Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Formative Moment of the Rest of My Life (and the Story I Tell Myself)



The end of 6th grade marked the celebration of finishing elementary school where all the soon-to-be graduates in the school district would go to Camp Orkila for about a week. It was incredible fun full of cute girls, hyper boys, cheesy campy activities, "counselor" High School students even more sexually frustrated, and some teacher chaperons (see photo album: https://goo.gl/photos/VGdk2X5iFTyVurEH9).  When the buses arrived back at school for the parents to pick up their kids, my best friend's mother picked me up instead of my mom. When I came home, someone in my family greeted me and showed me immediately to the Master Bedroom closet. It was empty, because my mother decided she couldn't stay. She wouldn't return to that house again and I wouldn't have meaningful contact until I was 20.

What followed were months of fetal crying and brokenness as many young children who are abandoned by their mothers would react. I think I generally was hurt less than others may had been since there was never a particularly strong emotional connection between myself and my mother. Regardless, it's still painful to feel abandoned and unwanted.



That summer, I went to a Korean-American Youth Group church retreat with a left arm in a sling from when I took a one armed turn on a bicycle while pressing the front brakes. Through an emotionally intense, "last night" worship session, I prayed the "sinner's prayer" of brokenness and "accepted Christ in my heart." The intense negative emotions associated with my mother's abandonment were channeled toward an intense sense of "original sin" guilt and Christ's crucifixion as the fix.

My 7th grade year was very awkward. It's awkward for anyone newly entering middle school, but with the fairly recent abandonment and emotional development retardation, I believe the issues may had been amplified (see photo album: https://goo.gl/photos/3bUN1se2NFyzCKUW9). Somewhere toward the middle of the year, I was in my basement bedroom full of spiders and strange noises next to the boiler room. Stricken with emotion and determination from a source I cannot fully place, I lay prostrate on the ground crying. Inside my mind I had the image of the television depictions of kids with divorced parents that are sitting on a couch while crying with intense guilt since they blamed themselves for their parent's divorce. "It's my fault my parents divorced!" the TV child star wails. The child would be inconsolable and essentially turn into a useless, despondent, unproductive mush for the remainder of the show being a BURDEN.

As that image played in my head, I think I felt I had to make a choice. I could either surrender to my grief, or I could fight. Prostate on my knees; pounding the ground with my fists; that day I chose: "What do you need a mother for? So what? You have the infinite God of Love on your side. THE HEAVENLY FATHER. He is the only Father you need. If you have Him, you have more than enough." With that pep talk, I "hardened." I'm not sure what the best descriptive work is, but whatever fears, or concerns, or perceived weaknesses in my mind preventing me from achieving what I wanted, I was determined to not let stand in my way. I held disdain for that loser of a child blaming themselves for their parent's divorce. I was NOT going to be a VICTIM. I was going to be a WINNER. I will succeed no matter the circumstances (At that time, my little 12 year old mind probably limited my biggest obstacle to only the mother abandonment emotions, and not things I had yet to experience or comprehend).

Toward the end of that school year, I ended up taking a chance on the school's talent show playing some classical music entirely on my own initiative. It seemed to impress a lot of my peers and teachers and that was perhaps one of the first times I had "accomplished" something without anyone dictating my actions. From there, various risks I took lead to success (and some failures which I didn't really care about), and I gradually discovered what I excelled at more than my peers, and what I sucked at (ie. Track & Field). With each success, confidence grew. With each failure, I knew I just needed to have discipline to practice and eventually conquer or reassess if it was something worth it to me to invest the resources to succeed.

Whenever I'd feel the inevitable hot, red face of embarrassment, or the "butterflies in the stomach," I would simply draw from that same determination on my basement floor and push through. I did that at least until I had enough confidence in my previous accomplishments, became more comfortable with failure, and my body and mind became accustomed toward my sometimes socially risky behavior.

