Sunday, December 27, 2015

2015: My Year In Review

Hi everyone!

Well, the year is allllllmost over. It's been a crazy one. I remember sitting down surrounding New Years of 2015; my wife and I were talking and we decided that 2015 would be the year of adventure. Well, it surely was that, indeed.

Here's a snippet of the happenings this year:
  • I almost moved my family out to Florida.
  • I missed out on all sorts of Physical Therapy happenings, including PPS :(
  • I finished my MBA program from the University of Michigan in Spring.
  • I opened up topics in this blog into more open topics in life. And, I even extended out into an Asian cultural platform... just for fun ;)
  • We went to Star Wars Celebration.
  • I joined a start up media development & marketing company called UpDoc Media.
  • I gave up on "traditional" means of income, namely: corporate work and regular work as a physical therapist.
  • My baby boy turned TWO YEARS OLD!
  • We celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary at the Disneyland Grand California Hotel!
  • Like many of you, I finally saw Star Wars... I say "finally" because my wife and I waited a week so we could see it in luxurious style at Cinepolis.
  • I became a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Blue Belt... which was a huge deal for me =P
  • And, I kicked my cooking game up a notch by starting my journey down sushi chef-ism.
It's also been an absolute blur. If I've learned anything about 2015 and life in general, it's this: Time. Time is the one single asset in our lives that we should measure all other values by.

Time is the one thing we can't buy. Time is the one thing we can't beg for. Time is the one thing made equal. And, time is the one thing that at the end of our lives, we wish we had more of -- not things, not money, not houses, cars, tech, nor toys... it's time.

I learned that despite my "credentials," my time... was more valuable to the lives of my wife and my son by being at home.

I learned that it is absolutely possible to be a work at home dad -- as crazy and as scary as it is. In fact, I've been a work at home dad for more than 18 months.

I guess this leads into my launching of a new blog which centralizes on all these lessons... all these bits of life experience wrapped up into the year of 2015.

I am so very pleased and honored to share with you my launching of:

On January 4th, 2016, this blog goes live, giving you a transparent, vulnerable, raw look at how all this unfolded and why I gave up a $6-Figure job to be a better father and transform into Daddy In The Raw.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

An Open Letter To Infighters

It's ugly.

It's like watching an ugly argument between mom and dad, weeks before a divorce. Wait... was that too close to home? Offensive? Uncomfortable? Inappropriate?

Yeah... that's how the rest of us feel. And, guess what?! Our consumers aren't exactly thrilled either. Fortunately, they see it more like that one couple, arguing discreetly in the mall. The damage isn't so bad in the public eye. Not yet, at least.

But, I'll say this. You remember that all common interviewing question:
  • How would you handle a conflict with a coworker? Would you...
    1. Make a scene and call them names? The louder the better?
    2. Talk behind their back, making sure everyone knows how awful they are?
    3. Internalize everything until it volcanoes all over the place?
    4. Pull them aside privately, objectively express yourself, and create constructive discourse?
  • EVERYONE knows... Option 4 is the best choice.
Funny enough... especially across social media, it's like driver's road rage. There is safety behind the screen. Option 1 is just too much fun. Except, that it hurts more than it helps.

Here's my issue. I'm all for discussion. I'm all for disagreement. I'm all for debate. And, I'm even for some healthy conflict.

However, what I am NOT supportive of... DESTRUCTIVENESS. DIVISIVENESS. DISUNITY.

We have enough of that already.

For crying out loud. We're a profession of healthcare providers who essentially serve in part to REBUILD, to RECONSTRUCT, to physically REHABILITATE. Why is it that our disagreements in the public venue take such childish, offensive, insulting, and vitriolic turns?

If you must infight in such mannerism... I'm asking you to do so in private forums, open to invitation within our own industry. However, not in the plain sight of the consumers we are trying to win over to our cause.

How can we ask for support when we are still divided? How can we ask for more, when we can't even agree on what to ask for? How can we say we're ready to be physician status providers when we can barely disagree with common decency?

This... is an open letter to infighters. If you want to fight, please do so... INSIDE. And, do our profession a favor by taking care of it in a PRIVATE forum.... not as a spectacle in the public eye. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

My First BPPV Case

This blog post is vlog really. It starts with my first BPPV case as a new grad. What's most entertaining is how this lead to me being the primary vestibular clinician in the department and how that lead down a whole 'nother road in Emergency Department PT and catching those strokes that like to evade the all powerful MRI. Yep... this one is alllll clinical ;) #backtomyroots

My First BPPV Case

Monday, November 16, 2015

Making a New Blog!

Well, you've probably been noticing that I've been talking about topics far beyond healthcare, marketing, business, branding, etc. And, just like how eventually Kettlebell Therapy turned into this blog, I'm starting to merge my voice here with a new blog I'm building:

Since this is a pretty big move, I created a page to explain what I'm doing, why, and what happens next. Please read more here!

That's it for now. Talk soon! I'm really excited about this leg of our journey together.


Sunday, November 8, 2015

Some BJJ Reflections

So, a couple weeks back, my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) professor/coach promoted me to the the first belt rank above the beginner's white belt -- the Blue Belt. And, like I tweet above, it has been quite the journey.

I was reflecting this past weekend on my journey so far, primarily the recent 6-8 weeks. Even prior to that, I actually felt a little lost in my BJJ journey. I was promoted to a 4-stripe white belt a while ago and felt that I hit some type of mental ceiling soon after. I was lost between choice techniques, making all sorts of brand new white belt mistakes... and, my coach was calling me out.

"What... what are you doing...? Who...... common!"

That was his general response and my own personal response to my mistakes as well. I was doing weird things that were never taught to me nor were even conceptually advisable within martial arts. I asked him for his guidance and thoughts and he basically put it down to two things:

1) I was either getting comfortable or lazy.
2) I was losing focus on what I've been taught... essentially, do what I'm taught, not what I thought.

So, for many weeks following, I did exactly that. I was told to focus on one type of guard, one type of guard pass, and one submission. And, so I did. With some faltering to obvious temptations (like someone not guarding for a choke), I basically only went for the classical armbar. I only drilled the knee cutter pass (with some faltering to leg drags), and, basically only used the butterfly guard... and, had my guard passed over and over and over again.

Then, something magical happened. About 4-6 weeks ago, I suddenly felt a revival in my BJJ game. I sparred with this huge 3 stripe white belt who was transferring from another academy. And, I was basically all over the guy. I caught him with two collar chokes which was spawned from well defended armbars. And, I caught him in two armbars, once which he tried to stack me with and once from s-mount. I was practically never in danger and barely felt like I broke a sweat. This was weird to me because my other 3-stripe white belt training partners typically put up a pretty good fight.

Then, weeks to follow, I tapped out one of my favorite training partners for the first time with an under-arm-pit-armbar from north south. I also managed to tap out a purple belt who let me get position on him... which I've never been able to do even when he's done similar things to let me have a fighting chance before -- great training partner by the way. He has REALLY helped me tighten up the details and technical aspects of my game.

