything like me, or the average American, you consume too much media. Even if you don’t consume the amount of media/entertainment that I or the average American does, I would argue that you still consume too much, because we have set the bar so high…. We are a people that consume more than we create.

Listening to leaders at the conference from around the world discuss the incredible work they are doing, the challenges they are facing and conquering, lives they have changed, and the lessons they have learned along the way, was transformative. Speaker after speaker caused me to pause and ponder how exactly have they been able to imagine these ideas, let alone execute them.

I woke up on the morning of day two feeling more excited than I had about the first day of a recent vacation, and that trip was awesome! However, I have learned that you can journey to the far corners of the earth, and if you aren’t alive while doing so, no journey will be long enough or exciting enough to change the death that is inside of you.

What death? The death of your dreams, your hopes, your goals, your purpose, your mission, your individuality. The death of you.

I’ll risk that this may all come across in too dramatic a fashion (like an action movie series that has grossed over $3 billion), but how many of us have died without even realizing it? How many of us have traded in our dreams for security and comfort? How many of us feel fine because the bills are paid and the checklist of a perfectly respectable ordinary life has been checked? And when we feel bad or bored with the way things are, we busy ourselves with obligations or distractions.

Sitting in that theater, I saw a sight that was all too familiar and personal, just on a magnified scale: bystanders to the action. All the adventure was elsewhere being enjoyed by others, while we sat comfortably in our chairs, food and drinks in hand, wondering what “they” were going to do next.

Leaving the theater, the man in front of me opened the door to exit and said to no one in particular, “Well, back to our boring lives.” Unfortunately, what he failed to realize was that his life never stopped being boring, he was merely distracted from boring temporarily, and if we aren’t careful, we will one day be bored to death without even knowing it.

In Front of the Bus

I’ve tried to sit this one out for quite some time now – mainly for the simple reason that people want to feel instead of think. Facts fall by the wayside and truth becomes relative, when by it’s very definition, truth is exclusive and absolute.

I have also tried to sit this one out because debate has been replaced with denigrating one’s supposed opponent and seeking to silence them, instead of showing mutual and civil respect, though one may disagree over the topic being deliberated.

Regardless of my apprehension to delve into this discussion for a number of reasons, this post should not prove to be controversial, though in today’s environment, even the simplest concepts of 5th grade biology can cause hysteria. There’s an important quote that is often attributed to George Orwell that says, “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” Whomever the author might be, he or she must have visited 2017.

Now, the reason for this entire post is to say this: Racism is not exclusive to a particular race of people. Racism can be practiced by all races.

There is a very strange and unenlightened idea making its way through discussions surrounding race that says racism can only be practiced by the racially dominate group within a society. That idea is false. The definition of racism is listed below:


prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.

Any human being is capable of holding the above mentioned belief. Saying that a particular human is the only human capable of holding such a belief, based on the race of that human, is in and of itself, racist.

I know it’s simple, but controversial. Then again, “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

Down with the Sickness

Disease – what a calamitous experience for humans. Having to deal with traffic is evil enough, but an illness? That crosses the line of all things considered decent and acceptable by any human standards (unless of course you’re a member of ISIS). And as I sit here, slowly trying to accept the fact that I have been living for years with this illness unbeknownst to me (though looking back, there may have been signs); I further add insult to injury by rummaging through my dimly lit brain trying to understand what I could have done differently to avoid the now inevitable.

Individuals diagnosed with a disease, such as type 2 diabetes, often experience feelings of guilt and shame (diabetes is not my disease; I’ll address that later), due to the thousands, if not millions of tiny, seemingly, uneventful decisions that led to the label they now hold. A label that has the potential to forever change the way they interact and experience the world around them. However, it doesn’t just affect them, but also their friends and family. See, a disease doesn’t wreak havoc on merely the courier of the illness. It has the ability to deeply affect the lives of all those around it. The emotional impact is not limited to just the agent – friends and family members also experience feelings of grief, denial, bargaining, anger, sadness, depression and shame. In short, everybody suffers, just to differing degrees.

dis·ease, noun, /dəˈzēz/

a disorder of structure or function in a human, animal, or plant, especially one that produces specific signs or symptoms or that affects a specific location and is not simply a direct result of physical injury.

There is no real template for how one should announce to the world their illness; and, some would argue that one should not declare it from the blogtain tops, but here it goes:

“I have Single.”