CHOICE & FREE WILL?
The common narrative I tell myself is that I'm constantly making the "choice" to be an INITIATOR and not the PROCRASTINATOR. At this point, I have lived so long as an Initiator and seen the great benefits, it's difficult for me to remain passive. It takes more effort for me to NOT act. I am a fighter. I am a doer.

But, I wonder how it all started. From that moment in my bedroom I felt I had to make a "choice" between surrendering or fighting. It didn't seem as though that choice was mundane, but it felt as though it was an EPIC choice which would determine the FATE of the rest of my life. I SAW the vision in my mind of the LOSER life, and it sickened me. And I wanted to crush it. And I gained ambition from someplace.

Perhaps one could say it was the Holy Spirit. Perhaps one could say it was psychological inspiration from a perceived "higher power." Perhaps it was genetics? Perhaps my brain responds to grief with a "fight" rather than "flight" response? I can't say exactly, but can I necessarily claim it was entirely by my "own strength of character" that I made the "right" choice?

I just don't know what that means anymore since it's hard for me to imagine today to ever demand a grieving 12 year old to "stop crying and man the FUCK UP!" How horrendous that would be for a full grown adult or parent to say that to a child abandoned by their mother!? What kind of monster would say such a thing!? We would coddle that child and salve their emotional wounds with affection. Yet, from someplace, inside my little head, that loud voice is what got me to push forward.

In my delusional mind, I try to take 100% credit and thus make myself out to be some kind of "hero." But in reality, how can a 12 year old really be fully responsible for ANY of their actions? Nevertheless, it does seem to be the narrative I run with, and it seems to work well in increasing my personal energy.

It's just that when I write out this formative experience, trying to take 100% credit for the "choice" of 12-year-old me seems a little absurd. But if it wasn't 100% "free will," then what the hell was it?

Friday, April 29, 2016

Am I Becoming Tribal? USA! USA! USA!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlWdlJGFsA4&feature=youtu.be

I will admit seeing Mexican flags waved and the American flag burned in protest to Trump giving a speech is mildly infuriating. Even after 9/11, I never was fully comfortable flying the American Flag. I definitley cried when I saw Saddam's statues toppled on TV (later to discover was staged). So I'm not too sure where this emotion is coming from.

It's one thing to have "Korean pride," waving Korean flags during World Cup. Or perhaps on a "heritage" day. I still find both of those instances emotionally uninteresting. But that's because I have such a burning desire and love for individual liberty and the immense human potential of Individualism over Collectivism. Korea represented to me while growing up a lot of nonsensical Collectivism, Patriarchy, Traditionalism, and ancestor worship. A whole lot of disapproving looks because I can't speak Korean. Korean school and Korean church. Institutionalized torture toward any free thinking individualist entrepreneur.


So I'm not really sure what kind of message is being communicated with the Mexican flag. I'm trying to imagine what kind of state of mind I'd need to have to fly the South Korean flag and I hit a wall of contempt. But perhaps I'm projecting too much of myself on the protestors.

If I had to fly a flag to be proud of, it would be the flag of 1775 representing the stand for individual liberty and fight against tyranny. "DON'T TREAD ON ME."

Perhaps where my anger comes from is the fact that I identify strongly with the Founding Fathers, and essentially disavow the Confucius values of traditional South Koreans. "Give me liberty or give me death!"

I suppose I would feel just as much contempt than if they were flying Socialist flags. It's a similar feeling, but not quite the same. Unfortunately, the vast majority of illegals come over for a better life, and clearly understand what is the superior country.

Once again, I'm still left confounded by the Mexican flag waving. Ultimately, even the protestors find the US superior, otherwise they would move back to Mexico.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Approved for Puerto Rico Act 22 Application!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kbC4DkyNcc

UPDATE: SIGNED ACT 22 DECREE RECEIVED

I just got an email this morning stating my Act 22 Application has been approved and now awaiting my $5,000 payment! My Act 20 Application is now "Eligible Case" which was defined in a previous email I received at the beginning of the process:

o   Act 20: it means that the draft of the decree has been sent out to the agencies for their determination or recommendation. It has a time frame of 20 working days, however the public policy of this administration is that no case will be approved without the recommendation of the Department of Treasury.  Once we receive the recommendations of the agencies, we send a final draft of the decree, where a team of the DDEC will evaluate your petition, this will not change the status but we call it the Final Stage. Once they understand that the case is ready for approval they send it to the Secretary of DDEC.  Once we receive it the status will change to Approved and we will contact you so that you can pick your decree or we can send it by mail.