THEN, I sparred with a very skilled and highly intimidating judo black belt. He's one of the nicest guys I know and is an excellent training partner. But, I've never been able to submit him, far less even make it a fair fight -- oh yeah, did I mention he out muscles me by 50 pounds or so? This last time, I tapped him out with an armbar from s-mount. I think much of that had to do with the fact that we were playing no-gi and judo is a gi based system. Nevertheless, I also didn't feel all that threatened positionally... which is NOT normal when sparring against him.

Either way, looking back, I had a bit of fear in terms of the Imposter Syndrome. I remember that being given my 4th stripe as a white belt, I thought to myself, "Sure! I got this. I'm about to be blue. It's next. Totally have this under control." I felt like I could represent 4 stripes with confidence as a white belt. Then, moments later, feeling like I didn't deserve it. Then, with the blue belt, I was like "Oh no... it's an entirely new rank. And, now I'm a target." LOL.

But, I guess I'm not so worried anymore. BJJ is all about training hard and training harder. You have to beat your own fears before you can survive to beat your opponent. It's about technique over strength, and many times, mind over matter. As in, it doesn't matter if you're put on your back. You just got to get your positioning and figure it out from there. Always stick to the fundamentals; they are your foundations and strong foundations are hard to shake.

I know for a fact that my professor does NOT promote simply due to loyalty or money paid. He only promotes when he feels that people are able to represent their belt color.

Well, it is time to represent. I'm so very happy I've trained for nearly 3 years in this excellent sport and martial art system. And, I am looking forward to another 3+ years that it will probably take for me to earn the purple belt.

If I've learned anything, I've learned this:
  • Train hard. Never get lazy. Never get comfortable. Always push yourself.
  • Train smart. Do what you are taught. Leave your ego at the door. Be technical.
  • Train consistently. Even if you can only train once a week, dedicate yourself regularly & intentionally -- you will see the results.
I know there is SOOOO much for me to learn. Despite a life long journey in so many areas of martial arts, I've definitely found a home in BJJ -- it's become a part of my lifestyle and I'm so glad that after all these years, I finally hunkered down to train in BJJ.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Finding the "Ideal" Person

Finding the right, ideal, perfect, etc. person in the context of a relationship is often the goal for many. We have our lists, our requirements, our deal breakers, certain must haves, certain would be perks. But here's the thing, relationships (despite what TV may tell us) isn't to be approached as one does a meat market.

In fact, by doing so, we make the experience of finding our special someone all about us. What about them?!

If everyone is only look for their own desires, who is looking out for your future and/or intended beloved's?

My advice is this: Don't pursue the ideal person. BECOME the ideal person.

There are so many people in the world -- and -- being that the world has gotten so much smaller, it's not about finding the right person. It's about becoming the right person.

If you like character traits A-E, then you must become the type of person that character traits A through E would be attracted to.

After all, what good it is to find your perfect person and have them NOT be attracted to you?!

I find that typically guys have more issue here than gals. So, I'll hammer the fellas for just a moment. Say you like girls who do this, do that, look a certain way, have certain goals in their lives. I mean, they sound more than pretty awesome -- that's just hot marriage material, right?!

But, are YOU marriage material? Do you fit their bill? Why would they be interested in the likes of you? If they are so amazing, you better be just as if not more amazing if you wish to hope to and/or even dream to come across as attractive to them.

That's the secret. If you want to be with your ideal mate, you must first become it.

And, that is actually the secret sauce in terms of attitude for any successful relationship. It's not about you. It's all about them. By making the entire relationship process and path from finding, pursuit, inception, cultivation, even to maturation -- all about your significant other... the relationship becomes that much stronger because it's not based on egocentricity. It's based on what relationships should be on... RELATING to the beloved, the one you care about, the one you love.

So, that's it. Finding the ideal person is all about being the ideal person and having no hesitation about it when your lives cross paths.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Behind The Movement: GetPT1st

Hi everyone, so we're back to healthcare advocacy & physical therapy. Today, I want to dig into something I'm sure you've noticed... GetPT1st. While our profession has the APTA, all the state associations, special interest groups, PAC, Move Forward, etc. -- I was rather impressed that a separate and private entity went out of its way to further the cause of improving the lives of others through physical therapy.

As GetPT1st developed, I took joy in noticing a very unique aspect in both their focus and methodology. The focus was outreach from the perspective of the consumer and the methodology was primary engagements via social media from provider to consumer.

And, what better, than to have front line representatives interact with their market's end-users.

Well, it is happening again, GetPT1st is planning another internet takeover and I'm happy to share excerpts from an inside scoop behind the movement.

Behind The Movement: GetPT1st

GetPT1st started with the early realization that the majority of Physical Therapy information available on the web was too technical and inappreciable by consumers. And, if the information about physical therapy was not technical or free from clinical terminology, it was far too shallow that consumers would still not be interested.

As the digital marketplace grew, the founders of GetPT1st notice a global trend in Physical Therapy (PT) business.
  1. With no true marketing plan, PT businesses had no active budget for paid marketing or advertising.
  2. As a result, the financial health of such businesses would inevitably start to suffer.
  3. Finally, PANIC -- business owners would realize the need for change and reach for anything.
  4. Unfortunately, they would throw money in any and every direction in hopes it would somehow bring in clients and give business a boost.
The GetPT1st founders realized there was a big need for affordable marketing solutions for the average PT business owner. Most of the available marketing services at the time were too expensive to be used and were better suited for large chains and corporations. And, since outsourcing marketing initiatives was out of the question, small PT businesses either haphazardly filled this need internally or not at all. 

After some networking via APTA's Combined Sections Meeting and through social media, the idea came to the point where the founders felt the need to contribute to the profession on a much larger scale.

Once a team was officially gathered, there were three goals for GetPT1st.
  1. Creating an engaging community of PTs, PTAs, and students via social media to generate both interest and support with the idea of GetPT1st.
  2. Expansion. The creation of consumer friendly and shareable content that both prospective customers and clinics could use on their websites and in social media.
  3. Destination. To become the first choice destination website for consumers as it pertained to physical health concerns which physical therapy is best equipped in serving -- and, in essence, to drive a majority share of mind as far as the physical therapy brand is concerned.
It is in this final goal which Get PT 1st aims to make it's ultimate contribution; to convert healthcare consumers who would otherwise see another provider before a physical therapist. And, to expand the profession's brand equity and share of mind to which, if there is any physical therapy needs as we the profession knows it, they the consumers would also identify in the same way.

These are the words from one of the founders: "We need to focus on reaching the public instead of fighting and using all of our collective resources on the "fringe." We need to major in the big things. It might not directly help all the subspecialties of PT immediately (peds, aquatics, women's health), but it will help raise our profile and benefit all over the long run. But, that's one thing we (the PT profession) are terrible about - the long term plan and vision. Which is why we are also horrible about marketing, advertising, and branding. We don't realize that immediate, short term gains are great, but we need to look further down the road."