With that, a flood of thoughts and ideas about what to write next come rushing in, threatening to break the dam and spill over the levies of my mind. I’ll try my best to succinctly organize my thoughts into proper sentences. Let’s begin with a thorough definition of what Single Disease is and what are its symptoms.

Single is an Autodating System Disease (ASD) which causes abnormally low activity of the dating system in proportion to one’s own culture or expectations. The medical research industry is still undecided as to what may cause Single, but some researchers have observed that it affects individuals with unusually high levels of standards, patience, independence, autonomy, self-contentment, and the ability to live without coupling being their overarching purpose for existing.

If detected, side effects can include: loneliness; embarrassment; shame; uncomfortable levels of repeat inquiries into one’s dating status or prospects, by the same family members, friends, coworkers, strangers, neighbors, and social media statuses, etc.; nausea at the thought of being invited to attend or participate in a wedding; nausea at the thought of going out with a group of non-Single Disease friends; nausea at the thought of being around family; nausea at the thought of being around friends; nausea at the thought of having Single; nausea at the thought of being nauseous; people being more concerned about you having Single than you are of having Single; people wondering if you like sex; people wondering if you like women; people wondering if you like men; people wondering if you like both; people wondering if you like neither.

Yes, the side effects are plentiful, and that wasn’t even a comprehensive list.  As a matter of fact, that doesn’t really begin to scratch the surface. However, what I have learned while living with Single is that the vast majority of the side effects are positive and even the negative ones are largely self-inflicted, minus the preoccupation others have with your illness (but they mean no harm).

Sure, it would be wonderful to live in a world where Single no longer exists, but the freedom and autonomy that come from having Single is incredible – I have experienced and found some amazing benefits while living with it. Character development, friendship development, career development, traveling, fewer responsibilities and commitments, patience, fewer influences while determining the next steps in life and understanding your purpose for being here, financial freedom, and preparing to be the best Single-Disease-free-person when that glorious day comes, should a cure be found.

Hopefully, everyone reading this who finds themselves living with Single Disease will be encouraged knowing that you are not suffering alone. At some point in their lives, billions of individuals worldwide, have suffered in silence because of Single. You are not alone and remember that most the side effects of Single are largely avoidable. Begin to enjoy taking full advantage of the time that you have today, regardless of your current stage of treatment, or of your current status – whether you have been living for years with Single or just received a text message notifying you that you are now Single (horrible way to find out). Keep ahold of hope and hang on to that gym membership.

Hypocritical Critics

We hate hypocrites. In large part that is why we hate politicians. They say one thing and do the other, or do one thing and say the other. Their motives are often self-serving and disingenuous, moved and manipulated by those who have purchased their loyalty, or simply by their own insatiable quest for power.
Tragedy strikes through evil and barbaric attacks on innocent lives, and while the blood of the
victims is still running down walls, political strategists and speech writers are running down
halls with the latest draft of palatable populist propaganda to pander to the public. They preach
love, unity, respect but then hate, divide and disrespect their political opponents.
Their hypocrisy frustrates us to the point of nausea as we point our righteous fingers at these
megalomaniacs and yell, “Liar!” While we, ourselves, begin to curse strangers for the political
views of a bumper sticker slapped on the back of a slow-moving Chevy Volt in the carpool lane,
and decide which friends, colleagues and family members we would no longer save from a
burning building; all while beginning the long, slow, process of unfriending those on Facebook
who hate our hypocrite more than we hate their hypocrite.
Then, there is you and me.
We* protest violence with violence. Racism with racism. Sexism with sexism. We loathe the 1%
for their greed and dishonesty (yes, collectively, all top earners, without fail, are greedy,
dishonest, degenerates), but fail to recognize it in our own lives; when, if given the same
opportunity to amass vast sums of wealth, many of us would engage in the same practices, if
not worse.
No? Ask yourself if you have ever left income off of your tax return, cheated on a test, or
realized the store didn’t charge you for an item and never returned to pay for it. After all, it was
their mistake. Being too trivial? Where does it start? If you cannot be trusted with little, you
certainly cannot be trusted with much.
So, do we really hate these hypocrites that much? Or do we hate seeing a side of us, in others,
that we don’t want to acknowledge in ourselves?

*Meaning ‘they’, certainly no readers of this blog

Netflix and Cilantro

I just stopped preparing a taco salad to make a point.

