January 30, 2007

Lonesome Jim

From the movie "Lonesome Jim"

"I came home ‘cause I ran out of money and had nowhere else to go. If I had any other option, I would’ve taken it. I did not consider having a place to come home to a blessing. Instead, I though of it as a burden and a symbol of failure. I’m ashamed to admit that growing up, I pitied you, and what I thought was your naïve belief that our dreams could come true simply by the virtue of having them.

Because the truth, as I witnessed it, was something completely different. The truth actually was that nothing worked out, and no one anywhere lived the life they wanted. But I see now that it was me with the naïve belief. I thought if I resigned myself to disappointment, at least I’d be better off than those people who tried and failed. I hate myself for only realizing this now, and for taking and taking from you without giving anything back. I promise not to waste any more time or take your love for granted."
What do you think about the paragraphs above?

January 28, 2007

My Life, My Demons Part 1

Last night, I was planning to head out with a colleague of mine who lives in the city. However, he ended up getting too tired after spending a day working at the Stanford Career Fair. So, I was debating what I should do to kill the night. My ex-colleagues from Google called me a few times to head down to a bar in Mission and 21st. I was about to go but I ended up being too tired to take a cab to go to the club. I ended up staying at home cleaning up my apartment and having a great conversation with my best friend back in Hong Kong.

In case you don't know, the friend that I am referring to is actually the person who I have known for the longest period of time besides my family members. I have known her since I was 3 or so. So, literally, I have known her for 27 years. That's a really long time.

I was talking to her about things happened at work and in my life. I realize that I am refusing to grow up. I think turning into 30 is one of the biggest fear I have in my life. Not only have I been told before that I would die by the age of 30, I also realize that I need to clean up my act and figure out what I want before 30.

I am lying to myself because I refuse to grow up.

The older I get, the more I want to be a perfect person. I tend to be very harsh on myself but pretty easy on my friends. I don't think there's anything wrong about it. However, I may point out that I may end up making everyone around me to be happy except myself. I should treat myself better and put myself in a better position. I should be nicer to myself.

;Since I came to US in 1995, I developed this insatiable need to be the best in everything. When I was back in Hong Kong in high school, I cared less about school and everything. I had so much confidence that I knew if I just put in some time, I would definitely be fine. That's why I ended up doing everything that a typical student in the "elite" class in my high school won't do. I stayed late after class to play volleyball when I was in F.2. I spent all the time to running student organizations when I was in F.3. I basically spent every bit of my energy after work to organize joint school activities. I still remember the time that it was such an ss="blsp-spelling-error" id="SPELLING_ERROR_4">opportunity to go to girls' school after class each day to have meeting about various joint school events. You know, it really helps if you go to a boys school and have chances to hang out in a girls school.

Anyway, my time in high school passed with a very uneventful event in F.6. Many of you know that I like to help people and make my friends happy a lot. When I was in F.6, I was asked to run so many organizations that I started passing some duties to some of my "inactive" classmates, those that hadn't built up enough social capital and network to be invited to lead student organizations. In Hong Kong, having the ability to run students organization would increase your likelihood of getting into universities, especially if you are looking to get into universities in US or UK.

So, I ended up giving up an opportunity to be the chairman of an organization and heavily recommended my buddy for the position. The teacher-in-charge ended up agreeing with me and let my buddy be the one. Since then, our friendship eroded. I guess it all came with the attention and fame that you got once you became the chairman of an organization. My mate still lying to me and speaking behind me. It was up to a point that I finally discovered what it was all about. I was very upset and have since been afraid to get too close to anyone around me.

Here I am now, 13 years later, I still let this incident haunting over me. How can I breakaway from this demon that has been with me for such a long time?

January 24, 2007 late, so early

The following story comes from a person's real life experience. After thinking more about it, I feel that it's very entertaining and would like to share with you folks.

M: A guy working out in a gym
F: A lady working out in a gym

The story goes as follows:

It's shortly after work. M decided to go to the gym to work out. Usually, he doesn't like to go to the gym right after work because it's over-crowded and he hates waiting in line to get on the treadmill.

(A line waiting for treadmill machines)

M in the middle of the line. F was ahead of M.

F: It's so crowded today. I don't know how long I have to wait.
M: Well, I think it shouldn't be too bad. It's supposed to have a 20-minute limit on each machine.

F: You never know, some people just want to stay on the machine for an hour.
M: That's true. Well, there's nothing we can do about it. So, I guess we just have to wait and use other machines.

F: I guess so. Hey, do you work in the city?
M: Yeah, and you?
F: yea...blah blah blah....

M and F ran into one another again at the arm curl machine. They started talking again.