Personally, I feel that the GetPT1st movement is one of the best examples of end-user marketing to date for any discipline within healthcare. It meets customers from their perspectives, their opinions, and their interests. Rather than focusing on what providers find interesting and intriguing, it converges on consumer engagement to what the customer needs and wants most... to Get PT 1st for all their physical health concerns.

This type of approach benefits our profession as a whole. And, what benefits us as a whole will summatively benefit the parts as well.

Great work. Awesome strategy. Get PT 1st.

For more about GetPT1st please visit:

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

5 Ways to Make $6-Figures as a Physical Therapist

Making $100,000 or more is and has been a big benchmark for years now as the "You've made it moment." Being that the median income in the United States is currently about $52k circa late 2015, making twice as much as "the middle" definitely has a nice shine to it.

However, one begs the question: Can a Physical Therapist make Six Figures a Year? After all, it was reported that the average PT makes about $80 annually...

My answer: YES!

Today's post is all about .........!

5 Ways to Make 6 Figures as a Physical Therapist

It starts with attitude!

PTs will never make 6-figures if they keep regarding their job, position, career, or profession as a 9-5 gig. Physicians, surgeons, attorneys, and accountants who make their 6-figures work 50, 60, 70, sometimes 80, or 90 hours a week. The earning potential is there! PTs need to reach out and grab it, own it, and grow it out.

Take Away Talking Points:
  1. Home health should easily be at $100-$110k per year of either total or just direct paid compensation. In fact, I've heard as high as $250k but that was with a PT grinding out 60+ hours a week... probably more.
  2. Location based facilities such as SNFs or government facilities can pay minimum of $45/hr. It isn't a stretch for them to pay $48/hr to get you to 6-figures. Many can easily afford $50/hr and I know of a local one in the boonies of San Diego that is $60/hr!
  3. Travel, Registry, and Staffing Agencies contract with companies for human resources to be available at a moment's (or short time's) notice. About 10 years ago, new grad PTs were making $90k a year with these contracts. Add the sign on bonus of $10k+ a year, and you've made it.
  4. Supplementing your income with any of the 3 above by shortening your 40 hours or simply adding to it is a great strategy.
  5. Making a director level management position is a sure way to make it to $100k. However, make sure companies don't low ball you during the initial offer.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Why Your Relationship is Lonely

Loneliness in marriage means the relationship stopped growing the day you said, "I do."

Wow... harsh, huh? I bet most everyone didn't expect me to put the brutal truth right up front. But, here is the thing... I didn't purpose the answer up front to knock the wind out of you and keep you down. I put it up there as an exercise of introspection and honesty.

The thing is, it is normal for relationships (formal, informal, labeled, legal, etc) to go through certain swings and cycles. However, a good relationship should look like this, a long trend of growth:

A less than healthy one... a bad one, looks like this... nothing but ups and down without growth:

So, what do we do? How do we live out healthy relationships like the first graph and not like the second? It's all about growth. If you grow together, you will grow closer. If you grow separately, you will grow apart. 

Think on how much time in your day you are with or apart from your significant other. This is the start. Then think on how much cognitive time you are with or apart in your interests, hobbies, career, family, and values. Are they convergent or divergent? Certainly, not every couple can converge on the stereotypical interests of their significant others. However, there are three ways to make best the situation into something even better.

First, find a new common interest. What I find that many healthy couples develop is a 3rd interest which becomes the new them. Neither person of the couple had an interest in this third option. Yet, because this has become their new normal, it becomes part of their definition of who they are and how they spend their time together. This concept of new normal is very important.

Secondly, there exists at least ONE interest of the other which is acceptable and welcome. Pursue it. And, encourage mutual reciprocation on this. I personally have found that things that didn't used to interest me but has always been interesting to my wife are now my shared passions. The best silly example of this is behind the scenes content for movies. My wife loves behind the scenes for anything and everything. And, I didn't start out that way. In fact, I hated them at first. But now, I really enjoy them!

Thirdly, consider what is more important. Is your hobby more important? Or, is your relationship? If you've known me for some time, you know that I used to be an avid surfer. There were winters in San Diego I used to surf those waves where news reporters and life guards told you to stay away for your own safety. Those were the waves I craved. Well, after a while, it seemed that surfing only really benefiting me -- a self experience. What was more important to me was my time with my wife. My safety and my quality time with her were more important than my short time in the water. So, I gave up surfing... for now. After all, someone needs to teach my son ;) But, that's another bit for later.

Some Closing Thoughts
If you are finding yourself lonely in a relationship, remember the core of the issue isn't that the love has gone dry or you're going through a phase. What has happened is that the two of you have and are continuing to grow apart. You must take intentional, action oriented steps to mutually find your way back to each other. This must be done on all levels of life's interests: Intellectual, Physical, Emotional, and even Spiritual.

Converge on these four dimension, laboring to ensure that the beloved is upheld far above your own needs, and I can guarantee you unbound success in your relationship going forward.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Truth About Millennial Careers

Welcome to another honest conversation. Today's topic: Careers. It used to be the case that people graduated high school, chose either college or work, then progressed their careers in a linear fashion. However, this just isn't applicable to the millennial age. In fact, it is more likely that not only do people change jobs and companies in due frequency compared to prior generations -- it is even more common now for people to change their career path (and industry of profession) several times throughout their working years.

To this, there is some real benefit to it. One of my favorite Forbes articles covered this little known fact that Employees Who Stay In Companies Longer Than Two Years Get Paid 50% Less. I can tell you this, I've experienced this personally and it is absolutely true. I've been paid better and better each time I moved on from a job.

As I've mentioned in other blog posts, this isn't me advocated that millennials start quitting on a whim. There needs to be a strategic approach to that move.

Rather, the truth about millennial careers is that careers are no longer about longevity and stability. Rather, it is about a multi-dimensional balance and sense of value in the work we do, in the compensation we are given, and in the opportunities available to us throughout the journey, which includes not only promotions but lateralism and lifestyle flexibility.

The truth is this: Millennials, as the highest credentialed and lowest paid generation in 21st century, will walk a career path that resembles a road trip which is more about the journey than the destination. The old school thought of destination obsessed career strategies will only leave millennials discouraged, frustrated, and dejected. Agility, flexibility, and mobility will replace longevity, stability, and linearism. It is through this manner of approach that millennials will experience success in their careers and in their lives.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Nerd Hour: 10 Video Games That Changed My Life

Let's face it. I'm a big nerd and I love geeking out. For many years and to this day, I'm a big fan and appreciator of digital entertainment in the form of video games. So, I thought, why not write up a blog post on this? Now, chuckle as you may, I'm sure many of you will identify with the emotional content and life experience surrounding the way we spent time having fun as kids.

So, without further ado, here are...!

PS. The life lessons are at the end of the post. Feel free to skip on if its too nerdy for ya ;)

10 Video Games That Changed My Life

1. Aldo
Aldo was this ridiculous Super Mario type game which was actually ridiculously addictive. No sound. No real ending. Just changes in background and levels that were the same which got increasingly harder until you finally died with the game ending. It was the closest thing to Nintendo I could get my hands on waaaaay back in the day which meant Aldo was my first at home video game experience.

