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Showing posts from August, 2015

My Buddhist Mislearnings

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Sitting on the sofa, halfway through Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson documentary, I feel the sudden impulse to write. I wasn't watching in search of inspiration, although I consider the man himself a sort of incidentally inspirational figure.

I know that I will never be anything like him. While I would love the notoriety and impact on society he achieved, I absolutely do not want the inner-demons responsible for creating the man.

I envy what he attained. More than just an iconic career following his passion and flipping a middle finger to establishment and convention, he also had the confidence to marry and have a child, well before knowing exactly how he would provide for them. I have no idea of his age at this point in the film, but I imagine him younger than I, and my base instinct to compare myself wells up, asking "Why aren't you married? Where is your family? Why don't you act more boldly?"

Why can't I be like him? At his core, Thomp…

Two Strikes, You're Out

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More accurately: I Need to Start Using a Mash Tun.  Warning: The following contains more beer brewing jargon than the average person will care to learn. That said, you can replace most terms with "beer-thingy" in your head, and be just fine.
I became passionate about home brewing after receiving a 1-gallon starter kit from Brooklyn Brew Shop as a birthday present, a few years ago. This year, I finally made the jump to brewing 5-gallon batches. Every home brewer has a different history and approach. My kit being for all-grain brewing, it wasn't until this year that I even saw what an extract looked like. Eventually, I would use both dry and liquid extracts to make a Rye Saison, and a clone of President Obama's White House Honey Porter, but it turns out, most home brewers enter the hobby exclusively using these extracts. Many never make all-grain batches, even after years of consistent brewing. 

Arguably, one method is no better than the other. Both can deliver the intende…

My Secret Unpaid Job on Twitter

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Some of my friends tease me, while others still don't even realize it, but for over three years now, I have been tweeting film reviews for movies I watch, especially those new to the theater, using "#MovieReview". Growing up on Siskel and Ebert, "professional film critic" always seemed like a dream job. The depth and thought I put into my reviews is difficult to express in 140 characters, but it allows me to quickly go over the essential information: How was it? Should I see it in a theater? What stood out? Where did it go wrong?

I rate every movie on a 10-point scale. Friends who tease me think I give too many movies a 7 or 8 out of 10. A big reason for this: I pay to see these movies, so my reviews pre-filter out movies that look awful (e.g. Max (2015)), or I know weren't made for me (e.g. VeggieTales (2002), or 50 Shades of Grey (2015)).

First, allow me to explain my rubric:

1-5:
Films scoring a five or lower mirror online 1-10 customer satisfaction surv…

A Song of Pins and Needles

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As the trite phrase "People ask me all the time..." goes, people do ask me all the time, even twice just this week, "Does Acupuncture Work?"
Yes, I say. Then, transforming into a majestic phoenix, I soar into the setting sun. Fade to black. The end.

I suppose, if you yearn to be persuaded, I will provide more detail. when I sat down to write about my latest round however, I thought it would be more helpful to review my first experience:

Acupuncture started thousands of years ago, and yet for the uninitiated the question remains: How do skinny needles stabbing you produce any medical benefits? Admittedly, I was one of these skeptics, five years ago. Stretching, massage, Japanese, Icy-Hot-like, sticky patches called "Salonpas" (perhaps more similar to Tiger Balm), and ibuprofen, all failed to relieve a pain in my knees and legs I sustained, rushing down the side of Mt. Fuji. That story could be a post of its own, but the resulting injury continued to hurt, a…

The Universe Sighed

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Warning: The following is completely personal and extremely boring (possibly):

Today marks my tenth day wading in the murky and thus-far, for me, unexplored waters of unemployment. The last time I was unemployed this long, I was preparing to start my senior year at the University of Arizona. That summer, I had just turned 21 and moved back to Tucson after a "Year in Japan", study abroad program.

Back then, I sat at my computer, catching up on episodes of Smallville. Now, I watch Breaking Bad.
A feeling of languishing, reminiscent of that summer 10 years ago washes over me, whenever I review how many days have past without being gainfully employed. Despite my ultimate confidence that everything will work out, and my steadfast belief in the rewards of an easy-going attitude, I simultaneously despise the concept of "wasting my life". Having grown up poor, putting myself through college and already having paid off my student loans, any disruption to my flow of income …

And Now for Something Completely Different

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After four challenging and intense years as a telelvion news producer for Japanese network, Tokyo Broadcasting System, I decided I want a change. This came as a shock to many, and immediately came the barrage of "Why?"s. Suffice it to say that while all the classic reasons for leaving a job applied, I left on the best of terms and they have treated me well.

Now that my two weeks of paid leave have ended though, I am really and truly unemployed, in the best sense of the status. I need to begin finding new work. "What do you want to do?" invariably follows the previous question. And therein lies the rub, because I haven't answered that question for myself yet!

I know what my hobbies are: writing, craft beer tasting, home brewing, cooking, traveling, and studying foreign language. So now I need to decide if I want to continue with journalism and/or production, pursue making one or several of my hobbies into a profession, or find some yet-to-be-discovered third pa…