The 2017 Refraction

For me, four events defined 2017.  So much so that I’m writing about the mental refractions from these events.

All four events came in the latter half of 2017.  For simplicity, I’ll label them as Event A, B C and D.  Events A, B and D have undoubtedly negatively affected me.  Event C was my attempt to minimize the effects of the other three events.  And to some degree, it hasn’t worked.  But at the same time, I also know events A, B and D were out of my control and something I could never have controlled in the first place.  However, it’s that feeling of “not being good enough” that ultimately gnaws at my sense of self.

Events A and D shook my self positivity completely.  The cumulative effect changed my mindset with a subtle hint of pessimism.  How do I know?  When talking to a friend about a topic that we had previously talked about in the past, I was shocked at the fact that my thought process was different this time around.  I had remembered my previous stance on the topic, yet for some reason, I had a more pessimistic stance I was espousing now.

Event B made me realize that I became complacent without realizing it.  There have been many things I “should have” accomplished but I ultimately took a route deluding myself by making up excuses.  Event B made me re-evaluate my life up until now and where I want to head in the future.  As someone close to me said, “because of Event B, now is the time to go for any change I’ve wanted.”

I think Events A, B and D occurring by itself would have been OK.  But with A and B in the same month and D shortly after, the effect to my mental state was pretty toxic.  I realized early on that my frame of mind had shifted after A and B.  D just broke it.  I haven’t really “recovered” yet.  I recognize the issues I’m having and I still relapse into a negative head space.  But, it’s been hard to redraw the Circle of Zorro and to shift my language to a more positive manner.  And with the holidays going on, I feel lonely at times since I can’t share the joy of the holidays with someone.

Despite all the negative head space, the countless self-reflections and “self-pity/self-loathing” scenarios, I ultimately reached a few realizations and epiphanies.  I know I neither can change the past nor change the present.  What I have to do is aim for a future that I want.  Most the realizations are being incorporated into my personal goals for 2018.

  • Pass PMP exam.
    • First, I need to get the 35 contact hours to satisfy the application requirements.  And have the application approved.
    • Once it’s approved, I can study and pass the exam.  There are lots of printouts to study and memorize.
    • I am considering on taking a bootcamp right before taking the exam.
  • Lose weight.  Currently 253 pounds as of Dec 31st.
    • I’ve found that intermittent fasting seems to work the best for me.
    • I need to account for external influences.
    • I will continue playing squash at least 4 times a week but add more body weight exercises at home.
  • Find new job.
    • I know the type of job I’m looking for.
    • I know the type of job I would prefer not to work in.
    • I wouldn’t mind being able to work from home often.
  • Use the 1 Second Every Day app.
    • I think this would be interesting project to do for the year.
  • Read 6 books.  I have at least 2 books I’ve been wanting to read forever…
    • Duhigg.  Smater, Faster, Better.
    • Sanders.  Our Revolution.
  • Travel more after finding a job.  Top 3 locations…?
    • Within US: Atlanta, Seattle, Houston.
    • Outside US:  Australia. New Zealand, Iceland.



Kauai Coffee Company

Not part of Angel’s Cup, I recently obtained a bit of some Hawaiian coffee from the island of Kauai.  The Kauai Coffee Company grows beans that is separate from the popular Kona region in Hawaii.


The aroma of strong ash, blueberry and nuts permeate the kitchen when I first open the bag.  Ash?  Ya… These coffee beans are grown on lava fields.  I think the “ashiness” is imparted into the beans to give these Hawaiian beans (including Kona) a more unique taste and aroma.  It seems like each island will have it’s own unique flavor.

When I’m making the espresso syrup, I’ve noticed that my normal two scoops of beans usually gives only 20 grams of ground coffee when normal beans tend to give me about 25 grams.  I guess the Hawaiian beans are smaller than what I normally get.

The latte exudes a strong earthy/ashy flavor as well as bits of blueberry, nutmeg and peanut flavor.  As I enjoyed the latte, I started noticing the ashy flavor evolving into a very chocolaty flavor.  The aftertaste leaves a pleasant peanut butter.  I fully enjoy this particular beans for it’s changing profile.

HK Comedian Cheuk Wan-chi on Netflix!?

This is such a great show.  On Netflix, I just finished a 2 part show that stars Cheuk Wan-Chi who is an Hong Kong comedian and media personality.