Captain Comic was definitely a level up from Aldo. However, it was such a hard game! It was truly linear and you could only beat it by going through the world in a step by step fashion. Without doing it in exactly such a way, you wouldn't have the inventory, tools, and weapons required to beat the game and would die very quickly. It took me ages to beat this game. And, a few years back, I tried to play this game again. Suffice to say, it was just as hard as it was when I was a kid.

Commander Keen was the hero alias for kid genius Billy Blaze. He was thought by some to be the grandson of the hero in Castle Wolfenstein. Whatever the case, this kiddo wearing a purple shirt, blue jeans, and a Green Bay Packers football helmet goes on the save the galaxy a number of times over. I was such a nerd I ended up finding the secret island with the Vorticon Alphabet.

4. Warcraft 2
For many, WC2 doesn't need any introduction. I found my first RTS experience here with Warcraft 2 and played this for hours during my early teen years. I even went onto a local college campus for a LAN battle before I could drive, just to get a good feel for what real multiplayer RTS was all about. There were many great memories with this game, especially with the crafting of my own missions in the map editor.

5. Starcraft (original)
SC is another game that doesn't really need any introduction. It was a game play that was still good over 10 years later. Some even argue the original game play remains superior to StarCraft 2. Regardless of how it all pans out, I remember many great hours of Starcraft both in high school and in college. No wait... I even played this with modified maps on Battle Net during the months when I met my wife. Yeah... good times.

6. Rainbow Six (and series)
Rainbow Six was one of the first 1st Person Shooter games which involved a fair amount of realism by which players couldn't run around and Rambo the levels. Doing so would mean immediate failure. I loved this game because of the tactical planning required during the campaign. Online play was a lot of fun as well as it was so easy to dominate with grenades and having a keen sense of surroundings. Either people never played paintball before or just appeared to tunnel vision when playing multiplayer. For me, it only meant an easy win with the heartbeat sensor. Years later, I would go on to play many of the Rainbow Six games. Even just as recently, it actually remains a favorite game between my wife and I. Just remember to pie your corners ;)

7. Counter Strike
Counter Strike was my game of choice between my senior year of high school and college. I got way too good at this game to which I was even invited out to a west coast LAN tournament. Of course, I was too young to go and wouldn't have been allowed to. It was also one of the first games to teach me a lesson. It pays to win because the more you win, the more money you get and the more weapons you could buy. So, just keep winning and you won't ever lose!

8. Halo
Halo and the Halo series basically changed 1st person games forever. For me, it turned into a guys night activity into a true interest in digging deeper into the stories of game play. I feel, especially with Halo 4, that the franchise did an excellent job of creating a deeper story while leaving plenty of gaps to fill for future games. After all, Halo Reach came about just because of one sentence in the opening scene of the first Halo game.

9. Rome: Total War
Alright, we're about to get hardcore. Rome: Total War was my first experience with the Total War series. It was also an excellent play as it dealt with historical battles of the ancient times along with the history, geography, and even some cultural contexts. Believe it or not, I actually learned a lot about history by playing this game. I got so into the game play that I started digging into the code and text files to see what I could do to optimize the play for myself. This included customized characters and army units which, personally, felt more accurate what we know of history.

10. Chrono Trigger
Finally, Chrono Trigger. This game is a game I played to death. I got every ending and every sequence and every level up I could. All my characters became truly maxed out to which I still need to dig back to see how many hours of game play this actually took. What was really fun about this game beyond the conceptual genius of it all was the story about a young group of people trying to save the world as they know it. Later, I would tell my wife about one of the healing spells called "Aura Whirl." It became a thing in our early marriage times; I told her that I'm the tank, you're my healer. I need you to stay strong.
The spell is basically a duo combo where the tank character is charged up by the healer and then everyone in the group gets healed. She thought it was romantic when I showed it to her =)

And, apparently, there's a lot to be said about guys asking girls to play games with... I'll agree!

Honorable Mentions include:
-Empire: Total War
-Earthbound (SNES)
-Final Fantasy(s) - 2, 3[6], 7
-Mario 64
-Original Mario
-Super Mario 3 
-Duck Hunt (never shoot your buddy, he'll only laugh at you for trying)
-Zelda (some puzzles in life are meant to be solved by the book)

And, a final uncategorizable honor to:
-The Lego Games including that of Star Wars, Pirates, Lord of the Rings, Marvel Superheroes, and Jurassic Park.... for the simple reason that my wife and I have played way too many hours of these together to even begin to discuss the significance. Suffice to say, if one player wins, we both win.

The Life Lessons I Learned:
  • Life is ultimately like an RPG. So, it is your choice to make your life the best character you can. You can be your own hero, your ultimate fantasy if you make that choice to grind XP.
  • Duck Hunt taught me to never shoot at your buddy. He's there to help you and he'll only end up laughing at you for trying.
  • Zelda taught me that to solve certain puzzles in life, you simply NEED the book.
  • Super Mario 3 taught me that sometimes, sitting back and playing a musical instrument is the best strategy.
  • 1st Person games taught me to keep my head on a swivel and pie my corners.
  • RTS taught me that the devil is in the details; strategy is great, but to get to strategy, you need tactics.
  • Finally, the retro games taught me that it doesn't have to be the most complex game to be the best. Personally, I miss the old stuff... there was so much intellect behind it. The game was driven by the play, not the graphics.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

What is the Powerhouse of the Cell?

The mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell... if this doesn't ring a bell... then Houston, we have a problem. Or, is it a problem that we actually know this...?

A few weeks back, my wife and I were having a conversation about how we want our son to experience education. She immediately brought up this Tumblr phenomena where everyone is complaining that public education has taught them every single useless piece of information.

5, 10, even 20 years after high school, everyone knows what the powerhouse of the cell is. But...we don't know how to file taxes, we don't know who to vote for or why... that is, unless some celebrity is causing some social issue to trend on Twitter and people are obviously outrages in one way or another. We don't know how to get a passport and travel internationally. We don't know how to "get stuff done" at the DMV. If our car breaks down, we have no clue how to fix it. If our plumbing stops up, we have no clue how to deal with it. We basically have no life skills.

But, we know the mitochondria. And, I guess we're doing alright then. WRONG!

Welcome to the first of my honest conversations about academics.

If we've been interacting for some time, you know that I'm no stranger to school. I have two graduate degrees; both which I was conferred with honors. And, I have undergraduate studies in Bioengineering and Psychology. I know school and I know it well.

This also means I know what works and what doesn't work. Moreover, I served as a tutor for quite some time. As an academic instructor to AP tests, SATs, and various other subjects, I saw a definitive trend to a terrible economic quandary to students.

Is school financially worth it?

The answer: It depends. In fact, everything depends not on going to school, or the major you took, or even the school you went to. The center of it all was this: Do you have a career plan for your life?

In my experience, if a student had a plan on very precise and direct pathways between each level of schooling and a way to earn money, they were doing well. If they had this attitude of "I'll just decide when I get there" -- in a survival mode of sorts just to make it through the course load... these were the ones in trouble.

