January, 2012 Archives


Throughout my time in Los Angeles and outside of school in general I’ve noticed that there were somethings i wish i took more advantage of. What seems like only a year ago but was probably much longer i decided to try and learn a language. Even though i have a special place in my heart for Pollo Hombre, i always felt like spanish was pushed on me more then me wanting to learn it. I narrowed down the languages i wanted to learn to 3 and choose to attempt Japanese for several reasons but most importantly i knew one day i would want to visit it and also i had a friend who i could practice with.  Fastforward to year of the challenges. This week’s challenge was to do something in a foriegn language for an hour every day. That could be watching a movie in another language, listening to music in another language or what have you. The bonus challenge was to make that hour, or at least that hour learning a language.

The week:

I’m not sure if it’s surprising but there wasn’t much eventful this week. But some interesting developments did occur. I had a friend join me with my challenge. I’ve also had other friends wish to take up more challenges with me for certain weeks. I wasn’t originally planning on a group exercise but it makes it a little more enjoyable.

I managed to also finish the first level of Janapese which lead me to signing up for the next level. The new level is a new system and online which allows for interactions with other students around the world. There was one difficult aspect to this challenge. I had a good friend stay with me the weekend and we endedup staying up late on saturday. When i rolled around to loading up rosetta stone it was about 1am and i was exhausted. I managed to run activities in the program for an hour but i couldn’t help but feel that i wasn’t learning anything and that was greatly due to the fact that i was just trying to get through the hour. I realized this, acknowledge this, and pushed through. Probably not the best thing but i did get above 90% of the lesson correct and the next day i did redo some of the activities to make sure i knew it. It was good to push through and i think it would be good for me to make do rosetta stone each night for maybe 30 mins or so instead of 40. I also need to do more learning outside of it. Some strict memorizing to help me remember words and grammar patters. But all and all a good challenge to get me being productive and hopefull i will be able to keep it up.

sick-goint to bed, this counts


So the challenge for this week was presented by my roommate. Avoid facebook for the entire week. Originally i was hesitant to accept this challenge. In the last couple months i made some very good friends in Los Angeles that i set up events with and contacted through facebook only. I did not want to cut them out of my life for a week just for a challenge but it was issued and i couldn’t back down. As i bonus i set up no checking blogs, mainly because i found myself getting distracted throughout the day (btw my two favorites are geekologie.com and theawesomer.com).

The Week:

I started sunday by posting one last message to facebook that i would be off of it for a week. I was afraid that someone might try and contact me and think i was avoiding them and being rude by not responding. I set my post and texted my roommate that i would be off of facebook until that time next week.

What i found throughout the week was that i really didn’t miss facebook that much, i did however really missed the opportunities to check the internet during the 5 or 10 min breaks i would have while rendering at work. At first it made the work day feel a lot longer. I caught myself mindlessly opening a browser just to start typing in gee…  or theaw… out of habit. I longed to distract my mind for a minute during the day, and taking the opportunity away i noticed how many times a day i did just check on the internet and i found it to be absurd. Don’t get me wrong, i think little breaks for a few mins to give you mind a break are a great thing, i just found in the past i was going for quantity over quality. Throughout the week i noticed that i started to gain a better concentration of the work i was doing and also being able to stay on task more. It was a huge plus and exactly what i was hoping i would benefit from, and with that aspect i feel this was a great challenge. I didn’t even think twice about facebook after a few days…

…and then thursday came around. I woke up, checked my email, and noticed one from facebook. As quickly as i could (for morning grogginess) i looked away but the damage was already done. I had seen several names and something about notifications. And the names i saw were ones i would never expect. People i hadn’t talked to in months or even years. What were they saying about me? Why did they pick this week of any to contact me. That being said, i took a shower and bam, everything was fine. Those people had waited so long to talk to me, a couple more days wouldn’t hurt and they would have seen my message on my wall. No harm no foul…things were going to end nicely…

…and then saturday night hit. Like a strung out spring it was going to strain out the rest of the night. I’m not going to go into huge details on what it was, but i found out from a friend and was under the assumption i was invited to an event the next day and the details were all online waiting for me to confirm. The night drew on and my thoughts of attending said event grew more and more and when the morning came i got like a child on christmas opened my facebook app eager to respond … and there was no invite. Needless to say, it was not the best sunday morning ever. Now my friend did invite me to the event, so i could have gone, but out of fear of intruding or showing up unexpected or just making a small space crowded i decided to decline going. I know when i invite people to something i will always accept people to invite friends, that being said i don’t always plan enough food or space for extra people. I like having more, it just can make things more uncomfortable for everyone which is ok, but i don’t want to be that person. And i don’t take not being invited personally. It’s difficult to host things for a lot of people.

Ok, side explaination aside, in the eagerness of checking to see if i got the invite, i technically passed my challenge but also started it with a lie. In the eagerness of the morning, i didn’t wait until the time i set up with my roommate to stay off facebook. The technically is i always believe the next day begins, not at midnight but at 5am or whatever time you wake up that day. It’s a belief i live by and my closest friends know this. So it wasn’t a pass that i’m happy with. And, that email about facebook, it turned out it was just tell me people posted things unrealted to me and that their posts were popular and i didn’t see them. Thank you facebook. Thank you.

