So the cable company called me…

So I just got a called by my cable company inquiring if I wanted to decrease my Internet bill. The fact that my cable company has continually increased it’s prices year over year should be regulated. If the pandemic has taught the world anything, the Internet is a critical part of a nation’s infrastructure. The call went something like this:

CC: Am I speaking to <my name>
Me: Yes
CC: OK. Great. I am from <cable company>, do you have a few minutes to chat and answer some questions.
Me: Yes
CC: Thank you. So, do you want to decrease your Internet bill?
Me: Yes
CC: OK. Now, if you could answer a few questions for me, I can help you decrease your bill.
Me: OK
CC: Do you watch any TV?
Me: Nope.
CC: Do you subscribe to any streaming services?
Me: Nope. (I lied)
CC: How do you watch TV shows and news?
Me: I don’t.
CC: *flustered* So you don’t subscribe to Netflix or Hulu?
Me: Nope. I cancelled them.
CC: *silence and then speaking very quickly* Well if you have any questions or support please call <phone number>. *And she hangs up on me.*

She hung up fast. I didn’t even say good bye!!

Response to an Email

So I recently received an email from some CAL Berkeley faculty asking about my experience at CAL and what has happened since… to be honest, I had wanted to ignore the email. But I also wanted CAL to understand that not everyone had a “great” experience going to CAL. Below is what I initially wrote which I later cut down:

To be honest, I had a negative experience while as a student at CAL.

  • I admittedly wasn’t prepared to handle the cut throat competition and new academic material
  • I also wasn’t prepared for the suddenly new found freedoms gained living alone away from parents.  
  • I wasn’t able to navigate the bureaucratic nature of the school system.
  • I mistakenly thought I knew what I wanted to do and to major in but only came to realize that I knew nothing about myself.
  • I struggled through… somehow able to graduate and find a job but left full of anger and regret.

Looking back, I was lulled into this false sense of security during my freshman year when all the classes I took were topics that I had already covered in high school. AP Chemistry covered Chem 1A/1B. AP Calculus BC covered Math 1A/1B. AP Physics covered Physica 8A/8B. I would spend hours reading, reviewing, and understanding the material to gain the knowledge and mastery of the subjects. Starting my sophomore year, I honestly believed that it would be as easy as the freshman year. But immediately, I started struggling in courses such as organic chemistry and biochemistry. What I failed to recognize was that my traditional way of understanding and learning might not have been the most efficient or effective way to learn the new material. I stubbornly kept reading, reviewing but never quite understanding the basic concepts completely. I also refused to adapt to a different learning style i.e. rote memory since I hated this kind of forced memorization technique. Ultimately, the struggles compounded upon each other creating a vicious negative cycle of being demoralized, questioning my intelligence, failing to understand the new material, becoming even more demoralized, etc… This added to my anger and bitterness as I saw more successful people achieving much more than I did. This kind of cycle continued through most if not all my classes and I somehow was able to graduate and even find a job. I spent a good 9 years feeling bitter and angry as if the world was conspiring against me. 

During these 9 years though, I had three paradigm shifts in my thinking that resulted in the person I am now.  The first shift came after reading a christian/spiritual book called Living the Art of Christian Love by Morton Kelsey. I discovered this book before I graduated but it left a huge impression on me. This book helped to calm the bitterness and keep it from cycling out of control. The two biggest lessons from this book were “to quiet my heart” and “to listen without judgement.”   The second shift came from watching an anime called Aria.  I learned that I need to slow down and to start enjoying the simple things in life as well as to appreciate everything that I have.  Finally, the third shift came from after reading Shawn Achor’s Happiness Advantage. This book was a game changer for me. Everything I had done from the first two shifts came into alignment with the lessons from Achor. After finishing this book, I started to truly let go of my anger and my bitterness. I came to realize that the drivers of the anger and bitterness were outside my control. By that time, my heart had settled and began to listen to others. I saw the world completely differently and noticed the simple things in life. In many ways, I finally understood who I am.

Today… I am grounded in spirtuality. I am self aware. I am at peace with myself. I control my Circle of Zorro. I understand my happiness. From time to time, I’ll go back to read both books. The anime takes a bit of time to watch but there’s one song called Symphony that I associate with the anime that brings a sense of calmness.

Civil Coffee Roasters

Earlier this month, I picked up a new roaster called Civil Coffee. I wanted something non-African and settled on these Columbian beans. Based on the description, these beans were the winner of a local competition in the Columbian mountain ranges.

Upon opening the bag, I smelled hints of nuts and fruits. Making my latte, I was surprised at the various flavors. I tasted citrus, nuts, a hint of honey and chocolate flavors with the first sip. As I neared the bottom of the cup, the flavors become more intensely dark chocolate. The sweetness from the latte carries through to the last sip.

Vox on Taiwan’s early COVID-19 response

So… basically, a Taiwanese (TW) government agency empowered to utilize resources across multiple agencies and integrate information into a clear coherent public strategy. This government agency shifted from a risk-by-country assessment for travelers to a general mandatory quarantine of any entering individuals. In retrospect, any traveler entering Taiwan gave up their personal privacy and freedoms for 14 days. They were quarantined in a hotel room and monitored by phone daily. Furthermore, a nationalized and digitized healthcare system also helped these agencies monitor individuals including anyone who had to interact with the quarantined travelers.