The worst cases were found in students who saw school as their purpose. They couldn't see beyond graduation or getting into the next level of higher learning. Life was about school; not about...! There was no thought given to where the student was going to live post grad, how they were going to make money and pay for bills/loans/etc, nor how they were going to manage wealth and retirement.

They had nothing. All they had was this terrifying and detrimental focus on "I must get in" or " I must pass." After all this, they accumulate a 4 year degree as well as tens of thousands of dollars in debt -- after which, they were still jobless.

Well... that's not life. Not knowing what the end goal after school should be is the biggest reason why students should NOT go to school. If their plan in life has nothing to do with school, they shouldn't be in it. Now, I'm not talking about taking every middle-schooler who hates school out of class. I'm talking about the high school junior who wants to do something that nothing to do with a 4 year university experience. That student should graduate high school and get straight to work. School will be there if they want to go back.

And, on the bigger playing field... so much of education has now glued itself to test metrics. However, tests don't measure character. Don't we want people of character in our future? Rather than, people of great test taking skills?

If we're complaining about how under-prepared and immature our students are currently, we have only ourselves to blame for how we are teaching them. Rather, wouldn't it be better of some of the life skills above were seen as priority? There are already thoughts as to how the future of education should unfold; in a precise and purposeful way... no longer in a general way.

I would rather that students have no idea what the powerhouse of the cell is. And instead, know everything about how to start a life on their own; earning a living, buying a house, filing taxes, a sound understanding of civil duties, and most importantly... how to live as citizens of good character.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

5 Signs That You're Waiting Too Long

Some people just can't seem to clearly see the signs, positive or negative. For others, they are simply blind to them. Many times when this is the case, a relationship will grow stale and linger into detriment. At such points, something needs to be done. The relationship needs to progress and develop, otherwise, it will be doomed to failure. After all, life is about growth and growth requires change. What's more, if you can't grow with the person you're with, you will end up growing apart.

Here are...

5 Signs That You're Waiting Too Long

1. People mistake your status.
This is my personal favorite. You know the situation, you're being introduced or you're introducing your significant other or visa versa... and your friends, family, and coworkers give your relationship status an upgrade. If you're "dating" suddenly you're introduced as "boy/girlfriend." If you're in a relationship, suddenly you're engaged. Or, if you've been engaged for a while, people start assuming you already got married. It gets better. After a while, even you are getting it mixed up... not sure where the lines are to address your significant other per social labels.

2. It's been more than 18 months...
If there has been no change in 18 months, then you've been waiting too long. Either you need to move the relationship forward or move on from the relationship. Really, if it's been that long and everyone's all happy, then it's "time to put a ring on it." ... or get a ring put on. 18 months should be more than enough time to progress the relationship to the next stage.

3. More old flames.
Just like signs when you should move on from a bad relationship, this is similar signal to which your relationship needs to move forward because you are still waiting too long. See, enough time has passed for old flames to swing around and check back up on you... again.... and again.... and, again. If that much time has passed, you have definitely waited too long.

4. You're thinking about waiting.
It's like that movie 7 Year Engagement where the couple kept putting things off because of life. It would've been healthier for the relationship to have just committed on all levels first. Sure, it's Hollywood romance to fiiiiiight for it. But honestly, it's emotionally damaging. Stop waiting and get together already!

5. Other people are lapping you.
Yeah. When other people are lapping you; people who just started a relationship suddenly get married... except that this has been a pattern -- this is a huge sign you are waiting too long. As those couples who commit and tie the knot with less time being together start to seemingly come out of the woodwork, what it is really telling you is that you have waited far too long to progress your relationship.

I know that in the millennial age, labels and names and calling it "a thing" is a scary... well... thing. We have this strange cultural expectation of immediate gratification without any lingering commitment. It's no wonder that many subscription based businesses are moving away from yearly contracts and are going to month to month models. People are phobic of commitment for fear that they make the wrong life choice.

However, that, in and of itself, can be the wrong life choice in its entirety. By waiting, you are choosing to delay something that could be marvelous and beautiful.

So, stop waiting! Choose the life you want.

Well! There are a few more relationship posts I've had sitting in the queue so I'll be working on those and some other expanded content. I'm also really looking forward into getting into some honest talk on the academic & career path conundrum which is facing the millennial age as well as some ideas on what we can do about it. Stay Tuned!

Monday, September 28, 2015

5 Signs You That You Need to MOVE ON!

A painful but very important topic in talking about relationships centers on "the break up." Sometimes, moving on is healthier for the relationship and the people in it, than grinding it out until you both are nothing but emotional dust. This is particularly the case when we start looking at the effects of long time relationships splitting up, and, divorce -- not just on the couple but on the entire family and social structure.

So, if you're in a tough spot now, you may want to consider...

5 Signs You That You Need to MOVE ON!

1. Everyone seems to dislike her/him.
It doesn't matter how long the relationship has existed; it may be days, weeks, months, or even years. And, despite all that time, everyone still seems to dislike the two of you being together. Moreover, they seem to just really get annoyed by your significant other. This is the first sign that you two just need to move on. The relationship is not meant to be, it's not pretty, it's forced, and it's ugly.

2. You've broken up before.
It doesn't matter if it was a break, break up, time apart... whatever. The fact is, it's called a "break up" because it is b-r-o-k-e-n! It doesn't mean every relation which has ever broken up and gotten back together was a mistake. No, not at all. Morel likely than not, it means the two of you are not the right two people for each other at that time in life. Being together is more detrimental than being apart. It could also be that the on-again-off-again pattern is telling you that maybe it's not the right fit for the relationship. Maybe it's time to move on.

3. Old flames are tested.
Now, old flames being tested isn't just that they show up randomly... it means that one or both of you are being legitimately contacted by or are contacting old flames because you can't get peace by being together. This is one of the biggest red flags telling you that the two of you need to move on. And again, I'm not referring to the untimely friend request while you two are in a fight. I'm talking about emailing, texting, and secret phone calls that were agreed upon as a Big No-No. Therefore, if you're in a situation where you feel a release, an emotion of the positive valence, and/or that flirt-bug-of-happiness by being in regular contact with an old flame, this relationship you are currently in may need some moving on from.

4. Same stupid arguments.
Since human society has largely transitioned into chosen versus arranged relationships, we have the ability to start testing spousal behaviors prior to marriage. That means those same stupid arguments, habits, and pet peeves will still exist as you will carry them into your marriage and otherwise long term arrangements. Be it the argument itself or some other annoyance, just remember whatever you bugs you or yours now will drive you guys insane later. After all this time, you'd figure that the two of you reasonable people would have come to some type of understanding. If not, then you probably should move on.

5. It's been a long time.
Yep.... it's been a while and everyone else seems to have already gotten married, moved on with their lives, and are having kids.. blah blah blah. So, why is it taking so long for you two? Answer: It's because it is NOT working. Supremely long relationship timelines are basically stalling out the inevitable and terribly obvious, you need to move on. While social norms are seen in a certain light, it shouldn't take much more than a few exposures to someone to know if you like them or not. However, we are a bit flighty these days... commitment phobia has caused for the dating process to become more complex and drawn out. Yet, if you put everything aside and look at the core qualifiers of a strong relationship, you'll see that it doesn't need to take 4 years of dating and 3 years of engagement to get married. People that fit well and want to be together practically want to elope because the wedding date STILL isn't close enough. If this isn't the spirit of your relationship and it's a bunch of wait and see, then you have got to MOVE ON!