More info on the history of my process can be found at this link.

Puerto Rico Act 20 / 22 Tax Incentives – How to Apply Yourself for $450.00 | Self-Help Resources

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=guPaiTI86UM

In my Junior year of high school, I was elected to be the Student Body Treasurer.

At that time, I was heavily influenced by the "Ren & Stimpy" and "Simpson's" soundtrack. The "Monorail" guy was my major inspiration. I saw how easily people were influence by song and "charisma." So that's what I did knowing that there really was no major basis to vote for me than the other candidates. The position was a Resume stuffer for college applications.

For my recorded speech that was broadcasted to the entire school, I brought out a portable music keyboard. I opened with a parody of the "Cheers" theme with "everybody knows your name" and then closed it out by playing Axel F from Beverly Hills ending with a joke:

What do you a call a fly without wings? A Walk.

I timed the punch line to perfectly coordinate with the timed silences in Axel F.

On Voting Day, I was approached by a couple students who enthusiastically stated they were voting for me solely due to the entertainment value they received from watching my musical number.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Disrespecting Your Elders

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2JXrDwtiqQs

There are some Korean Immigrants that I have dealt with that see me as being "disrespectful" to them when I don't follow certain cultural norms as they remembered from their 1970s Korea. They are insulted when I judge them solely by their merits, rather than the mere fact that they are older than me. The concept of "Ancestor" worship stems strong from Confucius roots.

"Respect your elders."
"Don't talk back."
"Know your place."
"It's shameful you don't know how to speak Korean."

While the mainland of Korea evolved toward Gangnam Style, K-Pop, Oldboy, E-Sports, etc., the Korean immigrants only remember the 1970s Korea they immigrated from and stubbornly stuck to it. They no longer fit in modernized Korea, and are even more irrelevant in America.

Thankfully, most of the 1970s immigrants are retiring or have retired. They contributed a hard working ethic, but their stubbornness to maintain their old, 1970's "Korean Ways" caused them to be their own worst enemy to further their economic productivity ("work harder, not smarter"). Take my father, for example. He think I'm lazy because I don't do yard work and instead pay $50/month to have it maintained by Mexican immigrants about two times a month. Yet never realized or did the analysis that he could've made about the same or more money renting out his Auto Body Shop than actually operating it (I'm guessing, about 10 years ago). Good luck trying to have an honest discussion about that. The moment you start bringing up "facts," you are immediately labeled as being "disrespectful."

SJW argumentative techniques have been around a long time.

I fully embrace Western Individualism, and reject the collectivism of South East Asian cultures. An individual ought to be judged by one's own merits, rather than their social identity (ie. age, race, etc.). I know what it means to live in a culture that values "traditions" and "societal norms" over careful consideration and thought. I suppose every time I'm faced with such a dilemma, there's a visceral and emotional reaction that stems from the stupidity and unnecessary suffering I had to endure growing up due to this brainless culture of identity worship.

Some cultures are better than others.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

My Latest 6 Monitor Battle Station / Workstation Iteration



Unlike my previous battle station post, I'm not going to spend the time formatting to look so nice. So here's a run down of my setup.

MONITORS


3x 27" (2560 x 1440) Monitors


I was able to get these from MonoPrice for $249.99 each. Just be aware that they are DVI only. I'm only able to run them at 30 Hz which is annoying until I can find an adapter that will convert Mini DisplayPort to DVI for 60 Hz at the 2560 resolution. Meh. I do have for my primary one an Acer 2560 x 1440 that I got on Slickdeals a while ago which has native DP in it.

