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!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

New Blog Header, Updates, Etc.

Hello everyone!

This blog has under gone several header titles as best fits the season of the life cycle to which it resides. I've actually noticed that depending on the type of blog, most blog based websites tend to have a 1-2 year life cycle where things need a little mixing up and changing around.

Well, my blog is no exception. By now, I'm sure you've noticed I've taken a lot of my thoughts and content in a partnership with UpDoc Media, appropriately serving as their Chief Content Officer. As such, I've been using this platform more as a personal, reflective, advisory, mentoring, and expanded outlet for my personal thoughts and philosophies as it pertains to life, academics, career, and business.

It's exciting for me since I had a fairly successful Periscope session (still just getting into it), ran as a Q&A. I'm planning on doing more of this in the future.

What is MOST exciting for me is revitalizing this blog as a place for honest conversations about life. As we continue to forge through the millennial age, we're realizing together that much of what we thought and expected of our futures is unfolding in a much different way. In fact, it is unfold in a fairly dis-congruent fashion to that which we were otherwise told it would.

Now, there are no promises in life. Certainly. However, there just seems to be such a disconnect between the social contract we signed up for and the present state of the social contract to which we are now living in.

So, what can you expect? Well, I'm going to be delving into some areas of concern in our academic system. I'm also going to continue to expand my thoughts on career strategies, the good, the bad, the ugly, and the opportunities for change. I'm going to talk a lot about relationships. THIS is exciting me. I think, as a culture, we're all obsessed with relationships... so it's going to be a lot of fun ;)

Yes, of course, I'll talk business. I ALWAYS talk business. But, what I really want to utilize this outlet for is fostering some honest thoughts and conversations about how things are, how things should be, and how we can get there together.

Many of you have already reached out privately via email, Twitter DMs, and other private channels. Awesome. Though, it seems a hashtag was needed... some were carved out for me... another I made for myself just because... sometimes, you need honest conversations during an open break time where people can just talk, as people.

So, I'll be talking to you, soon!

Take care,

PS. Here are some hashtags which I've been mentioned on:
#btwbf (this one I use personally, it stands for Break Time with Ben Fung)
#BizFungShui (primarily in association with UpDoc Media)

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Top 5 "Awkward......" Travel Moments

A little while ago, I shared some of my top travel experiences. Today, I want to share the awkward times which is humorously common during international travels. Well, there's no better way than to get right into it.

So! Here are...!

Top 5 "Awkward......" Travel Moments

1. I'm an XXL.
Whuaaaa? No, you read that right. And, no, it's not what you think. I'm talking about the pants size for my jeans. In Taiwan, a very popular night market is located in the suburb of Shih Lin. The Shih Lin Night Market is perhaps one of the most popular places for the youth of Taipei city. It's basically a county fair, combined with all the best local eats, combined with entertainment, and, lots of shopping. Well, I was told by a friend that getting expensive jeans here was a great deal compared to buying them in the United States. I thought, why not? So I went to a recommended jeans store and they asked my size. I said I'm a Medium. Well... they brought out the medium sized pants and they didn't even come up past my knees. That was just the beginning.

We went into Large, Extra Large, and finally XXL. Each subsequent time, I kept embarrassingly asking the girl helping me out for a larger size of the same length. She kept giggling and even asked me, what's wrong with the fit? I had to keep updating her. Well, this one made it mid-way up the thigh. Or, finally, they are around my hips but I can't walk. By the time I finally squirmed and squished into, out of, and upwards to the XXL, I finally fit into a pair that I could walk and sort of squat. Well, I wasn't going to embarrass myself any longer. I got the pants, had them hemmed and darted out.

Sadly, when I finally got back to the US, I tried on the pants and they were basically tighter than skinny jeans. I guess what happened was that after trying to fit into all those wet-suit tight jeans prior to the XXL, the XXL felt so roomy that I just finally went with it and said to myself "screw it..." I'm getting outta here.

2. Big Wave in Ken Ting!
Since we're on the Asian side of the globe, let's have another Taiwanese story. Down in Ken Ting, the southern edge of the isle of Taiwan, there's an area called Ken Ting which is basically a resort for families and young people. It's known for a, some what better, area of Taiwan to surf. Comparatively to southern California, it's pretty shoddy. In any case, there were lots of tourists there, primarily from Taiwan itself coming down for a vacation. Nevertheless, in one of the bays, I tried to get a body board to do some boogie and/or body surfing. Sadly, the waves were barely a foot high. When a two foot wave came along, an entire row of tourists would yell "BIG WAVE!" and scrambled to get to a safer depth of water.... as in, knee high water. As for me, I would just duck dive under or try to ride it. It was basically hilarious as the "big waves" came in, everyone tried to scramble out of the water while I was the only one in the "deep." As a surfer (at the time) who rode overhead waves... it was pure comedy.

3. How You Doing? In Africa.

Soooooo! In Africa, it is apparently highly desirable to have children of fair skinned, straight & delicate hair, gentle complexions. It's a rare thing. Well! Throughout my trip in Africa, I was constantly getting propositioned. I'd go into more detail but... well, this is a family show. Suffice to say, I've never been hit on so much all my life. The people I was with who actually spoke Swahili kept giggling when women were talking to me. I, of course, didn't understand what was going on. Then they told me... way late into the trip. Thanks a lot, guys.

4. Where is "A Boot?"
EH?! Yep. This is a story about Canada. I was pretty young for this one... probably before I turned 20. I was up in Canada and in an area where the North American English accent was quite different than the one I was used to from Southern California. People kept talking about "A Boot." In fact, they kept asking me where my boot was. Or, where my boot was. *Sighs* It basically took me half the trip to realize what it was all about. Suffice to say, there were many awkward conversations.

5. I Speak Eng'rish.
I guess for my last story, we're going back to Taiwan again. I was going to talk about Africa, but, I've shared plenty of stories about my trip to Tanzania in other blog posts. This one is about being a native English speaker. So, in my late teens and early 20s, I was thinking about going down the route of teaching English internationally. It's still a big business over 15 years later in Asia and I thought just to try out a walk-in interview. So, back in Taipei, I went into a fairly well known brand English tutoring company. I spoke Mandarin quite well back then. I went up and asked how they selected their English tutors. They said, they needed to be native speakers and have a college degree. After a little bit of banter, I busted out the English and said: Well, I was born in America, I speak perfect English, and will be graduating from a 4 year university soon. Do you think you'd hire me?" .... something to that effect. They were speechless. And then, they said they wanted someone "more American." For any of you who know the subtleties of communicating in the Asian languages, this basically meant they wanted someone "white." Sadness.

Well! That got real! Those are my top 5 awkward travel moments. Keep your eye out for more on this fun series. After which, I'm hoping to dabble into some relationship advice and some realistic talk on academics, career paths, jobs, and much more.

Stay Tuned!