Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Finally published!

Well, I know my blog was "whiney" yesterday. My roommate pointed it out. But I was really, really frustrated by everything. Like the title said, "It was one of those days," and it truly was. Today was not one of those days.

I finally got published!

For my WCC friends, check out the acknowledgements I think you'll be surprised.

For my New Zealand friends, check out the fact that I used Sir Hillary as one of my examples.

For my German friends, my conclusion uses a German case study.



Tuesday, September 27, 2011

One of THOSE days...

Today was one of those days. Your morning goes bad, and it just doesn't get rehabilitated. I don't think I've argued with so many people in one day before. It can't be good for me...

It all started this morning when I woke up late. I was planning to run to school, but instead I drove in. See, this starts having a downstream effect. The parking garage at school was full. How is it full when I pay so much for a pass? This added to my anger against UCLA Parking. I had to park illegally in a different lot, where I could get ticketed. I was late to class because I was looking for parking.

Then, during Wills and Trust Mom calls. I take the call. It's about my 15-year-old-kitty Lukas. I found blood on his cheek. HE was coughing up blood, poor kitty. So she takes my adorable, orange and white kitty to the Vet, a Vet I never met by the way. The Vet tells me the bill is going to be some whooping $700-$900 to remove a tooth. I ask him to break down the cost. When he does, there are definitely services I DO NOT Need. I make it clear Luke does not need that. He needs his tooth removed and the abscess cleaned. THat's it. He doesn't need xrays and blood tests and everything else they wanted to give him. It's so expensive; and I make no income. My mom doesn't either. Not knowing what to do - and obviously knowing the guy was a rip-off, I told the Vet please give him some antibiotics and bring him home. I was going to think about this decision later.

BUT OH NO . . . the Vet Casillo, who has already been subjected once by the way to discipline by the State board says he'll report me to the humane society if I don't treat Luka. He then claims to be my pet's advocate. Both the threat and he's implied claim that he loves Luke more than me just made my blood boil instantly. Also, this advocate nonsense incensed me. Under American and Common Law, pets are property. Property doesn't have advocates. And even if they did, I would be the advocate because I obviously care more about Kitty than the Vet who wants to make money does.

I said, "You go ahead and call the Humane Society. I have every right to go back to my original Vet." He said, "Well, good you can tell the Humane Society that." And I said, "You just blackmail people. Either pay the money or get reported. I'll have none of it. And for your retaliation, I'll report you to the Board as well."

That started getting his attention. He said, "Oh, ok... I'll give you a few days to get me proof you went to another Vet." My blood was still boiling that I started telling him how he's blackmailing me and overcharging me. This Vet was terrible. Maybe it's because my father knows how to nickle and dime people, I see how emotional leverage is used. I love my cat, and I love him dearly. I was just not under any compulsion to go with him, and I knew the tooth infection was causing him great pain. Yet, it wasn't a life-death situation to be resolved this instance. At the end, I told Mom to take him to the original Vet. My OG Vet, charged much less and was much more honest. And that made me, even more angry at rip-off Vet. I mean, seriously, how could people take advantage of their pet's love to extort them!

In any event, I posted a nasty Yelp review, which listed his Board discipline record and reported him to the Vet Board. He deserved it. I really hate, how certain merchants take advantage of you and attempt to force you to go with them. He essentially told me go with him or put Luke to sleep. I wasn't going to kill my cat over a tooth infection. The whole event colored my whole day, leaving that nasty taste in my soul.

THEN - my publisher for my academic article told me they published the wrong version of my article and couldn't fix it since it was in print. I flipped out. There's mistakes in the previous version. People can read it. Mistakes make me look so stupid. How could he do this?! I wrote him a letter, which wasn't very pleasant. He didn't respond back. This only threw even more fuel onto the fire! I talked with my mentor for forty minutes, who thought I did the wrong thing. I said, what was I supposed to do? We didn't have a sound answer. It just made me think about people like dumb Vet today, do people respond better to force or diplomacy? Vet, obviously responded better to force.

Since I was already in an oscar-the-grouch mood, I decided to write a threatening demanding letter to UCLA Parking, cc'ing the Daily Bruin, the Chancellor, and the CEO of Parking. Why not, aye? They always tell me that they aren't responsible for Parking - even though they are Parking. I smiled to myself a bit. Here's a system. I'm injecting a lot of energy into it. Energy is not destroyed, it is only transferred. So, we'll see how it comes out on the other end. I'm interested.

All of this, all of this, put me behind on my work, which made me skip out on my run today. I walk back to my car. It's almost midnight. I want to go home. I see green fluid and a puddle. Hmm, me thinks, someone's car's radiator is busted. The owner comes to the car coincidentally, and I can tell he's clueless with cars. I explain, "Hey man, you can't drive that too far. If you do, your car's engine will break. Your radiator is busted." I show him. He thanks me profusely and we come up with a game-plan to help him get home. He thanks me again.

I wonder, would you think me a Saint or a Sinner after you knew about my day today?

I call my mom, later, and said, "Mom, that f)(*&)(*& VET!"

She understands I'm angry and my mom ain't very understanding, I think. She only says, "Calm down, Paul. Calm, down. We just won't take him there again."

"Yeah, but he -"

"It's alright, Paul, just calm down."

"And he tried to report me to the humane -"

"It's ok, Paul. Just calm down. Luke's coming home tomorrow. Everything is fine now."

And I just thought, yeah Mom, you're right...

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Projects

The start of 3L year has been the year of entrepreneurial projects. I just counted, I have 8 projects on the go.

Some coincide with school, some do not. I can tell you, 8 live projects with school eats up a lot of time and effort. I think what keeps me going is injections of fun in my life and that these projects serve me. The last line is important: these projects serve me.

Unlike working for, let's say my father, or for another corporation, I work for me. I've taken a novel approach to the whole series of projects. I've started up all low risk projects with very little of my own resources or use of none of my resources. One of the projects has a sponsor. I recognize that the odds are against me. There's an 80-90% failure rate for entrepreneurs. That's a higher failure rate than marriage.

But, these projects are like pawns. The world is like my chessboard, and I am my own chessmaster. Each project advances. I watch and observe. The army of pawns progress slowly across the board. Some will die. Some will be sideswiped. Some will be blocked. Certainly, some will capture the garrison forces. And the rest will advance, one step at a time. I only need one to be graduated as a queen. That's called: jackpot!

I'll give you an example of one of my fun projects. I don't really expect this one to go anywhere. But, recently I was inspired by this article. In this article, photographer Mollison was asked to promote human rights through photography. What he decided was that he was going to take pictures of children around the world with their bedrooms. The results are powerful.

That got me thinking, I'm not a great photographer. But I do know how to tell a story. If only I could take better photographs, tell a story with them by both words and pictures. I don't have the time to be schooled in photography. I don't have the resources to afford such a school. So, what I'm going to do is do a history lesson in photography. I'm going to start with Christopher White's photographs. Then, I'll move forward in history, analyzing great photographs. I'll then pick a theme, a goal, a message, and start my project by meeting people, interviewing them, photographing the relevant message. We'll see where it takes me. I wonder if that pawn will move across the chessboard.

Who knows?