Writer’s block doesn’t exist. It’s a figment of our imaginations. If you can think, and
possess the ability to type, you can write.

I’ll tell you what does exist: indecision and fear. Not once have I introduced myself to
someone and upon starting a conversation with the person, had him or her interrupt
me, to hand me a note that said, “I’m sorry, I’m suffering from talker’s block. Please try
again later when I am inspired to talk.” I have met people who are concerned about
what to say and how they will be perceived, especially in new, or uncertain
environments and situations, but to this day, the ‘talker’s block’ experience has eluded

I started this blog about two and a half years ago and have only posted 17 times. Why?
Indecision mostly, mixed with a little fear. Those are stupid excuses, but honest ones . . .
Mostly honest anyway. YouTube and Hulu have been known to waste more than a little
bit of my time – and Netflix. Can I sue them for that? I’ve never seen any warnings
alerting me of the dangers associated with watching too much entertainment. How
many irreplaceable hours have I wasted utilizing their products instead of writing? I could have built a giant wall by now, or read through 55,000 emails.

Whether it’s writing a blog, or pursuing a new interest, what are the real reasons for the
delay? Chances are, the reasons aren’t real.

Now, back to the cilantro. And Netflix.

Love Trumps Hillary


pol·i·tics (pŏl′ĭ-tĭks) noun.

  1. The art or science of government or governing, especially the governing of a political entity, such as a nation, and the administration and control of its internal and external affairs.

For those of you disappointed in your lack of self-control that led you to binge watch the entire fourth season of House of Cards in a matter of days–good news, you still have something to look forward to at night. It’s election year-and-a-half 2016 here in America! If you are at all concerned about how you will differentiate between reel and reality–more good news, the actors are slightly better on Netflix, but compensated far worse.

At the risk of sounding dramatic (increasingly more difficult to do these days), it is becoming harder to decide whether life imitates art, or if art imitates life. Even though House of Cards is utterly nefarious, I do believe it is the latter in this situation.

“At first, art imitates life. Then life will imitate art. Then life will find its very existence from the arts.”  Fyodor Dostoevsky

This fine piece of prose is not however, about the criminal or crazed. This is about noble leadership; that caveat proves this is not about the front runners from either party.

Election years provide us with an important opportunity to reflect on the role of leadership and examine ourselves, and others, to determine if we are fit for the roles in which we lead. Many of us know, but often forget, that we are all leaders. Every person reading this is a leader. We lead in our homes, our workplaces, in traffic, at the grocery store, at the gym, on airplanes, in school, in line waiting for our coffee (be polite to cashiers & baristas; all day they deal with people who haven’t had their coffee yet) . . . Gasp. If there are a set of eyes watching you, you are leading whether you realize it or not.

The list provided below is without a detailed explanation, and is not all encompassing, but does provide the basic fundamentals of what a great leader should possess. So whether you plan on refining your leadership or evaluating a leader to follow, ensure that these characteristics are present:

Innocent of wrongdoing
Not unpleasantly or arrogantly domineering

Bummed Out.

He hated that he hated what he was about to endure. It wasn’t that the situation was that difficult to navigate, but rather, he hated that it bothered him at all and he was now focusing on the very thing he was supposed to ignore. Bums. They’re as persistent as the stench that emanates from their pores, except when it comes to taking responsibility for the mess that is their existence.

He knew his thoughts lacked empathy, sympathy, compassion, and whatever other socially acceptable emotions he was supposed to have on public display during these encounters. That is why he kept those thoughts to himself, for the most part.

Unfortunately, those pleasant thoughts of peasants were interrupted most mornings, during his short walk from the parking structure to his office building. For being unemployed, they sure don’t seem to take a day off and this particular leg of his foot commute seemed to have piles of them along the sidewalk.

“Excuse me, sir?” Gosh dangit. You have got to be kidding me. Whatever you’re about to say, kid, the answer is, “NO.” Especially for someone as able-bodied looking as yourself. What are you, nineteen and pathetic? ‘Sir’ tried to ignore him, but caught a brief glimpse of cornea-contact and he knew he’d have to acknowledge him, at least 10 percent. “Do you have any spare change?” The young man continued. “Sorry, I don’t.” The ‘All-business’ man lied. It’s true that he didn’t have any money on him; it was a lie that he was sorry. He was actually thankful for the empty pocket because now he felt as though he hadn’t lied.

“Yes. You. Do.” Nineteen and pathetic replied.