This video also didn’t recognize the government’s power to implement such a tracking system. Not only that, the video glossed over the fact that citizens also knew the risks and outcomes of a deadly virus outbreak. These two details allowed the government to set strict policies that were generally followed by the population. Even now as TW is going controlling their most recent outbreak in May, most citizens that are able to stay at home have done so with relatively little opposition.

Contrast that to just asking citizens of a certain country to stay at home and wear a mask when going outside, the conversation immediately becomes an “individual rights” issue and violation of their rights despite the fact that:
1) people are getting sick and dying.
2) healthcare is being pushed to the limit.
3) it’s the single most effective means to limit transmission and infection.

When did this “me first” attitude creep into society? And where does the balance between public safety/public health concerns outweigh the individual rights?

Irving Farm New York Coffee

June’s Trade Coffee comes from Irving Farm New York Coffee. The beans come from the Mushonyi Washing Station in Rwanda. I don’t recall having had many beans from Rwanda. Hopefully this will be a treat.

Opening the bag, I’m greeted with a subdued aroma of honey, fruits and herbs. To be honest, the intense aroma from the last coffee is really hard to beat. Making my latte, I am initially underwhelmed at the smooth subdued nature of the latte. It’s actually a little hard to taste the citrus honey flavor. I will admit that the latte is very easy to drink, like chocolate milk. Having made a few lattes since, the subdued flavors make the latte’s very much like chocolate milk.

Stacks Coffee Roasters

June’s Angels Cup comes from Stacks Coffee Roasters. The beans are from Ethiopia’s Yirgacheffe region. When I received the package about a week ago, I could smell the distinctive coffee aroma through the delivery bag!! When I opened the delivery bag, I wasn’t too surprised that the beans were from Ethiopia. The coffee beans from Ethiopia have this distinctive honey, floral, nutty aroma.

Making my latte, I’m reminded as to why single origin Ethiopian beans are consistently rated as one of the best regions. The sweet honey flavors in the latte that leads to this floral mid-taste was amazing. The latte did have a surprising butter nutty aftertaste that I did not expect. Normally, I expected a smoother nutty after taste but it’s not bad.

Equator Coffee

I’m almost all caught up with my coffee subscriptions. For May, Trade Coffee sent these delicious beans from Equator Coffee. The beans are single origin from the southern part of Ecuador (Espindola, Loja) in South America. I’ve actully been impressed with previous Equator roasted beans in the past. I found them to be consistently delicious.

Opening the bag, I smell this wonderful herby, citrus, fruity aroma. Making my latte, I think my expectations were too high and I was somewhat disappointed. I was expecting to be blown away by the fruity herby flavors but what I tasted was a very subdued herby/black tea flavor with hints of citrus and sweetness mixed in. Making more lattes in the following days, the subtle black tea flavor was perhaps the most defining taste for these beans. I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing but just something different I suppose.

Last Week Tonight: Asian Americans

John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight talked about Asian Americans. This 30 minutes of discourse is not enough.

After watching this video….

  • Can we all agree… White America has a history of pitting various ethnic groups against each other. Even John Oliver calls it out.
  • Asian Americans are come from 20+? countries in Asia ranging from India, Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan, Korea, and Japan. We probably speak well over 20+ dialects/languages. We have different cultures, eat different foods, practice different religions, and have different customs. AND YET… the only thing that ties us together is this term. We should use this to our advantage.
    • As Asian Americans, we have to pursue positive change.
    • As Asian Americans, we absolutely need to leave America better for our grand kids.
    • As Asian Americans, we must demand for a country that doesn’t discriminate people of different skin color, heritage, sexual orientation, religion and socio economic status.
    • As Asian Americans, we have to help other minorities as much as possible.
  • The only thing White America fears is when we minorities call out the racism that exists. You know you’ve hit a sensitive topic when attempts to deflect the conversation involves “what about-ism”.
  • And finally… As Americans, can we strive to follow the Golden Rule? Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.

Trump’s Facebook Ban

By now, the news of Trump’s 2 year ban from Facebook has been widely circulated. I actually disagree with Facebook’s decision of a 2 year ban. Trump should be allowed the opportunity to take back his Facebook (FB) profile. However, FB should strip his history of posts and interactions as if it were a new account. Then, Trump would be subjected to these “more stringent rules” in place for politicians and face the penalties of violating it.

One has to wonder what these new rules are and how many other rules are there. FB explicitly has said it will ban hate speech and abuse. What about lies and fake news? Does FB have an example of what FB considers as hate speech and abuse? What does FB consider as “newsworthy”? There’s so many questions that I think FB is just playing into the Republican’s hand of “censorship.” Let’s take the current Trump talking point about the “stolen” election. Where does it rank amongst FB’s new rules? FB… how about some transparency?

What about the other social media platforms like Twitter (another Trump favorite). Trump looks like it’s still banned from Twitter. But will Twitter also apply the same rules to other politicians as it did to Trump?

Theodores Coffee Roaster

Roasted in early May, Angels Cup (referral link) sent me beans from Theodore’s Coffee Roaster. The beans are from Nicaragua. With the recent selections of beans from Central America, I’m noticing differences in the taste of these beans relative to the African beans.

Opening the bag earlier this week, I smell fruity sweet aromas with a hint of peanut butter at the end. Making my latte, the fruity aroma morphs into this delicious peach-y/apple-y flavor. The nutty aroma also introduces now a nutty after taste that sits at the back of the throat. There’s also this pleasant caramel sweetness with each sip.