Again, these are just signs that you need to move on. It's your choice. Some relationships need a grinding element until it becomes fully blossomed. Other relationships... it's just forced. For these, it's probably best you move on now rather than have the all out break up later.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

What Keeps the Physical Therapist Away?

Sarah makes a good point! If anything, healthcare needs a lot more involvement, input, and access to & from physical therapists. Nevertheless, the reason I came up with this was due to the old saying:

"An apple a day keeps the doctor away."

In a sense, the saying states that proper dietary input keeps the medical doctor away. Taking care of what you put into your body is, in a sense, the job-to-be-done and subsequent brand image of physicians. For the most part, this is consistent in the marketplace. Healthcare consumers see physicians in their offices, get prescriptions to drugs, then ingest said drugs some manner. Since the patients didn't have an apple a day, they end up having a pill-a-day instead.

All this made me wonder, what is the generalized job-to-be-done by a physical therapist? From this perspective, what is our brand image?

Well, I put it out there and here are some of the responses:
  • A backward bend a day keeps the PT away.
  • A plank a day keeps the PT away.
  • A 30 minute walk a day keeps the PT away
  • A DEEP SQUAT a day keeps the PT away.
  • A new insurance regulation a day keeps the PT away. (Oops. Wrong angle...)
  • A high copay a day keeps the PT away.
  • A get up a day keeps the PT away.
  • A good prescription of exercises and proper nutrition keeps the PT away.
  • A bad rehabilitation experience keeps the great PT away.
  • A [less sedentary society] keeps the PT away.
While these were in no particular order or significance, I did represent the majority of response typologies in their respective frequencies. Nevertheless, what should be abundantly apparent is that exercise or physical activity seems to be what keeps the PT away. Of course, I did enjoy some of the entertaining back-end perspectives of bad insurance, bad health policy, and a bad management experience which would otherwise keep the PT away.

So, what do we glean from this casual exercise (ha-ha, no pun intended)?

Well, I'd suggest that our expertise and the value we bring to healthcare needs to further align with exercise as medicine, or as some have proposed, movement as medicine (which I still feel isn't the most salient word to be used).

Perhaps more importantly, it needs to be communicated to the healthcare consumer that exercise is the medicine for ailments of physical health. To this, the symptoms of poor physical health are pain and inhibited mobility; be it limitations in locomotion, joint related concerns, balance, or the basic control of your physical faculties (shoutout to #PelvicMafia & Pelvic PT).

There is a lot of consumer outreach to be done. However, this may not be a bad place to start anew. It certainly agrees with the outpatient physical therapy industry analysis I performed a while back -- that exercise is our most salient value proposition to the marketplace.

"Why not lobby to protect the prescription of exercise for healthcare and disease management as something truly unique, only to be given by the physical therapist?"

It's a thought... and, it's a thought based on the consumer's perspective and the payer's perspective. Maybe, we as providers need to start paying attention to this as a professional culture. What does the consumer see as clinically cool? Rather than, what we are interested in.

So then, going back above, "An apple a day keeps the (medical) doctor away." If what we put into our bodies keeps the medical doctor away... maybe what we need to start branding is this:

What we do with our bodies keeps the (doctor of) PT away.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

5 Signs That You Are Meant To Be

Moving right along with this relationship series! Today, we're talking about five signs that are a very positive affirmation that you two are meant to be. Now, I don't mean "meant to be" as in the stars have aligned just for the both of you. In fact and all reality, there are probably several people in the billions in this world who would functionally match quite well. What I mean by "meant to be" is that you and yours are such a good match that it would be a shame not to move on it NOW.

So! Here are....!

5 Signs That You Are Meant To Be

1. People tell you not to screw this up.
Your friends and family haven't been a big fan of most of your past relationships. This one, however, they are a fan. More than that, they take the extra effort to pull you aside and tell you not to mess... this...up! When you hear this, you better perk up and pay attention because this is the first sign that you and yours are a really strong match... meant to be ;)

2. They are the favorite.
When your friends and family seem to favor your significant other more than you, this is yet another sign you are meant to be. You know how it is. They seem more protective of them, seem to always take their side, and team up to rib you every so often. Yep... they are the new favorite... and they aren't even related!

3. You're making each other better.
One of the most positive signs that you are meant to be is when you make each other better. This occurs is nearly every dimension. Typically the first thing people notice is an improvement in the emotional health of your family & social circles. Then comes your attitude, habits, behaviors, and even the smoothing out of some strained past relationships (non-romantic, of course).

4. You finish each other's sandwiches!
That's what I was going to say!
No, but really, finishing each other's sentences means you two communicate very well. And, since communication is one of the long term foundational pillars of a healthy relationship, finishing each other's sandwiches is a good sign ;)

5. Thing are moving fast... too fast.
FOR YOU. Not everyone else. Well... at first, typically everyone is freaking out that you two are moving forward so quickly. THEN, everything changes. Some magic moment happens and now everyone feels you two are moving too slowly. When's the wedding? Where are the kids? Aren't you having them already? Pregnant? PREGNANT?! When are you guys buying a house? Yep.... all those "way too fast" conversations are talks brought up by your social circles. Not by the couple. This is the final sign that you two are meant to be. So, why fight it?

After all... love is an open door!
LOL... Game of Thrones...

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

5 Signs That He REALLY Likes you

It's time for the guys to get exposed! Yep, following in as the second of five relationships posts, we're going to talk about the signs to which guys give out when they really really like you. And, just in case you missed the first one, here it is: 5 Signs That She REALLY Likes You

So without further ado, here are...!

5 Signs That He REALLY Likes you

1. He starts studying your interests.
One of the earliest signs that a guy is starting to go from interested in you to really liking you is their shift of devotion to your interests. They may have started loving basketball and action movies; now, they are exploring your interests as well. The movies you like, the types of books you like to read... or, they may have never been a reader and now have read a bunch of them. Why? For you!

2. He starts dressing the way you like guys to look.
You may have noted a style or shirt or scarf or something silly like that, which you've noted you think looks good or looks good on guys. Guess what? He's starting to take notice of what you like and he is starting to dress that way too. It may seem silly or even superficial, but for a guy. this is a big deal!

3. He contacts you for no specific reason.
Guys don't really make contact for no reason. There is ALWAYS a reason. Nothing is just for chats or just because, there is always a purpose, a goal, a target, an objective. It's just like that classical way guys shop versus girls. Guys go in, get the stuff, and leave. Girls tend to explore more, browse, and take their time. If a guy is contacting you and it feels more like browsing and less like getting in and getting out... then he probably likes you a lot.