The Challenge:

No Tv Week. That’s all i wrote on my list. I didn’t realize how vague it was would result in consciences when i put it down. Does no tv apply to not using a tv or anything tv related? Does it imply no television shows? What about projectors? Can i go to the movie theater? What about my usually friday night hanging out with friends and watching a movie? I didn’t realize it would effect my social life. All i was originally looking for was to not watch any TV shows before going to bed so that i would have more time in the evening to do other things and so that i could pull myself away from the habit of falling asleep with a program on. But being the year of challenges, and this being the first challenge, i wasn’t going to let it hold me back. I was going to do anything TV related. Oddly enough i did not count going to the movie theater as TV or even watching a movie on my computer as TV. That’s what helped me define the bonus for the week. No movies.

The Week:

Well, the first day didn’t hit me very hard. I spent most of it on a plane, got home, went out to dinner, helped fix a car and passed out. It seemed like the challenge was going to be a piece of cake. Fastforward to Monday night after work, grabbing myself dinner, sitting down at my computer to eat and finding myself without the option of something to do while eating. That’s when i realized it would be a challenge. I have to admit i loaded up one of the blogs i read daily and started checking the posts to find myself watching a embedded video. I finished eating and realized once again i was unsure if what i did counted against the challenge. Being vague once again took it’s toll. I decided that youtube, especially excerpts from late night shows, were out on the list of things i could not watch. And i managed to keep it up for the rest of the week despise what appeared to be a rather humors clip of Gary Oldman reliving some of his lines from Call of Duty, which, who knew he did a voice in that?

I found that with the added time in the evenings i managed to get some good Rosetta Stone practice in and jammed on my guitar. It was enjoyable and i found i feel asleep faster and i think slept better without the monitor from my computer blasting light in my direction. I began to find i was ok without the mindless television that i watched. But i did regret facing the end of the week. Usually friday nights were my hangout sessions with some good work friends. Thursday night came and i texted my friend to see if he wanted to hang out. He knew the details of my Challenge and was in support of this year quest (ok i wish it was something as epic as a quest but really goal). He responded with a jive “Sure if we can figure out something to do” and it hit me that we spent our evenings, for better or worse using the entertainment industry as a crutch to relax. And for a brief moment anxiety ran through me trying to figure out what we would do. I didn’t want to be the borning person bringing everyone down. I started thinking should i put my challenges above the quality of others lives. This trivial game of challenges i set for myself seemed foolish when it could cause antisocial behavior. And after this intense second of worry i realized, come on. It can’t be that bad. We will play games or just have a conversation and just enjoy the company of others. We are friend not because of what we do together but because we like doing things together. I have to say that night we played the most epic game of magic probably in the history of people in the ages range of 25-32. There was fire and whiskey and a stone table and possible a hissing demon or just a cranky cat (jiji you know i love you).


Well i found out i don’t like watch tv as much as i use to. Or at least, i still watch a lot of it, but less then i did before. I often use it as a way to relax and find some entertainment. I totally think that’s ok. I do want to try and make sure that i don’t get caught in a cycle of just watching tv at night though. I want to make sure i am being productive and learning. And one can learn from television but i find i need to focus myself more on other things in my life. Things i want to get better at and this is the time to do it. Also, there’s a good chance i failed this week because one of the first things i did on the sunday i started my challenge, even before i picked the challenge, was watch the movie the airplane was showing on the way back to los angeles. Oh well. What’s important is i didn’t keep that from failing again later on in the week.

Coming into 2012 i realized i was getting frustrated with how routine my life had become and not pushing myself to be as productive outside of work as i wanted. Without the structure of school it was difficult for me to maintain any productive schedule. That was of the aspects i took for granted with classes. With a class you choose to learn something you are interested in but your concern for the grade helps keep you focused. So i decided that i needed to work on my focus, will power, and overall try and better my life. I’ve decided to create set challenges for me to undertake one challenge every week of the year. These challenges are skewed to trying to focus for one week on something i want to change or improve about my life. The rules are pretty simple so far. Challenges start Sunday when i wake up and end the following Sunday when i wake up. None of this ends at midnight stuff. I don’t know what happens if i don’t complete a challenge. Maybe i’ll donate an amount to charity or something.

Going into my 4th week now i’m realizing some of the benefits and flaws of this challenge. But i’ll get into that more hopefully throughout the year. The reason i bring this up today is that i’m entering into BLOG week. My challenge to myself this week is write and post at least once a day. Along with all the challenges i’m attempting to set up a bonus challenge for the week. My bonus for this week is to be happy with the overall design of my blog. Right now it is just a theme i used. I’m hoping to make something custom. I’ve wanted to for some time and i’m not sure this i’ll be able to this week but i’ve got to try. Also the bonus is just to help me push myself farther. I’m hoping that through this week i will be able to go into more details about the three challenges i’ve completed so far and maybe get into more of the challenges i have yet to attempt.

Right now i’ve only got about 25 challenges lined up so i need to finish the list, hopefully this month. But for this post, i think the idea is here.

A over due update

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