F: blah blah blah blah blah blah.....I am so hungry now. I don't know what to eat after the gym.
M: Well, there are so many options around here. It really depends on what you want. Just don't stuff yourself and fall asleep.
F: I know, I need someone to keep me awake till late night. Blah Blah Blah...Do you have any dinner plans?
M: Not really, I was going to grab something on my way home.
F: Blah Blah Blah...well, do you want to grab a bite together?

M: (feeling a bit awkward since he just met F) Sure, why not?
F: well, let's meeting at the front desk 30 minutes later.

1/2 hour later...
M and F met at the front door of the gym. They started walking in the downtown area and finally grab some pizza at a local joint. The conversation carried on.

M: Well, I am so full now. I shouldn't go to bed.
F: blah blah have any plans for tonight?
M: not really, probably just watch a movie at home.....blah blah..(talking about what DVDs he has)
F: hey, if you don't mind, let's watch it together since I don't want to fall asleep.
M and F realized that they lived two blocks from one another.

M and F went home to M's place.
F chose a movie. It's "About a Boy" with Hugh Grant.

M (feeling very awkward since he doesn't know where he should sit)
F (jumps on his bed, making it like her own place)
M (sitting down on his office chair)
F (well, you can lay down if you want. you don't need to sit upright)

M joined F........... rolls........
.......things happened between M and F...........
.......M and F finally fell asleep.........
.......F snores lightly....... (M: WTF!)
.......They cuddled and slept.......
.......It's was so noisy upstairs. M was having a hard time sleeping. Of course, he was looking at F......
.......Finally M and F both were asleep.
.......Suddenly, F woke up at 5a.m. or so. Within 10 seconds, F had everything on and ready to go home....
........M: Half asleep and half waken....Are you leaving now?
........F: yes, I have to go.
........M: Do you want me to walk you home?
........F: No, I am fine. (F was about to walk to the door)....
........M: (still confused and not fully up)okay.....
F left.

M told his colleague the next day at work. M was confused and didn't know what he did wrong.
Colleague A: "Hey man, I did that before."
M: okay.
Colleague A: That doesn't mean you did anything wrong. Maybe F just wanted to go home. You are such a playboy.
M: No, I am not. I am a good guy.

M and colleague A laughed.

So, what happened?
Did F get pissed at M?
Is F possessed by demons and suddenly realized that she had to go?
Was M being sloppy?
Is F actually crazy?
that's why I decided to call this story "so early" for the fact that it happened unexpectedly late at night and F left so early.

Organizational Evolution

Since I started working last February, I realized that organizational evolution is very commonplace in startups. For example, I joined my current company in last October. Since then, I have had 4 different bosses. Our team keeps getting shifted from one manager --> VP --> CEO --> Director. I guess our team must be very tough to handle. Or our team may be so bad that no one wants to take on this "liability".

For some reason, I think I have reached a "Zen" state at work. I am able to take any shocking news and digest it without much anger. Usually, I get angry and feel frustrated very easily at work, especially when things are not going in the right directions. I have been able to move to a "ZEN" state to make peace with whatever happened at work since last week. That's one of the biggest achievements I have made so far.

So far, I still think that one of the best takeaways that I have had since last February is the new friends that I have made. I got to see different types of people at the three firms that I have worked. It's a good feeling that I am able to make some good friends in my first and current firms. Even though I have only spent a few months at my first job, I am still in contact with a number of folks there. I count that as a blessing and am very thankful for that.

January 23, 2007

I am disoriented!

Today is the day that i realized that I am getting disoriented and going crazy.

Here is the description of what I did:

(Antony stared at the computer monitor, doing his work; he had his IPOD headphones on)
(Colleague A, sitting diagonally behind Antony, yelled and asked Antony a question.)
(Antony heard someone calling his name.)
(He turned around......)
(Colleague A stood up, overlooking Antony.)
Antony took his glasses off, couldn't see a thing........
Antony: blah blah blah
Colleague A: blah blah blah....
Antony, with glasses off, looked very confused. He couldn't hear anything that colleague A said. He thought it was weird that he heard nothing but his colleague's mouth was obviously talking.
Antony realized that he took the wrong item off.
He needed to take off his headphones but not his glasses.
He quickly put his glasses back on, pretended that nothing happened.
Antony: blah blah blah. I think so.
Colleague A: okay

Well, you can see that I am completely disillusional and have no idea why that happened. Instinctly, I just remember to take some thing off so that I could hear the person's talking. I did take some thing off, but it's my glasses.

Am I going crazy?