Is this jerk serious?!

“ACTUALLY, I don’t.” All-business responded with a tone that made the pigeons pickup their pace.

“I said, ‘God Bless, you’.” The young man softly explained, almost as though it were more for the leaves blowing by than the man blowing by.

All-business continued his walk without looking back as if he were deaf, and in some respects, he was.

The Path Less Traveled Ought To Be

Carving out your own path is a challenge (if you don’t agree, you’re probably whittling, at best). The reason is that so many of us expect there to be signs guiding us along the way. The absence of signs or road markers should be of no surprise, anymore than the absence of Starbucks when taking a stroll through a vast wilderness is (but who really knows how much longer that will last). As a result, this is generally when we begin to feel disoriented and sometimes fail, not because of a lack of direction or purpose, but because we replace the signs with people and their opinions. Lots and lots of opinions.

It should be cause for concern when we begin asking any person who will listen, “Am I heading the right way?” “What do you think about my plan?” “Do you think it’ll work?” “What would you do?” What would you do if you were me?” “What would you do if you were me and couldn’t understand why people like the show, Orange is the New Black?” That’s when I would shut up; stop talking; and start doing.

Opinions from the people you trust and love are often valuable and important to consider, and if they support you, great! But each day, it is you who must look in the mirror and be satisfied with the life you’re living, not those around you.

Cal-Train(ing): A Brief But Helpful Guide For Proper Behavior While On-board Cal-Train.


Cal-Train is a unique gift of blessings and curses for those of us unfortunate enough to have the pleasure of using this public utility. It’s rather dependable, especially when compared to the average bay area commute on any of our major highways, freeways, expressways, main roads, or popular ‘escape-routes’ from traffic (which typically add 50% more time to your commute). *

Aside from Cal-Train’s dependability, it’s a great way to text without breaking the law and endangering everyone with or around you… One also avoids traffic related stress, such as, tickets, accidents, road-rage, frequent delays, and some of the expenses associated with maintaining a vehicle.

Furthermore, reading, watching a show or movie, talking to the people around you, checking emails, or sleeping, are all activities welcomed on Cal-Train, that are usually frowned upon during your abominable weekday commute. However, there are a variety of activities that will have to be placed in the “curses” category of our gift.

I have spent approximately 314.64 hours, or 13.11 days of my life aboard Cal-Train. According to Malcolm Gladwell, I haven’t mastered the field of Cal-Train ridership, but until I reach the additional 9,685.36 hours require to do so, these are my suggestions for a happier, healthier, commute aboard Cal-Train:

(Disclaimer: This doesn’t, but scratch the surface of addressable grievances.)

Boarding: When a train arrives at any station’s platform and the doors open, wait. Humans will begin to immediately disembark the train. Once the steady stream of those leaving the train stops, proceed to board in an orderly and civilized fashion. If only standing room remains, be sure to walk to the back of the train so that others might board behind you.  

One would assume this to be a simple concept, but it’s fumbled enough to embarrass even Brett Favre.

 Sunnyvale, not only are you a city without a soul, you’re the worst violator of boarding etiquette. To help in your understanding of this concept, I’ve translated this rule into something you all might understand:

01010111 01101000 01100101 01101110 00100000 01100001 00100000 01110100 01110010 01100001 01101001 01101110 00100000 01100001 01110010 01110010 01101001 01110110 01100101 01110011 00100000 01100001 01110100 00100000 01100001 01101110 01111001 00100000 01110011 01110100 01100001 01110100 01101001 01101111 01101110 11100010 10000000 10011001 01110011 00100000 01110000 01101100 01100001 01110100 01100110 01101111 01110010 01101101 00100000 01100001 01101110 01100100 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100101 00100000 01100100 01101111 01101111 01110010 01110011 00100000 01101111 01110000 01100101 01101110 00101100 00100000 01110111 01100001 01101001 01110100 00101110 00100000 01001000 01110101 01101101 01100001 01101110 01110011 00100000 01110111 01101001 01101100 0110110 00100000 01100010 01100101 01100111 01101001 01101110 00100000 01110100 01101111 00100000 01101001 01101101 01101101 01100101 01100100 01101001 01100001 01110100 01100101 01101100 01111001 00100000 01100100 01101001 01110011 01100101 01101101 01100010 01100001 01110010 01101011 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100101 00100000 01110100 01110010 01100001 01101001 01101110 00101110 00100000 01001111 01101110 01100011 01100101 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100101 00100000 01110011 01110100 01100101 01100001 01100100 01111001 00100000 01110011 01110100 01110010 01100101 01100001 01101101 00100000 01101111 01100110 00100000 01110100 01101000 01101111 01110011 01100101 00100000 01101100 01100101 01100001 01110110 01101001 01101110 01100111 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100101 00100000 01110100 01110010 01100001 01101001 01101110 00100000 01110011 01110100 01101111 01110000 01110011 00101100 00100000 01110000 01110010 01101111 01100011 01100101 01100101 01100100 00100000 01110100 01101111 00100000 01100010 01101111 01100001 01110010 01100100 00100000 01101001 01101110 00100000 01100001 01101110 00100000 01101111 01110010 01100100 01100101 01110010 01101100 01111001 00100000 01100001 01101110 01100100 00100000 01100011 01101001 01110110 01101001 01101100 01101001 01111010 01100101 01100100 00100000 01100110 01100001 01110011 01101000 01101001 01101111 01101110 00101110