4. He goes out of his way to spend time with you.
If a guy is driving crazy distances just to spend little bits of time with you, he likes you. He could just as easily stay home, drink beer, watch sports, or play video games. Instead, he is hacking at traffic just to spend time with you... observing your interests, dressing the way you like guys to look, and doing so with no specific reason in mind. Why? Because you are the reason.

5. He does stuff you want to do.
Are you two seeing a lot of chick flicks? Shopping a lot? Is he doing his best not to be bored while doing all sorts of things you like to do... but, him... not so much? That's because he likes you. Yep, if you find a guy doing all sorts of things you want to do, it is because he find it a more valuable time to spend it with you despite whatever sort of things you guys are doing together. This is the final hint that a guy really likes you... particularly if he is doing stuff he obviously does NOT like. That just means he likes you that much more.

Up next, 5 Signs That You Are Meant To Be!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

5 Signs That She REALLY Likes You

So, I was having this convo with my wife the other day and we realized that there are categorical behaviors guys and gals start to adopt when they REALLY like someone. Well, since 5 is a fun number, I'm going to not only share with you Five Signs... I'll be sharing with you FIVE posts on various relationship signs.

Launching this relationships series (in a collab with my wife), are....!

5 Signs That She REALLY Likes You

1. Calls you anything other than your name.
That's right! If she calls you by a nickname or a pet name... or ANYTHING else. She likes you. Unless it is something severely insulting, nicknames are a way of communicating a feeling of closeness... at least, being closer than your other friends or any other competition out there. Keep your eye out for this one. Now, things that don't satisfy this category is definitely the world of pronouns. "Hey You" and "Buddy!" That kind of stuff... that's friend zone material.

2. You seem to be the only ride.
For whatever reason, no matter where she needs to go, you seem to be her ride of choice. She has all sorts of other friends who in retrospect are closer and available. But, it seems her best choice for transportation is hauling you way out from wherever to give her a ride to some place which apparently is 5 minutes away from your home. This is a funny way of getting time with you; typically one on one time in the car. Moreover, it becomes a dependable pattern -- which she likes.

3. She asks for your advice.
Now, I'm not referring to just any type of advice. This type of advice is of the deeper things in life. Relationship advice about her friends, family, or even a guy she thinks she likes or she thinks likes her. It can also be questions and discussion topics that are perfectly appropriate for her girlfriends. However, they never seem to be around when she has an itch to seek advice... only you are there. And, of course, you're a good friend so you give her the best advice you can conjure... BECAUSE SHE LIKES YOU!

4. She's really interested in your girlfriend.
This one is a lot of fun. Typically, it starts with "you deserve to be with someone that..." *insert one of her traits here.* It's usually something like, "You deserve to be with someone that really understand you." or "You really should be with someone who appreciates you for who you are." That kind of stuff. This girl typically has been there a long time waiting for you to figure out how much she likes you. But, she wants you to make that realization and make the move. She wants to figure out all the info she can about your girlfriend and how the relationship is struggling because she's ready to pounce on the opportunity post-break-up.

5. Your other female friends don't like her.
So, if you have a decent gathering of female friends and they seem to hate this one girl... without any clear reason... this one girl probably likes you and the rest of your friends are jealous. It's also possible they are being protective, which in and of itself, is a sign that the girl likes you... why would you need any protection from her to begin with otherwise?

Now, not any single one of those signs is a definitive piece of evidence that a girl likes you. More likely, it's the case that a combination of these signs gives you a cluster of information that a girl like you.... the more in that cluster, the more likely she really likes you.

The only question is, what are you going to do about it?!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Cooking Resort Food

It is absolutely no secret I'm a huge fan of theme parks, especially the Disneyland Resort. I'm also a huge fan of the food available at Disneyland as well as Disney's California Adventure. Recently, my wife and I stumbled across one of the quick dining options as a method of avoiding the foot traffic of the parade while getting a little sound shelter for our son. We came across Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta. Immediately, my wife honed in on their Cheese Ravioli offerings. We ended up buying one, then two... then for our next visit, two more.

Loving the dish that much, I felt compelled to replicate it at home.

This is how it went down...

Cheese Ravioli with Pesto & Balsamic Glaze

First, the ingredients I used:
  1. Cheese Ravioli (pre-made, I'm a huge fan of taking minor shortcuts when experimenting)
  2. Toasted Pine Nuts
  3. Pesto
  4. Balsamic Vinegar
  5. Brown Sugar & White Sugar
Noted, the restaurant offers the ravioli with the options of tomatoes, pine nuts, and grated Parmesan cheese. I ended up leaving out the tomatoes and the cheese. 

First, I started heating the Balsamic Vinegar to create the Balsamic Glaze. I eyeballed the amount of vinegar and added about a tablespoon and a half of brown sugar and a teaspoon of white sugar. I brought that to a boil.

Meanwhile, I boiled the ravioli while attending to a bone-in New York steak. Yeah, I like to multitask ;)

I got two bowls out. One as a cooling and drying bowl for the ravioli and one for mixing in the pesto. Once the ravioli was ready, I put them into the first bowl. However, it didn't actually dry out all the way so when I started tossing them with the pesto, the everything got a bit too watery. I ended up drying out the first bowl and adding more pesto to give a proper coating of the ravioli.

Since this was my first attempt at this, I didn't take off the glaze off the heat in time and it started to turn into molasses. I added some hot water, stirring and nurturing the glaze back to life.

I then plated the ravioli in a line and sprinkled some toasted pine nuts.

Returning back to the glaze, it took quite a bit of effort to bring the glaze back to life. BUT! It did finally happen. After which, I took a generous tablespoonful and circled my dish after dowsing the centerline of the ravioli.

My wife and I were quite impressed by the result. It was basically a perfect replica of the park food. The glaze was a bit heavier and sweeter because I didn't tend to it with as much care as I should have. Nevertheless, it was very tasty.

I think next time, other than giving the glaze plenty of love, I'll add on the grated Parmesan just to give it a bit more cheesiness to enjoy.

Well, that's it! A very fun experiment; an exercise of art and science.

Until Next Time!

Monday, September 14, 2015

5 Reasons For Dating Backwards

I get asked a lot about the details of how I met my wife. In a word: Online. (Long story... another time). All in all, my wife and I dated online before dating online was truly a thing and did so very retro in style. Meaning, we didn't even "meet" online through a dating website. It happened organically through a website chat room with limited functions.

However, it wasn't the fact that we dated online, first; then in person, that lead to our success. It was HOW we dated. We dated backwards.

And so, here are.....!

5 Reasons For Dating Backwards

1. Deal Breakers First, Deal Makers Later.
Dating backwards is laying out essentials early on by hashing out the deal breakers before the relationship becomes too invested. This is something that couples tend to cover in the later aspects of the relationship time line (such as family values, politics, finances, religion... the true deal breakers). As it currently stands, most couples start by circling around each other and skim the surface regarding the early stuff (favorite color, food, hobbies, etc). However, this causes the couple to have already developed many spousal behavior patterns which makes the connection far more emotionally invested than the reality of the relationship may be ready for.