I guess Kenny from Little Britain must have hypnotized me!
"Look into my eyes! Look into my eyes! Don't look around my eyes! Three two One, take off your glasses, don't take off your earphones."

January 21, 2007

Let me go!

This afternoon, I ended up walking around in the city for 3+ hours. I stopped at a coffee shop to write a few cards to my friends back home. After that, I was wandering around the Union Square and decided to sit down and finish a slice of pizza that I bought earlier. I was sitting on the stairs facing the giant Macy's department store. I ended up taking some pictures. The bright neno light is a perfect contrast of what I feel in my mind. Lately, I have been feeling blue and lost. I feel like being trapped in a prison in Guantánamo Bay. Somehow I am torturing and interragating myself, trying to rationalize every decision I have made in the past.

I ended up calling my best friend in Hong Kong to chat with her a little bit. WheneverI talk to her, she always makes me feel better. She is the only one that never doubt what I want to do in my life. She encourages me to be a stronger person and to follow my guts. Too frequently, I am too afraid to take any action that may jepoardize my future. I feel that I have made enough mistakes in my life. Somehow, I know that I have to let myself go and be easy on myself.

I learned quite a lot from my best friend's blog. If you know how to read Chinese, you should check out her blog at I am positive that you will feel a lot better after reading it.

Annie's Social Club

Last night, I went with my colleauge Luke to a bar on Mission street called
Annie's Social Club. It's actually a pretty neat place because the music that they play there is more of a old disco music. Anyway, I was pretty zoned out when I first got there, since I didn't know anyone in the club. After getting 5 or more rum and coke, I started getting tipsy and talking to Luke and his ladies. I think by the end of the night, I had about 10 rum and coke.

After the bar closed at 2, we were about to go to one of Luke's friends house. However, we couldn't find a taxi outside the pub. After walking on south of Market for like 20 minutes, we decided to split and go home. Luke, Leah (Luke's friend), and I came across an Indian restaurant that still opened at that time, we decided to go inside to get a bit. I ordered some lamb curry, prawn masala, nanna bread, and an order of rice. We had a great conversation about some random topics. At one point, we even talked about the panotopic and war etc. I guess with a few drinks, any seemingly boring topic would suddenly become interesting. Anyway, I remember that I was up till 4 in the morning and Luke ended up crashing on my futon for a few hours before he went home. It was a great time and it definitely helps get rid of the pressure that I have been experiencing the past few months at my new job.

Today, I did my laundry for the 1st time in my apt. building in San Francisco. I realized that I accumulated so many dirty clothes that I needed to run two machinese to clean all of them. Also, I finally got back to the gym for the 1st time in a year. I spent an hour in the 24hr fitness on Sutter Street. I felt very good afterwards. I am hoping that I can start going there more often in the morning or after work, since the place is within walking distance to my apt building.
I called my parents this morning and told them that if my work doesn't get better in 2007, I would probably move back to Asia or go to some other places. I have not left the San Francisco Bay area since December 2005. I start having the feeling that I am being trapped here and I want to escape.

Anyway, it's Monday tomorrow. Hopefully this coming one will go by peacefully.

January 19, 2007

Far Away So Close

Suddenly I feel a little bit blue today. I have no idea why I have this feeliing. While I was walking back to my studio after work, I started listening to the CD "Chariots" by Gavin DeGraw and all the emtions I have been supressing all come up at the same time.,

It's interesting that after I move to the city, I feel that I am so lonely in this work. You know, everyone I come across many people on the street, everyone is so far away emotionally but in reality we are just several feet from one another. Have you ever wonder the people that you encounter in the subway each day? What does his/her life like? You can also get more philosophical by questioning: Why do I run into this person? What am I doing each day?

Yesterday, I got a comment from a person that I did not know on the blog:
googooww said...
You talked about wanting to sort out your life, but then you only talked about your jobs. Did you ever stop to think that you might want something more?

It never occurs to me that I just talk about work all the time. I realize that I have been defining myself by my school or work in the past 29 years. When I was young, I cared so much about my grades and where I went for school. After that, I cared so much about where I worked, how much I earned, and what position I was in. It's the constant fear that I am being left behind in this world of endless competition. On one end, I just want to let loose of myself and follow what I want to do; on the other hand, I feel that I need to fulfill the expectations that the society, friends, relatives, families have on me. I know it's a kind of self-imposed meaningless measure. However, at the end of the day, I am struggling to find the right balance between the two. Is there actually a right balance?