I’m very impressed with the translators who did this.  Both shows were in Cantonese but the subtitles were translated so well that the jokes and witty comments were spot on funny.   At the same time, some of the references she uses were lost on me because she’s from Hong Kong.  The crowd definitely understood so there’s a slight cultural gap.

Either way, it’s a great show.



Million Yen Women

Netflix clearly has interesting shows like House of Cards.

But have you watched Million Yen Women?  This is a Japanese 12 episode TV show.  The plot starts off with those “too good to be true” TV tropes where 5 random female protagonist rent a room from the male protagonist.  The male protagonist is a struggling author while the 5 female protagonist have various professions.  These kinds of “too good to be true” TV tropes are widely used and they usually end up as romantic comedies.  But I assure you, this show is not quite romantic nor comedic.

Admittedly, the first four episodes were pretty slow as the plot dabbled with the background of the women and man.  At episode five, the plot picks up and takes you for a ride all the way to the last episode where it has a very short denouement.  I think it ends pretty nicely despite the various unexpected plot twists.  I certainly didn’t expect three of the major plot twists to occur.

The character development is pretty significant for such short series.  The male protagonist’s character development is the highlight of the show but the development of the five female protagonist shouldn’t be discounted either.  Their interactions with each other gave a sense of realness which is a testament to the show’s great acting, writing and directing.  I certainly was attached to one of the female protagonist.  The writers gave her such a great thoughtful personality that she was extremely likable.

It’s a great show.  Spend 5 hours and watch it…

LAX Needs Makeover.

LAX is one of the most horribly designed airports I’ve ever driven through.  The map below shows a bi-level counter clockwise traffic pattern that subdivides arrivals and departures.  With three different entrance and exit points, the congestion into the airport even for drop off is horrendous.   With buses, shuttles, and cars (taxi, uber/lyft and personal) all vying to get into the appropriate terminal as quickly as possible, vehicles cut each other off, blocking traffic flow and ultimately slowing everyone down.


Here’s my thought about how to make LAX great again.

  1. LAX should be redesigned to minimize traffic into and out of circling loop.
  2. There should be a people moving system that transport of people.
  3. There should be one large or multiple interconnected parking structures that run along the length of the terminals.
  4. Passengers can no longer be picked up/dropped off on the curbside.  Passenger vehicles are no longer permitted to enter LAX unless they are parking.
  5. Vehicles are encouraged to park in the parking structure with a minimum fee to park.
  6. Pick ups and drops offs will now occur offsite away from traffic at separate locations.  The people moving system will link to the location.


Prioritizing Shuttle Buses.

Traffic into the airport should only be limited to shuttle buses like inter-terminal shuttles, parking shuttles, and hotel shuttles.  For situations like tour group pick ups/drop offs, a fee based pass seems to be appropriate.  The congestion should ease up significantly with the lack of passenger vehicles circling the airport.  By restricting passenger vehicles from entering, LAX frees the roads up to shuttle service and special high occupancy tour buses.

Passenger Pick ups and Drop offs.

The majority of the traffic going into and in LAX is caused by cars that are picking up or dropping off passengers.  By utilizing two large offsite locations (one for pick ups and one for drops off), it will be easier to handle the traffic flow since a location is dedicated to a single purpose.  A people moving system will transport passengers appropriately.  The pick up location will also require a large “waiting” area for the cars that arrive a little earlier and need to wait for the passengers.  This is similar to the “cell phone lot.”


For the people that prefer to see their passengers off, the parking in LAX should be expanded and redesigned.  The structures should be linked with only one controlled entrance to pick up the parking slip and multiple exits for payment.  Similarly, the entrance and exits into the parking structure should be different from the entrance and exits into the offsite pick up and drop off locations and different from the ones used by the shuttle buses.

People Moving System

An interconnected people moving system is critical to make the changes work in LAX.  With the ban of passenger vehicles into LAX, it becomes critical for the system to work smoothly to transport passengers from terminals to the off site pick up / drop off locations.  Using a network of buses will initially work but ultimately an automated tram would be desirable to reduce the congestion of shuttle buses.


Overall each of the changes I think will serve to minimize the traffic into LAX and hopefully make the experience of going to an airport just a little more enjoyable.