By covering deal breakers first, you save a lot of headache, heartache, and time. By covering the bases of if a relationship is actually well matched or not, you cover objective aspects of a relationship in terms of its level of fit before physicality mucks up everyone's judgment. After all, you're going on physical dates because part of you already likes the other person (and visa versa). As this repeats itself, people get lost in a pattern of trying to fit a square into a circle because of all that emotional positive reinforcement via the flirting, the flattery, the attraction, the physical touch, etc. This brings us to...!

2. Reality Before Physicality.
Dating backwards requires that physicality is left on the back burner and that the dating aspect of information gathering, processing, and mutual matching of present as well as future fit is placed at the forefront. It is otherwise way too easy to ignore some huge red flags, leaving them neglected under the guise of various expressions of passion. After all, what is more fun? Hashing out the business, or, hashing out the bedroom. Common... just being honest, here. So, when all your friends and family have concerns about this one guy or gal.... you just might want to pay attention... and very likely break it off. Then again, if everyone is telling you this is a great person and they really hope it works... and they NEVER say anything like that, you might want to pay attention here as well ;)

3. Facts Before Fun.
Going out together, getting to know each other, the flirting, the chase, etc. All these things are FUN. However, in early dating, especially dating backwards the goal should be all about the information. What are the facts? What do we know about relationships which make for a good, successful, long term healthy match? Seek these facts out. If the match could be better, then both parties are likely best suited to part ways. If the match is solid, then it is time to progress the relationship. Sure, this isn't FUN per se. However, it is factual... meaning, it is more likely to discern if a new budding relationship is headed for success or doom. And, if it is doom, then couple can decide their options to avert it, avoid it, prevent it, fix it, or simply break it off before it inevitably happens and everyone suffers. AND, if it the facts point towards success, then go ahead and move forward with the relationship! Why wait? Why play the circling game... because, society say so? Well... society hasn't been doing so very well with successful relationships. FACTS FIRST!

4. Values Stand Out.
Dating backwards is highly functional, however, is it less romantic and all around less fun. Talking about values is a deep and uncomfortable thing for people that have just met. And yet, dating backwards requires this as talking about values exposes all the potential weak and strong areas of a relationship as it moves forward. By covering values now, there are no surprises later. And, if there are some blatantly obvious discrepancies in values within the couple, then it may be a good idea to reassess the relationships if not break up and move on. After all, it is VALUES that causes the really bad break ups... family, friends, money, jobs, politics, religion... these are the things that can really wreck relationships. By dating backwards, you see from afar if they are even going to be present.

5. Can You Hear Me Now?
Dating backwards requires that communication becomes the foundation of the early phases of the relationship. Typically, early phase foundations are that of attraction, physicality, and high strung emotions. By dating backwards, you take out the ephemeral aspects of the customary early phases and replace it with solid dimensions of a well developed relationship. Starting backwards, you hone out perhaps the most important part of a successful relationship. Communication. It becomes absolutely clear, because you can't hide behind everything else. You can hide behind the flirting, the surface discussions, your favorite color... none of that stands when dating backwards. Everything is exposed and if there are some fundamental personality traits that are not compatible at the communicative level, it WILL be exposed brutally. The good news is this, because you are dating backwards, you've done this early on in even the first few dates (2-3 weeks even). If this relationship was going to be all so difficult and doomed, you already know so and can amicably and agreeably move on... rather than dating for a year or two to find out that yeah..... there's an irreparable communication issue.

Dating Backwards
Dating is still a very new aspect of the human experience. Historically speaking, what we are most recently accustomed to in the human experience is arranged marriage. It is only recently that humanity reached a point where we could otherwise choose our own spouses, Therefore, to find the critical compatibilities for a good match and long term success, dating backwards is the best way to go about it. The "spark" and other romantic elements that we tend to seek in our early dating chronology actually serve to muddle our judgment and the reality of the situation -- are we, or, are we not a good couple?

By dating backwards, couples find out very quickly if they are or are not. And, by doing so, will save themselves a lot of problems -- or -- will, in a very healthy way, accelerate their experience in a most positive manner.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Life Experiences: Top 5 Home Cooked Dishes

I like food. No, understatement. I love food. Around the year 2000 or so, I discovered my love for cooking... primarily from my love of eating. By 2005 or so, I took it upon myself to start trying out more gourmet'ish dishes out there as part of my development to the culinary experience. Since then, I've had some great experiences, ridiculous failures, and plenty of great times and good laughs. Today's post is a recollection of my top five dishes I made in the comfort of my own home.

Life Experiences: Top 5 Home Cooked Dishes

1. French Onion Soup
The very first "gourmet" dish I attempted was French Onion Soup. To this day, my college roommate and I can laugh about how I basically made our entire apartment building... no, our entire city block, smell like onions for the duration of a summer. Even from the bus stop, you could smell the cooking in the air. The key, I found, was to reaaaallllllly take the time and caramelize the onions over HOURS. Then it would be appropriate to add the beef stock and season to taste. And, sadly! I HAVE NO PICTURES! Ahhhh... so very sad. But, truly very tasty :)

2. Bacon Wrapped Fillet Mignon, Grilled.

I love steak. And, there is nothing more interesting nor exciting than properly grilling Fillet Mignon. At the time, a local Asian store was selling the entire beef tenderloin for $3.99/pound. It was an absolute steal! All you had to do was take it home, trim it, clean it up, and you were good to go. I got some thick cut bacon, mesquite, wood charcoal, and got to work!

3. Salmon Beurre Blanc

Drawing from my wife's French heritage, I took it upon myself to attempt finding some sort of familiarity with French sauces. This combined with my wife's favorite fish... well, I couldn't go wrong! What I found truly interesting about French sauces (with Beurre Blanc being no exception), when the recipe says "whisk," it doesn't mean whisk once or twice. It means you need to furiously whisk that puppy so the sauce doesn't break. And, I mean FURIOUSLY.

4. Beef Bourguignon.

After watching Julie and Julia, hearing so much about this beef stew compelled me to give it a try. So, I did. And, I have to say, it is actually quite easy to make (given certain material short cuts) and is absolutely tasty. The big key is finding that magic point in time when the red wine is cooked off. It was quite enlightening the last time I made it; I had my mother-in-law taste test the soup with me incrementally during the phase of cooking off the wine... and, it was quite interesting how instantaneous it was when the soup tasted like wine... then suddenly tasted like super awesome soup!

5. Bone In New York Steak, Butter Basted & Pan Seared
I've always grilled my steaks. Always. Pan seared? I felt that was robbing a good steak from the proper flavor of the grill. However, having watched both an episode of Master Chef and a quick YouTube video by Gordon Ramsey on pan searing steak, I took it upon myself to try it out. Well, hear the sizzle ;) It tasted just as good as it sounded. I need to work on my timing to work out the cook as well as the searing. I've also heard of a good technique to first sear, then bast, then oven the bone in... I'm no where near an expert. So, if you know more details on this, I'd love to hear about it!

Well, that's in for now! I'm hoping to write up a couple posts on the truth of academics and career paths -- and of course -- some eye opening posts about relationships.

Stay Tuned!