Disembarking: Those closest to the exit, exit first. Exiting is a time for walking off of the train, not staring at your phone.

 Another seemingly simple concept, but often ignored, more by those continuing onward, than those exiting.

 There are occasions when the train is at near capacity and you will need to exit the train even when it is not your stop. This allows those who are at their final destination to maneuver more easily. Standing in the stairwell pretending you’re a starfish makes me want to return you to the ocean; from a high place. No human is small enough to make that a two-lane stairwell, so please don’t try.

Seats: Sit down in your seat and be mindful of your neighbor’s personal space.

 They’re not made for feet, if they were, they would be called shoes. They’re also not made for luggage, backpacks, or bags. If the train still has available seating, than fine, place your belongings on the seat next to you, but as soon as it begins to fill up, don’t wait for a passenger to ask if they can sit there before you do the inevitable.

Backpacks: As a rule, it is safer and more considerate to remove your backpack from your back before boarding the train. Hold it in front of you to avoid swinging it into the face of those sitting, or hitting passengers who are standing, as you clumsily stumble your way to your resting place.

 Are you seriously unaware of the protruding mass on your back? Hopefully you never place one of your offspring in a child carrier backpack…

Now, this can quickly become a rather long post, but in an effort to maximize output and efficiency, below is a brief list of behaviors that I have personally witnessed that are in the “Don’t” bucket:


  •  Leave the lavatory door open upon exiting.
  • Engage in loud phone call conversations of any kind, especially personal disputes.
  • Listen to electronic device without earphones, including podcast about anxiety.
  • Scroll through cleavage photographs on your iPad or any device.
  • Clip your fingernails.
  • Moisturize your feet.
  • Pick earwax out of your inner earphones and smell it.
  • Put makeup on (foundation/blush, etc.). It doesn’t compliment the man sitting next to you, or his black pants.


What Do You Do…

What do you do when your life does not look like the life you had planned? What do you do when your life does not look like the life that your parents had planned (for you)? What do you do when the more you try to find the answers to your questions, the more you become frustrated without any answers? What do you do when everyone around you seems to prosper, propose, and be promoted, but you’re left with bills, breakups, and being bypassed? What do you do when the friendships that mean most to you, begin to grow unsteady, falter, and eventually fail? What do you do when death has not lost its sting and strikes the families and friends you love most?

What do you do when you have failed?

You give thanks.

You give thanks that you still have the ability to plan your next steps, even if it’s as small as reading a new book. You give thanks that though your life may not look like the one you or your parents had planned; you have touched the lives of everybody around you and hopefully left them better than when you found them. You give thanks that though you might have more questions than you have answers, you are still striving to learn more and have no delusions of having it all figured out. Because guess what? No one ever does, or will. You give thanks when the people around you do well and rejoice with those who rejoice, and if you feel that life is passing over you, just know that sometimes, the best really is saved for last and might take a few extra days to arrive. The Ford Motor Company builds about 23,000 vehicles a day, Lamborghini – eleven. I’d much rather get caught pushing an Aventador than a Focus.

Finally, embrace each day you have with a family member or friend, because as we all know, nothing lasts forever. Nothing. Especially those moments that matter most, so cherish, love, and protect them to the best of your natural ability, because one day it will be gone for whatever reason and when it is, give thanks, for the good times.