3x 22" (1920 x 1080) Monitors


I got these from MonoPrice as well for about $99 each. The sixth one isn't plugged in since I need to get a hold of a cheap DVI cable. For now, my laptop takes its place. But the 6th monitor isn't so useful for me since on one of my 27" I have it broken down to four quadrants with Skype, Google Contacts, Google Voice, and Evernote. I'm sure once I get it up and running, I can figure something out.

Monitor Stands


Since I was able to customize it, I decided on mounting all my monitors. The vertical 22" monitor is on one of MonoPrice's $22 brackets.

The two 27" monitors are on this Heavy Duty Desk Mount I got from Amazon.



The two monitors on the right, 22" and 27" are mounted on one stand:


TABLES


Ok, I know it's nerdy to list it here, but I would be remiss not to mention these are from Ikea and for extremely low price. I they they ranged from $25 - $50 each. I don't see why I would ever choose to purchase super expensive office furniture or desk when Ikea serves my purposes even better considering the brackets I'm using. Actually, with the office desks, I found them to be more cumbersome since the mounting options were a lot less.

For my keyboard tray, I opted for a much cheaper option than I had done before. And you'll also notice I did a "hack" by raising up the mouse tray to be more on level with the keyboard.



 

CHAIR




This serves well enough, I suppose. I got it for $189.00. My main objective was finding one with a head rest so that I can go uber lazy and rest my head back as I type.

I don't like it as much as my primary chair still in California. Perhaps I'll eventually ship over the Humanscale chair. I really liked how it allowed me to flex my back so that I can move around in my chair. I suppose, I'll have to be more cognizant about adjusting, which is the benefit of the blue exercise ball you see.


Keyboard, Mouse & Peripherals


I use a bunch of shortcuts that are programmed with AutoHotKey. They are essentially a must if you have so many monitors and frequently used folders, and programs. For the sake of simplicity, I'll just list all my peripherals here:













Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Thoughts on California's $15/hour Minimum Wage

TRIGGER: http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/California-Minimum-Wage-374470051.html

"It's not the end of the struggle, but it's a very important step forward. Let's keep it going. We're not stopping here." - Governor Brown

$15/hour minimum wage. A worthy struggle to fight against the exploitative and evil hotel owners.

Something I wonder: is this minimum wage essentially a knock out against my bottom line? If so, does that essentially eliminate my hotel valuations based on the Net Income Approach? Or will this all be countered by me increasing my overall room rates?


The nice thing perhaps is that my hotel is deep in the coast of Southern California, hours away from the border, which will mean all my direct competitors will suffer alongside me.

I feel more sorry for those on the Californian border along a State that won't be having these minimum wage increases.

What I can say as a direct result of this action is that I will most likely not be purchasing an additional hotel or labor intensive business in California due to the uncertainty this causes in my valuations of cash flow. At least until the $15/hour minimum wage is set and stabilized, or until the rest of the country follows and raises the federal minimum wage to $15/hour.

Should I purchase a hotel in the interim period as minimum wages increase, I would have to consider into the valuation of the hotel the loss of revenue from increased future payroll costs. I can't imagine any Seller would allow that kind of valuation into decreasing the final price of their hotel.

The economic effects of a $15/hour minimum wage on a State level are relatively new, so the economic repercussions add an extra level of risk that I'm not sure the commercial real estate market will be able to properly adjust for. Just as the housing bubble of 2008 wasn't properly calculated in, I don't think any economist can properly predict what the economic consequences will be, let alone a limited-service hotel owner trying to sell their hotel.

Just trying to explain to most limited service sellers what a "Cap Rate" means is a challenge within itself. Trying to add on the complexities of future, guaranteed costs by Government fiat won't make sense.

If I can make a prediction, I would say that the only buyers for California will be idiots who have no idea about the increasing minimum wage laws in California, or people who simply don't care (ie. Chinese buyers).