I stopped for a moment and pondered what I actually wanted in my life. It's very sad to say that I actually don't know what I want outside of work. I keep thinking and I don't even know what makes me happy. I like spending time with my friends, sharing their joy and sadness. There isn't a single hobby or activity that I crave for. It's sad but it's true. One thing that I am very interested in doing is to join a boxing club. However, I don't have the extra cash for it at the moment. Otherwise, I would love to take the time to release my energy through a no bullshit fight. Just fight, no talking, fight till I collapse.

January 18, 2007

Old Chelsea Fish and Chips

While I was debating what I should eat for tonight's dinner, I came across a crappy place called "Old Chelsea Fish and Chips". Since I didn't want to get any Mexican food around my neighborhood and I just wanted something cheap, I decided to give this little dirty restaurant a try. It turned out to be pretty good. Though the fish and chips are definitely very greasy. Now I feel that my blood vessels are clotting up. Oh well, I guess it doesn't hurt to eat the greasy Fish and Chips once in a while.

I waited for a while before I got my order. They wrapped the fish and chips in newspaper (of course, they have a butter/baking sheet on top of it). It's kind of authentic and makes me feel like being in some old British town. I am going to explore some other areas in my neighborhood in the coming months. Hopefully, I will find something more delicious and interesting.

No Shame in My Game

The picture above was taken in December 2006 at Phenoix in San Francisco. From left to right, Isaac, Dave, Luke, and myself. They are my colleagues at the current firm. We used to work in the same team when I first joined the firm.


Since the beginning of the year, I have spent more time thinking about what I want in my life. It's a scary thought that I am approaching 30 in 9 months. I always think that I need to sort out my life by the time I reach 30. I can't still be fooling around and giving myself excuses for not doing the right things.

After trying out three different jobs since the beginning of 2006, I have reached a stage that I need to figure out what I really want. I have worked in a major big firm and two start-ups. Despite the fact that each company has its own culture and politics, I think I have been giving my best to each of the position I have held.

Because of some organizational changes, I have not been really able to settle down in my current position. Many times, I feel like putting in some much effort in my work but I end up getting nothing out of it. It's not like I need some sort of recognition or some thing. I just want people to understand that I have been sucking it up and put all my energy at work.

When I was visiting one of my good high school friends in Philadelphia back in Dec 1995, I had a great conversation with him after a few drinks. We both agreed that every human being in the world craves for some sort of recongition, which could be money, fame, status, or popularity. I guess human beings are gregarious animals that we need to rely on one another for physical and emotional support. What I am missing in my life is some sort of support that I get from my friends. The older one gets, the harder it is for me to open up to my friends. Many times, I just want to keep drinking till I forget everything. Though it would be a painful reminder that I am still alive the next day. One of the highlights from last year is for me to meet some very good friends during my time at Google. Steve, Chris, Jordan, and Jeff have all helped me a lot through many difficult times last year. I think that's something that I need to be very grateful about.

Since I joined my current company, the size of my team has decreased from 7 to 4 people. I feel like that I am trying so hard to be friends with my colleagues at times. You know, the most important thing at work is to enjoy it. I know it's hard to achieve but I still refuse to believe that we have to work in hostile environment just to pay our pills. I have tried to organize some sort of activities for our teammates to get to know one another better. I still believe that there is a purpose for me to come across certain people in my life. That's why I value each of the person that I meet at various occasions. I believe that I can learn from each one and be a better and stronger person.

January 15, 2007

Moving to San Francisco

After months of commuting from Mountain View to San Francisco, I finally decided to move to San Francisco to cut down the commute time. I spent a day right before the new year to look for apartments in the city. Since I can only afford places less than US$1,200, I basically have to limit my choices to studios in certain pockets of the city.

I finally found one studio on the 5th floor of a high rise in Lower Nob Hill. It's very close to the Union Square and a few bookstores and coffee shops, which are my favoriate places to hang out whenever I have free time. I still vividly remember that I spent hours in coffee shops on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill. Caribou Coffee, StarBucks, Rosemary Coffee were my favorite joints. I could spend an entire day there studying and ended up walking back to my dormity at midnight. Those were the tough but good old days.

Finally, I moved to a new studio in San Francisco last Saturday. So far, I am liking the place a lot. However, during my move, I realized that I needed to fill in the change of address form to forward my mails from my old crib in Mountain View. To reduce the possibility of identity theft (unfortunately, I have been the victim twice in the past 4 years), I looked up some information from the Money Magazine. Here are some numbers that should become handy if you don't want to get tons of junk mail or direct sales calls at your apartment.

Stop Credit Card Solicitation: 1-888-567-8688
Remove your name from mailing lists:
National Do Not Call Registry:
You can also get free credit report 3 times a year at This is a legit site and not a scammy site which has hidden restrictions that you need to enroll in their credit protection program.